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

"FLETCH"

Final draft screenplay

by

Andrew Bergman

Based on the novel

by

Gregory McDonald



FADE IN:

EXT. CALIFORNIA BEACH - DAY

Seagulls squawk, and the waves pound, but we’re not talking
about Malibu Colony, here. This is a fairly rundown beach
area, catering to lower-echelon surfers, vagrants, and strung
out druggies of all ages, several of whom stand or sit on
their haunches by a dilapidated old hamburger stand. Over
the stand is a faded sign: "FAT SAM’S HAMBURGERS".

A simple but haunting electronic melody plays in the b.g.

INT. "FAT SAM’S" - DAY

Seated just inside the stand on a folding aluminum chair is
a chubby man in his late thirties. He’s wearing a stained
valour sweat suit and a cap. This is Fat Sam. He’s a dealer.
Seated on the sand next to him is Fletch, a rangy man, early
thirties, in jeans and a Magic Johnson T-shirt, nodding idly
on a battered Casio music machine which he treats lovingly.
This is the source of the title music.

FLETCH
So what do you figure?

FAT SAM
No idea.

FLETCH
No idea at all?

FAT SAM
Okay. Some idea.

FLETCH
Like when?

FAT SAM
Like tonight.

FLETCH
For sure?

FAT SAM
No, not for sure. When it comes, it
comes. You gonna want some shit?

FLETCH
I think I’d rather have drugs.

FAT SAM
(shakes head and smiles)
Fletch...

FLETCH
Sorry. I find a little humor really
brightens things up around here,
don’t you?

A young junkie with a black eye – Gummy – passes.

GUMMY
Hi Sam. Hi Fletch.

FLETCH
Hi Gummy. How’s the eye?

GUMMY
It’s okay. The cops did it.

FLETCH
I know.

GUMMY
They busted me last week.

FLETCH
They bust you every week.

GUMMY
I know. I got bad luck or something.

Gummy exits. Fletch and Fat Sam watch him go.

FLETCH
That kid spends any more time in
jail he’ll have to start paying rent.

WIDER ANGLE THROUGH BINOCULARS

Fat Sam and Fletch conclude their conversation. Fletch walks
back among the drifters, the nervous, expectant junkies. He
stops to talk to a young man propped up on his elbows on a
towel. Creasy.

CREASY AND FLETCH

FLETCH
Maybe tonight?

CREASY
Whaddyamean 'maybe'?

FLETCH
That's what he said.

CREASY
(getting desperate)
He doesn't know? How come he doesn't
know?

FLETCH
I don't know how he doesn't know. He
doesn't know.

CREASY
Sonofabitch.

FLETCH
Wonder who his supplier is.

CREASY
I have no idea.

FLETCH
I wasn't asking.

CREASY
He never leaves the beach, Fat Sam.
Never leaves. Sits in that chair,
he's outta junk. Then he suddenly
gets up, he's got junk. So where
does it come from? Through the sand?

FLETCH
I think that's highly unlikely,
Creasy.

CREASY
(rolls over)
I ought to get some sleep.

FLETCH
Creasy, how old are you?

CREASY
Nineteen.

FLETCH
(a touch of sadness)
You're not taking real good care of
yourself.

WIDER - BINOCULARS AGAIN

Fletch takes his Casio and starts off the beach. The binocular
angle follows him. A pelican crosses the water. The binoculars
move off Fletch and follows the flight of the pelican as it
swoops low over the ocean.

BEACH PARKING LOT - DAY

Fletch emerges into view, walking towards camera, when a Man
steps into the immediate f.g., the binoculars at his side
large in frame. Fletch stops.

MAN
Excuse me. I have something I'd like
to discuss with you.

FLETCH
What?

REVERSE

A trim man of approximately Fletch's age, wearing a perfectly
tailored grey suit, is standing across from Fletch. This is
Alan Stanwyk.

STANWYK
We can't talk about it here.

MASTER

FLETCH
Why not?

STANWYK
Because we can't.

FLETCH
Are you on a scavenger hunt of some
kind?

STANWYK
I want you to come to my house. Then
we'll talk.

FLETCH
I think you've got the wrong gal,
fella.

STANWYK
I'll give you a thousand dollars
cash just to come to my house and
listen to the proposition. If you
reject the proposition, you keep the
thousand, and your mouth shut.

FLETCH
Will this proposition entail my
dressing up as Tina Turner?

STANWYK
(unsmiling, all
business)
It is nothing of a sexual nature I
assure you.
(Takes a thousand in
cash from his pocket)
One thousand, just to listen. I don't
see how you could turn that down
Mr...

FLETCH
Nugent. Ted Nugent.

STANWYK
(shakes his hand)
Alan Stanwyk.

FLETCH
Charmed.

EXT. BERMAN STREET - BEVERLY HILLS - DAY

A Jaguar XJ sedan goes up Berman Street, a dead end. Fletch's
hand reaches out of the passenger window and empties sand
out of a sneaker.

INT. JAGUAR - DAY

FLETCH
I always liked this part of town.

EXT. BERMAN STREET - DAY

The Jaguar continues on up Berman Street, stopping before
massive iron gates marked PRIVATE PROPERTY -- NO TRESPASSING --
STANWYK. The gates open electronically.

EXT. STANWYK HOUSE - DAY

The jaguar goes up the center of the drive toward a white-
pillared mansion. The lawns and planting are spectacular.

INT. JAGUAR - DAY

Fletch stares out the window.

FLETCH
What a coincidence.

The car stops before the house.

STANWYK
What?

EXT. HOUSE - DAY

as they get out of the car.

FLETCH
I came this close...
(holds fingers slightly
apart)
...to buying this place

Stanwyk ignores Fletch and starts toward the house. Fletch
follows.

FLETCH
Then I found out Hopalong Cassidy
had shot himself in the game room.
That just blew it for me.

STANWYK
Who?

FLETCH
Hopalong Cassidy. Killed himself
here. Bow and arrow. Strange.

Stanwyk stops before the front door, stares at Fletch

STANWYK
What are you, doped up or something?

Fletch abruptly changes gears, stares at Stanwyk

FLETCH
I don't work for you yet, assface.
Don't talk to me like that.

STANWYK
(after a beat)
Come inside.

INT. HOUSE - DAY

Stanwyk and Fletch enter. A Mexican Maid crosses.

STANWYK
Buenas dias.

MAID
Buenas dias.

She disappears.

FLETCH
I commend you on your Spanish.

Stanwyk doesn't reply, keeps on walking. He opens a set of
double doors to the left of the winding staircase, then stands
to one side, indicating that Fletch should enter.

INT. LIBRARY - DAY

Massive fireplace. Everything built in teak. Fletch enters,
and Stanwyk closes the door behind them.

FLETCH
Ahh, the library. Masculine but
sensitive.

Stanwyk wordlessly goes behind the desk

FLETCH
Really, I love what you've done with
the place. Must have cost you...
hundreds.

Stanwyk turns, looks out a pair of French doors behind his
desk, then turns back.

STANWYK
Here's my proposition, Mr. Nugent.

FLETCH
I'm all ears.

STANWYK
I want you to murder me.

FLETCH

Even garrulous Fletch is stopped in his tracks by this remark,
uttered in the most business-like manner.

STANWYK

STANWYK
Here. On Thursday. I'd like you to
shoot me dead.

FLETCH

He just stares, barely breathing.

STANWYK

STANWYK
The reason I ask you to do me this
service is that I am facing a long,
painful, and most certain death. You
see, I have bone cancer. I don't
know if you know anything about bone
cancer.

FLETCH

He shakes his head.

STANWYK

STANWYK
It doesn't get any worse than that.
Just eats you up, bit by bit.

FLETCH

Finally regains the gift of speech.

FLETCH
You don't look sick, Mr. Stanwyk.

MASTER

STANWYK
I don't feel sick. Not yet. They
tell me it'll start getting bad in
about a month. After that... well,
I'd rather not be around for it.

FLETCH
Why don't you try suicide?

STANWYK
My company has taken out a very large
insurance policy on me. And I have a
wife. Suicide would nullify my
insurance. Murder does not.

FLETCH
So why pick me?

STANWYK
You're a drifter, a -- pardon the
expression -- beach bum. No one would
notice if you disappeared. I've
watched you for a couple weeks.

FLETCH
Maybe I'm just on vacation.

STANWYK
Not with the scum you hang out with.
I've watched. I've thought. Its a
perfect scheme. I even have a perfect
escape plan for you.

FLETCH
Did it ever occur to you that I might
not want to kill you?

STANWYK
I've got fifty thousand dollars says
you will.

FLETCH

He chews his lip.

STANWYK

STANWYK
Fifty thousand and a guarantee you
won't get caught.

Stanwyk searches Fletch's face carefully for a reaction.
After several beats...

FLETCH
I'm still here.

STANWYK
(turns and goes to
the French doors)
I want it done Thursday evening,
around eight PM. My wife will be off
to the club for a committee meeting.
It's the staff's night off.
(pushes doors open)
These will be open.

FLETCH

FLETCH
Wouldn't they normally be locked?

MASTER

STANWYK
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. The
staff usually forgets.

FLETCH
I have the same problem with my help.

STANWYK
(goes on, unresponsive)
I will be here in the room, waiting
for you. The safe will be open and
there will be fifty thousand dollars
in it. You will be wearing rubber
gloves. Do you own rubber gloves?

FLETCH
I rent them. Monthly lease, with an
option to buy.

STANWYK
In this drawer....

He opens the top drawer of his desk

INSIDE THE DRAWER

an enormous .357 Magnum.

MASTER

Stanwyk holds up the gun.

FLETCH

FLETCH
A .357.

MASTER

STANWYK
Very good. My .357. Use it and no
one can trace it to you. The room
will be in some disarray.

FLETCH
So it looks like a burglary attempt.
You catch me. I get the gun, and
shoot you.

STANWYK
Precisely. Are you a good shot?

FLETCH
(looking at the huge
gun)
What's the difference? The noise'll
kill you first.

STANWYK
Get me on the first shot, if you
can.

FLETCH
I don't think you'll have to worry
about that.

A beat. Stanwyk stares at Fletch.

STANWYK
Do you have a passport?

FLETCH
Sure, all drifters do.

STANWYK
Fine. After you kill me, take the
Jaguar. The keys will be in the glove
compartment.

FLETCH
Take it where?

Stanwyk starts to write down the information on a note pad.

STANWYK
LAX. Go to the Pan Am desk. There
will be a ticket waiting for you.

FLETCH
Where am I going?

STANWYK
(hands Fletch the
note)
Rio. Flight 306. Departs at eleven
PM.

FLETCH
They serve dinner on the flight?

STANWYK
It'll be a first class-ticket. I'm
sure you'll enjoy the ride. I would
recommend staying down there at least
a year, Mr. Nugent.

FLETCH
You've certainly thought this out,
haven't you?

STANWYK
I am not someone who leaves a great
deal to chance, Mr. Nugent.

FLETCH
You sure those doors will be open?

STANWYK
Yes. All you provide are the gloves,
the passport, and the aim. I'll take
care of everything else.

FLETCH
The gun, the money, the tickets, and
the dying.

STANWYK
That's right.

FLETCH
You sure got the hard part.

STANWYK
What do you say, Mr. Nugent? You'll
be doing me and my family a great
service.

FLETCH

thinking it over.

STANWYK

STANWYK
Will you kill me?

FLETCH

FLETCH
Sure.

INT. NEWSPAPER BUILDING - DAY

Fletch pushes through the double glass doors, still dresses
in a beach mufti -- the jeans and Magic Johnson shirt, Puma
sneakers.

INT. L.A. NEWS OFFICE - DAY

Fletch is greeted ad-lib by several people as he walks through
the cavernous newspaper City Room.

REPORTER
Whoa, check out the beach boy!

SECOND REPORTER
Looking very good, Fletch.

FLETCH
Thank you so much
(to someone else)
Hey, Larry!

Larry, the young "morgue" researcher, hurries over and walks
with Fletch. She is fun and flirty, and her feelings for
Fletch fall just short of idolatry.

LARRY
Yo!

FLETCH
Can I steal you for a minute?

LARRY
Only if you promise not to return
me.

FLETCH
Deal.

LARRY
(pointing to Fletch's
T-shirt)
'Magic' today, huh?

FLETCH
Kareem's in the wash. I need a favor.

LARRY
Shoot.

FLETCH
Don't say shoot, okay.

They pass the office of the city editor Frank Walker,
fiftyish. Hold on Walker's office. Upon noticing Fletch, he
jumps from his seat, edges his way past the two reporters in
his office and runs outside.

WALKER
Fletch. Fletch!

FLETCH AND LARRY

They continue their walk.

FLETCH
Did you hear something?

LARRY
Not me.

FLETCH
Me neither. See what we've got on a
guy named Alan Stanwyk, okay? I need
it right away.

WALKER
(running up to them)
Fletch, I take it by your presence
here that the story is done. Tell me
I'm right.

Fletch holds up a hand.

FLETCH
W-Y-K no 'c.' I'll be down in a
minute.

LARRY
No problem, boss.

Larry peels off and Fletch now talks to Walker without
breaking stride for his office.

WALKER
Fletch.

FLETCH
Frank, you look a little peaked.
Wanna vomit?

WALKER
No, I want an answer, Is the story
done?

FLETCH
Uh, almost.

WALKER
'Uh, almost' is not an answer. 'Yes
Frank, it's all done': that's an
answer.

FLETCH
(as he enters his
cubicle)
And a damn fine one, I might add.

INT. FLETCH'S CUBICLE - DAY

A pile of mail is on his desk. On the walls are a team
portrait of the Lakers, plus a couple of blow-ups of his
column. Fletch writes under the name of Jane Doe. An unused
word processor is on his desk, but the keyboard has been
moved aside to make room for an old, much-used Royal
typewriter.

He bounces some waste paper off the monitor into a
strategically placed waste can. (A lot of crumpled papers
lie on the floor all around the can.)

FLETCH
Two...

WALKER
Irwin...

FLETCH
Oh, I hate it when he calls me that.

WALKER
Irwin, professional journalism time,
now. Go back to the goddamn beach
and finish the goddamn story!

FLETCH
I will, Frank, I will. Something
came up, okay?

WALKER
No it's not okay. You have to have
this in by tomorrow. Did you see the
ad we ran Sunday?

FLETCH
I never read the paper.

WALKER
...never reads the paper...

Walker goes through a pile of unread newspapers on Fletch's
desk, finds the Sunday paper.

FLETCH
What's the spread on the game tonight?

WALKER
I don't know.
(holds up paper)
Look!

FLETCH
Looks great.

INSERT - AD

A full-page ad.

"NEXT WEEK A "JANE DOE" SPECIAL REPORT: DRUGS ON OUR BEACHES -
SHAME OF THE CITY"

MASTER

FLETCH
'Shame of Our City' is so good.

WALKER
Now, Irwin, try to follow me. You
can't run the ad and then not run
the story.

FLETCH
Why not? Oh shit... really?

Walker just stares at him.

FLETCH
Just kidding, Frank. You'll have the
story and you'll be damn proud of
it.

WALKER
You broke it? You know the source?

FLETCH
Practically.

WALKER

ready to kill.

WALKER
What's 'practically'? Is it Fat Sam?
You said you had pictures of him....

MASTER

FLETCH
I have pictures of him. Dealing...

WALKER
So let's go! We run the pictures.

FLETCH
He's not the story! There's a source
behind him.

WALKER
Who?

FLETCH
Well, there we're in a gray area.

WALKER
How gray?

FLETCH
I'd say charcoal.

WALKER
(straining for control)
I'm going to bite out your eyeballs,
you know that?

FLETCH
Frank, you animal, I love it. I'll
have the story by Thursday night, I
swear to God.
(to himself as he
exits)
I hope.

INSERT - NEWSPAPER CLIPPING ALAN STANWYK NEW V/P BOYD AVIATION

A photograph of Stanwyk; a head shot. Hands turn the clipping
paper. Next clipping: a social page spread on the wedding of
Alan Stanwyk. ("GAIL BOYD WED TO ALAN STANWYK.")

LARRY (V.O.)
Everything's recent.

FLETCH AND LARRY

Fletch and Larry examine the file.

FLETCH
'Mr. Stanwyk, of Provo, Utah, is a
former commercial pilot.'

LARRY
Married Boyd Aviation. He's no dummy,
that's serious coin.

INSERT - CLIPPING - TIGHTER ANGLE

FLETCH (V.O.)
'Stanwyk's parents, Marvin and Velma
Stanwyk, also of Provo, were unable
to attend the wedding.'

FLETCH AND LARRY

LARRY
(affected accent)
Not our kind of people, you
understand.

FLETCH
(points to his back)
Spot right here.

She scratches.

FLETCH
Thanks.

LARRY
You doing a story on this guy?

FLETCH
Maybe.

He pours over some more clippings, then stops at one.

INSERT CLIPPING

headlined: "CANCER SOCIETY BENEFIT". A photograph of Alan
and Gail Stanwyk, with a gray haired man and his wife.

FLETCH (V.O.)
'...Stanwyk, blahblahblah, with
internist Doctor Joseph Dolen.'

FLETCH AND LARRY

FLETCH
I wonder if that's his doctor.

LARRY
Only one way to find out.

INT. DOCTOR'S EXAMINING ROOM - DAY

Fletch, stripped to the waist. is being examined by Dr. Joseph
Dolen, a rather imperious physician.

DR. DOLEN
So where do you know Alan from?

FLETCH
We play tennis at the club.

DR. DOLEN
Really. The California Racquet Club?

FLETCH
Yes.

DR. DOLEN
That's my club too. I haven't seen
you there.

FLETCH
Well, I haven't played in a while
because of these kidney pains.

DR. DOLEN
Right, and how long have you had
these pains, Mr. Barber?

FLETCH
That's Babar.

DR. DOLEN
Two bs?

FLETCH
One. B-a-b-a-r.

DR. DOLEN
That's two.

FLETCH
But not right next to each other. I
thought that's what you meant.

DR. DOLEN
Arnold Babar. Isn't there a children's
book about an elephant named Babar?

FLETCH
I don't know. I don't have any.

DR. DOLEN
No children?

FLETCH
No books. No elephants either. No
really good elephant books.

DR. DOLEN
(eyes Fletch curiously)
Still, it'd an odd name. I don't
remember seeing it on the club
registry.

Fletch's eyes drift to Dolen's side table with its unnerving
assortment of medical paraphernalia.

FLETCH
Oh, I don't belong formally. I've
gone with my aunt.

DR. DOLEN
Your aunt?

FLETCH
Mrs. Smith.

DR. DOLEN
Joan or Margaret Smith.

FLETCH
Right.

DR. DOLEN
Well, which one?

FLETCH
Margaret.

DR. DOLEN
Funny old bird.

FLETCH
Is she ever. I've got some stories....

DR. DOLEN
I'll bet. Shame about Ed.

FLETCH
(vamping)
It was. Really a shame. To go so
suddenly.

DR. DOLEN
Oh, he was dying for years.

FLETCH
Sure, but the end was so sudden.

DR. DOLEN
He was in intensive care for eight
weeks.

FLETCH
Yes, but the very end, when he
actually died, that was extremely
sudden.
(quickly)
You know, Alan and I were recently
speaking of dying. Told me Boyd
Aviation took out a lot of insurance
on him. You must have to be in some
kind of perfect health to get that
kind of policy.

DR. DOLEN
Bend over and drop your pants, Mr.
Babar.

FLETCH
Oh really, there's no need to -- we
don't want to do that...

DR. DOLEN
Just relax....

FLETCH
Honest, I feel fine. You better be
married.

Fletch looks alarmed as Dolan pushes him into position. Dolan
puts on a plastic glove.

CLOSE - FLETCH

FLETCH
Did I say 'kidneys'? I meant my ear.
Maybe I should see an ear dahhh --
(as Dolan starts to
probe from behind)
Ever serve time?

DR. DOLEN
Breathe easy...

FLETCH
Anyway, I'm surprised Alan got the
policy so easily. I know there's a
history of cancer in the family.

DR. DOLEN
(noncommittally)
There is?

FLETCH
Whoa, look out there. You really
need the whole fist?

DR. DOLEN
Just relax.

FLETCH
(reacts to a poke)
Gee, Alan's been looking kind of
sick lately. Is he all right?

DR. DOLEN
I can't discuss another patient. You
know that.
(rising into frame
and washing up)
Well, I can't find anything wrong
with you.

FLETCH
I'm sure it's not for a lack of
looking. Maybe I should get a real
complete physical. You give Alan an
annual, don't you?

DR. DOLEN
Yeah, we check you into Mt. Hebron
for a few days, run lots of tests,
charge a bundle. You can pull your
pants up now.

FLETCH
I hope they still fit. Do I get to
keep the glove?

DR. DOLEN
Tell the nurse when you've got a few
free days. She'll make all the
arrangements.

FLETCH
Thanks, Doc. Maybe I'll come back
with a date. Or an elephant.

INT. HOSPITAL RECEPTION AREA - DAY

Fletch is dressed in shorts, a clean shirt, and is carrying
a doctor's bag. He is wearing a stethoscope around his neck,
has a beeper on, a lot of pencils and other doctor gadgets.
He's standing at the directory

DIRECTORY

Combing it with his eyes, he sees the directory:

PATHOLOGY - THIRD FLOOR
B. ROSENSTIEN, M.D.
H. ROSENBLATT, M.D.
P. ROSENWOHL, M.D.

Fletch goes to a door marked "Stairs."

INT. STAIRWELL - DAY

Fletch abruptly empties his doctor's bag and puts on a long
green gown, a cap and a face mask. He plugs the stethoscope
in his ears, removes miscellaneous file folders filled with
papers, closes the bag, and heads for Pathology.

INT. PATHOLOGY DEPARTMENT - DAY

It's at the end of a long hall, and adjacent to the Autopsy
Room and the Pathology Records Room. Over his shoulder we
can see into the autopsy room where a gowned doctor is happily
performing an autopsy.

RECORDS NURSE
(to Fletch)
Identification please.

Fletch hastily fumbles through his wallet, deftly dropping
and picking up the papers he has brought with him.

FLETCH
It's me doctor Rosenpenis. I just
have to take another peek at Alan
Stanwyk's file. What have they done
with this place?

RECORDS NURSE
(confused at all his
activity)
Nothing. They're still there.

FLETCH
Right. Fine.

Still dropping and picking up, shuffling and collating, Fletch
starts toward the Files Room, when the doctor performing the
autopsy yells at him.

PATHOLOGIST
Hey you!

Fletch stiffens and turns around.

PATHOLOGIST
Give me a hand for a second would
you doctor?

Fletch hesitates.

PATHOLOGIST
Come on, come on.

Reluctantly, he goes to the autopsy table, and the cadaver
thereon, which is covered by a sheet, except for the mid-
section.

TWO SHOT - FLETCH AND PATHOLOGIST

(Note: from here on we never see the body.)

PATHOLOGIST
(poking around)
Have you ever see a spleen this large?

FLETCH
(trying not to look)
Not recently.

PATHOLOGIST
Grab this, will you?

FLETCH
Uh, I'm not really prepared. My hands
aren't sterilized.

PATHOLOGIST
You're not going to make this guy
any sicker.

We hear a squishing noise as he grabs something large and
wet and plops it into Fletch's hand. Fletch stands there
holding something icky out of frame, looking uncomfortably
up at the ceiling, the floor, anywhere but at the cadaver or
at the stuff in his hand. Meanwhile, we hear sounds of further
incisions, and the deflating of an organ.

PATHOLOGIST
You never really get used to the
smell, do you?

Fletch's eyes roll up, and he falls to the floor in a dead
faint.

INT. RECORDS ROOM - DAY - MINUTES LATER

Fletch is on a couch, beginning to regain consciousness. The
Records Nurse hovers over him.

RECORDS NURSE
Are you all right, Doctor?

FLETCH
Where am I?

RECORDS NURSE
You're in the Records Room.

FLETCH
I'm fine.

RECORDS NURSE
Can I get you something?

FLETCH
Have you got a make-shift plywood
pillory? Heh Heh, just kidding.

RECORDS NURSE
Doctor Holmes went to get you some
smelling salts. He was quite surprised
that you fainted.

FLETCH
Well, I didn't want to say anything,
but I thought the dead man was my
brother.

RECORDS NURSE
Oh my God!

FLETCH
It's all right. It wasn't him but
that spleen was a splitting image.

He sits up and sees that just outside the glass is none other
that Dr. Joseph Dolen, talking with the pathologist.

FLETCH
Oh, God, I think I'm about to
hyperventilate. Have you got a paper
bag, or something.

RECORDS NURSE
Yes, right away.

She goes to get the paper bag, and Fletch turns his back on
Dr. Dolen to go through the file cabinet. By the time the
Nurse returns, he's got Stanwyk's file.

RECORDS NURSE
Here you are, Doctor.

FLETCH
Thank you.

He puts the bag over his mouth and breathes deeply as he
continues the conversation with her. (From time to time, we
see Dr. Dolen in the b.g. looking over, but does not come
into the records room or question what's happening).

RECORDS NURSE
Is there anything particular you're
looking for?

FLETCH
My associates did a biopsy on this
man recently.
(thumbs through file)
He's supposed to have a melanoma, or
a carcinoma, some kind of noma. Hmmm.
I can't seem to find any record of
it.

RECORDS NURSE
(taking the file)
Well, if he had one, it would
certainly be in here.
(searches)
Wait. Here it is. Yep. Surgical
removal of two moles. Tissue was
benign.

FLETCH
That's it?

RECORDS NURSE
(shows him the file)
That's it.

FLETCH
(reading it)
This was last month. So Alan Stanwyk
does not have cancer.

RECORDS NURSE
I guess not.

FLETCH
(very puzzled)
He'll be so relieved.

EXT. SANTA MONICA STREET - LATE AFTERNOON

Fletch pulls up in front of his building, a 1970's cinderblock
apartment complex. Fletch parks his car halfway up the curb,
gets out and spots a Mercedes coupe. He starts running toward
the rear of his building.

EXT. REAR OF THE BUILDING - DAY

Fletch starts climbing up the fire escape of his building.

FIRE ESCAPE - DAY

Fletch reaches the second floor. He's huffing and puffing.

FLETCH
Christ.

REVERSE

Attorney Charles Gillett is waiting for him on the second
floor fire escape. Gillett smiles.

GILLETT
Refusal to pay alimony is a jailable
offense, Fletch.

MASTER

FLETCH
What about breaking and entering?
(points to Gillett's
coat)
Are you wearing anything under that?

GILLETT
I did not break nor enter. I simply
chose an advisable location to await
my client's delinquent husband.

FLETCH
I hate to conduct business on the
lanai. Why don't we step inside.

Fletch takes out a credit card and jimmies open the lock on
the window.

INT. FLETCH'S APARTMENT - DAY

Fletch climbs in through the window, followed by Gillett.
His small apartment is just barely furnished. A low basketball
hoop is attached to the wall. Fletch takes a ball, offers it
to Gillett.

FLETCH
One on one?

Gillett shakes his head. Fletch does a reverse shot and
misses, sending a plastic globe lamb crashing to the floor.

FLETCH
And the foul.

Fletch takes a second, successful shot.

GILLETT
You owe Wendy nine hundred and
eighteen dollars.

FLETCH
(still playing b-ball)
She doesn't need the money, for
crissakes. She's living with Monty.
I know it.

GILLETT
I don't know what you're referring
to. Wendy maintains her own residence.

FLETCH
It stinks. I thought woman were
independent now.

GILLETT
Until she remarries, Fletch.

FLETCH
Hey, shut up, okay? I just hate this.

GILLETT
I empathize with your plight, Fletch.
However, you threw her out.

FLETCH
She was sleeping with everybody. The
cable TV guy. You can't get lower
than that...

GILLETT
You should have proved that in a
court of law.

FLETCH
My lawyer was a bum.

GILLETT
(smiles)
I agree.

Fletch puts down the basketball, picks up a stack of mail
and rifles through it.

FLETCH
I think he was sleeping with Wendy,
too.

GILLETT
You may be right.

FLETCH
Are you serious?

GILLETT
(shrugs)
That's history, Fletch. You owe us
nine hundred and eighteen dollars.

FLETCH
Wait a minute! Our problems might be
solved.

Fletch holds up an envelope with Ed McMahon's picture on it.

FLETCH
(continuing)
I think I just won a million dollars!

He opens it and looks inside, feigning disappointment.

FLETCH
(continuing)
Damn... lost again. Sorry.

GILLETT
This is no joke. If some kind of
payment isn't made, we're going to
have to contact the paper and garnish
your wages.

Fletch sighs, takes out the envelope given to him by Stanwyk.
He hands a thousand dollars to Gillett.

GILLETT
Cash. I'm impressed.

FLETCH
Found it in a cab. That's a grand.
Apply the difference to next month.

GILLETT
Till then.

Gillett smiles and exits.

KITCHEN - DAY

Fletch opens the fridge. Inside are tow six-packs of Coors,
a jar of Miracle Whip, a half a cucumber, and a brown head
of lettuce. Fletch takes a beer and slams the door shut with
such force that we hear breakage inside.

MASTER - APARTMENT - DAY

In a foul mood, Fletch leaves the kitchen, and wanders into
the living room. It has the personality of an Abbey Rents.

He picks up the TV remote control. The television clicks on.
Chick Hearn is with Jabbar, during a Laker pregame warmup.

FLETCH
Thank God.

Fletch settles back.

TELEVISION

Hearn is gushing over Jabbar.

FLETCH

He watches contemplatively. He is bone tired.

TELEVISION

HEARN
How about Fletch?

JABBAR
Well, Fletch has been great. He's
super-strong, really clogs the middle
for us, boxes out, gets the bounds....

FLETCH
He smiles and nods, deep in fantasy.

TELEVISION

HEARN
Now here's a key play in Tuesday
night's game...

Hearn and Jabbar look down at a television monitor.

FLETCH

He's half asleep.

JABBAR (V.O.)
Here I am dishing off to Fletch...

Fletch raises an eyebrow.

TELEVISION

There's Fletch, his hair in an Afro, dressed in Laker gold.
He's on the receiving end of a Jabbar pass, making an easy
layup.

HEARN (V.O.)
Gosh, he makes it look so easy!

FLETCH

asleep, smiling.

PRACTICE COURT - DAY

Gail Stanwyk is on the other side of the net, loading tennis
balls into the automatic serve machine. She is in her late
twenties and quite attractive, but in a much more natural
way than other women we see here. She is good natured and
effervescent.

Fletch steps up to the entrance of the court.

FLETCH
Gail Stanwyk!

She looks up. He enters the court with great delight.

FLETCH
I haven't seen you since the wedding,
Jeez, you look great.

MRS. STANWYK
(genuinely pleased)
I do? Oh, isn't that sweet, thank
you. I have to confess something to
you. I must have been pretty plowed
at your wedding. I really don't have
the faintest idea who you are.

FLETCH
Huh? No, not my wedding. Yours.

MRS. STANWYK
Oh, mine! Thank God.
(furrows her brow)
Actually, that doesn't make it any
better, does it? Are you a friend of
Alan's?

FLETCH
We used to fly together. I'm... John.

MRS. STANWYK
(snaps her fingers in
happy recognition)
John! You used to fly together!

Her smile segues right into an "I'm sorry, bit I give up"
expression.

MRS. STANWYK
John who?

FLETCH
John Ultrarelamensky.

MRS. STANWYK
(bursts out in laughter)
Oh, I'm sorry. It's a beautiful name,
really.

FLETCH
It's Scotch-Rumanian.

MRS. STANWYK
(still loading tennis
balls)
That's a strange combination.

FLETCH
So were my parents.

MRS. STANWYK
Mind if I keep practicing? I need to
work on my ground stroke a little.

FLETCH
Please.

As Mrs. Stanwyk crosses to the other side of the net, a waiter
approaches Fletch.

WAITER
Excuse me sir. Are you a guest of
the club?

FLETCH
Yes, I'm with the Underhills.

WAITER
They just left, sir.

FLETCH
They'll be back. He had to go in for
a urinalysis.

WAITER
Would you care for a drink while
you're waiting? I can put it on the
Underhill bill.

FLETCH
Great. I'll have a Bloody Mary and a
steak sandwich.

WAITER
Very good sir.

The Waiter leaves, and Fletch watches as Mrs. Stanwyk tries
to return the serving machine's serves. She swings so goofily
that she can't even get the racket on the ball. She has
clearly never taken a lesson in her life, and it is doubtful
if she will ever make contact with a tennis ball in this
century.

MRS. STANWYK
Damn, I thought I had that one.

FLETCH
You should play with much larger
tennis balls. So how's Alan?

MRS. STANWYK
What are you asking me for? He's so
busy lately I hardly see him. And
he's been so preoccupied.

FLETCH
Preoccupied with what?

MRS. STANWYK
Oh, personal stuff. Look! I hit one!

Indeed, she has. Strait up. She and Fletch crane their necks
upward to follow it's flight.

FLETCH
Good. Lobs are a very important part
of the game.

She completely misses the next one.

FLETCH
Why do you keep doing this?

MRS. STANWYK
I love the outfits.

The next one she hits with the handle.

FLETCH
Try stepping into the ball with your
left foot.

He demonstrates a swing. She puts on a determined face, makes
an awkward step and swings at the next ball, missing it
completely, and letting the racket fly.

FLETCH
There, much better.

Mrs. Stanwyk laughs happily and dodges the machine-served
balls to walk over to Fletch. When she's almost up to him,
she turns back to the serving machine and points a finger at
it, as if addressing a pet dog.

MRS. STANWYK
Stay!
(to Fletch)
I must be having an off day. I'm
really a fabulous player.

FLETCH
I have this effect on lots of women.

MRS. STANWYK
I bet you do.

FLETCH
Say, the reason I asked about Alan
is that I bumped into him this morning
and you know what I can't figure
out?

MRS. STANWYK
(catching him in his
lie)
Alan's in Utah.

FLETCH
(after a beat)
I can't figure out why I went to
Utah for the morning.

MRS. STANWYK
Okay. I'm delighted to have someone
to talk to, and you're very cute, so
I'm very flattered, but I'm also
very married so you may as well forget --
You are trying to hit on me, aren't
you?

FLETCH
(thinks, then nods)
I'm such a heel. How'd you guess?

MRS. STANWYK
If I had a nickel for every one of
Alan's flyboy buddies who tried to
pick me up, I'd be a rich woman.

FLETCH
You are a rich woman.

MRS. STANWYK
See what I mean?

She trots back to her ball machine. Fletch calls after her.

FLETCH
What's he doing in Utah?

MRS. STANWYK
None of your business, now go away.
You're throwing my game off.

Fletch chuckles -- he likes this woman -- and exits.

BOYD AVIATION - DAY - ESTABLISHING

A sprawling, Hughes-like complex.

FLETCH (O.S.)
...then who walks in but George Bush.
He took one look around the room...

INT. JOHN BOYD'S OFFICE - DAY

A Secretary is serving coffee to Fletch (now dressed in a
three piece suit) and John Boyd, Gail Stanwyk's father. At
seventy, he is probably Chairman Emeritus now; no longer
running the day-to-day operations of the company, and thus
somewhat grateful from the company.

FLETCH
...and said 'Sorry Mr. President, I
thought it was Saturday.'

Boyd Laughs.

FLETCH
I thought I was going to die.

SECRETARY
Sugar, Mr. Poon?

FLETCH
Thank you.

Fletch notices a framed wedding photograph on the credenza
behind Boyd. It is of Alan and Gail Stanwyk, Alan beaming a
shit-eating grin and holding a happy thumbs-up.

Fletch waits as the Secretary leaves the room, then begins
speaking confidentially.

FLETCH
Okay.

He opens his attaché case, allowing Boyd to see an airline
ticket, a Washington Post, and a file stenciled
"Confidential/S.E.C. Use only."

FLETCH
First of all, let me just reiterate
that this is not a formal
investigation. I'm not going through
formal channels here, because if
Alan Stanwyk is not involved in any
improprieties, then nobody has to
know I was even --

BOYD
Alan Stanwyk is not involved in
improprieties. Where the hell does
the S.E.C. come off --

Fletch is nodding sympathetically and holds up a quieting
hand. Boyd stops in mid-tirade, and watches as Fletch reaches
into his briefcase and seemingly turns off a tape recorder.

FLETCH
Look. You know that and I know that,
but somebody's bucking for a
promotion. I think it's that bozo,
Hanrahan, I can't be sure. Anyway,
unless I go back there with something,
you and your son-in-law are next
week's scapegoats.

BOYD
Unbelievable.

FLETCH
I feel like dirt. They even want to
know what he's doing in Utah?

BOYD
Utah?
(laughs)
Jesus Christ! First of all, Alan
Stanwyk does not own one share of
stock.The three million dollars for
the ranch in Provo comes from my
daughter who converted some of her
personal holdings, not company
holdings. Now if anybody in DC wants
to make something of that, bring 'em
on. Until then, get the hell out of
my face.

FLETCH
(stands and closes
briefcase)
God I admire you.

BOYD
By the way: what kind of name is
Poon?

FLETCH
Comanche Indian.

ALAN STANWYK'S OFFICE - DAY

Fletch breezes in, right up to the Secretary, whose nameplate
reads MADELINE TURNER.

FLETCH
(rapidly)
Oh, Margie, sorry, Frieda lost the
number of Alan's realtor in Provo.
Can you give it to me real quick?

MARGIE
Jim Swarthout?

FLETCH
Yeah.

She writes it out for him.

MARGIE
And, I'm sorry, who are you again?

FLETCH
(grabbing the paper)
Frieda's boss.

MARGIE
(calling after him)
Who's Frieda?

FLETCH
(out the door)
My secretary.

EXT. BEACH - DAY

Pan across the beach...

FLETCH (O.S.)
Larry, it's me...

Fletch is in a phone booth on the sidewalk next to the beach,
keeping an eye on "Fat Sam's."

FLETCH
See if you've got anything in
Stanwyk's background from when he
lived in Utah. Also check on a realtor
in Provo named Swarthout. And tell
Frank I'm crazy about him and I'd
like to discuss his maybe moving in
with me.

We hear police sirens. Fletch looks O.S.

FLETCH
Later.

He hangs up.

FLETCH'S POINT OF VIEW - FOUR SQUAD CARS

have pulled up to the beach, lights flashing. The druggies
are dispersing.

Creasy is running towards Fletch.

CREASY
Fletch! Take off!

FLETCH

He steps out onto the beach, and starts towards the cops.

MASTER

CREASY
What are you doing?

MASTER

Everyone is scattering. The cops run past everyone, and
approach Gummey.

FLETCH AND CREASY

FLETCH
They're after Gummy again. It's weird.

Fletch keeps moving toward the police.

CREASY
(out of breath)
Fletch, slow down.

GUMMY AND THE COPS

Gummy trips and falls in the sand. A Cop kicks him in the
head.

COP #1
Let's go, Gummy.

FLETCH AND CREASY

still running toward the cops.

FLETCH
Hey, what are you doing?

CREASY
Fletch, this is dumb.

FLETCH
You don't have to run with me, Crease.

MASTER

The cops drag Gummy toward a squad car.

ANGLE - "FAT SAM'S"

Fat Sam peers out, watching the action.

MASTER

Fletch approaches the cops.

FLETCH
Why are you beating up on that kid?

No response from the cops.

FLETCH
He's defenseless, and you kick the
crap out of him. What do you want
from --

One of the cops turns and, in one smooth motion, kicks Fletch
in the balls. Fletch sinks to the ground.

SQUAD CAR

Gummy is packed into the squad car.

FLETCH

He rises slowly from the sand. He is in great pain. He starts
after the cops again.

CREASY

CREASY
Fletch!

MASTER

FLETCH
What goddamn right do you have to
take him?

The cop car starts off. Fletch picks up a rock, hurls it at
the cop car. It smashes the rear window.

CREASY

CREASY
Fletch!!!

MASTER

The cop cars go off. Fletch bends over. He's hurting. Creasy
comes over to him.

CREASY
Hey you're really nuts.

FLETCH
(breathless)
They didn't do anything.

CREASY
What? What are you talking about?

FLETCH
I busted their window, they didn't
do anything.

CREASY
You're lucky.

FLETCH
Not luck. They don't want me.

POLICE CARS

In a caravan, they head down the highway.

FLETCH

He turns and looks towards "Fat Sam's."

FAT SAM'S

Fat Sam watches the police cars go down the road, then turns
and looks towards the ocean. He pulls his Angels cap down
over his head.

CLOSE - FLETCH

He is focusing on something, but has not figured it out yet.

FLETCH
Gummy and two cops...

INT. FRANK WALKER'S OFFICE - DAY

FLETCH
Cool your tool, Frank, I need a little
more time. I think I'm really on to
something here.

WALKER
You're onto something. That's good.
What?

FLETCH
I really don't want to spoil your
surprise, Frank. Why don't you read
it tomorrow?

Larry, knocks on the door.

WALKER
What do you want?

Larry points to Fletch.

WALKER
Speak, don't point!

LARRY
I need Fletch for a second.

FLETCH
She needs me, Frank.

Fletch turns to Larry. Push to two shot.

LARRY
Nothing on Gail Stanwyk, nothing on
Jim Swarthout. But I did ---

FLETCH
That's okay, Lar. I gotta put this
on the back burner for a while.

Larry starts to exit.

WALKER
Just give me a hint, all right?

FLETCH
All right. Maybe there are some
crooked cops involved in all this.

LARRY
(stopping in the
doorway)
Did you say cops?

FLETCH
Yeah.

LARRY
That's one thing I did find. It's
from last month, so it was in the
unsorted pile.

She hands Fletch a clipping.

INSERT - CLIPPING

It is an article and photograph of the newly-appointed
citizens on the Police Advisory Board. One of them is Alan
Stanwyk.

WALKER
What's that?

MASTER

Fletch pockets the photo.

FLETCH
(puzzled)
More cops.
(then)
I think I gotta go to Utah, Frank.

WALKER
Utah?

FLETCH
Yeah. It's wedged in between Wyoming
and Nevada. I'm sure you've seen
pictures.

WALKER
What about finding the source?

FLETCH
I have some ideas.

WALKER
Who? Donnie and Marie?

FLETCH
Very possibly. Come on, say yes.
I'll buy you a shirt.

WALKER
Go to transportation, get a ticket.

LARRY
(to Fletch as he exits)
My hero.

FLETCH
Nothing to it.

EXT. PROVO, UTAH - AIRPORT -DAY

A Western Airlines flight arrives.

EXT. HIGHWAY - DUSK

Fletch's rented Fairmont speeds down the highway.

INT. FAIRMONT - FLETCH

wearing a polyester brown suit -- fiddles with the radio.
Snatches of programs are heard: "easy listening" music;
country-and-western; a revival show; a call in show -- "Hi,
you're on the air." "Hello, Bob, I'd like to discuss the
death penalty. As you know, Jesus was in favor of it --"
Fletch whistles and switches the radio off. He turns the car
off the interstate.

EXT. TRAVELODGE - LATE AFTERNOON - ESTABLISHING SHOT

as Fletch drives up.

INT. TRAVELODGE MOTEL ROOM

Fletch dials the phone in the small, sparsely furnished room.

FLETCH
Hi, Jim Swarthout, please. Oh, hello,
my name is Igor Stravinski and I'm
looking for some ranch property.

INT. SWARTHOUT REALTY

Jim Swarthout is a rugged-looking man in his forties. He
sits in the den/office of his house talking on the phone,
surrounded by pine-paneling, property tract maps and wall-
mounted animal heads.

SWARTHOUT
Good, Mr. Starinski, what'd you have
in mind?
(pause)
Uh huh. Oh are you a friend of Alan's?

INT. FLETCH'S MOTEL ROOM

FLETCH
No, I just heard some people at the
club talking about the property you
sold him, and the way it was
described, three million sounded
like a pretty good price.
(pause)
What?

Fletch pauses again to listen, flummoxed over what he has
just heard.

FLETCH
Are you sure?
(pause)
Of course. I guess I was misinformed.
Listen, I'd love to come out and see
you anyway. When are you available?

INT. SWARTHOUT REALTY

SWARTHOUT
Well, I'm about to close up shop and
go out for the evening. How about
first thing in the AM?
(pause)
Great. See you tomorrow.

INT. FLETCH'S MOTEL ROOM

FLETCH
Tomorrow.

Fletch hangs up, very interested.

EXT. SWARTHOUT REALTY - NIGHT

Fletch stops his car in front of the ranch-style house. A
lighted sign in the yard indicate that this is indeed
Swarthout Realty, but the house is dark; no one appears to
be home. Somewhere in the yard a dog barks viciously,
frantically.

DOG

A killer Doberman is tied up behind a chain link fence. At
the sight of the intruding Fletch, the dog's lip is
practically over his nose, his fangs are poised and gleaming.

FLETCH

FLETCH
(getting out of his
car)
What's your name fella? Fluff? Pom-
pom?

DOG

completely bananas.

FLETCH

Fletch reaches the front door and looks around. He rings the
bell. The dog yowls even louder. Fletch waits. And waits. He
rings again. Satisfied that no one is home, he tries the
front door. Of course, it is locked. He takes out a credit
card, starts to jimmy the lock, and actually seems to be
making progress when his credit card snaps in half.

FLETCH
Shit.

He pockets the broken credit card, steps back and looks over
the house for another possible point of entry.

FLETCH'S POINT OF VIEW - AN UPSTAIRS WINDOW

Double-hung. Slightly warped, so that the upper half does
not exactly true with the lower half.

FLETCH

looks around to see how to climb up to it.

MASTER

There's only one way. Climb up the side of the chain link
fence which separates him from the murderous dog. Fletch
approaches it warily. The dog is practically foaming. Fletch
reaches out a hand to get a hold of the fence, and the dog
just about rips the fence apart.

FLETCH
(in his best Barbara
Woodhouse)
Sit-tuh!

This has no effect, so Fletch backs up a few yards, take a
deep breath for courage and makes a headlong running start
for the fence, using his momentum to get to the top before
the dog eats him. He grabs hold and scrambles wildly for the
top. He makes it.

FLETCH
Roll over. Play dead. Good boy.

Fletch now grabs hold of the eave on the side of the house,
and very carefully pulls himself onto it. It's only about
ten feet from there to the vulnerable window, but the angle
of the eave is rather steep, and the going is treacherous.
As he makes his way, he keeps a wary eye on the dog who keeps
leaping up, seemingly getting closer and closer to taking a
giant bite out of Fletch's backside.

FLETCH
You any relation to Doctor Dolan?

Now he's at the window. He tries to open it, but despite
it's warped appearance from the ground, it is locked. Fletch
looks at the lock and can't believe it. He sighs. He shakes
his head. He smashes the window with his elbow.

FLETCH
I hate this.

He climbs into the darkened house, leaving the enraged dog
to run furiously around the fenced in yard that surrounds
the house.

INT. SWARTHOUT'S HOUSE - UPSTAIRS - NIGHT

Fletch tiptoes though the upstairs bedroom and down the
stairs. From outside, he can still hear the dog snarling and
barking.

INT. SWARTHOUT'S HOUSE - DOWNSTAIRS - NIGHT

As Fletch passes through the living room he sees the dog
snarling at him through the living room window.

INT. SWARTHOUT'S DEN - NIGHT

Fletch enters and looks around.

The dog is now outside the den window.

FLETCH
Make sure nobody comes in, okay?

He goes to the file cabinet and opens it. He flips through
the "S" section. "Stanwyk". He pulls it. He thumbs through
various documents until he finds what he's looking for. A
copy of a deed. He pulls it out.

INSERT - DEED - CLOSE ON THE PURCHASE PRICE

Three Thousand Dollars.

FLETCH (O.S.)
So much for your three million dollar
ranch.

FLETCH

takes out a tiny document camera -- the kind spies use in
the movies -- and loads it fumblingly. Then he props the
deed up on top of the file cabinet, and moves a lamp into
position to light it. Just as he snaps his first shot, we
hear a terrible crashing sound.

WINDOW

The murderous Doberman has made a crashing leap right through
the den window, sending glass flying everywhere, and he
streaks across the room to rip Fletch into bite-sized shreds.

MASTER

Fletch bolts and the dog flies into the file cabinet, knocking
it over, scattering all the files over the floor. Fletch
dashes for the nearest door, and runs through it just as the
dog slams into it.

INT. KITCHEN

Fletch is now holed up in the kitchen, panting to catch his
breath, feeling the full course of adrenaline pumping through
his terrified veins. He sees that he can get to his car by
climbing through the window. But in order to get to the window
he has to let go of the door, and that would allow the dog
to get in.

Looking around frantically, holding the door shut against
the furious slamming of the dog, he reaches for and finally
grabs a mop which he props under the door knob, thus keeping
the door shut. Letting go of the door gingerly, he satisfies
himself that the dog cannot get in, and he makes his break
for the window.

He vaults up onto the counter top and is just about to break
the window when he sees that the dog's continued efforts are
about to result in opening the door.

Fletch knows he has only seconds. Standing on top of the
counter, he opens the door of the restaurant-sized
refrigerator next to him, and just as the snarling dog bursts
into the room Fletch starts hurling food at it. A pot roast,
sliced turkey with stuffing, a couple of filet mignons. The
dog is momentarily distracted. Fletch pours a large bucket
of cranberry sauce on the dog.

FLETCH
Suck on this Cujo!

Then he dumps an equally large bucket of mashed potatoes.
With the dog temporarily vision-impaired, Fletch bolts.

EXT. SWARTHOUT HOUSE - NIGHT

Fletch runs as fast as humanly possible towards his car,
fishing for his keys as he goes. The dog -- having shaken
off the people-food from his hateful face -- is seconds behind
and closing.

Fletch makes it to his car, hops inside, and slams the door
just as the dog leaps furiously at the windshield.

INT. FLETCH'S CAR

Fletch makes it to his car, huffing and puffing. The dog
jumps across the closed window, snarling and bug-eyed with
hatred.

Fletch smiles, waves at the dog, and starts taking its picture
with his little camera.

FLETCH
Gimme a smile! There you go... oh,
that's a nice one...
(starting the car)
Everything's fine, now... go take a
little nap...

Fletch is ready to pull out, but the dog is still leaping
madly at the window. Fletch points back to the house.

FLETCH
Look! Defenseless babies!

The dog turns to look and Fletch guns it.

FLETCH
That dog is such an asshole.

EXT. FLETCH'S APARTMENT HOUSE - DAY

Fletch parks his car halfway up on the curb, steps out
carrying a small overnight bag. He is unshaven and looks
beat.

INT. APARTMENT HOUSE - CORRIDOR

Fletch comes down the hall signing "Billie Jean" is an
excruciating falsetto.

FLETCH
'Bil-lie, Bil-lie...'

He opens the door to his apartment and is immediately thrown
to the ground.

INT. APARTMENT

Fletch is spread-eagled on the floor. Two huge Cops are over
him, one holding a gun to his head, the other going through
his clothes.

COP #1
(feeling the inseam
of Fletch's trousers)
Oh, what's this?

FLETCH
If I took that out, you guys couldn't
fit in here.

COP #1
Funny boy. Look at this...

He produces a heroin bag.

COP #2
Looks like heroin, Gene.

FLETCH
You just planted that.

Cop #1 kicks Fletch in the ribs.

COP #2
What'd you say?

FLETCH
Read me my rights.

COP #1
Okay. You have the right to remain
silent. You have the right to be
kicked in the face by me. You have
the rights to have your balls stomped.
You have the --

FLETCH
Hold it! I'll waive my rights.

EXT. PRECINCT HOUSE

Fletch is lead into the precinct house.

INT. PRECINCT HOUSE

The Sergeant at the desk checks Fletch out.

SERGEANT
Who we booking here, gentlemen?

COP #1
No booking. Chief wants a talk with
the boy.

SERGEANT
Oh Yeah?
(smiles at Fletch)
You'll like the Chief. Nice man.

FLETCH
I hear he's mellowed a lot since he
came out of the closet.

SERGEANT
I find he gets real mellow after he
hits somebody a lot.

DOOR TO CHIEF'S OFFICE - CHIEF'S OFFICE

The cops open the door, pull Fletch inside. Chief Cummings,
looking like a modern executive, looks up from his paperwork.

COP #1
Here he is Chief.

They roughly throw Fletch into a chair. The Chief -- seemingly
oblivious to this brutality -- smiles sincerely.

CUMMINGS
Easy fellas.
(To Fletch friendly)
Be with you in just a second.

The two Cops leave. As Chief Cummings continues with his
paperwork Fletch looks around the office, which is decorated
tastefully -- no guns on the wall, no American flags. On one
wall there is a Matisse, and on another, various photos of
the Chief with local celebrities.

FLETCH
You decorate this yourself or did
Mrs. Chief of Police help you?

CUMMINGS
(laughs)
You should have seen what she wanted
to do with the place. Mauve.
(shakes his head and
pushes his papers
aside)
So what's your name?

FLETCH
Fletch.

CUMMINGS
Full name.

FLETCH
Fletch F. Fletch

CUMMINGS
(skeptical but patient)
I see. And what do you do for a
living, Mr. Fletch?

FLETCH
I'm President of the International
Fletch Corporation.

Cummings just stares at Fletch.

CUMMINGS
Why are you doing this Mr. Fletch?

FLETCH
Frankly sir, you look a little like
my father. Probably explains the
curious feeling of love I have for
you.

CUMMINGS
For a gentleman who was just found
holding a bag full of heroin...

FLETCH
It was planted on me, sir.

CUMMINGS
We're looking at five years, maybe
ten. Is that what you want... Jane
Doe?

He suddenly kicks Fletch's chair out from under him. Fletch
falls to the floor.

CUMMINGS
Your editor called me yesterday to
respond to allegations you're about
to print about police involvement in
narcotics dealing. Fletch starts to
get up, but Cummings plants his foot
on Fletch's chest, forces him back
down.

CUMMINGS
I'm about to break that beach wide
open, and I don't need some pennyante
Woodward and Bernstein getting in
the way of my men.

FLETCH
'Your men' might just be involved in
all this.

CUMMINGS
You idiot. Off the record, deep
background: I've got that beach
crawling with undercover cops.

Cummings picks Fletch up, and holds him by the lapels.

CUMMINGS
If you keep nosing around, you make
the bad guys just a little bit more
cautious. That makes my job harder.
And if you print your story this
week, you might get some of my men
killed. I can't let that happen, Mr.
Fletch.

He throws Fletch against the wall of celebrity photos, some
of which fall to the floor.

CUMMINGS
You go back to that goddamn beach, I
swear to God I'll make you regret
it.

FLETCH
(picks up a picture)
Hey, you and Tommy Lasorda. That's
great.

Fletch takes the picture and hurls it across the room. It
smashes into the opposite wall and shatters.

FLETCH
I don't like Tommy Lasorda.

JAIL CORRIDOR

Fletch is tossed into an empty cell by the two Cops who
brought him in. Cummings watches. The two Cops leave, and we
see that all the cells in this corridor are empty.

FLETCH
You can't keep me here.

CUMMINGS
Maybe I'm not going to keep you here.
(takes out a gun)
Maybe I'm gonna blow your brains
out.

FLETCH
I'm no lawyer, but I do believe that's
a violation of my rights.

The Chief takes a knife out of his pocket, holding it with a
handkerchief.

CUMMINGS
After I shoot you, I stick the knife
in my arm, then place it in your
dead hand. Self-defense. We don't do
this very much anymore... but we
have. Got rid of a lot of minorities
that way.

FLETCH
My God, you're serious.

CUMMINGS
Ask anybody.

FLETCH
Can I ask anybody now?

Cummings looks down the corridor. Deserted.

FLETCH
Can I call my Mom? I'd like to tell
here how much I've always loved her.

CUMMINGS
(cocks the gun)
What'll it be Fletch?

Fletch looks in Cummings' eyes. They are steely and cold. He
is quite serious.

FLETCH
I hate the beach. Wouldn't go there
if you paid me. Besides, I'm way
overdue on my story about off-track
betting in the Himalayas. You don't
think it's the mafia, do you?

CUMMINGS
(opening the cell)
Its been very nice meeting you. I
enjoy your column.

Fletch walks out of the cell. Cummings walks with him through
the empty corridor to the exit.

CUMMINGS
(very chummy)
Speaking of which, you're not going
to print anything before my
investigation is through, are you?

FLETCH
Not a prayer.

CUMMINGS
That a boy.

The emerge into the main hallway of the police station, which
is filled with officers and civilians. Cummings makes a show
of cordially shaking Fletch's hand as if they were old
friends.

CUMMINGS
Thanks for coming down to see us.

FLETCH
Not at all, Chief. But next time...
no tongue, okay?

Exit Fletch.

INT. NEWSPAPER OFFICE

Fletch is railing at Frank Walker.

FLETCH
How could you call him?

WALKER
It's called journalism, Fletch. It's
called getting both sides of the
story. Something you apparently don't
know anything about.

FLETCH
It's also called getting me this
close to being murdered.

WALKER
Get out of here.

FLETCH
He threw me in a cell, took a gun
and a knife and threatened to kill
me right there if I didn't promise
to give up the story.

WALKER
You know, I've had it up to here
with your bullshit. I need a story
from you by tomorrow.

FLETCH
You'll have it.

WALKER
But not unsubstantiated charges about
dope-dealing cops, and not horse
shit paranoid fantasies about
homicidal police chiefs.

FLETCH
(exiting)
Thanks for the vote of confidence,
Frank.

WALKER
(calling after him)
I want something I can print!

FLETCH
(giving him the finger)
Print this Frank.

Exit Fletch.

EXT. RACQUET CLUB

Fletch again appears in his tennis whites and walks familiarly
toward the patio. Rich people are having lunch. Fletch stops
the waiter.

FLETCH
Hi, where's Mrs. Stanwyk?

WAITER
In her cabana, sir.

FLETCH
Oh, that's right. She told me to
meet her there. That's cabana six?

WAITER
Cabana one.

FLETCH
One.

WAITER
Would you be caring for something to
eat or drink, sir?

FLETCH
I would, actually.

WAITER
Charged to the Underhills, sir?

FLETCH
Right. Tell you what -- have you
caviar?

WAITER
Yes, sir. Beluga. But it is eighty
dollars the portion.

FLETCH
(whistles)
I'd better only get two. How about
the lobster thermidor?

WAITER
I recommend it.

FLETCH
Fine. And a couple of bottles of Dom
Perignon. To cabana one.

WAITER
Very good, sir.

The waiter leaves. Fletch looks around, takes a deep breath.

FLETCH
This is just the nicest place.

EXT. CABANA ONE

A little Spanish bungalow-type affair. Old California money-
style elegance. Fletch rings the bell.

MRS. STANWYK (V.O.)
Who is it?

FLETCH
It's John. John...
(forgets name)
Znhcneelsky.

MRS. STANWYK
John Ultramalensky?

She opens the door, clad only in a towel. A towel is wrapped
around her head. She seems surprised, but not displeased, to
see Fletch. She also seems a little at a loss for words.

FLETCH
Hi.

MRS. STANWYK
(finally)
Hi.

FLETCH
I was hoping you'd say that.

They have just shaken hands, and Fletch notices his hand is
now sopping wet.

MRS. STANWYK
Uh... I'm just out of the shower.

FLETCH
Can I borrow your towel for a minute?

She laughs a nervous little laugh. There is a bit of sexual
tension here.

MRS. STANWYK
I'm sorry, I'm just surprised to see
you. I didn't think... What do you
want?

FLETCH
I ordered lunch.

MRS. STANWYK
You ordered it here?

FLETCH
Well, I knew this is where my mouth
would be.

MRS. STANWYK
Down boy.

With a nervous glance in both directions, she lets him in
and closes the door behind them.

INT. CABANA

They stand there for a few seconds looking at each other.

MRS. STANWYK
I really should change.

FLETCH
No, I think you should stay the same
wonderful person you are today.

MRS. STANWYK
I mean put clothes on.

FLETCH
Here, take mine.

He starts to take off his shirt. She is amused, and responds
playfully, but firmly.

MRS. STANWYK
Stop that!

He does.

MRS. STANWYK
Have you gotten cuter since I last
saw you?

FLETCH
Yes.

She stands there, looking around, trying to act as if her
heartbeat weren't speeding up.

SFX: Knock at door.

FLETCH
Lunch...

MRS. STANWYK
God...

She goes sprinting into the bathroom.

FLETCH
Come on in.

The door opens. A second Waiter, Mexican, solemnly wheels in
a cart bearing the goodies ordered by Fletch. The twin bottles
of Dom Perignon juts from a silver ice bucket.

WAITER
You want I set up?

FLETCH
No thanks, I'll do it. Give yourself
twenty dollars. Underhill.

WAITER
Muchas gracias.

FLETCH
Sierra del fuego.

The waiter bows, leaves, shuts the door. Mrs. Stanwyk scampers
back in, gazes at the cart as Fletch takes a bottle of Dom
Perignon and pops the cork.

MRS. STANWYK
All this goes on Underhill's bill?

FLETCH
(offering her a glass)
I saved his life during the war.

MRS. STANWYK
You were in the war?

FLETCH
No. He was. I got him out.

She laughs and sighs, knowing she's getting into something
she probably shouldn't.

MRS. STANWYK
I can't believe I'm doing this. Well,
lets eat.

She tucks a napkin in her towel like a bib and sits at the
table.

EXT. RACQUET CLUB - DAY

The Underhills have just been handed the bill run up by
Fletch.

MR. UNDERHILL
Four hundred bucks for lunch???

WAITER
Your guest, sir.

MR. UNDERHILL
We have no guest here today.
(reading the bill)
Two bottles of Dom Perignon, hundred
bucks a pop. Jesus H. Christ! Where
is he?

WAITER
I believe he's with Mrs. Stanwyk.

MRS. UNDERHILL
Gail Stanwyk. Tom, if he's with Gail
Stanwyk --

MR. UNDERHILL
I don't care who he's with! This is
criminal.

MRS. UNDERHILL
Tom...

MR. UNDERHILL
She's where, cabana one?

WAITER
Yes sir.

Mr. Underhill stalks off.

INT. CABANA - DAY

Fletch and Mrs. Stanwyk are having lunch. Fletch sings while
he opens the champagne. She is looking at his back which is
turned to her.

FLETCH
'I've been so many places in my life
and times. I've sung a lot of songs,
I've made some bad rhymes...'

MRS. STANWYK
It's amazing.

FLETCH
'I've acted out my life on stages,
with ten thousand people watching...'

MRS. STANWYK
Your bone structure, shoulders,
neck...

FLETCH
'But we're alone now, and I'm singing
this song for you.'

MRS. STANWYK
Just like Alan. It's freaky.

FLETCH
Can I ask you a question?

MRS. STANWYK
Depends on the question.

FLETCH
Are you still in love with Alan?

MRS. STANWYK
No.
(quickly)
I mean, 'no you can't ask me that.'
I mean, ask me something else.

FLETCH
Why'd you let me in?

MRS. STANWYK
Because I'm bored. Oh, that sounds
terrible, doesn't it. I'm sorry. If
it makes you feel any better, I also
let you in because I'm hungry.

FLETCH
Thanks, I feel much better. Listen,
if you're so bored, why didn't you
go to Utah with Alan?

MRS. STANWYK
Utah is not exactly a cure for
boredom.

FLETCH
Good point.

MRS. STANWYK
Oh, listen to me. I've never even
been there and look what I say about
it. Anyway, I know there'd be nothing
for me to do. I don't even know
anybody there.

FLETCH
What about his parents?

MRS. STANWYK
He never sees them and I never met
them.

FLETCH
How come?

SFX: Insistent knock at door.

Fletch and Mrs. Stanwyk freeze.

MRS. STANWYK
Yes?

MR. UNDERHILL (V.O.)
Mrs. Stanwyk, I hate to disturb you.
Tom Underhill here... I'm a new
member.

Fletch rises.

FLETCH
Thanks for the great time.

MRS. STANWYK
(sotto voice)
What is this?

FLETCH
Long story.

MR. UNDERHILL (V.O.)
Apparently, someone of your
acquaintance has charged the most
extraordinary lunch to my bill.

MRS. STANWYK
(hissing)
John!

Fletch starts pushing the lunch table towards the bathroom.

MRS. STANWYK
You don't know the Underhills?

MR. UNDERHILL (V.O.)
I'd appreciate an opportunity to
discuss this with you.

MRS. STANWYK
I just stepped out of the shower!
Can you give me a minute?

MR. UNDERHILL (V.O.)
Of course.

Mrs. Stanwyk follows Fletch into the bathroom.

INT. BATHROOM

Fletch jams the cart into the bathroom.

FLETCH
Take one end.

Mrs. Stanwyk lifts one side of the cart. They lift it and
put it up into the bathtub. There's a window in the bathroom.
Fletch opens it.

FLETCH
I'll be leaving now, Mrs. Stanwyk.

MRS. STANWYK
I think you should call me Gail,
now.

FLETCH
Gail. I hope this won't embarrass
you in any way. I think Underhill's
a yutz, you won't have any trouble
with him.

MRS. STANWYK
Why did you do it?

Fletch shrugs, smiles.

MRS. STANWYK
A four hundred dollar lunch tab!

FLETCH
Yeah.

MRS. STANWYK
I'll cover it. You have any other
surprises?

FLETCH
(after a beat)
Yeah. My name's not John Ultramalensky
and I wasn't at your wedding.

She stares at him.

MRS. STANWYK
Who.

FLETCH
Irwin Fletcher. I write a newspaper
column under the name Jane Doe.

A long beat.

MRS. STANWYK
So?

FLETCH
So, your husband hired me to kill
him. That's the truth.

MRS. STANWYK
What are you talking about?

FLETCH
That's what I want to know.

EXT. CABANA

Mr. Underhill knocks again.

MR. UNDERHILL
Mrs. Stanwyk!

INT. BATHROOM

MRS. STANWYK
In a minute!

FLETCH
He told me he was dying of cancer.
Not True. That ranch you thought you
were paying for in Utah? Not true.

MRS. STANWYK
How do you know about that?

FLETCH
He's a bad guy, Mrs. Stanwyk. Gail.
I think he's involved in something
very big and very bad.

MRS. STANWYK
What does all this mean?

FLETCH
Have you ever heard the name Jim
Swarthout?

MRS. STANWYK
Swarthout. Yes. He's the man who
sold us the ranch in --

FLETCH
Wrong. He sold you $3,000 worth of
scrub brush.

MRS. STANWYK
But I've seen the deed.

FLETCH
You saw a forgery.

He takes out his photographs.

FLETCH
That's the real deed.

INSERT - PHOTO OF DEED

It's is so fuzzy, shaky, and poorly framed that there's no
way we can read the price on it.

FLETCH (O.S.)
Now, if this were at all legible,
you'd believe me.

MASTER

Fletch shows her more of the photos.

FLETCH
Here's this dog that tried to eat
me. Here's my motel. Here's the car
I rented...

MRS. STANWYK
Stop it.
(angry and concerned)
Are you saying my husband is
defrauding me?

FLETCH
I don't know. All I know is that he
told me a lot of things and so far
not one of them has been true.

Mrs. Stanwyk stares at Fletch. She gets a little teary.

FLETCH
I'm really sorry I have to tell you
all this.

MR. UNDERHILL (O.S.)
Mrs. Stanwyk?

MRS. STANWYK
(really screams)
Just wait, all right?!?
(to Fletch)
I'm going to call my father. He'll
know what --

Fletch stops her.

FLETCH
No. You can't. Look, I know you don't
know me from Adam, but you've got to
trust me.

MRS. STANWYK
Trust you? I may seem a little goofy
at times, but I'm not a complete
Bozo, you know.

FLETCH
Just give me twenty-four hours.
Please. Someone almost killed me
today. People are not being nice
lately, and I don't want you getting
hurt. I think you're terrific. Are
you a Laker fan?

Gail is now teary, confused, and scared.

MRS. STANWYK
No... I've got to go to Mr.
Underhill...

FLETCH
I'll take you to a game.

MRS. STANWYK
What are you talking about?

FLETCH
I'm talking about how much I'd like
to take you to a Laker game.

MRS. STANWYK
Wait a second. What am I supposed to
do for twenty-four hours?

FLETCH
(climbing out window)
Act natural.

MRS. STANWYK
I was afraid you'd say that.

FLETCH
If you need me, call the paper. Hand
me that extra bottle okay?

EXT. CABANA

Gail opens the door where Mr. Underhill has been waiting.

MRS. STANWYK
Sorry. Here.
(grabs the bill from
his hand)
Thanks. Bye.

She closes the door in his face.

EXT. BOYD AVIATION - PARKING LOT

Alan Stanwyk crosses the parking lot and gets into his Jaguar.
He starts the engine, backs out of his reserved space, and
pulls out of the lot.

ANOTHER ANGLE - PARKING LOT

Fletch is reading a copy of Sports Illustrated. He puts it
down, starts his car, and pulls out of the lot.

SANTA MONICA BOULEVARD

Stanwyk's Jaguar tools down Santa Monica Boulevard. Fletch's
car follows, several discreet car lengths behind.

INT. JAGUAR

Stanwyk checks his watch, and makes a turn.

MASTER

Stanwyk has pulled into a service station. He gets out of
his car and opens the trunk.

FLETCH

He pulls into a fast-food joint on the west side of the
street. He opens the Sports Illustrated and peers over it.

STANWYK

He takes a gas can from the trunk, goes to the pump, fills
it, and pays the attendant in cash.

FLETCH
Curious.

STANWYK

He puts the gas can back in the trunk, gets into the car,
and starts off.

FLETCH

follows suit.

SANTA MONICA BOULEVARD

We are getting into the increasingly rundown section of Santa
Monica. The Jaguar turns off. Hold: Several beats later,
Fletch turns off.

OVERPASS

A freeway overpass. Stanwyk stops his car.

FLETCH'S CAR

He pulls off behind a liquor store, in view of the overpass.
Fletch waits.

OVERPASS

A second car pulls up behind Stanwyk's. A cop steps out and
says something to Stanwyk. Stanwyk gets out of his car and
walks over to the unmarked police car, and gets in.

FLETCH

takes out his binoculars.

FLETCH'S POINT OF VIEW

Because he's looking through the reflection of sunlight on
the back window of the unmarked police car, Fletch's point
of view is fuzzy, but we can just make out the form of someone
else in animated conversation with Stanwyk.

FLETCH

A moment of possible recognition. He focuses intently.

FLETCH'S POINT OF VIEW - THE OTHER MAN IN THE CAR

with Stanwyk... is Police Chief Cummings.

FLETCH

FLETCH
Jesus.

He starts up his car and backs out.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. FLETCH'S APARTMENT HOUSE

Fletch pulls up to his house and stops the car.

INT. CAR

Fletch looks around.

EXT. HOUSE

Fletch doesn't leave the car.

INT. CAR

Fletch sits put, drumming his fingers on the steering wheel.
He just has a feeling. He starts the car up, and pulls out.

EXT. HOUSE

Two cop cars, concealed in driveways, scream out, heading
after Fletch's car.

INT. FLETCH'S CAR

Fletch sees them in the rearview and stomps on the gas.

FLETCH
Should've known. Goddamn it.

EXT. STREETS

Fletch floors it.

FLETCH
Great. First I'll get a speeding
ticket, then they'll shoot me.
Terrific.

Fletch cuts through the parking lot of a drug store/dry
cleaning complex. The cop cars follow suit. Shopping wagons
are tossed about. He turns a corner and realizes he has a
few seconds before they're on top of him again. He screeches
up next to a teenager in a sports car.

FLETCH
All right, fella, smog check. Move
over.

Before the guy can say "who?", Fletch is in the guy's driver
seat and tears out, hell bent for leather.

ENTRANCE TO FREEWAY

Fletch peels off onto the Santa Monica Freeway.

FREEWAY

Fletch hits about ninety. So do the cops. Now a motorcycle
cop joins the chase.

INT. SPORTS CAR

TEENAGER
Holy shit!

FLETCH
Sorry, youngster, but we have to see
what kind of fluorocarbons this thing
puts out at ninety-five.

TEENAGER
Holy shit!

FLETCH
Don't worry about the speed limit.
That's what the police escort's for.

EXT. FREEWAY

Indeed, behind them is a gaggle of speeding cop cars and
motorcycles.

TEENAGER (O.S.)
Holy shit!

Fletch cuts across two lanes of traffic and gets off the
freeway. He loses the motorcycle cop who goes past the exit.
The squad cars are thrown behind a bit, but still chase.

INT. SQUAD CAR

COP #1
Shit! He'll kill us if we lose him.

INT. SPORTS CAR

The teenager is sweating bullets.

TEENAGER
Okay, okay, just stop, will you. I
admit it. I stole it. I was just
taking it for a little joy ride,
that's all....

FLETCH
Holy shit.

EXT. CAR

Fletch squeals around a corner, runs a light, and booms into
the parking lot of a large Holiday Inn. He's a few seconds
ahead of the cops.

FLETCH
Okay, kid. Just stand here with your
hands on the car and wait for the
cops. I gotta pee. Here, take my
hat.

Fletch pops his hat on the kid's head, and runs off.

EXT. HOLIDAY INN

Fletch runs into the kitchen entrance of the Holiday Inn.

INT. HOLIDAY INN KITCHEN

Fletch picks up a case of vegetables and walks through as if
he belonged there.

Moments later, two cops enter.

THE COPS

can't see him because of the crate.

INT. HOLIDAY INN - BANQUET ROOM

A testimonial dinner is in progress. A sign on the wall reads:

TRB SYSTEMS SALUTES

FRED DORFMAN

40 YEARS OF SERVICE

Thirty tables of conservatively dressed, older men and women
are enjoying lunch. Fletch enters from the kitchen followed
by several waiters and busboys. He looks over his shoulder.

FLETCH'S POINT OF VIEW - KITCHEN

Two cops are in hot pursuit.

FLETCH

moves into the middle of the tables as a florid fat Speaker
at the dais drones on.

SPEAKER
...and he can truly be called the
Father of Internal Bushings.

A round of applause which Fletch joins heartily, as he quickly
sits in the audience at an empty seat at a table in the
center.

FLETCH
(to his table)
Hello. I'm with the hotel catering.
Are you enjoying your meal? Carrots
overcooked?

Fletch looks to the kitchen entrance and sees two cops
scanning the crowd. One signals to the opposite door.

DOOR

Four more cops converge, looking for Fletch. Distant sirens
indicate even more.

MASTER

SPEAKER
And now a man who needs no further
introduction...

The police spot Fletch and start moving forward. Fletch stands
up. A spotlight swings onto him.

FLETCH
Thank you, Tony, thank you. As a
lifelong friend of...
(looks at banner)
...Fred Dorfman, I'm thrilled to be
here.

DIAS

Fred Dorfman turns to the people on either side of him and
whispers, obviously wondering who the hell this guy is.

FLETCH

The cops are hesitant to move in. They wait for Fletch to
finish and get out of the light.

FLETCH
Many of you are probably not aware
of Freddie's lifelong commitment to
honoring a profession that frequently
goes unsung -- the police. Many times
Fred used to forsake a night with
his wife and children to go out an
sell tickets for the Policemen's
Benevolent Association.

POLICE

look at each other, sensing a trick, and start to move in.

FLETCH

going for broke.

FLETCH
Our men in blue are with us today,
and I think we should all extend a
shake of the hand, a slap on the
back and a 'howdy' to them.

POLICE

moving faster, but impeded by the crowd which rises and
follows Fletch's suggestion.

FLETCH

out of the crowd, still encouraging the crowd.

FLETCH
When was the last time you hugged a
cop? Do it for my good friend Tommy
Lasorda. Doesn't it feel good? Don't
you wish you'd done it long ago?

One cop raises his gun towards Fletch, but the crowd is too
close, too busy. Fletch shakes his hand and slugs him so
hard on the back that he falls over into the crowd.

FLETCH
Let them know how we feel, with a
song. For every cop on every beat in
every city of this great nation.
(singing)
'For he's a jolly good fellow...'
(calls out)
Everybody!
(sings)
'For he's a jolly good fellow...'

The crowd sings along the rest of the verse. Fletch looks
back to the kitchen entrance at the police who are swallowed
in a sea of congratulations and singing. Fletch takes his
time strolling out of the kitchen.

INT. LAX - DAY

Fletch is at the Pan Am counter, talking with a reservation
Clerk.

CLERK
Yes sir, you are confirmed on Flight
306 to Rio tomorrow evening at 11
PM. First Class.

FLETCH
You're kidding.

CLERK
Would you like me to change anything?

FLETCH
(to himself)
So he's going. Uh... are there any
other tickets charged to the same
account?

CLERK
We'd have no way of knowing that,
sir.

FLETCH
Hmm. It's just that there are some
other people from my office going on
this trip and... is there anyone in
the seat next to me?

The clerk checks the computer.

CLERK
Yes, there is. Cavanaugh.

Fletch shakes his head. He's never heard of him.

FLETCH
Never heard of him. Thanks anyway.

CLERK
You mean her.

FLETCH
What?

CLERK
Sally Ann Cavanaugh. Oh wait, she
couldn't work in your office, she's
not from around here.

FLETCH
Oh, thanks.

Fletch walks off and we follow him.

CLERK
She's from Utah.

EXT. PROVO AIRPORT - DAY

as Fletch emerges from the Rent-A-Car office and drives off.

EXT. PROVO STREET - DAY

A lower-middle-class area, one that seems to be sliding fast --
the plans are scraggly, the houses need paint.

Fletch's rental pulls up over the curb onto the sidewalk.
Fletch gets out, checks a piece of paper, and goes up the
steps to a dark-shingled two-story house.

TOP OF STEPS

Fletch looks at the name over the doorbell.

CARD

written in smeared ink: "CAVANAUGH".

FLETCH

rings the doorbell. It sounds like a fire alarm in the quiet.
Nobody answers. Fletch tries the door. It opens. Fletch hums
the old "Dragnet" theme.

INT. HOUSE

still humming the theme.

FLETCH
'Bom-ba-bom-bom...bommmm.'

Fletch enters.

FLETCH's POINT OF VIEW - LIVING ROOM

The shelves are bare. Furniture is in place.

MASTER

Fletch enters the kitchen, and opens the refrigerator. Inside
is a can of coffee, and some vegetables. Fletch leaves the
kitchen and heads for the bedroom. We follow him as he enters
the bedroom.

INT. BEDROOM

Fletch opens the closet. It's bare. He pulls open the drawers.
Nothing.

Fletch gets down and looks under the bed.

VOICE
Who the hell are you?

In his surprise, Fletch bangs his head as he starts up.

REVERSE

At the door stands a gruff-looking Man in a red and black
hunter's jacket, overalls, and a hat with earflaps. He holds
a rifle.

MAN
Get up.

MASTER

Fletch gets up.

FLETCH
The door was unlocked.

MAN
Lock's busted.

FLETCH
No wonder.

MAN
I work for the landlord. He told me
to watch out for the place.

FLETCH
I commend him on his choice.

MAN
What?

FLETCH
I commend him on his choice

The Man stares at him, holding the gun. He's not the brightest
guy in the world, and Fletch has already caught on to that.

FLETCH
I was supposed to meet Mrs. Cavanaugh.

MAN
Who are you?

FLETCH
Don Corleone. I'm a cousin of Mrs.
Cavanaugh's.

The Man just stares at Fletch. Fletch starts to move ever so
slightly, testing his freedom of movement.

FLETCH
Where is she?

MAN
Moved out.

FLETCH
She moved out?

The Man nods and cocks the weapon. Fletch stops his tentative
movements and just looks around the room

FLETCH
I spoke to her last week. She didn't
say anything.

MAN
She moved out.

FLETCH
So you're saying she moved out.

MAN
This morning.

FLETCH
This morning? Christ. We had so much
to talk about. Moe Green is out of
the Tropicana, and my sons, Michael
and Fredo, are taking over.

The Man continues to gaze unblinkingly at Fletch, holding
the rifle.

MAN
What did you want under the bed?

FLETCH
Mattress police. There are no tags
on the mattress. I'm going to have
to take you downtown. Please give me
your weapon.

MAN
I'm calling the cops. This is for
the cops.

FLETCH
I'm her cousin.

MAN
Tell the cops.

FLETCH
Go ahead. Call them. Better tie your
shoelaces first.

The man looks down at his shoelaces. Fletch kicks the gun
out of his hand and runs through the house.

EXT. HOUSE

Fletch runs out of the house and jumps into his car.

INT. CAR

Fletch pulls out. The rear window is suddenly blown away.

FLETCH
I'm getting real tired of all this
hostility.

EXT. PROVO PIG FARM

Fletch pulls up, gets out of the car and addresses the couple
sitting on the porch of the house.

FLETCH
Evening.
(nods toward car)
They oughta recall these things. One
bump, the whole window goes.

PORCH
Sitting on the porch is a couple in
their late sixties, whom we are about
to learn are Alan Stanwyk's parents --
Marvin and Velma.

FLETCH
(approaching the steps)
Are you Mr. Marvin Stanwyk?

Marvin nods.

FLETCH
I'm Harry S. Truman from Casewell
Insurance Underwriters.

MARVIN
(smiles)
Harry S. Truman?

FLETCH
My parents were great fans of the
former President.

MARVIN
Isn't that nice. Good man. Showed
the Japs a thing or two.

FLETCH
Sure did. Dropped the big one on
them.

MARVIN
Dropped two big ones. Real fighter.
You're in the insurance line, Harry?

FLETCH
Right.

MARVIN
Well, I'm fully covered.

FLETCH
I don't doubt it, Mr. Stanwyk.
Actually, my company is the sub-
insurer of the subsidiary carriers
of a policy held by Alan Stanwyk,
who I believe is your son.

MARVIN
Yes. Where you from, Harry?

FLETCH
California. San Berdoo. Utah's part
of my route. Can I ask you a few
questions?

MARVIN
Come on in.

INT. MARVIN AND VELMA'S LIVING ROOM

Fletch and the Stanwyks face each other on couches that flank
the fireplace. Fletch has a clipboard on which he will take
notes.

FLETCH
First, a couple of routine things:
are you and you wife currently alive?

Marvin just stares at him.

FLETCH
Regulations, Mr. Stanwyk. And you
and your wife, named....

MARVIN
Velma.

Velma smiles.

FLETCH
Velma. You and Velma are the parents
of Alan Stanwyk, Beverly Hills,
California, executive vice president
of Boyd Aviation?

MARVIN
Check.

FLETCH
Okay.
(makes notation)
Now, the last time you saw your son
was when?

MARVIN
Oh, about ten days ago.

Fletch is taken aback.

FLETCH
Ten days ago?

MARVIN
That's right. Alan comes by every
three weeks or so.

This is all news to Fletch, but he covers his surprise.

FLETCH
Isn't that nice. Since when?

MARVIN
Since he moved to L.A.

Fletch is very interested in all this.

FLETCH
Forgive me now for seeming personal,
but we understand that there is a
lady friend he sees here in Provo.

MARVIN
What the hell does this have to do
with insurance?

FLETCH
Trust me, sir. It's a comprehensive
policy.

MARVIN
Well, you can forget about that lady
friend business, Alan's the most
loyal husband a girl could have. He
dotes on that bride of his.

VELMA
Cute young thing, too.

FLETCH
I'm sorry?

VELMA
His bride. Cute as a button.

FLETCH
You've met her?

MARVIN
Well, of course we have. He brings
her with him.

Fletch is getting very puzzled and very concerned about all
this.

FLETCH
Has Alan ever mentioned the name
Sally Ann Cavanaugh?

Marvin and Velma exchange the oddest of glances between them.

FLETCH
Has he?

MARVIN
Boy, what the hell's the matter with
you?

FLETCH
Then he has.

MARVIN
Course he has. That's his wife.

You could knock Fletch over with a straw. Again, he quickly
recovers.

FLETCH
Of course, his wife's name is Sally
Ann Cavanaugh?

VELMA
Cute thing.

FLETCH
(starting to sweat a
little)
Do you happen to have a picture of
Alan and his wife?

VELMA
Oh, we've got lots of pictures. Let
me show you some.

Velma rummages through a family album on a side table as
Fletch tried to sort all this out in his mind. She brings a
photo over to him. He looks at it.

INSERT - PHOTO

It's a wedding photo of Alan and a woman we have not seen.
She is brunette and quite unlike Gail. Alan wears a similar
shit-eating grin, and makes a similar thumbs-up gesture to
the wedding photo with Gail that Fletch saw in Boyd's office.

FLETCH
He sighs.

FLETCH
And they're still married... Alan
and Sally Ann.

MARVIN
Of course they are.

VELMA
She's cute as a button.

FLETCH
How long have they been married?

MARVIN
Lets see, it was before he moved to
L.A... four years April.

FLETCH
Mrs. Stanwyk, may I borrow this
picture. I promise to send it back
to you. It's routine, really. The
actuarial people need to --

VELMA
Oh, that's all right, I've got lots
more. Want to see the reception?

FLETCH
(rising)
No, thank you.

VELMA
How about Marvin's sixty-fifth
birthday party?

Exit Fletch.

INT. PROVO MOTEL ROOM

Fletch is on the phone.

FLETCH
Frank told you that?

INT. NEWSROOM - MORGUE

Larry is on the phone.

LARRY
I overheard it. He thinks you're
completely out of control, he said
he was gonna can you as soon as he
got the story. If I were you, I'd
just chuck it, Fletch. Screw him.
Let him eat three full pages on
Sunday.

MOTEL ROOM

FLETCH
You kidding? I got an unbelievable
story here, Lar. Un-believable. Jesus.
It's the cops, I know it. The Chief!
And they're all over Frank.

MORGUE

LARRY
I just thought... sure.
(takes out pad and
starts writing)
Sally Ann Cavanaugh.

MOTEL ROOM

FLETCH
Check every hotel in L.A. Start with
the ones near the airport. Yeah.
He's about to leave the country with
her. Thanks, Lar.

INT. MOTEL BATHROOM - LATER

Fletch is in the shower, lipsynching to the radio. Elvis is
singing, "All Shook Up."

FLETCH
'welluh bless my soul whatsuh wrong
with me? I'ma itchin' like a man
Inuh fuzzy tree...'

The phone rings. Fletch gets out, throws on a towel and picks
up a phone mounted over the crapper.

FLETCH
Yeah... No kidding. The Marriott at
LAX. Sonofabitch... Checked in this
morning. Great. Thanks a million.
And call Gail Stanwyk at the Racquet
Club. Tell her I have to meet her
tonight. Eight o'clock at the club.
Urgent and confidential. Thanks.

INT. PLANE - NIGHT

Fletch is sitting in a semi-deserted flight on his way back
home. He is hunched over an airline meal, eating with his
right hand and turning in his mini recorder with his left.

FLETCH
Question:

But as he pushed the button down, the tape pops out. He
fumbles it back in, and then pushes another button.

FLETCH
Question...

TAPE RECORDER
(Fletch's voice playing
back)
Day three on the beach. Fat Sam still
hasn't moved, and --

FLETCH
(stopping the machine)
What's wrong with my life?

He starts it right this time.

FLETCH
Question: Why does a man marry a
millionaire's daughter in Beverly
Hills if he is already married to a
girl who lives in a crappy one bedroom
apartment in Utah? Answer: Three
million dollars. Big Question: What's
with Stanwyk and Cummings? I don't
know. Bigger Question: Why does
Stanwyk want me to kill him?

He takes a spoonful of airline food, chewing meditatively.

FLETCH
Biggest Question: Why do I eat this
sh*t?
(to passing stewardess)
Miss, I believe this has already
been eaten.

EXT. MRS. STANWYK'S CABANA - NIGHT

Fletch knocks on the door, and a tensely white-faced Mrs.
Stanwyk quickly lets him in and shuts the door behind him.

MRS. STANWYK
I want you to know that dramatic
phone calls about secret meetings
scare the shit out of me.

He can sense she is unusually upset.

FLETCH
What's wrong, Gail?

MRS. STANWYK
I decided I was going to tell my
husband about you today.

FLETCH
No.

MRS. STANWYK
But first I called the Hall of Records
in Provo. They checked on the deed.
You're telling the truth. A minute
later Alan came in the room and asked
me why I was shaking.

Fletch waits anxiously to hear if she told Alan about him.

MRS. STANWYK
So I told him... I told him I was
just cold or something.

Fletch sighs with relief.

MRS. STANWYK
I've never lied to him before.
(chokes back a sob)
It's the first time he's ever lied
to me. He was just as convincing as
when he says 'I love you.'

FLETCH
I think you better sit down.

MRS. STANWYK
Oh God, I hate things that start
like that....

FLETCH
Gail, please.

She sits in a chair. he hands her the wedding photo.

FLETCH
I got this from Alan's parents. By
the way, they see him all the time.

First she looks at Fletch with puzzlement. Then, she looks
at the photo and can't seem to decide what to think of it.
But she knows it's bad.

MRS. STANWYK
What is this....

FLETCH
I checked. There was no divorce.

MRS. STANWYK
Are you telling me my husband is a
bigamist???

FLETCH
I'm telling you he's not your husband
at all.

She is stunned.

FLETCH
And they're leaving the country
tomorrow night.

MRS. STANWYK
(rocked)
Bastard.

FLETCH
I don't have all the pieces yet, but
I'm close. I'll know tomorrow.

MRS. STANWYK
I'm calling the police. Right now.

FLETCH
You can't do that.

MRS. STANWYK
Don't tell me I can't --

FLETCH
They're trying to kill me!

She is taken aback by that, but there is a determination in
her eyes.

MRS. STANWYK
Your twenty-four hours are up, Fletch.

She starts for the phone, but he stops her.

FLETCH
You're going to have to trust me,
Gail. You have to. Now listen to me:
he's expecting you to go to your
meeting tomorrow night. Do it. Stay
out of the house.

There is a long beat.

MRS. STANWYK
I'm terrified.

FLETCH
Come here.

He puts his arms around her and holds her tight against him.
After a few seconds she raises her head and turns the hug
into a kiss. Then the kiss turns passionate.

DISSOLVE TO:

FRISBEE

sails across the surf.

EXT. BEACH - DAY - WIDER

The usual scene -- a mix of teeny-boppers, junkies and
surfers. Into the f.g. step a couple of "surfers." They're
wearing wet suits and carrying surfboards, but they're
obviously cops. They sit down. Across the beach, a Sufi,
dressed in a turban and flowing garments, crosses the sand.

SURFER COP
A Sufi junkie.

The cops laugh derisively and turn their attention else-where.

CLOSER ON SUFI

It's Fletch. he's got a beard pasted on, and nervously scans
the beach.

FLETCH'S POINT OF VIEW - GUMMY

is seated on a towel.

MASTER

Fletch sits near, but not next to, Gummy.

FLETCH
Gum?

Gummy looks around.

FLETCH
I'm the Sufi.

GUMMY
Fletch?

FLETCH
Don't call me Fletch. Don't look at
me. Lie back down. We'll talk.

GUMMY
What?

FLETCH
Cops are here. I can smell them.
They're after me. Lie down, Gum.

Gummy lies back down.

GUMMY
Why are they after you?

FLETCH
Because I'm a newspaper reporter and
I'm nailing Chief Cummings as the
source for drugs on the beach. You're
in big trouble, Gummy.

Gummy sits up.

FLETCH
Sit back down.

Gummy lies down again.

FLETCH
Fat Sam is turning state's evidence.

GUMMY
What's that?

FLETCH
He wrote me a nice deposition. He
says he just received the drugs. You
did the selling.

GUMMY
I didn't sell nothing! I didn't sell
nothing! I just carried the drugs
from the Chief to Sam.

FLETCH
Sure you did.

GUMMY
Fletch, I never sold nothing.

FLETCH
Twenty years.

Fletch gets up and adjusts his flowing robes.

FLETCH
Can't do a thing with this robe. One
more question, Gum... don't look at
me.

Gummy lies back down.

FLETCH
Where does the Chief get the drugs?

GUMMY
I dunno. Somewhere in South America,
I forget.

FLETCH
Rio de Janeiro, maybe?

GUMMY
Maybe, Fletch. Is that Brazil?

FLETCH
That's Brazil.

GUMMY
Yeah. Maybe.

FLETCH
Wait here for me, Gummy.

Gummy looks questioningly at him.

FLETCH
It's the only way you'll be safe.
Believe me.

Fletch crosses the sand, heads for "Fat Sam's".

FAT SAM'S

Sam is reading the National Review. He looks up, sees Fletch
approaching, and grins.

FAT SAM
Jesus.

FLETCH
You don't know me.

FAT SAM
(smiling)
My pleasure.

FLETCH
I'm serious, Sam.

FAT SAM
What, the heat here?

FLETCH
Affirmative.

FAT SAM
The two surfer boys?

FLETCH
Affirmative.

FAT SAM
Thought so. What for?

FLETCH
For me. I'm a reporter, Sam. I'm
breaking the drug story and I got
the chief red-handed. Gummy gave me
a deposition.

FAT SAM
(smiles)
You gonna nail the chief?

FLETCH
I'm gonna nail the chief. And you
can help or --

FAT SAM
Oh, I'll help, Fletch. I'm a slave
to that sonofabitch. He busted me,
third offense, gave me a choice:
Work for him or do fifteen long. All
I get out of this is free snort.

FLETCH
You don't have a piece of the action?

FAT SAM
Noooo. Free snort. That's it.

FLETCH
(hands him a card)
Wait five minutes, and go to my
office. You'll get federal protection
after that.

FAT SAM
Gonna need it. That boy is dangerous.
Fletch?

FLETCH
What?

FAT SAM
You find the source?

FLETCH
Gum thought Brazil.

FAT SAM
Rio. Know how he gets it in the
country? Some big shot airline
executive flies it in on company
jets. Very impressive operation,
Fletch. Very impressive.

INT. NEWSPAPER - CITY ROOM

Fletch parades through the city room, still in his Sufi getup.
He takes off the beard and heads for Frank Walker's office.
Fat Sam and Gummy, looking like fish out of water, follow
him.

WALKER'S OFFICE

Fletch marches in with Sam and Gummy. Walker gawks at him.

WALKER
Fletch...

Fletch takes off the turban.

FLETCH
I'm quitting, Frank. As of midnight
tonight.

WALKER
What?
(stares at Fat Sam
and Gummy)
Who the hell are they?

FLETCH
This is Fat Sam, and this is Gummy.
(hands two sheets of
paper to Walker)

WALKER
What...

FLETCH
Their statements, naming Chief
Cummings as the numero uno drug pusher
from here to Oxnard. I want them to
have federal protection under the
paper's sponsorship.

Walker just stares at the sheets.

WALKER
Jesus H. Christ.
(smiles)
Fletch, this is the greatest.

FAT SAM
He's some reporter, this guy.

FLETCH
I'm out, Frank. You lost faith in
me.

WALKER
Fletch, I got nervous. Please....

FLETCH
Forget it.

Fletch takes off his robe and drops it to the floor. Beneath
the robes he's wearing cutoffs and a Bob McAdoo t-shirt.

FLETCH
I'm going to write the story. Just
hold the last couple of paragraphs
till ten o'clock tonight.

Fletch leaves the office.

FLETCH
(to Fat Sam and Gummy)
Make yourselves comfortable, guys,
but don't leave the office.

CORRIDOR

Fletch heads for his office. Walker follows.

WALKER
Fletch!

Fletch doesn't answer.

FLETCH'S OFFICE

Fletch enters the office and kicks his door closed. Walker
opens it.

WALKER
Fletch, you want an apology?

FLETCH
You were going to can me, right?

WALKER
(fumbles)
Not really.

FLETCH
Not really?

WALKER
I was upset.

FLETCH
I'm sick of this place. I'm going to
try out for the Lakers. They need a
power forward.

WALKER
Fletch.

Fletch sits down and turns on his word processor, ignoring
Walker.

EXT. STANWYK HOUSE - NIGHT

Fletch parks his Olds halfway up on the sidewalk, and gets
out. He climbs over the gates of the Stanwyk home, and drops
down inside. He lands on the grass, trots around the
shrubbery, heads toward the garage, and checks his watch.

WATCH

It's five minutes before eight.

INT. STANWYK'S GARAGE

The jaguar is parked just where it is supposed to be, and
the key is in the ignition. Fletch thinks for a moment and
looks around. He sees a pile of torn rags on the ground. He
removes the key from the ignition and opens the trunk.

INT. TRUNK.

Six large gasoline cans and more rags.

FLETCH
Another piece of the puzzle fits in
place.

EXT. HOUSE

Fletch reaches the rear of the house. He peers inside.

FLETCH'S POINT OF VIEW - STANWYK

is in the library, sitting patiently at his desk.

FLETCH

approaches the French doors and enters.

INT. LIBRARY

Alan rises from his desk to greet him. His hair is combed
like Fletch's. We can see that beneath his sports jacket he
is wearing a Magic Johnson t-shirt and jeans.

MR. STANWYK
Good evening.

FLETCH
I like your outfit. You got the fifty
grand and the plane ticket?

MR. STANWYK
Of course.

Stanwyk nods toward a small briefcase in the corner. Fletch
eyes it quickly, and just as quickly looks back at Stanwyk
who just stands there by his desk.

MR. STANWYK
Why don't you check it out for
yourself, Mr. Nugent?

FLETCH
(smiles)
Because I trust you, Alan. By the
way, the name's Fletcher. I.M.
Fletcher. I write a newspaper column
under the name Jane Doe.

MR. STANWYK
What?

Fletch holds out an envelope.

FLETCH
Read this, please.

MR. STANWYK
Wait a second --

FLETCH
Cut the crap and read it.

Stanwyk unfolds the paper.

FLETCH
Unless my people hear differently,
this letter goes out at midnight.

INSERT LETTER

We see that it is addressed to:

JOHN BOYD

CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD

BOYD AVIATION

STANWYK

MR. STANYK
(reading)
'Dear Sir: Alan Stanwyk murdered me
tonight. The charred remains found
by the police in the Jaguar are mine,
not his. Mr. Stanwyk, using my name
and passport, boarded Pan Am Flight
306 for Rio, where he intends to
establish residence with --'

He stares at Fletch.

FLETCH
He is lifting Stanwyk's two attaché
cases.

FLETCH
Pretty hefty. Keep reading.

STANWYK

MR. STANWYK
(reading)
'...with his legal wife, the former
Sally Ann Cavanaugh.'

Stanwyk stops. He's stunned, and not about to read anymore
of this.

GAIL'S VOICE (O.S.)
Keep reading, Alan.

Stanwyk spins to the doorway.

GAIL STANWYK

standing in the doorway.

MRS. STANWYK
Don't worry, I can take it.

MASTER

FLETCH
You shouldn't be here.

MRS. STANWYK
I want to hear this.

Fletch takes the letter from Alan.

FLETCH
He doesn't read my stuff well.
(reads)
'Sally Ann and Alan were married
four years ago and never divorced,
making Stanwyk a bigamist even in
Utah. Stanwyk is also traveling with
three million dollars in cash, the
result of Gail Stanwyk's conversion
of Boyd Aviation stock. Mrs. Stanwyk
believed the money was to be used to
purchase property in Utah, but it
wasn't; a fact that can be confirmed
by realtor James Swarthout of Provo.'
(aside)
That was stupid, Alan.

MR. STANWYK
I'd have been long gone.

FLETCH
Ahem.
(continues reading)
'Sally Ann can confirm all this when
the police pick her up at the Airport
Marriott.'

Mr. Stanwyk blanches. Fletch continues.

FLETCH
'By the way, Alan is a very big drug
smuggler, but you can read all about
that in tomorrow's paper. Sincerely
yours, I.M. Fletcher. P.S. Have a
nice day.'

Alan mulls over all this for a few seconds, then smiles
wistfully.

MR. STANWYK
Bravo, Mr. Fletcher.

FLETCH
The thing that really tipped it off
for me was something your wife said
to me while we were in bed together.

Stanwyk shoots a surprised look at Gail. She returns it with
an innocent shrug.

MR. STANWYK
(to Fletch)
And what was that?

FLETCH
How similar in build you and I are.
Then I figured it. You bump me off,
throw me in the car, and burn me up.

MRS. STANWYK
My God, Alan, you really are an
asshole, aren't you?

Now it is Alan's turn to shrug innocently.

MR. STANWYK
Sorry, darling.

MRS. STANWYK
You sonofabitch.

MR. STANWYK
Yes, I suppose I am. But I'm not a
stupid sonofabitch.

Mr. Stanwyk reaches into his desk and pulls out his gun, and
levels it at Fletch.

MR. STANWYK
I was already prepared to commit one
murder. What makes you think I won't
commit two?

FLETCH
Whoops.

MRS. STANWYK
(her bravado deflated)
'Whoops?' What do you mean 'whoops?'
Don't say 'whoops.'

MR. STANWYK
I mean, by the time your story gets
published, I'll be on the beach. I
understand extradition from Rio is
very complicated. I'll bet for two
murders it's even more so.

FLETCH
That is a lighter, isn't it?

Just then, the French doors swing open, and Chief Cummings
enters.

CUMMINGS
Greetings, everyone.

FLETCH
(dryly)
Thank God, the police.

MR. STANWYK
What the hell are you doing here?

CUMMINGS
Put the gun down, Alan. I'll take
care of them.

Stanwyk lowers the gun.

MRS. STANWYK
(to Fletch)
I thought you had this all figured
out. Good going 'Irwin.'

FLETCH
Don't ever call me 'Irwin,' okay?

MR. STANWYK
(to Cummings)
I've got it all under control, Jerry.
You can go now.

CUMMINGS
(laughs)
Under control? You idiot. You didn't
know who he was?

During the following dialogues, Fletch starts nudging the
fireplace's gas lighter jet key with his foot.

CUMMINGS
Fat Sam left the beach today. So did
Gummy. It began to occur to me that
some things are beginning to happen
that maybe I should be aware of.

MR. STANWYK
I said I'll take care of it. Now, a
man of your position shouldn't be a
part of what's about to go down. So
go home and I'll call you tomorrow.

CUMMINGS
What, 'long distance?' I couldn't
help but hear you say something about
Rio, Alan. You're not leaving with
the eight hundred thousand dollars I
staked you for the next load, are
you?

FLETCH
Whoa. Well, you two obviously have a
lot to talk over, so we'll go catch
the last ten minutes of Dynasty.

Fletch and Gail actually start to leave, but Cummings draws
his gun and fires over their heads. They dive for the floor,
landing on the side of the fireplace. Fletch palms a Zippo
lighter from his pocket.

MR. STANWYK
Jerry, you're simply going to have
to trust me. I've got a foolproof
way to get rid of this guy and now
you're jeopardizing everything.

CUMMINGS
Your 'foolproof' way is going to
land my ass on the front page while
you're basking in Rio.

FLETCH
...with your money.

Cummings turns his head momentarily to consider what Fletch
has said, and Stanwyk takes advantage of the distraction to
go for his gun. But he is too slow. Cummings shoots once,
striking Stanwyk in the chest, killing him instantly.

Gail screams in horror. Cummings turns to Fletch.

CUMMINGS
This one's going to be even more
fun.

FLETCH
(striking the Zippo)
Go ahead. Make my evening.

Fletch hurls the lighter into the fireplace, causing a great
whoosh of flames. Cummings throws his hands up in front of
his face and Fletch leaps at him, wrestling him to the ground.
Cummings is the stronger of the two, and just as he starts
to gain dominance over Fletch, Gail Stanwyk staggers to her
feet, picks up her husband's tennis racket in it's wooden
brace, and slams it against Cummings' head with all her might.

The Chief is knocked out.

Fletch lies there, panting, trying to catch his breath. He
looks up at Gail, still holding the racket, and staring at
Alan's body. Fletch hustles her out of the room.

HALLWAY

FLETCH
I'm calling the police. Then I'm
leaving. You wait here for them.

GAIL
Where are you going?

FLETCH
Away. I think it might take you a
while to get your life back together.
You don't need me around.
(indicates the library)
Don't go back in there.

He starts to leave. She calls after him.

GAIL
(still holding the
racket)
I really creamed the sonofabitch,
didn't I?

FLETCH
(smiles)
You sure did.

Fletch exits.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. RIO DE JANEIRO - DAY

With Sugarloaf Mountain in the b.g., Fletch lies in a lounge
chair, sipping an exotic drink, watching the cavorting
lovelies and playing his battered Casio. This is obviously
at some very expensive beach club or hotel, as witnessed by
the uniformed servant who brings a telephone.

WAITER
(Brazilian accent)
Your call is come through.

FLETCH
Far out.
(to the phone)
Larry? It's Fletch.
(pause, looks around)
Well, it's not 'Fat Sam's', but...
any port in a storm.
(pause)
Oh, tell Frank I need a couple of
months. The fifty grand's lasting
longer than I thought.

He pauses again to listen to Larry, but sees something O.S.
that takes over his attention. he doesn't wait for Larry to
finish what she's saying.

FLETCH
I gotta go, Lar.

He hangs up and stands. We see that Gail has just walked up
to him. The way they look at each other indicates they have
not seen each other for awhile, and her arrival is a surprise
to Fletch.

GAIL
John Ultramalensky, right?

FLETCH
Right.

GAIL
God, I haven't seen you since the
wedding.

FLETCH
Gee, I must have been shit-faced at
your wedding, I don't --

GAIL
Not mine, stupid. Yours.

FLETCH
(big smile)
What are you doing here?

They start walking down the beach. We stay right with them.

GAIL
I couldn't sit home and play the
mournful widow anymore, and the police
didn't need me, so I tried watching
a Lakers game on TV, but the announcer
talked to fast and I couldn't
understand a lot of what was
happening, so I figured if I came
down here maybe you could explain
the rules to me, and besides, I missed
you.

FLETCH
No problem.

He puts his arm around her, as we watch them leave us behind
and walk off down the beach.

FLETCH
Basketball, of course, was invented
in France, and is played with a large
ball, two tongue depressors and a
fish...

Fletch ad-libs just like Chevy Chase would as they walk
further away down the beach until we...

FADE OUT

THE END

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