"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 ]

"LIFE"

Screenplay by

Robert Ramsey and Matthew Stone

SHOOTING DRAFT

1999



FADE IN:

EXT. PRISON CEMETERY -- DAY

A handful of people are gathered in an open field under a
fierce Mississippi sun. A couple of young inmates, JAKE and
LEON, lean on their shovels. They are waiting to bury two
identical CASKETS with inmate numbers stenciled on the
pinewood lids.

A GUARD rests the butt of his rifle on the ground and takes
a long, healthy pull from his canteen. He offers it to the
PRISON CHAPLAIN, who is much obliged. SUPERINTENDENT BILL
BURKE, a 40-year-old black man, glances at his watch and
loosens his tie. Sure is hot.

MARY HUMPHRIES, an elderly white woman in a nurse's uniform,
stands behind WILLIE LONG, an ancient inmate sleeping
peacefully in a wheelchair. She readjusts an umbrella to
shield the old black man from the blistering sun.

Burke dabs his forehead with a handkerchief. He gives the
nod to the chaplain, who steps forward and cracks his bible.
The men remove their hats.

CHAPLAIN
In accordance with the regulations
of the State of Mississippi, we gather
here today to lay to rest the remains
of inmates R. Gibson, number 4316,
and C. Banks, number 4317. Ashes to
ashes, dust to dust. May God have
mercy on their souls.

BURKE
Go ahead, fellas.

The young inmates plunge their shovels into the dirt. One by
one, the mourners head back toward a prison van parked on a
nearby dirt road.

NURSE HUMPHRIES
I'll come back for you in a little
while, Willie...

She leaves Willie alone with Jake and Leon. He rolls his
chair up to the edge of the graves and gazes at the pinewood
caskets.

JAKE
These two guys friends of yours, old
man?

WILLIE
We spent some time together.

LEON
Why do I get the feeling when you
say some time, you mean some time.

WILLIE
I was already here a good many years
when they came in in 1932.

LEON
1932? That's like, that's like...

WILLIE
Sixty-five years ago. They always
said the farm couldn't hold 'em
forever. Looks like you're finally
free, boys.

Willie pulls a bottle of moonshine from his jacket and takes
a swig in their honor.

JAKE
Hey, the dude's holdin'.

LEON
Come on, old-timer, hook the brothers
up.

Willie passes the bottle to Leon, who takes a swig and winces
from the unexpected kick.

LEON
Hell of a way to get out. Heard they
burned up in that fire yesterday.

JAKE
I seen the bodies before they sealed
'em up. Them fellas sizzled up good.
Looked like some shit from the X-
Files.
(taking a swig from
the bottle)
Damn, that shit's nasty.

WILLIE
Ray's special recipe. He always had
exacting standards where the hooch
was concerned.

LEON
What were they, bootleggers?

Willie holds up the bottle, checking the clarity of the
liquor.

WILLIE
Something like that.

MATCH CUT TO:

EXT. SPANKY'S BACK ALLEY (1932) -- NIGHT

RAY GIBSON holds up a similar bottle of liquor to a light
over a door. Music comes from within. He takes a swig and
stashes the bottle in his belt. He adjusts his tie, polishes
his shoes on the back of his pants and raps on the door.

INT. SPANKY'S -- NIGHT

The speakeasy is jumping, jammed with people. Up on stage a
hot JAZZ BAND is playing backup for a seductive CHANTEUSE.
Well-heeled PATRONS enter through doors near the stage.

In the back, at the end of a long hallway, a BOUNCER cracks
open the door and Ray squeezes inside.

BOUNCER
Oh, no, Ray. Not tonight. Spanky's
not happy with you.

RAY
Is Spanky here?

BOUNCER
No, but...

RAY
Then what's the problem?

BOUNCER
Do yourself a favor and find another
place where they let you in the front
door.

RAY
But this is where the action is and
I have to be where the action is.
Look, when your old lady wanted those
alligator shoes, didn't I come through
for you? Ain't she stepping in style
now?

BOUNCER
Yeah...

RAY
Well, alright then. What do you think
about this new tie?

BOUNCER
Sharp.

RAY
I look good tonight. And I feel lucky,
too.

Ray heads inside.

BOUNCER
Anyone asks, it wasn't me who let
you in.

Ray slides through the crowd, pausing at the bar to nibble
on the neck of a COCKTAIL WAITRESS.

COCKTAIL WAITRESS
Don't even try it.

RAY
When do you get off?

COCKTAIL WAITRESS
I get off at two, but you ain't never
getting off.

She carries a tray of drinks into the crowd. Ray shakes his
head in wonderment at her departing form. The BARKEEP steps
up as Ray pulls out his bottle.

BARKEEP
You can't drink that in here, Ray.

RAY
I sure can't drink that watered-down
swill you're serving. Give me a glass
of ice.

BARKEEP
I can't give you a glass of ice. I
can't give you anything until you
pay your damn tab.

Disregarding the warning, Ray tilts the bottle back. Shaking
his head, the barkeep moves on to a paying customer. Ray's
eyes follow a bottle of French Champagne as it is delivered
to a nearby table.

Here sits the straight-laced CLAUDE BANKS with his girlfriend,
DAISY. She's enjoying the show. He's polishing the silverware.
The WAITER pours two glasses of champagne and leaves the
bottle on ice. Claude regards his glass skeptically.

CLAUDE
For the kind of money they charge
here, you'd think they could hire
somebody to actually wash the dishes.

DAISY
Claude. Here's to your new job down
at the bank. I always knew you'd
make something of yourself.

CLAUDE
Know what I'm going to buy with my
first pay check?

Daisy thinks she does. She leans in, eyes twinkling.

CLAUDE
Season tickets to the Yankees. Right
there on the first base line.
(off her disappointment)
What's wrong, baby?

DAISY
I was hoping you were gonna say an
engagement ring, Claude.

French Champagne shoots out of Claude's nose.

CLAUDE
Engagement ring!

DAISY
That's what respectable folks do.
Get a job, get married, start having
babies. That's what you want, isn't
it?

CLAUDE
Sure it is. I just don't see any
reason to rush into things. Damn,
look at this shirt. I'll be right
back.

Claude leans in to kiss Daisy on the lips. She offers her
cheek. He departs.

OVER BY THE BAR

Ray watches Claude make a beeline for the men's room.

INT. MEN'S ROOM -- NIGHT

Claude steps into the bathroom and approaches the sink. A
big hand falls on his shoulder and yanks him backwards into
a stall...

INT. STALL -- NIGHT

Claude is shoved down on the toilet by two BAG MEN in suits.
Suddenly, it's crowded in here.

BAG MAN #1
Congratulations, Claude. We understand
you finally got yourself a job.

BAG MAN #2
Guess that means you can pay Mr.
Riley the fifty bucks you owe him.

They rifle through Claude's jacket and quickly find his
wallet.

CLAUDE
Now wait a second, guys. I've got a
bill to pay out there.

BAG MAN #1
Twenty-two dollars. Not bad for a
start.

They toss back his empty wallet.

CLAUDE
Come on, fellas, that's two weeks
pay. I'm here with my girl. You gotta
leave me something.

BAG MAN #2
How about your legs?

CLAUDE
My legs? Those are good, I'll keep
the legs...

The stall door swings shut as the bag men depart.

INT. SPANKY'S -- NIGHT

On his way into the Men's Room, Ray squeezes past the bag
men on their way out.

INT. MEN'S ROOM -- NIGHT

Glancing around, Ray spots Claude's feet under the stall
door. He steps up to the sink, washes his hands and takes a
towel from the ATTENDANT. Scanning the assortment of grooming
products, he selects a bottle of cologne and takes a sniff.

RAY
(displeased)
You have any of that French stuff?

As the attendent bends down to retrieve a bottle of the good
stuff, Ray palms a coin from the tip basket.

ATTENDENT
Here you go.

Ray offers the quarter, a gesture of uncommon generosity.

RAY
Keep the change.

ATTENDENT
Why, thank you, sir!

Ray pats the cologne on his face. A toilet flushes and Claude
steps over to the sink. Ray catches his eye in the mirror.

RAY
Don't I know you?

CLAUDE
I don't think so.

RAY
Sure I do. What's your name again?

CLAUDE
Claude Banks.

RAY
Claude Banks. How could I forget
that? You've got to remember me. Ray
Gibson. We went to high school
together.

CLAUDE
You went to Monroe?

RAY
(beaming)
That's right! Good old Monroe...

Ray throws his arms around Claude, deftly snatching his
wallet. Claude extracts himself from Ray's embrace.

CLAUDE
Well, I went to Jefferson, so you
must have a different Claude Banks
in mind.

Claude straightens his jacket and heads for the door. Ray
stashes the stolen wallet in his jacket.

RAY
Sorry, man. My mistake.

INT. SPANKY'S -- NIGHT

On the stage, the chanteuse has downshifted into a sultry
number about back-door lovers and broken dreams.

Ray steps out of the men's room and is instantly collared by
BULLETHEAD, a man who makes his living being large and
threatening.

RAY
Watch the threads, Bullethead. If
this is about my tab, I've got it
covered.

Pressed up against the wall, Ray reaches into his jacket and
produces Claude's wallet. Bullethead snatches it, inspects
it and is not impressed.

BULLETHEAD
This ain't about your tab, Ray. You've
got bigger problems than that.

He stuffs the wallet back into Ray's jacket and hustles Ray
out the back door past the bouncer who let him in.

BOUNCER
Is that Ray Gibson? Who the hell let
him in here?

BACK AT CLAUDE'S TABLE

Claude returns to the table where Daisy is sipping champagne.
He takes the glass out of her hand.

CLAUDE
Come on, honey, let's get out of
here.

DAISY
But I'm having a good time...

WAITER
Excuse me, sir, I believe you forgot
this.

The waiter presents Claude with the bill.

CLAUDE
The bill. Of course, the bill. We
couldn't leave without paying the
bill. Especially such an incredibly
large bill.

INT. VAN -- NIGHT

Claude is shoved into the back of the van and the doors are
slammed behind him. He bangs and shouts, but it's no use.

RAY
Save your energy, Claude. You're
gonna need it.

Ray is stretched out against the back wall. Claude is knocked
to the floor as the van lurches into motion.

RAY
Here, this belongs to you.
(tossing Claude his
wallet)
It was empty when I found it.

CLAUDE
Good old Monroe.

Ray swigs from his bottle and offers it to Claude, who isn't
interested.

RAY
What I want to know is what happened
to your cush between the time that
you got up from the table and when I
caught up with you in the Johnny?

CLAUDE
I don't see where that's any of your
business.

RAY
Did those two muscle heads shake you
down? Swear I've seen them down at
the track with Sure-shot Riley. That's
it, ain't it? A gambling debt.

Busted, Claude snatches the bottle and carefully wipes off
the neck before tilting it high. Ray gets a good chuckle out
of this straight cat in the bow tie.

CLAUDE
Where they taking us, anyway?

RAY
Probably to Spanky's headquarters
down at the pier.

CLAUDE
Good, I'm looking forward to meeting
this Spanky. Give me a chance to
straighten out this whole mess.

RAY
I can't wait to see that. You slay
me, man.

EXT. PIER -- NIGHT

The van pulls into a the loading bay of a warehouse at the
end of a short pier on the Harlem River.

INT. WAREHOUSE -- NIGHT

Bullethead and a HENCHMAN pull Ray and Claude from the back
of the van. They find themselves in a dark warehouse filled
with crates of contraband.

CLAUDE
(sotto)
What are they gonna do to us?

RAY
You? Dine and ditch, right?
(Claude nods)
Over ten bucks?
(he nods again)
You're probably looking at a thumb.

CLAUDE
A thumb? What do you mean, like cut
it off? For ten bucks?
(Ray nods)
That include the tip?

Claude shoves his hands under his armpits at the sound of
approaching FOOTSTEPS echoing across the vast space. Claude
and Ray peer into the darkness.

SPANKY
(from the darkness)
You picked the wrong night to fuck
with me, Ray. I just lost three men
and a truck full of Canadian whiskey.
You know what that kind of thing
does to my business? It makes me
want to lash out and hurt somebody.

SPANKY JOHNSON emerges into the light. He uses a small silver
spoon to take an ample snort of cocaine into each nostril.
He glances at Claude.

SPANKY
Who's he? Friend of yours, Ray?

CLAUDE
I never saw this man before tonight.
He's a lowlife degenerate who lurks
in bathrooms. I'm a professional
man, an upstanding citizen. I go to
church on Sunday.

SPANKY
Then what are you doing here?

BULLETHEAD
Failure to pay.

CLAUDE
(rattled)
Look, Mr. Johnson, you seem like a
reasonable man. I got a good job
starts Monday. I'll pay you back
with my first pay check. With
interest. I don't want to tell you
how to conduct your business, but if
you cut off my finger you won't get
jack. Working an adding machine, I
gotta be whole.
(his fingers dancing
over imaginary keys)
I need my thumbs and all my fingers
for praying and doing good...

Spanky holds up a hand, silencing Claude.

SPANKY
The choirboy wants to keep his
fingers. Who am I to argue? Drop
him.

CLAUDE
Drop him? What does drop him mean?

Claude protests loudly as Bullethead and the henchman bind
his hands and feet. Spanky turns to Ray.

SPANKY
You gotta lotta balls showing your
face around my club. If a man's gonna
run numbers on my side of Broadway,
you think he'd have the common sense
to keep a low profile. But not Ray
Gibson.

The goons hoist Claude up on another pulley and dangle him
head first over a hole in the floor. Several feet down, the
Harlem River laps against the wooden pylons.

CLAUDE
No, not down there! That water's
filthy! Help me out here, man!

Shrugging, Ray pinches his nose and puffs out his cheeks.
The goons release the rope and Claude plunges into the water.
Spanky turns back to Ray.

RAY
You don't have to drown that fella,
Spanky. You already scared him half
to death. He didn't know who he was
fucking with.

SPANKY
But you do. What does that say about
you, Ray? What does that say about
me? I've given you a lot of leeway
over the years on account of your
father. But he didn't last long enough
to teach you the meaning of the word
respect so I guess I'm gonna have to
school you myself.

RAY
Come on, Spank, I'm just trying to
get by here. You remember how it was
when you were starting out.

The henchman yanks on the rope. Claude emerges from the hole,
gasping for breath.

CLAUDE
I was supposed to wear this suit on
Monday!

The henchman releases the rope, sending Claude back into the
water. Ray reaches into his jacket. Bullethead pulls a gun
and presses it into Ray's temple. Ray gives him a look and
cautiously pulls out his bottle.

SPANKY
What's that, some of your bathtub
brew?

RAY
Puerto Rican rum. See for yourself.

Ray tosses him the bottle. Spanky uncorks, sniffs, samples
the goods. He's impressed.

SPANKY
Where'd you get this?

RAY
Comes up the Mississippi. I can get
more. A lot more. I was thinking
about going into business for myself,
but under the circumstances, I'd be
willing to take on a partner.

Once again, the henchman yanks on the rope and Claude comes
up sucking air desperately. He releases the rope, submerging
Claude for a third time.

SPANKY
I'm interested. Keep talking.

RAY
All I need is the front money and a
truck. I could be back in two, three
days tops if I had somebody to share
the driving.

Spanky considers the terms. Can he afford to trust Ray? Can
he afford not to?

SPANKY
If you fuck me on this one, I'll
spare no expense.

RAY
Understood.

SPANKY
Alright, Ray, you've got a deal.
Pick your man and get going.

Ray glances around. The pulley rope is still twitching in
the water.

RAY
I'll take the little choirboy, if
you don't mind.

SPANKY
If I was you, I'd want somebody who
can handle himself in a tight spot.

RAY
I just want somebody who won't put a
bullet in my back once the truck is
full.

Spanky sees Ray's point. He nods to the henchman, who hoists
Claude's limp body out of the water and onto the cement.
Spanky plants a foot on Claude's chest and applies pressure.
A geyser of Harlem River water shoots from Claude's mouth as
he sputters back to life.

SPANKY
For your sake, I hope you can drive.
Somebody give him some dry clothes.

CUT TO:

THE SPINNING WHEEL OF A TRUCK

The CAMERA MOVES UP the side of the old Ford truck to find
Claude sitting pensively in the passenger seat.

INT. TRUCK (MOVING) -- NIGHT

Ray palms the wheel.

RAY
Tell me about that hot sketch you
were hypin' last night. She was a
choice bit of calico. You two been
seeing each other a long time? Gonna
slap the handcuffs on her and stroll
down the aisle one of these days?

Tight-lipped, Claude shifts in his seat.

RAY
Sometimes I wish I could find me a
sheba to settle down with. Suppose
I'm just a tomcat by nature.
(trying to fill the
silence)
This little rum run is gonna seriously
improve my relationship with Spanky.
He's a good man to have on your side.
He's got the capital and the
connections. That's what you got to
have in that business. Spanky's place
is pretty plush, but one of these
days I'm gonna open up my own
establishment. Ray's Boom-Boom Room.
You like that? Ray's Boom-Boom Room.
That's in the groove, don't you think?

If Claude does like it, he's not letting on.

RAY
Come on, daddy-o. You haven't said a
word since we started. Least you
could do is make some friendly
conversation.

CLAUDE
Look, man, I don't want friendly
conversation. I don't want to be
your friend. I've seen your friends
and I don't like them. I just want
to do this thing and get back to New
York in time to start my job.

RAY
Start your job? What kind of job?

CLAUDE
Well, if you must know, bank teller
at First Federal of Manhattan. I'm
responsible for keeping track of
hundreds, occasionally thousands of
dollars.

RAY
That's some long green.

CLAUDE
Damn straight, it is. I got my own
set of keys because I'm supposed to
open up. So if I ain't there 8 a.m.
Monday morning, there's gonna be
hell to pay.

Beat of silence. Ray laughs to himself.

CLAUDE
What?

RAY
Nothing.

CLAUDE
No, tell me what's so funny.

RAY
I don't know. Bank teller. Sounds
like ladies work to me.

CLAUDE
Well, maybe I should dig around in
other people's clothes for money.
It's obviously been highly successful
for you.

RAY
Hey, you'd be surprised what you
find in other people's pockets. Just
gotta avoid them deadbeat bank
tellers. Get you every time.

CLAUDE
I didn't start out to be a bank
teller. I was gonna be a ballplayer.
Even had an offer to play short for
the Newark Eagles.

RAY
Why didn't you take it?

CLAUDE
The Negro League don't pay so good.
And you're always on the road. That
don't wash with Daisy.

RAY
You gave up baseball to be a bank
teller? I can't latch on to that.

CLAUDE
At some point a man's got to get
serious about his future. I'm sure
you have no idea what I'm talking
about.

RAY
You're talking about giving up
baseball to be a bank teller.

CLAUDE
Bank teller's just a start. I got
plans. Real plans. Not opening some
Zoom-Boom Room. This time next year
I'll be a loan officer.

RAY
A loan officer?

CLAUDE
That's right, a loan officer.

RAY
So you mean, if I needed some jack
to get my nightclub up and running,
I'd have to hype some square like
you?

CLAUDE
Uh-huh.

Ray pulls out his pocket watch. A mechanical tune plays as
he checks the time.

RAY
How would I get a loan, anyway?

CLAUDE
You need collateral.

RAY
(re: watch)
Like this?

CLAUDE
That thing? Who'd you steal it from?

RAY
My daddy gave me this watch.

CLAUDE
Yeah? Who'd he steal it from?

RAY
My daddy is dead so watch your mouth.
You can say what you want about me,
but don't be dragging my daddy into
it. This watch means the world to
me. Solid gold. Keeps perfect time.

CLAUDE
Looks like a fake to me. Loan denied!

Ray stuffs his daddy's watch back in his pocket.

RAY
Ah, go chase yourself. I'll take my
business elsewhere. And for future
reference, you are no longer welcome
at Ray's Boom-Boom Room.

CLAUDE
There is no Boom-Boom Room.

RAY
When there is, you can forget about
it. And I swear to God, you ever
talk about my daddy again I'm gonna
kick your bank-telling, loan-denying
ass, you got me?

CLAUDE
Oooh...

RAY
I think I liked you better when you
kept your trap shut.

EXT. ROADSIDE DINER -- DAY

The truck veers off the highway and jerks to a halt in front
of the rundown establishment.

INT. ROADSIDE DINER -- DAY

A dozen WHITE FOLKS look up as Ray and Claude push through
the door.

RAY
Man, something smells good in here.
How's everybody doing?

Nothing but sullen stares from all corners of the room.

CLAUDE
(sotto)
Maybe we oughta find another place.

RAY
Are you kidding? Tell me you don't
want a slice of that pie right over
there.

CLAUDE
I must have left my appetite outside,
which is where I think we ought to
be right now.

Claude tugs Ray towards the door but Ray won't be dissuaded.
He boldly addresses a YOUNG MAN in an apron behind the
counter.

RAY
Good evening, Billy. We'd like some
coffee and a couple of slices of
that homemade pie you've got
advertised.

BILLY
How you know my name's Billy?

RAY
It says so right there on your shirt.

BILLY
(glancing down)
That what that says?

Billy's MAMA sets a piping hot pie on the back counter and
steps up next to her son. She casts a disparaging glance at
Claude's suit.

MAMA
If you boys can read so good, how
come you missed that sign in the
window?

Claude considers the sign she's pointing to.

CLAUDE
You mean this sign? The one that
says "No Coloreds Allowed." That's a
good question. Ray, how come we missed
the sign?

RAY
Look, ma'am, we've been driving all
day. We'd just like to purchase one
of those pies and we'll be on our
way.

MAMA
Those are whites-only pies.

RAY
Got any nigger pies?

Claude jabs him.

CLAUDE
Any fool could see those are whites-
only, not-for-blacks, come-on-let's-
get-the-fuck-outta-here pies. Thank
you very much.

Claude starts tugging Ray toward the door.

RAY
(sotto)
Thanks for backing me up here, Uncle
Claude.

CLAUDE
(sotto)
Don't Uncle Claude me. You get a
load of those crackers? Couldn't be
a mouthful of teeth among the bunch
of 'em. Why you want to pick a fight
with people like that for?

RAY
You're soft.

CLAUDE
What'd you say?

Diner patrons stare.

RAY
I said you're soft.

CLAUDE
Hey, man, don't ever call me that.

RAY
I call it like I see it, and what I
see is definitely soft.

Claude narrows his eyes.

CLAUDE
Alright. You want some pie?

RAY
Yeah, I want some pie.

CLAUDE
Okay then, I'm gonna walk over to
that counter and get us some fucking
pie.

Resolved, Claude stomps over to the counter.

CLAUDE
Excuse me, ma'am, I bet a brick will
turn that one right there into a
colored pie.

Claude lays down a dollar bill. Mama casually pulls a shotgun
from under the counter.

MAMA
And I bet this right here will turn
you into a colored pie.

CLAUDE
Okay, Ray, I think we can go now.
Much obliged...

Ray gives the whole place a cool once-over as Claude pulls
him out the door. Mama turns to Billy, still studying the
stitching on his shirt.

MAMA
Don't be concentrating so hard, baby.
You're liable to seize yourself again.

EXT. DOCKS -- NIGHT

The truck rolls up to the waters edge. Ray kills the engine
and flashes the lights twice. In the passenger seat, Claude
is fast asleep. After a few moments, a FAT MAN appears,
shining a flashlight into the cab.

RAY
How you doing? We're looking for
Slim.

SLIM
You found him.

Ray cocks an eyebrow.

EXT. DOCKS -- NIGHT

Under cover of darkness, a couple of MEN finish loading crates
into the bed of the truck. Ray and Claude keep their eyes
peeled for the law. Down by the river, they can see lights
and hear music from a district of rowdy juke joints. SLIM
steps up, wiping his hands.

SLIM
That's it, fellas. Thirty six cases
of Puerto Rico's finest. At five
bucks a case, that's $180.

Ray pulls out a wad and slaps it in Slim's sweaty palm. The
fat man starts counting it out.

RAY
Man, that music is hot. What goes on
down there, Slim?

SLIM
That's Natchez-under-the-Hill.

RAY
Blacks welcome there?

SLIM
Green's the only color that matters
under the hill. They got gambling,
girls. You oughta check it out.

RAY
Maybe we will. Nice meeting you.

Slim slips into the shadows.

CLAUDE
Nice meeting you? You've been here
before, haven't you?

RAY
What gave you that idea?

CLAUDE
Oh, I don't know, maybe because our
lives depend on it, I just sort of
thought you knew what you were doing!

RAY
Don't get all agitated on me. I bought
a bottle of rum from a couple of
dudes, I heard 'em talking...

CLAUDE
Let me get this straight. We drove
all the way down to Klan country
'cause you heard a couple of guys
talking?

RAY
What are you complaining about? It
worked out. Everything's cool. Now,
come on, let's head down there and
see what's shaking. We deserve a
little reward.

CLAUDE
(dubious)
Reward?

RAY
There are people down there having
fun. I want to be one of them. I
want you to be one of them. On Monday
you can be a bank teller if you want,
but tonight you're a bootlegger with
a truck full of Puerto Rican rum and
a fistful of cash.

A look of excitement crosses Claude's face, but he quickly
shakes it off.

CLAUDE
That's gas money.

Exasperated, Ray stuffs a few bills into Claude's pocket.

RAY
There's your gas money. You stay
here and watch the truck. And don't
worry, I've got the keys.

Left alone, Claude mutters and kicks at the dirt. He leans
against the truck.

UP AHEAD/EXT. JUKE JOINT -- NIGHT

Ray emerges from the woods and heads down the hill toward
the juke joint. Claude hustles up next to him.

CLAUDE
I'm just gonna keep an eye on you,
make sure you don't do nothing stupid.

INT. JUKE JOINT -- NIGHT

A ramshackle den of iniquity on the banks of the Mississippi.
The band is laying down some serious Delta blues, creating
an inviting atmosphere for sin and moral corruption.

On a far side of the room, Ray is playing poker with some
LOCALS. He seems to be having a bad night. WINSTON HANCOCK,
a formidable black man, sweeps in another big pot and puffs
happily on his cigar.

OVER AT THE BAR

Perched on a stool, Claude shoots a dark look at Ray and
motions for the door. Ray waves him off and returns to his
game. Claude becomes aware of a soft, young female hand on
his shoulder.

SYLVIA
I've never seen you in here before.

CLAUDE
(staring at the hand)
That's because I've never been here
before.

SYLVIA
I'm Sylvia. What's your name?

Against his better judgement, Claude's gaze follows the long,
slender arm up past a bare shoulder and settles on SYLVIA'S
angelic face. He is struck dumb.

SYLVIA
Can't you remember your own name?

CLAUDE
I know it begins with a "C"...

SYLVIA
Well, Mr. "C", how about buying a
girl a drink?
(to the bartender)
Two bourbons.

CLAUDE
I really shouldn't. I gotta keep an
eye on my friend.

SYLVIA
He looks like he can take care of
himself.

The drinks arrive. She places a shot glass in Claude's
reluctant hand. She winks provocatively and slowly pours the
whiskey down her throat. Instinctively, Claude tosses back
his shot.

CLAUDE
Claude. That's my name. Claude. That's
never happened before.

SYLVIA
You're cute. You have any money,
Claude?

CLAUDE
Ten dollars. But I need it to get
home.

SYLVIA
Why would you want to go home? It's
so early.

The bartender refills their glasses.

BACK AT THE POKER TABLE

Winston considers his cards, hardly looking up as a WAITRESS
lays down a cocktail napkin and sets a drink down on top of
it. He glances at Ray, who casually considers his cards.

RAY
I'll take two.

The dealer tosses Ray a couple of cards.

INSERT -- Ray fans his cards to reveal a full house.

After considering the other players at the table, Ray pushes
what's left of his money into the center of the table. The
three other PLAYERS fold with disgust. Winston squints long
and hard at Ray, then pushes everything he has into the center
of the table.

WINSTON
I'll see that...

Winston reaches into his jacket and throws down some more
money on the pile.

WINSTON
And while we're at it, let's sweeten
the pot.

RAY
Looks like my sugar bowl's empty,
Mr. Hancock.

WINSTON
(reaching for the pot)
That's just too damn bad, ain't it?

RAY
Now, hang on, slick. I ain't through
with you yet.

Ray checks his cards again. He looks at the pot, it's a lot
of money. With this hand, there's no way he can lose. He
places his daddy's pocket watch on top of the pile. Winston
checks the time piece.

WINSTON
That'll cover it.

Ray lays down his hand.

RAY
Full boat, ladies doing the paddling.

WINSTON
Four threes.

Ray sits back, stunned. Winston rakes in his winnings. The
game is over for the night. The three other players head to
the bar.

WINSTON
Don't take it too hard, New York.
Have a round on me.

Winston tosses a silver dollar to Ray, who snatches it out
of the air. Winston drops his hat on his head and moves
through the crowd and out the door.

WAITRESS
Can I get you something?

Ray shakes his head. Carefully, she begins to clear the table.
Suddenly, he grabs her wrist. Winston's glass tips over. Ray
flips over the cocktail napkin to reveal an extra pile of
cards.

RAY
Looks like he had a whole lot of
nothing in his hand until you came
along.

WAITRESS
(wrenching free)
You're hurting my arm.

EXT. JUKE JOINT -- NIGHT

Ray dashes into the street, glancing both ways. No sign of
Winston. Damn.

EXT. BACK ALLEY -- NIGHT

Winston produces Ray's pocket watch and pops it open. A smile
crosses his face as the mechanical tune plays.

A sheriff's sedan rounds a corner, illuminating Winston in
its headlights. The car pulls up and SHERIFF WARREN PIKE
steps out. Distinguished by a casual cruelness, he's a young
white man who loves his uniform.

PIKE
If it isn't Winston Hancock.

Winston tries to move past Pike, but the sheriff blocks his
path with a night stick. As Winston backs off, another squad
car pulls up behind him. TWO DEPUTIES step from the car,
guns drawn.

PIKE
I thought we agreed that you were
gonna leave town.

WINSTON
I tried to leave, Sheriff Pike. But
your wife begged me to stay.

Pike slams Winston with his club, sending the black man to
his knees. As Winston struggles back to his feet, a stiletto
flashes and he lunges for the sheriff, slashing his cheek.
The deputies grab Winston from behind, holding him by both
arms. The long knife clatters to ground. Pike touches his
face, examining the blood on his fingers.

PIKE
You just committed suicide, boy.

INT. BORDELLO HALLWAY -- NIGHT

Ray walks slowly down the hallway to Room 13. He is about to
knock when he hears the sound of lovemaking from within.

INT. SYLVIA'S BEDROOM -- NIGHT

Ray opens the door and peeks in. Sylvia's on top and in
charge. Claude is concentrating real hard. Ray smiles to
himself and closes the door.

INT. JUKE JOINT -- NIGHT

Claude hitches up his suspenders as he comes down the stairs.
He finds Ray having a drink at the now-empty bar.

CLAUDE
Hey, Ray. I've been looking for you.

RAY
Here I am.

CLAUDE
Guess we better get going, huh?

RAY
Still got that ten dollars?

CLAUDE
Well, not exactly. See, I met this
girl. Real nice girl. God-fearing
girl. Her name's Sylvia.

RAY
That jelly you were talking to right
here?

CLAUDE
She's in a tight spot. Her mama needs
this operation, and they ain't got
the money for it. Their church took
up a collection but they were still
short...

RAY
So you made a generous contribution.

CLAUDE
What can I say? When the spirit moves
me.

RAY
That was mighty charitable of you,
Claude. Looks like we both got fucked
tonight.

CLAUDE
What are you talking about?

RAY
While you were upstairs doing God's
work, I was getting jack-legged by a
fool with four threes.

CLAUDE
You lost all our money in a card
game?

RAY
He even got my daddy's watch.

CLAUDE
Fuck that cheap-ass watch --
(off Ray's glare)
I mean, how the hell are we gonna
get home without any money?

RAY
We've still got 36 cases of rum.
That's better than money.

EXT. BACK ALLEY -- NIGHT

Ray and Claude head down the alley.

CLAUDE
You sure the truck's this way?
(looking over his
shoulder)
I swear it was back that way.

Suddenly, the bloodied figure of Winston Hancock lurches
from the shadows and grabs Claude by the lapels. Claude is
too scared to scream, staggering backward. But the man's
grip loosens and he slips to the ground.

CLAUDE
(croaking)
Ray... Yo, Ray...!

Ray turns back to find Claude trembling with fear and covered
in blood. He just points down. Ray eyes widen. He kneels
down and turns Winston's body over.

CLAUDE
I think he's hurt pretty bad.

RAY
He's dead.

CLAUDE
Oh, man, I've never seen a dead body
before!

Much to Claude's horror, Ray starts rifling through Winston's
pockets.

CLAUDE
What do you think you're doing?! The
man's been dead for two seconds!
Don't you have any respect?

RAY
It ain't here.

CLAUDE
What ain't there?

RAY
My daddy's watch. This is the dude I
was telling you about --

Suddenly, the glare of two bright headlights from a pickup
truck freeze Ray and Claude in a guilty tableau. FIVE WHITE
MEN appear at the end of the alley.

MAN WITH LANTERN
What's going on here?

Ray gingerly releases Winston's lifeless body.

MAN WITH LANTERN
What's wrong with that one?

RAY
Him? He's just drunk.

CLAUDE
Yeah, nobody puts 'em away like old
what's-his-name.

RAY
Winston. His name's Winston.

CLAUDE
Come on, Ray, better get Winston
back to the truck.

Claude and Ray hoist Winston's body to its feet. The man
raises his lantern, takes a closer look at Winston's face.

MAN WITH LANTERN
This fella looks dead.

Ray and Claude check for themselves.

CLAUDE
Would you look at that, Ray. Winston
up and died on us.

RAY
Hell with him then. If he can't share
the driving, he can't ride in the
truck.

MAN WITH LANTERN
He can ride with us.

Suddenly, the men all have guns. And they're pointed at Ray
and Claude.

MAN WITH LANTERN
So can you.

INT. NATCHEZ JAIL -- NIGHT

In a holding cell, Ray tests the window bars. Solid.
Meanwhile, Claude sits on a cot brooding darkly. Through the
bars, we see the rednecks laughing and passing around a bottle
of bootleg rum with the DEPUTY on duty.

RAY
Man, this is gonna delay everything.
Spanky's gonna be pissed.

CLAUDE
Spanky's gonna be pissed? Poor Spanky.
Fuck Spanky! What the hell kind of a
name is Spanky, anyway? You're
responsible for this situation. I
blame you for everything. If it wasn't
for you, I'd be home having a hot
meal right now.

RAY
If it wasn't for me, you'd be washing
up on the beach at Coney Island right
now.
(mocking Claude)
"I need all my thumbs and fingers
for praying and doing good."

The jailhouse door opens and Sheriff Pike walks in. He pauses
to give the prisoners the once-over. There's a fresh bandage
over the cut on his cheek.

PIKE
What do we have here?

DEPUTY
Billy Bob and the boys found them
down down under the hill with Winston
Hancock. He was dead. Looks like
murder.

PIKE
You don't say.

DEPUTY
Looks like they was running rum. Got
thirty six cases of evidence out
back. You want I should call in the
federal prosecutor?

PIKE
Let's not drag the feds into this. I
can think of better uses for that
rum than letting it collect dust in
some government warehouse up in
Nashville.

Pike winks at his deputy, then turns to regard the prisoners.

PIKE
Besides, why bother with bootlegging
when we got us a clear cut case of
murder?

RAY
Excuse me, sheriff. As we explained
to your associate here, there's been
a mistake. We didn't kill anybody.
Now, as for the bootlegging, we happen
to work for a very important man in
New York.

CLAUDE
That's right. Does the name Spanky
Johnson mean anything to you?

PIKE
Afraid not.

RAY
Mr. Johnson is very well connected.
If you were to let us go, I guarantee
he would show you his appreciation,
if you know what I mean.

PIKE
Are you offering me a bribe?

RAY
I'm just trying to pay the toll on
the road to justice.

PIKE
You may be able to buy your way out
of trouble up in New York City, but
down here we take murder seriously.

CLAUDE
Look, man, how many times we gotta
tell you people, we didn't kill that
guy!

PIKE
Well, if that's the case, then you
don't have anything to worry about,
do you?

Pike turns his back on the prisoners and checks the time on
a gold pocket watch -- Ray's pocket watch. But from his cell,
Ray can't hear the mechanical tune.

PIKE
Time to get home to the missus. See
y'all in the morning.

In the cell, Claude turns to Ray.

CLAUDE
The man's gotta point. We're innocent,
after all. I just gotta get a good
night's sleep on this filthy mattress.
Keep our heads on straight, stay
cool, what's the worst thing that
could happen to us?

SMASH CUT TO:

INT. COURTROOM -- DAY

The CAMERA Scorseses in on the JUDGE'S face...

JUDGE
Life!

The gavel comes down with a thundering crash. Stunned, Ray
and Claude resist the BAILIFFS' efforts to remove them from
the courtroom.

RAY
Life?! How long is life? We were
just walking back to the truck. We
didn't do nothing! Fuck life!

CLAUDE
Life?! What's life mean? There's no
way I can do life. I got a job starts
Monday morning!

They continue to protest loudly as they are dragged bodily
through the door.

EXT. COUNTRYSIDE -- DAY

Blues music kicks in as a prison transport bus rolls down a
dirt road cutting through the bleak Mississippi Delta.

INT. BUS (MOVING) -- DAY

LONG-CHAIN CHARLIE, a white prison sergeant, sits behind the
wheel. A shot gun hangs within easy reach.

The CAMERA MOVES BACK past grim-faced PRISONERS with their
hands and feet shackled. We arrive at Ray and Claude sitting
in grim silence as the bus lurches along.

EXT. PRISON -- DAY

The bus veers off the country road and passes under a sign:
MISSISSIPPI STATE PENITENTIARY. Sgt. Dillard's voice PLAYS
OVER.

DILLARD (V.O.)
Welcome to the farm. Here you will
be provided with ample opportunity
to repay your debt to society through
the rigors of hard labor...

Ray and Claude stare out the window, getting their first
look at the harsh reality that awaits them. Cotton fields
stretch to the horizon in every direction. HOE-GANGS till
the earth under the watchful gaze of TRUSTY SHOOTERS...

DILLARD (V.O.)
In between harvest and planting season
we got fields need clearing, roads
need building and ditches need
digging. You will eat only what you
can grow. Your crop don't come in,
you'll go hungry. If you die, don't
worry 'bout us none. We'll find
somebody to replace you...

Along the road, CONVICTS cast hard looks at the new men as
the cart passes. A WHITE SERGEANT on horseback shifts his
rifle and casually spits tobacco juice in the dirt...

EXT. CAMP 8 -- DAY

A low-slung, single-story bunkhouse surrounded by a dirt
yard. Two shooter shacks sit at diagonal corners of the yard.
In each shack, two trusties with rifles keep vigilant watch
over the camp. SGT. FRED DILLARD paces down the line of new
men as HOPPIN' BOB, an uncommonly ugly trusty, unlocks their
leg irons.

DILLARD
This here is Camp 8. Camp 8 is for
incorrigibles, so whatever you've
done to get here, believe me, we're
not impressed. You new men are
probably noticing that we have no
fences here at Camp 8. We don't need
no fences, we have the gun line. It
runs from shack to shack clear around
the yard. You are now inside the gun
line. If you step outside the gun
line without my permission, you will
be shot. If you trip and fall over
the gun line, you will be shot. If
you spit, if you pee, if you stick
your ass out and take a dump over
the gun line, you will be shot.

Dillard plucks a hat off one of the new prisoners and tosses
it over the gun line. SHOTS ring out from the nearest shack.
The hat is torn to shreds.

DILLARD
One of my trusties puts a bullet in
you when you're trying to run, I'm
liable to give him a pardon for saving
me the trouble of tracking you down,
so you can bet their aim is true.

Dillard puts a cigarette in his mouth. Hoppin' Bob is right
there with the flame.

DILLARD
My name is Sgt. Dillard. In the
unlikely event that you need to
address me, you call me boss. You
already met this handsome fella right
here. Hoppin' Bob's my ace boon coon.
You run afoul of Hoppin' Bob, you
run afoul of me.

Nodding to Bob, Dillard saunters off.

HOPPIN' BOB
New men, strip down!

Ray and Claude share a look. Self-consciously, the men begin
to undress.

INT. BUNKHOUSE -- DAY

Double bunks line the walls, with a footlocker for each
inmate. As usual, there's a poker game going on.

HOPPIN' BOB
Okay, ladies, got some fresh meat
for ya!

All activity comes to a halt as the new men shuffle into the
cage wearing their prison-issue "ring-arounds." Hoppin' Bob
slams the metal doors shut behind them.

HOPPIN' BOB
We ain't got no wallflowers at Camp
8. Everybody gotta dance eventually.
But don't worry, they won't try
nothing tonight. That would take all
of the fun outta the courtship.

The INCORRIGIBLES hungrily eye the new men in total silence.
Claude sticks close to Ray as they shuffle toward their
assigned bunks. The CAMERA SETTLES on a much younger WILLIE
LONG.

EXT. COUNTRY ROAD -- MORNING

The inmates jump down from the mule cart and grab hoes and
shovels. Because he can't count, Hoppin' Bob keeps track of
the men using a system all his own -- a PEBBLE in his pocket
for each man. Dillard stands by with his shotgun.

DILLARD
Got three miles of ditch to clear
today. Let's keep it moving!

EXT. DITCH -- DAY

The men of Camp 8 labor under the brutal mid-day sun. JANGLE
LEG, a handsome, muscular man, sings a verse to set the work
tempo. Up and down the line, a mighty chorus responds. The
CAMERA FINDS Ray and Claude swinging pick axes, sweating
profusely.

CLAUDE
I don't believe this before Abe jive.
I didn't go to night school to sing
in no Mississippi Boys Choir!

Claude stops to catch his breath and take off his shirt.

RAY
I wouldn't do that if I was you.

CLAUDE
Shut up. It's too damn hot. What do
you know, anyway?

A SHOT rings out. Claude hits the ground as a bullet kicks
up some dust nearby.

RAY
Told ya.

Claude looks up to see Dillard cracking pistachio nuts as
Hoppin' Bob puts another round in the chamber of his rifle.

DILLARD
Why ain't his pick swinging?

HOPPIN' BOB
(echoing)
Why ain't that pick swinging?

CLAUDE
It's too hot, boss. I'm tired.

HOPPIN' BOB
He says it's too hot, boss.

DILLARD
Too hot, huh? Well, you tell that
lazy jiggaboo the state of Mississippi
ain't interested in his meteorological
assessments.

HOPPIN' BOB
Listen up, jiggaboo! State of
Mississippi ain't interested in
your... in your...
(off Dillard's look)
metropolitan assets!

DILLARD
Tell him the state of Mississippi is
only interested in getting this ditch
cleared by sundown.

HOPPIN' BOB
State of Mississippi wants this ditch
cleared by sundown. You got that?!

CLAUDE
I got it... boss.

DILLARD
He don't sound like he's from 'round
here.

HOPPIN' BOB
He's from New York City. That one,
too.

DILLARD
New York. That's up north, ain't it?
They'll find we do things different
down here.

RAY
We noticed.

Annoyed, Dillard jabs the butt of his rifle into Ray's solar
plexus. Ray sinks to his knees in the dirt.

DILLARD
Looks like we got a couple of live
ones. How long these boys in for?

HOPPIN' BOB
Judge gave 'em the long ride.

DILLARD
Life, huh? They step outta line again,
we'll shorten up that sentence real
fast.

Dillard swaggers off, dogged at the heels by the ever faithful
Hoppin' Bob. Resigned, Ray and Claude return to their labor.

EXT. DITCH -- DAY

The men rest in the ditch as BISCUIT, a slight inmate with a
red bandanna tied around his head, dispenses water, one ladle
per man.

BISCUIT
Drink it up!

Willie exchanges two cigarettes for a second ladle. POKER
FACE pulls a crumpled envelope from his shirt. His expression
never changes, hence the name.

POKER FACE
Either of you new fellas know how to
read? I've had this letter four months
now.

CLAUDE
You can't read? None of these guys
can read?

WILLIE
Last fella who could read made parole
'round Christmas.

POKER FACE
I don't even know who this is from.

RAY
Here, gimme that.

Ray unfolds the letter and scans it.

RAY
It's from your mama's neighbor, Mrs.
Tidwell. She thought you oughta know
that your second cousin Bo died.

The prisoners express their condolences. "Sorry, man." "That's
some bad news." "I know you loved Bo like a brother..."

RAY
And your other cousin, Sally, on
your daddy's side, she died.

More sympathy from the men. "Ooh. Twice in one letter." "Rough
break, Poker Face..."

RAY
Apparently, your sister died.

POKER FACE
Jenny?

RAY
No, it says Marleen here.

Relief all around. "Thank goodness."

RAY
Oh, wait, looks like Jenny died,
too.

"Bad luck, man." "That's harsh..."

RAY
Then it goes on for a while about
how the crop didn't come in on
accounta the frost.
(flips over the page)
She finishes up with something about
a tornado and how your mama and your
daddy died in that. But don't worry
none. She'll take care of the dog.
That is, if it gets over the worms.

The prisoners share dark looks. Ray folds up the letter and
hands it back to Poker Face.

POKER FACE
Appreciate it.

RAY
Anybody else need anything read?

"No, man, we're good." The men shake their heads and return
letters and cards to their pockets. Jangle Leg nods and
switches places with one of the convicts, parking next to
Claude.

JANGLE LEG
How you doin'?

CLAUDE
I'm all right.

JANGLE LEG
You ever done time before?

CLAUDE
You kidding? I've been in and out of
prison my entire life. Mostly in.
I'm hard-core.

JANGLE LEG
Then you won't have no problem making
the adjustment. You need anything,
help of any kind, gimme a holler.
Name's Jangle Leg.

CLAUDE
'Preciate it. Claude.

As they shake, Jangle Leg inspects Claude's hand thoroughly.

JANGLE LEG
Soft and supple. Like a lady's.

CLAUDE
(eyes narrowing)
I try to moisturize regularly.

HOPPIN' BOB
(over his shoulder)
Hey, Jangle Leg, what'd I tell you
about pitching woo on the job?

JANGLE LEG
Sorry, Cap'n.

Claude snatches back his hand and gives Jangle Leg a hard
look.

HOPPIN' BOB
Break's over! Back to work!

As the men grab their tools and return to work, Claude leans
over to Ray.

CLAUDE
Why do you think they call him Jangle
Leg?

RAY
Somebody just told me he wins the
three-legged race every year.

CLAUDE
So?

RAY
He does it all by himself.

INT. MESS HALL -- DUSK

Wincing with each movement and covered in grime from the
day's labors, the new men bring up the back of the chow line.
COOKIE, the grub-slinger, slaps a large dollop of an
unidentifiable substance onto Ray's tray.

RAY
What is that?

COOKIE
Creamed chip beef on toast. Except
we're outta beef, so I had to
improvise.

RAY
Can't I get one of those steaks you
got grilling back there?

COOKIE
Those are for trusties, unless you
got thirty cents or two packs of
cigs.

Another prisoner lays down some tobacco and gets a juicy
steak. Ray grabs a hunk of corn bread and makes his way to
the back of the room. Claude steps up, holds out his tray
for Cookie.

CLAUDE
Excuse me, I don't like it when the
food touches each other, so if you
could just --
(SPLAT!)
-- keep everything separate.

Disappointed, Claude turns to discover that the only seat
left is next to Ray. Scowling, he limps toward it.

Jangle Leg's eyes follow Claude as he approaches the table.
Biscuit smacks him.

BISCUIT
Eyes front, mister!

Claude sits down and promptly goes to work scraping his burnt
toast with his knife. The irritating sound slowly brings the
entire room to dead silence. All eyes fall on Claude. Scratch,
scratch, scratch...

COOKIE
(stepping up)
Problem with the toast?

CLAUDE
It's fine now.

Cookie glowers and takes a seat.

RAY
Stop aggravating people. Just eat
your food.

As the room returns to normal, Claude starts polishing his
fork with his shirttail. Irritated, Ray shoots him a look.

CLAUDE
This fork is filthy.

RAY
The fork is the least of your worries,
Claude.

Undeterred, Claude breathes on his fork and polishes it some
more. Disgusted, Ray pushes aside his plate.

RAY
What's your name?

WILLIE
Me? Willie Long.

RAY
What are you in for, Willie?

WILLIE
That's a long story...

RADIO
When he was 13 years old he killed a
son-of-a-bitch with a claw hammer.

WILLIE
They never proved that.

CLAUDE
What a second, you've been in here
since you were thirteen?

RAY
What about you, Radio?

RADIO
Armed robbery.

JANGLE LEG
Damn liar. Bitch killed his sister
with an axe.

RADIO
She was my half-sister. Shit, I ain't
the son-of-a-bitch who poisoned my
own parents.

BISCUIT
(protective)
They deserved it. Very strict.

POKER FACE
What about you, Biscuit? You nearly
skinned your poor old landlady alive.

COOKIE
At least he didn't kill Santa Claus
with his bare hands.

RAY
You killed Santa Claus?

BISCUIT
(scolding)
On Christmas Eve.

POKER FACE
He wasn't the Santa Claus, he was
just wearing the suit and ringing a
bell.

WILLIE
What did you guys do?

The whole table waits expectantly for their reply.

RAY
I kinda lost track of how many people
we killed that night. Must have been
15 or twenty -- not counting women
and children. It was a real bloodbath.
All that screaming...

CLAUDE
Pack of lies. Don't listen to him.
We didn't kill nobody. We were
railroaded. And we gonna prove that.

RAY
He just blocked it out. Nigger's
crazy. He's the one who did all the
stabbing. He's capable of some heinous
shit.
(thumbing down the
table)
How 'bout him down there?

At the end of the table, GOLDMOUTH, a hulking specimen, snarls
menacingly, flashing a glittering set of teeth.

WILLIE
Goldmouth? They say he was born out
back behind the shithouse. That's
what they say.

RAY
You all been here a long time. Doesn't
anybody ever escape from this place?

WILLIE
They run but they never get too far.

RADIO
Couple years back, Cookie made it
clear to Greenville.

RAY
Greenville, that the nearest town?

WILLIE
(nodding)
It's a two-day walk if you don't get
lost. Take a mighty cagey country
boy to navigate the woods and bayous
between here and there.

BISCUIT
Those dogs they got can sniff a skid
mark in your underpants from a half-
mile off.

RAY
Alright, well, let's say you make it
to Greenville. What's there, anyway?

COOKIE
Grandma Dodi's Pork Rib Joint.

POKER FACE
That's where they nabbed him.

COOKIE
Didn't even get to have my peach
cobbler.

WILLIE
The most important thing they got in
Greenville is a train that heads up
north.

Just then, Goldmouth stands up, casting a shadow over Claude.

GOLDMOUTH
Hey, girl, you gonna eat your corn
bread?

Claude looks up, considering his options.

CLAUDE
No, man. I want you to have it.

RAY
Wait up there, Claude. You give that
guy your corn bread and the next
thing you know you'll be ironing his
shirts and clipping his toenails.

GOLDMOUTH
Maybe I oughta eat your corn bread.

RAY
My corn bread? Oh no, my friend. I
love corn bread.

Ray picks up his corn bread and takes a huge bite out of it,
rolling his eyes with enthusiasm.

RAY
I thought my mama made good corn
bread but this is really something
special.

Ray looks at the faces around the room, smiles broadly.
Goldmouth is getting embarrassed.

RAY
Who knew I'd have to come all the
way down to this here prison, deep
in the asshole of the great state of
Mississippi, to find such a tasty
piece of corn bread?

The prisoners begin to laugh. Ray's got them now.

RAY
And who knew that in this great corn
bread-making institution I'd come
face to face with the biggest,
ugliest, stinkiest, ugliest gold-
mouthed negro in the entire world.
Now get out of my face before I lose
my appetite!

EXT. CAMP 8 YARD -- DUSK

A punch sends Ray sprawling in the dust. Goldmouth looms
over him. The incorrigibles form a circle around the
combatants. Poker Face, the camp bookie, is taking all bets.

GOLDMOUTH
How you like your corn bread now,
New York?

Goldmouth and Ray square off. Goldmouth swings, Ray ducks
and counters with a swift jab to the gut. Goldmouth just
flashes a shiny grin and clobbers Ray with a fist the size
of a Thanksgiving turkey. Ray sinks to the dust. Radio drops
down near him.

RADIO
Come on, New York, you can do better
than that! Get up and show him how
they do it in Harlem!

Ray shakes his head and staggers back to his feet. He circles
the big man and gets in a couple of good shots, much to the
crowd's approval. Goldmouth shakes his head and wipes the
blood from his nose. Now he's mad. He grabs Ray by the shirt
and delivers a crushing blow. Ray reels backward into Cookie's
arms.

COOKIE
I appreciate you going to all this
trouble over my corn bread. I don't
get a lot of compliments in my line
of work.

Cookie shoves Ray back into the ring for more punishment.
Claude emerges from the mess hall, munching on a piece of
corn bread. He squeezes in between Poker Face and Willie.

WILLIE
Your pal's getting the tar whipped
out of him on your account.

CLAUDE
How many times I got to tell you? He
ain't my pal. Besides, he looks like
he knows what he's doing.

Just then Claude winces as Goldmouth delivers a jaw-crushing
uppercut that knocks Ray on his back. Claude bristles under
the incriminating looks coming at him from all directions.

CLAUDE
Alright, alright...

Claude crouches down as Ray rolls over on his stomach and
pushes himself up onto all fours. His eyes are swollen shut,
his face covered with blood.

CLAUDE
Hey, Ray, I think you made your point,
whatever that is. Maybe now's a good
time to throw in the towel. You know
what I'm saying?

Ray manages a smile and staggers to his feet.

RAY
(slurring)
Shit, Goldmouth. Back in New York, I
know bitches who hit harder than
you.

Goldmouth pulls back his fist and lets it fly. Ray hurtles
through the crowd, collapsing in the dust. Willie steps in.

WILLIE
The man's taken enough of a beating.
Let's get him inside.

Cookie, Radio and Poker Face raise Ray to his feet. Goldmouth
slings him over his shoulder and carries him toward the
bunkhouse. Dazed, Ray catches Claude's eye.

RAY
Got him good, huh, Claude? He won't
be bothering us anytime soon.

A quick elbow jab from Goldmouth and Ray is out for good.
Disgusted with himself, Claude tosses what's left of the
corn bread to the mangy dog, who makes short work of it.

BISCUIT
(wagging a finger)
Shame, shame, that's your name.

FADE TO BLACK:

INT. MESS HALL -- DAY

On Sundays, the mess hall also serves as a chapel. From a
makeshift pulpit, the blind REVEREND CLAY and his DAUGHTER
lead the congregation of convicts in a rousing chorus of
"Down by the Riverside."

EXT. CAMP 8 YARD -- DAY

The gospel music filters into the yard, where the prisoners
mingle with kinfolk.

EXT. SGT. DILLARD'S HOUSE -- DAY

MRS. DILLARD hums along with the gospel music as she places
a couple of freshly-baked pies on the window sill to cool.

EXT. CAMP 8 YARD -- DAY

The CAMERA FINDS Claude and Daisy walking hand in hand toward
a simple shack just beyond the gun line. This is the TONK
HOUSE and Dillard is the gate keeper.

CLAUDE
Request permission to go to the tonk,
boss.

Dillard considers Daisy.

DILLARD
I don't see no wedding ring, Banks.
Conjugal visits are for married
prisoners only.

CLAUDE
You think you could make an exception
just this once, boss? She came all
the way down from New York.

DILLARD
I don't need the Baptists on my back,
but I suppose I could issue a
temporary marriage license for a
nominal fee.

Daisy gets the picture. She reaches into her purse and hands
Dillard a couple of dollars.

DILLARD
I now pronounce you man and wife.
(calling to the shooter
shack)
Claude Banks going to the tonk!

Claude takes Daisy's hand and leads her over the gun line.

ACROSS THE YARD

Ray watches Claude and Daisy step into the tonk house. Then
he returns to a game of horseshoes, tossing a ringer. Nearby,
Biscuit gives Jangle Leg a haircut.

RAY
Biscuit, when you're done with Jangle
Leg, you think you could squeeze me
in?

BISCUIT
Thought you'd never ask. Biscuit
needs some gravy.

RAY
I'm talking about a haircut.

BISCUIT
Cost you a pair of nylons.

POKER FACE
Hey, Ray, Goldmouth don't believe
me. Ain't it so they got trains up
in New York City that run under the
streets?

RAY
They're called subways. A nickel
will take you from one end of
Manhattan to the other. Helluva ride,
too.

Radio looks up from a vacuum tube receiver he's busy
repairing.

RADIO
Hey, Ray, you ever been to the Cotton
Club?

RAY
Sure I've been to the Cotton Club.
It's pretty sweet. But it don't hold
a candle to the Boom Boom Room. That's
where the real action is.

WILLIE
What's the Boom Boom Room?

RAY
That's my joint. The swinginest
nightclub in town.

COOKIE
You got your own nightclub?

RAY
Well, not yet. It's still in the
planning stages.

GOLDMOUTH
So it don't exist.

RAY
Just because it's in my mind,
Goldmouth, don't mean it ain't real.
Everything worth anything starts
with a dream.

Hoppin' Bob calls to Ray from the gun line.

HOPPIN' BOB
Gibson! Got yourself a visitor!

Ray turns to find his MOTHER, a handsome woman in a floral
dress, coming toward him.

RAY
Mama?

MAMA GIBSON
Rayford!

The incorrigibles elbow each other and repeat the name
"Rayford" as Mama Gibson envelops her son in a fleshy embrace,
smothering him with kisses.

RAY
What are you doing here, mama?

MAMA GIBSON
I heard some things so I went to see
Spanky Johnson. He told me what
happened and gave me some money to
get down here. What happened to your
face?

RAY
Don't worry about that. Hey, fellas,
this here is my mama. These are some
of my friends. That's Willie, there's
Poker Face, Radio, Cookie, Goldmouth,
Biscuit, Jangle Leg.

The motley crew gathers around, nodding politely. Goldmouth
flashes a golden grin. Willie gallantly doffs his cap.

WILLIE
Mrs. Gibson. Shame on Rayford here
for failing to mention that he had
such a beautiful mama.

Mama manages a half-hearted smile, clutching her bag.

MAMA GIBSON
Nice to meet you all.

GOLDMOUTH
How was your train ride?

MAMA GIBSON
Quite comfortable, thank you.

COOKIE
Them cookies in there?

MAMA GIBSON
Yes, oatmeal.

RADIO
'Scuse me, you got any batteries on
you?

MAMA GIBSON
No. No I don't.

Biscuit sides up, fingering her dress.

BISCUIT
That's a lovely dress. Make it
yourself?

MAMA GIBSON
(vaguely unsettled)
Yeah...

EXT. PORCH -- DAY

Ray and his mama sit in the shade.

RAY
This is a big surprise, mama. I sure
didn't expect to see you down here.

A long, uncomfortable beat. Mama's lip starts to tremble.

MAMA GIBSON
Rayford, I wanted so much more for
you than this.

RAY
Don't cry, mama. This place ain't so
bad as it looks. Sure, we work hard,
but there's plenty fresh air and
sunshine... And you know something
else, I've taken to going to church
regular. They got services every
Sunday right there in the mess hall.

MAMA GIBSON
Don't you lie to me, Rayford.
(composing herself)
You still have your daddy's watch?
(Ray shakes his head)
Well, this is all I can give you. I
wish it was more.

She puts some money in his hand.

RAY
I can't take that, mama.

MAMA GIBSON
Don't argue with me. You need it
more than I do. I know how a little
money can help in a place like this.

Reluctantly, Ray stashes the money in his pocket.

RAY
I can't believe this. I always said
I'd never end up like this. I thought
I'd make something of myself, do
something with my life. You know, be
successful. Have a big house, a
family. Now I'm gonna end up just
like daddy.

MAMA GIBSON
Don't say that, Rayford. Don't ever
say that. He gave up hope. That's
where you gotta be different.

RAY
They gave me life, mama.

MAMA GIBSON
I gave you life. And they can't take
it away from you. Remember that.
You'll get outta here someday. I
believe that. You gotta believe it,
too.

INT. TONK HOUSE -- DAY

Reclining on a straw mattress, Claude watches intently as
Daisy gets dressed. The rickety door reverberates with a
loud pounding.

HOPPIN' BOB
(off)
Time's up, Banks! We got a crowd
gathering out here!

Claude leaps from the bed and slams his fist against the
door.

CLAUDE
Woman came all the way from New York,
goddamnit! We'll come out when we're
good and ready!

Daisy quickly buttons up her dress.

CLAUDE
Did you go see my cousin Maynard
like I asked you in my letter?

DAISY
Of course I did. He said he'd file
an appeal right away. You didn't
tell me he was so good looking.

CLAUDE
Yeah, that side of the family has
all the looks and none of the brains.
I hope he don't mess things up.

DAISY
He seemed like a pretty good lawyer
to me. His offices take up an entire
floor of that big, new building on
125th Street, and he was using all
these words I never heard before. He
even offered me a job.

CLAUDE
A job, huh? Well, that's nice, real
nice. You won't have to work long.
I'll be back soon enough. After I
start work at First Federal Bank of
Manhattan, I'll be keeping you in
style. Everything will get back to
normal again. That's a promise.

Daisy smiles weakly and looks away. She doesn't have much
faith in this promise.

DAISY
Listen, Claude, Maynard wanted to
know if he should file the appeal on
behalf of your friend, too.

CLAUDE
Ray Gibson?
(thinks about it)
No, no. He's the reason I'm in here,
Daisy. For all I know, he's got a
record a mile long. I got a better
shot of getting out of here on my
own. You tell Maynard to think about
me, concentrate on me. Understand?

DAISY
Sure, Claude, whatever you say.

EXT. COUNTRY ROAD -- DAY

The prisoners jump down from the cart and grab hammers and
pick axes as Hoppin' Bob keeps count with pebbles.

DILLARD
We lost yesterday on accounta the
rain. That means we gotta make up
for it today, so put your backs to
it.

HOPPIN' BOB
You heard the boss! Let's move!

Ray and Claude jump down after Willie.

WILLIE
(squinting at the sun)
Looks like a scorcher.

RADIO
I bet the son of a bitch goes over a
hundred and ten.

POKER FACE
I'll take that action.

EXT. FIELD -- DAY

The long line levels a road to a work tune being sung by
Jangle Leg.

Dillard checks the thermometer on the truck -- 90 degrees
and rising. Mopping his brow, he starts down the line.

The sun arcs overhead, a blazing inferno... Heat rises off
the road... The men sweat profusely... "Taking it off here,
boss!" echoes up and down the line.

Biscuit has his work cut out for him, lugging a water bucket
from man to man, offering the ladle.

The sun... the hammer... the ladle... the axe... the sun...
the hammer... the ladle... the axe... The mercury hits 110
degrees...

A NEW GUY lets his hammer slip from his fingers, collapses
in the dirt. Radio nods to Poker Face, who hands him a pack
of cigs.

WILLIE
Man down, boss!

Dillard uses his foot to roll the stricken man over. He's
still alive. Barely.

DILLARD
You two, put him on the truck!

Ray and Claude drop their tools, grab the man by his arms
and legs and lug him up to the road. Once out of earshot,
Ray whispers to Claude.

RAY
Cookie drew me a map to Greenville.

CLAUDE
So?

RAY
You know what I'm saying.

CLAUDE
Yeah, I know what your saying. And
I'm saying if you made it that far,
they'd be watching every train that
pulls out of that station.

RAY
That's why we won't take the train.
Cookie showed me where there's a
farm house. They got a boat there.

CLAUDE
What do you know about boats? I bet
you can't even swim.

They reach the truck. With effort, they swing the man back
and forth and launch him into the back of the truck.

RAY
What I know about boats is they take
you to freedom. Come on, man. I think
we can do this.

CLAUDE
Why are you always talking about we?
There is no we. There is a me, there
is a you. But there is no we between
us.

HARD CUT TO:

INT. BUNKHOUSE WASHROOM -- DAY

Ray and Claude continue their conversation as they lather up
for a shave.

RAY
You want out of this place, don't
you? Don't tell me you're starting
to like it here.

CLAUDE
No, I don't like it here. Look around.
There's nothing but ass. Male ass!
Balls and ass! Believe you me, I'm
getting out of here.

RAY
What does that mean?

CLAUDE
Forget it.

RAY
I'm not gonna forget it. What does
that mean? If you've got a plan, I
think I have a right to know about
it. I told you my plan.

CLAUDE
Getting a map from a chubby chef
named Cookie? Dragging our asses
through the swamps in search of some
worm-eaten boat? That ain't a plan,
that's a vacation for two in the
hole. When you've got a map to New
York City, you get back to me.

Claude splits. Scowling, Ray finishes up his shave.

INT. BUNKHOUSE -- NIGHT

Moonlight streams through the barred windows of the cage.
Exhausted from the day's work, each man stretches out
painfully in his bunk.

JANGLE LEG
Sure was hot out there today.

COOKIE
Still too hot to sleep.

RADIO
Every bone in my body feel like a
big son-of-a-bitch dog got hold of
it.

GOLDMOUTH
I can't wait 'til Sunday.

CLAUDE
What's so great about Sunday? Monday's
right after it.

Restless, Radio rolls over.

RADIO
Hey, Ray, what's the name of that
nightclub of yours?

RAY
You mean the Boom-Boom Room?

RADIO
That's it. The Boom-Boom Room. Sure
would like to see that place when
you get it up and running.

RAY
You should have come by last night,
Radio. You woulda had yourself some
fun.

WILLIE
Last night? What are you talking
about, Ray?

RAY
I'm talking about old Satchmo nearly
blew the roof off the joint.

POKER FACE
Who?

RAY
Satchmo.

GOLDMOUTH
You mean Louis Armstrong?

RAY
He's a good friend of mine. Drops by
the club whenever he's in town.

CLAUDE
Hey, do we have to listen to this
bullshit? I'm trying to get some
sleep around here.

"Shut up, Claude!" echoes around the room. Irritated, Claude
thumps his pillow and turns his back on the room.

RAY
Yeah, things were hot last night,
but you'll never guess who's playing
tonight.

BLAM! A high horn note sounds.

SMASH CUT:

CLOSE-UP -- Biscuit, all dolled up and flashing a million-
dollar smile. She begins to sing.

BISCUIT
A tisket a tasket...

Biscuit is up on a makeshift platform in the bunkhouse,
lipsyncing to Ella Fitzgerald. But its not the depressing
bunkhouse anymore, it has transformed into Ray's Boom-Boom
Room. PULL OUT SLOWLY as Ray, decked out in a sleek tuxedo
steps in front of the CAMERA. He speaks into the CAMERA as
he walks...

RAY
That's right, fellas. Catch any cab
heading uptown. All the drivers know
Ray's Boom-Boom Room.

GOLDMOUTH (O.S.)
Hey, Ray...

Ray looks to his left, sees Goldmouth in the old bunkhouse.

GOLDMOUTH
Where am I at, man?

RAY
(in nightclub)
C'mon, Goldmouth, somebody's gotta
watch the front door.

The CAMERA PANS off Ray to Goldmouth, in a tuxedo, at the
front door of the nightclub with two lovely ladies. He waves
to himself, sitting on his bunk. Himself waves back, smiling
like a kid in a candy store.

Willie is behind the bar, serving drinks to three gorgeous
SKIMMIES.

WILLIE
Hey, Ray, I could get used to this!

CLOSE ON Cookie sitting a table eating a huge porterhouse.
The CAMERA DOLLIES around to find Ray eating with him.

COOKIE
Ray, my man, this steak is like
butter!

RAY
Made just for you, Cookie.

COOKIE
How about some steak sauce?

RAY
No problem. Oh, boy!

Ray motions to a busboy clearing a table. It's Claude.

RAY
How about some Worchestershire sauce!
And clean that damn table.

Claude grimaces.

CUT TO:

Willie laughing, Goldmouth laughing, Poker Face in the bunk
laughing.

POKER FACE
Hey, Ray, I know you got some
gambling!

CUT TO:

Ray at a craps table holding a pair of dice. He looks at
Poker Face on his bunk.

RAY
C'mon, Poker Face, what's a club
without some dice?

The CAMERA PULLS BACK as Ray throws the dice. A perfect seven.
The CAMERA PANS UP to Poker Face in a tux clutching a fistful
of cash.

POKER FACE
Lucky seven! My nigger! Let it ride!

Across the room, Jangle Leg, in a tux, sits at the piano.
Radio, also in a tux, beats on the drums.

JANGLE LEG
Sing, girlfriend!

Biscuit sings the song, smiling lovingly at her man. Everyone
is having a great time in Ray's Boom-Boom Room, until...

Whistles blow. At the front door, Hoppin' Bob appears with
FIVE TRUSTIES dressed in police outfits. The incorrigibles
scatter.

RADIO
Hey, Ray, looks like trouble!

A hard white light from Hoppin' Bob's flashlight shines
directly into the CAMERA.

CLOSE ON Ray, in his bed, back in the old bunkhouse. The
music stops abruptly. He shields his eyes from the harsh
light. Hoppin' Bob is looming over him. It's back to reality.

HOPPIN' BOB
You don't shut up, you're gonna spend
the rest of the night in the hole,
Gibson! That goes for the rest of
you girls, too. I don't want to hear
another peep about no Boom-Boom
fucking Room!

A loud burst of flatulence cuts through the darkness. Hoppin'
Bob turns his flashlight on Cookie.

COOKIE
Sorry, Cap'n.

Scowling, Hoppin' Bob steps out of the cage and locks the
door behind him. The men slowly settle back in.

RADIO
(whispering)
Pretty good story, Ray. Didn't much
care for the ending though.

Lights out at Camp 8.

EXT. CAMP 8 -- YARD -- DAY

Claude's playing pepper with Radio, Jangle Leg and Poker
Face.

DILLARD
Mail call!

The incorrigibles quickly gather around as he calls off names,
passing cards and letters through the crowd.

DILLARD
Craddock!... Williams... Henshaw!...
Banks!

CLAUDE
Here!

Dillard hands the letter to Ray, who glances at it before
passing it back to Claude.

RAY
(reading)
Maynard Banks, Esquire. Attorney at
law.

CLAUDE
Gimme that. That doesn't concern
you.

RAY
I'm sure it don't.

INT. CAMP 8 BUNKHOUSE -- DAY

Claude rips open the letter. A profound disappointment settles
over him as he reads the news from cousin Maynard. Bitterly,
he crumples up the letter and tosses it down.

EXT. FIELD - DAY

Dillard strolls down the line with his rifle over his
shoulder. Under his watchful gaze, hoes rise and fall. After
he passes, Claude moves a little closer to Ray.

CLAUDE
What's up, Ray?

RAY
(cool)
Claude.

CLAUDE
Sure is hot today. Think it'll rain
later?

RAY
What do you want, Claude?

CLAUDE
What do I want? What makes you think
I want something?

RAY
My daddy always said when a man starts
talking about the weather keep you
hand on your wallet.

CLAUDE
Your daddy must have been a helluva
guy, a deep man, a wise man. Sure
wish I could have met him --

RAY
Cut the bullshit. What do you want,
Claude?

CLAUDE
(clearing his throat)
You still got that map?

RAY
Yeah.

CLAUDE
Well, if you're still thinking about
booking it, I want in. I think we
can make it.

RAY
We? Did I hear you say we? As I
recall, you're the one who said there
is no we. Guess we got some bad news
in that letter, huh?

CLAUDE
Look, my cousin Maynard is a lawyer.
He filed an appeal on my behalf --

RAY
On your behalf. What happened to we?

CLAUDE
The appeal was denied. Then Daisy
went and fell for Maynard. They're
engaged to be married, can you believe
that?

RAY
Well, let's just think about that
for a moment. He's a successful lawyer
up in New York City and you're down
here with a bright future in the
cotton picking business. Eeny, meeny,
miney, Maynard.

CLAUDE
Come on, man. Don't shut me out. I'm
telling you, you and me, that map,
we can go places.

RAY
You know what, Claude? This whole
time we've been down here, you've
done nothing but think about yourself,
acting like this whole thing is my
fault. That plan with your cousin,
did that include me?

A long beat.

CLAUDE
No.

RAY
At least you're honest for once. So
now you want to be my friend? Well,
let me tell you something, Claude-my-
shit-don't-stink-Banks. You got a
lot to learn about friendship.

CLAUDE
Does that mean I'm in?

RAY
I don't think so, Claude. You'd just
slow me down. We'd have to stop every
five minutes so you could polish
your silverware. There's no way around
it, you're soft.

CLAUDE
What'd you say?

RAY
I said you're soft.

CLAUDE
Don't call me that. You know I hate
it when you call me that.

Ray gets in Claude's face and silently mouths the word --
"soft." Claude throws down his hoe and sinks his fist deep
into Ray's gut.

CLAUDE
Damn, that felt good. I should have
done that the first time I met you.

Ray touches the blood coming from his nose. Eyes blazing, he
tackles Claude, dragging him to the ground. The two men roll
around, trying to strangle each other.

Hoppin' Bob hustles down the hill and drags Ray off of Claude.
But Claude comes back for more. Hoppin' Bob finds himself in
the middle of the fray.

That's when the cavalry arrives. Two trusties use their rifles
to crack Ray and Claude over the backs of their heads, sending
them both down for the count.

Hoppin' Bob empties his canteen over their faces. They sputter
back to consciousness.

HOPPIN' BOB
Now you girls set aside your
differences and get back to work or
I'll see to it --

RAY
-- we'll spend a night in the hole.
We heard this shit before.

Ray and Claude stagger to their feet and pick up their tools.
Hoppin' Bob and the trusties head back up the hill. Ray starts
to chuckle.

CLAUDE
What the fuck are you laughing about?

Ray opens his palm to reveal TWO PEBBLES. Claude regards Ray
with new-found respect.

EXT. COUNTRY ROAD -- SUNDOWN

One by one, the prisoners of Camp 8 climb into the mule carts
under the watchful eye of Hoppin' Bob. As each man passes,
he removes a pebble from his pocket. The last one in is
Willie. Hoppin' Bob's pocket is now empty.

HOPPIN' BOB
All in, boss!

DILLARD
Move it out.

HOPPIN' BOB
Movin' it out, boss.

Dillard spurs his horse, escorting the mule carts back to
camp.

EXT. FIELD -- SUNDOWN

As the carts fade into the distance, Ray and Claude pop up
from a roadside ditch and take off for a grove of trees in
the opposite direction.

EXT. WOODS -- SUNDOWN

Running for all they're worth, Ray and Claude crash through
the bramble. Claude trips over a root and sprawls face first
in the bushes. Ray turns around and helps him to his feet.
Claude is still laughing giddily. He throws his arms around
Ray.

CLAUDE
You did it, man! You got us out!
Next stop, New York City!

RAY
New York's a long way's off. Let's
just keep moving, okay?

As Ray and Claude disappear into the woods...

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. BUNKHOUSE -- NIGHT

Radio's pulling in some jazz music out of New Orleans.
Prisoners hit their bunks as the floorwalker does the nightly
head count. He stops at Claude and Ray's empty bunks, glancing
around, puzzled.

EXT. DILLARD'S PORCH -- NIGHT

Dillard smokes a cigarette on the swing. His wife steps out
with a fresh bourbon and ice. Suddenly, SIRENS start to wail
and emergency floodlights blaze to life at Camp 8.

EXT. FIELD -- NIGHT

Hounds scramble down from the back of a truck and gather
around the DOG BOY. He holds out a handful of soiled laundry
and a dozen snouts sniff it thoroughly.

Nearby, Dillard gathers a DOZEN MEN with rifles and
flashlights into a posse. He puts a cigarette in his mouth.
Hoppin' Bob lights it for him.

EXT. WOODS -- NIGHT

Trees rise ominously around Ray and Claude as they push
through dense underbrush.

CLAUDE
I know these trees all look the same,
but I'm getting an awful familiar
vibration from this one right here.
You sure you know where we're going?

RAY
Absolutely. The map is very clear.

CLAUDE
Let me take a look at that map.

Claude considers it from various angles.

CLAUDE
You call this a map? What was Cookie
smoking when he drew this?

RAY
Cookie didn't draw it. I did.

CLAUDE
You drew this?!

RAY
I knew you wouldn't come if I didn't
have a map.

CLAUDE
That gripes my soul, man. We're out
here in the middle of nowhere. There
is shit nibbling at my balls! Don't
tell me you don't know where we're
going!

Ray shrugs and presses on. Dumbfounded, Claude considers the
map again, then tears it to shreds. The braying of hounds
echoes through the trees.

CLAUDE
Hey, wait up!

EXT. THE WOODS -- NIGHT

Ray and Claude race through the underbrush.

EXT. THE WOODS -- NIGHT

Dillard and his men follow the dogs through the woods, hot
on the scent.

EXT. THE WOODS -- NIGHT

Ray and Claude race up to a chain-link fence. On the other
side, an old Ford is parked on a dirt road. Hearing the posse
closing in behind them, Ray and Claude fling themselves onto
the fence.

EXT. THE WOODS -- NIGHT

The posse is gaining ground. Dillard takes two men off to
the left, sending the rest of the men straight ahead.

EXT. THE WOODS -- NIGHT

Claude clears the fence first and scrambles for the old Ford.
Ray's shirt snags on a piece of wire as he drops down from
the fence. Stuck, he dangles helplessly a few feet off the
ground.

INT. FORD -- NIGHT

Claude yanks open the door and jumps behind the wheel. TWO
WHITE TEENAGERS bolt up in the backseat where they were
necking. After a beat -- group scream. The half-dressed
teenagers dive from the car and scramble off down the road.
Claude twists the key in the ignition and the engine roars
to life.

CLAUDE
Come on, Ray, time to go!

RAY
I'm stuck!

Claude sees Ray caught up on the fence, then hears the sounds
of the approaching posse. If he floored it right now, he
might make it. But he can't just leave Ray hanging there.

EXT. FENCE -- NIGHT

Claude runs up and grabs Ray's legs, pulling for all he's
worth. The shirt rips free, sending Ray and Claude tumbling
to the ground. They leap to their feet and turn toward the
car -- running smack into the barrel of Dillard's shotgun.

EXT. SUPERINTENDENT'S MANSION -- DAY

An OLD BLACK PRISONER delivers a frosty mint julep to
SUPERINTENDENT ABERNATHY who rocks slowly in his chair. At
his feet, his 10-year-old daughter MAE ROSE is playing jacks.
Her long blonde hair makes her look like a little angel.

MAE ROSE
Look, daddy. They caught those two
men who escaped last night.

Mae Rose is pointing down the drive, where Dillard and a
couple of trusties march Ray and Claude toward the house.

ABERNATHY
They ain't men, Mae Rose. They're
convicts. And nigger convicts to
boot. Can you say nigger?

MAE ROSE
Nagger?

ABERNATHY
No, nigger.

MAE ROSE
Nigger.

ABERNATHY
That's my girl.

Bound by leg irons and handcuffs, Ray and Claude are deposited
at the bottom of the stairs.

DILLARD
Here they are, Superintendent. We
tracked 'em all the way to the
Tallahachie.

ABERNATHY
That's quite a ways. I'm glad you
New York boys could see some of our
lovely countryside while you're down
here. What do you say, Mae Rose? How
should we teach these two a lesson?

Mae Rose considers their faces. Ray and Claude look like
they've been to hell and back.

MAE ROSE
A night in the hole?

ABERNATHY
Better make it a week.

Dillard nods and turns Ray and Claude around. As they march
back down the drive, Abernathy takes sip of his mint julep
and affectionately pats Mae Rose on the head.

EXT. CAMP 8 -- DAY

The incorrigibles of Camp 8 gather at the gun line, watching
silently as Dillard and a couple of trusties march Ray and
Claude toward the hole.

EXT. THE HOLE -- DAY

The trusties shove them each into a small, dank cell and
slam the doors behind them. Dillard secures both doors with
an iron bar.

DILLARD
See you in a week, boys.

OMITTED

Sequence omitted from original script.

INT. RAY'S CELL -- DAY

Ray slumps to the floor, propping his feet against the wall.

RAY
Hey, Claude. I just want to say thanks
for coming back for me.

INT. CLAUDE'S CELL -- DAY

Claude considers his bleak surroundings. It's a small,
uncomfortable space, not even big enough to lie down. Just a
tin bucket for a toilet.

CLAUDE
Don't mention it.

RAY
(off)
Hell, you'd probably be half way to
New York by now...

CLAUDE
I'm serious, man. Don't mention it.
Ever.

EXT. THE HOLE -- DAY

The sun beats down on the tin roofs...

INT. BUNKHOUSE -- CAGE -- NIGHT

The prisoners are gathered around a table, laying out money.
As usual, Poker Face is keeping tabs.

COOKIE
I'll take Claude to die on Wednesday
for fifty cents.

POKER FACE
Wednesday for two bits. And don't
forget you already owe me a steak.

BISCUIT
I'll take Claude for Friday. That's
my birthday.

With an ear to his receiver, Radio slaps his money on the
table.

RADIO
Weatherman says a heat wave's coming.
I say neither one of 'em son of
bitches gonna last past Thursday.

POKER FACE
I told you before, I don't take
pennies. Two cigarettes or one nickel
minimum. What about you, Willie?
Gonna get in on this action?

WILLIE
I got a crispy new dollar bill says
both of them gonna make it.

This gives the men pause. Willie tosses his money on the
table.

POKER FACE
Now that's what I call a bet.

GOLDMOUTH
It's a mighty long shot, Willie.
Nobody ever made it a week in the
hole.

JANGLE LEG
Not in August, anyway.

But Willie leaves the money where it is.

POKER FACE
Who else has some guts around here?

Poker Face makes notations as the betting resumes.

EXT. FIELD -- DAY

Work goes on as usual for the prisoners of Camp 8. Trusties
keep their eyes peeled for slackers.

EXT. THE HOLE -- DAY

The brick shacks bake in the noonday sun.

EXT. FIELD -- DAY

Biscuit moves down the line offering the ladle to the men as
they struggle under a crushing heat wave.

EXT. THE HOLE -- DAY

Superintendent Abernathy strides up and gives the nod to
Dillard, who unlocks the doors. Huddled in their respective
cells, Ray and Claude shrink from the bright sunlight. Then,
slowly and painfully, they rise to their feet.

In the background, the incorrigibles gather at the gun line
as word spreads that the fellows are still alive. Abernathy
glances at the crowd with annoyance.

ABERNATHY
I don't think these boys have learned
their lesson. Let's give 'em another
week for good measure.

DILLARD
Sure you want to do that, sir?

ABERNATHY
Don't you ever question me, Sgt.
Dillard. When I give an order, you
jump to it, or I'll kick you and
that first-cousin you call a wife
outta that pretty little house so
fast it'll make your pin-head spin.
You got that?

DILLARD
Yes, sir.

Dillard slams the doors on Ray and Claude and clamps shut
the padlocks. Abernathy smiles at the incorrigibles, who
regard him with undisguised hatred.

AT THE GUN LINE

A somber Poker Face offers Willie a wad of bills.

POKER FACE
Well, they made it a week. Looks
like you win, Willie.

WILLIE
Let it ride.

INT. CLAUDE'S CELL -- NIGHT

A slot at the bottom of the door opens. A tin plate of mush
slides through and the slot closes. Slumped in the corner,
Claude reaches for the food -- but a RAT beats him to it,
scampering out of the shadows and leaping onto the dish.

INT. RAY'S CELL -- NIGHT

A commotion and wild screams come from Claude's cell. Ray
leaps to his feet, shouting through the wall.

RAY
Claude? You alright?!

INT. CLAUDE'S CELL -- NIGHT

Claude continues to stomp the rat.

CLAUDE
Can't take it no more, Ray! Die,
motherfucker! Gotta get the fuck
outta here!

Claude pounds against the door, raising a holy racket. We
continue to cut back and forth between cells as needed.

RAY
Keep it together, Claude. You wake
up the man, he'll shoot you for sure.

CLAUDE
He'd be doing me a favor. I'm getting
outta here one way or the other!
Goddamn rats and shit! Fuck!

Claude continues shouting and pounding.

RAY
All right, man, just settle down.
We'll get outta here, Claude. We'll
get outta here real soon.

CLAUDE
How the fuck are we gonna do that,
Ray?!

Ray looks around his cell. Claude's pounding is bound to
wake up somebody soon.

RAY
We'll just get off at the next stop.

CLAUDE
(stops pounding,
confused)
Say what?

RAY
That's right, we'll get off at the
next stop. The train's pulling into
the station right now.

CLAUDE
The hell you talking about? What
train?

RAY
We're in the Bronx, my man. Hundred
and Sixty First Street.

Claude focuses on what Ray is saying and starts to breathe
easier.

CLAUDE
Hundred and Sixty First Street? That's
Yankee Stadium.

RAY
Hell, yes, Yankee Stadium. Bombers
are playing a double-header against
the Red Sox.

CLAUDE
Red Sox... Who's on the mound?

RAY
I don't know. Who do you want?

CLAUDE
Allie Reynolds. He's my boy.

RAY
Sure, it says Allie Reynolds right
here in the program. He's warming up
right now. Man, we're so close to
the field I need cleats. How'd you
get such good seats?

CLAUDE
I know people.

RAY
They must be the right people. Whoa,
there goes the hot dog man. Let's
get a couple. Damn, that smells good.
Nothing like a ballpark hot dog,
huh?

CLAUDE
You get ketchup?

RAY
Ketchup? Who eats ketchup on a hot
dog? Mustard's what you want.

CLAUDE
I can't eat it with mustard.

EXT. THE HOLE -- NIGHT

Dillard strides toward the hole, shotgun in hand. He pauses
to listen to the argument, cocking an eyebrow in befuddlement.

RAY
(off)
Give me back that hot dog. I'll eat
it myself.

CLAUDE
(off)
What am I gonna eat?

RAY
(off)
You can starve to death for all I
care. Now shut up, the game's about
to start.

CLAUDE
(off)
Hey, man, is Babe Ruth in the lineup
today?

RAY
(off)
Of course, he's in the lineup. There
he goes right there. Hey, Babe...!

Dillard shakes his head, shoulders his gun and heads back
toward his house.

EXT. THE HOLE -- DAY

Abernathy gives the nod to Dillard, who unlocks the doors.
Two trusties drag Ray and Claude out of their cells.

INT. BUNKHOUSE -- DAY

The men crowd around the windows.

RADIO
What's going on? Are they alive or
dead?

GOLDMOUTH
Don't look too good.

POKER FACE
They're not moving.

EXT. THE HOLE -- DAY

Slowly, Claude opens his eyes, squinting in the harsh light
of day. Summoning his strength, he staggers to his feet.

CLAUDE
Hey, Ray...

Ray's eyes blink open. Claude holds out a hand and helps him
stand up. They share a look. They made it.

ABERNATHY
(scowling)
Sergeant Dillard, make sure these
two are out in the fields first thing
in the morning.

Abernathy turns on his heels. Dillard considers the two tough
guys standing before him.

DILLARD
Go on, get inside.

Ray and Claude stagger toward the bunkhouse as the
incorrigibles gather on the porch and help them in out of
the sun.

DISSOLVE TO:

INSERT -- TIME PASSAGE

(Note: This montage is mixed with 16mm and Super 8 footage.
A beautiful 1940s song plays over.)

A. King Kong is machined-gunned off the top of the Empire
State Building...

B. FDR introduces his New Deal...

C. The incorrigibles chop weeds...

D. With Willie and Claude standing guard, Ray samples a batch
of moonshine from a secret still in his footlocker...

E. At the height of the depression, poor people line up in
front of a soup kitchen...

F. Ray and the crew sit around the poker table playing cards
and laughing...

G. Ray opens a letter and pulls out a snapshot of his mama
which he places over his bunk.

H. The incorribles level a road...

I. Jesse Owens wins the 100 meter race at the 1936 Olympics
in Berlin...

J. Benny Goodman sets the kids dancing with wild abandon in
the aisles of the Paramount Theater...

K. The Hindenburg bursts into flames...

L. Claude writes a letter, "Dear Sylvia"...

M. In the juke joint, Sylvia reads the letter and smiles.
She shows it to a few other WORKING GIRLS...

N. Adolf Hitler stabs the air in front of a foreboding sea
of Nazis...

O. The 1939 World's Fair opens in New York...

P. Ray nails a sign to the side of the bunkhouse: RAY'S BOOM
BOOM ROOM. He steps back to admire the effect. Behind him,
Sylvia and her friends mingle with the incorrigibles in the
yard... Dillard takes his cut as Claude and Sylvia head for
the tonk house. Ray and his date step up...

Q. Lou Gehrig is honored at Yankee Stadium. "Today I consider
myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth..."

R. With a pillow stuffed under a home-made Santa outfit, Ray
distributes chocolate to the incorrigibles while Claude and
Willie decorate the saddest little Christmas tree you ever
saw.

S. The 1940 Oldsmobile is introduced...

T. Japanese Zeros bomb Pearl Harbor...

U. FDR declares "a day that will live in infamy."...

V. A WWII newsreel shows American G.I. s storming a beach in
the South Pacific...

INT. MESS HALL (1943) -- NIGHT

The inmates of Camp 8 cheer for the American soldiers up on
a makeshift movie screen. Instead of black and white stripes,
the prisoners now wear blue twill. In an audience of new
faces, the CAMERA FINDS some familiar ones. Ray and Claude
are surrounded by their crew -- Willie, Radio, Poker Face,
Cookie, Biscuit, Jangle Leg and Goldmouth. A decade has
passed.

EXT. CAMP 8 YARD -- DAY

A line of NEW PRISONERS stands before Dillard, now 10 years
older.

DILLARD
...Camp 8 is for incorrigibles, so
whatever you've done to get here,
believe me, we are not impressed.
You new men are probably noticing
that we have no fences here at Camp
8. We don't need no fences, we have
the gun line. It runs from shack to
shack clear around the yard --

Dillard pauses in front of a big country boy who can't be
more than 18 years old. The kid is bouncing a rubber ball.

DILLARD
What the hell you think you're doing?

The kid don't answer. An OLD GUY steps forward.

OLD GUY
Excuse me, boss. That kid don't talk.
Something wrong with his head, just
can't get right, boss.

DILLARD
Can't get right, huh? We'll see how
long he last. Now, where was I?

HOPPIN' BOB
We don't need no fences at Camp 8,
boss.

DILLARD
That's right. We don't need no fences,
we have the gun line. It runs from
shack to shack clear around the yard.
You are now inside the gun line...

INT. BUNKHOUSE -- DAY

Ray and some of the fellas are playing poker. Dillard's voice
drifts in through the open window.

RAY
(mouthing along)
If you step outside the gun line
without my permission, you will be
shot. If you trip and fall over the
gun line, you will be shot. If you
spit, if you pee, if you stick your
ass out and take a dump over the gun
line, you will be shot...

He lays down his cards and rakes in the pot.

EXT. BASEBALL FIELD -- DAY

Jangle Leg pitches to Radio, who swings and misses. Behind
the plate, Goldmouth tosses the ball back to Jangle Leg. On
the sideline, Ray teaches three-card monte to CAN'T GET RIGHT.
Claude paces nearby.

CLAUDE
I try to teach 'em the finer points
of the game, share my wisdom, but I
don't know why I bother. They don't
listen, they sure don't learn...

Another pitch, another strike.

RAY
What you're dealing with here is a
complete lack of talent.

CLAUDE
I'm sick of watching Camp 12 win the
championship. Every year they get to
roast the victory pig and we get
dick. This year I want that pig.

Radio knocks a grounder up the middle.

CLAUDE
Alright, Radio, there you go. Who
wants to hit next?

Can't Get Right looks at Ray.

RAY
You want to hit?
(to Claude)
Yo, Claude. Give Can't Get Right a
shot.

CLAUDE
(skeptical)
Him?

RAY
Can't be worse than any of these
other fools.

CLAUDE
All right, grab the bat. Let's see
what you can do.

Can't Get Right shuffles to the plate. Goldmouth hands him
the bat.

CLAUDE
Jangle Leg's gonna throw the ball
nice and easy. You just go ahead and
take a swing.

Jangle Leg tosses the ball. Can't Get Right swings and
connects with a mighty CRACK! The incorrigibles crane their
necks as the ball disappears into the sky. They turn to look
at Can't Get Right. Ray gives Claude a significant look,
then tosses another ball out to Jangle Leg on the mound.

CLAUDE
Okay. Let's try that again. This
time give it a little juice.

Jangle Leg nods, winds up and delivers a whistling fast ball.
Can't Get Right clobbers it. Once again, the incorrigibles
track the departing projectile.

RAY
Told ya.

Can't Get Right smiles for the first time.

EXT. SUPERINTENDENT'S MANSION -- DAY

The men of Camp 8 paint a fence along the drive leading up
to the big house.

RADIO
I heard Camp 12 got themselves a son-
of-a-bitch used to pitch for the Mud
Hens.

GOLDMOUTH
That boy got a year for jay-walking.

RAY
Judge must have money riding on the
championship.

CLAUDE
Don't matter who Camp 12 puts on the
mound. All I know is when this
season's over Camp 8's gonna have
pork chops.

Just then a U. S. Army Jeep swerves past the men and parks
in front of the mansion. Young CAPT. TOM BURNETTE helps MAE
ROSE out of the car. The prisoners stare furtively at her
long legs and curly blonde tresses.

POKER FACE
Looks like little Mae Rose has grown
up.

BISCUIT
And out.

COOKIE
Mmm-mm, that girl's got gams.

CLAUDE
She's got it all. And it's firm and
round and fully packed.

RAY
You shred it, wheat. That there is
fresh water.

Next to them, Can't Get Right stares openly, mesmerized by
her beauty. Ray nudges him.

RAY
Be cool, man. You can look, just
don't drool.

Up at the mansion, Abernathy and his WIFE come out onto the
porch, all smiles.

ABERNATHY
How was the honeymoon? Am I gonna be
a grandaddy soon?

MRS. ABERNATHY
Don't pay attention to the
superintendent, Tom. You're going to
stay for supper, aren't you?

TOM
Afraid not. I'm shipping out this
afternoon.

The prisoners steal glances as Mae Rose kisses her new husband
goodbye. She gives them quite a show, raising her leg behind
her just like Betty Grable. Then Tom climbs into the Jeep
and pulls away.

Mae Rose takes a long glance at the prisoners. The men all
look away -- except Can't Get Right who stands there smiling
innocently. Mae Rose gives him a little wink, then turns her
back and bounces up the steps.

EXT. BASEBALL FIELD -- DAY

A plump PIG roots about in a small pen. A sign dangles from
a post -- "First Prize." The incorrigibles of Camp 8 limber
up for the big game with the inmates of Camp 12 across the
field.

POKER FACE
Think you can handle something that
big, Cookie?

COOKIE
I handled your mama, didn't I? Don't
y'all worry. I got plans for that
bad boy. Ain't none of him going to
waste.

Beyond the fence, a late-model sedan rolls up. STAN BLOCKER,
in a straw hat and a rumpled suit, climbs out and stretches
his legs. Irritated, he smacks a mosquito and exchanges a
few words with Dillard.

DILLARD
Banks! Get over here!

Claude hustles over, removing his hat.

DILLARD
This is Stan Blocker. Scout for the
Nigger Leagues.

BLOCKER
Negro Leagues, actually. Pittsburgh
Crawfords. Ever hear of us?

CLAUDE
We get the games on the radio
sometimes.

BLOCKER
We played down in Jackson yesterday.
Heard a rumor you've got a boy up
here who can hit the ball a ton.

CLAUDE
You probably mean Can't Get Right.
That's him over there.

BLOCKER
Can't Get Right? That's the kid's
name? Can I talk to him?

CLAUDE
You can try, but you won't get too
far. Why you interested?

BLOCKER
Crawford's are always looking for
new talent.

CLAUDE
Maybe you didn't notice, but this is
a prison.

BLOCKER
There are ways around that. Right
sergeant?

Blocker winks at Dillard, then glances at the incorrigibles
practicing in the field. Goldmouth, Cookie, Poker Face,
Biscuit -- they don't exactly inspire confidence.

BLOCKER
Nice looking squad. See you after
the game.

Blocker takes a seat on the bench.

EXT. BASEBALL FIELD -- DAY

The inmates of Camp 12 are in the field. Our boys from Camp
8 cheer for Cookie digging in at the plate. Ray taunts the
opposition from the third base line.

The PITCHER winds up and releases a fast ball. Cookie swings
and connects for a base hit up the middle.

IN THE STANDS

Mrs. Abernathy and Mrs. Dillard share a box of Cracker Jack.

MRS. ABERNATHY
Of course, the superintendent's hoping
for a boy, but personally, I'd prefer
a girl.

MRS. DILLARD
Whatever it is will be a little gift
from heaven. Look at the way she
glows.

Mae Rose sits next to them. She is SIX MONTHS PREGNANT. She
removes her sunglasses and coyly bites a fingernail when she
spots Can't Get Right in the on-deck circle.

DOWN ON THE FIELD

Can't Get Right smiles shyly. Sensing trouble, Claude ushers
Can't Get Right toward the plate, massaging his shoulders.

CLAUDE
You're my boy, just keep what little
mind you have focused on the game.
If you hit that ball the way I know
you can, you might just be our ticket
off this farm.

Can't Get Right digs in. Claude returns to the sidelines and
appeals to the gods. The pitcher winds up and releases a
fast ball. Can't Get Right connects with that familiar CRACK!
Blocker stands up and watches the ball clear the fence and
just keep going.

With his team cheering him on, Can't Get Right trots around
the bases. But he's still looking at Mae Rose.

EXT. CAMP 8 YARD (LATER) -- DAY

Cookie slowly turns the pig on a spit over an open fire. The
incorrigibles are savoring a victory feast. As always, trusty
guards keep an eye on things.

Off to the side, Blocker is laughing with Ray and Claude. He
takes a hit off Ray's bottle of shine. It's not his first,
either.

BLOCKER
Mark my words, within five years
there's gonna be a colored man playing
in the majors.

RAY
Come on, the world hasn't changed
that much.

BLOCKER
Maybe not yet. But it will. And I'll
be out of a job. Damn, that's some
tasty hooch.

CLAUDE
It's amazing what Ray here can do
with a couple of pounds of potato
skins and some molasses.

RAY
So, Blocker, what do you think of
our boy?

BLOCKER
I think that boy could be the next
Josh Gibson. I'm gonna talk to the
front office about him, you can bet
on that. Damn, it's getting late. We
got a game in Memphis tomorrow.

Blocker starts for his car, parked just beyond the gun line.

CLAUDE
What about us? Don't forget to mention
us.

RAY
We're like his handlers. He can't
function without us.

BLOCKER
I'll put in a good word for you.
You've done a good job with that
boy. Thanks for your hospitality.

Ray and Claude's eyes gleam with hope as Blocker's car rumbles
off down the road.

EXT. SUPERINTENDENT'S MANSION -- NIGHT

Inside, a woman screams in agony. Then, the HEALTHY CRIES of
a new-born baby.

INT. MAE ROSE'S BEDROOM -- NIGHT

Superintendent Abernathy paces anxiously in front of a white
curtain surrounding Mae Rose's bed. Suddenly, Mrs Abernathy
staggers out from behind the curtain with a stricken look on
her face. She tries to speak, but words fail her. Her legs
go wobbly and she faints dead away.

ABERNATHY
Uh, doctor...

The DOCTOR steps from behind the curtain, drawing it behind
him. He checks Mrs. Abernathy's pulse.

DOCTOR
She'll be fine. She just had a bit
of a shock.

ABERNATHY
Is Mae Rose okay?

DOCTOR
She's doing just fine.

ABERNATHY
And the baby?

DOCTOR
(vague)
He's a big one.

ABERNATHY
It's a boy! Well, let's get a look
at him.

Abernathy pushes past the doctor and yanks open the curtain.
Mae Rose is propped up in bed, looking exhausted.

ABERNATHY
Well, where is he? Where's my new
grandson?

The NURSE turns around, cradling the baby in her arms.
Abernathy gently pulls back the soft blanket. His eyes widen
with horror upon discovering that the newest member of the
Abernathy family is black.

EXT. CAMP 8 YARD -- DAY

Can't Get Right bounces his rubber ball off the wall, catching
it on the rebound.

INT. BUNKHOUSE CAGE -- DAY

Ray passes around his latest batch of buck as the men discuss
Can't Get Right's professional prospects. The thump-thump of
the ball on the wall outside plays over.

POKER FACE
You really think they'll let him out
of here just to play baseball?

WILLIE
Why not? Boy's got God-given talent.

CLAUDE
God may have given it, but Claude
Banks spotted it and nurtured it.

RAY
Damn straight. I expect those
Pittsburgh Crawdads to remember that.

CLAUDE
Crawfords.

RAY
Whatever.

COOKIE
(glancing out the
window)
Heads up, here comes trouble.

EXT. CAMP 8 YARD -- DAY

Abernathy drives his sedan up to the bunkhouse. All of his
worldly possessions are strapped to the roof. It appears
that the Abernathys are leaving town. In the back seat, Mae
Rose cradles her baby. Her mother sits next to her. Dillard
steps out into the yard to confer with the Superintendent,
then turns to address the inmates.

DILLARD
Alright, listen up! I want every man
lined up out here in the yard on the
double! Let's move it!

HOPPIN' BOB
You heard what the man said! Move
it!

EXT. CAMP 8 YARD -- DAY

Abernathy holds his newborn grandson up next to Ray's face.
Hmm. Scowling, he moves a little further down the line,
scrutinizing the features of each man. He pauses in front of
Claude, holds up the baby. Maybe. Abernathy stops in front
Goldmouth. Holds up the baby. The possibility makes him
shudder. He moves on to Can't Get Right. His eyes narrow.

ABERNATHY
I know it was somebody from this
camp. I can feel it in my bones.

Disgusted, Abernathy hands the baby back to Mae Rose. Then
he turns, walks back to Can't Get Right and places a revolver
against his head.

ABERNATHY
Do you know who the father of that
little chocolated baby is?

Can't Get Right nods slowly. Abernathy smiles.

ABERNATHY
Well, then, who is it?

Up and down the line, the men brace themselves for the worst.
Can't Get Right just grins. Enraged, Abernathy cocks the
revolver. That's when Ray steps forward.

RAY
The baby's mine, boss.

Stunned, Abernathy lowers the gun and approaches Ray. Then
Claude steps forward.

CLAUDE
He's lying, boss. I'm the father of
that baby.

Confused, Abernathy looks back and forth between the two
men. Then Willie steps forward.

WILLIE
Actually, it was me, boss. I know I
may look old...

BISCUIT
Any fool could see that baby's mine,
boss.

COOKIE
I beg to differ. That cute little
rascal belongs to me...

POKER FACE
I'm the father...

RADIO
I'm the father, boss...

GOLDMOUTH
I'm the father...

JANGLE LEG
I'm the father...

And so it goes down the line, until every last man of Camp 8
has stepped forward to claim kinship with the Superintendent.
Even hard-ass Dillard can't help cracking a smile. Disgusted,
confused and thoroughly fed up, Abernathy jams the revolver
into his belt and climbs into the car. As he guns the engine,
Mae Rose gazes out the back window, smiling one last time at
the father of her baby. Can't Get Right smiles back.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. CAMP 8 YARD -- DAY

It's visiting Sunday and Ray's Boom Boom Room is in full
swing. Sylvia's girls are everywhere. Down at the gunline,
Dillard takes his cut from inmates lined up for their turn
in the tonk. A FIVE-PIECE PRISON BAND is playing the blues.
Nearby, Willie is dispensing Ray's moonshine from a bunkhouse
window. He raises a jar in a toast.

WILLIE
To Superintendent Abernathy. May he
have many more grandchildren!

The incorrigibles erupt in boisterous agreement. Claude grabs
Can't Get Right and shakes him.

CLAUDE
What I want to know is where? When?
How?

WILLIE
Wasting your breath, Claude. He ain't
the type to kiss and tell.

Just then, Rev. Clay and his daughter emerge from the mess
hall and start across the yard. It's a good thing the old
man is blind because he wouldn't want to see how far his
flock has strayed. The Reverend inhales deeply as one of
Sylvia's girls passes nearby.

REV. CLAY
There's a sweet fragrance in the air
today.

CLAY'S DAUGHTER
The magnolias are blooming early
this year, daddy.

Blissed out incorrigibles enjoy a last dance as the band
downshifts into a slow, sultry number. In the midst of the
dancers, Claude clings to Sylvia. Nearby, Jangle Leg dances
intimately with a YOUNG WOMAN.

Up on the porch, Ray refreshes Biscuit's drink. Biscuit has
been crying and it shows. The liquor probably isn't helping.

RAY
Don't take it so hard, Biscuit. She
don't mean nothin' to him.

BISCUIT
Hell with him. It ain't that.

He pulls some folded sheets of paper from his pocket, passes
them to Ray.

RAY
These are free papers.

BISCUIT
(devastated)
What am I gonna do out there, Ray? I
can't go home to my mama like this.
I'll get the strap for sure.

RAY
Come on, Biscuit, this is good news.
Your mama's gonna break down in tears
when you show up on her doorstep.

Poker Face leans in.

POKER FACE
(sotto)
I'll give you three to one she gives
him the strap.

Ray gives Poker face a shove, then turns back to Biscuit.

RAY
It's 1945. It's a different world
now.

BISCUIT
Not for me, it ain't.

RAY
Well you can't stay here, Biscuit.
This ain't no life for a man. Any
one of these fellas would give their
right arm to be in your shoes. I
sure know I would.

Ray hands back the papers and heads off to dance with a PRETTY
YOUNG WOMAN lingering nearby. Left alone, Biscuit polishes
off his moonshine and checks his reflection in the bunkhouse
window.

BISCUIT
No life on the inside, no life on
the outside...

He crumples the discharge papers and drops them. Then he
steps down from the porch and walks calmly past the dancing
prisoners toward the gun line.

Ray lifts his head off his date's shoulder. Something about
the way Biscuit is walking suggests that he isn't going to
stop.

RAY
Hey, Biscuit...!

But it's too late. Biscuit crosses the gun line and keeps
walking, his eyes focused on the horizon.

TRUSTY
Man over the line!

The band stops playing, the dancers grow still. Dillard turns
around and squints.

DILLARD
Goddamnit, Biscuit, get back here!

But Biscuit isn't paying attention. He breaks into a run.
Dillard nods to Hoppin' Bob who raises his rifle and draws a
bead. But he can't pull the trigger. He lowers his gun.

Shots ring out from the shooter shacks. Biscuit reels from
the impact of the bullets and looks down sadly at the blood
spreading across his ring-arounds...

Prisoners silently gather at the gunline. Jangle Leg pushes
his way through the crowd and crosses the gunline without
hesitation. Dillard indicates for the shooters to hold their
fire. They train their rifles on Jangle Leg as he strides
toward his fallen companion. Jangle Leg gently lifts Biscuit's
lifeless body into his big arms and somberly carries him
back toward the camp. The CAMERA RISES HIGH OVERHEAD as the
prisoners make way for Jangle Leg to cross back over the
gunline.

INT. BUNKHOUSE -- DAY

A dark mood hangs over the men. Jangle Leg sits stoically as
Radio fiddles with his receiver. Nearby, Poker Face and Ray
play a listless game of gin rummy. Claude is thumbing
distractedly through a dog-eared copy of Baseball Digest.

RADIO
Hey, fellas, I got Chicago.

But nobody can muster much enthusiasm for this news. Radio
shrugs and drops down on his bunk.

Just then, Can't Get Right walks past heading for the door.
He's dressed in civilian clothes, his bindle slung over his
shoulder.

CLAUDE
Hey, Can't Get Right, where you going?
Why you dressed like that?

Can't Get Right holds out a piece of paper which Ray
scrutinizes.

RAY
It's a pardon from the governor.

CLAUDE
Let me see that.

The incorrigibles gather around for a glimpse at Can't Get
Right's ticket to freedom.

CLAUDE
Where'd you get this?

Can't Get Right nods out the window. Stan Blocker is waiting
by his car.

EXT. CAMP 8 YARD -- DAY

Claude storms across the yard and stops at the gun line. Ray
is a few steps behind.

CLAUDE
Yo, Blocker, what's going on here?

BLOCKER
Kid's getting out. I got him a pardon.

CLAUDE
Yeah, but what about me and Ray? I
didn't see our names on that pardon.
You said you were gonna put in a
good word for us.

BLOCKER
I did, Claude. I mentioned you. I
mentioned you both. But the fact is,
pardons don't come cheap. The kid
can hit. What can you do?

This hits Claude hard.

RAY
Let it go, Claude.

CLAUDE
I'm not gonna let it go. The man
needs to explain himself. Makin'
promises.

BLOCKER
Look, I am truly sorry about this.
I'd like to help you...

CLAUDE
But you can't.

BLOCKER
At least the kid's getting out. Isn't
this what you wanted?

Claude looks around as the incorrigibles begin to gather.
He's on the spot. Dillard approaches with Can't Get Right.
Claude looks into the big kid's eyes.

CLAUDE
(resigned)
Yeah. Of course it is.

Steeling himself to the reality of the situation, Claude
gives Can't Get Right a hug.

CLAUDE
You show them Crawfords how to play
ball.

RAY
Make 'em throw strikes.

Can't Get Right nods. He steps up to the gun line and looks
at both shooter shacks.

DILLARD
It's alright. You're a free man now.

Can't Get Right steps across the gun line. Blocker opens the
car door for him. But before he climbs in, Can't Get Right
reaches into his pocket and pulls out his rubber ball. With
a smile, he tosses it to Claude, who snatches it out of the
air.

BLOCKER
Don't worry, we'll take good care of
him.

Blocker tips his hat and climbs behind the wheel. Claude and
Ray watch Blocker's car drive off under a red Mississippi
sunset. Slowly, the inmates drift back toward the bunkhouse
until Ray an Claude are left alone at the gun line.

RAY
One of the new kids said they're
farming those acres just north of
the swamp. He said he saw a crop
duster flying around the place.

CLAUDE
I'm not in the mood right now, Ray.

RAY
He said they keep it parked out behind
the barn. Can't be that hard to fly
a plane. Lots of people do it.

CLAUDE
They're called pilots! I'm serious,
Ray. I'm not in the mood for one of
your stupid, fucked-up plans right
now.

RAY
I don't see you coming up with any
plans.

CLAUDE
(getting mad)
My plan is on his way to Pittsburgh
right now. That congenital idiot
just got himself a pardon signed by
the governor thanks to us, but we
can't seem to do nothing for
ourselves. Don't you feel a little
disgusted right now?

RAY
Crop duster.

CLAUDE
I ain't getting in no airplane with
you. I'm finally wrapping my mind
around the concept. They threw us in
this shithole for life. Don't you
get it, Ray? We're gonna die here!
Might as well head up to the cemetery,
pick a plot and start digging.

Suddenly enraged, Ray hauls off and knocks Claude down with
a solid right. Surprised, Claude touches his bloody lip.

RAY
My daddy died in prison. He gave up
hope and hung himself. What you're
talking about is the same damn thing.
That ain't how I'm going.

CLAUDE
Maybe you're fooling yourself, Ray.
Maybe you're just a chip off the old
block.

RAY
Take that back or we ain't friends
no more, Claude Banks.

CLAUDE
Here's a news flash, Ray. We never
were friends. We've just been stuck
together for 12 years. It's been
nothing but bad luck since the moment
I ran into you. Every time I look at
you I get sick to my stomach thinking
about what my life could have been
if I'd never bumped into Ray Gibson.

A hard look comes to Ray's eyes as Claude rises to his feet.

RAY
Better watch yourself Claude, before
you say something you regret.

CLAUDE
The only thing I regret is the day I
met you.

RAY
Well, if that's the way it is...

CLAUDE
That's the way it is.

RAY
Then I have nothing left to say to
you.

Ray walks away, leaving Claude to nurse his split lip.

CLAUDE
You never said nothing of value
anyway.

INSERT -- TIME PASSAGE

A. In his Pittsburgh Crawfords uniform, Can't Get Right lays
into a fast ball, sending it soaring into the bleachers...

B. People dance in the street in Time Square, marking the
end of WWII...

C. Hoppin' Bob drops a package on Ray's bunk. Ray rips off
the brown paper to reveal a book: "So You Want to Learn to
Fly..."

D. Claude and Sylvia make love in the tonk house...

E. In the mess hall, Ray pointedly carries his tray past a
table where Claude sits with Willie...

F. An A-bomb explodes in the Bikini Atolls...

G. Jimmy Stewart hugs his wife and children at the end of
"It's a Wonderful Life"...

H. Jackie Robinson slides across home plate at Ebbets Field...

I. Ray runs full tilt across a field toward a barn. Sure
enough, there's the single engine crop duster parked right
where he said it would be...

J. Claude and another INMATE repair a hole in the bunkhouse
roof. They dive for cover as Ray's crop duster swoops low
overhead and dips out of sight beyond the trees. A puff of
smoke rises into the sky...

K. Soot-stained, Ray is marched to the hole and shoved
inside...

L. Newly elected president Harry Truman holds up a copy of
the Chicago Tribune baring the headline "Dewey Defeats
Truman"...

M. RCA unveils the first color television...

N. Cars pull up next to speaker poles in front of a drive-in
movie screen...

O. In the bunkhouse, early rock and roll plays on a modern
1950s radio that sits where the old vacuum tube receiver
used to be. A YOUNG TOUGH now occupies Radio's old bunk...

P. At the poker table, Poker Face slumps forward onto his
pile of chips, revealing a straight flush. The other men
quickly fold...

Q. With a TRUSTY standing guard, Claude and Ray silently
shovel dirt into Poker Face's grave. The CAMERA MOVES past
gravemarkers -- Biscuit, Jangle Leg, Radio...

R. Marilyn Monroe's skirt rises on a blast of subway air in
"The Seven-Year Itch"...

S. Rosa Parks is arrested for refusing to sit in the back of
the bus...

T. Elvis Presley creates a sensation on the Ed Sullivan
Show...

U. School children learn to "duck and cover" in the event of
nuclear attack...

V. The inmates of Camp 8 work to level a road. Ray's on one
side, Claude's on the other...

W. Prisoners mingle with friends and family on visiting
Sunday. Claude waits on the bunkhouse steps. His face
brightens when Sylvia appears...

X. Blacks sit-in at lunch counters in Greensboro, N.C...

Y. Kennedy is elected...

Z. OMITTED...

AA. Martin Luther King delivers his "I have a dream" speech
at the Lincoln Memorial...

BB. The Zapruder footage of Kennedy being shot...

CC. American soldiers jump down from helicopters and run for
the jungles in Vietnam...

DD. Ford introduces the 1965 Mustang...

EE. The assassination of Malcolm X...

FF. Muhammad Ali looms over Sonny Liston, asking "What's my
name?"...

GG. The CAMERA MOVES past more gravemarkers -- Hoppin' Bob,
Goldmouth -- to find Claude and Ray silently shoveling dirt
over another casket. Ray pounds a simple marker into the
ground: Cookie. Briefly, they lock eyes. But neither one
speaks and the moment passes...

HH. Go-Go dancers...

II. Mao Tse Tung...

JJ. Jimi Hendrix at the Monterey Pop Festival...

KK. TV's Batman and Robin battle the forces of evil in Gotham
City...

LL. Black Panthers...

MM. Peace Protesters...

NN. The death of Martin Luther King...

OO. Robert Kennedy...

PP. Neil Armstrong sets foot on the moon...

QQ. Vida Blue rears back and fires a pitch in the 1972 World
Series...

EXT. CAMP 8 YARD -- DAY

On the porch, Willie, now in his 70s, sits in a wheelchair
watching the ball game on a black-and-white television. A
TRUSTY waits nearby. Ray, now in his mid-60s, emerges from
the bunkhouse lugging a duffle bag.

RAY
Alright Willie, I think I got
everything. I'll talk to Dillard,
see if I can get up to the infirmary
and check up on you. Make sure they're
changing your diapers regular.

WILLIE
They'll be sending you up there soon
enough. And not just for a visit,
neither.

RAY
(leaning in)
I slipped in a couple of bottles of
my latest batch. Help wash down all
them pills they'll be giving you.

He gives Willie a slap on the back and nods to the trusty.
The trusty wheels the old man across the yard where YOUNG
PRISONERS mingle with WIVES and FAMILY MEMBERS sporting the
fashions of the early '70s -- Afros, mutton chops, paisley
prints and bell-bottom pants.

ACROSS THE YARD

Looking old-style, Claude sits on the mess hall steps waiting
for Sylvia. He catches Willie's eye. The two men nod to each
other, an unspoken farewell. Then Claude turns to find Ray
looking at him from the bunkhouse steps. Ray and Claude hold
each others gaze for a moment. Then Ray heads back into the
bunkhouse.

YVETTE
(off)
Are you Claude Banks?

Claude turns to face YVETTE, a pretty young woman.

CLAUDE
Yeah.

YVETTE
My name's Yvette. Sylvia sent me.
You look just like she said.

CLAUDE
She's alright, isn't she?

YVETTE
Oh, she's fine. She's just not coming
today.

CLAUDE
Why not?

YVETTE
She got married last month.

CLAUDE
Married?

YVETTE
Real nice guy, too. Trumpet player.
They moved down to New Orleans.

Claude takes this in, staring off into space.

YVETTE
She always said that if you were on
the outside...

CLAUDE
But I'm not on the outside. I'm in
here.

YVETTE
I know she's sorry she won't be seeing
you anymore. Anyway, she wanted me
to take care of you.

CLAUDE
Take care of me?

YVETTE
You know, go to the tonk or whatever.

CLAUDE
I'm too old for you. Besides, I'm
not much in the mood.

YVETTE
Want me to come back some other time?

CLAUDE
(shaking his head)
Nice girl like you don't belong in a
place like this. But if you talk to
Sylvia, tell her old Claude said
congratulations.

EXT. CAMP 8 YARD -- DAY

Claude stands at the gun line, staring across at the Dillard
house. Mrs. Dillard places a couple of pies on the windowsill
to cool.

CLAUDE
Whites-only pies...

Suddenly, he makes a break for the Dillard house.

TRUSTY
Man over the line!

Ray turns to see Claude dashing across no-man's land. Shots
ring out from the shooter shack, kicking up dirt around
Claude's feet as he serpentines across the field.

EXT. DILLARD'S HOUSE -- DAY

Breathless, Claude makes it to the kitchen window and digs
his hand into the golden-brown crust, shoving a sloppy fistful
of pie into his mouth. More shots ring out. Bullets PING all
around him. Grabbing the pie, he darts around the side of
the building, out of range. Back against the wall, he drops
down on his haunches, snarfing pie like a hungry wolf.

EXT. CAMP 8 YARD -- DAY

A case of empty Coke bottles sits in the middle of the yard,
glinting in the hot sun. His face smeared with boysenberry,
Claude finishes taking off his boots and socks and steps
barefoot onto the bottles.

DILLARD
Comfortable?

CLAUDE
As a pair of fur-lined bedroom
slippers, boss.

DILLARD
We'll see what those slippers feel
like after, say, 24 hours. And if
you step down off them bottles -- if
one toe so much as touches the dirt --
one of these boys is gonna shoot you
dead. Let's see. We need a special
man for this job.

He takes a trusty's rifle and moves among the inmates, who
have gathered around. He stops when he gets to Ray.

DILLARD
How about it, Ray?

Ray glances at Claude, then back at Dillard.

DILLARD
I'll make you trusty right now. If
that pie-eatin' son of a bitch falls
off those bottles and you have to
shoot him, I'll see to it you get a
pardon. Hell, I'll personally escort
you out the gate.

Dillard offers the rifle to Ray, who doesn't have to think
too long.

RAY
You don't want to give me a gun,
boss. I'm liable to use it on you.

EXT. CAMP 8 YARD -- SUNDOWN

Ray's been given the same treatment as Claude. Barefoot,
balanced on Coke bottles, the two men stand a few feet apart
facing each other. A trusty with a rifle keeps an eye on
them. After years of silence, the tension reaches the breaking
point...

CLAUDE
You're a sucker. I'd have taken that
deal.

RAY
Excuse me? Are you talking to me?

CLAUDE
I'd have knocked you off those
bottles, put a bullet in your ass
and be half way to New York right
now.

RAY
After all these years of blissful
silence, I almost forgot how annoying
the sound of your voice can be.

CLAUDE
I hope you don't think I owe you
anything. Because I don't owe you a
damn thing.

RAY
I didn't do if for you, anyway. I
just ain't no boot-licking trusty,
that's all.

The trusty tightens his grip on his rifle. He'd love the
opportunity.

CLAUDE
I was sorry to hear about your mama
passing.

RAY
That was five years ago.

CLAUDE
I know, but since we're talking, I
thought I'd mention it.

RAY
We're not talking, you're talking,
and doing too damn much of it, if
you ask me.

They stand in stony silence. Then Ray starts to laugh. A
long, low belly laugh.

CLAUDE
What?!

RAY
You sure looked funny running for
those pies, bullets flying all around
you.

CLAUDE
Bullets weren't the problem. That
pie was too hot. Burned my tongue.

The two men start to laugh. Really laugh. Nearly a decade's
worth of laughter comes welling up out of them, and they
nearly lose their balance, which only makes them laugh harder.

EXT. CAMP 8 YARD -- DAY

A trusty bangs the rap iron. Young prisoners pour from the
bunkhouse and line up for breakfast. Claude and Ray bring up
the rear, the elder statesmen of the bunch. By a long shot.

DILLARD
Fourteen acres today and only 12
hours of daylight! Eat up and move
it out! Gibson! Banks! Get your sorry
asses over here!

Claude and Ray step out of line and approach Dillard.

DILLARD
Every morning I wake up praying that
Ray Gibson and Claude Banks have
died in their sleep and every morning
you disappoint me.

RAY AND CLAUDE
Sorry, boss.

DILLARD
I stand before you a defeated man.
Try as I might, I can't seem to break
you. I swear, if they dropped a
nuclear bomb on this camp, you and
the cockroaches would be the only
things left. But starting today at
least I won't have to endure your
presence any longer. You've got
fifteen minutes to clear out your
footlockers. You're both being
reassigned to the Superintendent's
mansion. And I, for one, will not
miss you.

Ray and Claude share a look. Then Ray embraces Dillard, who
stoically endures the breach of his personal space.

RAY
I always wanted to do that.
(sighing)
There is so much love inside of this
man.

EXT. SUPERINTENDENT'S MANSION -- DAY

Up on the porch, Claude brings a tray of minted iced tea to
Superintendent Wilkins, who sets aside his bible and washes
down a couple of pills.

Before going back inside, Claude can't resist taunting Ray,
busy trimming a hedge out in the hot sun.

CLAUDE
Oh, yard boy, these pansies could
use some attention over here. Perhaps
some fertilizer would restore their
exuberance.

EXT. MARSH -- DAY

Claude and Ray beat the bulrushes with switches, rustling a
couple of pheasants from their hiding spot. As the birds
take wing, Wilkins aims his shot gun and fires twice in rapid
succession. Both birds fall from the sky in a flutter of
feathers.

OMITTED

Sequence omitted from original script.

OMITTED

Sequence omitted from original script.

INT. SUPERINTENDENT'S MANSION -- DAY

Claude fills Wilkins' water glass as the Superintendent takes
a bite of lamb chop and winces in pain.

WILKINS
Damn dentures slipping again.
Everything falls apart when you grow
old, eh, Claude? Time sure marches
on.

CLAUDE
Yes, boss.

WILKINS
You know, I'm fixing on retiring at
the end of the summer, gonna try to
enjoy what few years I have left.
What do you think of this place?
It's one of those new retirement
communities down on the Gulf.

Claude glances at a glossy brochure. From outside, Ray peers
suspiciously through the dining room window as he hacks at a
rose bush.

CLAUDE
Ocean views, palm trees, two heated
swimming pools and a golf course --
sounds a damn sight better than that
infirmary across the way where I'm
gonna end up.

Claude returns the brochure.

WILKINS
I apologize, Claude. That was rude
of me.

CLAUDE
That's alright, boss. Takes a lot
more than a colorful brochure to
hurt my feelings.

WILKINS
You been on the farm for quite a
spell, haven't you?

CLAUDE
Over forty years now. Me and Ray
Gibson out there.

Wilkins glances over at the window. Ray ducks out of view.

WILKINS
Forty years. That's a long time for
any crime, even murder.

CLAUDE
It's a hell of a lot longer when
you're innocent.

WILKINS
Half the men in this prison swear
they're innocent. Don't you think
that's kinda funny?

CLAUDE
You have to forgive me if I don't
laugh.

Claude pushes back into the kitchen, leaving Wilkins to think
this one over.

INT. SERVANTS' QUARTERS -- NIGHT

Ray and Claude are getting ready for bed.

RAY
You and Wilkins sure are getting
chummy. You two planning on going
steady, or something?

CLAUDE
He's just a lonely old man. He likes
to talk.

RAY
Hey, I'm a lonely old man. I like to
talk, too. So why don't we start by
talking about what kind of a plan
you're working on?

CLAUDE
I'm not working on a plan.

RAY
You can't fool me, Claude. I know
you got something brewing.

CLAUDE
Goodnight, Ray.

Claude punches his pillow and turns off the light.

EXT. SUPERINTENDENT'S MANSION -- DAY

Ray hacks a rose bush down to the nub. From the garage comes
the sound of an engine turning over. Wilkins' 1973 Lincoln
Continental convertible lurches down the drive with Claude
at the wheel. He screeches to a halt inches from Ray's legs
and climbs from the car.

RAY
What the hell are you doing?

CLAUDE
Don't touch that car.

Claude pulls out a hanky and buffs Ray's finger print off
the hood.

CLAUDE
Wilkins' driver's got the flu, so he
asked me to fill in for him.

RAY
You haven't driven in 40 years, you
ain't even got a license. Man's taking
his life in his hands, putting you
behind the wheel! Where you taking
him?

CLAUDE
Greenville. We're picking up the new
Superintendent at the bus station.

Ray scowls as Claude straightens his chauffeur uniform and
heads up the path to the mansion.

EXT. GREENVILLE BUS STATION -- DAY

Claude pulls up in front of the station, steps out of the
car and holds the door for Wilkins, who checks his watch.

WILKINS
You know I trust you, Claude.

CLAUDE
Yes, sir.

WILKINS
I'll be right back.

Wilkins heads into the station, leaving Claude alone with
the Continental. All around him are the sights, sounds and
smells of the free world. A woman rushes into the arms of a
man as he climbs off a bus. Across the street is Grandma
Dodi's Pork Rib Joint where Cookie never made it to the peach
cobbler. A young brother with a boom box walks by. In the
street, kids crowd around the back of an ice cream truck.
Then Claude catches his reflection in the car window and
frowns. When did he get this old? Unnerved, he moves around
to the back of the car and pops open the trunk.

RAY
(sitting up)
Damn, it was getting hot in there.

CLAUDE
What the hell are you doing in that
trunk?!

RAY
You didn't think I was gonna let you
escape alone, did you?

CLAUDE
I ain't escaping! We're picking up
the new super just like I told you.

RAY
Then you're lucky I came along.
Doesn't take a visionary to spot a
golden opportunity like this. Now
help me out of this trunk.

CLAUDE
You ain't getting out of that trunk.

RAY
Come on, man, I'm starting to cramp
up here.
(Ray struggles out of
the trunk)
We have the chance right here, right
now, I say we go!

CLAUDE
Go where, Ray?

RAY
Back to New York for starters.

CLAUDE
And what will we do when we get there?
I'm sixty-five years old, Ray. So
are you. What are we gonna do out
here? Get married, have kids, settle
down? That boat sailed without us,
man.

RAY
This boat's gonna sail without you,
too. I don't care if I last one day
out here. At least it's one day of
freedom. Now gimme those keys.

CLAUDE
Forget about that. You run if you
want to, but you're not taking this
car.

RAY
Claude, man, I'm serious. Give me
those keys.

CLAUDE
I ain't spending a month in the hole
so you can take a joy ride.

RAY
Don't make me take them away from
you.

CLAUDE
Hey, there's Wilkins!

Ray looks, Claude clocks him. Ray slumps back into the trunk.
Claude stuffs Ray's legs back into the trunk and slams the
lid.

CLAUDE
Who's driving now, bitch?

He looks up just as Wilkins and the new superintendent exit
the bus station. Warren Pike's hair has gone grey and he's
40 years older, but there's no mistaking the former sheriff
of Natchez County. He still bears a nasty scar on his cheek
from a wound inflicted long ago.

CLAUDE'S POV -- Pike appears as a young man in his sheriff's
uniform striding slowly toward him.

Claude blinks and looks again. Pike has returned to his old
self as he and Wilkins step up.

PIKE
(dropping his bags)
There you go, boy.

Oblivious, Pike climbs into the back seat. Wilkins nods to
Claude.

WILKINS
Come on, Claude, time to go.

Claude snaps to it, grabbing the bags. He considers opening
the trunk, but decides to carry them around to the front
seat with him.

EXT. KITCHEN PORCH -- DUSK

Backs to the CAMERA, Ray and Claude urinate, presumably off
the porch.

RAY
You sure it was him?

CLAUDE
Some faces you just don't forget.
Warren Pike's is one of 'em.

RAY
I don't like it, I don't like it one
bit. We shoulda taken that car when
we had the opportunity. We'd be half
way to New York by now.

CLAUDE
We'd be in the hole by now. Hey,
man, you're peeing on my shoe.

RAY
I know. Simultaneously, they shake
and zip. Claude bends down and picks
up a bowl of gumbo, placing it on a
tray next to an identical one.

INT. DINING ROOM -- NIGHT

Wilkins pours a frosty drink and offers it to Pike.

WILKINS
Lemonade?

PIKE
I prefer bourbon.

WILKINS
I'm sorry, I don't keep any liquor
in the house.

PIKE
Well, fortunately, I carry my own.

Pike pulls a flask from his jacket and tilts it high. Claude
enters from the kitchen with the two steaming bowls of gumbo.

WILKINS
Hunting's been pretty good on the
farm the last few years. It's one of
the perks of the job. If you're
interested, tomorrow I could show
you some of my favorite spots.

PIKE
You don't have to twist my arm.
(digging in)
Say now, that gumbo has quite a kick.

WILKINS
Thank you, Claude. That'll be all
for tonight.

CLAUDE
Goodnight, Mr. Wilkins. Mr. Pike.

WILKINS
Goodnight, Claude.

Pike nods coldly. Claude steps back into the kitchen.

PIKE
If you don't mind my saying, you
seem mighty familiar with your house
boy.

WILKINS
I believe in treating the convicts
with respect, if that's what you
mean.

PIKE
(sarcastic)
Respect? Well, isn't that progressive.

WILKINS
If somebody deserves respect, Mr.
Pike, they receive it from me, convict
or no convict.

Pike curls his lip with disdain before taking a healthy
spoonful of gumbo.

EXT. MARSH -- DAY

Claude and Ray beat the bullrushes with switches. Amid a
flutter of wings, three pheasants take to the air. Wilkins
fires first, knocking one out the sky. Pike pulls off two
rounds, playing clean up.

EXT. FIELD -- DAY

Ray and Claude dump their game bags into the back of a pickup
truck. Nearby, Pike drains his flask while Wilkins scrapes
mud off his boots. The breeze picks up, clouds fill the sky.

WILKINS
Well, that's a pretty good haul.
What do you say, Mr. Pike? Ready to
call it a day?

Pike pulls a gold watch from his pocket and releases the
face plate. A familiar mechanical tune floats on the gathering
breeze. Ray turns around slowly. His eyes fall on the watch
in Pike's hand. His daddy's watch. In Pike's hand.

PIKE
Yeah, it's getting late. I could
sure use a bath.

RAY
That's a real nice watch you got
there, sir. Fancy old thing even
plays a little tune.

PIKE
Yeah, it's special. They don't make
'em like this anymore.

RAY
Sure don't. Mind if I ask where you
got it?

PIKE
Why, my wife gave it to me on our
anniversary some years back.

Claude looks at the watch, then at Ray. Uh oh.

RAY
Must have been some time ago. Maybe
forty years?

PIKE
(eyes narrowing)
Something like that, yes.

RAY
She give you that scar, too?

Pike thrusts the barrel of his gun up under Ray's chin.

PIKE
I oughta shoot you for that comment,
boy.

RAY
Like you shot Winston Hancock?

Wilkins turns to see Pike holding Ray at gunpoint.

WILKINS
What's going on here?

PIKE
I'm afraid I'm gonna have to teach
this uppity nigger a lesson in
manners.

RAY
That's Mr. Uppity Nigger to you.

Ray grabs the barrel of the shotgun and slams it into Pike's
face. Pike rolls over and freezes, staring down the barrel
of his own gun now in Ray's hands. Confused, Wilkins points
his gun at Ray.

CLAUDE
Cool it, Ray. You're gonna get us in
a lot of trouble.

WILKINS
He's right, Gibson. Put down the gun
and we'll work this out.

RAY
I'm gonna work this man's brains out
the back of his head.

PIKE
Shoot him, Wilkins!

CLAUDE
Don't shoot, sir. I can deal with
this.
(cautiously)
Ray, buddy, you don't want to shoot
this white man. See, you do that,
they'll kill you for sure. And it's
not that I like you or anything, but
I've kinda gotten used to having you
around.

RAY
He's got my daddy's watch, Claude. I
always knew whoever took that watch
killed Winston Hancock. And that was
you, Mr. Pike.

PIKE
He's crazy. Don't listen to him,
Wilkins.

WILKINS
Do you realize what your saying,
Gibson?

RAY
That watch was the only thing my
daddy ever gave me. It meant the
world to me.

PIKE
Goddamn it, Wilkins, would you please
just shoot the nigger!

RAY
He shoots me, I swear I'll take you
with me! I just want to hear you say
it.

WILKINS
Is there any truth to what he's
saying, Pike?

PIKE
What difference does it make? Natchez
was better off without Winston
Hancock! Who cares if a couple of no-
account bootleggers went to jail for
his killing? At least the state of
Mississippi got 40 years of cheap
labor out of the deal!

CLAUDE
Forty years of cheap labor! Gimme
that gun.

Claude grabs for the gun.

RAY
No, I'm gonna kill him --

CLAUDE
No, believe me, I'm gonna kill him!

Claude yanks the gun free and points it right in Pike's face.
Wilkins trains his gun on Claude. But the moment passes.
Claude lowers the gun. Bewildered, Wilkins does the same.

CLAUDE
I can't do it.

RAY
That's because you're soft. Gimme
the gun.

CLAUDE
What'd you say?

RAY
I said you're soft.

CLAUDE
Don't call me soft, I hate it when
you call me that.

Ray mouths the word -- "soft." Claude clenches his jaw, points
the gun and pulls the trigger. Click.

Pike smirks and pulls a small gun from his boot. But as he
raises it -- BLAM! Pike is hurled backward by a shotgun blast.
Shocked, Ray and Claude look at Wilkins, his gun still smoking
in his hands.

After a significant beat, Ray reaches down and gingerly
retrieves his daddy's gold pocket watch.

RAY
I believe this is mine.

EXT. SUPERINTENDENT'S MANSION -- DAY

A gurney carrying Pike's body is lifted into the back of a
van by two COUNTY CORONERS. Nearby, a distraught Wilkins
tells his story to a couple of SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES.

WILKINS
...I was drawing a bead on a bird
when Mr. Pike just stepped into my
line of fire.

DEPUTY #1
Where were the two convicts when the
shot was fired?

WILKINS
They were busy loading up the truck.
We got him back here as quick as
possible, but... I just feel terrible
about this...

INT. MANSION -- DAY

Ray and Claude watch through the window as Wilkins talks to
the deputies.

CLAUDE
Why don't he just tell 'em the truth?

RAY
He knows nobody wants to hear the
truth.

One of the deputies pats Wilkins sympathetically on the back.
Then he and his partner put away their notebooks and head
for their vehicle. Wilkins heads up the steps and into the
house.

WILKINS
Well, I think they bought it. One of
the deputies belongs to my church.

Visibly shaken, Wilkins takes a seat, wiping the sweat from
his brow with a handkerchief.

WILKINS
I realize there's no way... There's
nothing I can say to make up for
forty years... I'll have Charlotte
prepare those pardon papers right
away.

Wilkins winces and swallows a couple of pills from his box.

WILKINS
Claude, mind helping me to the
bathroom?

CLAUDE
(giving him a hand)
Sure, boss.

WILKINS
I'm not your boss. Not anymore.

EXT. PRISON CEMETERY (PRESENT) -- DAY

Jake looks at Willie expectantly.

JAKE
So Ray and Claude got their pardons,
right?

LEON
(smacking him)
No, they didn't get their pardons,
you dumb shit! If they'd got their
pardons way back then, we wouldn't
be burying them today, would we?

JAKE
(chewing on it)
Oh, right. Well, why didn't they get
those pardons?

WILLIE
Old man Wilkins' never came out of
that bathroom. Died right there on
the crapper.

LEON
Just like Elvis.

WILLIE
Of course nobody believed Ray and
Claude.

JAKE
That musta messed 'em up pretty bad.

LEON
What happened to 'em after that,
Willie?

WILLIE
After that? Well, let's see. After
that they got old. We all got old.

EXT. INFIRMARY -- DAY

Ray and Claude, now in their nineties, sit under a tree in
the courtyard listening to a Yankees game on a transistor
radio.

RAY
Nurse Humphries was checking my
prostate this morning. I got an
erection.

CLAUDE
An erection, huh? Haven't had one of
those in a while.

RAY
Tell me about it. Scared me at first.
Then, before I could figure out what
to do with it, it was gone. Imagine
my disappointment.

On the radio, the announcer voice rises in pitch as the
Yankees score. Ray and Claude share a satisfied look.

CLAUDE
Sure would like to see the house
that Ruth built one more time.

RAY
Well, Ruth shoulda built it a little
better. Damn thing's falling to
pieces. Gonna hurt somebody.

CLAUDE
What do you expect? It's almost as
old as we are.

RAY
They oughta tear that shit down and
ship them Yankees cross the river to
Jersey.

CLAUDE
Remember what that place looked like
on a sunny spring day? More beautiful
than any church I was ever in.

TWO ORDERLIES push a DEAD BODY past on a squeaking gurney.

CLAUDE
Looks like old Jonesy finally got
his walking papers.

Ray tips his flask in a simple salute.

RAY
Over to the morgue and up the hill
to the cemetery. Never thought I'd
admit it, Claude, but you were right.

CLAUDE
'Course I was right. About what?

RAY
You're the one who said that
boneyard's the only way we're getting
out of here. We're gonna join all
the rest of 'em soon enough. Jangle
Leg, Biscuit, Goldmouth, Poker Face,
Cookie, Radio -- yes sir, pick a
plot and start digging...

Ray closes his eyes and settles in for a nap. Claude turns
to watch Jonesy squeaking away. Something about what Ray
just said has given him an idea.

INT. INFIRMARY -- DAY

"Oprah" blares on the television. Old convicts linger about
in various states of repose and decay. A young ORDERLY pops
to the music on his Walkman as he pushes a cart through the
ward.

Over at a table, Ray and Claude play poker with Willie, a
SHAKY OLD JUNKIE and TWO YOUNG GANG BANGERS. The currency on
the table isn't poker chips, it's pills of various sizes and
colors.

GANG BANGER #1
Two Percodan.

CLAUDE
I'll raise you.

GANG BANGER #1
What the fuck are those?

CLAUDE
Keeps your cholesterol down.

GANG BANGER #1
I look like I give a shit about my
cholesterol?

GANG BANGER #2 takes a quick hit of cocaine from a bullet.
He notices Ray staring at him.

GANG BANGER #2
You want a bump, G?

RAY
I wouldn't be putting that shit up
my nose. That came in in somebody's
ass. It's like you're sniffin' ass.
Maybe that's your thing, but it ain't
mine.

Ray pushes his bet to the center of the table. The shaky
junkie folds. Willie tosses in some pills and turns to Gang
Banger #2.

WILLIE
Looks like it's up to you, stinky
ass sniffer.

Glaring, Gang Banger #2 flips a big pill into the pot.

CLAUDE
Thorazine? Well, that's a little
rich for my blood.

He tosses down his cards. The shaky junkie attempts to light
a cigarette. The match slips from his trembling fingers and
falls into his lap.

CLAUDE
Damn fool gonna set this place on
fire one of these days.

Gang Banger #1 folds. It's back to Ray.

RAY
I got three stool softeners left.
(to Gang Banger #2)
That oughta be right up your alley.

The remaining players match the pot. Gang Banger #2 reveals
his cards. Willie frowns. Ray lays down his cards and
victoriously sweeps his winnings into a paper cup. Across
the room, Nurse Humphries enters with a tray of snacks. She,
too, is showing the years.

NURSE HUMPHRIES
Who wants Jell-O?

The magic word. The poker players join a stampede of oldsters
in a clatter of canes, walkers and artificial limbs. Ray and
Claude are left alone at the table.

RAY
Hey, where you going? We got money
on the table here!

Claude glances around to ensure that he's not overheard.

CLAUDE
You know, Ray, I've been chewing on
what you said this afternoon. I think
I got a plan.

Ray gives Claude a long look.

RAY
Are you trying to tell me after all
this time you finally have a plan
for busting out of here?

CLAUDE
Shh! Is that so hard to believe?

RAY
Don't tell me, I don't want to hear
it. It's probably all fucked up,
anyway.

CLAUDE
You don't want to hear it, you don't
want to hear it. There's no shame in
that.

RAY
It's too late for plans.

CLAUDE
Never thought I'd hear Ray Gibson
say that. Hell with you then. You'd
only slow me down anyway.

Ray turns away as Claude walks off. A DODDERING INMATE stands
nearby slurping on Jell-O. His robe hangs open.

RAY
Hey, man, cover that shit up!

Disgusted, Ray discards his own Jell-O. He pulls out his
daddy's pocket watch and checks the time. The little
mechanical tune nags at him. He snaps the lid shut and
considers the watch resting in the palm of his hand.

OMITTED

Sequence omitted from original script.

EXT. INFIRMARY -- NIGHT

The building is dark. But then, through a first-floor window,
we see the unmistakable orange glow of a fire.

INT. INFIRMARY -- NIGHT

An ALARM BLARES as the place fills with smoke. Wearing a
robe and slippers, Nurse Humphries runs among the prisoners,
helping them out the door.

EXT. INFIRMARY -- NIGHT

Coughing and disheveled, Ray emerges onto the lawn pushing
Willie in the wheelchair. As other prisoners evacuate the
building, Ray looks around for Claude, but he doesn't see
him. Nurse Humphries takes a quick head count.

NURSE HUMPHRIES
Is everyone here?

RAY
Hey, where's Claude? I don't see
Claude!

NURSE HUMPHRIES
Stay calm, Ray. We'll find him.
Claude! Has anyone seen Claude?

RAY
He must still be in there.

Grimly, Ray starts toward the burning infirmary. Nurse
Humphries holds him back.

NURSE HUMPHRIES
Wait for the firemen!

RAY
It'll be too late.

NURSE HUMPHRIES
You can't go in there, Ray! You'll
never make it!

RAY
I'm going in for him. He'd do the
same for me.

Ray shakes her off and runs up the steps, disappearing into
the burning building.

INT. INFIRMARY -- NIGHT

Ray dodges flames as he presses into the inferno.

EXT. INFIRMARY -- NIGHT

Nurse Humphries, Willie and the rest of the inmates watch
grimly as flames engulf the building. Nobody could survive
this blaze. From the highway comes the siren wail of
approaching fire engines. But it's too late. Sparks erupt
into the night sky as the roof collapses...

EXT. INFIRMARY -- DAWN

Fire trucks pull away from the smoldering ruins. A local
REPORTER interviews witnesses. INVESTIGATORS comb through
the wreckage, making notes. COUNTY CORONERS pull a couple of
gurneys from the back of their van.

EXT. INFIRMARY RUINS -- DAY

Superintendent Bill Burke is led through the destruction by
a FIRE INSPECTOR. They approach the coroners as they finish
zipping up two body bags.

BURKE
How did it start?

FIRE INSPECTOR
Probably old wires. The place was a
tinderbox just waiting to go.

BURKE
I guess we should have torn this old
building down a long time ago.

FIRE INSPECTOR
Gibson made it this far before he
was probably overcome by smoke. From
the look of things, Banks never even
made it out of bed.

Burke watches solemnly as the coroners wheel the bodies past
him.

EXT. PRISON CEMETERY -- DAY

Jake and Leon shake their heads and look at the two fresh
graves.

LEON
Man, you really bummed me out. That's
a terrible story.
(looking at Jake)
Nigger, you crying?

JAKE
Hell, no! I just got something in my
eye.

WILLIE
It's alright for a man to cry once
in awhile. Just don't make a habit
of it.

LEON
Hey, Willie, what was Claude's plan,
anyway?

WILLIE
Nothing to it, really. Claude figured
they could steal a couple of bodies
from the morgue. They got a couple
of crackers working there don't know
their asses from their elbows. Then
they was gonna set fire to the
infirmary and make it look like those
bodies was them that got stuck inside.
Claude figured during the commotion,
it wouldn't be too hard to slip onto
one of the fire trucks and hang tight
until it rolled right on out of here
in the morning.

The young inmates share a look, then glance into the graves,
then look back at Willie.

JAKE
What makes you think it didn't work?

WILLIE
I never said it didn't work.

Leon and Jake do the arithmetic. You can almost hear the
gears grinding under the strain.

LEON
You trying to tell us that's not Ray
and Claude in those boxes?

Willie starts to chuckle and sets his electric wheel chair
on auto-pilot, leaving the young inmates to guess at the
truth.

JAKE
What do you think about that?

LEON
I think that old man lost his marbles
about a hundred years ago. Come on,
let's get this over with.

They pick up their shovels and go back to work burying the
caskets.

INT. GREENVILLE FIRE STATION -- DAY

The CAMERA MOVES PAST a FIREMAN hosing down the truck, past
another group of soot-stained FIREMEN eating breakfast, and
pauses in front of two lockers. A couple of FIREMEN emerge
from the showers wrapped in towels and open their lockers.
They share a look.

FIREMAN #1
(to the room)
Alright, which of you hambones took
our clothes?

EXT. YANKEE STADIUM -- DAY -- WIDE SHOT

Scalpers sell tickets. Vendors hawk souvenirs. Fans stream
up from the subway and through the gates. Somebody is singing
"The Star-Spangled Banner."

EXT. STANDS -- DAY

In the middle of a capacity crowd, a VENDOR fixes two hot
dogs and passes them to a KID at the end of an aisle. The
kid passes them to the MAN next to him, and so on down the
line.

The CAMERA FOLLOWS the hot dogs from face to face, some old,
some young, some black, some white -- it's New York City,
after all -- and finally the hot dogs arrive in a pair of
old, calloused black hands. Ray passes one of the dogs to
Claude.

CLAUDE
I can't eat this.

RAY
Why the hell not?

CLAUDE
I saw that hot dog guy in the bathroom
urinating. He didn't wash his hands.

Ray and Claude glance around confused as the wave rolls
through their section of the bleachers. What the fuck? Claude
inspects his hot dog.

RAY
Just put some mustard on it and eat
it.

CLAUDE
You didn't get ketchup?

RAY
Gimme that damn thing.

Ray snatches back the hot dog.

CLAUDE
What am I gonna eat?

Ray is suddenly young again.

RAY
Have my ice cream.

Claude takes the ice cream. He, too, is suddenly young again.

CLAUDE
Thanks.

They look at each other and share a laugh.

RAY
Hell of a day for a ballgame, huh,
Claude?

CLAUDE
Hell of a day, Ray. Yankees are on
fire.

Claude pops the top on his ice cream. Suddenly, they are
both old again.

CLAUDE
No, this ain't gonna work either.
It's half chocolate, half vanilla.

RAY
So?

CLAUDE
They're touching.

The CAMERA begins to pull back.

RAY
If you don't eat that ice cream right
now, I'm gonna strangle you until
you are completely dead.

CLAUDE
Yeah? You and what army?

RAY
Next thing, you're gonna be
complaining about the seats.

CLAUDE
Well, if you must know, they could
be closer.

RAY
Damn, I shoulda let Spanky Johnson
drown you in the river when I had
the chance.

"Pipe downs" etc. from the people around them.

CLAUDE
(glancing around)
I know you're not talking to me...

RAY
I'm sorry, he's on medication...

The CAMERA PULLS BACK as the arguing continues, just like
the old days. MUSIC UP.

THE END

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