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FADE IN: EXT. CITY STREET - EVENING SMALL MOM/POP SHOPS and BROWNSTONES line both sides of the sleepy avenue. Exploring, we see a GROCERY STORE EMPLOYEE sweeping the sidewalk, a SHOE REPAIR SHOP OWNER laughing with CUSTOMERS as they exit his shop. Further down the street we see Fruit stand owner -- AMELIA DOGARTY, 56, IRISH -- arranging and polishing APPLES on her APPLE CART. She looks up to cast a smile toward an old man standing on the corner. He is -MR. CULEMAN, 89, POOR, WHITE. He is a very proper gentleman who carries a WALKING CANE more for sympathy than necessity. He seems to be waiting for a bus, as he gazes impatiently into the distance. AMELIA DOGARTY (heavy Irish accent) It's getting late Mr. Culeman, why don't you go ahead without him this one time? MR. CULEMAN In 22 years, I have not made this journey alone. Today shouldn't be any different. I'll wait for one more, then I'll go. AMELIA DOGARTY You're such a creature of habit Mr. Culeman. MR. CULEMAN (insulted) Creature of habit! AMELIA DOGARTY I meant no disrespect... MR. CULEMAN Amelia, I would assure you that this has very little to do with... A CITY BUS approaches in the near distance. MR. CULEMAN (CONT'D) Oh, maybe this is his bus now. Mr. Culeman scurries back a few steps from the corner and, with the aid of his cane, begins limping toward the intersection; to give the appearance of having just arrived. The bus stops at the corner as Mr. Culeman tries desperately to give the appearance that he is only waiting for the TRAFFIC LIGHT to change.


As the door of the bus hisses open, several people get off. One of those persons is -- RAYNARD FOSTER, 32, BLACK, ruggedly handsome, executive type -carrying a BRIEFCASE. He appears to be depressed. TRAFFIC SIGNAL FLASHING "DON'T WALK" The bus drones off. Raynard forces a smile toward Amelia. RAYNARD FOSTER Evenin' miss apples. AMELIA DOGARTY Good evening to you Ray. (beat) Child, you look like someone's dragged you through a field of pity. RAYNARD FOSTER Yeah. AMELIA DOGARTY Don't let them pimp you Ray. You're better than that. TRAFFIC SIGNAL FLASHING "WALK" Raynard notices Mr. Culeman at the corner, about to step into the street. RAYNARD FOSTER Mr. Culeman! Wait! MR. CULEMAN (feigning surprise) Oh, Ray. How are you? RAYNARD FOSTER Sorry I'm late. MR. CULEMAN Nonsense. You take this too serious. They begin crossing the street together. MR. CULEMAN (CONT'D) The working class world hasn't changed a whole lot since I retired you know. As I understand it, you can't expect to succeed in advertising unless you're willing to play a few night games.


As they reach the other side of the street, Mr. Culeman hangs his cane on one arm and pats Raynard on the shoulder. MR. CULEMAN (CONT'D) Thank you Ray, I couldn't have done it without you. RAYNARD FOSTER Mr. Culeman, you and I both know that you don't really need my help to cross this street. MR. CULEMAN No, you can't say that. When you were a kid, perhaps that was true. But as the years have waned, I've found that even the shortest journey is better traveled with a friend. Raynard's smile reveals his respect for Mr. Culeman. RAYNARD FOSTER Enjoy your visit Mr. Culeman. Mr. Culeman bows slightly to Raynard then turns and begins walking toward the stairs of a nearby brownstone. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) I know he can't hear you, but tell Duke I said hi. Mr. Culeman, already at the foot of the stairs, turns to respond. MR. CULEMAN He doesn't have to hear, he feels. The stroke didn't take that away. Raynard returns to the side of the street where Amelia has her fruit stand. As he steps onto the curb, she tosses him an apple. As per routine, he catches it without looking. RAYNARD FOSTER Thanks Ms. Apples. Raynard turns to continue down the street, but Amelia, catches his attention. AMELIA DOGARTY You must be very good at advertising. Puzzled by her comment, Raynard turns and looks quizzically at Amelia. AMELIA DOGARTY (CONT'D)


Because they work you so hard at it. RAYNARD FOSTER That's not the worst of my problems. AMELIA DOGARTY I remember when you were just a kid. Optimistic... full of energy... ready to take over the world. Amelia points to a brownstone where Raynard used to live. AMELIA DOGARTY (CONT'D) you used to sit next to that stoop over there... (chuckles) and sell your lemonade... Embarrassed, Raynard laughs with Amelia. AMELIA DOGARTY (CONT'D) ...which wasn't lemonade at all. It was just sugar and water. RAYNARD FOSTER It had lemons. AMELIA DOGARTY You made them out of yellow construction paper. RAYNARD FOSTER Same difference. AMELIA DOGARTY No, it's not Ray. RAYNARD FOSTER I always hated lemons. AMELIA DOGARTY But it's like life. You have to appreciate that it takes both lemons and sugar to make it complete. Suddenly, we hear loud GANGSTER RAP. Raynard looks on as Amelia turns to view the source. A WHITE LUXURY CAR, with BLACK TINTED WINDOWS, has just rounded the corner. It cruises up and stops directly in front of Amelia's fruit stand. Raynard stares at the car in admiration. The DRIVER gets out of the car and opens the rear curbside door. Out steps -- RONNIE, 15, BLACK, baby-faced -- dressed in HIP-HOP CLOTHES, GOLD JEWELRY, AND GOLD RIMMED


SUNGLASSES. As he approaches the fruit stand, he notices Raynard's office slave appearance. RONNIE (sarcastic, to Raynard) Nice shoes. CLOSE ON RAYNARD'S SHOES -- WORN DOWN CONSERVATIVE LOAFERS Ronnie searches through a WAD OF FIFTY DOLLAR BILLS, and after much effort, finds a ONE DOLLAR BILL. Seaming very pleased with himself for having accomplished such a task, he beams with delight as he hands it to Amelia. RONNIE (CONT'D) One dollar, one apple. AMELIA DOGARTY (furious) First of all, my apples are fifty cents. RONNIE Sorry, I don't carry change... AMELIA DOGARTY Secondly, your filthy money is not welcome here. So you can just leave. And get rid of those ridiculous glasses... (beat) ...unless you're planning on doing some welding on your way home. RONNIE You ain't none of my mother! (beat) I'm still taking me a apple. Amelia won't take the dollar, so Ronnie angrily shoves it back into his pocket. Then, he searches through the apples until he finds one he likes. He walks to his car with it, turns to face Amelia, and takes bite. RONNIE (CONT'D) (exaggerated pleasure) Ummmmm! These are the best. He nonchalantly drops the apple into the gutter as he climbs back into the car. The driver shuts the rear door and gets in the car. The gangster rap fades as the car moves slowly into the distance.


Amelia is furious, as she begins wiping down the apples she thinks Ronnie may have touched. AMELIA DOGARTY Ugh! He was such a nice kid when he first moved here. That was about four years ago. Now look at him; just a waist of human flesh. Raynard slowly places his apple back on the fruit stand. AMELIA DOGARTY (CONT'D) What? You don't like my apples now? RAYNARD FOSTER Let's just say, that kid took mine. AMELIA DOGARTY He took nothing! That's why I have shoplifting insurance. Amelia takes Raynard's hand and gently places an apple in it as she cups his hand with hers. AMELIA DOGARTY (CONT'D) Ray, Lord knows I don't have much to give. But, ever since you were a child, I've considered it to be my privilege to give you one of these apple's everyday as I pass by. It's our tradition. But more than that... looking tenderly into his eyes, Amelia caresses Raynard's face, as a mother would her own child. AMELIA DOGARTY (CONT'D) ...It's a symbol of our friendship. (suddenly angry) And I'll be dog gone if I'm going to let some little negroid, riding a fifty-thousand dollar skateboard, screw that up. They hug. RAYNARD FOSTER That kid's right though. Your apples are the best. Raynard takes a bite of the apple in his hand. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) And they taste good too.


AMELIA DOGARTY You mean the world to me Ray. RAYNARD FOSTER I could stand here and talk to you all night, Amelia, but I've got to get up very early in the morning. AMELIA DOGARTY Okay, well take care of yourself. And remember, don't let them pimp you. Amelia looks on as Raynard walks off into the night. DISSOLVE TO: EXT. WAREHOUSE - DAY The PARKING LOT is filled with EXPENSIVE SEDANS and PUV'S. HEAVILY ARMED GUARDS, dressed in BLACK FATIGUES, guard the gates and walk throughout the compound. INT. WAREHOUSE Over a hundred executive types of various ages and nationalities stand in even rows, like soldiers, as they are lectured to by -- ALEXANDER PRIEST, 52, WHITE -- a very charismatic, CEO type. ALEXANDER PRIEST I'm sure you all have full schedules which you're probably pretty anxious to get back to. I just want to make sure that everyone is on the same page with regard to the points I've addressed over the last... Priest looks at his WATCH. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) ...two hours? Well, I guess it's about time I wrap it up. Everyone laughs. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) So, let me recap by asking you some questions. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) As RAM INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION members, what is our first and foremost obligation?


A woman -- MARY WERNER, 65 -- raises her hand. Priest points to her for the answer. MARY WERNER To provide quality service to our customers? ALEXANDER PRIEST Exactly! And who is our customer? Another hand is raised. This time it is -- PIERRE MASON, 22, BLACK. Priest gives him a nod. PIERRE MASON Internally, it is the RAM member next in line to receive our product; whether that product be actual goods, or services rendered. ALEXANDER PRIEST Yes, that is... PIERRE MASON Any job to be done in relation to another member makes them our customer. ALEXANDER PRIEST Thank you Pierre. That's very good. So, what kind of service should these customers expect? Pierre rushes to answer before anyone can raise even a finger. PIERRE MASON On time and accurate. In fact, we should never commit to providing any service which we can not guarantee to deliver on time and accurately. ALEXANDER PRIEST Yes... PIERRE MASON For fear that we could damage the reputation of the entire association. ALEXANDER PRIEST Great. (beat) Are you done? Pierre just nods. Everyone laughs.


ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) I couldn't have asked for a better answer. Give yourself two brownie points. Everyone laughs, including Pierre. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) Nonetheless, you did omit to mention the external customer. These are our clients. They are the people who pay our salaries. These are people who have given us their hard earned money with the reasonable expectation that we will provide our services on their behalf. Their trust in us is based solely on past performance. We must, at all cost, maintain that reputation for meeting obligations assigned to us, on time and accurately within their specified guidelines. Providing that kind of service requires a full-on team effort from every member involved in the project. That means everyone from the least glamorous to the most involved position. (beat) So what happens when we discover that an individuals actions exhibit a lack of devotion to the team concept? Someone whose subversive actions are undermining the qualities of customer service which we are trying to promote among all our members? We terminate them... before the virus can spread. Priest gestures, and a door opens in the back of the room. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) Before I close, I want to present to you a case study. A man GAGGED and TIED to a CHAIR, is dragged to the front of the room. He is -- WILLIE LOMAN, 47, WHITE --. His fervent resistance is proven futile as he strains against the ropes and attempts to scream through the gag. The man dragging him is -- CY LOMAN, 40, WHITE -- his brother. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) Hi Willie! Willie here was given a piece of work to take care of over the weekend. Willie lets out a loud apologetic moan. Cy wrangles an ADDITIONAL GAG over Willie's mouth to further silence him while priest is talking. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D)


The client specs required the delivery of goods to the client's home on Saturday. However, this conflicted with Willie's anniversary. Apparently, his plans to take his wife to Barbados for the weekend were more important than maintaining his commitment to the client. So, what did Willie do? Let's ask him. Priest gestures. Cy removes the gags from Willie's mouth for a moment. WILLIE LOMAN (loud panic) I'm sorry! I'm so sorry! I'm... Cy forces the gags back in Willie's mouth to silence him. ALEXANDER PRIEST Willie took it upon himself to put in the work a week ahead of schedule and buried the goods in a field until he got back from his vacation. Willie maneuvers the gag out of his mouth. WILLIE LOMAN I didn't think it mattered! As Cy struggles to get the gag back in Willie's mouth... WILLIE LOMAN (CONT'D) I was gonna' dig her up on Monday, before the guy even got back into town! He was in Canada for God's sake! Cy manages to get the wadded gag back in place. ALEXANDER PRIEST (to audience) But that's not what he was asked to do, was it? The audience mumbles amongst themselves. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) What should Willie have done? Priest searches the room for someone who might know the answer. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) Mary?


MARY WERNER Perhaps, he could have informed one of us of his apparent scheduling conflict. I'm sure someone could've covered for him. ALEXANDER PRIEST Could you have covered for him? MARY WERNER You said it was this past Saturday? ALEXANDER PRIEST Yes. MARY WERNER Well then, sure. My niece and her family are visiting, but they didn't get here until Sunday. If Willie had briefed me on the specs, I would have been glad to help out. I would've even been willing to split the bonus with him. ALEXANDER PRIEST What about you Cy? CY LOMAN Sure. I mean... he's my brother. I had some things working Friday but I'm sure I could've fit it in. Priest searches his pockets for his lighter. He doesn't have it. ALEXANDER PRIEST So, you see Willie, there were some ways around this. Nonetheless, the customer had to suffer poor service and is now facing a murder charge. And if he's convicted, who's going to raise his child? Cy, let me borrow your lighter. Cy releases Willie's mouth to search his pockets for his lighter. As he does, Willie spits out the gag and begins pleading. WILLIE LOMAN Please! No! Please! Cy, You're my brother. Help me. CY LOMAN (to Willie) It's just business. Believe me, I don't Love you any less.


Cy hands his LIGHTER to Priest. Priest picks up a GLASS OF FLAMMABLE LIQUID, sitting nearby on a CRATE. Without hesitation, he splashes the liquid onto Willie and tosses Cy's lighter into Willie's lap. As Willie erupts into flames, he screams in agony. Priest, cool as ice, turns to Cy... ALEXANDER PRIEST (to Cy) Thanks Cy. (to audience) Well, that's all I have. If there are no questions... (beat) ...I thank you for your time. You're free to go. As people begin to mill about and socialize... ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) Oh, I almost forgot. There are refreshments in the back. Help yourselves. Last one out, locks up. AS PEOPLE ENJOY DOUGHNUTS AND COFFEE, WILLIE'S CARCASS BURNS AND SMOKES IN THE BACKGROUND. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER (V.O.) Victor! It's Erika's turn. DISSOLVE TO: EXT DAYCARE PLAYGROUND - DAY A pregnant woman playfully marches towards two children who have been arguing over a swing -- VICTOR, 4 and ERIKA, 3. The woman is -- SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER, 28, PLAIN LOOKING, PETITE, BLACK --. Gently taking Victor's hand, Shawanda counsels him. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER You don't want to breakup your friendship over a swing. Besides, I need you to teach me how to use the see-saw. As he walks off with Shawanda, Victor turns back to poke his tongue out at Erika. Shawanda sees him, out the corner of her eye. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER (CONT'D) Victor, stop that. You need to learn how to let a woman win. That's one of the side effects of being a man.


Victor looks up at Shawanda with an expression of shock. Then, he looks back over his shoulder just in time to see Erika poking her tongue at him. An ICE-CREAM TRUCK can be heard approaching. The children on the play lot all rush toward the sound. However, as though held by some invisible force, they stop right at the open gate. Staring at the ice cream truck with greedy anticipation, the children exhibit amazing self restraint by not moving one step outside the play yard. In utter disbelief, KARI WILSON -- 43, Assistant Director -- approaches Shawanda. KARI WILSON No matter how many times I see it, my eyes just won't believe it. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Believe what? KARI WILSON Your control over these kids. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Well, I don't do anything special. I just let them know I love them. KARI WILSON That, in itself, is special. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER (dramatic urgency) You know what?! KARI WILSON (startled) What?! SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER We were having so much fun, I totally forgot it was ice cream time. KARI WILSON (relieved) Oh... well... actually, that's why I came out here. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER


Don't worry about it Ms. Wilson, I never take the kids to the curb by myself. Because you said only the teachers were allowed... KARI WILSON Well actually Shawanda... what I was going to tell you is that we're approaching the end of the quarter and it turns out that for the next few weeks, we won't have any money left in the budget for these little ice cream breaks. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER What? KARI WILSON I know it's terrible but... SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Nonsense. Summer will be over by then. How much money you got? KARI WILSON I just told you, we don't have any... SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Not the school's money, your money. How much you got? Kari reacts shocked by the directness of Shawanda's request. Stuttering and mumbling, she fumbles through some loose BILLS in her PURSE. KARI WILSON Umm...I just have this, but... Shawanda takes Kari's money, before she can retract it. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Thank you. Now let me see how much I have. Shawanda searches her PURSE and comes up with SEVEN DOLLARS. She calls out to the OTHER TEACHERS present... SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER (CONT'D) What about the rest of you? Ms. Wilson says the school don't have money for ice cream. How much money y'all got.


The teachers begin shrugging their shoulders and shaking their heads. The children, wondering about the delay, look toward the teachers. The ICE CREAM VENDOR, unsure of what is going on, checks his WATCH, then casts an inquisitive look toward Shawanda. VICTOR approaches Shawanda. VICTOR Ms. Neville, are we going to get ice cream today? Touched by the hope in Victor's voice, Shawanda marches with determination, toward the ice cream truck. KARI WILSON (calling to Shawanda) Shawanda, that's only twelve dollars. That's not enough to buy ice cream for all these kids. Shawanda leans on the chrome counter of the ice cream truck and speaks gently to the -- VENDOR, 30, ITALIAN. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Hi, I know you come down here every week to sell your ice cream to these kids, but today, we're a little short. VENDOR (thick Brooklyn accent) How short? SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Well, there are all these kids to buy for, and we only have twelve dollars. VENDOR So, let me see if I've got the skinny. You want me to give you... He does a quick calculation in his head. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER What do you mean "give"? VENDOR ...over thirty dollars worth of free products, is that right? SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Yeah, but that's because the school's budget is suspended for a couple of weeks.


VENDOR It means you don't have the money but you want the ice-cream. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Oh, great! I knew you would. VENDOR You mean you're paying this out of your own pocket? VENDOR (CONT'D) Wait a minute. I never said I was agreeing. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER I know, but will you? We'll pay you back when the budget opens up again. Vendor looks at the kids, then looks at Shawanda. VENDOR Okay. But just this one time. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Yeah! Come on kids! As the kids clamor around Shawanda. VENDOR (to Shawanda) These kids are lucky to have a teacher like you. Vendor takes the twelve dollars and begins dispensing ICE CREAM to the children. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Oh, I'm not a teacher. I just come here everyday and play with the kids. VENDOR That's even better. I'll Tell you what, I like you. So, for the next three weeks, these kids get their ice cream free of charge. Vendor gives Shawanda the twelve dollars back. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER You hear that kids, free ice cream. Yeah!


All the kids cheer excitedly. Shawanda kisses the vendors cheek. He blushes as he continues to hand out ice cream to the kids. Kari Wilson, standing nearby, just smiles and shakes her head in awe and disbelief. INT. OLLEC AD AGENCY - DAY CLOCK ON THE WALL SHOWS TEN O'CLOCK. OFFICE WORKER #1 is sitting at the RECEPTION DESK working a CROSSWORD PUZZLE. OFFICE WORKER #2 is reading a MAGAZINE at her DESK next to MR. OLLEC'S OFFICE. OFFICE WORKER #3 is making copies at a PHOTOCOPIER. The cubicle area is a vast ghost town populated by EMPTY CUBICLES PROPPED WITH OFFICE SUPPLIES, COMPUTERS, PRINTERS, and COFFEE MUGS to give the appearance that an employee actually occupies that space. THE DOOR TO MR. OLLEC'S OFFICE IS FAUX FINISHED TO LOOK LIKE STEEL. THE NAME PLATE READS "MR. VINCENT OLLEC, PRESIDENT, OWNER, CEO. As Mr. Ollec's door opens, out steps --JERRY OLLEC, 39, BLACK, ATHLETIC BUILD, MALE PATTERN BALDNESS WITH PERM SLICKED HAIR-- holding a BILLING REPORT. He's wearing FLASHY SHOES, WHITE NYLON SOCKS, AND A SUIT MADE OF SOME SORT OF DARK SHINY MATERIAL. He abruptly shuts the door behind himself. OFFICE WORKER #1 Good morning Jerry, I took a message for... (beat) Jerry? Jerry ignores her as he walks by with fury and determination toward RAYNARD'S OFFICE. OFFICE WORKER #2 Jerry, your wife called while you were meeting with your father... Jerry continues on without acknowledging their presence. OFFICE WORKER #2 (CONT'D) (calling to Jerry) She said she won't be in today. OFFICE WORKER #3 Jerry, I put the billing in your chair. It's ready for your signature.


As Jerry travels by, the WALLS MADE OF TINTED GLASS reveal that the offices are just as vacant as the cubicles. Except for the office of Raynard Foster. Raynard is hard at work when Jerry storms in waving the billing report. RAYNARD'S OFFICE JERRY OLLEC (angry) What is this? RAYNARD FOSTER Huh? JERRY OLLEC I told you the budget for the Petrol account should be two-four-five-oh. RAYNARD FOSTER I know but... JERRY OLLEC (shouting) What do you mean you know? Then why didn't you do it? RAYNARD FOSTER It was a performance issue. The schedule I bought yields a substantially greater frequency, over the schedule we pitched,for the one percent dollar increase. Your father approved it. JERRY OLLEC You're not listening! Stop trying to be such a smart aleck. Mr. Ollec doesn't know anything about this. RAYNARD FOSTER But he said... JERRY OLLEC Look at this! Jerry tosses the billing report into Raynard's lap. JERRY OLLEC (CONT'D) What does it say? What does it say? You don't know everything, so stop trying to act like it.


RAYNARD FOSTER Well. We managed to save $49K in the negotiation. So, I thought... JERRY OLLEC You can't think. You don't have a brain. (beat) RAYNARD FOSTER (calmly) Look, you haven't shown it to Petrol yet, have you? JERRY OLLEC That's not the point! You're not doing your job! You're not doing your job! You don't decide what we bill our clients! I do! RAYNARD FOSTER Okay, okay. JERRY OLLEC What is wrong with you? RAYNARD FOSTER What should I do now? Jerry just storms out of Raynard's office without saying another word. Raynard sits for a few moments, confused by what just happened. DISSOLVE TO: ESTABLISHING SHOT, BROWNSTONE - NIGHT INT. APARTMENT FOYER Raynard enters. The door creaks to a close behind him. He pulls out his KEYS and unlocks his MAILBOX. He pulls out a BUNDLE OF MAIL and closes the mailbox. He unlocks the SECOND DOOR, which leads to the STAIRS. INT. RAYNARD'S LIVING ROOM - NIGHT The SMALL ONE BEDROOM APARTMENT is sparsely furnished with a CHEAP END TABLE, a COUCH, a TV ON A STAND, a TORCHIRE FLOOR LAMP, a PICTURE IN A FRAME sitting on the end table (next to the PHONE). There are PILES OF BOOKS about baseball and others about advertising stacked neatly against one wall. Advertising TRADE MAGAZINES are strewn across the COFFEE TABLE. The SMALL KITCHEN is spotless, with only a SMALL TABLE and THREE CHAIRS against one wall. Through the glass of the KITCHEN


CABINET doors, we see that there are only a FEW DISHES. On the counter we see an 8X10" FAMILY PHOTO of Raynard with MRS. FOSTER -- 65, BLACK, RAYNARD'S MOTHER -- and MR. FOSTER -- 68, BLACK, RAYNARD'S FATHER -- . Raynard unlocks the door and enters the apartment. With barely any energy left, he closes the door with his back and rests against it for a moment. Dragging himself across the room to the phone, he dials a number to check his VOICE MAIL. CLOSE SHOT - PICTURE IN THE FRAME ON THE END TABLE IS A PICTURE OF -- SHAWANDA NEVILLE, AT AGE 18,-- SHE'S CASUALLY DRESSED, STANDING NEXT TO A SPORTS CAR. THERE'S A CHURCH IN THE BACKGROUND WITH A BULLETIN BOARD WHICH READS "WELCOME TO CALVARY CH" (WORDS RUN OFF THE EDGE OF THE PICTURE). After a series of prompts, the voice messages begin to play. COLLECTION AGENT (V.O.) Hi, this call is for Mr. Raynard Foster. My name is Larry Green. I'm calling from Castle Collection Agency. Raynard lays his briefcase on the couch and goes over to turn on the floor lamp. COLLECTION AGENT (CONT'D) This is in regard to your extremely passed due account with the University of Illinois. Please call me at 347-5789. Our office hours are Monday through Friday, seven AM to nine PM. Raynard deletes the message and begins leafing through his mail as the next message begins playing. It's -- RUBIO ANDERSON, BLACK, 35, BIG FRIENDLY BEAR TYPE -- Raynard's best friend since childhood. RUBIO ANDERSON (V.O.) Hey buddy. How you been? The sound of Rubio's voice makes Raynard smile as he moves closer to the phone. RUBIO ANDERSON (CONT'D) That's a nice lengthy message you got there. I thought I was gonna have to pull up a chair and grab a pillow for a minute. Raynard chuckles.


RUBIO ANDERSON (CONT'D) hey listen, the reason I'm calling is because I hadn't seen you for awhile at church, or anywhere for that matter. Feeling uncomfortable about that statement, Raynard moves further away from the phone and fidgets with his mail. RUBIO ANDERSON (CONT'D) The kids miss you at Sunday school bro'. They keep on asking about you. Truth is, I miss you too. Feeling frustrated, Raynard slumps down on the couch and lays his mail down on the cushion. RUBIO ANDERSON (CONT'D) I'm sure whatever you're going through is not insurmountable. Hey, I used one of your words. Raynard looks toward the phone and smiles. RUBIO ANDERSON (CONT'D) Well, anyway, all of us are taking the kids out hiking this weekend and I thought you might want to come along and help out. Give me a call. Let me know. Love you bro'. Prompt indicates this is the last message. Raynard disconnects. He picks up his mail again and actually reads it this time. RAYNARD FOSTER Bills, bills, bills. Oh, what's this? CLOSE SHOT - PUBLISHER SWEEPSTAKES PRIZE NOTICE. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) (feigned excitement) I just won a million dollars. Oh, wait, ten million dollars. Mine for the taking. All I have to do is buy lots of magazines and waste my time licking and sticking their silly little stamps. Lick this. Raynard tosses the envelope toward the waste basket across the room. Rising from the couch, he heads to his BEDROOM. INT. RAYNARD'S BEDROOM - NIGHT


The room is functionally furnished with a BED, DIGITAL CLOCK, NIGHT STAND, LAMP and a SMALL CLOSET. As Raynard enters, the light from the living room illuminates the bed enough for him to notice a NOTE FROM SHAWANDA. He sits on the bed, cuts on the lamp and reads the note. RAYNARD FOSTER (reading) I stopped by to see if you wanted to go with me to visit my dad at the home, for dinner. I'll probably get back late. Have a good night. See you tomorrow. With love, Shawanda. (heavy sigh) Have fun. Raynard loosens his tie, unbuttons his collar and turns off the lamp. He sits for a moment, looking out the window into the night. Then, exhausted, he falls back on the bed to sleep. INT. RUBIO'S APARTMENT - DAY A MODERATE TWO BEDROOM APARTMENT with contemporary furnishings throughout. Rubio is telling a made up story to his sons, -- JEREMY, 8 YEARS OLD, ROBERT, 6 YEARS OLD, AND JOSHUA, 8 MONTHS OLD -- in the living room. Joshua is content upon Rubio's lap. RUBIO ANDERSON And then, the pancake mix flowed out of the bowl and onto the counter and then onto the floor and it kept on flowing until it ran under the door of the small cabin and onto the hot cobblestone sidewalk, where it began to be cooked by the sun. JEREMY ANDERSON (excited) Then what happened, Pappi RUBIO ANDERSON Why the sun kept on cooking it until it became the highest stack of pancakes you ever did see. (whispered) And lumberjacks love pancakes. ROBERT ANDERSON They do? RUBIO ANDERSON Yeah. And the smell of these pancakes got carried by the wind and lumberjacks came running from miles


around. Needless to say, they never had to worry about not having enough fire wood ever again. ROBERT ANDERSON I don't like winter. DOOR BUZZER sounds. JEREMY ANDERSON Me either. Door buzzer sounds again. Rubio's wife -- ARICELLI ANDERSON, 38, PUERTO RICAN -- answers the INTERCOM. ARICELLI ANDERSON (O.S.) Who is it? RUBIO ANDERSON Now, now. Winter's not so bad. As long as you have family and a roof over your head, you've got everything. PASTOR GREG (O.S.) (through intercom) Greg RUBIO ANDERSON Hey, who wants to hear a song? ARICELLI ANDERSON (O.S.) Oh come on up pastor. JEREMY ANDERSON Me! ROBERT ANDERSON Me! Aricelli pushes the door buzzer for -- PASTOR GREG SEPULVIDA, 35, PUERTO RICAN, SLIM BUILD, SUFFERS FROM TURRET SYNDROME WHICH MAKES HIM BARK LIKE A DOG SPONTANEOUSLY--. Rubio sits Joshua down on the floor and grabs his ACOUSTIC GUITAR from the corner. There's a knock at the door. Aricelli opens the door for Pastor Greg. ARICELLI ANDERSON (O.S.) (CONT'D)


Hi Pastor Greg. How are you? PASTOR GREG (in Spanish) Oh, I'm fine. Thanks for asking. RUBIO ANDERSON (to Aricelli in Spanish) Bring him back here honey. Rubio begins playing around with a funky blues riff just as Aricelli and Pastor Greg enter the room. Jeremy and Robert both leap to their feet, with excitement, and rush over to hug Pastor Greg PASTOR GREG (in English) And how are you, my little muchachitos? JEREMY ANDERSON Fine. ROBERT ANDERSON Fine. RUBIO ANDERSON (in Spanish) Hello, my good friend! Pastor Greg and Rubio greet each other with an embrace. PASTOR GREG (in English) What were you playing? (barks due to turret) That was sounding nice, bro'. RUBIO ANDERSON Thanks, I was just messing around. Pastor Greg picks up Joshua from the floor. PASTOR GREG And how's my little bean? Oh, you're getting so big. ARICELLI ANDERSON (to Pastor Greg) Would you like some Juice.


PASTOR GREG That would be great, if it's no trouble. ARICELLI ANDERSON No trouble at all. Aricelli leaves to go get JUICE. RUBIO ANDERSON So is everything set? PASTOR GREG Yeah, every (barks) everything we could think of has been taken care of. Pastor Greg puts Joshua back down on the floor. PASTOR GREG (CONT'D) Did Ray ever call you back? Rubio just gives a sorrowful shake of his head. Realizing the sensitive nature of he issue, Pastor Greg make a transparent attempt to change the subject. PASTOR GREG (CONT'D) Oh, hey, wait until you see the bus we got for the kids. (barks) It's got everything. Air, individual headphones, a bathroom. RUBIO ANDERSON Greg, it's okay. I'm sure we all miss him, but he'll come around. You know, prodigal son and all that. PASTOR GREG You know what? You're right. RUBIO ANDERSON Yeah, I'm sure of it. PASTOR GREG Hey, everyone's gonna meet at the church at ten o' clock. I thought I'd drop by to see if you guys need a lift. RUBIO ANDERSON Thanks, but we were just gonna take the bus over later.


PASTOR GREG Look, mi amigo, if he hasn't called by now, chances are, he's not going to. Pastor Greg and Rubio embrace. Pastor Greg turns and leaves the room. PASTOR GREG (CONT'D) (calling to Aricelli in Spanish) Aricelli, I'm (barks) leaving now. ARICELLI ANDERSON (in English) Don't you want your juice? PASTOR GREG (in English) Well, actually, I've got to get over to the church. ARICELLI ANDERSON I'll put it in a cup, you can take it with you. Aricelli hands Pastor Greg the juice in a TUPPERWARE CUP. ARICELLI ANDERSON (CONT'D) Here you are. Have a nice trip. Aricelli opens the door for Pastor Greg. PASTOR GREG Thanks, see you later. Aricelli closes the door. As Rubio sits to play his guitar, Aricelli enters the room. ARICELLI ANDERSON Pastor Greg's right, He's probably not going to call. I saw Shawanda in the Arab store last night. Rubio continues to tinker with his Guitar. RUBIO ANDERSON Yeah? How's she doing? ARICELLI ANDERSON She's doing great. She's eight months now and hasn't been sick once.


RUBIO ANDERSON She's a strong woman. ARICELLI ANDERSON She said Ray's quit volunteering at the boy's and girl's club too. RUBIO ANDERSON I know. There's a kid in my Sunday school class who used to go there. He said that's one of the reasons he stopped going. ARICELLI ANDERSON Well, Shawanda says she doesn't know what's wrong either. She said he just seems distant. Not sad, just not himself. RUBIO ANDERSON Well, talking about it won't change a thing. Let's pray for him... right now. (to Jeremy and Robert) Come on guys. We're gonna pray for uncle Ray. Everyone gathers close, hugging each other with bowed heads. FADE TO BLACK. FADE IN: INT. RAYNARD'S KITCHEN - DAY Mrs. Foster is washing the BREAKFAST DISHES. Mr. Foster is seated at the kitchen table, straining through his GLASSES to read a BROCHURE FOR A RETIREMENT VILLAGE. Raynard enters from the bedroom, still wearing the clothes he fell asleep in the night before. He yawns, then kisses his mother on the cheek. RAYNARD FOSTER Good morning. Sort of. His mother smiles. As he leans over to kiss his father on the forehead, he notices what he's reading. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) Mornin' great one. What's that? Raynard is about to reach for the brochure, when the PHONE RINGS. Raynard goes to answer the phone.


RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) Hello. (beat) Mornin' sweetness. Did you guys have a good time? (beat) What? I'm not going anywhere. Do you realize what time it is? Raynard looks at his WATCH. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) Oh, it's almost noon. But do you realize what time I got in last night? (beat) But I haven't even showered yet, Shawanda. (beat) Baby, you know you're my big moment. (beat) Okay, okay. I can be there in about twenty minutes. (beat) Okay, exactly twenty minutes. (beat) I love you too. See you there. Still tired, Raynard yawns as he hangs up the phone. He's slightly embarrassed when he realizes that his parents were listening to the whole conversation. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) What? His parents just look at each other and grin. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) What? DISSOLVE TO: EXT. BENNETT PARK - DAY ESTABLISHING SHOT - TREE LINED PARK WITH A DUCK POND. The park is full of activity, as CHILDREN AND ADULTS enjoy various activities. Shawanda waits for Raynard on a PARK BENCH. Raynard, wearing a CRISP WHITE TEE-SHIRT, NYLON JOGGING PANTS and RUNNING SHOES, approaches from the opposite direction that Shawanda is looking. He starts to use the opportunity to sneak up on her, but then decides to


surprise her in a different way. He bellows, with enthusiasm, for everyone in the park to hear. RAYNARD FOSTER There she is! All the PIGEONS FLY AWAY, as Shawanda and everyone else in that area of the park, turn to give Raynard their full attention. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) The woman who makes all my days worth living! Beaming with love, Shawanda skips over to Raynard and they embrace. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Hey, baby. Everyone else in the park returns to whatever they were doing. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER (CONT'D) (blushing) You're so dramatic. You make it sound like it's been decades since you saw me. RAYNARD FOSTER True, it's only been a day and a half, however, even a minute is too long for a man to be without his heart. You are my heart. Shawanda blushes even more, as Raynard caresses her face. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) I'm glad you called when you did, I was starting to go into withdrawal. Shawanda pushes Raynard away. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Oh, really? Raynard hugs her as tight as you can safely hug a pregnant woman. RAYNARD FOSTER Yes. You know you're my big moment. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Then why did I have to practically beg you to meet me here?


Raynard looks deep into Shawanda's eyes. Once he is sure he's found her soul, he sweeps in, takes her powerfully in his arms and delivers an ample kiss to her supple lips. DISSOLVE TO: MOMENTS LATER Raynard and Shawanda sit at the duck pond holding and caressing each other. Raynard rubs Shawanda's stomach. RAYNARD FOSTER So, how's the baby doing? SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER We are fine. I had to get some more pre-natal vitamins last night. (pause) I ran into Ericelli the other day. RAYNARD FOSTER Yeah? How is she? SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Ray, we're all worried about you. She said Rubio's been calling you all week about the Sunday school hiking trip, but you haven't returned his calls. RAYNARD FOSTER It's okay, everything's fine. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Everything's not fine sweetheart. You go to work. You go home. You go to bed. That's not like you. RAYNARD FOSTER I know, but... SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER You've given up on the kids at Sunday school, now you're walking out on the kids at the Club. That's not like you Ray. You have to realize, some of these kids come from... RAYNARD FOSTER These kids come from the same place I came from. I just hope they end up in a better place than I have.


Shawanda hangs her jaw open in shock at what she has just heard. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) What? You think I'm in some kind of position to be a role model, to any of those kids? I go to a job everyday and work for a family of thieves who not only don't appreciate my work, but who go out of their way to humiliate me; along with the rest of their employees. And you know what? I have to take it, and take it, and take it. Because that's just the way it is. The more I try to do things the right way, the more I get taken. Those kids need a role model who is headed somewhere. Where am I headed? I mean, I've got nothing. And, as if that's not enough, I've got a baby on the way, and we're not even married. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Then, let's get married? RAYNARD FOSTER Oh no. I told you. It's not right for me to marry you until I can at least afford to buy you a decent ring. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER And when will that be? RAYNARD FOSTER Soon. As a matter of fact, I think Jerry's finally going to break down and give me that raise he's been dangling in front of me for the last six months. Shawanda is speechless for a moment. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) Look, all I'm saying is that my life is not exactly an appropriate model for Sunday school kids, or anyone else to emulate, for that matter. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Wait, You mean he's finally giving you a raise? RAYNARD FOSTER Well, he didn't actually give it to me yet, but he agreed to meet with me Tuesday to discuss it. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER (disappointed) Oh.


RAYNARD FOSTER I know. That's why I didn't tell you. I'll believe it when I see it too. Shawanda comforts Raynard. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER You make it sound like you're some kind of loser. Raynard just shrugs his shoulders. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER (CONT'D) Ray, you are so much a winner. The first time I saw you; granted, I was only twelve, but even then I remember thinking to myself that you were someone who was going to be somebody important. RAYNARD FOSTER That was a long time ago. Since then... SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Let me finish! I thought that then and I still believe it now. Not just because you're smart or creative or inventive. You have all of that, but you also possess something which most people find difficult to grasp. You have this ability to see into a person and identify their greatest need, and you go out of your way to provide it. RAYNARD FOSTER Yeah, if I have it. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER No. Even when you don't, you... you invent it, it seems. RAYNARD FOSTER So where does that get me? SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER You're not getting it. What I'm trying to say, with a lot of words, is that you are so much better than Jerry or his father that they just don't even matter. Think about it. They've been in business for over forty years and you already know more about advertising than the both of them combined. Raynard deeply considers Shawanda's comments.


RAYNARD FOSTER I guess you're right. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER I know I'm right. They're going to go to jail, eventually. How long do you think they can steal from their clients and not get caught. RAYNARD FOSTER Hmmm. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER But you have so much more. You know the business side and the creative side of advertising. More importantly, you know how to treat people right. Ray, a lot of where you end up has to do with where you start. You've made the most out of every opportunity that's come your way. True, you didn't always get to do what you wanted. Yet, your ability to make the most out of a bad situation has gotten you very far. RAYNARD FOSTER But it's not enough. I want... SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER It is enough! SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER (CONT'D) (pointing to a gang of kids) It's enough for these kids. You have a can do spirit that these kids need to be exposed to. RAYNARD FOSTER But I can't do it anymore! SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Don't say that. Who knows Ray, maybe you'll start your own agency one day. Perhaps that agency will be an opportunity for these kids to get to where you are now. I can't know that. But one thing I do know, is that no matter what you do, or who you become, I will always believe in you. Shawanda cuddles close to Raynard. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER (CONT'D)


You have it in you to do something so great. Whether you do or not, I would be very proud to be Mrs. Raynard Foster; if you would just have me. RAYNARD FOSTER I will. But not before...I can't even afford a ring. How can I take care of you? SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER I'm not a puppy. I don't need to be cared for. But I do need to be loved. You do too. And I do love you. Just as you are. RAYNARD FOSTER And I love you more than plants love the sun. You fill my soul with gladness just being near me. Shawanda smiles from ear to ear. A TEAR streams down her cheek. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) You always no how to lift me up. You are my bright spot. They embrace. EXT. AMELIA DOGARTY'S APPLE CART -EVENING Amelia sells a BAG OF APPLES to a YOUNG WOMAN as a PUBLIC TRANSIT BUS pulls up. Bus doors open. Raynard steps off. RAYNARD FOSTER (hurrying) Evening' Ms. Apples. Mr. Culeman approaches the crosswalk. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) Mr. Culeman, wait! Instead of walking him across the street, Raynard picks Mr. Culeman up and hurriedly carries him across the street. MR. CULEMAN (confused) What do you think you're doing? RAYNARD FOSTER


Sorry, Mr. Culeman but I need to get home early tonight. MR. CULEMAN You put me down this instant! Raynard puts Mr. Culeman down and takes him by the arm to help him across the street. Mr. Culeman snatches his arm away in defiance. RAYNARD FOSTER I apologize Mr. Culeman but tomorrow is the day I change my life. Tomorrow I have an appointment with my boss to discuss raising my salary and I want to make sure I'm well rehearsed and well rested. MR. CULEMAN Oh, well in that case, congratulations Ray. I'm sure you'll get it. I can't think of a more deserving person. RAYNARD FOSTER Thanks. MR. CULEMAN You hurry along now. It wouldn't look too good for you to go in unprepared. I'll tell Duke you said hi. Raynard runs back across the street toward Amelia's Apple cart. RAYNARD FOSTER (calling to Mr. Culeman) Enjoy your visit. As he steps onto the curb, Amelia tosses him an apple. He bobbles but doesn't drop it. Amelia looks puzzled. Raynard doesn't even notice Amelia looking on as he walks off into the night. INT. OLLEC AD AGENCY -DAY Raynard anxiously straightens PAPERS on the desk in his office. On his DESK CALENDAR, A NOTE is marked and highlighted "MEETING WITH MR. OLLEC, 10:30 AM." The CLOCK on his desk shows the time is "10:28 AM." Raynard looks at his watch to double check the time. He composes himself and confidently begins to stride toward Mr. Ollec's office. Office workers watch Raynard in silent awe as he approaches the Faux Steel Door of Mr. Ollec's office. The SECRETARY calls into Mr. Ollec's office while Raynard waits for a response.


SECRETARY Mr. Ollec, Raynard Foster would like to see you. He says he has an appointment. Raynard inters Mr. Ollec's office. The small office is crammed with EXECUTIVE TOYS. The CURTAINS are drawn shut and the entire room is poorly lit by the glow of the LARGE SCREEN TV, which is on without the sound, and the DESK LAMP on Mr. Ollec's desk. The COUCH and COFFEE TABLE are both covered with advertising TRADE MAGAZINES. MR. OLLEC -- AGE 75, AFRICANAMERICAN, SLICK -- sits behind his desk leafing through a HOW-TO BOOK. MR. OLLEC What do you want? RAYNARD FOSTER Mr. Ollec, I'm here for the meeting. MR. OLLEC What meeting? RAYNARD FOSTER The meeting Jerry scheduled to discuss my raise. MR. OLLEC (yelling) To discuss your what? RAYNARD FOSTER He told me he scheduled this meeting at least a week ago. MR. OLLEC Jerry's not even here. RAYNARD FOSTER I know sir, perhaps he's running a little late. MR. OLLEC He's not running a little anything. He's in California. Besides I'm the only one who runs anything around here. I do. Raynard's heart sinks. RAYNARD FOSTER But he said he scheduled this meeting a week ago. MR. OLLEC


Well, he didn't tell me anything about it. RAYNARD FOSTER I take it that means I'm not getting a raise? MR. OLLEC You can leave now, and rest assured, I'll be having a little meeting of my own with Jerry when he gets back. Raynard stumbles, dumbfounded, out of Mr. Ollec's office. MR. OLLEC (CONT'D) (yelling) As soon as he gets back. All of the office workers try hard not to look at Raynard as he staggers like a defeated zombie back to his office. He plops down in his chair, looks at his calendar, rips out the current page, and begins laughing hysterically as he balls it up. Turning toward the WINDOW, he looks down toward the avenue. His laughter slowly ebbs away as he notices a JEWELRY STORE and marvels for a moment at the patrons entering and leaving. Suddenly, he grabs his COAT and dashes out of the office. RAYNARD FOSTER (to the receptionist) If anyone's looking for me, I'm out for lunch. INT. JEWELRY STORE - DAY Angelic BEAMS OF LIGHT stream through LARGE PLATE GLASS WINDOWS. DIAMONDS sparkle and shine as CLERKS move merchandise from one case to the next. CUSTOMERS mill throughout as SMOOTH JAZZ PLAYS IN THE BACKGROUND. Suddenly, Raynard bursts through the door. Everyone in the store stops what they're doing to notice him, then go back to conducting their business. Raynard rushes to a counter where STORE CLERK #1 is helping a YOUNG COUPLE. RAYNARD FOSTER Excuse me, I just need to know if I can qualify for your payment plan. STORE CLERK #1 I'm sorry sir, I'll be with you as soon as I finish helping these people. RAYNARD FOSTER You don't understand. This is very important.


STORE CLERK #1 (to young couple) I'm really sorry for this. RAYNARD FOSTER All I need is a yes or no answer. Store clerk signals the SECURITY GUARD. Guard comes over and stands near Raynard. STORE CLERK #1 Please let me finish with these people and I'll be right with you. YOUNG COUPLE (MAN) (walking away) It's okay, we were just looking anyway. STORE CLERK #1 Okay sir? In order to answer your question, we have to run a credit check. RAYNARD FOSTER See, that's the thing though. I mean I pay all my bills, but maybe I owe too many people. You know? Other customers stare at Raynard. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) (to customers) What are you looking at? Customers quickly look away. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) (to store clerk #1) Okay, what do you need? STORE CLERK #1 I'll just need a photo ID and your social security number. MOMENTS LATER Raynard looks on with envy as the Young Couple purchase an engagement ring with a large stone from STORE CLERK #2. The security guard has moved back to his station near the door. Store Clerk #1 returns from the back room with a PLAIN WHITE ENVELOPE in her hand. She hands the envelope to Raynard.


STORE CLERK #1 (CONT'D) I'm sorry sir. Raynard crumples the envelope in his fist without ever opening it. RAYNARD FOSTER (mumbling) I don't know what to do. You see there's this girl... STORE CLERK #1 What? I can't hear you. RAYNARD FOSTER (mumbling) I mean she's my girl really and, and... Store Clerk #1 signals to security guard. As the Security Guard approaches, Raynard starts behaving hysterically. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) And she is so beautiful. But more than that. She's gentle and has a kind heart that has healed me more than once. SECURITY GUARD Okay buddy, time to go. RAYNARD FOSTER No, wait, you don't understand. She's the kind of girl who deserves to have the biggest and best. I just wanted to be able to buy her something nice. You know? Raynard turns toward Store Clerk #1. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) But I just...I can't. I can't. I can't! INT. RAYNARD'S BEDROOM - NIGHT Raynard, half dressed, sits on the edge of his bed reading his LIFE INSURANCE POLICY. CLOSE ON LIFE INSURANCE POLICY DISCLAIMER -- "THIS POLICY BECOMES VOID IN THE EVENT OF DEATH CAUSED BY SELF-INFLICTED INJURY."


Disappointed, Raynard drops the life insurance policy on the floor and walks into the BATHROOM. INT. RAYNARD'S BATHROOM - NIGHT As the TUB fills, Raynard rinses his face with cold water from the SINK. He stares in the mirror for a moment, then glances down at the KITCHEN KNIFE laying on the edge of the tub. The blade of the knife is wrapped in a WHITE HANDKERCHIEF so that only about an inch of blade is exposed. RAYNARD FOSTER (to mirror) What is wrong with you? You're better than that. (beat) You are better than that. Raynard turns off the tub and picks up the knife. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) Think...What are your options? Raynard unwraps the knife and lets the handkerchief fall to the floor. INT. RAYNARD'S KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATER Raynard enters the kitchen and places the knife in the SINK. He goes over to the end table in the living room area and frantically leafs through all of the envelopes to find one in particular. RAYNARD FOSTER Phone bill, gas, student loan. Raynard finds the envelope he's looking for. The sweepstakes packet. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) Well, what do I have to lose? Raynard fills out the sweepstakes, seals it, and stamps it. Just then, the PHONE RINGS. Raynard answers it on the SECOND RING. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) Hello. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER (V.O.) (screaming) Ray, it's time! RAYNARD FOSTER


Okay honey, don't panic. I'll call a cab. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER I already did. RAYNARD FOSTER Good. Okay, then I'll call the hospital. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER I already did. RAYNARD FOSTER Okay, then I'll just... SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER (whining) Ray, I can't do this. I thought I could but I can't. RAYNARD FOSTER Don't focus on the pain sweetheart. Think about how good you'll feel when... SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER But it hurts. RAYNARD FOSTER I know honey, I know. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Ray? RAYNARD FOSTER Yes baby, what is it? SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Are you coming with me? RAYNARD FOSTER Of course I am. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER (shouting) Then hurry! RAYNARD FOSTER Oh, yeah! I'm coming. I'll be right there.


Raynard hangs up the phone and rushes out the front door. Moments later, the door swings open and Raynard rushes back in. Shivering from the cold he heads to the bedroom to get his SHOES and a JACKET. He manages to get one shoe on as he hurries out the door again. The door closes. Silence. The sweepstakes packet rests alone on the end table. Then, the door bolts open again. Raynard approaches the sweepstakes packet. He stands staring at it for a moment. INT. HOSPITAL BIRTHING ROOM - NIGHT Shawanda lays in BED whimpering in a room decorated to look more like a Victorian country cottage than a sterile hospital room. WOODEN CABINETS house all of the MONITORS and TECHNICAL EQUIPMENT. Raynard consults with NURSE #1. RAYNARD FOSTER Can you give her something to lessen the pain? NURSE #1 Sorry dad, we need her to be aware of when the contractions are hitting. She hasn't dilated enough to induce. NURSE #2 hands NURSE #1 a CHART through the door. NURSE #1 signs it routinely and hands it back. NURSE #1 (CONT'D) If mom decides to check out and come back later, just make sure she walks around alot. Sometimes that helps the cervix to open up. RAYNARD FOSTER (to Shawanda) What do you think sweetheart? You want to stay or come back later? SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Baby it hurts. RAYNARD FOSTER (to Nurse #1) We're staying. NURSE #1 Great. I'll check on you from time to time to see how we're progressing. I strongly advise that you get her up and walk her around as much as possible.


RAYNARD FOSTER Okay. NURSE #1 Why don't you two go down to the cafeteria and get something to eat. Nothing spicy for her. RAYNARD FOSTER Sure. That sounds like a good idea. INT. HOSPITAL CAFETERIA - NIGHT As Raynard helps Shawanda into the CAFETERIA, he notices a PAY PHONE. Shawanda rests her back against the wall as Raynard dials a number. The phone rings twice before it's answered. ARICELLI ANDERSON (V.O.) Hello. INT. RUBIO'S APARTMENT - NIGHT Aricelli is standing in the KITCHEN with the PHONE to her ear. Jeremy and Robert can be heard playing in the background. RAYNARD FOSTER (V.O.) What's up 'lil bit? ARICELLI ANDERSON (excited) Ray? Oh my goodness. Ray? RAYNARD FOSTER (V.O.) Aricelli, is Rubio... Aricelli moves the phone away from her ear and calls to Rubio. ARICELLI ANDERSON Honey, guess who's on the phone. INT. HOSPITAL CAFETERIA RAYNARD FOSTER Aricelli? INT. RUBIO'S APARTMENT ARICELLI ANDERSON It's Ray!


Aricelli puts the phone back to her ear. ARICELLI ANDERSON (CONT'D) Ray, how have you been? INT. HOSPITAL CAFETERIA RAYNARD FOSTER Good, good. How have you been? INT. RUBIO'S APARTMENT Rubio rushes into the kitchen like a puppy who just heard his masters voice. Aricelli hands Rubio the phone. ARICELLI ANDERSON (excited) It's Ray. RUBIO ANDERSON Hello, Ray? INT. HOSPITAL CAFETERIA RAYNARD FOSTER (in Spanish) What's up music man? RUBIO ANDERSON (V.O.) I missed you at the hiking trip. INT. RUBIO'S APARTMENT RUBIO ANDERSON Let me tell you, it was a trip and a half. There was this indoor pool there and all of the kids were in there having a good time. So they all started splashing and wrestling each other down at the shallow end. Well, while this white kid was playing with little Timmy, he let him borrow his snorkel. That kid's mom went off. INT. HOSPITAL CAFETERIA RAYNARD FOSTER Really? INT. RUBIO'S APARTMENT RUBIO ANDERSON


I mean she was yelling and screaming about suing the park and the church for letting Black kids play with her son. INT. HOSPITAL CAFETERIA RAYNARD FOSTER That's insane. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Ray, I need to go sit down for a minute. Shawanda sits in a nearby booth. INT. RUBIO'S APARTMENT RUBIO ANDERSON It gets better. She wants us to get all of the Black kids tested for HIV. Is that a trip or what? INT. HOSPITAL CAFETERIA RAYNARD FOSTER That is a trip. But guess what's a 'mo better trip than that? INT. RUBIO'S APARTMENT Rubio listens intently as he holds Aricelli close. His excitement gradually increases and Aricelli gets increasingly curious about what is being said. RUBIO ANDERSON That's great. I mean wonderful. ARICELLI ANDERSON What? Rubio covers the phone as he gives Aricelli the news. RUBIO ANDERSON (to Aricelli) Shawanda is having the baby. ARICELLI ANDERSON That's wonderful. What hospital? RUBIO ANDERSON (to Raynard) What hospital are you at?


(beat) We'll be there first thing in the morning, if we can get someone to watch the boys. INT. HOSPITAL CAFETERIA Shawanda shows signs of having a contraction. RAYNARD FOSTER Maybe my mom wouldn't mind watching them. INT. RUBIO'S APARTMENT Rubio looks puzzled. RUBIO ANDERSON What? INT. HOSPITAL CAFETERIA RAYNARD FOSTER Nothing. Forget I said that. I'm just tired. RUBIO ANDERSON (V.O.) Are you okay man? RAYNARD FOSTER Yeah, I'm fine. Look, I think we should go back upstairs. Shawanda's not looking too good. (beat) Okay, I'll see you when you get here. (beat) I love you too. Raynard hangs up the phone. INT. HOSPITAL BIRTHING ROOM - MORNING Shawanda lays in bed trying to rest. She is in excruciating pain. Raynard has fallen asleep in the CHAIR next to the bed. Suddenly Shawanda's contractions begin. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Ray! Raynard leaps out of sleep. RAYNARD FOSTER Honey, what is it?


Shawanda just cries. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) I'll get a Nurse. Raynard and the nurses rush back into the Birthing Room. Nurse #1 does a quick check for dilation. NURSE #1 It's time. NURSE #2 I'll go call the doctor. NURSE #1 Now comes the fun part. The painful part is raising them. FADE TO:WHITE LIGHT INT. HOSPITAL BIRTHING ROOM - DAY Distorted reflections of people wiggle across the STAINLESS STEEL BODY OF THE OVERHEAD LAMP. Nurse #2 dips the newborn baby -- ARIEL FOSTER -- into a SMALL TUB of water to rinse her before placing her on Shawanda's chest. TEARS roll down Shawanda's face. Raynard's eye's well with pride as he runs his fingers through Shawanda's long black hair. NURSE #2 You got a name picked out yet? Shawanda looks questioningly toward Raynard. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Ariel? RAYNARD FOSTER You can name her whatever you'd like. You've more than earned it. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER (to Nurse) Ariel. (spelling it out) A-R-I-E-L FOSTER


Raynard kisses Shawanda's forehead. RAYNARD FOSTER I'll go call everyone and give them the news. INT. HOSPITAL WAITING ROOM - DAY As Raynard enters the WAITING ROOM to use the PAY PHONE, he is surprised to see that everyone is already there. Rubio and Aricelli are taking turns trying to keep Joshua entertained and quiet. Jeremy and Robert Anderson are on the floor playing with ELECTRONIC GAMES. Mr. Foster is sitting with his arm around Mrs. Foster as she leafs through a MAGAZINE. They all smile when they see Raynard. As Raynard gets closer, he notices Pastor Greg and his wife -- EMILY, A GORGEOUS 29 YEAR OLD GERMAN WOMAN, WITH BLONDE HAIR AND BLUE EYES, -- are asleep in their chairs. Raynard's smile turns into a chuckle. RAYNARD FOSTER It's a girl! The shout wakes Pastor Greg and Emily. Everyone congratulates Raynard. EXT. AMELIA DOGARTY'S APPLE CART - DAY A customer buys a BAG OF APPLES from Amelia. AMELIA DOGARTY Thank you very much. Come again. A WHITE LIMOUSINE catches Amelia's attention as it pulls up across the street. Amelia continues to watch the limousine as Alexander Priest and four other men climb out of the car carrying SUITCASES and wearing GLOVES. The men enter the brownstone where Duke lives. Another customer stops to buy a single apple from Amelia. AMELIA DOGARTY (CONT'D) Thank you very much. Come again. Priest and the other four men come out of the building empty handed. They take off their gloves and put them in the trunk. The four men all walk off in different directions as priest gets back into the limousine. The car slowly drives off. INT. RUBIO'S APARTMENT - NIGHT


A party is underway to celebrate the birth of Ariel. People mill throughout the apartment as Rubio's Guitar playing can be heard in the background. Aricelli brings some PUNCH to Raynard. ARICELLI ANDERSON Here, I brought you some punch. I can't believe the hospital sent her home the day after having the baby. RAYNARD FOSTER Well, that's how they treat you when you don't have medical insurance. Raynard and Aricelli take a seat on the COUCH together. ARICELLI ANDERSON I thought you had insurance through your job? RAYNARD FOSTER So did I. The Ollec's are too cheap. Jerry keeps telling me that they're still negotiating the terms with the insurance company. ARICELLI ANDERSON Meanwhile, none of the employees have insurance. Rubio takes a break from playing guitar and puts on a CD. RUBIO ANDERSON (O.S.) I'll play some more later everyone. I'm going to get some punch before it's all gone. RAYNARD FOSTER They did get us life insurance. But after I realized Jerry was lying to me about the raise he promised, I read through the terms of that policy and found out that it's worthless, unless your family can prove that you didn't do anything to cause your own death. ARICELLI ANDERSON Why would you be concerned about that? Raynard just shrugs. ARICELLI ANDERSON (CONT'D) Ray, are you okay? Rubio sits in a chair near Raynard and Aricelli.


RAYNARD FOSTER I just don't know how I'll pay for the hospital bill, much less managing another mouth to feed. ARICELLI ANDERSON Well, you know we'll help wherever we can. RAYNARD FOSTER I appreciate the sentiment 'lil bit, but you guys have your hands full. ARICELLI ANDERSON I can't believe your company doesn't provide any insurance. RUBIO ANDERSON Well, even if they did, Shawanda wouldn't be covered. There not married. RAYNARD FOSTER Now don't start. RUBIO ANDERSON That's not what I meant. I agree with Celli Ray. You're smart, you're obviously good at what you do. ARICELLI ANDERSON Your boss treats you like you're not even human, and they don't even give their employees any kind of benefits. RUBIO ANDERSON I think you need to find another job. RAYNARD FOSTER Oh believe me, I've been looking. I've gotten so many rejection letters over the last six months, I could wallpaper my apartment and have plenty left over. RUBIO ANDERSON Sorry, I didn't know. RAYNARD FOSTER Agencies aren't hiring Account Managers right now. I've decided to stop sending out resumes and just start mailing rejection letters to myself. Cut out the middle man.


RUBIO ANDERSON Well Ray, we don't mind helping out. ARICELLI ANDERSON Shawanda and Ariel can stay here until she's rested. She's gonna need some help with this baby for the first couple of months at least. Emily Sepulvida comes in from the kitchen carrying two PLATES OF FOOD. RUBIO ANDERSON (to Emily) Somebody's got the right idea. Emily smiles back at Rubio as she hands a plate to Pastor Greg. RAYNARD FOSTER This is going to be hard. EMILY SEPULVIDA The lord will make a way. RAYNARD FOSTER I'm going to go check on Shawanda and the baby. ARICELLI ANDERSON They're sleeping now. You should go home and get some rest too. RAYNARD FOSTER I guess you're right. I won't disturb them. I'll just sneak in real quiet. Raynard walks to the back room and notices the door is ajar. He pushes it open just in time to see Mrs. Foster lean over the BASSINET, kiss her finger and gently touch it to Ariel's cheek. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) Sorry mom, I didn't know you were in here. Mrs. Foster holds her finger to her lips as a silent signal to Raynard to lower his voice. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) (whispering) I'm leaving now. I'll see you guys when you get home.


Raynard pulls the door up slightly as he leaves. INT. RAYNARD'S LIVING ROOM - NIGHT Raynard is sitting on his couch reading his life insurance policy again. The TV is on but he's not watching it. RAYNARD FOSTER A hundred-thousand dollars. Hmmf. Raynard gets up from the couch and goes into the bathroom. INT. RAYNARD'S BATHROOM - NIGHT The TV in the other room can be heard under the sound of the tub filling with water. A kitchen knife wrapped in a white handkerchief sits on the sink. His hollow eyes stare blankly into the MIRROR above the sink. RAYNARD FOSTER I should've known it wouldn't be covered. That would be too easy. Nothing is ever easy for me. Raynard goes over to the tub and turns off the faucet. Just then, a news bulletin can be heard on the TV. NEWS ANCHOR (O.S.) Good evening. I'm John Salyers. We interrupt this program to bring you this local news bulletin. Raynard removes the stopper from the tub and returns to the living room to watch the bulletin. NEWS ANCHOR (O.S.) (CONT'D) This evening the charred and dismembered remains of a yet unidentified man were discovered in several suitcases left in a south side apartment rented to a Mr. Willie Loman. Raynard stares intensely at the news video of the crime scene. RAYNARD FOSTER My god, that's Duke's building. Raynard, mesmerized by the story, finds the arm of the couch and rests himself on it. NEWS ANCHOR


Police discovered the body after receiving several complaints concerning strange smells coming from the apartment located in the nineteen hundred block of West California Avenue. Though investigators believe it to be the work of a quote "thorough and professional assassin", they will not confirm wether they believe it to be the remains of Mr. Loman. They are however, searching for friends or relatives of Mr. Loman who may be able to help them identify the victim. We now take you to a live interview with investigators on the scene. Raynard picks up the REMOTE CONTROL and cuts off the TV. He picks up the life insurance policy, ponders it briefly, then puts it in the drawer of the end table. He develops an idea that slowly turns into a sinister grin. EXT. CITY STREET - DAY Raynard is dressed for work as he stands on a corner impatiently looking in all directions. Suddenly, we hear loud GANGSTER RAP. Raynard turns to see if the approaching car is the one he's been waiting for. As Ronnie's car approaches, Raynard suddenly dashes into the street forcing the driver to slam on the brakes. INT. RONNIE'S CAR The driver instinctively reaches for his GUN which is laying on the passenger seat. Through the front windshield Ronnie can see that Raynard is yelling something but he can't hear him over the loud music. The driver prepares to get out and shoot Raynard, but Ronnie stops him. RONNIE Hold up, hold up, hold up. I've seen this guy somewhere. The driver rest his gun on his lap while he waits for Ronnie to tell him what to do. RONNIE (CONT'D) Hey, turn that down. The driver lowers the music enough to hear Raynard over it. RAYNARD FOSTER ...and I realize you are a lowlife, scum of the earth, piece of filth. But, I need your help.


RONNIE The fruit stand. That's where I seen him before. RAYNARD FOSTER I know you're in there. Come on lets talk. Get out of the car. RONNIE (to driver) What do you think he wants? As the driver gets out of the car with his gun, Raynard opens his JACKET to show he's not armed. RAYNARD FOSTER Look, nothing. See? RONNIE (to driver) Wait a minute. Tell him to come over here. The driver gestures to Raynard. Raynard walks over to the side of the car. Ronnie lowers the tinted window just enough for words to pass through. Raynard can't really see Ronnie through the darkness of the tinted windows. He also can't see that as Ronnie sits leaning against the door, he has a .44 MAGNUM REVOLVER pressed against the glass and aimed directly at Raynard's belly. RONNIE (CONT'D) You do realize the only reason you still alive is 'cause I think you crazy? Jumpin' out in the street like you made of steel. Ronnie signals the driver to start driving. The car rolls along slowly as Raynard walks along side. RONNIE (CONT'D) Yelling in the middle of the street. Calling me all out my name. What's wrong with you? What you want? Raynard stoops down in an awkward position as he tries to talk into the moving car. RAYNARD FOSTER Look, I apologize if I said anything to hurt your little feelings junior, but...


Stumbling, Raynard presses against the car door to catch his balance. Ronnie cocks the hammer on his gun. RONNIE Don't touch my car punk! Raynard is unaware that there is a gun pointed at him. RAYNARD FOSTER I'm sorry. I keep forgetting how sensitive drug dealers can be about their cars. And, although the Black community is weakened exponentially every time you take in air to breath, I didn't mean to offend you because I need your help.

The car stops. The tinted window rolls all the way down and Ronnie aims the cavernous barrel of the gun at Raynard's face. Raynard playfully taps the barrel with his index finger. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) This brings me to my point. RONNIE Which is? RAYNARD FOSTER I need to have someone killed. INT. OLLEC AD AGENCY - DAY Raynard, bubbling with joy, enters the agency. RAYNARD FOSTER (to Office worker #1) Good morning. Office Worker #1 returns the greeting as she hands Raynard his MAIL. OFFICE WORKER #1 Morning. RAYNARD FOSTER Thanks. Raynard sits his briefcase down and starts looking through his mail. Office Worker #1 whispers a warning to him.


OFFICE WORKER #1 You know who was just asking about you. RAYNARD FOSTER What else is new? What did he want? Just then, Jerry Ollec angrily storms into the reception area. JERRY OLLEC I thought I heard your voice out here. It's about time you got here. RAYNARD FOSTER And good morning to you Jerry. How are you today. JERRY OLLEC You're late! RAYNARD FOSTER Really? Raynard hands Jerry his COAT. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) Here, hang onto this for a second. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) Now let's see. Raynard looks at his watch. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) I stood here talking for about a minute. It's now four minutes after nine. That means that when I came in, I was only about three minutes late. However, since I usually end up working very late; sometimes two to three hours late, I'm sure this is a situation which could normally be overlooked by a reasonable man. Jerry flinches as Raynard moves close and speaks soft. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) Are you a reasonable man Jerry? Jerry, fearful of what Raynard may do next, backs away. Afraid to turn his back on Raynard, Jerry bumps into the BOOKCASE as he timidly leaves the reception area.


Receptionist is stunned but manages to chuckle as Raynard turns and winks at her. Jerry returns with Raynard's coat and throws it at him. JERRY OLLEC You're an idiot. Raynard catches his coat, picks up his BRIEFCASE and walks off toward his office while happily humming. RAYNARD'S OFFICE - EVENING Raynard and a MEDIA PLANNER are discussing the effective reach of a campaign. RAYNARD FOSTER But I don't believe it makes sense to buy so many hits against such a historically duplicated audience. Just then the phone rings. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) (to media planner) Let's finish this up tomorrow. Raynard answers the phone as the Media Planner leaves his office. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) Raynard Foster. How can I help you? On the phone is FLAT RATE -- 49, WAKASHAN INDIAN -- a weathered man whose hard life shows in every line of his face. FLAT RATE (V.O.) Look out your window. RAYNARD FOSTER Who is this? FLAT RATE (V.O.) Why? You don't know me but a mutual friend tells me you ordered some work done. Raynard looks through the glass wall of his office at Jerry who is walking from his office to the copier room. FLAT RATE (CONT'D) Look out your window.


Raynard moves over to the window and looks out onto the busy streets below. RAYNARD FOSTER Okay, what am I looking at? FLAT RATE (V.O.) You see the pay phone on the corner in front of the GLASS ART GALLERY? Raynard sees the PAY PHONE dangling by its cord. However, he doesn't notice Flat Rates BLACK RANGE ROVER parked just ahead of the pay phone. RAYNARD FOSTER Yeah? I see it. INT. FLAT RATE'S RANGE ROVER The leather clad Flat Rate is talking on a CELL PHONE. He has BINOCULARS around his neck. FLAT RATE Good. Just checking the location. RAYNARD'S OFFICE RAYNARD FOSTER Wait! Don't do it here. INT. FLAT RATE'S RANGE ROVER FLAT RATE Why? What's the difference to you? RAYNARD'S OFFICE RAYNARD FOSTER Isn't it obvious. Meet me at Page Park. Tonight. At 9:00 PM. INT. FLAT RATE'S RANGE ROVER FLAT RATE Okay. But make it 9:17 PM. Don't be early, and don't be late. I'll be near one of the benches next to the fountain. RAYNARD'S OFFICE RAYNARD FOSTER


How will I know which one? FLAT RATE (V.O.) You can't miss it. It'll have a red squiggly thing painted on it. RAYNARD FOSTER Don't do that. FLAT RATE (V.O.) Don't do what? RAYNARD FOSTER Don't paint on the bench. That's public property. INT. FLAT RATE'S RANGE ROVER FLAT RATE I'm not going to paint on it. It's already like that. Besides, what difference does it make? It's rotting away anyway. RAYNARD'S OFFICE RAYNARD FOSTER Yeah, but you don't have to make it worse. FLAT RATE (V.O.) I'm not! RAYNARD FOSTER Okay! Fine! FLAT RATE (V.O.) Just meet me there. Remember, don't be early, and don't be late. Flat Rate hangs up. DIAL TONE. From the window, the Black Range Rover can be seen to drive off into traffic. EXT. PAGE PARK - NIGHT Flat Rate's dark figure watches from the tree tops as Raynard approaches the area near the FOUNTAIN. The YELLOW GLOW OF THE STREET LAMPS combined with the reflections of the BRIGHTLY COLORED FOUNTAIN LIGHTS, make it difficult for Raynard to distinguish which bench has the RED MARKING.


The dark figure of Flat Rate meanders quietly and deftly from the tree top, as effortlessly as if walking down a spiral staircase. Raynard, consumed with his search for the marked bench, doesn't even notice the silent figure approaching from behind. RAYNARD FOSTER This is ridiculous. How am I supposed to see anything in the dark? The dark figure of Flat Rate now stands directly behind Raynard. FLAT RATE It's over there. Startled by the voice which has broken the silence of the night, Raynard leaps and trips over the top of the park bench, and lands on his face in the grass. He turns to see Flat Rate extending his hand to help him up. FLAT RATE (CONT'D) You're looking for the bench with the red mark. It's the one over there. Raynard picks himself up, dusts himself off, grabs his BRIEFCASE and then shakes Flat Rate's hand. RAYNARD FOSTER I'm Raynard... FLAT RATE Foster. I know that. There aren't too many people walking through the park at night inspecting park benches. Not dressed like that. RAYNARD FOSTER So then, what's your name? Flat Rate doesn't respond. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) So that I know what to call you. FLAT RATE Are you a cop? RAYNARD FOSTER What? Flat rate pats Raynard down for wiring.


FLAT RATE I think the question is simple enough. Are you now, or have you ever been a member of any law enforcement division? RAYNARD FOSTER No. How do I know you're not a cop? Flat Rate doesn't even acknowledge the question. FLAT RATE My friend tells me you... Flat Rate pays notice to the briefcase Raynard is carrying. FLAT RATE (CONT'D) What's in the briefcase? Flat Rate reaches for the briefcase but Raynard guards it. FLAT RATE (CONT'D) Okay, just sit it down and walk with me. Raynard sits the briefcase next to the park bench. Flat Rate grabs Raynard's arm and leads him a distance away from the briefcase, keeping his voice at a whisper to avoid detection by any possible recording devices. FLAT RATE (CONT'D) Look, I was told to expect you to be a fish. I know you're supposed to be new at this. But I think you're a cop. Or, you're working with the cops. Flat Rate looks at Raynard as though waiting for a response. Raynard is not sure what to do next. FLAT RATE (CONT'D) You know what I think? RAYNARD FOSTER You just told me. You think I'm a cop. FLAT RATE I think there's more mics and cameras in this place than at a presidential press conference. Look at you. You're some kind of executive, right? Raynard nods his head in agreement.


FLAT RATE (CONT'D) I figure you make about thirty to forty grand a year? Raynard gestures his face as if to say not quite. FLAT RATE (CONT'D) Give or take. RAYNARD FOSTER Yeah, so? FLAT RATE So a guy like you, when he wants a piece of work done, will normally go to somebody he knows. That is if he doesn't maybe do it himself. But definitely, he doesn't stop someone in the middle of the street and ask for something like this as if he's ordering take out. RAYNARD FOSTER Trust me, no one is listening to this conversation. FLAT RATE Trust you? I don't even know you. Who are you? RAYNARD FOSTER Listen, Ronnie said... FLAT RATE No, you listen. Ronnie's a kid. I've been in this business for over fifteen years. In that time I've met a lot of people. A lot of them have risked their lives many times to save mine and I don't even trust them. I've known you for less than fifteen minutes. Why would I trust you? RAYNARD FOSTER Well, I guess because... FLAT RATE In fact, you've seen my face. Flat Rate shakes his wrist toward the ground and instantly produces a LONG, SLENDER, BLACK KNIFE from his sleeve. He puts the knife to Raynard's throat. FLAT RATE (CONT'D) Why shouldn't I just gut you right now.


RAYNARD FOSTER Look, I'm sure you're a really tough guy. I've enjoyed your little speech immensely. However, this is exactly why I'm here. Flat Rate takes the knife away from Raynard's Throat. FLAT RATE I don't get you. Fifteen minutes ago, when I came up behind you, you almost jumped out of your skin trying to get over that bench. Now, all of a sudden, you're mister cool breeze. RAYNARD FOSTER I guess I've come to realize that I'm at the point of no turning back. I realize now that I'm staring in the eye of the man I'm paying to do this. And I'm realizing that he's not some incarnate devil. He's just a man, like me, trying to make it in a world full of devils. EXT. PAGE PARK - LATER Raynard and Flat Rate are sitting on a park bench across from where Raynard left the briefcase. Both men are laughing as Raynard completes the punch line of a joke. RAYNARD FOSTER But doesn't the bible say that God's grace is sufficient? Both men laugh hysterically. FLAT RATE I guess it would have to be. They both laugh some more. FLAT RATE (CONT'D) You're a good man Raynard. So why do you want me to kill you? RAYNARD FOSTER For the insurance money. FLAT RATE I figured that. I guess what I mean is, why are you so desperate for the money?


RAYNARD FOSTER Two reasons. Their names are, Shawanda and Ariel. FLAT RATE Wow, two women. RAYNARD FOSTER Yeah, but it's not like that. Ariel is my daughter. Just born. FLAT RATE Oh, I see. RAYNARD FOSTER Shawanda is the woman I love more than... Well, you get the point. Raynard removes his jacket. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) Here, let me show you something. Raynard rolls up his shirt sleeve to reveal the TWISTED AND MANGLED FLESH OF HIS FOREARM. FLAT RATE I'm sure there's a story that goes with that. RAYNARD FOSTER Me and Shawanda grew up together. The old neighborhood's not far from here. We were best friends long before we started going together. I always loved her, even as a kid. I just didn't know it was love. I treated her like my kid sister. FLAT RATE So she did this to you? RAYNARD FOSTER No. One day I was walking Shawanda home from her dance class when this vicious pit bull just appeared from I don't know where and started chasing her. I mean he ran right passed me and was chasing her. So, I started chasing him. FLAT RATE No way.


RAYNARD FOSTER Yeah, I caught him too. FLAT RATE I can see that. RAYNARD FOSTER When I grabbed that dog, I had so much fear pumping through me that I don't think I could feel the actual pain as I managed to wrestle him to the ground and jam my forearm into his mouth. FLAT RATE What the? Why'd you do that? RAYNARD FOSTER He was trying to squirm under me to bite my groin. FLAT RATE Oh. Flat Rate winces at the thought of being bitten in the groin. FLAT RATE (CONT'D) Wait, how old were you? RAYNARD FOSTER I was fourteen and Shawanda was ten. So anyway, while I was wrestling with the dog, Shawanda ran off to get some help. She was only gone for a few seconds, but it seemed like forever. When she came back, she had a cop with her. I guess he was a rookie because Shawanda says he was too scared to shoot the dog from a distance for fear he would hit me. But he was too scared to come any closer for fear that I would let him go. FLAT RATE So what did he do? RAYNARD FOSTER Shawanda says I looked over at him and said "shoot daddy" and the cop shot the dog. But they still had to pry the dog's mouth off of my arm. FLAT RATE Why'd you call him daddy?


RAYNARD FOSTER I guess I'd lost so much blood that I'd already started hallucinating. I thought he was my father. I was in the hospital for three days. FLAT RATE That's all? Just three days? That's a pretty fast recovery. RAYNARD FOSTER It had to be. Hospitals are expensive. FLAT RATE That's... Wow, I can't believe you did that. RAYNARD FOSTER You know how a person can come into your life and seems to heal you of all the hurt you've ever experienced in past relationships? Flat Rate feels anew the grief of having lost his wife who died during a police raid on the brothel she'd worked in. FLAT RATE Yeah. I know just what you mean. RAYNARD FOSTER Well, I've never had that. You see, I've never needed to be healed from a hurt because I've always had Shawanda and she's never hurt me. She's my bright spot. She's the thing that makes my day worth living. Flat Rate looks puzzled as he wonders why Raynard wants to die. FLAT RATE My wife died during a police raid on the brothel she worked at. Initially I'd married her so that I could become a citizen. Eventually though, I fell in love with her. In fact, she's the only woman I've loved since. RAYNARD FOSTER No matter what happens to me in a day, just knowing she's near, just seeing her makes everything else seem so insignificant. She heals me before I'm even hurt. FLAT RATE So then why?


RAYNARD FOSTER She's given me so much that to give my life for her seems like such an easy thing. If my death makes it possible for her to make a better life for our daughter, then it's worth it all the more. FLAT RATE If you're so strapped for cash, where will you get the five grand to pay me? RAYNARD FOSTER The agency I work for has been stealing money from their clients for years. It's time they get to feel what it's like. It's not like I have to ever worry about getting caught. They both chuckle. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) So are you gonna tell me your name now? FLAT RATE My name is not important. But my friends call me Flat Rate. Actually, everyone calls me Flat Rate but my friends pronounce it with a capital F. RAYNARD FOSTER Well, Flat Rate with a capital F, how many of these do you do a year? FLAT RATE Depends. Some years are better than others. Last year I did thirty five. RAYNARD FOSTER And you charge five grand for each one. FLAT RATE That's how I got the name. It keeps things simple. RAYNARD FOSTER Holy cow! That's... Raynard calculates in his head. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) Oh my God! That's some nice money.


FLAT RATE Tax free. But it seems like health insurance goes up about five hundred percent every time I get shot. RAYNARD FOSTER Hey, you think I would be any good at that? Flat Rate glares at Raynard in disbelief. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) Seriously, if I made that kind of money, I wouldn't have to rely on a stupid life insurance policy. I could take care of my family with no problem. FLAT RATE Too late. I already to agreed to kill you. I never go back on my word. N-E-V-E-R, never. RAYNARD FOSTER (smug) Please. Who's gonna know. FLAT RATE I'll know. Besides, this ain't the kind of job where you just walk in and fill out an application. You have to know people. RAYNARD FOSTER I know you. Hook me up. FLAT RATE It's not that easy. RAYNARD FOSTER Hook me up. FLAT RATE I was just starting to think you were different. You're just like everybody else. Willing to sell your soul for a cheeseburger in paradise. And what about my five grand? RAYNARD FOSTER I guess I'll have to return it to the agency. However, I'll be willing to give you a set percentage on whatever I make. FLAT RATE


You need to realize that there are some things more important than money. Like keeping your word. Flat Rate swiftly plunges his knife deep into Raynard's chest. Raynard's face is a collage of horror, shock, and excruciating pain. Flat Rate places Raynard's hand on the knife. FLAT RATE (CONT'D) Hang on to that. Flat Rate lays Raynard down behind the bench. FLAT RATE (CONT'D) I've done my part. I've kept my word. As far as I'm concerned, you're dead. I've just severed your pulmonary trunk; which means that you'll bleed like a river for about twenty minutes before you actually die. However, if you do manage to live through this, then I will, "hook you up". Flat Rate runs over to Raynard's Briefcase and opens it. He closes it without counting the money and takes it with him as he disappears into the darkness. Raynard grasps and claws at the nothingness of the night as he struggles against the burning pain in his chest. EXT. PAGE PARK - NIGHT EMERGENCY VEHICLE LIGHTS flash wildly throughout the park. a YOUNG PARAMEDIC closes the rear ambulance door and the AMBULANCE drives off slowly through the crowd of POLICE, INVESTIGATORS, and NEWS CREWS. A POLICE LIEUTENANT holds a BLOOD SOAKED PERSONAL ADDRESS BOOK in a PLASTIC BAG. The ambulance drives past a nearby PHONE BOOTH. The yellow glow of LIGHT IN THE PHONE BOOTH disrupts the chaotic darkness of the night and reveals the receiver off the hook and dangling by its cord. INT. KINZIE COUNTY HOSPITAL - NIGHT The KINZIE COUNTY HOSPITAL emergency room is a triage nightmare. It's understaffed to handle the flood of gunshot wounds, stabbings, and severed limbs. The doors, the walls, and the floors especially are a dingy grey from lack of housekeeping. SMALL SPATTERINGS OF BLOOD can be seen on walls, baseboards and curtains as EMERGENCY ROOM WORKERS frantically buzz back and forth. Suddenly, the virtual silence is disrupted by organized chaos when, at the end of the hall, a pair of GLASS DOUBLE DOORS burst open and a medical team floods in pushing a TEENAGER on a gurney. The teenager has been shot somewhere in his torso. He's covered in blood and is struggling to breath. A DOCTOR anxiously barks instructions to the NURSES and


ORDERLIES around the gurney. The teenager is rushed through a pair of STAINLESS STEEL DOUBLE DOORS. The emergency room returns to its normal busy hum until once again the glass double doors burst open. A second medical team floods in with equal chaos. This time Raynard is the one on the gurney. He's covered in blood and unconscious as the medical team rushes him through the stainless steel double doors. INT. RECEPTION KIOSK As nurses check CHARTS, answer PHONES, and PAGE hospital staff, the LARGE GLASS DOORS slide open, Raynard's friends and family rush in. Shawanda is carrying Ariel, Rubio is carrying a sleeping Robert, Aricelli is carrying Joshua, and Jeremy is in tow. Pastor Greg comforts Emily, and Mr. And Mrs. Foster comfort each other. INT. KINZIE COUNTY HOSPITAL RECEPTION - DAY Aricelli and Shawanda have talked through the night as the rest of Raynard's friends and family rested and slept. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Never once has he asked "what about me". He's always been so unselfish. I remember when we first started dating for real. And how everybody used to make fun of him for going out with a 13 year old. ARICELLI ANDERSON (chuckles) I remember that. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Don't even play that "I remember that" stuff. You were one of them. ARICELLI ANDERSON I know. I'm sorry. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Don't worry about it. Looking back on it now, if I was 18 and one of my friends was dating a 13 year old, I'd certainly think something was wrong with him. Shawanda bursts into tears. Aricelli comforts her. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER (CONT'D)


I love him so much. If he dies. ARICELLI ANDERSON Don't say that. He's going to be all right. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER You don't understand. I've loved him since we first met. It's like we were made for each other. Like we're one person. He knows me better than anybody. And I have always loved him. Even when he didn't love himself. ARICELLI ANDERSON Remember when he used to read the dictionary like it was actually interesting. I always thought he wanted to be some kind of writer or something. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER See, that's what everybody thought because he was good at it. I don't know how he wound up in advertising, but he was good at that too. Aricelli puts her arm around Shawanda. ARICELLI ANDERSON It's okay sweetheart. He's going to be all right. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER He was only going to be at Ollec long enough to save some money so we could get married, but that never happened. He was there about a year then he went into such a deep depression. I tried to console him in the only way I knew and I wound up pregnant. It was the first time for both of us and I wound up pregnant. ARICELLI ANDERSON Well it only takes one time. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER But it was already hard enough for me to find a job without a degree. Then to top it off, I was pregnant. Unemployment only pays for so much. For the most part, Ray was paying my bills. Then my dad had his stroke and we had to put him in a home. ARICELLI ANDERSON Ray is paying for that too?


SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER I don't know how he can do it. He's carrying a lot. And then I get pregnant. ARICELLI ANDERSON (angry) Don't say that. Everybody makes mistakes, and everyone sins. Nobody's casting stones at you or Ray. (beat) Is that why you two stopped going to church for so long? (beat) That is it, ain't it? I knew it. Girl, wasn't nobody trying to put no guilt trip on you, but you. Aricelli snaps her fingers in front of Shawanda's face like a hypnotist. ARICELLI ANDERSON (CONT'D) Snap out of it. Everybody sins. The only difference is that some sins have visible results. That don't mean God hasn't forgiven you. You can't commit sin that's not covered under the blood of Jesus. Aricelli embraces Shawanda close. ARICELLI ANDERSON (CONT'D) Everyone missed you when you weren't at there. And no one thought you were any less of a Christian because you have a daughter. She's beautiful, and they couldn't wait to see her when you brought her in. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER You know what? You're right. A shadow falls on Shawanda and she looks up to see DR. MILLER -- BLACK, 54,-- standing in the doorway holding a large MANILA ENVELOPE full of XRAYS. DR. MILLER Hi, I'm Dr. Miller. Anyone here related to Raynard Foster? Shawanda raises her hand. ARICELLI ANDERSON We all are.


Dr. Miller notices that everyone else is asleep except Shawanda and Aricelli. DR. MILLER Look, I've been up all night. I'm tired. Why don't both of you just come with me. I need to explain Raynard's situation to you. ARICELLI ANDERSON (to Shawanda) You go. I'll wait here with the baby. Shawanda hands Ariel to Aricelli and walks off with Dr. Miller. INT. KINZIE COUNTY HOSPITAL X-RAY ROOM - DAY Dr. Miller clips the x-rays to a LIGHT BOX. DR. MILLER So, what's your relationship to Raynard? SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER He's my fiance. DR. MILLER I see. Well I don't want to give you any false hopes miss. I'm sorry, what's your name? SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Shawanda. DR. MILLER Shawanda, we were able to stabilize your fiance but he's not out of the dark waters quite yet. I just want to make that clear. Shawanda nods that she understands. Dr. Miller begins to explain what's in the X-rays. DR. MILLER (CONT'D) This area here is known as the pulmonary trunk. Running parallel to this. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Why are you telling me this? I not going to understand anything your saying. DR. MILLER


Okay, let me back up. Raynard suffered a single stab wound to the chest. The knife was slender, almost like an ice pick, and must have been as sharp as a razor blade; which is good for Raynard because of where it entered. Dr. Miller moves to a more detailed X-ray. Shawanda is trying hard to fight back the waves of emotion building inside her. DR. MILLER (CONT'D) As the instrument traveled upwards along this area, it punctured one lung and nicked this second one. However, that alone is not life threatening. But as it continued through his chest, the knife lacerated the left side of the pulmonary trunk and the right side of this thing. That's called the arch of the aorta. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER So in other words? DR. MILLER In other words, there is some pleurisy in the lungs caused by a substantial amount of internal bleeding. But, this can be treated while he's in a passive state. Shawanda gasps, clasps her hands in front of her mouth, and stops breathing. DR. MILLER (CONT'D) Come on Shawanda. Take a deep breath. Shawanda mechanically obeys the doctor's instruction. She begins to breath again. DR. MILLER (CONT'D) I need you to be strong right now. You're going to have to be able to share this information with the others out there waiting. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Okay. Okay. I'm okay. DR. MILLER We're all concerned about Raynard. But, there's nothing to be afraid of. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Yes there is. You just told me he's in a comma.


INT. KINZIE COUNTY HOSPITAL ROOM - DAY A PIGEON lands on the WINDOW SILL for a brief moment, then flies off. Raynard is lying in the bed closest to the window in a SEMI-PRIVATE ROOM. He has WIRES AND TUBES attached all over. He is still and lifeless. Shawanda can be heard in the hall speaking with a nurse. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER (O.S.) You think it'd be okay if I stay a little longer today, since I won't be able to stay as long tomorrow? NURSE #3 (O.S.) Oh no, well that's too bad. I think Ariel's been a great help in his recovery. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER (O.S.) Yeah, I know but... Shawanda enters the room carrying Ariel and a DIAPER BAG. NURSE #3 (O.S.) Did you bring something nice to read to him? SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER (to nurse) The same book I've been reading to him every day for the last three months. The Bible. You're welcome to stay and listen if you'd like. Nurse #3 makes an embarrassed attempt to excuse herself. NURSE #3 Uh, no. I mean, uh no thanks. I mean, I have to finish my rounds and...maybe next time. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Okay. Shawanda crosses to Raynard, raises the RAIL ON HIS BED, places Ariel on the bed next to him and props his arm around her. She looks at them for a moment, then bends down and kisses Raynard's cheek. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER (CONT'D) I know I'm in love. You look good to me even when you're in a comma.


Shawanda sits in a CHAIR next to the bed, pulls a SMALL BIBLE out of the diaper bag, and starts searching through the bag for something. Raynard's arm begins to very slowly and softly close around Ariel. Shawanda glances up wondering if she saw what she thinks she saw. Raynard's arm continues to move tighter. Shawanda is frozen in awe. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER (CONT'D) Oh, my God. Raynard's arm now fully hugs his three month old daughter in a gentle embrace. Shawanda leaps out of the chair and frantically runs toward the door. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER (CONT'D) Doctor, doctor! I need a doctor! Remembering Ariel, she goes back to Raynard and gently removes Ariel from his soft embrace. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER (CONT'D) (to Raynard) Not yet. Wait until you're stronger. Beaming with joy. Shawanda holds Ariel to her chest and departs to go find a doctor. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER (CONT'D) Doctor, doctor! I need a doctor! INT. RUBIO'S APARTMENT - DAY Aricelli is in the bathroom washing her hands. She looks in the MIRROR to check her smile as she tries to find the will to deal with the fact that everyone from the neighborhood is in her house. ARICELLI ANDERSON Lord give me strength. Aricelli turns off the FAUCET and exits the bathroom. As she opens the door and begins moving through the crowd, STREAMERS and PARTY FAVORS can be seen throughout the apartment. A HANDMADE "WELCOME HOME RAY" BANNER hangs over a threshold. Jeremy and Robert are running through the house with the other KIDS FROM THE NEIGHBORHOOD. ARICELLI ANDERSON (CONT'D) Stop running before you break something.


Rubio is entertaining everyone with his guitar. Aricelli walks in the kitchen where Emily Sepulvida and several other women are talking and making last minute adjustments to the meal. ARICELLI ANDERSON (CONT'D) (to Emily) You think she'll tell him on the way here? Emily just shrugs. Unsure. In the living room, Robert looks out the window and becomes excited by what he sees. ROBERT ANDERSON Here they come! Here they come! Robert runs to the kitchen yelling "here they come". He collides into Aricelli as she exits the kitchen with all of the other women following her. ARICELLI ANDERSON Calm down baby before you bust a blood vessel. RUBIO ANDERSON Let's all hide and yell surprise when he comes in. ARICELLI ANDERSON (shocked) Rubio. RUBIO ANDERSON What? ARICELLI ANDERSON He just had heart surgery. RUBIO ANDERSON Oh yeah, better just open the door then huh? The buzzer rings. Rubio hurries to answer the intercom. RUBIO ANDERSON (CONT'D) (into intercom) Hey buddy, I saw you guys get out of the cab. RAYNARD FOSTER (V.O.) So are you gonna buzz me in? RUBIO ANDERSON


Oh yeah. Rubio presses the buzzer. Robert can barely contain his excitement as he opens the door. Raynard enters the apartment carrying Ariel. His CANE is hanging from his forearm. Everyone excitedly greets him. As Shawanda enters Aricelli rushes over to help her put away the DIAPER BAG and STROLLER she's carrying. ARICELLI ANDERSON Girl, where's your key? SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Sorry, I left it in my room. ARICELLI ANDERSON (whispering) So does he know yet? SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER No. Not yet. RAYNARD FOSTER Wow. What a reception. RUBIO ANDERSON We were going to make it a surprise party, but Aricelli reminded us about your surgery. RAYNARD FOSTER So now you're all afraid I'm going to kill over if I get too excited. Everyone chuckles. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) Well, relax. The surgery had very little to do with my heart and more to do with patching the hole in my lung. However, take my word for it, I'm as good as new now. So let's pretend I just came in and try the surprise party greeting this time. Raynard turns his back to the crowd for a moment. As he quickly turns to face them, they all yell surprise. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D)


Now that's more like it. LATER In the kitchen, DISHES smeared with the remnants of cake frosting fill the sink as Aricelli busily wraps the LEFT OVER FOOD. Rubio can be overheard playing Big Bill Broonzy songs on his guitar in the living room. Raynard enters the kitchen. RAYNARD FOSTER Well, I'm beat. This has been a great party but I have got to go home and get ready for work tomorrow. Aricelli turns from her work and looks at Raynard with shock. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) Woman what's wrong with you? ARICELLI ANDERSON Oh my God. Just then, Shawanda enters the kitchen. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER (to Raynard) There you are. Aricelli gives Shawanda the evil eye. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER (CONT'D) What? ARICELLI ANDERSON What do you mean what? You didn't tell him yet? RAYNARD FOSTER Tell me what? SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Well, I didn't want to shock him. You're the one who said. RAYNARD FOSTER Shock me with what? ARICELLI ANDERSON


(yelling) I said try not to shock him. I didn't say don't tell him at all. Hearing the commotion in the kitchen, Rubio stops playing guitar and enters to investigate. RAYNARD FOSTER Tell me what? ARICELLI ANDERSON I mean which do you think is more shocking, you telling him honestly or having him get dressed tomorrow only to get to his office and find out that somebody else is sitting at his desk? RAYNARD FOSTER Are you saying that I've been fired? SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER I was going to. ARICELLI ANDERSON Yes! SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER I was going to let you know gradually. So it wouldn't seem so bad. Raynard is stunned. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER (CONT'D) Ray. I'm sorry. I mean, are you going to be okay? RAYNARD FOSTER Yeah, I just. I guess I should have known. I just need to be alone for a while. (beat) I've gotta go home now. Raynard turns to leave but is blocked at the kitchen doorway by Rubio's massive form. RUBIO ANDERSON Well, actually. RAYNARD FOSTER Wait, what are you saying?


RUBIO ANDERSON That's the other thing. RAYNARD FOSTER You mean I'm homeless? RUBIO ANDERSON No! That's not what I'm saying. RUBIO ANDERSON (CONT'D) I mean as long as I have a home, you have a home. Rubio embraces the devastated Raynard. EXT. GTS DANCE CLUB - NIGHT The NEON LIGHTS of the DANCE CLUB SIGN flicker and reflect against the surfaces of the many EXPENSIVE CARS parked in the lot across the street. A PARKING ATTENDANT searches for a car that matches the ticket in his hand. He finds it, opens the door, and gets in. While admiring the luxurious interior, he opens the glove box. There he discovers a pair of BLACK LACE PANTIES. He holds them up, imagining the woman who might have worn them. Just then he notices, in the rear view mirror, the dark silhouettes of three men in battle fatigues moving through the parking lot. They are RAM ASSASSINS and they are looking for something. As one of the men turns against the bright lights of the club, the Parking Attendant briefly sees the outline of an assault rifle. The Parking Attendant hurriedly jams the panties into his JACKET POCKET, quietly closes the car door, and scoots way down in the seat. Curious, he reaches up to adjust the rear view mirror so he can see the mysterious figures as they continue searching through the lot. ALEXANDER PRIEST What was that? Priest turns to look across two rows toward the car the Parking Attendant is in. Satisfied that nothing's there, he turns and directs the other RAM assassins to resume their search. He zero's in on a LICENSE PLATE NUMBER and compares it to the one in his PALM PILOT. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) Here. It's this one. Priest gestures with his hand and several RAM assassins come rushing over to him. All are heavily armed with ASSAULT WEAPONRY, BODY ARMOR, and FACE SHIELDS. They crouch down at his feet like a football team in huddle around their coach.


ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) Okay guys, this is where you either earn your wings or die trying. It's not exactly Armageddon, but the slightest mistake could find you dead on the floor. Remember, never underestimate your opponent. (beat) Is anybody nervous? The RAM assassins all look around at each other in silence. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) Good. Then let's go. Remember to keep an eye on your watches. Priest turns a knowing glance toward the car the Parking Attendant is hiding in. INT. GTS DANCE CLUB - NIGHT Club music plays in the background as a gorgeous 30 YEAR OLD, BUSTY, BLEACH BLOND -- LISA PELLEGRINI -- freshens her flawless makeup in the restroom mirror. The restroom is designed with upscale fixtures, but show visible signs of wear. CIGARETTE BURNS pock mark the WHITE MARBLE BASIN. WOMAN #1 exits a stall and begins washing her hands in the basin next to Lisa, while WOMAN #2 is applying LIPSTICK on the opposite side of Lisa. WOMAN #2 (to woman #1) Whew! Girl, what did you eat? WOMAN #1 Why? Is it making you hungry? Woman #1 dries her hands and exits the restroom. The cloud of music rushes in briefly and is once again muffled as the door creeps to a close. Lisa leers approvingly at her reflection in the mirror, adjusts her dress to show more cleavage, and exits the restroom. Engulfed by the vibrant music, she enters the club. The club is elaborately decorated with EXOTIC PLANTS, MIRRORS, and NEON LIGHTS throughout. The walls are EXPOSED BRICK, the CEILING IS BEAMED, and the bar is constructed of POLISHED BRASS. As Lisa makes her way through the crowd, to her table in the back of the club, she passes several apparent big wigs and local celebrities who know her by name. She inadvertently bumps into MALE #1 from behind. MALE #1 Whoops, excuse me. (turns to see Lisa) Oh, hi Lisa.


LISA PELLEGRINI Sorry, can't talk now. I'm on a mission. Lisa pushes her breasts up suggestively. Continuing through the crowd, Lisa comes up behind MALE #2, she whispers something in his ear. He laughs enthusiastically then turns realizing it's Lisa. MALE #2 Lisa. Please, have a seat. LISA PELLEGRINI Maybe some other time. I already have a date tonight. MALE #2 Only one? You're slowing down. As Lisa moves through the crowd, a WOMAN waves at her from a table across the room. Lisa waves back. Lisa continues through the crowd. Arriving at her table, she addresses the three men who are seated there: a 60 YEAR OLD MAGAZINE EDITOR NAMED PETER, A YOUNG EXECUTIVE NAMED AARON, AND A RUGGED 29 YEAR OLD IRANIAN FASHION MODEL NAMED NUZU. Lisa leans over the table in an exaggerated manner in order to expose her ample cleavage to Nuzu. LISA PELLEGRINI Did you miss me? Nuzu stands and holds a chair for Lisa to sit. MEANWHILE. GTS WOMEN'S RESTROOM - NIGHT As Woman #1 sits in a stall she is unaware of the covert activity taking place at the FROSTED GLASS WINDOW which faces the alley. A SUCTION CUP is placed against the glass. A circle is cut into the window pane, and is quietly removed. A RAM assassin's gloved hand reaches through the hole and unlatches the window. WOMAN #2 Who's there? Is somebody out there? (nervous) That better not be a rat.


The RAM assassin quickly slips in through the window then turns to pull his GEAR BAG in behind him. Reaching into his bag, he pulls out a HYDRAULIC RIVET GUN. The RAM assassin looks under the stalls and notices the feet of Woman #2. Her PANTIES and PANTY-HOSE are draped around her ankles. The RAM assassin quickly moves to the restroom door and goes to work. MEANWHILE. GTS DANCE CLUB A waitress approaches Lisa's table. WAITRESS Can I get you guys something? Lisa lifts her HALF EMPTY GLASS to suggest she'd like another LONG ISLAND ICED TEA. Everyone else at the table declines the offer. The waitress walks away to get Lisa's drink. LISA PELLEGRINI Nuzu, baby, I don't think I can wait to get to your hotel. Lisa winks at Nuzu and then, maneuvering the TABLE CLOTH out of the way, she slides under the table. MEANWHILE. GTS WOMEN'S RESTROOM The RAM assassin rivets braces onto either side of the restroom door. As he hurries back to the window, Woman #2 sees him through the crack in the stall door. WOMAN #2 What the...? Is this a raid? At the window, the RAM assassin pulls in a LONG STEEL BAR and hurries back to place it across the braces on the door. WOMAN #2 (CONT'D) Are you a cop? Having effectively locked the restroom door with the bar, the RAM assassin grabs his rivet gun and hurries over to the stall that woman #2 is in and fires three rivets at her which penetrate the door just enough to show their shiny shafts on the other side. WOMAN #2 (CONT'D) Oh my God.


The RAM assassin in one motion kicks in the stall door and shoots woman #2 in the forehead with a rivet. MEANWHILE. GTS DANCE CLUB MAN #1 gets up from the bar and walks over to the Men's restroom. He pushes on the door but it seems to be locked. Frustrated, he storms off. INSIDE GTS MEN'S RESTROOM We see that the door is barred with the same kind of brackets and bar as used in the women's restroom. Following a STREAM OF BLOOD we see THREE BODIES laying in front of the basin counter. They've all been shot in the head with rivets. The sound of someone struggling to breath leads us to a YOUNG MAN in a corner by the URINALS unsuccessfully trying to remove the PIANO WIRE tightly tied around his neck which is cutting into his skin. The only window in the room is fully open to the night as we see a circular hole cut into one of it's frosted panes. MEANWHILE. GTS DANCE CLUB Nuzu's face reveals the intense pleasure he's receiving from Lisa. Aaron and Peter look on and laugh hysterically. Suddenly, chaos erupts as RAM assassins storm through the front door. Before the BOUNCERS can get their GUNS from their HOLSTERS, the assassins quickly move through the club spraying a hail of bullets. CLUB PATRONS are cut down as they clamor for a way of escape, not realizing that all exits are sealed and assassins lay in wait in the kitchen to gun down anyone who may choose that as an escape route. The BAR TENDER does manage to clip the leg of one of the assassins with a single shot from his RIFLE before he too is gunned down. When the smoke clears, everyone in the club except those seated at Lisa's table has been shot. As the assassins now stand before Lisa's table, Peter, Aaron, and Nuzu are speechless with fear as they stare down the barrels of the smoking guns aimed at them. Calmly, Priest enters through the front door. He walks across the room of dead as cool as if he were walking through a field of daisies. Covered in blood, Man #1 reaches out to Priest for help. ALEXANDER PRIEST Hey, are you okay? Maybe I should call a doctor?


Man #1 nods in agreement. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) Or maybe not. In one sudden motion, Priest draws a NICKLEPLATED BALISONG KNIFE from his breast pocket, grabs the man's head and slowly drives the blade deep into his temple. The man's eyes go wild inside his head and then he dies. Priest rises, straightens his suit and proceeds over to Lisa's table. Along the way, he slips on a puddle of blood but catches himself before he falls. He steadies himself then continues over to Lisa's table. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) (to Peter) I don't think I've met you before. You should choose your friends more wisely. As Priest pulls up a chair, he notices Assasin #1 is wrapping his wounded leg. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) What happened to you? ASSASIN #1 I got shot. ALEXANDER PRIEST What? ASSASIN #1 (lifts face shield) I got shot. ALEXANDER PRIEST No, I heard what you said, I just can't believe it. Well, try not to be such a baby about it. Priest positions his chair in front of Nuzu so as to look him in the eye. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) (to Lisa) Come on out kitten. As Lisa moves the table cloth out of her way and climbs up from underneath the table, Priest hands her the KERCHIEF from his jacket pocket. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) Wipe your mouth.


LISA PELLEGRINI How many more times do you plan to do this? ALEXANDER PRIEST It depends. How many times do you expect to have me walk into a room and find you having sex with some other guy? LISA PELLEGRINI I wasn't having sex. Priest snatches the kerchief from Lisa's hand and wipes the corner of her mouth. ALEXANDER PRIEST That's funny. You could've fooled me. Priest tosses the kerchief in Nuzu's face. LISA PELLEGRINI That's not sex. ALEXANDER PRIEST It's not? LISA PELLEGRINI Well, according to the President it's not sex. (beat) You still didn't have to kill all these innocent people. ALEXANDER PRIEST I didn't kill anybody. You did. You know that every time I catch you screwing around, this kind of thing is going to happen. So, I'm not killing anyone. You are. I guess you could say you have killer coochie. Priest and assassins laugh. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) (to Aaron, Peter, and Nuzu) That's funny right? Killer coochie. The three men chuckle nervously. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) (to Lisa) Go wait in the car.


Lisa rises, adjusts her dress, and walks as gracefully as she can toward the door while slipping occasionally on pools of blood. Priest offers a sinister smile to the three men seated before him. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) (to Nuzu) Don't worry, I'm not going to kill you. I'm going to cut off your nose. Then, I'm going to cut off each of your ears. Then, I'm going to slowly slice off each of your fingers. But I'm not going to kill you. I'll even let you keep your thumbs. However, in the future, if you ever so much as stand in the same breeze as my girl, I will come back. And I will whittle you down to nothing but a name, but I still won't kill you. AARON You can't do this. ALEXANDER PRIEST (to Aaron) You, I'm going to kill. Priest pulls a LENGTH OF PIANO WIRE from one of the assassin's back packs. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) I'm going to hang you by your scrawny neck with this. And when your eyes bulge out of your head, I'm going to pop them with pins. A RAM assassin takes the wire from Priest and with the help of another assassin drags Aaron off kicking and screaming. PETER What about me? ALEXANDER PRIEST What about you? PETER What...I mean how... (beat) I think I would prefer if you just shoot me in the head. ALEXANDER PRIEST Relax. I'm not going to do anything to you. You've lived this long right? But remember. Shhh. Peter nods his head wildly in agreement.


ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) Well? Leave. Peter rises timidly and hurries to the door. As he opens the door, he receives a single shot to the head and falls dead. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) Oh, I forgot about that. Well Nuzu, I guess that just leaves you and me. EXT. BENNETT PARK - DAY As we approach, we see Shawanda and Raynard seated on a park bench next to Ariel's stroller. Raynard lifts his daughter from the stroller and holds her close. RAYNARD FOSTER I look at her at times and I can't believe it's real. To think that I have a daughter. Everyday she is more beautiful than the day before. Raynard puts his daughter back in the stroller. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) What am I gonna do? What a bunch of liars. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER I know. Don't worry though, you'll find another job. A better job. Besides, I start working at the daycare next week. RAYNARD FOSTER You're always so optimistic. That's what I love about you. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Well, at least I won't have to be on welfare. And it'll help pay some of our bills. RAYNARD FOSTER Yeah. I guess. I just gotta do something to get out of Rubio's apartment. Working at that sheet metal plant ain't putting him in a much better position than us to begin with. And now he's taking care of me and my family too. Something's got to change. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Nothing good comes overnight.


RAYNARD FOSTER Maybe. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER All I'm saying is don't just accept the first thing that comes your way just out of desperation. You're bright. You deserve much better. DISSOLVE TO: INT. CITY BUS - DAY Traveling through the CROWDED BUS we find Raynard seated by a window organizing the PAPERS in his BRIEFCASE. He's dressed in typical job interview uniform. His suit and tie neatly pressed. His shoes are polished to a high gloss. MONTAGE: Raynard spends the day riding the city bus from one job interview to the next. He receives one rejection after another and all the while we hear the thoughts in his head. RAYNARD FOSTER (V.O.) So what did Jerry say when you told him why I was in the hospital? SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER (V.O.) It wasn't Jerry, it was Mr. Ollec. He immediately went into defense mode. He said it was a shame that their insurance wouldn't cover you because, he said, you had been fired the day before your attack. RAYNARD FOSTER (V.O.) How convenient. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER (V.O.) What a bunch of liars. I think you should sue them. While seated on yet another city bus, Raynard opens his DAY PLANNER to check off another appointment. CLOSE SHOT: We see that only one appointment remains unchecked; JANSON & JENSEN PRODUCTS @ 3PM. RAYNARD FOSTER (V.O.) What good would that do?


Raynard checks his watch. It's 2:15PM. RAYNARD FOSTER (V.O.)(CONT'D) By now I'm sure their paperwork says whatever it needs to say to make their story seem true. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER (V.O.) So what you gone do now? RAYNARD FOSTER I don't know. Suddenly, Raynard catches a glimpse of Flat Rate walking into a MEXICAN RESTAURANT. Raynard rings the BUZZER for the bus to stop. But the bus keeps rolling. Raynard makes his way to the BUS DRIVER through the crowded bus. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) Why didn't you stop? Let me off! BUS DRIVER I can't. RAYNARD FOSTER Why not? BUS DRIVER You rang the buzzer too late. You have to wait 'til the next stop. RAYNARD FOSTER What's the difference of five feet. Just let me out here. BUS DRIVER Two blocks is a lot more than five feet. RAYNARD FOSTER You know what I mean. Just let me out. BUS DRIVER No can do. That's why they call 'em bus stops. 'Cause that's where the bus stops. The bus pulls up to the bus stop. The door hisses open and Raynard rushes off the bus and runs as fast as he can back to the Mexican Restaurant.


Raynard enters the restaurant. Flat Rate is at the counter placing an order. His back is to the door. He appears not to have noticed Raynard come in. Raynard approaches slowly from the rear. Flat rate pays the CASHIER who then goes to prepare the food. FLAT RATE If I were really trying to kill you... (turns to face Raynard) You'd be dead. Flat Rate takes two steps toward Raynard so that he's directly in his face, looking him in the eye. FLAT RATE (CONT'D) Lesson one. Never consider yourself to be sneaking up on someone who's facing a reflective surface. RAYNARD FOSTER What are you talking about? Suddenly, Flat Rate grabs Raynard in a martial arts restraint and pushes his face toward the sneeze screen of the counter. CASHIER (O.S.) (heavy Korean accent) Hey, take that outside. Raynard notices, in the polished chrome frame of the sneeze guard that he can see clearly everyone entering and exiting the restaurant. FLAT RATE (to cashier) Don't worry, we're old friends. Flat Rate releases Raynard and straightens his clothes for him. FLAT RATE (CONT'D) Just having a little fun. Right? Raynard stares at Flat Rate like he's from another planet. FLAT RATE (CONT'D) Now, you spent all that energy sneaking up on me, what were you going to do? RAYNARD FOSTER I...I...


FLAT RATE It's obvious you're not packin'. (beat) Lesson two. Do nothing without a plan. Every plan has a beginning, a middle, and an end. You obviously saw me come to this place so you decided to come in here after me. That's your beginning. You decided to sneak up on me. That's your middle. The suspense builds. But you didn't know what you were going to do once you got here. What, you gonna pea on my leg? Spit in my face? Or just maybe tell me I was a bad boy? (beat) Lesson three... RAYNARD FOSTER What's with all this lesson crap? This is not some made for TV docudrama, and I'm not your little grasshopper! You stabbed me. So the way I figure it, you owe me. I remember when I was laying there in the grass, you said if I survived... FLAT RATE I know what I said. But let's not forget, you hired me to do a job and I did it. I was just waiting for you to find me. Raynard is dumbfounded. FLAT RATE (CONT'D) How do you know I won't just stab you again? RAYNARD FOSTER What about all that stuff about keeping your word and honor and all that? FLAT RATE Don't worry. An honorable man always keeps his word. Besides, who do you think called the ambulance? I just needed to know that you could hold your mud. Just remember, be careful what you wish for. RAYNARD FOSTER Is that lesson three? FLAT RATE


No. That's just some good advice. Lesson three is never approach an armed man empty handed if you don't have a plan. EXT. ALLEY - DAY Raynard follows Flat Rate to his RANGE ROVER parked in the alley behind the Mexican Restaurant. FLAT RATE You're starting late kid. You're gonna need some expert training. Flat Rate clicks the remote to turn off the alarm and start the engine before they get close. RAYNARD FOSTER I learn fast. Flat Rate climbs in the driver's side, unlocks the door for Raynard. Raynard climbs in the passenger side. FLAT RATE You're gonna need to. Or things could get ugly. RAYNARD FOSTER When do we start? FLAT RATE (driving) See, that's the thing. We don't start. I told you I'd introduce you to someone who could get you started, and that's what I'm going to do. But you've got to watch your back with these guys. They're not like me. RAYNARD FOSTER How so? FLAT RATE I'm an assassin. I do this solely for the money. These guys murderers. They've drained the blood from their veins and replaced it with Freon. Their souls are solid ice. RAYNARD FOSTER I get the picture. FLAT RATE


I don't think you really do. But you will. These guys kill because they enjoy it. The Range Rover pulls up in front of Rubio's apartment. Raynard gets out and waves goodbye to Flat Rate and heads up the stairs. FLAT RATE (CONT'D) This is a worldwide organization of elite killers. Each member is expert in their particular specialty. I mean these dudes make Navy Seals look like a bunch of school kids. DISSOLVE TO: INT. RUBIO'S APARTMENT - NIGHT In the living room, Raynard sits holding Ariel while Rubio's children sit on the floor listening to him play songs for them on his guitar. Rubio is still in his WORK CLOTHES. RAYNARD FOSTER (V.O.) These guys sound pretty intense. So what if I can't make it through training? FLAT RATE (V.O.) You have to. If you don't, your dead. They can't afford to have wash outs walking around to tell what they've seen. Raynard gets up and crosses to the kitchen door. He stares with loving eyes at Shawanda as she moves about the kitchen helping Aricelli cook dinner. FLAT RATE (V.O.) (CONT'D) Now the dude I'm gonna introduce you to is named Alexander Priest. Most people just call him Priest. Shawanda notices Raynard looking at her. She throws him a smile. She crosses to him and kisses Ariel. Raynard hugs her and they cuddle for a moment. FLAT RATE (V.O.) (CONT'D) He's a wanna-be CEO. Real perfectionist. But he's a nutcase. As I understand it, his first kill was his mother. He cut out her larynx so she couldn't scream while he tortured her 'til she died. She lasted about two hours they say. He wanted to show his friends how heartless he could be. He was only fifteen so he


knew he wouldn't do hard time. He did two out of five "standing up" in a juvy. Then, they let him go. Raynard enters the guest bedroom carrying Ariel; asleep. He cuts on the night lite near the door and places her in her crib near the bed. FLAT RATE (V.O.) (CONT'D) Remember, I'm going to pick you up at nine. Be out front. If you're not there... RAYNARD FOSTER (V.O.) I'll be there. FLAT RATE (V.O.) Okay, but if you're not, I'm going to assume you got cold feet and I'll just leave. RAYNARD FOSTER (V.O.) Okay. FLAT RATE (V.O.) Then I won't owe you anything and we'll be even right? RAYNARD FOSTER (V.O.) Okay. Right. EXT. RUBIO'S APARTMENT - NIGHT Raynard comes out of the building just as Flat Rate's Range Rover comes around the corner. Raynard gets in and they drive off. RAYNARD FOSTER This guy, Priest. Did he really kill his mother when he was fifteen? FLAT RATE What difference does it make? Flat Rate pulls the car over and puts it in park. FLAT RATE (CONT'D) Yes, he did kill his mother when he was fifteen. And unlike wine he's only gotten worse with age. Now, if you're getting cold feet, you don't have to do this. But, you can't be half steppin' with this guy. It's all or nothing.


RAYNARD FOSTER If this organization he heads is so secretive, how do you know so much about them? Flat Rate resumes driving. FLAT RATE Because I'm a member. RAYNARD FOSTER So Priest is your boss? FLAT RATE Hell no! I have zero respect for him or his merry band of murderers. And truth be told, he'd just as soon kill me as watch me die. Raynard stretches across and slams on the brakes. A CAR hits them from behind. RAYNARD FOSTER Hold up! How do you know he won't just kill both of us when we get there? The OTHER DRIVER comes to the driver's side window of the Range Rover screaming and yelling about the damage to his car. Flat Rate cruises off, ignoring him. FLAT RATE Look, if he wanted to kill me, he could've done it long before now. RAYNARD FOSTER So what's stopping him? FLAT RATE He owes me a solid. He won't kill me because he's afraid everyone would think he did it to get out of paying me back. RAYNARD FOSTER So? FLAT RATE Trust me. That wouldn't be good. INT. WHAREHOUSE - NIGHT


Several RAM members mill about drinking COFFEE. Priest sits on the edge of a desk watching a member doing CARD TRICKS. A WALKIE-TALKIE sits near him on the table. ALEXANDER PRIEST Okay, show me that again. This time I'm really watching. INT. ENTRANCE TO WHAREHOUSE - NIGHT RAM GUARD #1, calls Priest on his walkie-talkie. RAM GUARD #1 Priest. There's a guy out here who says Joe sent him. You know somebody named Joe? ALEXANDER PRIEST (O.C.) (through 2-way) Ask him what color was Joe's coat? RAM GUARD #1 He says the Joe he knows doesn't wear coats. Priest breaks into a huge grin. ALEXANDER PRIEST Okay, send him in. RAM GUARD #1 (O.C.) (through 2-way) He's got a guy with him. ALEXANDER PRIEST What the hell. Send him in too. Hey, give the friend a good punch in the ribs first though. Just for grins. EXT. WHAREHOUSE - NIGHT RAM guard #1 opens the STEEL DOOR and steps out. RAM GUARD Come on in. As Flat Rate and Raynard enter the door, the RAM guard punches Raynard in the ribs. FLAT RATE Hey, what's that about?


The RAM guard #1 just shrugs to suggest he doesn't understand it either. Raynard leans on Flat Rate as they both enter the wharehouse. They are escorted by RAM Guard #2 as they descend the stairs and travel through the warehouse. They are being watched by guards above and on CAMERAS. They move from the darkness into the YELLOW LIGHT as they approach Priest. ALEXANDER PRIEST Well, well. Look who finally broke down and came to me for a favor. My old friend Flat Rate. They still call you that, right? Flat Rate. FLAT RATE Look, I came here for a reason and it wasn't to make small talk with you. I'm here strictly on business. So let's get down to it so I can get out of here before your stink starts to rub off on me. ALEXANDER PRIEST Oh, well. When you called me this afternoon, I'd so looked forward to swapping stories about the old days with you. For instance, Remember rubber hoses, plastic bags over the head, and the good old days of doing a job yourself? FLAT RATE Yeah, well that's all sweet and nice... ALEXANDER PRIEST I know, I know...but it's not why your here. Okay, let's have it. You're here to call in your marker. So what is it? Cops giving you heat? You want me to silence a DA for you? FLAT RATE I want you to train my fish. Get him in the program. ALEXANDER PRIEST You want me to what? Let me get this straight. You go around on your high little horse; like you're so much better than us. You refuse to have any association with RAM for all these years because you claim we have no sense of "honor". And then, you walk in out of the blue to call in a marker from me for some fish? Where's the honor in that? Why don't you train him yourself? FLAT RATE You saying you won't do it?


Priest and Flat Rate stare each other down. Tension fills the room as all RAM members and Raynard listen intently for Priest's response. ALEXANDER PRIEST I'm saying why can't you train him? FLAT RATE Because I don't have the time or the resources. Besides, he's starting late, and he's got cargo, and you owe me. ALEXANDER PRIEST Oh, hell no! I thought you were talking about that little gang banger you hang out with. You're talking about this guy? FLAT RATE So are you refusing my marker? Priest breaks into a raucous laugh. ALEXANDER PRIEST Alright, alright. If I take him, what you're saying is that we're even. And everybody here is a witness. FLAT RATE Yes. ALEXANDER PRIEST (to Raynard) Young man, you don't know what you're asking. There are former Navy Seals and Green Berets who have washed out of our program. You can't even take a punch. FLAT RATE Doesn't matter, that's the marker. ALEXANDER PRIEST Fine. I'll do it. (to Raynard) I hope, for your sake, you've got what it takes to make it. The alternative is not pleasant. FLAT RATE I guess I can just leave him here with you. To let you two get acquainted.


RAYNARD FOSTER You're just gonna leave me here? ALEXANDER PRIEST Don't worry. You're in good hands. An honorable man always keeps his word. Right Flat? FLAT RATE Oh, there is one other thing. I'll be needing a new vehicle. I had a little fender bender on the way over. ALEXANDER PRIEST Whatever you want? Jaguar, Mercedes, or I can have a new Range Rover delivered to you by morning. I know how much you love those. FLAT RATE Whatever you have on hand is fine. Sky high is a little further off road than I'm planning to go right now. ALEXANDER PRIEST (into 2-way) I'm sending a guy up. Let him pick whatever he wants out of the garage. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) (to Flat Rate) I'll send you a new car in the morning. Where should I send it to? Another Rover. It suits you. Don't worry. It'll be clean. Then we'll be even. Flat Rate turns to leave. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) Oh, I'll need your keys. Flat Rate turns back to Priest and tosses him the KEYS to his car. INT. LIMOSINE - NIGHT In painful silence, Raynard sits close to the door, trying hard not to seem scared as he and Priest ride in the back seat alone. Finally Priest breaks the silence. ALEXANDER PRIEST Flat said you had cargo. You want to tell me about it? You may as well tell me. I'm going to find about it anyway.


Raynard tries to appear unafraid. RAYNARD FOSTER I'm sorry, I don't know what you mean by cargo. ALEXANDER PRIEST Loved ones. People you care about. Do you have any dependants? RAYNARD FOSTER What difference does it make? ALEXANDER PRIEST Look, I don't really care. But if you should make it through a training program that is; to put it mildly; pretty severe, you will at times be required to perform tasks which will prove to be a test of your character and loyalty to the organization. Sometimes a guy's cargo can get in the way. RAYNARD FOSTER So what do you expect me to do? ALEXANDER PRIEST I expect you to understand, fish, that in order to be successful here, you will have to learn to love yourself more than you love your father or mother or anyone else for that matter. The limosine pulls up in front of Rubio's apartment building. RAYNARD FOSTER Could you let me out around the corner? INT. RUBIO'S APARTMENT - NIGHT The door of the guest bedroom opens slowly, Raynard enters and creeps over to Shawanda whose asleep on the bed. He stares at her for a moment then leans over to kiss her cheek. He moves over to Ariel's CRIB and watches her sleep for a moment. RAYNARD FOSTER (whispered) Oh lord, what have I done? DISSOLVE TO: EXT. ABANDONED AIRPORT RUNWAY - DAY


Hundreds of men and women stand together in military formation. Raynard is among them. A balding, 42 year old man wearing an expensive sweat suit addresses the crowd. He is CHIEF TRAINER. CHIEF TRAINER You've all been chosen based on your willingness to perform certain tasks to the extent of your individual aptitude for a particular skill. You will be trained and tested in that skill until it is honed to perfection. Now, I understand that some of you have experience in various branches of the military. I want to assure you up front, this is not the military. If you go into this training with the belief that you are prepared for the kind of scrutiny you will be under, you will be guaranteed a disparately rude awakening. Raynard looks around the crowd and notices some elderly people getting nervous. CHIEF TRAINER (CONT'D) With that in mind, I'd like to say to my elderly people, don't be concerned about the physical aspect of the program. Most of you will not be required to perform any tasks requiring physical agility. Elderly people are relieved. CHIEF TRAINER (CONT'D) In fact, each of you will be tested and scrutinized within your particular specialty. But, at a much higher standard than the Navy Seals, Green Beret, or whatever who-ha you can think of. You will be here for training everyday, excluding Saturday and Sunday, for the next three months. However, unlike the military, you will go home to your families every night. Several people pass out from standing in the heat at attention. CHIEF TRAINER (CONT'D) Attendance at graduation is mandatory for everyone. No exceptions. MONTAGE Raynard's life takes an upswing as he is able to buy a new LUXURY CAR, a DIAMOND ENGAGEMENT RING for Shawanda, and to also surprise Shawanda with a BRAND NEW HOUSE. Shawanda is so excited she bursts into tears.


CHIEF TRAINER (CONT'D) As of this moment, you are considered a full member of RAM. Effective immediately, your salary will be no more and no less than eight-thousand-five-hundredsixty-three dollars and fifty-eight cents a month, divided by two equal payments on the first and fifteenth. Upon successful completion of training, you will receive an increase in pay based on your individual skills and proven ability. You will be provided with tax forms later today. That's all for now. So, if nothing else, let the good times roll. INT. WHAREHOUSE - DAY Hundreds of men and women are seated in neat rows. Raynard is among them. Once again, Chief Trainer addresses them. CHIEF TRAINER You have accomplished much and you should feel proud. But it's not over yet. We still have to separate those who have succeeded from those who have failed the program. For that, I turn you over to our leader, one of the chief visionaries of this great organization. Mr. Alexander Priest. Priest receives a standing ovation as he approaches the PODIUM. Before addressing the audience, he whispers something to Chief Trainer. ALEXANDER PRIEST Please be seated. Chief, is everyone here or accounted for? CHIEF TRAINER Yes. Everyone is here or accounted for sir. ALEXANDER PRIEST You've all done very well. You've proven yourselves to possess skills you didn't know you had. However, some of you performed better than others and it is my job now to decide who gets taken, and who does not. I've already approved arrangements for this. Priest draws back a CURTAIN to reveal an ISOLATED CHAMBER viewable through a LARGE WINDOW. The trainees inside are TIED TO WOODEN CHAIRS. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) Behold, these are those who will be taken.


Priest waves at those inside the chamber. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) Good morning. Or perhaps I should just say 'morning. Because what is about to happen to you can hardly be classified as good. Those of you who are witnessing on the other hand, have excelled in your training and proven yourselves worthy to be called RAM associates. Audience applauds ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) Effective immediately, you will each receive an increase in pay and benefits reflective of your particular abilities. Priest walks over to a LARGE LEVER on the wall near the window. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) As for these. Well, we can't have them walking about telling about how we do things now can we? So, when I pull this lever, this chamber will be flooded with Oleum which will dissolve you all into a liquid which will flow gently down that drain in the middle of the floor. Everyone in the chamber increases their struggle. As Priest pulls the lever, POWERFUL JETS BEGIN PUMPING OLEUM onto the floor of the chamber. Chaos erupts as chairs smoke and erupt into flames. The chemical consumes everything and everyone in the chamber. BRITTLE CHARRED BONES swirl around the whirlpool of acid as they go down the DRAIN. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) Well, that's all for today. If there are no questions, this concludes our graduation. Priest closes the curtain covering the chamber window. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) Good luck to you all. You're free to go. There are refreshments in the back. Help yourself's. Last one to leave, please turn off the lights. Thanks. Raynard is so shocked by what he just witnessed that he never leaves his seat while people mill about and eat snacks. When the last pair of people leave the room, Raynard is still sitting there trying to understand what happened.


Chief Trainer happens to be passing by the room when he notices the light is still on. He steps in to turn off the light and notices Raynard still sitting there. CHIEF TRAINER Hey let's go. Party's over. Raynard doesn't acknowledge him. He just sits in a daze. Chief trainer turns off the lights and closes the door. EXT. WOODED AREA - DAY A PANEL VAN sits alone in a secluded spot. Priest's limosine drives up and parks alongside the van. Priest LIGHTS A CIGAR. The door of the limo opens and Chief Trainer sticks his head in. CHIEF TRAINER He's in the van. This has never happened, so I didn't want to act without passing it by you first. ALEXANDER PRIEST Bring him over. Chief Trainer gives a signal and two men drag Raynard out of the van HOG TIED and GAGGED. They heave him onto the floor of the limo. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) Chief? Chief sticks his head in the limo. Priest gestures and Chief cuts the ropes on Raynard and ungaggs him. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) Thanks. Raynard rubs his wrists. Priest throws a MANILA FOLDER down at him. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) If asked to kill, would you? Raynard hesitates to answer. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) Don't stutter, just read it. Your answer is highlighted in there, amongst the rest of that dribble. Read it. Raynard pulls the papers from the folder. RAYNARD FOSTER


These are my answers from the initial interview questionnaire. Priest nods. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) (reading) If asked to kill, would you? Answer. If it would benefit the organization, I wouldn't hesitate to kill. Because, I'm sure the person has done something to deserve it. ALEXANDER PRIEST Nice attempt at sounding tough. However, in my day, that kind of soft answer would have been enough to wash you from the program and put you on the other side of the glass. RAYNARD FOSTER Alright, what do think I should have said? ALEXANDER PRIEST You're asking me to put words in your mouth? The way a candidate answers that question should give the impression that the candidate is willing to kill not because he has to, and not because they're ordered to, but because they want to. You should kill because you enjoy it. Your answer gives me the impression that you're weak. RAYNARD FOSTER So now what? ALEXANDER PRIEST Perhaps I'm wrong. We thought we'd present you an opportunity to prove yourself. RAYNARD FOSTER What do you want me to do? ALEXANDER PRIEST First you should get off of the floor. Priest lowers the window and signals to Chief. Chief Trainer opens the limo door and Raynard rises to exit. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) Oh. Before I forget.


Raynard sits back down. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) I have an assignment for you. Your first task. Priest hands Raynard a LARGE MANILA ENVELOPE. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) Before you look at that, I want you to understand that this is not a mission you can refuse. After all, we need to be sure you're on our side. With trepidation, Raynard opens the envelope. He sees a one page brief and a photo of the target. Raynard's heart sinks in his chest when he realizes the target is Rubio. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) This is not like mission impossible. Should you choose to decline this mission, you will be taken. Your family will be taken. And, nonetheless, the target will be taken anyway. RAYNARD FOSTER Why? ALEXANDER PRIEST You accept this task or you don't. It's up to you. You've got 24 hours to get it done. Raynard is almost paralyzed with regret as he rises to exit the limo and staggers toward the waiting panel van. CHIEF TRAINER (to Priest) Do you think he'll do it? ALEXANDER PRIEST Of course not. He's too weak. INT. RUBIO'S APARTMENT - DAY Rubio is playing with Jeremy and Robert as he gets them dressed to go to the store. RUBIO ANDERSON (impersonating Mr. T) I pity the fool who ain't got they shoes on.


The kids chuckle and run around as Rubio chases them down. EXT. RAYNARD'S NEW HOUSE - DAY Chief's panel van pulls up and Raynard gets out. CHIEF TRAINER Remember, you only have until this time tomorrow to get it done. After that, we take over. Chief slides the door closed and the van drives off. Raynard is left standing there alone. He looks at his watch. It's 4pm. MEANWHILE Rubio, Jeremy, and Robert are skipping down the street when they stop to look in the window of a SPORTING GOODS STORE. They feign boxing each other until a BASEBALL POSTER in the window catches Rubio's attention. RUBIO ANDERSON Hey Jeremy, you're getting old enough that I'm gonna have to teach you my secret slider. The group continues down the street. INT. RAYNARD'S NEW HOUSE - DAY Raynard empties a BOX FULL OF PICTURES. Most show he and Rubio together. He lifts a PICTURE OF HIMSELF AS THE BEST MAN AT RUBIO'S WEDDING. INT. GROCERY STORE - DAY Rubio grabs a CARTON OF MILK from the REFRIGERATOR. He notices it has an old expiration date just as the MANAGER, CLIFF REINHARDT, 47, is walking by. RUBIO ANDERSON Excuse me Cliff, I think this milk is bad. CLIFF REINHARDT (calling to back room) Ernesto! CLIFF REINHARDT (CONT'D) Sorry Mr. Anderson, we just hired a new kid. Nice kid but, you know. Cliff and Rubio both chuckle.


MONTAGE Raynard drives to Page Park where he first met Flat Rate. He drives to the Mexican Restaurant where he met Flat Rate. He drives through the streets looking for Flat Rate. No luck. EXT. PAGE PARK - DAY Raynard sits on a park bench. Despondent. He looks at his watch. EXT. CITY STREET - DAY As Raynard is getting into his car, he notices a phone booth on the corner. The receiver is dangling by it's cord. Suddenly, in one smooth movement, the passenger side door opens and closes as Flat Rate appears; it seems; from nowhere. RAYNARD FOSTER Don't do that! FLAT RATE I heard you were looking for me. RAYNARD FOSTER You don't know how glad I am to see you. FLAT RATE I'm surprised you're not dead yet. RAYNARD FOSTER Stick around, that could change. They want me to kill a guy. I can't do it. FLAT RATE Oh, so it's not so easy as it looks is it? Actually, I heard about it. RAYNARD FOSTER How did you hear about it? FLAT RATE I've got eyes all over. Drive. Raynard and Flat rate drive off. RAYNARD FOSTER This guy is a friend of mine. I love him more than I love myself.


FLAT RATE Then your choice is simple. Don't kill him and they'll kill you instead. I thought you wanted to die anyway? Remember? RAYNARD FOSTER I wish it was that simple. FLAT RATE It is that simple. I know how it works. Remember me? The guy who's been a member longer than you've been alive? RAYNARD FOSTER That's not the deal they gave me. FLAT RATE That's the only deal there is when the target is an innocent. This guy is an innocent right? Raynard nods yes. FLAT RATE (CONT'D) Then, by law it's a one for one. You don't take this guy, RAM takes you. Simple as that. Raynard is confused. FLAT RATE (CONT'D) Look, this kind of assignment is just to test your heart. They want to know that they've got you one-hundred percent. Until you make a try for him, target doesn't even know it's coming. So, if you don't do him, they figure you're weak. They assign someone to take you and that's it. This innocent doesn't even know anything. So what do they need to take him for? RAYNARD FOSTER Maybe. I don't know. FLAT RATE I know what this is about. This is Priest's personal hard-on. Let me talk to some people. I'll get this straightened out. RAYNARD FOSTER How? I only have until tomorrow at four o'clock.


FLAT RATE I'll do what I can. I'm not offering any guarantees, but if I can contact the council before then, I can get your assignment revoked. That way, if Priest does come after your family, he'll be operating alone and without the protection of the organization behind him. RAYNARD FOSTER But there's not enough time for that. FLAT RATE It's the best I can do. I told you, this ain't no social club. Anti-social better describes this bunch. But like I said. I can't offer any guarantees. (beat) Maybe that's the problem. You want too many guarantees in life. RAYNARD FOSTER What? FLAT RATE You have to learn to except that everything's not always gonna go your way. Sometimes it's sweet, sometimes it's bitter, most times though, it's bittersweet. RAYNARD FOSTER Like lemonade right? FLAT RATE Whatever. Back to your situation. I need you to buy me some lead time. RAYNARD FOSTER How. FLAT RATE I'm sure your were given instruction as to where to pick up the tools for the hit? RAYNARD FOSTER Yeah? At a bank. It's all in this folder. FLAT RATE Yeah, well if I know Priest, along with those instructions came a set of eyes that have been watching you since you left him.


Raynard looks around nervously. RAYNARD FOSTER That means they're watching me now. FLAT RATE Yeah, and they're gonna keep on watching you until you pick up the tools, seize the target, and make the hit. Raynard is nervous. FLAT RATE (CONT'D) Relax. They just want to be sure you can hold your mud. They don't want you going to the cops. RAYNARD FOSTER What difference would that make. They own the cops. FLAT RATE Some, yes. But if they owned every cop, they wouldn't need to be a secret society now would they? RAYNARD FOSTER But if they're watching me, that means they see me talking to you. FLAT RATE That doesn't matter though. They think you just came to me for advice. RAYNARD FOSTER How do you know that? FLAT RATE Because we're not dead. RAYNARD FOSTER Okay. So what do you want me to do? EXT. 1ST NATIONAL BANK - DAY Raynard gets out of his car carrying the manila envelope Priest gave him and a SMALL SUITCASE. Reluctantly he walks into the bank. INT. 1ST NATIONAL BANK - DAY


Raynard briefly meets with the BANK MANAGER before they both walk over to the BANK VAULT. Raynard pulls a SMALL PACKET from a manila envelope. The bank manager opens the packet to reveal TWO KEYS. The manager hands the keys to Raynard and points out the SAFE DEPOSIT BOXES that they belong to. The manager leaves. Raynard opens the boxes. One box contains TWO HANDGUNS with AMMO. The other box contains SURGICAL IMPLEMENTS. Raynard begins placing the contents of both boxes into the suitcase. INT. RAYNARD'S NEW HOUSE - NIGHT Shawanda is in bed sound asleep. But Raynard can't sleep so he sits on the window sill staring into the night wondering if Flat Rate was successful in getting the mission terminated. MORNING Raynard and Mr. Foster are seated at the KITCHEN TABLE. Raynard has just finished telling Mr. Foster what's going on. Mr. Foster embraces Raynard. RAYNARD FOSTER (to himself) I'll just tell him what's happening. At least then, he can try to defend himself. EXT. RUBIO'S APARTMENT - DAY Raynard's car pulls up. Raynard hurries out of the car and up the stairs. INT. RUBIO'S APARTMENT Raynard is alarmed to find the front door standing wide open. Raynard cautiously walks through the door and sees the apartment has been RANSACKED. Joshua can be heard CRYING in the background. RAYNARD FOSTER Hello? Rubio? Raynard searches through each room looking for his friend; afraid of what he might find. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) Is anybody here? Raynard enters the kitchen and looses all the strength in his legs as he sees Aricelli laying on the floor in a pool of her own blood and Rubio tied to a chair with his head slumped to his chest. Raynard manages to gain the strength to crawl over to Rubio. Lifting his head, Raynard sees the WIRE tied around his friend's neck. Sobbing uncontrollably Raynard embraces Rubio.


Entering the back room, Raynard sees Jeremy and Robert sprawled wildly across the bed. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) Oh Jesus! No! Joshua is sitting on the floor crying. He has blood on his clothes but it's not his. So, Raynard checks the two older kids for signs of life. They're breathing so he tries to wake them. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) Come on guys, wake up. Wake up. The kids struggle to open their eyes. It's apparent they've been drugged. EXT. RUBIO'S APARTMENT Jeremy staggers along as Raynard carries Joshua and Robert down the stairs. Raynard puts all three boys in his car and drives off in a hurry. INT. MOTEL ROOM - DAY Raynard lays the three sleeping boys, Joshua, Jeremy and Robert, on the bed. Mr. Foster looks on as Raynard, still sobbing, kisses the boys goodbye. As Raynard leaves the motel room, Mr. Foster kisses his forehead. RAYNARD FOSTER I know I'm leaving them in good hands. Mr. Foster cocks his SHOTGUN. The two embrace once more. As Raynard rushes down the stairs, Mr. Foster turns to watch over the sleeping boys as he closes the door. INT. GROCERY STORE - DAY Shawanda enters, through AUTOMATED GLASS DOORS, pushing Ariel in a shopping cart. Mary Werner enters behind her and signals to Pierre Mason, who is disguised as a stock clerk. LATER Shawanda pushes Ariel down the aisle in the half full cart. Mary Werner watches and waits. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Okay, my darling. We're all done. Shawanda turns to select a treat from the snack shelf.


SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER (CONT'D) But, since you were so good, we're gonna get you a treat. Shawanda grabs a box of cookies. As she turns to hand them to Ariel, she is shocked to see her daughter has disappeared. She screams. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER (CONT'D) No! Her scream startles WOMAN #3 at the end of the aisle. The woman drops a glass bottle which shatters. Horrified, she races through the aisles screaming as she searches for Ariel. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER (CONT'D) Help! She heads for the front door but is blocked by Pierre Mason. PIERRE MASON What's wrong ma'am? Shawanda tries to break from him but he grips her firmly as he tries to distract her attention. PIERRE MASON (CONT'D) Ma'am, I'm trying to help you. What's wrong? SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER My baby! My baby! By this time a crowd has gathered around her. Mary Werner is gone. Pierre releases her and dissolves into the crowd and is gone. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER (CONT'D) My baby is gone. EXT. GAS STATION - NIGHT Raynard pulls up next to the PUMP. He sees a POLICE CAR with FLASHING LIGHTS parked in front of the door of the grocery store across the street. As he's pulling out of the gas station, Raynard notices Shawanda sitting on a bench near the grocery store entrance. TWO POLICE OFFICERS are talking to her. Raynard leaps from his car and runs toward the grocery store.


INT. GROCERY STORE - NIGHT Shawanda sees Raynard coming through the door. She's crying hysterically as they embrace. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER I'm sorry. RAYNARD FOSTER Are you okay? SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER I'm sorry baby. RAYNARD FOSTER It's okay honey. It's gonna be alright. Where's Ariel? Shawanda weeps. OFFICER #1 Are you her husband? OFFICER #2 We believe your daughter's been kidnapped. Raynard grips Shawanda's shoulders and looks into her eyes with reassurance. RAYNARD FOSTER It's going to be alright. You just tell the officers whatever you can. I'm going to make this alright. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER What? How? RAYNARD FOSTER Don't worry. I will. Raynard holds Shawanda close as he slips a GUN into her pocket and whispers instructions to her. RAYNARD FOSTER (CONT'D) I'll take care of this. I'll get her back. When you're done here, don't go home. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Why not? RAYNARD FOSTER


It doesn't matter where you go. Just don't go home. Please! Promise me you won't go home. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Okay. Wait. Why? I don't understand. RAYNARD FOSTER Don't try to understand. Just do it. OFFICER #1 Sir, do you know something about this situation? Ignoring the officer's questions, Raynard stands gazing into pulsating strobe lamps on top of the police car. OFFICE WORKER #1 (O.S.) Sir, can we ask you some questions. Raynard abruptly storms out of the store and into the night. INT. WHAREHOUSE - NIGHT Priest is in his OFFICE on the UPPER FLOOR. He's seated at his desk smoking a CIGAR as he reads through some important PAPERS. Raynard crouches in the shadows, holding a BASEBALL BAT, as he watches armed men stand watch along the CATWALKS. As a guard rounds the corner, Raynard swiftly knocks him out. Before Raynard can catch him, the guard falls from the catwalk but lands quietly into a DUMPSTER FULL OF SHREDDED CARDBOARD. Raynard hides against the wall, waiting to see if he's attracted any attention. Suddenly, from out of the darkness, Flat Rate sneaks up beside him. RAYNARD FOSTER What are you doing here? FLAT RATE I thought I'd find you here. RAYNARD FOSTER What else should I do? That lunatic has my daughter. Why is he doing this? I thought you said you could buy me some time? FLAT RATE I tried to. The council rejected me.


RAYNARD FOSTER Yeah, well according to my watch, they started killing people long before four o'clock. FLAT RATE I told you not to expect to much from these guys. Flat Rate notices that Raynard is only carrying a bat. FLAT RATE (CONT'D) So you're just gonna walk in their and take your daughter back? With that? RAYNARD FOSTER (points at gun in Flat Rate's shoulder holster) Would you prefer I wake up the neighbors by firing one of those? ALEXANDER PRIEST (O.C.) I wouldn't worry about that. Raynard turns to see Priest holding a GUN on him. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) I'm already awake. In fact, I've been sitting up waiting for my little Flat to find his way home. RAYNARD FOSTER You said I had until four o'clock! ALEXANDER PRIEST Did I? Whatever. This isn't about you kid. RAYNARD FOSTER Then why did you kill Rubio and Aricelli? Why did you have to kill them? ALEXANDER PRIEST It's called enraging the bull. When our buddy here showed up to call in his marker for you, I knew I had what I needed; someone he cares about. RAYNARD FOSTER Cargo. ALEXANDER PRIEST


Yes. Exactly. You didn't really think you would have made it through training did you? If I didn't need you as bait, you would have washed out with the rest of those losers. I knew that if I killed your friend, you'd rush right over to avenge him and Flat Rate would come rushing in to protect you. Priest points his gun at Flat Rate. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) No. It's not about you. Me and your buddy here, have a score to settle. I just needed you to help me flush him out. RAYNARD FOSTER What about my daughter? I just needed her as insurance that you'd show up. FLAT RATE You didn't need to do all this. You know how to find me. ALEXANDER PRIEST Not true. You are a very difficult man to locate. I didn't want to invest a lot of time into this project. In the end, my way was more efficient. Suddenly, Raynard delivers a lightening fast blow to Priest's head with the bat. Simultaneously, Priest manages to fire a single shot which barely misses Flat Rate as he slips into the shadows like a ninja. Priest wipes the blood from his eyes as he points his gun at Raynard. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) Are you crazy? I was going to let you go. But now. In one fluid motion, Raynard blocks the gun with his bat and dives over the railing, landing on top of the RAM Guard in the dumpster full of shredded cardboard. Priest fires at him as he too disappears into the shadows. Raynard is hit. RAM Guards rush to the area. ALEXANDER PRIEST (CONT'D) Don't let them get away. Raynard stops running to check his wound. It's pretty bad. He winces from the pain.


MOMENTS LATER Priest stands in the open, holding Ariel with his gun to her head. ALEXANDER PRIEST Hey kid! Come out here and see what I've got. Raynard travels through a maze of crates and dark shadows until he gets to a spot where he can see Priest. RAYNARD FOSTER (sarcastic) Great. Priest is getting dizzy from losing blood. ALEXANDER PRIEST (yelling) You really should come see what I'm about to do. It makes a spectacular display. Raynard runs toward Priest with his bat raised. RAYNARD FOSTER No! Priest shoots Ariel in the face. Raynard hits Priest with the bat. Priest drops to his knees but shoots Raynard in the chest. Raynard staggers toward Ariel before collapsing to the floor. Just then, a mystery bullet hits Priest in the chest. He looks down at the wound in his chest. Then, looks up to see Flat Rate holding the gun which fired the shot. Flat Rate fires a second shot which finds Priest's forehead. Raynard uses his last bit of strength to pull Ariel's lifeless body onto his chest as RAM Guards rush to the scene. CHIEF TRAINER Don't worry about them. They're dead. Flat Rate is still in here somewhere. Find him. And when you do, bring him to me. Chief Trainer looks down at Priest. CHIEF TRAINER (CONT'D) Crazy bastard. Good riddance.


Everyone clears the area; leaving only Priest, Raynard, and Ariel laying on the floor in a pool of blood. FADE TO BLACK. CAPTION: "THE OFFENDER, NOT SOCIETY, IS RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS/HER OFFENSE AND THAT CRIME IS A MORAL HABIT CREATED ENTIRELY BY PERSONAL CHOICE." - Januarius E. Rodrigues, Crime and Justice Network Newsletter, July/Aug/Sept 1991. INT. WHAREHOUSE - DAY FLIES are heard BUZZING around as Priest, Raynard, and Ariel lay on the empty wharehouse floor. INT. MOTEL ROOM - DAY A POLICE OFFICER and Shawanda are talking with the MOTEL MANAGER as Jeremy, Robert, and Joshua are loaded into a TRANSPORT VEHICLE. MOTEL MANAGER I saw he was alone with these kids so I offered to give him a hand getting his stuff in the room, but he said he had his father with him. But I didn't see no one with him so when he sped off like he did, I thought maybe he was going to get his father. So, when he didn't come back, I called 911. Shawanda can't stop crying. SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Are you sure he said his father, not their father? MOTEL MANAGER Yes I'm sure. He said "my father". Shawanda almost faints but the police officer catches her. POLICE OFFICER #1 Are you alright? SHAWANDA NEVILLE-FOSTER Raynard's father died five years ago. His mom died a year later. FADE TO:WHITE LIGHT


EXT. CITY STREET - EVENING Small Mom/Pop shops and Brownstones line both sides of the sleepy avenue. Exploring, we see a Grocery store employee sweeping the sidewalk, a Shoe repair shop owner laughing with customers as they exit his shop. Further down the street we see Amelia Dogarty arranging and polishing apples. She looks up to cast a smile toward Mr. Culeman on the corner. He seems to be waiting for a bus, as he gazes impatiently into the distance. AMELIA DOGARTY It's getting late Mr. Culeman, what are you waiting for? MR. CULEMAN I'm just not used to going along without him. AMELIA DOGARTY You're such a creature of habit Mr. Culeman. MR. CULEMAN No. I just miss him. AMELIA DOGARTY I understand. Don't we all. TRAFFIC SIGNAL FLASHING "WALK" Mr. Culeman heads across the street. Public transit bus hisses to a stop at the bus stop. Doors open. Several people get off. Amelia continues arranging and polishing her apples. Further down the block, a shoe shop employee laughs and jokes with customers. A Grocery store employee sweeps the sidewalk. Quiet apartment buildings are peppered throughout the neighborhood and small mom and pop stores line both sides of the street. FADE TO BLACK. ROLL CREDITS

Lemonade  

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