Rain. Christmas lights. A rusted out ’56 Lincoln rattles
down the bleak boulevard. In it: JOE STEVENS, an angry, black
man in his late 20’s, beside him his 10-year-old son, JOE
Joe Jr. stares out the window at passing: boarded buildings,
whores with raincoats over their heads trying to flag down a
john, a black Santa, a knot of drinkers. Breaking the silence:
Your mother okay?
They stop at a light. Joe Stevens tries to furtively snort a
little something. He spots Joe Jr. watching.
(firm, without irony)
Don’t you do this shit, boy. Don’t
you ever fuckin’ touch it, you hear
Joe Jr. stares, silent; Joe Jr.’s about to hit him.
You hear me, goddam it?
The boy nods. Satisfied, Joe Sr. draws in the stuff. It makes
him feel good, strong, worried and determined all at once.
What do you want for Christmas?
I don’t know.
(light changes; he
You don’t know?? You gotta know what
you want, boy, if you ever expect to
A sudden charm to his bravado. Joe Jr. smiles uncertainly.
Joe Sr. grins back, pulls up in front of a liquor store.
Wait here. This won’t take a minute.
Joe Jr. doesn’t notice or doesn’t remark that his father,
just before entering the store, draws a handgun from beneath
The boy gazes dreamily at the street. The lunatic Black Santa
marches by, ranting to himself (“Then the white man say…”).
The RAIN HAMMERS on the roof and windshield. Joe Jr. breathes
on the glass, fogging the scene.
From the store: MUFFLED GUNFIRE.
Joe Jr. looks that way. Another GUNSHOT, then:
His father comes out the door clutching money in one hand.
He strides toward the car with a reckless pride. He doesn’t
The liquor store door opens behind him.
A SHOTGUN BLAST. Joe Stevens’ guts splatter onto the car
windshield. A look of terrible amazement; he sinks to his
He jumps from the car, kneels by his father.
The STORE OWNER (47, Slavic) drags the gun toward them,
(enraged, almost to
Fuckin’ niggers… fuckin’ niggers…
looks at the money in his hand: two 20’s, two 5’s.
Fifty bucks… fifty goddam bucks.
(looks up at his son)
He stuffs the blood-soaked bills in the boy’s shirt pocket
and dies. Joe Jr. looks up at…
THE STORE OWNER
Bloody, nearly unconscious, he aims the shotgun at the boy
who is too frightened to move.
The man dies on his feet. As he falls backward, he pulls the
trigger, the BLAST shattering the car windows.
Cop cars SQUEAL up. Uniformed cops leap out, guns drawn,
survey the scene. Then one notices Joe Jr., staring motionless
at his father and the store owner, dead together. ON HIS
THOSE SAME EYES
— but older, harder, colder. They’re concentrating on a
paper before him.
TITLE: 17 YEARS LATER
CLOSEUP – THE MINNESOTA MULTIPHASIC PERSONALITY INVENTORY
Hundreds of TRUE/FALSE questions…
1.) I have never indulged in any unusual sexual practices.
2.) I have often felt that strangers were looking at me
3.) When I was young I occasionally stole things. (T/F)
Joe Stevens marks these TRUE, FALSE, FALSE then comes to:
4.) A person’s station in life is at least partially
determined by his race. (T/F) We are:
INT. A ROOM – DAY
Thirty-seven Black Cleveland police officers (many in uniform,
including Joe) are taking the MMPI. Some roll their eyes at
the questions. Some try to copy answers. Others, like Joe,
work with rapid concentration.
But he gets stuck on #4. Marks it false. Erases it. Marks it
true. Erases that. Ponders. Goes on to: #5. At times I hear
so well it bothers me. (T/F) He marks that true.
INT. INTERVIEW ROOM – DAY
GERALD CARVER, 36, an ambitious government lawyer with a
relaxed, vaguely hip manner, looks over the file of the
ingratiating BLACK OFFICER sitting across the desk from him.
Officer Leland? You know the
difference between a black man and
Leland is startled, insulted, but doesn’t want to blow the
interview. He smiles weakly, shakes his head no.
Yeah, most niggers don’t.
Stung, Leland tries to laugh. Carver puts his file aside,
picks up another.
Nice to meet you.
INT. SAME – ANOTHER INTERVIEW
A SECOND BLACK OFFICER is powerfully built, politically
conscious, takes no shit. Carver’s leafing through his file.
So, Winston, what’s the difference
between a black man and a nigger?
Winston is out of his chair before the question is finished,
drags Carver by the shirt front halfway across the desk and
hisses into his face:
Who the fuck do you think you’re
Carver smiles cheerfully past Winston’s cocked fist.
Thanks for coming in.
Nonplussed by this cool dismissal, Winston stalks out. Carver
picks up the next file, unfazed.
INT. SAME – ANOTHER INTERVIEW
Joe Stevens watches Carver reading his file and waiting for
an answer. When none is forthcoming, Carver glances up, finds
Stevens looking right back at him.
The nigger’s the one who falls for
He says it pleasantly, without belligerence. Carver smiles:
he’s found his man. He offers his hand.
Gerald Carver, United States District
Attorney. Call me Gerry.
INT. A DARKENED ROOM – DAY/NIGHT
ON A TV SCREEN: a grainy black-and-white tape, date and time
stamped at the bottom. A grungy street, palm trees. The light
from the monitor dimly illuminates Carver and Stevens.
On SCREEN the CAMERA finds: A MAN in jeans, sneakers and
sweatshirt on a street corner.
He ought to be wearing a sign.
You can tell he’s a cop?
Stevens laughs: it’s obvious.
A real DRUG DEALER joins the cop. UNDERCOVER COP: “You got
it?” DEALER: “In the motel, right over here…” The Cop’s
uneasy, keeps glancing back toward the CAMERA as they go.
He keeps looking for his back-up.
Now, the other guy knows it, too.
Then why’s he taking him to the room?
To rip him off.
Carver studies Stevens in the darkness, impressed.
ON SCREEN: The figures disappear into the motel. We hear
their voices. DEALER: “Here, try some of it.” UNDERCOVER
COP: “Uhh… No, I don’t…” DEALER: “Why not, you
sonofabitch?” Two bursts of SOUND DISTORTION.
A plainclothes cop, TAFT, (black, stocky, powerful) bolts
from behind the CAMERA, sprints toward the motel. The CAMERA
wobbles after him.
ON SCREEN: The CAMERA (jerky, hand-held) nears the open motel
door. Taft is bent over the Undercover Cop’s body.
Oh, Bobby… Jesus, Jesus…
(to the CAMERA)
Get an ambulance — and back up.
He slams the wall, starts past the CAMERA. Carver pushes the
pause button; the tape freezes on a jerky image of Taft’s
(focussed on Taft)
Who is he?
Charles Taft. LAPD Narcotics.
He’s a good cop.
He’s a great cop. Two [names citation] and a [another citation]. As tough
as they come and twice as honest.
Carver watches Stevens watch Taft, smiles at something.
But the cops aren’t getting it done
here, are they? Gotta try something
He opens a manila envelope, dumps the contents on the desk:
driver’s license, social security card, high school
transcript, prison records… all in the name of William G.
Hull. No photos.
Who’s John Hull?
You are. If you want to be.
Most undercover guys don’t know what
they’re doing because it’s a day
(indicates dead cop
I need somebody who goes under and
stays there; six months, a year,
What does he have to do?
Buy drugs. Sell drugs. Feed me
He’s a snitch.
He’s a drug dealer. A criminal. A
scumbag. But for the right side.
I want you to come to Los Angeles on
loan to the Justice Department as a
federal agent. Your experience there
will be credited toward your seniority
here. And you’ll come back to
Cleveland a P3 or higher.
I can’t do that. I’ve got a wife and
You’re separated from your wife,
she’s filled for divorce. You see
your kids every other weekend.
Stevens takes a breath: this is awkward to explain.
(almost a confession)
All my life I’ve stayed away from
that stuff. I’ve never touched drugs.
Come on, a little grass…?
Not grass. Not nothing. I never even
had a drink.
Never have, never will. You don’t
understand. I made a choice in my
What’s to understand? You saw your
father killed when you were ten, and
you decided you wouldn’t be like
(off Stevens’ surprise,
I’m God, I know everything. You wanted
to be a good boy, so you became a
cop. Hiding out in uniform… That’s
why you got the hard-on for Taft.
It’s not that simple.
(opening Joe’s file;
as if reluctantly)
I’ll tell the truth, Joe. You’re
never going to be a Taft.
I don’t believe that.
But he does.
(looks at MMPI results)
You ever take a look at your
psychological profile? You score
almost like a criminal.
I do not.
“…Exaggerated moral standards, but
with no underlying value system.”
Look at the anger, the repressed
violence, it’s almost off the scale…
Let me see that…
Carver hands him the scores which are, of course, just
clusters of numbers. Stevens is upset, though oddly
unsurprised, as if this only confirmed his secret fears.
Why’d you join the force?
(awkward, but felt)
I wanted to be of use.
Well, now you can be. You won’t be
Taft, but maybe you’ll be something
There’s a man named Ramon Gallegos
who supplies 60% of the cocaine to
the West Coast. He’s smart, smooth,
and sufficiently elusive that we
don’t even have an adult photograph
of him. However, his uncle is Hector
Guzman, an important Latin American
political figure. Gallegos uses
Uncle’s connections to get product
into the country, and everyone we’ve
sent after him has ended up like
Indicates dead body on TV.
Why would I be different?
You already are, that’s the point…
(indicates file, test
You’ve got the ability and the
personality to go underground and
blend in completely. That’s what the
others couldn’t. Some part of them
showed. That’s why they’re dead.
See, there’s only one rule in this
Stevens raises his eyebrows: what?
Don’t blow your cover.
EXT. WORKING CLASS CLEVELAND NEIGHBORHOOD – DAY
Stevens parks outside a small, well-maintained house. As he
gets out, he spots a GROUP OF KIDS (black and Hispanic)
playing down the street. He’s not pleased about that.
(calls to them)
A BOY, 7, and a GIRL, 5, (both light-skinned) run to him
shouting, “Daddy,” jump into his arms, competing for
attention, as if they haven’t seen him in ages.
What were you doing with those kids?
JOE-J & CARMEN
Your mom lets you play with them?
JOE-J & CARMEN
Yes, sir… Yes, sir.
His strictness has already sobered their enthusiasm. Sensing
this, he attempts to embrace them which he can do only
Meanwhile, his wife, TERRY (Southern white) has come out the
screen door. She and Stevens bristle at each other.
I thought we talked about this. The
older brother up there’s got a sheet
Lay off it. They’re just kids…
Both are ready to fight, but restrain themselves. A big
Polynesian, TITO comes out the door.
A moment of surprise, then he gets it. He looks to Terry.
She gives a little shrug, refusing to be embarrassed.
INT. KITCHEN – FIVE MINUTES LATER
Stevens is trying to seem interested in Carmen’s little
They’re real nice, honey. Is that a
Daddy! It’s a bunny…
She puts her arms around him.
I don’t want you to go away, Daddy.
It’s my work. I’ve got to.
Over her shoulder he sees Terry sitting with a subdued Joe-
J. Her face seems to say, “See, I told you…” Avoiding this
accusation, Stevens notices a bruise on Carmen’s arm.
What happened to you there, baby?
Tito did it.
He hit you?!
(up in a fury)
God damn it, what’s he doing touching
her? I’m gonna…
Terry intercepts him on his way out of the room.
She was running behind his chair
when he got up. It was an accident.
A complete… total… accident.
Stevens looks at Carmen who giggles. He’s humiliated by his
own temper, attempts to calm himself. Terry puts a sympathetic
hand on his shoulder.
EXT. LOS ANGELES – AERIAL SHOT – DAY
The immense sprawl, the arterial flow of the freeways, the
blinding light. We DESCEND…
INT. TRAIN STATION – UNDERGROUND – DAY OR NIGHT
People getting off, among them the former Joe Stevens, now
known as JOHN HULL. He’s carrying a suitcase.
INT. TRAIN STATION/EXT. STREET – DAY
Hull goes up the stairs onto a downtown street.
EXT. ANOTHER STREET – DAY
South L.A. neighborhood. A 13-year-old BLACK YOUTH selling
drugs through a car window. Hull walks by. He’s at ease,
looking around, his manner subtly announcing that he belongs
here, just as in the train station he seemed to belong among
EXT. TRANSIENT MOTEL – COURTYARD – DAY
A fat BLONDE WOMAN (61, large white glasses, tiny shoes)
leads Hull down a corridor.
Television mostly. I was on “Sky
King” twice, “Ramar of the Jungle.”
That was a silly show. The jungle
was mostly flats…
They pass an open door where a 6-year-old boy, JAMES, a
latchkey, sits on the stoop playing Gameboy; inside, his
mother, BELINDA, a broken down whore, is doing her nails and
drinking Pepsi. She looks up, bats her lashes at Hull.
You want my advice, I’d stay away
from that bitch.
She opens the door to the room across the hall. A dump. Hull
walks in, drops his duffle: he’ll take it. The Blonde lounges
in the doorway. He closes the door.
INT. ROOM – DAY
Hull empties his pockets on the dresser. Looks at his money,
room key, identification. Looks at himself in the mirror. He
touches his clothes, his face, tries on different expressions.
(NOTE: Throughout the film, Hull continually checks himself
out in mirrors, both to adjust his appearance to the
circumstances and as if in an attempt to recall who he
EXT. 79TH AND FIGUEROA – TWILIGHT
On the seam between South-Central and USC. Lots of people
out: children, students, dealers, whores. Hull with a new
EXT. ANOTHER, SIMILAR CORNER – DAY
Dealers (most in mid-teens) meeting cars, making transactions.
All this casually observed. EDDIE comes up the street,
reciting his version of an old street toast.
On the day of the King’s castration,
all the counts and no accounts were
down on the deck with Georgia Tech
taking turns in the back seat…
Those dealers not at car windows, gather around. He never
speaks to them, goes on declaiming as he exchanges drugs for
Hull watches, talking to another street person. His appearance
continues to change: clothes, posture, walk, gestures subtly
conform to the environment, a bit like Zelig. Throughout the
film his appearance shifts, depending on who he’s with. We
always recognize him, but each time he’s different.
He walks up to a dealer, makes a quick buy and keeps going.
But he sees them and is seen.
INT. AN OFFICE – NIGHT
Hull drops eleven foil balls on a green blotter. Carver counts
out money for him.
INT. HULL’S MOTEL ROOM – DAY
He sits at the window, eating a burrito, watching little
James play in the courtyard.
EXT. STREET – EVENING
Hull approaches another Dealer, the 13-year-old seen earlier
(angelic face). Like Hull, he’s trying to act tough.
Whatta you got?
(voice just changing)
Nickel rock, dime rock. Excellent
Hull exchanges a folded twenty for two foil balls. He walks
off. He has gone twenty feet when…
RED RANGE ROVER
SQUEALS to a stop opposite the Dealer.
A huge young black man, IVY (23, all in red with a red
headband), leans out the passenger window, shouting at the
What the fuck I tell you about being
Everyone turns to look, but Hull’s view is blocked.
13-YEAR-OLD DEALER (O.S.)
Too fuckin’ late.
POPPING noises. Ivy is waving an automatic weapon. Everyone
on the street but Hull has hit the ground.
(enjoying it, shouting)
Get down, motherfuckers!
Ivy laughs and fondles a girlfriend as the car ROARS off. He
sees Hull, pretends to fire, laughs as Hull, too, ducks.
When Ivy’s gone, he runs to where a CROWD has gathered
lying in the street, a bullet hole in his head, eyes open.
He twitches and kicks, blood pulsing from the neat wound.
Then he’s dead. The faces around him (young, old, many races)
watch with a variety of emotions.
Who is he?… Why’d they shoot him?…
Ivy did him, man… He’s in the wrong
fuckin’ place… That poor boy…
Get his beeper…
Cops push through to the body. As the crowd disperses, Hull
can’t take his eyes off the boy. When he finally does, he
sees Eddie, drink in hand. Their eyes meet, and Eddie, a
rapper, raises his eyebrows in brief acknowledgment of sorrow.
He done done, ain’t he?
EXT. LEWAZZ – NIGHT
TITLE: TWO WEEKS LATER
A bar with a neon bird for a sign. Hull enters.
INT. LEWAZZ – NIGHT
A racial mix. Hull takes a seat at the bar. Stuffed birds
line the lintel above the bottles. A female BARTENDER (long
red nails) greets him familiarly.
How’s it going, John?
I’m in there.
Without being asked, she sets him up a Dry Sack with a long
red straw. (NOTE: He never touches the drink.) Hull’s
appearance has continued to change. His clothes have become
flashier, he has an earring, the start of a goatee.
Eddie approaches the bar compulsively reciting one of his
“Where’s the Queen,” said the King.
“She’s in bed with laryngitis.” “Is
that bastard still in town?… Fuck
the Queen,” said the King, and ten
thousand knights straaaained at their
(to the bartender)
Pina colada times two and a white
He goes on muttering under his breath, tapping his foot like
any crankhead. He notices Hull, greets him as someone he
can’t place but knows he’s seen around.
How you doin’, Dudley…
Tries to remember name.
John, man, right…
Clasp hands. Eddie takes his drinks, carries them to…
where he rejoins a white man, DAVID ELIAS (30s, slick,
powerful) and a well-dressed BLACK WOMAN (mid-20s, good-
looking). She gets the wine.
Elias rises to let her out. As the woman passes Hull on her
way to the restrooms, their eyes meet: an instant of perfect
chemistry. He’s struck. Her features open, grow sensual for
a moment, but then, as if seeing something she doesn’t like,
her eyes flick away, and she walks by as if he weren’t there.
INT. CARVER’S OFFICE – NIGHT
(NOTE: Hull invariably meets Carver in this anonymous room,
distinguished only by the green blotter and a view of the
city. This simple regularity suggest visits to a psychiatrist,
Carver probing, testing, teasing, trying to draw Hull out.
And they feel like therapy, at once a respite and a torment.)
More foil balls on the blotter beside boxes of 3×5
photographs. Photos of Eddie and David Elias are up on a
corkboard, the beginning of a pyramid.
Eddie something… a motormouth…
he supplies the street dealers…
buys from him…
(reads name on back
David Elias… who apparently buys
from a guy named Barbolla or
something. But I haven’t seen him.
Carver produces a photo of a handsome Latin in his 50s, pins
it on the board above Elias.
There was also a woman, but she’s
(as Carver reaches in
I saw a kid killed. Twelve, thirteen
at the most. Turf war.
Carver shrugs: these things happen. He hands Hull a lot of
cash, much more than expected. Hull does understand.
Get to Elias. Then to Barbosa.
You can’t rush this stuff.
Rush it, please. I want art, John,
not reality. Budget hearings start
in April, and I need Gallegos by
then. They won’t give us funding for
three ounce buys.
We’re not just doing this for the
funding, are we?
Without funding, we aren’t doing it
TITLE: TWO WEEKS LATER
INT. CRACK HOUSE – DAY
Virtual darkness save splinters of light between the curtains.
Pipes burn here and there in the gloom. Ten or fifteen
crackheads huddle around a battery-operated TV on which Tom
Brokaw is narrating an NBC documentary on drugs. A 12-year-
old sits against a wall too stoned even for television.
Hull approaches Eddie, regally installed on an automobile
bench seat-cum-sofa, a lit pipe in one hand. We barely notice
the redhead kneeling between his legs, face buried in his
crotch. He greets Hull from wrecked bliss. They know each
My man, Dudley, he’s so fud-ley…
Hull greets Eddie, some of the others, drops familiarly onto
an adjacent auto seat. The patrons are making fun of Brokaw,
laughing, exchanging fives.
Eddie, man, I need…
Eddie holds up a hand telling Hull to wait. His mind is
elsewhere. His features contract in brief concentration.
CHORUS OF COMMENTS
Whatever happened to that Drug Czar
motherfucker?… He gave up ‘cause
he finally realized he didn’t know
nothing about any of that shit…
More laughter, etc. Eddie’s concentration peaks, breaks off
into a sigh and a smile.
Eddie sings a satisfied little song…
The redhead rises from Eddie’s crotch, and we see it’s a
boy, seventeen going on death; he might have been pretty a
Eddie passes him the crack pipe, lets him suck greedily for
a few seconds before ripping it out of his scabrous mouth
and offering it to Hull, who, with a grimace that gets laughs,
declines. The others continue to watch and comment on the
So what is it you need so bad, blood?
Need, need, need??
A whole K, quick as you can get it.
(impressed, a trace
Comin’ in the world, Dudley.
All because of my man…
Eddie likes that, holds out a hand. Hull hits it.
Give me a day.
Hull nods, rises.
Stick around, let the bitch Hoover
In all these scenes, Hull acts indifferent to the horror,
but here the effort costs him. He masters his disgust with a
Only if you Clorox him first.
Everyone laughs, even the boy.
EXT. STREET – NIGHT
Eddie comes out the back door of a building, is immediately
collared by Taft (the cop on the videotape). He’s in his mid-
40s, stocky, balding.
Eddie Shitface! Where you been, boy?
Eddie breaks free, runs three feet before HERNANDEZ (a
muscular Mexican) knees him in the groin. Eddie crumples.
Eddie, I don’t think I introduced
you to my new partner, Michael
Pleased to meet you, Mr. Shitface…
EXT. STREET – NIGHT
Eddie folded over his wounded nuts. Hernandez and Taft sit
on crates to either side. The drugs they’ve taken from him
are neatly arranged on a garbage can lid.
You have the right to remain silent…
You have the right to an attorney…
You have the right to go back to
Ontario for eight-to-ten on a second
(in several kinds of
Oh, man, I can’t go back in there, I
‘Course you can’t, child, ‘course
you can’t. That’s why you’re gonna
start giving us some help.
EXT. DAVID ELIAS’S HOUSE – NIGHT
A pleasant, Santa Monica neighborhood. Spanish style house.
INT. ELIAS’S HOUSE – NIGHT
Pleasant, tasteful. Elias’s wife, NANCY, (dressed like the
attorney she is) sits in an alcove-study reading a real estate
contract through half-glasses. Elias himself is helping his
daughter, MIRANDA, 7, with her homework. He is 38, with the
body and bearing of a powerful man.
Again. Three times four.
Elias is not a sweet Daddy. It should make us uncomfortable
to watch him push his daughter.
No. You’re adding again, you have to
multiply. Three and four is seven.
Three times four is…
Three times five.
Can you get that?
(getting up; more
about the answer
than the door)
Why can’t I just use a calculator?
INT./EXT. FRONT DOOR – NIGHT
Three men: FELIX BARBOSA (whose photo we saw in Carver’s
office). Barbosa is a veteran of the coke business, but he’s
doing too much of the drug now; he’s sweating, paranoid,
unstable. With him is GOPHER, early 60s, a wizened high-voiced
old con who Barbosa keeps the way Spanish kings kept dwarfs,
for amusement and luck; like the court jester, Gopher can
say anything he wants without fear. Behind them is an Hispanic
kid, CHINO, 17, a thug.
Elias knows them all, but is not happy to see them at his
What are you doing here?
We’ve got a problem, David.
Call me on the phone.
Your friend Eddie just started bending
over for the cops.
This is very bad news. Elias murmurs a shaken, “Shit…” and
steps outside, half-closing the door behind him.
They busted him, and he’s dealing to
save his ass.
Which is how he’ll lose the skinny
Did he give us up?
Not yet, but he will if he has to,
and eventually he’ll have to.
Daddy! I thought we were doing my
I don’t think he’d talk about us.
He’d try not to.
If we whack him, he definitely won’t.
Just a second.
Not yet. Let me check on this, first.
Nobody said you had to do the dirty
work, David. I’ll take care of —
Felix, if he’s a problem, we’ll kill
him. I’ll kill him myself.
He doesn’t realize until it’s too late that Nancy has just
then opened the front door to see where he went. They look
at each other, a terrible moment: she knows what he does,
hates it, can’t bring herself to leave him, hates herself
Nancy, get out of here.
For you; it’s Eddie.
She hands him a cordless phone, goes inside closing the door.
You got a tasty wife, David. No wonder
you don’t want us coming here.
Don’t talk about her that way.
He can’t help it, David, it’s his
(into phone, chipper)
Eddie… Sure, man, what do you need?
INT. A BOXING GYM – NIGHT
Elias joins Eddie and Hull to one side. In the b.g. two guys
David, this is John, John, David.
Eddie, this is Eddie. Everybody ready?
So what’s this, you want to meet me?
(charming, touch of
I like to know the important
Hull makes a show of weary patience, gestures: here I am.
You’re taking a lot of weight for a
guy we hardly know. Where’re you
moving this stuff, John? We haven’t
seen you around. We like to have a
sense who your customers are.
Ah, come on, man, do Macy’s tell the
(beat; watches him)
Eddie, forget this guy, he’s a cop.
He gets up, walks away.
He’s blown it. He’s been made. The crushing failure. He
rallies himself to indignation.
What is this shit, Eddie? I thought
you were the man.
Eddie’s sickened, wants to get paid, owes Taft a bust.
Nobody’s the fuckin’ man. Go to your
place. I’ll call you.
EXT. GYM/INT. A VAN – CONTINUOUS TIME
Taft and Hernandez, watching the gym. Hull comes out, looks
up and down the street carefully. Taft sits up, pays
This is our collar?
Who is he?
But Taft clearly thinks there’s something different about
Hull. He’s not sure what, but it troubles him. (NOTE: Hull
makes a little move that Taft will later realize was a cop’s
move. For now he can’t quite place it.)
EXT. PARKING LOT – CONTINUOUS TIME
Eddie pleading his case to Elias.
He’s no cop, David. He’s an animal.
You see his eyes? You never see a
cop with those eyes. I know this
shit, man, you don’t.
(giving him an opening)
What’s going on, Eddie?
Twenty-six thousand cash is what. We
need it, David. We’re behind.
Elias studies Eddie: is he a rat? Elias hopes not, but he’s
going to find out. He hands a fat Federal Express envelope
through the window.
I want him to get it all, Eddie.
Eddie bows in gratitude, hurries off.
EXT./INT. HULL’S MOTEL – NIGHT
Hull’s unlocking his door when Belinda, the hooker across
the hall, comes out to talk. Her 6-year-old, James, watches,
Mr. Hull… Mr. Hull…
What’s happening, Belinda?
Now you know, Mr. Hull, I was to the
welfare this afternoon, but the bus,
you know what I’m saying?… the one
bus, and then the other, and when I
got there they’d gone and changed
the time on me, without notification.
They’s supposed to give notification,
ain’t they? They said I got a thing
in the mail, but I don’t remember, I
don’t think they sent it, so now I’m
off the welfare, plus I forgot to
take James for his shot… for the
school? Which otherwise they let him
go. And he’s gotta learn, he’s gotta
learn, don’t he, Mr. Hull, you tell
him, so’s he can better hisself.
Hull slouches in the doorway, fingers to his eyes.
You had any food today, James?
(disclaiming any need)
I had Ding-Dongs.
(sighs, gives him
You go to the Mexican place over
there, and get the chicken tostada
or the beef and bean burrito or both.
And a milk.
I don’t like milk. I want a —
You get the milk! And get something
for your mother, too.
What do you want?
Now, Mr. Hull, if you just —
Two tostadas, two burritos, two milks.
Gives him another bill. The boy runs off.
You now, I look out for my James
best I can, Mr. Hull, but it’s hard.
Now you like the boy, don’t you?
I know you do. And I was thinkin’ if
you wanted to take care of him, that
might be good for him. Give him a
male figure to look up to.
Look, Belinda, I can’t…
If you could just give me something
for him. Say five thousand dollars…
(off Hull’s shock)
Or maybe four thousand. I couldn’t
give up my boy for less than four
Hull is rescued from this horror by the ringing PAY PHONE.
He runs down the hall, grabs it.
It’s me. I’m here… Where?… five
He dashes past Belinda into his room.
Or you could just give me a part
He closes the door, takes the money Carver gave him out from
behind the mirror, dashes back outside. As he rushes by:
Let me do somethin’ for you, Mr.
Hull. Let me do a little somethin’
He keeps going. The Blonde Woman addresses Belinda.
No solicitin’ in the halls. I told
you that before.
(spunkier than we’ve
I ain’t doin’ shit. Bitch…
EXT. TACO STAND – VENICE AND LA BREA – NIGHT
A handful of customers under a mud sky. The THROB of a distant
helicopter. Hull pulls into the lot beside Eddie’s BMW.
He climbs into the BMW, tosses Eddie a brown envelope; money
spills onto his lap. Eddie does a quick count, produces the
Fed Ex envelope. The usual white stuff.
Hull’s about to taste when the chopper swoops in with a sudden
blinding overhead light. A BULLHORN booms down like the voice
This is the police. Remain inside
the vehicle. Place your open hands
against the windshield so that they
are clearly visible…
Spread the floor, Dudley.
(rap sound effects
with rhythmic head
A-ga, a-ga, a-ga, a-ga…
Eddie starts the car, and Hull rolls out the passenger door
as the BMW races across the lot.
Two black-and-whites and an unmarked converge on the stand.
Hull can’t reach his car. He vaults a metal rail and runs
off between two buildings.
Hernandez jumps out of an unmarked and races after him. Taft
speeds the car out onto the street.
running. Police and SIRENS pursuing. He hurls the Fed Ex
envelope into a dumpster. HELICOPTER light sweeps over him.
As he cuts around a building, Taft opens a car door right
into his face. Hull goes down hard.
(into car radio)
Thank you kindly…
He waves at the helicopter which goes away, kneels over Hull
who is twitching spastically on the ground, gasping for air.
Hernandez arrives carrying the Fed Ex envelope.
How you doin’, child?…
Hull is astonished to look up and see Taft looming over him,
the man he remembers from the videotape. He tries to speak:
Me? Of course, it’s me. You know me?
Hull shakes head, winces.
Hull tries to curse.
Here, I want to show you something.
You have kids?
He takes out his wallet, opens it to pictures of his two
children, a boy and a girl, seven and eight.
These are mine. Aren’t they the most
beautiful children you ever saw?
Hull groans, twists in pain. Taft sticks the pictures in his
face. Hull is affected by the children despite everything.
Yeah, I know, they kind of leave you
speechless. So let me ask, if someone
put a gun to your baby’s head,
wouldn’t you kill him if you could?
Hull just looks up.
Me, too. And you’re the bastard with
He takes the Fed Ex envelope from him.
(hoarse; his first
You know the difference between a
nigger and a black man?
Don’t jive me, boy.
The nigger’s the one covers Whitey’s
ass by puttin’ the brothers in jail.
Taft yanks him hard to his feet; Hull cries out in pain.
You ain’t my brother.
INT. COURTROOM – NIGHT
Hull is led in with other handcuffed PRISONERS. Carver is
here, catches Hull’s eye. Hull shakes his head; doesn’t want
Carver to intercede. A woman PUBLIC DEFENDER (26, attractive,
harried) addresses the prisoners.
Hi, I’m Shelley Weissbrod. This is
only an arraignment, a preliminary
hearing, but if you don’t have money
for an attorney, the Public Defender’s
Hull is listening to this when a BAILIFF taps his shoulder.
You’ve got counsel. Over there.
Puzzled, Hull sees the back of a suit conferring with a
PROSECUTOR. The suit turns. It’s DAVID ELIAS who smiles,
offers his hand. Hull is stunned. Elias enjoys that.
You’re a lawyer??
I’m your lawyer.
Who hired you?
It’s pro bono. If you don’t want me,
there’s Shelley. She’s good. She
just can’t provide special services…
(calling the next
Getting your case called first.
Elias addressing the court.
Your Honor, I believe the preliminary
police toxicology report will show
that the substance seized from my
client was Mannitol, a baby laxative.
We move for immediate dismissal.
Hull is surprised at this news. The Judge looks to the
Prosecutor who waives objection. Gavel.
(continuing; to Hull)
We’re out of here, Dude.
As they walk toward the back, Taft approaches Hull. There’s
already a deep pull between these two, and in Taft’s presence,
Hull can’t sustain the tough street act. We almost see the
little boy inside him.
(to Hull, amused)
Baby laxative, they sold you some
You have a constipated baby, and
you’re in jail? What kind of a father
A father who don’t know his own
children, ain’t that right?
A long look between them, broken when Elias takes Hull’s
arm, leads him away. Elias cheerfully greets a couple of
hookers waiting arraignment. Hull furtively grabs his sleeve.
(under his breath)
You sold me Mannitol, motherfucker.
If it hadn’t been, asshole, you’d be
in jail right now… Come on, I want
you to meet some people.
EXT. LEWAZZ – NIGHT
After hours. The place is closed. A couple of cars in the
lot. Elias’s BMW pulls in.
INT. LEWAZZ – NIGHT
Deserted except for one table where Eddie, Barbosa, Gopher
and Chino are eating shrimp. They look up as Hull and Elias
approach. Eddie’s astonished to see Hull.
Dudley, Dudley, Fo-Fudley…
Surprised to see him, Eddie?
Eddie looks around, uneasy.
John got busted and kept his mouth
shut. Can’t say that for everybody,
What are you saying? Are you saying
me? Are you saying something about
Tell the truth, Eddie. Be honorable.
It’s all you got left.
Shut up, you little faggot.
The cops made you give them somebody.
We know it.
Eddie looks around. Everybody’s looking at him. He considers
lying, but realizes it’s pointless.
All right, so what? I mean, so what,
man? You got the money. Twenty-six
G. Twenty-six, David. Count it.
Next time you might trade us.
(turns to Barbosa)
Never, Felix, never. Come on, man,
you know I’d never…
Hull observes Barbosa become the power center.
I know you never will.
Felix, no. Don’t be… I’m worth
money to you. Let me give you money.
Why? You don’t owe me anything.
Another twenty-six grand… Just to
show you… Fifty.
Why not a hundred?
(that’s so much)
A hundred??? Felix…
Okay, a hundred.
Tomorrow. Twenty-four hours.
Now. Ten seconds.
Felix, I need time. I —
I don’t have it right now. But I can —
Then goodbye, Eddie. I forgive you
for what you said to me.
Twelve hours. Tomorrow morning.
You want to do it, David?
Elias looks stricken. Barbosa laughs. Eddie jumps up. Hull
turns away, can’t bear to watch this.
grabs the first thing he lays eyes on, a tiny snail fork and
plunges it into Barbosa’s neck.
As if it were a fly bite, Barbosa flings the table aside
and, with a long knife already in his hand, guts Eddie from
groin to breast bone. Eddie falls like a suddenly emptied
Elias can’t help gasping.
Hull looks away, hiding his horror.
Barbosa rips the fork out of his neck and hurls it at the
Piece of shit!
Elias stares at Eddie’s body, transfixed. Horrified,
fascinated, afraid, in awe. Barbosa turns to Hull.
What’d you think?
At least it was clean.
(pleased, to Elias)
What about you, bar mitzvah body?
First time you saw somebody die?
(eyes fixed on the
At camp… when I was fourteen… a
friend of mine was water skiing…
The motorboat ran him over… A junior
counsellor was driving.
You should kill a man some day, David,
Summer camp. I’m in business with
somebody who went to summer camp.
Everyone else is silent, grave.
INT. ELIAS’S HOUSE – KITCHEN – EARLY MORNING
Through sliders we see a small pool. Elias and Hull sit over
uneaten omelets. Both still shaken by the previous scene.
Eddie, man… He was always nice to
How’d a guy like you get into this?
The way most drug lawyers do: clients
paid me in product, and I had to
move it. Soon I was doing more dealing
than law. But this was ’83, ’84,
there was so much money we thought
it would never end.
Yeah. And now…?
The road gets rougher. Cocaine’s a
Then what are we doing here?
People are always going to want to
get high. Every society has ways to
Because they can’t bear reality.
We all need our delusions, only the
means change: psychedelics, opiates,
prayer, orgies, human sacrifice…
Elias puts a finger to his lips.
Why aren’t you selling it?
I know how to make it and market it.
But I need capital. That’s the only
reason I’m hanging out with an asshole
(feels his hatred of
And because I can’t get to the big
Who are the big guys?
Gallegos, et cetera.
(reacts to the name)
Why can’t you get to them?
What do you care?
Hull shrugs: he doesn’t.
Anyway, designer drugs have a bad
name: ice, ecstasy, tar — there’s a
limited market for Parkinson’s
disease. But what about completely
safe, almost legal, terrific shit
you can go to work on and do your
job better than you ever did it
Sounds like a dream.
They hear someone coming.
(closing the subject)
In dreams begin responsibilities.
Tell me about this new shit.
Some other time, John, when we know
each other better.
(as Miranda enters
(she snuggles against
him; Elias enjoys it)
Five times two.
It’s too early. Don’t bother me.
He hugs her, kisses her, much more openly affectionate than
Hull was with his own children. Hull notices that.
(continuing; head in
her father’s chest)
Elias whispers in her ear.
Oh, yeah… Ten… Who’s he?
That’s my friend, John. This is
Miranda gives Hull a shy greeting. Nancy hurries into the
kitchen, handsome, busy, ready for work.
Come on, honey…
Nancy, this is John.
Nancy nods briefly in Hull’s direction. Elias kisses Miranda
who grabs the back-pack her mother proffers, and they go
out. When they’re gone:
(continuing; on Nancy’s
That’s not about you. It’s, she’s…
judgmental about what I do.
When they’re gone, he opens louvered doors onto a
washer/dryer, takes a sports bag off a shelf, gives it to
Hull. Hull looks inside. White powder. He tastes. Real. He
hefts the bag.
That’s more than I bought.
Half we owe you. The other half’s on
consignment. A token of our esteem.
You’re having trouble moving it.
Elias doesn’t deny it.
Make me your partner. I’ll help you
get your capital.
I don’t need a partner. I need a
INT. CARVER’S OFFICE – DAY
Now in daylight. Two separately wrapped kilograms of crack
cocaine on the green blotter.
I can’t buy this much shit. I haven’t
got it in the budget.
What am I supposed to do with it?
You’re a drug dealer, John. Deal
Hull just looks at him. Carver doesn’t blink.
You know how this goes, Gerry. It
won’t stop here. You know what they’re
going to ask me to do pretty soon,
to prove I’m down. What am I supposed
to do then?
Don’t blow your Carver.
Hull: a moment of horror as he realizes what Carver is saying.
MUSIC — A DRUG DEALING SEQUENCE
INT. HULL’S APARTMENT – NIGHT
He’s filling glass vials with crack. Hundreds of them. It’s
tedious work. He spills some, curses. He stops. He can’t
believe he’s doing this. He goes on doing it.
You’re still thinking like a cop,
John. Forget that. Cross the line.
Be what you are. You’re a criminal.
You don’t give a shit about other
people. You’re just trying to survive.
INT. CRACK HOUSE – DAY
Hull doling out vials to DEALERS seen earlier with Eddie.
I can’t do this shit. I just can’t.
EXT. A STREET – DAY
DEALERS going up to cars as before, only now they’re Hull’s
dealers. A well-dressed Black businessman buys from his BMW.
But you want to be of use. You want
to get drugs off the street, don’t
That’s why I’m here.
EXT. SAME – ANOTHER TIME
Another sale: Teenagers on foot.
Well, this is the cost. Pay it or go
grow flowers someplace.
EXT. HULL’S MOTEL – ANOTHER TIME
He comes out of the motel talking to a Dealer we’ve seen
You can’t back down with them. You’ve
got to project strength, from inside,
The Dealer nods. Across the street Hull sees:
A blue sedan. Taft and Hernandez. Taft gives Hull a little
nod and grin.
EXT. STREET – ANOTHER TIME
Hull sitting in an aging Trans Am, making entries in a
notebook. Across the street he watches:
A PREGNANT WOMAN (19), a squawling baby in arms, buying from
one of his Dealers.
He kicks the dash in frustrated anger. Under the MUSIC:
As soon as the woman’s gone. He goes over to the Dealer,
slaps his head, slaps it again. Under the MUSIC:
What’d you do that for?
‘Cause I can, motherfucker, ‘cause I
EXT. SAME – ANOTHER TIME
A white housewife making a buy from a new mini-van, a baby
in the car seat.
EXT. STREET – TWILIGHT
Two USC football players (letter jackets, huge) hassling
BIJOUX, a woman dealer, pushing her, she pushes back, curses.
Suddenly Hull comes running up, shoves them apart. He’s
yelling, pointing a finger in their faces. Elias comes up
Hull is smaller than either USC kid, but they back down as
he curses them. Under MUSIC:
…Touch her again, motherfuckers,
I’m gonna mess you up.
A brief scuffle. Hull decks one USC, and Elias pulls him
off. The kids leave. Elias doubles over with laughter. Hull
yells at Bijoux and walks off.
EXT. APARTMENT HOUSE – DAY
Hull (looking at written address) knocks on a door. It’s
opened by a beautiful, dark-skinned black woman in a skimpy
robe. She looks at him with disarming frankness. He thinks
he must be in the wrong place.
Is David Elias here?
Through the door we see him emerge from a bedroom stepping
into his loafers, buttoning his shirt. He gives the woman
along, dark kiss, caressing her body.
She laughs, closes the door. As he and Hull walk to the
street, Elias sings happily to himself:
“Who’s making love to your old lady…
while you’re out make love…?”
How come I like balling black chicks
‘Cause you’re a racist asshole. You
feel like you’re fucking a slave,
and it gets you off.
Oh, don’t mau mau me with the Malcolm
X shit. Tell me you’re not chasin’
white pussy every chance you get.
I don’t dig white women.
(knowing that’s a lie)
Even if I did, it wouldn’t mean the
Sure, it’d be the slave fucking the
master. Hegel talks about it. Just
like me, but the other way around.
Fuck Hegel. Who the fuck is Hegel?
Some smart-ass kike that talks
Elias laughs, gets into Hull’s car. Hull’s angry, takes a
beat before he gets in.
Everybody digs the other, John. They
dig their own, and they dig the other.
Does your wife dig black guys, David?
Did she fuck Eddie? Does she want to
Ooo… you mean with that great big
purple dick of yours? I hope not.
She’d never be impressed with my
little thing again.
You think what impresses her now is
What does impress her?
Hull can’t help laughing. He starts the car.
EXT. BETTY’S STORE – DAY
Elias and Hull approach. Hull’s carrying a satchel and wearing
a new leather jacket.
INT. JEWELRY STORE – DAY
As they go in, Elias switches the OPEN sign to CLOSED and
turns the latch. The store is filled with Latin American
folk art, particularly masks which line the walls.
BETTY STONE, the woman Hull saw with Elias at the bar, comes
out from the back. She is 27, a bad girl trying to dress the
way she thinks a banker who went to Vassar dresses for
success. She’s also a little strung out.
She and Hull recognize each other at once, (a brief reprise
of that moment of perfect chemistry) but she avoids his gaze.
Betty, this is John, my new associate.
Your new Eddie. I hear the old one
Factory recall. John’s going to be a
good customer. He does a lot of wash.
Hull puts the satchel on a display case. Betty still won’t
look at him, opens the satchel, begins a quick count. She
does this with a speed and sureness that suggests high test
So how’s this place work?
Betty doesn’t answer, so Elias covers the awkwardness.
Betty wires the money to a store in
Aruba in payment for things they
never sent her. They deposit the
money in a bank there that turns
around and loans her money she never
has to repay. That way it doesn’t
turn up as income for the IRS. Welcome
to the laundromat.
David, you talk too much.
She doesn’t trust you.
Hull has taken down a mask, puts it over his face, looks in
How much is this?
More than you can afford.
I’ll take it.
She produces a vial of coke, looks questioningly at Elias.
By all means.
She draws out six lines. Elias does two.
(offering him the
Come on, Eddie 2… you’re up.
NOTE: Betty is acutely attuned to Hull, and in his refusal
she senses — albeit unconsciously — two things: first,
that he doesn’t trust himself on drugs, therefore, he’s a
dangerous guy and, therefore, exciting; and, second, more
important, the refusal bespeaks a repudiation of the violence
and danger and, thus, a longing for goodness. Despite the
seeming contradiction, she finds this even more attractive.
But because she feels herself to be bad, his goodness seems
only a judgment against her, and so she thinks she hates
Who is he, my mother?
Never have, never will.
Betty ignores him, does her lines.
Oooh… Cocaine, I love it and I
hate it and I love it. The disease
is the cure.
She can’t help looking at Hull who’s looking at her. She and
Elias are stoned; he’s not.
Don’t look at me. Elias, tell him
not to look at me. I don’t like the
But Elias is too busy vacuuming up Hull’s leftovers.
John’s an ascetic Negro; he wants to
make sure you know he’s not a jungle
Watch your mouth, David.
But he’s got another side. You should
seen him on the street the other day
with these two USC kids. Do the spade
bit for her, John.
I’m gonna mess you up, muthafugga…
He sticks his finger in Hull’s face just like Hull with the
Don’t call me a spade. And don’t
tell me to play black.
He says it gently, but Betty hears the edge.
Come on, John, you do it so well.
(falling into it)
Ah ain’t playin’, muthafucka. Ah
Hull glares; Elias refuses to be intimidated.
Don’t fuckin’ dis me, muthafucka.
Fucka… fucka… fucka a… fucka
b… fuck b-hive… fucka, fucka,
Elias dances around repeating “fucka” until it’s almost
Hull picks him up and slams into a wall.
Say it again, and I’ll kill you.
Elias throws Hull back against a display case. He’s strong
and unafraid. They’re ready to fight.
Grow up, assholes!
This half snaps them out of it. Still glowering, they slowly
relax, release each other.
EXT. STREET – NIGHT
Hull sits in the Trans Am eating a sandwich and watching the
street as a DEALER leans in the window telling his sob story.
There’s an authority to Hull’s manner that tells us he may
not like this job, but he knows how to do it.
…The guy ripped me off, man, so I
don’t got the money, I don’t got the
stuff and —
(eyes on street)
You gotta pay anyway.
Oh, but, man…
As he raps on, comical pathos, Hull spots in his side
THE RED RANGE ROVER
coming slowly this way. Ivy in the passenger window, the
barrel of an automatic weapon glinting in the streetlight.
Hull glances up: Bijoux is selling on the next corner.
The Range Rover passes the Trans Am. Ivy leans out.
Hull flings open the Trans Am door, throwing the Dealer to
the ground. He jumps from the car:
She turns. Sees Ivy. She puts out her hands to block the
shots. The SOUND of the gun is inaudible. The barrel bounces
slightly. Bijoux sprawls backward.
Bijoux: dead on the sidewalk, limbs askew, bleeding from
Hull, standing over her, covers her face.
EXT. SAME – MUCH LATER THAT NIGHT
The body has been taken away, the crowd has cleared. Elias
sits on the hood of the Trans Am. Hull stands, staring down.
It wasn’t your fault.
What could you have done?
She worked for me. I’m supposed to
Elias knows that’s true, and it leads to another truth.
We have to kill him.
Hull looks up.
Or we lose all authority with the
other dealers. And one of them’ll
Hull looks up, startled.
You’ve got to assert now, or you’re
Hull sees the truth of that and slowly nods.
And if we kill Ivy, we control this
That guy who works for Barbosa can
do it, Chino.
No. If we use Chino, it’s Barbosa
who’s asserting. It’ll be Barbosa’s
(again: his hatred of
It’s gotta be us.
And if it’s us, it’s gotta be you.
Meaning he can’t do it. Hull knows that. A long beat on Hull’s
face as he reaches the inevitable decision.
Don’t blow your cover.
If I do this, we’re partners. Equal
partners on everything.
Elias offers his hand. Hull stands up, a sudden resolve.
But Hull is already moving.
EXT. STREET/INT. ELIAS’S CAR – NIGHT
Hull and Elias driving, looking for Ivy. Elias double parks
by two prostitutes.
We STAY in the car with Hull who’s silent, frightened, keeps
trying to warm his hands.
Outside, Elias is talking and laughing with the prostitutes.
We see them point. He gives them money, kisses. They laugh.
He gets back in the car.
EXT. A DANCE CLUB – NIGHT
The Range Rover parked in front. Elias’s car stops. MUSIC
pounds from inside. Then one CONTINUOUS SHOT:
They pass the club, other store fronts… Turn at the
corner… Turn into an alley… Down the alley past the same
buildings… The rear door of the club… To the next
street… Turn… Turn… onto the original street, back to
the front of the club. They stop again.
Go wait around back.
Elias nods. A beat. They look at each other.
I want to see you in that alley.
Hull’s so terrified he seems calm. With an air of submitting
himself to fate, he gets out and walks into the club.
INT. CLUB – NIGHT
Crowded and BOOMING and strobe lit. Hull pays the cover and
climbs a staircase to a…
that overlooks the dance floor. On stage: a RAP ACT with its
throbbing beat and below Hull a sea of dancers.
Hull circles the balcony. It isn’t hard to pick out Ivy —
he’s all in red, dancing with the woman we saw him with in
the Range Rover the first time.
Hull reaches the steps again and starts down, keeping his
eye on Ivy. The number ends. In the pause before the next
one, Ivy can be seen excusing himself, heading toward the
rear of the club.
The next number begins. People dance. Hull pushes his way
through the dancers to…
INT. REAR OF CLUB – A SHORT HALLWAY – NIGHT
leading toward the rear door they saw from the alley.
MOVING DOWN THE HALL
A woman’s room. A men’s room. Hull goes into…
INT. MEN’S ROOM – NIGHT
Ivy is pissing into a urinal. He’s so huge he seems to take
up all the space in the tiny room. Hull stares at him, unable
to look away.
He notices Hull. All dialogue is UNDER the POUNDING MUSIC.
What’re you looking at?
Hull stares at Ivy’s face. Ivy considers this rude.
You want to suck it, bitch?
(offers his dick)
Or drink it?
Laughing, he turns, urinates on Hull’s pants. Hull doesn’t
Oh, I know you. You’re the bitch
whose whore I wasted tonight, ain’t
Somebody pushes on the outside of the door. Hull holds it
closed with his back.
I gotta take care of you, too, huh?
He reaches into his pants for the butt of a gun.
Hull is frozen.
Ivy starts to draw it out.
Hull steps forward, grabs Ivy’s gun arm. With his other hand
he clumsily pulls a silenced .22 from inside his jacket,
puts it in the underside of Ivy’s jaw and SHOOTS twice. Ivy’s
brains spray upward onto the wall, and he slides straight to
the floor. Hull steps out into…
INT. SHORT HALL – NIGHT
An Hispanic busboy coming out of the kitchen sees him and
the gun in his hand, freezes.
Hull walks past him and out the back door. From inside we
see Hull go down three steps, stumble in the drive and fall
to his knees, the gun CLATTERING away from him.
A couple that had been making out, stops, looks.
It takes Hull a moment to gather himself. He picks up the
gun, gets into Elias’s car. It drives away.
INT. HULL’S MOTEL ROOM – NIGHT
Alone, he looks at his face in the mirror. As if he doesn’t
know the person there.
With a knife, he draws out something hidden inside the wooden
backing of the mirror. A manila envelope. He empties it onto
Mementos among which we see, carefully preserved, the blood-
soaked bills his father gave him. Hull ignores them and picks
PHOTO OF HIS CHILDREN
He smooths out the folds, stares at it as if trying to fix
this in his thoughts.
EXT. MOTEL COURTYARD – PAY PHONE – DAY
Hull on the phone. He’s unusually excited, even moved.
…Carmen, it’s me. It’s Daddy…
INT. HULL’S HOUSE – CLEVELAND – DAY
Carmen on the phone, jumping up and down with excitement.
Hi, baby. How are you? I miss you!
I miss you…
I miss you, too, Daddy…
EXT. MOTEL COURTYARD – DAY
Hull pressing the phone to his face, trying to master his
GRAINY 16MM FILM – A LABORATORY MAZE
A lab rat with a metal electrode protruding from its head,
is running a maze at high speed. A VOICE explaining things.
(young, nasal, too
The maze leads in two directions. At
one end the rat can obtain a food
pellet. At the other…
…it receives electrical stimulus
to a very specific area of the
The rat reaches this second destination, pushes a bar, is
stimulated. A lab worker (white coat, gloves) picks up the
animal, replaces it at the start. It runs the same route.
This rat, like 86% of the others in
the experiment, chose the electrical
stimulus repeatedly and exclusively.
It continued to do so until it died
ANOTHER SHOT — the rat dead.
INT. A LABORATORY – DAY OR NIGHT
A 21-year-old RENEGADE from the Cal Tech chemistry department
(red hair, freckles, glasses held together with electrical
tape), a brilliant nerd. He picks up…
A MOLECULAR MODEL
Colored balls stuck together with wooden dowels.
This is an addictive amphetamine
with time-space distortion, delusions
of grandeur — or maybe they’re real —
tending to be impulsive, sometimes
violent behavior. Psychotropic
adaptation for late monopoly
capitalism. It’s illegal, and you
can buy it on any street corner.
He tears off some of the balls, sticks on new ones.
This increases energy, attention,
cognitive powers, yet with a smooth,
almost opiate-like emotional surface.
Ideal for the post-political, post-
rationalist global marketplace and
24 hour lifestyles. It’s completely
legal and can only get it here, in
(to Hull, proudly)
Randy’s a genius. His professor told
him he could win the Nobel prize.
Nobel prizes are for wussies.
What does this shit do to you?
I’m on it now. It’s like cocaine
(offers him powder on
I don’t take drugs.
Your mistake. This is designed for
the top end of the market. For people
who want to master reality, not avoid
it. Because it’s synthetic, you don’t
grow it, refine it, or — best of
all — import it.
What would it take to manufacture
this stuff in quantity?
With a million dollars, I could
produce enough for a limited market
at about two bucks a pop.
(makes a face: fair)
But then with five million, or better
yet ten, the cost would drop to thirty
cents, and we’d have enough for the
I’m going to put two hundred fifty
thousand into your corporate account.
You cheat me, Randy, I’ll use your
bladder for a bagpipe.
(to Hull, with a
We’re going to put Barbosa out of
Elias is very happy. He leads Hull out.
INT. CARVER’S OFFICE – DAY
On the pyramid chart there’s a black border around Ivy’s
photo, as around Eddie’s. A photo of Hull is now on the board
beside the one of Elias. Hull stares out the window, lost in
Synthetic shit?? Sounds like a 20/20
Hull shrugs: it’s not that important. Carver turns to his
So, what was it like?
(still looking out)
What was what like?
I’m God, remember?
(looks back out)
Then you should know how it was.
Carver smiles, but he’s non-plussed by Hull’s new detachment.
You didn’t clear it with me. You’re
getting independent. That’s good.
How’re we coming on Gallegos?
He supplies Barbosa. To get to him
we’ll have to take quantity.
Then you’ve got to —
That’s what killing Ivy did. I’ll
get to him soon.
Is that it?
(seeing him to the
I want you to get a new apartment.
I like where I am.
That shithole? You’re big time now.
Act it. And get some clothes. Spend
money. Have fun. That’s an order.
INT. HULL’S MOTEL – OFFICE – DAY
Hull in a new, expensive suit, gives the big Blonde Woman
Whether I’m here or not, no one else
uses that room. And change the linen
twice a week, just like now.
(starts to go, stops,
And make sure James gets what he
needs. And something for you.
He adds another bill. She smiles.
INT. A RENTED CONDOMINIUM – DAY
Views, open space, expensive furnishings. Hull (in another
fancy suit) is hanging a couple of Betty’s masks. He’s
meticulous about their placement.
Elias wanders out from the other rooms, looking around.
Nice place. Nice suit.
Hull has a moment of self-consciousness about the suit, checks
himself out in a mirror — a private moment.
Elias flops on a couch, puts his feet on an antique coffee
He hurries over, lifts Elias feet to the floor. Hull brushes
the wood, inspects it carefully, fusses, worries… Elias is
You pick all this shit out yourself?
A Jewish lady in the store helped
(mock touched by racial
Aw… Very nice. Understated. I’m
Hull starts to place stacks of cash in a briefcase. He’s
momentarily mesmerized by all the money.
Fifty bucks, fifty fucking bucks…
You sold it all?
I’ll order a couple more keys from
(afraid of that)
I don’t want to push it.
I do. We’ve got a bigger territory,
we need more product. I want to deal
directly with Gallegos. It would
save us money.
Barbosa’ll never let us near him.
Hull closes the briefcase, ushers Elias toward the door.
He’s going out, too.
If we buy twenty, Gallegos’ll come
to us himself.
How do you know?
When I bought a key from Eddie, you
came to me.
Elias laughs, surprised, afraid.
Who’s above Gallegos?
Guzman, but he’s… Don’t ask so
How else will I learn?
(hint of a threat)
Call Barbosa, David, put in our
order… Because we have to split
this, and there isn’t enough here
for both of us.
Elias feels the threat.
EXT. BETTY’S JEWELRY STORE – NIGHT
Despite the CLOSED sign, a light’s on inside. Hull knocks.
No response. He keeps knocking without let-up until:
Nobody’s home, go away.
He knocks harder. Finally she appears in the doorway, stopping
short when she sees it’s him. She’s immediately aware of
white streaks on her grey suit. she tries to brush them off.
(doesn’t want to let
Look, I’m tired, why don’t you…
Hull holds up the briefcase. She sighs, unlocks the door.
INT. BETTY’S OFFICE – NIGHT
A bill counter toting up the cash. She watches it fixedly to
avoid looking at him, but she feels the chemistry.
Why do you look at me like that?
How do I look at you?
Like you know something I don’t.
Like you’re better than me.
That catches Hull off-guard, and he responds with a candor
she didn’t expect.
I don’t think I’m better than you. I
don’t think I’m better than anybody.
She’s startled by this remark and instinctively drawn to
But I do know something… You can’t
stop thinking about me.
Embarrassed, she looks away. He takes her hand, and at his
touch something yields to her. She lets him draw her to him.
His kiss is strangely tender, searching. It turns Betty on
incredibly. She melts into him.
Let’s go back here…
She leads him into…
THE SMALL OFFICE
She’s sweet and loving, but her sweetness scares her. He’s
all over her, but she pulls back for a moment. There is a
couch and before it a coffee table with coke scattered on a
Do this… do it with me.
She offers him a straw. He doesn’t take it.
This is where I’m at. You want to be
with me, it’s gotta be there.
I don’t do that.
Never have, never will.
It’s for fuck-ups.
What do you think, you’re not a
nigger? You’re a nigger as much as
She’s angry, hurt, confused, wants to love him, but feels he
won’t let her, or she won’t let herself. It’s torment. Finally
she’s released by a KNOCK on the door. She goes out to…
THE FRONT OF THE STORE
Lets in Elias. He smells the tension.
(neither answers; to
I talked to Barbosa. He’ll see us
Hull turns to Betty. Both want to go that way instead of
this, but events are leading somewhere else. He follows Elias
EXT. A SALSA CLUB – NIGHT
MUSIC pouring into the darkness.
INT. CLUB – NIGHT
Kids dancing to a live STAGE ACT. High in a wall: a lit
INT. THAT ROOM – NIGHT
Very different from the club. A comfortable room with a bar,
tables, filled with men much older than the dancers below.
Barbosa and Gopher at the bar with Elias and Hull. Chino and
other SHADOWY FIGURES lurk in the room’s depths.
Ten kilos? You’re always late on
Not ten… twenty.
The more we have, the more we can
move. There’re markets we can’t open
because we don’t have the inventory.
Barbosa’s coked to the eyeballs, mean and dangerous.
Finally some balls on this team…
Come work for me, John. I’ll give
you your own franchise. You can supply
Elias, lean on him when he’s late.
Go fuck yourself.
I’m with David.
Why? He give you his “designer drugs”
pitch. He’s never going to do it.
He’s a shmuck.
Don’t talk to me that way.
I’m not talking to you at all. I’m
talking to John.
It’s the cocaine. Don’t listen to
him. Felix, you’ve had enough…
Elias goes for him. He’s fast and strong, and it takes Chino
and Hull to pull him off.
Praise God they don’t let guns in
“None of that in here…” “Take it
Barbosa’s laughing, but his cheek is flecked with his own
blood, and his eyes are dead.
David, you’ve been working out, you’re
getting strong. Are you quick, too?
Come on, I’ll give you a shot at me.
Any time, any place.
Right here, right now. Do this.
He puts his hands out, palms up.
This? What is this?
You know, you slap me, I slap you.
(mimes that game)
Come on, it’s fun. Like summer camp.
It doesn’t look fun. Elias glances at Hull for guidance.
Don’t waste your time.
Stay out of this.
Come on, you can do it, David, you’re
not a shmuck.
Elias puts his hands out, palms up. Barbosa covers them with
his own. ON THE HANDS: Barbosa’s broad, muscular with thick
gold rings and a Rolex; Elias’s paler, slighter, a wedding
band and a slim watch.
Slap my hands. Just slap them.
Elias looks Barbosa in the eye. He’s trying to be a snake,
but he’s more the mouse. He looks away and as he does tries
Slap him with both hands but hits only…
Air. The room breathes. Barbosa turns his rings so the big
surfaces point down.
Now it’s my turn.
It’s Barbosa’s turn. He’s gonna kill
the white boy.
No, you went, Davey, now it’s my
turn. First to four wins, like the
Elias covers Barbosa’s palms with his own.
Oh, God, I can’t look.
ON THE HANDS: Barbosa tenses his hands. Elias yanks back.
Barbosa’s hands haven’t moved.
You remember the rules? If you flinch,
I get to hit you.
He slaps Elias across the face. Hull starts forward. A knife
appears. He stops.
Elias covers Barbosa’s hands. Barbosa tenses. Elias holds
firm, and Barbosa quickly slaps both hands, hard. Elias
doubles over, holding his hands in pain.
That was two.
No, this is two.
He slaps him again, a stinging crack. Elias looks to Hull,
but they’re across a canyon. Hull lowers his eyes.
Oh, and it hurts. Mercy, it hurts.
ON THE HANDS. Barbosa moves his hands a millimeter, and Elias
flinches again. Barbosa smacks him across the face. The sound
reverberates through the room. Now even Gopher is silent.
Tears run from Elias’s eyes, blood from his mouth, but he
Felix! No mas. Finito.
steps forward out of the shadows. He is young, mid-30’s,
handsome, European features, beautifully dressed, accompanied
by a guard we’ll know as MOLTO. Someone murmurs to someone
Hull reacts. Their eyes meet.
The fight is over! The Ambassador
from the South has spoken!
(refusing any mercy)
Barbosa shakes his head, ashamed now in front of Gallegos.
One more! We’re not finished!
(people are silent)
Four was the match.
He holds out his hands. Barbosa resumes the stance, then
waits, waits, waits, and finally brings both hands down,
terribly hard, the sound of the slap is awful.
Okay, that’s it. Get away.
Hull leads Elias to the door right past Gallegos. Their gazes
meet again. As they go out they hear Gallegos BERATING Barbosa
in furious Spanish.
INT. STAIRCASE – NIGHT
Trembling, Elias holds his bloody hands against his chest,
as Hull leads him in silence down the steps.
Look at me. Look at me, damn it!
He barely whispers, but it’s like a shout. Hull, who’d been
avoiding his gaze, forces himself to look. Elias’s humiliation
is so profound it almost ennobles him. Finally:
Why did you do it?
I needed it. They taught me what I
needed to know. That I’m not part of
them, and I never will be. That they
don’t respect me. That I don’t deserve
respect. Because I’m a shmuck, John.
I’m a shmuck…
He laughs a terrible laugh. The door behind them opens, and
Barbosa appears with Gopher. Everyone is ready for death,
David, I’m sorry. It’s a crazy time,
and… you know… I’m doing a little
too much coca… I’ll buy your kid a
pony… anything you want… Let’s
forget about it.
He comes down the stairs, offers his hand. Elias will never
forget about it, but he silently takes the hand, holds them
in his own bloody paws, looking directly into Barbosa’s face.
Barbosa becomes uneasy, manages to extract his hand. Elias
and Hull continue down and out the door. Gopher gushes to
I am so proud of you. You can be
cruel, and you can be kind. And just
now you were kind. Proud, proud, and
more proud. That’s me.
INT. BOXING GYM – NIGHT
Barbosa, Gopher with Hernandez, Taft’s partner. Now we know
Hernandez is corrupt: that’s how they knew Eddie was talking.
I got nothing to give you, my man.
I’m an il-liquid son of a bitch.
Felix, I keep telling them, “I have
informants down there, I’m working
guys, I can’t say who…” If you
don’t have money, give me busts, or
they’re gonna start wondering about
They’re already wondering.
You can have Gopher.
How about a lawyer?
(knows who he means)
Felix, don’t do this.
(he knows, too)
Great, lawyers are great, Jewish is
best. But I need spades, too. The
politicians want dark facts to scare
the suburbs so they’ll vote
Lawyers and spades; I got the
trifecta: two dealers and a girl who
does their wash. Two niggers and a
kike; all Democrats.
You’re my man. And afterwards…
Hernandez rubs thumb against fingers.
When this is over, I’ll send you to
Hawaii, Maui. It’s very beautiful in
Maui, it’s a very spiritual place.
I just want money.
And he’s gone.
I wouldn’t trust that man when he’s
out of rifle range.
Barbosa looks tired.
Don’t do this, Felix. It’ll go wrong.
Kill Elias if you have to, honey,
but don’t set him up for this. It
damages your prestige.
Barbosa faces his cocaine. He tries to resist the pull, then
yields. He does another line. It’s his friend. He loves it.
He picks up a cellular phone, dials.
David, you’re awake, I’m impressed…
I’m sorry about what happened…
Listen, I’ll get you twenty boxes,
like you wanted. You were right, you
should have what you need… Tomorrow
night… Bring your partner and that
girl with the store, Betty… I need
her advice on something. I want us
to have fun, like we used to. We’ll
go to that shrimp place, okay?…
Good… Me, too, David.
(hangs up; does another
line; drawing it
deep into him)
INT. CARVER’S OFFICE – BEFORE DAWN
Hull jacked up, excited, pleased with himself. As he paces,
Carver observes his beautiful suit, shoes, expensive watch.
He looks much better than Carver.
We’re getting twenty kilograms
(notes the lightening
Tonight. I made it happen. I pushed
Elias, now he doesn’t make a move
You run Elias.
I control him. Barbosa’s selling it
to us because he thinks I can move
(now the big news)
And last night I met Ramon Gallegos.
Carver sits up fast. Hull likes that.
We’re getting the dope from him;
it’s still coming through Barbosa,
but Gallegos will approach me soon
on his own. We’re going to get him,
Gerry. We’re going to bring him and
the whole thing down.
Carver sits back, grimaces.
What’s your problem?
(looking out window)
My problem? My problem is that you
don’t really know what’s happening.
Oh, so, tell me what’s happening,
Barbosa is setting you up tonight.
He’s dealing you to Taft and
Hernandez. You’re going to be taken
down as you receive the drugs. They’re
putting together the arrest team
That rocks Hull. He is up, pacing.
What do we do?
You stay away. We’re going to take
Who? Elias and Betty? Don’t be silly.
My boss wants a bust right now. He
goes before the oversight committee
next week. He needs something to
justify the budget.
I’ll get him something. Give me ten
days, and I’ll get him Gallegos on a
Too late. The whole thing’s set up.
Gerry, what are you telling me? I
need Elias… and Betty. You arrest
them, and you’re throwing away
everything I’ve set up.
It’s out of my hands.
Hull walks out.
John, don’t go near that bust.
EXT. 96TH STREET NEAR THE AIRPORT/INT. A CAR – NIGHT
Elias (no sleep) driving. Betty in front. Hull in back.
We shouldn’t go to them. Maybe them
come to us.
They pull into the lot of a boarded up restaurant where
Barbosa and Chino stand outside of a limousine.
EXT. BEHIND AN AIRPORT MOTEL – NIGHT
Taft and Hernandez in the same van that was outside the gym
earlier. They’re watching THROUGH BINOCULARS, night scopes.
They spot Elias’s car.
(whispering into radio)
Here they are. Nobody move until we
see the green suitcase.
EXT. PARKING LOT – NIGHT
The two groups meeting. Barbosa gives Betty a courtly kiss.
I’m sorry for dragging you out so
late, but I have to be careful.
It gives me confidence.
watching planes descend into the airport, nervous. He knows
what’s coming, but how does he handle it?
Let’s see what we’ve got.
Elias takes a satchel out of the rent-a-car trunk. Chino
opens the limousine’s trunk. Inside is an over-sized day-glo
green plastic suitcase. He is about to pick it up.
the police van in
the adjacent lot)
Don’t touch it.
Everyone looks at him, then the direction he’s looking.
What is this?
Something’s wrong. What’s that van
Everyone looks. They can barely see the van. Hull pulls a
This is a bust. The minute we take
the stuff, they’ll be over us.
He’s crazy, David. I thought you
were the crazy one, but it’s him.
Hull puts the gun to Barbosa’s head, addresses Chino:
Chino, pick up the suitcase and give
it to Elias. I’ll only kill him if
something goes wrong.
Chino moves to pick up the suitcase.
Everyone looks at Hull amazed, even Chino.
Fucking A, John…
Okay, everybody in the car.
He throws the money in the limo truck, slams the lid. He’s
running the show now, and everyone knows it. He’s winging
it, but confident and strangely calm.
Elias, energized by Hull’s command, grabs Barbosa and throws
him toward the limo.
HERNANDEZ’S POV THROUGH NIGHT SCOPE
We have a problem.
Shit! Shit! Shit!
(aiming rifle; Hull
Enough of this…
EXT. TWO CARS – NIGHT
Hull shepherding everyone into the limo. He glances toward
the van. On instinct. He pulls Chino to him.
A RIFLE SHOT
Chino’s head explodes. Betty screams.
(screaming at van)
Don’t shoot… Don’t shoot…
INT. VAN – NIGHT
Taft hurling Hernandez against the wall.
Goddam it, what the hell are you
EXT. TWO CARS – NIGHT
SIRENS. GUNFIRE. Elias drags Barbosa into the limo. Hull
throws Betty into the front seat. The limo takes off.
EXT. STREET/INT. LIMO – DRIVING – NIGHT
Hull driving, Betty up front. Elias with a gun on Barbosa in
back. Hull slaloms the limo through police GUNFIRE. Windows
are blown out. Glass everywhere.
I asked for this… I asked for it…
It’s my fault…
(calm, eyes on road)
Relax. We’ll make it.
She looks at him, stunned yet soothed by his certainty.
He’s a cop. He has to be. How else
would he have known?
If I was cop, you’d be face down
How did you know?
The whole thing smelled. Changing
his mind about the stuff. Meeting us
way out here. And I’d seen cops in
that van before. Hernandez is dirty,
that’s who he’s using.
Get out of the car.
He starts to open the door.
David, not now.
INT. TAFT AND HERNANDEZ’S CAR – NIGHT
Racing. Taft at wheel, raging at Hernandez.
Who are you, man? Who the fuck are
INT. LIMO – DRIVING – NIGHT
He traded us to the cops. Just like
Eddie. Eddie, who was nice to my
daughter, had to die because that’s
the rule. And you were vulgar about
my wife, Felix, so at the very least
the same rule applies to you.
I’ll give you money. I’ll give you a
million. Anything you want.
I want you to get out of the car.
Get out of the fucking car. Out of
the fucking —
No, no… we can’t do this.
(turning around from
Stop it, David, or we’re…
Elias wheels on him, sticks the gun in his face:
(in a fury)
Look at my hands!
He holds them up: swollen, black and blue, cut up.
Get out of the car.
Barbosa’s frozen. Elias grabs his hand, SHOOTS a bullet
through. Barbosa screams…
Elias wheels on them, swinging the gun from one to the other.
Stay out of this, or you’ll die.
You’ll both die. Everyone’ll die.
His fury makes anything seem possible. He pushes open the
door. Trembling, Barbosa starts to climb out.
The limo enters a tunnel, police still in pursuit.
Halfway out, Barbosa stops.
Elias SHOOTS him in the butt. He shrieks, jerks forward. The
cops are getting close behind.
Other cops waiting at the far end of the tunnel.
Hull hits the brakes, spins a 180 into the opposite lane.
Barbosa is flung out of the car and plastered by a succession
of fishtailing vehicles.
Hull speeds back the other way. They’re going straight at:
INT. VAN – COMING STRAIGHT AT THEM – NIGHT
Taft and Hull, the two drivers, lock eyes. It’s chicken, but
more than that. Two men set against each other who, for some
reason, want to be friends.
At the last instant, the van swerves away, but:
ELIAS AIMING AT TAFT
Taft sees the gun too late. He can do nothing.
Hull’s gaze follows Taft’s. He sees Elias, deliberately
swerves, sending the SHOT wild.
INT. LIMO – RACING – NIGHT
I had him!
You want to kill a cop?? Don’t be
The limo speeds away.
EXT. STREET/INT. LIMO – DRIVING – NIGHT
The windows shot out. Hull and Betty silent, shaken. Elias
charged up, happy.
Everything is different. We’re the
This is the greatest night of my
life. Terrible but great. Felix was
He said I should kill a man. He was
Barbosa was a roach. Do you miss
him? Will anybody in the world miss
Are you a roach, too?
Yes. Thank God.
What about you?
He’s silent, keeps driving. She’s had enough.
Stop the car.
Hull looks at her.
He brakes to a stop. She jumps out, leans back in.
No more laundering, no more anything.
I’m finished with this.
And she disappears into the night. Elias watches her go.
Hull resumes driving.
She knows too much. We have to kill
No! She’s with me. She’s not going
(looks at Elias)
You touch her, I’ll kill you.
She’s your responsibility then.
Hull accepts it.
We’re going to get the money now,
John. Enough for the new drug. We’re
going to be rich. We’re going to be
so rich that we’re going to leave
the world of ordinary people and
going to a higher realm. I mean that.
They’re going to come after us.
It’s a hardball game. We’re hardball
EXT. COMMERCIAL STREET – EAST L.A. – NIGHT
Hernandez comes out of a bodega with groceries, wine and a
woman. He nuzzles her as he lets her into his car. As he’s
getting behind the wheel, Molto (Gallegos’ guard) stops the
door from closing. The conversation is entirely in SPANISH.
It wasn’t my fault.
It never is.
He SHOOTS him in the head. Hernandez slumps against the wheel.
The woman screams. Molto walks away.
EXT. AN APARTMENT COMPLEX/INT. BETTY’S APARTMENT – DAWN
Hull finds a door, pushes the buzzer. Betty looks through
the glass. She’s afraid of him.
Don’t kill me. I’m not going to talk.
I swear. Please.
Then she looks closer and sees not murder in his face, but
need. She opens the door. Without a word, he gathers her to
him. She can’t resist him now. Her mouth is everywhere on
INT. HER BEDROOM – DAWN
Betty gasping in the wake of pleasure, turning her face away
from him, she feels so exposed.
She hides her face in his neck.
INT. SAME – LATER
They lie in each other’s arms, relaxed together for the first
time. A wonderful, unprotected openness.
Tell me about you.
Everything worth knowing you just
He laughs. They begin to make love again. Suddenly: AN EXTRA
HAND stroking Betty’s hair. She gasps. A gun in Hull’s ear.
Another in her face. Guns all around.
Don’t hurt her.
Hands pull him out of bed, leave her there alone. We see
Molto, two or three others.
EXT. A CEMETERY – MORNING
RAMON GALLEGOS lays a bouquet of white lillies on a grave.
He kneels, whispers a prayer, crosses himself.
He rises and walks to where Molto and the other guards hold
Hull and Elias. Gallegos is in his thirties, more European
than Barbosa. He has a distinctly mild manner.
An impudent question, but Elias seems strangely bright-eyed
despite the guns held on him.
My wife’s. She died of leukemia three
I like to be among the dead. They
never interrupt you.
(turning to them)
Felix Barbosa started out as a skinny
fourteen-year-old fucking Yankee
businessman in Bogata hotels. He
grew up. He made himself strong and
rich, but getting there made him
sick, and that killed him. So he
lost everything for the same reason
he’d gotten it in the first place.
Now we’ll see if you can do as well.
A PRIEST going by greets Gallegos who responds warmly. They
chat a minute in SPANISH. The Priest leaves.
Felix owed me one million eight
hundred thousand dollars.
He addresses this to Hull; Elias feels left out.
When you killed him, you bought the
debt; now you owe it to me; you get
to keep thirty percent, like he did.
You have three days.
Gallegos turns to leave.
Who did Barbosa collect from?
If you don’t know, you shouldn’t
have killed him.
He notices Hull’s earring: two tiny dice, the spots made of
minuscule jewels. Unembarrassed, he fingers it.
Cute… Can I have that?
Without waiting for an answer, he yanks it out of Hull’s ear
and walks away, leaving Hull bleeding through his fingers
before a stone cross.
EXT. A GHETTO STREET – NIGHT
A club on the corner. THROUGH A WINDOW we see a RAP ACT on
the stage, their MUSIC pumping out onto the street. Hull
pulls up in a Jaguar. He and Elias go through a door adjacent
to the club.
INT. BUILDING HALL/INT. GOPHER’S ROOM – NIGHT
The MUSIC is still audible here, though muffled. Elias and
Hull are pushing at door Gopher is trying to hold closed.
I don’t want you in here. You killed
the man, and I loved him. I don’t
want to have anything to do with
Elias kicks it open, and they enter Gopher’s tiny, miserable
domain. He’s wearing some sort of negligee and an immense
naked woman fills his bed. We still hear the MUFFLED MUSIC.
I’m a sixty-three-year-old man! I’m
a grandfather! Would you hit a sixty-
three-year-old white man? Would you
hit your own grandfather?
(slaps him against
Listen, you fucking monkey, you know
who owed him money, and we know you
know. Tell us or —
Hull pulls him off. Elias is angry. They struggle.
He’ll tell us. Gopher, just…
Meaning: deal with me or deal with Elias.
You can’t tell anyone it was me.
The MUSIC continues OVER the following sequence:
INT. CRACK HOUSE – DAY
Elias arguing with a dealer. He slaps him around.
TIGHT ON HANDS
Money is exchanged. The money is stuffed in a satchel.
INT. A LAW OFFICE – DAY
A well-dressed lawyer (30’s) talking with clients, a
distinguished couple in their 60’s.
The door BANGS open and a secretary is unable to restrain
Hull and Elias as they charge into the room. The lawyer is
up on his feet, but Hull shoves him around as Elias politely
explains to the clients that this will only take a moment.
TIGHT ON SATCHEL
Hull’s hands thrust more money in. It’s getting full.
INT. A MOTORCYCLE REPAIR SHOP – NIGHT
A biker in leathers on hands-and-knees spitting blood onto
the cement floor. Hull stands over him, fists clenched.
INT. A CAR TRUNK
A satchel stuffed with money is latched, set next to another
latched one. A third is opened, money and jewelry dumped in.
EXT. STREET – NIGHT
Hull looking into the trunk. Elias is beat.
Where the hell is all the money?
We’re still a million short.
I gotta get laid.
David, we’ve got thirty-six hours.
(slams trunk, moves
Pick me up at Jacqueline’s in the
Sooner than that.
Elias gets in the car and drives off. Hull turns and a dark
American sedan pulls up alongside. Carver behind the wheel.
INT. CAR – NIGHT
(as he gets in)
What are you doing here? You’re going
to get me killed.
Carver peels away fast. He’s very angry, frightened, too,
but that’s hidden.
Where the hell have you been?
Doing my job.
There’s an indifference to Carver’s authority we haven’t
heard before. Hull isn’t even aware of it, but Carver is.
You violated a direct order to stay
away from that bust. As a result, a
police informant is dead, a state
senator was critically injured in
the tunnel pile up and a city
policeman was subsequently murdered.
I didn’t blow my cover.
Don’t get smart with me, motherfucker.
Don’t be a shmuck, Gerry. I’m talking
to Gallegos. I’m collecting his money.
We can set him up right now.
(NOTE: Carver arrives
somewhere and parks.
To be discussed, but
let’s say, for now,
that we are:)
EXT. SANTA MONICA PARKING STRUCTURE – OVERLOOKING OCEAN –
They get out of the car. Carver takes out a flask, has a
drink, offers it to Hull who declines.
Never have, never will.
(puts the flask away)
I want you to give me your gun. You’re
coming in right now.
Coming in where?
Your assignment has been terminated.
You’re not going out there again. If
I have to, I’ll put you in custody.
I’m going to have Gallegos in two
Carver says nothing. Suddenly Hull understands.
You’re protecting him. You’re
Carver snorts: ridiculous.
No, of course. That’s why you wanted
to bust Elias and Betty. I was getting
close, and you wanted to cut this
off then… What is he, the new
Noriega? Helps you fight commies, so
you let him sell drugs to the niggers.
Two birds with one stone.
You violated orders, so you’re
through. Don’t make a conspiracy
theory out of it.
I’m through…? Then, I might as
well have a drink after all.
Surprised, Carver reaches for the flask. As he does, Hull
grabs him, pushes him out over the edge of the building,
holds him there.
Now tell me the truth or they’re
going to decide your troubles got
the best of you.
Carver struggles. Hull pushes him out farther. Carver dangles.
All the more reason to do what I
say. Jesus, Ger, I’m having trouble
It’s the State Department.
Hull pulls him back in. Carver slumps against the wall, drinks
greedily. Hull lets him for a moment, then takes the flask
I told you, Gallegos’s uncle is a
big deal down there.
Guzman, right. Our government supports
Guzman because he’s a moderate. That’s
a right-winger who’s pro-U.S.
(he doesn’t like it
If Gallegos got busted here, it would
hurt Guzman’s political career there.
It’s politics, John, not drugs.
Drugs is politics. Politics is
Christ, Gerry, I dealt drugs. I killed
a man. Others died. What did I do
all this for? For nothing.
I’m going to Washington, John. I’ll
bring you with me. We’ll have clout,
I didn’t do this for clout or money.
You said we were gonna do some good.
Trying’s for college boys.
(his head on fire)
If all there is is power and money…
If all there is… then what am I
doing here? ‘Cause I can get more
power and money out on the street, I
got more there already, than I’d
ever get kissing your ass in
But you can’t do that, John. It’s
Me? There is no me. We took care of
that. First I was a cop pretending
to be a dealer. Now I’m just a dealer
pretending to be a cop. Why not stop
pretending…? Quit the force. Be a
It’s not that simple.
My assignment’s already terminated.
All I have to do is quit. I hereby
(lifts the flask)
My first one.
Not so bad.
He slips the flask in his pocket, gets in the car, starts
Don’t blow your cover.
Hull drives off, leaving Carver alone on the roof.
INT. BETTY’S APARTMENT – NIGHT
She lets him in, sees the distress in his face.
What’s the matter?
He shakes his head, drops onto the couch. He takes out the
flask, offers it to her. She shakes her head.
Who are you, my mother?
He laughs, takes a drink. She’s surprised, says nothing.
Tell you what?
What you came to say.
What did I come to say?
Then tell me anything. Something
about you. Something real.
(long beat; another
When I was young, I occasionally
(laughs to himself)
My father died when I was ten. Right
in front of me.
The revelation is so sudden it surprises Hull as much as
Heart attack. He just fell down. He
said, “I love you,” then died in my
She holds him, and he lets himself be held.
Tell me what’s going on, John?
(doesn’t want to talk
You’re not doing the stuff anymore,
Pulls playfully at her nose.
No. Don’t change the subject.
How is that?
It’s hard. John…!
(trying to tell without
Things are getting, they’re getting
a little… confusing. I had certain
plans, and people haven’t come through
exactly as they promised.
What do you expect with those people?
It’s not just those people. It’s…
it’s bigger than that. It’s of
everybody. Present company excluded.
You’ve got to stop this, John, you
know that. You gotta get out.
Of course, you can.
No! This is what I’m supposed to do.
Supposed to? Who said you’re supposed
The whole fuckin’ world. You think I
didn’t try something else? But
everything funnels you right back
here. Like it’s where you had to go
But you know what you’re doing, don’t
you, selling this stuff? Doing to
If I tried to get out now, they’d
I can’t be with somebody’s who
involved in drugs.
He nods. He knows. He’s even happy about it. But she won’t
yield. Finally he gets up and walks back out the door.
EXT. GOPHER’S BUILDING – 4 A.M.
The neighborhood is reminiscent of the one where Joe Stevens
Sr. was killed. The rap club still pumps MUSIC onto the 4
A.M. streets where whores, junkies, children, teenagers with
beepers and Nikes, welfare mothers roam as if it were daytime
anywhere else. Their eyes, yearning, sullen, vital, hopeless
and hoping stare at…
Everyone knows what he is: the Black Man with the Big Car.
They don’t remember when he was just another hustler making
street buys. Now they hate him, revere him, want to be him,
not caring what it entails. Every eye follows as…
He and Elias cross the street toward Gopher’s door. Hull’s
eyes don’t go right or left. He’s a driven man now.
INT. GOPHER’S ROOM – NIGHT
Gopher has just been roused from sleep. A light in his face,
Hull and Elias looming over him.
There’ve got to be more. We have a
million two, we owe Gallegos one
I told you everyone. Everyone who
owed him, everyone he… One eight?
He’s lying. Barbosa barely owed him
Hull and Elias look at each other.
INT. BETTY’S STORE – MORNING
Taft is showing her photocopies of phone bills, bank
transactions, invoices. She’s obviously upset.
I got every money transfer, every
phone call, all your laundry tickets.
What do you want?
Or you’ll go away ‘til you’re a dried
up old woman, and when you come out,
ain’t nobody gonna want you.
She covers her face.
EXT. EAST L.A. STREET/INT. CAR – DAY
Elias driving a car we haven’t seen before and snickering to
himself at some private joke.
What are you laughing at?
Elias shakes his head: nothing. He laughs. They pull into
the lot beside a movie theater.
INT. THEATER – DAY
A Technicolor Spanish melodrama is winding to its lurid end.
A door in back opens, and a burst of daylight reveals Hull
and Elias being brought in by a guard and met by Molto.
Molto and the guard frisk them, take their guns and money
satchels, make them wait a moment until…
The movie ends.
The house lights come on revealing Ramon Gallegos as the
only spectator in the theater. He beckons. Molto and the
guard bring Hull and Elias down the aisle to him.
Gallegos looking in the satchels. A tense moment.
It isn’t one eight.
It’s a million one. That’s all Barbosa
owed, it’s all we’re paying.
Gallegos is stern for a moment, then laughs.
Big brass balls. Collecting money
makes you strong.
Everybody relaxes. Gallegos scribbles something on a piece
of paper, hands it to the guard who feeds it into a fax
I’m telling our suppliers they got
paid. They’ll be very happy. I’m
And we’re happy. Everybody’s happy.
It’s a happy world.
Elias seems a bit mad, but no one minds. He and Hull are
ready to go. He gestures to Molto, wants his gun back.
So, how can I express my gratitude
for a job well done?
We want Barbosa’s business.
Gallegos gestures to Molto to give them the guns.
Done. Of course.
And, also, your business. All this.
Your money, your dope, everything.
Hull looks at Elias; what’s going on?
You’re tougher than I thought, but
not that tough.
How tough is enough?
He brings up the gun and SHOOTS Gallegos in the head.
Hull and the guards are frozen. Then everyone goes for a
gun. Elias SHOOTS the guard. Hull has his gun to Molto’s
head and screams at Elias:
Meaning don’t shoot him. But Elias has no intention of doing
Thank you, John. I couldn’t have
done that without you.
(barely able to speak)
He can’t believe it: the guy he’s been after the whole time
is dead on the floor.
You taught me to take my work
What’s going on here, David?
We’re taking over.
You’re doing too much stuff.
No, I’m very clear. I’m very, very
Ahora, usted nos assistamos. Enteindo?
EXT. THEATER PARKING LOT/INT. CAR – DAY
Hull, Elias and Molto getting into their car. Molto is
recalcitrant. Elias pistol whips him. Hull stops him.
EXT. SAN FERNANDO VALLEY/INT. CAR – DAY
The car passes through a development of suburban homes. They
enter a driveway. Two boys play in the yard.
Molto is silent. Elias FIRES a bullet right between his feet.
Molto jumps. The boys turn. Hull grabs the gun away. We feel
the toll Elias’s madness is taking on him.
What the fuck’s the matter with you?
It works, John. It works.
And, indeed, Molto is pointing to a Winnebago parked at the
rear of the property.
EXT. REAR OF PROPERTY – DAY
Winnebago. With a tire iron, Hull snaps off the padlock that
holds the rear door closed. He opens the door. Money gushes
out. He slams it closed.
He, Elias and Molto are on hands and knees scooping it up.
SAME – LATER
Molto tied to a tree. Elias is giving him instructions while,
strangely, removing Molto’s shoes and socks.
Disce a Senor Guzman que…
(his Spanish isn’t
…that we have his money, and we’re
willing to talk as soon as he comes
to town. We’ll know how to reach
Molto just glares at him. Elias smiles, takes the shoes and
socks and all the contents of Molto’s into the Winnebago,
and he and Hull drive away, leaving the car behind.
EXT./INT. A PARKING GARAGE/INT. WINNEBAGO – EVENING
The Winnebago enters the garage, Elias greeting the attendant,
“Hey, Frank.” Frank waves him in.
The garage is filled with various RVs. Hull pulls the
Winnebago into an empty spot beside Elias’s car and gets
out. Elias remains in the cabin making calculations.
Approximating the cubic capacity and
depending on the denominations of
the bills, it’s somewhere between
fifty million and two hundred million
dollars. Right back there.
As he does, Hull checks his gun, walks around behind the
vehicle and prepares to shoot Elias in the back of the head
through the open window. Elias finishes his money report,
and sits there as if unaware of Hull, but:
Think I’m crazy?
(blowing up, gun still
I can’t believe you got us into this.
All of fucking Latin America is going
to be after our asses, including
Renaldo Guzman who’s friends with
fucking George Bush.
I know they’re coming after us. I
want them to. We’ll give them the
money, but we’ll make a deal for
ourselves. We’ll get what we need
for the synthetic drugs. I’ve thought
it all out. I’ve been thinking it
out for years.
Hull uncocks the gun, rubs it against his burning face. Elias
turns around, embraces him.
We’re going to have everything. Don’t
you want everything, John?
They’re going to get your family,
David. They’ll kill your wife and
Nancy and Miranda left the country
two days ago.
You knew about this then?
What about Betty?
EXT. BETTY’S JEWELRY SHOP – EVENING
A car SQUEALS to a stop. Molto and three thugs smash through
the glass door. They disappear into the store where things
can be heard BREAKING. They emerge a moment later, jump into
EXT. SYNAGOGUE – EVENING
Hull’s car races up. He jumps out, dashes toward the building.
INT. SYNAGOGUE SOCIAL HALL – EVENING
Forty PEOPLE on folding chairs. Hull enters on a dead run.
He stops short when he sees:
at the front. He signals to her, but she’s already saying:
Hi, my name is Betty.
EVERYONE IN THE ROOM
My name is Betty, I’m a drug addict.
And I’ve been clean for nineteen
The room bursts into APPLAUSE. She sees Hull at the back; he
signals to her, but she goes on.
I’ve been using drugs and selling
them, and I’ve wanted to stop for a
long time, and the only way I did
was because I met a man I loved and
who loved me. I know that’s not what
I’m supposed to say. I’m supposed to
say there was a higher power, and
maybe there was, behind it all, but
this man is strong and his love made
me strong enough that I could start,
or at least think about a life that
didn’t have drugs in it…
She’s looking right at Hull as she speaks. He’s torn between
the danger he knows she’s in and his emotion at what she’s
EXT. SYNAGOGUE – EVENING
Hull hurrying Betty toward his car. She’s protesting.
I’ve got to get clothes.
You can’t go back.
INT. HULL’S CONDO – EVENING
Molto and men pouring through it. In frustration, Molto
smashes the table Hull had fussed over when Elias put his
EXT. MOTEL COURTYARD – NIGHT
Hull and Betty hurry toward his room carrying shopping bags,
a newly bought suitcase. They see…
They freeze, turn, ready to bolt. But more cops behind them.
A panic, yet no one’s coming after them. They walk on. The
cops are going into and coming out of Belinda’s room.
INT. BELINDA’S ROOM – NIGHT
The fat Blonde Woman is talking to a policewoman. James sits
on the bed staring at…
who lies dead on a floor littered with crack vials. Hull
picks up a vial, holds it up to the Blonde Woman with a
She got a fever and just burned up.
She just burned up all of a sudden.
It must have been bad stuff.
He shouldn’t be here.
(takes his hand)
Come on, James, we’ll go get a
The boy allows himself to be led out. Betty looks at Hull
who’s in a private hell.
EXT. COURTYARD – NIGHT
Hull and Betty are about to enter Hull’s room. The door is
INT. HULL’S ROOM – NIGHT
Taft stands at the dresser. He’s found Hull’s collection of
memorabilia and is looking at the photo of his children.
(angry at the invasion)
Give me that.
He snatches away the photo, but not before Betty sees it.
She reaches out her hand. He reluctantly turns it over to
Tell me something, who the fuck are
Hull doesn’t answer, collects the rest of his things,
including the bloody money, stuffs it back in the envelope.
‘Cause I don’t think you’re quite
the asshole you’re trying to be.
Look, Mr. Taft, that’s your name,
right? Leave me alone. I got things
on my mind.
I’d think you would. You better have
your goddamn life on your mind, or
it’s gonna get away from you. It’s
gonna burn up like that poor woman
across the way. Like all of you’s
And what do you do, Mr. Taft, except
chase bad guys up and down the street
with your dirty partner, never
catching anybody important?
I do what I can. Do you do what you
(Hull says nothing)
Maybe my partner was dirty. Maybe
the chief’s dirty. And the mayor.
And the President. Maybe God Himself’s
taking something on the side. That’s
their problem. But I’ll bust ‘em if
Get out of my room.
Don’t deny who you are.
He leaves. Hull turns to Betty who is still holding the photo
of his children. He gently takes it, looks at it, seems to
draw both succor and pain from it.
He gets out Carver’s flask and tries to drink, but it’s empty.
They’re my children. They live in
Cleveland with their mother. I’m
divorced from her. I haven’t seen
them in… some time. I want to, but
I haven’t been able to arrange it.
How much else don’t I know about
(trying to make a
Everything else… Everything else
is… I don’t know.
Taft has all the evidence about my
He’s going to put me in jail for a
long time unless I give you up.
I can’t. So, I’ve got to get away.
Far away. But I need money.
Money? I got money…
He empties his pockets of all that gushed out of the
Winnebago, empties a satchel as well until it fills the room
EXT. MOTEL – NIGHT
Hull putting Betty into an airport limousine.
(to the driver)
I’ll meet you there in a week.
She kisses him. He’s about to close the door. She stops it.
You know the first time, when I saw
you in the bar…?
(smiles at the memory)
You wouldn’t even look at me.
‘Cause I knew what you were thinking.
You were judging me.
No, I wasn’t, I was…
You were. Your eyes were like an
angel in my heart telling me I should
be good, and I didn’t want to hear
This news startles Hull, yet, strangely, he senses its truth,
and the sweetness is more than he can bear.
That’s you, too. Maybe this is you,
I don’t know, but I know that’s you.
She closes the door. The car pulls away.
In an unmarked car up the street, Taft picks up the radio.
EXT. A LATIN AMERICAN CONSULATE – DAY
A limousine pulls into the gate and disgorges RENALDO GUZMAN,
55, and his wife, 25. They’re shown into the consulate.
The limousine pulls out onto the street and parks. Gopher
appears, knocks on the driver’s window. It comes down. They
chat briefly in Spanish. Gopher opens up a cellular phone.
INT. A HOTEL ROOM – SANTA MONICA – DAY
Overlooking the ocean. Hull pacing nervously, Elias relaxed,
reading the paper.
What if we forget all this? Take ten
million each and disappear. Leave
the country. New identities, new
What’s the matter, John? Having
A phone RINGS. Elias picks up his own cellular.
Yes… Where?… No! No way… We
pick the time and place… Otherwise
(looks to Hull who
nods his agreement)
Got a pencil?
EXT. CONSULATE – LIMO – DAY
Gopher hands a piece of paper to the limo driver. He walks
AROUND THE CORNER
As he’s about to get into a car, Taft grabs him. Gopher is
surprised and not pleased.
EXT. PARKING GARAGE – NIGHT
Where Hull and Elias left the Winnebago. Guzman’s limo
approaches. Frank, the attendant, waves it on.
INT. GARAGE – NIGHT
The limo climbs the ramps until it comes to Elias’s car,
parked where the Winnebago was; the Winnie is nowhere in
sight. The limo pulls alongside.
Hull and Elias get out. Molto gets out of the limo. Then
We have a proposal to make. We regret
what happened to your nephew…
Say what you have to say.
We all know that your cousin’s
business is coming to an end. Costs
have climbed while profits and the
Guzman waves: get to the point.
We have developed a new product:
simpler, cheaper to manufacture,
superior quality and completely
synthetic. Therefore, no growing, no
refining, no peasants, no importing,
no customs agents… Here’s a detailed
prospectus with anticipated cash
flow and so forth.
He hands a copy to Guzman and the lawyer.
(to Molto, teasing
The racist Americans just want to
cut us poor Hispanics out of the
There are no Americans anymore, Mr.
Guzman, you know that. No Hispanics,
no Japanese, no blacks, no whites,
no anything. There are only rich
people and poor people. We’re rich,
so we’re on the same side.
EXT. GARAGE – NIGHT
Taft with Gopher in his car.
Do they have money in there?
I don’t know.
They wouldn’t meet here otherwise.
Gopher shrugs; a decision: Taft picks up his radio.
Okay, everybody, here’s the play…
INT. GARAGE – NIGHT
We’re prepared to give you 80% of
the money. The remainder you invest
in our business with proceeds paid
out according to the figures there.
He indicates the prospectus that Guzman has been looking
This looks interesting. I’d have to
confirm everything, of course. Do
you have a sample of the product?
Elias produces one. Guzman gestures to Molto. Molto samples
it. Molto’s eyes widen.
Where is our money?
Elias hands him a key, points to a different Winnebago. Molto
takes the key, unlocks the back: money. He signals okay to
Suddenly: SIRENS. Police cars wail into the garage. The THWACK-
THWACK and sweeping light of a helicopter descend toward the
roof (though we never see the copter).
You set this up.
They’re after us, not you.
Everybody scatters. The garage is a labyrinth of cement
stairwells, ramps, hundreds of RVs to hide between, under
and so forth… Lots of NOISE, lights, but mostly we see
Hull and Elias dodging here, avoiding the action.
INT. ANOTHER PART OF THE GARAGE – NIGHT
Molto caught between the lights. He draws his gun. GUNFIRE.
He’s cut down.
Where are the rest of them?
EXT. PARKING GARAGE – NIGHT
Cars with rotating dome lights, but not many cops.
Hull and Elias emerge from a shadowy doorway and make their
way at a casual pace beyond the perimeter of police cars,
quickly mingling with other spectators. They continue down…
EXT. A QUIET SIDE STREET – NIGHT
Strolling now. Elias elated, uncontained joy.
We did it. Twenty million. Twenty
fucking million. We’re going to have
synthetics. We’re gonna be rich.
Hull stops walking and just stands there.
What’s the matter, John? Be happy.
Your whole life has just been solved.
In one motion, Elias draws his gun, turns and FIRES.
The figure goes down. Elias can’t believe he hit him.
Hull starts toward the figure.
(heading the other
John, where are you going?
Taft — on the ground.
Oh, Jesus, no…
He drops to his knees. Blood oozes from Taft’s chest.
John, what the hell are you doing?
Let’s get out of here.
Hull tries to hold closed the wound. The posture duplicates
Hull with his dying father. He feels for a pulse. For breath.
Let him die. Let him die twice. Come
He pulls at Hull who won’t go. Hull does mouth-to-mouth.
Taft opens his eyes, looks up at him.
[Says to Taft whatever a CPR-trained
policeman would say in this
situation.] (to Elias)
Are you kidding me?
(to Hull, getting it)
Oh, man, you’re a cop. You’re a cop,
(with difficulty, as
if against his will)
Yeah, I’m a cop. I’m a fucking cop…
Oh, really? Where’s you badge?
I don’t have one. I’m undercover.
Get help, David.
John, that’s a cop. He tried to kill
He didn’t know.
Oh, he didn’t know. I don’t know.
Maybe you don’t know. Maybe you think
you’re a cop because… because…
Drop the gun, put your hands against
the car. Spread your legs… Police!
Taft grunts once, stiffens.
My God! Please…
The pulse is gone. Hull begins to perform CPR.
Okay, let’s say you’re a cop. Be a
Hull keeps doing CPR.
We’ve still got the money. We put it
into Randy’s chemistry set. In five
years we’re worth five hundred million
each, minimum. You’ll be one of the
richest black men in America. Richer
than Cosby. Who gives a shit how you
got it? You think the white ones
Hull keeps working on Taft.
Is this asshole all that stands
between you and greatness? Let me do
you a favor.
He puts a gun to Taft’s head and FIRES. In a reflex, Hull
draws his own gun, SHOOTS Elias in the stomach. Stunned, he
wobbles backward a few steps. Sits on the street.
Gee, John, that’s kind of an extreme
Hull is stunned he did it. And this finally attracts the
police who see a black man with a gun who just shot a white
Hull goes to Elias who’s dead. A POLICEMAN pulls him off,
beating him with a gun.
INT. LOS ANGELES COUNTY JAIL – DAY
Hull, bandaged, wearing prison blues, walking with Carver.
What about Guzman?
He vanished, thank God, or we’d both
be in deep doo-doo. At least you got
Elias did. And everything goes on as
That’s the drug game. Plus a change…
I want you to come back to work for
me. You’ll beat all charges on a
technicality and go back to who you
Who was I, Ger?
Does anyone really know?
I have other things to do.
Like travel? Tangiers, maybe?
Hull looks at him; how did he know?
I’m God, remember?
He beckons him. He walks him over to a cell. Through a one-
way window they see:
alone in the cell, unaware she’s being watched.
Go back to work, she walks out of
here. Otherwise, she’s up on multiple
counts, and I’ll see to it the judge
runs them consecutively.
Hull just looks at him. Carver shrugs apologetically.
INT. ANOTHER ROOM
Absolutely white. Not a window, not a stick of furniture.
The only deviation is Hull in prison blues.
The door opens, Betty comes in wearing prison yellows. She
sits on a nearly invisible chair. They know they’re being
They want me to testify against you.
I said I wouldn’t.
You have to. It’s all set up. That’s
how you’re getting off.
She shakes her head in cynical understanding. How difficult
it is to get back to an honorable life.
He takes her hand.
My father didn’t have a heart attack.
She looks at him.
He was shot robbing a liquor store.
Trying to rob it. I lied about that.
Baby, why are you telling me this?
I had to start somewhere… There’re
other things you don’t know…
AN IRIS SHOT – HULL AND BETTY
Silent. Kissing. Beginning to make love. Hull extracts
himself, gives the finger to the POV and stuffs a bit of
tissue in the iris, blocking our view.
EXT. ROOM – DAY
Carver takes his eye from the now obscured peephole.
EXT. A CEMETERY – DAY
A funeral. Taft’s wife and children (from the wallet photo)
leave the graveside with the rest of the funeral party.
When everyone is gone, Hull approaches the grave. From his
pocket, he removes the four blood-soaked bills his father
gave him, and wedges these among the stems of flowers that
already cover the plot.
He’s silent a moment, then he gets up. He joins Carver who’s
standing with Hull’s children. The kids each take his hand,
they walk together.
Betty walked out of court free this
morning. That’s my side of the deal.
(to the children)
You two run on ahead.
They do. Hull watches them go.
Her probation gets revoked the minute
you fuck up. I want you to stay away
from her altogether.
You know the difference between a
black man and a nigger?
Carver smiles, shakes his head. He likes a good joke. Hull
punches him so hard in the stomach that he goes to his knees.
The nigger’s the one who’d even think
about doing what you tell him.
He walks away. Still on his knees, doubled over, Carver
whispers after him:
Don’t blow your cover.