"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 ]

"PHONE BOOTH"

by

Larry Cohen

November 15, 2002



FADE IN:

NEW YORK CITY - AERIAL VIEW OF DOWNTOWN MANHATTAN - DAY

MULTIPLE STREET SCENES - DAY

The sidewalks crowded as usual. A sea of humanity. People
come and go -- always in a hurry. Oblivious of one another.

A TRAFFIC JAM -- A STREET being torn up by construction
workers; A SANITATION TRUCK loading up refuse; VENDORS
PEDDLING nuts and salted pretzels; PANHANDLERS blocking a
passerby. Intimidating. Demanding. Almost mocking.

We're surrounded by the teeming life of the city as we've
come to expect it -- complete with a cacophony of sound.

MULTIPLE CUTS -- Phone kiosks and phone booths on the East
Side and West Side -- uptown and down.

One frustrated caller has lost his money in the slot and he
takes it out on the equipment -- smashing the receiver
violently against the coin box until the instrument splinters
into a dozen pieces.

NARRATOR
There are 237,911 pay telephones in
the five burroughs of the city of
New York. Many of them are still in
working order.

DOZENS OF QUICK CUTS --

NEW YORKERS on the phone in extreme close up. We don't hear
the words. Only the facial expressions inform us that these
are human beings under tremendous pressure. Life in the city
is wearing them down.

MULTIPLE SHOTS - JUST MOUTHS

Lips jabbering into receivers. Cross-cut against one another.

NARRATOR
Despite increased usage of cellular
devices, an estimated four and a
half million New Yorkers and two
million visitors still utilize pay
telephones on a regular basis. At
thirty-five cents a pop... for the
first three minutes.

ANGLE ON CORNER IN MID-MANHATTAN - DAY

There's a phone booth situated on the southeast side of the
street.

NARRATOR
You're looking at the telephone booth
at the corner of 45th Street and 8th
Avenue in the heart of the Manhattan
theatrical district. It has been
scheduled to be removed and replaced
by a kiosk. It's one of the few
remaining phone booths left in the
city.

CAMERA MOVES IN on the irate caller in the booth -- a very
well-dressed gray-haired lady -- totally conservative in
appearance.

WOMAN IN BOOTH
(into receiver)
You have lied to me for the last
time, you lowlife prick bastard! I
don't ever want to hear the sound of
your fucking voice again.
(listens)
Yes, well fuck you, too!

She slams down the receiver and exits. The booth remains
vacant for a brief interval.

NARRATOR
At least three hundred calls daily
originate from this booth. The coins
are collected twice a day. This booth
has been burglarized forty-one times
in the last six months.

Someone is approaching the booth, fishing in his pocket for
coins. This is STUART SHEPARD, snappily dressed, his hair
styled and his nails manicured. Here is a man who clearly
takes excellent care of himself. He sports a Donna Karen
suit and silk Armani tie.

He's about to step into the booth when he's accosted by a
middle-aged man in a soiled apron who's run out of a nearby
restaurant and has finally caught up with him.

MARIO
Stu, we got to talk.

STU
Wish I could accommodate you, Mario,
but this is my busy time of day.

MARIO
How come you cross the street every
time you go past the restaurant?

STU
Why don't I stop in later for some
lunch?

MARIO
There's no more drinks or free meals
until the restaurant starts showing
up in the columns like you said.

STU
I'm doing my level best for you
people.

MARIO
One lousy mention in the Post and
you expect to eat for six months!

STU
I got the food critic from the Village
Voice all lined up to give you a
review.

MARIO
That's what you tell me last July.
And he never shows.

STU
I was allowing you time to expand
the menu. Wallpaper the bathrooms,
for God sakes. You get only one shot
with these fucking critics and I
don't want you to blow a rare
opportunity.

MARIO
You the one blowing it. How long you
think you can fuck everybody?

STU
Hold on right there. I've got a very
excellent reputation around this
town.

MARIO
So how come you take two nice suits
of clothes from Harry and never get
his daughter on David Letterman?

STU
Hell, I'm not an agent. I'm a
publicist.

MARIO
Mister, you're nothing!

STU
Believe me, Valerie's on the waiting
list to audition. Harry's got no
complaints. He just let me pick out
this tie the other day.

MARIO
That Harry's a damn fool!

STU
Mario, please let me make this up to
you. How about I arrange for the
opening night party for this new off-
Broadway show I'm handling -- to be
held at your place with local TV
coverage on nine and eleven? I mean
I had it promised to another client --
who actually pays me money. But it
isn't firmed up yet. And I could
throw it your way. Maybe.

MARIO
What is involved?

STU
You'd toss in the buffet for say
seventy or eighty. The producers
would supply their own vino, of
course. I'd deliver you a truckload
of celebrities. And if they like the
food, they'll all come back,
naturally.

MARIO
What celebrities?

STU
You want Liza Minelli? An Oscar
winner. Or Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.?

MARIO
Is he still alive?

STU
I saw him last night going into the
Four Seasons. I'll bring you over a
whole VIP list when we come by for
dinner.

MARIO
How come everybody wants to eat but
nobody wants to pay?

STU
You can't think small like that.
Hey, you still feature musicians
Fridays and Saturdays?

MARIO
At least they work for their meals.

STU
What about Harry's daughter as an
extra added attraction? She'll belt
out five or six showtunes -- two
sets a night -- and it won't cost
you a fucking nickel.

MARIO
How come?

STU
Star Showcase! Let me handle setting
that up. And when she eventually
goes on Letterman, she'll announce
I'm currently appearing over at
Mario's fine supper club. Right over
CBS she'll say that, Mario.

MARIO
You're full of shit. You know that?
All bullshit!

STU
That's just a vulgar word for PR.
(placing an arm around
him)
Mario, you can't hurt my feelings.
Even when I was a kid and they hurled
certain invectives my way, it never
bothered me. Other kids would fall
apart if anybody called them a fucking
name. Me, I just loved the attention!
'Shit-for- brains' -- that's what
the bigger kids named me. And I
answered to it. Hey, 'shit-for brains'
reporting for duty. Everybody loved
me for that. I could take abuse.
After a while, I kind of wore them
down. There was nothing more they
could say to me. So they stopped. I
kind of missed it.

MARIO
I'm sorry I even talked to you.

STU
I'll bet your loving wife put you up
to this. She saw me pass by and she
sent you out in the street. But I
don't hold it against you personally --
you still serve up superior veal
chop.
(entering phone booth)
Now I got urgent business to conduct,
Mario.

He slides the booth closed in Mario's face.

The frustrated restaurateur glares at him through the glass
before giving up and walking off -- talking to himself as he
goes up the block.

INSIDE THE BOOTH, Stu inserts his thirty-five cents and dials.

STU
Hello, Mavis, sweet creature.

MAVIS' VOICE
Where have you been? Do you think I
have nothing to do but wait around
for you to call?

STU
I'm only a few minutes late, loveliest
individual on earth.

MAVIS' VOICE
Stu, I'm so lonely. When can I see
you?

STU
Good news in that arena. Kelly goes
into rehearsal as of Monday. You
know how dedicated she is. By the
time she gets back from dancing her
ass off, she goes right to sleep.
We'll have both our days and certain
nights. Not to mention when they
take the show on the road.

MAVIS' VOICE
How long is that for?

STU
Four to five weeks -- minimum.

MAVIS' VOICE
Maybe I should quit my job so we can
be together full time.

STU
I wouldn't do that.

MAVIS' VOICE
Sometimes I think if I have to give
one more fucking manicure...

STU
That's how you met me.

MAVIS' VOICE
I never saw a worse set of nails.
Bit right down to the quick.

STU
I'm much better groomed since you've
been looking after me.

MAVIS' VOICE
I'm glad you admit it.

STU
Even Kelly remarked on it when I
first met her.

MAVIS' VOICE
She could care less how you look.
She's only interested in pushing her
own career. Some wife you're stuck
with!

STU
The marriage is not without its
compensations. Do you imagine I could
afford that apartment on what I'm
earning? Not with everybody cutting
back on the publicity. Not to mention
a million college graduates coming
into the profession trying to cut me
out. And one thing you can't expect
from your clients is loyalty. They
get a couple of bad notices, they
dump you. Goodbye.

MAVIS' VOICE
Don't go.

STU
I wasn't saying goodbye to you. I
was saying how the clients try to
give you the wave off without even a
month's notice.

A conservative businessman now stands outside the booth
waiting to use it. He deliberately glances at his watch a
few times to demonstrate his impatience. This bothers Stu
who slides the booth open a crack.

STU
(yelling)
What? Is your watch busted? It's
twenty after eleven and I'm gonna be
occupied indefinitely with my
transaction. So get out of my face!

He closes the booth up again and turns his back to the
gentleman who gives up and departs.

STU
Sorry, honey. There will be no further
interruption.

MAVIS' VOICE
Why must you always be calling me
from some booth?

STU
On account of that phone records are
regularly subpoenaed in divorce
proceedings. And I don't want some
entry showing up on my cellular bill
either. She gets the mail. She looks
these items over. Sometimes she even
dials up a strange number to see who
it is.

MAVIS' VOICE
Then she suspects something.

STU
It's only because her last husband,
the choreographer, ran around on
her. She can't get that out of her
head. That's how she caught onto
him. The phone bills.

MAVIS' VOICE
She hasn't developed much skill at
holding a man.

STU
You know what a self-fulfilling
prophecy is? She was so sure I was
going to find me a woman that she
finally drove me back to you. I
thought I'd feel all guilty about it --
but I guess it hasn't kicked in yet.
(beat)
Still, I wouldn't do anything to
hurt her. Basically, Kelly's a decent
individual.

MAVIS' VOICE
What about hurting me? Like last
time?

STU
Hurt? You were glad to be rid of me.

MAVIS' VOICE
For a while I was, 'til I took stock
of what was around. You're the lesser
of many evils.

STU
That's about the nicest thing you
ever said.

MAVIS' VOICE
I'll have it engraved.

STU
We've been up front with each other
from the beginning. Let's keep it
that way. How about a drink? Say
seven o'clock? The Monkey Bar?

MAVIS' VOICE
Meet me in front. I don't like walking
in there unescorted.

STU
Yeah, you're great enough looking to
be mistaken for one of those thousand
dollar a night girls.

MAVIS' VOICE
It happens all the time lately.

STU
And wear that short black number I
bought you from Bendel's.

MAVIS' VOICE
Again? I don't know if it's me or
that dress you like.

STU
Have a good day. Make plenty of tips.
And leave the whole evening open.
She thinks I've got Knicks tickets.

He hangs up. Then whips a tiny cellular phone out of his
jacket pocket, flips it open and dials. Someone answers on
the first ring.

COLUMNIST (V.O.)
Speak!

STU
(into cellular)
It's your boy Stuart. When was the
last time I called you for a favor?

COLUMNIST (V.O.)
The column is already full.

STU
I just need one line. Anybody you
wanna say was seen dining out at
Mario's Stromboli restaurant.

COLUMNIST (V.O.)
Maybe you don't hear so good? I got
no space for you.

STU
Who's asking any favors? I'm offering
reciprocal information.

COLUMNIST (V.O.)
Since when were you ever a reliable
source?

STU
Check it out. Tony award-winning
producer Willie Beagle tossed his
wife back into rehab again following
her third attempt at diving off the
terrace at their plush eighteen room
residence at the San Remo. I got it
from the doorman.

COLUMNIST (V.O.)
I got it from their maid yesterday.
It's in the paper today. Or don't
you bother to read my shit?

STU
Louis, my intentions were entirely
honorable.

COLUMNIST (V.O.)
I'll drop your item in sometime next
week. If you promise not to call me
for a month.

He hangs up. Stu looks pleased as he folds the cell phone
and tucks it away.

Then he starts to vacate the booth. The phone rings. And
rings. Curious, he picks up the receiver. There's a voice on
the other end of the line. A DISTINCTIVE MALE VOICE.

VOICE
Don't even think about leaving that
booth.

STU
What?

VOICE
Stay exactly where you are and listen
carefully.

STU
I've got a heavy day, mister.

VOICE
You know better than to disobey me.

STU
I don't know you at all.

VOICE
Are you absolutely sure?

STU
Who is this?

VOICE
Someone who's watching you.

STU
Get lost!

VOICE
Love the gray suit. That red and
black tie makes a nice combination.

Stu is taken back by the accurate description of his apparel.
He looks around nervously.

STU
Where? Where are you?

VOICE
Closer than you think.

STU
I don't see you.

VOICE
There are any number of windows.
Check them out.

Indeed that street corner is surrounded by high rise buildings
and hotels.

STU
Okay, you had your little joke.

VOICE
I'm not sufficiently amused. Not
yet. We have more to talk about.

Stu knows he should simply hang up but something tells him
not to. Perhaps it's the strange tone of the man's voice.

STU
Do me a favor. Call up somebody else.

VOICE
But it's you I'm interested in. You
know how many people use that booth
every day?

STU
Why don't you tell me?

VOICE
Better than two-hundred people on
average.

STU
Is that what you do? Count them?

VOICE
What else do I have to do? It's
interesting watching people. Trying
to guess who they are. And what
they're up to.

STU
What are you -- a shut-in of some
kind?

VOICE
You might say that. I can't go out.
I might be seen.

STU
Somebody's looking for you?

VOICE
Desperately.

STU
The cops?

VOICE
Not yet.

STU
The ex-wife. What'd you do -- run
out on child support?

VOICE
What kind of man do you think I am?

STU
Frankly, I could care less. You had
your fun. Now goodbye.

VOICE
It's not in your best interests to
hang up on me. That would make me
angry.

STU
Isn't that just too bad?

VOICE
For you.

STU
There's ten million names in the
phonebook. Pester somebody else.

VOICE
I never talk to people I can't see.
I need to study their reactions.

STU
Alright, bullshit artist, what am I
doing right now?

VOICE
Scratching your forehead with your
left hand. Now you're brushing your
hair back.

STU
Okay, okay, you got me in your
scrutiny. So what?

VOICE
So let's talk.

STU
Only I got nothing to say.

VOICE
Oh, you will. You'll do a lot of
talking before this conversation is
over. And it'll only end when I want
it to.

STU
Is that a fact? Well if you watch
closely, you will see me hang up.

VOICE
I don't think you will.

STU
Why not?

VOICE
I interest you.

STU
Why should I be interested in some
creep who gets his jollies spying on
strangers in phone booths?

VOICE
But you're not a stranger, Stu.

The sound of his own name sends a chill through him.

STU
Who put you up to this?

VOICE
You were my very own selection.

STU
Why me in particular?

VOICE
Because you're so afraid.

STU
Ha! What've I got to be afraid of?

STU
Just about everything. You have so
much to hide.

STU
How do you figure that?

VOICE
Why else would a man with a perfectly
good cellular bother to make calls
from a pay booth?

STU
That's my business.

VOICE
I've made it mine.

STU
All of a sudden I'm required to give
explanations to you?

VOICE
In explicit detail.

STU
What is this? Some kind of candid
camera gag? Or like that thing on
HBO where the cab driver is taping
what goes on in the back seat?

VOICE
This is not showbusiness, my friend.
This is reality.

STU
Your reality. Not mine, you lowlife
fuck.

VOICE
Stu, you'll be made to suffer for
your attitude, so let's dispense
with the vulgarities.

STU
Now you're threatening me! Fuck you.
Could that be any clearer?

VOICE
You're only making it easier for me
to do you harm.

STU
Oh yeah. Right. Can you see how I'm
trembling?

VOICE
You will be.

STU
Shit, this is a new one. Fucking
threatening calls in a goddam phone
booth. When are you going to start
with the heavy breathing.

VOICE
I'm not the degenerate. You are,
Stu.

STU
You don't know anything about me.

VOICE
Infinitely more than you know about
me.

STU
Like what?

VOICE
Like the number you dialed when you
first entered the booth.

STU
How would you know that?

VOICE
I'm watching through a scope and I
could clearly read the buttons you
pushed. I have another extension
here by the window. Shall I dial
that same number back for you? Would
that convince you?

Stu nervously cranes his neck, looking around at all the
tall buildings that surround the street corner.

STU'S POV

PANNING up at thousands of windows. The Voice could be coming
from anywhere.

BACK TO STU IN THE BOOTH

VOICE
Let's see who's on the other end of
the line.

STU
Don't.

VOICE
Too late.
(beat)
It's already ringing. I'll hold the
receiver up so you can listen in.

Stu can hear the beeping as the other line rings.

Then Mavis' voice can be heard answering. Stu listens
helplessly.

MAVIS' VOICE
Hello?

VOICE
Well, hello.

MAVIS' VOICE
Who is this?

VOICE
Someone who's really tight with your
boyfriend -- who just called you
from his favorite phone booth.

MAVIS' VOICE
You know Stu?

VOICE
Stu? Oh, I know him better than
anyone. What he does -- how he thinks.
How he lies.

MAVIS' VOICE
Who the hell is this?

VOICE
Stu is listening in. He knows what
we're both saying.

MAVIS' VOICE
Stu? Is that true? Are you there?

VOICE
He doesn't feel like talking.

STU
(shouts)
Mavis! Just hang up the goddam phone.

VOICE
She can't hear you, Stu. Only me.
(a pause)
Mavis, I'm afraid Stu hasn't been
totally honest with you. But then he
can't be honest with anyone, can he?

MAVIS' VOICE
What's your name? To whom am I
speaking?

VOICE
You've never heard of me, Mavis. He
doesn't want you to know I exist.
He wishes I didn't exist. But there
isn't anything he can do about that.
(beat)
Still there, Stu? All you can do is
listen.

STU
Mavis -- the guy is a fucking nutcase!
Hang the fuck up.

VOICE
She doesn't want to. She wants to
know all about us. Don't you, Mavis?

MAVIS' VOICE
Did his wife put you up to this?
That bitch, Kelly?

VOICE
Oh yes, the bitch wife, Kelly. My
very next call.

STU
(yells)
He doesn't know my wife! Don't tell
him anything else.

Outside the booth, a huge, heavy-set black woman in a too
tight dress, now appears with the clear desire to use the
phone. Her name is FELICIA. She taps on the glass.

FELICIA
Could you hurry it along?

Stu ignores her and Felicia glares at him through the glass
with hostility.

Stu has no inclination to deal with anybody else. He's too
distracted by the madness happening over the telephone.

STU
Can you hear me, Mavis? Keep your
big mouth shut.

VOICE
Is that any way to talk to a woman
you love?
(beat)
Mavis, is he always that abusive to
you?

MAVIS' VOICE
You're getting me all upset. I don't
know who you are or how you know all
this --

VOICE
I find out things -- from watching
people and listening to them.

MAVIS' VOICE
Just what is your relationship to
Stu? That's all I want to know.

VOICE
Well, what do you think?

MAVIS' VOICE
Answer me, goddam it!

VOICE
Well alright. Stu and I are --
longtime companions. A pair. Two of
a kind. Closer than close. Peas in a
pod. Spoons in a drawer.

MAVIS' VOICE
You pervert!

VOICE
That, too.

STU
Don't believe a word of it. It's all
lies.

VOICE
Too late, Stu. She already believes
it.

MAVIS' VOICE
You can tell that scumbag never to
bother me again.

VOICE
He won't care. He'll still have me.

STU
It's not true. I do care.

From outside the booth, there's a louder rapping on the glass.
Felicia really wants in.

FELICIA
Get done in there, mister. I got me
an important call.

STU
Go away.

FELICIA
Shit I will! Finish up!

She continues to rap on the glass as Stu tries to focus on
the two-way phone call.

VOICE
Why don't you tell me what you think
of us?

MAVIS' VOICE
You're both disgusting.

VOICE
That's what he said about you. Well,
if Stu didn't have the balls to come
out and tell you the truth, I felt
it was my responsibility to clear
the air. Goodbye now, Mavis. Thanks
for your time.
(the phone clicks
off; we hear only a
dial tone)
Back to you again, Stu.

STU
You total asshole! How could you do
that?

VOICE
Speaking of females, that woman
hovering outside the booth -- may as
well tell her that you'll be on the
line forever.

STU
Like hell I will.

VOICE
I'm ready for you to take out your
cellular and phone home. And this
time, I'll listen in.

STU
There's no chance of that.

VOICE
Or should I call Kelly and make up
something totally outrageous? You
must realize by now I have a vivid
imagination.

STU
You don't know our phone number!

VOICE
Are you absolutely sure? I may have
been watching you on a regular basis.
Keeping track of all the numbers I
see you dial.

STU
And I'm supposed to believe that?

VOICE
I've put a great deal of preparation
into this -- prior to actually saying
hello. Now do you want to dial 832-
7165 -- or should I?

The sound of the actual number being spoken shocks him even
more than the earlier mention of his name.

STU
What are you going to tell her?

VOICE
You'll do the talking.

STU
What am I supposed to say?

VOICE
Try telling her the truth.

STU
Look, I don't want to hurt Kelly.
She's always there for me. It's just
my nature to have a little 'strange'
on the side. It doesn't mean shit.

VOICE
But you still find it necessary?

STU
Kind of like having a beautiful home.
With everything you ever dreamed of.
But you still need that vacation now
and then. Some nice hotel room with
a great view. Maybe a pool. Only you
wouldn't want to spend more than a
few days in any hotel. Eventually,
you want to go back to your home and
all your stuff. You're real glad to
check out.

VOICE
Kelly is home and Mavis is a hotel?
I'm sure they'll both appreciate
that explanation.

STU
You're ruining my fucking life, you
sonofabitch.

VOICE
Didn't I warn you about calling me
names? It makes me vindictive.

STU
What else can you do to me?

VOICE
We haven't even begun.

STU
She's not home. She went out.

VOICE
I'll bet she's back. Now hold the
cellular up where I can see it -- so
I can be certain you don't misdial
on me.
(pause)
A little higher and to your left.
Now I have it in perfect view. Dial
slowly.

More violent rapping on the glass from the persistent black
lady outside.

FELICIA
If you got you a cell phone, how
come you taking up the whole fucking
booth! This here's an emergency!

STU
There's another booth on the next
block.

FELICIA
It's busted. Every damn phone on
Eighth Avenue is busted but this
one.

STU
Well, I'm not through! Go in a
restaurant or someplace, but get
away from me!

FELICIA
I'm gonna pull you out of that booth
and snatch you ballheaded!

She tries to pull open the sliding door to the booth but Stu
jams it shut, right on her hand.

FELICIA
You assaulted my person.

STU
Let me hear from your lawyer!

FELICIA
You're hear alright. I'm coming back.
And your ass better not be around.

She stalks off obviously in search of assistance.

VOICE
Good work, Stu. Now let me see you
dial. Tuck the receiver under your
chin and dial your remote.

STU
I'm doing it.

He punches in the digits. The phone rings -- and rings.

STU
I told you she was out.

VOICE
Let it ring.

Then a girl's voice is heard.

KELLY'S VOICE
Shepard residence.

VOICE
Hold it close to the receiver so I
can hear.

KELLY'S VOICE
Hello?

STU
Honey, it's me.

KELLY'S VOICE
What's taking you so long? I thought
we were having some lunch at Mario's?

STU
Change of plan. We're not eating in
that dump any more.

KELLY'S VOICE
How come?

STU
The Health Department gave them a
'C' rating -- that's how come. Here
I'm trying to put the place on the
map and he fucks it all up with a
major roach problem.

KELLY'S VOICE
That's disgusting. Okay, I'll fix us
a sandwich. Where are you now?

STU
Just in a phone booth.

KELLY'S VOICE
How come? The caller ID says you're
on your cellular.

STU
Oh yeah, I am.

KELLY'S VOICE
But you're also in some phone booth?

VOICE
Explain that one, Stu.

STU
I only stepped in because the traffic
was so loud outside.

KELLY'S VOICE
Well just hurry on back.

VOICE
Tell her you can't.

STU
Not for a few minutes.

KELLY'S VOICE
Are you sure you're alone? I hear
somebody in the background.

STU
The guy in the next booth. He's got
a bad connection and he's hollering
his fool head off.

VOICE
You've got an answer for everything.

STU
I love you, baby.

KELLY'S VOICE
Do you?

STU
You know that.

KELLY'S VOICE
Stu -- who was that man?

STU
What man?

KELLY'S VOICE
Some person who phoned fifteen minutes
ago -- just after you went out.

STU
I don't understand...

KELLY'S VOICE
This total stranger rang up and told
me to wait by the phone -- because
you'd be calling me in a few minutes --
from a booth. And I said what would
he be doing in any phone booth?

STU
And what did this guy say?

KELLY'S VOICE
He said you'd be making phone calls.
What else?

STU
Making calls is part of my business.

KELLY'S VOICE
To whom?

STU
Clients. People. Planting items like
I do.

KELLY'S VOICE
Women?

STU
Once in a while one of them could be
a woman. I just called "Elaine's"
and talked to her to see who was in
there last night.

KELLY'S VOICE
You know exactly what I mean.

STU
You're not going to start that shit
again?

KELLY'S VOICE
I just feel something is wrong.

STU
What could be wrong?

KELLY'S VOICE
The way you sound. You don't sound
like yourself.

STU
Yeah? Who do I sound like?

KELLY'S VOICE
Someone who's scared. There's fear
in your voice like I've never heard
before.

VOICE
See, Stu? Kelly agrees with me.

KELLY'S VOICE
I want you to come back home. Now!

STU
I told you. In a while.

KELLY'S VOICE
No. I want you here now. In case he
calls back, I don't want to answer
again.

STU
Why should he call back?

KELLY'S VOICE
I feel like he's going to.

STU
You're the one that sounds frightened.
And of nobody.

KELLY'S VOICE
He's not a nobody. He knows about
us.

STU
You're not telling me all he said.
What are you holding back?

KELLY'S VOICE
I can't discuss it on the phone.
Just get over here!

CLICK! She hangs up.

STU
(into pay phone)
Why did you do that to her? She never
did you any harm.

VOICE
How would you know? Everybody does
harm to somebody. And then they try
their best to forget it.

STU
Maybe me -- but not her. Whatever
I've done, there's no reason to take
it out on her.

VOICE
Suppose that's the only way I can
get to you? You claim you love her.

STU
Yeah, I do.

VOICE
You don't even love yourself.

STU
But Kelly... I would never hurt.

VOICE
Still you have to uphold your status
as an honorary asshole.

STU
Listen, I've treated all my women
decent. I never laid a hand on any
of them, even when provoked. And I
always let them down easy.
(beat)
I'm not ready to let Kelly go. Maybe
I never will be.

VOICE
What if she dumps you first? What's
the odds she's already taken up with
somebody? One day soon you'll come
home and find her gone along with
the CD player and the VCR.

STU
I'm not gonna let you mind-fuck me
all day! That's it. This call is
ended.

VOICE
Not until I say it is.

STU
What happens if I hang up?

VOICE
You don't really want to find out.

STU
I'm dying to hear this!!! What the
fuck can you do about it -- up in
your fucking high window with your
goddam binoculars?

VOICE
I never indicated I had binoculars.
I said I had a highly magnified
telescopic image of you that brought
you up so close I could see where
you nicked yourself under the chin
shaving this morning.

STU
Oh -- while you're at it, have a
look up my ass.

VOICE
I may very well do that, Stu. In the
meantime, think about what kind of
device has a telescopic sight mounted
on it.

STU
What? You mean... like a rifle?

VOICE
A high-powered .30 calibre bolt action
Remington 700 with a carbon one
modification and a state of the art
Henzholdt tactical sniperscope. And
you're in the cross hairs, Stu.

STU
I'm supposed to believe that?

VOICE
There's only one way I can prove it
to you. Hang up the receiver and
find out. At this range, the exit
wound ought to be about the size of
a small tangerine.

STU
And you're just going to kill me for
no reason?

VOICE
For plenty of reasons! Because you
hung up. For years I hated people
hanging up on me. Ex-girlfriends.
Women I didn't even know. Prospective
employers.

STU
I get hung up on all the time. You
get used to it.

VOICE
Or else you don't. I worked for months
getting people to switch to MCI --
being insulted at and being hung up
on hundreds of times a day. The ones
that cursed me out for invading their
privacy never bothered me as much as
those that clicked off without even
bothering to reply.

STU
Then why didn't you go after one of
them?

VOICE
Maybe you are one of them.

STU
Hey, I have worked in a boiler room
myself peddling "Term Life." I would
never be rude to a fellow salesperson.

VOICE
Can you feel it on you now? The heat
of it. I'm moving the strike zone
down to your stomach area. Now I'm
raising it up again. Directly above
the chest cavity -- sliding up to
the forehead just above the left
ear.

STU
Shit -- I do feel it.

VOICE
Tell me where I'm going with it now.

STU
Across my forehead -- now back where
it was before.

VOICE
I'm amazed how you can do that. You're
amazingly accurate.
(beat)
Now I know what you're thinking. If
I drop down on the floor of the booth
and flatten myself out...

STU
No, I'm not thinking that.

VOICE
Oh yes you are. Can I crawl out using
the booth as a shield? Can I crawl
to that Chrysler illegally parked
only three or four feet away? The
shattering glass may cut me, but
it'll only be superficial. Otherwise,
this lunatic will never let me out
alive.

STU
No. You will. I know you will. If I
just cooperate.

VOICE
Where is it now? Think and feel for
the warm spot.

STU
Below the shoulder?

VOICE
Which one?

STU
The right shoulder.

VOICE
Remarkable how we're in tune. You're
doing far better than the others.

STU
What others? What do you mean?
(no reply)
You said 'others!'

VOICE
(finally)
I'm sure you read about the Italian
tourist shot dead ten days ago at
the corner of Forty-fifth and Eighth?

STU
I saw it on the news.

VOICE
And where are we now?

STU
Oh, God. Forty-fifth and Eighth.

VOICE
What else do you remember about that
killing?

STU
I don't know.

VOICE
Try.

STU
He was gunned down. And nobody was
caught. And they didn't even bother
to take his wallet or his watch...
or anything.

VOICE
Now you know why. It wasn't a robbery.

STU
What did he do?

VOICE
He hung up -- so I disconnected him
permanently.

STU
Please -- don't do it to me. You got
no reason to do it to me.

VOICE
Don't give me reason.

STU
I'm not looking to. Tell me what you
want!

VOICE
Tell me about your job.

STU
What's to tell? I'm in Public
Relations. They used to call us
"flacks." Now we're media consultants.

VOICE
What do you do, exactly?

STU
Plant items in the paper and on the
tube. More important sometimes, keep
stuff out.

VOICE
What've you kept out?

STU
One of my people got nailed for
indecent exposure. I managed for the
cops to use his real name instead of
his stage name so nobody picked up
on it.

VOICE
You saved the little deviate's ass,
didn't you?

STU
He's in major therapy now. I swear
he is.

VOICE
You must hang with some major
celebrities. Journalists, newscasters --
those types.

STU
I'm real close with Larry King. And
the "Hard Copy" people.

VOICE
Could you get him down here? Larry
King?

STU
Why would he want to come here?

VOICE
Because you asked him to.

STU
He comes from Atlanta.

VOICE
Well, who could you get?

STU
I don't know.

VOICE
Wolf Blitzer?

VOICE
Probably not.

VOICE
Regis?

STU
Definitely no chance.

VOICE
You'd be offering them an exclusive
newsbreak. I'm talking about more
than one homicide.

STU
How many?

VOICE
I don't answer questions. I ask them.

STU
I gotta have the facts. They might
not believe me. My record isn't too
good when it comes to hard news.

VOICE
You're not considered a reliable
source?

STU
On a divorce or separation, maybe.
Or who's gay, or who isn't gay any
more. I kind of specialize in that
kind of material. I mean I could
probably get you Joe Franklin.

VOICE
How about Cindy Adams?

STU
I might have a shot. Are you familiar
with Liz Smith?

VOICE
Do you know her number?

STU
Want I should call her? How much can
I say?

VOICE
Tell her you're in direct touch with
a killer who's willing to speak
honestly if she shows up here alone
and without notifying the authorities.

STU
She usually likes to have a celebrity
involved. If you had an actor or a
sports figure held prisoner instead
of me, there'd be better odds she's
come.

VOICE
Then lie. Pick a celebrity and put
them in the booth.

STU
Let's see. Who does she like? Who
couldn't be reached to deny it?

VOICE
I'm anxious to see you in action.
Don't keep me waiting.

Stu uses his cellular again.

STU
(dialing)
Sometimes you only get her service.
(into cellular)
Hi -- Stu Shepard. Put me through.
I've got hard news for her. I can
only talk to her directly. But say
it regards -- Liza.

VOICE
Liza? That was imaginative.

STU
(into cellular)
No, I can't call back. I'll have to
lay in on somebody else. Alright,
but I can't hang on long.
(to pay phone)
She's coming on.
(to cellular)
Liz, hello. Sure I'll make it brief.
Killing two weeks ago in the theatre
district? Turn out a sniper did the
job. Yeah, a sniper with a rifle.
Now he's got another victim lined
up. Not just your anonymous New
Yorker, but Liza. Now you can't call
anybody or Ms. Minelli's dead meat
and so am I. She's hostage in a phone
booth right in the sniper's sights.
But he says he'll talk to you and
let her walk. I know it'll take balls
to do this, but you're a fine and
courageous newspaper woman...

There's a click. Silence.

STU
Hello? Hello?
(to pay phone)
Either she's on her way over or she
doesn't believe me.

VOICE
You weren't particularly convincing.

STU
I didn't really believe in what I
was saying.

VOICE
Because you don't really believe my
Remington is pointed at you?

STU
I do.

VOICE
You're ninety percent sure.

STU
At least ninety-five percent, easy.

VOICE
Let me erase all doubt.

STU
No. Don't shoot.

VOICE
Control yourself, Stu. Glance down
at your chest. What do you see.

STU
Oh, my God. A dot. A fucking red
dot.

A tiny red dot now moves across Stu's chest.

VOICE
Like you've seen in the movies?

STU
The laser dot. Just before some poor
bastard always gets blown away.

VOICE
Usually a supporting player. That
lovely but by now generic special
effect of the bullet piercing the
forehead.

The tiny red laser dot dances around Stu's chest and stomach --
the jumps up and remains between his eyes.

VOICE
This takes all the guesswork out of
it. You know exactly where to expect
it before I even tighten my finger
on the trigger.

STU
Don't tighten. Don't even tickle
that fucking finger.

VOICE
How about Geraldo? He's run his ass
off to get in on this.

STU
You're talking about the old Geraldo.
Look, I can try and reach cable NBC.
They're hungry.

VOICE
I'm disappointed. I wanted to go
first class.

STU
They do a great job. They'll haul a
whole crew over to cover your
surrender "live."

VOICE
I never expressed interest in giving
myself up. There are so many other
phone booths in the city. I'm just
getting warmed up.

STU
That's entirely up to you. Your
choice. I'm just trying to set you
up with the proper communicator.
(beat)
I suppose Liza wasn't strong enough.
I should've said Madonna.

VOICE
Now you're being creative.

Outside the booth, the angry black woman has returned,
bringing with her a gaudily dressed pimp named LEON who looks
like he means business. He slams his fist against the glass,
nearly shattering it.

LEON
Drag your baggy butt out of that
booth. We got business to conduct
out of there.

FELICIA
He been in there all day.

STU
I'm not through.

LEON
Hang up that receiver or I'll make
you eat the fucking thing!

STU
Fuck off or I'll call a cop.

LEON
Do you see one around here? What you
think I'm gonna be doing while you're
waiting for a prowl car to get
assigned? I'm about to cut you a
second asshole if you don't vacate
those premises.

STU
I can't.

FELICIA
He's got him a fucking cellular.
What's he need to be on our booth
for?

STU
I can't explain it.

LEON
I'm not interested in your
explanations even if you had any.

He withdraws a switchblade knife from his pocket but doesn't
open it -- yet.

LEON
If I flick this, I use it.

STU
I'll make it worth your while to go
away. How much do you want?

LEON
Make me an offer.

STU
Thirty dollars. It's all I've got in
cash. Take it and go.

LEON
You're offering to rent my phone
booth? For how long?

STU
I don't know. For as long as it takes.

LEON
What's so special in there?

STU
Do you want the money?

LEON
Is that a genuine Rolex you've got
on?

STU
Come on, man. That's my good watch.

LEON
That's what it's gonna take.

STU
Then here. Take the damn thing.

LEON
And the thirty!

STU
Take it all.

The pimp pockets the watch and the money. But doesn't go
away.

LEON
Now I'm satisfied. But you still got
to deal with Felicia here. I believe
you spoke harshly to her.

STU
I apologize.

LEON
And did her some injury.

STU
An accident. I'm sorry about that,
too.

FELICIA
The man don't sound like he means
it.

LEON
I agree.
(to Stu)
Why don't you hang up a minute so we
can discuss this matter at length.

STU
It's long distance. I can't lose the
call -- I might not get them back.

LEON
Do I have to rip that fucking phone
out of there?

STU
That wouldn't be a good idea.
(into pay phone)
Would it?

VOICE
Not at all.

STU
I gave you everything I've got.

LEON
That pinky ring looks attractive.
Felicia might like that.

FELICIA
It might fit.

STU
You want the ring, you've got the
ring. If I can get it off.

LEON
I can get it off you.

Leon reaches in and grabs Stu's ring hand.

STU
Let go of me! It's coming loose.
There.
(he tosses it)
Okay, Felicia, with my deepest
apologies. Goodbye now.

LEON
What's really going on in that booth --
that escapes the naked eye?

STU
Nothing. Talk. That's all.

LEON
That your connection on the end of
the line? Or are you dealing?

STU
This has nothing to do with drugs.

LEON
You gotta be high on something to
willingly divest yourself of your
valuables -- just to maintain
occupancy of a fucking phone booth
that the local bums piss in every
night.

STU
I knew it smelled for some reason.

LEON
You look like you're ready to piss
yourself.

STU
Because I am.

LEON
Maybe if the city provided decent
public toilets, folks wouldn't relieve
themselves in the subway stations
and phone booths!

STU
I'll take it up with the mayor.

LEON
Next thing you know you're gonna
claim we mugged you -- took your
billfold and watch.

STU
No, you didn't. It was a fair and
equitable deal. You had territorial
rights to this booth and I paid a
license fee. Fair is fair. Now leave
me in peace.

LEON
You sure you're alright?
(to Felicia)
He don't look well.

FELICIA
Kind of pale. Even for a white man.

LEON
Jaundice they calls it. Probably
advanced liver trouble.
(to Stu)
If it's cirrhosis, you better find
yourself a twelve step program and
quick.

STU
Thanks for your interest but I'm in
perfect health.

FELICIA
So how come his hand is shaking?

LEON
The man is cracking up.

FELICIA
Lookit the sweat pouring off the
sonofabitch. That's one sick mother
you started up with, Leon!

LEON
Me? You're the one that brought me
over and exposed me to all his germs.

STU
I'm terminal, okay? Now can I close
the booth and continue my
conversation?

LEON
I'm worried now it might be catching.
All that money out of your sweaty
pocket is probably crawling with
some rare and incurable disease.

STU
Fine. Give it back.

LEON
What good's that? We done touched
it.

STU
Well go wash your hands.

LEON
Come on now. Own up to what you're
carrying. Is it some of that sexually
transmitted shit? Cause in that case,
we can relax.

STU
I'm sick of you. Now get out of my
face.

LEON
Here we's being solicitous as to
your health and you respond by heaping
abuse!

FELICIA
Whip his arrogant ass.

Leon reaches into the booth and grabs Stu's jacket.

STU
Touch me and I'll throw up on you.

At the suggestion, Leon lets go quickly.

It looks like a stalemate. Stu isn't vacating the booth and
Leon and his lady are reluctant to touch him further. He
does indeed look sick.

STU
(into pay phone)
You can see what I'm up against here.

VOICE
Want me to get rid of him for you?

STU
What do you have in mind?

VOICE
I'll think of something.

Suddenly the red dot reappears on the forehead of the pimp.

Leon doesn't realize it's there. The hooker behind him has
no way of seeing it. But to Stu, there's no way to miss it.
He reacts.

STU
God -- no.
(into pay phone)
Don't. It's not necessary.

VOICE
You asked for my help.

STU
I'll handle it myself.

VOICE
You're not doing too well. I can
settle it in a fraction of a second.
Shall I demonstrate?

STU
No.
(to Leon)
For your own safety, mister, just
walk away.

LEON
Now the man is turning aggressive...
issuing threats upon my person.

STU
You're making this happen.

LEON
If you don't hang up and step out,
I'm about to topple this booth into
the gutter with you inside it.

Reluctant to touch Stu again, Leon assaults the booth itself.
He begins shaking it violently -- trying to rip it from its
foundation. And the rickety booth is not too sturdy. It starts
rocking back and forth.

Stu is thrown around inside it, barely keeping his footing.

STU
(into pay phone)
This isn't my fault.
(shouts)
Stop that!

But Leon continues rocking the booth. It won't come loose --
so in frustration, he punches in a side pane of glass.

The glass shatters all around Stu, who does his best to shield
himself from the slivers.

STU
(into pay phone)
The guy's insane!

VOICE
Only one way to stop a mad dog.
Give me permission.

STU
I can't.

VOICE
If he forces you out of that booth,
I've told you what to expect. You or
him, Stu.

Leon is smashing other panes of glass now -- one after another --
as Stu cowers inside.

FELICIA
Don't cut yourself, honey.

A crowd of derelicts and street people are now gathering to
watch the out of control pimp take out his wrath on the booth
and its occupant.

DERELICT
Looks like the fucker is comin' loose.

STREET PERSON
Shove it out into the oncoming
traffic.

DERELICT
What'll you bet the bus could knock
that fifty feet?

The booth is being decimated but Stu hangs onto the phone.

STU
(into pay phone)
Hello? Hello?

VOICE
(with heavy static)
You're breaking up. We're about to
be cut off.

STU
I can't help it!

VOICE
That counts as a hang-up.

STU
No. It can't. That's not fair.

VOICE
I can still make him stop. Say the
word. Can you hear me?

STU
Yes.

Stu sees the red dot reappear on Leon's chest as he continues
to barrage the booth with punches and kicks.

Then Leon recoils, staggers a step backward. He doesn't
realize he's been shot.

There's been no sound of gunfire. Perhaps a silencer was
used -- or the downtown traffic drowned out the solitary
discharge.

Leon looks confused at first. His ladyfriend has no idea
he's wounded -- neither do the derelicts and street people
who've assembled on the corner.

Even Stu isn't sure -- until the blood starts oozing from
the wound on the pimp's chest -- staining his yellow vest.

He isn't assaulting the booth anymore. He's trying to keep
his balance. He slumps forward, hanging onto the booth for
support -- only a few inches from Stu's face. The blood runs
down the side of the booth.

STU
(into pay phone)
You did it!

VOICE
You said 'yes.'

STU
I said 'Yes, I can hear you.' Not
'Yes -- kill the motherfucker!'

VOICE
Don't try to renege on it. I was
following orders.

STU
You're twisting it all around. I
didn't do this!

Meanwhile, Leon leans upright against the booth. Then his
legs cave in and he begins to slide to his knees.

Felicia runs up beside him. She sees the blood.

FELICIA
I warned you not to cut yourself.
(to crowd)
Look at all that blood. He must've
hit an artery.

She screams as Leon topples backwards onto the pavement.
Now his chest wound is evident.

FELICIA
Oh, Jesus. What is that? Talk to me!
What happened?

The crowd tightens around the fallen body. Street people who
are fascinated but not shocked.

DERELICT
Gunshot!

STREET PERSON
Yeah. Sucking chest wound right over
the heart.

FELICIA
Somebody call an ambulance.

STREET PERSON
Call the meatwagon. He's fucked up.

FELICIA
You shut the fuck up!

Her focus turns to Stu in the battered phone booth.

FELICIA
Why did you do that to him?

STU
I didn't.

FELICIA
(to crowd)
You all saw it! He shot my man without
no provocation!

DERELICT
Yeah. Pumped one right into him at
close range.

STU
How could I? I don't even have a
gun. Look!

STREET PERSON
Everybody get the fuck back! They
shoot one -- then they shoot everybody
in sight! Kill all the fucking
witnesses!

The crowd disperses to doorways and around the corner -- out
of immediate range.

STU
Come back. You've got to see -- I'm
not armed.

Only Felicia remains, leaning over the pimp's body, staring
helplessly.

FELICIA
Hang up and dial 911. Get a doctor!

STU
I can't hang up. That's what this is
all about.

FELICIA
You're gonna stand there and let him
die?

STU
(takes out cellular)
I can use this.
(he dials)
Emergency. Yes. There's been a
shooting at Forty-fifth and Eighth --
on the corner. A man is down. What's
the difference who I am? I don't
want to be involved.

FELICIA
(shouts)
That's bullshit. He's the shooter.
You're talking to the shooter.

Stu quickly disconnects the cellular.

STU
That wasn't nice.

FELICIA
Go ahead -- make a fucking run for
it. I hope they gun you down -- like
you did him!

STU
I'm not going anyplace. I'm staying
right here in this booth.
(into pay phone)
Unless you give me permission.

VOICE
You're attracting a lot of attention.
I suppose when the police get there,
you'll accuse me.

STU
What do you expect me to say?

VOICE
That's up to you. But any mention of
me will not be appreciated.

STU
You mean...?

VOICE
You won't even get to finish your
sentence. Oh look, that little red
dot is dancing around all over you
again. You saw how quickly it can
happen. And how accurate I can be.

STU
They can't blame me -- I'm not armed.

VOICE
Who's going to believe that? With
all those witnesses to the contrary.

STU
They can see with their own eyes.

Not far away, we hear the BLAST of POLICE SIRENS drawing
closer.

VOICE
Remember to leave me out of it.

STU
How can I?

VOICE
You'll put the proper spin on it.
Isn't that your specialty? Feeding
the public a story that may not have
a shred of truth -- and making it
totally believable?

STU
This isn't a story. This is real.
This is murder.

VOICE
If you'd only dealt with the man
reasonably, shown him some respect,
this might not have been necessary.

STU
I gave him my money, my watch...

VOICE
But not your respect. Which is what
he required of you.

STU
He was a fucking thief.

VOICE
And now he's a fucking dead thief.
Do you feel better about that?

STU
I don't feel a bit guilty. This is
all your doing!

VOICE
Now you're being disrespectful of
me. You never learn. Your job is to
deal with people -- but you're not
good at it.

STU
Hey, I'm not taking any more criticism
from some lunatic sniper who gets
his kicks killing strangers.

VOICE
You keep insisting I'm a stranger.
Probably because you don't recognize
the voice. But there are cheap
electronic devices available that
disguise the voice. I might not even
be a man. I might be one of those
many women you've almost totally
forgotten. One who doesn't forgive
easily. One who wants to watch you
squirm.

STU
You're a man. I know you're a man.
Women don't kill with telescopic
rifles. They stab you.

VOICE
You sound so sure of that. But you've
never provoked any man as much as
have the women in your life. And so
many of them, Stu.
(a beat)
Do you even remember their names?

STU
I've got no time to rehash my whole
life. Oh my God! The cops are here.

Police cars are pulling up on all sides of Eighth Avenue.

Traffic has suddenly been shut down. Prowl cars have now
blocked the streets.

PRODUCTION NOTE: Everything is seen from Stu's perspective
without intercuts.

Half a dozen cops now emerge and approach with drawn guns.

FELICIA
(pointing)
That's him -- in the booth. He's got
a gun!

As she hurls accusations, she's lugging Leon's lifeless body
out into the gutter into the center of Eighth Avenue.

It's a bright afternoon. In the distance, we hear the
maddening HONKING of uptown traffic that is now being
rerouted, creating a huge bottleneck and raising the anger
of irate motorists and bus drivers whose horns provide their
simplest form of protest. It's a discordant concert that
echoes the confusion and frustration which Stu now feels...

As the cops surround the booth -- at a distance.

SERGEANT
(into bullhorn)
Throw down your weapon and come out
with your hands raised.

STU
(into phone)
They're ordering me to come out.

VOICE
I can see that. Ignore them.

STU
What if they open fire?

VOICE
They probably won't. Look across on
the east side of the street. Do you
see the tourist with the home video
camera?

STU'S POV

A distant crowd gathering on the opposite west side corner
behind the police cars. Some tourist is capturing the event
on video.

BACK TO STU

STU
What about him?

VOICE
He's going to keep the police on
their best behavior. So long as you
don't take what could be interpreted
as hostile action, you'll be safe.

STU
You call this safe? Six cops with
guns pointed my way?

VOICE
You want me to reduce them to three --
or two?

STU
Absolutely no more shooting. Now is
that clear?

VOICE
You can always change your mind.

SERGEANT
(with bullhorn)
You know the drill. Hands clasped
behind the back of your neck -- moving
slowly -- step out of the booth. If
we see any sign of a weapon, we will
respond.

STU
(shouts)
You won't, because there isn't any.

SERGEANT
(bullhorn)
I repeat. Raise your hands.

STU
I can't. I'm on a phone call.

Now a black POLICE CAPTAIN arrives and takes full command of
the situation.

CAPTAIN RAMEY
You have thirty seconds to comply.

STU
I told you. I'm busy. Come back later.

VOICE
Very good, Stu.

The cops take cover behind parked cars, keeping Stu clearly
in their sights. He has no place to hide. He's in the battered
phone booth in plain view from all sides.

RAMEY
You've been given an order.

The Sergeant slides up beside the Captain to confer.

PRODUCTION NOTE: We remain in LONG SHOT of the cops -- always
from Stu's POV. But we can hear their voices and all that is
said as if they were in close up. It has an odd, unreal and
distancing effect.

SERGEANT
We're dealing with a mental case.
He's looking for us to kill him.

RAMEY
Well he's not getting his wish.

In the center of the street, an ambulance pulls up and a
team of medics jump out. They rush to Leon's body. (Again we
hear their voices close, even though visually they are far
off.)

FELICIA
Tell me he's gonna be alright.

MEDIC
Step aside. Let us look at him.

The medics push her aside -- then examine the victim. He's
DOA.

MEDIC
Nothing we can do. Don't touch the
body. They'll need it to mark the
crime scene.

Far across the street, the Captain confers with his
subordinates. They are small figures on the screen but we
hear them sharply.

SERGEANT
Same corner as two weeks ago.

RAMEY
Maybe it's more than a coincidence.
Cover me. I need to talk to him.

SERGEANT
You've got your vest on?

RAMEY
What do you think?

The Captain steps out of cover and boldly approaches the
phone booth. He stops cautiously about fifteen feet away.

RAMEY
I'm not armed.

STU
Neither am I.

RAMEY
Yeah, sure. I need to know what
happened.

STU
Can't talk about it.

RAMEY
Sure you can. My name's Ramey.
Captain Ed Ramey. What's yours?

STU
Look, I don't want to be friends.

RAMEY
You look like you need a friend.

VOICE
Tell him you've already got a friend.

STU
(yells)
I've got a friend, okay.

RAMEY
Is that who you're talking to on the
phone?

STU
None of your business.

RAMEY
When somebody gets shot, it becomes
my business. Let's not have anybody
else killed. I want to hear your
side of it.

STU
I've got no side of it.

VOICE
Don't worry, Stu. I've got him fixed
right in my sights. I won't let him
hurt you.

RAMEY
Has this happened to you before? The
need to hurt someone? To put a bullet
in them?

STU
You won't believe anything I say.

RAMEY
Try me.

STU
I couldn't shoot anybody. I'm not
armed.

RAMEY
You're right. I don't believe you.
What's that bulge in your pants
pocket?

STU
That? That's my cellular.

RAMEY
A cellular? Then what are you doing
in a phone booth making calls?

STU
Do you want to see it?

RAMEY
Don't reach for it, mister.

STU
Then how can I show it to you?

RAMEY
I don't need to see it. I know what's
there. All these witnesses saw you
use it on him.

From behind a parked car, a HOMELESS PERSON calls out.

STREET PERSON
(hollers)
Damn straight!

Another DERELICT, crouched in a doorway, joins in.

DERELICT
(shouts)
Yeah! Shot him down like a dog!

STU
They're all lying. Nobody saw it
because it didn't happen.

RAMEY
A man is dead but it didn't happen.

STU
Not on account of me! This is like
some bad dream.

RAMEY
You're walking through a bad dream
and you can't wake up. Do you want
to wake up?

STU
I'm trying.

RAMEY
And in this dream, you killed that
man. He was bothering you so you
iced him.

STU
No.

RAMEY
Then who did?

VOICE
Don't tell him, Stu. Or it'll be the
last thing he ever hears. His blood
will be on your hands.

STU
(to Ramey)
I don't know.

RAMEY
But you saw it happen?

STU
Yes.

RAMEY
You were the closest one to him.
You must've seen who did it.

STU
No.

RAMEY
We're trying to be honest with each
other, aren't we?

STU
Not necessarily.

VOICE
I'm losing patience with this cop.

STU
(into phone)
I'm handling this.

RAMEY
Who do you keep talking to on the
phone?

STU
Nobody. My psychiatrist.

VOICE
Excellent, Stu. You're getting good
at this.

RAMEY
What's this doctor's name? It's
important we know.

STU
He says not to tell you. It's
privileged information.

VOICE
Damn good reply. Now you're having
fun. Admit it.

STU
Whatever you say.

VOICE
Playing it so close to the edge.
I'll bet you've never felt so alive.
That's how I feel when I look through
the sight and select somebody.

The Captain begins advancing a few steps closer.

RAMEY
I respect your right to privacy.
I've been to therapy myself. The
department provides it. I know it's
not good form for a cop to be
admitting that, but...

VOICE
Tell him not to come any closer.

STU
Stop right there. Back up a few steps.
Back where you were.

RAMEY
If it makes you more comfortable.

VOICE
Tell him to read you your rights.

STU
I want you to read me my rights and
stop asking questions.

RAMEY
Al least tell me your first name.

STU
It's my right not to have any name.

RAMEY
No gun and no name. You're a highly
underprivileged person.

VOICE
Demand a lawyer.

STU
And get me a lawyer, too. I want a
lawyer brought down here to negotiate
my surrender.

VOICE
Brilliant, Stu. Keep winging it.

RAMEY
It'll be hard to find a lawyer willing
to risk his life. But if you hand
over the gun...

STU
How can I when you won't let me take
it out?

RAMEY
We'll take it out for you -- as soon
as you exit the booth with your hands
raised and...

STU
(interrupts)
Now we're back to that again. It's
always "Get out of the booth.' 'You
can't stay in the booth.' Well, I
like it in the fucking booth. It's
my whole world now. It's my booth
and I'm never coming out.

RAMEY
We're not about to force you because
there could be a miscalculation and
then we'd never find out why this
happened.

STU
Why is it so important to know? The
guy is dead. Isn't that enough?
Knowing isn't going to make him alive
again. So who gives a fuck!

RAMEY
It's what makes the job interesting.
Finding out why. Something drove you
to do this. You didn't go out today
expecting this to happen. It was a
nice day. You were out for a walk.
And then suddenly it all changed.

STU
All I wanted was to make a phone
call. One lousy phone call for thirty-
five fucking cents.

VOICE
Careful, Stu. Don't volunteer too
much.

RAMEY
You got some bad news on that call.

STU
The worst.

RAMEY
Something that pushed you over the
edge?

STU
And I've been falling ever since.

RAMEY
Time to land.

STU
When you hit bottom, you die.

RAMEY
I'm your safety net.

STU
If I tell you what you want to know --
you'll die, too.

Something about the implied threat sends a chill through
Captain Ramey.

INSERT SHOT

The Captain's head as seen through a telescopic sight.

Ramey could be dead in an instant.

PRODUCTION NOTE: The only time we deviate from Stu's
perspective is when we see the sniper's POV through his scope.

ANGLE BACK ON STU IN THE BOOTH,

the detective fifteen feet away.

Ramey decides to back off momentarily.

RAMEY
I'll go see about that lawyer.

STU
Now that's a good idea.

The Captain withdraws back across the street.

VOICE
He's lucky. I had him centered in my
cross hairs. I really had to restrain
myself.

We hear the approach of a helicopter.

Stu peers up ward as not one but two choppers appear above
the tall buildings.

VOICE
It's not the police. It's the media.
You're news, Stuart.

The helicopters circle above.

VOICE
You've never gotten this much press
for any of your clients. I'm making
you a famous person.

STU
They're just hoping for coverage of
me dying in the gutter.

VOICE
Their presence is putting the police
on their continued best behavior.

STU
Those cops are just looking for any
excuse.

VOICE
Then don't give them one.

Then, as if on cue, Stu's cellular phone in his pocket starts
ringing.

But he can't allows himself to reach for it. To do so might
cause the police to believe he was trying to draw his gun.

It rings quietly -- virtually inaudible outside the booth.
Drowned out by the traffic horns, the static from the police
radios and the newly introduced sound of television
helicopters circling over Eighth Avenue taking video coverage
of the event below.

VOICE
Who could it be?

STU
Kelly. She was worried about me.

Stu is afraid to reach in his pocket lest the cops think
he's going for a gun.

VOICE
Maybe she's seen this on television.
It must be on every channel by now.
Breaking news.

STU
She doesn't watch daytime TV.

VOICE
One of the neighbors could've alerted
her.

The cell phone keeps ringing, almost drowned out by the sound
of helicopters circling overhead.

STU
Why are you saying this? You want me
to reach in my pocket so you can see
them open fire?

VOICE
That's an unwarranted accusation and
very unbecoming in light of the good
advice I've given in the past. Have
I ever steered you wrong?

STU
God -- how I'd love to hear her voice.

VOICE
It might even be worth it. She's
insistent, isn't she?

The cellular won't stop ringing.

STU
If she knows I'm in trouble, she
won't give up.

VOICE
Probably glued to the TV by now.
I'm watching coverage on two stations
now. Channel surfing.
(pause)
Well, there you are on two and four
and five. Not any decent angles on
you, though, stuck inside there.

The cell phone continues beeping until the sound of it is
maddening. Stu is still afraid to reach for it and provide
the cops with an excuse to open fire.

VOICE
But if you'd take one or two steps
outside and look up, I think they
could get a clear picture of you.

STU
You said I'm not allowed to leave
the booth.

Finally the cell phone stops ringing.

VOICE
I might be willing to bend the rules
and let you enjoy your moment of
fame. Set the phone down without
hanging up... and take a step or two
outside. Just for a minute. Then
come straight back in or I'll be
forced to provide 'live' coverage
that should rival the historic
Zapruder footage.
(beat)
Nothing like an exploding head to
excite viewer interest.

STU
No, thanks. I'll stay where I am.

VOICE
It was only a suggestion. Since you're
convinced I'm going to plug you
anyway, it can't matter much.

STU
If you shoot me, you give yourself
away.

VOICE
Even without a muffler, they'd never
hear the report with all this noise.
Afterwards, it'd take them a good
ten minutes to realize you weren't
plugged by some overzealous officer.
Then they'll blame the media for
inciting a crackpot vigilante to
come down here and do the SWAT team's
job for them.

STU
You expected them to come. You had
this all worked out.

VOICE
I write the scenario and you all
play your parts -- as directed.

The damned cell phone starts beeping again. Stu fights the
temptation to grab for it and hear Kelly's voice for one
last time.

STU
Poor Kelly. What she must be going
through.

VOICE
Why don't you tell her how you feel
about her?

STU
I'd never get the words out. Not
with fifteen or twenty rounds in me.

VOICE
You can't be certain they'd fire.
They'd see it was only a phone.

STU
They wouldn't wait to see.

The cellular ringing continues jangling Stu's nerves.

STU
Why doesn't she hang up?

Then Stu notices something in the crowd gathering far across
the street behind the police barricades. Countless faces
rubbernecking, probably hoping to see some display of violence
that would end with him face down dead on the pavement.

And in the midst of them -- one face familiar to him. A
female, quite pretty... even in tears. It's Kelly. (We see
her only in LONG SHOT -- a distant figure in bright green
jacket that makes her stand out from the crowd.)

STU
It's her! She's not calling me.
She's over there.

VOICE
Is she?

STU
The blonde girl in the green jacket.

VOICE
Can't miss her. Very attractive,
isn't she?

STU
She must've heard all the commotion
and come downstairs.

The cellular is still ringing.

STU
It's somebody else who knows my cell
number.
(beat)
It's you!

VOICE
You continue to impress.

STU
Why is it so important that they
kill me?

VOICE
Because that's how I win.

STU
This time you won't. If you want me
dead, you'll have to do it yourself.

VOICE
Either way I can't lose.

STU
It's all a game to you -- because
you're incapable of feelings. You're
not even human.

VOICE
I pride myself on that. What's so
great about being human? It's the
lowest form of life on this planet
and I've taken it upon myself to
thin the herd.

STU
I quit. I'm not answering back any
more. I won't hang up but I'm not
playing.

There's silence now between them.

VOICE
Stu? Stu, don't be that way. You're
taking the pleasure out of it.

Stu doesn't take the bait. He remains absolutely silent.

A stalemate has been reached.

WE RACK FOCUS ACROSS THE STREET TO THE POLICE

clustered behind an emergency vehicle. The Sergeant brings a
civilian to meet Captain Ramey of the SWAT unit. The newcomer
wears coveralls stenciled "At&T." (Although they are very
far away, we hear their voices close up as they come into
sharper focus.)

SERGEANT
This here's Helfand, of New York
Telephone.

HELFAND
Glad to help out.

RAMEY
Have you got the number of that booth?

HELFAND
Sure do.

RAMEY
Can you tap into that call?

HELFAND
It can be done.

SERGEANT
But not without a warrant. You could
be violating this psycho's civil
rights. Especially if he's on the
line with his fucking psychiatrist.

RAMEY
Shit. I don't want to blow this on a
technicality. Tracing the call isn't
any violation, is it?

SERGEANT
As long as we don't listen in.

We remain in LONG SHOT of the POLICE as they continue in
heated conversation.

RAMEY
(to Helfand)
Okay, we've got to know who he's
talking to and their current location.

HELFAND
That I can handle. As long as they
keep the circuit open.

RAMEY
I need the number and an address to
go with it.

Helfand rushes off. At the corner, we can glimpse him entering
a phone company utility truck parked on Forty-Fifth Street.

RACK FOCUS BACK TO PHONE BOOTH

Stu remains tight lipped and silent, refusing to give his
tormentor the conversation he so craves.

VOICE
Stuart, my friend. Do you want to
see how close I can come without
actually hitting you?

Stu resists pleading because he knows his silence is more
powerful.

There's no glass in the left side of the booth since the
late Leon smashed it all out.

Nothing to shatter when the sniper squeezes off his shot.

VOICE
May I call attention to the yellow
pages?

The frayed yellow phonebook dangling from a chain under the
telephone shudders under the impact of a direct hit.

There's been no sound of a gunshot, but the damage is there
to behold.

Stu reaches for the phonebook.

There's a bullet hole straight through it. Pieces of the .30
calibre slug have shattered into many tiny fragments and are
imbedded between the pages, half-way through the thick volume.

Stu pries pieces out of the pages of the directory. He looks
at them in the palm of his hand.

VOICE
Hollow points are designed to break
up on impact. It would've behaved
differently if it had pierced your
soft flesh. The pieces would've
bounced around looking for a way
out. That's where the real damage
occurs -- finding an exit --
deflecting off all that bone...

Stu wants to shout "STOP," but restrains himself. Not talking
gives him some degree of power.

VOICE
Still the silent treatment? My father
used to dish that out when he chose
to punish me. Not a word spoken --
one time for over a month. I'd try
and goad him to acknowledge I existed,
but he stared right through me. You're
bringing back unhappy childhood,
Stu. That's not wise.

Stu still declines to answer. His silence seems his only
weapon. He tosses the bullet fragments out of the booth onto
the pavement.

VOICE
Since you're ignoring me, I'll focus
on someone else.
(a beat)
There she is -- nice and sharp. I
can see the two little punctures in
each earlobe and my God, what kind
of a girl would have her nostril
pierced?

Stu realizes the sniper now has Kelly in his sights.

STU
No!

VOICE
What was that? Louder, Stu. We must
have a bad connection.

STU
Leave her out of it.

VOICE
I didn't expect her to show up here.
But since she has -- I'll improvise.

STU
Don't. Please don't. I'm sorry.
I'm talking to you again. I'll talk
all you want!

VOICE
It's a bad dye job. The black roots
are growing in and it makes her look
cheap.

STU
I've screwed up her life enough
already. Please don't hurt her.

VOICE
I don't necessarily have to kill
her. I could be persuaded to settle
for a reasonable mutilation. Which
part of her displeases you most? If
she turns a bit more in profile, I'm
accurate enough to remove the tip of
her unpleasantly protruding nose.
It's just cartilage. Any decent
cosmetic surgeon will have her looking
better than ever.

STU'S POV - FOCUS SHIFTS TO KELLY

in the crowd. Distant yet distinct amongst the curious
onlookers.

JUMP CUT

CLOSER ON KELLY -- OBLIVIOUS TO HER DANGER.

AS SEEN THROUGH CROSS HAIRS OF TELESCOPIC SIGHT

following her as she forces her way through the crowd toward
the police officers.

Her face virtually fills the screen.

PRODUCTION NOTE: The only time we deviate from Stu and his
POV is when we see the sniper's own POV through his telescopic
sight.

VOICE
You can see her talking to the police
now. She's identifying herself as
your wife. They're very interested
in who you are. They're taking her
over to see the officer in charge.
What was his name?

SNIPER'S POV

Through the cross hairs of the sniperscope, we can see Kelly
conversing with Captain Ramey. She's in a state of complete
agitation.

ANGLE ON STU

half leaning out of the booth, staring at his wife and the
cops in the distance.

RACK FOCUS TO THEM --

and suddenly we can hear them clearly in spite of the
distance.

KELLY
What do you mean psychiatrist? He
doesn't see any psychiatrist.

RAMEY
Then who'd your husband be talking
to?

KELLY
There was some guy that called the
house this morning and said weird
stuff to me.

RAMEY
Stu seems to be checking things out
with this person.

KELLY
He hasn't got many friends -- I can
tell you that.

RAMEY
Remain here, please. We may need you
later.

KELLY
You won't hurt him?

RAMEY
We'll do our best not to.

Kelly is left alone as the Captain returns to their command
center.

Kelly is once again a solitary target. She could be picked
off without attracting undue attention.

VOICE
She won't even feel it when it
happens.

BACK TO PHONE BOOTH

STU
Take me instead.

VOICE
Don't distract me. Now's the time to
be absolutely still. I have to hold
my breath as I squeeze gently --

STU
No! I'm hanging up. That's it.

Stu hangs up the receiver. He disconnects.

RACK FOCUS TO LONG SHOT --

The police as they react. We see a flurry of activity across
the street. Voices become clear as focus shifts.

RAMEY
Shit. He hung up.

SERGEANT
Maybe they already traced it. Anyhow,
it doesn't matter. Looks like he's
coming out.

RACK FOCUS BACK TO STU --

slowly stepping out of the booth. His hands are raised.

STU
(shouts)
I've giving myself up. Take me!

SWAT OFFICER
(distant)
First the gun. We want to see you
toss away your weapon!

STU
Shit. I can't.

SWAT OFFICER
(distant)
Freeze where you are! Turn around
and keep those hands clasped.
(signals the others)
Take him.

The SWAT OFFICERS in protective gear now step out of cover
and fan out as they approach the booth.

TIGHTER ON STU

He's just outside the booth -- expecting to feel the sniper's
bullet go through him at any moment.

Then the pay phone starts ringing.

The sniper is calling back.

RACK FOCUS AGAIN

to the police.

All the cops react. Particularly the Captain and the Sergeant.
Their voices seem close up when they sharpen in focus.

SERGEANT
What is going on with these fucking
phone calls?

RAMEY
(shouts)
Hold your fire. Let him answer it.

The SWAT team backs up but maintain their aim.

SERGEANT
Are you nuts?

RAMEY
Let them talk. He's not going
anywhere.
(shouts)
He's going back inside the booth.

Indeed we see Stu re-enter the battered phone booth and pick
up the receiver.

FOCUS RETURNS TO STU

STU
(into pay phone)
Yeah?

A strange voice begins chattering away in Spanish. Totally
unintelligible to Stu.

STU
(into pay phone)
You got the wrong number. Hang up.

The voice, probably a Puerto Rican gentleman, rattles on in
Spanish.

STU
Wrong number. Wrong number.

Then the voice on the phone suddenly alters the Hispanic
accent. It is the now familiar tone of his tormentor.

VOICE
Aw, relax, Stu. Only yanking your
chain. Now can we start over?

STU
Those cops won't wait much longer.

VOICE
What else can they do? They can't
afford to just shoot you like I can.
Not with so much media coverage. Not
unless you make some stupid aggressive
move.
(beat)
The ABC Mobile Unit just rolled up.

Across the street, Stu can see various TV units from local
stations setting up cameras on roofs of trucks.

STU
Will you look at that? I must be
going out over the network. Bet
they're pre-empting usual programming.

VOICE
And just think -- if you survive
this, your trial will be televised.
And you can try and make the world
believe I ever existed. I'd be your
only defense.

STU
How are they gonna prove that I killed
anybody when there's no gun?

VOICE
They'll plant one. The police aren't
above that -- when they're desperate
to convict.

STU
No, sir. No gun and I walk.

VOICE
Don't you think I took that into
account? Am I a fool?

STU
What do you mean?

VOICE
Haven't I considered every
eventuality? I knew they'd come and
cordon off the block.
(beat)
And that there'd have to be a gun
someplace.

STU
Where?

VOICE
It's a small booth, Stu. Have you
checked every inch of it?

STU
(looking up and down)
It's not on the floor.

VOICE
Then what's left?

STU
Up above.

VOICE
Could be. Why don't you reach up
there and lift the plastic sheet --
and feel around.

STU
If they see me reach for something,
they could open fire.

VOICE
They could. But you have to know if
it's there. Don't you?

STU
I totally don't give a shit.

VOICE
In a narrow space, tucked just to
the left of the fluorescent bulb.
You can almost see it outlined if
you look closely.

Stu peers upward at the clouded plastic, now stained and
dirty. There are shadows of objects above in the shallows
area around the light fixture that automatically goes on
when the door to the phone booth is tightly closed.

Stu opens and closes the door a few times, watching the light
click on -- watching the shadows around the light.

Could that be an accumulation of dirt, dust, or dead insects?
Or could something be stashed up there?

STU
It doesn't matter. I know about
ballistics. The slug in that dead
guy came from your rifle, not any
handgun.

VOICE
You saw how hollow points splinter
on impact. There's nothing much for
ballistics to match to. The same
make .30 calibre bullets are in that
handgun. The prosecution rests.

STU
There's no gun up there. I don't see
a damn thing.

VOICE
Slide your finger up under the plastic
and you'll feel the cold metal
surface. There are four rounds left
in it. Should you decide to shoot
your way out.

STU
I could never shoot anybody.

VOICE
You could shoot me, Stu. You'd do
that in a minute if you could.

STU
And I'd fucking love it!

VOICE
Now you're speaking from the heart.
Come on, just lift the partition a
few inches and feel what's there for
you.

STU
I'm not getting my fingerprints on
your fucking weapon. What about powder
residue? How are they going to explain
that to a jury?

VOICE
Do you think that'll matter with so
many eye witnesses?
(beat)
Do it... or should I re-focus my
attention on Kelly?

STU
No.

VOICE
You carefully distracted me from her
before and I let you get away with
it. But if you're not going to play
fairly --
(a pause)
There she is again. So close I feel
like I could touch her.

STU
Get off her!

VOICE
Then mind me when I speak.

STU
Look! I'm reaching up with my left
hand. I'm pushing against the
partition. It's giving. I'm feeling
around with my fingertips. It's filthy
up there.

TIGHT SHOT - STU'S FINGERS

feel about inside the shallow space. The shriveled remains
of dead flies -- a layer of dust -- and then a .30 handgun.

STU
I'm -- touching something.

VOICE
One of the finest handguns Remington
makes. Lightweight, efficient and
highly accurate.

STU
I'm not picking it up.

VOICE
Not right now. But eventually...

Stu lowers his hand, still empty.

STU
I wouldn't have a chance.

VOICE
I never said you would.

STU
I'm not insane.

VOICE
But you're getting there. It wouldn't
take much.

STU
That won't happen.

VOICE
You could pull the gun down, shove
it in your own mouth and jerk the
trigger. That's another option.

STU
Why would I do that?

VOICE
To please me. And ensure that nothing
happens to Kelly. I don't necessarily
have to deal with her today in the
midst of a crowd of cops. I can take
her out any time I like. When she
goes to pull down her blinds at night
or when she walks the dog first thing
in the morning. What is it -- a Jack
Russell?

STU
Okay. I know you can do it. But don't
talk about that. Please.

VOICE
I'd rather see you remembered as the
gallant gunman who tried to shoot
his way past an army of police --
than as a coward who sucked the
barrel. I'm doing your PR for you.
Creating a final image that'll endure.
The outraged New Yorker who was pushed
too far. When some lowlife street
person tries to invade his territory,
he retaliated. And when the forces
of the law closed in, he was
defiant... to the end.

STU
Like that nerdy sonofabitch who blew
those three wiseass kids away on the
subway?

VOICE
Exactly. Nobody minded that he was a
sicko. He was living out a New
Yorker's pet fantasy. Can you remember
that movie where Peter Finch started
screaming 'I'm not taking it anymore!'
And everybody picked up on it.

STU
'I'm mad as hell and I'm not taking
it anymore.'

VOICE
That was it. Poor Finch got himself
an Oscar for that. But he was dead
by then. I mean he really died. Maybe
playing that part took too much out
of him.

STU
(softly to himself)
'I'm not taking it anymore.' 'I'm
not taking it anymore.'

VOICE
That's the way! Psyche yourself up.
Everybody respects a man who fights
back, even if he goes a little berserk
in the process.

STU
Fighting back. That's what it's about.

VOICE
Exactly! We all understand the poor
schmuck that gets laid off and comes
back and shoots all his bosses. We
all thought of doing that. But only
he had the balls. The terminally ill
husband who gets his policy canceled
and machine guns the insurance company
offices. Maybe somebody will finally
get the message. You can fuck human
beings over only for so long before
they come back at you. I'm still
holding on Kelly and she looks very
concerned. I could relieve all that
anguish in a fraction of a second.
Shall I?

Stu is hearing these words but thinking only of what the man
on the line has done to him. His turn has come to fight back.
He has an idea.

If the sniper is focused on Kelly, he can't be watching Stu.

Turning his back to the police, Stu slowly sinks to his knees.

STU
I'm on my knees begging you.

VOICE
Stand up, Stu. You're embarrassing
yourself.

TIGHT ANGLE --

Stu now down on his knees in the booth. He's curled up almost
into a fetal position.

By doing so, he hopes to hide the fact that he's reaching
into his pants pocket and pulling out his cellular phone.

He half expects to hear a shot ring out either from the sniper
or the cops. But nothing happens.

VOICE
Stu -- I want you back on your feet
facing me. So you can see what I'm
going to do to her.

Stu ignores the command. He's quickly dialing.

He's calling police emergency.

SNIPER'S POV

Stu seen through the cross hairs of the sniperscope, crouched,
doubled up at the foot of the booth. But the cell phone is
hidden in front of him.

VOICE
Be a man, Stuart. Don't let them see
you like this. You're an embarrassment
to me.

WIDER SHOT - THE BOOTH

with Stu still kneeling.

RACK FOCUS

to police across the street as their voices become clear --

SERGEANT
(listening to
transmission)
Officer on east side of the street
reports subject removed a dark
metallic object from his pocket. We
better move.

RAMEY
Hold all fire until you actually
identify a weapon. We're doing this
on fucking TV!

RACK FOCUS BACK TO -- STU IN THE BOOTH

crouched forward. The pay phone receiver dangles just above
his head. The cellular remains cupped in his hand.

Stu never lifts the cell phone. He keeps the palm of his
hand over the speaker of the phone to muffle any sound from
the other end.

It rings and finally someone answers.

EMERGENCY OPERATOR
(faint)
Police. Is this an emergency? Hello?
Is someone on the line?

But Stu addresses himself loudly to the pay phone which he
now grips in his other hand. Hoping that his words will be
picked up by the emergency operator listening via the
cellular. To help in this regard, he reaches back and slides
the door to the booth tightly closed.

He pretends to be talking to the sniper but his words are
meant for the 911 operator to hear.

STU
(loud)
You've made your point. Who's going
to believe I've got a sniper with a
telescopic sight holding me in a
fucking phone booth at 45th and 8th?

VOICE
It took you a while to believe it
yourself.

STU
If you'd put a bullet in that Captain
Ramey, it would've been a different
story -- but you were too wise to do
that.

VOICE
Why don't you do it for me? Wave the
old captain back over and get him
nice and close and then use the
handgun on him.

STU
(talking loud)
Why me? You could pick off any of
those cops from your window up there.
Like you did that pimp. And that
tourist last week. But this time you
want me to do your killing for you.

VOICE
And you will! To save Kelly.

EXTREME TIGHT SHOT - CELL PHONE

cupped in Stu's hand and held low. Can they hear him on the
other end?

EMERGENCY OPERATOR
(muffled, almost
inaudible)
Can you speak up, sir? What is your
name?

Stu is concerned that the sniper might hear the voice of the
emergency operator. He sets the cell phone down flat on the
floor of the booth facing upward. He puts his foot over the
receiving end to muffle the incoming voice. Then he stands
up.

VOICE
That's better, Stu. Now turn around
so I can see you.

Stu talks close into the pay phone receiver now. But keeps
his voice raised.

STU
This booth. It's my whole world --
shrunk down to four feet by three
feet. Not much bigger than the size
of a coffin.

VOICE
They can put handles on the booth
and bury you in it.

STU
(loudly into pay phone)
When I saw you put that bullet into
that black dude, I knew you'd never
let me out of this phone booth alive.

VOICE
You're wasting my time. Reach up and
take the gun.

STU
(peering upward,
squinting)
Let me see you first. What harm can
that do you? You're in one of those
windows. I've got to know which one.

VOICE
No need for that.

STU
Being so far, I could never identify
you. I don't even want to.

VOICE
What is it then?

STU
Don't worry that I'd try to point
you out. You'd shut me up with one
of your .30 calibre hollow points
before I could even raise a finger.

VOICE
Why does it matter so much?

STU
I want to see that you exist. Like
God exists. It's not enough to
believe. You want to see him -- just
once -- even at a distance.

VOICE
And then you'd take the gun down.
And use it. We have a deal on that?

STU
Show yourself to me and I'll take
the gun down. I swear.

There's a pause as the sniper mulls it over.

VOICE
I don't have to make deals. And you're
irritating me by trying to negotiate.
God doesn't have to prove anything.
He just strikes you down when he
gets in the mood.

STU
Stop! I won't ask to see you anymore.

VOICE
I'm glad that's settled. But look
who else has showed up?

STU
Who?

VOICE
I guess she saw the coverage on TV
and just couldn't keep away.

STU
What are you talking about?

VOICE
The 'hotel' just arrived. And a very
beautiful little hotel she is.
Actually, I'd classify her as more
of a motel.

STU
Mavis? I don't see her.

VOICE
She's too far back behind the police
line. But I've got a fine shot at
her from up here.

STU
You don't even know what she looks
like.

VOICE
You're in an enviable position now,
Stu. You get to choose between them.
Tell me which one.

STU
I can't.

VOICE
Which will it be? Kelly or Mavis?
Or should I simply select one?

INSERT SHOT - THE CELL PHONE

lying face up on the floor of the booth. Is anybody listening?

BACK TO STU

Stu looks down at the cellular. He has no way of knowing if
the police operator can hear any of his words.

STU
I need time to think...

VOICE
You've got to be more in touch with
your feelings. You said you love
Kelly.

STU
I do.

VOICE
Then I'm doing you a favor putting
you out of the way of temptation.

STU
It wasn't Mavis' fault. It was all
my fault.

VOICE
Then take the third option. Reach
above you and pick up the gun.

STU
You'll leave them both alone?

VOICE
There won't be much point in harming
them without you around to impress.

STU
I'll do it.

VOICE
Let me see you do it.

STU
I need one minute. One last minute,
please. Can you give me that?

VOICE
Don't tell me you're going to say
your prayers?

STU
Something like that.

WE RACK FOCUS AWAY TO LONG SHOT - THE POLICE

assembled on the opposite side of the street.

RAMEY
They should've traced the fucking
call by now.

SERGEANT
(listening on
transmitter)
There's something else coming in. A
911 operator says your name was
mentioned by somebody that's still
on the line. Somebody talking about
a phone booth. And a sniper.

RAMEY
Patch me through. Hello, this is
Captain Edward Ramey. What about
that call?

EMERGENCY OPERATOR
The line is still open. It's
originating from a booth at 45th and
8th.

RAMEY
We're there! Can you play me back
your recording of the entire call?

EMERGENCY OPERATOR
I can't replay the tape while it's
still running.

RAMEY
Then switch to another machine and
play back what you've got.

EMERGENCY OPERATOR
It's awful faint. He's not talking
directly into the receiver.

Ramey begins to listen. We hear snatches of Stu's call picking
up words which are at times incomprehensible.

STU'S VOICE
(faint)
'Who's going to believe I've got a
sniper with a telescopic sight holding
me in some fucking phone booth...'

The uniformed TELEPHONE TECHNICIAN now joins Ramey and the
Sergeant.

TELEPHONE TECHNICIAN
Got what you wanted. The call's coming
from up the street. The Hotel
Broadway.

RAMEY
Have you got the room?

TELEPHONE TECHNICIAN
It's not that easy. Electronic
switchboard.

RAMEY
(to Sergeant)
Move your SWAT units to the hotel.
No... wait. Any movement will alert
the sniper. If he sees any of us
withdraw, he may panic.

SERGEANT
There's another SWAT unit on the
way.

RAMEY
Intercept them. Divert them to the
hotel.

SERGEANT
It's done.

RAMEY
Send them in from the Forty-third
Street side. I don't want any activity
the sniper might catch sight of.
He's probably high up and facing
that booth. He's got to continue to
believe our full attention is focused
on the man inside -- whoever the
hell that poor bastard is.
(to emergency operator)
Hello 911 operator, I missed some of
that. Run it halfway back and repeat
it.

STU'S VOICE (REPLAY)
(faint)
'...Like you did that pimp. And that
tourist last week. But this time you
want me to do the killing for you...'

RAMEY
(listening)
Jesus... he's a dead man.

BACK INSIDE PHONE BOOTH

VOICE
The police seem all excited about
something, Stu.

STU
Are they? I wasn't looking.

VOICE
I can't wait any longer. Say amen,
then reach up for the gun. When your
hand comes down, I want to see it.

STU
I'm too afraid.

VOICE
For once, be brave. Surprise yourself.

STU
I'm shaking all over.

VOICE
Guys in combat situations even shit
their pants. But they follow orders.

STU
As soon as the cops see a gun, they'll
open fire.

VOICE
Then I'd advise you to fire first.

Stu's arm goes up in a supreme act of willpower.

His fingers run along the two clouded plastic sheets that
cover the roof of the booth. It raises up easily at the middle
where two sheets join.

TIGHT INSERT SHOT

The space between the roof of the booth and the sheets of
clouded plastic. We see the fluorescent lighting fixture
covered with dust. The solitary object -- a cruel-looking
weapon.

Now Stu's fingertips protrude into the small space. He touches
the gun, brushes back and forth, feeling the roughness of
the grip.

TIGHT SHOT - STU'S FACE

as below he continues to hesitate -- it's agony --

The sweat pours down his forehead and his eyes are squeezed
tightly shut. He can already imagine the police bullets
tearing into him.

A POLICE SNIPER IS MOVING INTO POSITION.

POLICE SNIPER
(into transmitter)
Give me the word.

RACK BACK TO STU - IN THE BOOTH

His arm still raised. He hasn't brought it down with the gun
in it. Not yet. He holds the pay phone receiver jammed up
against his mouth.

VOICE
Hard part's over. Drop your arm and
point it like you'd point your finger
and squeeze.

STU
No. You do it. If you want me dead,
then fucking murder me!

VOICE
Why must I keep invoking some poor
girl's name every time we come to an
impasse? I'm focused back on Kelly
again. You're obviously not willing
to trade your life for hers.

STU
I am! I'm doing it!

He pulls the handgun down into full view. Curiously, the
police do not open fire.

STU
There! You see it? They all see it.

He waves the gun so nobody can miss it.

STU
Where are you? Damn you!!

He drops the receiver and steps halfway out of the booth.

Still the cops do not open fire.

Then Stu starts shooting.

Not at the police, but at the high rise buildings across the
street.

At the thousands of windows that look down upon him.

He gets off two shots before a solitary rifle shot rings out
in response.

RACK FOCUS TO THE POLICE SNIPER

He has fired.

ANGLE ON STU

The remaining glass on the south side of the booth shatters.
Stu tumbles forward, sprawling out of the booth onto the
pavement.

RACK FOCUS TO KELLY

She screams, tries to break through but cops restrain her.

INT. PHONE BOOTH

ANGLE ON DANGLING RECEIVER

as it sways back and forth. From it, we hear the voice.

VOICE
Thanks for such an interesting
afternoon.

THEN THERE ARE OTHER SOUNDS EMANATING FROM THE DANGLING
SWAYING PHONE.

A wooden door being battered open. A few incomprehensible
shouts as a SWAT TEAM dashes in. Stu's stalling for time has
paid off.

THE SOUND OF A BARRAGE OF GUNFIRE.

THE SOUND OF A MUFFLED SCREAM.

The police have broken in on Stu's tormentor and there has
been a rapid exchange of shots.

A HAND reaches into the booth and grabs the receiver.

ANGLE WIDENS as Ramey places it to his ear.

RAMEY
Hello? This is Captain Ramey.
Somebody talk to me.

SWAT OFFICER'S VOICE
Yeah. We took him out, Captain.
Nobody else got hurt.

RAMEY
What's his condition?

SWAT OFFICER'S VOICE
Critical. The sonofabitch took two.
Probably won't survive the ride.

RAMEY
Get a statement from him. I'll be
right over.

He drops the receiver so that it dangles again.

CAMERA FOLLOWS RAMEY to where Stu lies surrounded by cops
and medics. He's stunned, but very much alive.

MEDIC
Don't try to sit up.

STU
What was that?

RAMEY
(kneeling)
Rubber bullet.

MEDIC
You'll have one hell of a nasty welt.
Busted rib. Maybe a permanent scar
there.

STU
It couldn't hurt much more if you
really shot me.

RAMEY
Somebody was going to and we thought
it may as well be us.

STU
Did you get him?

RAMEY
Sure as hell did. Thanks to you.

STU
Still alive?

RAMEY
Barely.

MEDIC
We'll be giving him a hypo for the
pain. It'll put him out for a while.

Kelly is now brought over by a female cop. She drops to her
knees beside Stu and tries to embrace him. The medics restrain
her.

STU
It's okay. I'm not really shot.

KELLY
I was so afraid. I thought...

STU
I thought so, too. But we're going
to be alright. Both of us.

KELLY
Remember how you swore up and down
you'd get me on TV? Well, you did. I
already got interviewed on Fox and
Channel Eleven and they even want me
on A.M. America tomorrow morning.

STU
Bet you didn't think I could deliver
on that.

MEDIC
Will you please let go of him, Miss?

A gurney is wheeled over from a police ambulance. The medic
is about to administer the hypo but Stu pushes him away.

STU
No. No hypo. I want to see him first.

The medics are now ready to lift Stu onto the gurney and
cart him off. But Stu struggles against them.

RAMEY
Relax. The guy's dying.

STU
That's why I've gotta talk to him.
Please!

RAMEY
We'll see.

MEDIC
(to Kelly)
You can ride with him in the
ambulance.

The woman cop escorts Kelly to the waiting ambulance.

Ramey meanwhile tries to resume contact with the SWAT team
inside the hotel.

RAMEY
This is Ramey. Over. This is Ramey.
Ten-Four.

There's nothing but static, mixed up feedback and multiple
garbled voices on the other end of the line.

RAMEY
Shit. Get everybody off this
wavelength.

He crosses back to the phone booth -- picks up the dangling
receiver.

RAMEY
Hello. Hello! Pick up! Yeah, it's
Ramey again. Can you hold the phone
close enough so the perp can listen?

COP'S VOICE
He's not saying a word, Captain.

RAMEY
He's not about to talk to us. Maybe
to him.

Ramey looks back to where the medics are still trying to
lift Stu onto the gurney.

RAMEY
Forget that. Stand him up.
(to Stu)
Can you stand?

STU
I can try.

RAMEY
Help him over here.

The medics support Stu and inch him back to the booth. It's
painful, but Stu ignores it.

Ramey holds the phone up so Stu can both listen and speak.

RAMEY
Here. Speak up.

STU
(into pay phone)
It's me. Do you hear me? Answer me.

VOICE
(wheezing)
Had to have the last word, Stu.

STU
I finally beat your ass. Admit it,
you fuck.

VOICE
But you'll never forget me. I gave
you the most thrilling day of your
life. Say thanks.

STU
Now you're gonna die, you bastard.

VOICE
I lost a lot of blood. Don't you
want to donate some for me? Then
we'd really be part of each other.

STU
Hang on. I can't wait to see you at
the hospital. So I can yank your
fucking air tube out.

VOICE
Wish I could give you that pleasure.
You deserve it.
(coughing)
...Only I'm out of time.

STU
What's your name? At least tell me
who you are.

There's more violent coughing, then silence. Then a cop's
voice is heard.

COP'S VOICE
He's gone.

Stu stares at the receiver.

RAMEY
Don't worry. We'll find out who he
is. And why he picked you.

STU
No. You won't.
(a beat)
What do you want to bet you won't?

Stu reaches over and hangs up the receiver. CLICK.

STU
I'll spend my whole life trying to
figure that out.

Then he sinks into the arms of the medics who lower him onto
the waiting gurney.

The hypo is finally administered. It kicks in immediately,
relieving the pain.

He's wheeled away from the booth to the waiting ambulance.
Kelly is already inside waiting to accompany Stu to the
hospital.

STU'S POV - BEING WHEELED AWAY FROM THE EMPTY BOOTH

pulling away in LOW ANGLE.

CAMERA SLIDES BACK inside the ambulance with Stu. The doors
shut, obliterating our view of the phone booth that was his
entire world until moments ago.

STU
(groggy)
Gotta sleep now. No phone calls...

Kelly smiles down at him as the image blurs. Stu passes out --
into a deep sleep he much deserves.

A SIREN BLARES.

CUT TO BLACK:

THE END

Contact | Disclaimer
Copyright © WeeklyScript.com | Scripts Copyright © their respective owners