November 15, 2002
NEW YORK CITY - AERIAL VIEW OF DOWNTOWN MANHATTAN - DAY
MULTIPLE STREET SCENES - DAY
The sidewalks crowded as usual. A sea of humanity. People
come and go -- always in a hurry. Oblivious of one another.
A TRAFFIC JAM -- A STREET being torn up by construction
workers; A SANITATION TRUCK loading up refuse; VENDORS
PEDDLING nuts and salted pretzels; PANHANDLERS blocking a
passerby. Intimidating. Demanding. Almost mocking.
We're surrounded by the teeming life of the city as we've
come to expect it -- complete with a cacophony of sound.
MULTIPLE CUTS -- Phone kiosks and phone booths on the East
Side and West Side -- uptown and down.
One frustrated caller has lost his money in the slot and he
takes it out on the equipment -- smashing the receiver
violently against the coin box until the instrument splinters
into a dozen pieces.
There are 237,911 pay telephones in
the five burroughs of the city of
New York. Many of them are still in
DOZENS OF QUICK CUTS --
NEW YORKERS on the phone in extreme close up. We don't hear
the words. Only the facial expressions inform us that these
are human beings under tremendous pressure. Life in the city
is wearing them down.
MULTIPLE SHOTS - JUST MOUTHS
Lips jabbering into receivers. Cross-cut against one another.
Despite increased usage of cellular
devices, an estimated four and a
half million New Yorkers and two
million visitors still utilize pay
telephones on a regular basis. At
thirty-five cents a pop... for the
first three minutes.
ANGLE ON CORNER IN MID-MANHATTAN - DAY
There's a phone booth situated on the southeast side of the
You're looking at the telephone booth
at the corner of 45th Street and 8th
Avenue in the heart of the Manhattan
theatrical district. It has been
scheduled to be removed and replaced
by a kiosk. It's one of the few
remaining phone booths left in the
CAMERA MOVES IN on the irate caller in the booth -- a very
well-dressed gray-haired lady -- totally conservative in
WOMAN IN BOOTH
You have lied to me for the last
time, you lowlife prick bastard! I
don't ever want to hear the sound of
your fucking voice again.
Yes, well fuck you, too!
She slams down the receiver and exits. The booth remains
vacant for a brief interval.
At least three hundred calls daily
originate from this booth. The coins
are collected twice a day. This booth
has been burglarized forty-one times
in the last six months.
Someone is approaching the booth, fishing in his pocket for
coins. This is STUART SHEPARD, snappily dressed, his hair
styled and his nails manicured. Here is a man who clearly
takes excellent care of himself. He sports a Donna Karen
suit and silk Armani tie.
He's about to step into the booth when he's accosted by a
middle-aged man in a soiled apron who's run out of a nearby
restaurant and has finally caught up with him.
Stu, we got to talk.
Wish I could accommodate you, Mario,
but this is my busy time of day.
How come you cross the street every
time you go past the restaurant?
Why don't I stop in later for some
There's no more drinks or free meals
until the restaurant starts showing
up in the columns like you said.
I'm doing my level best for you
One lousy mention in the Post and
you expect to eat for six months!
I got the food critic from the Village
Voice all lined up to give you a
That's what you tell me last July.
And he never shows.
I was allowing you time to expand
the menu. Wallpaper the bathrooms,
for God sakes. You get only one shot
with these fucking critics and I
don't want you to blow a rare
You the one blowing it. How long you
think you can fuck everybody?
Hold on right there. I've got a very
excellent reputation around this
So how come you take two nice suits
of clothes from Harry and never get
his daughter on David Letterman?
Hell, I'm not an agent. I'm a
Mister, you're nothing!
Believe me, Valerie's on the waiting
list to audition. Harry's got no
complaints. He just let me pick out
this tie the other day.
That Harry's a damn fool!
Mario, please let me make this up to
you. How about I arrange for the
opening night party for this new off-
Broadway show I'm handling -- to be
held at your place with local TV
coverage on nine and eleven? I mean
I had it promised to another client --
who actually pays me money. But it
isn't firmed up yet. And I could
throw it your way. Maybe.
What is involved?
You'd toss in the buffet for say
seventy or eighty. The producers
would supply their own vino, of
course. I'd deliver you a truckload
of celebrities. And if they like the
food, they'll all come back,
You want Liza Minelli? An Oscar
winner. Or Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.?
Is he still alive?
I saw him last night going into the
Four Seasons. I'll bring you over a
whole VIP list when we come by for
How come everybody wants to eat but
nobody wants to pay?
You can't think small like that.
Hey, you still feature musicians
Fridays and Saturdays?
At least they work for their meals.
What about Harry's daughter as an
extra added attraction? She'll belt
out five or six showtunes -- two
sets a night -- and it won't cost
you a fucking nickel.
Star Showcase! Let me handle setting
that up. And when she eventually
goes on Letterman, she'll announce
I'm currently appearing over at
Mario's fine supper club. Right over
CBS she'll say that, Mario.
You're full of shit. You know that?
That's just a vulgar word for PR.
(placing an arm around
Mario, you can't hurt my feelings.
Even when I was a kid and they hurled
certain invectives my way, it never
bothered me. Other kids would fall
apart if anybody called them a fucking
name. Me, I just loved the attention!
'Shit-for- brains' -- that's what
the bigger kids named me. And I
answered to it. Hey, 'shit-for brains'
reporting for duty. Everybody loved
me for that. I could take abuse.
After a while, I kind of wore them
down. There was nothing more they
could say to me. So they stopped. I
kind of missed it.
I'm sorry I even talked to you.
I'll bet your loving wife put you up
to this. She saw me pass by and she
sent you out in the street. But I
don't hold it against you personally --
you still serve up superior veal
(entering phone booth)
Now I got urgent business to conduct,
He slides the booth closed in Mario's face.
The frustrated restaurateur glares at him through the glass
before giving up and walking off -- talking to himself as he
goes up the block.
INSIDE THE BOOTH, Stu inserts his thirty-five cents and dials.
Hello, Mavis, sweet creature.
Where have you been? Do you think I
have nothing to do but wait around
for you to call?
I'm only a few minutes late, loveliest
individual on earth.
Stu, I'm so lonely. When can I see
Good news in that arena. Kelly goes
into rehearsal as of Monday. You
know how dedicated she is. By the
time she gets back from dancing her
ass off, she goes right to sleep.
We'll have both our days and certain
nights. Not to mention when they
take the show on the road.
How long is that for?
Four to five weeks -- minimum.
Maybe I should quit my job so we can
be together full time.
I wouldn't do that.
Sometimes I think if I have to give
one more fucking manicure...
That's how you met me.
I never saw a worse set of nails.
Bit right down to the quick.
I'm much better groomed since you've
been looking after me.
I'm glad you admit it.
Even Kelly remarked on it when I
first met her.
She could care less how you look.
She's only interested in pushing her
own career. Some wife you're stuck
The marriage is not without its
compensations. Do you imagine I could
afford that apartment on what I'm
earning? Not with everybody cutting
back on the publicity. Not to mention
a million college graduates coming
into the profession trying to cut me
out. And one thing you can't expect
from your clients is loyalty. They
get a couple of bad notices, they
dump you. Goodbye.
I wasn't saying goodbye to you. I
was saying how the clients try to
give you the wave off without even a
A conservative businessman now stands outside the booth
waiting to use it. He deliberately glances at his watch a
few times to demonstrate his impatience. This bothers Stu
who slides the booth open a crack.
What? Is your watch busted? It's
twenty after eleven and I'm gonna be
occupied indefinitely with my
transaction. So get out of my face!
He closes the booth up again and turns his back to the
gentleman who gives up and departs.
Sorry, honey. There will be no further
Why must you always be calling me
from some booth?
On account of that phone records are
regularly subpoenaed in divorce
proceedings. And I don't want some
entry showing up on my cellular bill
either. She gets the mail. She looks
these items over. Sometimes she even
dials up a strange number to see who
Then she suspects something.
It's only because her last husband,
the choreographer, ran around on
her. She can't get that out of her
head. That's how she caught onto
him. The phone bills.
She hasn't developed much skill at
holding a man.
You know what a self-fulfilling
prophecy is? She was so sure I was
going to find me a woman that she
finally drove me back to you. I
thought I'd feel all guilty about it --
but I guess it hasn't kicked in yet.
Still, I wouldn't do anything to
hurt her. Basically, Kelly's a decent
What about hurting me? Like last
Hurt? You were glad to be rid of me.
For a while I was, 'til I took stock
of what was around. You're the lesser
of many evils.
That's about the nicest thing you
I'll have it engraved.
We've been up front with each other
from the beginning. Let's keep it
that way. How about a drink? Say
seven o'clock? The Monkey Bar?
Meet me in front. I don't like walking
in there unescorted.
Yeah, you're great enough looking to
be mistaken for one of those thousand
dollar a night girls.
It happens all the time lately.
And wear that short black number I
bought you from Bendel's.
Again? I don't know if it's me or
that dress you like.
Have a good day. Make plenty of tips.
And leave the whole evening open.
She thinks I've got Knicks tickets.
He hangs up. Then whips a tiny cellular phone out of his
jacket pocket, flips it open and dials. Someone answers on
the first ring.
It's your boy Stuart. When was the
last time I called you for a favor?
The column is already full.
I just need one line. Anybody you
wanna say was seen dining out at
Mario's Stromboli restaurant.
Maybe you don't hear so good? I got
no space for you.
Who's asking any favors? I'm offering
Since when were you ever a reliable
Check it out. Tony award-winning
producer Willie Beagle tossed his
wife back into rehab again following
her third attempt at diving off the
terrace at their plush eighteen room
residence at the San Remo. I got it
from the doorman.
I got it from their maid yesterday.
It's in the paper today. Or don't
you bother to read my shit?
Louis, my intentions were entirely
I'll drop your item in sometime next
week. If you promise not to call me
for a month.
He hangs up. Stu looks pleased as he folds the cell phone
and tucks it away.
Then he starts to vacate the booth. The phone rings. And
rings. Curious, he picks up the receiver. There's a voice on
the other end of the line. A DISTINCTIVE MALE VOICE.
Don't even think about leaving that
Stay exactly where you are and listen
I've got a heavy day, mister.
You know better than to disobey me.
I don't know you at all.
Are you absolutely sure?
Who is this?
Someone who's watching you.
Love the gray suit. That red and
black tie makes a nice combination.
Stu is taken back by the accurate description of his apparel.
He looks around nervously.
Where? Where are you?
Closer than you think.
I don't see you.
There are any number of windows.
Check them out.
Indeed that street corner is surrounded by high rise buildings
Okay, you had your little joke.
I'm not sufficiently amused. Not
yet. We have more to talk about.
Stu knows he should simply hang up but something tells him
not to. Perhaps it's the strange tone of the man's voice.
Do me a favor. Call up somebody else.
But it's you I'm interested in. You
know how many people use that booth
Why don't you tell me?
Better than two-hundred people on
Is that what you do? Count them?
What else do I have to do? It's
interesting watching people. Trying
to guess who they are. And what
they're up to.
What are you -- a shut-in of some
You might say that. I can't go out.
I might be seen.
Somebody's looking for you?
The ex-wife. What'd you do -- run
out on child support?
What kind of man do you think I am?
Frankly, I could care less. You had
your fun. Now goodbye.
It's not in your best interests to
hang up on me. That would make me
Isn't that just too bad?
There's ten million names in the
phonebook. Pester somebody else.
I never talk to people I can't see.
I need to study their reactions.
Alright, bullshit artist, what am I
doing right now?
Scratching your forehead with your
left hand. Now you're brushing your
Okay, okay, you got me in your
scrutiny. So what?
So let's talk.
Only I got nothing to say.
Oh, you will. You'll do a lot of
talking before this conversation is
over. And it'll only end when I want
Is that a fact? Well if you watch
closely, you will see me hang up.
I don't think you will.
I interest you.
Why should I be interested in some
creep who gets his jollies spying on
strangers in phone booths?
But you're not a stranger, Stu.
The sound of his own name sends a chill through him.
Who put you up to this?
You were my very own selection.
Why me in particular?
Because you're so afraid.
Ha! What've I got to be afraid of?
Just about everything. You have so
much to hide.
How do you figure that?
Why else would a man with a perfectly
good cellular bother to make calls
from a pay booth?
That's my business.
I've made it mine.
All of a sudden I'm required to give
explanations to you?
In explicit detail.
What is this? Some kind of candid
camera gag? Or like that thing on
HBO where the cab driver is taping
what goes on in the back seat?
This is not showbusiness, my friend.
This is reality.
Your reality. Not mine, you lowlife
Stu, you'll be made to suffer for
your attitude, so let's dispense
with the vulgarities.
Now you're threatening me! Fuck you.
Could that be any clearer?
You're only making it easier for me
to do you harm.
Oh yeah. Right. Can you see how I'm
You will be.
Shit, this is a new one. Fucking
threatening calls in a goddam phone
booth. When are you going to start
with the heavy breathing.
I'm not the degenerate. You are,
You don't know anything about me.
Infinitely more than you know about
Like the number you dialed when you
first entered the booth.
How would you know that?
I'm watching through a scope and I
could clearly read the buttons you
pushed. I have another extension
here by the window. Shall I dial
that same number back for you? Would
that convince you?
Stu nervously cranes his neck, looking around at all the
tall buildings that surround the street corner.
PANNING up at thousands of windows. The Voice could be coming
BACK TO STU IN THE BOOTH
Let's see who's on the other end of
It's already ringing. I'll hold the
receiver up so you can listen in.
Stu can hear the beeping as the other line rings.
Then Mavis' voice can be heard answering. Stu listens
Who is this?
Someone who's really tight with your
boyfriend -- who just called you
from his favorite phone booth.
You know Stu?
Stu? Oh, I know him better than
anyone. What he does -- how he thinks.
How he lies.
Who the hell is this?
Stu is listening in. He knows what
we're both saying.
Stu? Is that true? Are you there?
He doesn't feel like talking.
Mavis! Just hang up the goddam phone.
She can't hear you, Stu. Only me.
Mavis, I'm afraid Stu hasn't been
totally honest with you. But then he
can't be honest with anyone, can he?
What's your name? To whom am I
You've never heard of me, Mavis. He
doesn't want you to know I exist.
He wishes I didn't exist. But there
isn't anything he can do about that.
Still there, Stu? All you can do is
Mavis -- the guy is a fucking nutcase!
Hang the fuck up.
She doesn't want to. She wants to
know all about us. Don't you, Mavis?
Did his wife put you up to this?
That bitch, Kelly?
Oh yes, the bitch wife, Kelly. My
very next call.
He doesn't know my wife! Don't tell
him anything else.
Outside the booth, a huge, heavy-set black woman in a too
tight dress, now appears with the clear desire to use the
phone. Her name is FELICIA. She taps on the glass.
Could you hurry it along?
Stu ignores her and Felicia glares at him through the glass
Stu has no inclination to deal with anybody else. He's too
distracted by the madness happening over the telephone.
Can you hear me, Mavis? Keep your
big mouth shut.
Is that any way to talk to a woman
Mavis, is he always that abusive to
You're getting me all upset. I don't
know who you are or how you know all
I find out things -- from watching
people and listening to them.
Just what is your relationship to
Stu? That's all I want to know.
Well, what do you think?
Answer me, goddam it!
Well alright. Stu and I are --
longtime companions. A pair. Two of
a kind. Closer than close. Peas in a
pod. Spoons in a drawer.
Don't believe a word of it. It's all
Too late, Stu. She already believes
You can tell that scumbag never to
bother me again.
He won't care. He'll still have me.
It's not true. I do care.
From outside the booth, there's a louder rapping on the glass.
Felicia really wants in.
Get done in there, mister. I got me
an important call.
Shit I will! Finish up!
She continues to rap on the glass as Stu tries to focus on
the two-way phone call.
Why don't you tell me what you think
You're both disgusting.
That's what he said about you. Well,
if Stu didn't have the balls to come
out and tell you the truth, I felt
it was my responsibility to clear
the air. Goodbye now, Mavis. Thanks
for your time.
(the phone clicks
off; we hear only a
Back to you again, Stu.
You total asshole! How could you do
Speaking of females, that woman
hovering outside the booth -- may as
well tell her that you'll be on the
Like hell I will.
I'm ready for you to take out your
cellular and phone home. And this
time, I'll listen in.
There's no chance of that.
Or should I call Kelly and make up
something totally outrageous? You
must realize by now I have a vivid
You don't know our phone number!
Are you absolutely sure? I may have
been watching you on a regular basis.
Keeping track of all the numbers I
see you dial.
And I'm supposed to believe that?
I've put a great deal of preparation
into this -- prior to actually saying
hello. Now do you want to dial 832-
7165 -- or should I?
The sound of the actual number being spoken shocks him even
more than the earlier mention of his name.
What are you going to tell her?
You'll do the talking.
What am I supposed to say?
Try telling her the truth.
Look, I don't want to hurt Kelly.
She's always there for me. It's just
my nature to have a little 'strange'
on the side. It doesn't mean shit.
But you still find it necessary?
Kind of like having a beautiful home.
With everything you ever dreamed of.
But you still need that vacation now
and then. Some nice hotel room with
a great view. Maybe a pool. Only you
wouldn't want to spend more than a
few days in any hotel. Eventually,
you want to go back to your home and
all your stuff. You're real glad to
Kelly is home and Mavis is a hotel?
I'm sure they'll both appreciate
You're ruining my fucking life, you
Didn't I warn you about calling me
names? It makes me vindictive.
What else can you do to me?
We haven't even begun.
She's not home. She went out.
I'll bet she's back. Now hold the
cellular up where I can see it -- so
I can be certain you don't misdial
A little higher and to your left.
Now I have it in perfect view. Dial
More violent rapping on the glass from the persistent black
If you got you a cell phone, how
come you taking up the whole fucking
booth! This here's an emergency!
There's another booth on the next
It's busted. Every damn phone on
Eighth Avenue is busted but this
Well, I'm not through! Go in a
restaurant or someplace, but get
away from me!
I'm gonna pull you out of that booth
and snatch you ballheaded!
She tries to pull open the sliding door to the booth but Stu
jams it shut, right on her hand.
You assaulted my person.
Let me hear from your lawyer!
You're hear alright. I'm coming back.
And your ass better not be around.
She stalks off obviously in search of assistance.
Good work, Stu. Now let me see you
dial. Tuck the receiver under your
chin and dial your remote.
I'm doing it.
He punches in the digits. The phone rings -- and rings.
I told you she was out.
Let it ring.
Then a girl's voice is heard.
Hold it close to the receiver so I
Honey, it's me.
What's taking you so long? I thought
we were having some lunch at Mario's?
Change of plan. We're not eating in
that dump any more.
The Health Department gave them a
'C' rating -- that's how come. Here
I'm trying to put the place on the
map and he fucks it all up with a
major roach problem.
That's disgusting. Okay, I'll fix us
a sandwich. Where are you now?
Just in a phone booth.
How come? The caller ID says you're
on your cellular.
Oh yeah, I am.
But you're also in some phone booth?
Explain that one, Stu.
I only stepped in because the traffic
was so loud outside.
Well just hurry on back.
Tell her you can't.
Not for a few minutes.
Are you sure you're alone? I hear
somebody in the background.
The guy in the next booth. He's got
a bad connection and he's hollering
his fool head off.
You've got an answer for everything.
I love you, baby.
You know that.
Stu -- who was that man?
Some person who phoned fifteen minutes
ago -- just after you went out.
I don't understand...
This total stranger rang up and told
me to wait by the phone -- because
you'd be calling me in a few minutes --
from a booth. And I said what would
he be doing in any phone booth?
And what did this guy say?
He said you'd be making phone calls.
Making calls is part of my business.
Clients. People. Planting items like
Once in a while one of them could be
a woman. I just called "Elaine's"
and talked to her to see who was in
there last night.
You know exactly what I mean.
You're not going to start that shit
I just feel something is wrong.
What could be wrong?
The way you sound. You don't sound
Yeah? Who do I sound like?
Someone who's scared. There's fear
in your voice like I've never heard
See, Stu? Kelly agrees with me.
I want you to come back home. Now!
I told you. In a while.
No. I want you here now. In case he
calls back, I don't want to answer
Why should he call back?
I feel like he's going to.
You're the one that sounds frightened.
And of nobody.
He's not a nobody. He knows about
You're not telling me all he said.
What are you holding back?
I can't discuss it on the phone.
Just get over here!
CLICK! She hangs up.
(into pay phone)
Why did you do that to her? She never
did you any harm.
How would you know? Everybody does
harm to somebody. And then they try
their best to forget it.
Maybe me -- but not her. Whatever
I've done, there's no reason to take
it out on her.
Suppose that's the only way I can
get to you? You claim you love her.
Yeah, I do.
You don't even love yourself.
But Kelly... I would never hurt.
Still you have to uphold your status
as an honorary asshole.
Listen, I've treated all my women
decent. I never laid a hand on any
of them, even when provoked. And I
always let them down easy.
I'm not ready to let Kelly go. Maybe
I never will be.
What if she dumps you first? What's
the odds she's already taken up with
somebody? One day soon you'll come
home and find her gone along with
the CD player and the VCR.
I'm not gonna let you mind-fuck me
all day! That's it. This call is
Not until I say it is.
What happens if I hang up?
You don't really want to find out.
I'm dying to hear this!!! What the
fuck can you do about it -- up in
your fucking high window with your
I never indicated I had binoculars.
I said I had a highly magnified
telescopic image of you that brought
you up so close I could see where
you nicked yourself under the chin
shaving this morning.
Oh -- while you're at it, have a
look up my ass.
I may very well do that, Stu. In the
meantime, think about what kind of
device has a telescopic sight mounted
What? You mean... like a rifle?
A high-powered .30 calibre bolt action
Remington 700 with a carbon one
modification and a state of the art
Henzholdt tactical sniperscope. And
you're in the cross hairs, Stu.
I'm supposed to believe that?
There's only one way I can prove it
to you. Hang up the receiver and
find out. At this range, the exit
wound ought to be about the size of
a small tangerine.
And you're just going to kill me for
For plenty of reasons! Because you
hung up. For years I hated people
hanging up on me. Ex-girlfriends.
Women I didn't even know. Prospective
I get hung up on all the time. You
get used to it.
Or else you don't. I worked for months
getting people to switch to MCI --
being insulted at and being hung up
on hundreds of times a day. The ones
that cursed me out for invading their
privacy never bothered me as much as
those that clicked off without even
bothering to reply.
Then why didn't you go after one of
Maybe you are one of them.
Hey, I have worked in a boiler room
myself peddling "Term Life." I would
never be rude to a fellow salesperson.
Can you feel it on you now? The heat
of it. I'm moving the strike zone
down to your stomach area. Now I'm
raising it up again. Directly above
the chest cavity -- sliding up to
the forehead just above the left
Shit -- I do feel it.
Tell me where I'm going with it now.
Across my forehead -- now back where
it was before.
I'm amazed how you can do that. You're
Now I know what you're thinking. If
I drop down on the floor of the booth
and flatten myself out...
No, I'm not thinking that.
Oh yes you are. Can I crawl out using
the booth as a shield? Can I crawl
to that Chrysler illegally parked
only three or four feet away? The
shattering glass may cut me, but
it'll only be superficial. Otherwise,
this lunatic will never let me out
No. You will. I know you will. If I
Where is it now? Think and feel for
the warm spot.
Below the shoulder?
The right shoulder.
Remarkable how we're in tune. You're
doing far better than the others.
What others? What do you mean?
You said 'others!'
I'm sure you read about the Italian
tourist shot dead ten days ago at
the corner of Forty-fifth and Eighth?
I saw it on the news.
And where are we now?
Oh, God. Forty-fifth and Eighth.
What else do you remember about that
I don't know.
He was gunned down. And nobody was
caught. And they didn't even bother
to take his wallet or his watch...
Now you know why. It wasn't a robbery.
What did he do?
He hung up -- so I disconnected him
Please -- don't do it to me. You got
no reason to do it to me.
Don't give me reason.
I'm not looking to. Tell me what you
Tell me about your job.
What's to tell? I'm in Public
Relations. They used to call us
"flacks." Now we're media consultants.
What do you do, exactly?
Plant items in the paper and on the
tube. More important sometimes, keep
What've you kept out?
One of my people got nailed for
indecent exposure. I managed for the
cops to use his real name instead of
his stage name so nobody picked up
You saved the little deviate's ass,
He's in major therapy now. I swear
You must hang with some major
celebrities. Journalists, newscasters --
I'm real close with Larry King. And
the "Hard Copy" people.
Could you get him down here? Larry
Why would he want to come here?
Because you asked him to.
He comes from Atlanta.
Well, who could you get?
I don't know.
Definitely no chance.
You'd be offering them an exclusive
newsbreak. I'm talking about more
than one homicide.
I don't answer questions. I ask them.
I gotta have the facts. They might
not believe me. My record isn't too
good when it comes to hard news.
You're not considered a reliable
On a divorce or separation, maybe.
Or who's gay, or who isn't gay any
more. I kind of specialize in that
kind of material. I mean I could
probably get you Joe Franklin.
How about Cindy Adams?
I might have a shot. Are you familiar
with Liz Smith?
Do you know her number?
Want I should call her? How much can
Tell her you're in direct touch with
a killer who's willing to speak
honestly if she shows up here alone
and without notifying the authorities.
She usually likes to have a celebrity
involved. If you had an actor or a
sports figure held prisoner instead
of me, there'd be better odds she's
Then lie. Pick a celebrity and put
them in the booth.
Let's see. Who does she like? Who
couldn't be reached to deny it?
I'm anxious to see you in action.
Don't keep me waiting.
Stu uses his cellular again.
Sometimes you only get her service.
Hi -- Stu Shepard. Put me through.
I've got hard news for her. I can
only talk to her directly. But say
it regards -- Liza.
Liza? That was imaginative.
No, I can't call back. I'll have to
lay in on somebody else. Alright,
but I can't hang on long.
(to pay phone)
She's coming on.
Liz, hello. Sure I'll make it brief.
Killing two weeks ago in the theatre
district? Turn out a sniper did the
job. Yeah, a sniper with a rifle.
Now he's got another victim lined
up. Not just your anonymous New
Yorker, but Liza. Now you can't call
anybody or Ms. Minelli's dead meat
and so am I. She's hostage in a phone
booth right in the sniper's sights.
But he says he'll talk to you and
let her walk. I know it'll take balls
to do this, but you're a fine and
courageous newspaper woman...
There's a click. Silence.
(to pay phone)
Either she's on her way over or she
doesn't believe me.
You weren't particularly convincing.
I didn't really believe in what I
Because you don't really believe my
Remington is pointed at you?
You're ninety percent sure.
At least ninety-five percent, easy.
Let me erase all doubt.
No. Don't shoot.
Control yourself, Stu. Glance down
at your chest. What do you see.
Oh, my God. A dot. A fucking red
A tiny red dot now moves across Stu's chest.
Like you've seen in the movies?
The laser dot. Just before some poor
bastard always gets blown away.
Usually a supporting player. That
lovely but by now generic special
effect of the bullet piercing the
The tiny red laser dot dances around Stu's chest and stomach --
the jumps up and remains between his eyes.
This takes all the guesswork out of
it. You know exactly where to expect
it before I even tighten my finger
on the trigger.
Don't tighten. Don't even tickle
that fucking finger.
How about Geraldo? He's run his ass
off to get in on this.
You're talking about the old Geraldo.
Look, I can try and reach cable NBC.
I'm disappointed. I wanted to go
They do a great job. They'll haul a
whole crew over to cover your
I never expressed interest in giving
myself up. There are so many other
phone booths in the city. I'm just
getting warmed up.
That's entirely up to you. Your
choice. I'm just trying to set you
up with the proper communicator.
I suppose Liza wasn't strong enough.
I should've said Madonna.
Now you're being creative.
Outside the booth, the angry black woman has returned,
bringing with her a gaudily dressed pimp named LEON who looks
like he means business. He slams his fist against the glass,
nearly shattering it.
Drag your baggy butt out of that
booth. We got business to conduct
out of there.
He been in there all day.
I'm not through.
Hang up that receiver or I'll make
you eat the fucking thing!
Fuck off or I'll call a cop.
Do you see one around here? What you
think I'm gonna be doing while you're
waiting for a prowl car to get
assigned? I'm about to cut you a
second asshole if you don't vacate
He's got him a fucking cellular.
What's he need to be on our booth
I can't explain it.
I'm not interested in your
explanations even if you had any.
He withdraws a switchblade knife from his pocket but doesn't
open it -- yet.
If I flick this, I use it.
I'll make it worth your while to go
away. How much do you want?
Make me an offer.
Thirty dollars. It's all I've got in
cash. Take it and go.
You're offering to rent my phone
booth? For how long?
I don't know. For as long as it takes.
What's so special in there?
Do you want the money?
Is that a genuine Rolex you've got
Come on, man. That's my good watch.
That's what it's gonna take.
Then here. Take the damn thing.
And the thirty!
Take it all.
The pimp pockets the watch and the money. But doesn't go
Now I'm satisfied. But you still got
to deal with Felicia here. I believe
you spoke harshly to her.
And did her some injury.
An accident. I'm sorry about that,
The man don't sound like he means
Why don't you hang up a minute so we
can discuss this matter at length.
It's long distance. I can't lose the
call -- I might not get them back.
Do I have to rip that fucking phone
out of there?
That wouldn't be a good idea.
(into pay phone)
Not at all.
I gave you everything I've got.
That pinky ring looks attractive.
Felicia might like that.
It might fit.
You want the ring, you've got the
ring. If I can get it off.
I can get it off you.
Leon reaches in and grabs Stu's ring hand.
Let go of me! It's coming loose.
(he tosses it)
Okay, Felicia, with my deepest
apologies. Goodbye now.
What's really going on in that booth --
that escapes the naked eye?
Nothing. Talk. That's all.
That your connection on the end of
the line? Or are you dealing?
This has nothing to do with drugs.
You gotta be high on something to
willingly divest yourself of your
valuables -- just to maintain
occupancy of a fucking phone booth
that the local bums piss in every
I knew it smelled for some reason.
You look like you're ready to piss
Because I am.
Maybe if the city provided decent
public toilets, folks wouldn't relieve
themselves in the subway stations
and phone booths!
I'll take it up with the mayor.
Next thing you know you're gonna
claim we mugged you -- took your
billfold and watch.
No, you didn't. It was a fair and
equitable deal. You had territorial
rights to this booth and I paid a
license fee. Fair is fair. Now leave
me in peace.
You sure you're alright?
He don't look well.
Kind of pale. Even for a white man.
Jaundice they calls it. Probably
advanced liver trouble.
If it's cirrhosis, you better find
yourself a twelve step program and
Thanks for your interest but I'm in
So how come his hand is shaking?
The man is cracking up.
Lookit the sweat pouring off the
sonofabitch. That's one sick mother
you started up with, Leon!
Me? You're the one that brought me
over and exposed me to all his germs.
I'm terminal, okay? Now can I close
the booth and continue my
I'm worried now it might be catching.
All that money out of your sweaty
pocket is probably crawling with
some rare and incurable disease.
Fine. Give it back.
What good's that? We done touched
Well go wash your hands.
Come on now. Own up to what you're
carrying. Is it some of that sexually
transmitted shit? Cause in that case,
we can relax.
I'm sick of you. Now get out of my
Here we's being solicitous as to
your health and you respond by heaping
Whip his arrogant ass.
Leon reaches into the booth and grabs Stu's jacket.
Touch me and I'll throw up on you.
At the suggestion, Leon lets go quickly.
It looks like a stalemate. Stu isn't vacating the booth and
Leon and his lady are reluctant to touch him further. He
does indeed look sick.
(into pay phone)
You can see what I'm up against here.
Want me to get rid of him for you?
What do you have in mind?
I'll think of something.
Suddenly the red dot reappears on the forehead of the pimp.
Leon doesn't realize it's there. The hooker behind him has
no way of seeing it. But to Stu, there's no way to miss it.
God -- no.
(into pay phone)
Don't. It's not necessary.
You asked for my help.
I'll handle it myself.
You're not doing too well. I can
settle it in a fraction of a second.
Shall I demonstrate?
For your own safety, mister, just
Now the man is turning aggressive...
issuing threats upon my person.
You're making this happen.
If you don't hang up and step out,
I'm about to topple this booth into
the gutter with you inside it.
Reluctant to touch Stu again, Leon assaults the booth itself.
He begins shaking it violently -- trying to rip it from its
foundation. And the rickety booth is not too sturdy. It starts
rocking back and forth.
Stu is thrown around inside it, barely keeping his footing.
(into pay phone)
This isn't my fault.
But Leon continues rocking the booth. It won't come loose --
so in frustration, he punches in a side pane of glass.
The glass shatters all around Stu, who does his best to shield
himself from the slivers.
(into pay phone)
The guy's insane!
Only one way to stop a mad dog.
Give me permission.
If he forces you out of that booth,
I've told you what to expect. You or
Leon is smashing other panes of glass now -- one after another --
as Stu cowers inside.
Don't cut yourself, honey.
A crowd of derelicts and street people are now gathering to
watch the out of control pimp take out his wrath on the booth
and its occupant.
Looks like the fucker is comin' loose.
Shove it out into the oncoming
What'll you bet the bus could knock
that fifty feet?
The booth is being decimated but Stu hangs onto the phone.
(into pay phone)
(with heavy static)
You're breaking up. We're about to
be cut off.
I can't help it!
That counts as a hang-up.
No. It can't. That's not fair.
I can still make him stop. Say the
word. Can you hear me?
Stu sees the red dot reappear on Leon's chest as he continues
to barrage the booth with punches and kicks.
Then Leon recoils, staggers a step backward. He doesn't
realize he's been shot.
There's been no sound of gunfire. Perhaps a silencer was
used -- or the downtown traffic drowned out the solitary
Leon looks confused at first. His ladyfriend has no idea
he's wounded -- neither do the derelicts and street people
who've assembled on the corner.
Even Stu isn't sure -- until the blood starts oozing from
the wound on the pimp's chest -- staining his yellow vest.
He isn't assaulting the booth anymore. He's trying to keep
his balance. He slumps forward, hanging onto the booth for
support -- only a few inches from Stu's face. The blood runs
down the side of the booth.
(into pay phone)
You did it!
You said 'yes.'
I said 'Yes, I can hear you.' Not
'Yes -- kill the motherfucker!'
Don't try to renege on it. I was
You're twisting it all around. I
didn't do this!
Meanwhile, Leon leans upright against the booth. Then his
legs cave in and he begins to slide to his knees.
Felicia runs up beside him. She sees the blood.
I warned you not to cut yourself.
Look at all that blood. He must've
hit an artery.
She screams as Leon topples backwards onto the pavement.
Now his chest wound is evident.
Oh, Jesus. What is that? Talk to me!
The crowd tightens around the fallen body. Street people who
are fascinated but not shocked.
Yeah. Sucking chest wound right over
Somebody call an ambulance.
Call the meatwagon. He's fucked up.
You shut the fuck up!
Her focus turns to Stu in the battered phone booth.
Why did you do that to him?
You all saw it! He shot my man without
Yeah. Pumped one right into him at
How could I? I don't even have a
Everybody get the fuck back! They
shoot one -- then they shoot everybody
in sight! Kill all the fucking
The crowd disperses to doorways and around the corner -- out
of immediate range.
Come back. You've got to see -- I'm
Only Felicia remains, leaning over the pimp's body, staring
Hang up and dial 911. Get a doctor!
I can't hang up. That's what this is
You're gonna stand there and let him
(takes out cellular)
I can use this.
Emergency. Yes. There's been a
shooting at Forty-fifth and Eighth --
on the corner. A man is down. What's
the difference who I am? I don't
want to be involved.
That's bullshit. He's the shooter.
You're talking to the shooter.
Stu quickly disconnects the cellular.
That wasn't nice.
Go ahead -- make a fucking run for
it. I hope they gun you down -- like
you did him!
I'm not going anyplace. I'm staying
right here in this booth.
(into pay phone)
Unless you give me permission.
You're attracting a lot of attention.
I suppose when the police get there,
you'll accuse me.
What do you expect me to say?
That's up to you. But any mention of
me will not be appreciated.
You won't even get to finish your
sentence. Oh look, that little red
dot is dancing around all over you
again. You saw how quickly it can
happen. And how accurate I can be.
They can't blame me -- I'm not armed.
Who's going to believe that? With
all those witnesses to the contrary.
They can see with their own eyes.
Not far away, we hear the BLAST of POLICE SIRENS drawing
Remember to leave me out of it.
How can I?
You'll put the proper spin on it.
Isn't that your specialty? Feeding
the public a story that may not have
a shred of truth -- and making it
This isn't a story. This is real.
This is murder.
If you'd only dealt with the man
reasonably, shown him some respect,
this might not have been necessary.
I gave him my money, my watch...
But not your respect. Which is what
he required of you.
He was a fucking thief.
And now he's a fucking dead thief.
Do you feel better about that?
I don't feel a bit guilty. This is
all your doing!
Now you're being disrespectful of
me. You never learn. Your job is to
deal with people -- but you're not
good at it.
Hey, I'm not taking any more criticism
from some lunatic sniper who gets
his kicks killing strangers.
You keep insisting I'm a stranger.
Probably because you don't recognize
the voice. But there are cheap
electronic devices available that
disguise the voice. I might not even
be a man. I might be one of those
many women you've almost totally
forgotten. One who doesn't forgive
easily. One who wants to watch you
You're a man. I know you're a man.
Women don't kill with telescopic
rifles. They stab you.
You sound so sure of that. But you've
never provoked any man as much as
have the women in your life. And so
many of them, Stu.
Do you even remember their names?
I've got no time to rehash my whole
life. Oh my God! The cops are here.
Police cars are pulling up on all sides of Eighth Avenue.
Traffic has suddenly been shut down. Prowl cars have now
blocked the streets.
PRODUCTION NOTE: Everything is seen from Stu's perspective
Half a dozen cops now emerge and approach with drawn guns.
That's him -- in the booth. He's got
As she hurls accusations, she's lugging Leon's lifeless body
out into the gutter into the center of Eighth Avenue.
It's a bright afternoon. In the distance, we hear the
maddening HONKING of uptown traffic that is now being
rerouted, creating a huge bottleneck and raising the anger
of irate motorists and bus drivers whose horns provide their
simplest form of protest. It's a discordant concert that
echoes the confusion and frustration which Stu now feels...
As the cops surround the booth -- at a distance.
Throw down your weapon and come out
with your hands raised.
They're ordering me to come out.
I can see that. Ignore them.
What if they open fire?
They probably won't. Look across on
the east side of the street. Do you
see the tourist with the home video
A distant crowd gathering on the opposite west side corner
behind the police cars. Some tourist is capturing the event
BACK TO STU
What about him?
He's going to keep the police on
their best behavior. So long as you
don't take what could be interpreted
as hostile action, you'll be safe.
You call this safe? Six cops with
guns pointed my way?
You want me to reduce them to three --
Absolutely no more shooting. Now is
You can always change your mind.
You know the drill. Hands clasped
behind the back of your neck -- moving
slowly -- step out of the booth. If
we see any sign of a weapon, we will
You won't, because there isn't any.
I repeat. Raise your hands.
I can't. I'm on a phone call.
Now a black POLICE CAPTAIN arrives and takes full command of
You have thirty seconds to comply.
I told you. I'm busy. Come back later.
Very good, Stu.
The cops take cover behind parked cars, keeping Stu clearly
in their sights. He has no place to hide. He's in the battered
phone booth in plain view from all sides.
You've been given an order.
The Sergeant slides up beside the Captain to confer.
PRODUCTION NOTE: We remain in LONG SHOT of the cops -- always
from Stu's POV. But we can hear their voices and all that is
said as if they were in close up. It has an odd, unreal and
We're dealing with a mental case.
He's looking for us to kill him.
Well he's not getting his wish.
In the center of the street, an ambulance pulls up and a
team of medics jump out. They rush to Leon's body. (Again we
hear their voices close, even though visually they are far
Tell me he's gonna be alright.
Step aside. Let us look at him.
The medics push her aside -- then examine the victim. He's
Nothing we can do. Don't touch the
body. They'll need it to mark the
Far across the street, the Captain confers with his
subordinates. They are small figures on the screen but we
hear them sharply.
Same corner as two weeks ago.
Maybe it's more than a coincidence.
Cover me. I need to talk to him.
You've got your vest on?
What do you think?
The Captain steps out of cover and boldly approaches the
phone booth. He stops cautiously about fifteen feet away.
I'm not armed.
Neither am I.
Yeah, sure. I need to know what
Can't talk about it.
Sure you can. My name's Ramey.
Captain Ed Ramey. What's yours?
Look, I don't want to be friends.
You look like you need a friend.
Tell him you've already got a friend.
I've got a friend, okay.
Is that who you're talking to on the
None of your business.
When somebody gets shot, it becomes
my business. Let's not have anybody
else killed. I want to hear your
side of it.
I've got no side of it.
Don't worry, Stu. I've got him fixed
right in my sights. I won't let him
Has this happened to you before? The
need to hurt someone? To put a bullet
You won't believe anything I say.
I couldn't shoot anybody. I'm not
You're right. I don't believe you.
What's that bulge in your pants
That? That's my cellular.
A cellular? Then what are you doing
in a phone booth making calls?
Do you want to see it?
Don't reach for it, mister.
Then how can I show it to you?
I don't need to see it. I know what's
there. All these witnesses saw you
use it on him.
From behind a parked car, a HOMELESS PERSON calls out.
Another DERELICT, crouched in a doorway, joins in.
Yeah! Shot him down like a dog!
They're all lying. Nobody saw it
because it didn't happen.
A man is dead but it didn't happen.
Not on account of me! This is like
some bad dream.
You're walking through a bad dream
and you can't wake up. Do you want
to wake up?
And in this dream, you killed that
man. He was bothering you so you
Then who did?
Don't tell him, Stu. Or it'll be the
last thing he ever hears. His blood
will be on your hands.
I don't know.
But you saw it happen?
You were the closest one to him.
You must've seen who did it.
We're trying to be honest with each
other, aren't we?
I'm losing patience with this cop.
I'm handling this.
Who do you keep talking to on the
Nobody. My psychiatrist.
Excellent, Stu. You're getting good
What's this doctor's name? It's
important we know.
He says not to tell you. It's
Damn good reply. Now you're having
fun. Admit it.
Whatever you say.
Playing it so close to the edge.
I'll bet you've never felt so alive.
That's how I feel when I look through
the sight and select somebody.
The Captain begins advancing a few steps closer.
I respect your right to privacy.
I've been to therapy myself. The
department provides it. I know it's
not good form for a cop to be
admitting that, but...
Tell him not to come any closer.
Stop right there. Back up a few steps.
Back where you were.
If it makes you more comfortable.
Tell him to read you your rights.
I want you to read me my rights and
stop asking questions.
Al least tell me your first name.
It's my right not to have any name.
No gun and no name. You're a highly
Demand a lawyer.
And get me a lawyer, too. I want a
lawyer brought down here to negotiate
Brilliant, Stu. Keep winging it.
It'll be hard to find a lawyer willing
to risk his life. But if you hand
over the gun...
How can I when you won't let me take
We'll take it out for you -- as soon
as you exit the booth with your hands
Now we're back to that again. It's
always "Get out of the booth.' 'You
can't stay in the booth.' Well, I
like it in the fucking booth. It's
my whole world now. It's my booth
and I'm never coming out.
We're not about to force you because
there could be a miscalculation and
then we'd never find out why this
Why is it so important to know? The
guy is dead. Isn't that enough?
Knowing isn't going to make him alive
again. So who gives a fuck!
It's what makes the job interesting.
Finding out why. Something drove you
to do this. You didn't go out today
expecting this to happen. It was a
nice day. You were out for a walk.
And then suddenly it all changed.
All I wanted was to make a phone
call. One lousy phone call for thirty-
five fucking cents.
Careful, Stu. Don't volunteer too
You got some bad news on that call.
Something that pushed you over the
And I've been falling ever since.
Time to land.
When you hit bottom, you die.
I'm your safety net.
If I tell you what you want to know --
you'll die, too.
Something about the implied threat sends a chill through
The Captain's head as seen through a telescopic sight.
Ramey could be dead in an instant.
PRODUCTION NOTE: The only time we deviate from Stu's
perspective is when we see the sniper's POV through his scope.
ANGLE BACK ON STU IN THE BOOTH,
the detective fifteen feet away.
Ramey decides to back off momentarily.
I'll go see about that lawyer.
Now that's a good idea.
The Captain withdraws back across the street.
He's lucky. I had him centered in my
cross hairs. I really had to restrain
We hear the approach of a helicopter.
Stu peers up ward as not one but two choppers appear above
the tall buildings.
It's not the police. It's the media.
You're news, Stuart.
The helicopters circle above.
You've never gotten this much press
for any of your clients. I'm making
you a famous person.
They're just hoping for coverage of
me dying in the gutter.
Their presence is putting the police
on their continued best behavior.
Those cops are just looking for any
Then don't give them one.
Then, as if on cue, Stu's cellular phone in his pocket starts
But he can't allows himself to reach for it. To do so might
cause the police to believe he was trying to draw his gun.
It rings quietly -- virtually inaudible outside the booth.
Drowned out by the traffic horns, the static from the police
radios and the newly introduced sound of television
helicopters circling over Eighth Avenue taking video coverage
of the event below.
Who could it be?
Kelly. She was worried about me.
Stu is afraid to reach in his pocket lest the cops think
he's going for a gun.
Maybe she's seen this on television.
It must be on every channel by now.
She doesn't watch daytime TV.
One of the neighbors could've alerted
The cell phone keeps ringing, almost drowned out by the sound
of helicopters circling overhead.
Why are you saying this? You want me
to reach in my pocket so you can see
them open fire?
That's an unwarranted accusation and
very unbecoming in light of the good
advice I've given in the past. Have
I ever steered you wrong?
God -- how I'd love to hear her voice.
It might even be worth it. She's
insistent, isn't she?
The cellular won't stop ringing.
If she knows I'm in trouble, she
won't give up.
Probably glued to the TV by now.
I'm watching coverage on two stations
now. Channel surfing.
Well, there you are on two and four
and five. Not any decent angles on
you, though, stuck inside there.
The cell phone continues beeping until the sound of it is
maddening. Stu is still afraid to reach for it and provide
the cops with an excuse to open fire.
But if you'd take one or two steps
outside and look up, I think they
could get a clear picture of you.
You said I'm not allowed to leave
Finally the cell phone stops ringing.
I might be willing to bend the rules
and let you enjoy your moment of
fame. Set the phone down without
hanging up... and take a step or two
outside. Just for a minute. Then
come straight back in or I'll be
forced to provide 'live' coverage
that should rival the historic
Nothing like an exploding head to
excite viewer interest.
No, thanks. I'll stay where I am.
It was only a suggestion. Since you're
convinced I'm going to plug you
anyway, it can't matter much.
If you shoot me, you give yourself
Even without a muffler, they'd never
hear the report with all this noise.
Afterwards, it'd take them a good
ten minutes to realize you weren't
plugged by some overzealous officer.
Then they'll blame the media for
inciting a crackpot vigilante to
come down here and do the SWAT team's
job for them.
You expected them to come. You had
this all worked out.
I write the scenario and you all
play your parts -- as directed.
The damned cell phone starts beeping again. Stu fights the
temptation to grab for it and hear Kelly's voice for one
Poor Kelly. What she must be going
Why don't you tell her how you feel
I'd never get the words out. Not
with fifteen or twenty rounds in me.
You can't be certain they'd fire.
They'd see it was only a phone.
They wouldn't wait to see.
The cellular ringing continues jangling Stu's nerves.
Why doesn't she hang up?
Then Stu notices something in the crowd gathering far across
the street behind the police barricades. Countless faces
rubbernecking, probably hoping to see some display of violence
that would end with him face down dead on the pavement.
And in the midst of them -- one face familiar to him. A
female, quite pretty... even in tears. It's Kelly. (We see
her only in LONG SHOT -- a distant figure in bright green
jacket that makes her stand out from the crowd.)
It's her! She's not calling me.
She's over there.
The blonde girl in the green jacket.
Can't miss her. Very attractive,
She must've heard all the commotion
and come downstairs.
The cellular is still ringing.
It's somebody else who knows my cell
You continue to impress.
Why is it so important that they
Because that's how I win.
This time you won't. If you want me
dead, you'll have to do it yourself.
Either way I can't lose.
It's all a game to you -- because
you're incapable of feelings. You're
not even human.
I pride myself on that. What's so
great about being human? It's the
lowest form of life on this planet
and I've taken it upon myself to
thin the herd.
I quit. I'm not answering back any
more. I won't hang up but I'm not
There's silence now between them.
Stu? Stu, don't be that way. You're
taking the pleasure out of it.
Stu doesn't take the bait. He remains absolutely silent.
A stalemate has been reached.
WE RACK FOCUS ACROSS THE STREET TO THE POLICE
clustered behind an emergency vehicle. The Sergeant brings a
civilian to meet Captain Ramey of the SWAT unit. The newcomer
wears coveralls stenciled "At&T." (Although they are very
far away, we hear their voices close up as they come into
This here's Helfand, of New York
Glad to help out.
Have you got the number of that booth?
Can you tap into that call?
It can be done.
But not without a warrant. You could
be violating this psycho's civil
rights. Especially if he's on the
line with his fucking psychiatrist.
Shit. I don't want to blow this on a
technicality. Tracing the call isn't
any violation, is it?
As long as we don't listen in.
We remain in LONG SHOT of the POLICE as they continue in
Okay, we've got to know who he's
talking to and their current location.
That I can handle. As long as they
keep the circuit open.
I need the number and an address to
go with it.
Helfand rushes off. At the corner, we can glimpse him entering
a phone company utility truck parked on Forty-Fifth Street.
RACK FOCUS BACK TO PHONE BOOTH
Stu remains tight lipped and silent, refusing to give his
tormentor the conversation he so craves.
Stuart, my friend. Do you want to
see how close I can come without
actually hitting you?
Stu resists pleading because he knows his silence is more
There's no glass in the left side of the booth since the
late Leon smashed it all out.
Nothing to shatter when the sniper squeezes off his shot.
May I call attention to the yellow
The frayed yellow phonebook dangling from a chain under the
telephone shudders under the impact of a direct hit.
There's been no sound of a gunshot, but the damage is there
Stu reaches for the phonebook.
There's a bullet hole straight through it. Pieces of the .30
calibre slug have shattered into many tiny fragments and are
imbedded between the pages, half-way through the thick volume.
Stu pries pieces out of the pages of the directory. He looks
at them in the palm of his hand.
Hollow points are designed to break
up on impact. It would've behaved
differently if it had pierced your
soft flesh. The pieces would've
bounced around looking for a way
out. That's where the real damage
occurs -- finding an exit --
deflecting off all that bone...
Stu wants to shout "STOP," but restrains himself. Not talking
gives him some degree of power.
Still the silent treatment? My father
used to dish that out when he chose
to punish me. Not a word spoken --
one time for over a month. I'd try
and goad him to acknowledge I existed,
but he stared right through me. You're
bringing back unhappy childhood,
Stu. That's not wise.
Stu still declines to answer. His silence seems his only
weapon. He tosses the bullet fragments out of the booth onto
Since you're ignoring me, I'll focus
on someone else.
There she is -- nice and sharp. I
can see the two little punctures in
each earlobe and my God, what kind
of a girl would have her nostril
Stu realizes the sniper now has Kelly in his sights.
What was that? Louder, Stu. We must
have a bad connection.
Leave her out of it.
I didn't expect her to show up here.
But since she has -- I'll improvise.
Don't. Please don't. I'm sorry.
I'm talking to you again. I'll talk
all you want!
It's a bad dye job. The black roots
are growing in and it makes her look
I've screwed up her life enough
already. Please don't hurt her.
I don't necessarily have to kill
her. I could be persuaded to settle
for a reasonable mutilation. Which
part of her displeases you most? If
she turns a bit more in profile, I'm
accurate enough to remove the tip of
her unpleasantly protruding nose.
It's just cartilage. Any decent
cosmetic surgeon will have her looking
better than ever.
STU'S POV - FOCUS SHIFTS TO KELLY
in the crowd. Distant yet distinct amongst the curious
CLOSER ON KELLY -- OBLIVIOUS TO HER DANGER.
AS SEEN THROUGH CROSS HAIRS OF TELESCOPIC SIGHT
following her as she forces her way through the crowd toward
the police officers.
Her face virtually fills the screen.
PRODUCTION NOTE: The only time we deviate from Stu and his
POV is when we see the sniper's own POV through his telescopic
You can see her talking to the police
now. She's identifying herself as
your wife. They're very interested
in who you are. They're taking her
over to see the officer in charge.
What was his name?
Through the cross hairs of the sniperscope, we can see Kelly
conversing with Captain Ramey. She's in a state of complete
ANGLE ON STU
half leaning out of the booth, staring at his wife and the
cops in the distance.
RACK FOCUS TO THEM --
and suddenly we can hear them clearly in spite of the
What do you mean psychiatrist? He
doesn't see any psychiatrist.
Then who'd your husband be talking
There was some guy that called the
house this morning and said weird
stuff to me.
Stu seems to be checking things out
with this person.
He hasn't got many friends -- I can
tell you that.
Remain here, please. We may need you
You won't hurt him?
We'll do our best not to.
Kelly is left alone as the Captain returns to their command
Kelly is once again a solitary target. She could be picked
off without attracting undue attention.
She won't even feel it when it
BACK TO PHONE BOOTH
Take me instead.
Don't distract me. Now's the time to
be absolutely still. I have to hold
my breath as I squeeze gently --
No! I'm hanging up. That's it.
Stu hangs up the receiver. He disconnects.
RACK FOCUS TO LONG SHOT --
The police as they react. We see a flurry of activity across
the street. Voices become clear as focus shifts.
Shit. He hung up.
Maybe they already traced it. Anyhow,
it doesn't matter. Looks like he's
RACK FOCUS BACK TO STU --
slowly stepping out of the booth. His hands are raised.
I've giving myself up. Take me!
First the gun. We want to see you
toss away your weapon!
Shit. I can't.
Freeze where you are! Turn around
and keep those hands clasped.
(signals the others)
The SWAT OFFICERS in protective gear now step out of cover
and fan out as they approach the booth.
TIGHTER ON STU
He's just outside the booth -- expecting to feel the sniper's
bullet go through him at any moment.
Then the pay phone starts ringing.
The sniper is calling back.
RACK FOCUS AGAIN
to the police.
All the cops react. Particularly the Captain and the Sergeant.
Their voices seem close up when they sharpen in focus.
What is going on with these fucking
Hold your fire. Let him answer it.
The SWAT team backs up but maintain their aim.
Are you nuts?
Let them talk. He's not going
He's going back inside the booth.
Indeed we see Stu re-enter the battered phone booth and pick
up the receiver.
FOCUS RETURNS TO STU
(into pay phone)
A strange voice begins chattering away in Spanish. Totally
unintelligible to Stu.
(into pay phone)
You got the wrong number. Hang up.
The voice, probably a Puerto Rican gentleman, rattles on in
Wrong number. Wrong number.
Then the voice on the phone suddenly alters the Hispanic
accent. It is the now familiar tone of his tormentor.
Aw, relax, Stu. Only yanking your
chain. Now can we start over?
Those cops won't wait much longer.
What else can they do? They can't
afford to just shoot you like I can.
Not with so much media coverage. Not
unless you make some stupid aggressive
The ABC Mobile Unit just rolled up.
Across the street, Stu can see various TV units from local
stations setting up cameras on roofs of trucks.
Will you look at that? I must be
going out over the network. Bet
they're pre-empting usual programming.
And just think -- if you survive
this, your trial will be televised.
And you can try and make the world
believe I ever existed. I'd be your
How are they gonna prove that I killed
anybody when there's no gun?
They'll plant one. The police aren't
above that -- when they're desperate
No, sir. No gun and I walk.
Don't you think I took that into
account? Am I a fool?
What do you mean?
Haven't I considered every
eventuality? I knew they'd come and
cordon off the block.
And that there'd have to be a gun
It's a small booth, Stu. Have you
checked every inch of it?
(looking up and down)
It's not on the floor.
Then what's left?
Could be. Why don't you reach up
there and lift the plastic sheet --
and feel around.
If they see me reach for something,
they could open fire.
They could. But you have to know if
it's there. Don't you?
I totally don't give a shit.
In a narrow space, tucked just to
the left of the fluorescent bulb.
You can almost see it outlined if
you look closely.
Stu peers upward at the clouded plastic, now stained and
dirty. There are shadows of objects above in the shallows
area around the light fixture that automatically goes on
when the door to the phone booth is tightly closed.
Stu opens and closes the door a few times, watching the light
click on -- watching the shadows around the light.
Could that be an accumulation of dirt, dust, or dead insects?
Or could something be stashed up there?
It doesn't matter. I know about
ballistics. The slug in that dead
guy came from your rifle, not any
You saw how hollow points splinter
on impact. There's nothing much for
ballistics to match to. The same
make .30 calibre bullets are in that
handgun. The prosecution rests.
There's no gun up there. I don't see
a damn thing.
Slide your finger up under the plastic
and you'll feel the cold metal
surface. There are four rounds left
in it. Should you decide to shoot
your way out.
I could never shoot anybody.
You could shoot me, Stu. You'd do
that in a minute if you could.
And I'd fucking love it!
Now you're speaking from the heart.
Come on, just lift the partition a
few inches and feel what's there for
I'm not getting my fingerprints on
your fucking weapon. What about powder
residue? How are they going to explain
that to a jury?
Do you think that'll matter with so
many eye witnesses?
Do it... or should I re-focus my
attention on Kelly?
You carefully distracted me from her
before and I let you get away with
it. But if you're not going to play
There she is again. So close I feel
like I could touch her.
Get off her!
Then mind me when I speak.
Look! I'm reaching up with my left
hand. I'm pushing against the
partition. It's giving. I'm feeling
around with my fingertips. It's filthy
TIGHT SHOT - STU'S FINGERS
feel about inside the shallow space. The shriveled remains
of dead flies -- a layer of dust -- and then a .30 handgun.
I'm -- touching something.
One of the finest handguns Remington
makes. Lightweight, efficient and
I'm not picking it up.
Not right now. But eventually...
Stu lowers his hand, still empty.
I wouldn't have a chance.
I never said you would.
I'm not insane.
But you're getting there. It wouldn't
That won't happen.
You could pull the gun down, shove
it in your own mouth and jerk the
trigger. That's another option.
Why would I do that?
To please me. And ensure that nothing
happens to Kelly. I don't necessarily
have to deal with her today in the
midst of a crowd of cops. I can take
her out any time I like. When she
goes to pull down her blinds at night
or when she walks the dog first thing
in the morning. What is it -- a Jack
Okay. I know you can do it. But don't
talk about that. Please.
I'd rather see you remembered as the
gallant gunman who tried to shoot
his way past an army of police --
than as a coward who sucked the
barrel. I'm doing your PR for you.
Creating a final image that'll endure.
The outraged New Yorker who was pushed
too far. When some lowlife street
person tries to invade his territory,
he retaliated. And when the forces
of the law closed in, he was
defiant... to the end.
Like that nerdy sonofabitch who blew
those three wiseass kids away on the
Exactly. Nobody minded that he was a
sicko. He was living out a New
Yorker's pet fantasy. Can you remember
that movie where Peter Finch started
screaming 'I'm not taking it anymore!'
And everybody picked up on it.
'I'm mad as hell and I'm not taking
That was it. Poor Finch got himself
an Oscar for that. But he was dead
by then. I mean he really died. Maybe
playing that part took too much out
(softly to himself)
'I'm not taking it anymore.' 'I'm
not taking it anymore.'
That's the way! Psyche yourself up.
Everybody respects a man who fights
back, even if he goes a little berserk
in the process.
Fighting back. That's what it's about.
Exactly! We all understand the poor
schmuck that gets laid off and comes
back and shoots all his bosses. We
all thought of doing that. But only
he had the balls. The terminally ill
husband who gets his policy canceled
and machine guns the insurance company
offices. Maybe somebody will finally
get the message. You can fuck human
beings over only for so long before
they come back at you. I'm still
holding on Kelly and she looks very
concerned. I could relieve all that
anguish in a fraction of a second.
Stu is hearing these words but thinking only of what the man
on the line has done to him. His turn has come to fight back.
He has an idea.
If the sniper is focused on Kelly, he can't be watching Stu.
Turning his back to the police, Stu slowly sinks to his knees.
I'm on my knees begging you.
Stand up, Stu. You're embarrassing
TIGHT ANGLE --
Stu now down on his knees in the booth. He's curled up almost
into a fetal position.
By doing so, he hopes to hide the fact that he's reaching
into his pants pocket and pulling out his cellular phone.
He half expects to hear a shot ring out either from the sniper
or the cops. But nothing happens.
Stu -- I want you back on your feet
facing me. So you can see what I'm
going to do to her.
Stu ignores the command. He's quickly dialing.
He's calling police emergency.
Stu seen through the cross hairs of the sniperscope, crouched,
doubled up at the foot of the booth. But the cell phone is
hidden in front of him.
Be a man, Stuart. Don't let them see
you like this. You're an embarrassment
WIDER SHOT - THE BOOTH
with Stu still kneeling.
to police across the street as their voices become clear --
Officer on east side of the street
reports subject removed a dark
metallic object from his pocket. We
Hold all fire until you actually
identify a weapon. We're doing this
on fucking TV!
RACK FOCUS BACK TO -- STU IN THE BOOTH
crouched forward. The pay phone receiver dangles just above
his head. The cellular remains cupped in his hand.
Stu never lifts the cell phone. He keeps the palm of his
hand over the speaker of the phone to muffle any sound from
the other end.
It rings and finally someone answers.
Police. Is this an emergency? Hello?
Is someone on the line?
But Stu addresses himself loudly to the pay phone which he
now grips in his other hand. Hoping that his words will be
picked up by the emergency operator listening via the
cellular. To help in this regard, he reaches back and slides
the door to the booth tightly closed.
He pretends to be talking to the sniper but his words are
meant for the 911 operator to hear.
You've made your point. Who's going
to believe I've got a sniper with a
telescopic sight holding me in a
fucking phone booth at 45th and 8th?
It took you a while to believe it
If you'd put a bullet in that Captain
Ramey, it would've been a different
story -- but you were too wise to do
Why don't you do it for me? Wave the
old captain back over and get him
nice and close and then use the
handgun on him.
Why me? You could pick off any of
those cops from your window up there.
Like you did that pimp. And that
tourist last week. But this time you
want me to do your killing for you.
And you will! To save Kelly.
EXTREME TIGHT SHOT - CELL PHONE
cupped in Stu's hand and held low. Can they hear him on the
Can you speak up, sir? What is your
Stu is concerned that the sniper might hear the voice of the
emergency operator. He sets the cell phone down flat on the
floor of the booth facing upward. He puts his foot over the
receiving end to muffle the incoming voice. Then he stands
That's better, Stu. Now turn around
so I can see you.
Stu talks close into the pay phone receiver now. But keeps
his voice raised.
This booth. It's my whole world --
shrunk down to four feet by three
feet. Not much bigger than the size
of a coffin.
They can put handles on the booth
and bury you in it.
(loudly into pay phone)
When I saw you put that bullet into
that black dude, I knew you'd never
let me out of this phone booth alive.
You're wasting my time. Reach up and
take the gun.
Let me see you first. What harm can
that do you? You're in one of those
windows. I've got to know which one.
No need for that.
Being so far, I could never identify
you. I don't even want to.
What is it then?
Don't worry that I'd try to point
you out. You'd shut me up with one
of your .30 calibre hollow points
before I could even raise a finger.
Why does it matter so much?
I want to see that you exist. Like
God exists. It's not enough to
believe. You want to see him -- just
once -- even at a distance.
And then you'd take the gun down.
And use it. We have a deal on that?
Show yourself to me and I'll take
the gun down. I swear.
There's a pause as the sniper mulls it over.
I don't have to make deals. And you're
irritating me by trying to negotiate.
God doesn't have to prove anything.
He just strikes you down when he
gets in the mood.
Stop! I won't ask to see you anymore.
I'm glad that's settled. But look
who else has showed up?
I guess she saw the coverage on TV
and just couldn't keep away.
What are you talking about?
The 'hotel' just arrived. And a very
beautiful little hotel she is.
Actually, I'd classify her as more
of a motel.
Mavis? I don't see her.
She's too far back behind the police
line. But I've got a fine shot at
her from up here.
You don't even know what she looks
You're in an enviable position now,
Stu. You get to choose between them.
Tell me which one.
Which will it be? Kelly or Mavis?
Or should I simply select one?
INSERT SHOT - THE CELL PHONE
lying face up on the floor of the booth. Is anybody listening?
BACK TO STU
Stu looks down at the cellular. He has no way of knowing if
the police operator can hear any of his words.
I need time to think...
You've got to be more in touch with
your feelings. You said you love
Then I'm doing you a favor putting
you out of the way of temptation.
It wasn't Mavis' fault. It was all
Then take the third option. Reach
above you and pick up the gun.
You'll leave them both alone?
There won't be much point in harming
them without you around to impress.
I'll do it.
Let me see you do it.
I need one minute. One last minute,
please. Can you give me that?
Don't tell me you're going to say
Something like that.
WE RACK FOCUS AWAY TO LONG SHOT - THE POLICE
assembled on the opposite side of the street.
They should've traced the fucking
call by now.
There's something else coming in. A
911 operator says your name was
mentioned by somebody that's still
on the line. Somebody talking about
a phone booth. And a sniper.
Patch me through. Hello, this is
Captain Edward Ramey. What about
The line is still open. It's
originating from a booth at 45th and
We're there! Can you play me back
your recording of the entire call?
I can't replay the tape while it's
Then switch to another machine and
play back what you've got.
It's awful faint. He's not talking
directly into the receiver.
Ramey begins to listen. We hear snatches of Stu's call picking
up words which are at times incomprehensible.
'Who's going to believe I've got a
sniper with a telescopic sight holding
me in some fucking phone booth...'
The uniformed TELEPHONE TECHNICIAN now joins Ramey and the
Got what you wanted. The call's coming
from up the street. The Hotel
Have you got the room?
It's not that easy. Electronic
Move your SWAT units to the hotel.
No... wait. Any movement will alert
the sniper. If he sees any of us
withdraw, he may panic.
There's another SWAT unit on the
Intercept them. Divert them to the
Send them in from the Forty-third
Street side. I don't want any activity
the sniper might catch sight of.
He's probably high up and facing
that booth. He's got to continue to
believe our full attention is focused
on the man inside -- whoever the
hell that poor bastard is.
(to emergency operator)
Hello 911 operator, I missed some of
that. Run it halfway back and repeat
STU'S VOICE (REPLAY)
'...Like you did that pimp. And that
tourist last week. But this time you
want me to do the killing for you...'
Jesus... he's a dead man.
BACK INSIDE PHONE BOOTH
The police seem all excited about
Are they? I wasn't looking.
I can't wait any longer. Say amen,
then reach up for the gun. When your
hand comes down, I want to see it.
I'm too afraid.
For once, be brave. Surprise yourself.
I'm shaking all over.
Guys in combat situations even shit
their pants. But they follow orders.
As soon as the cops see a gun, they'll
Then I'd advise you to fire first.
Stu's arm goes up in a supreme act of willpower.
His fingers run along the two clouded plastic sheets that
cover the roof of the booth. It raises up easily at the middle
where two sheets join.
TIGHT INSERT SHOT
The space between the roof of the booth and the sheets of
clouded plastic. We see the fluorescent lighting fixture
covered with dust. The solitary object -- a cruel-looking
Now Stu's fingertips protrude into the small space. He touches
the gun, brushes back and forth, feeling the roughness of
TIGHT SHOT - STU'S FACE
as below he continues to hesitate -- it's agony --
The sweat pours down his forehead and his eyes are squeezed
tightly shut. He can already imagine the police bullets
tearing into him.
A POLICE SNIPER IS MOVING INTO POSITION.
Give me the word.
RACK BACK TO STU - IN THE BOOTH
His arm still raised. He hasn't brought it down with the gun
in it. Not yet. He holds the pay phone receiver jammed up
against his mouth.
Hard part's over. Drop your arm and
point it like you'd point your finger
No. You do it. If you want me dead,
then fucking murder me!
Why must I keep invoking some poor
girl's name every time we come to an
impasse? I'm focused back on Kelly
again. You're obviously not willing
to trade your life for hers.
I am! I'm doing it!
He pulls the handgun down into full view. Curiously, the
police do not open fire.
There! You see it? They all see it.
He waves the gun so nobody can miss it.
Where are you? Damn you!!
He drops the receiver and steps halfway out of the booth.
Still the cops do not open fire.
Then Stu starts shooting.
Not at the police, but at the high rise buildings across the
At the thousands of windows that look down upon him.
He gets off two shots before a solitary rifle shot rings out
RACK FOCUS TO THE POLICE SNIPER
He has fired.
ANGLE ON STU
The remaining glass on the south side of the booth shatters.
Stu tumbles forward, sprawling out of the booth onto the
RACK FOCUS TO KELLY
She screams, tries to break through but cops restrain her.
INT. PHONE BOOTH
ANGLE ON DANGLING RECEIVER
as it sways back and forth. From it, we hear the voice.
Thanks for such an interesting
THEN THERE ARE OTHER SOUNDS EMANATING FROM THE DANGLING
A wooden door being battered open. A few incomprehensible
shouts as a SWAT TEAM dashes in. Stu's stalling for time has
THE SOUND OF A BARRAGE OF GUNFIRE.
THE SOUND OF A MUFFLED SCREAM.
The police have broken in on Stu's tormentor and there has
been a rapid exchange of shots.
A HAND reaches into the booth and grabs the receiver.
ANGLE WIDENS as Ramey places it to his ear.
Hello? This is Captain Ramey.
Somebody talk to me.
SWAT OFFICER'S VOICE
Yeah. We took him out, Captain.
Nobody else got hurt.
What's his condition?
SWAT OFFICER'S VOICE
Critical. The sonofabitch took two.
Probably won't survive the ride.
Get a statement from him. I'll be
He drops the receiver so that it dangles again.
CAMERA FOLLOWS RAMEY to where Stu lies surrounded by cops
and medics. He's stunned, but very much alive.
Don't try to sit up.
What was that?
You'll have one hell of a nasty welt.
Busted rib. Maybe a permanent scar
It couldn't hurt much more if you
really shot me.
Somebody was going to and we thought
it may as well be us.
Did you get him?
Sure as hell did. Thanks to you.
We'll be giving him a hypo for the
pain. It'll put him out for a while.
Kelly is now brought over by a female cop. She drops to her
knees beside Stu and tries to embrace him. The medics restrain
It's okay. I'm not really shot.
I was so afraid. I thought...
I thought so, too. But we're going
to be alright. Both of us.
Remember how you swore up and down
you'd get me on TV? Well, you did. I
already got interviewed on Fox and
Channel Eleven and they even want me
on A.M. America tomorrow morning.
Bet you didn't think I could deliver
Will you please let go of him, Miss?
A gurney is wheeled over from a police ambulance. The medic
is about to administer the hypo but Stu pushes him away.
No. No hypo. I want to see him first.
The medics are now ready to lift Stu onto the gurney and
cart him off. But Stu struggles against them.
Relax. The guy's dying.
That's why I've gotta talk to him.
You can ride with him in the
The woman cop escorts Kelly to the waiting ambulance.
Ramey meanwhile tries to resume contact with the SWAT team
inside the hotel.
This is Ramey. Over. This is Ramey.
There's nothing but static, mixed up feedback and multiple
garbled voices on the other end of the line.
Shit. Get everybody off this
He crosses back to the phone booth -- picks up the dangling
Hello. Hello! Pick up! Yeah, it's
Ramey again. Can you hold the phone
close enough so the perp can listen?
He's not saying a word, Captain.
He's not about to talk to us. Maybe
Ramey looks back to where the medics are still trying to
lift Stu onto the gurney.
Forget that. Stand him up.
Can you stand?
I can try.
Help him over here.
The medics support Stu and inch him back to the booth. It's
painful, but Stu ignores it.
Ramey holds the phone up so Stu can both listen and speak.
Here. Speak up.
(into pay phone)
It's me. Do you hear me? Answer me.
Had to have the last word, Stu.
I finally beat your ass. Admit it,
But you'll never forget me. I gave
you the most thrilling day of your
life. Say thanks.
Now you're gonna die, you bastard.
I lost a lot of blood. Don't you
want to donate some for me? Then
we'd really be part of each other.
Hang on. I can't wait to see you at
the hospital. So I can yank your
fucking air tube out.
Wish I could give you that pleasure.
You deserve it.
...Only I'm out of time.
What's your name? At least tell me
who you are.
There's more violent coughing, then silence. Then a cop's
voice is heard.
Stu stares at the receiver.
Don't worry. We'll find out who he
is. And why he picked you.
No. You won't.
What do you want to bet you won't?
Stu reaches over and hangs up the receiver. CLICK.
I'll spend my whole life trying to
figure that out.
Then he sinks into the arms of the medics who lower him onto
the waiting gurney.
The hypo is finally administered. It kicks in immediately,
relieving the pain.
He's wheeled away from the booth to the waiting ambulance.
Kelly is already inside waiting to accompany Stu to the
STU'S POV - BEING WHEELED AWAY FROM THE EMPTY BOOTH
pulling away in LOW ANGLE.
CAMERA SLIDES BACK inside the ambulance with Stu. The doors
shut, obliterating our view of the phone booth that was his
entire world until moments ago.
Gotta sleep now. No phone calls...
Kelly smiles down at him as the image blurs. Stu passes out --
into a deep sleep he much deserves.
A SIREN BLARES.
CUT TO BLACK:
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