"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 ]

"THE LADYKILLERS"

Screenplay by

Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

Based on the 1955 movie

"The Ladykillers"

by William Rose



EXT. MISSISSIPPI RIVER - DAY

A BOAT

Specifically, a garbage scow.

We see it from ON HIGH, chugging down the placid but mighty
Mississippi.

Head credits play over COVERAGE of the garbage scow. No sound,
except for an incongruously heroic score.

The COVERAGE is a little rough, coarse-grained; along with
the overbearing score it almost suggests an industrial film
rather than a feature.

One piece of sound -- the toot of the boat's horn -- is
obviously library. And not a new library either.

The garbage scow passes under a bridge spanning the broad,
sluggish waters, and proceeds on to its landfill, a steaming
river island. Disturbed gulls and other scavenger birds rise
from where they were picking through trash. Their squawks,
like the boat horn, are not quite believable as SYNC.

The head credits end as the anthemic music resolves.

EXT. SAUCIER, MISSISSIPPI - DAY

AN OLD HOUND DOG

lies on the weather-grayed and -roughened planking of a front
porch. The porch is half-shaded from the noonday sun. It is
quiet except for the chirr of heat bugs, close by, and, very
distant, many voices in chorus, engaged in divine worship in
a Baptist church sufficiently far away that vagaries of breeze
fan them in and out of audibility.

We once again hear the toot of the scow's horn, distant now
and played as real, not slapdash effect. At this, the dog
lifts his nose to catch the breeze, sniffs, and then, whining,
lowers his head to the floor and covers his snout with his
forepaws. He huffs briefly and goes to sleep.

We DRIFT UP to show that the dog is sleeping before the

SAUCIER WORM STORE

Your source for worms, lures, etcetera, etcetera...

We TRAVEL OVER TO REVEAL that the modest one-story structure
houses two establishments; its other front door leads to the

SAUCIER MUNICIPAL BUILDING.

A campaign sign in the window on the municipal side shows a
black man of late middle-age beaming and giving the viewer a
thumbs-up:

RE-ELECT WAYNE WYNER SHERIFF/He Is Too Old to Go to Work.

INT. SAUCIER MUNICIPAL BUILDING - DAY

We hear snoring on top of a low, steady hissing sound.

We are DRIFTING toward the door of the lock-up, which stands
open. The small cell is empty, its bed neatly made.

A KEY

We are ARCING slowly around a jailer's key on a ring that
hangs from a nail. The OFFSCREEN snoring and whirring
continues.

The TRACK'S SHIFTING ANGLE now makes the light catch a spider
web spun between the key and the wall.

POLICE SCANNER

We DRIFT across the face of the radio. The peaceful steady
hissing jumps in louder at the CUT: it is uninterrupted: a
transmissionless, crimeless, misdemeanorless idle radio hiss.

The snoring is also louder here. As we TRAVEL OFF the radio
we are COMING ONTO a pair of feet propped up on the desktop.

They belong to SHERIFF WYNER, tipped back in his chair,
fingers laced on his chest, head lolling forward.

As the MOVING CAMERA FINALLY ENDS on him, there is the ring
of a telephone -- muffled, not present.

It nevertheless rouses the sheriff who almost strangles on a
snore as he awakes, and then rocks forward to pick up his
phone.

SHERIFF WYNER
Sheriff Wyner...

The muffled ringing continues; the sheriff looks, puzzled,
at the phone. Now the ringing stops and we hear a muffled
voice next door:

VOICE (O.S.)
Worms.

The sheriff replaces the phone, leans back again, adjusts
his hat, and is about to go back to sleep when we hear the
front door open.

The sheriff looks and reacts with genuine, if momentary,
fear.

He manages to compose himself and give the intruder a smile:

SHERIFF WYNER
Afternoon, Miz Munson.

Entering is an elderly black woman in a floral print dress
and fruited bonnet.

MRS. MUNSON
Afternoon, Sheriff. You know the
Funthes boy?

SHERIFF WYNER
...Mackatee Funthes?

MRS. MUNSON
No no, WeeMack! Mackatee's eldest!

SHERIFF WYNER
Oh yeah, believe I do.

MRS. MUNSON
Well, he's a good boy but he done
gone down to the Costco in Pascagoula
and got hisself a blastah -- and he
been playin' that music!

Wyner is not sure where this is going:

SHERIFF WYNER
Uh-huh...

MRS. MUNSON
Loud!

SHERIFF WYNER
Well--

MRS. MUNSON
"Left my wallet in El Segundo!"

SHERIFF WYNER
He--

MRS. MUNSON
Songs like that!

SHERIFF WYNER
Uh-huh...

MRS. MUNSON
Hippity-hop music!

SHERIFF WYNER
I could--

MRS. MUNSON
You know they call it hippity-hop
music, but it don't make me wanna go
hippity-hop!

SHERIFF WYNER
No ma'am--

MRS. MUNSON
And Othar don't like that music
neither!

Sheriff Wyner now displays an exaggerated solicitousness:

SHERIFF WYNER
It's been disturbin' Othar then, has
it?

MRS. MUNSON
How could it help but do! That kind
of music! You know what they call
colored folks in them songs? Have
you got any idea?

SHERIFF WYNER
I don't think I--

MRS. MUNSON
NIGGAZ! I don't wanna say the word.
I won't say it twice, I'll tell you
that. I say it one time.

SHERIFF WYNER
Yes ma'am.

MRS. MUNSON
In the course a swearin' out my
complaint.

SHERIFF WYNER
Yes'm--

MRS. MUNSON
NIGGAZ! Two thousand years after
Jesus! Thirty years after Martin
Luther King! The age of Montel! Sweet
lord a-mercy, izzat where we at?

SHERIFF WYNER
Mm-mm--

MRS. MUNSON
WeeMack down to Pascagoula buyin' a
big thumpy stereo player?! So he can
listen to that word in the house
next to mine? Sheriff, you gotta
help that boy!

SHERIFF WYNER
Help him?

MRS. MUNSON
You gotta take an innarest! EXTEND
that helpin' hand!

SHERIFF WYNER
(dubious)
Well, we're here to help...

MRS. MUNSON
Well God bless ya. Don't wanna be
tried and found wantin'.

SHERIFF WYNER
No ma'am.

MRS. MUNSON
Many many tunkalow parzen, Sheriff
Wyner. Many many tunkalow parzen!

SHERIFF WYNER
Many what ma'am?

MRS. MUNSON
You have been tried and found wanting.
Don't want that writin' on the wall!

SHERIFF WYNER
No ma'am--

MRS. MUNSON
Feast a Balthazar!

SHERIFF WYNER
Mm-hm.

MRS. MUNSON
John The Apostle said: Behold there
is a stranger in our midst, come to
destroy us!

SHERIFF WYNER
Yes ma'am.

EXT. SAUCIER MUNICIPAL BUILDING - DAY

Mrs. Munson closes the door behind her. She wags a paper fan
and mutters:

MRS. MUNSON
He's a good man. Just needs
instruction. Dog, you in peoples'
way.

The dog stirs with a whine and ambles off.

EXT. MUNSON HOUSE - DAY

With a neatly tended garden. It is the last house on a street
of other similarly modest but well maintained homes; beyond
it the street disappears down a bluff. The empty space beyond
suggests a wide river, and indeed we can see the top of an
anchored, gaudily painted paddle-boat poking over the rise.
The paddle-boat is apparently anchored at the near bank of
the river.

Mrs. Munson is entering by the gate. She stops in the garden
and stoops to pull a tiny weed marring the otherwise perfect
row of flowers.

I/E. MUNSON HOUSE - FOYER - DAY

Mrs. Munson lets herself in. A cat lopes up to her, the bell
around its neck tinkling, and leans mewing into her leg.

MRS. MUNSON
You need somethin' to eat, Angel?

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - KITCHEN - DAY

Mrs. Munson hand-cranks a can opener around a tin of cat
food.

MRS. MUNSON
Mm... gizzards...

The cat paces back and forth between her legs, leaning into
them and purring, responding to the snap of tin as the cover
comes off the can.

The can contains cubed processed gizzard in a gelatinous
medium like the stuff that clings to gefilte fish.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

Above the fireplace is an oil portrait of a serious-looking
black man of late middle-age with a neatly groomed mustache
starting to gray. A couple of candles sit on the mantel below
the portrait, giving it the semblance of a shrine.

Mrs. Munson enters and lights the candles.

MRS. MUNSON
Othar, I went'n complained about
WeeMack, I hope it'll do some good.
That boy hangin' by a thread! Over
the pit! Fiery pit! "I Left My Wallet
in El Segundo"!

She shakes out the match and sits in a rocker and takes up
her knitting. As she sits she gives an audible groan.

MRS. MUNSON
...Sixty-seven years of life, forty-
six years of marriage, you mean to
tell me you never one time suffered
from piles? It's the human condition,
most humans anyway. Like that ball
player said: world's got two kinds
of folks -- them that's got piles
and them that's gonna get 'em. But
you was always healthy as an ox...

There is the distant moan of a riverboat horn.

MRS. MUNSON
...Passed on before you got piles.
Mmmmhmm. Thank the Lord you wasn't
sick. You don't wanna sicken 'n die.
No, you wanna pass nice 'n peaceful...
go to sleep one night, wake up in
the glory land... woof...

A gust of wind hums under the eaves; the candles below the
portrait flicker. As Mrs. Munson looks around the room,
vaguely towards the ceiling, sensing a negative aura, the
cat arches its back and hisses.

At this moment the doorbell rings.

MRS. MUNSON
...Well who's that now, Pickles?

She grunts as she hoists herself out of the chair.

I/E. MUNSON HOUSE - FOYER - NIGHT

She opens the door--

A draft--

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

The candles below the portrait of Othar go out, sending up
thin wisps of smoke.

I/E. MUNSON HOUSE - FOYER - NIGHT

The cat shrieks and bolts out the door, past the man on the
stoop: GOLDTHWAIT HIGGINSON DORR, III.

He is a middle-aged Southern gentleman wearing a panama hat
and a cape over a cream-colored suit. He has dark circles
under his eyes. The smile he attempts, mournful yet courtly,
is wiped away by:

MRS. MUNSON
PICKLES!

DORR
Ma'am?

MRS. MUNSON
Go get 'im!

DORR
I do beg your pardon?

MRS. MUNSON
Go get Pickles, I didn't let 'im
out!

DORR
(tasting the name)
Pickles...

EXT. MUNSON HOUSE - NIGHT

Dorr walks down the stoop followed by the old lady.

MRS. MUNSON
Oh, he's up the tree again. Your
gonna have to shimmy on up.

DORR
I am so terribly sorry, madam. But
won't the feline eventually tire of
his lonely perch and, pining for his
master's affection, return on his
own initiative?

MRS. MUNSON
Huh? No, he won't come down less you
fetch him. He'd set there til Gabriel
blows his horn if someone didn't
shimmy up. Up with you now!

DORR
Well then couldn't we perhaps offer
him kitty treats and enticements, or
if not foodstuffs perhaps squeaky
little toys of the kind formerly
manufactured in Hong Kong but now
produced in the other so-called
"Little Tigers"...

His fingers form the quotes.

DORR
...of the Pacific Rim? The point
bein', do we have to actually ascend
the tree--

MRS. MUNSON
Look, I don't want no doubletalk. If
you ain't gonna fetch him down I
guess I gotta call the po-lice...

DORR
Police...

His face darkens.

MRS. MUNSON
They ain't gonna be happy. Every
time they come fetch him down they
swear they won't do it no more...

Dorr casts his hat aside and starts awkwardly climbing the
tree. He gasps as he climbs:

DORR
No need to call the authorities. I
did this often as a youth -- why, I
was a positive lemur... Here, kitty...

The cat backs away down a branch, arching its back and
hissing.

MRS. MUNSON
Don't upset him, now!

Dorr, on his stomach, inches after the cat, grunting:

DORR
I wouldn't dream of it... harmless
little felix domesticus... Come to
G.H...

The branch breaks, hinging down to slam Dorr face-first into
the trunk, from where he drops the rest of the way to the
ground.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

Othar's portrait, upside-down, seems to be looking bemusedly
down on us.

An OBJECTIVE ANGLE shows Dorr lying on the couch, a damp
washcloth on his forehead, eyes rolled back to look at the
picture.

Mrs. Munson is entering with a cup of tea. Dorr swings his
feet out to sit up and accept the tea.

DORR
I thank you, madam, for your act of
kindness.

MRS. MUNSON
Well you let him out.

DORR
I certainly did and I do apologize
no end. Allow me to present myself,
uh, formally: Goldthwait Higginson
Dorr, Ph.D.

MRS. MUNSON
What, like Elmer?

DORR
Beg your pardon, ma'am?

MRS. MUNSON
Fudd?

DORR
No no, Ph.D. is a mark of academic
attainment. It is a degree of higher
learning bestowed, in my case, in
recognition of my mastery of the
antique languages of Latin and Greek.
I also hold a number of other advanced
degrees including the baccalaureate
from a school in Paris, France, called
the Sorbonne.

Munson chuckles.

MRS. MUNSON
Sore bone, well I guess that's
appropriate. You ever study at Bob
Jones University?

DORR
I have not had that privilege.

MRS. MUNSON
It's a bible school, only the finest
in the country. I send them five
dollars every month.

DORR
That's very gener--

MRS. MUNSON
I'm on their mailing list. I'm an
Angel.

DORR
Indeed.

MRS. MUNSON
They list my name in the newsletter,
every issue. I got the literature
here, you wanna examine it.

DORR
Perhaps when my head has recovered
from its... buffeting. Mrs. Munson,
are you at all curious as to why I
darkened your door, as the expression
has it, on this lovely camelia-scented
morn?

MRS. MUNSON
I was wondering, til you let Pickles
out. Then in all the excitement--

DORR
I quite understand. The fact is that
I saw the sign on your window
advertising a room to let, and it is
the only such sign among the houses
of this charming, charming street.

MRS. MUNSON
Yeah, I got a room. I'm lookin' for
a quiet tenant. Fifteen dollars a
week

DORR
I quite understand. Madam, you are
addressing a man who is quiet -- and
yet not quiet, if I may offer a
riddle...

He sets down the teacup and rises.

DORR
...Perhaps you can show me the room,
Mrs. Munson, and allow me to explain.

MRS. MUNSON
Well you can see the room, but I
don't like double-talk.

Mrs. Munson precedes him...

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - STAIRCASE - NIGHT

...up the stairs.

DORR
You see, madam, I am currently on
sabbatical from the institution where
I teach -- the University of
Mississippi at Hattiesburg. I am
taking a year off to indulge my
passion -- I don't believe that is
too strong a word -- for the music
of the Renaissance. I perform in --
and have the honor of directing -- a
period instrument ensemble that
performs at Renaissance fairs and
other cultural fora...

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - DORR'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

They enter a small bedroom. There is a small bed on a brass
frame, a chair, a wash basin, and cheerful yellow chintz
drapes on the window. Dorr appreciatively takes it in.

DORR
...thoo-out central and southern
Mississippi. We perform on the
instruments for which the music was
originally composed, in the belief
that... that... Why, this is lovely...

MRS. MUNSON
Wait a minute. You got some kind of
band?

Dorr once again wiggles quotes with his fingers:

DORR
The word "band" would be, in this
context, something of an anachronism.
Though we do play together -- hence
the word "ensemble" -- the nature of
the music is such that one would
hesitate to apply the epithet "band"
with its connotations of jangling
rhythm and ear-popping amplification.

MRS. MUNSON
So you don't play hippity-hop, "I
Left My Wallet in El Segundo," songs
with the titles spelt all funny?

DORR
Madam, I shudder. I quake. The
revulsion I feel for modern popular
music, and all other manifestations
of contemporary decay, is, I have no
doubt, the equal of y'own. Why, we
play music that was composed to the
greater glory of God. Devotional
music. Church music.

MRS. MUNSON
Gospel music?

DORR
Well-inspired by the gospels,
certainly. The vintage, of course,
is no more recent than the Rococo.

MRS. MUNSON
Rococo, huh? Well, I guess that'd be
okay.

DORR
But I certainly don't propose to
inflict our rehearsals on you. May I
enquire -- do you have a root cellar?

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - CELLAR - NIGHT

Dorr ducks while descending the steep, narrow stair in order
to avoid an overhead beam. He is followed by Mrs. Munson.

DORR
Yes, yes, yes, this looks promising...

He pulls on a hanging string to light a bare bulb overhead.

MRS. MUNSON
Little dank, ain't it?

DORR
Oh, indeed, but that only improves
the acoustics...

He experimentally claps his hands.

DORR
...Marvelous. These earthen walls
are ideal for baffling the higher
registers of the, uh, lute and, uh,
sackbutt. That's why so much music
of the cinquecento was played in
crypts and catacombs. Yes, this will
do nicely...

He dry-washes his hands with enthusiasm, but his tone remains
mournful.

DORR
...This is perfect. This is more
than perfect. I can scarcely contain
my glee.

MRS. MUNSON
You containing it okay.

He starts to peel cash out of a large, well-worn billfold:

DORR
Allow me to pay you a week in advance.
Allow me to pay you two weeks in
advance. Allow me to pay you a month
in advance. I cannot countenance the
thought of these charming apartments
being tenanted by someone
unappreciative of their special je
ne sais quoi.

MRS. MUNSON
That would be a shame.

INT. CASINO - DAY

TRACKING ON A GARBAGE CART

On the cart is a boombox. It is playing "I Left My Wallet in
El Segundo."

It is being pushed through a casino empty of customers.

As the cart stops and a wastebasket is emptied into it:

VOICE (V.O.)
You gotta peel this shit out sticks
to the bottom.

WIDER

shows two youngish black men in the khaki uniforms of
custodians. Emptying the wastebasket is WEEMACK-MACKATEE
FUNTHES. He is instructing GAWAIN MACSAM.

WEEMACK
...You wouldn't believe this shit,
sometimes even out here on the casino
floor you gonna find sanitary napkin
shit stuck there, Tucks, I don't
know what the fuck people do while
they're gambling here man.

GAWAIN
I ain't peelin' funky shit with my
human hands, man. That's a
prescription for disease and viruses
and shit, attackin' y'insides.

As they roll on we see more of the gambling floor, which is
on something less than the scale of a Las Vegas casino. The
floor is not yet open and dealers stack and count chips at
the tables, pit bosses with clipboards looking over their
shoulders. Other dealers strap on visors and sleeve garters,
preparing to work.

WEEMACK
You gotta do it. Mr. Gudge checks
everything. Man is a motherfuck.
Shit -- looka this.

After a furtive look around he plucks a chip from the next
wastebasket and slips it in his pocket.

WEEMACK
...You keep an eye out, man. I found
a hundred-dollar chip once.

GAWAIN
Fuck that, man. I ain't pawin' through
used Tucks for a fi' dollar chip.

WEEMACK
I said it was a hundred.

GAWAIN
Man, your guts gonna turn to soup'n
leak outcha fuckin' asshole.

SERVICE HALL

The cart jitters loudly on the dimpled plastic floor.

WEEMACK
This tunnel leads back onto land. To
the office for all the people work
for Mannex. Mannex Corporation. Owns
the Lady Luck 'n three other boats...

INT. CASINO - SERVICE HALL - DAY

The two men are entering a windowless fluorescent-lit office
area. A row of wooden office doors and one heavy steel door.

WEEMACK
...This is where they think on their
corporate shit, Gudge and them.

He stops to empty a wastebasket.

WEEMACK
...The lights is ugly but it ain't
as many Tucks.

He bangs on the steel door:

WEEMACK
...YO, motherfuck! Lemme in!

MUFFLED VOICE (O.S.)
What's the password?

WEEMACK
Kiss my ass.

We hear a deep chuckle and the door, steel reinforced, swings
open.

INT. CASINO - COUNTING ROOM - DAY

The two men enter, WeeMack nodding at the security man
(ELRON).

WEEMACK
This is where they count the dough.
You try to take any of it Elron there
shoot your ass.

Again the security man chuckles. WeeMack picks up some fast-
food wrappers.

WEEMACK
...This place is a fuckin' pigsty.
You a pig, man, nothin' but a squeaky
ol' motherfuckin' pig...

Elron chuckles. He is an enormously fat man; his chuckles
come from deep, deep in his chest.

WEEMACK
...You got fuckin' Kocoa Krispies in
ya uniform man, still got breakfast
there and you eatin' motherfuckin'
lunch.

Elron uses one hand to swipe crumbs off his uniform shirt,
chuckling.

WEEMACK
...You a disgrace before motherfuckin'
God...

Elron chuckles.

WEEMACK
...You a motherfuck-- oh, hello Mr.
Gudge, how we be this mornin'?

A man in a buttoned white shirt nods at him.

GUDGE
Funthes. How's the new man?

WEEMACK
He is a cleaning motherfucker, man!

GUDGE
Is that a fact.

INT. SOUNDSTAGE - SMOKING FIELD SET - DAY

HIGH ANGLE

It is a ruin of a field; charred trees point bare and gnarled
limbs toward a gray sky; smoke drifts across the desolate
waste.

Something is bounding towards us from the deep background.
We BOOM DOWN as it approaches: a bulldog, running avidly
toward us on its stumpy little legs.

An OFFSCREEN male voice (CLARK PANCAKE):

PANCAKE (O.S.)
One, Mountain!

There is an explosion that showers dirt in front of the dog
and makes it veer. Something strapped around the dog's neck
bounces as he runs.

PANCAKE
...Scrub two! Scrub three! Four,
Mountain!

Another explosion makes the dog veer back so that it once
again bears on us. The thing that has been bouncing around
its neck flies off.

Our CONTINUING BOOM DOWN has brought us to ground level just
as the dog arrives in front of us to feed at a dog food bowl
in the foreground. The yellow plastic bowl has a K-Ration
logo facing us.

We hear another OFFSCREEN voice (DIRECTOR):

DIRECTOR (O.S.)
Cut, goddamnit. His canteen fell
off.

The Director's feet enter in the foreground. He hooks the
dogs belly with one foot and hoists it roughly away from the
bowl. We

CUT UP TO:

The DIRECTOR. He scowls down at the animal.

DIRECTOR
...Props!

A man in a Hemingway field-jacket with multiple pockets, and
also a loaded utility belt, trots up toward him, his belt
jangling as he runs. This is CLARK PANCAKE.

Pancake is a florid beer-bellied man in his late fifties. He
has a full blond-grey Grizzly Adams beard and wears multi-
pocketed shorts that form an ensemble with his Hemingway
jacket.

The director is angry.

DIRECTOR
...The goddamn thing's canteen fell
off. It would have been a good take.

Pancake is unperturbed.

PANCAKE
Okay. Okay. We're prepared for that...

He hits a button on the radio on his belt and talks into his
headset:

PANCAKE
... Mountain, bring Otto with the
apparatus.

PULLING ANOTHER BULLDOG

He strains at his lead, muscling forward as quickly as his
minder and his own stumpy little legs will allow.

He peers through the two goggly eyeholes of an antique leather
gas mask, its pignose breathing apparatus covering his own
snout. His phlegmy breathing is amplified by the device.

We TILT UP the lead to show his minder, MOUNTAIN GIRL. She
is a solid woman in her late forties with freckles beginning
to merge into age spots. Her long straw-colored hair is
tightly braided into Heidi pigtails bound with red ribbon.
Otherwise her dress is unadorned.

The director squints at the dog.

DIRECTOR
What the hell is this?

Pancake's manner is professorial:

PANCAKE
World War I vintage gas mask. It's
authentic. Strapped on, of course,
so it can't fall off. The animal is
free to be as active as he wants,
doesn't inhibit his movement, and I
think it really sells the whole
doughboy thing--

DIRECTOR
It looks like a fucking joke.

Pancake stares at the director for a moment and, though not
doing anything, makes a sound of concentrated effort:

PANCAKE
...Nnnnrnff!

The director squints at him:

DIRECTOR
What?

Pancake comes out of his trance, or whatever it was:

PANCAKE
No, nothing, uh... you're absolutely
right, the gas mask is a whimsical
concept--

DIRECTOR
How the hell does it eat when it
gets to the Kennel Rations?

The dog looks up from person to person as each speaks,
twisting its neck to peer through the eyeholes. Its breathing
is growing louder.

PANCAKE
Well, you're absolutely right–-

DIRECTOR
Don't let the client see this.

PANCAKE
Of course not, that would be
inappropriate--

DIRECTOR
Or the Humane fucker.

PANCAKE
No no--

The dog gets down on its knees, slowly, like a camel,
breathing ever more loudly.

DIRECTOR
They'll shut the fucking spot down,
Pancake. Put the goddamn canteen
back on. That says he's a soldier.
Dented tin canteen. Just tie the
damn thing to his collar.

The dog flops over into the mud.

PANCAKE
Easiest thing in the world. I just
thought -- but the canteen is much
better. Good concept. Let's go with
that--

DIRECTOR
What's he doing?

The dog has started to convulse.

PANCAKE
Well, he's uh... Just breathe
normally, Otto.

DIRECTOR
The fucking dog can't breathe.

PANCAKE
Oh, he can breathe, that thing is --
just breathe normally, Otto.

The dog's breath is rasping and horrible.

DIRECTOR
The fucking dog cannot breathe! Get
that fucking thing off him!

PANCAKE
Of course. Easiest thing in the world.

He stoops and fiddles at the straps.

PANCAKE
...It's on good and tight, I, uh...
Just breathe normally, Otto.

He starts thumping at his pockets.

DIRECTOR
Get the fucking thing off him!

PANCAKE
Don't have my Leatherman. Mountain!
Give me your Leatherman! Chop chop!

DIRECTOR
Get the fucking thing off him! Chitra,
make sure the Humane fucker doesn't
come over here! Bring him to craft
services!

As he makes to scoop up the dog:

PANCAKE
Good idea! Ice water, treats-–

DIRECTOR
Not the dog, you idiot! The Humane
fucker! Distract him!

PANCAKE
Right! Of course!

He goes back to work on the mask.

DIRECTOR
Oh my god, he's bleeding!

PANCAKE
No, that's me -- I -- the
Leatherman... here we go.

His hand gouting blood, he finally manages to get the gas
mask off.

A crowd is starting to gather and gape. The director barks
at a grip:

DIRECTOR
Put up a couple solids here -- I
don't want the client seeing this!

Pancake thumps on the inert dog's chest.

PANCAKE
Come on, Otto!

DIRECTOR
Otto is fucking dead!

PANCAKE
Mountain, have electric run me a
stinger! Don't give up on me, Otto!
Mountain, I need two live leads!

More people crowd in to look.

MOUNTAIN GIRL
Clark, the gennie's a hundred yards
away!

PANCAKE
Goddamnit! Otto's gonna have brain
damage in about ninety seconds! Okay!

He pulls the dog's lips back, exposing its teeth and slobbered
tongue.

PANCAKE
...Kiss of life!

He sucks in a deep breath and starts mouth-to-mouthing the
beast.

EXT. FOOTBALL FIELD - DAY

POV

We are looking out from inside a football helmet; we hear
the super-present breathing of the helmet's occupant. Just
over the breathing we can hear the muffled shouting of a
snap count.

We are in a crouch position looking downfield. At the call
of "Hike!" we and everyone on the field spring into action.

We sprint downfield, the breathing becoming even louder. A
very big person downfield is sprinting toward us.

After several yards, still on the move, we PAN quickly around
to look back for the quarterback. Barely visible among
converging bodies, he is releasing the football toward someone
else.

Easing up on the run we PAN BACK around to look downfield
just as the oncoming defender is upon us and -- CRUNCH --
slams into us. A STROBING PAN leaves us looking up at the
sky. Our loud breathing has stopped.

After a long beat the breathing resumes with a raggedy labored
inhale. It continues irregularly. Another helmeted player
appears above us to peer down into our helmet. He extends a
hand to help us up.

HUDDLE

We are looking back and forth around the circle at our
gathered teammates.

QUARTERBACK
Delta thirty-seven. On four!

All, with a simultaneous hand clap:

TEAM
Huh!

LINE OF SCRIMMAGE

Lined up opposite us is a snarling defender.

Once again, over loud breathing, we can just hear the shouted
count.

At "Hike!" we straighten to meet the defensive lineman lunging
at us. His mouthpiece clatters against ours and in horrific
CLOSE-UP he strains against us, his animal gurgles of effort
audible over our own ragged breath.

With a primal roar from the defenseman our POV tips back and
up, BOOMING DOWN to stop with a CRUNCH against the ground,
staring up. Once again our breathing has stopped.

After a beat a foot is planted on our helmet as a looming
running back steps on us in his charge downfield. He is
pursued by defenders some of whom leap over us and some of
whom by the sound of it step on various body parts.

HUDDLE

The same back-and-forth PAN.

QUARTERBACK
Okay, Epsilon twenty-two! You the
man!... Hey! BUTTHEAD!

This brings our wandering attention PANNING back to the
quarterback:

QUARTERBACK
You the man!

A very, very present VOICE (HUDSON):

HUDSON (O.S.)
Me the man?

TEAM
Huh!

LINE OF SCRIMMAGE

The same breathing and count.

On "Hike!" we sprint downfield.

The same distant defender sprinting toward us.

We hear low but very present a dismayed:

HUDSON (O.S.)
Unh... oh no...

Our breathing is torn by rasping wheezes of effort as we
continue to run.

We look back.

Every player is looking directly at us.

A huge spiralling football coming at us -- too close, too
soon -- and--

BONK!

It bounces off our mouth guard and flies up.

HUDSON (O.S.)
...shit...

We are looking forward just as

CRUNCH!

We are hit by the defender.

We once again land face-up.

Very steeply FORESHORTENED, right over us, we see the defender
juggling the live ball.

With a moan, our own hand reaches weakly up towards the ball
and the high, distant defender.

He finally gathers in the ball and securely tucks it, and
starts back upfield.

We climb wearily to our feet. We look back upfield just in
time to see the defender start an elaborate victory dance in
the end zone. He pauses for a moment to point a gloved hand
directly at us, then resumes his strut.

Shouting from the sidelines brings our PANNING attention
over.

The coach, face twisted with fury, is shouting at us and
using his clipboard to wave us off the field.

We trot toward the sidelines.

All of our teammates stare at us –- some in shock, some in
anger, some in pity.

At the sideline bench our POV swings round as we seat ourself.
A hand reaches up to the mouth guard to pull off the helmet
and we

MATCH CUT TO:

Our first OBJECTIVE SHOT as the player (HUDSON) finishes
pulling off his helmet. He is a big blond boy. His entire
body, including his face, is solidly built.

An offscreen Voice:

COACH (O.S.)
Hudson!

The boy, Hudson, turns to look, and we cut to one last

POV

The COACH is striding up, swinging his clipboard at the
camera: with a loud CRUNCH! it brings on:

BLACK

EXT. MINI-MALL / HI-HO DONUT - DAY

HIGH ANGLE

It is a typical sunbaked concrete strip mall with a Seven-
Eleven, a launderette, and a Hi-Ho Donut. The Hi-Ho Donut
sign shows a pink donut with sprinkles and says in much
smaller lettering: And Croissants.

A beat-up Impala pulls into the lot, pulsing hip-hop music.
After a long rumbling idle the ignition is killed. Both front
doors open. Two BLACK KIDS get out and look around with a
manner that is if anything too casual.

INT. HI-HO DONUT - DAY

There is faint muzak and loud air-conditioner hum. Glass
cases display donuts identified as GLAZED, JELLY, and FANCIES.
Fancies ooze yellow goo. The jelly on the jelly donuts is
developing a crust of age. The glazed also look moth-eaten.

One customer, a disheveled older man, sits at one of the
little formica tables staring into a coffee cup. Next to the
coffee is a brown paper bag from which a straw protrudes.

Behind the counter is a middle-aged VIETNAMESE WOMAN in a
neat white blouse.

The two youths enter pulling out enormous handguns from
underneath their windbreakers.

YOUTH #1
All right Dragon Lady, give us all
the fuckin' money!

The woman stares blankly.

YOUTH #1
We want that donut money!

VIETNAMESE WOMAN
Yao gin nyap!

A man appears from the kitchen in back. He is a middle-aged
Vietnamese gentleman in a crisply pressed khaki leisure suit.
An ascot is knotted at his neck. He wears aviator eyeglasses.
In his mouth smolders a half-burned-down filterless cigarette.
This, we shall learn later, is THE GENERAL.

YOUTH #2
Okay papa-san, we want that donut
money.

YOUTH #1
And we ain't fuckin' around, Mr. Hi-
Ho.

VIETNAMESE WOMAN
Hi-Ho.

The two youths look at her briefly. Nothing else is
forthcoming.

The drunk looks up from his paper bag.

YOUTH #2
Look, this fuckin' thing, it ain't
complicated. You give us all the
fuckin money, you don't get shot in
the head, you make more donuts, get
more money. That's how it works,
see?

The General stares at him. As with his wife, none of it seems
to register; unlike his wife, he seems unperturbed.

YOUTH #1
Give us the money!

He is pointing the gun directly at the General's head.

YOUTH #1
...You got three fuckin' seconds.
You understand one-two-three? I'm
gonna count one-two-three and then
shoot. Okay? Three sec–- huh!

The General has swung his fist up to hook two fingers inside
the youth's nostrils. His gun clatters to the floor. The
fingers are way, way up his nose. Only one knuckle shows on
each finger.

The youth is staring cross-eyed at his own nose.

His friend is also stupefied.

YOUTH #1
(very nasal)
His fingers are way the fuck up my
nose.

YOUTH #2
GET... YA FINGAS... OUT... THE
MAN'S... NOSE!

The General still impassively sucks on his cigarette. The
first youth is on the verge of tears:

YOUTH #1
I think they're in my brain, man...

YOUTH #2
MOTHERFUCK!

He raises his gun to start firing.

As he does so the General uses his hook-hold on the other
youth's nose to slam his head backwards, down into some
Fancies.

The door opens and a customer walks in, a semi-elderly lady
with a cane.

Youth #2, eyes rolling, wildly swings to cover the door,
then back to the General who has his friend's head pressed
into the Fancies, then uncertainly over to the Vietnamese
woman who is loudly yelling at him in Vietnamese.

Cigarette still dangling from his lower lip, the General
calmly plucks a pot of coffee from the coffee warmer and
tosses it into Youth #2's face.

Youth #2 screams.

EXT. HI-HO DONUT - DAY

HIGH ANGLE

The car is still pulsing hip-hop music. Youth #2 stumbles
out of the Hi-Ho, hands covering his face and sinks to his
knees.

INT. HI-HO DONUT - DAY

The General now has the first youth's face pressed into the
Fancies from behind. Without disturbing his smoking, the
General repeatedly kicks the youth in the ass.

His wife, muttering irritably in Vietnamese, is wheeling a
water bucket and mop to where the floor is covered with
coffee.

INT. CHURCH - DAY

At the CUT many voices are swelling in a song of worship. It
is a black Baptist church, and the music has great energy.

The white-robed choir finishes singing; a preacher takes the
podium.

PREACHER
I know you all remember that when
Moses came down the mountain, carrying
the word a God, come down that Sinai
peak, he caught those Israelites red-
handed. What he catch 'em doin'? He
caught 'em worshipping a golden calf.

Shouts of "That's right!"

PREACHER
...He caught 'em with their backs
turned on God!

More shouts of "That's right!"

PREACHER
...He caught 'em worshipping a FALSE
God! A God of EARTHLY things! He
caught them Israelites in DECLINE!

"He caught 'em!"

PREACHER
...Because backslidin' is DECLINE,
brothers and sisters! You hear talk
these days, and I know you've heard
this talk, you hear talk of DECLINE,
well all that means is we done turned
our back on God!

"That's right!"

PREACHER
...People say civilization doin'
this, civilization doin' that,
civilization in DECLINE! Well it
ain't no civilization! It ain't no
them! It's US, brothers and sisters!

"Amen!"

We are TRACKING among the congregants, disproportionately
women, mostly of middle age and elderly, mostly wearing
elaborate go-to-church hats.

PREACHER
...It's what's in our hearts, each
and every one of us when we like
them Israelites! Slidin' awa-a-a-ay
down that Godly slope, slippin' and
slidin' toward the mire and muck a
the stinkhole of greed -- that's
DECLINE!

"That's decline!"

The CONTINUING TRACK brings us onto Mrs. Munson, wearing,
like most of her peers, an oversized hat; hers is adorned
with a great deal of plastic fruit.

PREACHER
...And what did Moses do when he saw
those declinin' backslidin' never-
mindin' sinners?

"What he do?"

PREACHER
...Moses SMOTE those sinners in his
wrath yes he did!

"Yes he did!"

PREACHER
...Y'all know what smote is! I smite!
You smite! He smites! We done smote!

"That's right!"

PREACHER
...To smite is to go UPSIDE the head!

"Uh-huh!"

PREACHER
...Because sometimes, brothers and
sisters, that is the ONLY way!

"Yes it is!"

PREACHER
...To smite is to reMIND! We got to
STOP that decline! And scramble back
UP to the face a the almighty Gyod!

"Amen!"

PREACHER
...'Stead a worshippin' that GOLDEN
calf, that earthly TRASH on that
GARBAGE island! That GARBAGE island
in that shadowland WAY outside the
Kingdom a God!

"Way outside!"

PREACHER
...That GARBAGE island where scavenger
birds feast on the bones a the
backslidin' damned!

"Yes they do!"

PREACHER
...And so, let us pray...

EXT. CHURCH - DAY

It is a white clapboard country church. The preacher stands
at the door chatting with the congregants filing out.

WOMAN #1
You preach a wonderful sermon, Brother
Cleothus.

PREACHER
Why thank you, Sister Rose.

MRS. MUNSON
That man has a lot to say.

WOMAN #1
Yes he does.

MRS. MUNSON
And every word of it the truth.

WOMAN #2
Mm-mm. Jesus well pleased with him.

WOMAN #3
Deed he is.

PREACHER
Oh now ladies...

WOMAN #3
Pleased as he can be.

WOMAN #1
Mm-mm.

MRS. MUNSON
Stout, too.

WOMAN #1
Mm-mm.

PREACHER
Oh now you gracious ladies.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - KITCHEN - DAY

Mrs. Munson is at the kitchen table. She folds a five dollar
bill into a sheet of paper, raising her voice as she does
so:

MRS. MUNSON
It was a good sermon. That man has a
lot to say.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - DAY

We have CUT to the portrait of Othar over the mantel. He
does not answer.

From the kitchen:

MRS. MUNSON'S VOICE (O.S.)
...Stout, too. It would've been a
comfort to you...

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - KITCHEN - DAY

Mrs. Munson has stuffed the paper-enclosed bill into an
envelope, which she is now laboriously addressing to Bob
Jones University.

MRS. MUNSON
And the choir was all in good voice.
Mm-mm-

There is a knock at the door.

MRS. MUNSON
...Who could that--

The cat yowls and hisses.

I/E. MUNSON HOUSE - FOYER - DAY

As Mrs. Munson swings open the door.

G.H. Dorr stands on the stoop mournfully dry-washing his
hands and obsequiously ducking his head.

DORR
My dear Mrs. Munson, I do so hope
this is not an inopportune time for
our first practice--

MRS. MUNSON
Somebody die?

DORR
I beg your-- Oh!

He looks back at the long black vintage Lincoln hearse parked
at the curb behind him.

DORR
...No no, no bereavement, though it
is so kind of you to enquire. No,
the hearse is simply a vehicle
commodious enough to accommodate all
of the members of our ensemble. And
of course our instruments, contrived
in an age ignorant of
miniaturization...

He turns and gestures at the vehicle.

At his sign, Gawain, the custodian, emerges from the driver's
side.

Clark Pancake emerges from the front passenger side.

The General, wearing a different but equally pressed khaki
suit and ascot, and with a smoking cigarette in his lips,
emerges from a back door.

Gawain goes to the back of the hearse and opens its hatch to
let out Lump Hudson, the football player.

Lump helps unload five large and oddly shaped instrument
cases, each man taking one except for Lump himself, who
carries two. As the parade of losers and misfits winds its
way up the walk:

DORR
...Let me introduce you to my friends,
my colleagues, these devoted and
passionate musicians... This is Gawain
MacSam, our bassoonist...

Gawain nods as he passes by.

DORR
...General Nguyen Pham Doc, viola da
gamba...

MRS. MUNSON
No smoking in this house.

The General tosses his cigarette away and bows stiffly as he
passes.

GENERAL
So sorry.

DORR
...Clark Pancake -- a multi-
instrumentalist, but with his
remarkable embosser Clark specializes
in wind instruments, and is especially
accomplished on the French horn...

He nods, passes.

DORR
...And, finally, Aloysius "Lump"
Hudson. Lump is our sackbuttist and --
thank you, Lump -- I see you've also
brought my fiddle...

As he hands Dorr the violin case:

LUMP
Here's your fiddle, Doctor.

Mrs. Munson sizes up the group.

MRS. MUNSON
You ain't gonna make a racket, are
ya?

DORR
Oh no. Oh no no no no no. No, we
shall recuse ourselves to the basement
where we shall be -- I think here
the expression is uniquely
appropriate...

He gives a sickly smile.

DORR
...as quiet as the crypt.

MRS. MUNSON
Hmph.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - CELLAR - DAY

The General stands stock still, his nose an inch away from
the earthen wall, studying it, squinting through the smoke
of the cigarette pinched between his lips.

The rest of the men are opening their cases and taking out
the instruments. Gawain's case contains, however, not a
musical instrument but a boombox and several tapes. He loads
one of the tapes into the machine.

DORR
What do you think, General? Present
any problems?

After a beat the General turns away from the wall to give
Dorr a look into which one might read anything, or nothing.

Gawain hits play on the boombox and the cellar is filled
with the fussy strains of baroque chamber music.

Dorr nods.

DORR
...Good then.

He spreads a map open on the sackbutt case.

DORR
...All right, gentlemen, why don't
we all crowd around and go over the
plan.

The biggest feature on the map is a wavy, roughly north-south
pair of lines: a river. A boat icon sits at one edge and
from it a dotted rectangle extends inland.

Dorr taps at the boat icon with his fiddle bow.

DORR
...This, gentlemen, is the Lady Luck,
gambling den, cash cow, Sodom of the
Mississippi delta -- and the focus
of our little exercise. Here is
Orchard Street...

He is tracing a street that parallels the dotted rectangle
extending from the boat. The street is lined by small house
icons on either side; the bow comes to rest on one of those
icons.

DORR
...and here is the residence of Marva
Munson, the charming lady whom y'all
met moments ago. Gentlemen...

Bow taps emphasize:

DORR
...You... are... here. Now. This
brings us to this square...

The bow indicates it, and then withdraws.

Dorr uses the bow as a swagger stick to punctuate as he begins
to pace.

DORR
...Gentlemen, I believe you are all
aware that the Solons of the State
of Mississippi, to wit, its
legislature, have decreed that no
gaming establishment shall be erected
within its borders upon dry land.
They may, however, legally float
upon any watercourse defining a state
boundary. But while the gambling
activity itself is restricted to
riverboats, no such restriction
applies to the functions ancillary
to this cash besotted bidnis. The
casino's offices, locker rooms,
facilities to cook and clean, and
most importantly its counting houses-
the reinforced, secret, and super
secure repositories of the lucre --
may all be situated... wherever.
Gawain -- where is wherever?

GAWAIN
Say wha?

Dorr's smug smile fades. Testily:

DORR
Where is the money?

GAWAIN
Oh. End of every shift pit boss brings
the cash down to the hold of the
ship in the locked cash box; once a
day all the cash boxes're moved to
the counting room.

DORR
And where is the counting room?

GAWAIN
Well, uh... in that square there.
Where you pointing.

DORR
And what, to flog a horse that if
not at this point dead is in mortal
danger of expirin', does the dotted
square represent?

Gawain hesitates, the question's obviousness suggesting to
him some trick.

GAWAIN
...Offices. Underground.

Dorr's eyes close. A smile of feline contentment curls his
lips. He murmurs:

DORR
Underground... Mmm... During the
casino's hours of operation the door
to the counting room is fiercely
guarded, and the door itself is of
redoubtable Pittsburgh steel; when
the casino is closed the entire
underground complex is locked up and
the armed guard retreats to the
casino's main entrance. There, then,
far from the guard, reposes the money,
cosseted behind a five-inch-thick
steel portal, yes, but the walls,
gentlemen, the walls of that room,
are but humble masonry, behind which
is only the soft loamy soil deposited
over the centuries by Ol' Man, the
meanderin' Mississip', as it fanned
its way back and forth across this
great alluvial plain...

He has pried a fistfull of dirt from the cellar wall.

DORR
...This earth.

He crumbles it, letting it sift to the floor, and then,
pleased with himself, he smiles.

DORR
...Any questions?

Lump looks around, then hesitantly raises his hand.

DORR
...Yes, Lump?

LUMP
What, uh... what does "cosseted"
mean?

Once again Dorr's smile fades. He does not dignify the
question with answer.

DORR
The General here, whose curriculum
vitae compahends massive tunneling
experience thoo the soil of his native
French-Indochina, will direct our
little ol' tunnelin' operation.

The General acknowledges with a curt nod.

DORR
...Clark Pancake, while a master of
none, is a jack of all those trades
corollary to our aim. He will be
doin' such fabricatin' and demolition
work as our little caper shall
require.

Clark acknowledges verbally:

PANCAKE
Happy to be on board.

DORR
Gawain is the proverbial "inside
man". He has managed to secure a
berth on the custodial staff of the
Lady Luck, thereby placin' himself
in a position to perform certain
chores whose precise nature needn't
detain us here, but whose performance
shall guide this expedition to its
happy conclusion.

GAWAIN
Ya damn skippy.

DORR
And this brings us to Lump. To look
at Lump you might wonder, what
function could he possibly fill,
what specialized expertise could he
possibly offer, to our merry little
ol' band a miscreants. Well gentlemen,
in a project of such magnitude and
such risks, it is traditional --
nay, it is imperative -- to enlist
the services of a hooligan, a goon,
an ape, a physical brute, who will
be our security, our fist, our
batterin' ram. Lump is our blunt
instrument, and on all our behalfs I
wish him a warm Mississippi welcome.

LUMP
Thanks, Professor.

DORR
Well gentlemen, here you are, men of
different backgrounds and differing
talents, men with, in fact only two
things in common: one, you all saw
fit to answer my little advertisement
in the Memphis Scimitar, and, two,
you are all going to be, in
consequence, very very incredibly
rich. Let us revel in our adventure,
gentlemen. Let us make beautiful
music together. And above all,
gentlemen, let us keep it to
ourselves. What we say in this root
cellar, let it stay in this root
cellar.

LUMP
There's no "I" in "team".

All stare at him.

DORR
...Lump has a very excellent point.

The music swells, supported now by a male chorus that has
the spirited manliness of the Red Army choir. We

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - BASEMENT - NIGHT

The men at work, tunneling.

The cat sits on the cellar floor, head cocked, gazing at the
hole now opened in the wall.

Lump, in a sleeveless undershirt, glistening with sweat,
wields a pickaxe at the forward point.

At the mouth of the hole Clark Pancake shovels dirt into a
heavy plastic refuse bag held open by Gawain.

G.H. Dorr sits on a camp chair, one hand idly waving time to
the music, reading an old and yellowed tome with half-glasses
perched midway down his nose.

The General hops nimbly out of the tunnel and unzips and
steps out of his all-in-one to reveal, underneath, his neatly
pressed leisure suit and ascot.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

Later, Dorr stands at the head of the cellar stairs, looking
around the empty parlor. He gives a nod down the stairs and
the men troop up past him, carrying sacks of earth.

Over the mantelpiece, the eternal flame of the devotional
candle almost animating his features, Othar seems to watch
the men as they cross to the front door.

EXT. MUNSON HOUSE - NIGHT

The men load the earth into the hearse.

EXT. MISSISSIPPI RIVER - NIGHT

We are at the Mississippi bridge that we saw in the prologue
to the movie, but now, in dead of night, deserted.

The hearse is pulling up at the middle of the bridge and
dimming its lights. The men emerge; when they open the back
of the hearse to pull out the sacks, the cat bounds out to
watch from a distance.

We watch the men from HIGH, ANGLED DOWN along the masonry of
a tower that stands in the middle of the suspension bridge.
An ornamental gargoyle leers in the foreground.

The garbage scow is approaching. We hear the low toot of its
horn as it nears the bridge.

Lump is poised with the first sack hugged to his chest,
leaning over the railing.

The nose of the barge enters below us.

Lump releases the sack.

We watch it drop dead away like a bomb from an airplane.

It thuds distantly onto the barge. The next sack has been
passed up to Lump and is released.

The cat watches. Its orange eyes blink. Its pupils adjust.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - CELLAR - NIGHT

A PULL BACK shows that the cat is in fact back in the
basement.

Its POV: continued tunneling.

Back to the cat, watching, then turning its head at a noise:

At the head of the stairs, the cellar door is opening.

A whistle from the General and Lump and Clark Pancake scramble
from the tunnel. They whip a curtain over its opening and
all men grab up their instruments as Dorr, covering with a
cough, turns off the CD player.

The General, his ever-present cigarette smoldering between
his lips, tongue-and-lips it up and backwards so that it is
inside his mouth, which he now closes.

Marva Munson is heavily and carefully descending the stairs.
As the men come into view they are looking up at her, Lump
holding his sackbutt but still glistening with sweat and
smeared with dirt.

MRS. MUNSON
That's okay, don't stop on account
of me.

Lump looks around, saucer-eyed, then blows gamely into his
sackbutt. It sounds like goose farts until Dorr waves him
down.

DORR
No no, madam, we were about to take
a break anyway. The glissandi on
this particular piece are technically
very demanding and I think we would
all welcome a moment of relaxation.

MRS. MUNSON
Huh. I just thought you might like
to see-what a you gotten up to, honey?
Why you sweatin' like that.

It is directed at Lump, who looks down at his own sweat-
stained undershirt.

LUMP
I, uh...

GAWAIN
That man plays one bitch barrelful a
sackbutt. Ain't no one can blow the
tenor sackbutt like Lump, hoowee!
goes at that thing like it was a pu--
uh, like it was a woman! Goddamn! He--

She cuffs him on the head.

MRS. MUNSON
You mind! I don't want that kind of
talk in my home, even in the root
cellar. This is a Christian house,
boy, none of that hippity-hop
language.

DORR
Sadly, Gawain is given to--

WHAP! She slaps Gawain again.

MRS. MUNSON
Sometimes it's the only way!

He untenses after what seemed like the final blow, but --
WHAP! -- she slaps him again.

MRS. MUNSON
...I'm tryin' to help you, son!

WHAP!

MRS. MUNSON
...Better yaself!

DORR
As well you should, ma'am. But Gawain
at times is so far transported by
his love of the music of the early
Renaissance as to--

MRS. MUNSON
Don't make no never-mind he's
transported!

Dorr has her by the elbow and is ushering her back up the
stairs.

DORR
I understand your--

She pulls her elbow away and sniffs.

MRS. MUNSON
You been smokin'?

DORR
Certainly not, madam. I understand
your indignation. And I was offering
explanation, not excuse. I myself am
offended by those who cannot find
the proper words to express themselves
and have recourse to--

Gawain calls up the stairs:

GAWAIN
Don't you be explainin' me, dawg!
You can't look into my mind, cape
man!

DORR
Yes, yes...

Dorr's tone is soothing as he shuts the door at the top of
the stairs.

DORR
...A fiery lad! But then Youth is
fiery! A fact often remarked upon by
the poets of the Romantic era.

MRS. MUNSON
My youth I was in church, I wasn't
walkin' around fiery. Youth ain't no
excuse for nothin'! Well, anyway...
only came down to show you the fife.

She hands him a thick, roughly whittled piece of cane. Dorr
holds it, looks at it dumbly. He is, for the first time that
we have seen anyway, non-plussed.

MRS. MUNSON
...Othar's fife. He burned his own.

Dorr tries to summon conversation as the two sit with their
backs to the fireplace:

DORR
...Did he?

MRS. MUNSON
Mm-hm. I thought maybe bein' a musical
man you'd be interested.

DORR
Oh, I am indeed--

MRS. MUNSON
Cut it himself and burned the holes.
Israelites called it a kalil.

DORR
Ah.

MRS. MUNSON
Kalil, fife, same thing. You can
read about it in the Bible. Ain't
nothin' new under the sun.

DORR
Indeed not.

MRS. MUNSON
Gone these twenty years. He was some
kind of man.

From Othar's POV, slightly high, we see them both twist in
their chairs to look up at the portrait.

REVERSE of the portrait, LOW ANGLE. Othar looks down at us
with what appears to be bemusement.

Marva Munson and Dorr gaze up at the portrait for a motionless
beat. At length, Marva Munson sighs:

MRS. MUNSON
...Blowed the kalil.

Dorr's eyes remain on the picture as he inquires:

DORR
...I don't suppose Othar ever turned
his hand -- or, uh, heh-heh-heh,
turned his lip -- to the shofar?

Prompted by her silence, he adds:

DORR
...The ceremonial ram's horn, sounded
by the priests of the Hebrews?

MRS. MUNSON
I don't know nothin' 'bout that.
Othar didn't study no shofar, to the
extent a my knowledge. The kalil was
good enough for my Othar...

She gazes at the portrait.

MRS. MUNSON
...Some kind of man.

INT. CASINO - DAY

TRACKING BEHIND A SASHAYING ASS

following a woman in a red dress.

GAWAIN (O.S.)
Hey baby, don't be cruel. Jus' sneak
one little peek...

The woman looks back over her shoulder, smiling, as she
continues to walk.

GAWAIN
...Don't let this uniform fool ya--

REVERSE PULLING TRACK

leads Gawain MacSam, pushing his wheeled trash bin.

GAWAIN
You don't need to be gamblin', honey,
you lookin' at a sure thing. They
call me Mr. 21, baby, 'cause that's
how I measure up. I am the original
black Jack, honey, accept no
substitutions. You can pull my lever
all day long, sweet mama, I ain't
never gonna come up lemons. That's
right, sugar, you can blow on my
dice any ol' time.

INT. CASINO - GUDGE'S OFFICE - DAY

Gudge has his feet up on the desk and is filing his nails
with an emery board.

GAWAIN
But Mr. Gudge, she had an ass that
could pull a bus. This lady was fine,
fine, dandy, divine.

GUDGE
I don't care how big her ass was,
MacSam. You're fired.

GAWAIN
Say what?

GUDGE
There is no fraternizing with
customers on the Lady Luck. Clean
out your locker.

GAWAIN
But Gudge–-

GUDGE
Get out of here. You're fired.

GAWAIN
You can't fire me. I sue your ass!

GUDGE
Sue me? For what?

GAWAIN
Sue you for fuckin' punitive damages,
man!

GUDGE
Punitive damages.

GAWAIN
Ya damn skippy. I know you firin' my
ass 'cause I'm black!

GUDGE
Everyone on the custodial staff is
black, MacSam. Your replacement's
gonna be black. His replacement will
no doubt be black.

GAWAIN
Fuckin' judge is gonna be black,
motherfucker, that's who gonna be
black! You gonna stand tall before
the man!

EXT. WAFFLE HOUSE - DAY

VERY HIGH ANGLE

We are looking down past the distinctive pylon-mounted yellow
letters: WAFFLE.

INT. WAFFLE HOUSE - DAY

The band of miscreants is seated around a table with cups of
coffee. Dorr's wardrobe makes no concession to the informality
of the setting; he still wears his cape and a black string
tie. His manner is more mournful even than usual:

DORR
Oh my. Oh my my my my my. This is a
severe setback. I am distraught. I
am more than distraught, I am
devastated. Oh my, this is quite the
monkey-wrench heaved into the
meticulously engineered construct of
our little escapade.

LUMP
Yeah, it fucks things up.

DORR
I am beside myself. I am at a positive
loss for words.

GAWAIN
You still talkin' okay though.

WAITRESS
Have you all decided?

Dorr's intensely mournful agitation is brought to bear upon
her:

DORR
Oh madam, we must have waffles. We
must all have waffles forthwith!

They hand in their menus.

DORR
...Oh we must think. We must all
have waffles and think, each and
every one of us to the very best of
his ability! Perhaps if you apologized
to the man and gave him flowers, or
perhaps a fruit basket, with a card
depicting a misty seascape and
inscribed with a sentiment.

GAWAIN
Shit, man, it ain't about apologizin'!
He fired me 'cause I'm black!

PANCAKE
He can't do that. You could sue him.
Open and shut case.

GAWAIN
Fuckin' A.

PANCAKE
This is not 1952.

GAWAIN
Man's a fuckin' bigot.

DORR
Well then, perhaps, surely, a
chocolate assortment has been known
to warm the heart of even the most
hardened misanthrope, especially if
it's a premium chocolate, imported,
say, from Switzerland, or the
Netherlands, or some other of the so-
called "Low" countries be they Dutch
or Flemish or Walloon--

GAWAIN
Walloon my ass, the man ain't gonna
roll over for a fuckin' candy bar!

PANCAKE
I'm afraid there's a setback on the
tunneling front too. We've run into
a pretty large rock, and--

GENERAL
-- Rock!

All turn to look at the General. He continues to stare at a
spot in space. He slowly releases some inhaled cigarette
smoke, murmuring:

GENERAL
...Very bad.

DORR
Oh my my, it seems that the poet was
right: Troubles never singly come.

PANCAKE
Oh, we can get through the rock, no
worries there. Simplest thing in the
world. Why we blow right through it;
I've got a pyro license, we bore a
hole in the rock, pack in a little
plastique; igneous blows pretty good,
and we--

LUMP
Is he gonna want a piece of the
action?

All turn to look at Lump.

PANCAKE
...Who?

Lump hesitates, looking at the inquiring faces that surround
him.

LUMP
...Igneous?

A female Voice:

MOUNTAIN GIRL (O.S.)
Hello Clark. Am I ordering the prima
cord?

The men look up at her.

PANCAKE
Yes, Mountain, we were just talking
about that, and some plastique.

All the men are staring at her, agog.

GAWAIN
...The fuck is this?

PANCAKE
This is Mountain Girl. Mountain is
my right hand. She helps me with
ordnance. Helps me with damn near
everything.

The men stare.

GAWAIN
...You brought your bitch to the
waffle house?!

There is tension in the air. Dorr clears his throat.

DORR
I confess myself to be puzzled as
well. I thought we all understood
that, so far as our little enterprise
is concerned, mum, as the saying
would have it, is the word--

PANCAKE
Of course. I understand that. But
this is Mountain...

He chuckles.

PANCAKE
...I don't keep secrets from Mountain.
That's not how you maintain a loving,
caring relationship.

GAWAIN
...You brought your bitch to the
waffle house?

He looks around.

GAWAIN
...Man brings his bitch to the waffle
house!

PANCAKE
Look, you, I'll thank you to stop
referring to Mountain that way. She's
the other half of my life.

GAWAIN
Everybody lookin' at me like I'm a
fuck-up, losin' that sorry-ass job,
and this motherfucker bring his bitch
to the waffle house!

Pancake lunges across the table, sending dishes clattering
to the floor as he grabs Gawain by the shirt.

PANCAKE
You son of a bitch punk! Shut your
goddamn mouth!

He shakes him vigorously and rears back to take a swing at
him.

Gawain draws a gun.

GAWAIN
Come and get me motherfuck! Come on,
baby, let's get it on!

Mountain starts screaming.

People look, aghast.

DORR
Gentlemen, please!

The other men pry Pancake and Gawain apart.

DORR
...Gentlemen, this sort of behavior
does you no credit in the eyes of
your colleagues, or in those of the
other patrons of this waffle house!

Pancake grumbles as he composes himself and straighten his
clothes.

PANCAKE
...Nobody talks to Mountain Girl
that way. She had an abusive family!

GAWAIN
Fuck you, man.

PANCAKE
Little punk. I got syrup on my safari
jacket.

He embraces Mountain, who continues to sob quietly.

DORR
Gentlemen, I propose that we consider
the matter of this woman, Mountain
Water, to be--

PANCAKE
Mountain Girl.

DORR
I am so very sorry. I propose that
we consider this matter to be closed,
and we shall chose to trust her,
since we now have no choice, and
since she shall share only in Mr.
Pancake's portion of the booty.

Over the shoulder of the quietly weeping Mountain Girl:

PANCAKE
Of course. Wouldn't have it any other
way.

GAWAIN
Damn right you won't.

PANCAKE
Up yours, punk.

DORR
Gentlemen! And the manner of disposing
of our igneous impediment is also
settled. That leaves only the question
of Gawain retrieving his job.

LUMP
Couldn't you just bribe the guy?

All turn to look at Lump.

INT. MUNSON LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

Othar looks serenely down from his spot over the mantelpiece.
Marva Munson knits; G.H. Dorr sits nodding over an ancient
volume of half-forgotten lore, reading glasses perched midway
down his nose. Curtains waft lazily in the summer night
breeze.

MRS. MUNSON
...You just a readin' fool, ain't
you Mr. Dorr.

DORR
Yes yes, I must confess, madam, that
often I feel more at home in these
ancient volumes than I do in the
hustle-bustle of our modern world.
To me, paradoxically, the literature
of the so-called "dead tongues" has
more currency than this mornin's
newspaper.

MRS. MUNSON
Mm-mm.

DORR
In these books...

He removes his glasses and lazily twirls them.

DORR
...In these volumes, there is the
accum'lated wisdom a mankind which
succours me when the day is hard or
the night lonely and long.

MRS. MUNSON
Wisdom of mankind, what about the
wisdom of the Lord?

DORR
Oh yes, the Good Book, mm. I have
found reward in its pages. But for
me there are other good books as
well; the heavy volumes of Antiquity,
freighted with the insights of Man's
glorious age. And then of course I
love, love, love the works of Mr. Ed
G'Allan Poe.

MRS. MUNSON
I know who he is. Kinda creepy.

DORR
Oh no, madam, noooo. Not of this
world, true; he lived in a dream, an
ancient dream...

Dorr himself is lost in a dream:

DORR
"Helen, they beauty is to me Like
those Nicean barks a yore That gently,
o'er a perfumed sea, The weary,
wayworn wanderer bore To his own
native shore... "

MRS. MUNSON
Who was Helen? She wasn't a loose
woman, was she? Some kinda whore a
Babylon?

Dorr is still lost:

DORR
One doesn't know who Helen was, though
I picture her as bein' very, very
extremely... pale.

He comes to himself, focuses on Mrs. Munson.

DORR
...Miz Munson, I was tryin' to think
of some way of expressin' my gratitude
to you for takin' in...

He chuckles.

DORR
...this weary, wayworn wanderer...

The Professor takes a small ticket envelope from where it
had served as bookmark, and hands it across.

DORR
...It's just a modest little ol'
present, why it's practically nothing
at all.

Beaming, she takes two tickets out of the envelope and
inspects them.

MRS. MUNSON
Oh Mr. Dorr, why you are such a
gallant man...

DORR
Oh no madam, I blush. I melt. No, I
just happened to hear of this gospel
concert tomorrow night, The Mighty
Mighty Clouds of Joy, and I thought
you and a friend from church,
perhaps...

MRS. MUNSON
Othar loved that music... Yes, I got
a widow-lady friend...

DORR
The concert is up in Memphis, but I
have arranged for a car service to
transport you thither and, needless
to say, back home at the concert's
termination. My friends and I will
be rehearsing here tomorrow evening
so you needn't worry about the
security of your charming little old
house...

There is a knock at the door.

MRS. MUNSON
Huh? Excuse me.

I/E. MUNSON HOUSE - FOYER - NIGHT

Mrs. Munson swings the door open to Sheriff Wyner. His squad
car is parked at the curb.

MRS. MUNSON
Sheriff Wyner, how you doin'...

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

The Professor's eyes widen with concern as he hears the
voices, off:

SHERIFF (O.S.)
Evenin', Miz Munson, I just came
by...

I/E. MUNSON HOUSE - FOYER - NIGHT

The sheriff is tipping his hat and already backing away,
trying to make his visit brief:

SHERIFF
...to let you know I had a word with
WeeMack. He says he gonna comply
with your request, keep the music
down and neighborly.

MRS. MUNSON
Mm-hm.

He calls from the bottom of the stoop:

SHERIFF
So you have a pleasant evening now,
and just let us know--

MRS. MUNSON
Hang on there, Sheriff, somebody I
want you to meet.

SHERIFF
Ma'am, I'm a little pressed for time--

MRS. MUNSON
Why, you chasin' a gang of bank
robbers? Get on in here say hello.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

The Voices approach:

MRS. MUNSON
...We was just havin' tea, talkin'
about Othar--

The two enter and Mrs. Munson stops short, looking.

The living room is empty. Even the Professor's teacup is
gone.

MRS. MUNSON
...Hm... Bussed his own dishes. You
can always tell a gentleman.

The sheriff, hat in hand, gazes about.

SHERIFF
Someone was here, ma'am?

MRS. MUNSON
Mm-hm, with me'n Othar.

Once again, he tries to excuse himself:

SHERIFF
Well, maybe I'll catch him next
time...

MRS. MUNSON
Come on up to his room.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - DORR'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

The door opens and the two look in.

The neatly made bed next to the small, barren dresser.

MRS. MUNSON
Mm, he's neat.

SHERIFF
Very neat.

MRS. MUNSON
Probably went down to the cellar to
play with his friends.

She turns.

SHERIFF
Ma'am, I really have to...

POV FROM UNDER THE BED

Top-teased by a dust ruffle in the foreground, we see Mrs.
Munson's heavy orthopedic shoes turning to pass Sheriff
Wyner's shiny black boots.

REVERSE

shows Dorr, cheek pressed to the floor, his teacup and saucer
under the bed with him.

SHERIFF
...be gettin' back...

BACK TO NORMAL PERSPECTIVE

Mrs. Munson is about to go out the door but notices something:

A corner of the Professor's cape, protruding from under the
end of the bed.

MRS. MUNSON
What the...

BACK TO DORR

fearfully watching.

HIS POV

The heavy orthopedic shoes approach, and then, with loud Mr.
Mogul sounds of effort, Mrs. Munson's hands and knees hit
the floor.

Her head drops in to view to peer in, her own cheek against
the floorboards.

MRS. MUNSON
...What the... Why, Professor!

We see the Sheriff watching and his HIGH POV of Mrs. Munson's
enormous ass.

MRS. MUNSON
...What you doin' havin' tea down
there?!

Dorr makes silent hand waves to disavow his own presence.

Mrs. Munson roars with laughter.

With difficulty she pushes herself back upright, still
laughing.

MRS. MUNSON
...Land of Goshen! Get out from under
there!

SHERIFF
Miz Munson, my pager just went off...

MRS. MUNSON
Why of all the...

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - STAIRCASE/FOYER - NIGHT

The Sheriff is already backing down the stairs:

SHERIFF
'Fraid I gotta respond...

He opens the front door and calls up:

SHERIFF
...I'll try to meet your friend some
other time.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - DORR'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

Dorr shimmies out from under the bed.

DORR
Well that was very... refreshing...
As you know...

He gets to his feet, slaps dust from the front of his pants.

DORR
...we academics are inordinately
fond of wedgin' ourselves into
confined spaces. At Yale the students
will see how many of their number
they can enclose in a telephone booth;
Harvard, a broom closet.

MRS. MUNSON
Why I never!

DORR
There was the goldfish-swallowin'
craze, of course, a different but
related phenomenon... Ahem... I hope
I didn't spill any tea...

INT. CASINO - GUDGE'S OFFICE - DAY

CLOSE ON A BOX OF CHOCOLATES

The box is being pulled open.

GUDGE (O.S.)
What the hell is this?

WIDER

shows Gawain in Mr. Gudge's office as Gudge, behind the desk,
looks at the gift-wrapped box.

GAWAIN
It's just my way of sayin', well,
goddamnit, I don't know what it's
like walkin' in your shoes, bein'
all tightass and all, and you don't
know what it's like to walk in my
shoes, but, well...

Gudge is opening a card that was inside the box. Its floral
front says in gold script, "I'm Sorry... If I hurt your
feelings... "

GAWAIN
...You know, there's the custodian,
and then there's the man inside the
custodian, y'understand what I'm
sayin'...

Gudge opens the card. Inside is a hundred-dollar bill.

GAWAIN
...and that man has needs, dig, and
I guess those needs, Mr. Gudge, which
they usually involve women with big
asses, well those motherfuckin' needs
sometimes well up over the custodian
like the motherfuckin' Johnstown
Flood. But my point is it ain't gonna
happen again. Not if it's humanly
possible...

Gudge reads the card, flips it over to look at its back.

GUDGE
Hmm...

GAWAIN
But Jesus, if you'd seen the ass on
that girl, Mr. Gudge, you'd a wanted
her sitting on your face too.

GUDGE
Well, we're all human.

GAWAIN
Ya damn skippy.

GUDGE
This apology buys you a one-week
probationary period. Stay away from
the customers, MacSam.

INT. TUNNEL - NIGHT

Pancake is on his stomach, wearing goggles, boring a hole
into a rock face with a power drill.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - CELLAR - NIGHT

We hear the whine of the drill faintly here, all but covered
by the sound of the chamber music on the boom box.

The other men sit around. Dorr gives a casual glance at his
watch as the whine subsides.

Pancake emerges from the tunnel covered with grime.

PANCAKE
The drill bit's getting awfully hot.
Gawain, maybe you could fill a hudson
sprayer and spritz it down while I
drill.

GAWAIN
Fuck you, man, I ain't your house
nigger. I'm the inside man!

PANCAKE
Look, are you gonna have a bug up
your ass for the rest of the time we
work together?

LUMP
I'll get the sprayer.

PANCAKE
No no, me and this gentleman here
have to get square. Let me tell you
something, MacSam. You wanna know
something?

GAWAIN
I don't wanna know shit from you.

Pancake leans against the wall and pushes his goggles up on
his forehead, leaving raccoon eyes.

PANCAKE
I'm gonna tell you how I came down
to Mississippi. Wasn't born here,
you know. I'm from Scranton,
Pennsylvania...

Abruptly, he stares off into space.

PANCAKE
...Nnnff!

GAWAIN
Huh?

Pancake's eyes regain their focus:

PANCAKE
...Scranton, Pennsylvania. Came down
here in 1964. Greyhound Bus. With
the Freedom Riders. You know who the
Freedom Riders were, MacSam?

GAWAIN
I don't give a shit who they were.
Just tell me when they gonna leave.

PANCAKE
The Freedom Riders, my fine young
man, were a group of concerned
liberals from up North -- whites,
Negros, and yes, Jewish people --
all working together, just like we
are here. Concerned citizens who
came down here so that local black
people could have their civil
liberties. So that people like you
could have the vote.

All look at Pancake. Quiet, except for the delicate chamber
music.

Gawain's tone softens:

GAWAIN
...You know what, man?

PANCAKE
What, brother?

GAWAIN
I don't vote. So fuck you.

Pancake darkens:

PANCAKE
Why you fucking--

GAWAIN
And the bus you rode in on!

PANCAKE
That's it!

He peels off his coat.

PANCAKE
...Let's step outside, MacSam!

There is a knock on the cellar door. The men freeze
momentarily, then scramble for their instruments. The General
flips his cigarette backwards into his mouth.

Dorr turns off the boom box, then calls:

DORR
Yes, madam?

The door opens and Mrs. Munson comes down the stairs, holding
a large plate covered by a checked napkin.

MRS. MUNSON
My friend Mrs. Funthes is here so
I'm about to go on out. I just wanted
to leave y'all with some cinnamon
cookies...

She takes the napkin off and carries the plate from person
to person; each obediently takes a cookie with a murmured
"Thank you, ma'am."

MRS. MUNSON
...Y'all sound pretty good. It'd be
nice if you'd come by the church
some day, give us a recital.

Dorr takes her by the arm and escorts her back to the stairs.

DORR
Oh madam, you are too kind. Our music,
however, is -- how shall I put it? --
rather Roman in its outlook; many of
our pieces were commissioned by the
Holy See.

MRS. MUNSON
Oh, I see all right, but we don't
make a big whoop-dee-do about
denominations; everybody welcome at
our church. We've had Methodists
come in. Episcopals. Even had a Jew
come in once with a guitar back in
the sixties.

DORR
Indeed. Excuse me, one moment, ma'am,
and I shall see you off...

They have reached the top of the stairs and the Professor
ushers her out but stays behind himself. He turns to address
the rest of the men below:

DORR
...If you gentlemen can labor
harmoniously in the course of my
absence, then perhaps upon my return
we shall be prepared to explode that
vexin' ol' piece a igneous.

GAWAIN
He's the motherfuckin' piece of
igneous.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

The Professor emerges from the cellar. Mrs. Munson awaits
with her friend who is likewise togged out in fancy Sunday
dress and carrying a shiny black purse.

MRS. MUNSON
Professor, this is Rosalie Funthes,
Rosalie, Professor G.H. Dorr, Ph.D.

ROSALIE
Oh my, that's an awful lot of letters.

DORR
Well of course in my youth I was
simply known as Goldthwait...

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - CELLAR - NIGHT

Pancake is taking the boom box off the table to clear some
space.

PANCAKE
All right, safety meeting, let's
listen up. General, could you hand
me the prima cord and the compound
there. Before we set the charge we'll
run through our procedure.

Various paraphernalia are laid out on the table.

The cat sits in a corner of the cellar, watching carefully
and, it seems, listening attentively.

PANCAKE
...I have earplugs for whoever wants
them. Just wedge them in your ears.
Now here we have -- not yet, Lump.

Lump stops putting in his earplugs.

PANCAKE
...Now. Prima cord. Gelatinite. C4.
Time comes, we pack the hole in the
rock with the C4 and insert two leads.
A...

He holds up one lead.

PANCAKE
...and B.

He holds up the other lead.

PANCAKE
...Charge comes from a battery that
is inside this plunger. Ordinary
auto battery, you can pick it up at
Sears, easiest thing in the world...

EXT. MUNSON HOUSE - NIGHT

A black town car idles at the curb. Dorr is just escorting
the two ladies out the front door and down the stoop.

DORR
I remember my father telling me --
and it is one of the few memories I
retain of the man, from one of his
visits home, and how I do cherish it --
he said, "Goldthwait, you are not
formed as other little boys."

ROSALIE
Mm-mm.

MRS. MUNSON
He a man of learnin'?

DORR
G.H. number two was self-educated;
he had no career, as such, though
the state recognized the breadth of
his readin' by making him librarian
at the state nervous hospital in
Meridian, where he was a distinguished
inmate.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - CELLAR - NIGHT

Pancake sets down the two electrical leads and picks up a
hammer.

PANCAKE
This is the same procedure we will
be using when we collapse the tunnel
after entering the casino vault and
returning to the root cellar.

He looks pointedly at Gawain.

PANCAKE
...This is for your own protection,
so pay close attention. Once these
materials are combined only the
professionals may handle them. That
means me, or the General. Separately
they are harmless-completely inert.
Why, you could light this stuff on
fire, hit it with a hammer--

He swings the hammer down onto the plastique--

EXT. MUNSON HOUSE - NIGHT

--and there is the dull thud of an explosion and the house's
windows rattle in their frames.

The Professor, at the open door of the car into which the
two ladies have just sat, looks up at the house, as do the
ladies.

MRS. MUNSON
...What in the name of heaven was
that?

Dorr stares at the house, appalled.

DORR
I'm... quite sure... that there is...
no cause for alarm...

He struggles for self-possession.

DORR
...Why, I'm not even absolutely
certain that I heard anything at
all.

MRS. MUNSON
Didn't hear anything?!

DORR
Well, something, perhaps, but...

Marva Munson starts to get out of the car.

DORR
...nothing that need discompose us,
was the sense I was trying to
convey...

He urges her back into her seat.

DORR
...Miz Munson, I will not have you
missing your musical recital. Why,
you go ahead now. Miz Funthes, you
as well, I beg of you...

He is backing up the walk.

DORR
...I shall call the gas company, or
the water company, or whatever
subterranean utility is implicated
in this little... occurrence... I
shall see to the matter... as only a
highly educated classicist could.

At the door now, he gives the two women peering out the car
window a smiling but vigorous wave away, which they do not
heed, and then he enters.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

The room is filled with smoke.

Othar, slightly askew over the mantel, looks a little huffy.

We hear clomping and screaming on the cellar stairs.

Lump bursts out, shrieking:

LUMP
Blood, Professor! Oh my God! Blood!

The General comes bounding up the stairs like a panther, a
cigarette burning in his lips. He lands catlike in the living
room, glides to the blubbering Lump, grabs one shoulder firmly
with one hand, and with the other slaps him sharply, once
forehand, once backhand.

Lump stares at him, shocked, his blubbering cut short.

More noise is coming from the stairs:

PANCAKE
...why, it's nothing to make a fuss
about. Perfectly all right... happens
all the time...

GAWAIN
...You gotta go find it, dipshit!

Pancake emerges from the stairwell, his hair singed, his
face and the front of his jumpsuit darkened by the blast. He
is clutching one hand with the other.

PANCAKE
...No, no. Really, I'm perfectly all
right.

Gawain has ascended just behind to hector him over his
shoulder:

GAWAIN
Perfectly all right? You just blew
your fucking finger off!

PANCAKE
Sure, but--

GAWAIN
Well get back down there and find
it, man! I ain't pickin' up your
goddamn finger!

DORR
I gather there was a premature
detonation--

GAWAIN
They can sew that shit back on, jack!
Like that guy his wife cut his dick
off! Just sewed that motherfucker
back on!

PANCAKE
Of course. Simplest thing in the
world. Microsurgery--

GAWAIN
Saw that motherfucker in a porno!
Thing still works!

Pancake is pale from loss of blood and his pontifications
lack full conviction:

PANCAKE
Oh yes, they have remarkable abilities
in the, uh...

EXT. MUNSON HOUSE - NIGHT

Quiet.

The two women sit in the idling car, looking at the house.

From the house there is very muted bellowing.

Still looking toward the house, Mrs. Munson offers a word of
explanation to her friend:

MRS. MUNSON
They using the house to practice
music a the rococo.

ROSALIE
Mmmm-hm.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

The cat, with a human finger in its mouth, sidles cautiously
to one side, warily eying someone.

VOICES (O.S.)
Get him!

The General, pluming cigarette in his mouth, tensed arms
extended outwards, sidles cautiously to cut him off.

DORR
I propose that we get our fallen
comrade to the hospital, and the
General shall follow when he manages
to recover the severed digit.

PANCAKE
I don't know what all the fuss is
about.

The cat jumps.

The General leaps to follow.

EXT. MUNSON HOUSE - NIGHT

The two women looking.

The front door of the house opens. Lump, the Professor, and
Gawain emerge, escorting Pancake. Just before Gawain finishes
closing the door the cat slips out.

MRS. MUNSON
PICKLES!

The door is yanked fully open and the General races out after
the cat.

MRS. MUNSON
...You catch Pickles now!

The cat races across the lawn and, with no break in stride,
up his favorite tree.

The General follows and, also without breaking stride,
clambers up the tree after it.

Tree limbs shake with activity hidden by the leaves. We hear
the hiss of the cat.

The men are bundling Pancake into the hearse. Dorr calls to
the women before climbing in:

DORR
The house is perfectly in order, but
we need medical attention for Mr.
Pancake who, during the disturbance,
pinched his finger in a valve of the
sackbutt.

The cat leaps out of the tree and runs away down the road.

MRS. MUNSON
You let the cat out!

The General leaps out of the tree to land catlike on the
street, arms tensed, casts a look both ways, and then pursues
the animal down the road. We hear the retreating padding
footsteps of all six feet.

DORR
The General is even now exercising
every effort to retrieve your
mischievous little pet. Please go,
go and enjoy your concert, and we
shall see you later in the evening.
Au revoir, mes dames!

EXT. MISSISSIPPI RIVER - NIGHT

A new day. The garbage scow chugs down the mighty Mississippi.
It toots its horn.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - CELLAR - NIGHT

CLOSE ON SCHEMATIC MAP

It shows the underground complex and, stretching towards it
in a line drawn with a blunt pencil, is the tunnel. It is
now almost to the vault.

A violin bow enters to tap at the line.

DORR (O.S.)
Despite our little setback we find
ourselves on schedule to penetrate
the vault...

The bow taps at the vault outline.

DORR
...here, this afternoon, having
successfully blasted that little ol'
rock to pieces during Miz Munson's
choir practice.

The violin bow withdraws.

DORR
...Clark, perhaps you can run us
through the game plan for what remains
of our tunnelin'.

A bandaged hand enters frame and a finger-stump points at
the end of the penciled line.

PANCAKE (O.S.)
Of course. Why, it's child's play
now, easiest thing in the world.
Only a couple of feet separate us
from the vault...

WIDER

The men are clustered around the map, spread out on the
sackbutt case in the cellar. Clark continues:

PANCAKE
...Just the usual spadework until we
hit the masonry of the vault, and
then we drill through.

DORR
And will you be able to wield the
drill with your maimed extremity?

PANCAKE
Oh, I should think so, it's only one
finger. Inhibits me in doing finer
work, of course. I'll always have to
live with that... Ahem. Maybe, and
I'm just thinking out loud here,
maybe since, as you say, it will
present problems later...

DORR
Yes, Clark?

PANCAKE
Well, maybe -- and this is something
I've talked over with Mountain Girl,
and she agrees with me, so it's not
just one person's opinion -- maybe I
should get a little extra compensation
for the accident.

A long, stony silence.

PANCAKE
...Somewhat larger share. Why, if
this were any other line of work I'd
be getting workmen's comp, wouldn't
I? Might even have a pretty good
lawsuit.

GAWAIN
You gonna sue yaself for blowin' off
your finger?

PANCAKE
Well that is simply asinine--

DORR
Yes but you see, Clark, this is not
what you just called "some other
line of work."

PANCAKE
But if it were--

DORR
This is a criminal enterprise, not
to put too fine a point on it,
entailin' all manner a risks not
involved in honest labor. Governmental
regulations an' civic safeguards
cannot be assumed to apply to
antisocial pursuits.

LUMP
Yeah, but he lost his finger.

GAWAIN
We don't give a shit! Man can blow
his own dick off, don't make no
nevermind to us! We don't gotta pay
the man for goin' around blowin' off
body parts! Getcha head outcha ass,
man!

PANCAKE
Look, you--

DORR
I think that in this instance Gawain
has a very excellent point. I--

GENERAL
No extra share!

All stop and stare at the General.

Clark grumbles:

PANCAKE
Well, okay, majority rules, like I
say, it was just a trial balloon.
Hand's not so bad really, I even get
some phantom feeling.

GAWAIN
You pull on your prick you get phantom
feeling. Greedy motherfuck.

DORR
Now that that matter is settled, let
us synchronize our watches before
Gawain reports to work. In... twenty
seconds... it will be twelve-sixteen
exactly... fifteen...

PANCAKE
It will be twelve-fifteen?

DORR
No, in fifteen seconds -- now eleven
seconds -- it will be twelve-
sixteen... eight...

LUMP
Professor?

DORR
Six... five -- yes, Lump?

LUMP
I don't have a watch.

EXT. CASINO - DAY

It is the weathered doorway to the main entrance of the Lady
Luck. A hand enters to rap.

ELRON (O.S.)
Yeah?

GAWAIN
Me, dickwad.

A low, chesty chuckle. The door swings open and Gawain enters.

INT. CASINO - DAY

RUMBLING WHEELS ON NUBBY FLOOR

A garbage bin is being wheeled across the empty casino floor.

WIDER

Gawain is wheeling it. He is approaching the tunnel to the
corporate annex.

BACK TO THE WHEELS

As they roll down the tunnel.

INT. CHURCH - DAY

Loud singing at the cut. We are looking at Mrs. Munson in
the middle of the choir, holding forth in song.

INT. CASINO - SERVICE HALL - DAY

Gawain leans back against the wall next to the vault door,
arms folded across his chest. Faintly, from inside the vault,
we hear the whine of a power tool. Gawain leans over and
punches the button on boom box that hangs from the rolling
garbage bin. The hallway pulses with "I Left My Wallet In El
Segundo."

INT. CHURCH - DAY

More singing, Mrs. Munson and the rest of the choir now
clapping as they sing.

INT. CASINO - VAULT - DAY

The power-tool whine is louder here. We are looking at a
patch of wall.

After a beat, and with a loud rev as resistance gives way, a
drill bit emerges from the wall, spitting out bits of the
masonry.

The drill withdraws.

After a beat, hammer blows.

The chunk of masonry begins to buckle.

INT. CASINO - SERVICE HALL - DAY

The General opens the door, still somehow immaculately
groomed. Gawain enters.

INT. CHURCH - DAY

The gospel number rising to climax, supported by the organist
and the rest of the congregation.

INT. CASINO - VAULT - DAY

Clark and Lump, covered in dirt and plaster dust, have started
stuffing bundled bills and small sacks into large garbage
bags. An irregular hole, about three feet across, gapes in
the far wall.

Gawain punches off the boombox, looking at all the money.

GAWAIN
Well ain't that somethin'.

Clark suddenly freezes in the act of collecting money. He
straightens slowly.

PANCAKE
Hnnnn. Arrunggggh! Rnffff.

He stands stock still, wincing, gazing off into space.

PANCAKE
...Mmmmnggh!

He whispers hoarsely, urgently:

PANCAKE
...IBS!

The other men look at him.

GAWAIN
...Say what?

PANCAKE
IBS! Irritable Bowel Syndrome! Is
there a men's room down here?!

GAWAIN
Oh man, you shouldn't be using the
men's room--

PANCAKE
Or a lady's room! IBS! Quickly!

GAWAIN
You shoulda shit back in the house,
man! We don't want Elron finding you
in the goddamn crapper!

Clark's voice is still hoarse. He does small knee bends of
urgency:

PANCAKE
No choice! Quickly! It's a medical
condition!

GAWAIN
You are disgusting, man. All right,
follow me.

INT. CASINO - DAY

We are CLOSE ON Gawain peering anxiously to one side.

He turns and peers the other way.

We hear a toilet flush and, after a beat, Clark emerges from
the men's room door next to which Gawain stands. His manner
is now completely relaxed.

PANCAKE
Feel thirty pounds lighter.

They start walking back to the vault.

PANCAKE
...Thank you for being so
understanding. Not everyone is, of
course, which is why the biggest
challenge of IBS is educating the
public. Afflicts over two million
people yet most of us have never
heard of it. And it strikes without
regard to age, gender or race.

GAWAIN
Oh fuck, man, I don't wanna know
about it.

PANCAKE
That's the kind of attitude we're
fighting.

GAWAIN
Well maybe you should sign me up,
man, 'cause you startin' to irritate
my bowel.

INT. CHURCH - DAY

The choir finishes a number and sits -- all except for Marva
Munson, who unties the knot on her robe at the nape of her
neck, slips it off and, with murmured goodbyes, slips away.

INT. CASINO - VAULT - DAY

As the two men enter Clark is still holding forth:

PANCAKE
...I guess I never told you, that's
how Mountain Girl and I met. They
had an IBS Weekend at Grossinger's,
in the Catskills. Of course the
tourist business up there has
suffered, with the demise of the
Borscht Belt. So they have different
promotions, mixers, so on. This was
a weekend for Irritable Bowel singles
to meet and support each other and
share stories.

GAWAIN
Man, I don't wanna hear a single one
a them stories.

PANCAKE
Well, some of them are very--

GAWAIN
Not one fuckin' story! You one fucked-
up motherfucker! You--

They stop short, looking:

The General and Lump are standing in the middle of the floor,
stock still, each clutching a bag of money, staring up at
the same corner of the ceiling.

Lump turns to Clark and Gawain.

LUMP
Hey, lookit that.

Gawain and Clark join them in the middle of the vault and
look up at the corner of the ceiling.

A small video camera, aimed squarely at the four men.

THROUGH THE CAMERA

Black-and-white video, very WIDE ANGLE HIGH SHOT, of the
four motionless men below goggling up at the lens. Smoke
plumes from the General's cigarette.

BACK TO NORMAL PERSPECTIVE

PANCAKE
Huh. Looks like an Ikegami.

He slips on his reading glasses as he gets a leg up on a
shelf just below the camera and hoists himself. He peers in
at the lens.

THROUGH THE LENS

Clark looming into EXTREME CLOSE SHOT.

PANCAKE
...Oh yeah. Mm-hm. I'm not sure
whether it's broadcasting...

NORMAL PERSPECTIVE

PANCAKE
...Um-hm... No...

He is fingering the back of the camera.

PANCAKE
...Hard wire...

Down below, Gawain looks at the wire snaking along the seam
of wall and ceiling. At the opposite corner it travels down
the joint of the two walls.

He traces its path down and then across one wall at chair-
rail height towards the door. The other men follow in an
anxious herd as he traces one finger along it.

Just before reaching the vault door the wire goes through
the wall in a hole finished off with a grommet. Gawain goes
out the vault door...

INT. CASINO - SERVICE HALL - DAY

...and picks up the line where it emerges on the other side,
travels down to the joint of wall and floor, and then
continues along the floor. Gawain follows it and the other
men continue to follow him.

He traces it anxiously down the hall in a hunched lope. The
other men scuttle behind into...

INT. CASINO - MONITOR ROOM - DAY

The wire winds around into the room, back up to chair-rail
height, along one wall, behind some cabinetry which Gawain
hurries past to find it again on the far side, and then down
to a video recorder.

It is not, however, hooked up to the video recorder: its
pronged end swings loose just by where it would be plugged
in.

Inside the video recorder is a casette, which Gawain ejects.
The men crowd to look over his shoulder as he examines it:

"Shevann's Schvanz".

There is a pile of other videos by the monitor: "Charlayne
and the Chocolate Factory," "Big Dick Blaque's Big Night
Out," "Lemme Tell Ya 'Bout Black Chicks," "Anus & Andy."
Just next to the pile is an old bowl of Kocoa Krispies.

INT. CASINO - VAULT - DAY

The General climbs into the tunnel with a garbage bagful of
money, followed by Lump, likewise encumbered. Lump hands
back out a satchel to Gawain, who sets it on the vault floor
by the hole. From the way he handles it, it is quite heavy.
Pancake, also with a bag of money, is getting ready to climb
in:

PANCAKE
Look, I didn't choose to have IBS--

GAWAIN
Shut the fuck up!

Lump hands Gawain a smaller, lighter satchel which he likewise
sets on the floor.

PANCAKE
There's no cure, you know. Only
control. Lifelong condition. Not
complaining, just fact. And I did
meet Mountain.

GAWAIN
Grab your bag and get in that fucking
hole!

EXT. CHURCH - DAY

Mrs. Munson is leaving, with singing still audible from the
service that continues inside.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - CELLAR - DAY

We are looking from inside the tunnel towards its mouth,
where the Professor stoops slightly to peer in, anxiously
dry-washing his hands.

A REVERSE shows the hunched-over men scuttling along the
tunnel towards us, holding large garbage sacks.

DORR
Welcome back, gentlemen, mission
accomplished I see. I am so very
very delighted...

He gives a hand down to each man as he exits the tunnel.

DORR
...Congratulations. Congratulations.
I have some cold duck on ice for the
occasion.

LUMP
Maybe we could have something to
drink, too.

INT. CASINO - VAULT - DAY

Gawain, left behind, is muttering to himself as he uses a
trowel and other instruments from his satchel to patch up
the hole at his end of the tunnel.

GAWAIN
Motherfucker can't stop talking,
can't stop shitting. Motherfucker
tell everyone about his motherfuckin'
asshole. No one gives a shit about
his asshole. Nobody interested in
another man's asshole. Or his bitch's.

EXT. MUNSON HOUSE - DAY

Mrs. Munson is letting herself in.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - CELLAR - DAY

The men are sitting around the table, champagne glasses
raised. On the table sits the money, stacked in orderly piles.

DORR
Gentlemen, to we few. We who have
shared each other's company, each
other's care, each other's joy, and
who now reap the fruits of our
communal effits, shoulder to shoulder,
from each accordin' to his abilities
so forth whatnot. We have had our
little diffences along the way, it's
true, but I like to think they have
only made us value one another the
more, each coming to understand and
appreciate the other's unique
qualities, potencies, and, yes,
foibles. I suggest that we shall
look back upon this caper one day,
one distant day, grandchildren dandled
upon our knee, and perhaps a tear
will form, and we shall say, Well,
with wit, and grit, and no small
amount of courage, we accomplished
something on that day, a feat of
derring-do, an enterprise not ignoble --
we, merry band, unbound by the
constraints of society and the
prejudices of the common ruck, we
happy few. Gentlemen -- to us!

MEN
To us!

They clink.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - KITCHEN - DAY

Upstairs Mrs. Munson runs water into a teapot, humming to
herself.

INT. CASINO - VAULT - DAY

Having finished patching, Gawain starts painting. He turns
on his boombox, and out comes the big bassy "I Left My Wallet
in El Segundo."

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - CELLAR - DAY

The men, having drunk deep, are setting down their glasses.
Pancake looks at his watch with some concern.

PANCAKE
Charge should've gone off already.

DORR
I do beg your pardon?

PANCAKE
The charge to collapse the tunnel. I
set it for eight minutes.

Dorr looks at his watch.

DORR
Well that time, and more, has most
certainly elapsed.

FROM INSIDE THE TUNNEL

Looking toward the mouth. The men stoop over and peek
fearfully in.

They again stand upright. A silence.

Dorr clears his throat.

DORR
I need not remind you of the
importance of obliterating any trace
of a connection between the vault
and this house. It was of the essence
of this plan that it should appear
that the money had simply vanished.
Without a trace. Spirited away, as
it were, by ghosts.

PANCAKE
Of course. I understand.

DORR
The conundrum of the undisturbed yet
empty vault, the unsolvable riddle
of the sealed yet violated sanctum,
is of the utmost importance not only
to make our caper innelectually
satisfying. It is also exigent as a
matter of practical fact: I remind
you that if a tunnel is ever found
leading to this house, this house's
owner knows all of your names.

PANCAKE
She certainly does.

DORR
Therefore -- to draw the unavoidable
conclusion -- someone shall have to
reenter the tunnel to reset that
charge.

INT. TUNNEL - DAY

Pancake, hunched over, scurries along the tunnel. He reaches
the remnants of a large rock, where the tunnel grows smaller.

He drops to crawl position and elbows his way forward,
toolbelt clanking along.

We are getting closer and closer to a muffled but thuddingly
bassy "I Left My Wallet in El Segundo."

INT. CASINO - VAULT - DAY

The music loudly present at the cut. Gawain takes a handheld
blowdryer out of his satchel and flips it on, directing it
at the fresh paint on the wall whose repairs are now
invisible.

INT. TUNNEL - DAY

Music once again muffled. Pancake has reached a little LED-
displaying timer with leads trailing off of it.

He grabs it, puts on his reading glasses, squints.

The display shows: TIME REMAINING: 00:12.

The colons in the display rhythmically blink, but the number
does not advance. For some reason, stuck.

PANCAKE
Huh.

He reaches to his tool belt, pulls out his Leatherman.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - DAY

Mrs. Munson is setting places at a large table. There are
about a dozen place settings.

INT. TUNNEL - DAY

Pancake now has a mini-mag light clenched between his teeth,
aimed down at the timer. He opens the phillips head on his
Leatherman but abruptly stops and stares off into space.

PANCAKE
Nnnnrungh...

He is squinting with pain.

The muffled hip-hop song is beginning to recede.

INT. VAULT - DAY

Gawain is wheeling his garbage cart out the door. The vault
is completely empty but looks completely undisturbed.

He closes the heavy vault door behind him, leaving quiet.

INT. TUNNEL - DAY

Quiet here as well, now. Pancake's moan trails off to nothing.
He relaxes. The moment, whatever it was, has passed.

He looks back down at the unit, flicks it with his finger,
and it emits a soft beep.

PANCAKE
...Huh?

He squints at the back of the unit.

As it beeps again, he turns the unit over to look at its
face.

The readout now says: 00:10.

As he watches, peering down through the bottom of his glasses,
it continues to advance with a beep as each second slips by:
9... 8...

PANCAKE
...What the--

His eyes widen and he frantically shakes the unit. It
continues beeping. He briefly and sloppily tries to fit the
phillips head into one of the four screws on the back of the
unit but immediately gives up and starts a panicked wriggle
back up the tunnel, whimpering.

INT. CASINO - DAY

Gawain is wheeling his garbage cart past Elron.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - DAY

Mrs. Munson is placing the last piece of silverware, just
so.

INT. TUNNEL - DAY

Pancake is in full panicked awkward flight as--

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - CELLAR - DAY

--BOOM! We CUT TO the cellar and Pancake is shot out the
tunnel like a human cannonball, trailing a comet-tail of
dirt, dust, and debris that wafts what were neatly stacked
bills up into the air.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - DAY

The portrait of Othar jostles back to square. He now looks a
little angry.

The cat arches her back, emitting a startled yowl.

Mrs. Munson stands, frozen, then looks slowly around, trying
to assimilate what has just happened.

INT. CASINO - DAY

Gawain and Elron are staring at each other, frozen, also
reacting to what just happened.

Finally:

GAWAIN
...You just fart?

ELRON
Heh-heh-heh.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - DAY

Mrs. Munson is looking at the cellar door. Dust drifts out
from under it.

She takes a slow step towards it. Another step. She opens
the door.

There is no visibility in the cellar due to swirling clay
dust.

She takes one step down the stairs, waving at the air in
front of her face.

Paper money wafts in and out of the dust.

We hear Voices:

PANCAKE (O.S.)
Perfectly all right. Not a problem.

LUMP (O.S.)
Well there sure as shit ain't no
tunnel left.

The clearing dust reveals the caped Professor anxiously
dancing from foot to foot, gathering money out of the air.
As he reaches up to grab a bill that has him facing up in
Mrs. Munson's direction, he freezes.

His POV reveals her through dissipating dust.

MRS. MUNSON
Professor, I'm surprised.

There is a long beat, through which all stare at her.

DORR
...Properly speaking, madam, we have
been surprised; you are taken aback.
Though I acknowledge that the sense
you intend is gaining currency through
increasing use.

Further dissipation of the dust reveals how much money there
is, settling now to cover the floor of the cellar.

DORR
...You have returned from your
devotions betimes.

We hear the ring of the doorbell.

MRS. MUNSON
I hadda fix tea. I wanna talk to
you, Professor, don't you be leavin'.
And don't make any more noise! And
you!

She points at the General who, in the excitement, has
neglected to hide his ever-present cigarette.

MRS. MUNSON
...I told you, I don't want any
smokin' in here!

She clomps upstairs and shuts the cellar door.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - LIVING ROOM

We PULL HER towards the front door, angry and lost in thought.
Her look softens somewhat as she opens the door.

It is a chattering infestation of hens: all of her friends
from church push in wearing church dresses and elaborate
hats.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - CELLAR - DAY

The men are still frozen looking up toward the door. The
muted cackle of church ladies.

The men gradually unfreeze.

LUMP
She saw everything. She saw our
hole...

He turns to Dorr, near tears:

LUMP
...She saw our hole, Professor!

Dorr rubs his hands anxiously, thinking:

DORR
Yes... Yes...

LUMP
What do we do?

DORR
Well, first, my dear boy, we follow
the General's example...

The General remains staring up at the door, frozen but for
the smoke pluming from the cigarette in his mouth.

DORR
...and refrain from panic. Secondly,
we cooly, calmly, collectedly think...
think...

The gaze of all the men drifts back up to the cellar door,
and we look down at them, gazing up.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - DAY

The chattering ladies are gathered at the table, Mrs. Munson
pouring them tea.

The cellar door creaks noisily -- one might almost say
gothically -- ajar, and the Professor peers out with an
ingratiating smile.

DORR
Hsst... Madam...

The chattering abates and the ladies all look at him. His
smile broadens into ghastliness and he crooks a finger toward
Mrs. Munson.

DORR
...Mrs. Munson, if I might have a
word...

MRS. MUNSON
You get back down those stairs!

DORR
I assure you I shall be--

MRS. MUNSON
Hush! Down those stairs! We havin'
tea now! I be down shortly.

He nods meekly and retreats, easing the door creakily shut.

The ladies look inquisitively at Mrs. Munson as his footsteps
are heard descending the stair.

MRS. MUNSON
...He's the tenant.

LADIES
Mm-hm.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - CELLAR DAY

As the Professor rejoins the still staring and silent group.
The money has been picked up and is once again in stacks
upon the table.

DORR
She shall be down shortly...

Explaining, he indicates upstairs with a jerk of the head:

DORR
...Tea. Dainties.

The men nod, murmuring.

The cellar door squeaks open. There is the clomp of careful
footsteps on the stair.

Using only tongue and teeth, the General flips his smoking
cigarette inwards into his mouth and gives Mrs. Munson his
usual deadpan look.

She halts halfway down the stairs, still wearing an apron
and holding a spatula.

MRS. MUNSON
I don't know what you boys been up
to but I wasn't born yesterday and I
know mischief when I see it. Now I
want an explanation, but first I
want you boys to get your fannies up
here with y'alls period instruments.
I been tellin' the ladies about your
music and they wanna hear you play.

She turns to head back up the stairs but abruptly stops to
turn and give the General a hard look which he innocently
returns.

MRS. MUNSON
...Hmph.

She turns again and clomps back up the stairs.

The General opens his mouth and, again without using his
hands, restores his cigarette to its usual place on his lower
lip.

Lump is fretful:

LUMP
Professor?

DORR
Yes, Lump?

LUMP
I can't really play the buttsack.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - DAY

The cellar door opens and the men troop out, G.H. Dorr leading
and the other men following rather sheepishly behind.

DORR
Madame -- or rather, mesdames -- you
will have to accept our apologies
for failing to perform since, as you
see, we are shorthanded. Gawain is
still at work and we could no more
play with one part tacit than a horse
could canter shy one leg.

LADIES
Mm-hmm.

MRS. MUNSON
Hmph.

DORR
Perhaps I could offer as a poor but
ready substitute a brief poetic
recital. Though I don't pretend to
great oratorical skills, I will
happily present, with your ladies'
permission, verse from the unquiet
mind of Mr. Ed G'Allan Poe.

Lump, Pancake, and the General sit and awkwardly accept dainty
teacups.

The Professor rises, spreads his hand, and pronounces:

DORR
..."Ladies, thy beauty is to me Like
those Nicean barks of yore..."

CLOSE-UPS of the various ladies, some sipping tea or slowly
munching biscuits, but all eyes glued to the declaiming man
in the cape.

DORR
"That gently, o'er a perfumed sea
The weary, wayworn wanderer bore To
his own native shore... "

Murmuring Voice:

VOICE
Amen.

A slurp of tea from another quarter.

Dorr bears on:

DORR
"On desperate seas long wont to roam,
Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face,
Thy Naiad airs have brought me home
To the glory that was Greece And the
grandeur that was Rome... "

A long silence.

Then, scattered:

VOICES
Mm-mm. Glory hallelujah.

A lady holding a teacup turns to the General:

LADY
That was soooome poem.

The General stares at her.

LADY
...You know any?

We hear the front door opening and Gawain enters, still
wearing his Lady Luck custodial uniform. He looks.

His POV: church ladies with teacups and his comrades seated
among them, also holding teacups and scones.

GAWAIN
Y'all been celebratin'?.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - FOYER - LATER (EVENING)

The bustling and chattering ladies are just finishing leaving;
Mrs. Munson is seeing them off at the door. Evening is
gathering, and we hear the lonely toot of the distant garbage
scow.

The men as well stand by the door and, affecting good cheer,
wave off the departing ladies.

DORR
Goodbye, ladies. We had such a
pleasant time.

Mrs. Munson closes the door and her manner instantly darkens.

MRS. MUNSON
Now, I wanna know what's goin' on.

DORR
Yes indeed, and the thirst for
knowledge is a very commendable thing.
Though in this instance, I believe
when you hear the explanation, you
will laugh riotously, slappin' your
knee and perhaps even wipin' away a
giddy tear, relieved of your former
concern.

MRS. MUNSON
Hmph.

DORR
You see Lump here is an enthusiastic
collector of Indian arrowheads and,
having found one simply lying on
your cellar floor, a particularly
rare artifact of the Natchez tribe,
he enlisted us in an all-out effort
to sift through the subsoil in search
of others. Well, in doing so, we
apparently hit a motherlode of natural
gas -- I myself became acutely aware
of the smell of "rotten eggs" -- and
it was at just this unfortunate moment
that the General here violated one
of the cardinal rules of this house
and lit himself a cigarette.

The General stiffly bows:

GENERAL
So sorry.

The Professor, nodding, smiling, and dry-washing his hands,
continues to look at Mrs. Munson, though his story,
apparently, has ended.

She returns his ingratiating look with a stare.

MRS. MUNSON
...What about all that money?

Dorr's smile fades.

DORR
...Ah. The money. The money is...
Mr. Pancake's.

PANCAKE
That's right.

DORR
He only just re-mortgaged his house
in order to pay for the procedure
that will correct the wandering eye
of his common-law wife, Mountain
Water, who suffers from astygmia and
strabismus and a general curdling of
the vitreous jelly. Mr. Pancake
however is an ardent foe of the
federal reserve and is in fact one
of those eccentrics about whom one
occasionally reads, hoarding his
entire life savings either under the
proverbial mattress or, as in Mr.
Pancake's case, in a Hefty bag that
is his constant companion.

Under her stare, he elaborates:

DORR
...Steel Sack.

PANCAKE
Don't trust the banks. Never have.

She thinks, decides.

MRS. MUNSON
This don't smell right. I'm callin'
Sheriff Wyner.

A chorus of gasps.

DORR
Madam -- if you please. Yes! Yes! It
was a lie! A fantastic tale! You
have us! Dead to rights! But please
allow me to tell you the truth -- in
private.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - EVENING

He escorts her to sit beneath the portrait of Othar, sits
across from her, and leans confidentially in.

DORR
Madam...

He agonizes. The words do not come easy.

DORR
...What I am about to reveal to you,
you may find... shocking. Mrs. Munson,
I must tell you that we are not...
what we appear.

MRS. MUNSON
Mm-hm.

DORR
We are not in fact musicians of the
late Renaissance. Nor of the early
or mid period. We are, in fact...
criminals! Desperate men, madam! We
have tunneled into the nearby offices
of the Lady Luck gambling emporium
and have relieved it of its treasure!

MRS. MUNSON
Lord have mercy!

DORR
It is true that the Lady Luck is a
den of iniquity, a painted harlot
luring people into sin and exciting
the vice of greed with her false
promise of easy winnings. Oh, her
gains are ill-gotten, yes, but I
offer no excuses -- save one! We men
have each pledged half of our share
of the booty to a charitable
institution -- the General, to a
placement service for Southeast Asian
refugees; Mr. Pancake to the Blue
Ridge Parkway Conservancy; and Lump
to the United Jewish Appeal. As
compensation for use of your house
we had planned to donate a full share
to Bob Jones University, without
burdening you with guilty knowledge
by informing you of same. But you
have wrested the information from
me! Now it is all on the table. Now
you have it, the whole story, the
awful truth.

MRS. MUNSON
Stolen money!

DORR
Yes, yes, shamefully I admit it,
yes! But find the victim, Mrs. Munson,
I challenge you! Even the casino
itself, that riparian Gomorra, shall
suffer no harm! It has an insurance
company, a financial behemoth that
will cheerfully replenish its depleted
vaults! That is its function! And
the insurance company itself is made
up of tens and tens of thousands of
policy-holders so that -- we have
done the calculations, Mrs. Munson! --
so that at the end of the day, at
the final reckoning, each policy-
holder shall have contributed only
one penny -- one single solitary
cent -- to the satisfaction of this
claim.

MRS. MUNSON
...Just one penny?

DORR
Think of it, Mrs. Munson! One cent
from thousands upon thousands of
people so that Bob Jones University
can continue on its mission! Why, I
have no doubt that, were the policy-
holders aware of the existence of
that august institution, why, each
and every one of them would have
volunteered some token amount to the
furtherance of its aims!

MRS. MUNSON
Well that's prob'ly true...

The Professor, warming, has resumed dry-washing his hands:

DORR
Yes madam, sadly, the criminal stain
is upon my soul, but the benefit
shall accrue to any number of worthy
causes. As long, that is, as the
secret stays with us. And I, surely,
shall not be the one to divulge it.

Mrs. Munson nods, musing.

MRS. MUNSON
Well... it's hard to see the harm in
it... One penny...

Her gaze drifts around the room, a smile beginning to warm
her face. The smile freezes, though, as her look catches on
something.

Her POV: Othar, above the mantle, looks down with a
disapproving scowl.

MRS. MUNSON
...I'm sorry, Professor.

Dorr is taken aback:

DORR
Excuse me, ma'am?

MRS. MUNSON
No. It's wrong. Don't you be leadin'
me into temptation.

DORR
Madam, I must strenuously protest--

MRS. MUNSON
No, it's just plain wrong. Stealin'.
I know your intentions were good,
and I won't call the police if you
give the money back. But I gotta see
that you do it.

DORR
Madam--

MRS. MUNSON
And all a you gotta go to church
with me next Sunday.

The Professor is incredulous:

DORR
And... engage in divine worship?

MRS. MUNSON
I made up my mind. You can double-
talk all you want, but its church or
the county jail.

DORR
But--

She rises.

MRS. MUNSON
You think it over. I gotta feed the
cat.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - CELLAR - NIGHT

The men all sit around the card table, lit from below by an
oil lamp. The General is neatly packing the stacks of
banknotes into the sackbutt case.

GAWAIN
Motherfuck!

DORR
Yes. Unfortunately, Mrs. Munson has
rather complicated the situation--

GAWAIN
I know how to discomplicate it! Put
a cap in the old lady's head! Then
everything simple again!

The group lapses into silence, considering. Even Gawain needs
a moment to digest the horror that he himself has proposed.

The Professor is solemn:

DORR
...Not easy to do. Many reasons.
Practical ones: a quiet neighborhood,
a sleepy town. Reasons of moral
repugnance: a harmless woman, a deed
conceived and executed in cold blood.
No, Gawain; would that it were simple!

GAWAIN
Well -- fuck, man! What we gonna do,
give the money back and go to church?!

DORR
I shudder. I quake.

He turns to the General.

DORR
...You sir, are a Buddhist. Is there
not a middle way?

The General grunts as he closes the clasps on the sackbutt
case full of money:

GENERAL
Must float like a leaf on the river
of life. And kill old lady.

The men murmur.

DORR
Well... I suppose you are right. It
is the active nature of the crime,
though, that so horrifies -- the
squeezing of the trigger, the plunging
of the knife. But, think a moment --
look at the other tools we have at
hand.

He looks around.

DORR
...We have the cellar. We have masonry
and trowel. Perhaps we could simply...
immure her.

PANCAKE
Sure, easiest thing in the world. I
could whip up a little mortar in one
of those snow saucers, lay the bricks,
anchor in some chains, Mountain has
a source for the manacles...

DORR
Ahh but gentlemen, we delude
ourselves. Think of the woman's
piteous moans as we lay tier upon
tier of brick. Think of her
lamentations as we fit the last brick
into place, appealing to our better
selves, the higher angels of our
nature, our recollections of our own
sainted mothers... No, I fear that
we lack the sand to commit such an
act. No... no... shortest and most
painless is best. Let us confront
reality. Gawain's gun... the retort
muffled by a pillow... into the
brain... the affair of an instant.
The only question is... who wields
the weapon.

He looks around the table. Silence. No volunteers.

DORR
...I believe it is traditional, in
such circumstances, to draw straws.

PANCAKE
Well, sure, fair enough.

He takes a broom leaning against the wall, bends back and
snaps a handful of its bristles.

PANCAKE
...I'm thinking, though, that since
I lost my finger -- I mean, literally
lost it because of that goddamn cat --
maybe I should be excused from this
thing. Hard for me to squeeze a
trigger anyway--

GAWAIN
You one whiney motherfucker! I squeeze
your nutsack you keep that up!

PANCAKE
Listen, punk--

DORR
Gentlemen, no special pleading, no
exceptions. It's in the nature of
the situation that we would all prefer
to be excused.

Pancake grumbles as he counts out five bristles, takes one
and snaps it in half, displaying the short straw to the group,
and then hands the four long and one short to the Professor:

PANCAKE
Well, okay... it was just a trial
balloon...

With a flap of his cape the professor jumbles the straws and
encloses them in one hand.

Sweaty CLOSE-UPS. Each man stares at the straws. Some
hesitant, some resolute, they draw:

First, the General: long straw. His reaction: impassive.

Next, Lump: long straw. His reaction: relieved.

Next, Pancake. Long straw.

PANCAKE
Long straw. You all see it. All your
fuss over nothing, punk.

Two straws left. Gawain stares at them, licks his lips.

He reaches for one straw, touches it, hesitates.

GAWAIN
...Motherfucker...

He touches the other straw, hesitates.

He goes back to the first straw, closes his hand around it,
closes his eyes, and pulls.

He lifts the straw into frame before his squeezed-shut eyes,
raises his eyebrows, and slowly opens fluttering eyelids to
look: short straw.

The Professor, smiling, opens his fist to confirm that he
holds the last long one.

Gawain moans.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - CELLAR - NIGHT

PULLING HIM UP THE STAIRS

Slowly, slowly, Gawain mounts the cellar stairs. Behind him,
gathered in a semi-circle and looking up from the foot of
the stairs, the other men wait.

As he plants one plodding foot in front of the other Gawain
raises the gun, slides back its primer to make sure there is
a round in the chamber, and then slides it shut as he reaches
the door.

INT. MUNSON - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

In the foreground Mrs. Munson sits knitting, humming an old
temperance tune. In the background the cellar door swings
open. Marva Munson doesn't notice; her knitting needles
continue their rhythmic clack.

We PULL Gawain, gun at the ready, as he takes slow, cautious
steps across the floor.

We INTERCUT his POV of the back of the old lady's head, bowed
over her knitting.

As Gawain passes the sofa he picks up a cushion and buries
in it his hand holding the gun.

He looks back up at the old lady. But now, still cautiously
approaching, he cocks his head, his expression bemused.

HIS POV

nearing the old lady is now different somehow. The perspective
is somewhat lower; the humming woman sounds not quite the
same; the rocking chair and the room itself are subtly
different.

WHEN WE CUT BACK TO GAWAIN

he is a runty, TEN-YEAR-OLD CHILD walking slowly across the
floor; he is cradling not a gun in a pillow but a squirming
little puppy dog.

The dog yips; the woman turns to look at us. It is not Mrs.
Munson, but another black woman of about the same age.

MAMA
What you got there, Gawain?

CHILD GAWAIN
Why -- nothin', mama.

MAMA
Nothin' my ass! You got a dog there!

CHILD GAWAIN
No, Mama!

MAMA
A filthy noisy little pest of a puppy
dog gonna shit all over the house!

CHILD GAWAIN
He won't shit in the house, Mama,
I'm gonna train him, I promise, gonna
train him real good--

WHAP! She cuffs him on the side of his head.

MAMA
I'm gonna train you real good! I
told you don't bring no stray dogs
into this house!

WHAP! Another slap.

MAMA
...You wait til your Daddy gets home,
he gonna lay into you proper!

WHAP!

The little boy, weeping, throws his arms around his mother:

CHILD GAWAIN
Please don't hurt me no more! I love
you, Mama!

MAMA
Daddy gonna kick your ass!

WHAP!

MAMA
...Bringin' in a filthy dirty dog!

WHAP! Gawain's little brothers and sisters, drawn by the
commotion, have gathered excitedly to watch.

SISTER
Mama's whuppin' Gawain's ass!

BROTHER
(eagerly)
Ain't you gonna use the strap, Mama?

WHAP! WHAP! Gawain is sobbing:

CHILD GAWAIN
Please don't hurt me, Mama!

Now it is the adult Gawain blubbering.

The clack of knitting needles stops and Mrs. Munson turns to
look.

MRS. MUNSON
What you doin'? What you doin' with
my pillow there?

He surreptitiously slides the gun into his pocket, sniveling:

GAWAIN
I'm sorry, ma'am, I--

WHAP! She cuffs him on the side of the head.

MRS. MUNSON
I'm displeased with you! Colored boy
like you, falling in with that trash
downstairs!

WHAP!

MRS. MUNSON
...Ashamed a yourself! Didn't your
mama raise you right!

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - CELLAR - NIGHT

Gawain is tramping down the stairs.

GAWAIN
I can't do it!

The men are stunned.

DORR
Why... this is most... irregular.

GAWAIN
She reminds me of my mama. I can't
shoot my mama! You motherfuckers
just draw straws again.

PANCAKE
Wait a minute. You've got to accept
your responsibilities, young man.

GAWAIN
Fuck you. And your irritated bowel.
I can't shoot that old lady.

GENERAL
Must shoot!

PANCAKE
Now look here, it's the easiest thing
in the world. Pretend her head is a
casaba melon, and the gun is a melon-
baller, and--

GAWAIN
What the fuck you talkin' about,
man? You think this a melon-baller,
you do it, man!

DORR
My my, this is most irregular.

PANCAKE
Look, with equal rights come equal
responsibilities--

DORR
I'm afraid that Mr. Pancake is right,
my dear fellow. We cannot draw straws
again; the exercise loses all
credibility if you show that the
loser can simply beg off doing the
job.

GENERAL
Must shoot!

Gawain shoves the gun toward Pancake.

GAWAIN
She just an old colored lady to you --
you do it, man!

PANCAKE
Why you sniveling little coward!

GAWAIN
What you say, you whiney motherfucker?
I come up your irritated ass with
this -- motherfuckin' gun--

He is waving the gun.

PANCAKE
You think you scare me, you mewling
punk! You don't scare me! Bull Connor
and all his dogs didn't scare me!

He shoves Gawain.

PANCAKE
...Be a man!

GAWAIN
You fuck!

He shoves him back.

Pancake shoves:

PANCAKE
Be a man!

GAWAIN
You ain't no fuckin' man, fuckin' a
sixty-year-old lady in pigtails!

PANCAKE
WHY YOU BASTARD PUNK! MOUNTAIN GIRL
IS FIFTY-THREE!

They are shoving each other now, getting into it.

PANCAKE
...SHE COULD RIDE YOUR ASS TO JELLY!

He lunges at him with a bear hug and his inertia sends both
men tumbling to the floor, where they roll and wrestle.

DORR
Gentlemen, please!

GAWAIN
I seen Virginia hams I'd rather stick
my dick in than your old--

BANG! A muffled gunshot.

Quiet.

The two men have stopped rolling.

They stare at each other where they lie, Pancake on top.

At length:

PANCAKE
...Oh my god...

Horrified, he slowly rises.

PANCAKE
...I think he's hit!

The men gather round and look down.

Gawain still stares up at the ceiling.

Pancake stoops, waves his hand in front of his eyes. No
reaction.

PANCAKE
...I'll just check the carotid artery.

He checks the carotid artery.

PANCAKE
...That's a negative.

LUMP
Oh, fuck.

DORR
Oh my.

LUMP
Is he dead, Professor?

PANCAKE
Sure he's dead. I checked his carotid
artery.

DORR
Well this is most irregular. We will
need a Hefty bag.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

THE CELLAR DOOR

Creaking open. The Professor, Lump, and the General peek
out.

The living room is empty but a sliver of the kitchen is
visible; its light is on, and we can hear water running.

Dorr hisses:

DORR
She is in the kitchen. I shall
distract her while you steal out
with the carcass.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - KITCHEN - NIGHT

Dorr enters breezily; Mrs. Munson is at the sink, filling a
teapot.

Dorr positions himself so that, to talk to him, Mrs. Munson
has her back to the living room.

DORR
Well, my dear Mrs. Munson, I have
outlined your position to my
colleagues and I now return to you
to return our collective verdict.

MRS. MUNSON
Mm-hmm.

Behind her, the General peers around the corner and starts a
catlike advance across the living room.

DORR
There was much spirited discussion
and an atmosphere of frank give-and-
take. Some of our number were
initially appalled at your proposal
that we simply return the money;
some were more receptive.

MRS. MUNSON
I don't care they was receptive or
not!

DORR
And that attitude, madam, was a factor
in our discussions. To a man, I must
say, they were devastated at the
prospect of not being able to
contribute to their respective
charities.

The General signals to Lump who now crosses the living room
with a big garbage bag slung over one shoulder in a fireman's
carry.

MRS. MUNSON
Well that is a shame.

DORR
Indeed. But at the end of the day,
your position prevailed, and the men
have decided that we shall return
the money -- every last cent of it! --
and attend Sunday services, rather
than spend the remainder of our years
wasting away in the Mississippi Men's
Correctional Facility. Though that
was the original preference of some.

MRS. MUNSON
Well I'm glad y'all came to see the
light, anyway. I'm gonna have some
tea and go to bed.

The Professor, seeing that the General and Lump have made it
out the door, is anxious to wind things up:

DORR
So the money shall be returned
tomorrow at the opening of the casino
office. Enjoy your tea, madam...

Backing out, he looks to one side.

Through the living room window he can see the hearse pulling
away from the curb. There is another car -- an old Volkswagon
microbus -- slowly tooling the opposite way down the street.

Dorr looks back to Mrs. Munson.

DORR
...and congratulations on having
recalled to the fold five poor,
confused sheep who had momentarily
strayed.

EXT. MISSISSIPPI RIVER - BRIDGE - NIGHT

We are at the middle of the bridge, the tower gargoyle looking
blankly down at the doings below.

In the misty night Lump and the General are braced over the
railing, looking down, each holding one of the feet that
protrude from the Hefty bag cinched around Gawain's ankles.
A cigarette burns on the General's lower lip. Behind the two
men we can see the idling hearse.

There is the toot of the garbage scow. Lump and the General
release Gawain's feet.

Their POV shows the sack receding and flumping into the
garbage piled onto the scow that slips by below.

A flock of scavenger birds, disturbed by the impact, lifts
off the scow with angry caws.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

Dorr skulks at a corner of the living room's picture window,
peering out at the street.

EXT. MUNSON HOUSE - NIGHT

DOOR'S POV

The Volkswagon microbus again cruises slowly down the street
in the same direction as previously; apparently it has been
circling.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

The Professor scowls.

EXT. MUNSON HOUSE - NIGHT

DORR'S POV

The hearse pulls up to the curb.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - CELLAR - NIGHT

The Professor clomps down the cellar stairs. Pancake is
loading their digging implements into a satchel.

PANCAKE
They back yet?

Dorr is absent:

DORR
Yes... yes, they just arrived.

Pancake straightens from the satchel.

PANCAKE
Good. I'll go dump these in the
hearse.

He mounts the stairs with a satchel in either hand. We can
hear the front door opening as the other men enter.

Dorr, bemused, but apparently moved by a hunch, advances
slowly to the sackbutt case.

He slides the catch that lets its spring clasp pop up.

He lifts the lid.

Mother Jones magazine. Piles of Mother Jones magazines.

DORR
What in heaven's name...

He riffles a pile, confirming that it is in fact all magazine,
no money.

Lump and the General are clomping down the stairs.

DORR
...General!

EXT. MUNSON HOUSE - NIGHT

We are PULLING Clark down the street, a satchel in either
hand.

HIS POV

The microbus, parked halfway down the block, ominously idling.

THE BUS

We are CLOSE on its side-view mirror. Someone leans from the
driver's seat for a view into the mirror, and in the mirror
we see her, pigtails swinging: Mountain Girl.

HER POV

Clark Pancake, still rather small, approaching up the empty
street.

PANCAKE

PULLING him again. A smile is beginning to play at the corners
of his mouth.

PANCAKE
No extra share, huh...

The smile abruptly fades.

He stops in his tracks for no discernible reason. At length:

PANCAKE
...Nnnrnf.

He pants.

Behind him, in the deep background, we see the General
bounding into the street and silently toward us.

PANCAKE
...Oof!

The moment passes. Pancake shakes his head, as if to clear
it, and resumes his walk.

HIS POV

We are nearing the bus.

THE BUS

Mountain Girl sits in the idling bus, waiting.

With a thunk and a gentle rock of the bus, we hear its back
doors opening, and Pancake's voice.

PANCAKE
Mountain.

MOUNTAIN GIRL
Clark.

We hear an oof! of exertion as Pancake hoists each of the
two satchels into the back. The oofs are followed by:

PANCAKE
...Nnrungh! Aaarmh... Ninnnff...
Offffflleghhll...

MOUNTAIN GIRL
IBS, dear?

WE CUT TO:

THE BACK OF THE BUS

to show Pancake being garotted by the General.

PANCAKE
Nnnnnmmmmfffgh!

EXT. MISSISSIPPI RIVER - BRIDGE - NIGHT

The tower gargoyle stares sightlessly down.

Lump and the General are at their accustomed place, each
holding a foot shod in a large hiking boot.

Behind them we see the hearse idling.

Near them on the bridge, both hands grasping the railing as
he gazes dreamily out into the night, is the Professor.

DORR
"...Like those Nicean barks of yore
That gently, o'er a perfumed sea..."

We hear the toot of the boat's horn and the men drop the
body.

LUMP
Quick! Grab Clark!

They quickly stoop and grab another bag-swaddled body out of
which even larger hiking boots protrude.

DORR
"...The weary, wayworn wanderer
bore... "

They drop the second body.

DORR
"...To his own native shore."

We hear the distant flump and the cawing of scavenger birds.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - CELLAR - NIGHT

CLOSE ON A FIST

With three protruding straws.

SWEATING CLOSE-UPS:

Lump picks a long straw: relief.

The General picks a short straw. A short grunt.

DORR
Excellent. I believe, at last, we
have the right man for the job.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - MRS. MUNSON'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

Mrs. Munson lies on her back gently snoring. At the open
window, sheers ripple in the evening breeze.

A large clock ticks upon the mantle. It is almost one o'clock.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

THE CELLAR DOOR

It creaks open. The General looks stealthily out. A cigarette
in his mouth plumes smoke.

He pushes the door fully open, emerges.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - MRS. MUNSON'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

Mrs. Munson's snore catches on an inhale. She mutters
something, sighs, and resumes snoring.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - STAIRCASE - NIGHT

The General treads lightly, noiselessly, up the stairway
leading to the second floor. He slides one hand into his
jacket, pulls out a garotte.

With the faintest whoosh he whips it in a complicated loop
and snags the other handle with his other hand.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - UPSTAIRS HALLWAY - NIGHT

The General emerges from the staircase and advances on the
closed bedroom door. As he reaches for the knob he performs
the no-handed flip of the burning cigarette into his mouth.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - MRS. MUNSON'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

The door swings noiselessly open. The General pauses to
survey:

The still room. The ticking clock. Mrs. Munson, a large
sleeping mound upon the bed.

The General advances, raising the garotte in both hands.

He closes on her sleeping form.

The garotte is lowered toward her exposed neck.

It is a foot -- half a foot -- inches-away...

Somewhere a muted gear ratchets and triggers the toll of--

The clock, striking one. It is a cuckoo clock but, instead
of a bird emerging, a berobed Jesus comes out with his hand
resting on the head of a child who gazes up in adoration.

The General starts at the noise and then suddenly freezes,
his eyes widening.

Jesus retreats back into the clock.

The General has swallowed his cigarette.

He reaches up to his throat, panicked. In a silent frenzy,
he yanks loose his ascot.

He gazes wildly about.

He reaches for the water glass at Mrs. Munson's bedside.

He tips it back into his mouth. There is a rattling sound.

HIS POV

The uptilted water glass is sending false teeth -- full uppers
and lowers -- rattling toward his face.

THE GENERAL

He frantically -- but still noiselessly -- sets the glass
back down. Wildly looks about, one hand clamped to his throat.

A mad but silent dash for the door.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - UPSTAIRS HALLWAY - NIGHT

Plunging for the head of the stairs--

--a brief yowl from the cat--

--recoiling from where its tail has been stepped on, a hiss
and a flash of its claws at the General's leg--

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - STAIRCASE/LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

--and he falls down the stairs, each thudding impact bouncing
his body like a rag doll's.

At the bottom of the stairs he lies still.

A CLOSE-UP shows his head bent at an unnatural angle,
unblinking eyes staring. Traces of smoke wisp from each
nostril and his open mouth.

Over the mantle, Othar returns the dead man's stare. He looks
somewhat smug.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - CELLAR - NIGHT

The Professor and Lump, responding to the noise, look slowly
up toward the ceiling.

EXT. MISSISSIPPI RIVER - BRIDGE - NIGHT

The body is laid out in a garbage bag by the rail.

The Professor stands looking at it, contemplatively.

Lump stands looking at it, contemplatively.

The cat sits nearby on its haunches looking at it,
impassively.

The professor muses:

DORR
...T'was our até brought us to this
pass...

LUMP
What, Professor?

There is the toot! of an approaching scow. Dorr's manner is
still absent, his regard still on the corpse:

DORR
Our overweening pride... The old
woman is a more potent antagonist
than one had imagined...

He rouses himself, goes over to the bagged corpse. Lump
follows him and the two men hoist the body over the rail.

DORR
...Now, Lump, I'm afraid it falls to
you to finish the job.

They let the body fall onto the scow passing below.

DORR
...The comedy must end.

The Professor turns to Lump and tries to hand him Gawain's
gun, but Lump, uncomfortable, declines to take it.

LUMP
...Professor, I been doing some
thinking.

DORR
Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear.

LUMP
Maybe she's right! Maybe we should
be going to church!

DORR
Oh dear, Lump. I feared that those
would be your words. Not that I don't
appreciate your giving the matter
the benefit of your thought. But
please recall, young man, our
respective functions in this
enterprise. I am a professor, the
professor as you yourself so often
say, the thinker, the "brains of the
operation," trained in fact in the
arts of cogitation. You, Lump, are
the goon, the hooligan, the dumb
brute whose actions must be directed
by a higher intelligence.

LUMP
Yeah, I know, but--

DORR
No buts, dear boy! Do not repeat the
error of thinking! Now is the moment
of praxis! Now, my dear boy, you
must act!

Lump reluctantly takes the gun that the Professor thrusts
upon him.

LUMP
I can't do it, Professor! A nice old
lady like that!

DORR
Think of the riches, Lump, that you
and I alone shall divide! Recall the
dream of wealth untold that first
drew you to this enterprise!

LUMP
But--

DORR
And reflect also that if you decline
to act, forcing me to do so, then
you shall no longer have any
entitlement to the money! Your offices
shall have been nugatory!

LUMP
You mean -- you mean -- you're gonna
kill her?!

DORR
Of course! My hand would be forced!

LUMP
I can't let you do that, Professor!
A nice old lady like that!

DORR
You?! Allow? Not allow? What
presumption! You stupid boy! You
very very extremely stupid boy!

We hear the toot of an approaching scow -- this one very
long, sustained under all of the following:

LUMP
Oh yeah?

He points the gun at the Professor and--

LUMP
...Well who looks stupid now?

--squeezes -- click -- on an empty chamber.

LUMP
...Huh?

He turns the gun to have a look.

LUMP
...No bullets?

HIS POV

shows the foreshortened barrel as he experimentally squeezes
the trigger.

WE CUT TO:

the Professor on the BANG! and, after a sad shake of his
head,

CUT BACK TO:

Lump in time to see him finish toppling back over the rail.

The scow-horn ends.

DORR
Perhaps... it had to be thus.

He goes to the railing to look down.

Lump, face-up on a pile of garbage, glides away. Disturbed
birds flap upward.

The professor muses:

DORR
"...Lo, in yon brilliant window-niche
How statue-like I see thee stand..."

His gaze rises with the ascending birds.

Among the white gulls is one black bird. The Professor eyes
it as it rises past him.

DORR
...Hm. A raven?

FROM VERY HIGH

we look down on the Professor, the black bird rising to perch
on the gargoyle on the suspension tower in the foreground.

The bird settles on a loose, teetering piece of masonry.

BACK TO THE PROFESSOR

looking at the receding red light on the bridge of the
receding scow:

DORR
"...The agate lamp within thy hand...
"

BACK HIGH

The teetering chunk of masonry tips away and the perchless
bird flaps off.

BACK TO THE PROFESSOR

very dreamy: he sees something in the distance, beyond time
and space:

DORR
...Ah, Psyche! from the regions which
Are Holy land!"

This is punctuated by the crunching impact of masonry scoring
a direct hit on his head. He falls over the rail.

His cape snags on the railing and he hangs limp and lifeless.
Directly below his dangling body the stern of Lump's barge
is slipping away to leave black waters and the clanking of
chains.

The fabric of the Professor's cape begins to tear. His body
drops in fits and starts as the fabric gives way.

Finally the body rips free. It falls away from us. As it
does so the clanking chains are pulling into view the second-
banger -- a garbage barge being chain-towed by the receding
scow.

Dorr's body lands neatly on the barge.

A gust of wind.

The cape flaps free of the railing and is wind-tossed away
amidst the cawing birds.

The cat, watching, blinks.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - MRS. MUNSON'S BEDROOM - DAY

DRINKING GLASS

It is resting on the very edge of the night table --
protruding, in fact, past the table's edge.

It is morning. We hear rustling from the bed.

Hands reach INTO FRAME and hesitate, finding the glass empty
of water and precariously perched.

MRS. MUNSON (O.S.)
Hmm.

The hands tip the glass and take the teeth. We hear
complicated oral noises.

EXT. MUNSON HOUSE - DAY

The door opens away to reveal the morning paper lying on the
stoop. Mrs. Munson leans INTO FRAME to pick it up and we
ADJUST as she straightens to have a look:

The headline says: $2.6 MILLION DISAPPEARS FROM LADY LUCK
CASINO. The subhead: POLICE BAFFLED.

MRS. MUNSON
Mm-hm.

INT. MUNSON HOUSE - CELLAR - DAY

Mrs. Munson is walking down the stairs.

MRS. MUNSON
Professor!

She stops midway down and looks:

The empty cellar.

Money stacked neatly on the card table.

Mrs. Munson sadly shakes her head.

MRS. MUNSON
...Hmm. Couldn't face the music.

EXT. SAUCIER MUNICIPAL BUILDING - DAY

Mrs. Munson is climbing the porch in her Sunday best. She
feints at the dog who lies curled in the sun:

MRS. MUNSON
Scoot now! Outa the way!

INT. SAUCIER MUNICIPAL BUILDING - DAY

The sheriff is busy on the phone; there is a DEPUTY today
also on the phone. The sheriff, seeing Mrs. Munson enter,
covers the phone with one hand.

SHERIFF WYNER
Miz Munson.

MRS. MUNSON
Sheriff, I gotta make a statement.

SHERIFF WYNER
Could it possibly wait, ma'am? We're
a little busy today.

MRS. MUNSON
I guess it can wait, but it's about
that casino money.

The sheriff exchanges a significant look with the deputy,
then murmurs into the phone:

SHERIFF WYNER
Call you right back.

He cradles the phone and smiles at Mrs. Munson.

SHERIFF WYNER
...You know something about it?

MRS. MUNSON
Something? Everything! I got it at
home.

SHERIFF WYNER
You... you have what at home, now?

MRS. MUNSON
The money. Two point six million
dollars. Down in my root cellar. All
stacked up nice and neat.

SHERIFF WYNER
Mm-hmm.

The deputy pauses to look up from his phone:

DEPUTY
How'd it get there, Marva?

MRS. MUNSON
Bunch a desperate men that stole it
put it there, that's how! They was
musicians of the Renaissance period,
played the sackbutt and so on --
well, it turns out they really
couldn't play, although they could
recite poems to break your heart.
Their ringleader speaks in dead
tongues.

SHERIFF WYNER
Does he now.

MRS. MUNSON
I tried to get you to see him! That
night?

SHERIFF WYNER
Oh yes.

MRS. MUNSON
I had to yell at 'em 'bout stealin'
all that money and I guess I made
'em feel pretty bad 'cause they picked
up and left without takin' the money.
But I was peeved with 'em, Sheriff,
they'd been up to all sorts of
mischief, come close to blowin' up
the house, disturbed Othar no end.

SHERIFF WYNER
Angry, was he?

MRS. MUNSON
Wouldn't you be? All that racket!

SHERIFF WYNER
I expect so.

MRS. MUNSON
And they let Pickles out too!

The sheriff sighs.

SHERIFF WYNER
So you want us to go fetch him.

MRS. MUNSON
No, he's back, but what you want me
to do with the money?

SHERIFF WYNER
Well...

He and the deputy exchange looks. The sheriff looks back at
Mrs. Munson.

SHERIFF WYNER
...Why don't you just keep it, Miz
Munson.

MRS. MUNSON
Keep it?

DEPUTY
You keep it, Marva.

MRS. MUNSON
Well... I know it's only a penny
offa everybody's policy...

SHERIFF WYNER
How's that ma'am?

MRS. MUNSON
I know folks don't much care. Could
I... You s'pose I could...

SHERIFF WYNER
Yes ma'am?

MRS. MUNSON
Could I give it all to Bob Jones
University?

SHERIFF WYNER
That'd be nice, ma'am.

She picks up her handbag and heads for the door.

MRS. MUNSON
...Well, long as everybody knows.

SHERIFF WYNER
Thank you for the information, ma'am.

MRS. MUNSON
You're welcome, sheriff. Just doin'
my duty.

EXT. SAUCIER, MISSISSIPPI - DAY

Mrs. Munson is walking home. It is a beautiful spring day.

From far off, wafting toward us on the breeze, we can hear
the church chorus singing. Mrs. Munson joins in. She has a
strong voice:

MRS. MUNSON
Leaning, Leaning, Safe and secure
from all harm. Lean on Jesus, Lean
on Jesus, Leaning on the everlasting
arm.

She turns up the walk to her house.

MRS. MUNSON
...What a fellowship, What a peace
of mind, Safe and secure from all
harm. Lean on Jesus, Lean on Jesus,
Leaning on the everlasting arm...

When she opens the front door the cat slips out.

MRS. MUNSON
...Pickles!

It races off down the street.

MRS. MUNSON
...Pickles!

EXT. MISSISSIPPI RIVER - BRIDGE - DAY

Pickles scurries along the walkway. We hear the toot! of an
approaching scow.

The cat reaches the middle of the bridge. He sticks his head
through the bars of the railing.

When we CUT CLOSE on the cat as he looks down at the water,
we see that he holds in his mouth a human finger.

As the scow passes underneath, the cat opens its mouth and
lets the finger drop.

The finger falls away and is barely visible by the time it
hits the scow.

The cat looks up INTO THE LENS, and blinks. Its sideways
irises adjust.

The scow is gliding away. With the low mournful toot of its
horn we tilt up the river to the great garbage island where
scavenger birds pick through the trash.

THE END

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