Happy Dog by Benjamin J. Tucker
Alternative titles: "A Film I Wrote"
Morning sun peeks over the horizon, washing the following scene in a marmalade glow.... We stand beneath a roadway bridge, arching a babbling creek bed, surrounded by rolling hills of autumn-color forest -- peaceful, picturesque. A DEAD MAN’S BODY, wrapped in a tarp, topples off the ledge of the bridge -- drops through the air, slapping the water with a booming splash. Overhead on the overpass, a car door claps shut. Then an engine roars to life. Tires squeal-the-hell out of there. Leaving the body behind to drift along the racing current before bottoming out on a heap of creek rocks. FADE OUT/OVER BLACK.... A small dog barks, arf-arf-arf, and continues barking as we.... FADE IN. INT. HENRY’S BEDROOM -- MORNING HENRY WILLIAMS, 30s is lying crashed out on the bed, asleep as the penetrating bark ricochets off the walls around him. He stirs awake. But only enough to swat a cell phone off the night stand. Barking stops. He drifts back to sleep. Moments tick by in peace. When the barking picks back up again, arf-arf-arf...! Henry’s eyes snap open. Oh, shit. EXT. HENRY’S NEIGHBORHOOD -- MORNING A placid, suburban neighborhood, with tree-lined streets and cookie-cutter homes. EXT. HENRY’S HOUSE -- CONTINUING The front door cracks open. A hotdog wienie is tossed out into the front yard. Door snaps closed. Pops back open. Henry pokes his head out, cautious-like. Checks to see if the coast is clear -- it is.
He bees toward a tiny smart car parked in the drive way. He is wearing a sweater jacket, bow tie and jeans. Arf. Henry freezes -- busted. He wheels around to find.... PEANUT A scraggly-haired Chihuahua, lurking nearby, as if anticipating the moment. They exchange looks. Peanut grrrs. Henry cringes. Peanut shoots across the yard like a bullet, knee-jerking Henry into a footrace to his car. HENRY Leave me alone! Henry goes to yank the car door open when, swack! An EGG hits the Fortwo’s driver side window. Explodes, yoke, shell -- spray everywhere. Henry wheels to find.... MS. CRUMBIE, 73. His curmudgeonly next-door neighbor, stands nearby with her arm cocked back, ready to chuck another egg at Henry. MS. CRUMBIE You ain’t goin’ nowhere ‘til the cops get here, and you leave in cuffs. HENRY Whuh-MS. CRUMBIE Don’t play retard with me, bung lick. I know it was you. You left my back gate open on purpose so Peanut could run off -- get lost. HENRY No way! MRS. CRUMBIE Yeah way! HENRY I love this dog-Peanut locks a bite into the tongue of Henry’s sneaker, sparking off a battle for Henry’s balance.
HENRY (CONT’D) Call your dog off me. MS. CRUMBIE Sic ’em, boy! Sic ’em good! HENRY I didn’t mess with your gate-She fires the egg. Henry ducks. Egg smacks Fortwo. HENRY (CONT’D) Stop chucking eggs at my car! MS. CRUMBIE Save it for the cops. You’re a horrible man, Mr. Williams. A despicable, hate-filled man. And you will answer for your-Henry kicks free from Peanut to escape into his tiny automobile. Engine revs. The Fortwo peels-the-hell out of there. Ms. Crumbie slings another egg -- but misses. MS. CRUMBIE (CONT’D) You’ll pay for what you did! Fortwo disappears around the street corner. Peanut skitters back over to the hotdog -- gobbles it up. INT. HENRY’S FORTWO -- SHORTLY AFTER (TRAVELING) Henry drives, grumpy-faced. Cell phone rings. He answers. HENRY Hello? BETHANY (V.O.) (sprightly) I’m so ready to leave my parent’s and come home. My train arrives there at two. So don’t be late. What are you doing? HENRY On my way to the publisher’s. BETHANY (V.O.) “On my way to the publisher’s.” Is my little Eeyore feeling blue? HENRY He’s back, Bea.
BETHANY (V.O.) Huh? HENRY He’s back. Peanut’s back. BETHANY (V.O.) When? HENRY Today, this morning. BETHANY (V.O.) But you said you had handled it, and I could come home today-HENRY I know what I said, but he’s back. Click. HENRY (CONT’D) I just needa little more time to figure out another plan, you know? Hello? Hun? You there? Nope. She hung up. INT. PUBLISHING HOUSE -- DAY Henry, sitting in a waiting room, taps his foot anxiously. He squeezes a football-shaped stress ball in his hand. “CARLA HANCOCK” and “ALL-STAR REALTY” emblazoned on it. A TV mounted to the wall is on. A LOCAL NEWS REPORTER, 20s, stands center frame doing her finest.... LOCAL NEWS REPORTER A man’s body was discovered this morning near Lake Creek Bridge by two local men fishing nearby. TV cuts to an interview with the TWO FISHERMEN. FISHERMEN #1 Ed and me, we’z just out fishin’ the creek.... ED nods, yup.
FISHERMAN #1 ...kickin’ back brewskies when the thing just plopped right out of the sky, damn near hit Ed here in the head. Ain’t that right, Ed? Ed nods, yup.
TV cuts back to....
LOCAL NEWS REPORTER Police have not released the identity of the deceased -- but sources linked to the case tell me he’s a male in his early 20s. BACK TO HENRY Picking bits of eggshell off his sweater jacket. His cell phone rings. He answers.... HENRY Hello? OLD MAN’S QUIVERED VOICE (V.O.) Larry? HENRY Wrong number, pal, just like all the other times. OLD MAN’S QUIVERED VOICE (V.O.) My bath needs drawn-Henry sighs, hangs up. RECEPTIONIST (O.S.) Mr. Williams? HENRY Yes? RECEPTIONIST They’re ready for you. Henry shoulders a leather writer’s satchel and hurries off down a corridor -- to a door. He courtesy knock, knocks on the door. Then proceeds inside, closing the door behind him, shutting us out of the scene. Time elapsed.... Door swings open. Henry steps back out into the hallway, escorted by a man in his early 30s, wearing a....
SUIT AND TIE So just get the last chapter to me as soon as you can, and we’ll go from there. Oh, and I’ll have Janice ring Rebecca with the details on the book event. (then) You’ve got a big future here, slugger. Henry beams proudly. SUIT AND TIE (CONT’D) And knock this one out of the park like you did the other one and we’ll be talkin’ series here. Franchise. Movies. Toys. A fucking Disneyland ride! CUT TO: EXT. OFFICE BUILDING NEAR SHOPPING CENTER -- SUNSHINY DAY Henry crosses the parking lot with a new-found skip in his step. A shadowy figure creeps up from behind, kissing a 9 MM to the back of Henry’s skull.... SHADOWY FIGURE (O.S.) Gimme all you got before I kick a bullet through your dome. HENRY (paralyzed w/ fright) I.I.I’ve got kids at home who need me. SHADOWY FIGURE (O.S.) Shut up. Gimme your wallet. I ain’t playing bitch, snap-snap. Henry digs his wallet out. Hands it over to the looming figure, standing impatiently behind him, meet.... MURPHY LINDERMEN, 30s. He wears grime-stained jeans and a scuzzy “SXSW” hoodie. Has the hoodie on backwards, hood up, with holes cut out for seeing. MURPHY (AKA SHADOWY FIGURE) C’mon, bitch. Good. Now gimme your watch. And the purse.
HENRY It’s not a purse. MURPHY I don’t giva’ fuck. Now hurry. Murphy adjusts his eyeholes. Then thumbs Henry’s wallet open -- looking for the goods. MURPHY (CONT’D) (off drivers licence) Yo. Your name’s Henry Williams? HENRY Maybe. Why? Henry fumbles the wristwatch. Whoops. It bounces to the pavement. Murphy crouches to scoop it up. MURPHY Yo, dude, I think we went to high school together. He rises, BIFF! Straight into a sucker punch. MURPHY (CONT’D) My septum! A Judo-kick to the testies crumbles Murphy to the pavement, writhing in hurt. Henry turns to escape, but Murphy recovers in time, aims the gun at Henry’s,... MURPHY (CONT’D) (growling mad) Real men don’t kick other men in the testicles! It ain’t right. (takes off mask) I’m not gonna shoot you, Henry. So just chill-lax, already. Just hear me out. I’m positive we went to Jefferson together. Class of ‘01? Henry softens, but his eyes stay locked on the gun. MURPHY (CONT’D) (takes notice) It's not real. It’s a water gun. (pulls trigger) Don’t even work. Fuckin’ Dollar Store gypped me four bucks-- you don't remember me, do you? Honestly? Murphy Lindermen? A ripple of recollection washes over Henry’s face....
HENRY Murphy? Murphy’s grin brightens into a toothy smile. MURPHY Shh-yeah, buddy! C’mere, you! Murphy moves in for a bear hug. Henry hesitates, then, reluctantly, reciprocates. They hug. HENRY You almost gave me a heart attack. MURPHY Sorry ‘bout that. Oh, here's your wallet back. Yeah, I’m just out pranking people for my YouTube channel. I pretend like I’m gonna rob ‘em while my partner, over there, films their reactions.... Murphy points vaguely off into the distance. MURPHY (CONT’D) He’s over there with the handheld. Henry looks, sees nobody with a camera. Murphy promptly moves on.... MURPHY (CONT’D) So, damn, dude. Talk about a blast from the past. Hey, so, no shit-you got kids?! HENRY Whuh? MURPHY You know? Kiddos? Cause you said.... (off Henry’s look) ...never mind, it’s unimportant. Awkward beat. Henry begins inching toward the Fortwo, parked not-too-far away, eager to put the encounter behind him. HENRY Well, I should get going, got a million things to do. But was great bumping into you again. You look good, loving the beard, man, very backwoods-chic.
MURPHY Thanks, dude. Scratchy, but the bitches seem to dig it. HENRY I bet. Henry arrives at the Fortwo. Pops the door open and slips into the driver seat. MURPHY “Meridian gathered her courage as she rose to her feet like a mighty phoenix rising from ashes, to face her destiny. To fight. Her final fight.” HENRY Ahh, I see you’ve read my book. MURPHY My daughter makes me read it to her every time she stays the night. It’s rather fuckin’ annoying, but whatever. Was wantin’ to get her your new one but can’t, can’t seem to find it anywhere. HENRY That’s kinda my fault. I haven’t finished it yet. But tell her: soon. MURPHY How soon? HENRY Like, real soon. I promise. Henry moves to shut the door. But Murphy steps absentmindedly in, blocking it open with his hip. MURPHY Hey, we should totally hang out sometime. HENRY Totally. MURPHY Yo, you got an agent?
HENRY (good grief) Uh, nope. Sure don’t. Sorry. MURPHY Cause I play the drums for this band, maybe you’ve heard of us: Dirty Rotten Pistons? HENRY Nope. Can’t say I have. MURPHY Yeah, well. We’re up and comin’. HENRY Good for you. Murphy digs his hand into the sun-bleached backpack he’s been schlepping around and pulls out a CD. MURPHY So, check it. Here's our demo. People’ve likened it to Crack -but for your soul. Maybe if you like what ya hear, you could pass it on to your agent? HENRY I just said that I don't have an agent. And assuming I did, she’d only rep authors and literary works, so.... Murphy insists, doe-eyed, pathetic with hope. Henry caves, takes the damn demo. HENRY (CONT’D) I’ll see what I can do. MURPHY Rock on. My digits are listed on the inside jacket-Thwack, door slaps shut. Fortwo tears out of there. EXT. HENRY'S STREET -- DAY Henry SLOW ROLLS down the residential street.... ...spots Peanut, little legs quivering as he squeezes out a fresh and steamy onto Henry’s front lawn. Lil’ bastard.
Their eyes meet, lock. An EPIC man-verse-beast stare down ensues. But ultimately. Henry rolls past. On down the road, disappearing around a street corner in his itty-bitty car. Moments after, the NEIGHBORHOOD MAILMAN, 30s, strolls down the sidewalk, up to a mailbox. Peanut skitters over, wagging his tail. Mailman dips to a knee to scratch Peanut’s belly.... NEIGHBORHOOD MAILMAN (cutesy wootsy) ...who's a little happy dog? Youse a lil’ happy dog! INT. MICHAEL’S DELI -- DAY Henry works. Fingers hammering away on keyboard, spilling rails of text across the laptop’s screen. He stops typing. Stretches his fingers. Reads what he just wrote quietly to himself. A WAITRESS, 40s, approaches, donning an apron.... WAITRESS Look who’s back. I take it, it didn’t work? HENRY Nope. He must be microchipped or something. WAITRESS Shucks, sug, bless your heart. I guess that was my one-and-only great idea. HENRY Yeah, well, you tried. She tops off his coffee. WAITRESS How’s the novella coming?
HENRY Almost set to print. Just need to crank out this final chapter-A BELL above the front door, dings. Door swings open. And in walks a CHUBBY MAN, 40, wearing overalls and a trucker’s cap. WAITRESS (CONT’D) (re: Chubs) Looks like duty calls. She leaves Henry behind, greets the chubby fella and sits him down at the bartop, in front of a television set. CHUBS (to Waitress) Ham on Rye. Malt milkshake. She nods, hurries off. Chubs turns his attention to the TV. Playing on the tv, A BREAKING NEWS REPORT.... The local reporter from before, hurls questions at SHERIFF KOPECKY, 40s, a no nonsense, steamroller of a man, at a contentious press briefing.... LOCAL NEWS REPORTER Can you speak to reports regarding the burn marks discovered on the decedent's neck? And if they match the stun-gun marks left behind on the other victim’s linked to the Lake Creek Killer? SHERIFF KOPECKY I won't speak to specifics regarding an ongoing investigation. Thanks. (then) Next question. A GAGGLE OF REPORTERS burst into questions.... A DIFFERENT REPORTER Are you prepared to concede that you've arrested the wrong man?
SHERIFF KOPECKY (miffed) Carlton Marshal sleeps in the bed he made, and’ll continue sleeping in until the day that predator meets his maker -- the devil. Next question. Yeah, you. ANOTHER REPORTER Are you concerned this will hurt your reelection chances? SHERIFF KOPECKY Don’t be stupid. Next question. Yeah, you. BACK TO CHUBS CHUBS Hey, guy, you watchin’ this? Henry looks up from his laptop to see Chubs is speaking to him. HENRY ‘Scuse me? CHUBS Asked if you’re watchin’ this? HENRY Nope. Henry dives back into work. Beat.... CHUBS Mind if I switch the channel? HENRY (without looking up) Knock yourself out. Chubs flips the channel to a funny “Jim Carrey” movie. He watches, then busts out laughing in hysterics, jerking Henry off focus. Henry snipes the giggling hyena with an icy glare. DING! Front door flings open. And in strolls a CLIQUE OF MOMS, ushering CRYING TODDLERS in along with them. CUT TO:
INT. HENRY’S FORTWO -- DAY (SHORTLY AFTER) Henry broods in the driver seat, caught up in a flash fire of afternoon, city traffic. His cell phone rings.... HENRY Hello? BETHANY (V.O.) Kill Peanut, Henry. HENRY I’m not gonna murder a dog, Bea. BETHANY (V.O.) Then I guess you leave me with no other choice but to give Carla the go ahead to sell the house-HENRY I’m not moving, Bea, that’s ludicrous-BETHANY (V.O.} We tried it your way, Henry, and now it’s mine. That was the deal. HENRY But the deal was based on you being reasonable. BETHANY (V.O.) Having her as a neighbor is one thing -- but I can’t handle her and the dog. It’s too much. HENRY I just need me a little more time. EXT. HENRY'S HOUSE -- LATE DAY The sun sinks beneath the horizon. Street lamps buzz to life. A Fortwo rolls up. Parks in the driveway. Henry hops out, clutching a DOG MUZZLE and GIFT BASKET of mini-soaps and bath oils. He spots a YARD SIGN, planted in his lawn. It’s a snazzy campaign-sign telling people to.... “VOTE FOR SHERIFF ALAN KOPECKY“ His tough-as-nails face bedecks the front of sign.
Henry marches over to the sign, yanks it out of the grass and tosses it beside a trash bin. Then crosses to Ms. Crumbie's front door. Knock, knocks on the front door. It creaks open on its own.... INT. CRUMBIE'S HOME -- CONTINUING Poorly lit. Rich in shifting shadows and dusty antique furnishings -- probably reeks of ashtray and mothballs. Henry’s head dips in.... HENRY (plugs his nose) Ms. Crumbie? Anyone home? No answer, only Peanut barking murder from the backyard. HENRY (CONT’D) Hello? He moves deeper into the home.... HENRY (CONT’D) Ms. Crumbie, it’s me, Henry. Then wades into.... MS. CRUMBIE’S KITCHEN Where he finds Peanut clawing at the sliding door to get in. He barks hysterically at Henry. There’s a doggie door cut into the glass, but it’s blocked off by a crocheting kit. Rolls of yarn and other crocheting tools are scattered over the tabletop -- a crocheting needle rests beside a petite, foofy, partially-knitted DOGGIE SWEATER. HENRY Ms. Crumbie?! Hello?! (beneath breath) Didn’t croak, didja? (then, calling out) Groan if you need an ambulance. He listens intently -- but gets no response. He crosses over and crouches down, zeroing in on Peanut.
Peanut freaks. Arf-arf-arf-arf...! Infuriated by Henry’s maneuver. HENRY (CONT’D) Where’s the wrinkly ol’ bag? Dead? God, I hope so. You look like a rat. You know that? You like cheese, rat? Rat. Rat. Rat-Henry’s startled by a noise behind him. Henry swivels to see MS. CRUMBIE, gripping a SNUB NOSE REVOLVER with one hand and an IRON SKILLET in the other. Batter’s up. Clink! SMASH TO BLACK/FADE IN.... EXT. MS. CRUMBIE’S FRONT YARD -- NIGHT Henry comes to, sprawled out on Crumbie’s front yard. He has a vicious-looking knot lumping his forehead. He looks around, disoriented. Staggers onto his feet and waddles home. INT. HENRY'S BEDROOM -- LATE THAT NIGHT Henry stares out the window from his upstairs bedroom, stalking Peanut with a glare. PEANUT stares back up at Henry from Crumbie’s backyard, spotlit by a landscaping light. As the intense stare-off unfolds, over Henry’s shoulder, playing on tv, is a breaking news event.... LOCAL NEWS REPORTER Any hopes the Lake Creek Killer was behind bars were dashed today when Carlton Marshal was released from county jail after serving several weeks behind bars for a series of murders, now believed, he did not commit. This comes within 24 hours after a body was found near Lake Creek Bridge by two local men. TV breaks to news footage of....
CARLTON MARSHAL, mid-20s, receives hugs and kisses as he steps to a microphone to address a swarm of LOCAL MEDIA and WELL WISHERS, waiting outside the county jail.... CARLTON MARSHAL Thank you all for your support. I ain’t angry. Ain’t mad. Just anxious to get on with my life. TV cuts to.... INT. POLICE STATION PRESS ROOM -- UNKNOWN Sheriff Kopecky fields questions at a heated press conference.... REPORTER #1 Are you following up on any other persons of interest? SHERIFF KOPECKY Yes. REPORTER #2 Any regrets allowing a serial killer to stalk our streets while an innocent man rotted in jail? SHERIFF KOPECKY (ruffled) Now idn't the time for stupid questions.... (off the reporter’s gasp) ...I want the good people of this county to listen to me. I’m gonna catch this monster if it’s the last thing I do, dadgummit. And that’s a Gee-Dee guarantee. (eyeballs camera) You hear that? I’m comin’ for you! You’re about to suck on the bloody knuckles of Sweet Lady Justice -you’re mine! (cools, then) Next question. BACK TO HENRY He crosses the bedroom to change the channel, happens upon the DEMO CD Murphy gave him earlier.
He pops the case open to see Murphy's telephone number listed inside. He studies the number, gears spinning in his head. His cell phone rings. Henry answers.... HENRY Hello? OLD MAN’S QUIVERED VOICE (V.O.) Larry? CUT TO: INT. RISKY WILDES’ GENTLEMEN’S CLUB -- THAT NIGHT Throbbing lights. Music booms loudly overhead. A STRIPPER works her talents on one of the three stages. SCANTILY-DRESSED WOMEN canoodle with CASH-WIELDING MEN. Henry steps through the heavy curtain draping the door and into the main area. He wears sunglasses and a ball cap sank low over his forehead -- ala incognito. He slides his butt into a booth, far from the attention of the stages. He fishes out his cell phone and fires off a text message to Murphy. Text reads.... “WHERE ARE YOU?” A SEXY STRIPPER, 25, sashays over. Plops down in Henry’s lap and whispers softly into his ear in her best stripper voice.... SEXY STRIPPER I can kill the pain away. HENRY I’m sure you can, but I am regrettably happily married. He points to his wedding band as proof. SEXY STRIPPER Can’t be so deep in bliss if you’re kicking it back here by yourself-(regular voice) Hey, wait a sec. Aren't you that one guy? Oh-oh-oh, Howard. No.
Henry. You wrote Meridian's Dance. Holy shit my fucking seven-yearold just loves your prose, man! HENRY I see what’s happening here, you’re mistaking me for somebody else-SEXY STRIPPER (not buying it) She wants your new one for her birthday. She’s so gonna flip her top when she hears you came in. HENRY Nah, better you don’t tell her that-SEXY STRIPPER I gotta get a selfie of this. HENRY No. I really rather you didn’t. Please stop-Too late. She snaps the selfie. Then scurries off, delighted. Henry slumps, cover blown. Looks to his wristwatch to check the time. Taps the face with his fingernail, shakes his wrist by his ear.... HENRY (CONT’D) (re: no ticking) Perfect. He looks up and sees Murphy standing before him with a Cheshire grin perverting his face. MURPHY This place rocks, don’t it? HENRY When did it become-MURPHY Risky Wildes? Little over two years ago. HENRY I can’t believe Philip sold our old spot, man -- the arcade. Murphy sparks a cigarette.
MURPHY Philip's dead, dude. HENRY (blown away) Nooooo. MURPHY Yup. Murphy gestures to a COCKTAIL WAITRESS. She nods. MURPHY (CONT’D) Can swing you by his grave, if ya’ want. HENRY Not necessary. MURPHY So whendja get back to town? HENRY Left Brooklyn back in July, so, little over three months ago, give or take. We bought a place off Shady Lane. MURPHY We? HENRY Bethany and I, we got married. MURPHY No kiddin’? Is she here? He looks around expectantly for Bethany to pop up. HENRY Nope, outta town. At her parent’s. MURPHY Boo. Oh well. Just the boys, then. (puffs cig, then adlibs something like) Hey, you remember that one time over at that one place where we did this thing and then that happened?
HENRY (ad-libs back) And what’s-his-face jumped off balcony and got hurt. They chuckle, good times. HENRY (CONT’D) We were a couple of boneheads back then. MURPHY Still are. HENRY So hell, bud, what have you been up to? You look, uh, hearty. MURPHY Thanks, dude. (fibbing) I roll MMA twice a week. Helps me keep (this) ripe for the ladies. The waitress drops a round of drinks off at the table. HENRY (to Murphy) No thanks, I’m gonna have to pass. MURPHY C’mon, dude. Just one. For old times. HENRY Nah, better not. MURPHY So lemme get this straight, you move back to this dump town over living it up in New York. Went and got yourself shackled to a ball and chain. And are now choosing sobriety over having a couple of drinks with an old friend? I am tempted to pitch salt in your face and wait for the alien to burst out y’er chest. Henry forces a chummy chuckle, then.... HENRY Good one. Could always count on you for a laugh.
(then, getting down to business) So, Murphy? MURPHY Yeah, dude. HENRY Was wondering if I could get your opinion on a problem I've been experiencing lately. MURPHY Sure dude, shoot. HOWARD Well, there's this dog. MURPHY What kind of dog? HENRY A small one, Poodle or something. But he’s mean. Real mean. And ugly. Super ugly. Barks incessantly. Shits all over my lawn. He’s a total living nightmare. Bea and I, we used to wake up early every morning and jog the neighborhood. Then have coffee before beginning our day. It was our “thing.” But now we can't even step out the door without it popping up to attack us. Murphy listens, intrigued, smoking his cigarette. HENRY (CONT’D) (at wits end) It has gotten so bad that it’s affecting my marriage. Bea’s been staying at her parent’s for the last week. Says she can’t take it anymore. She wants to move, cut our losses and sell the house. But I love that house. It’s my house. I have my own office in there and everything. Set up exactly how I want it. Installed a fifty gallon fish tank in there and everything. With cool fish. It’s my safe space. I love the neighborhood. Great neighborhood.
Near a Whole Foods. But I don’t know how much longer I can hold out before it wreaks my marriage. MURPHY Bummer. HENRY “Bummer” is an excellent way to describe it. I'm just confused, you know? About what I should do, how to handle it. MURPHY Did you try Animal Control? HENRY They refuse to help because he’s not what they consider a public threat. MURPHY Those elitist assholes. Looks like you’ve got yourself a pickle of a situation. HENRY Yes, it does, Murph. It truly does. MURPHY I could tell sumthin' was off about you back at the parking lot. But chalked it off to cancer. It’s like, you look totally different, dude. And I don’t mean just in age. (sparks another cigarette) It’s your aura, dude. Your aura used to be luminous and fun. Carefree. Vibrant. But now? Not so much. Now it’s muddy white. More repressed and infested with microaggressions. HENRY (fuck off) Anyhoo. I was wondering if maybe you’d be interested in a proposition of sorts. MURPHY Tag-team Bea?
HENRY Not quite. More along the lines of kidnapping my neighbor's dog. MURPHY Technically, that’d be considered a dog-napping, since a kid ain’t involved. HENRY Not sure that’s how it works, but okay, sure, whatever. Murphy furrows his brows in deep consideration. He strokes his beard, then.... MURPHY Cantcha toss a piece of bacon on the street? Run ‘um over when he goes in for a nibble -- play it off like you didn’t see him? HENRY Thing is, I love animals. I don't wanna see him hurt. I just don't want him living next door to me. MURPHY I see. Whelp, I ain’t sure. What kinda cash we talkin' here? HENRY Whaddaya figure something like that would cost? Murphy considers, then.... MURPHY Here's the deal, I want three grand to jack your buddy’s dog. HENRY She's not my buddy. And three grand is a bit steep. I was thinking more around, say, 150? MURPHY Two gees. HENRY 200? MURPHY One grand.
HENRY (ugh) 250. Final offer. MURPHY 500. And that’s my final offer. Plus a copy of your new book. Unabridged. Signed by you, to my daughter. HENRY Deal. Half now, rest after you're done. But remember, the dog must not be harmed. I want your word on that. MURPHY Sure, dude, whatever ya want. HENRY That’s what I want. (as he cuts a check) Tomorrow I’ll be leaving on a trip to surprise Bea at her parent’s. That’s when I’d like you to, um, work your magic. MURPHY Alibi. Smart thinking. HENRY Thank you. (then) Remember: the dog cannot under any circumstances be harmed. Murphy offers up his pinky. Henry accepts. Pinky swear. HENRY (CONT’D) I think he's chipped, so animal shelters need to be avoided at all costs. Henry fishes out a Google Aerial Image from his pocket. It’s an image of Henry’s and Ms. Crumbie’s properties. HENRY (CONT’D) This image was taken seventeen days ago. (pointing) This one's mine. This one’s hers. We push in on the map, dissolving into....
EXT. HENRY'S HOUSE -- SUNSHINY MORNING Henry crosses to his Fortwo parked in the driveway. Spots one of Sheriff Kopecky’s CAMPAIGN SIGNS has been planted in his lawn overnight. Henry bristles.... HENRY ...errgh. Tugs the sign out of the grass. Knee snaps the wood stake in half and pitches the pieces into the hatchback of his Fortwo. He hops in the driver seat. Vrooms off. INT. HENRY’S CAR -- SHORTLY AFTER (TRAVELING) Henry texts Murphy: “GO TIME” INT. A LOCAL MINIMART -- SAME Murphy moseys down the snack aisle. His cell phone BEEPS, Henry's text. He heads to the register to pay out. Sets a package of TWINKIES down on the counter. And BAG OF SUNFLOWER SEEDS. The CASHIER appears from out of the back office area to ring him up -- her name tag reads: “SHELBY”. SHELBY Oh look, fatty’s come for more snacks. MURPHY Shut up, Shelby. I ain’t got time for your nonsense. She starts ringing him up, eyes smoldering with a special type of spite.... SHELBY I want my tupperware back. MURPHY Tupperware’s mine, Shelby. You already snaked my steak knives, so I’m putting my foot down on the tupperware. Discussion. Over.
(then) Oh, and you should prolly go ahead and tell shorty she can expect a special gift from me soon. Like, real soon. Shelby raises an eyebrow, sizing him up. SHELBY Bullshit. Book’s not even out yet. MURPHY Signed by the man himself. Shelby bristles, jealous. SHELBY I want my tupperware back. BACK WITH HENRY The Fortwo is stopped along the side of a busy highway. A SQUAD CAR idles behind it, cherries swirling. Henry rolls down the window as a COP, 30s, approaches. HENRY Howdy, Officer. COP You realize how fast you were going? HENRY Um, maybe 15, 18 miles an hour above the speed limit? COP License and registration, please. Henry hands the cop the requested documents. COP (CONT’D) (off driver’s license) I’ll be, thee Henry Williams? (off Henry’s guiltyas-charged smile) “And as he grabbed his cane, he spoke these words: today is forever but a day, but forever, is true. He turned and hobbled away.
Meridian fell quiet, in awe of the man she had come to know as Gramps. It was then and there she knew. Her calling.” HENRY You’ve read my book. The officer hands the license and registration back. COP My kids, they love it. It’s like catnip for them. They’re really excited to read your new one. Say, you got an e.t.a. on when it’s coming out? HENRY Soon. COP Great. I’ll let them know. Promise to keep your speed down, and you’re free to go. HENRY ‘Scuse me? COP You’re free to go. HENRY (thwarted) But that wouldn’t be fair to the others you stop today. COP I’m sure they won’t mind. The officer starts back to his squad car. Henry defiantly revs the Fortwo’s engine as hard and loud as it will go. BACK TO MURPHY His SHITTY VAN skids to a stop, curbside of a residential street -- blocks away from Henry’s place. The driver door croaks open, spewing Murphy out onto the pavement. He’s dressed in shorts and the “SXSW” hoodie. He flings open the van’s barn-doors and wrestles out a bicycle. Pedals off down the street, a man on a mission.
BACK TO HENRY Fortwo is parked outside of a brick-and-trim McMansion. Henry crosses a manicured yard to knock on the front door, but it pops open as he approaches, and out walks... BETHANY (BEA) WILLIAMS, 27. A delightful eyeful with coquettish features. BETHANY Eek! Henry?! What are doing here? HENRY Gather your things, beautiful. I'm taking you home. BETHANY Really?! He's gone?! Henry nods emphatically -- “yes”. BETHANY (CONT’D) How? HENRY Easy peasy, baby doll, I articulated our grievances to her. I’ll admit, she was a tough nut to crack. But I worked my magic, and bada-boom, she agreed to give him up. BETHANY Really?! HENRY Toldja I could handle it. She is surprisingly accommodating once she gets to know you. BETHANY Seriously? HENRY Now pack up, we’ll go celebrate. BETHANY I can’t. I’ve got brunch plans with Nana and my parents. HENRY Perfect, I'm starving!
EXT. BEHIND HENRY AND CRUMBIE’S HOMES -- DAY Hunkered down in a grassy, drainage ditch area, running in between the rows of fenced in backyards. Murphy digs his hand in his backpack. Fishes out the package of Twinkies and a dropper bottle of “VET APPROVED SLEEPY-TIME MEDICINE” for dogs. He reaches back in the bag, grabs the sunflower seeds. Pops a handful of seeds in his mouth. Starts spitting. Then begins tainting the snack cake with sleep aid. He booms to his feet, lobs the Twinkie over the fence like a grenade -- then ducks for pretend cover. INT. MS. CRUMBIE'S LIVING ROOM -- CONTINUING Peanut piques, alerted -- wears that goofy doggie-sweater we saw laying on the kitchen table. Looks beyond absurd. BACK TO MURPHY Blowing a DOG WHISTLE. Growing blue in the face. Peanut booms out of the doggie door, barking murder, arfarf-arf....! Murphy peeps between the slats of the fence, sees the Twinkie, but where’s the dog? He humphs, what’s going on? he shuffles over to the neighboring backyard -- Ms. Crumbie’s. And peeks between the slats of the fence again, straight into the snaggletoothed growl of Peanut -- grrrr. MURPHY (realizing mistake) Sonuva. He threw the Twinkie into Henry’s back yard by mistake. BACK TO BETHANY AND HENRY As they cross a parking lot to a brunchy-type restaurant. HENRY I wasn’t even speeding, but the jerk still gave me a ticket.
BETHANY What a bastard. HENRY I know, right? The two walk indoors. INT. A BRUNCHY-TYPE RESTAURANT -- SHORTLY AFTER Our happy-faced couple join Bethany’s THREE RELATIVES at a table set up for brunch.... BETHANY'S DAD (re: Henry) What’s this about? BETHANY He’s gonna join us, daddy. Then bring me home afterwards. BETHANY'S MOM Love your sweater jacket, Henry. HENRY Thanks, Laurie. It’s called a “Swackit.” Your wonderful daughter picked it out for me. NANA (BETHANY'S GRANDMA) So Henry. I heard you hate my meatloaf. HENRY Everyone knows I love your meatloaf, Nana. (to Bea’s mom) It’s like I’m a junkie for her meatloaf: gimme, gimme, gimme. Bethany’s Mom gives Henry a suspecting look. Henry is clueless to why. NANA Then why’d you go and tell her it was gross? Henry slaps Bethany with a glare. Bethany grins. Kicks back in her chair to enjoy the show.... HENRY (busted) I never said it was gross.
NANA She said you did. Why do I bother cooking for you guys if you won't even eat what I cook? HENRY That’s not even remotely true-NANA I’ve always been complimented on my meatloaf. But now I’m beginning to wonder if people have been lying to me this entire time.... ...Henry buckles up for a bumpy ride. BACK TO MURPHY Nursing a boo-boo on his elbow he got jumping over Henry’s fence in our absents. His focus returns to the Twinkie, laying in the grass in front of him. He tosses it into Ms. Crumbie’s backyard. Then peeks through the fence to watch as Peanut wolfs down the Twinkie. Murphy smiles mischievously to himself, his plan, working. But then.... Peanut skitters from his view. Murphy lifts onto his tiptoes to get a better look over the fence. Just in time to witness Peanut skitter back through the doggie door inside. Flap slaps shut. MURPHY (thwarted) Sonuva. BACK TO HENRY Treading water.... HENRY All I said was that normally meatloaf comes served shaped like a loaf. You know? Like a loaf of bread?
But yours was balled up like baseballs. Like meatballs. I.I.I.It threw me off. BACK TO MURPHY Slinking through Crumbie’s backyard. He peeps through a side window. Tries to push it open, but it's locked. He sneaks over to the sliding glass door. Gives it a shoot. Score. It slides open. INT. MS. CRUMBIE'S HOUSE -- CONTINUING Murphy creeps in. Makes his way through the kitchen, calling to Peanut in faint shouts.... MURPHY Here doggie, doggie. He creeps into.... THE ENTRYWAY Disappears into the living room and then slinks back out, starts up the creaky staircase. Gets to the top of the steps, where he discovers Peanut curled-up asleep in a pillow basket at the opposite end of the second floor landing/hallway. Murphy swoops to snatch him up -- only to step in a puddle of water directly outside Crumbie’s bathroom door. Sounds of running water spill into the hallway from behind the partly open door. Compelling Murphy to nudge the door, swinging it open to reveal.... A BUTT NAKED MS. CRUMBIE! She’s crumpled on the tile, with a nasty gash slashing her forehead -- as if she slipped while stepping into the bathtub, bashed her head. Water pours over the lip of the tub, flooding the scene. A sample-size, empty BOTTLE OF BATH OIL floats nearby. MURPHY Ruh Roh!
Murphy springs into action. Scoops her up in his arms and whisks her out the door, into.... THE HALLWAY MURPHY Don't die on me, lady. I’m gonna getcha some help. Her eyes flash open. She belches an otherworldly scream-BACK TO HENRY HENRY (butt hurt) He doesn’t need to apologize. Henry’s cell phone rings. He checks the caller ID. It’s Murphy. A slight smile breaks across Henry’s lips. He presses ‘ignore.’ BETHANY'S DAD You not going to answer that? HENRY Huh? No. Why? So you can comment on how rude it is to answer my phone at the table? Henry’s cell phone rings again. It’s Murphy. Henry hits ignore, pockets the phone. BETHANY'S DAD A man too lazy to even answer his phone. No wonder you haven’t finished the damn book yet. You got no chutzpah. What if that was your agent calling you? HENRY It’s not her phone number. BETHANY’S DAD What if she's calling you from a different phone number, one you don't know about? HENRY Because, I just do. Besides, she's at the hospital giving birth.
BETHANY Rebecca’s having the baby? HENRY Yeah. BETHANY (smitten) Awwwww! BETHANY’S DAD But what if? Henry’s cell phone rings a third time. HENRY (throws his hands up) Good grief, if it’ll make you happy, I’ll go answer it, then, but it’s not my agent. Henry up and leaves. INT. MENS ROOM STALL -- CONTINUING Henry answers the call. HENRY Hello? MURPHY (V.O.) (nearly in tears) Henry? HENRY Stop calling me-MURPHY (V.O.) We're so fucked-BACK AT THE TABLE BETHANY'S MOM (to Bethany) I heard all about it on the evening news. It’s s’posed to be the new craze. (off her look) What? You’re the one who said he’s been acting erratically lately.
BETHANY This is more than I need right now, mom. BETHANY’S MOM Check his arms, then, if you don’t believe me-She clams up when she catches Henry returning to the table. He’s bug-eyed, sick with fret, but does his best to play it off coolly.... HENRY Umm, so, yeah. Turns out, I needa skirt up out of here. BETHANY What? Henry pecks his wife on the cheek goodbye. BETHANY (CONT’D) Why? HENRY Hmm? It’s okay. I'll just leave your bags with the hostess. BETHANY WHAT?! HENRY Hmm? (then, to the others) Always a grab-bag of fun. He hurries away. Bethany's Mom drills her daughter with a “I-told-you-so” type look. BETHANY He's not mainlining Heroin, mom. Geezus. The man can barely handle a drink. He's just. I don’t know. Stressed about the book. The house and dog and stuff. So, it’s all been a whirlwind for us. EXT. HENRY’S HOUSE -- DAY Murphy waits on the stoop, ill-at-ease, caressing the side of his face. It’s raked-the-fuck up. Like he just lost a fight to a feral cat -- using only his face.
A Fortwo drives up. Henry hops out. HENRY What're you doing here? Where’s Peanut-- good grief, man! What happened to your face? INT. RISKY WILDES -- DAY Music booms overhead. A STRIPPER gyrates on stage in the background. Our two heros sit at a table. Murphy’s face is patched up in bandages. Henry looks beyond bewildered. MURPHY What I’m about to tell you, I need you to know my intentions were to save her. HENRY I’m gonna be sick. CUT TO: INT. MS. CRUMBIE’S HOUSE -- (FLASHBACK) Crumbie’s eyes flash open. She belches a scream.... MURPHY Don’t be scared, I’m here to help-She reaches up, clutches the sides of Murphy’s face and starts clawing the shit out of him like velociraptor. Murphy shrinks in pain. He drops her, thump. She quickly recovers and jabs Murphy in the nuts with a wicked right -- crunch. MURPHY (CONT’D) (whimpering) Why are you doing this to me?! Crumbie hauls ass on all fours toward the stairway. MURPHY (CONT’D) Listen to me! Ya need immediate medical attention!
Crumbie springs to her feet to take the stairs down, but clips her foot on the banister. She teeters, topples down the steps.... THUMP! THUMP! THUMP! somersaulting into a dainty antique-table, gussying up the foot of the staircase. SMASH! The table explodes into pieces. A SNUB NOSE REVOLVER flies out of the drawer. Sails through the air -- slaps a wall. BANG! Misfires. The bullet blows a hole through a family portrait hanging on the wall, meanwhile.... Crumbie’s neck twists, snaps violently. Body rolls into a heap of tangled appendages, bruised and battered -- dead. Off of her corpse, we END FLASHBACK and PULL OUT to reveal.... HENRY WILLIAMS! He stands over Ms. Crumbie’s corpse with a look of horrified marvel stupefying his face. He blanches, barfs.... HENRY ....blaagggh. MURPHY Gross, dude. Knock it off. Henry drops to his knees and starts giving Ms. Crumbie mouth to mouth. MURPHY (CONT’D) What's the matter with you? She’s dead. Henry eventually gives up, steps back from her body and starts hyperventilating -- his senses on overload. MURPHY (CONT’D) (oddly dégagé) So, yeah. That’s pretty much how it happened. Crazy ol’ broad threw herself down the stairs. It was the worst experience of my life. You owe me big.
(then) You ever saw a spine do that before? Murphy stoops down and pokes Crumbie’s spine back into her throat, but it boings back out. MURPHY (CONT’D) Gross. HENRY Stop that. Henry digs in his pocket for his cell phone. MURPHY Whoa, dude. What’re you doing? HENRY What’s it look like? I’m calling the police. Murphy pounces, tackling Henry to the floor, grabbing for the cell phone. As they wrestle.... MURPHY I didn't do that to her. She done it to herself! HENRY I can’t believe you slaughtered my neighbor! Henry wriggles free. Scrambles to put some distance between the two before dialing 911. Murphy concedes, defeated. He paces in the b.g. licking his wounds, never shifting his eyes off Henry. HENRY (INTO PHONE) Yes. Umm. I needa report an emergency. MURPHY Hand me the phone when you're done so I can tell ‘em who hired me. Henry pads the phone with his palm, as he snaps back.... HENRY I paid you to steal a dog. Not slaughter my neighbor.
MURPHY Not in my version. HENRY What? MURPHY Y’ gotta dick in your ear? Here, I’ll clue you in, then: Henry had it out for her, Mister Detective. Called her a “problem.” And hired me to handle it. Henry lets the threat settle in, then.... HENRY (to 911) I need the phone number to Joey's Pizzeria. Oh! Stupid me! I meant to call four-one-one. Bye. Hangs up. HENRY (CONT’D) Are you blackmailing me? MURPHY Uh, yeah. I didn’t kill that woman. I tried to save her. And she fuckin’ bear-clawed me for it. Just look at my face -- I'm disfigured! HENRY I don't understand. What were you doing in here in the first place? MURPHY (pointedly) Fulfilling an obligation to my employer. An aching expression swallows Henry’s face -- the dude’s screwed. And he knows it. So does Murphy.... MURPHY (CONT’D) Don’t think for a moment you can toss me under the bus and not be right under it with me. HENRY We can’t just leave her in a ditch somewhere like she’s roadkill. I mean.
This isn’t appropriate human behavior. She’s a human being. (overwhelmed) We. I. Let’s pretend I was actually going to entertain you on this. What are you possibly suggesting we do with her? MURPHY It starts with you getting a grip on yourself, chill your vibes. Then help me look for sumthin' to carry her to my van in. Henry reluctantly agrees. They split up to look. Henry searches downstairs. Murphy takes the second floor. Beat, then.... MURPHY (calling down) Yo dude, you're gonna wanna read this. He comes bounding down the stairs waving a sheet of paper in his hand. Hands it to Henry.... MURPHY (CONT’D) Your neighbor, she was sick, dude. Henry reads the letter to himself. MURPHY (CONT’D) ...she was terminal. When’d you say she got the dog? HENRY Five weeks ago, or so, maybe six. MURPHY Figures. S’when the letter’s dated, see...? Henry uses the moment to let the revelation sink in. HENRY (then, epiphany) That must be why she got Peanut.
MURPHY That inexplicably strong old lady just wanted to have company as her wrinkly body shut down -- and to think, you wanted to take that away from her. Wow. You must feel horrible. HENRY Me?! MURPHY (to Ms. Crumbie) Sleep, you're with the angels now. She looks so peaceful there. HENRY She looks like a puzzle. Where did you find this? MURPHY Bedroom. HENRY Put it back. And stop snooping. (hesitates, then) And, um, there's an area rug in the living room that, uh, should work. EXT. MURPHY’S SHITTY VAN -- LATER THAT NIGHT Barn doors clap shut; Crumbie’s corpse entombed inside. HENRY Where’s Peanut? MURPHY Don't worry your pretty head about the dog, boss. HENRY Don’t call me that. I.I.I don't think I can go through with this. It’s not-- it isn’t right. We’re going to get caught. MURPHY Pfft, well, rationalizing it ain't gonna help. Now about the cash you still owe me-Henry bitch slaps him with a look.
MURPHY (CONT’D) You’re right. We can discuss it after some shut eye. HENRY So now what? MURPHY Better if you don’t know. HENRY Fine. But do you at least have a plan? MURPHY Sure. I’ve got an outlook. HENRY An outlook? Oh, okay. Fantastic. Wonderful. I feel so much, much better now knowing you’ve got an outlook. MURPHY Sarcasm is the feces of a soiled soul. Ya oughta get that looked at -- get your apex back before it’s too late. Do yoga. Hey! You can start jogging again! Murphy clambers into the van. Engine cranks, sputters, roars to life. The van blasts off down the street, leaving a trail of thick exhaust behind in its wake. INT. HENRY'S SHOWER -- NIGHT Henry leans against the steamy spray, slouch-shouldered, face scrunched by doom. He twists the cap off of a fifth of whiskey. Swigs. Gags on the taste. But manages to swallow. CUT TO: INT. HENRY'S BEDROOM -- SHORTLY AFTER Henry slogs in, wearing a tatty bathrobe, drying his hair off. Loud banging BOOM, BOOM, BOOM, erupts downstairs on the front door.
HENRY’S FRONT DOOR -- SHORTLY AFTER Henry steps up, peeps out the peephole to see.... Nobody’s there. He turns to go back upstairs when, THWAP, a door claps shut in the back of the house. Henry grabs a lamp and slinks toward the source of the noise to investigate. BACK OF HENRY’S HOUSE He crosses to the only door in the hallway that is closed and throws it open ready to strike, reveal.... It's MS. CRUMBIE! Her head grotesquely snapped to the side, looking seven shades of corpsy. She’s squatted on the toilet, taking a monstrous piss. Henry blanches. Crumbie screeches. Henry barfs.... HENRY ...blaaaaghh. END HALLUCINATION TO REVEAL.... BETHANY (sitting on toilet) Eeek! What the hell, Henry?! HENRY (sobering) What’re you doing home? BETHANY Uh, I live here, remember? You not hear me banging on the front door? HENRY I was in the shower. Henry grabs a towel, starts cleaning up the barf puddle. HENRY (CONT’D) Where’s your house key? BETHANY In my purse. Same purse you sped off with when you up’d and ditch me at the restaurant.
My mom’s all over me about that, Henry. What was so important? HENRY Book stuff. A spark of inspiration. Couldn’t let it pass. She eyes him skeptically. BETHANY What has gotten into you? You've been acting so weird lately. I’m starting to get concerned. Are you okay? HENRY Of course, I’m fine. I mean, nothing a good night’s sleep with my snuggle bunny won’t fix. BETHANY (softening) Yeah, well, I hope so. EXT. MURPHY'S RAMSHACKLE CABIN -- LATE NIGHT The moon shines down on a rickety hunter’s shack plucked straight from a horror flick, deep in ominous backwoods. INT. MURPHY'S RAMSHACKLE CABIN -- CONTINUING Poorly lit. Stretching shadows haunt timber walls and warped, wood-slat flooring. The cabin’s dire condition is accentuated by curbside-rescued furnishings. Murphy lurks in the mist, swigging from a bottle of Stella as he ogles his newly-acquired SNUB NOSE REVOLVER. He pops the cylinder out, spitting a bullet onto the floor, accidentally. The bullet rolls across the floor to reveal.... Peanut asleep in a hand-carry type DOG CARRIER stashed in the corner of the living area, out of the way. Peanut yawns awake. Murphy takes notice. MURPHY No use playing cute with me, lil’ fella. I got no place for a pet, especially a dog. No thank you.
Too much responsibility. At least that’s what my ma and dad always told me any time I would ask them for one. (retrieves bullet) Every Christmas, all I wanted was a puppy. But they were right. They were always right. Sheesh, I can barely take care of myself. Murphy swigs the last swig of his beer, then re-chambers the bullet. MURPHY (CONT’D) Whelp, time to die. He squats down to hook a leash to Peanut's collar.... MURPHY (CONT’D) I think I just might actually miss having a dog around-Peanut strikes, jaws chomping knuckles. Murphy yelps in pain. Jerks his hand free, then bolts out of the front door -- Peanut, in hot pursuit. EXT. MURPHY’S RAMSHACKLE CABIN -- NIGHT (CONTINUING) Murphy runs out. Slams the rickety door shut, thwack, trapping Peanut inside. He hollers to Peanut through the door.... MURPHY I wasn’t really gonna do it, honest. I like you. You’re super easy to talk to. And you listen. And ya’ got spunk. I like spunk. (considers, then) Hey? You wanna be my dog? CUT TO: INT. LOCAL MINIMART FROM BEFORE -- NIGHT Murphy slaps a pack of Twinkies down on the counter. Then a box of facial bandages. Shelby greets him. SHELBY What the hell happened to your face?
MURPHY Shut up. What happened to yours? SHELBY (ugh) You’re so witty. As Shelby rings him up, we.... FADE OUT/OVER BLACK.... Knock, knock, knocking on a door. FADE IN.... INT. HENRY'S BEDROOM -- MORNING AFTER (CONTINUING) Henry and Bethany sleep, snuggled together on the cozy bed. Doorbell chimes. Henry stirs. Bethany doesn’t. HENRY’S FRONT DOOR -- SHORTLY AFTER Henry plods down the stairs, sleepy-headed, wearing his tatty bathrobe to answer the door in. He opens the door. And is greeted by a soft spoken POLICE OFFICER, 30s, with a tight-lipped smile crooking his face.... MR. POLICE OFFICER Sorry to’ve bother you, sir, but might I have a minute of your time? He wears a blue police jacket over law enforcement clothes, obscuring the badge pinned on his chest. HENRY Sure. Um, but about what, exactly? MR. POLICE OFFICER May I come in.... Doesn't wait for an answer. Simply brushes past Henry on his way inside -- conversation plays out in the entryway. MR. POLICE OFFICER (CONT’D) Dispatch received a call this a.m. pertaining to your next-door neighbor, Patricia Crumbie.
HENRY I surely hope everything’s okay. MR. POLICE OFFICER Wish I could say it was, but, unfortunately, that’s not the case. Apparently she has a grandson who stopped by earlier this morning to pick up his dog-HENRY You mean, her dog. The officer flinches, perplexed. Thumbs a note pad open to double check his facts, then.... MR. POLICE OFFICER Says here she was dog-sitting -regardless, the woman's plum vanished. Dog’s missing, too. Which leads me to why I’m here knocking on your door so early in the morning. Did you happen to hear, see anything last night, earlier this morning, that might not have seemed suspicious to you at the time, but enlightened by the situation, does now, in fact, seem suspicious to you? HENRY Nope. MR. POLICE OFFICER Didn’t think so. (then) Probably just stepped out to walk the dog. Got lost. Old people... whatcha gonna do. I'm sure she'll turn up. I appreciate your time. HENRY Sorry I wasn’t helpful. MR. POLICE OFFICER Yeah, me too. He turns to walk away. HENRY Pass on my condolences to her family.
The officer stiffens in his tracks. Turns back to face Henry.... MR. POLICE OFFICER Why's that? HENRY Come again? MR. POLICE OFFICER Guess I'm just curious why you said "condolences" because I never said she was dead, just missing. HENRY You know. Like, um. Best wishes. MR. POLICE OFFICER Sorry to’ve bothered you, Mr. Williams. He leaves. Henry shuts the door, then spirals into a meltdown.... HENRY Oh, God. Oh, God. Oh, God. Not good. Noooot good at all. Oh, God. So screwed. Soooooo screwed. Why is this happening to me? Ms. Crumbie’s voice taunts him from beyond the grave.... MS. CRUMBIE (V.O. WITH ECHO) You’re screwed, Mr. Williams. He knows everything. HENRY He was only supposed to steal your dog. MS. CRUMBIE (V.O.) You’ll burn for this. (then) You’re an evil man, Mr. Williams. A horrible, despicable, evil man. HENRY It wasn’t my fault-BETHANY (O.S.) Did you make coffee? Henry bwahs! Then wheels about to find Bethany coming down the stairs. She yelps, surprised....
BETHANY (CONT’D) Damnit! Henry! Stop doing that, already -- I'm running out of clean undies. (then) Is there any coffee ready? Ugh, never mind. I’ll go make it myself. Geezus P. Worrell. It's like you're on pins and needles.... She trails off into the kitchen. Knock knock, front door. Henry peeps out the peephole to see.... A DIFFERENT COP, 20s. Stands front and center on the stoop. Henry hesitates, then opens the door to inform her.... HENRY I, um, actually already gave my statement to your partner. A DIFFERENT COP Impossible. She’s at Starbucks getting us coffee. CUT TO: EXT. STREET NEAR HENRY’S -- DAY (MEANWHILE) Mr. Police Officer hops in the driver seat of a SUV. Door slaps shut. A PARKING ENFORCEMENT EMBLEM decals the door. Top-lights whirl to life. The SUV hauls ass out of there. INT. PARKING ENFORCEMENT SUV -- DAY (MOVING) This jiggy bastard isn’t a cop after all, but a Parking Enforcement Agent! Aka, meter maid. Aka.... WALTER CRUMBIE (into CB radio) Car thirty-four to dispatch. Thirty-four’s back on the clock. DISPATCH (V.O.) Ten four, thirty-four. Stay vigilant.
WALTER CRUMBIE I’m always vigilant. He slips on a pair of sunglasses. Cranks the stereo. A car swerves into his lane. Walter stomps the brakes! Tires screeeeeech. SUV skids. Walter SCREAMS his death. SMASH TO: INT. HENRY’S FRONT DOOR -- DAY Henry shuts the door. Cop has left by this point. Bethany shuffles up with two cups of coffee, offers one to Henry. BETHANY How much do I love not having that nightmare living next door? So much, is the correct answer. (sips, then) Who was that at the door? HENRY Wrong number. I mean, wrong house. No, that’s a lie. A cop. BETHANY What’s up? HENRY Ms. Crumbie’s missing. BETHANY Missing what? HENRY She’s went missing. Nobody knows where she is. BETHANY Today’s getting better by the second. (then) Lemme jump in the shower and then we can go get breakfast before your book thingy. HENRY You come up with the best ideas.
He grins, sheepishly. BETHANY Why are you so sweaty? HENRY I’m not. She gives him a quizzical look, then scoots off upstairs. Disappears into the hallway bathroom. Whoosh, shower kicks on. DING DONG, doorbell. Followed by.... MURPHY (O.S.) C’mon dude, open up. Henry stiffens, a deer in headlights to the voice. MURPHY (O.S.) (CONT’D) I know you're home, dude, I can smell your cooch from outside. (beat) And your stupid car’s here. Open up. Open up. Open up. Open up. Open up. Open up. More banging on the door. MURPHY (O.S.) (CONT’D) Ain’t going nowhere ‘til you open the door. Open up. Open up. Open up. Open up.... ...ding dong, ding dong, ding dong. Henry’s last shred of hope dissolves. He flings open the door.... HENRY What’re you doing here? Without warning, Murphy punts Henry in the dick. Crunch. Henry crumples to the floor, throbbing in hurt. MURPHY Toldja I’d get you back. HENRY (gritted) No you didn’t. Murphy whoops, delighted by his deed -- his morning cup of coffee still staining the front of his shirt.
MURPHY Yeah, well, that would’ve ruined the surprise. Henry peels himself off the floor. HENRY You not notice the crime scene tape next door? All the cops, all over the place. They’re on to us. MURPHY What did you expect would happen, when you weren't answering my calls? Come. Plans have changed. HENRY What does that even mean? MURPHY It means, throw some britches on and let’s go. Matters be pressing. HENRY Can’t. Sorry. That won’t work for me. I’ve got a book signing in little over two hours. MURPHY Then hurry up! Honk, honk. Or you’ll fuckin’ miss it. INT. MURPHY’S SHITTY VAN -- DAY (TRAVELING) As shitty-looking as the outside. Murphy drives. Henry rides shotgun, a bag of frozen peas padding his crotch. The shitty stereo crackles over shitty speakers.... LOCAL NEWS REPORTER (ON STEREO) ...this and more as the community awakes to new concerns regarding the whereabouts of Patricia Crumbie, a local elderly woman first reported missing earlier today by a relative, whom she had been dog-sitting for. A search team has gathered to scour portions of Lake Creek Canyon near Luke Ryan Trail. Off County Road thirty-seven.
HENRY Where are we going? Is it just us? MURPHY I need your help handling sumthin'. Won’t take long, not with the two of us. Hey, you ever getta chance to listen to my demo? HENRY No, Murphy. I sure haven’t. Kinda been a little busy. Murphy pokes a button on the dashboard. DEATH METAL explodes into the van. Henry clutches his ear holes as he shouts uncle.... HENRY (CONT’D) Turn it down. MURPHY Huh? HENRY It’s too loud. MURPHY I like the sound, too. That's me on sticks! HENRY Turn it down! MURPHY Who? HENRY Turn it down! Murphy does. MURPHY What’d you think of the drumming? Ring, ring, Henry's phone. He checks the caller ID, then answers.... HENRY Hey-BETHANY (V.O.) I hop in the shower and you frickin’ ditch me. Seriously?
HENRY Something extremely important has come up, and I, but don’t worry because it’s nothing I can’t handle, and handle quickly, and I’ll be home before you even know it to explain everything to you then. BETHANY (V.O.) But what about-Click, Henry hangs up. MURPHY That Bea? Huh?
HENRY Oh, yeah.
MURPHY Wish ya’d told her I said “hi” for me. (then, ad-libs) Remember that time, when we did this one thing at that place for my b-day, and Bea showed up with her sister and that other chick? HENRY That's the day her and I met. MURPHY You and me, we kinda fell out of touch after that. HENRY (defensively) We hung out. Maybe not often, but still, sometimes. MURPHY I dunno, dude. You two were inseparable. And with me busy rockin’ stages. Shaggin’ bitches and shit, we practically turned into strangers. Crazy how friends can drift apart like that. CUT TO:
INT. MURPHY’S SHITTY VAN -- DAY Van veers onto an off ramp, then onto a winding county road, flanked by rolling farmlands. A ROAD SIGN read: “COUNTY ROAD 37” Out of the windshield, up ahead beyond the sign, we see the aforementioned SEARCH PARTY gathering, as well as LOCAL MEDIA: The friendly Waitress (from before at the diner) is out here, doing an interview with Local News Reporter. The Two Fishermen (from before) prep gear, assisting in the search. Chubs is even out here -- does push-ups in between tossing a rubber ball to a German Shepherd to fetch. BACK TO Murphy’s van drives past, on down the road -- where rolling farmlands morph into rolling autumn-color forest. INT. MURPHY’S SHITTY VAN -- CONTINUING (TRAVELING) HENRY (re: search party) Did you see all those people back there, that was a lot of people, Murphy. What are we doing? Where are you taking me? MURPHY Guess what... HENRY Ohmigawd, you’re planning to kill me. MURPHY ...Chitty chitty butt butt. (snickers, then) Relax, we’re almost there. EXT. MURPHY’S SHITTY VAN -- DAY (TRAVELING) The van rumbles over Lake Creek Bridge. Then veers onto a bumpy dirt road, branching off into ominous backwoods.
INT. MURPHY'S SHITTY VAN -- DAY (TRAVELING) The van coughs and sputters as it pushes deeper into the backwoods. HENRY Will you please tell me what we’re doing out here? MURPHY We need to move her body-The van hits a big bump. The glove box pops open, revealing a SNUB NOSE REVOLVER stashed inside. Henry tenses, gun alert! Murphy reaches over, slaps the glove box closed. MURPHY (CONT’D) (chuckles uncomfortably) Been meaning to get that fixed. Brakes squeal as the van rolls to a stop outside of Murphy’s creepy cabin. MURPHY (CONT’D) Do me a solid and go grab the shovel out in back. HENRY (on tenterhooks) Why? What’re you gonna do? MURPHY Gonna meet you back there, knucklehead. Now scoot. Go on. Henry hops out. Crosses for the back of the cabin, leaving Murphy behind with a gun. EXT. BEHIND MURPHY’S CABIN -- DAY Henry grabs a shovel propped against the back door. Door kicks open revealing: Murphy leers down at Henry from the top step -- an area rug tucked up under his arm. MURPHY Gonna wanna hurry, boss, if ya wanna make it back to your bookclub thing in time.
HENRY (as they start off) It’s not a book club. It’s for an event promoting my upcoming book. EXT. BACKWOODS -- DAY (SHORTLY AFTER) Twigs snap under footsteps as the two push way through low-hanging branches and clingy underbrush. HENRY We need to reassess this, go to the police before it’s too late. MURPHY We’re well past too late. HENRY But if we explain everything, spare no detail, I’m sure they’ll believe you-- us. MURPHY (considers, then) You’re right. But we should talk to a lawyer first. HENRY Okay. Yeah. That’s smart. MURPHY Wait, damn twiggleberries, that’s right. My lawyer gets appointed to me by the court system. (then) Don't mistake a dewdrop for rain. Know who said that? Zack Morris. HENRY I’m pretty sure Zack Morris never said that. MURPHY Whatever. We’re still not goin’ to the cops. (back on point) We’re getting close. Just over this bend. We’ll hoof her back to the cabin, stash her in my freezer until the search party has left. Murphy points a few yards up the way, to a spot off the trail. Henry’s eyes follow his point over to....
MS. CRUMBIE! Buried, half-assed, in a shallow grave, covered in leaves and undergrowth. Her hands and arms, face have been gnawed on by woodland creatures. HENRY Something.... (barfs) ...something has gnawed her fingers off. MURPHY Let’s just get this over with. They begin exhuming her.... HENRY What is this? (sniffs at her hand) She smells like onion rings. MURPHY (playing it off) You’re smelling things, dude. HENRY Why does she smell like fast food, Murphy? Holy shit. Did you grease her up so animals would-MURPHY (as if) No. HENRY Then why she smell like fucking Burger King? MURPHY I had to, dude, she’s got half my fucking face caked up under her nails -- my DNA! Now can we please just get back to the issue at hand before someone catches us? Henry relents, grabs a hold of Crumbie. They heave. Dragging her body out of the shallow grave. They roll her onto the rug. HENRY Good grief, you kept the woman’s rug?
MURPHY What, I like it. It ties my things together nicely. As the two bicker back and forth, behind them, DRY LEAVES CRACKLE under the weight of footsteps. The two turn and look behind them to see.... CHUBS! Peeled off from the rest of the search party to go it alone. His German Shepherd, FRANK, heeled at his side. HENRY Oh, hey. Uhh, I bet this looks disconcerting. I assure you, it isn’t. MURPHY (re: Henry) Save me from this monster! Murphy, in full theatrics, cowers to Chubs for protection against a bewildered-looking Henry. MURPHY (CONT’D) He wanted me to dig her up so he could rape the corpse -- again. HENRY (catching on) He’s the real killer! He points to Murphy accusingly. Chubs assesses the situation, then.... CHUBS (re: Henry) Gettum, boy! Frank lashes out, in attack. But attacks Murphy. MURPHY Bad dog! Stop mauling me! Murphy reels, trips, tumbling backwards to the ground, jumping a rabbit. The bunny darts off into the bushes. So does Frank, chasing after it, vanishing into the woods. The three guys exchange looks, wtf? Chubs kneejerks into a foot chase through ominous backwoods....
MURPHY (CONT’D) (to Henry) Stay put. ...Murphy bursts off after Chubs. Moments later. Returns, whimpering, nearly in tears -- face splattered in blood. CUT TO: A CHEST-FREEZER -- UNKNOWN Rundown and crusty from decades of freezing dead forest creatures. Crumbie and Chub’s bodies have been stuffed together inside like sardines-- freezer door SLAPS shut. INT. MURPHY’S SHITTY VAN -- DAY (TRAVELING) The two look doom-and-gloomed, grass-stained and sweaty. Murphy focuses on the road, driving, leaving Henry to sit on tenterhooks in the passenger seat. After a beat.... HENRY We need to talk about what happened back there-MURPHY When can I expect the rest of my money? HENRY I can’t believe this shit, you’re choosing now to discuss-MURPHY This shit is starting to eat up a lot of my time. HENRY Your time? MURPHY And since we’re on the topic, I think I earned a little extra. A lot extra in fact. Like, five K extra. That covers maintenance, and everything, in perpetuity.
Henry scoffs.... HENRY You think I’ve got five-thousand dollars just laying around, stuffed in a lunch box somewhere? Buried in my backyard, in the off chance I get blackmailed some day? MURPHY C’mon, dude! That’s chump change to you. HENRY Chump change?! MURPHY Yeah. Don’t try to con me, bro. HENRY Con you? MURPHY Stop doing that. (then) What about your book deal? HENRY Outside of a moderate advance from the publishers, which went toward escrow on my house, I'm flat broke -- just like you. MURPHY But the first one? You had to’ve made bank off Meridian's Dance. HENRY Meridian's Dance was a fluke. I wrote it for my niece because I didn't have the money to buy her a birthday gift. My sister, she published it online on a whim and without copyright. I didn’t make a cent off it. Listen.... (opens his wallet) ...I have twenty-eight dollars and a Taco Taco coupon on me. Murphy snatches the cash out of Henry’s hand, then.... MURPHY And the coupon.
Henry hands him the Taco Taco coupon. HENRY I will give you the rest when-MURPHY You give gifts. You pay for services rendered. You'll pay me the rest when.... Motions for Henry to continue. HENRY I’ll pay you as soon as I can, but I don’t have 5000 dollars. The van galumphs to a stop outside of Henry’s house. EXT. HENRY’S HOUSE -- CONTINUING Bethany steps out the front door. She lingers on the stoop, dressed ready-to-leave. MURPHY Maybe Bea’s got my money. I should prolly take it up with her, huh? HENRY You’ll get the money. Henry opens the door to get out, hops out. Murphy calls to him through the open door.... MURPHY Don’t fuck with me, Henry, or I will bury you with the others. HENRY You’ll get your money. Murphy busts out laughing.... MURPHY ...relax, Kemo Sabe, I’m just flickin’ y’er nips. (waves to Bethany) Hey, Bea! Welcome back-Henry slaps the door shut. Then crosses to Bethany as Murphy drives away. HENRY Sorry about missing breakfast.
Bethany offers him a Pop Tart and a change of clothes. BETHANY Everything okay? HENRY Yeah, everything’s fine. BETHANY Who was that in the van? HENRY Oh, just an Uber guy the publisher phoned for me. BETHANY Oh. She studies him skeptically. Henry's sights shift to the CAMPAIGN SIGN planted in his front yard. HENRY Who keeps doing this? He rips the sign out of the grass, knee-snaps the stake in half and tosses the pieces into the trunk of the Fortwo. Our duo pack into the Fortwo -- vroom off down the street. As the Fortwo disappears around the street corner.... A JEEP WRANGLER drives up. Parks on the opposite side of the street from Crumbie’s house. The driver door springs open. It’s WALTER! He’s beat up and swollen from the accident. Knee’s set in a cast. Arm, slung in a sling. And sports a nasty shiner. Walter hobbles out of the Jeep, onto the asphalt, dragging a fold up wheelchair out along with him. He opens the wheelchair up, collapses into it. His finger hooks around a lever and the wheelchair blasts off. Walter zips across the street. Past crime scene tape. Up the driveway. And through a gate into Crumbie’s backyard....
THE SLIDING GLASS DOOR Walter motors up, slides the door open and motors on in. INT. MS. CRUMBIE'S KITCHEN -- DAY He motors up to the refrigerator, pops it open to find a six pack of Stella Aerois, but only three bottles remain. Walter prickles at the missing beers. Shrugs it off. Grabs a beer. CRUMBIE’S ENTRYWAY, BY THE STAIRCASE Walter drops the bottle cap off on the entryway table. The table crumbles to the floor. Walter appraises the situation, curious-like, for a beat, then motors on into.... CRUMBIE'S LIVING ROOM ...where he begins combing the room for clues. EXT. TYLER BOOKSTORE -- DAY Henry and Bethany cross the parking lot, heading toward the bookstore. Henry looks awful, death warmed over. Bethany takes notice.... BETHANY You look terrible, Henry, like you’re going to be sick. HENRY Thanks, darling. Got any more words of encouragement for me, before we step inside? INT. TYLER BOOKSTORE -- DAY Think Barnes and Noble, but without the coffee bar. A paperback display of “Meridian's Dance” is set up on a fold-out table -- a microphone waits near a stool.
A respectable-sized crowd has gathered, mostly of brighteyed PRETEENS and PARENTS. All are jubilant with expectation. A BOOKSTORE EMPLOYEE, 21, taps on the microphone, then addresses the crowd.... BOOKSTORE GUY ...I’d like you to please put your hands together and help me welcome Henry Williams to read a chapter or two, or three, or four, from his soon-to-be-released, follow up to "Meridian's Dance," “Princess Ridi and the Immaculate Pinwheel.” Excited applause as Henry takes center stage. Bethany blows him a kiss from the back of the crowd. Henry smiles, dully. Clears his throat -- all eyes on him. He takes a sip of water. Screws the cap back on. Thumbs his laptop open, readies to begin. Vomits.... HENRY ...blaaagh. The crowd reacts. CUT TO: INT. HENRY’S FORTWO -- DRIVING HOME FROM BOOKSTORE -- DAY Bethany drives. Henry rides shotgun. Radio plays over pregnant silence.... RADIO (NEWS REPORT) ...as we learn of new reports of a search-party member who has just been reported missing after failing to check back in with command -- story developing. Bethany clicks off the radio. Confronts Henry. BETHANY Enough of these games, Henry. I want you to tell me what’s going on. And you better do it before I frickin’ lose my shit.
HENRY What’re you talking about? BETHANY Give me a break, look at you. You’re exhibiting all the classic signs. Flu-like symptoms. Erratic behavior. Pasty skin, all spacey. HENRY Why is it so hot in here? He cranks on the AC. BETHANY That’s what withdrawals do to your body, baby. They make you sweaty, sweetie. You honestly thought you could hide this all from me? HENRY You're not making any sense. BETHANY That guy in the van, is he your dealer-- stop, don't tell me, I don't wanna know. I didn't wanna believe it, but it's so blindingly clear now. You're chasing the dragon. Smacking up. Slamming Sister ‘H’. Are you high right now? HENRY Good grief. BETHANY It's okay, baby. I'm not mad. It's an illness not a flaw. Would you be embarrassed if you had a cold? HENRY I'm not-BETHANY Nor should you be. HENRY That’s not what I meant-BETHANY Shush. We will pull through this if we stick together.
My mom has gone ahead and contacted a facility for you to check in to. Out of the windshield, up ahead on the road, is a.... EXT. POLICE CHECKPOINT -- DAY Sheriff Kopecky stands roadside, in the middle of an interview with.... LOCAL NEWS REPORTER ...fair enough. (moving along) Can you tell the viewers at home what they can expect should they encounter one of your checkpoints? SHERIFF KOPECKY Sure, Judy, would love to. (shifting tactics) Better yet, how ‘bout I just show you what you can expect at one of these checkpoints, instead? LOCAL NEWS REPORTER Sure, okay. Great. The local-news reporter and her CAMERAMAN follow Sheriff Kopecky over to a waiting-line of idling vehicles. He raps his knuckles on a driver-side window. Window rolls down.... BETHANY Howdy, Sheriff. Everything okay? SHERIFF KOPECKY Everything’s dandy, ma’am. He shows her a composite drawing (but we won’t see it.) SHERIFF KOPECKY (CONT’D) You happen to have seen this man? BETHANY Can’t say I have, Sheriff. Why? Is that him? The Lake Creek Killer? SHERIFF KOPECKY We believe so. How 'bout you, fella? Have you seen this man?
HENRY Nope. Sure haven’t. Sheriff Kopecky eyes Henry suspiciously as he tucks the composite away in his pocket, then continues.... SHERIFF KOPECKY Well I don’t wanna alarm ya, miss, but we're out here checking vehicles for any unwanted guests. (re: Henry) This fella, he idn't holding ya here against your will is he? BETHANY Nope, he’s with me. My husband. SHERIFF KOPECKY As long as you say so, you mind I take a look inside your trunk, you know.... He hints her to the news camera. SHERIFF KOPECKY (CONT’D) ...for demonstration purposes? BETHANY Be my guest. SHERIFF KOPECKY Pop it for me? Click. Hatchback pops open. SHERIFF KOPECKY (CONT’D) (to news camera) Our goal here is to ensure your experience is as quick and painless as possible. He looks inside the trunk/hatchback to discover two of his campaign signs, trashed beyond repair. SHERIFF KOPECKY (CONT’D) (bristles) Ma’am. Gonna need you to go ahead, step out of the vehicle for me. (to cameraman) I think that’s enough for today. Sheriff Kopecky grabs the camera, cutting the demonstration short.
INT. MURPHY’S SHITTY VAN -- DAY (MEANWHILE) Murphy prattles on like a schoolgirl to Peanut. Peanut, in foofy sweater, sleeps curled up inside the dog carrier -- propped on the passenger seat. MURPHY But on the other hand. Simply because I think that way doesn't mean everyone else necessarily does. Whatever. Humans are a complicate species, Kyle. Seems Murphy gave Peanut a new name. (I’ll stay w/Peanut.) Murphy reaches over to reposition the cage so the gate faces him. Peanut growls menacingly as his hand nears. Murphy diverts, grabs his cell phone instead. MURPHY (CONT’D) I’m gonna grow on you. You just wait and see. He dials his cell. It rings. No one picks up. MURPHY (CONT’D) Looks like we needa pay someone another lil’ visit. INT. LOCAL MINIMART -- DAY Murphy waltzes in. Steals a peek behind the counter. SOME GUY, 20s, aka. not Shelby, works the register. Murphy slumps, disappointed. Grabs a few tins of dog food before heading to the register to pay out. Front door pops open. In hurries Shelby, donning her work apron -- running late. She spots Murphy, primps herself, then.... SHELBY Today’s my last day, so you’ll need to find a new clerk to stalk. MURPHY (buoyed by her presence) Shut up, Shelby. I ain’t even got time for this nonsense.
She starts ringing him up. MURPHY (CONT’D) Ya get fired or sumthin'? SHELBY New job. Start Monday. MURPHY You’re just gonna up and quit like that? She swipes Murphy’s bank card through the reader. SHELBY Gave my notice over a week ago.... ...she punctuates the retort with an “in your face” fake fart noise. Then.... BEEP! Murphy’s bank card is declined. Shelby says nothing, completes the transaction as if it wasn’t. MURPHY You better not skip state with my daughter-SHELBY I’m not gonna steal her away from you, Murphy. So suck it. MURPHY (softening) Better not. So where’s this new gig at? SHELBY Pfft, like I’d tell you. MURPHY Shut up, Shelby. Like I even care. (as he leaves) Got my own irons in the fire to worry about. Whole lot of em, too. Murphy exits. Shelby grabs her purse, pays for the items. EXT. MS. CRUMBIE’S BACKYARD -- NEAR SUNSET Walter crosses the backyard in his speedy wheelchair, inspecting for clues.
He wheels across a bread-crumb trail of spat sunflower seed shells. The shells lead Walter to the fence line. EXT. THE ALLEYWAY BEHIND CRUMBIE'S HOUSE -- SHORTLY AFTER Walter motors up. Rolls across an crumpled empty Twinkie wrapper and a spray of seeds. INT. MS. CRUMBIE’S KITCHEN -- SHORTLY AFTER Walter’s hand plunges deep into a trash can -- no trash. He deflates, stumped. His sights drift.... settling on a lonely sunflower seed, abandoned on the kitchen floor by the fridge. CRUMBIE’S LIVING ROOM Walter motors in. Skids to a stop, where’s the area rug? He ponders, then reverses back into.... THE ENTRYWAY To inspect the busted entryway-table. His eyes drift.... scouring the scene.... before touching down on a family photo hanging on the entryway wall. He wheels over. Plucks it down to study it -- notices the BULLET HOLE in the wall. Eyebrows crinkle, perplexed. Car doors SLAP shut outside, off screen. EXT. HENRY’S HOUSE -- CONTINUING Bethany hurries toward the front door. Henry clings at her side... HENRY What’re you thinking about? Huh? Honey? You gonna talk to me? INT. HENRY’S ENTRYWAY -- CONTINUING BETHANY I don’t even wanna look at you. As he closes the door....
HENRY ...but I told you I was sorry. I mean, c’mon. How was I s’posed to know he’d look in the trunk? BETHANY Don't use your whiny voice, Henry, you know it just pisses me off. She pouts off upstairs. Henry mopes into.... THE KITCHEN Freezes dead in his tracks -- the kitchen is ransacked.... To-go boxes and other related litter scatter the floor. Cabinets are all open. Stuff’s knocked off shelves, etc. HENRY What the? Paws skitter across the tile floor, behind him. Henry spins to look. But nothing’s there. Then. Arf-arf-arf! Henry tenses, it can’t be. HENRY (CONT’D) (yells to Bea) Can you hear that? BETHANY (O.S.) (shouts back) I'm not talking to you. Arf-arf-arf! Arf-arf-arf...! Henry crosses to the kitchen door. Looks out of the glass panel to see.... ...way too dark to see anything out there, so he flips on the porch light. Reaches for the door handle.... EXT. HENRY'S BACKYARD -- NIGHT (CONTINUING) He steps out onto the patio. Peanut barks and growls rage at him from out of the darkness. Henry shuffles warily over to the fence line. Lifts up onto his tiptoes to peek over the fence, into Crumbie’s backyard, using his cell phone as a flash light, only to discover her backyard to be Peanut-less.
He turns to go back inside, when DEMON PEANUT lashes out, razor-sharp teeth chomp deep in to Henry’s leg. Peanut starts thrashing around with incredible force and fury, his hollowed eyes glowing like two red hot embers. Henry screams, terrorfied. Kicks free to haul ass back indoors. INT. HENRY’S HOUSE -- CONTINUING He slams the door shut -- just as Peanut rams head first into the door. WHAM! Door buckles, bulges. Then again. WHAM! Door splinters. Henry throws his weight against the door, holding it back from caving in. Meanwhile.... Bethany shuffles in, oblivious, to find her terrorized husband pressed hard against the door, praying for mercy. BETHANY What are you doin-- what in the hell’s going on, Henry? HENRY (flinches sober) Huh? Uh. Um. I thought you weren’t speaking to me. She eyes him skeptically. Then ughs, peels off into a separate room. HENRY’S LIVING ROOM Henry enters. Crosses to turn the tv on. But trips, topples to the floor on top of MS. CRUMBIE! BEGIN HALLUCINATION. She spasms to life. Grabs Henry. Crawls on top of him, pinning him down. She growls, as if possessed by Peanut. Henry fights to buck her off him. Bethany hurries in to grab a book off the coffee table, just as Henry springs to his feet, decks her in the tit by mistake. END HALLUCINATION. BETHANY Owwah! Whatcha go and do that for?!
HENRY (snapping sober) Uh. Oops. As she feverishly tries to rub the Charlie horse from her boob.... BETHANY Oops?! Seriously? What the hell, man? That’s it. Show me your arms. I wanna see veins. HENRY Good grief. BETHANY Yeah, yeah, good grief, roll them up, Henry! Henry takes off his Swackit. Shows her his arms. HENRY See? You’re the pothead, not me. BETHANY Then I wanna know what’s going on with you -- and don’t blame it on the book, either, Henry, you wrote the other one over a weekend. Henry prepares himself, then spills the beans.... HENRY I need to talk to you about something I know you’re not gonna wanna hear.... He leads her over to the sofa, sits her down, a thousand questions, riddling her face. HENRY (CONT’D) ...but I need you to listen to me, let me finish what I have to say before you respond. Kay? BETHANY (bracing for impact) Okay. HENRY Kay. Um. Remember when I said I spoke with Ms. Crumbie? And said she agreed to give Peanut away?
BETHANY Uh-huh. HENRY That wasn’t completely true. You see, what happened is, I ran in to this old acquaintance of mine. BETHANY Who? HENRY Murphy Lindermen. We went to high school together. Well we started talking and somehow got on the subject of Peanut. And, um. One thing led to another. And the next thing I know is he’s BREAKING IN to her house to BEAT HER to death! Threw her down her stairs -- I think. Then forced me to watch him as he fondled her spinal cord in front of me.... Bethany rises to her feet, unable to stomach any more. HENRY (CONT’D) ...wait, it gets worse.... He sits her back down. HENRY (CONT’D) ...now he’s extorting me-- us. And said he’d kill you if I.... BETHANY Me?! HENRY ...if I don't pay him fivethousand dollars. BETHANY Why me? HENRY (meekly) Because he’s crazy? She leaps to her feet. Judo chops Henry in the throat. Hops onto his back and locks in a rear-naked choke. CUT TO:
INT. MURPHY’S SHITTY VAN -- MEANWHILE Murphy sits on stakeout in his van, parked down the street from Henry's -- within eye-spying distance. He tries (and fails) to roll a joint as he jabbers on to Peanut.... MURPHY (cathartically) ...which’s why she left me. But as long as she keeps letting me see my daughter, then she can screw whoever she wants. But she’ll soon realize, nobody’ll ever love her as much me-- damn these chubby fingers! He puts the weed aside. Grabs a pair of binoculars. Scopes Henry's place to witness someone motoring around in a wheelchair outside the bay window. EXT. HENRY’S HOUSE -- NIGHT (SAME) Walter peeps into the house through a split in the bay window’s curtain. Witnesses a sweaty Bethany patting a sleeping Henry on face -- trying to revive him. A hard objects smacks the side of the house. Lands in the grass by Walter. It’s a tin of dog food. We crane to see: MURPHY Running toward us from down the street like a banshee. MURPHY You're mine! Pervert! He fires another tin. It sails through the sky. Thwack! Smacks Walter on the elbow. Walter winces. Then throttles the wheelchair, zipping off, fleeing the scene. Murphy skip-steps into a foot chase. BACK TO BETHANY AND HENRY As they watch the incident unfold from out the bay window.
HENRY My god, that’s him. That’s Murphy. They witness Murphy chuck the tin of dog food at their home, then scurry off down the street. BETHANY Why’d he just throw trash at our house, Henry? HENRY Because that’s what crazy people do. BETHANY I think this fucking lunatic is trying to intimidate us. EXT. HENRY’S STREET -- NIGHT (CONTINUING) Walter zips down the street. Murphy closes the gap, but is starting to get winded. MURPHY Resistance is futile. BETHANY (O.S.) You think you can threaten ME?! Murphy looks back over his shoulder to see Bethany round the street corner in a breakneck sprint. Murphy flinches. The chase is on. He cuts across lawns of neighborhood houses. Clambers over fences. Anything to escape her. But Bethany is quick, nimble, matches his every move.... ...though ultimately, he gains enough distance to dive into some bushes. Bethany runs up. Where’d he go? She seethes, furious. Sprints off in another direction. EXT. MURPHY’S SHITTY VAN -- SHORTLY AFTER Murphy scurries up. Hops in the driver’s seat. Out of the windshield, Bethany rounds the corner, straight for him. Murphy shuts the door. Van peels off.... ...leaving Bethany behind, standing in a cloud of choking exhaust with her hands on her hips, gasping for air.
Fortwo skiiiiids to a stop beside her. She jumps in. INT. HENRY’S FORTWO -- CONTINUING BETHANY Drive! Henry mashes the gas pedal. Engine whirs. Fortwo zips off down the street -- skids to a stop at a stop sign. Henry looks both ways, then floors it. BETHANY (CONT’D) (exasperated) Forget it, Henry. He beat us. INT. HENRY’S HOME OFFICE -- NIGHT Wall hangs. Decorative plant. Fish tank, with cool fish. Henry is sitting in a puffy swivel chair, parked behind a desk. BETHANY So you haven’t spoke to this guy in over ten years? HENRY He totally slipped my mind. Henry pulls up Murphy’s social media page on the laptop. His profile page is a mosaic of drunk pics, musings and links promoting his band. BETHANY Is he autistic? HENRY Just drunk a lot. BETHANY Charming. Henry clicks on a link to a Dirty Rotten Piston’s performance.... MURPHY’S BAND rocks out on a stage at a head-banging biker bar. BACK TO Bethany bobs her head to the beat. She digs the song.
BETHANY (CONT’D) These guys got an album? Henry ignores her, scrolls down -- comes across Murphy's most recent post -- dated today. It says.... “Signed up for glass-balling classes. Fingers crossed.” Henry scrolls down to an OLD PHOTO of him and Murphy, way back in their childhoods -- maybe middle-school age. The picture is.... “Henry’s arm is slung around Murphy's shoulder. Murphy wears a medieval-looking back brace. Both wear big, bright smiles -- besties.” HENRY Four months before this photo was taken, he was struck by a drunk driver while we were riding our bikes to class. Messed him up pretty bad, nearly killed him. Broke his back. Had to wear that stupid brace for that entire school year. BETHANY That sucks, go back to the music. Henry’s cell phone rings. HENRY It’s him! BETHANY Don’t answer. HENRY Kay. He pockets the phone. BETHANY No, answer. HENRY Kay. BETHANY No, tell ’em you’ve got the loot. HENRY What loot? There is no loot.
BETHANY Ask him to met you first thing in the morning. At that cabin. Too late, call rolls to voice mail. HENRY Went to voice mail. BETHANY (losing patience) Then. call. him. back. INT. MURPHY’S SHITTY VAN -- NIGHT (SAME) Cell phone rings. Murphy lets it go to voice mail. BACK TO HENRY AND BETHANY HENRY (hangs up) No answer. Henry’s cell phone rings. He answers.... HENRY (CONT’D) Hello? Dial tone. HENRY (CONT’D) Why would he call, then hang up? BACK TO MURPHY Cracking up. His cell phone rings.... MURPHY (answering) Hello? BEGIN INTERCUT: HENRY It’s me. MURPHY Who’s me?
HENRY Henry. Meet me at the cabin first thing in the morning. You’ll get your money then. MURPHY The five gees. HENRY Sure. MURPHY And the book? HENRY That too. MURPHY How ‘bout I swing by now. Save you the trip. We can go grab a cherry cola or sumthin' together. Kick back and shoot the shit. HENRY Tomorrow. Cabin. First light. MURPHY I get the feeling some bad blood has brewed between us over these last couple of days. Hello? Dude? You there-BACK TO HENRY AND BETHANY Henry pockets his cell phone. HENRY It’s all set. BETHANY Good. Now go turn on Titanic. I’m in the mood to watch the end. INT. MURPHY’S SHITTY VAN -- SAME Murphy jabs sky, super stoked. MURPHY That’s how you do it, Kyle. When push comes to shove, you kick.
You let ‘em know who they’re dealing with so they don’t dick you in the end. Murphy slips a dog biscuit through the bars of the cage door. Peanut gobbles it up. MURPHY (CONT’D) Attaboy! (then, day dreaming) I can finally pay some bills off. Cover tuition for my glass-balling classes. Maybe set up a boutique somewhere. Maybe the mall. Start getting my life together. Shelby will be beggin’ to get me back. He opens the cage door, cautiously. He reaches inside to clip a leash to Peanut’s collar -- and does, success! INT. MS. CRUMBIE’S HOUSE -- SAME Walter Crumbie reminisces. A solemn look rapes his face. He stares at a Polaroid, clutched in his hand, taken years ago of himself and Peanut. Both are dressed in elite-military gear -- Navy SEALs? Prolly. Walter’s cell phone rings. He blots the tears away, then answers the call.... WALTER CRUMBIE (sniffles) Hello. JAMIE (V.O.) Heyya, Walt. WALTER CRUMBIE Hiya, Jamie. JAMIE (V.O.) How was Cambodia? WALTER CRUMBIE Fun. JAMIE Good. I heard the bad news.
WALTER CRUMBIE I won’t lie to you. It’s been rough. He was my best friend. The perfect dog. JAMIE I was talking about your grandma. WALTER CRUMBIE Yes, of course. Wonderful woman. I won’t stop until I find her. JAMIE So I checked the shelter’s logs. And it looks like we responded to the location twice. But that was out of seventeen times he called to file a complaint. (sneezes) Sorry about that. But we were forced to contact the police the last time we were there. But no details were recorded regarding the resolution of the incident. But they stopped calling after that -- but mostly because of the restraining order. (then) Why? What's going on, Walter? You don't think it's related to your-WALTER CRUMBIE I’m not positive. But yes. One hundred percent. BACK TO BETHANY Max-relaxing on the bed, munching Cheetos, watching the end of Titanic on a flat-screen tv. (The part when DiCaprio sinks into the abyss.) Her attention shifts to.... A WATER BONG. She grabs it, takes an elephant-sized rip, exhales -- the girl’s got a mad set of lungs on her. Meanwhile.... DOWNSTAIRS, IN THE LIVING ROOM Henry sulks, banished to the sofa. He stares, lost inside the gentle glow of his laptop. On the laptop’s screen....
“THE END” ...is typed on the bottom of the page. Henry presses CTRL P -- printing out the pages of his book. The tv plays in the background.... LOCAL NEWS REPORTER (ON TV) ...their whereabouts remain unclear. But if true, this will link the Lake Creek Killer to seven homicides this year so far. (checks her ear piece, then) We now want to show our viewers a sketch of the suspect Brankworth County Police believe to be the perpetrator behind the recent string of gruesome murders.... ...the television cuts to.... “A super detailed COMPOSITE DRAWING of a man's face obscured by a mask made out of duct tape.” BACK TO HENRY Oblivious, cursors over the words: “the end”. Clicks delete. LOCAL NEWS REPORTER (CONT’D) ...If you see this man, do not approach but call local police immediately. He is considered armed and extremely dangerous. EXT. HENRY’S NEIGHBORHOOD -- A BRAND NEW MORNING Morning sun peeks up over the horizon, washing the placid neighborhood in a marmalade glow. INT. HENRY’S HOUSE -- CONTINUING Henry’s eyes flitter open. Bethany looms before him, clothed in camouflage, face slathered in warpaint. She whips out a crossbow. Henry flinches. CUT TO:
EXT. MURPHY’S VAN -- MORNING Murphy stirs awake. Greets the morning with a rejuvenating yawn. Grabs the pair of binoculars off the dash and scopes out Henry’s place.... The Henry’s car is nowhere in sight. EXT. DIRT ROAD NEAR CABIN -- MORNING The Fortwo rolls to a stop. Bethany hops out and dashes off into the backwoods with her crossbow. EXT. MURPHY’S CABIN -- SHORTLY AFTER The Fortwo pulls up. Henry hops out. He wears jeans and Swackit. He looks around. Where’s Murphy? He fishes out his cell phone and dials.... INT. MURPHY’S SHITTY VAN -- SAME Murphy screeches down the highway like a bat out of hell. His cell phone brrrings. He reaches to grab it off the dash when, BOOM! a tire blows. The van shudders, then swerves out of control, skipping the cell across the dash and out the passenger window. BACK TO HENRY Henry hangs up. Then calls Bethany. BETHANY (ON PHONE) Hello? HENRY He’s not here. BETHANY Is he some kind of flake?
HENRY I don’t know. Seemed pretty hard up for the cash. What if he's setting me up? BETHANY Stay focused. EXT. MURPHY’S SHITTY VAN -- SAME The van is stopped along the side of the county road. It's the only vehicle in sight. Murphy is crouched down, changing the blown tire. Gravel crunches under footstep behind him. CREEPY VOICE (O.S.) Looks like you could use a hand. Murphy combs the ground with his fingers, searching for something.... MURPHY Can you believe it? I think I lost a lugnut. CREEPY VOICE (O.S.) Then it is a good thing you’re about to die. Murphy looks up to see A STRANGER standing behind him, silhouetted by the bright morning sun. He wears a mask of duct tape. He brandishes a stun baton -- zap, zap. It’s the LAKE CREEK KILLER! MURPHY (oh, shit!) Ruh Roh. Lake Creek Killer lashes out at Murphy. But steps on the missing lugnut. Flails like he’s on ice. Bum-rushing head first into the side of Murphy’s shitty van -- crunch. His body crumples to the dirt, knocked da-fuck-out. BACK TO HENRY He knocks on the cabin door. No answer. He returns to the refuge of the Fortwo. Sits down inside.
INT. HENRY’S FORTWO -- CONTINUING Henry phones Bethany. BETHANY (ON PHONE) Hello? HENRY I.I.I can’t go through with this. BETHANY Don't start coming apart on me, Henry. We discussed this. And agreed it’s one of those kind of secrets better kept by two. His cell phone buzzes to life -- call waiting. HENRY I think he’s trying to call me. BETHANY Right now? HENRY Yeah. BETHANY Call me back. Henry clicks over.... HENRY Yeah, uh, Hello? OLD MAN’S QUIVERED VOICE Larry? Is that you-HENRY STOP CALLING ME! He hangs up. Furious. Beats on the steering wheel. Then calms. Dials Bethany back.... BETHANY Hello? HENRY Wasn’t him. EXT. HENRY’S FORTWO -- CONTINUING Henry gets out to pace off his frustration.
BETHANY Who was it? HENRY Wrong number. BETHANY Oh. Let’s go over the plan. HENRY I get him to stand still. And you pick him off. We then make it look like an accident-A van’s motor coughs and sputters as it approaches down the overgrown dirt road. HENRY (CONT’D) He’s coming. BETHANY We can do this. Just stick to the plan. They hang up. The shitty van appears. Rolls to a stop behind Henry’s Fortwo, blocking it in. Door swings open, and out pops Murphy, super pumped. MURPHY Dude! You’re never gonna believe what just happened to me. He brushes past Henry on his race into the cabin. Just as he vanishes inside. Thwack. An arrow stabs the door-jamb. Henry walks up, pries the arrow off with his hand. Tosses it high up on the roof. Proceeds inside. INT. MURPHY’S CABIN -- (CONTINUING) Henry lingers by the doorway. Watches Murphy rummage about the cabin, searching for something elusive. HENRY Can we sped this up? Come back out to my car, and I'll grab you the cash. MURPHY And the book?
HENRY Yeah. Out in my car. Let’s go back outside so I can give it to you? Murphy dips into a cubby-size, kitchen area, where he notices the back door is open. He shrugs, closes it. MURPHY I need to find sumthin' to hog tie a body with. HENRY Huh? What was that? A body what? Henry’s cell beeps. It’s a text message from Bethany telling him to: “OPEN THE WINDOW.” HENRY (CONT’D) Is it stuffy in here? MURPHY Huh? HENRY Stuffy. He slides the window open. Fans himself off. HENRY (CONT’D) Hey. Come look at this wacky bird outside. It’s acting all stupid. MURPHY Huh? Before I forget, I gotta tell you, you’re a horrible boss. HENRY I’m not your boss-WALTER CRUMBIE (O.S.) Boo-hoo-hoo. Why don’t the both of you shut the fuck up and take a seat on the sofa before I saw you both in half with my shotty. Henry and Murphy both crane to see: Walter motor around the corner to a small bedroom in his wheelchair, cradling a shotgun in his good arm. HENRY (to Murphy) You set me up!
MURPHY (to Henry) You dicked me, dude?
Murphy yanks a snub nose revolver from his waistband and points it threateningly at Henry. His finger tightens around the trigger as he growls at Walter.... MURPHY Put the gun down before I blow the stupid off this double-crossin’ fool’s face. WALTER CRUMBIE (scoffs) Like I care. Do it. Go on. Murphy looks at Henry. They share a befuddled look. WALTER CRUMBIE (CONT’D) Enough dicking around. Drop the gun. Both of you, sit down. Henry and Murphy sit on the sagging sofa. WALTER CRUMBIE (CONT’D) Bet you are wondering who I am. HENRY You’re that creepy guy who came by my house. WALTER CRUMBIE I am the grandson of that wonderful lady you hated. And lawful owner to the dog you despised. I know all about it. (to Murphy) Why do you keep doing that? MURPHY Doing what? Murphy nibbles the fleshy part of his fingertip, nervous. WALTER CRUMBIE So you’re one of them nail biters? Arentcha? I bet you wet the bed, also. Dontcha? Murphy blushes. WALTER CRUMBIE (CONT’D) Know how I know? I know because I should be a detective. I should be out kicking perp-ass. Solving mysteries and shit.
Not farting around, scribbling bullshit tickets. Know what else I know? Walter pulls out a zip-lock baggy from his pocket. Holds it up for Henry to see -- an empty Twinkie wrapper and one, lonely sunflower seed, tucked safely inside. WALTER CRUMBIE (CONT’D) You didn’t think you’d get away with murder, didja? Wanna hear how I figured it all out? I’ll tell ya -- I should be a detective! Not some meter maid. I should be out busting psychopaths, not twiddling dicks with delinquents-HENRY What’s going on? Why are you showing me that? What is that? A Twinkie wrapper? Is that a Twinkie wrapper-- why’re you showing me a Twinkie wrapper? WALTER CRUMBIE Know what else I know? I know you were casing her place just a day before she disappeared. Suspicious much? I think so. HENRY That isn't quite what happened. I was bringing her gifts-WALTER Misunderstanding my ass. She told me all about it. As Walter speaks, he keeps the shotgun leveled on his two suspects. WALTER (CONT’D) It is even more suspicious to find you out here in a place like this so close to the dropping zone of the Lake Creek Killer. What? You got her rolled up in plastic, too? It's not Lake Creek Killer is it? It's Lake Creek Killers! MURPHY (flaring into theatrics) Save me from this monster--
WALTER CRUMBIE Zip your lip! Numb nuts! Where’s my dog? And where’s my damn gammy? MURPHY She’s out back in the shed, in the freezer. Kyle’s outside in my van. WALTER CRUMBIE Who? MURPHY Peanut. Henry turns to Murphy.... HENRY You kept the dog? MURPHY What? We bonded. WALTER CRUMBIE That’s my dog! MURPHY Check his car. You will find five grand that he was gonna pay me -but I didn’t murder your gammy, she killed herself. WALTER CRUMBIE Silence! Now here is she? MURPHY I just told you: in my freezer. And Peanut’s in my van. We were gonna go get ice cream after this. (gravitates toward front door) I’ll run and get him for you. Be back in a flash. He makes a break for the door. WALTER CRUMBIE Freeze! I’m placing you both under citizen’s arrest for kidnapping and murder. Walter rises up out of the speedy wheelchair.... WALTER CRUMBIE (CONT’D) Bring me to her.
Thwoop! Walter grasps his throat, saucer-eyed in shock. A hunting arrow is now jutting out of his jugular. MURPHY/HENRY Don’t pull it out! / Leave it in! Walter yanks the arrow out of his neck. Blood spurts. Walter gurgles death. Flops down into the wheelchair, jarring it into gear. It rockets into a wall. Murphy and Henry exchange looks. What the fuck? Cabin door kicks open. Bethany stands center-frame -- she strikes a triumphant pose. BETHANY (to Walter) Enjoy the grave yard, bitch! She cranes to Henry, exhilaration deranging her face. BETHANY (CONT’D) We gottem, baby! Who the fuck’s this? MURPHY It’s me, Murphy Lindermen. Bethany looks to Henry. BETHANY Then who’s that? (light-bulb moment) Shit! She kneejerks into loading another arrow. MURPHY (to Henry) You set me up?! Murphy sweeps the revolver up in his hand. Swings his sights on Henry. Henry lunges. Grabs the gun. A fight breaks out. As the two grapple for control of the gun.... ...Thoowp!
An arrow stabs through Murphy’s thigh. His body spasms in pain. He drops the revolver. BANG! A bullet blows a hole through Henry’s jaw.... HENRY (disjointed) He shot me. MURPHY It was an accident! Bethany flexes her eyes to go it. But Murphy scrams out the
into a fighter’s stance. Dares Murphy with for the shotgun. He does. She beats him to kicks the shotgun from her grasp, then front door.
Bethany scoops the shotgun up in her hands. Races out the door after Murphy. EXT. MURPHY’S RAMSHACKLE CABIN -- MORNING Bethany plows out of the doorway. Murphy stands waiting for her -- swings a shovel at her face. But misses. Shovel slaps the side of the cabin. Knocking an arrow off the roof. It dives, straight into Bethany's eye socket. She goes limp. Plops to the ground. Dead. BANG! Thwack! A bullet explodes into the door-jamb, spraying splinters of wood like shrapnel. Murphy turns tail, escapes off into the ominous backwoods. Henry charges out the doorway, waving the snub nose. He squeezes off a shot. BANG! Then again, BANG! And again, CLICK! CLICK! CLICK! Out of bullets. He sees Bethany crumpled in the dirt. HENRY Nooooooooooo!
He whisks to her side, blood pours from his fucked-up jaw. HENRY (CONT’D) Pooky?! (howling in anguish) You’re a dead man!!!! He springs to his feet and wrangles the shotgun and scrambles off after Murphy. BACK TO MURPHY Struggling to run for his life, deep in the backwoods. He comes upon the creek bank. Trips over a piece of driftwood and somersaults down the embankment, somersaulting to a rest beside a body wrapped in plastic.... It’s SHERIFF KOPECKY! Dead as a door nail. Burrito’d in a clear plastic tarp. Boom! A blast from a shotgun crackles through the air. Buckshot slaps ground near Murphy’s hand, kicking up dust and debris. Murphy staggers onto his feet, hobbles away. BACK TO HENRY As he breaks free from the tree line. He fires a shot, boom, then continues chasing after Murphy. MURPHY Looks over his shoulder to see: Henry blast another shot at him. BOOM! Then stumble, tumbling to the ground. BACK WITH HENRY He staggers to his feet -- gives chase, but quickly grows weak, woozy-headed from loss of blood. HENRY (CONT’D) There’s no point in running! Weaker and weaker until he can no longer hold his head up. Henry crumples to the dirt. Dead.
EXT. MURPHY’S SHITTY VAN -- DAY Murphy stumbles up, gasping for air, exhausted by the chase. He hurries to his shitty van. Discovers the barn doors on his van are wide open. He looks inside. The van’s empty. No killer. No Peanut. MURPHY Shit! (hollering) Kyle?! C’mere, boy!! His eyes dart around the woods, looking for Peanut. MURPHY (CONT’D) Here, boy!!! But Peanut’s gone forever. Murphy slumps, bummed. He scurries over to Henry’s Fortwo and grabs an envelop off the dash. Opens it to find a twenty-dollar bill rubberbanded around a roll of coupons for thickness. MURPHY (CONT’D) That sonuva-Zap zap! Murphy crumples to the dirt. Motionless. A rope loops around his neck. INT. HENRY’S FORTWO -- LATER ON THAT DAY Cruising down the road. We won’t see the driver’s face. Peanut sits in the passenger seat -- in the dog carrier. FADE OUT/FADE IN.... INT. SOME HOUSE SOMEWHERE OUT IN THE SUBURBS -- DAY Two adolescents, a BOY, 10, and a GIRL, 7, crank call people.... THE GIRL (ON THE PHONE) ...and tell your pervy husband to stop making eyes at me when I walk by. I’m only seven years old-Click -- she swiftly hangs up. Hands her brother the phone. He’s a bit older, further along in his craft.... THE BOY Who next?
THE GIRL What about Charlie? THE BOY Nah. THE GIRL Becky? THE BOY I think that guy changed his number. The boy’s face brightens into a mischievous smile.... THE BOY (CONT’D) ...I got one. Let’s see if Larry’s around. He rehearses: THE BOY (CONT’D) (old man’s quivered voice) Larry? My-(clears throat, then again) Larry? My bath needs drawn. Perfect. He dials the phone. Listens intently for the lines to connect.... CUT TO: EXT. DEEP IN OMINOUS BACKWOODS -- SAME Henry lies face down, dead in the dirt. His cell phone rings to life inside his pocket. A rummaging raccoon skitters up, starts chewing on Henry’s ear. BACK TO The boy and the girl.... VOICE MAIL GREETING (V.O.) You’ve reached Henry Williams. I am unable to come to the phone right now but leave your name and number and I’ll call you back when I can. Peace be with you. Bye. The boy hangs up.
THE BOY Whaddapussy, he didn’t answer. THE GIRL L-O-fucking-L. Front door kicks open and in walks THE STRIPPER (snapped selfie w/ Henry) cradling a bag of groceries in her arm and clutching a leash with her free hand. It’s clipped to a happy-footed PEANUT! SEXY STRIPPER Surprise! We got a dog! The kids whoop and holler, overjoyed. SEXY STRIPPER (CONT’D) And look what daddy’s got for ya.... Carlton Marshall (dude released from jail) walks in behind her. Holds up the pages making Henry’s latest book.... CARLTON MARSHALL Happy birthday, sweetie! Just what you wanted! THE END!