"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 WOODSMAN"

Based on the play

by

Steven Fechter

Written

By

Steven Fechter

And

Nicole Kassell



Winner 1st Prize 2001 Slamdance Screenplay Competition

JULY 30, 2002



BEGIN TITLES - OPENING SEQUENCE MONTAGE

Over black we HEAR the rhythmic sound of machinery. This
sound will continue throughout the title sequence as other
sounds fade in and out. We move forward and back in time.

EXT. APARTMENT - DAY

A sparrow flutters in birdseed on a window sill. More birds
crowd a bird feeder that hangs above.

EXT. SCHOOL PLAYGROUND - DAY

A lone child swings lazily on a swing. Other children tear
about in a wild game of chase.

INT. LUMBERYARD WAREHOUSE - DAY

CLOSE on a piece of wood as it is fed through a wood chipper.

A man finishes feeding the log into the chipper. He pauses
to wipe the sweat and grime from his face. He is WALTER,
early forties, features handsome but hardened by time.

INT. BUS - EARLY MORNING

Walter is silhouetted by the early morning light. He holds a
duffel bag in his lap and watches out the bus window.

The sun is just rising over the horizon, streaks of pink and
purple graze the frosted ground. Wilderness gives way to
frozen farmland.

INT. POLICE DEPARTMENT - DAY

Walter stands at a counter, a female officer fingerprints
each finger.

EXT. LUMBERYARD - DAY

Walter and some other men drop the side of the flatbed truck
and trees crash to the ground.

EXT. BUS STOP - DAY

The bus pulls away, revealing Walter standing alone on the
sidewalk of a dilapidated neighborhood. He holds his duffle
bag.

INT. WAREHOUSE - DUSK

The 5 o'clock whistle BLOWS. Workers hustle to get their
coats and punch out. Walter stands in line, keeping to
himself. As his turn arrives to punch out he receives a rough
knock by two guys play-fighting behind him. Walter doesn't
react, punches out, and exits the door.

Vicki, a tough-looking but striking woman, stands in line a
little further back watching.

EXT./INT. APARTMENT - DAY

A superintendent opens the door to an apartment, then hands
Walter the keys. Her gaze is cold.

Walter closes the door and turns around. He stands in the
middle of a prefab/pre-furnished kitchen, living room area.

Light works its way through the dilapidated blinds.

INT. LUMBERYARD OFFICE - DAY

Walter shakes the boss's hand -- BOB, early thirties,
strapping and trim, is the manager of the business.

MARY-KAY, the secretary, looks up from her typing and takes
Walter in. Bob introduces them. She is in her early forties.

Walter follows Bob from the office, Mary-Kay watches as they
leave.

INT. POLICE DEPARTMENT

There is a flash as a camera snaps a photo.

Walter is captured in a photograph, standing against a
babyblue background.

INT. WALTER'S APARTMENT - DAY

Walter lifts the blinds. The birds flutter away.

CUT TO:

Walter stands under the shower.

CUT TO:

Walter, hair wet and clean shaven, tosses back some pills.

EXT. WAREHOUSE - DUSK

Tires SCREECH as cars tear out of the driveway. Walter stands
at a bus stop across the street.

As Vicki walks across the lot, a car pulls up next to her
and men catcall and whistle out the window.

Vicki flicks them off. The men burst into hysterics and peal
out of the lot. She gets in her Jeep and leaves, tearing by
the bus stop.

Walter looks after her then turns his collar up against the
chill. It is late winter. The trees are bare -- black
silhouettes against the darkening sky.

Walter turns towards the shelter for protection from the
wind. Filling the kiosk, a clothing advertisement displays a
young girl striking a seductive pose.

INT. POLICE DEPARTMENT - DAY

CLOSE on a police file. A mug shot reveals Walter, many years
younger. Pages are flipped through giving glimpses of
newspaper clippings as well as typed documents. Words stand
out -- "Convicted, 1st degree --," "3 counts --," "served --
."

An plain clothes officer closes the folder and looks out his
office window where Walter stands being fingerprinted. This
is Sergeant LUCAS, mid-fifties, face creased and greying
hair.

INT. BUS - DAY

Walter watches out the window as farmland gives way to city.

Traffic builds, billboards line the highway.

INT. LUMBERYARD WAREHOUSE - DAY

Details of machines cutting the wood.

INT. WALTER'S APARTMENT - DAY

Walter fills the bird feeder with birdseed.

There is the SOUND of children playing, and Walter looks up.

Walter's POV: Across the way, children play outside of the
school.

Walter watches then closes his window.

EXT. POLICE DEPARTMENT - DAY

Walter exits the police station and crosses the street.

INT. POLICE DEPARTMENT

CLOSE on fingers typing on a keyboard.

A computer screen shows Walter's image -- the photo just
taken of him against the blue background. Words appear across
the screen as they are typed, creating an Internet
notification page:

Released: 02/25/02 Qualifying Offense(s):________________

We MOVE in on the photo of Walter till it fills the frame.

FREEZE FRAME. All sound fades out.

The title "THE WOODSMAN" fades in.

END TITLES

INT. OFFICE - NIGHT

Walter sits in a small windowless office with his coat still
on. He looks at someone off screen.

MAN (O.S.)
So. How are you adjusting?

WALTER
I'm adjusting okay.

MAN (O.S.)
And your new apartment?

WALTER
Apartment's okay.

MAN (O.S.)
Are you taking your medication?

WALTER
It gives me headaches.

MAN (O.S.)
But you are taking it?

WALTER
Yeah.

Across from Walter, sits ROSEN, young, awkward and clearly
new to the profession, jotting something down in a notepad.

ROSEN
Good. I'll talk to your physician
about the headaches. Maybe he can
change the prescription.

Walter doesn't say anything.

ROSEN
And how's your job?

WALTER
The job's okay.

ROSEN
Do I take "okay" to mean you feel
good about working there?

WALTER
I said the job is okay.

ROSEN
(smiling)
That's right, you did.
(pause)
Have you made any friends there?

WALTER
I'm not running for Mr. Popularity.

ROSEN
(pause)
You seem a little hostile today.

WALTER
That was a joke.

Rosen jots something on his notepad. Walter reaches over and
taps on the notebook.

WALTER
It's called sarcasm, Dr. Rosen.

ROSEN
No need to call me doctor. I'm a
therapist, not a psychiatrist.

WALTER
It's all the same.

Rosen looks at Walter for a long moment. Walter avoids his
gaze.

ROSEN
Walter, I'd like you to try something
for me.

WALTER
What?

ROSEN
I'd like you to keep a journal.

WALTER
A diary?

ROSEN
That's right.

WALTER
No way.

ROSEN
Why not?

WALTER
Diaries have sent too many guys to
prison.

ROSEN
I don't understand.

WALTER
Ev-i-dence.

ROSEN
Oh. It never crossed my mind.

WALTER
Of course.

ROSEN
It was just an idea.

WALTER
Bad idea.

ROSEN
I thought a journal would encourage
you to reflect.

WALTER
Reflect.

ROSEN
That's right.

WALTER
You think reflection is good.

ROSEN
It's very good, indeed.

WALTER
How's that?

ROSEN
By reflection we can derive a deeper
meaning from our experience in life.
We gain greater understanding about
ourselves that can lead to making
better choices in our relationships,
our careers, and our goals.

Walter looks at him flatly.

WALTER
You read that in a book.

Rosen blushes.

ROSEN
Try it.

WALTER
No fucking way.

ROSEN
Then think about it.

Walter is silent.

EXT. PHARMACY, STRIP MALL - NIGHT

The sidewalk is crowded with pedestrians. Walter heads towards
the pharmacy entrance, but he is abruptly cut off by a group
of kids zooming by on their scooters and skateboards.

He pauses for them to pass, watches after them momentarily,
then proceeds inside.

INT. PHARMACY - NIGHT

Walter hands a prescription to a MALE PHARMACIST. The
pharmacist looks at the prescription. He glances at Walter
then goes over to a FEMALE PHARMACIST working in the back
area.

She reads the prescription, glances at Walter over her
bifocals, then back at the prescription. Walter has not missed
any of this.

WALTER
There a problem?

MALE PHARMACIST
A problem?

A middle-aged shopper talking on her cell phone nearby looks
over and pauses in her conversation.

WALTER
Can you read the prescription?

MALE PHARMACIST
Yes.

WALTER
Can you fill the prescription?

FEMALE PHARMACIST
Yes.

WALTER
Then I suggest one of you move your
ass, because if I don't get my
medication I get extremely violent.

The male pharmacist scrambles to fill the prescription.

The shopper gasps. Walter looks at her and smiles. The shopper
stuffs her items in her cart and quickly leaves.

Walter stifles his grin.

INT. WALTER'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Walter opens the door to his apartment, carrying a grocery
bag. As he flips on the lights, a metal object is thrown
across the room. He catches it with one hand. It's a can of
beer. A man laughs.

CARLOS (O.S.)
You still think fast.

Carlos sits at the table with a six-pack. Walter sets the
bag on the table and pops open the can.

WALTER
Don't need to think fast to handle
beer.

CARLOS
Took some talking to convince your
super I was a relative.

WALTER
I told her all my relatives are good-
looking.

Carlos laughs.

CARLOS
Jesus Christ, man, it's good to see
you!

Carlos stands and they awkwardly embrace.

CARLOS
You look good, damn good, considering
you're an old man now!

WALTER
Seems like the whole world's gotten
younger.

There is silence. Carlos sits back down at the table and
opens another beer.

Walter starts unpacking the groceries.

CARLOS
You doing okay?

WALTER
Got a job at old Frank's place. His
son runs it now.

CARLOS
Oh man, that kid takes himself real
serious.

WALTER
Yeah, you still with Northland?

CARLOS
(grins)
Foreman now.

WALTER
No shit.

CARLOS
Five years.

WALTER
Beautiful. How's business?

CARLOS
Booming. Lots of building going on.
We can't keep up with all the work.
In fact, I just hired a few new
guys...

Glancing at Walter, he realizes his blunder.

CARLOS
Just until we catch up.

There is a brief silence as both men drink. Carlos looks at
Walter.

CARLOS
I'll never forget you got me started
there.

WALTER
I just recommended you. You still
had to prove yourself.

Carlos gets up and walks over to the window. He gazes outside.

CARLOS
Hey, is that a school?

WALTER
K through sixth.

Carlos glances at Walter, then back outside.

CARLOS
Living across the street from a grade
school. Jesus.

WALTER
Something wrong with that?

CARLOS
I was just thinking of... the noise.

WALTER
I like the noise.

Walter walks over to the window.

WALTER
One hundred and twenty feet.

CARLOS
What?

WALTER
Law says I can't come within one
hundred feet of where children
congregate. I figure the distance
from my window to the school is one
hundred and twenty. Make a bet?

CARLOS
No way, man, you'd rob me blind!

The two men laugh, but the laughter quickly fades.

CARLOS
But maybe it's not so healthy being
so close, you know, to a school.

WALTER
(heated)
You find me a decent place for under
three hundred a month in this town,
and I'll happily move out of this
crap neighborhood.

Carlos shrugs and tosses down the rest of his beer.

CARLOS
I should go. Your sister worries,
and when she worries she yells.

WALTER
How is she?

CARLOS
Annette? She's good... tense.

WALTER
When can I see her?

CARLOS
I'm working on it.

WALTER
Is it because of Anna?

CARLOS
I don't know. She won't talk about
it.

WALTER
(pause)
You're the only one in the family
who still talks to me.

CARLOS
I remember when they all referred to
me as "the little spic poor Annette
married." Except her brother. You
treated me with respect.
(pause)
Look, you paid your dues. Your slate
is clean now.

WALTER
How old is Anna?

CARLOS
She'll be twelve next week. We're
throwing a big party on Saturday.
Wish I could ask you to come...

WALTER
Only if it's no closer than a hundred
feet.

Carlos looks away.

WALTER
Sorry, bad joke.

They stiffly embrace. Then Carlos exits leaving Walter alone.

EXT. SCHOOLYARD - DAWN

CLOSE on a man's feet slowly walking heel to toe. The ground
is covered in frost. TILT UP to reveal Walter counting his
footsteps as he walks towards the school across from his
apartment building. The schoolyard is empty.

WALTER
One hundred and ten, one hundred and
eleven, one hundred and twelve...

A bird's cry pierces the sky. Walter looks up to see a hawk
circling above. He watches for a moment then continues
walking.

WALTER
One hundred and thirteen, one hundred
and fourteen, one hundred and
fifteen...

He reaches the school entrance and touches it.

WALTER
One hundred and twenty.

Walter looks at the hawk still circling above and hollers --

WALTER
How about that!?

Slowly the SOUND of children fades in and a red ball bounces
to Walter's feet. He looks in the direction the ball came
from.

Nothing is there.

Walter looks back down at his feet. The ball is gone. The
sound of children fades back away and is replaced by a
rhythmic squeak. Walter looks towards the playground where
an empty swing sways back and forth in the wind, the chain
squeaking in its hinges.

The hawk's cry pierces the silence. Walter looks up to see
the hawk being chased by two smaller birds.

INT. WAREHOUSE - DAY

There is a tremendous crash as logs are dropped near the
wood chipper. Forklifts move and stack wood.

Walter stands at the end of a wood chipper, pushing a long
piece of wood through. Suddenly above the din of machinery
there is the sound of raised voices.

Walter looks across the way to see Vicki yelling furiously
and smacking a GUY around the head with her work gloves. The
man cowers, protecting his head from the blows. Some other
men nearby are doubled over in laughter.

VICKI
GOD DAMN IT! PEDRO! WHAT THE FUCK DO
YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING! HOW WOULD
YOU FEEL IF SOME FUCKER DID THAT TO
YOUR SISTER?! YOU WOULDN'T THINK IT
SO FUNNY THEN, WOULD YOU?!

She backs off out of breath. Pedro straightens up, having a
very hard time keeping a straight face.

The other guys start to applaud.

Vicki looks around and storms off, kicking a piece of wood
into one of the men, hard. She brushes past Walter on her
way to the exit. He watches after her.

INT. WAREHOUSE CAFETERIA - DAY

Vicki sits alone at a table eating a sandwich. She takes
large bites and eats fast.

Walter approaches carrying a tray of food. He pauses across
from where Vicki sits.

Vicki ignores him.

WALTER
You okay?

Vicki looks up.

VICKI
What?

WALTER
Are you okay?

VICKI
(pause)
Yeah, I'm fucking fantastic.

Walter nods and keeps on walking. Vicki returns to her food.

After a moment, she steals a glance up at Walter.

Across the way, Mary-Kay watches Walter as he sits down to
the table neighboring Vicki's.

Bob sits down across from Mary-Kay with a tray of food and a
newspaper. He opens the paper and starts to read.

MARY-KAY
So, what'd he do?

BOB
What did who do?

MARY-KAY
You know, the new guy.

Bob looks across the room at Walter.

BOB
Mind your own business, Mary-Kay.

MARY-KAY
Come on, just tell me what he did.

Bob ignores her and reads the paper.

MARY-KAY
Drugs, armed robbery, manslaughter,
tax evasion --

Bob picks up his tray and moves away.

Mary-Kay smiles to herself.

INT. BUS - DUSK

Walter sits on the bus. He is squeezed into the window seat,
the bus crowded with commuters and teenagers on their way
home from school. He focuses out the window.

INT. WALTER'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Walter sits alone on his couch, watching a baseball game,
drinking a beer.

SPORTSCASTER (V.O.)
The winning run on base, and a full
count on Williams, who's been in a
terrible slump. Here's the pitch.
Williams swings and misses! The
Rangers win, ball game over.

Walter switches off the TV.

EXT. WALTER'S APARTMENT - DAY

Walter crosses the street outside of his apartment and heads
towards the bus stop.

A white Volvo is parked along the road. A MAN sits inside
the car looking out towards the school. The engine is off.
He's in his twenties, good build, nice clothes.

Walter looks at the man as he passes by.

The man doesn't notice him, his attention fixed down the
street.

Walter looks in the direction of his gaze.

The schoolyard is quiet except for a couple of students
running in.

Walter looks back at the man. The man doesn't notice him.

Walter hurries to his bus stop.

INT. WAREHOUSE - DAY

Walter works feeding wood through the chipper.

Vicki drives a forklift past Walter and watches him as she
passes. He remains intent upon his work.

EXT. WAREHOUSE - DUSK

Walter walks across the parking lot, heading towards the bus
stop. Before he reaches the road Vicki's rusty old Jeep pulls
up alongside him and stops, honking to grab his attention.

Vicki rolls down the passenger side window.

VICKI
Want a ride?

WALTER
I'm all right.

VICKI
It's fucking freezing out here.

Walter hesitates and looks down the road. There is no bus in
sight.

VICKI
Come on, I won't bite.

He gets in.

As they pull away, a beat up grey Chevy pulls into the parking
lot. Sergeant Lucas gets out of the car, and pauses watching
after Vicki and Walter. He then turns and heads into the
office.

INT. CAR - NIGHT

Walter and Vicki drive silently. Vicki glances at Walter.

VICKI
There's something wrong with this
picture.

WALTER
What picture?

VICKI
I'm talking about you.

WALTER
Me?

VICKI
Yeah, you.

Walter looks out the window.

VICKI
Here's this nice, hard working guy
who suddenly appears out of the blue
and rides the bus to and from work.
I mean, who rides the bus anymore?

WALTER
People without cars.

She gives him a look.

VICKI
Very weird.

WALTER
No weirder than a sharp, young, good-
looking woman working in a lumberyard.

VICKI
What's weird about that?

WALTER
Most women wouldn't choose it.

VICKI
Guess I'm not like most women.

Vicki takes out a cigarette and presses the cigarette lighter
in, revealing a tattoo on her wrist of a pair of breasts
with angel wings.

Walter notices the tattoo. Vicki notices Walter notice. She
smiles at him.

VICKI
You're quiet at work.

WALTER
I'm just quiet.

VICKI
You don't hang out with the other
guys.

WALTER
Neither do you.

VICKI
They're all assholes.

Walter shrugs.

VICKI
You never spoke to me before.

WALTER
I thought you were a dyke.

Vicki laughs and stops at a red light.

WALTER
(smiling)
Are you?

VICKI
What do you think?

She shoots him a look.

INT. WALTER'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Vicki paces around the apartment.

Walter takes two beers from the fridge then turns and stands
holding them, watching her.

VICKI
Southern light.

WALTER
What?

VICKI
Your windows face south. Northern
light is the purest. But southern
light is very good.

WALTER
I'll buy a plant.

VICKI
You should buy several. I've got
shitty light in my place, but my
plants don't seem to mind. Light's
important, but it's not everything.

She looks at Walter.

VICKI
You plan to drink both those beers?

WALTER
Sorry.

Walter hands her a beer.

VICKI
Thanks.

She takes a swig then gazes back out the window.

VICKI
Is that a school?

WALTER
K through sixth.

VICKI
Doesn't it get noisy?

WALTER
I like the noise.

VICKI
My place faces a truck street. I've
got cracks in every window from the
shaking.

WALTER
You must hate it.

VICKI
I go backpacking a lot. Lose myself
in the wilderness for a week or two.

Vicki wanders through the stark living room space, looking
at what little there is to look at.

WALTER
What about bears?

VICKI
What about them?

WALTER
They could eat you.

VICKI
(laughing)
Yeah, they could.

She looks closely at the bus map taped to the wall, the only
decoration in the place. She looks at Walter.

VICKI
I thought you were just shy, but now
I think it's something else.

WALTER
What?

VICKI
You're damaged.

Walter drinks his beer and sits down on the couch.

VICKI
Something happened to you.

WALTER
Yeah?

Vicki sits next to him.

VICKI
I'm not easily shocked.

WALTER
I get that impression.

VICKI
So... what's your dark secret?

WALTER
Why do you want to know?

VICKI
Don't you think I should know before
we have sex?

Walter looks at her in surprise.

VICKI
I don't like to waste time.

Vicki leans in and kisses him.

VICKI
So?

WALTER
What?

VICKI
Are you going to tell me your deep
dark secret before we have sex?

She kisses him again.

WALTER
No.

Vicki looks at him.

VICKI
Okay.

She kisses him. Hesitantly, he kisses her back.

SERIES OF SHOTS - JUMPING FORWARD AND BACK IN TIME

A) BATHROOM: Walter's hands shake as he splashes water on
his face. His shirt is off, and he wears just his jeans. He
looks up at himself in the mirror.

B) BEDROOM: Walter lies back on his bed. Vicki runs her hand
up his chest, pulling his shirt over his head. Walter looks
at Vicki, already topless. He tentatively touches her breast.

C) BEDROOM: Walter kisses Vicki, then more and more rapidly,
all over, passionately. They roll so she is underneath him.

D) LIVINGROOM: Vicki walks backwards towards the bedroom
door, pulling Walter's hand to follow.

E) BEDROOM: Walter lies next to Vicki, staring up at the
ceiling, spent, still breathing hard.

F) BEDROOM: Walter gropes Vicki's body and urgently pulls
her underwear off.

G) BEDROOM: Walter and Vicki are completely engrossed in
each other, making love.

H) BATHROOM: Walter breaks his gaze from the mirror and turns
the faucet off.

INT. WALTER'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

Vicki lies in bed, relaxed, smoking a cigarette. The sheets
are pulled to her waist.

Walter enters and sits on the side of the bed. He smiles
shyly at her.

WALTER
So, you're not a dyke.

VICKI
Not tonight.

Walter looks at her. Vicki laughs and nudges him in the butt
with her foot.

VICKI
Hey, that was... intense.

WALTER
You're still here.

VICKI
I didn't say I didn't enjoy it.

WALTER
Of course. Sorry. I'm such a fucking
asshole.

VICKI
No you're not.

WALTER
Don't tell me I'm not a fucking
asshole when I know I'm a fucking
asshole!

Walter gets up and walks over to the window.

VICKI
What's the problem?

WALTER
You think I have a problem?

VICKI
Do you?

WALTER
(pause)
It's been a while since...

VICKI
Since you've had sex?

Walter looks out the window, silent.

VICKI
Tell me about it.

WALTER
Maybe later.

VICKI
How about in the morning.

WALTER
The morning?

VICKI
I thought I'd stay the night.

WALTER
What for?

VICKI
Well, Walter, this is going to sound
off-the-wall, but I like to sleep
with a man after we fuck.

Walter is silent.

VICKI
Did I say something wrong?

WALTER
I suffer from insomnia.

VICKI
Is that all?

WALTER
When I do sleep, I sweat a lot.
Usually I get nightmares and wake up
screaming.

VICKI
(smiling)
I sleep like a dead horse. Anything
else?

Walter has run out of excuses. Vicki drops her cigarette in
an empty beer bottle and slides deeper under the covers.

INT. WALTER'S APARTMENT - MORNING

Walter stands by the window watching Vicki walk towards her
Jeep. Something brushes his leg. He looks down to see the
red ball resting by his foot. He turns to see...

A glimpse of a young girl as she flashes by the door. She is
twelve years old and wears a white nightgown.

There is the sound of a car HONK, and Walter looks out the
window to see Vicki pull away.

He looks back toward the girl. There is nothing there.

INT. APARTMENT BEDROOM - MORNING

Walter rummages through a drawer. From underneath a pile of
clothes he pulls out a well-worn notebook. Walter leafs
through the pages. They are filled with writing but towards
the back the pages are blank.

INT. APARTMENT - DAY

Walter sits next to the window watching birds play at the
bird feeder. The notebook sits next to him on the windowsill.

There is the SOUND of children playing outside. Walter opens
the notebook, closes it, then opens it again. He looks up
and sees his reflection in the window. He starts to write.

WALTER (V.O.)
I watch the kids arrive at school.

INT. ROSEN'S OFFICE - DAY

Walter sits in the chair across from Rosen, looking at his
hands.

ROSEN
How's the journal?

WALTER
I'm still thinking about it.

ROSEN
I wish you'd give it a try.

Walter is silent.

ROSEN
You don't like coming here, do you?

WALTER
It's okay.

ROSEN
But you don't like coming here. Be
honest, Walter.

WALTER
Honest? No.

ROSEN
Good. That's an honest answer. And
why don't you like coming here?

WALTER
Honest? Your cheery personality makes
my skin itch.

ROSEN
(stung)
Is it just my cheery personality
that makes your skin itch?

WALTER
Forget it.

ROSEN
Maybe it's the way I look. Or the
sound of my name.

WALTER
Rosen? I don't have a problem with
that.

ROSEN
Because if you did, I know a therapist
named Ryan. I also know a therapist
named Chung.

WALTER
I don't need someone else.

Rosen settles back.

ROSEN
Fine.

Pause. Walter looks at Rosen.

INT./EXT. APARTMENT - DAY

Continued from previous journal scene. Walter sits at his
windowsill writing in his journal. There is the sound of
children arriving to school outside. He looks up.

WALTER (V.O.)
But for the last few weeks I've
noticed someone else watching them.

Walter's POV: The man with the white Volvo stands leaning
against his car watching a bus load of children arrive. He
pops M&Ms in his mouth.

WALTER (V.O.)
I call him Candy.

The boys run and tackle each other. A group walks by Candy.

WALTER (V.O.)
He talks to the boys, fifth and sixth
graders. He goes for the pretty ones,
faces like angels.

Walter finishes writing then looks outside.

INT. BUS - MORNING

Walter stands on a crowded bus, staring out the window at
the landscape rushing by. The bus pulls to a stop. Passengers
get off, then a group of girls come crashing onto the bus.
They overflow with energy and giggles.

Walter squeezes back so they can get by, but the bus lurches
into motion throwing one of the girls into Walter. He helps
her regain her balance, and the girl smiles at him.

GIRL
Sorry!

She and her friends burst into laughter and move on past.

Walter watches her move down the aisle then quickly turns
away, scanning the faces surrounding him. No one looks at
him.

INT. WAREHOUSE - DAY

Walter sweats heavily as he works. Vicki walks by and glances
at Walter as she passes. He doesn't notice her.

INT. WAREHOUSE CAFETERIA - DAY

Walter sits at a table eating. Vicki sits down across from
him. They eat silently. Walter doesn't look up. Vicki blows
a straw wrapper, hitting Walter in the face.

After a moment, without glancing up, Walter retaliates. Vicki
smothers a laugh. Walter cracks a smile.

Mary-Kay sits across the room watching the flirtation between
Vicki and Walter.

INT. WAREHOUSE BATHROOM - DAY

Vicki exits a stall and goes to the sink to wash her hands.

She's smiling a little smile to herself.

Mary-Kay enters and starts primping in the mirror, fixing
her hair, putting on lipstick. She watches Vicki in the
reflection of the mirror.

MARY-KAY
I'd keep away from him.

VICKI
What?

MARY-KAY
The new man. I'd keep away from him,
if I were you.

VICKI
Why's that?

MARY-KAY
You don't want to know, but he's
damaged goods -- real damaged goods,
if you know what I mean.

VICKI
(cold)
Yeah, Mary-Kay, I think I do. Thanks
a bunch for the advice.

Mary-Kay smiles, missing Vicki's ironic tone.

MARY-KAY
Just trying to be helpful.

VICKI
Well, Mary, you're about as helpful
as a broken sewer pipe. You do know
what runs out of a sewer pipe, don't
you?

Mary-Kay's smile withers into a sneer.

MARY-KAY
Suit yourself.

She drops the lipstick into her bag and exits.

Vicki turns and finishes washing her hands, glancing at
herself in the mirror.

EXT. WAREHOUSE - LATER

Walter exits the building amidst a group of men. He walks
towards the bus stop. Vicki hollers to him from her Jeep.

VICKI
Hey.

Vicki waves him over.

INT. DINER - NIGHT

Vicki sits across from Walter in a booth. She takes a large
bite from a burger and washes it down with a milk shake.

Walter folds his napkin over his hand to make a little rabbit
hand puppet. The rabbit nods at Vicki.

She busts out laughing.

INT. BAR - NIGHT

Walter and Vicki play pool. She knocks two balls into a corner
pocket. She is kicking his ass and visibly enjoying it.

Walter hands her a quarter. Vicki kisses him on the cheek
and goes to line up the next shot.

INT. WALTER'S BATHROOM - NIGHT

Walter and Vicki shower together. Walter rinses the suds
from Vicki's hair.

INT. WALTER'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

Vicki and Walter have just finished making love, Vicki on
top. She lies down on his chest. He strokes her hair, then
leans his head close and takes a deep breath.

INT. WALTER'S BEDROOM - MORNING

Vicki is woken up by Walter who makes the moaning sounds of
someone having a nightmare. She turns on her side and watches
him.

Walter wakes up with a start, then sees Vicki and cuddles
close. She runs her fingers through his hair and kisses his
forehead.

VICKI
Hey, there.

WALTER
(sleepy)
Hi.

He closes his eyes again. Vicki looks at him closely.

VICKI
What happened to you?

Walter opens his eyes. Vicki continues to stroke his hair.

VICKI
Walter, what did you do?

Walter pulls away.

WALTER
Why do you want to know?

VICKI
Because I like you.

Walter is silent.

VICKI
I won't run away.

There's a long pause. He rests back down against the pillows.

WALTER
What's the worst thing you ever did?

VICKI
The worst?

WALTER
Yeah.

Vicki looks at him.

VICKI
Fucked my best friend's husband.

Walter listens with no reaction.

VICKI
I mean my best friend since the second
grade. Her husband was hot for me
and, god, he was cute. She was an
international flight attendant, so
we would get it on for days, while
she was off in some country we
couldn't pronounce. Then he told
her, the shit. It broke up our
friendship, broke up their marriage.
Later she had a nervous breakdown,
quit her job, then moved in with her
sister who she despised.

Vicki lights a cigarette and takes a long drag.

VICKI
I still feel like the lowest piece
of shit, when I think about it.

She looks at Walter. He says nothing, his expression blank.

VICKI
So, what did you do?

WALTER
I molested little girls.

VICKI
Molested little girls?

WALTER
Yeah.

Vicki laughs.

WALTER
You don't believe me?

She shakes her head no but the laughter begins to die.

WALTER
I wish the judge had your sense of
humor.

Vicki is quiet.

VICKI
You're not joking.

WALTER
Twelve years in prison is no joke.

Walter gets out of bed and pulls on his pants. Vicki doesn't
move, the cigarette burns in her hand.

WALTER
(signaling to the
door)
Look, you can go now.

VICKI
How many girls did you molest?

Walter walks over to the window.

WALTER
Obviously one too many.
(bitter laugh)

Vicki looks away.

WALTER
Sorry.

VICKI
What did you do to them?

WALTER
(looking back out the
window)
It's not what you think.

VICKI
How young?

WALTER
Between ten and twelve. Once a nine-
year-old told me she was eleven.
Once a fourteen-year-old told me she
was twelve. I always asked how old
they were.

Vicki is visibly shaken. She puts the cigarette out.

VICKI
So it was mostly fondling? Shit like
that?

Walter looks at her.

WALTER
I never hurt them. Never.

VICKI
Twelve years in prison?

WALTER
The judge had a thing about sex
offenders. Later I heard his daughter
had been raped. If I hadn't had a
good lawyer, it would have been twenty-
five to thirty.

Vicki is silent.

WALTER
Why don't you just go now, okay?

VICKI
I told you I'm not easily shocked.

WALTER
You should be shocked. Or do you get
off on this shit?

VICKI
What?

WALTER
Get your kicks somewhere else.

VICKI
Hey, I'm not --

WALTER
Depraved? My mistake.

VICKI
Walter.

Advancing towards her.

WALTER
Get the fuck out of here!

Vicki doesn't move. After a long moment, Walter sits down
next to her.

VICKI
You don't molest little girls anymore,
do you?

WALTER
No. Never again.

Vicki looks away, struggling to digest the news.

WALTER
(quiet)
You should go now.

Vicki gets up and pulls on her clothes. She looks at Walter
who sits motionless on the bed. She leaves.

INT. VICKI'S CAR - DAY

Vicki drives fast. Window down. Cigarette gripped between
her fingers. Tears stream down her face. She comes to a stop
light and sits completely still, staring ahead without
blinking. Suddenly cars HONK. She snaps out of her stupor
and keeps on driving.

INT. WALTER'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Walter sits on the couch writing in his journal. The TV is
on, a baseball game in progress, sound on low. Abruptly,
Walter throws the journal across the room. Then he lies back
and stares at the ceiling.

Suddenly, there is a loud THUMP outside of the apartment.

Walter picks up his journal and puts it in a drawer, then
walks quietly to the door and opens it a crack.

EXT. WALTER'S APARTMENT LANDING - NIGHT

A man struggles to bring a large object up the stairs.

Walter opens the door. Carlos turns in surprise.

WALTER
What are you doing?

CARLOS
This little table is one heavy bitch.

INT. WALTER'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Carlos enters the apartment and sets a table down in the
middle of the room. Walter looks at it.

WALTER
Cherry.

CARLOS
Huh?

WALTER
It's made from cherry. That's a hard
wood.

CARLOS
It's a nice table.

Walter runs his hand along the surface.

WALTER
Notice the grain. See how deep and
rich the red runs?

CARLOS
Yeah. It's really nice.

Carlos sits in a chair.

WALTER
It's my own design. You won't find
another table like it in the world.

CARLOS
It was a beautiful present.

WALTER
Then why the fuck are you giving it
back to me?!

CARLOS
(gesturing to the
empty space)
You need a table.

WALTER
She was going to throw it out, wasn't
she? Just toss it like a scrap of
wood.

CARLOS
It wasn't like that.

WALTER
Then what? What?!

CARLOS
She's got all this new furniture
now. She said it didn't fit anymore,
so I kept it in the attic. I thought
you might like it.

WALTER
I made that table for you and Annette,
for your wedding. I put a lot of
love into it.

CARLOS
I know, man. I love this table too.
(looks at Walter)
But I also love my wife.

Carlos notices the TV.

CARLOS
What's happening?

WALTER
Mariners are pounding the shit out
of the Tigers.

Walter stares at Carlos for a moment, then turns and goes to
the fridge and pulls out two beers. He hands Carlos a beer
and sits down on the couch. Carlos sits down next to him.

CARLOS
Fucking Mariners.

WALTER
Fucking Tigers. They got no pitching
except for a bunch of green kids
straight out of Double A or Southern
Cal.
(pause)
How was the party?

CARLOS
What party?

WALTER
The birthday party.

CARLOS
Oh, Anna's. It was great, man. Anna
was so pretty.
(getting excited)
She looked like a princess, like one
of those girls in a fairy tale, you
know, like Snow White.

Walter looks at Carlos.

CARLOS
I've got some pictures.
(reaching for his
back pocket)
Want to see?

WALTER
No thanks.

CARLOS
Ah, come on.

WALTER
(snapping)
I don't want to see any goddamn
pictures.

Carlos backs off.

CARLOS
They're just photos I took of the
party.

Walter is silent and avoids Carlos's gaze. Carlos gives Walter
a look, then heads to the door.

WALTER
Carlos.
(Carlos turns)
I want to see my sister and Anna in
person. Okay?

Carlos nods.

CARLOS
Yeah, man, I understand.

He exits.

Walter walks over to the table and slowly runs his hand along
the surface.

INT. ROSEN'S OFFICE - DAY

Walter sits across from Rosen.

ROSEN
How do you feel about that?

WALTER
I don't feel anything.

ROSEN
You have no feelings for your niece?

WALTER
She was born after they put me away.
How can I have feelings?

ROSEN
Then why are you talking about this?

WALTER
Have to talk about something.

ROSEN
What are you afraid will happen?

WALTER
I'm not afraid. I'm just saying that
Carlos has a thing for his daughter,
and if he isn't careful he's going
to suffer.

ROSEN
Have you talked to Carlos about your
concerns?

WALTER
I'm not that crazy.

ROSEN
Do you think you're crazy?

WALTER
If I'm not, then what the hell am I
doing here?

ROSEN
Why do you think you're here?

WALTER
You know why. It's part of the parole
deal.

ROSEN
Is that what you are angry about?

WALTER
Talking to you is like riding on a
merry-go-round.

ROSEN
That is a marvelous image, Walter.
Because by going in circles we find
the things we missed the first time
around.

Walter looks at Rosen.

WALTER
How long is this going to take?

ROSEN
(checking the clock)
We have a few more minutes.

WALTER
I mean, when will I be normal.

ROSEN
(pause)
We have a lot of work to do.

WALTER
(speaking slowly)
Will I ever be normal?

ROSEN
I couldn't say.

WALTER
You couldn't say.

ROSEN
I'm afraid not.

WALTER
Do you know what "normal" is?

ROSEN
I suppose it's however society defines
it.

WALTER
How do you define it?

ROSEN
I don't.

WALTER
Then how do you know if your patients
are getting better?

ROSEN
They usually tell me.

WALTER
How do they know?

ROSEN
What is your idea of being normal?

WALTER
(mimicking Rosen)
What is your idea of being a Jew?

ROSEN
(controlled)
Whatever my ideas are of being a Jew
is not going to help you.
(looks at the clock)
Why don't we continue this on
Thursday.

WALTER
(exploding)
I want to be normal!

ROSEN
Then go see a therapist who will
tell you you're normal!

WALTER
Fuck you, Rosen!

ROSEN
I know --

WALTER
You don't know!

ROSEN
I know you're frustrated, Walter,
but --

Walter gets up and slams out the door.

Rosen looks at the empty chair.

ROSEN
-- you really are making progress.

INT. WALTER'S APARTMENT - MORNING

Walter sits at his window with his journal, watching outside.

Walter's POV: Candy leans against his car, patiently waiting.

Something grabs Candy's attention, and Walter follows his
gaze.

Kids pour off a school bus. Candy waves to one ANGEL-FACED
BOY of ten or eleven.

WALTER (V.O.)
So what should I do? Call the cops?
(he laughs)
Yeah, that's pretty funny.

The boy and a buddy run over to Candy.

WALTER
But what if Candy seduces one to go
for a ride?

Candy smiles and offers Angel-face a candy bar, which the
boy accepts.

WALTER (V.O.)
Yeah, that's right. If the boy goes
for a ride it's because he wants to
go for a ride.

The BELL rings. The other boy grabs Angel-face, and they run
off to school.

Walter rests his chin on his hands, watching.

INT. WAREHOUSE LOCKER ROOM - DAY

Vicki closes her locker to see Walter standing at the end of
the room in front of his locker. She looks away.

Walter looks at her, closes his locker loudly, and walks
brusquely past.

EXT. WAREHOUSE - DAY

Vicki stands near a pile of wood chips, taking a cigarette
break.

Walter approaches, pushing a cart full of wood chips. Vicki
looks at him as if to say something, but Walter continues
past, dumps the chips, and returns back inside.

INT. WAREHOUSE CAFETERIA - DAY

Walter sits at a table across the room from Vicki.

Mary-Kay enters and sits down with Walter

MARY-KAY
Hi, Walter. How are you doing?

WALTER
Fine thanks.

MARY-KAY
You know, it's really a beautiful
day out there, and I was thinking --

Walter wipes his mouth and gets up.

WALTER
Excuse me. Got another load coming
in.

Walter exits. The smile fades from Mary-Kay's face.

Vicki watches Walter leave.

EXT. WAREHOUSE - DUSK

Walter stands alone at the bus stop.

Vicki gets in her Jeep and pauses before turning on the
engine, watching Walter.

He turns his back to the cold wind and her.

Vicki turns on the car and pulls out of the lot, roaring by
Walter without looking at him.

INT. VICKI'S APT. - MORNING

Vicki moves around her apartment, cigarette in one hand,
spray bottle in the other, squirting her plants.

She prunes dead leaves from one of them, then pauses looking
at the leaves in her hands.

VICKI
Don't die on me, you little shit.

She aggressively squirts the little plant with water, then
pauses, noticing her reflection in the window. She looks at
herself long and hard.

INT. WALTER'S APT. - MORNING

There is a knock on the door. Walter walks through the room
to the door, tucking in his shirt as he walks. He cracks the
door.

Vicki stands outside. Walter opens the door.

VICKI
You want to go for a ride?

Walter looks at her.

INT. VICKI'S CAR - A LITTLE LATER

Walter and Vicki drive without saying anything. Slowly the
city-scape gives way to countryside. Walter looks over at
Vicki. She stares ahead.

EXT. RESERVOIR - DAY

Walter and Vicki get out of the car which is parked on the
edge of a reservoir surrounded by a thick pine forest. Vicki
works her way down to the water's edge. A Great Blue Heron
skims across the water's surface.

Walter watches her for a moment then follows. He sits down
near her.

Vicki lights a cigarette and stares out over the water. After
a long pause.

VICKI
What was prison like?

WALTER
(pause)
You don't really --

VICKI
Yes! I want to know.

Walter is quiet for a moment.

WALTER
Prison is... time.

Vicki looks at him.

VICKI
You mean the time you're locked away?

WALTER
No. Prison is time. That's it. You
think time, you feel time, you hear
time. Your heart doesn't beat to
live, it just beats... time.

VICKI
I'm sorry, Walter.

WALTER
(shrugs)
Don't be sorry for me. I did those
things. No one else did. I'm dealing
with that.

Vicki looks out at the water.

VICKI
My father took me fishing here when
I was a kid. He could name every
fish in the lake. And for every fish
he named, he had a fishing story. I
hated fishing, but I loved his
stories.

WALTER
Sounds like a special guy.

VICKI
My father was an alcoholic who drank
himself right into the grave.

Walter looks at her.

VICKI
He said he couldn't help it. Said he
hated himself for doing it. But,
boy, did that man love to drink.

There is a long pause.

WALTER
I've changed.

VICKI
Why young girls, Walter?

Walter is silent.

VICKI
Is it their innocence? Their
beauty?...

WALTER
(pause)
Their power. They seduce me.

VICKI
They seduce you?

WALTER
I was always the one seduced.

VICKI
You really believe that?

WALTER
(long pause)
No. That's what I used to tell myself.

VICKI
And what do you tell yourself now?

WALTER
Nothing. It's over.

VICKI
Bullshit.

Walter looks at Vicki for a moment then stands up.

WALTER
Okay. Then take me home.

Vicki doesn't move.

WALTER
What do you want from me?

Vicki stands.

VICKI
I want you to change my mind!

Walter is silent. Vicki shoves Walter hard.

VICKI
Try, goddamnit!

Walter stumbles back a few steps but regains himself. He
stares at Vicki. His anger wells and he snaps.

WALTER
I had this plan once... or maybe it
was a dream. I was going to quit the
building business... open my own
shop. Make and design fine country
furniture. I had saved enough money.
I found the perfect place. Cheap
five-year-lease. The loan was in the
bag. My wife was a hundred percent
behind it. Everything was set...
Then I got in trouble.
(pause)
Do you know what the worst kind of
trouble is?

Vicki watches Walter, silent.

WALTER
It's trouble you bring on yourself...
and the people you love the most. I
lost a wife and a daughter. It hurt
to lose my wife. It killed me to
lose my daughter.

Walter stops, looks at Vicki.

Vicki stares back at him. After a long pause, she approaches
and tentatively pulls him into an embrace.

INT. OFFICE SPACE

Close up on computer screen displaying a web page for
registered felons. The heading reads - "Sex Offenders: the
more we know, the better!" "Stay informed!" Mock Police sirens
and lights frame the heading.

The listing of sex offenders scrolls down revealing photos,
name, address, and crime details of man after man, in
alphabetical order, page after page.

The scrolling slows down, past "Mason," past all of the
Mc's..., and stops on "Miles, Walter." Convicted 1988 for
sexual abuse of minors, five counts, released... It is the
notification page that we saw created in the opening montage.

Walter's photo stares back at us.

We slowly pull back to reveal Mary-Kay at the computer. She
clucks her tongue and shakes her head.

INT. WALTER'S BEDROOM - DAY

Vicki and Walter lie in bed, spooning, fully clothed. Vicki's
back to Walter, he holds her close.

WALTER
(gently)
You know, this is crazy.

VICKI
What?

WALTER
Being here, with me.

VICKI
I know.

WALTER
(pause)
Most people say the odds are against
me.

VICKI
What odds?

WALTER
The percentages --

Vicki looks at him blankly.

WALTER
For men like me. They say most of us
end up back... there. I'm saying
there are risks... seeing me.

VICKI
Well, most people are stupid.
(pause)
You want to talk about odds? One day
I'll tell you how I survived as the
youngest in a family of three sons.
You wanna talk about odds?

WALTER
Why not tell me now?

Long pause. Vicki lights a cigarette.

VICKI
I got poked around... here and there.

WALTER
Which brother did this?

VICKI
All three -- in chronological order.

WALTER
You must hate your brothers.

VICKI
I love my brothers.

WALTER
No you don't.

VICKI
I love all of them. They're strong,
gentle men with families of their
own. And if you asked them about
what they did to me, they'd call you
a fucking liar and then beat the
shit out of you.

WALTER
You never asked them about it?

VICKI
(laughs)
Are you serious?

WALTER
Not ever?

VICKI
Not ever.

Vicki drinks from her beer. Walter watches her.

INT. WALTER'S APT. - NIGHT

Walter sits at his table, a scrap of wood in his hand. He
whittles away at the wood. It is the rough outline of a heart
with wings.

There is a loud KNOCK on the door. Walter gets up. The KNOCK
comes again, even harder.

Walter goes to the door and opens it. The smiles fades from
his face.

Sergeant Lucas pushes the door open further and walks right
in. He wears a well-tailored suit.

LUCAS
Hiya, Walter.

WALTER
Cop.

MAN
Sergeant Lucas.
(flashes his badge)
May I come in?

WALTER
You are in.

LUCAS
So I am. But I always like to ask.

Walter closes the door behind him. Lucas walks around the
apartment. Walter watches him, uneasy.

WALTER
What's up?

LUCAS
Have a seat.

Walter hesitates, then obeys.

LUCAS
You don't know?

WALTER
I have no idea.

LUCAS
I think you do.

WALTER
Why don't you just tell me?

Lucas walks over to the window.

WALTER
(pause)
I haven't broken any laws.

LUCAS
Then you won't mind if I look around.

WALTER
I would.

LUCAS
Got something to hide?

WALTER
Doesn't everybody?

LUCAS
I could get a search warrant.

WALTER
If you could, you would have brought
one today.

Lucas looks at Walter. He looks at the table.

LUCAS
Cherry?

WALTER
Yeah.

LUCAS
Unusual design for a contemporary
piece.

Lucas runs his hand along the surface.

WALTER
It's not for sale.

LUCAS
Who said I wanted to buy it?

Lucas walks back to the window.

LUCAS
Two nights ago, a ten-year-old girl
was attacked not too far from here.
Seems there's been a number of attacks
on young girls in the vicinity. Kind
of a coincidence, wouldn't you say?

Walter stands up.

WALTER
If you tell me when this happened --

Walter places his hands in his pockets. Lucas whirls around.

LUCAS
Move your fucking hands away from
your pockets!

Walter does.

LUCAS
Sit down!

Walter sits.

LUCAS
We know every step you make, every
goddamn step! We know when you sleep,
when you eat, when you shit, and
when you jack off.

Lucas leans over the table, nose to nose with Walter.

LUCAS
And when you sit by the window,
watching the girls in the little
cotton skirts parade by, do you wave
your wanger at the girls? Is that
when you jerk off?

WALTER
You can't talk to me like --

LUCAS
(interrupting)
Like a piece of shit? In my eyes,
you are a piece of shit. Think anyone
would miss you if I threw you out
the window right now? I could say
you jumped when I came in. Who are
they going to believe? Not you,
because you'd be a dead piece of
shit.

Beat. Lucas taps Walter on the forehead and smiles.

LUCAS
(feigning kindness)
We just want to make sure you're
being a good boy, Walter. Okay?

Walter is silent. Lucas taps him again.

LUCAS
Okay?

WALTER
(flatly)
Okay.

Lucas rises, spits his gum in the sink, and leaves.

Walter leans over squeezing his head tight between his hands.

The sound of children fades in and Walter looks up. The girl
with the red ball stands across from him in the doorway to
his bedroom. She smiles and bounces the ball.

Walter folds over, cradling his head in his arms.

EXT. WALTER'S APT. - DAY

Walter stands alone at his bus stop. As he waits, he sees
the white Volvo turn a corner and pull up in front of the
school.

The bus pulls up to the stop, obscuring Walter's view. He
quickly gets on and moves to the back, looking for Candy's
car. It is nowhere in sight, the place where it had parked,
empty. Walter sits down and stares ahead, numb.

EXT. MALL - DAY

It's a bright Saturday afternoon. A city bus turns into the
parking lot of a large mall. Passengers exit the bus and
pour into the mall's entrance. Walter is among them.

WALTER (V.O.)
I followed a girl.

INT. MALL - DAY

Music blares from speakers. Packs of teenagers cruise the
mall. It is alive with chatter.

WALTER (V.O.)
I don't know why I did it.

Walter is frequently jostled, as if he has forgotten how to
navigate crowds.

WALTER
There were all of these people...

He passes many stores and snack shops then sees a Barnes &
Noble and enters.

INT. BOOKSTORE - DAY

The bookstore is two floors and vast. Walter looks lost as
he moves through the crowds.

CUT TO:

Walter rides an escalator. Three girls stand ahead of him.

The girl closest to him wears a short skirt which flutters
above Walter's face. He looks up.

WALTER (V.O.)
She was pretty. Very pretty.

They reach the next level and Walter watches the girl walk
away with her friends. Suddenly, the girl looks back. Their
eyes lock -- briefly. She turns the corner.

WALTER
She gave me a look. If she hadn't
given me that look...

Walter pauses, then follows.

The girl separates from her friends and goes down an aisle.

Walter follows her. She goes down another aisle. He follows.

In the middle of the aisle, the girl bends down, looking at
titles. From the end of the aisle, Walter pretends to be
looking for a book as he edges closer to her. He's now a few
feet away. The girl pulls out a book and opens it. Walter
gazes at the nape of her neck.

SALESMAN (O.S.)
Can I help you find something?

Walter turns, startled.

Behind the salesman, Walter sees a security guard exit the
rest room area.

WALTER
No, I'm --

He turns, the girl is gone. He bolts the other way, through
the aisles, down the elevator, through the mall as fast as
possible. The faces are a blur, sound becomes distorted.
Then we hear --

ROSEN (O.S.)
Did she know that you were following
her?

INT. ROSEN'S OFFICE

Walter sits in Rosen's office.

WALTER
I don't know.

ROSEN
What did you think would happen?

WALTER
I don't know.

ROSEN
What did you want to happen?

WALTER
I don't know!

Walter is agitated. Rosen calmly writes.

WALTER
I can't believe I took such a risk.
(looks at Rosen)
Will you stop writing in that fucking
pad!

Rosen stops and looks at Walter.

WALTER
You know that if anything happens, I
spend the rest of my life in prison.
No parole, no nothing.

ROSEN
Is this the first one?

WALTER
Of course it is! That's why I'm
telling you!

ROSEN
I want you to calm down.

With effort Walter settles down.

ROSEN
You followed a girl. One girl.
Perhaps you wanted to see what it
felt like after so many years. Maybe
unconsciously you were testing
yourself. You followed her and nothing
happened. And here you are talking
about it with me. This is positive.

There is a pause. Walter looks down, unconvinced. Rosen checks
the time.

ROSEN
Walter, we'll pick up here next time.

WALTER
I want to talk about it now.

ROSEN
We'll talk about it more on Thursday.

WALTER
Remember when you asked me what my
idea of "normal" was?

ROSEN
(gently)
Go home, Walter.

WALTER
Now I know. It's when I can see a
girl, be near a girl, even talk to a
girl... and walk away.
(pause)
That's my idea of being normal.

INT. BUS-STOP - DAY

Walter rides the bus, staring out the window. Sensing
something, he looks up.

A GIRL sits across from Walter. She is about twelve years
old. She wears glasses and a pair of binoculars hangs around
her neck. She casually nibbles on food she produces from her
backpack. She glances at Walter briefly then looks back out
the window.

Walter turns away.

INT. WALTER'S KITCHEN - NIGHT

Walter and Vicki sit at his table eating Chinese take-out.

Walter glances at Vicki who is devouring her food.

WALTER
Maybe this isn't a good idea.

VICKI
What?

WALTER
(pause)
Us seeing each other.

She looks up at him.

VICKI
You're scared.

WALTER
I'm not scared.

VICKI
Neither am I.

WALTER
Maybe you should be.

Walter gets up from the table and clears his plate to the
sink. Vicki looks at him.

VICKI
Well, Walter, I got an idea of my
own.

He avoids her look.

VICKI
You listening to me?

He doesn't answer.

VICKI
We should live together.

WALTER
(looks at her)
Live together.

VICKI
Move in with me.

He stares at her.

WALTER
It's a bad idea.

VICKI
I think it's a fucking good idea.

Walter goes to the fridge for a beer.

WALTER
I don't even know how to live with
myself.

VICKI
Just think about it.

WALTER
I've got problems.

VICKI
Who doesn't?

WALTER
Most people don't have my kind of
problems.

VICKI
Guess that makes you pretty special.

WALTER
That's not what I meant.

Vicki looks at him blankly.

WALTER
I say we call it quits.

VICKI
Fine.

Vicki puts her fork down, pulls on her jacket and exits.

Walter looks at the closed door, baffled.

WALTER
She's gone.
(pause)
That was easy.

He takes a swig from his beer.

WALTER
Good. I'm glad. I'm fucking glad!

EXT. WALTER'S APARTMENT - CONTINUED

Vicki jogs down the stairs and over to her Jeep. She opens
the door.

INT. WALTER'S APARTMENT - CONTINUED

Walter pulls the carving he was working on from a drawer and
looks at it. It's finished.

Vicki reenters holding a plant and sets it loudly on the
table. Walter looks at her then at the plant.

WALTER
What's this?

VICKI
What's it look like?

She gets herself a beer from the fridge.

WALTER
I don't need a plant.

VICKI
Everyone needs a plant. This ivy is
one tough baby. It's a cutting from
one of mine.

Walter seems at a loss. Vicki takes a swig from her beer.

VICKI
Here's the deal. Give it a little
water. Go easy on the direct sunlight.
And notice it every once in a while.
They love it when you look at them,
or touch their leaves. Can you handle
that?

Walter looks unconvinced.

WALTER
Thank you.

VICKI
You're such an asshole.

She kisses him then gives him a teasing look.

VICKI
Don't be scared, Walter.

WALTER
(cracking a smile)
I'm not scared.

VICKI
Prove it.

Vicki walks towards the bedroom.

WALTER
Hey.

Vicki turns. He tosses her the carving.

Vicki catches it and looks at it for a long moment, then at
Walter.

WALTER
I made it for you.

She smiles.

WALTER
It's cedar.

INT. WAREHOUSE LOCKER ROOM - DAY

There is the usual morning chaos in the locker room. Walter
opens his locker but stops abruptly.

Taped to the inside of his locker is a magazine ad of a young
girl, joyfully swinging on a swing. Scrawled over the image
in red marker is a circle with line across it and the words
"WE'RE WATCHING YOU" written below.

Walter quickly tears down the picture and looks around. The
men are all oblivious.

INT. WAREHOUSE - DAY

Walter works at the saw, watching closely every person that
walks by him. No one pays him any mind.

Bob, the boss, walks into the space and stops to have a few
words with a worker who points in Walter's direction. Bob
heads towards Walter.

Walter sees him coming and pauses in his work. Bob walks
right by to talk to another man working behind Walter.

Walter watches for a moment then continues working.

INT. WAREHOUSE - LATER

Walter exits the mens room and stops to drink from the water
fountain. Mary-Kay is walking down the hall and pauses.

MARY-KAY
Hi, Walter. How ya doing?

WALTER
Fine thanks. How are you, Mary-Kay?

She leans up against the wall.

MARY-KAY
Well, I've got this problem. I
promised my sister that I'd babysit
her little girl tonight while she's
on a date. Single mother, right? Her
daughter's a cute little thing, about
nine or ten. Real entertaining. But
once she's asleep, I get soo bored.
I'd love to have some company.

She gives Walter a suggestive look.

MARY-KAY
What are you doing tonight, Walter?

WALTER
(cold)
I got plans.

A couple of men walk down the hall interrupting them.

WALTER
Have a nice day, Mary-Kay.

Mary-Kay watches Walter walk away.

INT. BUS - DUSK

Walter rides the bus, staring out the window. The bus is
crowded.

Time passes, fewer passengers, dusk has turned to night.

INT. ROSEN'S OFFICE - NIGHT

Walter and Rosen sit in their usual places.

ROSEN
You're very late.

WALTER
Sorry.

ROSEN
Please don't do it again.

WALTER
I said I was sorry.

ROSEN
I can't move my patients around to
accommodate one person.

Walter silently stares at his hands. Rosen looks at him
closely.

ROSEN
Walter, I want to ask you a question.
Will you try to answer it?

Walter looks at him.

ROSEN
When did it all start?

WALTER
You mean my problem?

ROSEN
If by "problem" you mean your desire
for prepubescent girls, yes.

WALTER
I don't know.

ROSEN
That's not a helpful answer.

WALTER
That's my answer.

Rosen looks at Walter.

ROSEN
Close your eyes.

WALTER
What?

ROSEN
I'd like you to close your eyes.

WALTER
Why?

ROSEN
To relax.

WALTER
(snaps)
I'm relaxed.

ROSEN
Close your eyes and let your mind be
blank.

WALTER
Hey, Rosen, you going to hypnotize
me?

Walter laughs.

ROSEN
No, I am not going to --

WALTER
(closing his eyes)
Okay. Eyes closed, mind a blank.
I'm all yours. Do it, Rosen.

Rosen gets up so he's positioned directly in front of Walter.

ROSEN
When I say the word "girl" what is
the earliest image that you can
remember?

WALTER
Nothing. Can I open my eyes?

ROSEN
No. When I say the word "pretty,"
when I say the word "pleasure," what
is the earliest memory you see?

WALTER
I don't see --

ROSEN
In your mind, Walter. Take your time.

After a moment, Walter's expression shifts.

ROSEN
(watching closely)
Who do you see?

WALTER
(long pause)
I see my sister.

Rosen is excited by this "breakthrough."

ROSEN
Where is she? What is she doing? How
old --

WALTER
(interrupting)
Not so fast.

ROSEN
Sorry.
(pause)
Where is she?

WALTER
In my bedroom, sleeping.

ROSEN
Where?

WALTER
In my bed, Rosen. Where do you think?

ROSEN
Where are you?

WALTER
In my bed too.

ROSEN
How old are you and your sister?

WALTER
We're little kids.

ROSEN
But roughly, how old?

WALTER
I'm maybe about six... which would
make her four.

Rosen walks around Walter and paces behind him.

ROSEN
And what are you doing?

WALTER
Just lying there.
(pause)
We're taking a nap.

ROSEN
A nap?

WALTER
Yes, a nap. Kids do that. You ever
take a nap, Rosen?

Walter opens his eyes.

WALTER
I don't want to talk about it any
more.

He sees Rosen behind him.

WALTER
What the hell are you doing there?

ROSEN
Did you and your sister often take
naps together?

WALTER
(exploding)
I want you back in your chair! Right
now!

Rosen stumbles back to his chair.

WALTER
Don't ever do that again.

ROSEN
All right.

WALTER
I don't like nobody behind my back!

ROSEN
I'm sorry. I shouldn't have been
there.

Walter looks away, quelling his anger.

ROSEN
Walter, what did you do while taking
a nap with your sister?

WALTER
Nothing.

ROSEN
Did you touch her? Did you take off
her clothes? Did you take off your
clothes?

WALTER
This is garbage!

ROSEN
I'm only asking questions.

WALTER
Okay I'll tell you what I did --
just to shut you up!
(pause)
I smelled her hair.

ROSEN
What else?

WALTER
That's all. I just liked smelling
her hair.

ROSEN
You felt pleasure.

WALTER
(long pause)
Yes.

Rosen writes a few notes.

ROSEN
Did you get an erection?

WALTER
(glaring at Rosen)
I was six years old!

ROSEN
I meant later... when you two took
naps.

Walter is silent.

ROSEN
When the two of you held each other.
When you were ten or eleven and she
was eight or nine. When your parents
were out and the two of you were
alone... completely alone in that
big house.

WALTER
It was a small house.

ROSEN
All right. A small house... with
small rooms.

WALTER
(his eyes well up.)
I smelled her hair. That's it. I
just liked smelling her hair.

Walter presses his face into his hands. Rosen watches him
silently. When Walter lifts his face...

INT. BAR - NIGHT

...Carlos sits before him. They are in a booth, the table
covered with drinks and remnants of bar food. The bar bustles
in the background.

CARLOS
I've got some good news.

WALTER
What's that?

CARLOS
Annette will see you.

Walter is quiet.

CARLOS
Aren't you glad?

WALTER
When?

CARLOS
Soon.

WALTER
Next week? The week after?

CARLOS
Early July.

Walter looks at Carlos.

CARLOS
It's just a better time.

Carlos avoids Walter's gaze.

CARLOS
Anna will be away at camp. The house
will be quiet. It's better when it's
quiet.

WALTER
Tell Annette I'm busy in July.

CARLOS
C'mon, Walter.

WALTER
You should see my appointment book.
It got crazy.

CARLOS
It's not what you think.

WALTER
Isn't it?

CARLOS
The important thing is that you and
Annette need to talk. She needs to
see you, and you need to see her.

WALTER
(a long pause)
I'm not a monster.

CARLOS
You're a good man, Walter. Okay, you
did some wrong things, but inside
you're a good, decent man.

WALTER
Maybe I'm not a good man. Maybe inside
I'm bad, and I'll always be bad.

CARLOS
Don't talk like that.

The waitress interrupts to clear the table, leaning over to
grab the empty plates. Carlos checks her out.

CARLOS
(pause)
Next week Annette is going away for
a few days. And the thing is that
when Annette's away...

Carlos watches the waitress depart.

CARLOS
I get horny as hell for other women.
(whispering)
I mean I fantasize about raping some
beautiful woman.

WALTER
You don't have to tell me this.

CARLOS
I'm just talking, man.

WALTER
Carlos, I never raped a woman.

CARLOS
I know. I'm just saying I understand.

Walter doesn't look at Carlos.

CARLOS
It's crazy out there.
(signaling to the
crowd)
Young girls wearing mini this and
mini that. Sometimes when I walk
down the street and pass some sexy
looking woman, she makes me feel
like I'm bothering her. She stares
down like she's afraid to look at
me. Why she do that? Why can't she
look me in the face?

WALTER
Maybe because you're looking her in
the face.

Carlos looks at Walter.

CARLOS
I see a pretty woman, I look. That's
the price of beauty, my friend. My
god, you should see what Anna's
friends wear.

Carlos laughs. Walter looks at him.

WALTER
Carlos, can I ask you something?

CARLOS
Sure.

WALTER
(pause)
Nothing.

CARLOS
Ask me. Ask me anything.

WALTER
(pause)
Did you ever... Do you have feelings
for Anna?

Carlos looks at Walter.

CARLOS
What do you mean?

WALTER
I mean... feelings.

A look of horror/disgust passes over Carlos's face, and he
lurches forward grabbing Walter by the shirt collar. Drinks
spill.

CARLOS
Listen, man. I don't got your sick
problem, and if you or anybody else
ever comes near my daughter, I'll
kill you.

Carlos lets go of Walter roughly and gets up and leaves.

Walter looks around embarrassed -- onlookers slowly turn
away. Walter picks up a napkin and starts to blot the table
dry.

INT. WALTER'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

Vicki stands before Walter who sits on the edge of the bed.

Both are naked. She kisses him. He turns her around and pulls
her to his lap.

Walter's hands are on her hips. He moves her body slowly --
very slowly -- around his lap.

Vicki goes with it, enjoying herself, then tries to turn
around. Walter holds her still.

VICKI
Walter...

He leans his face into her hair. He takes deep audible
breaths. Vicki tries to turn again, but he won't let her.
She is aroused but confused.

VICKI
Walter... let me...

She tries to reach back. Walter catches her hand and holds
it to her side.

WALTER
Don't touch me... please.

He holds her tight.

INT. WALTER'S BEDROOM - EARLY MORNING

Walter lies in bed, eyes open. There is the SOUND of children
playing outside. He carefully sits up in bed revealing Vicki
asleep beside him.

EXT. SCHOOLYARD - MORNING

In slightly fast motion grainy style of transferred 8 mm,
kids parade down the sidewalk heading for school. The camera
pans to reveal Candy watching them.

WALTER (V.O.)
(in the ratatat tone
of a sportscaster)
Good morning, fellow sports fans.
The match is about to begin. Candy
enters the arena looking sweet and
trim. He checks out the scene but
plays it cool. He's definitely holding
back.
(Pause)
Uh-oh, Candy's eyes have locked onto
something. Oh yeah.

Trailing behind the others is the angel-faced boy. Freeze
frame.

WALTER (V.O.)
A cherub of a lad has separated from
his friends. Candy quickly makes his
move. He pats the cherub on his head,
ruffles his hair. With his other
hand, he offers the boy a bag of
M&Ms. Jumbo size.

The boy tears open the bag.

Candy smiles. Freeze frame.

WALTER
Round one to Candy.

Candy points across the street to his white Volvo.

WALTER
A very risky move by Candy. The boy
looks at the car but walks away!

Candy follows the boy. Freeze frame.

WALTER
Round two goes to the cherub.

Candy struts around the boy rapping, clapping, snapping his
fingers.

WALTER
I have never seen Candy act so cocky.

Candy points to his car again, then dances, seen in
slowmotion, toward it.

WALTER
The cherub looks at Candy; the cherub
looks at the car; the cherub looks
for his friends. But his friends are
long gone. The cherub is alone. The
cherub crosses the street!

Candy opens the car door.

WALTER
(pause. Normal tone)
The cherub gets in the car.

The boy gets in the car. Instant replay. The boy gets in the
car. ZOOM IN. The car door closes.

INT. WALTER'S APT. - DAY

Walter sits staring out the window. The sound of children
playing.

Vicki walks into the room and sees Walter sitting by the
window. She walks up behind him and puts her hands on his
shoulders.

VICKI
What are you doing?

Walter turns around, startled, brushing her off.

WALTER
Don't do that.

VICKI
Do what?

WALTER
Sneak up behind me like that.

VICKI
What's your fucking problem?

WALTER
Why's it always my fucking problem?

Vicki looks at Walter.

VICKI
What's going on?

WALTER
Nothing.

Vicki looks at him.

WALTER
I didn't sleep well.

VICKI
Do you want to talk about it?

WALTER
I need a shower.

He walks back into the bedroom.

A SCHOOL BELL rings and Vicki looks out the window. She sees
the children running into school. She looks back in the
direction Walter left.

INT. VICKI'S CAR - DAY

Vicki and Walter ride in the car. Vicki glances at Walter.
He stares ahead, then leans his head back and closes his
eyes...

INT. BUS - DAY

...Walter rides, head back, eyes closed. The bus comes to a
stop and a couple of passengers get on. Walter opens his
eyes.

The girl with binoculars comes to sit in the seat ahead of
Walter.

Walter stares at the girl. The bus pulls up to another stop --
it is Walter's. The doors to the bus open. Walter looks at
the doors, he does not move. The doors close. He looks back
at the girl. The bus drives on.

EXT. BUS-STOP - DAY

The bus comes to a stop. The girl gets off amongst a couple
of passengers. Walter follows.

EXT. PARK - DAY

Walter walks down a path that opens onto a secluded little
field surrounded by trees.

The girl stands in the middle of the field looking at the
sky through her binoculars. She turns slowly, scanning the
trees.

She spots Walter and lowers the binoculars.

GIRL
Hello.

Walter is silent. He looks up at the trees.

GIRL
What are you looking at?

WALTER
Birds.

GIRL
(indifferently)
There's a million birds here.

WALTER
In that birch tree is a nest.

GIRL'S VOICE
(interested)
Where?

WALTER
(pointing)
Up there.

She looks through her binoculars. Walter stares at her.

WALTER
A little higher.

She points her binoculars up. Walter walks towards her.

GIRL
There's little chicks!
(turns to Walter)
You want to see?

WALTER
Sure.

She hands him her binoculars. He looks through them.

GIRL
They're starlings.

WALTER
(continues looking)
Is that right?

GIRL
I don't like starlings.

WALTER
Why not?

GIRL
They're extremely aggressive birds.
Plus, their habits are rather filthy.

WALTER
The mother sure has her hands full.

He hands her back the binoculars.

WALTER
You always carry these?

GIRL
When I go bird-watching. It's why I
like coming here.

WALTER
It's just a city park.

GIRL
You'd be surprised how many kinds of
birds you'll see here. Last week I
saw a purple martin. And the week
before that, I saw a solitary vireo.
That's rare.

WALTER
A solitary vireo. I like that one.

GIRL
Their sound is quite musical.

WALTER
How does it sound?

GIRL
It's hard to describe.

WALTER
Try.

GIRL
I can't.

WALTER
I bet you can.

She shakes her head.

WALTER
I'd love to hear it.

GIRL
(pause)
It's a bright sound.

She closes her eyes and pipes a little tune.

GIRL
Cheery! Cheerily! Cheery! Cheerily!

She opens her eyes, shyly.

GIRL
Something like that.

WALTER
That was terrific.

GIRL
You should hear the bird.

WALTER
You live around here?

GIRL
(pause)
Not too far.
(she looks at him)
Are you a bird-watcher too?

WALTER
Me? Nah. I'm more of a people watcher.

GIRL
Were you watching me?

WALTER
(pause)
Not at first. You would stare at the
tops of the trees so intently. Any
second I thought you would take off
and fly.

GIRL
I have to go.

WALTER
Do you come here often?

GIRL
My daddy likes me home before dark.

WALTER
It's good to listen to your daddy.

The girl runs off down the path.

Walter watches after her. He stands alone in the field.

INT. BUS - DAY

Walter rides the bus. Through many different neighborhoods,
day passes into night. He stares beyond his reflection. Over
the following voice-over we cut between Walter's apartment
and Walter riding the bus.

WALTER (V.O.)
I followed a girl.

INT. WALTER'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Walter sits at his window, writing in his journal, fast.

WALTER (V.O.)
I talked to a girl... I was near a
girl... Jesus God! What did I want
to happen?

INT. BUS - NIGHT

The bus drives by a number of billboards, children's Gap
ads...

WALTER (V.O.)
Maybe it's like Rosen said. Maybe I
wanted nothing to happen.

INT. WALTER'S APT. - NIGHT

Walter pauses in the writing.

WALTER
(out loud)
Fucking Rosen! This isn't helping.

There's a loud KNOCK at the door. Walter looks over in
surprise. The KNOCK comes again. Walter quickly closes his
journal and puts it in a drawer. The KNOCK comes again.

Walter goes to the door and opens it partially.

Sergeant Lucas stands outside.

LUCAS
Hiya, Walter.

Walter opens the door. Lucas enters. Walter slowly closes
the door behind him.

WALTER
What can I do for you, Sergeant Lucas?

Lucas signals a chair.

LUCAS
Have a seat.

Walter slowly sits. Lucas walks around the room. He pauses.

LUCAS
Too much sun.

WALTER
What?

Lucas points to the plant on the windowsill.

LUCAS
Your ivy. Too much direct sunlight.
These plants don't like a lot of
sun.

WALTER
They grow outside, don't they?

LUCAS
Sure they do. But outside they've
got trees around them. The trees
shade them from the sun. Of course,
the plants enrich the soil around
the trees. One of nature's symbiotic
relationships.

WALTER
You going to take me on a nature
walk?

LUCAS
Don't be witty.
(pause)
Yesterday you took the number twelve
bus from work, but instead of getting
off at your normal stop, for some
reason you stayed on. Why did you
stay on the bus, Walter?

WALTER
I fell asleep.

Lucas throws him a look.

WALTER
When I woke up I was confused. I got
off at the wrong stop and walked
home.

Lucas looks at the bus map on the wall.

LUCAS
You walked home.

WALTER
Yes.

Lucas spits his gum into the garbage can and sits down across
from Walter.

LUCAS
Some of these guys... They walk right
into a family's home as if they live
there. Very fucking ballsy.

Walter is silent.

LUCAS
This one guy on death row, who I'll
call Henry, told me about his last
victim. Henry says how he's in the
bedroom of a seven-year-old cutie
named Adele. Her mother's in the
living room watching TV. She's got
the volume on so damn high he can
hear David Letterman's jokes. Henry
puts his hand over Adele's mouth and
says, "If you scream, little girl,
I'll kill your mother." And of course
little Adele doesn't scream, doesn't
cry, doesn't make a sound. Then he
takes her hand and out they go through
the front door.
(pause)
Ten days later they find Adele's
body. Or what's left of it.
(looks at Walter)
You believe in fairy tales?

WALTER
Fairy tales?

LUCAS
Do you believe in them?

WALTER
No.

LUCAS
Neither do I. What's the one with
the woodsman?

WALTER
Woodsman?

LUCAS
The one with the ax?

WALTER
I don't know.

LUCAS
Sure you do. He cuts open the wolf's
stomach, and the girl steps out alive.

WALTER
Little Red Riding Hood.

LUCAS
That's it. Little Red Riding Hood
jumps out of the wolf's guts with
hardly a scratch.
(pause)
Ever see a seven-year-old girl
sodomized almost in half?

Walter shakes his head.

LUCAS
She looked so small and broken. I
saw hardened twenty-year veterans
cry. They cried like babies. I was
there. Ain't no fucking woodsman in
this world.

Lucas takes out a fresh piece of gum and pops it in his mouth.
Then he rises.

WALTER
You knew her?

LUCAS
What?

WALTER
The girl.

Lucas stares coldly at Walter, his face red. He looks
dangerous.

LUCAS
(seething)
I don't know why they keep letting
scum like you return to the streets.
It just means we've got to catch you
all over again.

He slaps Walter on the back of the head...

LUCAS
See ya, Walter.

...and exits.

Walter rushes to the blinds, drawing them down, then scrambles
to get his journal from the drawer. He drops to his knees,
tearing the pages from his journal, tearing them to bits.

WALTER
You have no right to talk to... to
speak like... I am not!... I am not!

The SOUND of children fades in, and Walter looks up.

In the bedroom doorway is the girl in her white nightgown,
sitting on the red ball, rocking back and forth, her chin in
her hands.

GIRL
Wallie, what are you doing?

Walter squeezes his eyes shut and clamps his hands over his
ears. The sound abruptly stops.

INT. BUS - MORNING

Walter rides the bus. He is unshaven and looks exhausted. He
is jostled by the crowds but seems oblivious.

INT. WAREHOUSE - MORNING

As Walter walks into the warehouse, men step out of the way
and give him leering looks. Walter walks into --

INT. WAREHOUSE LOCKER ROOM - DAY

-- the locker room. A hush suddenly falls over the room.

Walter looks around. No one will meet his eyes. He opens his
locker and a piece of paper slides out.

It is a Xerox of the police notification information of Walter
printed from the Internet.

Walter stares at the paper. Suddenly something slams next to
his head. A piece of metal clangs to the floor. Walter turns
around.

Pedro stares at him, surrounded by a number of men.

Vicki stands in front of her locker holding the flyer. She
looks scared. She glances at the men then walks over to
Walter.

VICKI
(quiet)
Come on, let's get out of here.

Walter doesn't move.

PEDRO
Don't tell me you feel sorry for
this sick fuck.

VICKI
Mind your own business, Pedro!

Vicki looks defiantly at the men.

Bob hurries in, followed by a worker.

BOB
What the hell is going on here?!

He's handed a flyer. He looks it over and turns red. He looks
at Walter then the men.

BOB
Who did this?

Mary-Kay stands quietly in the back of the room, a look of
satisfaction on her face. Vicki looks at her. Mary-Kay turns
and sees Vicki's glare. She quickly looks away.

No one answers. Bob looks at the men for a long moment then
at Walter.

BOB
Any man who can't deal with it can
see me in my office. I'll pay you
for a week, and you can clear out.

Bob crumples the paper in his hand.

BOB
We've got a hell of a lot of orders
today. Get to work.

Bob turns and walks away.

The men are stunned. Three angrily follow after Bob. As does
Mary-Kay.

Walter walks off without saying anything, his expression
blank.

INT. WAREHOUSE - DAY

Walter works at his station. He pauses, staring at the cutting
blade whirling before him. He looks up around him.

After a long moment, he turns the machine off and walks away.

INT. WAREHOUSE - LATER

Vicki looks up from where she is working and notices Walter's
place is empty. She looks around.

INT. WAREHOUSE OFFICE - DAY

Vicki enters. Mary-Kay sits at her desk, typing.

VICKI
Have you seen Walter?

MARY-KAY
(big fake smile)
Lovers' quarrel?

Vicki picks up Mary-Kay's mug and pours coffee on her lap.

Mary-Kay shrieks and stands up.

Vicki tears through Mary-Kay's drawers throwing contents to
the floor.

MARY-KAY
What the hell are you doing?

Bob walks in.

BOB
What the hell is going on?

Vicki pulls out a handful of the notification fliers.

MARY-KAY
People have the right to know.

VICKI
If she's here tomorrow, I'll fucking
kill her.

Vicki throws the papers at Bob and storms out.

Bob looks at Mary-Kay.

EXT. WAREHOUSE - DAY

Vicki quickly crosses the parking lot to her Jeep, putting
her coat on as she goes.

INT. BUS - DAY

Walter rides the bus, watching the landscape go by, his
expression stony.

EXT. WALTER'S APT. - DAY

Vicki pulls her Jeep into the parking lot and screeches to a
stop.

She races up the stairs and knocks on Walter's door. No
answer. She knocks again. No answer.

VICKI
Shit.

She disappears back down the stairs.

INT. WALTER'S APT. - DAY

The door opens. Vicki enters and turns to the superintendent
standing in the doorway.

VICKI
Thanks again. I promised I'd take
care of his plants.

The super shrugs and heads back down the stairs. Vicki closes
the door and turns around.

The place is a mess, the blinds drawn. She turns on the
lights. There is no sign of Walter.

She sees the journal scattered on the floor and leafs through
the pieces. The image of the girl with red marker is stuck
inside.

VICKI
Shit.

She picks up a couple pieces of paper and scans them, then
she puts the pieces together. Walter's words are scrawled
across the paper. Her hands start to shake.

INT. BUS - DAY

The bus pulls to a stop. Walter gets off.

EXT. PARK - DAY

Walter walks down park path. A jogger runs by, but otherwise
it is quiet.

INT. WALTER'S APT. - DAY

Vicki frantically gathers pieces of the journal and stuffs
them in a plastic bag. Her face is flushed.

She stands up and stuffs the bag in the garbage then pauses,
staring at the garbage can. She opens the can, grabs the
bag, quickly looks around the apartment. There is the sound
of the school bell outside. She rushes to the window and
raises the blinds. Children pour out of the school. She
quickly leaves.

EXT. PARK - DAY

Walter sits on a park bench in the same little field where
he had encountered the girl before. He is alone. He sits
still.

He looks up at the trees.

INT. VICKI'S CAR - DAY

Vicki drives, the bag on the passenger seat. She comes to a
stop light and looks in the rear view mirror.

A cop car pulls up behind her.

Vicki reaches over for the bag and stuffs it under the seat.

The light turns green. Vicki drives slowly. The cop changes
lanes and passes her. She lets out her breath.

EXT. STREETS MONTAGE - SAME TIME

Vicki slowly drives by a series of parks, schools, malls --
searching.

Children abound, playing, running free, getting off of school
buses, running to meet their parents. There is no sign of
Walter.

EXT. PARK - DAY

The girl walks into the clearing, wearing her binoculars
around her neck. She stops when she sees Walter sitting on
the bench.

Walter continues staring at the trees. She walks over to
him.

GIRL
See anything interesting?

WALTER
Not yet.

The girl sits on the bench and pulls a small book from her
backpack. She starts writing in it.

Walter watches her.

WALTER
What are you writing in that book?

GIRL
It's my bird book.

She shows it to him.

GIRL
I've identified sixty-seven species
of birds this year alone.

The girl writes in her book. Walter watches.

WALTER
Where are your friends?

She continues writing ignoring his question.

WALTER
Don't you have friends?

GIRL
I have friends.

WALTER
A pretty girl like you should have a
lot of friends.

GIRL
I'm not pretty.

WALTER
Well... not in the common way.

She looks at Walter.

GIRL
What does that mean?

WALTER
It means uncommon beauty is commonly
overlooked. Most people only notice
birds with the brightest colors.

The girl sits silently.

WALTER
What's your name?

She picks up her binoculars and peers through them.

WALTER
Linda... Susan... Jennifer...
Jackie..

She continues looking, but she smiles.

WALTER
You tell me your name, I'll tell you
mine.

GIRL
(pause)
Robin.

Walter laughs.

ROBIN
Yeah, like the bird.

WALTER
(pause)
Can I ask how old you are?

ROBIN
I'm twelve.

WALTER
No you're not.

ROBIN
I will be in three months.
(pause)
I can't wait. I hate being eleven.
It has to be the stupidest age in
the world.

She looks at Walter.

ROBIN
What's your name?

Walter hesitates then shrugs.

WALTER
Walter.

ROBIN
Do you have many friends?

WALTER
No.

ROBIN
How come?

WALTER
A long time ago, I was sent far away.
When they let me come back, all my
friends were gone.

ROBIN
It sounds like you were banished.

WALTER
Banished... yeah.

ROBIN
Birds are my friends. That sounds
egotistical, but they are. Birds
know I watch them, but they don't
mind because they like being
watched... if they know you won't
hurt them.

WALTER
Robin?

ROBIN
Yes?

WALTER
Would you like to sit on my lap?

Robin looks at him.

ROBIN
What?

WALTER
Would you like to sit on my lap?

ROBIN
(pause)
No thank you.

WALTER
Are you sure?

ROBIN
I'm sure. Thank you all the same.

WALTER
That's okay... doesn't matter.

ROBIN
(pause)
Do you want me to sit on your lap?

Walter looks at her.

WALTER
Yes. I would enjoy that.

Robin shivers.

WALTER
Are you cold?

She shakes her head. Walter slides closer and rubs her arms
with his hands.

WALTER
You look cold.

Robin is silent.

WALTER
I know a place in the park where
only very small birds go. There are
no people or dogs or ugly crows and
pigeons. It's quiet except for the
song of these tiny sparrowlike birds.
Would you like me to take you there?

ROBIN
(pause)
They sound like finches.

WALTER
They could be finches. I don't know.
We should go before it gets dark.

He stands up.

WALTER
Ready?

Robin doesn't move.

ROBIN
My daddy lets me sit on his lap.

WALTER
Does he?

ROBIN
Yes.

WALTER
Do you like it when he asks you?

She looks at him.

ROBIN
No.

Her answer has a strange effect on Walter, as if for a moment
he has lost his balance. Carefully, he sits down and stares
at his hands.

WALTER
Why not?

She is quiet.

WALTER
Are you two alone when he asks you?

Still silent.

WALTER
Does he touch you?

Robin looks through her binoculars.

WALTER
Does he say strange things?

She scans the trees.

WALTER
Does he move his legs in a funny
way?

Robin drops her head and quietly sobs. Walter looks at her
but makes no effort to comfort her.

WALTER
Have you told your mother?

She shakes her head.

WALTER
Is there anyone at home you can talk
to?

She is quiet.

WALTER
Is there a teacher you like at school?

She nods.

WALTER
What's her name?

ROBIN
Ms. Kramer.

WALTER
Tell Ms. Kramer what your daddy does.

ROBIN
I can't.

WALTER
Yes you can, Robin.

Robin is silent.

WALTER
You said you couldn't make the sound
of a solitary vireo. But you did.
Beautifully. I heard you.

ROBIN
What will happen if I do?

WALTER
Someone will talk to your daddy.
And then he'll stop doing those
things... the things you don't like.

Tears come to Robin's eyes again.

ROBIN
But will he... ?

WALTER
Your daddy will always love you.

ROBIN
How do you know?

WALTER
I know because... it's just something
I know.

ROBIN
I don't want to hurt my daddy.

WALTER
Robin, listen to me.

She looks at him. Walter struggles to find the words.

WALTER
At first he'll be upset... very upset.
It's because he'll realize he's been
a bad daddy. Then he'll try... He'll
try very hard to be a good daddy...
People will say stupid, ignorant
things about your daddy. That will
be hard for you... But one thing I
know for sure, he'll always love
you... always.

There is a long moment of silence.

ROBIN
Walter?

WALTER
Yes?

ROBIN
Do you still want me to sit on your
lap?

Walter stares at her.

ROBIN
I will.

Walter slides away from her.

WALTER
No.

ROBIN
I don't mind.

WALTER
You should go home.

ROBIN
Can't I stay a little longer?

WALTER
It's getting dark. Go home.

ROBIN
Will I see you again?

Walter is silent.

WALTER
Go home, Robin.

Robin gets up, goes over to Walter, and hugs him. Walter
starts to put his arms around her but refrains.

ROBIN
Bye.

She runs off. Walter looks out, numb.

EXT. WALTER'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Walter approaches his building. The white Volvo sits parked
across the street in front of the school. Walter walks a
couple of more steps when the door to the Volvo opens. Walter
freezes.

Candy gets out of the car. As he turns, Walter no longer
sees Candy but himself -- many years younger.

Walter watches, fear and emotion coursing through his face.

Young Walter leans back in and pulls the front seat forward,
and a young girl emerges.

Flash to the angel-faced boy getting out of the car. Candy
pats him on the head.

Walter sees young Walter pat the girl on the head. She runs
off down the street.

Walter races towards Candy.

Candy tucks his shirt in, puts the seat back, and is about
to get in the car when Walter calls out --

WALTER
Hey!

Candy whirls around. Walter smashes him in the face. Candy
reels backwards hitting the car. Walter attacks Candy full
force. As he punches flashes of young Walter appear, then
Candy, then young Walter again.

He pounds and pounds on Candy then finally pulls away.

Candy sputters on the ground.

Walter, breathing hard, stares at Candy. He looks at the
blood on his hands, which shake uncontrollably. He slowly
stands up and starts to back away.

Candy rolls over and groans as he tries to raise himself.

Walter turns, tucks his head down, and quickly walks away.

INT. WALTER'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Walter stands in the living room. He looks down at the floor
where the journal was and sees that nothing is there. He
goes to his windows and lowers the blinds.

EXT. VICKI'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Through the window we see Vicki sitting on her couch, biting
her nail, staring off into space. The phone sits next to
her.

INT. WALTER'S BATHROOM - NIGHT

Walter stands in the shower. He turns the water on and lets
it run over him. Slowly, he begins to sob.

INT. WALTER'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

Walter stands at the bureau, cleaned up and dressed in fresh
clothes. He looks up and stares at himself in the mirror.
The sound of TRAFFIC fades in.

EXT. CITY STREETS - NIGHT

Walter walks down a city street with boarded up store fronts.

The sidewalks are wet from a steady drizzle. Cars pass by on
the wet pavement.

As Walter walks, we intercut with a SERIES OF FLASHBACKS:

A) EXT. SCHOOL - Walter looks at the blood on his hands then
at Candy moaning on the ground.

B) EXT. PARK - Robin stands in the middle of the field,
binoculars held to her eyes, scanning the trees.

C) EXTREME CLOSE-UP: Robin lowers the binoculars and stares
us straight in the eye.

EXT. CITY STREET - NIGHT

Walter stands at an intersection. The lights play across his
face.

FLASHBACK

D) EXT. COP CAR - NIGHT - Walter's face slams against a cop
car. His hands are cuffed behind him, and he is roughly
frisked. He tries to look back over his shoulder but his
face is held down.

E) EXT. PARK - Robin dances in circles in the fields, arms
stretched out as if she is ready to fly.

EXT. CITY STREET - NIGHT

A car races by, and Walter walks along a busy street fast.

The rain falls harder now.

FLASHBACK

F) EXT. HOUSE - NIGHT - Walter gets place in the back of the
cop car. The cops get in the front seat. Walter looks out
the window at his house as the car pulls away.

Standing on the front steps, his wife turns away, carrying
his daughter inside. A cop closes the door behind them.

G) EXT. SCHOOL - Walter pounds and pounds on Candy.

EXT. CITY STREET - NIGHT

Walter crosses an old brick bridge that spans a river.

FLASHBACK

H) EXT. PARK - Robin twirls and twirls, then slowly dissolves
into the girl with the red ball and white nightgown. The
girl spins and spins, her dress fluttering in the wind. Slowly
the girl fades away so the field is empty, except for a number
of small birds fluttering around the ground.

EXT. VICKI'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Walter stands outside Vicki's door. After a moment he knocks.

The door opens to show Vicki. She stares at Walter.

EXT./INT. VICKI'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

Through the window we see Vicki sit down on the couch, and
Walter sit on the coffee table, facing her. He starts to
talk and takes her hand. She pulls it away. He continues to
talk and takes her hand again, not letting her pull away.

Trucks pass by over the wet pavement, rattling the windows.

EXT. SCHOOLYARD - DAY

The school is quiet, the playground empty. Swings sway
listlessly in the breeze.

EXT. WALTER'S APARTMENT BUILDING - DAY

The old Chevy pulls into the parking lot.

INT. WALTER'S APARTMENT - DAY

Walter brings his duffel bag into his living room and sets
it down next to a clothes hamper. Boxes are scattered about
the space. There's a KNOCK on the door.

WALTER
It's open.

The door opens and Lucas enters.

Walter pauses.

LUCAS
Hi ya, Walter.

Walter automatically sits down in the chair.

WALTER
What can I do for you, Sergeant Lucas?

Lucas walks over to the window.

LUCAS
You don't know?

WALTER
Know what?

LUCAS
I'll be asking the questions.
(pause)
Last night, you hear anything unusual?
Screams? Shouts?

WALTER
No.

LUCAS
A man was badly beaten across the
street. You know anything about that?

WALTER
I was asleep.

LUCAS
(pause)
I didn't say what time the assault
occurred.

WALTER
You said last night. I went to bed
pretty early.

LUCAS
The assault took place at
approximately seven thirty.

WALTER
I went to bed around seven.

Lucas gives him a look.

WALTER
I wasn't feeling well.

LUCAS
I could take you downtown.

WALTER
You could. It'd be a waste of your
time, though.

Walter starts folding his clothes and placing them in the
duffle bag.

LUCAS
There was a boy there.

Walter is silent. Lucas watches him closely.

LUCAS
He I.D.'d the assailant. The
description matches you pretty well.

WALTER
I suppose if you're looking for a
male between the ages of thirty and
fifty, medium height, medium weight,
medium build. Probably not too many
men fit that bill.

LUCAS
Just give me a straight answer,
Walter, cause the irony goes right
over my head.

Lucas walks around. Walter folds a shirt.

LUCAS
That's a nasty scratch on your neck.

WALTER
I have a passionate girlfriend.

LUCAS
What's with the boxes?

WALTER
You're a cop. Figure it out.

LUCAS
I'd say you're moving.

WALTER
It's a free country, isn't it?

Lucas throws him a look.

WALTER
Just kidding. I'm moving in with my
girlfriend.

Lucas raises his brows then takes out a piece of gum.

LUCAS
The passionate one?

WALTER
Yes.

LUCAS
Then I'd say you're a lucky fellow.

WALTER
I count my blessings.

LUCAS
Well, I guess I'll be seeing you.

Lucas pops the gum in his mouth and heads towards the door.

Walter pauses in his folding.

WALTER
Think you'll catch this guy?

Lucas turns.

LUCAS
Oh, yeah. We'll catch him.
Unfortunately, the victim can't talk.
In addition to his other injuries,
his jaw is broken.

Walter is silent.

LUCAS
However, we ran an I.D. on the victim.
Turns out he's wanted in Pennsylvania.
He raped a boy there.

Lucas watches Walter who impassively unrolls and rolls the
same pair of socks.

LUCAS
You sure you don't know nothing about
this?

WALTER
'Fraid not.

Lucas looks at Walter for a moment.

LUCAS
Stay out of trouble, Walter. Cause
I'll be watching you.

He exits.

Walter realizes he unrolled the socks. He tosses them in the
duffel bag.

INT. VICKI'S CAR - LATE AFTERNOON

Vicki drives. Walter stares out the passenger window. The
sun is low on the horizon. Walter wears a pressed button-
down shirt. He is clean-shaven and his hair neatly combed.
His hand fidgets in his lap.

VICKI
You okay?

WALTER
Yeah.

VICKI
Fucking liar.

Vicki reaches for his hand, then something catches her eye.

VICKI
Hey, look.

Walter follows her gaze.

VICKI
Starlings.

On the horizon, a flock of starlings whirl and turn as if
one huge body, a dancing cloud against the sky.

WALTER
I heard they were filthy birds.

VICKI
Not when they fly.

Vicki looks at him and smiles. There is a long beat as they
drive.

I/E. VICKI'S CAR, RESERVOIR - DAY

Vicki sits in her car smoking. She stubs out her cigarette.

The ashtray is full. She looks out the window.

Vicki's POV: Walter and a woman stand in the distance near
the water. The woman looks a few years younger than Walter.

There is space between them. Walter faces her, but she looks
out at the water. After a long moment, he reaches to touch
her arm.

The woman pulls away and yells something at him. Walter's
head drops.

Vicki lights another cigarette. She flips on the radio to
country music, blocking out all sound. She looks back out
the window.

The woman yells angrily then falls quiet -- staring at Walter.
After a long moment, she turns and walks back up the hill to
her car where Carlos waits, leaning against the car.

Annette gets in the car, slamming the door. Carlos pauses,
looking at Walter, then gets in the car and turns on the
engine to leave.

Walter stays standing near the water.

WALTER (V.O.)
I saw my sister.

INT. ROSEN'S OFFICE

Walter sits in his usual seat across from Rosen.

WALTER
It was hard.

Rosen is silent.

WALTER
She's still really hurt... and angry.
I don't know... if she will ever...
forgive me. I understand that. I do.
I just hope... I just want her to...

ROSEN
Accept you?

Walter nods.

ROSEN
It's going to take time, Walter.

WALTER
(to himself)
Time.

ROSEN
How do you feel about that?

WALTER
I feel... okay.

Walter looks at Rosen who nods. There is a moment of silence
between them.

THE END

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