"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 LIFE OF DAVID GALE"

by

Charles Randolph

FIRST DRAFT

March 1, 1998



FADE IN:

EXT. TWO-LANE HIGHWAY - SUNRISE

A dishevelled WOMAN in a business suit (27) runs down a lonely
highway in Texas hill country, moving desperately through
the thick morning fog. She's carrying a VHS cassette. The
sounds of her breathing and SHOES HITTING the PAVEMENT ECHO
into the mist.

She runs, and runs.

She slows, out-of-strength, looks up and down the highway.

Both in front and behind, it leads straight into the mist, a
tunnel of fog. She stumbles on, a final effort.

She runs. Sees something. Stops cold.

DISSOLVE TO:

WHITE

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. OFFICE OF "DEATHWATCH AUSTIN" - SUNRISE

A clock on the wall: 6:11.

Beneath the clock a simple banner reads "DeathWatch Austin."

YOUNG MAN (O.S.)
It's probably been about seven
minutes...

The office is small, cheaply furnished. One wall is filled
with neat rows of 8x10's of death row inmates.

About 30 percent have red crosses over their faces.

Five people wait in tense silence. A SKINNY COLLEGE GUY with
a mullet and pinch of Skoal in his mouth looks at a computer
screen. A co-ed cuddles a Styrofoam cup of coffee, sobs
quietly. A matronly woman sits quietly at a desk holding a
phone to one ear.

The clock's minute hand changes from :11 to :12.

CONSTANCE HARRAWAY (36), bookish, sits beside DAVID GALE
(31). He wears a blue Yale sweatshirt. They both stare at
nothing. She bites her lip.

COLLEGE GUY
Okay. Okay. We've got pronouncement.
6:12. Roughly eight minutes.
(a beat as he records
the time)
Number 36 this year for the Great
State of Texas.

They all exchange looks: they've lost. David stands.

CONSTANCE
David, don't start throwing things.

A PHONE RINGS. David controls himself.

DAVID
I'm going home. Let's do the press
fax tomorrow.

Another PHONE RINGS. Constance stands.

CONSTANCE
Go. I'll do it.

He nods to her, exits.

She walks to the photo wall. With a red magic marker she
marks a cross over the photo of a Hispanic male.

The wall clock reads 6:13.

EXT. PARKING LOT IN FRONT OF OFFICE - SUNRISE

The office is in a largely abandoned mini-mall. It's going
to be a clear summer day. David hurries through the empty
parking lot to Volvo station wagon.

As the car exits the lot, we see the Austin skyline with the
capitol building in the distance.

INT. DAVID'S CAR - SUNRISE

David drinks from a travel cup as he drives, windows down.

EXT. INTERSECTION - SUNRISE

David stops at a red light beside a squad car with one cop
inside. The cop gives him a cursory glance.

INT. DAVID'S CAR - SUNRISE

He stares at the cop. The cop looks neutrally ahead; behind
him the buckle of his seat belt shoulder strap catches the
reflection of the rising sun.

BACK TO DAVID

He stares, then:

DAVID
Hey!

The cop ignores him.

DAVID
Yo! Officer!

The cop looks over; his face says he expects a confrontation.
David points to the seat belt buckle.

DAVID
Your seatbelt.

The cop nods, weary, embarrassed. He reaches back for the
belt. David takes a sip and drives on.

DISSOLVE TO:

WHITE

DISSOLVE TO:

CLOSE ON TELEVISION

Court TV reporter, Roberts, stands in front of the Supreme
Court.

ROBERTS (V.O.)
The high court also refused to stay
Friday's execution of former
philosophy professor, David Gale.

FEMALE (O.S.)
(with her mouth full)
Christ doin' Karaoke.

PULL BACK TO REVEAL WE ARE IN:

INT. NEWS MAGAZINE OFFICE - DAY

KRUGER (47) watches with a leg up on her messy desk, eating
low-fat tortilla chips and massaging a knee with an electric
massager. A name plate on her desk reads "Barbara D. Kruger,
Crime and Courts Editor." News magazine covers are on the
walls. Kruger is black, short, overweight, wears an old
jogging suit and new oversized athletic shoes. She has half-
frame granny glasses on a cord around her neck.

ROBERTS (V.O.)
Gale had sought a review of his 1993
conviction for the rape and murder
of University of Texas colleague,
Constance Harraway.

Kruger reaches for a phone, hits four numbers, takes a chip.

ON TV

A book-jacket photo of Constance.

BACK ON ROBERTS

ROBERTS (V.O.)
Defense lawyers had hoped to argue
that Gale's former activism against
capital punishment unduly
prejudiced...

ON KRUGER

She waits impatiently, munching, swallowing.

ROBERTS (V.O.)
...the Texas judicial system. Citing
'discriminating purpose' --

KRUGER
(into the phone)
Hey, they're not gonna stay Gale.
It's on Court TV right now, listen.

She holds the phone out in the direction of the TV, uses the
opportunity to eat another chip.

ON TV

We see old footage of David on a TV talk show.

ROBERTS (V.O.)
...clear political gain in executing
its leading opponent of the death
penalty...

ON KRUGER

KRUGER
(into the phone,
swallowing)
So, what's it gonna be? Belyeu said
to call after the decision... No,
they said only Bitsey.

ROBERTS (V.O.)
(in b.g.)
...Further failed to consider that
the victim was herself an abolitionist
activist...

KRUGER
It means only Bitsey. Bill, I don't
get to make the rules, I'm a fat
black woman.

Bitsey Bloom (The runner from the opening) enters. She wears,
as always, a tailored suit.

KRUGER
(into the phone)
...What we need is to put her on a
plane to Houston.

BITSEY (WOMAN)
Gale's going down.

Kruger shushes her with a we-know-already gesture.

KRUGER
(into the phone)
Why do you always get lordosis around
legal? She's here.

She puts him on SPEAKER, and reaches for a chip.

BITSEY
(to the phone)
Hi. What's lordosis?

BILL (V.O.)
Female ape's posture when preparing
for intercourse. Hello, Bitsey.

Bitsey shoots Kruger a look, mouths "you're sick."

BILL (V.O.)
Look, kids, setting aside the cost
issue, though half-a-million dollars
for three two hour interviews is not
only illegal it's obscen--

KRUGER
Market value. Guy's never talked.

BILL (V.O.)
That aside, I, we are still
uncomfortable with the arrangement.

BITSEY
Meaning?

BILL (V.O.)
Meaning you've just spent a very
public seven days in jail for a very
public contempt of court citation.

BITSEY
Protecting sources, even kiddie porn
scumbags, is magazine policy.

BILL (V.O.)
And I, we continue to appreciate
your decision. We're just concerned.
A rapist slash murderer, five days
before he's executed, demands a
reporter known for protecting sexual
deviants. A reporter who is also a
very attractive woman --

Bitsey and Kruger moan in unison.

KRUGER
This is disparate treatment.

BITSEY
I could go if I were an ugly blabby
guy?

BILL (V.O.)
There's an agenda issue here which
would be diffused with an older
male...

KRUGER
I hear lawyers gleefully saying the
words Bloom vs. News Magazine Inc.

BITSEY
'Well, Your Honor, I started to notice
that my assignments were evaluated
on the basis of my sex.'

KRUGER
You've gotta let her go now.

BILL (V.O.)
That's not quite what I meant.

KRUGER
He's gotta let you go.

BITSEY
'Certain references were made -- '

BILL (V.O.)
(interrupting)
All right. All right. Enough. The
intern is with you at all times?

Bitsey vehemently shakes her head "no" to this idea.

KRUGER
Yes. I, we are hanging up. 'Bye.

Kruger hangs up the phone before he can respond.

BITSEY
I'm not baby-sitting.

Kruger reaches for a chip.

INT. RENTAL CAR - NIGHT

ZACK (boyish, 24) sits in the passenger seat, smoking and
looking at a case file in his lap. He holds the cigarette
just outside the slightly open window. Zack has a bohemian
grunge thing going -- long hair, ultra-hip glasses. As Bitsey
drives, she keeps looking down at the dash's instrument panel.
We hear strained patience in her voice.

BITSEY
Gale was seen leaving the house.

EXT. INTERSTATE 45 - NIGHT

The car's lights move past a sign: "Huntsville 27 Miles."

BITSEY (V.O.)
His sperm was inside her.

INT. RENTAL CAR - NIGHT

BITSEY
His prints were all over the kitchen,
including one on the bag.

Zack has a police photo: a woman naked on a kitchen floor,
hands handcuffed behind her. Over her head is an opaque white
plastic bag, sealed around the neck with duct tape.

ZACK
Half-a-thumb print.

BITSEY
Okay, half-a-thumb print.

ZACK
Could have touched it before it was
a murder weapon.

BITSEY
Do you fondle your friends' garbage
bags?

ZACK
Yeah, I get very touchy around
household plastics. 'Hello, everybody --
ooooh, Tupperware.' Chill. I'm just
saying the bag could have been out
on the counter or something.

She looks at him a beat.

BITSEY
Hey, Zack?

ZACK
Yeah.

BITSEY
He did it.

ZACK
But the murder's way too fucking
clumsy. And this guy's a major
intellectual. Top of his Yale class,
a Rhodes gig, tenured at 27, two
books. He's an academic stud.

BITSEY
And, empirically speaking, a
psychotic.

Zack picks up another file photo: Christmas shot of the Gale
family: David (31), his wife (Sharon, beautiful, 29), and
son (Chase, 6).

ZACK
Look at his wife, she's a regular
Grace Kelly. Old money svelte. Father
was Ambassador to Spain --

BITSEY
(looking at the car's
instrument panel)
Shit! The light's on again.

CLOSEUP - OVERHEAT LIGHT

is on.

BACK TO SCENE

ZACK
Ignore it. It's a rental.

BITSEY
Thanks, Zack. Do you smell anything?

ZACK
No. Besides the guy's a flaming
liberal.

Bitsey keeps looking down at the light.

BITSEY
A person's politics has nothing to
do with their propensity to commit
crime.
(beat)
Aren't we supposed to smell it if
it's overheating?

ZACK
Wrong, seventy-three percent of all
serial killers vote republican.

BITSEY
Throw the cigarette out so we can
smell.

Zack reaches for the car ashtray.

BITSEY
No! You'll stink up the car. Throw
it out!

ZACK
I'm not gonna fucking pollute.

BITSEY
Zack!

Zack pinches the cherry off, lets it drop out the window.

He shows her the filter, animatedly puts in the ash tray.

She gives him a look. They ride a beat in silence.

Bitsey sniffs.

BITSEY
We better pull off. Shit, this is so
irritating.

ZACK
How far to Huntsville?

BITSEY
Look.

She points to an approaching rest area exit sign. They share
a glance, then a laugh. Zack affects an evil, maniacal cackle.

ZACK
('Hard Copy'
announcer's voice)
'NEWS Magazine reporters Bitsy Bloom
and Zack Stemmons entered the rest
area with car trouble...

EXT. REST AREA EXIT - NIGHT

The car exits for the rest area.

ZACK (V.O.)
Little did they know their troubles
were just beginning.

Zack mimics the OPENING MUSIC to "Dark Shadows."

EXT. REST AREA - NIGHT

Well lit and empty. The rental car is parked with the hood
up. They stand looking at the radiator.

BITSEY
Is it hot?

He puts his hand on it.

ZACK
Oww! Jesus, yes. Isn't it always?

Bitsey shrugs.

ZACK
So what do I do?

BITSEY
I don't know, something male.

Zack animatedly adjusts his balls, spits.

ZACK
Now what?

Bitsey's not paying attention. She's watching headlights
coming toward them.

BITSEY
Company.

ZACK
I hope whoever it is never saw
Deliverance.

A late model pickup pulls up behind them. They shade their
eyes from its headlights. The lights go off. An OLDER COWBOY
(mid-60's, Stetson, lizard skin boots) steps out.

OLDER COWBOY
You folks need some help?

BITSEY
Actually yes.

EXT. HUNTSVILLE MOTEL SIX - NIGHT

The motel lies adjacent to Interstate 45 and a Kettle
restaurant. The rental car pulls up to the reception building.

EXT. HUNTSVILLE MOTEL SIX - NEXT DAY

The rental car is parked in front. The morning is overcast,
it's sprinkling. Bitsey emerges from one of the rooms on the
second floor carrying an umbrella.

INT. KETTLE RESTAURANT - DAY

Bitsey enters and sees Zack in a booth, smoking and reading.
The hyper-smiley TEENAGE HOSTESS approaches her.

HOSTESS
How are you this morning?

Bitsey ignores her, takes a menu without comment. She goes
and sits across from Zack; he's reading Dialogical Exhaustion
by David Gale.

BITSEY
Little early, isn't it?

ZACK
The non-smoking section's over there.

BITSEY
I meant the book.

ZACK
Oh.

Bitsey opens the menu; he puts the book down.

BITSEY
What time is it?

ZACK
9:15. The waitress says the Ellis
Unit is about fifteen minutes out of
town, so we've got like five and
half hours. I --

BITSEY
Never eat where the menus have
pictures of the food.

ZACK
I was thinking we should drive to
Austin, check out the crime scene.
Could be some story stuff for us.

BITSEY
(without looking up)
First, this isn't a story. It's an
interview. We come, I listen, you
watch, we go home. Second, there is
no 'us' in the assignment.

ZACK
Okay, what do I watch you do for the
next five hours?

BITSEY
(closing the menu)
Drive around looking for decent
restaurant.

ZACK
You know, your reputation as Siberian-
Female-Dog-Person doesn't do you
justice.

She's unsure how to interpret his comment. He smiles.

BITSEY
My reputation got us invited here. I
play by the rules. It's called
objectivity.

They stare at each other. Zack picks up his book, starts to
read, affects a shiver.

EXT. ELLIS UNIT DRIVE GUARDHOUSE - DAY

Drizzle. The prison and adjacent parking lot can be seen a
few hundred yards down the road. In front of the guardhouse
is a sign: "TDC Ellis Unit. All visitors must report."

SUPERIMPOSE: "DAY ONE"

The rental car ENTERS the FRAME, brakes briefly for the empty
guardhouse, and moves on toward the prison.

EXT. ELLIS UNIT PARKING LOT - DAY

Bitsey and Zack get out of their car. She has an umbrella.

ZACK
So where do we report?

Three razor wire fences surround the prison. Guard towers
rise at the corners. Outside the fence sits a small building
with a sign: "REPORT HERE."

Bitsey makes a there-you-have-it face. They move toward the
building.

Someone hawks. They look over. Within the fence, a skinny
Hispanic inmate (50's) spits. He's hunched in the rain thirty
yards away. He watches them neutrally.

CAMERA TRACKS Bitsey and Zack as they walk nervously past a
series of kennel-like pens that run along a long building.
Inmates watch them pass: A smoking, tattooed white male (30's)
stands by his door. A muscular black man (30's) with a Muslim
skullcap speaks quietly to the forty-something redneck beside
him. A paunchy Hispanic (20's) with a shaved head sits back
against the building, making clicking sounds. A skinny white
guy with his shirt off tosses a tennis ball against the
building. At the closest end of the last pen, a gang-banger
(20's) watches as he stands with his fingers clutching the
chain-link above his head. Rain runs down his face.

INT. ELLIS RECEPTION OFFICE

As Bitsey and Zack enter, a clean-cut man in his forties is
on the phone (DUKE GROVER). He waves them in and holds up a
wait-just-a-second finger.

GROVER
Well, I don't rightly know one
fraternity from another. But if we
catch any those boys out here again,
we're gonna Arrest and Prosecute...
You do that, Susan... Bye now.

The office has cheap wood paneling and a tired shag carpet.
A portrait of GOVERNOR HARDIN (female, mid-50's) is on the
wall, a large aerial photograph of the prison on the other.
At a desk sits a WOMAN WITH TEXAS HAIR (40's).

Grover hangs up.

GROVER
(to the Woman)
Thank you, Margie.
(turning to Bitsey
and Zack)
Correspondents Bloom and Stevens I
presume.

BITSEY
Yes, hello.

They shake hands.

ZACK
Stemmons.

GROVER
Stemmons. Sorry, won't happen again.
I'm Duke Grover, T.D.C. community
relations.

Grover's demeanor suggests a successful Little League coach,
his suit suggests J.C. Penny. He speaks quickly.

MARGIE (WOMAN)
He's usually real good with names.

GROVER
(to Bitsey)
And these days I always like to ask,
now do you prefer Miss, Mrs. or Ms.?

BITSEY
Bitsey.

GROVER
Bitsey it is. Margie, I'm stealin'
your umbrella.

MARGIE
Okey dokey.

EXT. ELLIS UNIT ENTRANCE

Bitsey and Grover walk beneath their umbrellas toward the
Unit gate -- Grover walks as fast as he talks. Zack follows,
turns his collar up.

GROVER
Bitsey, you ever been in a prison?

BITSEY
Yes.

Zack smiles to himself.

GROVER
On death row?

BITSEY
No.

GROVER
Well, we house 422 inmates here.
Average stay with us is nine years.
Some get commuted, move on, most get
killed. It'll put you off your supper,
but then it's supposed to.

The unit fence gate parts as they enter. The older gate guard
nods as they pass.

GROVER
(to the guard)
Afternoon, Earl.
(back to her)
We've got three concerns here: safety,
safety and safety. The visitation
area is entirely secure -- we just
ask you don't touch the glass. Windex
gets expensive.

They come to the door of the entrance area.

GROVER
Rules say seven days prior to
execution inmates must be interviewed
in a cage.

The DOOR BUZZES, Grover opens it.

INT. ELLIS ENTRANCE LOBBY - DAY

The lobby has institutional chairs and few vending machines.
To one side is a guard's counter and a walk through metal
detector. They enter and make their way toward the counter.

GROVER
This changes for no man. You're not
carryin' a weapon are you?

BITSEY
No.

GROVER
Mr. Stemmons, you packin'?

ZACK
No, sir.

They arrive at the counter. Behind it are two GUARDS, one
male, one female.

GROVER
(to the guards)
Clarence. Karla. New York guests for
Mr. Gale.

CLARENCE (GUARD)
May I see your purse, ma'am.

GROVER
(to Bitsey, indicating
the metal detector)
Go on and walk through.

Grover keeps talking as he walks around the detector and
waits for her.

GROVER
Now, should any kinda of
unpleasantness occur in the visitation
area, we ask that you stay put. Come
on through, Mr. Stemmons. And please
follow the instructions of these
fine correctional officers should
they see fit to give you any.

CLARENCE
(handing her the purse)
Here you go, ma'am.

He leads them down the hall.

GROVER
Anythin' you say can be overheard.

And any discussion of criminal activity on your part is
admissible. Not plannin' a jailbreak are you, Bitsey?

INT. ELLIS VISITATION AREA - DAY

The door guard gets up from his small table and opens the
door for them.

GROVER
Here we are.

The visitation hall has the linoleum-and-fluorescent feel of
an empty school cafeteria. It is seamlessly intersected by
curved wall of sheer glass. Across the hall a guard's booth
is built into the concrete wall; the two guards inside look
like they are in a sound booth.

Every fifteen feet, the glass has small sound holes. On the
visitors' side, chairs (with lap desks) cluster at each
section. Just getting up from a chair in the hall's center
is a big man wearing an expensive suit and black cowboy boots.
This is David's lawyer, BENJAMIN BELYEU (late 30's).

On the prisoner's side of the glass, a row of ten chairs
trace the outline of its curve. Above each chair a microphone
hangs from the ceiling. The center chair is in a stainless
steel cage. Inside sits David Gale.

GROVER
(calling out to Belyeu)
All yours, Mr. Belyeu.
(to Bitsey and Zack)
You folks have safe visit now.

BITSEY
Thank you.

He exits as Bitsey and Zack make their way toward Belyeu and
David; it's a walk of about twenty-five feet.

Belyeu's voice is a thick combination of Cajun and Harvard
Yard.

BELYEU
Miss Bloom?

BITSEY
Yes.

Belyeu speaks as slowly as Grover did quickly. David stands
up politely in his cage -- he's too tall and has to hunch.

BELYEU
Did that P.R. man validate your
parkin'?

BITSEY
He said the gift shop could do it.

Belyeu laughs, smiles pure Old New Orleans charm.

BELYEU
(to David)
She's a smart one.

Belyeu takes a few steps toward them, extends his hand.

BELYEU
Benjamin Belyeu, Mr. Gale's attorney.

BITSEY
This is Zack.

BELYEU
Pleasure.
(turning)
And this is the man of the hour.

They move toward David. A SPEAKER-SYSTEM LOUDLY (really
loudly) interrupts:

GUARD (V.O.)
Sit down, Gale.

All wince. David sits, smiles, a bit embarrassed.

DAVID
Hello.

BITSEY
Hello.

ZACK
Hi.

BELYEU
Now, why can't they turn that thing
down?

DAVID
(to the microphone
above him)
My lawyer respectfully suggests you
adjust the speaker-system volume.

A beat. They all look over at the guard's booth. One of the
guards makes a get-on-with-your-business gesture.

DAVID
They're practicing being cruel and
unusual.

BELYEU
Mrs. Bloom, I'm sure you're a bitin'
at the bit.

Belyeu collects papers from the chair he was using and starts
to stuff them into his antique carpetbag.

BELYEU
Now, it is our understanding that
you are to have three two-hour
sessions. Today, tomorrow and
Thursday, all at three in the P.M.
I'm sorry we can't afford you more
time, but contrary to popular rumor
we have not yet begun to fight.
Furthermore, it's our understanding
that you will do this with no
recording equipment of any kind.
(to David)
You have my Gregg book?

DAVID
I need it for Billy's appeal.

BELYEU
(to Bitsey)
My client's got a ten pound bass on
the line and he's worried about
baitin' his neighbor's hook.
(takes out his planner)
Now, I have some papers for which I
need your Jo Ann Hancock.
(handing her a business
card)
Come by my Austin office at your
earliest convenience. Thursday
mornin', say.

Bitsey's confused. Belyeu just smiles at her, then looks up
at the microphone. She understands, nods.

BELYEU
Fine, till Thursday then.

Belyeu picks up his bag. He and Zack start the hike to the
door. Belyeu turns, walks backwards.

BELYEU
Good luck, Miss Bloom.
(to David)
I'll come by later. We can play a
game of hangman, take up smokin'.

David waves "get lost." Belyeu turns.

BELYEU
Bye, ya' all.

They watch him walk away. Bitsey turns to David. He's looking
at the floor, caught in a thought.

BITSEY
So...

DAVID
Sorry. Have a seat.

She does so. David smiles at her, he has a beautiful smile,
sincere, charming, vaguely devilish.

BITSEY
He's a character.

DAVID
Yeah, known Benny most my life. Met
the summer after 4th grade, spent
the day burning ants with his dad's
magnifying glass. We called it playing
'Execution.'

David looks at her a beat, lets the irony of this sit in the
air. Uncomfortable, Bitsey starts to look in her purse.

DAVID
Since I grew up in foster homes,
he's become the only family I have.

BITSEY
Where's your ex-wife?

Bitsey takes a pad out of her purse, looks for a pen.

DAVID
We agreed minimal contact would be
easier. Please don't mention her, or
my son.

BITSEY
All right. Anything else, just clearly
say, 'off the record.' I'll take it
to my grave. But then you know that
about me. Otherwise I wouldn't be
here.

David smiles, nods.

BITSEY
(referring to the pen)
Is this recording equipment?

He shrugs.

DAVID
How should we start?

BITSEY
I'd say you're a man with a story to
tell, Mr. Gale. You chose the
magazine, the format. You chose me.

She sits with pen on paper, poised for dictation.

BITSEY
Go.

David looks at her a long beat, then gives her the smile.

DISSOLVE TO:

WHITE

DISSOLVE TO:

TRANSITION MONTAGE

CAMERA starts TO ROTATE and ROLLS THROUGHOUT until the LAST
SHOT COMES TO REST UPRIGHT.

A) OVERHEAD

Belyeu gets in his Cadillac in the wet Ellis Unit parking
lot.

B) ELLIS UNIT (RAINY DAY)

from the air.

C) AUSTIN FROM AIR (SUNNY DAY)

D) OVERHEAD

SEXY FEMALE GRAD STUDENT (over-dressed in a mini-skirt and
heels) moves hurriedly through the University of Texas (U.T.)
campus.

E) FROM BEHIND TWO GRADUATE STUDENTS

attending class in an U.T. lecture hall -- they are laughing
as David entertains from a mike at the podium.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. U.T. LECTURE HALL - DAY

Thirty animated students (circa 1992) are listening to David
lecture. He's younger (31), vibrant -- looks like a grad
student himself. On the white board behind him are phrases:
"Lucan," "objet petit a," "Fantasy Theory."

DAVID
Think. What do you fantasize about?
World peace?
(as no one responds)
Thought so.
(light laughter)
Money-Fame-Ferrari?
(as some guys applaud
loudly; others then
boo them)
A Pulitzer? Nobel? M.T.V. Music Award?
(applause)
A genius hunk -- ostensibly bad but
secretly simmering with noble
passions, and willing to sleep on
the wet spot?

As women applaud...

LARGE WOMAN
(yells)
I'll take two!

Laughter.

DAVID
A Victoria's Secret model -- just
slumming between law school and
running her family's Vastly Endowed
Foundation for Tragically Sad-Eyed
Children?

The crowd laughs, David changes tone.

DAVID
Okay, good, you see Lucan's point.
Fantasies must be unrealistic. The
minute you get something, you don't,
you can't, want it anymore. To exist,
desire needs absent objects. So desire
supports itself with crazy
fantasies...

The over-dressed Sexy Grad Student enters loudly from a side
door, out-of-breath and discombobulated. The crowd laughs at
the timing. David pauses.

STUDENT
Sorry.

He animatedly gestures to the seats, waits a beat as she
moves towards them.

DAVID
This is what Pascal means when he
says the only time we're truly happy
is when day-dreaming about future
happiness.

The Sexy Student sits, adjusts herself.

DAVID
Or why we say, 'The hunt is sweeter
than the kill' or 'Be careful what
you wish for.'

A guy behind the Sexy Student taps her on the shoulder, she
turns and he hands her letter from the registrar's office.
It's from a girl friend two rows back. The girlfriend mouths,
"It came today?"

DAVID (O.S.)
Not because you'll get it, but because
you're doomed not to want it if you
do. Think about it next time you're
at a wedding.

Laughter. The Sexy Student turns back around, throws the
letter in a book.

INT. U.T. HALLWAY - DAY

Students pour out of the double doors leading from David's
class. The hall is crowded. Standing waiting for him against
the wall is Constance (glasses, granola clothes).

She's looking at a document, holds a file.

INT. U.T. LECTURE HALL - DAY

The students are leaving. David is quickly erasing the white-
board. The Sexy Student approaches him (her name is Berlin).

BERLIN (SEXY STUDENT)
Sorry about being late. There was,
you know, a thing.

DAVID
There usually is, Berlin.

BERLIN
Look, I know I'm not doing well.

He turns, nods, takes his books and papers from the podium.

BERLIN
And to torture a cliche, I'd do
anything to pass.

He looks at her a beat, starts to walk toward the door.

BERLIN
Anything, Professor Gale.

He stops, turns.

DAVID
Anything, huh?

BERLIN
(suggestively)
Anything.

DAVID
(the smile)
Anything?

She affects a solicitous shyness -- then goes all sex.

BERLIN
Any thing.

He checks the room, then comes over to her, close.

DAVID
Tell you what, I'll give you good
grade, a really good grade, if you
will...
(leans down to her
ear, whispers
sensually)
...study.

He smiles, turns, walks away. As she watches, anger builds.

INT. U.T. HALLWAY - DAY

David comes out the room. Constance sees him, hurries to
him. She's excited, and speaks now -- as always -- with
absolute authority. They talk as they walk down the crowded
hall.

CONSTANCE
David!

DAVID
Hey.

CONSTANCE
The T.A. finished transcribing the
Governor's radio and TV comments.
Listen: 'I hate killing, that's why
I'm willing to kill to stop it.' The
woman breathes in soundbites.

She hands him a copy.

DAVID
(pretends to read a
quote)
'Yes, Virginia, the people of this
State have overwhelmingly affirmed
the reality of Santa.'

CONSTANCE
You might can use some of her pre-
centrist stuff.

DAVID
Tell me again why you aren't doing
the debate.

CONSTANCE
Telegenics. You have a cuter butt.

DAVID
I hadn't noticed.

CONSTANCE
I know.

DAVID
That's not what I meant.

EXT. U.T. CAMPUS - DAY

David and Constance exit the building into the sun.

CONSTANCE
She's gonna do the whole mother thing.
She empathizes with you completely,
but experience has given her the
courage to take the tougher road, ta-
da, ta-da. Keep it rational. And
flirt politely.

DAVID
'Governor, you bat a lovely lash for
a woman who executed thirty eight
last year.'

They've come to a sidewalk junction, stop.

CONSTANCE
And watch your ego. Don't come across
as one of those I-hate-authority-
because-nobody-in-charge-reads-the-
New Yorker types.

DAVID
Anything else?

CONSTANCE
Yeah, don't fall into one of your
brooding silences. Oh, I'm getting
new federal stats from Amnesty
tonight.

DAVID
I'm going to Greer's party. Fax them
to Sharon's number at the house.

She looks at him sternly over the top of her glasses.

CONSTANCE
If you have a hang-over tomorrow --

DAVID
(hangs up, walking
away)
Apropos playing Mother.

CONSTANCE
(calling after him)
Ten o'clock!
(beat)
Bright-eyed and bushy tailed!

EXT. GALE HOME - ESTABLISHING - NIGHT

The house is an immaculately restored two-story Victorian,
far better than what a university professor can afford.

The grounds are perfect. David's Volvo is in the driveway,
his wife's new Laredo beside it. On the street out front
sits a new VW Beetle.

INT. KID'S ROOM - NIGHT

David's son -- CHASE -- sits in bed holding a stuffed sheep
in the air. David turns off the light in the adjacent
bathroom, comes in holding his son's jeans and shoes. David
wears a t-shirt which says "Evil-Doer & Curious Person." The
room is over-decorated with boy stuff.

DAVID
Did you mark your calendar?

CHASE
(looking up at it)
Yep.

INSERT - KID'S CALENDAR

hangs above the bed, opened to the month of March. It has a
felt-tipped pen hanging from a piece of string taped to it.
Ten frowny faces cover ten consecutive days, then there are
three empty days before a large smiley face awaits on the
fourth. The frowny faces are in a kid's hand, the smiley
face in an adult's.

BACK TO SCENE

CHASE
(counting on his
fingers)
Only... three more Spain days.

David puts the jeans and shoes away.

DAVID
Only three. That's great, huh?

David comes and sits beside his son. Points to an African
statue (a man holding a spear) on the bedside table.

DAVID
What's he doing in here?

CHASE
Mommy said I could. Just till she
gets back.
(touching the spear)
That's a special-duper monster laser
knife.

DAVID
Where's your laser gun?

Chase reaches under the sheets, searches, finally pulls out
a laser pointer.

CHASE
Here.

He "shoots" some toys in the corner with the red laser dot.

CHASE
Tussshh, tusssshh, tussshh. I never
shoot them in the eyes, Daddy.

DAVID
That's 'cause you're a special-duper-
super-quadruper boy. Who's now going
to sleep.

He tucks his son in.

DAVID
Who loves you?

Chase giggles, points at his dad, then pokes his nose.

DAVID
Ooooh.
(kissing him)
Good night, son.

CHASE
(holding up his stuffed
sheep)
Do Cloud Dog.

DAVID
(kissing the sheep)
Good night, Cloud Dog.

INT. LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

Obsessively cool, full of designer furniture and rough
fabrics. The art is mostly contemporary and conspicuously
lit -- a Damien Hirst piece sits in one corner. A few African
antiquities are scattered throughout.

A BABYSITTER sits on the couch reading a school textbook,
holding lip gloss and absentmindedly applying it as she reads.
David passes on his way to the door.

DAVID
Back before midnight.

BABYSITTER
It's cool, Mr. Gale.
(calling after him)
Don't do anything I wouldn't.

DAVID (O.S.)
Rest assured.

He exits. When she hears the DOOR CLOSE, the Babysitter
reaches for the TV remote.

INT. DUPLEX - LIVING AREA - NIGHT

The duplex is upscale, two-story with a vaulted ceiling.

Scattered about are forty party-goers, mostly grad students.
Some spill out onto the back patio and around the pool.
Everyone has a t-shirt with a philosophic idea ("Yawnic,"
"Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know," "[Philosophic t-shirt]".)
LEONARD COHEN MUSIC PLAYS.

FROM FRONT DOOR

GREER (late 20s, Persian, "Host" t-shirt) escorts David into
the living room.

GREER
The guy's the Immanuel Kant of the
N.F.L. Consistent, accurate,
effective, and boring, boring, boring.

Greer leaves him at the sofa where an OLDER PROFESSOR (60s,
homemade t-shirt -- "Pre-Socratic" -- over his shirt and
tie) stands speaking with ROSS (late 40s, "Homosexualist" t-
shirt).

DAVID
Meinen Herren.

ROSS
(has an Oxford accent)
Hello, David.

OLDER PROFESSOR
Professor Gale. Where's your better
half?

DAVID
Spain.

OLDER PROFESSOR
Again?
(a beat)
Well, I was just off for air.

He moves to the patio. They watch him go.

DAVID
(under his breath)
Looks like Sharon's affair is an
open secret.

ROSS
(under his breath)
Hermeneutical bias: the only fun
truths are the ones someone's trying
to hide.
(normal tone)
Have a seat.

They sit on the sofa.

ROSS
Listen, Berlin's here -- and livid.
Probations suspended her. She received
the letter today, took the opportunity
to throw a fit in my office. You
should --

BERLIN (O.S.)
Talking about me?

She's standing behind them. David tilts his head back.

DAVID
Yep.

She's tipsy, brings her face down between their heads.

BERLIN
(to David)
He tell you I said when you were
circumcised they threw away the wrong
part.

DAVID
He mentioned it.

An uncomfortable beat. She reaches over and takes Ross's
drink from his hand, drinks the rest, puts it back.

DAVID
It's called schmuck.

BERLIN
What?

DAVID
The part of the foreskin that gets
thrown away. I think it's called
schmuck.

BERLIN
Aren't we so fucking clever.

ROSS
(standing, escaping)
I suppose I should get us another.
David?

DAVID
Black Bush.

Ross walks to the bar. Berlin comes around and sits in his
seat. Her mid-drift T-shirt reads "Sex is Power."

BERLIN
You were a jerk this afternoon.

A beat. She's turned facing him, he looks forward.

DAVID
For what it's worth, I didn't know
about the suspension.

BERLIN
Is that supposed to be an apology?

DAVID
More like a conciliation.

ON FOOD AND DRINKS TABLE

Ross has two gin-and-tonics and is finishing pouring David's
Black Bush. He moves away. The table is neatly laid with
snacks and bottles. The flower arrangement is perfect.

SAME SCENE - LATER

The table is now in mid-party chaos. Food spilled, bottles
empty, the flowers in disarray. "I'M TOO SEXY" PLAYS LOUDLY
in the background. Berlin takes a bottle of Red Label from
the table.

CAMERA TRACKS her THROUGH the living room, where a few people
now dance, and out onto the patio.

A crowd well on their way to being drunk gathers by the pool.
They surround two patio chairs which face each other, one
with David, the other with Ross. The men are playing an Irish
drinking game -- the crowd has chosen favorites.

ROSS
(slurring a bit)
All right.
(clears his throat)
As the poets have mournfully sung,
Death takes the innocent young, The
screamingly funny, The rolling in
money, And those who are very well
hung.

Laughter, a few animated moans. David raises his glass to
Ross and downs a whiskey. Someone starts to chant: "Gale!
Gale! Gale!"

DAVID
(feeling good but
very much in control)
There once was a lesbian from Canjuom,
Who took a young man to her room,
And they argued all night, As to who
had the right, To do what, how, and
to whom.

Laughter. Two women holding each other boo. Ross drinks.

BERLIN
One more. C'mon, one more.

DAVID
Enough. That's enough.

The crowd wants more. Someone makes chicken sounds.

ROSS
Do you bow to the Queen?

David looks at him, contemplates, then smiles. He holds his
glass out for a refill. The crowd applauds.

FULL SHOT OF PATIO

The crowd is chanting: "Ross! Ross! Ross!"

SAME SCENE - LATER

The crowd has dispersed. A couple of small groups converse.
Someone is being thrown into the pool. TECHNO MUSIC PLAYS.
Inside the duplex a few dancers are still going at it.

INT. BATHROOM

David is washing his face. As he dries, the TECHNO MUSIC
downstairs gets BRIEFLY LOUDER. He looks from beneath the
towel into the mirror. Berlin has entered the bathroom.

DAVID
I'm done.

She locks the door, leans back against it. She's flushed.

He folds the towel.

BERLIN
I'm not a student anymore.

DAVID
Don't think I want to know what that
means.

David lays the towel down, leans back against the sink --
they face each other on opposite sides of the bathroom.

BERLIN
There once was woman named Berlin,
Who liked a bit now and again. Not
now and again, But Now! And Again!
And Again! And Again! And Again!

He laughs.

BERLIN
Cute, huh?

DAVID
Cute.

BERLIN
I have a secret. But I have to come
over there to tell you.

He makes an I'm-not-so-sure face. She moves playfully toward
him.

BERLIN
Here I come.

She comes up to him, leans into him as she puts her mouthclose
to his ear. He keeps his hands back on the sink counter.

BERLIN
(whispering)
I wasn't after the grade.

She stands with her body against him, looks into his eyes.

DAVID
Berlin, this, this is not...

She puts her fingers over his mouth, keeps them there.

BERLIN
Ssshhhh.

With her free hand she takes one of his, rubs it against her
face and lips as she speaks.

BERLIN
We'll just talk, analyze, contemplate.
Or... you can put your mouth on my
body.

She moves his hand down, brushing it against her breast and
to her groin. She brings her mouth toward her fingers --
which are still against his lips.

BERLIN
(softly, vulnerably)
Don't reject me. Please.

With her eyes open, she kisses the back of her own fingers,
runs her tongue between them, opens them to reach his mouth.

INT. HALLWAY

A Hispanic woman (T-shirt: "DerriDa-Da") bee-bops to the
bathroom door. Tries the handle, then dances away.

INT. LIVING ROOM

About eight dancers dance to the TECHNO MUSIC -- its pace
increasing. A couple them are really into it.

INT. BATHROOM

Berlin and David are against the sink, kissing in full
passion. The MUSIC from downstairs seems LOUDER. Her T shirt
is off. Panting, he turns her against the sink.

Pulls her skirt up, reaches for her panties.

BERLIN
Rip them.

DAVID
What?

BERLIN
Rip them off.

He does so.

INT. KITCHEN

Ross sits at the kitchen table, holding his throbbing head
against the POUNDING MUSIC. Greer sets a cup of coffee in
front of him, sits across. A long beat. They seem like parents
waiting out a teenager's party.

INT. BATHROOM

Berlin is back against the sink, undoing David's fly as he
takes his T-shirt off. The MUSIC from downstairs seems even
LOUDER. His pants and underwear fall. He starts to penetrate
her.

BERLIN
No. From behind.

She turns, faces the mirror. He positions himself behind,
enters her.

BERLIN
Yes.

He moves against her.

BERLIN
Do it hard.

He looks at her in the mirror, then continues. She watches
him.

ON PATIO

A guy sits alone at the far end of the pool on a lounger.

The dancers can be seen in the living room behind him.

INT. BATHROOM

David thrusts against Berlin, her thighs pound against the
edge of the sink. The MUSIC is as LOUD as it is downstairs.

BERLIN
Harder.

He looks at her in the mirror, unsure.

BERLIN
Harder.

He thrusts harder.

BERLIN
Yes.

They continue in rhythm. She reaches back and pulls him into
her.

BERLIN
Bite me. Bite my shoulder.

She watches him do so in the mirror.

INT. LIVING ROOM

The dancers dance -- the TECHNO PACE has INCREASED even more.
One dancer is a blur.

INT. BATHROOM

Berlin is pulling David into her. They approach a climax.

She scratches him on the small of the back. Blood trickles.

INT. LIVING ROOM

The MUSIC and dancers are in pure FRENZY. Suddenly, the MUSIC
STOPS. Greer stands by the STEREO, his hand coming back from
the power button. He gestures "that's-all-folks."

INT. BATHROOM

David and Berlin stand still and apart, breathing heavily
into the reality-inducing silence. He looks at her in the
mirror, a look of shame. She gives him an odd smile.

SMASH CUT TO:

BLACK

FADE IN:

INT. CONSTANCE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

Constance wakes with a jolt, sweating. She gets up and goes
into her bathroom.

INT. BATHROOM - NIGHT

She turns on the light, moves to the sink, opens the medicine
cabinet. It's stacked with prescription medicines. Suddenly,
she turns to the toilette, vomits.

FADE TO:

BLACK.

FADE IN:

INT. BARNES & NOBLE COFFEE HOUSE - DAY

David and Constance sit by a window, the U.T. campus in the
b.g. David's distracted, wearing a suit and a long face.
She's wearing the closest thing she has to business attire.
She has stacks of paper spread in front of her.

CONSTANCE
Okay, let's say we find an innocent
on death row. Wouldn't matter.
Corrections would let him go. Governor
Harding would go on TV, say, 'Thanks
to the good people at DeathWatch,
the system works.' Yeah, if they
executed an innocent, and we had
absolute, undeniable, in-your-face
proof, we could demand abolition.
Just like happened in England. Are
you okay?

DAVID
(coming out of it)
Sorry. Yeah.

He makes an effort, plays the "good listener."

CONSTANCE
But it hasn't happened, not since
'76. And won't happen.

David nods.

CONSTANCE
Dead men can't make a case.

DAVID
And 'Almost Martyrs' don't count.

CONSTANCE
Just keep it rational. The death
penalty is expensive and ineffective.
No one wants to see a murderer as a
victim.

DAVID
Um-hum.

CONSTANCE
And stop that.

DAVID
What?

CONSTANCE
Active listening. I hate active
listeners. Makes me feel like I'm
with a Dale Carnegie grad who cares
more about appearing to listen than
actually listening. Did you bring
the Amnesty fax?

DAVID
I can listen and appear to listen at
the same time. Yeah, no. Damn, I
left it home.

CONSTANCE
I have a copy.

She looks through her papers, finds the copy in the stack
beneath her coffee cup. She starts to hand it to him. He is
looking out the window, caught in a thought.

CONSTANCE
You want to tell me what's up.

DAVID
Nothing. Everything. Something
profoundly stupid happened last night.

CONSTANCE
(teasing)
I hope you used a condom.

A beat. His reaction tells her the jest hit home.

CONSTANCE
Jesus Christ, David. Was she one of
yours?

A longer beat. He holds her eyes.

DAVID
It was Berlin.

She's stunned, then genuinely angry.

CONSTANCE
Oh, that's great, great. I can hear
the grapevine now. They suspended
her so Gale could dick her with a
clear conscience.

He looks at his coffee, which he hasn't touched.

CONSTANCE
A power differential equals coercion.
Great. You are so weak.

DAVID
Constance, you're not my wife. Thank
God.

CONSTANCE
I know you can tell yourself it's a
position I aspire to, but believe
me, I would rather...

She trails off. They stare at each other a beat. Then, she
starts to collect the papers.

DAVID
I didn't mean --

CONSTANCE
Let's go.

As she collects, she winces, grabs her side.

DAVID
Are you okay?

CONSTANCE
Yes, let's just go.

INT. TELEVISION STUDIO - CONTROL BOOTH - DAY

Two people sit in front of monitors displaying various angles
on sound stage. The main monitor is playing the end of the
show's signation.

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
In three, two...

ON SOUND STAGE

A camera operator cues the host (50s, male, bow tie). The
host is flanked by David and Governor Hardin.

The set has an upscale regional television look. The Governor
has the rare ability to look comfortable while David fidgets.

HOST
(to camera)
Welcome back to 'Batter's Box.'
Tonight we continue our very special
four-part series with the Governor
Hardin. Arguing capital punishment
with her is DeathWatch coordinator,
Professor David Gale. Governor, you're
up.

GOVERNOR HARDIN
Alan, let me say somethin' I always
say.

Constance stands behind the cameras. She motions to David --
something about the papers in front of him.

GOVERNOR HARDIN
And I'm gonna keep on sayin.' And
that is I hate killin.' That's why
my administration is willing to kill
to stop it.

DAVID
So you don't subscribe to the idea
that 'a good state is one that
protects its most despised members'?

GOVERNOR HARDIN
It's a nice liberal idea, but like
most nice liberal ideas, naive.

DAVID
It's a quote from you, Governor,
from your first state attorney
campaign.

Constance is biting her lip, breaks into a smile. The Governor
is unsure how to react, then laughs. The host chuckles with
her.

GOVERNOR HARDIN
You've got me, Professor. But let
me, in my defense, give you a quote.
Winston Churchill: 'If you're not a
liberal at twenty, you've got no
heart, if you're still a liberal at
thirty, you've got no brain.'

The host's laughter is overdone. David smiles. Constance
bites her lip.

DAVID
So, basically you feel, to choose
another quote, 'society must be
cleansed of elements which represent
its own death.'

The Governor makes an animated thinking face.

GOVERNOR HARDIN
Well, yes. I would have to agree.
(chuckles again)
Did I say that, too?

DAVID
No, ma'am. That was Hitler.

Constance makes a "Yes!" gesture with her hands. The Governor
is surprised into silence. The host laughs and, noting her
reaction, trails off. David becomes more confident, his tone
more sincere.

DAVID
Governor, can't we examine the
possibility that capital punishment
isn't working. That murderers aren't
deterred by the law because they
have about as much forethought as
lemmings. That it's expensive,
inequably administered, that...

David cuts his eyes briefly to Constance.

DAVID
...that we may even be killing
innocents.

Constance rolls her eyes. The Governor is ready for this.

GOVERNOR HARDIN
All righty, Mr. Gale, I'll play your
game. Name one. Name one innocent
man Texas has put to death in my
tenure. One.

A beat. David doesn't respond.

GOVERNOR HARDIN
Name one in the last twenty years.
In any state in this country.

A long, miserable beat.

HOST
Well, Mr. Gale?

DAVID
Dead men can't make a case.

GOVERNOR HARDIN
Well, as my daddy used to say: If
you can't find a problem, there
probably isn't one.

Constance shakes her head in irritation.

BACKSTAGE - LATER

The show is over. David and the Governor are shaking hands.
Constance stands nearby.

GOVERNOR HARDIN
Well, you certainly had me on that
Hitler quote.

DAVID
Thank you, Governor.

GOVERNOR HARDIN
These debates are awfully good for
the state, don't you think?

DAVID
Of course.

GOVERNOR HARDIN
Well, I've got to buzz.

She moves toward her handlers.

GOVERNOR HARDIN
You folks keep up the good work. We
need that opposition.

Constance's and David's polite smiles follow her.

EXT. TELEVISION STATION - DAY

Constance and David argue as they walk the sidewalk to the
parking lot.

CONSTANCE
Your exact words were, 'Just tell me
when my ego gets in the way of the
work.' Now I'm telling you: Your
ego's in the way of work.

DAVID
(indicating the station)
Look, I wanted you to do this anyway.

CONSTANCE
You put up precisely two seconds of
protest at the thought of a televised
debate.

DAVID
What's that supposed to mean?

CONSTANCE
It means DeathWatch suffers because
you're so anxious to finger authority,
to publicly prove that David Gale is
so much fucking smarter than the
powers that be. Learn to work without
an audience. Try squeezing money
from the donor list. Have you ever
licked one single mail-out envelope?

They come to the end of the sidewalk, where two SUITS are
standing -- one Hispanic, one white (30s).

MAN #2 (SUIT)
Mr. Gale?

DAVID
Look, guys, there's not much more to
say --

MAN #2
Rameriz, Austin police. This is
Officer Haslinger.

The officers show their Ids. Constance takes one to examine
it more closely.

DAVID
What, arguing with the Governor is a
crime?

The officers exchange a look.

MAN #3 (SUIT)
No, sir, rape is.

Constance and David look at each other, stunned.

OVERHEAD SHOT

CAMERA QUICKLY CRANES UP and ROTATES.

DISSOLVE TO:

WHITE.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. ELLIS VISITATION AREA - OVERHEAD SHOT - DAY

CAMERA CRANES DOWN and ROTATES, ENDING UPRIGHT BY Bitsey as
she listens to David.

GUARD (V.O.)
(over the loudspeaker)
Gale, time's up.

The speaker, loud as ever, startles Bitsey. David nods over
to the guard's booth.

DAVID
Berlin had my bite marks, bruises,
ripped clothing. My skin was beneath
her nails. It didn't look like
anything but rape. Two days later
she called the D.A., said she wouldn't
testify, too drunk to be sure, etc.
On the plane home, Sharon read about
her husband's rape case being dropped.

BITSEY
Why'd she do it?

A guard approaches. David stands up and moves to the back of
his cage, puts his hands behind him and out the slot in the
back to be handcuffed.

DAVID
(shrugs)
Finger authority, show she was smarter
than the powers that be.

BITSEY
Do you know where I can find her?

DAVID
First year in here I received a card
postmarked San Francisco. It wasn't
signed, but I suspect it was from
her -- the front had the text 'Sex
is Power.'

Cuffed, David stands aside for the cage door to be opened.

BITSEY
Anything written on it?

DAVID
Yeah. It said, 'I'm sorrier than you
can know.'
(exiting the cage)
See you tomorrow, Ms. Bloom.

EXT. MOTEL SIX PARKING LOT - NIGHT

Bitsey and Zack are walking from the Kettle to their rooms.
Zack is lighting a cigarette. The rain's stopped, but the
lot is wet.

BITSEY
Try phone records, a net search.

ZACK
Fucking better than watching you
work.

They walk a beat in silence.

ZACK
You think he's telling the truth?

BITSEY
Don't ask me that. I don't know.
There is no truth, only perspectives.

ZACK
Can't say that. If you say 'there is
no truth,' you're claiming it's true
that there is no truth -- it's a
logical contradiction.

BITSEY
Working on our philosophy merit badge,
Zack?

ZACK
I, on the other hand, think Gale's
telling the truth.

They come to the stairs and start up.

BITSEY
This you know telepathically?

ZACK
It's just my perspective.

In a dark corner of the parking lot sits the pickup from the
rest area. The older cowboy watches Bitsey and Zack climb
the stairs. On his STEREO, PUCCINI plays. Once they are in
their rooms, he TURNS UP the opera, closes his eyes, feels
the music.

INT. RENTAL CAR - DAY

The car moves through an older Austin suburb with wood framed
houses (circa 1950) in varying states of repair.

It's an overcast day. Zack drives, slowly, searching.

Bitsey has the passenger seat fully reclined, lies with her
eyes closed.

SUPERIMPOSE: DAY TWO.

ZACK
Thirty-three o what?

BITSEY
Seven.
(then)
'Check out the crime scene in Austin.'
You made it sound so close. Shit,
two and half hours and that damn lig --

ZACK
Bitsey.

She looks up. Zack is pointing at house 3307, which needs
paint and a lawn mower. In front of the house is a homemade
sign which reads, "David Gale Death House and Museum" See
where it happened!" Beneath are the opening hours (12-8);
someone has marked them out and scribbled "ring bell."

They share a look.

EXT. PORCH OF HOUSE 3307 - DAY

Bitsey rings the bell. Zack stomps out a cigarette, points
out a worn "Block Home" sign in the window, raises his
eyebrows. As Bitsey straightens her skirt, the door is opened
by a GOTH GIRL, probably not quite eighteen.

She has jet-black hair, nose piercings, tattoos, a Nine Inch
Nails T-shirt. METAL MUSIC comes from within.

The Goth Girl just looks at them. After an uncomfortable
silence, Bitsey extends her hand.

BITSEY
Hi. I'm Bitsey Bloom and this is
Zack Stemmons. We --

GOTH GIRL
You want the tour?

Her voice is slacker monotone.

BITSEY
Uh, yes.

GOTH GIRL
There's a twenty-dollar mandatory
donation, apiece. But you get a re-
enactment photo packet. It's got
five pictures.

BITSEY
Okay.

A beat.

GOTH GIRL
I gotta collect first.

BITSEY
Oh, sure.

Bitsey reaches in her bag.

INT. LIVING ROOM - DAY

They enter. The room is dark, messy, with an old couch and
TV/VCR. A kitchen is adjacent. The walls are full of Goth
bric-a-brac: London Batcave poster, one from Burton's
Frankenweenie, a couple of fan-zine pictures of Siouxsie and
the Banshees. In one corner is a very expensive STEREO, from
which THE CURE plays. In another, a dead plant. The Goth
Girl turns the MUSIC DOWN.

A table near the door has numbered photos beneath a torn and
curling sheet of plastic. Small packets of snapshots sit on
the table along with a few hand-labelled videos and a book
of clippings. There's also a guest book.

GOTH GIRL
You gotta sign the book. Doesn't
have to be your real name, though.

Bitsey signs in.

GOTH GIRL
First page says you're here to do
research on violent crime. The state
requires it for nonprofit shit.

Zack signs in.

GOTH GIRL
Take a re-enactment photo packet.

Bitsey does so. As does Zack.

GOTH GIRL
If you guys could share one, it would
be really cool. The butt wipes where
I do prints kinda jerk my chain.

Zack puts his back. Bitsey is looking at a photo: the Goth
Girl in her panties and bra laying on the floor with plastic
wrap over her head. She's handcuffed and wearing a platinum
blonde wig. The pose is half-corpse, half-pinup.

GOTH GIRL
That's me. My boyfriend took it. We
also did a video. It's fifty bucks
'cause you can see my tits. There's
a version without tits, that's thirty-
five.

Zack looks at a video, hand-labelled: "Constance Harraway
Murder (with breasts)! Copyright 1997! Svengali Productions!"

BITSEY
Do many people take the tour?

GOTH GIRL
Not so much anymore. We thought this
would be like a busy week -- Gale
gettin' the prune juice and all.
Prune juice is what death row dudes
call the poison, 'cause it gives you
the shits. Most jerks just take a
photo from the street. They shot a
'Real Crimes' episode here, but the
owner didn't give us dick.

ZACK
You don't mind living here?

GOTH GIRL
I'm cool with ghouls. Beats livin'
with my dickwad parents. It starts
over here.

She takes them to the coffee table. Among her own things, a
dusty Johnny Walker Black Label bottle sits beside a tumbler
(an index card with the #1 leans against it). The area has
been outlined on the table with white shoe polish.

GOTH GIRL
She let him crash here sometimes. He
was like constantly wasted. Drank
Black Label religiously.

Bitsey and Zack exchange a look. The Goth Girl moves into
the kitchen. It's cluttered and dirty except in the various
areas which at one point had been outlined and indexed --
the cards are all dirty. A sliding glass door leads onto the
patio. The backyard hasn't been mowed in years; roughly twenty
pots with dead plants lying around.

By the door, three small taped Xs are on the floor, outlined
and indexed (#2).

GOTH GIRL
This is where the tripod was. My
boyfriend borrowed the one we usually
show folks. They never found a camera,
photos, or videos or anything. Gale
must have buried them. These serial
killer dudes take photos to whack
off to later.

ZACK
He's not exactly a serial killer.

GOTH GIRL
Whatever.

She moves to the sink. On the linoleum, the position of
Constance's body has been chalk-lined (#3). In this area are
a pair of handcuffs (#4). Not far off is a roll of packing
tape (#5). A pair of latex kitchen gloves are crumpled on
the sink counter (#6).

GOTH GIRL
She was like totally naked right
here. The meter man saw her through
the door. Gale handcuffed her, taped
her mouth, then taped a bag over her
head so she couldn't breathe. My
boyfriend says that's probably when
he fucked her. Your muscles tense up
when you die -- the sex is better.
(pointing)
He used those housewife gloves so he
wouldn't leave prints. They found
sticky stuff from the tape on them.

Zack picks up the gloves.

GOTH GIRL
We ask folks not to touch the exhibit.

ZACK
Right.

He puts them back.

GOTH GIRL
The totally sick part was where they
found the key --

BITSEY
We know, you can save that.

ZACK
What? Where was it?

GOTH GIRL
It was in her stomach, dude. He made
her swallow it before he bagged her.

A beat. Zack's shocked.

GOTH GIRL
That's pretty much the highlight.

Got questions?

INT. RENTAL CAR - DAY

Bitsey drives. They are on the two-lane highway to Huntsville.
Zack smokes out the window.

BITSEY
It was in the case file.

ZACK
Fuck, in her stomach? That's colder
than Wisconsin.

BITSEY
(looking in the
rearview mirror)
Zack, open your vanity.

ZACK
What?

BITSEY
The vanity mirror, pull it down.

He does so.

BITSEY
See that truck behind us?

ZACK
Yeah.

BITSEY
Isn't that the cowboy from the rest
area?

They look in their respective mirrors. Some distance behind
them is the older cowboy in his pickup.

ZACK
Same truck.

BITSEY
Weird coincidence, huh?

ZACK
(turning)
Coincidences are always weird, that's
why they're coincidences.

INT. ELLIS VISITATION AREA - DAY

Bitsey sits in front of David. He's less animated than the
day before, drained. He rubs his wrists. They are speaking
in hushed tones.

A beat.

DAVID
Off-the-record?

BITSEY
Alright, we're off.

DAVID
Constance was murdered with what's
called the Securitat Method. You're
hand-cuffed, forced to swallow the
key, taped at the mouth, a bag's
sealed over your head and you're
left to suffocate. The Securitat did
this to Romanians who wouldn't inform
or confess. Sometimes the bag was
ripped off at the last second, you
got a second chance. If not, you die
knowing the 'key' to your freedom
was inside you the whole time. A
cheap-but-effective metonym. Problem
is I mentioned the method in an early
article. The prosecution never knew.

BITSEY
You're telling me someone's framing
you?

DAVID
It's more than that.

DAVID
There was a tripod.

BITSEY
Right, facing her body. Are we on?

DAVID
(nods agreement)
Not a single print was found on it.
Someone brought it, wiped it, left
it. Why? It's as if they wanted me
to know that somewhere there's a
record of what really happened that
afternoon. As if they wanted me to
die knowing the key to my freedom
was... out there.

BITSEY
Maybe you're being paranoid?

DAVID
Ms. Bloom. I'm an anti-death row
activist on death row. Doesn't that
strike you as odd?

A beat. She nods.

BITSEY
Any ideas who 'they' are?

DAVID
No.

A beat.

DAVID
But I have someone on it, someone
I'm hoping will one day find an
answer.

BITSEY
Belyeu's hired a detective?

He shakes his head.

DAVID
A journalist.

It takes Bitsey a second to understand. David smiles.

DAVID
(mimicking Belyeu)
'She's a smart one.'

ACCELERATED ROTATING ZOOM OUT TO LONG SHOT.

DISSOLVE TO:

WHITE.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. U.T HALLWAY - LONG SHOT - DAY

ACCELERATED ROTATING ZOOM IN.

David and Constance stand by the double doors. He's
concentrated; she's biting her lip. They're looking onto a
large parking lot.

The lot is practically empty except for Sharon and Chase,
who stand near their Jeep. It's packed with various household
items, things not entrusted to movers.

CONSTANCE
I'll drop by your office after.

He nods and goes out.

EXT. U.T. PARKING LOT - DAY

As David approaches them, Chase runs to them -- still carrying
Cloud Dog. He jumps on his dad.

CHASE
Wear me like a fur, Daddy! Wear me
like a fur!

As he walks, David drapes the boy sideways over his shoulders
(like a fur). Chase squeals with pleasure.

DAVID
Who's your hero?

Chase bonks him on the nose. David sets Chase down when he
reaches his WIFE. He kiss him goodbye as the boy struggles
to move on to something else. A long beat as David and his
wife stand uncomfortably.

DAVID
Call me when you get to Boston?

SHARON (WIFE)
Yeah.

A beat.

DAVID
I wish you --

SHARON
Don't.

She turns and walks to the Jeep. The door's open.

SHARON
Chase, get in, Sweetie.

Chase climbs in, sits in the driver's seat.

CHASE
(turning to his dad)
See ya later, Alli-gator.

DAVID
After awhile, Crocodile.

CHASE
Take it easy, Japa-ne-se.

DAVID
Okey-dokey, Artichokey.

SHARON
(to Chase)
Scoot.

Chase scoots over to the passenger seat. Sharon gets in the
driver's seat.

SHARON
I sent you an e-mail.

DAVID
Okay?

SHARON
Just read it.

She closes the door. Suddenly, Chase opens the passenger
side door, runs around the Jeep carrying Cloud Dog. He runs
to his dad, hugs him one last time.

SHARON
(cracking her window)
Come on, Chase.

Chase starts to go back, turns and hands David his Cloud Dog
without comment. He then quickly runs back around the Jeep
and gets in.

David watches them drive away. Chase's hand waves out the
window until they are out of the parking lot.

INSERT - COMPUTER SCREEN

with an e-mail message: "David, I want a divorce. I'm sorry
to say it so plainly, but that's how I feel it. I don't need
time to think, this whole 'rape' thing has only forced..."

INT. DAVID'S U.T. OFFICE - DAY

David sits in front of his computer, staring into space.

The office is institutional, cramped. Books line the walls,
fill the desk.

There's a framed poster (Warhol-style) of Socrates. He reaches
into his desk for a bottle of Black Bush and fills his glass.
There's a KNOCK on the door. Constance enters.

CONSTANCE
You could at least hide the bottle.

David closes the e-mail. She collapses in the chair opposite
his desk, exhausted.

DAVID
Well?

CONSTANCE
Officially, you're on sabbatical.
Unofficially, they want you to look
for another position. It was four to
two.

A beat as he absorbs the information.

DAVID
How did Ross vote?

CONSTANCE
You're not supp... Against you.

David nods.

DAVID
And you?

CONSTANCE
Against my politics.

David mouths a "thank you."

EXT. GALE HOUSE - DAY

A Century 21 real estate agent is putting a "For Sale" sign
in the front yard.

INT. UPSCALE RESTAURANT - DAY

David is having lunch with an IVY LEAGUE-LOOKING MALE in his
fifties. Only water and bread are on the table.

DAVID
So, I wanted to get your feedback on
the idea.

The Ivy Leaguer vigorously butters his bread.

IVY LEAGUER
Look, Professor Gale, I could sit
here, as I'm sure others have, and
plead departmental cutbacks. Claim
you need more publications, or I
need a minority, whatever. All bull-
geschichte. Your record's brilliant.
You're an original voice worth -- in
the scarcity-defines-value capitalist
system under which we toil -- your
weight in gold. Hell, it's not even
the alcohol. It'd be nice to have
faculty whose crutch wasn't Prozac.
But, to speak plainly, if I hire
you, in the eyes of the regents,
alumni and every freshman with an
ear for gossip, I'd be hiring a
rapist.

He takes a bite of bread.

IVY LEAGUER
You're not politically correct, Dr.
Gale. Welcome to the club.

EXT./INT. DAVID'S APARTMENT - DAY

David stands on the balcony of a sparsely-furnished 420-a-
month apartment. Books are stacked everywhere. An Interstate
runs nearby. He holds a phone, looks down in the pool area.

DAVID'S POV

A horribly-tanned man in his seventies (wearing a Speedo)
attempts to do Tai Chi.

CHASE (V.O.)
(on his mom's answering
machine)
We aren't home. Please, tell us a
message.

SHARON (V.O.)
(cueing him in the
b.g.)
At the beep.

CHASE (V.O.)
At the peep.

ON DAVID

David lets the PHONE BEEP, just stares down at the man, saying
nothing.

EXT. APARTMENT COMPLEX PARKING LOT - DAY

As David gets out of his Volvo, a SORORITY PLEDGE (funny
clothes, Greek letters on her cheek) quickly approaches.

She takes his picture with a Polaroid camera.

She runs to a waiting convertible, where two other girls
sit.

SORORITY PLEDGE
I got it! I got it!

She jumps in the car and they speed away.

INT. HIGH-RISE OFFICE - DAY

The office is Philip Stark chic with large window walls --

Austin stretches into the distance. David sits on a sofa
across from an exceedingly ATTRACTIVE WOMAN (early 40s).

ATTRACTIVE WOMAN
What exactly attracts you to the
bond market?

He's staring into space.

ATTRACTIVE WOMAN
Mr. Gale?

He looks at her. She forces a strained smile.

INT. DAVID'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Dark. David lies on the floor, his head propped against a
wall. He's in his underwear and drinking from a Black Bush
bottle. The phone's beside his ear and Chase's MESSAGE on
his wife's MACHINE TWEAKS out of the receiver speaker. After
the BEEP, David hangs up, gets a DIAL TONE, and punches re-
dial. The MESSAGE STARTS again.

After the BEEP, he hangs up, gets a DIAL TONE, and punches
re-dial.

INT. SMALL OFFICE - DAY

David is in the office of an overdressed YUPPIE BLACK MAN
(early 20s). David is doing his active listening thing.

YUPPIE MAN
(over-articulating)
Now, Mr. Gale, I want you to tell me
three personal qualities you have
that would make you a successful
Radio Shack manager.

EXT. GOLF COURSE - DAY

David and Belyeu approach a ball fifty feet from the green.

BELYEU
Because divorce proceedings do not
require her presence in the country.
For a custody hearin', yeah, she'll
have to return.

David chooses a club.

BELYEU
But without successful completion of
an alcohol treatment program, you'll
be lucky to get the odd Thanksgivin'.

David walks to the ball.

DAVID
So my chances of getting partial
custody aren't good?

BELYEU
Roughly the same as you sinkin' that
from here.

David looks at him, then concentrates on the ball -- suddenly
it has meaning. He swings. The ball lands in a water trap.

INT. PICTURESQUE MOUNTAIN ROAD - DAY

David's Volvo winds up the road, enters through a gate. A
sign beside the gate: "The Go lightly: A Recovery Clinic."

FADE TO:

BLACK.

FADE IN:

EXT. CONSTANCE'S HOUSE (3307) - DAY

It's a beautiful day. The house looks much different than in
the Goth Girl's care -- flower bed, well-manicured lawn,
fresh paint. The "Block Home" sign is in the window. David's
Volvo pulls up in front.

INT./EXT. CONSTANCE'S FRONT HALLWAY - DAY

Constance opens the door for David. He's wearing a short
sleeved Radio Shack shirt and tie. She's taken aback.

Looks at him a beat, bites her lip, suppresses a laugh.

CONSTANCE
I'm sorry.

He plays hurt, then they both burst out laughing.

LONG SHOT - CONSTANCE AND DAVID

She hugs him as they laugh on the porch.

INT. CONSTANCE'S LIVING ROOM - DAY

The living room is now Laura Ashley cozy. The sliding door
is open so the room's sunny, breezy. Constance leads David
in. She looks tired but is animated, a bit too much so. Her
hair is different.

CONSTANCE
You look good.

DAVID
I feel... washed.

She smiles at him maternally, touches his face. They hug
again.

CONSTANCE
(lightly, in his arms)
I need you. DeathWatch needs you,
now more than ever.

DAVID
Nothing like I need you, both. You're
all I have.

CONSTANCE
Look.

She moves from him, takes a photo from a case file on her
kitchen table.

CONSTANCE
Jo Ann Johnson's been re-scheduled.

INSERT - PHOTO

of a young black women -- pleasant, timid.

BACK ON SCENE

CONSTANCE
I've got a call with Hawkins tonight,
and if national will commit emergency
funds...

She lifts a small plant, moves to the porch.

DAVID
Jo Ann will be commuted and you'll
only prove the system works.

He notices she has bruises on her arms.

CONSTANCE
But I'll save a life.

DAVID
(referring to the
bruises)
Where'd you get those?

CONSTANCE
Spring cleaning.

EXT. CONSTANCE'S PORCH

CONSTANCE
She went up at 18, she's 26 now.

She sets the plant down among others. At the very back of
the yard, the Older Cowboy spades in a vegetable garden.

DAVID
(calling to the Cowboy)
Hey! She ever not make you work when
you come by?

OLDER COWBOY
(raising his spade in
greeting)
Mornin', David.

DAVID
(turning to Constance)
What's her story?

CONSTANCE
I really want us to get behind this
one. She's articul --

DAVID
Constance, who did she kill?

Constance looks at him a beat, sighs.

CONSTANCE
A cop.

DAVID
She admit to it?

Contance sheepishly nods.

DAVID
You're a crazy woman. Not your medium
grade thinks-she's-Teddy Roosevelt's-
bathrobe, but stark-raving-loose-
screws-in-the-belfry insane.

CONSTANCE
You're mixing metaphors.

DAVID
A real danger to flora and fauna.

CONSTANCE
Are we gonna do this?

DAVID
(the smile)
And how.

He kisses her on the forehead -- he's surprised.

DAVID
You're burning up.

EXT. STARBUCKS - NIGHT

David exits the store carrying four large coffees in a cup-
container, tries to sip one without spilling the others.
He's still wearing the Radio Shack shirt, seems happier.

In the parking lot, a hip high schooler jumps out of his
Camero and moves toward the store. As David comes in front
of the car, he sees his former baby-sitter sitting in the
passenger seat. Their eyes meet. He smiles. She smiles back,
waves. As he passes, he hears the girl hit the car's automatic
DOOR-LOCK BUTTON.

INT. OFFICE OF DEATHWATCH (AUSTIN) - NIGHT

David enters carrying the coffee. The matron sits on a desk
licking envelopes. The college guy is on the floor beneath a
desk rewiring a computer terminal.

COLLEGE GUY
(calling from beneath
a desk)
Howdy, Mr. Gale.

DAVID
Hello, folks.

David goes to the Matron, gives her cup and three Sweet &
Lows.

MATRON
Hello. My, this is service. Thank
you.

DAVID
Gladly.

He takes one of the unsealed envelopes from her stack, then
puts a cup beside the legs of the College Guy.

DAVID
Latte on your left, partner.

David makes his way to the back office. The College Guy gives
the Matron a look -- they're surprised, pleased.

INT. BACK OFFICE - DAY

Constance sits at a spartan desk. Nothing is on the walls,
though a window opens onto the alley behind. She's talking
on the SPEAKER PHONE with the DeathWatch national director --
a social gathering is going on behind him.

DIRECTOR (V.O.)
...and see what kind of resources
the religious groups can deliver.

David comes through the door. She waves him in.

CONSTANCE
I'm sure we can get some pulpit time,
maybe cable.

He sets her coffee in front of her. Then sits across from
her.

DIRECTOR (V.O.)
Cable's good. Listen, I need to run.
For now, I agree the first press
release should focus on the woman's
youth.

David holds up the envelope for Constance to see, then
animatedly licks and seals it. He then, literally, pats
himself on the back.

DIRECTOR (V.O.)
I'll have the Washington people look
into counsel competency, though I'm
almost sure she's exhausted this
issue on appeal.

She smiles at him, shakes her head.

CONSTANCE
(to the phone)
John, David's going to --

DIRECTOR (V.O.)
Oh, I almost forgot. He's not around,
is he?

Constance hesitates, looks at David. He shakes his head no.

CONSTANCE
No.

DIRECTOR (V.O.)
Good, keep it that way. His
relationship to DeathWatch is over,
terminated. Last thing we need is
this rape thing coming back to bite
our butts.

Constance is not sure how to react. David just stares at
her.

DIRECTOR (V.O.)
These guys don't stay on the wagon
for very long.

David stands up and leaves the room, quickly. His coffee
spills. Constance can only watch.

DIRECTOR (V.O.)
I'm serious, Constance. Ban him from
the premises. I realize you two...

EXT. DEATHWATCH OFFICE (AUSTIN) - NIGHT

Constance comes anxiously out the front door.

CONSTANCE'S POV

David's Volvo pulls out of the parking lot.

BACK TO SCENE

She stands watching it drive away, breathing heavily. She
winces, grabs her stomach, vomits on the sidewalk.

EXT. AUSTIN STREET - NIGHT

The Volvo is parked on a seedy Southside street. David stands
at a phone booth and dials a long-distance number and a
calling code. He waits, impatiently, looks across the street:
There's a liquor store.

CLOSEUP - RECEIVER

at his ear, Chase's MESSAGE BEGINS.

BACK ON DAVID

He speaks into the PHONE after the BEEP.

DAVID
Sharon, pick up. For once just pick
up the goddamn phone! If you keep
him in Spain, I'll... I'm begging
you. He's my son! Please! Please....
Please.

David starts to put the receiver back, then suddenly starts
smashing it against the phone's body; he smashes it long
after there is anything left to destroy, long after his hand
bleeds.

EXT. CONSTANCE'S HOUSE (3307) - NEXT DAY

Constance walks with car keys and a large stack of mail toward
her front porch. She looks like she hasn't slept in weeks.
David is sitting on the porch beneath the Block Home sign,
holding Cloud Dog. He wears the Yale sweatshirt, the Radio
Shack shirt is wrapped around his injured hand. He's sloppy
drunk.

DAVID
We're seeking refuse, refuge, uge.

CONSTANCE
Come on, come inside.

She opens the door as he stands.

DAVID
We fell off our wagon.

INT. CONSTANCE'S LIVING ROOM - DAY

David enters rambling, stands leaning against the back of
the couch, holding the sheep.

DAVID
Know why Saint Jude is the patron
saint of lost causes? 'Cause his
real name was Judas. There were two
Judases, Judai, the saint guy and
the bad Judas who ratted on Jesus,
and tried to kiss him. Medievalers
wouldn't pray to good Judas for fear
of getting bad Judas on the line by
mistake. Ergo, they only gave him
business when really desperate. That's
why. Then they changed his name.

She's not in the room.

DAVID
Constance?

He looks back toward the entry hall. A small flyer lightly
blows along the floor into the living room.

DAVID
Your mail's blowing.

He looks in the entry hall.

ENTRY HALL

Constance lies unconscious on the floor near the open door.
The mail is scattered about her.

INT. HOSPITAL WAITING ROOM - DAY

David sleeps in a chair, on the floor beside him is a stack
of vending-machine coffee cups. A typical hospital INTERCOM
can be heard throughout the scene.

A female DOCTOR (mid-30s) sits beside him, lightly shakes
his shoulder. He wakes, groggy.

DOCTOR
How we doing?

DAVID
Fine. How's Constance?

DOCTOR
Sleeping.

A beat as he collects himself, sits up.

DOCTOR
Mr. Gale, a leukemia patient's
condition is highly susceptible to
external stress. While we don't want
to totally restrict Constance's life --

DAVID
What?

DOCTOR
Constance's illness requires a degree
of regularity.

DAVID
Constance has leukemia?

DOCTOR
Acute. She was diagnosed last fall.

A beat as the situation clarifies for both of them. David is
stunned, the doctor embarrassed.

DOCTOR
Have I created a problem?

DAVID
No, no.

They sit in silence. The hospital intercom seems to say:

GUARD (V.O.)
Gale, time's up.

CLOSEUP - DAVID

CAMERA SLOWLY ROTATES.

DISSOLVE TO:

WHITE.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. ELLIS VISITATION AREA - CLOSEUP - BITSEY - DAY

CAMERA SLOWLY ROTATES. Bitsey stares at David, engrossed.

DAVID
When I asked why she hadn't told me,
she muttered, 'too busy.' I guess
she figured as long as death was
chasing her, she could help others
escape.

He stands, goes to the back of the cage to be handcuffed.

DAVID
Constance left the world better than
she found it.
(beat)
It's a small, difficult thing.

EXT. ELLIS UNIT PARKING LOT - DAY

The rental car sits in a corner of the mostly empty lot, as
far as possible from the razor-wire fence and exercise pens.

INT. RENTAL CAR - DAY

Zack waits in the driver's seat, smoking. He looks nervously
through the windshield toward the pens. Bitsey raps on the
window, startling him.

ZACK
Fuck.

Zack unlocks the door, throws his cigarette out. Bitsey opens
the door and gets in.

ZACK
Hey.

BITSEY
(waving her hand at
the smoke)
For God's sake, Zack.

ZACK
You're not a happy camper.

BITSEY
It's not a happy place.

He STARTS the CAR.

ZACK
Talked to the Austin prosecutor.
Belyeu's a yokel. Prosecutor says he
fucked up the penalty phase, says
Gale probably would have gotten life
on mitigating factors. Gale stuck
with him, though, all through appeals,
despite major pro bono offers.

BITSEY
What else?

ZACK
Notta on Berlin, we pick up the money
in Houston tonight, overheat light
came on twice, and you're about to
get a surprise.

BITSEY
I don't want a surprise.

ZACK
(pointing ahead)
Too late.

EXT. ELLIS UNIT DRIVE GUARDHOUSE - DAY

The guardhouse is now occupied. The crossing guard is down.
Across the drive sits a Texas Highway Patrol car.

All along the drive's left side, protest vehicles are parked
in the grass. They stretch out to the two-lane highway, where
another Highway patrol car is stationed.

The drive's right side is also marked off, though the only
vehicle on this side is a Houston TV news truck. Six people
in ponchos discuss something in the middle of the drive.

The rental car ENTERS the FRAME.

INT. RENTAL CAR

Bitsey and Zack approach the guardhouse.

ZACK
This is mostly an Oklahoma caravan.
I got stuck behind them on the way
in.

The guardhouse attendant looks in, waves them through as the
crossing guard lifts.

ZACK
Execution's not for another 36 hours.
It's gonna be a zoo. There's the
P.R. guy.

Standing among the six people in ponchos is Duke Grover.

They pass him in SLOW MOTION. He sees them, smiles, makes a
"Hello" shooting-gesture.

BITSEY
What a life, waiting around for
someone to die.

ZACK
Fuck, look.

The next-to-last vehicle on the left is the Older Cowboy's
pickup. He sits inside talking with another man. The Older
Cowboy sees them, touches his hat as they pass.

BITSEY
This is a little too coincidental.

EXT. TWO-LANE HIGHWAY - DAY

The rental car passes a farmhouse.

INT. RENTAL CAR

Bitsey and Zack are headed to Huntsville.

ZACK
'Cause I couldn't see the license
plate.

BITSEY
Forget it. What time is it?

ZACK
6:05. Why don't you have a watch?

BITSEY
It's a long story.

EXT. TWO-LANE HIGHWAY - DAY

The rental car passes a black teenager hitchhiking in front
of an abandoned vegetable stand.

EXT. MOTEL SIX GANGWAY - DAY

Bitsey and Zack make their way to their rooms. Zack's is
first.

BITSEY
Give me an hour.

INT. ZACK'S MOTEL SIX ROOM - DAY

Zack unlocks his door, enters. The room's a mess, papers
everywhere. He walks toward a portable computer sitting on
the room desk.

BITSEY
Zack!

Zack runs from the room.

EXT. MOTEL SIX GANGWAY - DAY

Zack runs towards Bitsey. She stands outside her room.

ZACK
What!?

BITSEY
It's open.

ZACK
So? Maybe the maid forgot.

BITSEY
(pointing)
Look!

As he comes to her door, he sees what she's indicating:

Between the door and its frame, someone has stuck a roll of
duct tape.

INT. BITSEY'S MOTEL SIX ROOM - DAY

Bitsey pushes the door open, looks in and around. She sees
something, enters. Zack enters behind her, sees what she
sees.

ZACK
I'll check the bathroom.

He goes. She approaches the middle of the room.

The room, in contrast to Zack's, is perfectly neat. It has
two twin beds. The nightstand has been moved to the center.
On it is a lamp, turned on. Suspended just above the lamp, a
VHS cartridge hangs from the ceiling by fishing line.

BITSEY'S BATHROOM

Zack checks behind the shower curtain.

ZACK
Clear in here! Don't touch it!

BACK IN BEDROOM

As Zack enters, he sees Bitsey holding the VHS Cassette.

ZACK
Fuck, Bitsey, there could have been
prints.

BITSEY
Look.

She holds up the cassette. It has a label typed from an old
typewriter: "For Bitsey Bloom."

EXT. MOTEL SIX RECEPTION - DUSK

Zack runs out the front door carrying a VCR, the cables drag
the ground behind him. He runs toward the rooms.

INT. BITSEY'S MOTEL ROOM - DUSK

Bitsey unlocks the door, lets Zack in.

ZACK
She says no one asked for you. And
all the room keys are different.

He goes to the TV.

ZACK
Just she and her husband have masters.

BITSEY
What did you tell her?

ZACK
That you have a jealous boyfriend.

He starts to hook up the VCR.

BITSEY
Thanks. How about the V.C.R.?

ZACK
She didn't ask. I think she assumed
it had something to do with why he
was jealous. I still say we should
do this in my room -- this one's a
fucking crime scene.

BITSEY
Whoever got in here -- without a key
in broad daylight -- was probably
smart enough not to leave prints. I
have the remote.

He turns ON the TV.

ZACK
Maybe they could look for D.N.A. Try
three.

BITSEY
(hitting the remote)
They don't look for D.N.A. when
someone breaks in to deliver, Zack.
Here.

She hands him the tape. He starts to put it in, hesitates,
looks back at her.

ZACK
You sure you want to see what's on
here?

BITSEY
No. Start it.

He puts it in, pushes play. She sits on the bed. He sits
beside her. They watch the black leader appear.

BITSEY
I hope this isn't what I think it
is.

CLOSEUP - TV

An image flickers in. It's a woman lying nude on the kitchen
floor of house 3307, facing away from the camera.

An opaque white kitchen bag is over her head, sealed at the
neck with duct tape. Her hands are handcuffed behind her.
She appears dead.

BITSEY (O.S.)
God, no.

ZACK (O.S.)
Fuck. Is it her?

BITSEY (O.S.)
Turn it up.

BACK TO SCENE

They stare at the screen, she bites a thumbnail. He turns
the sound up.

INT. HOUSE 3307 - KITCHEN - DAY (ON TV)

Hi-8 video: The woman does not move. The kitchen is cleaner
than we've seen it, but otherwise unchanged.

Kitchen gloves can be seen -- laid upside down and inside
out -- on the dish rack beside the sink. Near the body on
the floor is a roll of duct tape. In the lower right corner
of the screen is part of what looks like a towel.

The audio is full of ATMOSPHERIC HUM. A REFRIGERATOR
contributes. BIRDS can barely be heard in the distance, so
can what sounds like a LAWN MOWER.

Suddenly, the woman makes a muffled sound, seems to come to
life. Her wrists start to pull against the handcuffs, then
jerk at them. She panics. He legs flail, kick against the
counter. She screams, muffled, frantic. She rolls onto her
stomach, her whole body fights against the cuffs. She
desperately rubs her face along the linoleum trying to rip
the plastic. Soon, her energy wanes, she jerks less. Her
covered face now points toward the camera. Her head seems to
rock, a sleepy nod. Her body goes slack. Black.

EXT. MOTEL SIX GANGWAY - DUSK

Bitsey stands at the railing, looking out at the interstate
and a thunderstorm gathering on the horizon.

After a few seconds, Zack comes up beside her.

ZACK
Belyeu says to bring the tape first
thing tomorrow. Also said you were
right about not calling the police.

A beat, she keeps looking straight on.

ZACK
Are you gonna be okay?

Bitsey takes a deep breath, turns to him, holds his eyes.

She shakes her head no. Her lips start to tremble. He puts
his arms around her as she starts to cry.

INT. KETTLE RESTAURANT - NIGHT

Bitsey and Zack sit at a booth having coffee. Zack smokes.
The VHS cassette is also between them, as is a small stack
of crumpled tissues. The thunderstorm can be heard in the
distance. The waitress is refilling their cups, and they
wait until she leaves. Hushed tones.

ZACK
Let's say Gale's right. Some sick-
fuck-Agatha Christie-wannabe set him
up, arranged like the perfect murder.
Why send a magazine journalist proof
a few hours before he's won? Doesn't
make sense.

BITSEY
No, it's perfect. He knows News
Magazine won't give the scoop to the
dailies or nightly news, not after
having paid for it. Probably guessed
we wouldn't call the cops. And, most
importantly, knows I'll tell Gale
tomorrow.

ZACK
Why does he give a shit?

BITSEY
Zack, what if Harraway's murder was
just a means to getting Gale. I mean
sending him through hell, a sick cat
and mouse game. You kill the one
person he has left. Make sure he
sits six years on death row for the
murder -- a place he's made a public
career of loathing. And then just
let him die, die knowing everyone
will remember him with disgust. You
destroy his loved ones, his life's
work, his memory -- and you make him
watch.

ZACK
That's a lot of hate. You're talking
beyond sadism.

Bitsey gestures to the tape, makes a need-I-say-more face.

ZACK
Then why release it?

BITSEY
If the mouse dies the game's over.
Maybe the cat's enjoying himself.
Or...

ZACK
Or?

BITSEY
(picks up the tape)
Imagine walking to the chamber knowing
this exists.

ZACK
The 'cat' is a fucking psychopath.

BITSEY
Yeah, but smart.

EXT. MOTEL SIX - NIGHT

The storm batters the motel. We see Bitsey's dark front
window. Lightning. A figure stands looking out. More
lightning. It's Bitsey, intently watching the night.

INT. RENTAL CAR - DAY

SUPERIMPOSE: DAY THREE

On the back seat is an aluminum suitcase. Zack sits beside
it looking out the back window. Bitsey drives.

It's still raining, hard. They're on the two-lane highway to
Austin.

ZACK
Why do they call it check-book
journalism if we always pay cash?

CLOSE ON DASH

The over-heat light is on.

BACK TO SCENE

ZACK
Woa, woa. Sadist at six o'clock!

BITSEY
Is it the truck?

ZACK'S POV

The cowboy's truck can be seen through the tire mist fifty
yards behind them.

ZACK
Yep, and doing a lousy job of hiding.

Bitsey watches in the rearview mirror. Zack out the back
window.

ZACK
He must think we're idiots. You think
he's our fucked-up feline?

Bitsey doesn't respond, just watches in the mirror, then:

BITSEY
Is he gaining?

ZACK
No. Just sitting back there.

BITSEY
Can you see the license?

ZACK
Too much mist. What the fuck does
this guy want?

INT. LAW OFFICE OF BENJAMIN BELYEU - DAY

The office has a view of the rain-soaked capital.

Expensively decorated. Dark woods and deep carpets --

Belyeu's practice is clearly thriving. A sharp-looking CLERK
sits at a corner table counting money from the aluminum
suitcase. Bitsey sits on a huge sofa. Belyeu stands just
outside his door.

BELYEU (O.S.)
Fine. Oh, and bring in Miss Bloom's
original when that's done.
(entering, to Bitsey)
Don't blame you for not watching
that twice.

He goes to his desk and starts sifting through papers.

BITSEY
I couldn't sleep afterwards.

BELYEU
I understand. I generally tell folks
I'm no more afraid of the grim reaper
than I am of a Presbyterian on
Mother's Day. But watching your
tape... well. I had to keep tellin'
myself 'that's not Constance' just
to get through.
(a beat)
Unfortunately, others may argue the
same.

BITSEY
Yeah, but it's her kitchen, in her
house.

BELYEU
Currently home to Weirdos
Incorporated. Arguably, that tape
could have been made by anybody with
twenty dollars and a tolerance for
vulgarity.

BITSEY
But it will at least get us a
postponement?

BELYEU
I hope so, Miss Bloom, I certainly
hope so. But you've got to remember
that there's a machine a runnin'.
And come six o'clock tomorrow mornin'
that machine wants to be fed.

The Clerk puts the last of the money back into the suitcase.

CLERK
All here, Mr. Belyeu.

BELYEU
(to the Clerk)
Thank you, Joshua.
(to Bitsey)
To add to our troubles, your own
credibility may come into question.

The Clerk exits.

BITSEY
Why?

BELYEU
You've been fraternizin' with the
condemned. In the court's eyes, he's
the most likely candidate to have
put you onto the tape. He's a
persuasive man, you're a out-of-state
woman -- it don't look good on paper.

BITSEY
But someone put it in my hotel room.

BELYEU
A fact for which we have no evidence.

A very professional-looking assistant enters, hands Bitsey
her video.

BELYEU
Thank you, Bobbi.

BITSEY
Thanks.

BELYEU
(standing)
Well, let's not start readin' Kafka
just yet. Could we find a sympathetic
judge. I'll file within the hour.
You headin' back over to Ellis?

BITSEY
(standing)
Yeah.

BELYEU
Fine. I'll call over at the motel
later and give you an update.

INT. OFFICE HALLWAY - DAY

Bitsey comes out of two huge oak doors, walks past a gold
"Belyeu and Crane" sign. She turns a corner.

At the end of another short hall, she comes to the elevator,
pushes the call button. As she waits, she looks out an
adjacent window at the capital in the rain. She remembers
something, looks down -- she has her purse but no umbrella.

BITSEY
Shit.

She heads back toward Belyeu's office.

As she turns the corner, she sees the older cowboy enter the
Belyeu and Crane office.

EXT. AUSTIN OFFICE BUILDING - DAY

Bitsey hurries umbrella-less through the rain to the rental
car parked in the loading zone.

INT. RENTAL CAR - DAY

Bitsey opens the door. Zack's in the passenger seat. She
doesn't bother to sit.

BITSEY
Did you see the cowboy go in?

ZACK
He went in Belyeu's building?

BITSEY
Into his office. Just saw him.

ZACK
Fuck!

BITSEY
Follow him. Find out who he is, where
he lives -- what he --

ZACK
How are you gonna get to Ellis?

BITSEY
A taxi.

Zack makes a face.

EXT. ELLIS UNIT DRIVE - DAY

A taxi makes its way through the hundreds of protesters and
press that now gather along the drive.

INT. ELLIS VISITATION AREA - DAY

Bitsey, wet and hugging herself, paces in front of David.

She's upset.

DAVID
Okay, okay. Calm down. You have to
sit.

Over the loudspeaker:

GUARD (V.O.)
Visitors need to stay seated.

She sits.

DAVID
(to the microphone
above)
Sorry.
(to Bitsey)
Look at me. He's not your man. His
name is Dusty Wright, DeathWatch
Director before Constance. He's a
'bullhorner,' a zealot who thinks a
good demonstration has to end in a
riot and arrests. 'Almost martyrs
don't mean shit.' They fired him.
Constance kept him in the
organization, and he loved her for
it. The man adored her.

BITSEY
Then why was he following us? Why
was he at Belyeu and Crane?

DAVID
He and Benny used to work A.C.L.U.
cases together, until Dusty punched
a clansman in a federal court. Benny
sometimes still gives him work,
probably had him follow you.

BITSEY
Why?

A beat. David looks up at the microphone.

DAVID
To make sure you honored your
agreement, one for which there's no
contract.

BITSEY
He would've said something.

DAVID
He's a lawyer, Ms. Bloom.

BITSEY
Maybe Dusty was jealous because you
were seeing Constance.

DAVID
I wasn't 'seeing' Constance.

BITSEY
She died... she had your sperm --

DAVID
It's more complicated than that.

TWO SHOT

Rotates.

DISSOLVE TO:

WHITE.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. ALLEY - MED. SHOT - DAVID - SUNRISE (ROTATING CAMERA)

David sits in a lawn chair beside his Volvo. The tailgate's
down, serving as a makeshift table for a coffee thermos and
whiskey bottle. David stares off down the alley, clearly in
pain. He holds a child's drawing.

INSERT - DRAWING

Has Gaudi's church and a matador in background. Prominent in
the foreground are three labeled figures: Sharon ("Mommy"),
Chase ("Me") and a dark-haired man ("Papa Jorge"). Jorge is
dressed in a tux, Sharon seems to wear a bridal gown.

INT. DEATHWATCH AUSTIN OFFICE - SUNRISE (6:09)

The atmosphere is tense. Dusty Wright sits on a deskholding
a red Magic Marker, the matron sits behind it.

They look at the college guy, who closely watches a computer
screen.

In the center of the room, a middle-aged priest sits and
quietly prays while holding the hands of an overweight woman,
she murmurs quiet affirmations.

Finally, the college guy looks up at Dusty, nods. The room's
occupants all exchange glances.

Dusty walks to the photo wall, marks a cross through the
photo of Jo Ann Johnson, then walks to the back office.

INT. BACK OFFICE - SUNRISE

Constance, wrapped in an afghan, sleeps on a futon. She's
shockingly anemic.

Dusty kneels beside her, watches her sleep. After a beat,
she wakes with a slight jolt -- like someone whose been
fighting to stay awake. She looks at him, then sees the marker
in his hand. She looks away.

CONSTANCE
All I can feel is envy.

Dusty stands, goes to the alley window.

DUSTY'S POV

David's Volvo is parked just outside the window. David sits
in a lawn chair behind it. David looks awful.

EXT. ALLEY - SUNRISE

In the window, Dusty holds up the marker. David nods.

EXT. HOUSE 3307 - CONSTANCE'S BACK YARD - DUSK

David sits on the porch holding a drink, a bottle of Black
Bush in the chair beside him. He's staring at nothing.

Constance comes out the open sliding glass door, wearing a
turtleneck sweater and wrapped in her afghan. She goes to
the chair beside him, picks up the bottle and sits. They
silently survey the yard, the sunset. She hugs the bottle,
he sips his drink.

CONSTANCE
Remember those Kubler-Ross stages,
the ones the dying go through?

DAVID
Denial, anger, bargaining, depression,
and acceptance. Where are you?

CONSTANCE
Denial.

DAVID
Denial's my personal favorite.

CONSTANCE
The whole idea of there being a
process makes me tired. I'm not up
to the job of Dying Person. Marveling
at blades of grass. Lecturing
strangers to relish every moment.

DAVID
Mending bridges.

CONSTANCE
Mending bridges. Confessing regrets.
Uuuggh.

DAVID
No regrets?

CONSTANCE
Nope.

A beat.

CONSTANCE
Take that back. I wish I had a child.

DAVID
Me, too.

CONSTANCE
I'm sorry, David.

She reaches over and puts her hand on his arm.

CONSTANCE
I guess I just wish I would have
risked more.

She has the bottle in her other hand, looks at it, takes a
swig.

CONSTANCE
(making a face,
swallowing hard)
Uumm, also not enough sex. Should
have had more sex.

She puts the bottle down beside her chair.

DAVID
How much... how many lovers have you
had?

CONSTANCE
Including college?

DAVID
Including college.

Her hand (on his arm) holds up four fingers.

DAVID
Well, it's... not every... yeah, you
should have had more sex.

She laughs, coughs. He laughs. Their laughter trails off
into the yard. He takes her hand in his.

CONSTANCE
You work hard not to be seen as a
sex object. Before long, you're not
seen at all.

DAVID
I see you.

They are holding hands in the air, their elbows on the chairs'
armrests.

DAVID
Want to make it five? Finish the
hand?

CONSTANCE
A pity lay. No thanks.

A beat. They watch their fingers lightly play with one
another.

DAVID
It wouldn't be pity.

They turn, their eyes meet, hold.

INT. CONSTANCE'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

Constance and David are in bed making love. He's on top, one
hand supports her head, the other strokes her face.

They tenderly kiss. He starts moving, gently.

DAVID
Are you okay?

CONSTANCE
Don't worry.

He kisses her neck.

CONSTANCE
It's good.

Moves up to her ear.

CONSTANCE
Talk to me. Let me hear your voice.

DAVID
(in her ear)
I'm here. Happy. I'm very happy.

He kisses her mouth, moves against her in delicate rhythm.

Her moans take on a teary edge. Their voices, breathless
whispers, meld into one another.

CONSTANCE
Hold me tight.

DAVID
I'm here.

CONSTANCE
Tight... I'm scared.

DAVID
It's okay.

She's begun to cry.

DAVID
Okay.

He stops moving, kisses her tears.

CONSTANCE
Don't stop. Stay in me. Please stay
in me.

He moves again, slowly.

DAVID
Shhh. I'm staying.

CONSTANCE
I need to feel you inside.

DAVID
It's okay. I'm inside. I'm not pulling
out.

CONSTANCE
I'm so tired.

DAVID
I know, I know.

CONSTANCE
Tired of being afraid.

DAVID
Shhh.

CONSTANCE
Help me.

DAVID
I'm here. It's okay.

CONSTANCE
Help me. Please. Make it stop.

DAVID
Shhh. I'm here. I'm here.

EXT. CONSTANCE'S HOUSE (3307) - NIGHT

The house is dark. A light in one of the rooms comes on.

INT. CONSTANCE'S BEDROOM - DAY

She's awake as David enters. He opens the curtains, sets a
glass of water beside bottles on the nightstand. He crawls
on top of the covers, spoons her, nuzzles the back of her
head.

CONSTANCE
How do you feel about last night?

DAVID
Rescued. You?

CONSTANCE
Like I have a reason to get out of
bed. Ironic, huh?

EXT. CONVENIENCE STORE PARKING LOT - DAY

David goes to the pay phone against the building.

INT. CONSTANCE'S BATHROOM - DAY

Constance stands in a bathrobe beside her shower. Turns the
water on. She's caught in a thought, bites her lip.

She turns the water off.

EXT. APARTMENT POOL AREA - DAY

David sits in a lounger speaking to someone on his right.

He's sober.

DAVID
Let's say they move back from Spain,
that I somehow got my one weekend a
month. Would it matter? By high
school, I'd be his weak spot, the
focus of locker room jabs, embarrassed
pride. In college there'd be late-
night angst: 'What if I turn out
like the old man?' Holidays would be
forced smiles and unscheduled exits.
I mean, what girl comes home with
you if there's talk that Pops is a
rapist?

A beat.

DAVID
I can't stand the idea of being his
model of failure. Without him, I
drink. To cover the hole. To prove
to myself he's better off without
me.

CAMERA PULLS BACK to reveal Dusty Wright sitting in the
lounger beside him.

INT. CONSTANCE'S KITCHEN - DAY

Constance, still in her robe, puts an armful of sheets in
the washing machine. She feels faint.

EXT. FORMER GALE HOUSE - BACK YARD - DAY

David sits in a swing set, rocks slowly. He's simply looking
at the house. A yuppie woman opens the back door.

DAVID
(standing)
Sorry, just leaving.

INT. CONSTANCE'S LIVING ROOM - DAY

Constance is quickly sorting through a box of memorabilia, a
photo catches her attention.

INSERT - PHOTO

Constance on vacation in a Caribbean resort. She sits alone
at a dinner table, looks to camera, seems surprised to be
photographed.

BACK ON SCENE

As Constance contemplates the photo, she hears the DOORBELL
ring.

EXT. LAWN - FROM ABOVE - DAY

We see David lying in the grass of recently-cut lawn.

INT. DAVID'S VOLVO - DUSK

David in the car in a mall parking lot, staring at nothing.
On the seat beside him is Cloud Dog and a half empty Black
Bush bottle.

INT. DAVID'S VOLVO - NIGHT

David's asleep, using Cloud Dog as a pillow. The bottle is
empty.

A light flashes in on him, waking him. There's a KNOCK on
the window -- it's the police. He's blinded by the flashlight.

POLICEMAN

ROTATING CAMERA. The policeman holds the light.

POLICEMAN (V.O.)
(a loudspeaker voice)
Gale, time's up.

DISSOLVE TO:

WHITE.

DISSOLVE TO:

INT. ELLIS VISITATION AREA - BITSEY AND DAVID - DAY

ROTATING CAMERA. Bitsey's agitated. David's drained.

BITSEY
But there has to be someone. Someone
with a motive, who knew you both.
Someone who visited that morning.

DAVID
If I could answer... we wouldn't be
having this conversation. It's why I
need you, why I chose you. You have
my story, now...
(mimicking her delivery)
'Go.'

BITSEY
There's not enough time.

The guard approaches.

DAVID
You'll find time.

BITSEY
You know that's not what I meant.
You should have done this earlier.

DAVID
You're not here to save me. You're
here to save my son's memory of his
father -- that's all I want.

A beat.

BITSEY
You're going to let them kill you.

David moves to the back of the cage to be handcuffed.

DAVID
We live to stop death. Eating,
inventing, loving, praying, fighting,
killing -- choose a verb. All to
stall this evil, Job's 'king of
terrors.' But what do we really know
about it? Nobody comes back. There's
a point, when your mind out-lives
its obsessions, when your habits
survive your dreams, when your
losses... You wonder, maybe death is
a gift. All I know is that by this
time tomorrow, I'll be better off.
What I don't know is why.
(exits the cage)
Goodbye, Bitsey.

The guard escorts him away. When he's out of earshot:

BITSEY
(softly)
Goodbye, David.

EXT. ELLIS UNIT DRIVE GUARDHOUSE - DAY

A guard hangs up a phone and leans out the door.

GUARD
Car's on its way. Wanna wait in here?

Bitsey stands in the rain. Behind her, hundreds of protesters
flank the drive.

BITSEY
No thanks.

She turns and walks toward the highway.

The parade tape has been replaced with crowd barriers.

The drive's left side now overflows with abolitionists:

They cluster beneath tarps, some sing hymns, others paint
signs ("Don't kill with my taxes!", "Mark 6:10," "Murder
doesn't Stop Murder!"). Beneath one umbrella stands a large
black woman holding a candle -- she watches Bitsey.

The right side is a media circus. Various pro-death penalty
activists also cluster here. They too have prepared signs:
"Rape and Suffocate Him!", "Thank Jesus for Justice," "'Let's
Do it'." A blackboard keeps a countdown: "13 hours."

At the end of the drive, on the left, Bitsey sees a sign
leaning against a camper: "Save David Gale." It catches rain;
its letters run.

INT. KETTLE RESTAURANT - NIGHT

The restaurant's crowded. A Church of Christ couple (50s)
eat without comment. The man's T-shirt reads, "It's Simple:
You Kill, You Get Killed."

In the booth beside them sit Bitsey and Zack, their dinners
largely untouched. Bitsey watches three sleazy JOURNALISTS
at a table not far from theirs.

JOURNALIST #1
I got it. I got it. You could have
corporate sponsors. Volkswagen for
Bundy, Home Depot for Gacy. And 'The
David Gale Execution, brought to you
by...'

JOURNALIST #2
'...Hefty.'

They find this hilarious. Bitsey looks away.

BITSEY
What time is it?

ZACK
(checking his watch)
Nine hours, 52 minutes.

A beat.

EXT. MOTEL SIX PARKING LOT - NIGHT

Pouring rain. As Bitsey and Zack hurry toward their rooms,
they see Belyeu getting out of his Cadillac. He carries
Bitsey's umbrella and opens his own.

BITSEY
Belyeu!

He turns, comes toward them. Bitsey holds a newspaper over
her head, Zack slouches.

BITSEY
Did you have Dusty Wright follow us?

BELYEU
I employ Mr. Wright from time to
time.

BITSEY
You could have said something.

BELYEU
(opening her umbrella)
That would have defeated the purpose.
Apologies if I caused you unnecessary
anxiety, but I'm paid to be
suspicious.
(handing it to her)
Thought I'd return this.

ZACK
Any word on the writ?

BELYEU
Denied. Tape went to a federal judge
two hours ago. Your videographer
friend made contact?

BITSEY
No.

BELYEU
What you got was definitely a snippet.
Could be he has more previews
scheduled. Best stick close to your
room.

BITSEY
How's David?

BELYEU
Holdin' up. I'm headed back over.

BITSEY
Tell him I'll take care of it, about
his son, I mean.

BELYEU
Will do. We'll talk later?

She nods.

BELYEU
Watch yourselves.

They turn from one another. Bitsey turns back.

BITSEY
(calling after him)
Mr. Belyeu.

He turns.

BITSEY
Were Dusty and Constance close?

BELYEU
Thick as thieves.

Bitsey nods.

INT. BITSEY'S MOTEL SIX ROOM - NIGHT

Dark. Bitsey and Zack sit on either side of the room's table
looking out the window. Rain shadows run down their faces.
The room phone is on the table, as is Zack's watch: 10:17.

EXT. MOTEL SIX AND KETTLE - LONG SHOT - FROM ACROSS

INTERSTATE - NIGHT

The rain's lightened up. The motel's full. Lights are on in
ten of the motel rooms. The Kettle's lights go off, one after
another.

INT. BITSEY'S MOTEL SIX ROOM - NIGHT

Zack sleeps at the end of one bed, fully dressed. Bitsey,
lost in agitated thought, neatly packs a suit into her
perfectly arranged suitcase. She stops, thinks. She goes to
her purse and takes out the VHS cassette, a pen and a note
pad. Hesitating a beat, she puts the tape in the VCR. She
turns on the TV and waits for an image.

EXT. MOTEL SIX - NIGHT

Rain. All the rooms except Bitsey's are dark. From within
comes a TV glow.

INT. BITSEY'S MOTEL SIX ROOM - INSERT - BITSEY'S

NOTEPAD - NIGHT

She's sketched a flow-chart of the tape with major elements
timed out.

BITSEY

has her shoes off, sits on the floor with her back against a
bed. She's still watching the tape, tired, exasperated.

Finally, she turns the TV OFF, rubs her eyes. She stands,
looks at the radio alarm clock on the nightstand: 11:33.

INT. BATHROOM - NIGHT

Bitsey brushes her teeth. Looks down and sees a towel on the
floor. Picks it up, starts to hang it on the towel rack,
stops, looks at herself in the mirror. A beat. An idea hits
her, first as something odd, then as a freight train. She
spits, hurries into the bedroom.

INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT

BITSEY
(putting on her shoes)
Zack! Wake up! Get up!

He starts to pull himself awake.

BITSEY
Did you throw the towel on the floor?

ZACK
What?

BITSEY
The towel on my bathroom floor. Did
you put it there?

ZACK
Yeah, I guess. It's a hotel room.
What --

BITSEY
Do you do that at home?

ZACK
No. Fuck, Bitsey. I'm sorry, it's
not like it's --

BITSEY
Get up.

She disconnects the VCR.

ZACK
(sitting up)
What the fuck's wrong with you?

BITSEY
Grab the T.V. I want to check
something.

ZACK
What?

BITSEY
We're taking a tour.

ZACK
Where?

She has the VCR. Grabs her purse on the way to the door.

BITSEY
Austin. Get the T.V.

She opens the door, exits.

INT. HOUSE 3307 ENTRY HALL - NIGHT

The DOORBELL RINGS over BAUHAUS MUSIC. The Goth Girl, wearing
only the Nine Inch Nails T-shirt, opens the door.

Bitsey barrages past carrying the VCR, Zack follows with the
TV.

BITSEY
Wanna make a hundred bucks?

GOTH GIRL
What do I gotta do?

INT. HOUSE 3307 LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

Bitsey, Zack and the Goth girl enter.

BITSEY
We're going over the crime scene.

Bitsey checks the kitchen. The tripod's back. The other
exhibit pieces haven't changed.

BITSEY
And for the next hour I want you to
do exactly what I say when I say to
do it. If I say suck Zack's dick,
all I want to hear from you is 'May
I swallow.'

GOTH GIRL
You want me to suck his dick?

ZACK
It's just a patriarchal figure of
speech.

BITSEY
Is your boyfriend here?

GOTH GIRL
He ain't exactly my boyfriend anymore.

BITSEY
Well is his video camera here?

GOTH GIRL
Yeah.

BITSEY
Get it.

She starts to leave, turns back.

GOTH GIRL
I gotta collect first.

Bitsey, moaning, reaches for her purse.

CLOSEUP - STEREO CLOCK

reads 1:48. Zack's hand ENTERS the FRAME, turns the MUSIC
DOWN.

SAME SCENE - MINUTES LATER

Video: The Goth Girl's messy kitchen. Camera zooms in to a
perspective similar to that on the Constance tape. The exhibit
pieces (kitchen gloves, handcuffs, tape roll) are more-or-
less where they were before. The Goth Girl enters the frame,
she's removing pizza boxes and laundry from the counter.

ZACK (O.S.)
Move those index cards, too.

She picks up the index cards.

Zack looks up from a video camera's eye piece. The camera is
on the tripod, connected to the Goth Girl's TV. Near it, the
hotel TV/VCR. Bitsey cues the Constance tape to the beginning,
freezes the image. Zack then checks the camera angle on the
Goth Girl's TV. He moves the TVs so that they are side-by-
side.

BITSEY
Zoom in a hair.

He does so. Bitsey compares perspectives between the left TV
(Goth Girl cleaning) to the right TV (Constance).

BITSEY
Put the gloves on a dish rack.

GOTH GIRL
I don't have one.

Zack goes to the sink, lays three pizza boxes on the counter
as an ersatz dish rack -- he drapes the kitchen gloves over
them.

BITSEY
Turn them inside out.

He does so.

BITSEY
Move the tape roll about a foot to
the left. And get rid of the
handcuffs.

Zack repositions the tape. The Goth Girl picks up the
handcuffs.

BITSEY
Come check this, Zack.
(to the Goth Girl)
Could you... what's your name?

GOTH GIRL
Nico's cool.

BITSEY
Nico, lie down on the floor, facing
the counter.

Zack comes behind the tripod and looks at the TVs. NICO sits
on the floor, starts to take off her T-shirt.

ZACK
We can imagine that part.
(to Bitsey)
I'll position her.

He goes to Nico, arranges her in the position of Constance
(which now bears no relation to the white outline on the
floor).

BITSEY
That's fine. Just straighten her
legs.

Zack comes back behind the tripod. He and Bitsey look at the
two TV images -- roughly the same. The Constance tape,
however, shows what looks like a white towel in the lower
right-hand corner. Bitsey points to it.

BITSEY
What's this?

ZACK
Towel or something.

BITSEY
Okay, look at this.

She plays the tape of Constance for eight seconds.

BITSEY
I noticed this back at the hotel.
See?

Bitsey touches the TV screen by one of Constance's feet.

The foot moves ever so slightly. She hits pause.

BITSEY
She moves her foot. Why?

ZACK
Fucking good question.

BITSEY
It's another fifteen seconds before
she comes to. If she had passed out
once, without fresh air she wouldn't
come back. There was no head trauma,
her blood tested normal --

ZACK
Jesus, maybe she was faking, hoping
he would go away.

BITSEY
Or...

Bitsey looks up at Nico.

BITSEY
We've got to bag her.

ZACK
Woa. Not a good idea.

BITSEY
All right, I'll do it.

SAME SCENE - MINUTES LATER

Nico hurries from the bedroom into the kitchen. Bitsey and
Zack stand by the sink. A white plastic bag is now on the
sink counter; beside it, the roll of duct tape.

NICO
I found it.

Nico hands Zack the key to the handcuffs. He tests them,
then lays them on the counter.

BITSEY
(to Zack)
Okay, I want you to wait three minutes
before you take it off.

ZACK
Bitsey, I'm not so sure about this.

BITSEY
Three full minutes. Just stand behind
the tripod. Both of you.

Zack and Nico move behind the tripod. Bitsey puts the bag on
her head, rips off a long length of tape. She seals the bag
around her neck. She then handcuffs herself from behind,
with some difficulty.

CLOSEUP - KEY

is on the sink counter while she does this.

BITSEY (O.S.)
(through the bag)
Have you started?

BACK TO SCENE

ZACK
Twenty-two seconds.

Bitsey sits on the linoleum, then lies on her side.

ZACK
Thirty seconds.

NICO
Fuckin' wicked.

Bitsey lies perfectly still.

ZACK
Thirty-five... Forty... Forty-five...
Fifty.

NICO
Maybe she shouldn't...

ZACK
Fifty-five... one minute... five...
ten... one-fifteen...

Bitsey starts to pull slightly at the cuffs.

ZACK
Fuck. Twenty... twenty-five...
thirty...

NICO
This isn't cool.

ZACK
...thirty-five... Fuck... one-forty...
one-forty fi...

Bitsey panics, fights like hell against the cuffs.

BITSEY
(through the bag)
Zack!

Zack runs to her, knocking the tripod over. He rips the bag
open. She sucks air.

ZACK
(ripping at the tape)
Jesus fucking Christ, Bitsey. You
okay? What if I'd've waited?

She tries to catch her breath. Nico releases the handcuffs.

ZACK
No more fucking experiments, all
right? Just tell me what's going on.
You okay?

Bitsey nods, holds up her hand, wants to say something.

She takes his arm, looks at him.

BITSEY
(still breathing
heavily)
She... she did it herself.

SAME SCENE - MINUTES LATER

Zack sits on the couch holding the handcuffs and smoking.

Nico sits on one of its armrests. Bitsey, full of adrenaline,
paces in front of them, thinking out loud.

BITSEY
She used the gloves to keep
fingerprints off the tape and bag.
Then she put them back on the dish
rack, but upside down and inside
out, a housewives' habit. A murderer
would have just tossed them aside --
like they were the first time we
were here, like you do a towel in a
hotel.

ZACK
Maybe, all right, maybe.
(indicating the cuffs)
But why wear these?

BITSEY
They threw me. I forgot you have to
have the key to put them on. But she
needed them. She knew she would
instinctively try to rip the bag
off, that at some point automatism
would kick in.

NICO
Fuckin' A, like when people hang
themselves. At the last second they
go chicken, claw at the rope and
shit. The police find their own skin
beneath their nails.

BITSEY
And she swallowed the key so she
couldn't get to it. She made sure
there was no way out.

ZACK
Woa, chill, chill. Why not hang
yourself, or take pills. Why take
your fucking clothes off? Why make
it look like a murder?

A beat. Bitsey contemplates.

BITSEY
It's so calculated. She's handcuffed,
taped at the mouth. The gloves. The
damn tripod.

ZACK
Why, Bitsey? Why fake your own murder?

BITSEY
I don't know.

ZACK
Motive's like a major issue here.

BITSEY
Thanks, Zack.

ZACK
It doesn't make sense. The woman's a
bleeding-heart abolitionist. Why
frame an innocent man? Why send Gale
to the chair for what looks --

BITSEY
What'd you say?

ZACK
She had to know some innocent fuck
would take the fall.

BITSEY
Oh my God, Zack, that's it! That's
why! To prove it happens. To have
absolute proof that the system
convicts innocents.

ZACK
Get the fuck out of here.

BITSEY
No, that's how she thought. She lived
for DeathWatch. If she's gonna die,
why not die for it? That's why the
tripod was here. To record proof,
undeniable proof, the tape. That's
why we got an out-take.

ZACK
A dead woman put the tape in your
room?

BITSEY
Of course not. She needed help,
someone to keep it, release it.
Someone she could trust, someone
dedicated to the cause...

They stare at each other a beat. The same thought:

ZACK
(mimicking Belyeu)
Thick as thieves.

INT. DUSTY WRIGHT'S CABIN - NIGHT

Dusty looks up at a wall clock: 4:23. He sits fully dressed
in his living room, listening to an OPERA. He closes his
eyes.

CAMERA PULLS BACK OUT of his window and into:

EXT. WOODS BESIDE WRIGHT'S CABIN - NIGHT

Behind a couple of trees near the woods' edge, Bitsey and
Zack hide watching him.

ZACK
Hairy.

BITSEY
Come on.

She turns back into the woods.

EXT. DIRT ROAD - NIGHT

Bitsey and Zack emerge from the woods near the rental car.

They walk and speak quickly in the light rain.

BITSEY
...Because of the Berlin thing,
Constance knew the police would go
straight to Gale. In a way, he's
perfect. A high profile alcoholic
whose life was shit anyway. But...

ZACK
She was in love with him.

BITSEY
I don't know. Something. They were
close. She wouldn't want him dead.

They come to the car, get in.

INT. RENTAL CAR - NIGHT

Bitsey drives.

BITSEY
Remember this thing about Dusty being
a bull-horner, going to far?

ZACK
Why he was fired from DeathWatch,
and the A.C.L.U.

BITSEY
Right. Maybe the plan was for Dusty
to release the tape after Gale's
conviction, after a year or so. You
know, force him to dry out, let him
play the heroic victim, give him
back his dignity. So, Dusty Wright's
sitting on this tape, waiting, the
only one who knows about it. And
maybe good ole Dusty starts to think
that an erroneous execution is a
hell of a lot more politically useful
than a last-minute save.

ZACK
Which would only prove the system
works.

BITSEY
Yeah. Almost martyrs don't count.
What's one murder to stop thousands?

ZACK
So he'll wait, release the whole
tape after the execution.

BITSEY
Right. Somewhere he must have the
original. What time is it?

INT. WRIGHT'S CABIN - NIGHT

The wall clock: 4:50. Dusty hears the PHONE RING over a
BARITONE'S ARIA. He turns the MUSIC DOWN, and picks up.

DUSTY
Hello?

EXT. GAS STATION - NIGHT

The gas station is old, isolated on a country road.

Closed, dark. By the road, a single light pole illuminates
the area -- its light catching the drizzle.

Directly beneath the pole is a phone booth, where Bitsey
waits by the rental car.

INT. PHONE BOOTH - NIGHT

Zack is on the phone with the booth door open. Bitsey stands
just outside.

ZACK
Let's talk about your tape... No,
meet me at the station down the hill,
in fifteen minutes.

Zack hangs up before Dusty can respond. He stops out of the
booth and gives Bitsey a tentative look.

INT. WRIGHT'S CABIN - NIGHT

Dusty hangs up, thinks.

EXT. GAS STATION - NIGHT

Bitsey sits in the car's driver seat. Zack stands by the
booth.

BITSEY
Don't move from the booth. Call the
second you see the truck. Remember,
let it ring just once. Then get into
the woods --

ZACK
I know. Go.

BITSEY
(pulling away)
Into the woods, Zack.

ZACK
Go!

EXT. WRIGHT CABIN - NIGHT

Bitsey is in the woods, watches Dusty pull away in the pickup.
She hurries to the front door, enters.

INT. WRIGHT CABIN - NIGHT

Bitsey turns on the lights and begins searching. She sees 11
videos on a bookshelf. Some are labeled, three aren't.

She takes the cassettes to the TV/VCR. Puts one in (her hands
are wet). Nothing. She searches for the right AV channel.

INT. PHONE BOOTH - NIGHT

Zack anxiously waits. His eyes check the road.

INT. WRIGHT CABIN - NIGHT

Bitsey has a picture, but the tape is an old TV western.

She starts to fast forward, realizes she won't be able to do
so with each tape, hits eject. She checks the clock: 5:04.
She takes another unlabeled tape. It's a home video of a
city council meeting.

BITSEY
(hitting eject)
Shit!

She grabs the next unlabeled tape.

EXT. GAS STATION - NIGHT

Zack paces in front of the booth, checks his watch.

INT. WRIGHT CABIN - NIGHT

Bitsey has an old "I Love Lucy" episode. Ejects, looks at
the label: "Lucy." She grabs another, labeled "Unforgiven."
The credits from Unforgiven roll on screen.

BITSEY
Shit!

EXT. GAS STATION - NIGHT

Zack sees lights coming toward him. Gets into the phone booth,
drops two coins, dials six numbers. He hesitates to punch
the seventh, checks the road. The approaching lights belong
to a car. He quickly hangs up.

INT. WRIGHT CABIN - NIGHT

Bitsey is frantic. Another tape is an old Johnny Carson
interview with Pavarotti.

BITSEY
Shit!

She reaches for another.

EXT. GAS STATION - NIGHT

Zack hugs himself in the waning drizzle.

ZACK
Come on. Fucking come on.

INT. WRIGHT CABIN

Bitsey has what looks like an office Christmas party. She
goes for another tape -- the last. Cheyenne Autumn comes up
on the screen. She hits eject.

She gets up, unsure what to do next. She goes back to the
bookshelf, pulls books out to look behind them for more tapes,
indifferent to the mess. She goes to a filing cabinet, quickly
rifles it. She looks around the room, sees something.

She goes to a large oak desk with an old typewriter on it.

After the other drawers, she looks in the lap drawer.

It's empty except for large padded envelope addressed to
"Bitsey Bloom/News Magazine/40 W. 43rd St./New York, New
York 10036." A beat as she stares in disbelief. She rips it
open, pulls out a VHS cassette and checks the label:
"Constance." The PHONE RINGS, startling her. She looks at
the phone, then at the clock: 5:14. The phone doesn't ring
again. A beat of absolute silence.

Bitsey goes quickly to the VCR and puts in the tape -- hands
shaking. After a few seconds, Constance appears standing in
her kitchen by the sink, dressed in a bathrobe. She's wearing
the kitchen gloves and fills a glass with water.

ON VIDEO

Constance turns from the sink:

CONSTANCE (V.O.)
(her voice weak)
Ready?

The response is silent, but she nods. A beat -- she bites
her lower lip. In one quick movement she takes the key from
the handcuffs and swallows it with the water. It goes down
with difficulty; she coughs, then signals she's okay. She
puts the glass in the sink.

She takes the duct tape roll, rips off a long section, sticks
one end to the back of her gloved hand. She tears off another
small section, drops the roll on the floor.

She tapes the small section over her mouth.

She then takes the plastic bag from the counter, looks at it
a beat. Constance turns toward camera, mouth taped, eyes
watering. She nods once, and turns back. She quickly puts
the bag over her head. After she has smoothed the excess air
out with one hand, she takes the packing tape from the other.
She seals the bag around her neck.

She smoothly takes off the gloves. They're inside out and
she snaps them so that the fingers extend. She drops them
upside down on the dish rack. She removes her robe -- she's
nude beneath -- and tosses it aside. It lands in the bottom
right hand corner of the screen.

She feels for the handcuffs on the counter, takes them.

She sits on the floor, cuffs herself. She rolls onto her
side, perfectly still, waiting.

ON BITSEY

Engrossed, trembling. The spell breaks as she comes to the
part of the tape she's seen before. Averting her eyes, she
fast-forwards past where Constance struggles to where she
dies. Constance lies perfectly still. A beat.

VIDEO

A man wearing gloves walks into the frame: Dusty.

ON BITSEY

This is what she's needed.

VIDEO

Dusty goes to Constance, kneels and, removing a glove, checks
her pulse. He looks briefly up into the camera, then stands.

He picks up her robe and comes back past the tripod. A beat.
We see only Constance's dead body -- then black.

ON BITSEY

A hand grabs her shoulder. She screams and spins around.

It's Zack, breathing hard.

ZACK
He didn't show! Fuckin' move!

Bitsey hits the eject button.

EXT. WRIGHT CABIN - NIGHT

Bitsey and Zack hurry out of the cabin and into the woods.

The pickup is nowhere to be seen.

As they disappear into the trees, Dusty can be seen standing
beneath the eave at the side of the house, watching.

EXT. RENTAL CAR - SUNRISE

The car moves full speed through the misty dawn. The drizzle
has stopped.

INT. RENTAL CAR - NIGHT

Bitsey drives. The overheat light is on. Zack has her purse
in his lap, rips a page out of her phone book.

She's almost in tears, yelling.

BITSEY
Everyone! Wake up New York, the
warden, the Governor, the goddamn
Supreme Court death clerk! How far
is it?

ZACK
Took me 30 this afternoon. You've
got 26, maybe more.

BITSEY
I'll make it.

EXT. INTERSTATE - IN FRONT OF MOTEL SIX - SUNRISE

The rental car slides to a near stop on the interstate
shoulder. Zack jumps out, as Bitsey spins away again. He
runs across the frontage road toward the motel in the mist.

EXT. HUNTSVILLE TOWN SQUARE - SUNRISE

The rental car barrels through the empty square, ignoring
stop signs.

EXT. TWO-LANE HIGHWAY - SUNRISE

The rental car flies past a "Huntsville City Limit" sign and
disappears into the fog.

INT. RENTAL CAR - SUNRISE

The overheat light is still on. Bitsey looks down, then turns
on the RADIO. A COUNTRY AND WESTERN SONG is on.

She punches scan.

BITSEY
(to the radio)
Give me the time. Give me the goddamn
time.

EXT. HIGHWAY JUNCTION - SUNRISE

The highway forks off to another. An arrow sign at the fork
reads: "TDC Ellis Unit/8 Miles."

INT. RENTAL CAR - SUNRISE

Bitsey smells something.

EXT. HIGHWAY TO ELLIS UNIT - SUNRISE

The rental car, smoke pouring from the engine, clunks to a
dead roll, stops. Bitsey jumps out, VHS cassette in hand.

She doesn't close the door. Starts running.

Bitsey runs down the middle of the two-lane highway. The
rental car in the b.g. recedes into the mist -- visibility
is no more than fifty yards. The sounds of her breathing and
SHOES HITTING the PAVEMENT ECHO into the mist.

She runs, and runs.

A car comes up quickly behind her. Its HORN BLARES. She turns,
starts to wave it down. The driver SITS ON his HORN, swerves
around her onto highway's shoulder and drives on.

She runs. Runs past an abandoned vegetable stand. Runs past
a sleepy farmhouse.

She runs, and runs.

She slows, out of strength, looks up and down the highway.

Both in front and behind, it leads straight into the mist, a
tunnel of fog. She stumbles on, a final effort.

She runs. Sees something. Stops cold.

Coming toward her in the distance are small flashing lights.
They rise on hill and then fall behind another.

They appear again. Soon, she can make out the form of an
ambulance, and its highway patrol escort. The vehicles move
slowly toward her, without sirens, as deathly quiet as their
cargo. She stands to the side of the road as they approach.
The highway patrol vehicle and the ambulance -- marked "Texas
Department of Corrections" -- pass silently in SLOW MOTION.
She watches as they disappear back into the mist. In SLOW
MOTION, she screams, falls to her knees wailing, but we cannot
hear her. We HEAR NOTHING.

INT. WRIGHT'S CABIN - SUNRISE

In the b.g., Dusty walks out the front door carrying two
large suitcases. On his desk in the f.g. is a radiator cap.

FADE TO:

BLACK.

FADE IN:

INT. DALLAS/FT. WORTH AIRPORT - DAY

Belyeu makes his way through the departure hall carrying the
aluminum suitcase.

ON TV

Roberts and the Court TV "breaking news" logo are on the
screen.

ROBERTS (V.O.)
(to camera)
Here's what we know so far. Last
night, News Magazine posted on their
web site a video obtained by reporter
Bitsey Bloom...

Light applause. The TV is mounted on the wall in:

INT. NEWS MAGAZINE'S EDITORIAL FLOOR - DAY

Bitsey watches the report with about a dozen colleagues.

Kruger stands beside her. A few people congratulate her.

She attempts a smile and nods, though she doesn't look away
from the TV. Kruger shushes the others to hear the story.

ROBERTS (V.O.)
The footage appears to show Constance
Harraway commit suicide.

ON TV

ROBERTS (V.O.)
Bloom reports she received the tape
Friday morning at a motel in
Huntsville, where she was staying
while conducting Gale's last
interview.

ON FLOOR

Zack watches Bitsey from the other side of the room. She
looks over at him, then quickly looks back at the TV.

ROBERTS (V.O.)
The tape apparently had been in the
possession of a former DeathWatch
Director...

ON TV

Camera pulls back to reveal that Roberts is standing in front
of Wright's cabin. Other journalists and gawkers can be seen
out front. Police vehicles are also visible.

Suits and officers move in and out of the cabin.

ROBERTS (V.O.)
(reading the name off
a card)
...Dustin Emil Wright. As you can
see, police and officials from the
State Attorney's office have been in
and out of his cabin all morning,
looking for clues to his whereabouts.

INT. DALLAS/FT. WORTH AIRPORT - DAY

Belyeu enters a men's room.

INT. MEN'S ROOM - DAY

Belyeu walks to a row of sinks. He sets the case on the floor
and starts to wash his hands. A businessman combs his hair
to Belyeu's left. Belyeu looks in the mirror and sees Dusty
approach from a stall.

INT. NEWS MAGAZINE - EDITORIAL FLOOR - DAY

The room watches Roberts.

ROBERTS (V.O.)
...a fanatic in the movement to stop
the death penalty.

ON TV

ROBERTS (V.O.)
It appears Wright withheld the tape
to make an obscure political point
about the potential for error in
capital cases.

ON BITSEY

She watches, trying to contain her emotions.

Zack watches her. She looks his direction. He smiles sadly,
looks away.

INT. DALLAS/FT. WORTH AIRPORT - MEN'S ROOM - DAY

Dusty washes his hands, looks down at the case. The
businessman leaves.

DUSTY
All there?

BELYEU
Passport and ticket as well.

INT. NEWS MAGAZINE - EDITORIAL FLOOR - ON TV - DAY

Governor Hardin is on the steps of the capital, journalists
around her.

GOVERNOR HARDIN (V.O.)
Well, it's a tragedy for all of us.
As to whether this will change policy,
the people of Texas will have to
decide. Right now, the prudent course
is to put things on hold pendin' a
procedural review, allow ourselves
time to mourn.

Kruger leans toward Bitsey.

KRUGER
You bet she'll review. Capital
punishment approval rates dropped 17
points.

Bitsey just looks at the TV, trying to make it through.

INT. DALLAS/FT. WORTH AIRPORT MEN'S ROOM - DAY

Dusty picks up the case. Belyeu straightens his tie.

BELYEU
What are you going to do?

DUSTY
(walking past him)
Go to the opera.

INT. NEWS MAGAZINE - EDITORIAL FLOOR - ON TV - DAY

Old footage of David being led in chains from an Austin
jailhouse to a waiting van. He wears the clothes he was
wearing the day Constance died.

ROBERTS (V.O.)
Of course, the ultimate irony is
that David Gale, a man who became an
unwitting martyr, may achieve in
death what he worked for in life.

ON BITSEY

She bites her lower lip in a manner reminiscent of Constance.

FADE TO:

BLACK.

FADE IN:

EXT. STREET (BARCELONA) - DAY

Dusty walks along the Ramblan. He carries a duty-free bag
and the aluminum suitcase. He comes to a building, checks
its number against a piece of paper, enters.

INT. BARCELONA APARTMENT HOUSE - DAY

Dusty ascends a staircase onto hallway. He walks a few steps
to door number six. An OLD SPANISH WOMAN passes him.

DUSTY
Senorita Gale esta viviendo aqui?

OLD WOMAN
Si. Si.

DUSTY
Gracias.

The old woman moves down the stairs. Dusty puts the aluminum
suitcase on the doormat. From the duty-free bag he takes out
David's Yale sweatshirt, lays it over the case. He RINGS the
DOORBELL, turns and walks back down the hall.

He stands at the top of the stairs, waiting for someone to
answer before descending. Sharon (older than we've seen her)
opens the door, sees the case and sweatshirt. She looks
around, but Dusty is gone. She picks them up.

INT. NEWS MAGAZINE - EDITORIAL FLOOR - DAY

Bitsey sits at her neurotically neat desk, looking out the
window. It's a sunny day in New York. For the first time, we
see her wearing something besides a business suit. Framed on
her cubicle wall is the latest News cover page: a picture of
David with the headline "The Executed Innocent."

A MAIL GUY drops a Fed Ex package on her desk.

MAIL GUY
This just came.

It's from "Belyeu & Crane/420 Congress Ave./Austin, Texas,
78710." She opens it, pulls out Cloud Dog and a handwritten
note on Belyeu & Crane stationery.

INSERT - NOTE

reads: "David wanted you to have this. He said it would be
the key to your freedom. Regards, Benjamin Belyeu."

INT. SHARON'S BARCELONA APARTMENT - DAY

At the breakfast table, a Spanish yuppie male sits with a
newspaper in front of him. He watches Sharon open the case.
Inside: money, stacks and stacks of money. On top is an
unsigned note: "I'm sorrier than you can know."

INT. NEWS MAGAZINE - EDITORIAL FLOOR - DAY

Bitsey holds the stuffed sheep. puzzled.

Looks at the note,

BITSEY
Key to your freedom? Key to your...

Suddenly, she understands. She squeezes the sheep, shakes
it, hears something. She cuts the sheep open with scissors.
A Hi-8 tape is in the stuffing. It's hand labeled: "Off the
record." She jumps up.

TRACKING SHOT

Bitsey hurries THROUGH the cubicles. She goes DOWN a hall
and INTO the "MultiMedia" room.

INT. NEWS - MULTIMEDIA ROOM - DAY

Bitsey locks the door, puts the tape into a Hi-8 deck.

ON VIDEO

The tape is cued to where Dusty picks up Constance's robe
and walks past the tripod out of frame. We see only
Constance's body. We hear the sliding door to the patio open
behind the camera.

DUSTY (V.O.)
(calling)
It's over.

A long beat. FOOTSTEPS on the patio.

DUSTY (V.O.)
Want me to turn this off?

VOICE (V.O.)
No.

David walks into frame. He goes a couple of steps toward
Constance's body and stops, facing her. We see him only from
behind. He looks at her, runs his hands over his head.

DAVID (V.O.)
I couldn't watch.

DUSTY (V.O.)
She preferred it that way. You were
right about not tellin' her the whole
plan.

DAVID
It helped her to think her death
would save me.

A beat.

DUSTY (V.O.)
You sure you want to do this?

DAVID (V.O.)
Yeah. Almost martyrs don't count.

A beat.

DUSTY (V.O.)
Better go ahead then.

David goes to Constance, kneels. He reaches down and with
his thumb gently strokes her face through the plastic. He
stands, turns and walks back to the camera. He reaches behind
the lens to turn it off. A beat. Half his face fills frame,
his watery eyes looking directly at us. In the other half,
we see Constance's body.

Black.

INT. BARCELONA OPERA HOUSE - NIGHT

Dusty sits watching a performance of Puccini's Turandot.

On stage is the scene where Liu martyrs herself.

CLOSEUP - DUSTY

He closes his eyes.

FADE OUT:

THE END

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