アメリカン・ビューティー (1999年)

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AMERICAN BEAUTY

FADE IN:

INT. JAIL CELL – DAY

EXTREME CLOSE-UP on a DROP OF WATER, gathering at the tip OF
a faucet, a FLASH OF LIGHT refracting through it just before
it FALLS…….

PULLING BACK slowly, we see ANOTHER DROP OF WATER gather and
FALL… and then ANOTHER… into a METAL SINK BASIN filled
with water, rippling in concentric circles with each DROP,
which we HEAR in a steady rhythm: DRIP… DRIP… DRIP…

RICKY (O.C.)
(singing in time to the
water dripping)
I’M FIXING A HOLE… WHERE THE
RAIN GETS IN….

REVERSE ANGLE on the face OF a YOUNG MAN with his hair cut
short, military-style, watching the dripping water as if
hypnotized. We ZOOM slowly toward him…

This is RICKY FITTS. He’s twenty, but his eyes are much
older. Underneath his Zen-like tranquility lurks something
wounded… and dangerous. He SINGS softly to himself:

RICKY (cont’d)
AND STOPS MY MIND FROM
WANDERING…

Through the bars OF his CELL we see RICKY is seated on the
edge of a solitary cot in a JAIL CELL, staring intently at the
metal sink on the wall across from him..

RICKY (cont’d)
WHERE IT WILL GO…

ON TELEVISION: INT. COURTROOM – DAY

A sullen TEENAGE GIRL sits at a table in a COURTROOM,
surrounded by lawyers. SUPERIMPOSED across the bottom of
screen: TEENAGE GIRL ACCUSED OF HIRING FATHER’S KILLER. At
the lower right corner is the JUSTICE TV logo. In the upper
right corner: LIVE.

This girl is JANE BURNHAM. Seventeen-years-old, with dark,
intense eyes. She stares blankly at the table in front of her.

D.A. (O.C.)
Would you please tell the court
how long you and the defendant have
been friends?

ANGELA (O.C.)
Uh, we’ve known each other since
like, fifth grade? But we didn’t
really become friends until this
past year?

Jane looks up, her eyes hostile, at:

Seated on the witness stand is seventeen-year-old ANGELA
HAYES. Strikingly beautiful, with perfect, even features,
blonde hair, and a nubile young body, she’s the archetypal
American dream girl. She is being questioned by a DISTRICT
ATTORNEY.

D.A.
During that time, did Jane ever
say she disliked her father?

INT. COURTROOM – CONTINUOUS

We’re now in the courtroom, where the JUSTICE TV CAMERAS
focus on Angela as the D.A. questions her.

ANGELA
Yes.

D.A.
Exactly how did she say it?

ANGELA (cont’d)
Uh, she said she hated his guts,
and wished he was dead.

D.A.
Did she tell you why?

Angela hesitates, hot eager to answer this. Finally:

ANGELA (cont’d)
She said he was just too
embarrassing to live, okay?

ANGELA looks at JANE, who stares at her with absolute hatred.

ANGELA (cont’d)
She said both of her parents were
totally embarrassing, but her dad
was like, way beyond? And somebody
had to take him out. But she said
her mom was just pathetic and
probably didn’t deserve to like,
die.

Elsewhere IN the COURTROOM, a very well-put-together WOMAN OF
forty stifles a SOB. This is Jane’s mother, CAROLYN BURNHAM.

BACK on the witness stand, ANGELA looks contrite.

ANGELA (cont’d)
I’m sorry, Mrs. Burnham, but she
did.

At her table, JANE buries her face IN her hands.

ANGELA (cont’d)
You did. You said it.

INT. POLICE STATION – LOBBY – DAY

A suburban POLICE station. PHONES RINGING, officers with
clipboards, lowlifes being booked. The usual.

The front door opens and COLONEL FRANK FITTS enters, carrying
a MANILA ENVELOPE. He’s fifty, quite handsome, his graying
hair cut short, military-style. He still moves like the
athlete he once was, but his eyes tell us he’s not happy, and
hasn’t been for some time. As he approaches the front desk,
the uniformed clerk behind it looks up at him impassively.

COLONEL
I need to speak to Detective
Fleishman.

INT. POLICE STATION – DETECTIVE’S OFFICE – MOMENTS LATER

DETECTIVE FLEISHMAN, paunchy and constantly exhausted, opens
the door to his office and motions Colonel Fitts inside.

FLEISHMAN
Colonel Pitts. How goes it?
(off his look)
Forgive me. That was a stupid
question, after everything you’ve
been through.

He shows the COLONEL to a chair, then sits behind his desk.

FLEISHMAN (cont’d)
So what can I do for you?

The COLONEL sighs, looking at the MANILA ENVELOPE He holds.

COLONEL
I found something. I think you
should take a look at it.

FLEISHMAN
Okay.

But the COLONEL just sits there, holding the envelope.

COLONEL
I don’t want to do this.
(fighting back tears)
But I was taught a little thing
called duty. Something I wasn’t
able to teach my own son…

He breaks down. FLEISHMAN crosses to him and places his hand
on his shoulder. The Colonel shrugs it off, violently.

COLONEL (cont’d)
No.

Respectfully, FLEISHMAN steps back. the COLONEL pulls himself
together and hands over the envelope, without looking up.
Fleishman studies the envelope as he walks back to his desk,
then opens it and takes out an unmarked HI-8 VIDEOCASSETTE. He
looks at the Colonel quizzically.

INT. JAIL CELL – DAY

RICKY sits motionless, still focused on the DRIPPING water.

RICKY
(singing softly)
I’M FILLING THE CRACKS THAT RAN
THROUGH THE DOOR…

ON TELEVISION:

A rapid-fire MONTAGE OF VIDEO IMAGERY taken from recent news
footage, intercut with CELEBRITIES and scantily-clad
MODELS of both sexes, accompanied by HEADBANGER MUSIC. THE
REAL DIRT logo spins quickly into place, with exaggerated
SOUND EFFECTS.

ON TELEVISION: INT. TABLOID news SHOW SET

A telegenic ANCHORPERSON addresses us. SUPERIMPOSED at lower
left is THE REAL DIRT logo. Behind the Anchorperson is an
INSET GRAPHIC of Jane and Ricky.

ANCHORPERSON
(Australian accent)
Lester Burnham. Brutally murdered
in cold blood, allegedly the victim
of a teenage psychopath hired by
his own daughter, Jane. The case
that has outraged America, has now
become even more shocking. Tonight
on The Real Dirt, we’ll show you –
for the first time anywhere – an
astonishing videotape in which Jane
and alleged killer Richard Fitts
actually make their unholy pact.

ON VIDEO: INT. FITTS HOUSE – RICKY’S BEDROOM – DAY

JANE is leaning BACK IN bed, naked, smoking a joint. still
SUPERIMPOSED at lower left is THE REAL DIRT logo, and Jane’s
breasts have been digitally BLURRED.

JANE
I need a father who’s a role
model, not some horny geek-boy
who’s gonna spray his shorts
whenever I bring a girlfriend home
from school.
(snorts)
Like he’d ever have a chance with
her. What a lame-o. Somebody really
should put him out of his misery.

A beat. JANE plays with her hair, lost IN thought.

RICKY (O.C.)
Want me to kill him for you?

JANE stares at the camera incredulously, then LAUGHS.

JANE
Yeah, would you?

INT. COURT – DAY

We’re TRACKING slowly across the mesmerized faces of the jury
as they watch the videotape.

RICKY (O.C.)
It’ll cost you.

JANE (O.C.)
I’ve been baby-sitting since I was
ten, I’ve got almost three thousand
dollars.

We see the tape as it plays on the VIDEO MONITOR SET UP IN
the front of the courtroom. This time there is no THE REAL
DIRT logo nor any digital blurring of Jane’s nudity.

ON THE MONITOR: JANE sits UP IN bed, smiling.

JANE (cont’d)
I was saving it for a boob job.

ON THE MONITOR: JANE stands and shakes her breasts.

In the courtroom, Jane’s mother Carolyn watches, stunned,
gripping the arm of a well-dressed, silver-haired MAN at her
side.

JANE (O.C.) (cont’d)
But my tits can wait.

Jane watches from her seat, her face a mixture of anger,
disbelief and helplessness. We ZOOM toward her slowly.

RICKY (O.C.)
You know, that’s not a very nice
thing to do, hiring somebody to
kill your dad.

Tears spill from her blinking eyes, But she remains silent.
ON THE MONITOR: Jane is back on the bed.

JANE
Well, I guess I’m just not a very
nice girl, then, am I?

ON THE MONITOR: she leans BACK and smiles dreamily at us.

INT. JAIL CELL – DAY

CLOSE on Ricky as he leans back on his cot, staring up at us,
the same dreamy smile on his face.

RICKY
(singing softly)
I’M TAKING THE TIME FOR A NUMBER
OF
THINGS… THAT WEREN’T IMPORTANT
YESTERDAY…

FADE to BLACK.

In darkness, we HEAR Vic Damone singing “I’M NOBODY’S BABY,”
as the words “ONE YEAR EARLIER” FADE IN AND OUT.

FADE IN:

EXT. SUBURB – EARLY MORNING

We’re FLYING high above an upper middle class SUBURB. The
wide streets are lined with stately elms and sycamores; the
homes are traditional and well-kept. Coming closer to the
ground, we pick out a couple of male JOGGER.

A DIFFERENT ANGLE on the Joggers. We’re at level now, MOVING
alongside them. They’re both in their thirties, athletic,
blandly handsome. They pass a STREET SIGN that reads Robin
Hood Trail.

Suddenly, a MAN comes into view, FLYING Superman-style about
three feet above their heads. He’s wearing old-fashioned
PAJAMAS, and a plaid flannel ROBE. As he passes overhead, the
Joggers look up and wave excitedly, like children. He flashes
them a grin and waves back, then he speeds up, leaving them
behind.

As the MAN flies down the street, a BARKING DOG runs along
beneath him, jumping into the air, trying to catch him. The
Man swoops and dips effortlessly, teasing the dog, then spots,
at the end of the street, a young boy on a bicycle tossing
newspapers onto people’s porches, or as close as he can get.
Seeing the flying Man, the boy tosses a paper high into the
air. The dog tears off to catch the paper. The flying Man
LAUGHS and shoots upward like he’s been blown out of a cannon,
grabs the paper, and swoops down, dropping it lightly on the
front porch of a well-appointed, two-story HOUSE with
distinctive CEDAR SHINGLE SIDING and a RED FRONT DOOR.

The boy on the bike watches IN admiration. the MAN slowly
floats by above him and tousles his hair. The dog BARKS. The
boy throws another newspaper into the air, this time even
higher than before, and the Man grins as he prepares to shoot
up after it: this is going to be fun… and we SMASH CUT TO:

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – MASTER BEDROOM – DAY

We HEAR the harsh BUZZ OF an ALARM CLOCK. Vic Damone still
sings “I’M NOBODY’S BABY” elsewhere in the house. Outside, a
dog is still BARKING

The MAN we just saw FLYING Through the streets lies sleeping
amidst expensive bed linens, wearing the same PAJAMAS. His
hand reaches over and shuts the ALARM CLOCK OFF; his eyes
remain clamped shut as he tries to hang onto his dream…. but
it’s gone. He sighs and opens his eyes.

This man is LESTER BURNHAM, Carolyn’s husband and Jane’s
father. He’s forty-two, with a wide boyish face that’s just
beginning to droop around the edges. He sits up in bed and
rubs his face.

We’re in a large, comfortable bedroom that’s tastefully
decorated but not overdone – it could be a spread from
Metropolitan Home. Lester gets out of the king-sized bed,
crosses to a bay window covered with stylish wooden blinds,
lifts one of the slats with his finger and peers through it.

His POV: A DOG – the same dog from Lester’s flying dream –
BARKS excitedly at us from behind a white picket fence
surrounding the front yard of the house across the street.

EXT. BURNHAM HOUSE – CONTINUOUS

The dog’s POV: Lester looks down at us through the bay window
of the HOUSE from his dream – we recognize the distinctive
CEDAR SHINGLE SIDING. The dog continues to BARK.

LESTER (V.O.)
My name is Lester Burnham. I’m
forty two-years old. In less than a
year, I’ll be dead.
INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – MASTER BATH – MOMENTS LATER

We’re in the shower with Lester. A waterproof RADIO plays
COUNTRY MUSIC. He stands with his face directly in the hot
spray1 eyes shut.

LESTER (V.O.)
In a way, I’m dead already.

ANGLE from outside the shower: we see Lester’s naked body
silhouetted through the steamed-up glass door. It becomes
apparent he is masturbating.

LESTER (V.O.) (cont’d)
(amused)
Look at me jerking off while I
listen to country music. I hated
this shit when I was growing up.
(then)
Funny thing is, this is the high
point of my day. It’s all downhill
from here.

EXT. BURNHAM HOUSE front YARD – MOMENTS LATER

CLOSE on a single, dewy AMERICAN BEAUTY ROSE, perfect IN
shape and color. As we PULL BACK, a pair of gloved hands with
CLIPPERS appear and SNIP the flower off.

We continue PULLING BACK to discover Carolyn BURNHAM IN her
rose garden in front of the house, cutting flowers and placing
them in a basket, a determined, humorless look on her face.
Even now, she is perfectly put-together; she wears color-
coordinated gardening togs and has lots of useful and
expensive tools.

LESTER (V.O.)
That’s my wife Carolyn. See the
way the handle on those pruning
shears matches her gardening clogs?
That’s not an accident

In the fenced front YARD OF the HOUSE across the street, the
familiar dog is still BARKING. A well-groomed, athletic MAN in
a conservative suit rolls a blue plastic city GARBAGE
CONTAINER up the driveway to the curb.

JIM #1
Bitsy. Hush.

LESTER (V.O.)
That’s our next-door neighbor Jim.

A second well-groomed, athletic MAN IN a conservative suit
comes out the front door.

JIM #2
What in the world is wrong with
her? She had a walk this morning.

JIM #1
And a jerky treat.

JIM #2
(frowns)
You spoil her.

LESTER (V.O.)
(re: the second man)
And that’s his lover Jim.

We recognize the two Jims as the joggers from Lester’s dream.

JIM #2
(sternly)
Bitsy. No bark. Come inside. Now.

Bitsy, suddenly subdued, allows Jim #2 to usher her inside.

LESTER (V.O.)
It’s weird they have the same
name, but that’s really no fault of
their own.

As Jim #2 gets into a Ford Taurus, Jim #1 crosses the street
to greet Carolyn.

JIM #1
Morning, Carolyn.

CAROLYN
(overly friendly)
Good morning, Jim! I just love
your tie! That color!

JIM #1
And I just love your roses. How
do you get them to flourish like
that?

CAROLYN
Well, I’ll tell you. Egg shells
and Miracle Grow.

ANGLE on the second floor bay window of the Burnham’s house,
where Lester stands in a bathrobe, drying his hair as he looks
down at them.

LESTER (V.O.)
Man. I get exhausted just watching
her.

His POV: We can’t hear what they’re saying, but Carolyn’s
facial expressions remain overly animated and cheerful, like
those of a TV talk show host.

LESTER (V.O.) (cont’d)
She wasn’t always like this. She
used to be happy. We used to be
happy…

Jim #2 pulls the Ford Taurus into the street; Jim #1 waves to
Carolyn, jumps inside and they drive off. Carolyn immediately
reverts to her previous resolute expression as she continues
cutting flowers.

LESTER (V.O.) (cont’d)
But she doesn’t have much use for
me anymore. About the only thing
that gets her excited now is money.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – JANE’S BEDROOM – CONTINUOUS

CLOSE on a young woman’s hands counting DOLLAR BILLS. PULLING
BACK, we see JANE BURNHAM, seated at a desk in her bedroom,
wearing jeans and a tight cotton top with straps. As she
counts, she has the same resolute expression as her mother.

LESTER (V.O.)
And this is my daughter Jane.
Only child. She takes after her
mother in a lot of ways, although
she’d never admit it.

Having finished counting, JANE paper-clips the money together
then types something into a computer.

CLOSE on the COMPUTER MONITOR: Personal banking software.
We see the word DEPOSIT and the amount $38.00 as they’re
entered, then a new total in the balance column: $2,853.06.

JANE smiles, pleased. she stuffs the money into a KNAPSACK
hanging on her closet door, then looks at herself in a full-
length MIRROR. A beat, she turns sideways and arches her back
so her breasts protrude as much as possible She frowns, then
turns so she’s facing the mirror, and hugs her herself
tightly, to enhance the appearance of cleavage.

LESTER (V.O.) (cont’d)
Janie is a pretty typical
teenager. Angry, insecure,
confused. I wish I could tell her
all that’s going to pass.
(then)
But I don’t want to lie to her.

We HEAR a CAR HORN from outside. JANE grabs her KNAPSACK and
a too-large flannel shirt from her closet and starts out.

EXT. BURNHAM HOUSE – CONTINUOS

A bright blue GARBAGE TRUCK fills the screen, as its
MECHANICAL ARM lifts a matching blue city GARBAGE CONTAINER
from the curb, emptying its contents into the truck. On the
side of the truck:

CITY OF ROCKWELL
DEPARTMENT OF SANITATION
Let’s Recycle!

In the Burnham’s driveway: Carolyn1 now dressed for work in a
completely different but equally well-coordinated outfit,
stands next to a platinum-colored MERCEDES-BENZ ML320,
reaching in through the drivers’ window to blow the HORN
again.

Her POV: LESTER comes out the front door, dressed IN a
business suit and carrying a briefcase, fumbling with his tie.
Jane is close behind him, buttoning her flannel shirt, her
knapsack slung over her shoulder.

Carolyn frowns at both OF them.

CAROLYN
Jane. Honey. Are you trying to
look unattractive?

JANE
Yes.

CAROLYN
Well, congratulations. You’ve
succeeded admirably.

Lester’s briefcase suddenly springs open, his papers and
files spilling onto the driveway. As he drops to his knees to
gather everything, Jane sidesteps around him.

JANE
Nice going, Dad.

LESTER looks UP her sheepishly, then at Carolyn.

His POV: she looks down at us, slightly contemptuous But also
bored, as if she gave up expecting anything more long ago.

LESTER
I keep meaning to get this thing
fixed…

He smiles, trying to lighten the moment, but Carolyn’s
expression doesn’t change. She opens the door and gets into
the drivers seat. Jane takes the passenger seat, and Lester
climbs into the back. The Mercedes-Benz ML320 starts to slowly
back out of the driveway.

LESTER (V.O.) (cont’d)
So that’s my family… and this is
my life.
(laughs)
You’d think I wouldn’t miss it so
much…

INT. MERCEDES-BENZ ML320 – a SHORT TIME LATER

Carolyn is driving; Jane stares out the window. Lester is
asleep in the back seat. Clint Black sings “DESPERADO” on the
STEREO.

JANE
Why are we listening to this
whiny-ass music?

CAROLYN
It’s just what was on.

JANE fiddles the tuner, searching FOR ANOTHER station.
Something suddenly catches Carolyn’s eye:

Her POV: An ADVERTISEMENT on a BUS STOP BENCH shows a slick-
looking, silver- ~ MAN smiling a toothy smile. It reads:
Leonard Kane – The Real Estate King – Rockwell’s Highest Sales
Record Three Years Straight. We recognize him as the man
seated next to Carolyn in court during Jane’s trial.

Carolyn glare at the ADVERTISEMENT as she drives past. it
obviously bothers her.

JANE
I don’t see how you people can
listen to that hillbilly crap. It
makes me want to buy a gun and
shoot up a Burger King.

CAROLYN
Well, your father was the last one
to drive this car. You know I
don’t like country music myself.
It’s so… common and twangy. I
much prefer the old ~b)V
standards. Sinatra, Bobby Darin
Doris Day…

JANE Finally finds a STATION she likes: MOODY ALTERNATIVE
ROCK. They drive along without speaking for a moment, then:

JANE
Wake up, Dad, we’re here.

No response from Lester.

JANE (cont’d)
Dad, look. It’s Garth Brooks, and
he’s wearing that groovy cowboy
hat. Maybe you can get his
autograph.

CAROLYN
(chuckling)
Jane. Hush.

INT. COMMUTER TRAIN – a SHORT TIME LATER

LESTER sits IN the crowded TRAIN, his head UP against the
window. He’s fast asleep.

LESTER (V.O.)
Both my wife and my daughter think
I’m this gigantic loser.

He has a paper CUP OF COFFEE IN one hand, haphazardly holding
it against his knee. Slowly, it tips over, spilling onto his
pants leg. He remains asleep.

LESTER (V.O.) (cont’d)
And they’re right. I’ve lost
something very important. I’m not
exactly sure what it is, but I know
I didn’t always fell this…
sedated.

Finally, LESTER opens one eye.

POV: from the front of the PATH train: We’re ZOOMING along
aboveground, unnaturally FAST heading toward a TUNNEL.

LESTER (V.O.) (cont’d)
But you know what? It’s never too
late to get it back.

And we accelerate into the tunnel, and BLACKNESS.

INT. OFFICE BUILDING – DAY
CLOSE on a COMPUTER MONITOR, SCROLLING COPY. It’s MOVING by
too quickly for us to read, but we can make out WORDS here and
there: marketing… profits… strategy… etc.

Lester sits at his workstation, in a BEIGE CUBICLE,
surrounded by several IDENTICAL BEIGE CUBICLES. He’s staring
at the monitor and talking on a HEADSET PHONE. The light,
friendly tone of his voice is at odds with the beleaguered
expression on his face.

LESTER
Hello, this is Lester Burnham from
Media Monthly magazine calling for
Mr.
Keene… actually, I’ve already
left a message, about four messages
to be exact… I understand, but I
have questions about the new
product launch that your press
release didn’t quite cover…

BRAD, an affable MAN IN his EARLY thirties, appears behind
Lester. Lester is immediately aware of his presence.

LESTER (cont’d)
I’ve already given you my
number…
(sighs)
555-5419. Yes. Lester Burnham.
Thank you.

He punches a button on his keyboard, then turns to Brad,
smiling perfunctorily.

BRAD
Les. Got a minute?

LESTER
For you, Brad? I’ve got five.

BRAD
Good. Why don’t we talk in my
office?
He smiles and crosses off. LESTER watches him go, frowning.

INT. BRAD’S OFFICE – MOMENTS LATER

BRAD is seated behind his desk.

BRAD
…so I’m sure you can understand
the need to cut corners around
here.

Lester sits across from him, scowling like a teenager who’s
been sent to the principal’s office.

LESTER
Sure. Times are tight, and you
need to free up cash. Gotta spend
money to make money.

BRAD
Exactly.

BRAD stands, ready to usher LESTER out, But LESTER remains
seated.

LESTER
(blurts)
Like when our editorial director
used the company MasterCard to pay
for a hooker, and then she used the
card number to stay at the St.
Regis for, what was it, three
months?

BRAD
(startled)
That’s unsubstantiated gossip.

LESTER
That’s fifty thousand dollars.
That’s somebody’s salary. Somebody
who’s probably gonna get fired
because Craig has to pay women to
fuck him!

BRAD
Jesus. Calm down. Nobody’s getting
fired yet. That’s why we’re having
everyone write a job description,
mapping out in detail how they
contribute. That way, management
can assess who’s valuable and who’s

LESTER
Expendable.

BRAD
It’s just business.

LESTER
(angry)
I’ve been writing for this
magazine for fourteen years, Brad.
You’ve been here how long, a month?

BRAD
(frank)
I’m, one of the good guys, Les. I
trying to level with you. This is
your one chance to save your job.

LESTER leans BACK IN his chair, incredulous.

INT. COMMUTER TRAIN – a SHORT TIME LATER

Once again, LESTER sits IN the crowded TRAIN, his head UP
against the window. But this time, he’s not asleep; he glares
darkly out at the tunnel walls as they fly by.

EXT. BURNHAM HOUSE – THAT NIGHT

The MERCEDES-BENZ ML320 pulls into the driveway, driven By
Carolyn. A MOVING VAN is parked in front of the pale blue
COLONIAL HOUSE next door. A couple of Movers carry a couch
down the driveway toward the house.

As LESTER and Carolyn get out OF the ML320 and head toward
their front door:

CAROLYN
There is no decision. Just write
the damn thing!

LESTER
You don’t think it’s weird and
kinda fascist?

CAROLYN
possibly. But you don’t want to be
unemployed.

LESTER

Oh, okay. Let’s all sell our sols
to Satan, because it’s more
convenient that way.

CAROLYN
(sighs)
Could you be just a little bit
more dramatic, please?

Carolyn scopes out the MOVING VAN next door.

CAROLYN (cont’d)
Well. We’ve finally got new
neighbors. It’s about time. If
the Lomans had let me represent
them, instead of…
(heavy disdain)
The Real Estate King, that house
would have sold within a week,
instead of sitting on the market
for six months.

LESTER
They were still mad at you for
cutting down their sycamore.

CAROLYN
Their sycamore? It was on our
property!

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – DINING ROOM – LATER THAT NIGHT

We HEAR John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman’s rendition of “YOU
ARE TOO BEAUTIFUL” on the STEREO.

LESTER, Carolyn and JANE are seated at dinner IN the formal
dining room. They eat by CANDLELIGHT, and a profusion of RED
ROSES spills from a vase at the center of the table. We CIRCLE
them slowly, as they eat. Nobody makes eye contact, or even
seems aware of anybody else’s presence, until…

JANE
Mom, do we always have to listen
to this elevator music?

CAROLYN
(considers)
No. No, we don’t. As soon as
you’ve prepared a nutritious yet
flavorful meal that I’m about to
eat, you can listen to whatever you
like.

A long beat. LESTER Suddenly turns to Jane.

LESTER
So Janie, how was school?

JANE
(suspicious)
It was okay.

LESTER
Just okay?

JANE
No, Dad. It was spec-tac-ular.
a beat.

LESTER
Want to know how things went at my
job?

Now she looks at him as if he’s lost his mind.

LESTER (cont’d)
They’ve hired this efficiency
expert. He’s really friendly, and
I really hate his guts. See,
they’re going to lay somebody off,
but in the interest of being
democratic, everybody gets to write
a “job description” for him, in the
hopes the assholes in management
will read it and say, “Whoa, we
can’t
do without this guy…”

He trails off, obviously waiting FOR a response from Jane.

LESTER (cont’d)
(finally)
You couldn’t possibly care any
less, could you?

Carolyn is watching This closely.

JANE
(uncomfortable)
Dad, what do you expect? You can’t
all of a sudden be my best friend,
just because you’ve got a problem.

She gets UP and heads toward the kitchen.

JANE (cont’d)
I mean, hello. You’ve barely even
spoken to me for months.

She’s gone. Lester notices Carolyn looking at him
critically.

LESTER
Oh, what, you’re mother-of-the-
year? You treat her like a
employee.

CAROLYN
(shocked)
what?!

He gets UP and starts after Jane.

LESTER
You treat us both like employees.

Carolyn looks after him, slack-jawed.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – CONTINUOUS

A huge faux industrial KITCHEN, with floor-to-ceiling WHITE
CERAMIC TILE, brushed steel appliances and antique hardware
and lighting. This is one of those “back-to-a-simpler-time”
designer kitchens that cost a fortune. Jane stands at the
sink, rinsing off her plate. Lester enters.

LESTER
Honey, I’m sorry I…

JANE turns and stares at him, waiting FOR him to finish.

LESTER (cont’d)
I’m sorry I haven’t been more
available, I just… I’m…

He’s looking to her for a little help here, but she’s too
uncomfortable with this sudden intimacy to give him any.

LESTER (cont’d)
You know, you don’t always have
to wait for me to come to you…

JANE
0h, great. So now it’s my fault.

EXT. BURNHAM HOUSE – CONTINUOUS

ON VIDEO: We’re looking at Lester and Jane through GREENHOUSE
WINDOWS into the kitchen. We can’t hear what they’re saying,
but it’s obvious it’s not going well. Jane puts her plate in
the dishwasher and leaves. We follow her out the door, then
the camera JERKS back to Lester calling after her.

CLOSE on the LENS OF a high-tech portable VIDEO CAMERA. as we
PULL BACK, the camera drops down to reveal RICKY FITTS, whom
we recognize as the young man in jail at the beginning. His
short hair and starched clothes give him a hyper-conservative
appearance. We linger on his placid face for a moment,
then…

INT. BURNHAM – KITCHEN – CONTINUOUS

LESTER stands at the sink, rinsing off his plate, his face
dark. His head suddenly jerks up and he looks out the window,
as if he realizes he ‘s being watched.

His POV: We’re looking at the pint where Ricky was just
standing, but he’s no longer there.

LESTER frowns, then turns off the faucet, grabs a towel and
dries his hands. He tosses the towel on the snack bar on his
way out, where it lands next to a FRAMED PHOTOGRAPH.

We ZOOM slowly toward the PHOTOGRAPH: It’s of Lester,
Carolyn, and a much-younger Jane, taken several years earlier
at an amusement park. It’s starling how happy they look.

We HEAR CHEERING and APPLAUSE.

INT. high SCHOOL GYMNASIUM – NIGHT

We’re at a high-school BASKETBALL GAME. Teenage boys, mostly
black, play a fast and furious game. One team, dressed in
light blue and white uniforms, scores a basket. The CROWD goes
wild.

Seated IN the bleachers, next to the high SCHOOL BAND, is a
group of about twenty teenage girls, dressed in short light
blue and white uniforms that manage to be both revealing and
chaste. Among them, Jane sits next to ANGELA HAYES, whom we
recognize from the witness stand at the beginning. Jane stands
and scans the bleachers.

ANGELA
Who are you looking for?

JANE
My parents are coming tonight.
They’re trying to, you know, take
an active interest in me.

ANGELA
Gross. I hate it when my mom does
that.

JANE
They’re such assholes. Why can’t
they just have their own lives?

INT. MERCEDES – BENZ ML320 – CONTINUOUS

Carolyn drives. LESTER is slumped IN the passenger seat.

LESTER
What makes you so sure she wants
us to be there? Did she ask us to
come?

CAROLYN
Of course not. She doesn’t want
us to know how important this is to
her. But she’s been practicing her
steps for weeks.

LESTER
Well, I bet you money she’s going
to resent this. And I’m missing
the James Bond marathon on TNT.

CAROLYN
Lester, this is important. I’m
sensing a real distance growing
between you and Jane.

LESTER
Growing? She hates me.

CAROLYN
She’s just willful.

LESTER
She hates you too.

Carolyn stares at him, unsure OF how to respond.

INT. high SCHOOL GYMNASIUM – LATER

The uniformed girls we saw earlier are Now standing IN
formation on the gymnasium floor.

ANNOUNCER
(over P.A.)
And now, for your half-time
entertainment, Rockwell High’s
award-winning Dancing Pantherettes!

IN the crowded stands, LESTER and Carolyn search FOR seats.

LESTER
We can leave right after this,
right?

The HIGH SCHOOL BAND plays “TOP OF THE WORLD.” On the gym
floor, the girls perform synchronized dance steps, smiling
energetically. They’re well-rehearsed, but too young to carry
off the ambitious Vegas routine they’re attempting.

LESTER, watching from the stands, picks out his daughter.

His POV: JANE performs well, concentrating hard. Dancing next
to her is Angela; she moves awkwardly, grace obviously not
being her strong point. Suddenly she looks right us and
smiles, a lazy, insolent smile.

LESTER leans forward IN his seat.

His POV: We’re focused on Angela now. Everything starts to
SLOW DOWN, almost imperceptibly… the MUSIC acquires an eerie
ECHO… and she keeps sneaking knowing looks at us…

We ZOOM slowly toward LESTER as He watches, transfixed.

His POV: The light on Angela is brighter than on the others,
somehow, and her awkwardness gives way to a fluid grace. “TOP
OF THE WORLD” FADES into dreamy, hypnotic TRIPHOP MUSIC. The
light on Angela grows even stronger, and the other girls
around her DISAPPEAR entirely…

LESTER is spellbound.

His POV: ANGELA looks directly at us Now, Dancing ONLY FOR
Lester. Her movements take on a blatantly erotic edge as the
MUSIC increases in intensity. She starts to seductively unzip
her uniform, teasing us with an expression that’s both
innocent and knowing, then… she pulls her uniform OPEN and a
profusion of RED ROSES spills forth… and we SMASH CUT TO:

INT. HIGH SCHOOL ~ – CONTINUOUS

ANGELA, fully clothed, is Once again surrounded By the other
girls. The HIGH SCHOOL BAND plays its last note, the Dancing
Pantherettes strike their final showgirl pose, and the
audience bursts into APPLAUSE.

Carolyn claps along with the rest OF the audience. LESTER
just sits there, unable to take his eyes off Angela.

EXT. high SCHOOL GYMNASIUM – LATER

The game is over. LESTER and Carolyn stand near the main
door, as people trickle out of the gym.

CAROLYN
(after a beat)
Okay, I can’t wait any longer.
I’ve got a killer day tomorrow –

LESTER
(emphatic)
We don’t leave without seeing her.

Carolyn gives him an odd look.

LESTER (cont’d)
Hey, this was your idea.
(then calls out)
Janie!

JANE and ANGELA, IN street clothes, have just come out OF the
gym. Jane rolls her eyes and crosses reluctantly toward her
parents, followed by Angela.

LESTER (cont’d)
You were really great, honey.
Congratulations.

JANE
I didn’t win anything

LESTER
(to Angela)
Hi, I’m Lester. Jane’s dad.

ANGELA
Oh. Hi.

An awkward beat.

JANE
This is my friend Angela Hayes.

LESTER
Okay, good to meet you. You were
also good, tonight. Very…
precise.

ANGELA
(warming)
Thanks.

CAROLYN
(hugs Jane)
Honey, I’m proud of you. I watched
you very closely, and you didn’t
screw up once.
(then, to Lester)
Okay, we have to go.

She starts toward the parking lot. LESTER stays behind.

LESTER
What are you girls doing now?

JANE
Dad.

ANGELA
We’re going out for pizza.

LESTER
Well, can we give you a lift?

ANGELA
Thank s, but I have a car.

LESTER
That’s great! Uh, Janie’s hoping
to get a car soon, aren’t you
honey?

JANE
(you freak)
Dad. Mom’s waiting for you , and
she look like she’s about to start
chewing her hair.

LESTER
Well, it’s great to meet you,
Angela. Any, uh, friend of Janie’s
is a friend of mine.

ANGELA smiles at him, fully aware OF the powers she has over
him. He is mesmerized; grateful, even.

LESTER (cont’d)
So… I guess I’ll be seeing you
around.

I guess.
ANGELA

LESTER waves awkwardly as He crosses off.

JANE
Could he be any more pathetic?

ANGELA
I think it’s sweet.
(then)
And I think he and your mother
have not had sex for a long time.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – MASTER BEDROOM – a FEW HOURS LATER

CLOSE on a solitary red ROSE PETAL as it falls slowly and
silently through the air1 like a feather.

We’re in Lester and Carolyn’s room, looking down on their bed
from OVERHEAD. Even in sleep, Carolyn still looks determined.
Lester, however, is wide awake and stares up at us.

LESTER (V.O.)
It’s the weirdest thing.

The ROSE PETAL drifts into view, landing on his pillow.

LESTER (V.O.) (cont’d)
I feel like I’ve been in a coma
for about twenty years, and I’m
just now waking up.

More ROSE PETALS fall onto the bed.

LESTER (V.O.) (cont’d)
I feel younger… lighter…
He smiles UP at…
his POV: ANGELA, naked, FLOATS directly above us as if IN
water, kicking lazily as a deluge of ROSE PETALS falls around
her. Her hair fans out around her head and GLOWS with a
subtle, burnished light. She looks down at us with a smile
that is all things: compassion… invitation… lust…

LESTER smiles BACK and LAUGHS, as ROSE PETALS cover his face.

LESTER (V.O.) (cont’d)
Spec-tac-ular.

EXT. ROBIN HOOD TRAIL – CONTINUOUS

A WHITE BMW 328si CONVERTIBLE winds its way down the street
and pulls close to, but not into, the Burnham’s driveway.

INT. ANGELA’S BMW – CONTINUOUS

ANGELA is driving, JANE is IN the passenger seat. both girls
are stoned and LAUGH hysterically. Gradually, their LAUGHTER
dies down. Iggy Pop sings “CANDY” on the RADIO.

JANE
I’m sorry my dad was so weird
tonight.

ANGELA
It’s okay. I’m used to guys
drooling over me.
(lights a cigarette)
It started when I was about
twelve. I’d go out to dinner with
my parents. Every Thursday night,
Red Lobster. And every guy there
would stare at me when I walked in.
And I knew what they were thinking.
Just like I knew guys at school
thought about me when they jerked
off…

JANE
Vomit.

ANGELA
No I liked it. And I still like
it. If people I don’t even know
look at me and want to fuck me, it
means I really have a shot at being
a model. Which is great, because
there’s one thing worse in life
than being ordinary.

An awkward beat. JANE stares at the floor.

JANE
I really think it’ll happen for
you.

ANGELA
Oh, I know. Because everything
that was meant to happen, does.
Eventually.
(then)
Maybe I should come in a say good
night to your dad.

The two girls break into a fresh round OF stoned LAUGHTER.

EXT. BURNHAM HOUSE – CONTINUOUS

On VIDEO: JANE gets out OF the CAR, still LAUGHING, and waves
as Angela pulls away. We ZOOM in on Jane as she walks toward
the house. She turns suddenly, sensing our presence, and looks
directly at us.

Her POV: We’re looking at the pale blue COLONIAL HOUSE next
door where the moving van was parked earlier. The front porch
is shrouded in darkness… then a PORCH LIGHT abruptly reveals
Ricky, perched on a white-washed Adirondack chair, having just
turned on the overhead light. As usual, he wears very
conservative clothes. There is a BEEPER attached to his belt,
and his VIDEO CAMERA dangles loosely around his neck.

Irritated, JANE stares at him, hard.

JANE
Asshole.

He looks BACK at her curiously, then raises his VIDEO camera
and starts to videotape her.

His POV, on VIDEO: JANE, angry and self-conscious, turns and
walks quickly toward her house, flipping us off as she goes.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – FOYER – CONTINUOUS

JANE enters, closes and locks the door, quickly turns off the
LIGHT that’s been left on for her, then peeks through a
window..

Her POV: The Fitts’ porch light is still on, but there’s no
sign of Ricky.

Jane starts quietly up the stairs. Then, just as she’s almost
out of sight, she smiles, a schoolgirl thrilled to discover
she’s the object of a schoolboy’s crush.

FADE to BLACK.

FADE IN

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – JANE’S BEDROOM – THE NEXT MORNING

CLOSE on an ADDRESS BOOK. A man’s hand flips to the H page
and then his finger runs down the names on it, stopping at the
name Angela Hayes…

Lester, already dressed for work, sits at Jane’s desk, going
through her address book. We HEAR the SHOWER running in the
adjacent bathroom, and Jane SINGING “CANDY” at the top of her
lungs. Lester grabs her phone and dials.

JANE (O.C.)
I’VE HAD A HOLE… IN MY HEART…
FOR SO LONG…
CLOSE on LESTER, with the receiver to his ear, nervous.

ANGELA (O.C.)
(over phone line)
Hello? Hello?

LESTER is frozen, unable to speak. Suddenly, the shower is
turned off in the next room, and Jane’s singing stops. Lester
hangs up and exits quickly. A moment, then the PHONE RINGS.
Jane emerges from the bathroom, dripping wet, and answers it.

JANE
Hello?

INT. HAYES HOUSE – ANGELA’ S BEDROOM – CONTINUOUS

ANGELA is sprawled across her bed, on the phone. the walls OF
her room are covered with pictures of SUPERMODELS.

ANGELA
Why’d you call me?

Intercut with Jane in her bedroom:

JANE
I didn’t.

ANGELA
Well, my phone just rung and I
answered it and somebody hung up
and then I star sixty-nined and it
called you back.

JANE
I was in the shower.

Then JANE notices her ADDRESS book open to the H page.

JANE (cont’d)
Oh, gross

EXT. BURNHAM HOUSE – CONTINUOUS

ON VIDEO: We’re across from Jane’s WINDOW, peering in. Jane
picks up the address book, frowning. She speaks into the one,
but we can’t hear her.

WOMAN’S VOICE (O.C.)
(sing song)
Rick-y! Break-fast!

INT. FITTS HOUSE – RICKY’S BEDROOM – CONTINUOUS

Ricky, dressed for school, stands at his open window,
videotaping. He lowers his CAMERA, but his eyes remain locked
on Jane across the way.

RICKY
Be right there.

INT. FITTS HOUSE – KITCHEN – MOMENTS LATER

BARBARA FITTS stands at the stove, frying bacon. She’s in her
fifties; pretty, in a slightly childish way. She flips the
bacon strips mechanically, her eyes focused elsewhere. Her
husband, COLONEL FRANK FITTS (whom we recognize from his run-
in with Detective Fleishman at the beginning), sits at a
dinette reading The Wall Street ‘Journal. They’re each off in
their own little world, which they vastly prefer to this one,
then:

RICKY
(entering)
Mom.

Startled, BARBARA turns to him.

BARBARA
Hello.

RICKY
I don’t eat bacon, remember?

BARBARA
(unnerved)
I must have forgotten. I’m sorry.

RICKY serves himself scrambled eggs from ANOTHER pan, then
joins his father at the table.

RICKY
What’s new in the world, Dad?

COLONEL
This country is going straight to
hell.

RICKY
So nothing’s changed.

A DOORBELL rings. the COLONEL and BARBARA look at each
other, alarmed.

COLONEL
Are you expecting anyone?

BARBARA
No.
(things)
No.

The COLONEL rises and heads toward the living ROOM, a little
puffed up. Curious, Ricky follows. Barbara just stands
there, frightened.

INT. FITTS HOUSE – FOYER – CONTINUOUS

The COLONEL opens the front door to reveal the two JIMS.

JIM #1
Hi.

JIM #2
Welcome to the neighborhood.

Jim #1 holds out a basket filled with flowers, vegetables and
a small white cardboard box tied with raffia.

JIM #1
Just a little something from our
garden.

RICKY watches from the BACK OF the foyer.

JIM #2
Except for the pasta, we got that
at Dean and Deluca.

JIM #1
It’s unbelievably fresh. You just
barely drop it in the water and
it’s done.

The COLONEL stares at them, suspicious.

JIM #1 (cont’d)
(offers his hand)
I’m Jim Olsen. I live across the
street. Welcome to the
neighborhood.

COLONEL
(shakes)
Colonel Frank Fits, U.S. Marine
Corps.

JIM #1
Nice to meet you . And this is my
partner…

JIM #2
(offers his hand)
Jim Boyd, but my friends call me
J.B.

COLONEL
Let’s cut to the chase, okay?
What are you guys selling?

A beat.

JIM #2
Nothing. We just wanted to say hi
to our new neighbors –

COLONEL
Yeah, yeah, yeah. You said you’re
partners. So what’s your business?

A beat. the Jims look at each other, then BACK at the
Colonel.

JIM #1
Well, he’s an entertainment
lawyer.

JIM #2
And he’s an anesthesiologist.

They’re trying not to laugh. The Colonel looks at them,
confused, then it dawns on him.

INT. COLONEL’ S FORD EXPLORER – LATER

The COLONEL drives, staring darkly at the road ahead. IN the
passenger seat, Ricky is using a CALCULATOR and jotting
numbers down in a NOTEBOOK.

COLONEL
(suddenly)
How come these faggots always have
to rub it in your face? How can
they be so shameless?

RICKY
That’s the whole thing, Dad. They
don’t feel like it’s anything to be
ashamed of.

The COLONEL looks at RICKY sharply.

COLONEL
Well, it is.

A beat, as RICKY continues his calculations, before He
realizes a response is expected from him. Then:

RICKY
You’re right.

The Colonel’s eyes flash angrily.

COLONEL
Don’t placate me like I’m your
mother, boy.

RICKY sighs, then looks at his father and speaks with sincere
hatred.

RICKY
Forgive me sir, for speaking so
bluntly, but those fags make me
want to puke my fucking guts out.

The COLONEL is taken aback, But quickly covers.

COLONEL
Me too, son. Me too.

Case closed, RICKY goes BACK to his calculations.

CLOSE on the pencil in his hands… he’s totaling two columns
of NUMBERS. Under the column “Income” he writes in swift, bold
strokes: $24,950.00.

EXT. high SCHOOL CAMPUS – a FEW MINUTES LATER

JANE and ANGELA are seated with two other TEENAGE GIRLS.
They’re all smoking.

ANGELA
I’m serious, he just yanked it out
and showed it to me. You know, like
the President did to that woman.

TEENAGE GIRL #1
Gross

ANGELA
It wasn’t gross. It was kind of
cool.

TEENAGE GIRL #1
So did you do it with him?

ANGELA
Of course I did. He is a really
well-known photographer? He shoots
for Elle on like, a regular basis?
It would have been so majorly
stupid of me to turn him down.

TEENAGE GIRL #2
You are a total prostitute.

ANGELA
Hey. That’s how things really
are. You just don’t know, because
you’re this pampered little
suburban chick.

TEENAGE GIRL #2
So are you. You’ve only been in
Seventeen once, and you looked fat,
so stop acting like you’re goddamn
Christy Turlington.

The two TEENAGE girls move away from JANE and Angela.

ANGELA
(calling off)
Cunt!
(then)
I am so sick of people taking
their insecurities out on me.

The Colonel’s Ford Explorer pulls up, and Ricky gets out. The
creases on his trousers are sharp enough to cut glass.

JANE
Oh my God. That’s the pervert who
filmed me last night.

ANGELA
Him? No way. Jane, he is a total
lunatic.

JANE
You know him?

ANGELA
He was in my earth science class
in eighth grade, and he always said
the creepiest things, and then one
day, he was just, like, gone. And
then Connie Cardullo told me he his
parents had to put him in a mental
institution.

JANE
Why? What did he do?

ANGELA
What do you mean?

JANE
Well, they can’t put you away just
for saying creepy things.

ANGELA stares at JANE, then her mouth widens into a smile.

ANGELA
You total slut. You’ve got a
crush on him.

JANE
What? Please.

ANGELA
You were defending him! You love
him. You want to have, like, ten
thousand of his babies.

JANE
Shut up.

JANE Suddenly finds RICKY standing IN front OF her, looking
at her intensely.

RICKY
Hi. My name’s Ricky. I just moved
next door to you.

JANE
Uh, yeah. I know. I kinda remember
this really creepy incident when
you were filming me last night?

RICKY
I didn’t mean to scare you. I just
think you’re interesting.

ANGELA shoots a wide-eyed look at JANE, who ignores it.

JANE
Thanks, but I really don’t need to
have some psycho obsessing about me
right now.

RICKY
I’m not obsessing. I’m just
curious.

He looks at her intently, his eyes searching hers. JANE is
unnerved and has to look away. Ricky smiles and walks off.

ANGELA
What a freak. And why does he
dress like a Bible salesman?

JANE
He’s like, so confident. That
can’t be real.

ANGELA
I don’t believe him. He didn’t
even like, look at me once.

EXT. suburban NEIGHBORHOOD – DAY

CLOSE on a wooden SIGN that reads:

Open HOUSE TODAY
BURNHAM & ASSOCIATES REALTY
555-1618

Carolyn BURNHAM the SIGN is planted IN front OF a RUN-down
HOME in a run-down middle-class neighborhood. The Mercedes-
Benz ML320 is parked in front of the house. Carolyn, wearing
a T-shirt and jeans, unloads a box filled with cleaning
supplies, a BOOMBOX and a garment bag from the back.
Something across the street catches her eye.

Her POV: IN front OF a DIFFERENT HOUSE with much More curb
appeal is another SIGN, with a picture of the same silver-
haired MAN we saw on the bus stop bench earlier. It reads:

FOR SALE
Call Leonard Kane – the Real Estate King
555-1957

Carolyn frowns and slams the BACK OF the MERCEDES shut, a
little harder than necessary.

INT. SALE HOUSE – living ROOM – MOMENTS LATER

Carolyn enters, hangs her garment bag IN the hall closet and
inspects the empty living room. The cathedral ceiling is
painted an alarming burnt orange, and the native stone
fireplace has shed a couple of stones onto the floor, which
she quickly picks up and wedges back into the fireplace.

CAROLYN
(quietly)
I will sell this house today.

She plugs IN the BOOMBOX, presses a button and we HEAR Tony
Bennett singing “WITH PLENTY OF MONEY AND YOU,” which plays
throughout the following

MONTAGE
We see Carolyn, working with
fierce concentration as she:

Doggedly scrubs countertops in the kitchen; Perches on a
stepladder to dust a cheap-looking white ceiling fan in the
mater bedroom; Cleans glass doors that overlook the patio and
pool; Skims leaves off the surface of the pool; Sweeps the
patio with a broom; And vacuums a dirty carpet that will never
be clean.

Throughout all this, she keeps repeating to herself:

CAROLYN
I will sell this house today.
I will sell this house today.
I will sell this house today…

She says This as if she believes she can actually will This
house into being something more than the dump it is.

INT. SALE HOUSE – BATHROOM – LATER

Carolyn stands IN front OF the mirror, Now dressed IN a
stylish but not-too-formal business suit. She finishes
applying lipstick, then stares at her reflection, critically.

CAROLYN
I will sell this house today.

She says This as if it were a threat, then turns to go. on
her way out, she notices a smudge on the glass shower door and
pulls off a piece of toilet paper to clean it.

EXT. SALE HOUSE – front YARD – LATER

CLOSE on the front door, as it opens to reveal Carolyn,
greeting us with her most winning smile – the smile she thinks
could sell ice to an Eskimo.

CAROLYN
Welcome. I’m Carolyn Burnham!

MUSIC ENDS.

INT. SALE HOUSE – FOYER – CONTINUOUS

Smiling, Carolyn leads a MAN and WOMAN into the living room.
They’re thirtyish, and they’ve seen a lot of houses today.

MAN
(looking up)
How high is that ceiling?

CAROLYN
Over twenty feet.

WOMAN
That color is hideous.

CAROLYN
a simple cream would really lighten things up. You could
even put in a skylight.

The WOMAN wrinkles her face, skeptical.

CAROLYN (cont’d)
Wait ‘til you see the kitchen.

INT. SALE HOUSE – KITCHEN – LATER

Carolyn enters, still Smiling, followed By a DIFFERENT COUPLE
in their fifties.

CAROLYN
As you can see, it’s been
completely remodeled.

MAN
(opening cabinet)
These have just been refaced. no
new construction.

WOMAN
(re: faucet)
What is this, gold?

CAROLYN
No, it’s solid brass.

WOMAN
Kinda gaudy, isn’t it?

INT. SALE HOUSE – MASTER BEDROOM – LATER

Carolyn stands with a different COUPLE: African American,
late twenties. The woman is pregnant.

CAROLYN
…and you’ll be surprised how
much a ceiling fan can cut down on
your energy costs.

MAN
I got a cousin, he was a
ballplayer. Ceiling fan fell on him
in a bar and severed a tendon in
his shoulder. Never fully regained
use of that arm. Ruined his career.

Carolyn just stares at him, still smiling.

EXT. SALE HOUSE – BACK YARD – LATER

Carolyn stands By the pool next to two thirtyish WOMEN with
identical haircuts.

WOMAN
The ad said this pool was “lagoon-
like.” But there’s nothing “lagoon-
like” about it. Except for maybe
the bugs.
(slaps her arm)
There’s not even any plants out
here.

CAROLYN
I have an excellent landscape
architect –

WOMAN
I mean, I think “lagoon,” and I
think waterfall, I think tropical.
This is just a cement hole.

A beat.

CAROLYN
There are some tiki torches in the
garage.

The Women stare at her; she just keeps smiling.

INT. SALE HOUSE – SUN ROOM – MOMENTS LATER

Carolyn enters, alone. She’s furious, much more furious than
she should be. She locks the sliding glass door and starts to
pull the vertical blinds shut, then stops. Standing very
still, with the blinds casting shadows across her face, she
starts to cry: brief, staccato SOBS that seemingly escape
against her will. Suddenly she SLAPS herself, hard.

CAROLYN
Stop it.

But the Tears continue. she SLAPS herself again.

CAROLYN (cont’d)
Weak. Baby. Shut up. Shut up!

She SLAPS herself repeatedly until she stops crying. she
stands. there, taking deep, even breaths until she has
everything under control, then she finishes pulling the blinds
shut, once again all business. She walks out calmly, leaving
us alone in the dark, empty room.

INT. HOTEL BALLROOM – LATER THAT NIGHT

We HEAR a jazzy rendition of “DESAFINADO” under the
cacophonous and oddly comforting DIN of a room full of people
all talking at once.

SIGN NEAR THE DOOR READS:

GREATER ROCKWELL REALTOR RESOURCES GROUP

Well-dressed professionals stand IN clumps, chatting.
Catering waiters serve hors d’eouvres. We discover Lester and
Carolyn, with cocktails, MOVING through the crowd.

CAROLYN
Lester, listen to me. This is an
important business function. Now,
as you know, my business is selling
an image. And part of my job is to
live that image –

LESTER
(in unison with her;
he’s heard this before)
is to live that image –
(then)
Just say whatever you want to say,
okay? Spare me the propaganda.

CAROLYN
(sighs)
Will you please do me a favor and
act happy tonight?

LESTER
(grins stupidly)
I am happy, honey.

Carolyn’s jaw tightens, then:

CAROLYN
(spots someone)
Leonard!

She drag. LESTER toward a distinguished silver-haired MAN and
his much younger WIFE. We recognize the Man as LEONARD KANE
The Real Estate King.

CAROLYN (cont’d)
(shakes Leonard’s hand)
It’s good to see you again.

LEONARD
(friendly)
It’s good to see you too,
Catherine.

CAROLYN
Carolyn.

LEONARD
Carolyn! Of course. How are you?

CAROLYN
Very well, thank you.
(to his wife)
Hello, Christy.

CHRISTY
Hello

CAROLYN
This is my husband, Lester –

LEONARD
(shakes Lester’s Hand)
It’s a pleasure.

LESTER
We’ve actually met. At this same
thing last year? Wait – maybe it
was that Christmas thing at the
Sheraton.

LEONARD
Oh, yes.

LESTER
(friendly)
It’s okay. I wouldn’t remember me
either.

He LAUGHS. a little too loudly. Carolyn quickly joins in.

CAROLYN
(forced gaiety)
Honey. Don’t be weird.

She smiles her winning smile at him. He knows This persona
well, only it’s never pissed him off as much as it does right
now.

LESTER
All right, honey. I won’t be
weird.

He moves IN Suddenly, his face CLOSE to hers.

LESTER (cont’d)
I’ll be whatever you want me to
be.

And He kisses her – a soft, warm kiss THAT speaks
unmistakably of sex – then turns to the others and grins.

LESTER (cont’d)
We have a very healthy
relationship.

Carolyn’s smile is frozen on her face, and we can see just
about every vein in her neck.

LESTER (cont’d)
Well. I don’t know about you, but
I need another drink.

He crosses off. Carolyn, Leonard and Christy watch him go.

INT. HOTEL BALLROOM – MOMENTS LATER

LESTER stands at the bar. the bartender pours him a scotch.

LESTER
Whoa. Put a little more in there,
cowboy.

The bartender complies. LESTER takes his drink and turns to
face the center of the room.

His POV: Carolyn is talking to Leonard and Christy. She’s
on: smiling, animated, LAUGHING too loud at their jokes.

Lester smiles and shakes his head. Ricky approaches him,
wearing a waiter’s uniform, carrying a tray of empty glasses.

RICKY
Excuse me – don’t you live on
Robin Hood Trail? The house with
the red door?

LESTER
(suspicious)
Yeah.

RICKY
I’m Ricky Fitts. I just moved into
the house next to you.

LESTER
Oh. Hi, Ricky Fitts. I’m Lester
Burnham.

RICKY
Hi, Lester Burnham.

A beat. LESTER looks away, scans the crowd, then downs the
rest of his drink in one gulp. Ricky just stands there,
watching him. Finally Lester turns back to Ricky: what does
this kid want?

RICKY (cont’d)
Hey, do you party?

LESTER
I’m sorry?

RICKY
Do you get high?

Lester’s surprised, but instantly intrigued.

INT. HOTEL BALLROOM – MOMENTS LATER

Carolyn and Leonard are deep IN conversation. Christy has
wandered off. Carolyn is nervous; Leonard seems amused.

CAROLYN
I probably wouldn’t even tell you
this if I weren’t a little tipsy,
but… I am in complete awe of you.
Your firm is, hands down, the Rolls
Royce of local Real Estate firms,
and, well, your personal sales
record is, is, is very
intimidating. I’d love to sit down
with you, just to pick your brain,
if you’d ever be willing. I
suppose, technically, I’m the
competition, but… I mean, I
don’t flatter myself that I’m even
in the same league as you…

LEONARD
I’d love to.

CAROLYN
(shocked)
Really?

LEONARD
Absolutely. Call my secretary and
have her schedule a lunch.

CAROLYN
I’ll do that. Thank you.

She smiles at him, and He smiles back. This situation is
loaded and they both know it.

EXT. HOTEL – LATER

RICKY and LESTER stand next to a dumpster behind the service
entrance to the hotel, smoking a JOINT.

LESTER
What about… did you ever see
that one movie, with the body
walking around holding its own
head? And then the head went down
on that babe?

RICKY
Re-Animator. It was okay.

Suddenly, the service entrance opens, and a serious YOUNG MAN
in a cheap suit peers out at them. Ricky hides the joint.

MAN
(to Ricky)
Look. I’m not paying you to…
(eyes Lester,
suspiciously)
…do whatever it is you’re doing
out here.

RICKY
Fine. Don’t pay me.

MAN
Excuse me?

RICKY
I quit. So you don’t have to pay
me. Now, leave me alone.

A beat.

MAN
Asshole.

He goes BACK inside. LESTER looks at RICKY, who shrugs as He
stubs out the joint.

LESTER
I think you just became my
personal hero.
(then)
Doesn’t that make you nervous,
just quitting your job like that?
Well, I guess when you’re all of,
what? Sixteen?

RICKY
Nineteen.
(off Lester’s look)
I was held back a few years in
school. (then)
I just do these gigs every now and
then as a cover. I have other
sources of income. But my dad
interferes a lot less in my life
when I pretend to be an upstanding
young citizen with a respectable
job.

CAROLYN (O.C.)
Lester?

Carolyn is standing IN the open service entrance, staring at
Lester and Ricky curiously.

CAROLYN (cont’d)
What are you doing?

LESTER
Carolyn, this is Ricky Fitts.

RICKY
Hi, I just moved next door to you.
I also go to school with your
daughter.

LESTER
With Jane? Really?

RICKY
Yeah. Jane.

CAROLYN
Hi
(then to Lester)
I’m ready to leave. I’ll meet you
out front.

And she goes BACK inside.

LESTER
Uh-oh. I’m in trouble. Well, nice
to meet you, Ricky. Thanks for the,
uh, thing.

RICKY
Any time.

LESTER goes inside.

RICKY (cont’d)
(calls after him)
If you want any more, you know
where I live.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – FAMILY ROOM – LATER THAT NIGHT

JANE and ANGELA are watching TV. we HEAR the BACK door open.

JANE
Oh, God. They’re home. Quick,
let’s go Up to my room.

JANE switches off the TV and starts UP the stairs.

ANGELA
I should say hi to your dad.
(off Jane’s look)
I don’t want to be rude.

She starts toward the kitchen. JANE comes BACK down the
stairs. She doesn’t like this.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – KITCHEN – CONTINUOUS

LESTER enters and opens the refrigerator, surveying the
choices inside.

ANGELA (O.C.)
Nice suit.

He turns, and is instantly transfixed by:

His POV: ANGELA leans against the counter, twirling her hair.

ANGELA (cont’d)
You’re looking good, Mr. Burnham.
(off his look)
You look all relaxed.

She starts toward him

ANGELA (cont’d)
Last time I saw you, you looked
kind of wound up.
(spots something)
Oo, is that root beer?

She reaches inside the refrigerator to grab a bottle. as she
does, she moves to place her other hand casually on Lester’s
shoulder. He sees it coming. Everything SLOWS DOWN, and all
sound FADES…

EXTREME CLOSE UP on her hand as it briefly touches his
shoulder in SLOW MOTION. He HEAR only the amplified BRUSH of
her fingers against the fabric of his suit, and its unnatural,
hollow ECHO…

BACK IN Real TIME: she grabs the root beer and looks UP at
him; smiling.

CLOSE on LESTER: his eyes narrow slightly, then:

He takes the root beer from ANGELA and puts it on the
counter. Then he cups her face in his hands and kisses her
roughly. She seems shocked, but doesn’t resist as he pulls her
toward him with surprising strength.

He breaks the kiss, looking at her IN awe, then He reaches UP
and touches his lips. His eyes widen as he pulls a solitary
ROSE PETAL from his mouth right before we SMASH CUT TO:

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – KITCHEN – CONTINUOUS

ANGELA is BACK against the counter, drinking the root beer.
Lester stands by the refrigerator, gazing at her, still lost
in his fantasy.

ANGELA
I love root beer, don’t you?

JANE watches from the doorway to the FAMILY ROOM, staring at
her father and feeling incredibly awkward in her own home.
Carolyn enter from the dining room. Lester snaps out of it and
grabs a root beer from the refrigerator.

JANE
Mom, you remember Angela.

CAROLYN
(her sales smile)
Yes, of course!

JANE
I forgot to tell you, she’s
spending the night. It that okay?

LESTER
Sure!
He takes a sip OF his root beer, But it goes down the wrong
way and he starts COUGHING violently.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – JANE’S BEDROOM – LATER THAT NIGHT

ANGELA lays on the bed, IN her bra and panties, flipping
through a fashion magazine. Jane, in an oversized T shirt,
plays a video game on her computer.

JANE
I’m sorry about my dad.

ANGELA
Don’t be. I think it’s funny.

JANE
Yeah, to you, he’s just another
guy who wants to jump your bones.
But to me… he’s just too
embarrassing to live.

ANGELA
Your mom’s the one who’s
embarrassing. What a phony.

JANE glances at ANGELA, irritated.

ANGELA (cont’d)
But your dad is actually kind of
cute.

JANE
Shut up.

Lester, still in his suit, stands outside Jane’s room, his
ear up against the door. He can’t believe what he’s hearing.

ANGELA (O.C.)
He is. If he just worked out a
little, he’d be hot.

JANE (O.C.)
Shut up.

ANGELA (O.C.)
Oh, come on. Haven’t you ever
sneaked a peek at him in his
underwear?

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – JANE’S ROOM – CONTINUOUS

ANGELA
I bet he’s got a big dick.

JANE
You are so grossing me out.

ANGELA
(really enjoying this)
If he built up his chest and arms,
I’d totally fuck him.

JANE covers her ears and starts singing to drown her out.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – HALLWAY – CONTINUOUS

Lester, still listening, looks like he’s about to implode.

ANGELA (O.C.)
(laughs)
I would! I would suck your dad’s
big fat dick, and then I would fuck
him ‘til his eyes rolled back in
his head!
(then)
What was that noise? Jane.

Jane’s SINGING stops.

ANGELA (O.C.) (cont’d)
I swear I heard something.

Panicked, LESTER scurries down the hall.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – JANE’S BEDROOM – CONTINUOUS

JANE
Yeah, it was the sound of you
being a huge disgusting pig.

ANGELA
I’m serious.

We HEAR the sharp TAP OF a penny being thrown against glass.

ANGELA (cont’d)
See?

ANGELA crosses to the window and looks out.

ANGELA (cont’d)
(spots something)
Oh my God. Jane

EXT. BURNHAM HOUSE – CONTINUOUS

We see Angela standing at the window in her underwear,
looking down at us. Jane joins her and is immediately
unnerved by what she sees:

Their POV: In the Burnham’s DRIVEWAY, the word “JANE” is
spelled out in FIRE.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – JANE’S BEDROOM – CONTINUOUS

JANE
What is it?

ANGELA
It’s that psycho next door. Jane,
what if he worships you? What if
he’s got a shrine with pictures of
you surrounded by dead people’s
heads and stuff?

JANE
Shit. I bet he’s filming us right
now.

ANGELA
(intrigued)
Really?

EXT. BURNHAM HOUSE – CONTINUOUS

ON VIDEO: We’re across from Jane’s window, peering in. Jane
tries to shut the drapes, but Angela won’t let her. Irritated,
Jane retreats into the room. We ZOOM toward her, even as
Angela poses in the window, waving, but we’re clearly not
interested in Angela. The ZOOM continues, searching for Jane,
who has disappeared. Finally, we settle on the full-length
MIRROR on the open closet door, where we see a REFLECTION of
Jane, back at her computer. She’s smiling.

INT. FITTS HOUSE – RICKY’S BEDROOM – CONTINUOUS

RICKY sits IN darkness with his VIDEO camera, videotaping
through the open window. He lowers his camera and smiles…
then something below catches his attention. He leans out the
window to get better look at:

EXT. BURNHAM HOUSE -GARAGE – CONTINUOUS

Ricky’s POV: Through a WINDOW on the front of the Burnham’s
GARAGE DOOR, we see Lester, still in his suit, digging through
shelves against the back wall.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – GARAGE – CONTINUOUS

LESTER pulls aside old board games, badminton racquets, and
strings of Christmas lights, searching for something as if his
very life depended on it.

LESTER
Shit. Shit!

Then He yanks aside a box OF wallpaper scrap, and his face
lights up at what he finds:

A pair OF DUMBBELLS, obviously unused FOR many years.

LESTER rips off his jacket and tie and unbuttons his shirt.
He glances around, finding his REFLECTION in the WINDOW as he
pulls off his shirt, then the T-shirt underneath.

He eyes himself critically: Angela was right, he’s not in bad
shape. Naturally broad-shouldered, with just a few extra
pounds around his middle that wouldn’t be hard to shed. He
kicks off his shoes and begins to step out of his pants.

INT. FITTS HOUSE – RICKY’S BEDROOM – CONTINUOUS

RICKY holds his camera UP and starts to videotape.

EXT. BURNHAM HOUSE – GARAGE – CONTINUOUS

Ricky’s POV, on VIDEO: Through the GARAGE DOOR WINDOW, we see
Lester stepping out of his pants. He then pulls off his
briefs, and stands there naked, except for black socks. He
grabs the dumbbells and starts lifting them over his head;
although he’s watching his reflection in the window, it looks
like he’s watching us as we’re watching him…

INT. FITTS HOUSE – RICKY’S BEDROOM – CONTINUOUS

RICKY stands at the open window, videotaping.

RICKY
Welcome to America’s Weirdest Home
Videos.

Suddenly we HEAR someone trying to open the door from the
other side – it’s locked.

COLONEL (O.C.)
Ricky!

MOVING swiftly, RICKY pulls the drapes shut and switches on a
light. His room is a haven of high-tech. A state-of-the-art
multimedia COMPUTER crowds his desk, and high-end STEREO and
VIDEO EQUIPMENT line the shelves, as well as HUNDREDS OF CDs.
There is easily twenty thousand dollars worth of equipment in
this room.

RICKY
Coming, Dad.

COLONEL (O.C.)
You know I don’t like locked doors
in my house, boy.

RICKY grabs a REMOTE and switches on his wide-screen TV just
before he opens the door.

RICKY
I must have locked it by accident,
sorry. So what’s up?

The COLONEL holds out a small PLASTIC CUP with a CAP.

COLONEL
I need a urine sample.

RICKY
Wow. Is it six months already?
Can I give it to you in the
morning? I just took a whiz.

The Colonel doesn’t respond. His eyes are focused on:

On the TV: the shower scene from Top Gun plays. Seminude
young MALE BODIES, artfully lit.

COLONEL
What the hell is that?

RICKY turns to the TV.

RICKY
Top Gun. It’s about pilot training
in the Air Force. You never saw it?

The COLONEL shakes his head, eyes glued to the screen.

RICKY (cont’d)
Oh, you would love this movie,
Dad. Want to watch it with me?

The COLONEL looks at him sharply, then:

COLONEL
No.

He quickly walks down the hall. RICKY smiles, shuts and
locks his door. He puts the plastic cup on the shelf, then
crosses to a MINI REFRIGERATOR in the corner of his room and
opens it. He takes out a cup-sized TUPPERWARE CONTAINER from
the freezer, already filled with urine, albeit frozen, and
places it on a saucer to thaw overnight.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – MASTER BEDROOM – LATER THAT NIGHT

Carolyn lies sleeping; Lester is awake, staring at the
ceiling. After a moment, he gets up taking care not to
disturb Carolyn, and walks toward the bathroom.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – MASTER BATH – CONTINUOUS

LESTER enters and switches on the LIGHT. the ROOM is filled
with STEAM. Lester looks around, confused, then focuses on:

His POV: across from us, IN a PEDESTAL BATHTUB, is Angela.
She smiles and beckons us, and we MOVE CLOSER. ROSE PETALS
float on the surface of the water, obscuring her naked body.

ANGELA
I’ve been waiting for you.

LESTER kneels By the BATHTUB like a MAN IN church. ANGELA
reaches out and feels his biceps.

ANGELA (cont’d)
Oh! You’ve been working
out, haven’t you? I can
tell.

She arches her BACK, and her breasts protrude Through the
surface of the water. She looks up at Lester.

ANGELA (cont’d)
I was hoping you’d give me a
bath… I’m very, very dirty.

LESTER gives her a hard look, then slowly slips his hand into
the water between her legs. Her eyes widen and she throws her
head back… and we SMASH CUT TO:

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE 0- MASTER BEDROOM – CONTINUOUS

CLOSE on Carolyn, her eyes wide, listening to the rhythmic
BRUSH of Lester’s hand as he masturbates under the covers.

She flips over and faces him.

CAROLYN
What are you doing?

A beat.

LESTER
What does it look like I’m doing?
I’m whacking off.

CAROLYN
What?!

She switches on the bedside light and gets out OF bed.
Lester LAUGHS.

LESTER
Spanking the monkey. Flogging the
bishop. Choking the chicken.
Jerking the gherkin.

CAROLYN
How disgusting.

LESTER
Oh. Well, forgive me, but I still
have blood pumping through my
veins!

A beat. Carolyn sits IN a chair across the ROOM from him.

CAROLYN
Lester. I refuse to live like
this. This is not a marriage.

LESTER
This hasn’t been a marriage for
years. But you were perfectly happy
as long as I kept my mouth shut.
Well, guess what? I’ve changed. And
the new me whacks off when he feels
horny, because you’re obviously not
going to help me out in that
department.

CAROLYN
(furious)
Don’t mess with me, mister, or I
will divorce you so fast it’ll make
your head spin!
LESTER
On what grounds? I’m not a drunk,
I don’t fuck other women, I’ve
never hit you, or mistreated you,
or even tried to touch you since
you made it clear just how
unnecessary you consider me to be.
But. I did support you while you
got your license. And some people
might think that entitles me to
half of what’s yours.

She’s stunned – it’s clear he knows where she’s most
vulnerable. He sees this, and likes it; it feels good to win
for a change. He curls up under the covers contentedly.

LESTER (cont’d)
Turn the light off when you come
to bed, okay?

Carolyn just sits there, staring at him with absolute hatred.

FADE to BLACK.

FADE IN:

EXT. ROBIN HOOD TRAIL – EARLY MORNING

We’re FLYING high above the neighborhood, like in Lester’s
dream at the beginning. Below us we see the two Jims, jogging.
We approach them steadily.

LESTER (V.O.)
It’s a great thing to realize you
still have the ability to surprise
yourself. Makes you wonder what
else you can do that you’ve
forgotten about…

EXT. ROBIN HOOD TRAIL – CONTINUOUS

We’re now at street level, FOLLOWING the two Jims.

LESTER (O.C.)
Hey! You guys!

Still running, the Jims turn back in perfect unison to see:

Their POV: LESTER, IN a baggy sweatshirt and a pair OF faded
old Ithaca College sweatpants, runs toward them.

They slow down until He catches UP, then the three men RUN
together in the early morning light.

JIM #2
Lester, I didn’t know you ran.

LESTER
(panting)
Just started.

JIM #1
Good for you.

LESTER
I figured you guys might be able
to give me some pointers. I need
to shape up. Fast.

JIM #1
Well, are you just looking to lose
weight, or do you want increased
strength and flexibility as well?

LESTER
I want to look good naked.

EXT. FITTS HOUSE – LATER

The COLONEL is washing his Ford Explorer, squatting to scrub
the bumper, when something catches his eye:

His POV: LESTER and the Jims jog down the street.

The Colonel stands, scowling. Ricky comes out of the house,
holding the URINE SPECIMEN CUP in front of him.

RICKY
Here you go, Dad. Fresh-squeezed.

But the Colonel doesn’t take it; he just keeps staring at the
joggers, frowning.

COLONEL
What is this, the fucking gay
pride parade?

Just then, LESTER sees RICKY and waves.

LESTER
Yo! Ricky!

He breaks off from the two Jims, slapping one OF them on the
back as he does, then heads down the Fitts’ driveway. The
Colonel turns and looks at Ricky, uneasy.

RICKY
That’s Mr. Burnham. He lives next
door.

LESTER jogs UP to them, out OF breath. He grabs hold OF his
knees and bends over, panting.

LESTER
My entire e life is flashing in
front of my eyes, and those two
barely broke a sweat.

He LAUGHS, and extends his hand to the Colonel.

LESTER (cont’d)
Hi, I’m Lester Burnham.

COLONEL
(shakes)
Colonel Frank Fitts, U.S. Marine
Corps.

LESTER
Whoa. Welcome to the
neighborhood, sir.

He salutes the COLONEL good-naturedly, grinning. the COLONEL
doesn’t think it’s funny. An awkward beat.

LESTER (cont’d)
So, Ricky, uh, when you get a
chance, I just…
(stalls, then, pointed)
I just was thinking about that
movie you told me about…

RICKY
(quickly)
RE-ANIMATOR. Yeah. I’ve got it on
tape. Want to borrow it?
(before Lester can
answer)
It’s up in my room. Come on.

He heads into the house. LESTER smiles at the COLONEL, then
follows him. The Colonel watches them go, his eyes dark.

INT. FITTS HOUSE – living ROOM MOMENTS LATER

CLOSE on a TV: We’re watching a NATURE DOCUMENTARY. Pale,
swollen ocean-bottom creatures lunge toward their unsuspecting
prey in SLOW MOTION.

BARBARA FITTS sits across from the TV, looking somewhere IN
its general direction. Ricky and Lester enter.

RICKY
Mom. This is Lester. He lives next
door.

BARBARA
(distant)
All right, be careful.

RICKY and LESTER head UP the stairs.

INT. FITTS HOUSE – RICKY’S BEDROOM – MOMENTS LATER

RICKY enters, followed By Lester.

RICKY
Can you hold his for a sec?

He gives the URINE SPECIMEN to LESTER, then locks the door.

RICKY (cont’d)
I don’t think my dad would try to
come in when somebody else is here,
but you never know.

RICKY crosses to a bureau and opens a DRAWER. He takes
clothing out and piles it on his bed.

LESTER
(re: urine cup)
What is this?

RICKY
Urine. I have to take a drug test
every six months to make sure I’m
clean.

LESTER
Are you kidding? You just smoked
with me last night.

RICKY
It’s not mine. One of my clients
is a nurse in a pediatrician’s
office. I cut her a deal, she keeps
me in clean piss.

LESTER
Sweet.

Lester picks up a CD case from a shelf and examines it: it’s
The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

LESTER (cont’d)
You a Beatles fan?

RICKY
I like a lot of music.

LESTER
(mockingly)
When everybody else in junior high
was listening to the Beatles, I was
into Three Dog Night.

He shakes his head, then puts the CD Case down. RICKY, Having
emptied the drawer, now removes a FALSE BOTTOM, revealing rows
of MARIJUANA tightly packed in ZIP-LOC BAGS.

RICKY
How much do you want?

LESTER

Uh, I’m not sure. It’s been a while. How much is an ounce?

RICKY
(indicates bag)
Well, this is totally decent, and
it’s three hundred.

LESTER
Wow.

RICKY
(indicates another bag)
But this shit is top of the line,
It’s called G-143. Genetically
engineered by the U.S. Government.
Extremely potent. But a completely
mellow high, no paranoia.

LESTER
Is that what we smoked last night?

RICKY
This is all I ever smoke.

LESTER
How much?

RICKY
Two grand.

LESTER
Jesus. Things have certainly
changed since 1973.

RICKY
You don’t have to pay now. I know
you’re good for it.

A beat.

LESTER
Thanks.

RICKY hands him a bag OF the Top-OF-the-line dope.

RICKY
There’s a card in there with my
beeper number, feel free to call me
anytime day a or night. Oh, and I
only accept

LESTER
(looks around room)
Well, now I know how you can
afford all this equipment. When I
was your age, I worked at
McDonald’s all summer just to buy
an eight track.

RICKY
That sucks.

LESTER
Actually, it was probably the best
time of my life. All I did was
party and get laid.

RICKY starts putting the DRAWER BACK together.

RICKY
My dad thinks I paid for all this
with catering jobs.
(laughs)
Never underestimate the power of
denial.

ANGLE ON Lester, smiling. This kid’s cool.

EXT. BURNHAM HOUSE – LATER THAT DAY

Carolyn, carrying a basket OF fresh cut ROSES, passes By the
GARAGE DOOR WINDOW. From inside the garage, we HEAR The
Beatles’ “COME TOGETHER.” Carolyn stops and SNIFFS the air,
frowning. She peers through the window.

Her POV: LESTER, IN a T- shirt and gym short.9, lies on a new
WEIGHT BENCH, doing bench presses with shiny new BARBELLS.

INT. GARAGE – CONTINUOUS

Come together blasts from a new BOOMBOX on the floor. LESTER
finishes his last rep, straining, then puts the weights in
their rack on the bench and sits up, sweaty and out of breath.
He takes a drag off a joint, then picks up a BOOK off the
floor, a bodybuilding manual titled THE COMPLETE BOOK OF CHEST
AND ARMS. Suddenly, the GARAGE DOOR starts to open. Lester
looks up, squinting at:

His POV: the door raises to reveal Carolyn, silhouetted
against the bright sunlight outside, standing in front of the
Mercedes-Benz ML320, pointing a REMOTE at us.

LESTER just LAUGHS. Carolyn strides IN, still holding her
basket of roses, angry. She tries to turn off the BOOMBOX, but
every time she pushes a button, it skips to the next song, or
he FM tuner, she yanks the power cord out of the wall.

LESTER
Ooh. Mom’s mad.

CAROLYN
What the hell do you think you’re
doing?

LESTER
Bench presses. I’m going to wail on my pecs, and then I’m
going to do my back.

CAROLYN
You’re smoking pot now? That’s a
fine example to set for our
daughter.

LESTER
You’re one to talk, you bloodless,
money-grubbing freak.

Carolyn is furious, But unable to think OF a response, Having
accepted that reason is no longer an option with him.

CAROLYN
(finally, re:
equipment)
You took the Mercedes to get all
this stuff?

LESTER
Of course I did. The Camry’s too
small.

CAROLYN
Were you stoned then?

LESTER
What are you going to do, ground
me?

CAROLYN
Lester, that is a forty-thousand
dollar car. I don’t want you
driving it when –

LESTER
Fine. I’ll never drive your
precious Mercedes again. Big whoop.
It’s just a glorified station wagon
that you paid way too much for
because you want to impress people.

A beat. Carolyn stands there, powerless and hating it.

LESTER (cont’d)
Do you mind? I’m trying to work
out here.
(then, suggestively)
Unless you want to spot me.

Struggling FOR dignity, Carolyn turns and walks out, then
stops at the garage door and turns back to him.

CAROLYN
You will not get away with this,
mister! I promise you!

And she’s gone. Lester smiles, then leans back on the bench
and grabs the weights.

LESTER
(as he lifts)
That’s. What. You. Think.

INT. OFFICE BUILDING – DAY

CLOSE on a COMPUTER MONITOR: We’re in some sort of virtual-
reality post-apocalyptic environment. Hideous armed MUTANTS
approach from all angles, shooting at us. One by one, they’re
blown away, their heads EXPLODING in geysers of BLOOD.

LESTER (O.C.)
Take that, alien bitches!

Lester sits in his cubicle at work, glued to his monitor,
feverishly handling a JOYSTICK.

LESTER (cont’d)
Woo-hoo!

From the surrounding cubicles, his co-workers watch blankly.

INT. BRAD’S OFFICE – MOMENTS LATER

BRAD is seated behind his desk, reading a document. LESTER
sits across from him, smiling.

BRAD
(reads)
…my job consists of basically
masking my contempt for the
assholes in charge, and, at least
once a day, retiring to the men’s
room so I can jerk off while I
fantasize about a life that doesn’t
so closely resemble hell.
(looks up at Lester)
Well, you obviously have no
interest in saving yourself.

LESTER
(laughs)
I’ve spent fourteen years being a
whore for the advertising industry.
The only way I could save myself
now is to start firebombing.

BRAD
Whatever. Management wants you
gone by the end of the day.

LESTER
Whoa. What kind of severance
package is “management” prepared to
give me? Considering the
information I have about our
editorial director buying pussy
with company money.

A beat.

LESTER (cont’d)
Which I’m sure would interest the
I.R.S., since, technically, it does
constitute fraud. And some of our
advertisers and rival publications
might like to know about it as
well. Not to mention Craig’s wife.

A beat. BRAD sighs.

BRAD
What do you want?

LESTER
One year’s salary, with continued
benefits.

BRAD
That’s not going to happen.

LESTER
What if I throw in a little sexual
harassment charge?

BRAD LAUGHS.

BRAD
Against who?

LESTER
Against you.

BRAD stops LAUGHING.

LESTER (cont’d)
Can you prove you didn’t offer to
save my job if I’d let you blow me?

BRAD leans BACK IN his chair, studying Lester.

BRAD
Man. You are one twisted fuck.

LESTER
(standing)
Nope. Just an ordinary guy with
nothing to lose.

LESTER starts toward the door, then:

LESTER (cont’d)
I hope you and I can still be
friends, Brad. And even though you
didn’t save my job…
(smiling)
You can still blow me, asshole.

And He exits.

INT. RESTAURANT – the same DAY

Carolyn sits at a table By herself, lost IN thought. there
are two menus on the table. After a moment, Leonard Kane, the
Real Estate King, joins her. Upon seeing him, Carolyn
immediately becomes warm and gracious.

CAROLYN
Leonard.

LEONARD
Carolyn.

Carolyn smiles, genuinely touched THAT He remembers her name.

LEONARD (cont’d)
I’m so sorry I kept you waiting.
Christy left for New York this
morning, and… let’s just say
things were very hectic around my
house.

CAROLYN
What’s she doing in New York?

LEONARD
She’s moving there.
(off Carolyn’s look)
We’re splitting up.

CAROLYN
Leonard. I’m so sorry.

She places her hand on his, Suddenly deeply concerned.

LEONARD
(bitterly)
Yes, according to her1 I’m too
focused on my career. As if being
driven to succeed is some sort of
character flaw. Of course, she
certainly took advantage of the
lifestyle my success afforded her
(then laughing)
Believe me, it’s for the best.

CAROLYN
But when I saw you two at the
party the other night, you seemed
perfectly happy.

LEONARD
Well, call me crazy, but… it’s
my philosophy that to actually be
successful, one must project an
image of success, at all times.

He smiles, then opens his menu. Carolyn picks hers UP
mechanically, but continues to stare at him, enraptured, like
a fervent Christian who’s just come face to face with Jesus.

EXT. high SCHOOL CAMPUS – LATER THAT DAY

Students pour out OF the BUILDING at the end OF the day. we
follow Jane and Angela as they head toward the parking lot. A
handsome teenage JOCK walks past them.

JOCK
(to Angela, grabbing
his crotch)
Just say the word, baby, and it’s
yours.

ANGELA
Great. Wrap it up and I’ll take it
home. Oh, and I’d like thin slices,
please.

JOCK
(laughs)
You know you want it, you stuck-up
bitch.

And he’s gone.

JANE
What is with you? Everyone I know
is dying to do it with him.

ANGELA
Oh, please. I would totally fall
asleep. Trust me, Jane, once you’ve
fucked that black guy who does the
Polo ads, you’re a little spoiled.

She spots something and grabs Jane’s arm.

JANE
Ow.

ANGELA
Look.

Her POV: RICKY stands at the edge OF the parking lot with his
VIDEO CAMERA, videotaping something on the ground at his feet.

ON VIDEO: A dead BIRD lays on the asphalt, decomposing,
covered with ants and flies.

ANGEL (O.C.) (cont’d)
What are you doing?

On VIDEO: the camera JERKS UP to discover JANE and ANGELA
staring at us.

RICKY (O.C.)
I was filming this dead bird.

ANGELA
Why?

RICKY (O.C.)
Because it’s beautiful.

On VIDEO: ANGELA looks at JANE, trying not to laugh.

ANGELA
I think maybe you forgot your
medication today, mental boy.

On VIDEO: she falls out OF frame as we ZOOM IN on Jane.

RICKY (O.C.)
Hi, Jane.

JANE
(uncomfortable)
Look. I want you to stop filming
me.

RICKY lowers the CAMERA.

RICKY
Okay.

He looks at her, curious, his eyes searching hers. she
finally has to look away.

ANGELA
Hey, I have an idea! Let’s all go
to the mall together.
(off Jane’s look)
He can film us doing things.

JANE

What kind OF things?

ANGELA
I don’t know.
(to Ricky, suggestive)
What kind of things do you like to
film?

RICKY
(looking at Jane)
Things that are beautiful.

ANGELA
Okay. We can take my car.

ANGELA starts off. JANE looks doubtful, But follows.

RICKY
(to Jane)
Do you do everything she says?

JANE
(defensive)
No. I want to go.

RICKY
Okay. Just making sure.

EXT. Top HAT MOTEL – the same DAY

Carolyn’s Mercedes-Benz ML320 is parked next to a forest
green JAGUAR CONVERTIBLE with a VANITY LICENSE PLATE that
reads “R E KING.”

INT. Top HAT MOTEL – CONTINUOUS

Carolyn and Leonard are in the middle of sex. Dramatic,
pyrotechnic, vocal sex.

CAROLYN
Yes! Oh, God, yes!

LEONARD
You like getting nailed by the
king?

CAROLYN
Yes! I love it! Oh, yes! Fuck me,
your majesty!

INT. TOYOTA CAMRY – the same DAY

LESTER drives, smoking a joint. He SINGS along to the
Beatles’ “GOT TO GET YOU INTO MY LIFE” on the STEREO.

LESTER
I WAS ALONE, I TOOK A RIDE, I
DIDN’T KNOW WHAT I WOULD FIND
THERE… ANOTHER ROAD, WHERE MAYBE
I COULD SEE ANOTHER KIND OF MIND
THERE…

He trails off, as something outside catches his attention:

His POV: A FAST-FOOD RESTAURANT called SMILEY’S. The logo on
the sign features a yellow SMILEY-FACE with a red tongue
licking its smiling lips. Underneath it, plastic letters
spell out: NOW TAKING APPLICATIONS.

Lester’s face suddenly takes on a far-away expression.

INT. SMILEY’S – MOMENT LATER

A slightly overweight TEENAGE GIRL mans the counter; behind
her, a couple of slow-moving teenagers work… vaguely. They
all wear bright yellow uniforms and white BASEBALL CAPS which
feature the SMILEY’S logo. Lester enters, straightening his
tie, and crosses to the counter.

COUNTER GIRL
(zombie like)
Smile, you’re at Smiley’s Would
you like to try our new bacon and
egg fajita, just a dollar twenty-
nine for a limited time only?

LESTER
Actually, I’d like to fill out an
application.

She stares at him, confused By his age and attire.

COUNTER GIRL
There’s not jobs for manager, it’s
just for counter.

LESTER
Good. I’m looking for the least
possible amount of responsibility.

INT. SMILEY’S – LATER

LESTER sits at a booth with the MANAGER, a greasy kid wearing
a white short sleeve shirt and a tie covered with the Smiley’s
logo. He looks over Lester’s application baffled.

MANAGER
I don’t think you’d fit in here.

LESTER
I have fast food experience.

MANAGER
Yes, like twenty years ago.

LESTER
Well, I’m sure there have been
amazing technological advancements
in the industry, but… surely you
have some sort of training process.
It seems unfair to presume I won’t
be able to learn.

The Manger frowns, unconvinced.

LESTER (cont’d)
Should you choose not to hire me,
I have to assume it’s because of my
age, which I can only interpret as
discrimination and would have to
take up with my attorney.

The Manager sighs and runs an hand through his greasy hair,
wondering what he could possibly have done to deserve this.

EXT. HIGHWAY – LATER

Artificial Joy Club’s “SICK AND BEAUTIFUL” blasts as Angela’s
BMW speeds down the highway.

INT. ANGELA’S BMW – CONTINUOUS

ON VIDEO: Angela is driving; Jane is in the passenger seat.
We’re watching from the back as they pass a JOINT. Angela
spots us in the REAR VIEW MIRROR and turns back to us.

ANGELA
Hi. I’m Angela, and welcome to my
car. My guest today is Jane
Burnham. Jane, why don’t you tell
us about yourself?

JANE
No

ANGELA
Oh, come on.
(a pointed look to us)
I’m sure our audience wants to
know all about you.

JANE
Angela, look out!
ANGELA turns BACK around to see THAT traffic has Suddenly
backed up in front of her. She slams on the BRAKES.

EXT. HIGHWAY – CONTINUOUS

Angela’s BMW SCREECHES to halt, almost colliding with the car
in front of her.

INT. ANGELA’S BMW – CONTINUOUS

ANGELA and JANE sit there, stunned, breathing heavily. RICKY
seems completely unaffected.

RICKY
What’s going on?

JANE
I think there’s been a wreck.

RICKY
Really? A big one?

He rolls down a window, then starts to climb out OF it.

ANGELA
What are you doing?

EXT. ANGELA’S BMW – CONTINUOUS

RICKY hangs out OF the CAR window, focusing his VIDEO camera
as the traffic inches forward.

On VIDEO: over the roofs OF the cars IN front OF us, we see
the flashing LIGHTS of police cars and an ambulance, as well
as FLARES on the pavement. One car is completely totaled, and
PARAMEDICS are utilizing MACHINERY to release the driver.

BACK on RICKY, hanging out the window.

RICKY
Wow. I’ve always wanted to see the
Jaws of Life.

INT. ANGELA’S BMW – CONTINUOUS

ANGELA
What the fuck is he talking about?

They’re pulling up alongside the accident now. Jane cranes
her neck to look.

Her POV: the paramedics pull the bloody, broken BODY OF a
young man out of the car.

JANE
(disgusted)
Oh God.

ANGELA
Gross. There goes dinner.

Past the accident Now, They return to normal speed with the
rest of the traffic. Ricky climbs back into the car.

RICKY
That was amazing.

JANE
(snort)
What was amazing about it?

A beat.

RICKY
When you see something like that,
it’s like God is looking right at
you, just for a second. And if
you’re careful, you can look right
back.

ANGELA rolls her eyes. But JANE looks at RICKY, intrigued.

JANE
And what do you see?

RICKY
Beauty.

JANE
(after a beat)
Is it only dead things?

RICKY seems surprised By This question.

RICKY
No. Not at all. No, it’s
everywhere. You just have to be
open to it.

He looks at her, curious, his eyes searching hers. This time,
she doesn’t look away. He smiles. Jane almost smiles back…
then:

JANE
(to Angela)
You know what? Let’s bag the mall.
It’s boring.

She glances BACK over her shoulder at RICKY and smiles.

ANGELA
Whatever.
(to Ricky)
Hey, turn that camera back on, and
do like it’s my talk show again.
That was fun.

RICKY
I’d rather not.

His POV: ANGELA glares at us IN REAR view MIRROR.

INT. Top HAT MOTEL – the same DAY

Carolyn and Leonard are IN bed, post-sex, eating Club
sandwiches from room service.

CAROLYN
That was exactly what I needed.
The royal treatment, so to speak.

She HOWLS, as if This were the funniest thing ever said.

CAROLYN (cont’d)
I was soooo stressed out.

LEONARD
Know what I do when I get that
way?

Carolyn sits UP FOR This, eager to learn from the master.

LEONARD (cont’d)
I fire a gun.

CAROLYN
(intrigued)
Really.

LEONARD
Yep. I go to this little firing
range downtown, pop off a few
rounds, and it always makes me feel
better.

CAROLYN
(embarrassed)
I’ve never fired a gun before.

LEONARD
Oh, you have to try it. Nothing
makes you feel more powerful.

He grins, then reaches FOR her.

LEONARD
(cont’d)
Well, almost nothing.

Carolyn GASPS as his hand reach her neck. She’s living some
kind of dream here, and she makes her most seductive face as
he pulls her to him…

INT. RECORD STORE – the same DAY

LESTER, still IN his business suit, But Now wearing a
Smiley’s BASEBALL CAP, approaches the checkout counter with a
stack of about twenty CDs. The CLERK, a young, trendy kid
wearing a BACKWARD BASEBALL CAP, starts going through the
CDs. We see the covers as he scans them: The Beatles, The
Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix…

CLERK
Catching up?

LESTER
Yep.

LESTER stands there, Smiling, as the clerk rings UP his sale.
After a beat, he flips his baseball cap around so it’s
backwards.

EXT. BURNHAM HOUSE – LATER

Angela’s BMW pulls close to, but not into, the Burnham’s
driveway. Jane and Ricky climb out, and Angela pulls off, her
tires SQUEALING as she goes.

JANE
What’s her problem?

RICKY
She doesn’t like when you’re not totally focused on her.

They start down the driveway.

JANE

So, what’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever filmed?

A beat.

RICKY
I’ll show it to you.

INT. FITTS HOUSE – KITCHEN – MOMENTS LATER

Barbara Fitts sits absolutely still at the kitchen table,
staring off into space as if hypnotized. Behind her, Ricky
enters through the back door, followed by Jane. Barbara
doesn’t seem to hear them. Ricky quietly takes his VIDEO
CAMERA out of his backpack and focuses it on his mother.

ON VIDEO: We CIRCLE Barbara slowly until we’re focused on her
face. We stay on her for a long beat, then:

RICKY (O.C.)
Mom
(no response)
Mom

ON VIDEO: Barbara’s eyes flutter and she turns to us slowly.

BARBARA
(pleasant)
Yes?

RICKY (O.C.)
What were you just thinking about?

BARBARA
I…
(thinks)
No. Nothing.

RICKY (O.C.)
Wow. People study meditation for
years to be able to reach that same
state of mind.

BARBARA
Huh. What do you know.

RICKY (O.C.)
Mom, I want you to meet somebody.
She’s standing behind you.

ON VIDEO: Barbara turns to Jane, who’s embarrassed by this.

RICKY (cont’d)
This is Jane.

BARBARA
Oh, my. I apologize for the way
things look around here.

On VIDEO: JANE glances around. the KITCHEN is spotless.

INT. FITTS HOUSE – THE COLONEL’S STUDY – MOMENTS LATER

We HEAR KEY TURNING IN the lock, then the door opens and
Ricky enters, holding a RING OF KEYS, followed by Jane.

RICKY
This is where my Dad hides out.

GLASS CASES filled with GUNS line the walls.

JANE
Wow. I take it he’s got a thing
for guns.

RICKY crosses to a built-IN CABINET behind the desk.

RICKY
You got to see this one thing…

He unlocks the CABINET and opens it, revealing shelves
stacked with WAR MEMORABILIA.

RICKY (cont’d)
Man, he would kill me if he knew I
was in here…

JANE
Did you steal his keys?

RICKY
No. One of my clients is a
locksmith. He was short on cash so
I let him pay me in trade.

He reaches into the CABINET and carefully removes an oval
CHINA PLATTER which he hands to Jane. She examines it

RICKY (cont’d)
Turn it over.

CLOSE on the bottom OF the plate: a small SWASTIKA is
imprinted in the center, surrounded by GERMAN LETTERING.

JANE
Oh my God.

RICKY
It’s like official state china
from the Third Reich. There’s like
this whole subculture of people who
collect this Nazi shit. But my dad
just has this one thing.

He puts the platter back into the cabinet and shuts the door,
then notices Jane looking at him oddly.

RICKY (cont’d)
What’s wrong?

JANE
Nothing.

RICKY
(concerned)
No, you’re scared of me.

JANE
No I’m not.

But she is. RICKY studies her.

RICKY
Come on, let’s go to my room

INT. FITTS HOUSE – RICKY’S BEDROOM – MOMENTS LATER

RICKY enters, followed By Jane. He shuts the door, then
takes his VIDEO CAMERA out of his backpack. Jane looks around
at all the AUDIO/VIDEO EQUIPMENT.

JANE
So let me guess: you want to be,
like a movie director or something.

He doesn’t answer, he just starts to videotape her.

JANE (cont’d)
(irritated)
Ha. I should have known. You’re
just like every other dweeb who
worships Quentin Tarantino for the
same reason you can’t let go of
that camera: because you don’t know
how to be a real person in real
life. It’s so obvious.

RICKY
You think you’re not obvious? You
sit in front of your mirror,
wondering what it would be like to
be beautiful, like Angela. But the
truth is, you’re more beautiful
than she’ll ever be. Because you’re
more real. Because you…

He starts to SING, IN a clear, deep voice.

RICKY (cont’d)
YOU… LIGHT UP MY LIFE…

JANE stares at him, unsure whether she should laugh or run.

RICKY (cont’d)
YOU GIVE ME HOPE… TO CARRY ON…

She Finally LAUGHS. He lowers the camera and smiles.

RICKY (cont’d)
Want to see the most beautiful
thing I’ve ever filmed?

INT. FITTS HOUSE – RICKY’S BEDROOM – LATER

On VIDEO: were IN an empty parking lot on a cold, gray day.
Something is floating across from us… it’s an empty,
wrinkled, white PLASTIC BAG. We follow it as the wind carries
it in a circle around us, sometimes whipping it about
violently, or, without warning, sending it soaring skyward,
then letting it float gracefully down to the ground…

Jane sits on the bed. She watches Ricky’s WIDE-SCREEN TV,
her brow furrowed, trying to figure out why this is beautiful.

From a chair across the ROOM, RICKY watches, smiling.

RICKY
It was one of those days when it’s
a minute away from snowing and
there’s this electricity in the
air, you can almost hear it, right?
And this bag was like, dancing with
me. Like a little kid begging me
to play with it. For fifteen
minutes. And that’s the day I knew
there was this entire life behind
things, and … this incredibly
benevolent force, that wanted me to
know there was no reason to be
afraid. Ever.

A beat.

RICKY (cont’d)
Video’s a poor excuse. But it
helps me remember… and I need to
remember…

Now JANE is watching him.

RICKY (cont’d)
(distant)
Sometimes there’s so much beauty
in the world I feel like I can’t
take it, like my heart’s going to
cave in.

He points a REMOTE at the TV and switches it off, then just
sits there lost in thought, not unlike his mother.

After a moment, JANE gets up. RICKY watches impassively as
she kneels in front of him and takes his hands and kisses
them. Then she leans up and kisses him softly on the lips. His
eyes scan hers, curious to see how she reacts to this…

JANE
(suddenly)
Oh my God. What time is it?

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – DINING ROOM – MOMENTS LATER

We HEAR Jack Jones singing “YOU’D BETTER LOVE ME.” Lester is
seated at the dining table, in a T-shirt and jeans, eating his
dinner voraciously and drinking beer from a bottle. Across
from him, Carolyn picks at her food, watching him with
contempt. He HEAR the back door SLAM, then Jane enters and
quickly takes her seat at the table.

JANE
Sorry I’m late.

CAROLYN
That’s quite all right, dear.
Your father and I were just
discussing his day at work.
(to Lester)
Why don’t you tell our daughter
about it, honey?

JANE stares at both her parents, apprehensive. LESTER looks
at Carolyn darkly, then flashes a “you-asked-for-it” grin.

LESTER
Janie, today I quit my job. I also
told my boss to fuck himself, and
then blackmailed him for almost
sixty-thousand dollars. Pass the
asparagus.

CAROLYN
Your father seems to think this
kind of behavior is something to be
proud of.

LESTER
And your mother seems to prefer I
go through life like a fucking
prisoner while she keeps my dick in
a mason jar under the sink.

CAROLYN
(ashen)
How dare you speak to me like that
in front of her?

LESTER
Will someone please pass me the
asparagus?

CAROLYN
(to Lester)
I hope you don’t think for one
minute I’m going to support you

LESTER
I already have another job.

JANE
(rises
Okay, guys? I’m not going to be a
part of this.

LESTER
(means it)
Sit down.

JANE does So immediately, surprised and intimidated By the
power in her father’s voice. Lester gets up, crosses to the
other side of the table to get a PLATE OF ASPARAGUS, then sits
again as he serves himself.

LESTER (cont’d)
I’m sick of being treated like I
don’t exist. You both do whatever
you want to do, whenever you want
to do it and I don’t complain. All
I want is the same courtesy –

CAROLYN
(overlapping)
Do you really think –

LESTER hurls the plate OF asparagus against the wall with
such force it SHATTERS, frightening Carolyn and Jane.

LESTER
Don’t interrupt me, honey.

He goes BACK to eating his meal, as if nothing unusual has
happened. Carolyn sits in her chair, shivering with rage. Jane
just stares at the plate in front of her. “YOU’D BETTER LOVE
ME” continues to play on the STEREO.

LESTER (cont’d)
Oh, and another thing. From now
on, we’re going to alternate our
dinner music. Because frankly, and
I don’t think I’m alone here, I’m
really tired of this Lawrence Welk
shit.

EXT. ROBIN HOOD TRAIL – CONTINUOUS

The Colonel’s Ford Explorer winds down the street.

INT. COLONEL’S FORD EXPLORER – CONTINUOUS

The COLONEL drives, stoic as always. something outside
catches the Colonel’s eye.

His POV: We’re driving past the two Jims’ house. They’re
reclining in their SWING, their dog Bitsy curled up at their
feet. One Jim runs his hand through the other’s hair and
kisses him lightly.

The Colonel stares, 0utraged.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – JANE’S BEDROOM – LATER

JANE is sprawled on her bed, talking on the phone.

JANE
Oh my God, Angela, it was like
they both turned into maniacs right
in from of me. And I think my ad
was high…

There is a KNOCK at the door.

JANE (cont’d)
I’ll have to call you back.

She hangs up the phone, then calls out:

JANE (cont’d)
Go. Away.

CAROLYN (O.C.)
Honey, please let me in.

JANE rolls her eyes, crosses to the door and opens it.

CAROLYN (cont’d) (entering)
I wish you hadn’t witnessed that
awful scene tonight. But in a way,
I’m glad.

JANE
Why, so I could see what freaks
you and Dad really are?

CAROLYN
Me?

She stares at JANE, then starts to cry.

JANE
Aw, Christ, Mom.

CAROLYN
(tearful)
The reason I’m glad is because
you’re old enough to learn the most
important lesson in life: you
cannot count on anyone except
yourself. It’s sad, but the and the
sooner you learn it, the better off
you’ll be.

JANE
Look, I really don’t feel like
having a Kodak moment, here –

Carolyn Suddenly SLAPS JANE, hard.

CAROLYN
You ungrateful little brat. Just
look at everything you have. When
I was your age, I lived in a
duplex. We didn’t even have our
own house.

Embarrassed By her behavior, she quickly leaves. JANE sits
on the bed for a moment, rubbing her cheek. Then crosses to
the window and looks out.

EXT. FITTS HOUSE – CONTINUOUS

Jane’s POV: We’re across from Ricky’s room, peering in. He’s
moved his desk chair over by the window, where he sits with
his VIDEO CAMERA, videotaping us. On the WIDE ~ TV behind him,
we see Jane standing in her window as she looks across at him.
She waves. Ricky just keeps videotaping. A beat, then she
starts to unbutton her shirt.

INT. FITTS HOUSE – THE COLONEL’S STUDY – CONTINUOUS

We HEAR KEYS TURNING, then the door opens and the COLONEL
enters, still disturbed by what he just saw. He places his
briefcase and KEYS on the desk, then sits and tries to sort
through the mail in his hand. Unable to concentrate, he throws
the mail down, angry. He sits very still for a moment, some
internal struggle obviously taking place, then grabs his KEYS
off the desk and turns to unlock the built-in CABINET behind
the desk, only to find that it’s already open…

INT. FITTS HOUSE – RICKY’S BEDROOM – CONTINUOUS

We’re behind Ricky, as he videotapes Jane in her window. She
has now removed her shirt and jeans. She stands there in her
bra and panties, then reaches behind her back to unhook the
bra…

On VIDEO: we ZOOM toward JANE as she takes off her bra
clumsily. She’s obviously embarrassed, but she’s gone this far
and there’s no turning back. She stands there with her breasts
exposed, trying to look defiant, but she’s achingly
vulnerable. We continue ZOOMING toward her face, as close as
we can get to the desperate yearning in her eyes…

Suddenly, the door is thrown open and the Colonel enters,
incensed, carrying his KEYS. Startled, Ricky turns around. As
soon as his eyes meet his father’s, he knows what’s up.

RICKY
Dad, I just wanted to show-

COLONEL
You little bastard –

He lunges toward RICKY, who scrambles to dodge him. But the
Colonel is too fast and too agile; he quickly grabs the boy by
the throat and shoves him up against the wall.

EXT. BURNHAM HOUSE – CONTINUOUS

Jane’s POV: In the WINDOW across from us, the Colonel
proceeds to give Ricky a serious beating, punching his face.

INT. FITTS HOUSE – RICKY’S BEDROOM – Continuous

Ricky’s lip is bleeping, but he maintains a clear steady gaze
at this father during this violence.

COLONEL
(unnerved)
Fight back you little pussy!

RICKY
No, sir. I won’t fight you.

Gradually, the COLONEL winds down. He lets go OF RICKY and
sinks into a chair, breathing hard.

COLONEL
How did you get in there?

RICKY
I picked the lock.

COLONEL
What were you looking for? Money?
Are you on dope again?

RICKY
No sir. I was showing my
girlfriend your Nazi plate.

A beat.

COLONEL
Girlfriend?

RICKY
Yes, sir. She lives next door. The
Colonel glances toward the window.

His POV: IN the window across from us, JANE peeks out from
behind the curtain. She quickly pulls it shut.

RICKY (cont’d)
Her name’s Jane.

A beat. the COLONEL is Suddenly, deeply shamed.

COLONEL
This is for your own good, boy.
You have no respect for other
people’s things, for authority,
for… anything.

RICKY
I know. I’m sorry.

COLONEL
You need structure, you need
discipline –

RICKY
(simultaneous)
Discipline. I know. Thank you
for trying to teach me.
(then)
Don’t give up on me, Dad.

The COLONEL, still breathing heavily, regards his son. FOR
the briefest moment, we see a flash of tenderness across his
face, but then it’s gone. He gets up.

COLONEL
You stay out of there.

He leaves, quickly, glancing BACK toward the window on his
way out. Ricky then gets up and goes into his bathroom, where
he starts to calmly wash the blood from his face.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – JANE’ S BEDROOM – CONTINUOUS

JANE sits on her bed crying, shaken By What she just saw.

INT. FITTS HOUSE – THE COLONEL’S STUDY – CONTINUOUS

The COLONEL enters, still breathing heavily, and locks the
door behind him. He paces for a moment, agitated, then crosses
to the built-in CABINET behind his desk and opens it. He
removes the Nazi platter and gingerly places it on the desk,
then does the same with several other items until he uncovers
a small METAL BOX. He sits behind the desk, staring at the
box, troubled. He finally opens it.

ANGLE ON the open box: it’s filled with PHOTOGRAPHS. The
Colonel pulls one from the bottom of the box…

CLOSE on the grainy BLACK & WHITE PHOTOGRAPH IN his callused
hands: it’s of TWO YOUNG SERVICEMEN standing in front of a
Jeep, both shirtless and wearing fatigues. Their muscular arms
are draped lazily around each other’s shoulders as they grin
for the camera. One of these men is the Colonel himself,
albeit much younger – almost thirty years younger.

CLOSE on the Colonel’s face as he studies the photo. His
breathing has finally relaxed; his face has gone vacant.

INT. FITTS HOUSE – MASTER BEDROOM – NIGHT

It’s late at night. We’re looking down on the Colonel and
Barbara in bed. She SNORES softly, but the Colonel is awake,
staring straight up at us. After a moment he pushes the
covers back, gets out of bed and exits the room noisily, but
Barbara is sleeping the sleep of the dead and doesn’t wake.

INT. FITTS HOUSE – KITCHEN – MOMENTS LATER

The COLONEL enters, agitated. He flips on the LIGHTS, then
opens the refrigerator, scans its contents, and closes the
door without having noticed what was inside. He paces around
the kitchen, then stops in his tracks when he sees:

His POV: Through the window over the sink, we can see Through
the GARAGE DOOR WINDOW of the Burnham house next door. Inside
the garage, Lester, wearing only briefs, stands doing shoulder
presses. His upper body, glistening in sweat, is pumped.

The COLONEL quickly crosses to the light switch and switches
the LIGHTS OFF. He stands absolutely still for a moment, then
drags a chair from the kitchen table over to the sink and sits
in the dark, watching Lester.

FADE to BLACK.

IN darkness, we HEAR repetitive GUNSHOTS.

FADE IN:

INT. INDOOR FIRING RANGE – DAY

Carolyn, wearing PROTECTIVE HEADGEAR, is holding a GLOCK 19
AUTOMATIC REVOLVER with both hands, FIRING it directly at us.

A DIFFERENT ANGLE reveals she is at an INDOOR FIRING range.
She empties a round and stands there, exhilarated by the
experience. An ATTENDANT approaches with a new round of
ammunition.

ATTENDANT
(loading gun)
I gotta say, Mrs. Burnham, when
you first came in here, I thought
you would be hopeless. But you’re
a natural.

CAROLYN
Well, all I know is…

She starts FIRING again.

CAROLYN (cont’d)
I love shooting this gun!

INT. MERCEDES-BENZ ML3020 – LATER

Ella Fitzgerald sings “GET HAPPY” on the RADIO. Carolyn
drives SINGING along. Her face has dropped the resolute
determination we’re used to; she’s actually enjoying herself
spontaneously, and the lack of her usual self-consciousness
allows us to see just how beautiful she is. She reaches over
suddenly and opens the glove compartment.

ANGLE ON the open glove compartment: Carolyn’s GLOCK 19
rests on top of some CDs.

Carolyn takes the gun out and holds it at arm’s length,
admiring it as she continues to SING.

EXT. ROBIN HOOD TRAIL – CONTINUOUS

The MERCEDES-BENZ ML320 turns onto ROBIN Hood Trail.

INT. MERCEDES-BENZ ML320 – CONTINUOUS

Carolyn’s POV: We approach the Burnham house and turn into
the driveway. A red 1972 PONTIAC GTO with black racing stripes
blocks our access to the garage. We come to a stop.

ANGLE ON Carolyn’s face as she stares at the GTO. She doesn’t
like having things in her way.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – FAMILY ROOM – MOMENTS LATER

CLOSE on the TV screen: The “FLINTSTONES” THEME SONG plays,
and Fred Flintstone bangs on the door of his prehistoric home,
yelling, “Wilma!” as the closing credits scroll past.

LESTER is sprawled on the couch IN his underwear, drinking a
beer and watching TV. His working out is beginning to produce
results. Carolyn enters through the kitchen. She stands there,
staring at Lester. After a moment, he looks up at her.

LESTER
What?

CAROLYN
Whose car is that out front?

LESTER
Mine. 1972 Pontiac GTO. The car
I always wanted and now I have it.
I rule!

CAROLYN
Where’s the Camry?

LESTER
I traded it in.

CAROLYN
Shouldn’t you have consulted me
first?

LESTER
Hm. Let me think… No.
(off her look)
You never drove it.

A beat.

CAROLYN
Where’s Jane?

LESTER
(mimicking her)
Where’s the Camry? Where’s Jane?
Where’s my butt?
(then)
I don’t know where Jane is. She’s
probably as far away from you as
she could get.

Carolyn regards him Through narrow eyes, filled with hate.

CAROLYN
(quietly)
I’m not as helpless as you think I
am.

He looks UP at her. Carolyn holds his gaze FOR a beat, then
turns and walks out of the room.

INT. FITTS HOUSE – RICKY’S BEDROOM – CONTINUOUS

We HEAR Babybird’s “ATOMIC SODA.”

ON VIDEO: We’re outside, in a wooded area, looking up at the
sun through tree branches, then we PAN down to see a path
through the trees in front of us. SOMETHING OUT OF FOCUS
crosses by in front us, obscuring our view. We slowly ZOOM
back and see that it’s Jane, or rather, just a corner of her
face, as she looks at us, her eyes shining. Her hand brushes
the hair off her face and we stay on her hand. It swings back
and forth gracefully she walks ahead in front of us… we JUMP
CUT to:

ON VIDEO: CLOSE on Jane’s naked calves, her jeans rolled up,
as she dangles her feet in a pond. The water RIPPLES in
concentric circles every time she dips her toes in, not unlike
the water in the jail cell sink at the beginning… we JUMP
CUT to:

ON VIDEO: We’re MOVING in a circle, as Jane runs around us in
the opposite direction, so that we see only FLASHES OF HER
RUNNING by, LAUGHING… JUMP CUT to:

On VIDEO: JANE IN profile, looking toward the sky, her yes
shut, enjoying the sun on her face.

RICKY (O.C.)
Jesus, you’re beautiful.

She looks at us and smiles, her guard down, her face empty OF
its usual vaguely contemptuous expression, and, indeed, she is
beautiful: young, happy, hopeful. We linger on her face for a
moment. She brings her hand up to caress her cheek, and then,
still smiling, she slowly flips us the bird… we JUMP CUT to:

ON VIDEO: We’re looking at Jane’s SHADOW, clearly delineated
by the bright sun against a textured carpet of fallen leaves
on the forest floor. We HEAR her GIGGLE as she makes shadow
puppets with her hand, then we MOVE around so that we’re
looking up at her, silhouetted against the Bun. Even though we
can’t make out her features, this image seems transcendent,
almost religious.

ON VIDEO: Jane in Ricky’s bed, naked. She quickly pulls a
sheet up over her breasts.

JANE
(shy)
Don’ t.

PULLING BACK, we see we’ve been watching the WIDE-SCREEN TV
in Ricky’s room.

A CORD leads from the TV to Ricky’s VIDEO CAMERA. Ricky holds
the camera, sitting naked in his desk chair. It’s been almost
a month since he was beaten up by his father, and there are a
couple of slight SCARS on his face. He’s focusing his camera
on Jane, who’s lying in his bed. We see her image on the TV.
Babybird’s “ATOMIC SODA” plays on the STEREO.

RICKY
Why?

JANE
(re: image on TV)
It’s okay when you’re just filming
me, because that’s just you,
looking at me. But it’s weird,
watching myself. I don’t like how
I look.

RICKY
I can’t believe you don’t know how
beautiful you are.

JANE
Look, I’m not going to sit here
for that shit.

She gets out OF bed, takes his camera and focuses it on him.
We see his image on the TV as she videotapes.

JANE (cont’d)
Ha. How does it feel now?

RICKY
Fine.

JANE
You don’t feel naked?

RICKY
I am naked.

JANE
You know what I mean.

Jane ZOOMS in on his face, which remains placid, still,
expressionless.

JANE (cont’d)
Tell me about being in the
hospital.

RICKY smiles.

RICKY
When I was fourteen, my dad caught
me smoking dope. He totally freaked
and sent me to military school. I
told you his whole thing about
structure, and discipline, right?
(laughs)
Well, of course, I got kicked out.
Dad and I had this huge fight, and
he hit me… and then the next day,
at school, some kid made a crack
about my haircut, and I just…
snapped. I wanted to kill him. And
I would have, if they hadn’t pulled
me off him.
(then)
That’s when my dad put me in the
hospital. They drugged me up and I
was
there for almost two years.

JANE
You must really hate him.

RICKY
He’s not really a bad man. He’s
just one of those people who needs
everybody to make the same choices
he did. So he can feel good about
himself.

JANE
Yeah, but you lost two whole years
of your life.

RICKY
I didn’t lose them. It taught me
how to step back, and just…
watch, and not take everything so
personally. And that’s something I
needed to learn. That’s something
everybody needs to learn.

He grabs a half-smoked JOINT from an ashtray and LIGHTS it.

JANE
Well… you better believe I’d
hate my father if he did something
like that
to me.
(laughs)
Wait. I do hate my father.

RICKY
Why?

He passes her the JOINT, then takes the camera and focuses it
on her. We see her image on the TV as he videotapes.

JANE
He’s a total asshole and he’s got
the hots for my friend Angela and
it’s disgusting.

RICKY
What, you’d rather he had the hots
for you?

JANE
Gross, no!
(then)
But it’d be nice if I was anywhere
near as important to him as she is.

She LAUGHS, then leans BACK and takes a drag off the joint.

JANE
I know you think my dad’s
harmless, but you’re wrong. He’s
doing massive psychological damage
to me.

RICKY
How?

JANE looks into the camera, a loopy, stoned grin on her face.

JANE
Hey. I need structure, okay? I
need discipline.

She LAUGHS. So does Ricky, and Jane’s image on the TV SHAKES
a little. She takes a deep drag off the joint, and Ricky
ZOOMS in on her face as she exhales.

JANE (cont’d)
I’m serious, though. How can he
not be damaging me? I need a
father who’s a role model, not some
horny geek-boy who’s gonna spray
his shorts whenever I bring a
girlfriend home from school.
(snorts)
Like he’d ever have a chance with
her. What a lame-o. Somebody really
should put him out of his misery.

A beat. JANE plays with her hair, lost IN thought.

RICKY
Want me to kill him for you?

JANE stares at him incredulously, then LAUGHS.

JANE
Yeah, would you?

RICKY
It’ll cost you.

JANE
I’ve been baby-sitting since I was
ten, I’ve got almost three thousand
dollars. I was saving it for a boob
job.

She stands and shakes her breasts, then falls BACK on to the
bed, LAUGHING.

JANE (cont’d)
But my tits can wait.

RICKY
You know, that’s not a very nice
thing to do, hiring somebody to
kill your dad.

JANE
Well, I guess I’m just not a very
nice girl, then, am I?

She smiles dreamily at him. He turns other camera off and
the TV screen goes BLUE. He lowers the camera and looks at
her intently.

JANE (cont’d)
(suddenly nervous)
You know I’m not serious, right?

RICKY
Of course.

He puts the camera down and joins JANE on the bed. a long
moment where neither of them speaks. He caresses her hair,
gazing into her eyes. Jane touches one of the scars on his
face. He smiles.

RICKY (cont’d)
Do you know how lucky we are to
have found each other?

EXT. ROBIN HOOD TRAIL – EARLY MORNING

We re FLYING high above ROBIN HOOD TRAIL, just as we were at
the beginning, during Lester’s dream. We see the BURNHAM1S
HOUSE below us as we approach it steadily. The Jims’ dog Bitsy
looks up at us and BARKS from their yard across the street.

LESTER (V.O.)
Remember those posters that said,
Today is the first day of the rest
of your life? Well, that’s true
of every day except one.
(a beat)
The day that you die.

We’re almost on top of the Burnham house now, as Lester,
wearing sweatpants and running shoes, bursts out of the front
door and dashes up the driveway.

EXT. ROBIN HOOD TRAIL – a SHORT TIME LATER

We’re now at street level, BACKING down Robin Hood Trail as
Lester runs toward us. He carries a WALKMAN and wears
EARPHONES, and we HEAR The Beatles singing “BACK IN THE
U.S.S.R.” as he runs. The endorphins have kicked in, and
Lester grins, reveling in the sheer physical pleasure of his
body.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – KITCHEN – a SHORT TIME LATER

The blender GRINDS as LESTER, still IN his sweatpants, makes
himself a high-protein shake. He’s in excellent shape – even
his posture has changed and he moves with the confident, easy
swagger of an athlete. Jane watches him blankly from the
kitchen table.

Carolyn enters. By now, she hates Lester so much she won’t
even look at him. As she rinses out a coffee cup, Lester
leans against the counter, drinking his shake directly form
the blender pitcher, eyeing her. He’s got newfound sexual
energy that makes her uncomfortable, and he knows it. Carolyn
quickly dries off the coffee cup and starts out.

CAROLYN
Jane, Hurry up. I have a very
important appointment –

JANE
Mom, is it okay if Angela sleeps
over tonight?

Jane looks at Lester to see how he reacts. He doesn’t.

CAROLYN
Of course it’s okay. She’s always
welcome here.
(on her way out)
I thought you and Angela might
have had a fight. We haven’t seen
her in a while.

And she’s gone. Jane continues staring at her father.
Finally, he glances over at her.

JANE
(nervous)
I’ve been too embarrassed to
invite her over. Because you always
hang around when she comes over,
and you, you -stare at her all the
time, like you’re drunk. It’s
disgusting.

A beat.

LESTER
If you don’t watch out, you’re
going to turn into a real bitch,
just like your mother.

JANE is stunned. she quickly rises, trying to get out OF the
kitchen before he can see her crying. As she goes, we see the
immediate regret in Lester’s eyes.

INT. FITTS HOUSE – KITCHEN – the same TIME

RICKY and the COLONEL sit at the table, eating IN silence.
Barbara glides back and forth behind them like a ghost. The
Colonel glances at the scars on his son’s face… and for a
moment, we see the depth of his love for this boy. Then Ricky
looks up at him, and the Colonel is suddenly self-conscious.

COLONEL
How’s your food?

RICKY
It’s good.
(then)
Oh, Dad. I don’t need a ride this
morning. I’m going to go in with
Jane and her mom.

COLONEL
(startled)
Jane?

RICKY
My girlfriend.

Just then, BARBARA leans IN, serving bacon out OF a pan.

RICKY (cont’d)
Mom. Bacon?

BARBARA
(cheerful)
I know, I remember what you told
me, so I made it extra crispy!

She crosses off. from outside, we HEAR a CAR HORN, and RICKY
gets up from the table.

RICKY
Gotta go.

EXT. FITTS HOUSE – front PORCH – MOMENTS LATER

RICKY emerges from the HOUSE, followed By the COLONEL, who
watches his son as he heads toward the Burnham house.

His POV: Carolyn waves from the MERCEDES-BENZ ML320, flashing
an insincere smile. Jane leans forward from the passenger seat
and glares at us. As Ricky starts to get in the car, Lester
emerges from the house in his sweatpants.

LESTER
Yo, Ricky. How’s it going?

RICKY
Pretty decent, Mr. Burnham.

Then RICKY pulls his door shut, But not before LESTER mouths
call me and Ricky gives a slight nod in acknowledgment.

CLOSE on the Colonel’s face: he looks confused.

His POV: The car backs out of the driveway. Lester yawns,
stretches and runs his hands up and down his torso
absentmindedly…and then he glances at us, suddenly aware
he’s being watched. He studies us for a beat, then grins and
salutes. He LAUGHS as he turns to go inside the house.

CLOSE on the Colonel transfixed by what he’s just seen, not
unlike Lester was when he first saw Angela.

INT. FITTS HOUSE – RICKY’S ROOM – MOMENTS LATER

The door swings open silently and the COLONEL enters. He
looks through the stuff on top of Ricky’s bureau then opens
the drawers, sifting through clothing inside. He opens the
DRAWER in which we know Ricky keeps his stash of marijuana,
but he doesn’t discover its false bottom. He stands and looks
around, his eyes finally landing on:

A stack of HI-8 VIDEOCASSETTES next to Ricky’s computer.

The COLONEL turns on the TV: we see Matlock, without sound.
The Colonel grabs a random VIDEOCASSETTE from the stack, pops
it into the VIDEO CAMERA, which is still connected to the TV,
and, after examining the camera, presses the play button. On
the TV, Matlock suddenly gives way to…

ON VIDEO: Through the Burnham’s GARAGE DOOR WINDOW, we see
Lester stepping out of his pants. He then pulls off his
briefs, and stands there naked, except for black socks. He
grabs some dumbbells and starts lifting them over his head;
although he’s watching his reflection in the window, it looks
like he’s watching us as we’re watching him…

The Colonel sinks slowly onto Ricky’s bed, mesmerized.

EXT. parking lot – LATER THAT DAY

Carolyn walks across a parking lot with Leonard Kane, the
Real Estate King.

CAROLYN
You know, I rarely frequent places
like this, but…

Leonard opens the door OF a BUILDING FOR her.

CAROLYN (cont’d)
I think I can allow myself junk
food, after the workout we had this
morning.

She SQUEALS with LAUGHTER as They go inside. the door shuts
behind them. On it we see the SMILEY’S LOGO.

INT. SMILEY’S – CONTINUOUS

A FEW people stand IN line at the counter. Carolyn enters
with Leonard. He whispers something to her and she LAUGHS
uproariously.

IN the KITCHEN, which is separated from the counter By a
partition made up of various food service equipment, we see
Lester, in a Smiley’s uniform and baseball cap, flipping
burgers on a grill. He recognizes Carolyn’s LAUGH and peers
over the partition.

His POV: Carolyn and Leonard stand at the counter, scanning
the menu overhead. She leans against him affectionately.

Lester’s face darkens, and then… he smiles. He adjusts his
cap, and crosses toward the counter.

CLOSE on Carolyn and Leonard, peering UP at the menu.

CAROLYN
What’s good here?

LEONARD
(a grin)
Nothing.

CAROLYN
(turns to him)
Then I guess we’ll just have to be
bad, won’t we?

And just as they’re about to kiss…

LESTER (O.C.)
Smile, you’re at Smiley’s.

Carolyn almost jumps out of her skin. She stares at us,
startled, and quickly disengages herself from Leonard.

Her POV: LESTER leers at us, DRIPPING with sarcasm.

LESTER (cont’d)
Would you like to try our new beef
and cheese pot pie on a stick, just
a dollar ninety nine, for a limited
time only?

Carolyn struggles to appear nonchalant.

CAROLYN
(re: Leonard)
We just came from a seminar.
(then, all business))
Leonard, this is my –

LESTER
Her husband. We’ve met before, but
something tells me you’re going
[to] remember this time.

CAROLYN
Lester, please don’t –

LESTER
(loving this)
Uh-un, You don’t get to tell me
what to do. Ever again.

Carolyn closes her eyes, defeated, then turns and walks out.
Leonard glances at Lester, embarrassed, then follows Carolyn.

LESTER (cont’d)
(calls after them)
Smile! You’re at Smiley’s!

EXT. Top HAT MOTEL _ a SHORT TIME LATER

The sky is filled with ominous gray clouds, and the wind
whips garbage across the parking lot as Carolyn’s Mercedes-
Benz ML320 pulls in next to Leonard’s Jaguar.

INT. MERCEDES-BENZ ML320 – CONTINUOUS

The engine is still running. Carolyn sits IN the driver
seat, gripping the wheel tightly and staring straight ahead.
Leonard looks at her unhappily.

LEONARD
I’m sorry. I just think we should
cool it for a while. I’m facing a
potentially very expensive divorce.

CAROLYN
Oh, no. I understand completely.
(sarcastic)
In order to be successful, one
must project an image of success.
At all times.

She regrets it the second it’s out of her mouth, and turns to
him. He just looks at her sadly, then gets out of the car and
shuts the door. She starts to CRY. As before, she SLAPS
herself, hard.

CAROLYN (cont’d)
Stop it. Stop it!

She closes her eyes tight, trying to STOP the Tears, then
suddenly SCREAMS as loud as she can until she runs out of
breath. She opens her eyes, gasping, trying with all her might
to overcome this flood of emotion, and then her eyes wander
over to…

Her POV: the closed glove COMPARTMENT. we ZOOM toward it
slowly, knowing that’s where she keeps her GLOCK 19.

Carolyn takes a breath, shifts into REVERSE and starts to
back out of the motel parking lot just as it starts to RAIN.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – GARAGE – THAT NIGHT

Jimi Hendrix’s “PURPLE HAZE” blasts from the BOOMBOX as
Lester, wearing only sweatpants, does a set of preacher curls
with dumbbells. He strains as he finishes his last rep, then
puts the weights down and looks at his REFLECTION in the
window:

His POV: his arms are pumped. He smiles.

He reaches under the exercise BENCH and grabs a CIGAR BOX.
Opening it, he digs through ROLLING PAPERS, a PIPE, and other
MARIJUANA PARAPHERNALIA, only to pull out an empty ZIP-LOC
BAG. He’s really not happy about this.

INT. FITTS HOUSE – KITCHEN – MOMENTS LATER

RICKY sits at the dinette with his mother and father, eating
dinner in silence.

BARBARA
(out of the blue)
I’m sorry, what?

RICKY
Mom. Nobody said anything.

BARBARA
Oh. I’m sorry.

We HEAR a BEEPING noise. RICKY pulls his BEEPER off his belt
and checks it.

RICKY
(getting up)
I have to run next door. My
girlfriend left her geometry book
in my backpack, and she needs it to
do her homework.

He heads into the hall. the COLONEL watches him go, uneasy.

INT. ANGELA’S BMW – THE SAME TIME

It’s now RAINING HARD outside. The Smithereens’ “BLOOD AND
ROSES” BLASTS from the STEREO. Angela drives, squinting
through the windshield as the wipers move back and forth.

ANGELA
So you and psycho boy are fucking
on a regular basis now, right?

JANE
(irritable)
No.

ANGELA
Oh, come on. You can tell me.
Does he have a big dick?

JANE
Look, I don’t want to talk about
his dick with you. It’s not like
that.

ANGELA
Not like what? Doesn’t he have
one?
(then)
Jane, don’t be a sap and fall for
the first guy you have sex with.
That is so stupid.

JANE
You know what’s stupid? Only
fucking people because you think
it’ll get you something! That’s
pathetic.

ANGELA rolls her eyes.

ANGELA
We gotta get you a real man.

INT. FITTS HOUSE – KITCHEN – CONTINUOUS

The COLONEL stands at the sink, rinsing off his dinner plate.
Something outside catches his eye, and he cranes his neck to
get a better look at…

His POV: Through the window over the sink, we can see into
the Burnham’s GARAGE DOOR WINDOW. Our view is slightly blurred
by the pouring RAIN, but we see Lester, walking back and
forth. his upper body pumped and glistening in sweat as he
counts out a wad of BILLS… and then Ricky walks into view.

The Colonel’s face tightens.

His POV: LESTER drapes his arm around RICKY as He gives him
the money.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – GARAGE – CONTINUOUS

RICKY, his hair wet from the rain, puts the cash IN his
pocket. Lester’s arm remains draped around his shoulder.

LESTER
Wanna smoke some now?

RICKY
I ought to get back home.

LESTER
Aw, come on. Just one…

RICKY
(grins)
Got any papers?

LESTER
Cigar box, under the bench.
(laughs)
Dude! Put up a fight! You are a
total pushover.

And He SLAPS RICKY playfully on the chest.

INT. FITTS HOUSE – KITCHEN – CONTINUOUS

The Colonel’s POV: Lester lets go of Ricky and dances around
goofily, still laughing. Ricky sits on the bench and bends
over to reach under it. From our perspective, it looks like
he’s untying his shoes.

The COLONEL watches, incredulous. then we HEAR a CAR
APPROACHING, and the Colonel glances over at:

His POV: Angela’s BMW pulls into the driveway, stopping
behind Lester’s GTO. As Angela and Jane get out and run toward
the house, our focus MOVES back to the GARAGE DOOR WINDOW.
Lester, hearing the car door SLAM, looks panicked. He says
something to Ricky. Ricky stands and shrugs. Lester pulls on
his T-shirt and both he and Ricky cross out of view.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – FOYER – CONTINUOUS

JANE and ANGELA enter Through the front door, wet from the
pouring rain, arguing.

ANGELA
Apparently, dating a psycho makes
you totally lose your sense of
humor.

JANE
Yeah, well, apparently, fucking
everything that walks turns you
into a total bitch.

They head BACK toward the kitchen.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – KITCHEN – CONTINUOUS

LESTER holds the BACK door open as RICKY leaves.

LESTER
Thanks

RICKY
Anytime

LESTER closes the door, crosses to the refrigerator and grabs
a beer. Jane and Angela enter. Jane frowns when she sees
him.

JANE
Where’s Mom?

Lester
Don’t know.

ANGELA
Hi, Mr. Burnham.

LESTER
Hi.

He’s trying to remain cool, and doing a pretty good job.

ANGELA
Wow. Look at you. Have you been
working out?

LESTER
Some.

JANE rolls her eyes and exits. ANGELA walks over to Lester.

ANGELA
Well, you can really tell. Look at
those arms.

She places her hand on his arm flirtatiously, looks UP at him
and smiles, fully expecting to intimidate him by doing so.
But something has changed, and he isn’t intimidated at all. He
looks directly back at her, leans in and smiles slowly.

LESTER
You like muscles?

His voice is low and intense, and the moment is charged with
erotic tension.

ANGELA
(unnerved)
Uh, sure. I guess.

She moves away, Suddenly insecure.

ANGELA (cont’d)
I – I should probably go see what
Jane’s up to.

And she heads out quickly. Lester watches her go,
bewildered.

INT. FITTS HOUSE – RICKY’S ROOM – CONTINUOUS

RICKY enters, wet from the pouring rain, and crosses to his
bureau, pulling the wad of CASH out of his pocket as he goes.

COLONEL (O.C.)
Where’d you get that?

RICKY turns, startled.

His POV: The Colonel steps out of the shadows. He’s staring
at us, his eyes blazing.

RICKY takes a step back.

RICKY
From my job.

COLONEL
Don’t lie to me. I saw you with
that faggot next door.

RICKY
(incredulous)
What? Are you spying on me?

COLONEL
What did he make you do?

RICKY
Dad, you don’t really think I…
me and Mr. Burnham?

He LAUGHS.

COLONEL
(furious)
Don’t you laugh at me!

And He BACKHANDS RICKY So hard it sends the boy sprawling.

COLONEL (cont’d)
I will not sit back and watch my
only son become a cocksucker!

RICKY
Jesus Christ! What is it with you
and gays? You’re like, obsessed –

The COLONEL grabs RICKY By the throat and screams into his
face.

COLONEL
Shut up! I’m not the one going
next door to meet my “girlfriend!”

RICKY
Dad, you’ve got it all wrong –

COLONEL
I swear to God, I’ll throw you out
of this house and never look at you
again.

RICKY
(taken aback)
You really mean that?

COLONEL
Damn straight I do. I’d rather
you were dead than be a fucking
faggot.

A beat. RICKY Suddenly smiles.

RICKY
You’re right. I suck dick for
money. Look at this, two thousand
dollars. I’m that good.

The COLONEL pushes RICKY away from him IN disgust.

COLONEL
Get out.

RICKY
And you should see me fuck. I’m
the best piece of ass in three
states.

COLONEL
(explodes)
Get out!! I don’t ever want to see
you again!!

Ricky stands there, eyeing the Colonel. He’s finally
discovered a way to break free from his father, and he can’t
believe it was this simple.

RICKY
What a sad old man you are.

He grabs his backpack, turns and walks out the door, leaving
the Colonel standing there, glassy-eyed and breathing heavily.

INT. FITTS HOUSE – KITCHEN – CONTINUOUS

BARBARA stands at the sink, rinsing one dish FOR an
inordinately long period of time. Ricky enters from the hall.
RICKY
Mom leaving.

BARBARA
Okay, wear a raincoat.

RICKY
(hugs her)
I wish things had been better for
you. Take care of Dad.

Frightened, Barbara looks into his face, sensing something’s
up. He kisses her cheek softly, then exits out the back door,
leaving her standing alone in the middle of the room,
clutching her dish.

INT. FITTS HOUSE – RICKY’S BEDROOM – CONTINUOUS

The Colonel’s POV: Below us, Ricky dashes through the rain to
the Burnham’s aback door and knocks. After a moment, Lester
opens it and lets him in.

EXT. FITTS HOUSE – CONTINUOUS

The Colonel looks coldly down at us from Ricky’s bedroom
window, and then he pulls the drapes shut.

INT. FITTS HOUSE – KITCHEN – MOMENTS LATER

BARBARA still stands IN the middle OF the ROOM, clutching her
dish. The Colonel enters, opens a cabinet and takes out a
BOTTLE OF BOURBON. His hands shake as he pours himself a shot.
He sits at the table and drinks.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – JANE’S ROOM – MOMENT5 LATER

JANE and ANGELA are sprawled across the bed, watching Melrose
Place.

ANGELA
Why do you even care? You are way
too uptight about sex.

JANE
Just don’t fuck my dad, okay?’
Please? It’s too weird. I don’t
think we could be friends anymore.

ANGELA
Why not?

There is a KNOCK on the door. JANE sits UP, alarmed.

JANE
(angry)
Dad! Leave us alone!

RICKY (O.C.)
It’s me.

JANE jumps UP and opens the door and lets him in. an awkward
beat, as Ricky and Angela stare at each other, then:

RICKY (cont’d)
(to Jane)
If I had to leave tonight, would
you come with me?

JANE
What?

RICKY
If I went to New York. To live.
Tonight. Would you come with me?

A beat.

JANE
Yes.

ANGELA
You guys can’t be serious.
(to Jane)
You’re just a kid. And he’s like,
a mental case. You’ll end up living
in a box on the street.

JANE
I’m no more a kid than you are.
Just because you’ve fucked way more
people than I have. And we can use
my plastic surgery money.

RICKY
We won’t have to. I have over
forty thousand dollars. And I know
people in the city, they can help
us get set up.

ANGELA
What, other drug dealers?

RICKY
Yes.

ANGELA
Jane, you’d be out of your mind to
go him.

JANE
Why do you even care?

ANGELA
Because you’re my friend.

RICKY
She’s not your friend. She’s
somebody you use to feel good about
yourself.

ANGELA
Go fuck yourself, psycho.

JANE
You shut up, bitch!

ANGELA
Jane! He is a freak!

JANE
So am I! And we’ll always be
freaks and we’ll never be like
other people. And you’ll never be a
freak because you’re like, too
perfect.

ANGELA
Oh, yeah? Well, at least I’m not
ugly.

RICKY
Yeah, you are. And you’re boring.
You are totally ordinary. And you
know it.

ANGELA stares at him, stunned, then starts toward the door.

ANGELA
You two deserve each other.

And she exits.

EXT. BURNHAM HOUSE – GARAGE – CONTINUOUS

We’re MOVING SLOWLY toward the Burnham’s GARAGE DOOR WINDOW
through the. RAIN. Through the window, we see Lester, wearing
only his sweatpants, performing bench presses.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – GARAGE – CONTINUOUS

Through the window, we see the COLONEL, standing outside IN
the pouring rain, watching. We ZOOM slowly in on him as he
watches, transfixed.

EXT. BURNHAM HOUSE – GARAGE – CONTINUOUS

His POV: LESTER finishes his last rep, straining, then racks
the weights and sits up, sweaty and out of breath. He lights
a half finished JOINT and inhales deeply, running his free
hand over his chest… and then he glances at us, suddenly
aware he’s being watched.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – GARAGE – CONTINUOUS

LESTER and the COLONEL stare at each other Through the
window.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – GARAGE – MOMENTS LATER

The rain is coming down IN sheets Now, and there is a sharp
CLAP of THUNDER. We’re directly outside the GARAGE DOOR as it
slowly lifts to reveal Lester smiling at us.

LESTER
Jesus, man. You’re soaked.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – GARAGE – CONTINUOUS

LESTER pulls the COLONEL inside. the COLONEL moves stiffly
and seems preoccupied, slightly disoriented.

LESTER
You want me to get Ricky? He’s up
in Jane’s room.

The COLONEL just stands there, looking at Lester.

LESTER (cont’d)
You okay?

COLONEL
(his voice thick)

LESTER
Uh… Probably off fucking that
dorky prince of real estate
asshole. And you know what?
(laughs)
I don’t care.

EXT. FREEWAY – CONTINUOUS

The MERCEDES-BENZ ML320 is parked IN the breakdown lane, its
HAZARD LIGHTS BLINKING. Cars ZOOM past in the rain.

INT. MERCEDES-BENZ ML320 – CONTINUOUS

Carolyn sits behind the wheel, holding her GLOCK 19,
listening to a MOTIVATIONAL TAPE on the STEREO. Her PURSE lies
open on the passenger seat.

TAPE VOICE
…only by taking full
responsibility for your problems –
and their solutions – will you
break free from the constant cycle
of victimhood. Remember: you are
only a victim if you choose to be.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – GARAGE – CONTINUOUS

The COLONEL and LESTER, as before

COLONEL
Your wife is with another man and
you don’t care.

LESTER
Nope. Our marriage is just for
show. It’s a commercial, proving
how normal we are, when we are
anything but.

He grins… and So does the Colonel. LESTER realizes the
Colonel is shivering.

LESTER (cont’d)
Dude. You’re shaking.

He places his hand on the Colonel’s shoulder. The Colonel
closes his eyes.

LESTER (cont’d)
We really should get you out of
these clothes.

COLONEL
(a whisper)
Yes…

He opens his eyes and looks at LESTER, his face Suddenly
filled an anguished vulnerability we wouldn’t have thought
possible from him. His eyes are brimming with tears. Lester
leans in, concerned.

LESTER
It’s okay.

COLONEL
(hoarse)
I…

LESTER
(softly)
Just tell me what you need.

The Colonel reaches up and places his hand on Lester’s
cheek… and then kisses him. Lester is momentarily stunned,
and then he pushes the Colonel away. The Colonel’s face
crumples in shame.

LESTER (cont’d)
Whoa. You got the wrong idea,
pal. I do not go there.

The COLONEL stares at the floor, blinking, and then He turns
and runs out the open garage door into the rainy night.

INT. MERCEDES-BENZ ML320 – CONTINUOUS

Carolyn is at the wheel, as before. she Suddenly switches
off the MOTIVATIONAL TAPE on the STEREO, her face resolute.

CAROLYN
I refuse to be a victim.

She puts the Gun IN her PURSE, and pulls out into traffic.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – KITCHEN – CONTINUOUS

LESTER enters, still clad ONLY IN sweatpants, and opens the
refrigerator and grabs a BEER. Suddenly we HEAR the opening
strains of Etta James singing “AT LAST.” Lester opens his
beer and starts toward the family room.

INT. BURNER HOUSE – FAMILY ROOM – CONTINUOUS

His POV: as we move slowly around a corner, ANGELA comes into
view, standing at the STEREO, holding a CD case. She looks up
at us. She’s been crying; her face is a little puffy, and her
hair mussed. She regards us apprehensively… then puts on a
slightly defiant smile.

ANGELA
I hope you don’t mind if I play
the stereo…

LESTER leans against the wall and takes a swig OF his beer.

LESTER
Not at all.

They stand there in silence; the atmosphere is charged.

ANGELA
Jane and I had a fight.
(after a beat)
It was about you.

She’s trying to be seductive as she says this, but she’s
pretty bad at it. Lester raises his eyebrows.

ANGELA (cont’d)
She’s mad at me because I said I
think you’re sexy.

LESTER grins. He is sexy.

ANGELA (cont’d)
And she doesn’t want anything to
happen between us.

LESTER
I’m not that interested in what
she wants.

He takes ANOTHER swig OF beer, then moves toward her.

LESTER (cont’d)
What you want, however… I
wouldn’t mind hearing about.

ANGELA
I…

He reaches her, and takes the CD Case from her hands.

LESTER
(offering his beer)
Would you like a sip?

ANGELA
Sure…

He holds the bottle UP to her mouth, and she drinks clumsily.

LESTER
So… are you going to tell me?
What you want?

ANGELA
I don’t know.

LESTER
You don’t know?

His face is very close to hers. She’s unnerved – this is
happening too fast…

ANGELA
What do you want?

LESTER
Are you kidding? I want you.
(his voice husky)
I’ve wanted you ever since I saw
you.

He holds the beer UP to her lips again. she sips, and This
time some dribbles down her chin. Lester gently wipes her chin
with his fingertip, then licks the beer off it.

LESTER (cont’d)
You’re the most beautiful thing
I’ve ever seen.

ANGELA
You don’t think I’m ordinary?

LESTER
You couldn’t be ordinary if you
tried.

ANGELA
Thank you.

ANGELA takes a deep breath just before LESTER leans IN to
kiss her cheek, her forehead, her eyelids, her neck…

ANGELA (cont’d)
(far away)
I don’t think there’s anything
worse than being ordinary…

And He kisses her on the lips.

INT. MERCEDES-BENZ ML320 – CONTINUOUS

Carolyn drives, her face resolute.

CAROLYN
I refuse to be a victim.
I refuse to be a victim.
I refuse to be a victim…

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – FAMILY ROOM – MOMENTS LATER

Angela lays back on the couch as Lester moves in over her,
unbuttoning her blouse’. She seems disconnected from what’s
happening – not fighting it, but not really taking part in it
either. Lester pulls her blouse open, exposing her breasts. He
kisses her neck and starts working his way down…

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – JANE’ S ROOM – CONTINUOUS

Ricky and Jane, fully clothed, lie curled up on Jane’s bed.

JANE
Are you scared?

RICKY
I don’t get scared.

JANE
My parents will try to find me.

RICKY
Mine won’t. And I always figured
I’d have to wait until I was
twenty-one.
(then)
We could go further than New York.
Chicago, L.A., Europe even.

JANE
I’ve always wanted to go to Spain.

RICKY
Let’s do it. We’re not living for
anybody but ourselves. Not any
more.

JANE smiles contentedly. RICKY strokes her hair.

JANE
You really think we could have a
normal life somewhere?

RICKY
Yeah. We’re totally free.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – FAMILY ROOM – CONTINUOUS

We’re CLOSE on Lester and Angela, in profile, his face above
hers. Her eyes are shut. Lester looks down at her, grinning,
unable to believe he’s actually about to do what he’s dreamed
of so many times… and then Angela opens her eyes and looks
up at him.

ANGELA
This is my first time.

Lester LAUGHS.

LESTER
You’re kidding.

ANGELA
(a whisper)
I’m sorry.

A beat. LESTER looks down at her, his grin fading.

His POV: ANGELA lies beneath us, Embarrassed and vulnerable.
This is not the mythically carnal creature of Lester’s
fantasies; this is a nervous child.

ANGELA (cont’d)
I still want to do it… I just
thought I should tell you… you
know, in case you wondered why I
wasn’t… better…

LESTER
(compassionate)
Aw honey.

He smiles and brushes a lock OF hair from her forehead. after
a moment, she smiles back, shyly. He lingers above her,
drinking in this vision of her… oh, man… and then he sighs
and moves off of her. She looks bewildered.

ANGELA
What’s wrong?

LESTER gathers her clothes form the floor and hands them to
her. Angela is stunned.

ANGELA (cont’d)
I thought you said I was
beautiful.

LESTER
You are beautiful.

LESTER grabs a blanket from the BACK OF the couch and drapes
it around her shoulders, covering her nakedness.

LESTER (cont’d)
You’re so beautiful… and I would
be a very lucky man, but…

He smiles and shakes his head. Humiliated, she starts to cry.

ANGELA
I feel so stupid…

LESTER
Don’t…

He hugs her, letting her put her head on his shoulder,
stroking her hair and rocking her gently.

ANGELA
I’m sorry.

LESTER takes her By the shoulders and looks at her, serious.

LESTER
You have nothing to be sorry
about.

But she keeps crying. LESTER hugs her again. we HEAR a loud
CLAP of THUNDER outside.

LESTER (cont’d)
It’s okay… everything’s okay…

EXT. ROBIN HOOD TRAIL – the same TIME

The MERCEDES-BENZ ML320 pulls onto ROBIN Hood Trail.

INT. MERCEDES-BENZ ML320 – CONTINUOUS

CLOSE on Carolyn’s eyes, reflected in the REAR-VIEW MIRROR.

CAROLYN
I refuse to be a victim…

IN the mirror, we see her turn her head.

Her POV: We’re driving in SLOW MOTION past the Burnham
house… the RED DOOR, illuminated by the craftsman-style
PORCH LIGHT, stands out, even in the pouring rain.

EXT. ROBIN HOOD TRAIL – CONTINUOUS

CLOSE on ANGELA, eating a turkey sandwich.

ANGELA
(mouth full)
Wow. I was starving…

She’s seated at the snack bar in the kitchen, once again
fully dressed. From the TV in the next room, we can hear a
sitcom’s CANNED LAUGHTER.

LESTER, IN his sweatpants and a T-shirt, puts a jar OF
mayonnaise back in the refrigerator, then crosses to the sink
to rinse off a knife.

LESTER
Want me to make you another one?

ANGELA
No, no, no. I’m fine.

He turns to her and cocks an eyebrow.

LESTER
(concerned)
Really?

ANGELA
Yes. Stop asking me that.

LESTER
Okay, just checking.

He turns off the faucet and joins her at the snack bar.
Angela reaches for the beer and takes a swig, then passes it
to Lester. He takes it but doesn’t drink.

ANGELA
I mean, yeah, I’m still a little
weirded but…
(sincerely)
…but feel better. Thanks.

A long beat, as LESTER studies her, then:

LESTER
How’s Jane?

ANGELA
What do you mean?

LESTER
I mean, how’s her life? Is she
happy? Is she miserable? I’d like
to know, and she’d die before she’d
ever tell me about it.

ANGELA shifts uncomfortably. does she tell him about JANE
and Ricky? Finally:

ANGELA
She’s…she’s really happy. She
thinks she’s in love.

ANGELA rolls her eyes at how silly This is. LESTER just
smiles.

LESTER
(quietly)
Good for her.

An awkward beat.

ANGELA
How are you?

LESTER seems somewhat taken aback By This question.

LESTER
(laughs)
It’s been a long time since
anybody asked me that. I’m…
(thinks about it)
I’m great.

They just sit there, Smiling at each other, then:

ANGELA
(suddenly)
I have to go to the bathroom.

She jumps UP and crosses off. LESTER watches her go, then
rubs his face, suddenly tired.

LESTER
I’m great…

Something at the edge OF the snack bar Suddenly catches his
eye, and he reaches for…

CLOSE on a framed PHOTOGRAPH as he picks it up: It’s the
same one we saw earlier of him, Carolyn, and a much-younger
Jane, taken several years ago at an amusement park. It’s
startling how happy they look.

CLOSE on Lester as he studies the picture – he’s spellbound,
just as the Colonel was when looking at the photo of himself
and the other young serviceman. We suddenly become aware of
the SOUND of water DRIPPING. Pulled out of his reverie,
Lester glances up at:

WATER DRIPPING slowly from the KITCHEN faucet.

ANGLE ON Lester, in profile. He puts the photograph down,
props his elbows on the snack bar, clasps his hands together
and rests his chin on them, thinking. This almost gives him
the appearance of praying, and he suddenly appears older, more
mature… and then he smiles: the deep, satisfied smile of a
man who just now understands the punch line of a joke he heard
long ago…

After a beat, the barrel OF a Gun rises UP behind his head.

ANGLE on an arrangement OF fresh-cut ROSES IN a vase on the
opposite counter, deep crimson against the WHITE TILE WALL.
From the TV in the next room, we still hear CANNED LAUGHTER.
Then a GUNSHOT suddenly rings out, ECHOING unnaturally.
Instantly, the tile is sprayed with BLOOD, the same deep
crimson as the roses. The CANNED LAUGHTER continues, and then
the SOUND FADES as everything starts to BRIGHTEN, and the
SCREEN GOES WHITE.

We HEAR a RUSH OF WIND.

FADE IN:

EXT. sky – DAY

We’re FLYING, above a snowy white blanket of clouds. Lester
comes into view below us, FLYING Superman-style. He’s wearing
the same old-fashioned PAJAMAS and plaid flannel ROBE he wore
in his dream at the beginning.

LESTER (V.O.)
They say your entire life flashes
in front of your eyes when you die.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – JANE’S BEDROOM – NIGHT

We’re looking down at Ricky and Jane, curled up on Jane’s
bed, the night of Lester’s murder. We HEAR a GUNSHOT from
downstairs. Ricky and Jane look at each other, alarmed.

LESTER (V.O.)

It’s not really your entire
life…

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – POWDER ROOM – NIGHT

ANGELA stands IN front OF the mirror, brushing her hair. we
HEAR the GUNSHOT again. Angela freezes, frightened.

LESTER
It’s just the moments that stood
out…

EXT. BURNHAM HOUSE – NIGHT

We’re MOVING slowly through the pouring rain toward the
Burnham’s RED FRONT DOOR…

A REVERSE ANGLE reveals Carolyn, walking slowly toward us,
drenched to the bone, clutching her PURSE tightly.

LESTER (V.O.)
And they’re not the ones you’d
expect, either…

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – FOYER – NIGHT

RICKY comes down the stairs, followed By Jane. Finding
nothing in the family room, he starts toward the kitchen.

Ricky’s POV: Through the doorway, we see a slowly spreading
POOL OF BLOOD on the WHITE TILE FLOOR beyond. MOVING closer,
we see Lester’s lifeless arm splayed across the floor, and a
.44MAGNUM REVOLVER positioned on the floor next to it.

RICKY stares wide-eyed, But not afraid. behind him, JANE
stands shaking, in shock.

JANE
Oh God…

Ricky kneels next to the body, gazing reverently at what’s
left of Lester’s face. A woman’s high-pitched SCREAM suddenly
cuts through the silence. Ricky looks up at:

His POV: Carolyn stands in the doorway to the dining room,
soaking wet, still clutching her PURSE.

CAROLYN
(ashen)
My kitchen…

Just then, we HEAR another high-pitched SCREAM:

ANGELA stands IN the doorway to the FAMILY ROOM, holding
herself tightly. She starts to cry.

The pool of BLOOD spreads closer to the .44 MAGNUM. Ricky
picks the gun up and moves it across the floor.

RICKY
(after a beat)
Man, I wish I had my video camera.

INT. FITTS HOUSE – COLONEL’ S STUDY – NIGHT

The Colonel enters, still wet. He’s wearing LATEX GLOVES.
Flecks of BLOOD cover the front of his T-shirt. He paces
nervously in front of one of his GUN CASES; the GLASS DOOR is
open, and a gun is conspicuously missing from inside. The
Colonel suddenly looks down at the BLOOD on his T-shirt. He
pulls the shirt off and wads it into a ball.

LESTER (V.O.)
The moments you remember are tiny
ones, some you haven’t thought of
in years…

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – MASTER BATHROOM – NIGHT

Carolyn enters, terrified, still clutching her PURSE. she
shuts the door and locks it, then takes the GLOCK 19 out of
her purse and shoves it into the LAUNDRY HAMPER, pushing it
far down underneath the dirty clothes.

LESTER (V.O.)
If you’ve thought of them at
all…

INT. FITTS HOUSE – RICKY’S ROOM – NIGHT

The COLONEL, still wearing GLOVES, enters with a DUFFLEBAG.
He starts stuffing Ricky’s VIDEOCASSETTES into the bag.

LESTER (V.O.)
But in the last second of your
life, you remember them with
astonishing clarity…

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – KITCHEN – NIGHT

The POLICE have arrived. JANE and RICKY watch as a DETECTIVE
wearing LATEX GLOVES picks up the .44 MAGNUM and places it in
a PLASTIC BAG. Through the doorway1 we see into the family
room where Detective Fleishman, whom we recognize from the
beginning1 questions Angela, who can’t stop crying.

LESTER (V.O.)
Because they’re just so…
beautiful…

Carolyn enters, Having freshened UP and put on a little
lipstick. She starts to make coffee.

LESTER (V.O.) (cont’d)
…that they must have been
imprinted, on like a cellular
level…

INT. FITTS HOUSE RICKY’S ROOM – DAY

The COLONEL stands IN the doorway watching as a DETECTIVE
searching through Ricky’s BUREAU DRAWERS discovers the FALSE
BOTTOM and the bags of MARIJUANA beneath it.

LESTER (V.O.)
For me it was, lying on my back at
Boy Scout camp, watching falling
stars…

EXT. WOODS – NIGHT

We FLASH on an image, in HIGH-CONTRAST BLACK & WHITE: eleven-
year-old Lester looks up, point excitedly at:

His POV: a single DOT OF light falls across an unbelievably
starry sky…

On TELEVISION: LOCAL news SET – NIGHT

A LOCAL NEWSCASTER sits behind a desk, addressing us IN THAT
earnest, stilted manner all local newscasters seem to have.

NEWSCASTER
… police have identified the
suspect as nineteen-year-old
Richard Anthony Fitts, an alleged
drug dealer with a history of
mental illness…

INT. POLICE STATION – INTERROGATION ROOM – DAY

RICKY sits at a table, being questioned By DETECTIVE
Fleishman and another detective.

LESTER (V.O.)
And yellow leaves from the ginkgo
trees that lined our street…

EXT. suburban street – NIGHT

Again, we FLASH on an image, IN BLACK & WHITE: Ginkgo trees
in autumn, and ghostly LEAVES FLUTTERING slowly toward
pavement…

INT. FITTS HOUSE – RICKY’S ROOM – DAY

The Colonel sits on Ricky’s bed in his bathrobe, holding a
REMOTE. Beside him is a stack of HI-8 VIDEOCASSETTES. On the
WIDE-SCREEN TV, we see Jane in Ricky’s bed.

JANE
…Like he’d ever have a chance
with her. What a lame-o. Somebody
really should put him out of his
misery.

On the TV: JANE plays with her hair, lost IN thought.

RICKY (O.C.)
Want me to kill him for you?

CLOSE on the Colonel’s face, as he watches this.

JANE (O.C.)
Yeah, would you?

RICKY (O.C.)
It’ll cost you.

JANE (O.C.)
I’ve been baby-sitting since I was
ten, I’ve got almost three thousand
dollars.

INT. POLICE STATION – LOBBY – DAY

The same suburban POLICE STATION from the beginning. the
Colonel enters, carrying a MANILA ENVELOPE. As he approaches
the front desk, the uniformed clerk behind it looks up at him
impassively.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – FOYER – DAY

Carolyn opens the front door to reveal Detective Fleishman,
with a pained expression on his face.

LESTER (V.O.)
Or my grandmother’s hands, and the
way her skin seemed like paper…

INT. suburban HOUSE – DAY

Another FLASH, in BLACK & WHITE: CLOSE on an ancient woman’s
papery HANDS as they button a cardigan sweater…

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – JANE’S BEDROOM – MOMENTS LATER

JANE lies on her bed, staring at the ceiling. DETECTIVE
Fleishman enters, looking at her gravely. Carolyn is behind
him, crying, and Jane sits up, apprehensive.

LESTER (V.O.)
And the first time I saw my cousin
Tony’s brand new GTO…

EXT. SUBURB – DAY

Another FLASH, in BLACK & WHITE: A 1968 PONTIAC GTO in the
driveway of a suburban home. The SUN’S REFLECTION in the
windshield FLASHES BRILLIANTLY…

EXT. NEWSSTAND – DAY

CLOSE on the cover OF the new York post, atop a stack OF
papers at a NYC newsstand. On the first page is a grainy
PICTURE of Jane in court. The HEADLINE screams: VIDEOTAPE
SHOCKER! JANE PAID DAD’S KILLER WITH BABY-SITTING MONEY

ON TELEVISION: INT. COURTROOM – DAY

ANGELA is on the witness stand. at the lower right corner OF
the screen is the JUSTICE TV logo.

ANGELA
…he was obsessed with like, dead
things. Whenever he saw something
dead, he’d film it on that stupid
video camera. He said it was
beautiful.

EXT. high SCHOOL CAMPUS – DAY

ON VIDEO: A dead BIRD lays on the asphalt, decomposing,
covered with ants and flies. The camera JERKS up to discover
Jane and Angela staring at us.

LESTER (V.O.)
And the way I felt when Angela
first smiled at me…

EXT. high SCHOOL gym – NIGHT

Another FLASH in BLACK & WHITE:

Lester’s POV, from the. night he was first introduced to
Angela: She looks at us and smiles.

INT. COURTROOM – DAY

JANE and her lawyers stand as the JURY FOREMAN reads the
verdict.

JURY FOREMAN
We find the defendant guilty of
murder in the first degree.

CLOSE on Jane1 utterly unable to comprehend how her life is
being taken away from her like this.

In the courtroom, Carolyn starts to WEEP. She’s comforted by
Leonard Kane, the Real Estate King.

LESTER (V.O.)
Carolyn…

EXT. AMUSEMENT PARK – DAY

Another FLASH in BLACK & WHITE:

Carolyn sits across from us IN one OF those SPINNING-TEACUP
RIDES, laughing uncontrollably as she twists the wheel in
front of her, making us SPIN even faster…

ON TELEVISION: EXT. COURTHOUSE – DAY

The COLONEL stands on the steps OF a COURTHOUSE, surrounded
by reporters thrusting MICROPHONES at him. Barbara stands at
his side, smiling.

COLONEL
I’m here to support my son. He’s
my son and I love him. No matter
what he did.

He walks away stiffly. it takes BARBARA a moment to realize
he’s gone.

INT. COURTROOM – DAY

CLOSE on Ricky at the defendant’s table, calm and composed.

DIFFERENT JURY FOREMAN (O.S.)
… find the defendant guilty of
murder in the first degree.

Ricky smiles slightly but doesn’t blink.

LESTER (V.O.)
And Janie.

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – NIGHT

Another FLASH in BLACK & WHITE:

7-YEAR-OLD JANE, dressed for Halloween in a princess costume,
holds her mask in front of her face, peeking out from behind
it, smiling at us shyly as Carolyn makes adjustments to her
costume.

EXT. ROBIN HOOD TRAIL – DAY

The two Jims jog by in front of the Burnham House. A “FOR
SALE” SIGN in the front lawn reads:

Contact
LEONARD KANE/CAROLYN BURNHAM “The King & Queen of Real Estate
Kane/BURNHAM REALTY
555-1957

INT. JUVENILE PRISON FACILITY – DAY

A DAY room. Guards keep watch on a GROUP OF TEENAGE GIRL
inmates .Jane sits huddled in a corner, staring blankly into
space, numb.

ON TELEVISION: EXT. CALIFORNIA BEACH – DAY

We’re watching the credits for a Melrose Place-type TV SHOW.
Angela, in a bikini, runs out of the surf toward us. The
words “and ANGELA HAYES as Julie” appear SUPERIMPOSED over
this.

LESTER (V.O.)
And Carolyn’s roses..

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – KITCHEN – NIGHT

Another FLASH, in BLACK & WHITE:

LESTER’S POV, from the night he died: We’re looking at fresh-
cut ROSES in a vase on the kitchen counter.

INT. FITTS HOUSE – DEN – NIGHT

CLOSE on a fire, burning IN a fireplace. Suddenly, a
PHOTOGRAPH drops onto the flaming logs. It’s the Colonel’s
PHOTOGRAPH we saw earlier, of him and the other young
serviceman standing in the front of a Jeep. It CRACKLES and
blackens, and then it’s gone.

The Colonel sits in a leather wing chair by the fireplace,
staring into the fire. He looks older than before, and his
eyes are blank, like Jane’s.

INT. FITTS HOUSE – KITCHEN – DAY

BARBARA stands at an ironing board, ironing a WHITE T-shirt.
She HUMS softly as she meticulously folds the T-shirt and
places it atop a stack of equally obsessively folded clothing.
She then reaches into a laundry basket and gets another T-
SHIRT to iron…

CLOSE on her hands as she spreads the T-shirt out on the
ironing board: it’s FLECKED WITH DRIED BLOOD.

BARBARA stops HUMMING, confused. she stares at the shirt FOR
a long beat, then glances around, opens a kitchen drawer and
stuffs the T-shirt inside. She then resumes ironing, without
humming.

INT. JAIL CELL – DAY

CLOSE on RICKY, staring at us, smiling. we HEAR WATER
DRIPPING steadily. We start PULLING BACK…

RICKY
(singing softly)
AND IT REALLY DOESN’T MATTER IF
I’M WRONG I’M RIGHT…

His POV: we ZOOM slowly toward the faucet as drops OF WATER
gather at the tip, A FLASH OF LIGHT refracting through each
one momentarily before it falls… as WE GET CLOSER, time
seems to SLOW DOWN, an the last drop we see seems huge, a
shining sphere filled with LIGHT…

And beauty…

RICKY (cont’d)
WHERE I BELONG I’M RIGHT… WHERE
I BELONG…

INT. BURNHAM HOUSE – FAMILY ROOM – NIGHT

Another FLASH in BLACK & WHITE:

Lester’s POV, from the night he died: Angela’s lying naked on
the couch beneath us, embarrassed by her virginity.

ANGELA
(a whisper)
I’m sorry.

EXT. PARKING LOT – DAY

ON VIDEO: We’re watching the video Ricky showed Jane earlier,
of the empty white PLASTIC BAG being blown about. The wind
carries it in a circle around us, sometimes whipping it about
violently, or, without warning, sending it soaring skyward,
then letting it float gracefully down to the ground…

LESTER (V.O.)
I guess I could be pretty pissed
of f about what happened to me…
but it’s hard to stay mad, when
there’s so much beauty in the
world. Sometimes I feel like I’m
seeing it all at once, and it’s too
much, my heart fills up like a
balloon that’s about to burst…

EXT. SKY – DAY

LESTER continues to FLY above the clouds, LAUGHING.

LESTER (V.O.)
And then I remember to relax, and
stop trying to hold on to it, and
then it flows through me like rain
and I can’t feel anything but
gratitude for every single moment
of my stupid little life…

He’s SOARING higher and higher…

LESTER (V.O.) (cont’d)
You have no idea what I’m talking
about, I’m sure… but don’t
worry…

And He SOARS out OF sight.

LESTER (V.O.) (cont’d)
You will someday.

FADE to BLACK.




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