The Game

                                by

                   John Brancato & Michael Ferris

                                and

                            Larry Gross

                                and

                        Andrew Kevin Walker






                                                      2/8/96











     HOME MOVIES from the 60's, SILENT and grainy:

     EXT.  MANSION -- DAY -- HOME MOVIES

     A stately mansion.  A perfect lawn.  A BUTLER carries a
     birthday cake with sparking sparklers...

     Past wealthy MEN in crewcuts and thin ties, WOMEN in cat-eye
     sunglasses.  Everyone sings (silent) "Happy Birthday"...

     CHILDREN follow the cake, in dresses and suits, gathering
     round NICHOLAS VAN ORTON, 7, guest of honor, who wears a
     blindfold.  MOTHER comes to remove the blindfold and
     Nicholas ogles the cake, laughs.  He reaches for a sparkler.
     STEP PRINT: Mother intercepts, fussing, fixing his hair...

     Nicholas' FATHER sits near, smoking, nodding.  He's intense,
     thin, wearing a party hat.  He notcies the camera without
     mugging for it, bends to snuff his cigarette in an ashtray.

     SPLICE-JUMP TO/STEP PRINT: a Harlequin CLOWN ties balloon
     animals.  Nicholas assists, distracted by the inattentive
     children who look into the camera and pull hair and stand on
     their chairs...

     Men are drinking, storytelling, laughing.  A fraternity...

     The women are elsewhere, doing movie-vamp poses for the
     camera, blowing cigarette smoke, brightly dressed, eyelids
     blue and green, lipstick perfect...

     Servants clear the table.  Father holds a piece of untouched
     cake.  A man talks to him, but Father stares off, lost in
     thought.  He's forgotten the party hat on his head...

     STEP PRINT: Mother puts her arms around Father and makes him
     face the camera.  He leans in, posing dutifully.

     SPLICE-JUMP TO: a nanny in uniform, ILSA, holds an INFANT
     (CONRAD) to the camera, places the baby in Nicholas' arms.
     STEP PRINT: Nicholas is gentle, overwhelmed by cradling his
     tiny brother.

     SPLICE-JUMP TO: children play tag.  Across the lawn, Father
     heads to the house.  He looks back, walks backwards.
     STEP PRINT: he gives a small wave, continuing away...

     Kids chase past.  Nicholas and two other kids huddle, arms
     locked, spinning round and round, till they stumble
     different directions, falling, laughing, dizzy...

     Nicholas gets up, wearing a PUPPET on each hand.
     STEP PRINT: He walks CLOSE and peers in the camera, steps
     back, happily talking.  We can't hear because it's SILENT...

                                                        DISSOLVE TO:

     INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, BATHROOM -- MORNING

     The emotionless face of NICHOLAS VAN ORTON, just today 40,
     looks upon itself in a mirror.  He brings an electric shaver
     across his chin, shuts it off, wipes his face with a towel.

     INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, MASTER BEDROOM -- MORNING

     Nicholas crosses.  The bedroom is spacious, devoid of
     clutter.  A weight-machine in a far corner.  A big T.V.
     shows CNN with no sound.

     At a bedside table, Nicholas picks up a heavy, gold ROLEX,
     sliding it on, checking the time.  6:32.

     INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, KITCHEN -- NIGHT

     Nicholas stands at the kitchen islandm his tie thrown over
     his shoulder, eating breakfast.  ILSA, now elderly, is
     across the way doing dishes.

     The only sounds are the tiny clicks of Nicholas' knife and
     fork against his plate.  He's reading a German newspaper.

     Nicholas jabs the last piece of egg, skewers the last bit of
     ham and last square of toast.  Plate's clean.

     He sips his last swallow of juice, dabs his mouth with a
     napkin, picks up his briefcase and heads to a back door.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (without looking)
                    Thank you.

                               ILSA
                    Have a nice day.

     EXT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, BACKYARD -- MORNING

     Nicholas walks down a garden pathway to a three-car garage.
     He looks at his Rolex.

                                                        CUT TO:

     INT.  NICHOLAS' BENTLEY -- MORNING

     Bentley Continental Coupe.  Quiet.  Nicholas drives, begins
     humming, barely audible.  A Prince song, "Erotic City."

                               NICHOLAS
                         (sings, to self)
                    ...until the dawn... making love till
                    cherry's gone..
                         (humming, quiet)
                    ... Erotic City, you and me...

     Nicholas changes lanes, HONKING the HORN, impassive.  We can
     BARELY HEAR the BEEPING in here.  He glances back.

     He drives, adjusts his mirror.  Resumes humming.

                                                        CUT TO:

     EXT.  VAN ORTON BUILDING -- MORNING

     Distinctive SAN FRANCISCO skyline on the horizon.
     Nicholas' building is a brownstone bookended by skyscrapers.
     Old money dwarfed by new.  The Bentley arrives...

     INT.  VAN ORTON BUILDING, UNDERGROUND GARAGE -- MORNING

     The Bentley moves past a valet station.  One VALET follows.

     The Bentley takes its place.  A brass plaque reads:
     "NICHOLAS VAN ORTON, Van Orton Enterprises."  The valet
     opens the car door for Nicholas.

                                                        CUT TO:

     INT.  VAN ORTON OFFICE -- MORNING

     Two objects on Nicholas' desk: phone and laptop computer.
     He's on the phone, operating the laptop with one hand.
     Business talk, mile-a-minute.

                               MALE VOICE (v.o.)
                         (from phone)
                    ... might be perched up on majority
                    shares, but you're not the only one
                    who gets hurt if the actuals crash.
                    Forecasts were fucked to begin with.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (into phone)
                    The moment Baer/Grant's P and L
                    report is placed in my hand, I will
                    be speed dialing your number.

     Empty walls.  No distractions.  MARIA, the proper executive
     assistant, stands practically at attention.

                               MALE VOICE (v.o.)
                    Is that a promise?

                               NICHOLAS
                    I'm sorry... I'm unfamiliar with the
                    term.

                               MALE VOICE (v.o.)
                    What if Alan calls me with a sob
                    story about substantiation procedure?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Take evasive action: have your
                    secretary say you're in a meeting.
                    Goodbye, Jack.

                               MALE VOICE (v.o.)
                    Yeah.

     Nicholas hangs up, shuffling computer windows: stock quotes,
     pie-charts, graphs, lists.  Maria refers to an index card.

                               MARIA
                    Invitations: the Museum Gala.

                               NICHOLAS
                    No.

                               NICHOLAS
                    The Fitzwilliam Botanical Garden
                    Annual Fundraiser.

                               NICHOLAS
                    No.

                               NICHOLAS
                    The Hinchberger wedding.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Let me think...
                         (sits back, eyes closed)
                    Hordes of men in tuxedos.  Everyone's
                    droning.  Ludwell's trying to break
                    the ice by reciting an off-color
                    limerick...

                               MARIA
                         (impatient)
                    I'll send your regrets.  Honestly,
                    why must I even bother?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Because, if you don't know about
                    society, you don't have the
                    satisfaction of avoiding it.

     A KNOCK and a female ASSISTANT enters.  There's a lot more
     NOISE and ACTIVITY behind her.

                               ASSISTANT
                    Elizabeth on line three.

     Nicholas taps his fingers on his lips, considering.

                               MARIA
                    Your ex-wife.

                               NICHOLAS
                    I know who she is.
                         (to assistant)
                    Take a message.

                               ASSISTANT
                    Um... Happy Birthday, sir.

     Nicholas squints.

                               MARIA
                         (icily)
                    Thank you, Maggie.

     The assistant backs out.  Nicholas returns to his computer.

                               NICHOLAS
                    I don't like her.

                               MARIA
                    I wouldn't mention the following,
                    except he was very insistent.  It's
                    obviously some sort of prank...

                               NICHOLAS
                    What?

                               MARIA
                    A gentleman left a message requesting
                    a lunch, but I assured him...

                               NICHOLAS
                    What gentleman, Maria?

                               MARIA
                    A Mister... Seymour Butts.

     Nicholas looks up.  He sits back, lost in thought.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (to himself)
                    "Under the Bleachers"... by Seymour
                    Butts.

                               MARIA
                    Pardon me?  I'm afraid I don't...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Cancel lunch.  Make reservations at
                    Campton Place for me and Mr. Butts.

     Maria nods, heading out, high heels clicking as she crosses.

                               NICHOLAS
                    And, put the reservation in my name.

                                                        CUT TO:

     INT.  CAMPTON PLACE RESTAURANT -- DAY

     Upscale.  Quiet.  Nicholas is in a booth facing the rear,
     studying a thick FINANCIAL STATEMENT, making tiny notations.
     A WAITRESS arrives.

                               WAITRESS
                    Ready to order, sir?

                               NICHOLAS
                    I'm still waiting...

     Nicholas points out the other plate.  The waitress leaves.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Excuse me...

     She returns.  He slides his empty glass toward her.

                               NICHOLAS
                    This was iced tea.

     He's returned to his report.  The waitress takes the glass
     and leaves, irritated.  Nicholas checks his watch.  An
     EXAGGERATED SNEEZE is HEARD and liquid hits the back of his
     neck -- AH-CHOO!...

     Nicholas jumps, sickened, turning to face CONRAD, who holds
     a spray bottle and smiles.

                               CONRAD
                    Hey there, Nickie.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (repulsed)
                    Conrad, what a surprise.  Gesundheit.

                               CONRAD
                    Happy Birthday, man.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (nods)
                    "Seymour Butts."  I never get tired
                    of that one.

                               CONRAD
                    That's why it's a classic.  Come on,
                    man... how 'bout a hug... ?

     Nicholas is wiping his neck with a napkin as Conrad forces a
     hug on him.  Conrad takes a seat, good-lookingm unkempt,
     tan, wearing a too-big suit jacket.

                               CONRAD
                    They gave me a free jacket at the
                    door.

                               NICHOLAS
                    They'll be wanting it back.

                               CONRAD
                    Not after I'm done with it.
                         (laughs)
                    Actually, I've been here.  In
                    grad-school I bought crystal-meth
                    from the maitre d'.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Which grad-school?

     Conrad smiles.  The brothers take each other in for a
     moment.  Long moment.  They're a bit stunned to be reunited.

                               NICHOLAS
                    You look good.

                               CONRAD
                    So do you.  And to think I was
                    worried...

                               NICHOLAS
                    About me?

                               CONRAD
                    How long's it been?  Since mom
                    died... four years?  How are you?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Never better.

                               CONRAD
                    Elizabeth?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Divorced.  Remarried to some
                    pediatrician or gynecologist, or
                    pediatric gynaecologist, in Sausalito.

                               CONRAD
                    Too bad, I liked her.  So, you're all
                    alone in the House of Pain?

                               NICHOLAS
                    I redecorated.  What about you?

                               CONRAD
                    Nowhere in particular.  Don't you
                    keep track of my whereabouts anymore?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Connie... what brings you here?  Is
                    everything alright?

                               CONRAD
                    Yeah.

                               NICHOLAS
                    You need anything?

                               CONRAD
                    No.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Really?

                               CONRAD
                    I don't need anything from you.  I
                    was laying on a beach somewhere in
                    Spain, naked, and, it hit me --
                    Nickie's birthday.  So, here I am,
                    four layovers, twenty-seven hours
                    flying and one donkey ride later.
                    Not necessarily in that order.

     Conrad drops an envelope on the table.

                               CONRAD
                    For you.

                               NICHOLAS
                    You shouldn't have.

     Nicholas opens it, takes out a sappy, Hallmark B-day card.
     A BUSINESS CARD falls out.  Nicholas picks it up...

                               CONRAD
                    What do you get for the man who has
                    just slightly more than everything?

     The card: "Consumer Recreation Services."  With a
     PHONE NUMBER and ADDRESS below.

                               CONRAD
                    Call that number.

                               NICHOLAS
                    "Consumer Recrreation Services."
                    What, do they make golf clubs?

                               CONRAD
                    Trust me.  Call that number.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Why?

                               CONRAD
                    They make your life fun.  Their only
                    guarantee is you will not be bored.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Fun?

                               CONRAD
                    You've heard of it.  You've seen
                    other people having it.  They're an
                    entertainment service, but more than
                    that.

                               NICHOLAS
                    This isn't an escort service?

                               CONRAD
                    It's a profound life experience.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Like a stroke?

                               CONRAD
                    Call them.  Trust me.

     The waitress shows up with Nicholas' iced tea, spills some.
     Nicholas blots it up with a napkin.

                               WAITRESS
                    Sorry.  Let me get you another
                    napkin.

                               NICHOLAS
                    I'll be fine... if we could just...

     She moves off as Nicholas raises a finger to order, ignored.

                               CONRAD
                    Tell me you'll call.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Okay.

                               CONRAD
                    Will you?

                               NICHOLAS
                    I said I would...

                               CONRAD
                    But, will you?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Are you still on mediction?

                               CONRAD
                         (taken aback)
                    Why would you say that?

     The waitress arrives.

                               WAITRESS
                    Ready to order, gentlemen?

                               NICHOLAS
                         (ignores, to Conrad)
                    I didn't mean it like it sounded...

                               CONRAD
                    I'm not on anything anymore.  I'm not
                    even seeing a shrink.  I'm happy.
                         (notices waitress,
                          turning to her)
                    Do you mind... ?!

     The waitress gives him a look, leaves.

                               CONRAD
                         (to Nicholas)
                    I thought you'd like this.  Best
                    thing I ever did.  If you don't want
                    to do it, DON'T...

                               NICHOLAS
                    I'll call them, okay?

                               CONRAD
                    It doesn't matter...

                               NICHOLAS
                    I'm going to call.

                               CONRAD
                    Do it for YOU.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Okay, okay... okay?
                         (pause, studies card)
                    I just... you know I hate surprises.

                               CONRAD
                    I know...

     Conrad CLINKS his fork against a glass, motioning...
     Behind Nicholas, WAITERS, WAITRESSES and BUS-BOYS, lying in
     wait, now come to SING "HAPPY BIRTHDAY."

     Conrad stands, loving it.  Nicholas forces a fake smile.

                                                        CUT TO:

     EXT.  NICHOLAS' NEIGHBORHOOD -- NIGHT

     The Bentley cruises hilly streets, ESTATES on all sides.

     INT.  NICHOLAS' BENTLEY -- NIGHT

     Nicholas is on his CELLULAR PHONE.  CLASSICAL MUSIC PLAYS.

                               FEMALE VOICE (v.o.)
                         (from cellular)
                    ... seen the profitability report.
                    No one's happy with the numbers.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (into cellular)
                    Imagine how much MORE unhappy I am.

                               FEMALE VOICE (v.o.)
                    You'll deal with Alan?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Correct.

                               FEMALE VOICE (v.o.)
                    Okay, Nicholas.  Sleep well.

                               NICHOLAS
                    I plan to.

     He increases VOLUME on the CLASSICAL MUSIC, makes a turn.

     He looks out his window, watching the street roll past...

     FLASHBACK/GRAINY HOME MOVIES -- 1960'S -- DAY

     SILENT, HOME MOVIE-ISH IMAGES as before: YOUNG NICHOLAS, 10,
     peers out from a LIMOUSINE, watching his neighborhood
     pass... PERIOD FASHIONS, PERIOD CARS and HOUSES...

     BACK TO SCENE, IN THE BENTLEY

     Nicholas faces front.  The Bentley comes to the formidable
     FRONT GATE of the mansion.  The gate begins to slide open.

     Nicholas stares ahead, expressionless.

     FLASHBACK/GRAINY HOME MOVIES -- 1960'S -- DAY

     The LIMOUSINE pulls up the ungated driveway.  Young Nicholas
     emerges, carrying books, waving goodbye to the CHAUFFEUR.

     Young Nicholas runs past rose bushes, heading to the house,
     but slows, looking up...

     High up, Nicholas' FATHER, in a robe, stands on a balcony
     railing, looking to hte sky.  He's weary, lowers his gaze...

     Young Nicholas is puzzled, gives a tentative wave.

     Father just stares, eyes dead, expression blank.

     BACK TO SCENE, IN THE BENTLEY

     Nicholas looks down, puts the car in gear and drives...

     THRU THE WINDSHIELD: the Bentley's headlights sweep the
     stately Van Orton house.

                                                        CUT TO:

     EXT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, BACKYARD -- NIGHT

     Nicholas exits the garage, walks up the garden path.  Ahead,
     Ilsa's leaving through the kitchen door of the house,
     heading across the yard to the GUEST HOUSE.

                               ILSA
                    Dinner's in the oven.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Thank you.  Goodnight.

     At the rear door, Nicholas stops himself.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Oh, I saw Conrad today.

     Ilsa stops, looking back.  They're far from each other.

                               ILSA
                    You did?  How is he?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Okay.  I think he's into some sort of
                    new personal improvement cult.

                               ILSA
                         (nods, at a loss)
                    Well... send my love, if you see him
                    again.

     Nicholas nods.  Ilsa leaves.

                                                        CUT TO:

     INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, KITCHEN -- NIGHT

     Nicholas uses mitts to remove a dinner plate from the oven,
     sets it on a waiting tray: huge cheeseburger and hand-cut
     french fries, perfectly presented.

     Nicholas picks up a CUPCAKE with a B-day candle in it.

                                                        CUT TO:

     INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, DEN -- NIGHT

     Nose-bleed-high ceilings.  Cavernous fireplace.  THREE TVs
     in the ENTERTAINMENT WALL, the largest showing CNN.
     Nicholas is seated in a chair facing his meal, pouring a
     glass of champagne.

     He toasts to no one, takes a sip.  The PHONE RINGS.
     Nicholas looks to it, hesitates.  He hits SPEAKERPHONE.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (to speakerphone)
                    Elizabeth.

                               ELIZABETH (v.o.)
                         (from speakerphone)
                    Happy Birthday, Nick.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (looks at watch)
                    Eleven forty.  You almost didn't make
                    it this year.

     Nicholas uses a REMOTE to MUTE BERNARD SHAW on the TV.

                               ELIZABETH (v.o.)
                    Did you have a great birthday?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Does Rose Kennedy have a black dress?
                    You know my parties.  I went not
                    once, but twice through the
                    spanking-machine.

                               ELIZABETH (v.o.)
                    I can only imagine.  How are you?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Connie asked me the same thing today.

                               ELIZABETH (v.o.)
                    Connie, really?  I always liked him.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Anyway...

                               ELIZABETH (v.o.)
                    I just thought this... might be
                    difficult for you.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Just another birthday.

                               ELIZABETH (v.o.)
                    I meant because of your father.

                               NICHOLAS
                    That's right.  He was forty, wasn't
                    he?  Hadn't thought about it, to tell
                    you the truth, thanks for the
                    reminder.

                               ELIZABETH (v.o.)
                    Why do I call you... ?

                               NICHOLAS
                    I honestly don't know.  Listen, give
                    my best to Doctor Mel and Rachel....

                               ELIZABETH (v.o.)
                    Sue has a little brother on the way.
                    We just did the ultrasound.

                               NICHOLAS
                    No kidding?  An official nuclear
                    family.  You must be pleased.

                               ELIZABETH (v.o.)
                    We are.  We couldn't be happier.

     Nicholas smiles thinly, bored, waiting for more.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Well, so... thanks for calling.  I've
                    got some work here...

                               ELIZABETH (v.o.)
                    I should let you go.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Take care of yourself.

                               ELIZABETH (v.o.)
                    You too, Nicholas.  I mean that, I
                    really do.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Um-hm.  Good luck.  Bye.

     He PUSHES OFF the PHONE in the middle of her "goodbye."  He
     uses the t.v. remote to give BERNARD SHAW back his VOICE.

     Nicholas eats, watching the news.  He takes out the business
     card Conrad gave him, looks at it, puts it on the table.

     The card: "Consumer Recreation Services."

     Nicholas sits back, chewing.  He stares at the ceiling.

     FLASHBACK/GRAINY HOME MOVIES -- 1960'S -- DAY

     SILENT IMAGES: Nicholas' FATHER stands on the high balcony,
     as before.  He looks skyward one last time, then LAUNCHES
     INTO SPACE... falling in EXTREME SLOW MOTION...

     A head-first dive...

                                                        CUT TO:

     INT.  OFFICE BUILDING, 10TH FLOOR -- DAY

     "DING," elevator doors open.  Nicholas and TWO EXECUTIVES
     are talking.  As PEOPLE get on, the two executives get off.

                               EXECUTIVE 1
                    We're getting off here.

     Nicholas follows.  He and the executives huddle nearby.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (voice low)
                    So, we understand each other?

                               EXECUTIVE 2
                    We do.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Make it work on paper, and you can
                    count on my full support.

                               EXECUTIVE 1
                    Right-o.  We'll talk.  Soon.

     They shake.  The executives walk away.  Nicholas returns to
     elevator, pushes the button, waiting.  He turns, noticing...

     A massive WALL OF TRANSLUCENT GLASS marks the office of
     "C.R.S."  Modern.  Activity beyond it.

     Nicholas finds this disconcerting.  He takes out his wallet,
     digging up the C.R.S. business card, studying it... looking
     again to the glass facade to double check.

     He looks at his Rolex.

     ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GLASS DOORS

     Nicholas enters.  A female RECEPTIONIST speaks into a
     HEADSET/PHONE.  EMPLOYEES mill about.  UTILITY MEN sort
     crawlspace wiring.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (to receptionist,
                          shows "C.R.S." card)
                    Is this Consumer Recreation
                    Services... ?

     The reecptionist takes the card.  In the b.g., JIM FEINGOLD
     pays a DELIVERY GUY for CHINESE FOOD.

                               RECEPTIONIST
                         (into PHONE)
                    You shouldn't feel this reflects
                    negatively upon yourself.
                         (to Nicholas)
                    Just a moment.
                         (back into phone)
                    We hope we haven't caused you any
                    inconvenience.  Thank you for
                    considering C.R.S.

     She studies the card, hangs up and motions to Feingold, a
     bald, amiable engineer-type who passes with his food bag.

                               RECEPTIONIST
                    Mister Feingold... could you assist
                    this gentleman?

     Feingold spins on his heels, looking, walking over with his
     hand out.  Nicholas shakes.

                               FEINGOLD
                    Jim Feingold, V.P., E.D.A.
                    Engineering and Data Analysis.

                               NICHOLAS
                    I'm not quite sure how this works.
                    My brother...

                               FEINGOLD
                    Oh, here we go...

     Feingold takes the card the receptionist offers, examines
     it, turns it over: finds FOUR NUMBERS on the back.

                               FEINGOLD
                         (of the numbers)
                    Excellent.  Let's get started.

     Nicholas picks up his briefcase to follow Feingold.

     INT.  C.R.S. OFFICES -- DAY

     Big operation.  Feingold leads past partitioned cubicles
     that seem to go on forever.  C.R.S. WORKERS abound.
     TELEPHONE CO. WORKMEN operate on the phones.

                               FEINGOLD
                    Sorry about about all the hullabaloo.
                    We're still moving.  Stick with me...
                    I've got an office around here
                    somewhere.

     Feingold reaches open BOXES, begins collecting pages from
     each, loading up on all sorts of forms.  he holds out his
     leaking, greasy food bag to Nicholas.

                               FEINGOLD
                    Mind holding this... ?

     Nicholas reluctantly takes it, keeping it at arms length.

     INT.  FEINGOLD'S OFFICE -- DAY

     Feingold types at his computer.  Nicholas stands, looking
     through the pile of forms on a clipboard.

                               FEINGOLD
                         (TYPES in keyboard)
                    V-A-N... O-R-T-O-N...
                         (studies screen)
                    A gift from Conrad Van Orton.
                    Interesting...

                               NICHOLAS
                    What is?

     Feingold picks up his Chinese food, eats using chop-sticks.
     The BOX features a grinning CARTOON PANDA mascot,

                               FEINGOLD
                         (still studying screen)
                    Your brother was a client with our
                    London branch.  We do a sort of
                    informal scoring.  His numbers were
                    outstanding.
                         (holds up box)
                    Sure you're not hungry at all... ?
                    Tung Hoy, best in Chinatown...

                               NICHOLAS
                    No, thank you.

                               FEINGOLD
                         (eating, mouth full)
                    You need to fill out those forms.
                    Application, psych-tests: M.M.P.I.
                    and T.A.T.  For the financial
                    questionnaire, don't answer anything
                    you don't feel like.  We'll run a
                    T.R.W....

     Nicholas looks through the densely written forms.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (reading FORM)
                    "I sometimes hurt small animals.
                    True or False?"  "I feel guilty when
                    I masturbate..."

     Nocholas looks up, skeptical.  Feingold shrugs, embarrassed.

                               FEINGOLD
                    I don't write the questions.  I just
                    review them.

                               NICHOLAS
                    What's all this for?

                               FEINGOLD
                    We want a sense of your overall
                    capabilities, limitations, turn-ons,
                    turn-offs...

                               NICHOLAS
                    No, I mean, what is it FOR?  What
                    are you selling?

                               FEINGOLD
                    Oh... it's a game.

                               NICHOLAS
                    A game?

                               FEINGOLD
                    Tailored specifically to each
                    participant.  Think of it as a great
                    vacation, except you don't go to it,
                    it comes to you.

                               NICHOLAS
                    What kind of vacation?

                               FEINGOLD
                    It's different every time.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (patience waning)
                    Humor me with specifics.

                               FEINGOLD
                    We provide whatever's lacking.

                               NICHOLAS
                    And if nothing's lacking?

                               FEINGOLD
                    May I make two suggestions... ?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Do you really expect me to
                    participate without knowing a single
                    thing?

                               FEINGOLD
                    First, admit to yourself that it
                    sounds intriguing.  Second, you don't
                    have to decide today.  Take the silly
                    tests, fill out the forms.  One day,
                    the game begins.  You either love it
                    or hate it.  Decide then.  We're like
                    an experimental Book-of-the-Month-
                    Club; drop out at any time with no
                    further obligation.
                         (smiles)
                    That was my sales pitch.

     Nicholas thumbs thru the forms one last time...

                               NICHOLAS
                    How long will these take?

                               FEINGOLD
                    An hour for those... maybe another
                    for the physical.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Physical?

                               FEINGOLD
                    Cursory examination.  Turn-your-head-
                    and-cough sort of thing.  You'll be
                    out of here in no time.

     Feingold takes out a ballpoint pen, clicks it and offers it
     to Nicholas.  Nicholas takes it.

     On the pen, in tiny letters: the C.R.S. LOGO.

                                                        CUT TO:

     TESTING MONTAGE -- VARIOUS C.R.S. OFFICES -- DAY

     - Nicholas fills out an APPLICATION of endless questions.

     - A #2 pencil fills in circles on a long M.M.P.I. form.
     CLOSE ON: "I often feel someone is following me.
     True/False."  "I hate vegetables.  True/False."  "Vegetables
     hate me.  True/False."

     - WHITE ROOM.  A stone-faced PSYCHOLOGIST holds up CARDS.
     Nicholas gives his unenthusiastic interpretation into a TAPE
     RECORDER, checks his Rolex.

     One CARD shows a large ant in an apron feeding a TV dinner
     to a human child.  That card is replaced by another of a man
     slipping head over heels on a banana peel.

     - Nicholas wears HEADPHONES, facing a TECHNICIAN, raising a
     finger on his left fist or right fist for each low BEEP.
     Nicholas sighs, can't believe he's doing this.

     INT.  C.R.S. OFFICES, EXAM ROOM -- MONTAGE CONTINUES

     Electronic MONITORS and PRINTERS record Nicholas' EEG and
     EKG.  He's on an exam table, wearing a paper gown, covered
     in SENSORS and WIRES, talking on a C.R.S. telephone.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (into phone)
                    ... cancel.  Push Cooper back to
                    Wednesday afternoon.

     A TECHNICIAN studies readouts.  A NURSE takes BLOOD PRESSURE.

                               MARIA (v.o.)
                         (from phone)
                    Mister Sutherland called about
                    Baer/Grant Publishing.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (into phone)
                    Tomorrow.  Hold on...
                         (to NURSE)
                    How much longer?

                               NURSE
                    Almost done.

                               NICHOLAS
                    I heard that two hours ago.

     The nurse smiles, pumping up the blood-pressure cuff.
     Nicholas returns to the phone.

     - DARK ROOM.  Images FLASH on a screen: SHAPES, CURSE WORDS,
     PICTURES of U.S. PRESIDENTS, INSECTS...

     In flickering light, Nicholas, still in his gown, watches
     with THREE BUTTONS before him, pushing one from time to
     time.  Frustrated, he looks around.  He stands and turns...

     Directly into the projector's bright BEAM OF LIGHT.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Hello... ?  Anyone there?
                         (squints, holds up hand)
                    Hello?!

                                                        CUT TO:

     INT.  C.R.S. OFFICES, EXAM ROOM -- DAY

     Nicholas dresses, alone, pulling up his pants.  He notices
     above: a MIRRORED DOME in the corner, obviously a camera.

     Nicholas pulls on his jacket as Feingold arrives.

                               FEINGOLD
                    Sorry to keep you waiting.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Don't worry.  It's been terrific
                    spending the entire day with your
                    "crack team".

                               FEINGOLD
                    It's all down to this...

     Feingold holds out a CLIPBOARD with PAPERWORK in it.
     Nicholas takes it, studies it, wary.

                               FEINGOLD
                    An insurance company requirement.  It
                    states that you are aware "the game"
                    exists and that you are a willing
                    participant in said game, so on and
                    so forth.

     Nicholas flips a page and Feingold leans over, pointing.

                               FEINGOLD
                         (of the paperwork)
                    One guarantee.  Payment's entirely at
                    your brother's discretion and, as a
                    gift, dependent on your satisfaction.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (still reading)
                    You mean, I don't like it, he doesn't
                    pay?

                               FEINGOLD
                    It's never happened.  We've never had
                    an unsatisfied customer.

                               NICHOLAS
                    You mean, dissatisfied.

                               FEINGOLD
                         (glances at form)
                    That's right -- you're a left-brain
                    word fetishist.

     Nicholas uses the C.R.S. pen to sign.  Feingold turns pages.

                               FEINGOLD
                    Initials... initials, and...
                         (another page)
                    Sign here.

     Nicholas is about to sign when Feingold grabs his wrist...

                               FEINGOLD
                    In blood.
                         (laughs)
                    Just kidding.

     Nicholas signs.  Feingold tears out a few PINK TINTED COPIES
     and hands them to Nicholas, kind of in a hurry now.

                               FEINGOLD
                    Your copies, thank you.  Keep the
                    pen.  We'll let you know.

     Feingold exits, gives a thumbs-up and a WINK, shuts the
     door.  Nicholas is a bit bewildered.  He continues dressing.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (muttering to self)
                    ... grown man just winked at me.

     INT.  ATHLETIC CLUB, RACQUETBALL COURT -- NIGHT

     WHAM! -- a blue racquetball BALL SLAMS a wall...

     THRU A WINDOW: Nicholas plays, alone, sawtting violently at
     the ball.  We HEAR a PHONE CONVERSATION in VOICE OVER:

                               CONRAD (v.o.)
                    What about Monday or Tuesday?

                               NICHOLAS (v.o.)
                    Bad for me.

                               CONRAD (v.o.)
                    How 'bout tonight?

                               NICHOLAS (v.o.)
                    Unfortunately I'm working all
                    evening.  Wednesday's the only
                    possibility right now...

                               CONRAD (v.o.)
                    Okay.

                               NICHOLAS (v.o.)
                    Dinner?

                               CONRAD (v.o.)
                    Fine.  I get to pick the restaurant.

                               NICHOLAS (v.o.)
                    By the way, I went to C.R.S...

                               CONRAD (v.o.)
                    Really?  What'd you think?

                               NICHOLAS (v.o.)
                    They seemed disorganized.

     Nicholas finishes playing, exits.  The ball keeps bouncing.

                               CONRAD (v.o.)
                    Well, the office is new.  When I did
                    it in London, they'd been around
                    awhile.  You gonna do this?

                               NICHOLAS (v.o.)
                    Haven't decided yet.

                                                        CUT TO:

     INT.  ATHLETIC CLUB, LOCKER ROOM -- NIGHT

     Carpeted floors and mahogany lockers.  Nicholas sits at his
     locker, wet, in a monogrammed robe, toweling his hair.
     VOICES can be HEARD O.S.: BUSINESSMAN 1 and BUSINESSMAN 2.

                               BUSINESSMAN 1 (o.s.)
                    ... getting in on the ground floor of
                    the next Disneyland.

                               BUSINESSMAN 2 (o.s.)
                    C.R.S. will not go public.  They're
                    family owned.

                               BUSINESSMAN 1 (o.s.)
                    Stranger things have happened.

                               BUSINESSMAN 2 (o.s.)
                    No, they haven't, actually.

     Nicholas leans to look around a locker.  Businessman 1 and 2
     dress, two fat-cats.  Nicholas leans back, still listening.

                               BUSINESSMAN 1 (o.s.)
                    They just opened here.

                               BUSINESSMAN 2 (o.s.)
                    The game in San Francisco?  You see,
                    they're doing fine without any of us.

     INT.  ATHLETIC CLUB, LOUNGE/BAR -- NIGHT

     Nicholas enters, looking around, spotting Businessman 1 and
     2 across the room.  He gets the BARTENDER'S attention,
     motioning to the businessmen.

                               NICHOLAS
                    New members?

                               BARTENDER
                    I believe so, sir.

                               NICHOLAS
                    This round's on me.

     Nicholas moves casually toward the men...

     INT.  ATHLETIC CLUB, BAR/LOUNGE -- TIME CUT

     LATER.  Another round arrives at the table where Nicholas
     and Businessman 1 and 2 chat.  The businessmen smoke cigars.

                               BUSINESSMAN 1
                    ... last time I played Pebble, I
                    swore I'd never pick up a club again.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Speaking of games... I couldn't help
                    but overhear you talking about C.R.S.

     Businessman 1 and 2 share a furtive glance.  Nicholas
     discretely waves cigar smoke out of his face.

                               NICHOLAS
                    I only mention it because I took the
                    test this afternoon, down on
                    Montgomery Street.

                               BUSINESSMAN 2
                    Did you?  Kudos.

                               BUSINESSMAN 1
                    So, yours hasn't started?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Not yet.  I was hoping you could tell
                    me... uh...
                         (almost embarrassed)
                    What is it?

     Businessman 1 and 2 smile.  Shared enlightenment.

                               BUSINESSMAN 1
                         (to Businessman 2,
                          knowingly)
                    Ahh, what is it?

                               BUSINESSMAN 2
                    The eternal question.

                               BUSINESSMAN 1
                         (to Nicholas)
                    I envy you.  I wish I could go back
                    and do it for the first time all over
                    again...

     He raises his glass.  They toast.

                               BUSINESSMAN 1
                    Here's to... new experiences.
                         (gulps drink)
                    If you'll excuse me, I've got to be
                    going.  'Night, Jon... Nicholas.

     He leaves.  Nicholas focuses on Businessman 2.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Did you play recently?

                               BUSINESSMAN 2
                    Hm?  No, about a year ago.  I was
                    working out of Los Angeles.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (nodding)
                    I've heard good things about their
                    London branch.
                         (leans in)
                    You have to admit, it sounds like
                    some fantasy, role-playing nonsense.

                               BUSINESSMAN 2
                    You want to know what it is?  What
                    it's all about?
                         (off Nicholas' nod)
                    John.  Chapter nine.  Verse
                    twenty-five.

                               NICHOLAS
                    I, uh... haven't been to Sunday
                    school in years...

                               BUSINESSMAN 2
                    "Whereas once I was blind, now I can
                    see."
                         (rises)
                    Night, Nick.  Best of luck.

     Businessman 2 puffs his cigar, walks away.  Nicholas watches
     him go, then pauses, puzzled, mouthing the words to himself.

                                                        CUT TO:

     INT.  LAW FIRM, CONFERENCE ROOM -- DAY

     A table of unhappy LAWYERS.  Nicholas goes thru a thick
     CONTRACT with a red pen, CIRCLING, CROSSING-OUT and
     SCRAWLING QUESTION MARKS ON paragraphs that displease him.

     SUTHERLAND, trust personified, in his late 50's, stands
     behind Nicholas, imperturbable.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (still scrawling)
                    As far as I'm concerned...
                         (reading, x-ing out)
                    ... if the Baer/Grant meeting does
                    not take place tommorow, it might
                    as well never take place at all.

     Nicholas slides the contract to the center of the table.

                               SUTHERLAND
                    When Mr. Van Orton boards his plane
                    in the morrow, he will have every
                    contract, side agreement and
                    addendum, the complete closing
                    package, flawlessly revised.

     INSTANT UPROAR as the contract is grabbed up.  All the
     lawyers talk at once, fearful, arguing, protesting.

                               SUTHERLAND
                    Ladies and gentlemen...
                         (as they quiet)
                    This is why you're paid twice what
                    you deserve.  So you will miss
                    another opera you would've fallen
                    asleep during anyway...

     During this, Nicholas' CELLULAR PHONE is HEARD RINGING.
     Nicholas takes it out, irritated.

                               SUTHERLAND
                    The meeting has been moved forward.
                    It affords you the opportunity to
                    show our client how well you will
                    rise to his exhilarating challenge.

     QUIET COMMOTION resumes as Nicholas takes his cellular phone
     to a corner, answering impatiently:

                               NICHOLAS
                         (into cellular)
                    Yes?

                               WOMAN'S VOICE (v.o.)
                         (from cellular)
                    Nicholas van Orton?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Yes, who is this?

                               WOMAN'S VOICE (v.o.)
                    This is Cynthia calling from C.R.S...

                               NICHOLAS
                    How did you get this number?

                               WOMAN'S VOICE (v.o.)
                    We've finished processing your
                    application...

                               NICHOLAS
                    I'm in a meeting...

                               WOMAN'S VOICE (v.o.)
                    ... I'm afraid your application was
                    rejected.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (pause)
                    Pardon me?

                               WOMAN'S VOICE (v.o.)
                    You shouldn't feel this reflects
                    negatively upon yourself.  We hope we
                    haven't caused you any
                    inconvenience...

                               NICHOLAS
                    This is absurd...

                               WOMAN'S VOICE (v.o.)
                    Thank you for thinking of C.R.S.

     CLICK -- she's hung up.  Nicholas folds the phone and
     pockets it, his mind suddenly far away from the meeting
     behind him.  Sutherland steps close, concerned, quiet...

                               SUTHERLAND
                    Anything wrong... ?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Nothing.  Nothing at all.

                                                        CUT TO:

     EXT.  FINANCIAL DISTRICT STREETS -- NIGHT

     Nicholas guides the Bentley down streets lined with
     skyscrapers, staring ahead.  A previous PHONE CONVERSATION
     is HEARD in V.O., a PHONE RINGING... RINGING... RINGING...

                               SWITCHBOARD OPERATOR (v.o.)
                    Would you like voice-mail?

                               NICHOLAS (v.o.)
                    I suppose.

                               SWITCHBOARD OPERATOR (v.o.)
                    I'll connect you.  Thank you for
                    calling the Four Seasons.

     EXT.  NICHOLAS' NEIGHBORHOOD -- NIGHT

     The Bentley heads towards home.  The V.O. PHONE CONVERSATION
     CONTINUES uninterrupted, CLICKING, then...

                               CONRAD'S VOICE (v.o.)
                         (voice-mail recording)
                    This is Conrad.  Leave a message.

                               NICHOLAS (v.o.)
                         (waits till after BEEP)
                    Connie, it's Nicholas.  Give me a
                    ring when you get a chance...

     INT.  BENTLEY -- NIGHT

     The Bentley reaches the VAN ORTON GATES, which open slow.
     V.O. CONVERSATION CONTINUES:

                               NICHOLAS (v.o.)
                    About your birthday gift.  Things are
                    tight right now.  I'm just not sure
                    whether it'll fit my schedule.
                    Anyway, see you at dinner tomorrow.

     The PHONE is HEARD DISCONNECTING.

     EXT.  VAN ORTON MANSION -- NIGHT

     The Bentley's headlights sweep the front of the Van Orton
     house.  There's something there, on the ground...

     INSIDE THE BENTLEY

     Nicholas stops the car, peering ahead, worried...

     THRU THE WINDSHIELD: A BODY lies face down on the edge of
     the driveway.

     FLASHBACK/GRAINY HOME MOVIES -- 1960'S -- DAY

     The BODY of Nicholas' FATHER, sprawled face-down, in nearly
     the same place, head twisted, mouth bloody.

     BACK TO SCENE

     Nicholas gets slowly out of the Bentley, reluctant.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Hello!  What are you doing there?
                         (no reaction)
                    Wonderful...

     Nichoals CLAPS his hands.  The body doesn't stir.  Nicholas
     look all directions, then approaches.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Are you okay?

     Nicholas nudges the body with his foot.  He crouches,
     confused, turning the limp body.  It's a grotesque
     HARLEQUIN, not unlike the clown from Nicholas' seventh
     birthday, with a shiny face of painted wood.

     Nicholas looks around for an explanation.

                                                        CUT TO:

     INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, FOYER -- NIGHT

     The front door opens.  Nicholas enters with the Harlequin,
     depositing it on a hallway BENCH.

     A half-inch of RED RIBBON sticks out from the Harlequin's
     lips.  Nicholas tugs the ribbon... pulling out a GOLD KEY
     tied to the other end.

     Three letters embossed on the key: "C.R.S."

                                                        CUT TO:

     INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, DEN -- NIGHT

     Nicholas sits with his evening's meal, examining the key.
     CNN on TV.  He looks across the room to the couch where the
     Harlequin is slumped staring back.

                               BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
                         (from television)
                    ... according to Nicholas Van Orton,
                    millions of Americans will be
                    affected by this legislation.

     Nicholas hears this vaguely in the back of his mind, looks
     to the TV.  BERNARD SHAW has moves on to the next story.

     Nicholas goes to the Harlequin, opening its hinged mouth,
     attempting to look inside.  He gets a knife from his tray,
     uses it to probe the Harlequin's mouth, jabbing, prying.

                               BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
                    ... number of criminals behind bars
                    growing by record numbers, with Van
                    Orton pointing the finger at stiff,
                    anti-crime regulations...

     Nicholas looks up.  He heard that.  He walks toward the TV.
     Bernard Shaw is reporting, nothing strange.

     Nicholas waits.  Nothing.  He walks away...

                               BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
                    ... largest portion of population
                    incarcerated.  These figures were
                    given at a press conference called
                    toady by Mr. Nicholas Van Orton.

     Nicholas turns, disbelieving.  Bernard Shaw apparently looks
     out FROM THE TELELVISION, perturbed...

                               BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
                    You going to spend the rest of the
                    evening prying at that clown's mouth?

                               NICHOLAS
                         (dumbfounded)
                    I... I don't...

                               BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
                    It's frustrating for me if you don't
                    even pretend to pay attention.

                               NICHOLAS
                    What is this... ?

                               BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
                    This is your game, Nicholas, and
                    welcome to it.  I'm here to let you
                    in on a few ground rules...

     Bernard Shaw's FACE RIPPLES and GLITCHES occasionally,
     revealing its true, computer-generated nature.

                               BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
                    You've received the first key and
                    others will follow.  You never know
                    where you'll find them, or when or
                    how you'll need to use them, so keep
                    your eyes open.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (waves his hand)
                    How do you... ?  You can see me?

                               BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
                    I see you, I hear you.  Why don't we
                    save the questions till...

                               NICHOLAS
                    How does this work?

                               BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
                    There's a tiny camera looking at you
                    right now.

                               NICHOLAS
                    That's impossible.

                               BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
                    You're right.  Impossible.  You're
                    having a conversation with your
                    television.

     Nicholas touches the TV, feeling the seams.

                               BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
                    It's miniaturized.

     Nicholas begins poking his butter knife between slots of the
     television's speaker, stabbing, poking...

                               BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
                    Do you know how dangerous that is?

     Nicholas pries at the plastic speaker cover.  It's not easy,
     but he's determined, cracking the plastic...

                               ILSA (o.s.)
                    Mister Van Orton... ?

     The speaker cover breaks off with a SNAP! and Nicholas
     spins, holding the broken piece.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Yes... Ilsa, what is it?

     ON T.V., Bernard Shaw grabs up pages, resumes...

                               BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
                    ... and in other news, auto workers
                    vowed to remain on picket lines...

     Ilsa's in the doorway, wondering.

                               ILSA
                    Is everything alright?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Fine.

                               ILSA
                    I've finished for the evening.  Will
                    you be needing anything else?

                               NICHOLAS
                    No, thank you.  Goodnight.

                               ILSA
                    Goodnight then.

     She leaves.  Nicholas throws the piece of television away.
     Bernard Shaw stops reading now that the coast is clear.

                               BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
                    Who was that?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Never mind who that was.

                               BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
                    You're uncomfortable.  You want to
                    know how a camera got into your home,
                    don't you?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Yes, I do.

     ON TELEVISION: Bernard Shaw is REPLACED by a FISH-EYED IMAGE
     of NICHOLAS' DEN.  It shows Nicholas from behind.

     The P.O.V. is not from the TV.  Nicholas crosses the
     room, keeps his eye on the TV as a guide...

                               BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
                         (from t.v., o.s.)
                    ... cold... cold... warmer...
                    warmer...

     ON TELEVISION: Nicholas gets bigger as he gets closer to...

     The Harlequin.  Nicholas leans, looks at the clown's eyes...

     ON TELEVISION: Nicholas' face is huge, distorted.

     Nicholas pries one of the Harlequin's glass eyes with his
     knife, pulling it out and examining it.

     ON TELEVISION: The Harlequin's P.O.V. turns to STATIC.
     Bernard Shaw returns with a PHONE NUMBER SUPERIMPOSED.

                               BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
                    Write this number down.  It's a
                    24-hour Consumer Recreation Services
                    hotline, for emergencies only.

                               BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
                    But, don't call asking what the
                    object of the game is; figuring that
                    out is the object of the game.

     Nicholas feels his pockets, finds the C.R.S. pen.  He comes
     up with a VALET PARKING TICKET to scrawl the number on.

                               BERNARD SHAW (v.o.)
                    Good luck and congratulations on
                    choosing C.R.S.  We now return you to
                    your regularly scheduled program...

     STATIC and SNOW, then CNN's Bernard Shaw is back for real,
     newscasting.  Nicholas reads the number he wrote.

                                                        CUT TO:

     EXT.  VAN ORTON MANSION -- NIGHT

     Nicholas crouches at a coaxial CABLE LINE at the side of the
     house.  He fingers a BOX with a miniature LOOP and RABBIT
     EAR ANTENNA that's been spliced into the line.

     He starts to unscrew it... then thinks twice.  He leaves it.

     INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, KITCHEN -- NIGHT

     Nicholas enters thru the back door.  He pauses, looking out
     at the night.  He closes the door and locks it.  He PUNCHES
     the ALARM CODE into a KEYPAD.

     Nicholas takes his Bentley key chain from its hook, takes
     out the gold, "C.R.S." key... adding it to the keychain.

                                                        CUT TO:

     INT.  SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT -- DAY

     Nicholas enters the vast, busy terminal, briefcase in hand.
     He walks with purpose, but is extra-aware of the world
     around him.  He notices...

     A MAN and WOMAN engaged in a SIGN LANGUAGE conversation.

     A MAN reading a newspaper peers from behind the pages.

     A JANITOR opens a door with a big KEY CHAIN full of keys.

     A MAN on a payphone seems to be staring at Nicholas...

     Nicholas turns his head to keep an eye on the man,
     practically bumping into a grimy HOMELESS BUM...

                               HOMELESS BUM
                    Help me out there?  Used to be an
                    affluent fella, till some folks did
                    this to me...

     Nicholas moves away, leaving the homeless man behind.

                               HOMELESS BUM
                    Don't ignore me.  I got screwed.

     INT.  AIRPORT, RED CARPET LOUNGE -- DAY

     Quiet MUSIC.  Rich people's lounge.  Nicholas sits with a
     cup of coffee, considering magazines on a coffee table.  Two
     seats down, a BUSINESSMAN coughs and rises, leaving his
     newspaper on the empty seat between Nicholas and himself.

     Nicholas glances down, curious when he sees...
     A smiling-clown-face INFANT'S RATTLE on the seat beside,
     sticking out from under the paper.

     Nicholas catches only a glimpse of the exiting businessman.
     Nicholas looks around, picks up the rattle.

     He rattles it, studies it, rattles it in his ear.  He tries
     to see thru it by holding it up to the light.  He doesn't
     notice the MOTHER who enters with a baby, watching him.

                               MOTHER
                    Excuse me...

     Nicholas looks up, realizes, awkward, offering the rattle.
     She takes it and exits.

     There's a BESPECTACLED MAN watching Nicholas.

     Nicholas notices, tries to ignore.

     But, bespectacled man is really staring.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (sits forward, fed up)
                    May I help you... ?

     Nicholas' tone has turned other heads.  Bespectacled man
     seems embarrassed, shy, taps his chest.

                               NICHOLAS
                    What... ?  What is it?

     Bespectacled man taps his chest again, points at Nicholas.

     Nicholas looks down.  Inside his suit jacket -- a huge blue
     INK STAIN across his shirt.  Nicholas stands, aghast, taking
     out the offending pen.

     It's the "C.R.S." pen, dripping ink.

     INT.  AIRPORT, BATHROOM -- DAY

     Running water.  Nicholas tries to clean his shirt, blotting
     it ineffectually with wet paper towels.  he looks in the
     mirror, crestfallen.  The stain's worse.

                               DEEP VOICE (o.s.)
                    Hey, buddy... you still out there?

     Nicholas looks around.  He's alone, except for a MAN in a
     TOILET STALL.  All we see are the man's brown shoes.

                               DEEP VOICE (o.s.)
                         (from toilet stall)
                    I'm in a little bit of trouble...

     The man's hairy hand motions from below the stall.  Nicholas
     backs away, nervous, grabs his briefcase.

                               DEEP VOICE (o.s.)
                    I need paper.  There's none in here.
                    Come on, help a guy out...

     Nicholas considers, then hurries to exit.

                               DEEP VOICE (o.s.)
                    Hello?!  Anybody?  Hello?

     INT.  AIRPORT, METAL DETECTORS -- DAY

     Nicholas' briefcase rides into the x-ray machine.

     Nicholas drops his keys, cellular phone and Rolex in a tray.
     He passes thru the metal detector.  A SECURITY GUARD brings
     the tray to him.

                               SECURITY GUARD
                    Nice watch.

     Nicholas smiles tolerantly, collects his belongings.  He
     waits at the x-ray conveyor belt, which is stopped.  A
     FEMALE GUARD studies the x-ray monitor.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Is there a problem?

     The female guard looks up, turns the conveyor belt back on.
     Nicholas' briefcase arrives.

     Nicholas moves on, aggravated.  Ahead, Sutherland rises from
     a seat along the concourse hallway, walking to meet him.

                               NICHOLAS
                    I wasn't expecting you.

                               SUTHERLAND
                    Wanted to wish you luck.  Not that
                    you'll need it.

     Sutherland offers the contract, points to Nicholas' shirt.

                               SUTHERLAND
                    Attractive...

                               NICHOLAS
                         (paging thru contract)
                    Don't ask.

                               SUTHERLAND
                    I checked it personally.

     Nicholas nods, props his briefcase up on a window ledge,
     opens it and drops the contract in.

                                                        CUT TO:

     EXT.  SEATTLE AIRPORT, RUNWAY -- DAY

     Nicholas' jet touches down.

     EXT.  SEATTLE AIRPORT, LOADING ZONE -- DAY

     Nicholas follows a CHAUFFEUR.  The chauffeur opens a LIMO
     door.  Several pressed SHIRTS hang waiting.

     EXT.  BAER/GRANT BUILDING -- DAY

     In the shadow of the Baer/Grant Publishing offices, the
     limousine idles.  Downtown Seattle.

     INT.  BAER/GRANT PUBLISHING, ALAN BAER'S OFFICE -- DAY

     Meet ALAN BAER, elderly CEO, blue-blooded, pissed.

                               ALAN BAER
                    All these years... the first time
                    ever you step foot in these offices,
                    it's to ask me to step down?

     Nicholas stands by CHILDREN'S TEXT BOOK mock-ups.  "Math-
     Magic."  "Wonder-Words."  They're "Little Baer Books."

                               NICHOLAS
                    You promised you'd meet projections,
                    Alan.  A dollar sixty per share you
                    said.  So, I don't think this is so
                    surprising a visit.

                               ALAN BAER
                    Projections were far too optimistic.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Admittedly...

                               ALAN BAER
                    Our E.P.S. was one fifty last
                    quarter.  We're up eight cents per
                    share.

                               NICHOLAS
                    But, the expectation was ten.  And,
                    in this case, expectation is
                    everything.

                               ALAN BAER
                    Will you really hold me to it over
                    pennies?

                               NICHOLAS
                    My stock's falling.  Isn't yours?
                    Those pennies are costing me
                    millions.

                               ALAN BAER
                    The stock will turn.

                               NICHOLAS
                    It probably will.  In fact, I'd go so
                    far as to say it almost certainly
                    will, in time.  Why should I settle
                    for that?

                               ALAN BAER
                    Because it's fair.  Give me next
                    quarter.  If you still feel this way,
                    vote your shares...

                               NICHOLAS
                    You're talking tomorrow.  Today is
                    what counts.

                               ALAN BAER
                    You intractable son-of-a-bitch.  If
                    your father could see you now...

                               NICHOLAS
                    What?

                               ALAN BAER
                    Your father was a friend.  Goddamn
                    it... I watched you grow up.  How do
                    you end up treating me like this?

     This swings Nicholas into a new mode: acutely-focused anger.

                               NICHOLAS
                    It is so very inappropriate for you
                    to mention my father.  Or, did you
                    think this, between us, was
                    friendship?  Just because you went
                    fishing with my father, I should sit
                    on my hands while you throw my money
                    away?

                               ALAN BAER
                    Now, look...

                               NICHOLAS
                         (holds up his hand)
                    I'll be done in a minute.  You
                    misspoke before.  You're not
                    "stepping down."  I'm taking you out
                    at the knees.  The whole point is to
                    prove that you're not deciding
                    anything anymore.  I'm firing you.
                    Action's taken.  Confidence restored.
                    Stock goes up.  I sell my shares.

                               ALAN BAER
                    There is no Baer/Grant Publishing
                    without Alan Baer.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Remember Daniel Grant?  Do they
                    say, "without Daniel Grant, there is
                    no Baer/Grant Publishing?"  He's gone
                    sailing, Alan.  He's out there
                    enjoying his golden years, probably
                    wondering where you are.

     At Alan's desk, Nicholas clears a space for his briefcase.

                               NICHOLAS
                    You made a promise.  You failed.  The
                    severance I'm offering is more than
                    equitable.  Valid tonight only.
                         (looks at watch)
                    For one hour.

     Nicholas takes a pen from a holder, lays it on the blotter.

                               NICHOLAS
                    I'll step outside, so you'll have the
                    privacy you need to read and sign it.

     He tries to unlatch his briefcase clasp.  It's stuck.

                               ALAN BAER
                    I could fight you on this.

                               NICHOLAS
                    You could.  But, if I leave without
                    your signature, this agreement begins
                    to disintegrate; benefits shrink,
                    options narrow, compensations
                    shrivel.

     Nicholas works on the briefcase the whole time, distraction
     growing as it becomes a true struggle.

                               NICHOLAS
                    So... it is in your best interest...
                    to sign presently.

     Nicholas sits, pulling the latch, trying to see what's
     jammed.  It refuses to open.  Nicholas stares at it,
     frustrated, then... an odd realization...

     He takes his keys out, finds the C.R.S. KEY, tries it...

     It doesn't fit.  It was never meant for this lock.  Alan
     Baer watches, wondering.

     Forgetting himself, Nicholas grabs up the briefcase,
     pulling, grunting, desperate, striking it with his palm.

     Nicholas straightens, immediately composed.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Well... as luck would have it, you've
                    just gotten a reprieve,  I'm sure
                    you'll come around to my way of
                    thinking.
                         (picks up briefcase)
                    I have a plane to catch.  My
                    attorneys will contact you.

     Nicholas exits.  Alan Baer doesn't know quite what to think.

                                                        CUT TO:

     EXT.  SEATTLE AIRPORT TERMINAL -- DAY

     On the sidewalk, Nicholas bashes his briefcase over and over
     again against a fire hydrant.

     EXT.  SAN FRANCISCO AIRPORT, RUNWAY -- SUNSET

     Nicholas' jet touches down.

     INT.  CAMPTON PLACE RESTAURANT -- NIGHT

     Nicholas sits staring.  His battered briefcase is near.  He
     checks his watch, impatient, flags down a WAITER...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Is there a message up front from a
                    Conrad Van Orton?

     The waiter goes.  Nicholas drums his fingers.  He slides out
     of the booth, rising. when a WAITRESS knocks into him with a
     tray.  Wine spills.  Glasses crash.

                               WAITRESS
                    Oh, excuse me...

     Nicholas looks down at his wine-stained front.  The waitress
     is CHRISTINE, same waitress as the other night.  She tries
     to clean him up with a napkin.

                               CHRISTINE
                    I'm so sorry.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Please, don't do that...

     Nicholas snatches the napkin from her, wiping his suit.

                               CHRISTINE
                    I apologize, sir, I'm having a
                    bad day...

                               NICHOLAS
                    A bad month.  You did the exact same
                    thing to me last week.

     Christine's taken aback.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Don't help me, just get more napkins.
                    And soda water.

                               CHRISTINE
                         (gets more napkins)
                    It was an accident.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Terrific.  I now have a hundred
                    dollar dry cleaning bill.

                               CHRISTINE
                    I said I was sorry...

     Nicholas turns his back on her, throwing wet napkins,
     picking up clean ones, still patting at the stain.

                               CHRISTINE
                         (stews)
                    Asshole.

     Nicholas turns, angry.  The MAITRE D' arrives, shocked.

                               MAITRE D'
                    Christine!   Mister Van Orton is a
                    valued customer...

                               CHRISTINE
                    Then, you kiss his ass.

     She's leaving, but the maitre d' pulls her aside.

                               MAITRE D'
                    You don't talk to me like that.

                               CHRISTINE
                         (quiet, evenly)
                    I apologized, I offered to help.

                               MAITRE D'
                    Clean out your locker.

                               CHRISTINE
                    Fine, Dennis.  Soon as I get my money
                    for this week.

                               MAITRE D'
                    I'll be right with you.

     Christine heads to the back.  The maitre d' motions for BUS
     BOYS to clean, smoothly guiding Nicholas to a new table...

                               MAITRE D'
                    I'm terribly sorry, Mr. Van Orton.
                    If you're not too uncomfortable, will
                    this table suit you for a
                    complimentary meal... ?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Yes.  Fine.

                               MAITRE D'
                    I'll fetch your waiter.

     Nicholas sits, keeps wiping his shirt as the maitre d'
     hurries away.  After a moment, a uniformed WAITER moves
     past, leaves a CHECK...

                               WAITER
                    Check, sir.

     Nicholas picks up the check, indignant.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Excuse me...

     But, the waiter is long gone.  Nicholas shakes his head,
     then the check catches his eye... "DON'T LET HER GET AWAY"
     scrawled across it.

     Nicholas turns to look.  The waiter who brought the check
     crosses the room, goes out the front door.

     Nicholas rises, following...

     EXT.  CAMPTON PLACE RESTAURANT -- NIGHT

     Nicholas comes out the front, sees: the waiter has crossed
     the street, still moving...

     The waiter gets in a CAR as the car pulls quickly away.

     Nicholas is baffled, looks at the check, heads back inside.

     EXT.  ALLEY, BEHIND RESTAURANT -- NIGHT

     Christine exits the kitchen door, purse over her shoulder.

                               CHRISTINE
                         (back to doorway)
                    Yeah... ?  Well, fuck you and your
                    vichyssoise, prick.

     She heads down this dark alley.  After a moment, Nicholas
     follows, hurrying to catch up, briefcase in hand.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Pardon me... Miss... ?

                               CHRISTINE
                    Oh, no... you.

     Christine picks up the pace.

                               NICHOLAS
                    I'm not sure how this works.  Do you
                    have something for me... ?  I got
                    this note...

                               CHRISTINE
                    What are you babbling about, psycho?

                               NICHOLAS
                    I want to know what's going on.  Are
                    you part of this?

                               CHRISTINE
                    What's going on?  I'm going on my
                    second job this month, and now I'm
                    going on unemployment.

     She keeps walking.  Nicholas stops, ponders.  He follows.
     They're nearing the end of the alley.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Excuse me, I need to explain...

                               CHRISTINE
                    Don't explain.  Fuck off.  Goodbye.

     Nicholas steps in a deep, splattering pot-hole, stumbles,
     pants soaked, stopping, fed up.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Son of a bitch!

     Christine rounds the corner, heading down the street.
     Nicholas reaches the sidewalk, watches her go.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (shouts after)
                    I'm trying to... ask you...
                         (giving up)
                    I'm apologizing...

     He heads back the way he came.  A strangled CRY is HEARD.
     Nearby, a HEAVY MAN falls to his knees, then falls face
     forward to the concrete.  Nicholas looks around, alone...

                               NICHOLAS
                         (to Heavy Man)
                    Are... are you okay?!

     DOWN THE SIDEWALK, Christine slows, looks back...

     Nicholas bends, trying to see the man's face, seems afraid
     to actually touch him.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Jesus... this can't be...

     Nicholas looks up to see Christine running back.

                               CHRISTINE
                    What's with him?

                               NICHOLAS
                    I don't know... he fell.

     Christine kneels, turns Heavy Man on his side and feels for
     a pulse.  Heavy Man convulses.

                               CHRISTINE
                    Do you know what to do?

                               NICHOLAS
                    I don't think he's breathing.

     Christine clears Heavy Man's airway, pulling saliva and
     mucus from his mouth with two fingers.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Oh, God... !

                               CHRISTINE
                    Don't just stand there, get help!

                               NICHOLAS
                         (taking out his CELLULAR)
                    This can't be real...

                               CHRISTINE
                    He's pissing his pants.  Is that real
                    enough for you?  Call 911!

                               NICHOLAS
                    Alright... okay...

                               CHRISTINE
                    He's turning blue!

     Nicholas is starting to believe, dialing, circling as
     Christine gives C.P.R.  He listens to his phone -- STATIC.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Damn...

     He backpedals in the street, cellular to his ear, trying to
     catch a signal, tilst his head.  STATIC.  A HORN BLARES -- a
     CAR barely misses Nicholas, DRIVER cursing.

     Nicholas anxiously punches buttons.  He spots a SQUAD CAR
     and runs toward it...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Police!

     SAME STREET -- TIME CUT...

     SIREN BLASTING, an AMBULANCE is parked.  PARAMEDICS pull a
     stretcher, helped by TWO COPS, hurrying to the prone Heavy
     Man.  A crowd is gathered.

     Nicholas and Christine watch the paramedics work.  COP ONE
     hands Nicholas a clipboard, everything hurried, overlapped:

                               COP ONE
                    You have to fill these out.

                               NICHOLAS
                    I don't know this man.

     Christine takes the clipboard.

                               CHRISTINE
                         (to cop, of clipboard)
                    What do you need... ?

     Paramedics hoist heavy Man on a stretcher and take him to
     the ambulance.  Cop Two goes to help them lift.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (to Christine)
                    I can't get involved in this.

     Christine moves to climb into the ambulance.

                               COP TWO
                         (to Nicholas)
                    We'll have to detain you.

                               COP ONE
                    Report's got to be filled out.  Ride
                    with your wife.  We'll meet at the
                    hospital.

                               PARAMEDIC
                         (shouting to cop)
                    We're moving!

     Cop One leads Nicholas to the ambulance.

                               NICHOLAS
                    She's not my wife.

                               COP ONE
                    It's a few blocks.  Help me out, huh,
                    pal?

     Nicholas reluctantly gets in.

     EXT.  CITY STREETS -- NIGHT

     Busy streets.  The ambulance rockets on...

     INT.  AMBULANCE -- NIGHT

     SIREN WAILING.  Paramedic works.  Christine fills out forms.
     Nicholas tries to see where they're going, frustrated.

                               NICHOLAS
                    This is nuts.

                               CHRISTINE
                         (without looking up)
                    What is your problem?

                               NICHOLAS
                         (digging in his pocket)
                    Ten minutes ago, I'm looking forward
                    to a quiet dinner.  I get a note...

     Nicholas slaps his CHECK on top of Christine's paperwork.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Suddenly I'm in an ambulance.  Why am
                    I in an ambulance?!

     He looks out the window.  Christine studies the check:
     "DON'T LET HER GET AWAY," finds it odd, looks to Nicholas.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (wincing, to paramedic
                          of Heavy Man)
                    He's breathing, isn't he?  Is the
                    siren entirely necessary?

     INT.  UNDERGROUND PARKING ENTRANCE -- NIGHT

     "Emergency Vehicles Only."  The ambulance races down a RAMP,
     moving across this big underground garage, doing a u-turn...

     Backs up toward a busy EMERGENCY ROOM ENTRANCE.  MEDICAL
     PERSONNEL everywhere.  Other ambulances.  INJURED PEOPLE.
     Our paramedics get out and unload Heavy Man.

     Nicholas and Christine get out, disoriented.  Heavy Man's
     rushed inside via automatic doors.  Christine hands off the
     clipboard to Nicholas, following the stretcher...

                               CHRISTINE
                    Let's talk to whoever can get this
                    over with...

                               NICHOLAS
                         (reading clipboard)
                    Hold on...
                         (of the clipboard)
                    They want your driver's license
                    number.

     Christine returns to look, and suddenly ALL THE LIGHTS GO
     OUT.  Nicholas and Christine look up.  In the surrounding
     darkness, we HEAR EVERYONE FLEEING...

     FOOTSTEPS SCATTER... then, SILENCE.

                               NICHOLAS
                    You've got to be kidding.

                               CHRISTINE
                    What... is... happening... ?

     The only light is a BULB inside the ambulance.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (disgust)
                    I was trying to tell you... it's a
                    game.

                               CHRISTINE
                    A game?

                               NICHOLAS
                         (tosses clipboard)
                    It's run by a company... they play
                    elaborate pranks.  Things like this.
                    I'm really only now finding out
                    myself.

                               CHRISTINE
                    What are you talking about?

                               NICHOLAS
                    The lights went out, one hundred
                    people all ran away...

                               CHRISTINE
                    You mean, the guy who turned blue and
                    wet himself... ?

                               NICHOLAS
                    I'm sorry, about this...

                               CHRISTINE
                    You should be.

     Christine climbs into the ambulance, searching.

                               CHRISTINE
                    There's got to be a flashlight.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (quietly)
                    I don't understand why they're
                    getting you involved.

     IN THE AMBULANCE, she finds all drawers and cabinets EMPTY.

                               CHRISTINE
                    This is so fucked.  You don't fuck
                    with people like this.  I thought
                    that guy was gonna die.  I gave him
                    mouth to mouth!

     She digs in her purse, finds a book of restaurant MATCHES.
     She lights a match, climbing out.

                               CHRISTINE
                    See you around.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Where are you going?

                               CHRISTINE
                    Home.

                               NICHOLAS
                    How do you know that's the way?

     She just keeps walking.

     A distant "DING" is HEARD.  Far away, an ELEVATOR OPENS with
     a light inside.  Christine stops.

     Christine changes direction, heading for the elevator.
     Nicholas hurries to follow.  The match burns out.  A moment,
     then Christine strikes another, lighting the way, barely.
     As they squeeze between parked cars, Christine searches...

                               CHRISTINE
                    Where'd you all go?  Motherfucking
                    frat boys.  You better hide.
                         (to Nicholas)
                    Is your life so pathetic that this is
                    something you're willing to pay for?

                               NICHOLAS
                    It was a gift... from my brother.

                               CHRISTINE
                    How thoughtful.  The gift of
                    inconvenience.

     NIcholas stumbles.  A beer BOTTLE is HEAR SKITTERING away.

     INT. ELEVATOR -- NIGHT

     They reach the elevator.  Nicholas pushes a button.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Ground floor.

     He and Christine step back and wait, looking up.  And
     wait... and wait, looking unhappily to each other.

     Nicholas pushes all the buttons.  Nothing happens.
     Christine opens the EMERGENCY PHONE door: NO PHONE.
     Nicholas touches his finger to a KEY HOLE below the buttons.

     He takes out keys, finds the C.R.S. KEY, tries it...
     it fits.  He turns it.  DOORS CLOSE and the ELEVATOR MOVES.
     Nicholas is pleased, sees Christine wondering.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (of the key)
                    Long story.
                         (off her stare)
                    I found this key in the mouth of a
                    wooden Harlequin.

                               CHRISTINE
                    Never mind.

     The ELEVATOR LURCHES, DROPS, then HALTS.  LIGHTS OUT,
     replaced by RED EMERGENCY LIGHT.  A MOTOR is HEARD DYING.

                               CHRISTINE
                    I don't like that.
                         (pushing buttons)
                    We're stuck.

     Nicholas takes out his phone, puts it to his ear.  STATIC.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (pockets phone)
                    No signal.

     Christine pounds on the buttons and doors, frustrated.  She
     tries to pry the doors open.  Can't.

                               CHRISTINE
                    What's the going rate for the
                    "trapped-in-elevator-adventure" these
                    days?

     Nicholas hits BUTTONS hard.  Christine studies the ceiling,
     moving under the square seam of the TRAP DOOR, pointing.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Don't even think about it.

                               CHRISTINE
                    Why not?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Read what it says: "Warning, do not
                    attempt to open.  If elevator stops,
                    use emergency... "

                               CHRISTINE
                    If there was one.

                               NICHOLAS
                    "... wait for help."  Wait for help.
                    I'm not opening a door that
                    specifically warns me not to.

                               CHRISTINE
                    Are you suggesting we wait till
                    someone finds us?

     Nicholas considers this, looks around.

     INT.  ELEVATOR SHAFT -- NIGHT

     The trap door CREAKS open.  Nicholas looks up from the
     elevator, standing on hand rails.  He gets down.

     IN THE ELEVATOR

                               NICHOLAS
                    I'll give you a boost.

                               CHRISTINE
                    You first.

                               NICHOLAS
                    This isn't an attempt to be gallant.
                    If I don't lift you, how are you
                    going to get there?

                               CHRISTINE
                    You pull me up.

                               NICHOLAS
                    It's much easier this way.  Come on,
                    step up...

                               CHRISTINE
                    No.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Please...

                               CHRISTINE
                    I'm not wearing underwear.  Okay?
                    There, I said it.  Satisfied.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (looks at her skirt)
                    Oh.  FIne.

     Nicholas starts climbing...

     IN THE ELEVATOR SHAFT

     Nicholas comes up, batting cobwebs, tentative.  He grips a
     handful of grease, disgusted.  He climbs thru, catching his
     jacket on a jutting screw, FABRIC RIPPPPPPPPING...

                               CHRISTINE (o.s.)
                    Oops.

     Nicholas stands in the shaft, pissed.  He looks for a place
     to wipe his hand, wipes it on his jacket, looking up.

                               NICHOLAS
                    There's a ladder here.

     IN THE ELEVATOR

                               CHRISTINE
                    My hero.  Let's go.

     Nicholas offers his grease covered hand from above.

                               NICHOLAS
                    I don't think so.

     Nicholas withdraws that hand, offers the clean one.

                                                        CUT TO:

     INT.  BUILDING LOBBY -- NIGHT

     Elevator doors shift, forced from inside.  Nicholas climbs
     out, then pulls Christine out behind him.  They're
     head-to-toe filthy, clothing ruined.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Damn.  My briefcase.

     He looks back down the shaft.

                               CHRISTINE
                    I'll wait.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (resigned sigh)
                    It's not like anyone could actually
                    open it.

     They walk, looking at the vast lobby and sky-lit ATRIUM.

                               NICHOLAS
                    This is C.R.S.

                               CHRISTINE
                    What's C.R.S.?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Consumer Recreation Services.  It's
                    their building.  They...

     A BEEP is HEARD.  Nicholas looks above...
     Sees a MOTION SENSOR with a green light blinking.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Oh...

     An ALARM SOUNDS; a loud RINGING BELL.  Nicholas backs away.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Don't panic.  When security gets
                    here, we simply explain what
                    happened...

                               CHRISTINE
                    They'll love that.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Yes... well...

     FOOTFALLS.  Nicholas turns to see Christine running away.

                               CHRISTINE
                         (over her shoulder)
                    Explain for both of us!

     Nicholas looks around, unsure.  He follows...

     EXT.  ALLEYWAY, BEHIND C.R.S. BUILDING -- NIGHT

     Christine bursts thru "EMERGENCY EXIT" doors.  Nicholas
     arrives.  He grips her arm and they walk, out of breath.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Walk, slowly.  Don't draw attention.
                    Out for a stroll...

     TIRES SCREECH.  A SPOTLIGHT HITS them from behind.

                               ANGRY VOICE (o.s.)
                    You!  Stay where you are!

     It's a SECURITY CAR on the other side of a fence.

                               CHRISTINE
                    Run!

     They run, down the alley.

                               ANGRY VOICE
                    Stop!

     EXT.  NARROW ALLEYWAY -- NIGHT

     SIRENS HEARD.  Christine and Nicholas sprint round a corner,
     all out... thru puddles, glancing back.  Ahead, a SECURITY
     CAR skids, starting for them.  Christine and Nicholas double
     back.  She takes the lead.

     Christine spots something, makes a chouse, moving
     into a very NARROW ALLEY space.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Where are you going?
                         (looks in, worried)
                    You can't fit there.

     She's making fine progress regardless.

                               NICHOLAS
                    I can't!

     Nicholas sees the SECURITY CAR bearing down.  He must turn
     sideways to fit in the narrow alley, shuffling after.

     BEHIND, the car stops and SECURITY GUARD gets out, club in
     hand.  In the car, a GERMAN SHEPHERD barks.

     Security Guard tries to fit down the space, but can't.  His
     belly's too big, his utility belt catching.  He runs back to
     the car, opens the door...

     The German Shepherd shoots down the alley, a projectile...

     DOWN THE TIGHT ALLEYWAY

     Christine comes out into OPEN AREA, running on, looking up.
     Ruined buildings on all sides, CHAIN LINK FENCES everywhere.
     Nicholas arrives, pissed, trying to catch up...

                               NICHOLAS
                    You deserted me.

                               CHRISTINE
                    You're a grown man.  I'm not
                    responsible for you.

                               NICHOLAS
                    You're the one who started running.

                               CHRISTINE
                    Me?  You're the one who... !
                         (sees something)
                    Shit!

     Christine runs faster.  Nicholas looks back...

     The German Shepherd's on its way...

     Nicholas faces front, runs, arms pumping, terrified...

     The German Shepherd's closing, growling...

     Christine and Nicholas reach the CHAIN LINK FENCE ahead...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Climb!

     Christine makes the leap first, scrambling up the fence.
     Nicholas climbs beside her, pulling himself up...

     The German Shepherd leaps... bites Nicholas' leg...

     Nicholas YELLS -- PANTS RIPPING.  The dog falls with a
     mouthful of cloth.

     Christine and Nicholas reach the top of the fence, clinging,
     balanced on their elbows, looking back.  The German Shepherd
     barks and leaps.

     Christine and Nicholas start over the fence, beginning their
     climb down the other side...

     ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE: three OTHER DOGS run from the shadows,
     Pit-Bulls and a Doberman, jumping and biting...

     Nicholas and Christine scramble back to the top.

     All the dogs hop up and down, snapping.  They gnash at each
     other and bark at each other, frenzied.

     Nicholas and Christine have no choice but to hang, stranded.

                               CHRISTINE
                    Now what?

     Nicholas looks up, daunted.  He spots something...

     There's a place where the fence runs under a FIRE ESCAPE.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Follow me...

     Nicholas gets a toe-hold, shifts his elbows, grunting,
     beginning the herky lateral climb toward the fire escape.
     Christine follows his example.

     Slow going.  DOGS BARKING NON-STOP, nipping at their heels.

                               CHRISTINE
                    Shut up, you stupid, fucking dogs!!

     BARKING AND BARKING AND BARKING.

                               CHRISTINE
                    What are they guarding around here?
                    Each other?

     Nicholas slips, keeps grip, but loses a SHOE...

     The dogs catch the shoe in their jaws, fighting for it.

     Nicholas watches the shoe get torn to pieces, keeps moving.

                               NICHOLAS
                    There goes a thousand dollars.

                               CHRISTINE
                    Your shoes cost a thousand dollars?

                               NICHOLAS
                    That one did.

                               CHRISTINE
                         (to herself)
                    ... two hundred dollars a toe.

     Nicholas reaches the fire escape, balancing precariously to
     reach it.  He climbs gracelessly up...

     He helps Christine after him, bringing her on board.  They
     lean against the rail, exhausted.  Nicholas looks to the
     multi-leveled ladders above.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Let me guess.  Me first?

     He climbs.  Christine looks down at the dogs, stupefied,
     looks up at Nicholas on the CREAKING rusty fire escape.

                               CHRISTINE
                         (to herself)
                    This is getting out of hand.

     As she starts up.

                                                        CUT TO:

     EXT.  GARBAGE ALLEY -- NIGHT

     ABANDONED BUILDING.  Boarded-over windows are kicked open
     from inside.  Nicholas and Christine look out.

     They climb out onto ANOTHER FIRE ESCAPE, two stories up
     above a trash filled, dumpster crowded alley.

                               CHRISTINE
                    Never did catch your name.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Nicholas.  Nicholas Van Orton.

                               CHRISTINE
                    Nicholas Van Orton?  What are you,
                    a czar?

     Nicholas moves to the catch of the fire escape ladder,
     unhooks it.  The LADDER DROPS to bridge the gap to the
     ground, KEEPS GOING, sliding free and disconnecting -- falls
     flat to the ground below with a LOUD, ECHOING CLATTER.

                               CHRISTINE
                         (pause)
                    That's classic.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (staring down, misery)
                    Why... ?

     Christine crosses to the far edge of the railing, points.

                               CHRISTINE
                    We hang down here and drop.  The
                    garbage'll break our fall.

                               NICHOLAS
                    I think not.

     Christine climbs over the fire escape railing...

                               CHRISTINE
                    Afraid you're going to ruin your
                    one-legged suit?

     She lowers herself down, hanging off, legs dangling...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Be careful...

     A metal DOOR is THROWN OPEN below.  TWO THAI BUS-BOYS come
     out, dumping garbage, smoking cigarettes, laughing.

     Above, Christine looks up at Nicholas, mortified.  She nods
     urgently for him to help her back up.  Nicholas climbs the
     rail, beside her, trying to get a grip, none too effective.

     Below, one bus-boy looks up, shouting.  The other bus-boy
     looks.  They back away, SPEAKING RAPID THAI, pointing.

                               CHRISTINE
                    What are they... ?
                         (realizing)
                    Hey!

     Christine lets go with one hand, trying to pull her skirt
     shut.  Nicholas loses hold, drops her...

     Christine lands hard in garbage.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Are you okay... ?!

     Nicholas drops, alarmed... lands in broken plastic bags of
     wet garbage, slipping as he moves to Christine.  Bus-boys
     are helping her up.

                               CHRISTINE
                    I'm okay... I'm okay, thank you...

     Bus-boys keep questioning in Thai.  Nicholas and Christine
     brush off.  Nicholas takes off his spewed jacket, shakes it
     in disgust, straightens his tie.  They stop...

     At the doorway, all the COOKS, BUS-BOYS, WAITERS and
     DISH-WASHERS stare at Nicholas and Christine in wonder.

     Nicholas and Christine stare back.  Nicholas looks to
     Christine, brushing rotten lettuce off her shoulder, nods to
     the restaurant workers, clears his throat.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Table for two, please.

     He offers his arm to Christine, she takes it, they head in.

                                                        CUT TO:

     EXT.  CITY STREETS -- NIGHT

     ONE CONTINUOUS LONG SHOT:  Nicholas and Christine walk,
     taking their time, eating out of take-out boxes.

                               CHRISTINE
                    Where are we going?

                               NICHOLAS
                         (points at skyline)
                    That tall, bright building.  Near
                    there.

     They walk a long time in silence.  A POLICE CAR moves from
     behind.  POLICEMAN shines a flashlight up and down Nicholas.

                               POLICEMAN
                    Everything okay, miss?

                               CHRISTINE
                    Yeah.  How are you?

     The police car keeps pace, then drives on.

                                                        CUT TO:

     INT.  NICHOLAS' OFFICE -- NIGHT

     Nicholas enters, turning on lights, which dim to a warm
     glow.  Christine takes in the impressive office.  Nicholas
     crosses to a wall, opens a hidden closet, chooses a shirt.

                               NICHOLAS
                    There's a shower, if you'd like.

     Christine leans to peek in the bathroom.

                               CHRISTINE
                    A shower in your office?  You an
                    athlete or something?

     Nicholas puts on a new shirt.

     Christine circles the desk, runs her fingers down his phone.

                               CHRISTINE
                    What exactly do you do?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Investment banking.  Moving money
                    from place to place.

     Christine has wandered to the closed blinds, opening them to
     reveal a breathtaking view of the city.

                               CHRISTINE
                    Nice.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Hm?
                         (looks)
                    Oh, yes.

     Nicholas takes out a SWEATSHIRT and offers it.

                               NICHOLAS
                    A fresh shirt...

                               CHRISTINE
                         (takes shirt, crossing)
                    If this was my office, I wouldn't
                    keep that closed.

                               NICHOLAS
                    I don't spend much time looking out
                    the window.
                         (goes to desk)
                    I'll call you a taxi.

     Christine faces away, throws off her filthy shirt...

     Nicholas, on the phone, looks to Christine's shapely back
     and RED BRA.  He averts his eyes, embarrassed...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Oh!  Uh...

     Christine puts on the PENN STATE sweatshirt, straightens it.

                               CHRISTINE
                    Thanks.

     Nicholas nods, phone to his ear.

                                                        	CUT TO:

     EXT.  VAN ORTON BUILDING -- NIGHT

     TWO CABS.  Nicholas opens the door of the first for
     Christine.  She faces him, close.

                               NICHOLAS
                    I know the owner of Campton Place.  I
                    could talk to him in the morning.

                               CHRISTINE
                    Don't.  It was a shitty job anyway.
                    I overreacted.

     Christine sits, keeps her legs out the door of the cab.
     Nicholas stands waiting for her to pull her legs in.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Goodnight.

                               CHRISTINE
                    I don't think I've ever spent this
                    much time with someone who didn't
                    even ask my name.

                               NICHOLAS
                    The maitre d' called you Christine.

                               CHRISTINE
                         (remembering)
                    Right.  Call me Christy.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Goodnight, Christy.  It was nice
                    meeting you.

                               CHRISTINE
                    Give me an address so I can send your
                    shirt back.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Keep it.

     She looks up at Nicholas, sits inside.  He shuts the door
     and steps back.  Christine rolls her window down.

                               CHRISTINE
                    I have a confession to make.  Someone
                    gave me six-hundred dollars to spill
                    drinks on you, as a practical joke.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Seriously?  What did they say?

                               CHRISTINE
                    They said five hundred.  I said six.
                    They said the man in the gray
                    flannel suit.  I think I said, you
                    mean the attractive guy in the gray
                    flannel suit?

     Christine smiles, rolls up the window.  The taxi leaves.
     Nicholas watches it go.  A twinge of regret.

     EXT.  CAMPTON PLACE RESTAURANT -- LATER NIGHT

     Nicholas' cab pulls up at the closed restaurant, behind the
     Bentley.  A restaurant VALET sweeps the sidewalk, waves to
     greet as Nicholas gets out of the cab.

                                                        CUT TO:

     INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, MASTER BEDROOM -- NIGHT

     Nicholas comes from the bathroom, just showered.  He looks
     at CNN on TV.  He walks to change channels: infommercials,
     B+W movies, cartoons.  BUGS BUNNY.  Nicholas leaves Bugs
     Bunny on, steps back, watching.

     He sits on the bed.

                                                        CUT TO:

     INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, MASTER BEDROOM -- DAY

     Nicholas sleeps.  Cordless PHONE RINGING.  He stirs,
     awakens, face creased, hair mussed.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (in phone, voice cracks)
                    Hel... hello?

                               MARIA (v.o.)
                         (from phone)
                    Mr. Van Orton, it's Maria.  I... I
                    wasn't sure I should call...

                               NICHOLAS
                         (in phone)
                    What time is it?

     Nicholas studies his CLOCK RADIO: 11:05.  He picks it up and
     examines it, suspicious.

                               MARIA (v.o.)
                         (from phone)
                    Eleven o'clock.  I took the liberty
                    of rescheduling your nine a.m. with
                    Allison and Dietrich.  Are you... not
                    not feeling well?

                               NICHOLAS
                    I'll be in in an hour.  I left my
                    briefcase at fifteen-thirty-three
                    Montgomery.  Check with their lost
                    and found.

                               MARIA (v.o.)
                    Alan Baer's in town, at the
                    Ritz-Carlton.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Really?

                               MARIA (v.o.)
                    He's requesting dinner tonight.

                               NICHOLAS
                    We'll let him know.

                               MARIA (v.o.)
                    Also, the Claremont Hotel called to
                    say they have your American Express
                    card at the front desk.  You left it
                    last night?

     Nicholas is confused.  He crosses with the phone, finds and
     studies his wallet.  He fingers an empty plastic pocket.

                               MARIA (v.o.)
                    Should I send someone... ?

                               NICHOLAS
                    No.  Give me their number.

                               MARIA (v.o.)
                    Eight, four, three, three-thousand.

                               NICHOLAS
                    See  you in awhile.  Goodbye.

     Nicholas hangs up, dials.

                               HOTEL MANAGER (v.o.)
                         (from phone)
                    Claremont Resort and Spa.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (into phone)
                    This is Nicholas Van Orton.  I'm told
                    my American Express card...

                               HOTEL MANAGER (v.o.)
                         (from phone)
                    Yes, Mister Van Orton.  Everything's
                    in order.  The concierge has arranged
                    for the wine and flowers in the room.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Has he?

                               HOTEL MANAGER (v.o.)
                    And, a young woman phoned just now to
                    say she's on route but running a
                    little late.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (pause)
                    Did this young woman leave her name?

                               HOTEL MANAGER (v.o.)
                    I'm sure I don't know.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Thank you.

     Nichola hangs up, interest piqued.

                                                        CUT TO:

     EXT.  BAY BRIDGE -- DAY

     Nicholas drives the Bentley.  PREVIOUS CONVERSATION:

                               SWITCHBOARD OPERATOR (v.o.)
                    There's no answer.  Would you like
                    his voice mail?

                               NICHOLAS (v.o.)
                    Tell him his brother called, and to
                    call back soon as he can.

                               SWITCHBOARD OPERATOR (v.o.)
                    Yes, sir.

     CELLULAR DISCONNECT.  Nicholas looks in his rearview mirror.
     THRU MIRROR: a grimy BLACK SEDAN follows... keeps distance.

     EXT.  CLAREMONT HOTEL -- DAY

     Grand hotel.  Nicholas lelaves his car with the valet.

     INT.  CLAREMONT HOTEL, LOBBY -- DAY

     At the GLASS DOORS, Nicholas pushes thru.  A THIN MAN in a
     plain suit isn't looking, BUMPS Nicholas.

                               THIN MAN
                    Sorry.  My fault.

     Thin Man exits.  Nicholas crosses the opulent lobby to the
     desk.  The grinning HOTEL MANAGER spots him coming.

                               HOTEL MANAGER
                    Ah, Mr. Van Orton.  Here you go...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Have we met?

     He hands over Nicholas' AMEX CARD, which Nicholas studies.

                               HOTEL MANAGER
                    I believe so.  If you would jsut sign
                    here...

     The manager offers a CHARGE SLIP and pen.  Nicholas looks at
     the manager, the slip, then signs.  The manager hits a BELL.
     A BELLHOP arrives.

                               HOTEL MANAGER
                    Show Mr. Van Orton to his room.

                               NICHOLAS
                    The key?

                               HOTEL MANAGER
                    Hm?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Is there a room key?

                               HOTEL MANAGER
                    Didn't I give you two?

                               NICHOLAS
                    No, you didn't...

     Nicholas shakes his head and pats his pockets, stops,
     feeling one pocket... reachse in and takes out a GOLD KEY on
     a hotel key chain.  Nicholas looks to the GLASS DOORS.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Cute.

     INT.  CLAREMONT HOTEL, HALL -- DAY

     Long hallway.  Nicholas follows the Bellhop.  They arrive at
     the door to ROOM 277.

                               NICHOLAS
                    I'll take it from here.

     He tips the Bellhop, who leaves, uses the key, entering...

     INT.  CLAREMONT HOTEL, ROOM 277 -- DAY

     Nicholas shuts the door.  There's a room-service cart with
     wine chilling.  Nicholas moves down this short hall...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Hello... ?

     His jaw drops.  The room is TRASHED.  Curtains shredded,
     furniture overturned, television imploded, mirror
     spiderweb-smashed, walls full of holes.

     Nicholas moves forward, having spotted...
     His battered BRIEFCASE on the ruined mattress.

     The latch is undone.  Nicholas opens it.

     Inside: MANY PHOTOGRAPHS of blurry SEX acts.  Bodies in
     motion.  Limbs.  Breasts.  A NAKED WOMAN tied to the bed.
     One PHOTO shows two women entwined with a NAKED MAN who
     appear to be NICHOLAS.  It's a so-so cut-and-paste job.

     A LOUD KNOCKING at the door startles Nicholas.  He closes
     the briefcase, freaked.

     He hurries to the door as POUNDING is HEARD again, puts his
     eye to the peephole.

     THRU THE PEEPHOLE: a MAIN gets out her keys.

                               MAID
                         (thru door)
                    Time to make up the room.

     Nicholas fumbles with the SECURITY CHAIN, slides it in place
     as the door opens -- stopped.  Nicholas keeps hidden.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Could you come back later?

                               MAID
                    Yes, sir.  Sorry.

     THRU THE PEEPHOLE: the maid moves away.

     Nicholas crosses to retrieve his briefcase, and is crossing
     back when he stops in his tracks upon seeing...

     On a dresser, a MIRROR covered in COCAINE lines and residue.

     IN THE BATHROOM

     Nicholas turns on the faucet, washing the cocaine down the
     sink, hands shaking.  The mirror edge cuts his thumb and he
     gives a cry, drops the mirror, which SHATTERS on the floor.

     Nicholas sucks his thumb, puts it under the faucet.  He
     finds a hand cloth and wraps it round his thumb.

     There are big blood droplets on the sink and floor.

     Nicholas grabs wads of tissues from a box on the back of the
     toilet, using them to blot up the blood, throwing tissues in
     the toilet and flushing.

     Nicholas keeps wiping blood.  The toilet burps, OVERFLOWING.
     WATER SPILLS OUT...

     Nicholas backs away, panicked, exiting...

     INT.  CLAREMONT HOTEL, HALL -- DAY

     Nicholas looks out from Room 277.  He sees a MAID CART,
     HEARS an O.S. VACUUM CLEANER.  He run-walks down the hall,
     hugging his briefcase.  He pushes thru a STAIRWELL DOOR.

     EXT.  CLAREMONT HOTEL -- DAY

     Nicholas takes his Bentley back from the valet, pulling out
     fast to the street.  Further back, the grimy BLACK SEDAN
     moves from the curb.

     INT.  NICHOLAS' BENTLEY -- DAY

     Nicholas' mind races.  He wipes sweat off his face.
     He glances in his rearview...

     THRU MIRROR: the black sedan, following again.

     Resolve comes to Nicholas, and anger.  He speeds up.

     EXT.  BERKELEY STREETS -- DAY

     The Bentley weaves thru traffic, taking a corner sharp.
     Nicholas spins the wheel, heading...

     DOWN AN ALLEYWAY

     Nicholas brakes hard, gets out of the Bentley and heads for
     the mouth of the alley...

     As the black sedan follows, blocked, stopping.  Nicholas
     comes to pull open the car door, confronting the rumpled,
     PLUMP GUY behind the wheel.

                               PLUMP GUY
                    What the fuck... ?!

                               NICHOLAS
                    Why are you following me?

                               PLUMP GUY
                    I don't know what you're talking
                    about.  I'm just driving...

     He falters as he follows Nicholas' angry gaze to the seat
     beside him where a FILE is open to a PHOTO of NICHOLAS.

                               PLUMP GUY
                         (fumbling to close file)
                    Look... what I'm doing is none of
                    your business...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Is Alan Baer "the Game?"  Is that
                    what this is?

                               PLUMP GUY
                         (defiant pause)
                    Friend... why don't you back off.

     He leans as he talks... inside his jacket, he wears a gun.

     Nicholas reaches across and pulls the gun, hefting it.

                               PLUMP GUY
                    Hey... !

                               NICHOLAS
                         (of the gun)
                    Nice touch.  Does the game use real
                    bullets... ?

     Nicholas points the gun at the sedan's rear tire, FIRES!
     The gun is SHOCKINGLY LOUS -- BURSTS the TIRE!

     Nicholas looks to the smoking weapon, blanching.

     Plump Guy leaps to the other seat, scrambling out the
     passenger door, submissive...

                               PLUMP GUY
                    Okay, I'm a private investigator.
                    Somebody hired me to keep tabs on
                    you...

     Nicholas lifts the gun, unsure, pointing it awkwardly...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Who... who hired you?

     Plump Guy bolts, running away down the alleyway.  Nicholas aims
     the gun after him, but catches himself, lowers it.  He runs
     the other direction, back to the Bentley...

     Nicholas gets in the car, drops the gun on the seat, drives.

     INSIDE THE BENTLEY

     Nicholas returns to the street, glancing back.  He looks at
     the gun.  He opens the glove compartment, throws the gun in.
     He takes out his CELLULAR PHONE, dialing...

                               MARIA (o.s.)
                         (from cellular)
                    Mister Van Orton's office...

                               NICHOLAS
                         (into cellular)
                    Maria.  Have Sutherland meet me at
                    the Ritz-Carlton.  I'm on my way
                    there now.

                               MARIA (o.s.)
                    May I tell him... ?

     But, Nicholas is already pushing DISCONNECT.

                                                        CUT TO:

     INT.  RITZ CARLTON HOTEL, LOBBY -- DAY

     Nicholas enters with briefcase.  Sutherland rises to follow.

                               SUTHERLAND
                    What's happened...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Follow me.

     INT.  RITZ-CARLTON, ALAN BAER'S SUITE -- DAY

     A HOTEL EMPLOYEE rolls a room service cart out.  Nicholas
     pushes past with Sutherland in tow.  Alan Baer, his handsome
     WIFE and lovely DAUGHTER are seated at a table where a
     WAITER lays out a splendid meal.

                               ALAN BAER
                    Nicholas... this is unexpected.

     Nicholas takes out the SEX PHOTOS, throws them on the table.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Do you actually believe that because
                    you publish children's books,
                    anyone's going to care about my
                    reputation?

     Wife and daughter are frightened.  Alan Baer covers the
     photos with his napkin.

                               NICHOLAS
                    You could print pictures of me
                    wearing nipple rings and butt-fucking
                    Captain Kangaroo... all anyone would
                    wonder was whether the stock was up,
                    or down.

     Sutherland's nervousness grows by the second.

                               DAUGHTER
                    Daddy... ?

                               ALAN BAER
                    It's alright, dear.  Mr. Van Orton...

                               SUTHERLAND
                    Nicholas...

                               NICHOLAS
                         (still to Alan Baer)
                    That you've involved Conrad... is
                    unforgivable.  I am now your enemy.

                               ALAN BAER
                    Are you finished?

                               NICHOLAS
                    No.  This is my lawyer, Samuel
                    Sutherland.  I thought you two should
                    meet.

                               ALAN BAER
                    We met, this morning.  I signed the
                    termination contract for Baer/Grace.
                    I accepted your settlement, Nicholas.
                    you were right.  I'm going sailing.

     Nicholas opens his mouth, but no words come.  He looks to
     Sutherland.  Sutherland nods to confirm.

                               ALAN BAER
                    You're welcome to join our luncheon.
                    Maybe we can straighten this our.
                         (motioning to...)
                    My wife, Mary Carol, and my
                    daughter-in-law, Kaliegh.

     Wife and daughter give mumbled greetings, having no desire
     to meet Nicholas.  Nicholas just stands stymied.

                               NICHOLAS
                    It seems I've...  please, disregard
                    my apparently misguided remarks.

     Nicholas heads for the door, hurrying out.  Alan, wife,
     daughter, the waiter and Sutherland exchange looks.

                               SUTHERLAND
                    Well...

     Sutherland walks to retrieve the sex photos.

                               SUTHERLAND
                    Enjoy your lunch.

     Sutherland smiles, exiting.

                                                        CUT TO:

     INT.  NICHOLAS' OFFICE -- DAY

     Nicholas sits at his desk, opens his briefcase, checking the
     contents.  Soon, Sutherland arrives, shutting the door.  He
     watches Nicholas, deciding.

                               SUTHERLAND
                    How concerned should I be?

                               NICHOLAS
                    It was a misunderstanding.

     Sutherland puts the SEX PHOTOS on the desk.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Someone's playing hardball.  It's
                    complicated.  Can I ask a favor?

                               SUTHERLAND
                    You know you can.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Find out about a company called
                    C.R.S.  Consumer Recreation Services.

                               SUTHERLAND
                    Sounds like they make tennis rackets.
                    What do we know?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Just what I told you.

                               SUTHERLAND
                    Nothing else?

     Nicholas remembers.  He opens up a file drawer in his desk.

                               NICHOLAS
                    They gave me their waiver.  On
                    their... wait...

     Nicholas hands over a file, returning to his briefcase.  He
     finds an ENVELOPE with a SMILELY-FACE on it.  He opens it.
     He takes out a silver-plated METAL CRANK.  Like a handle.

                               SUTHERLAND
                    What is this?

     Nicholas looks up.  Sutherland's looking in the file,
     quizzically, hands it back...

     Nicholas studies PINK-TINTED PAGES; the pages Feingold gave
     him, once dense with words, now completely blank except
     for NICHOLAS' SIGNATURE and INITIALS several places.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (of the pages)
                    Christ... I can't believe it...
                    invisible ink?

                               SUTHERLAND
                    You're joking.

                               NICHOLAS
                    It's what they do.  It's like...
                    being toyed with by a bunch of...
                         (picks up SEX PHOTOS)
                    Depraved children.

     Nicholas examines each photo.  Sutherland goes to leave.

                               SUTHERLAND
                    Very well.  If you tell me not to
                    worry, I shan't.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Sam...
                         (as Sutherland stops)
                    Thank you.

     Sutherland exits.  Nicholas keeps examining the pictures.
     He sits forward, finding something...

     IN A PHOTO: the out-of-focus back of a NAKED WOMAN wearing
     only a RED BRA.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (INTO PHONE-INTERCOM)
                    Maria.  The other night... last
                    night, there was a woman here named
                    Christine.  I called a taxi, from
                    that company we use...

                               MARIA (v.o.)
                         (FROM PHONE-INTERCOM)
                    Elite?

                               NICHOLAS
                    What?

                               MARIA (v.o.)
                    Elite Taxi Company?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Look into it.  Find out which car
                    answered and where they took her.

     Nicholas sits back.  He picks up the METAL CRANK, twists it
     in his hands, frowning, pockets it.

                                                        CUT TO:

     EXT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, GARAGE -- NIGHT

     The rapid SOUND of a PHONE OFF THE HOOK is HEARD OVER: BEEP
     BEEP BEEP BEEP... The Bentley pulls in.  Headlights out.

     IN THE CAR, Nicholas takes the gun from the glove
     compartment and puts it in his briefcase.

     INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, KITCHEN -- NIGHT

     Dark.  The PHONE OFF THE HOOK is LOUDER, grating: BEEP BEEP
     BEEP BEEP BEEP...  Nicholas comes in the back door, peering
     into the weak moonlight.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Ilsa?

     Nicholas replaces the phone on its cradle.  QUIET.

     He reaches for a light switch, ZAP! -- BLUE SPARKS leap to
     his fingers.  Nicholas YELPS and shakes his hand out.

     The switch has been RIPPED OUT, leaving exposed wiring.

     Nicholas goes to his briefcase, getting the gun and moving
     forward, wary, calling out...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Ilsa!?

     INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, DEN -- NIGHT

     In the blackness, Nicholas comes to stand at the doorway,
     levels the gun at someone across the room...

                               NICHOLAS
                    I've got a gun!

     There's a roaring fire in the giant fireplace and a FIGURE
     in a chair.  Nicholas eases forward...

     It's the HARLEQUIN in the chair, with a GLOSSY B+W PHOTO
     between its teeth.  Nicholas pulls out the picture...

     A POLICE PHOTO of NICHOLAS' FATHER, his body sprawled.
     It's stamped "PROPERTY SFPD" in red.

     There's a NOTE papere-clipped behind:
     "Like my father before me, I choose eternal sleep."  At the
     bottom, a RED SIGNATURE ARROW affixed, "Please Sign Here."

     Suddenly, ALL LIGHTS SURGE TO LIFE, icy and ghoulish -- each
     and every bulb replaced by BLACK LIGHT...

     Nicholas pivots slowly, taking in the horror...

     The wrecked den is covered in FLUORESCENT SPRAY-PAINT
     GRAFFITI: "WELCOME HOME"  "FUCK YOU"  "NICHOLAS VAN
     COCKSUCKER"  "SUCK IT"  "C.R.S. RULES"  "HAVING FUN, RICH
     BOY?"  Everywhere.  Across windows, paintings and curtains.

     The ceiling is covered in "MOMMA'S BOY" and OBSCENITIES.

     Scaffolding's been left behind.  Used SPRAY CANS on the
     splattered Oriental rug.  A PAINT/AIR COMPRESSOR.

                               NICHOLAS
                    ... fuckers...

     INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, MASTER BEDROOM -- NIGHT

     A glowing ANARCHY SYMBOL sprayed across the door which is
     throw open by Nicholas as he enters.

     It's all BLACK LIT here too.  GRAFFITIED and DESTROYED.
     "HELTER SKELTER: in jolting letters.  Nicholas backs out...

     INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, VARIOUS ROOMS -- NIGHT

     FOLLOW: Nicholas down the hall and around corners, BLACK
     LIGHTS above, walls covered in CURSES and MULTI-COLORED
     SQUIGGLES.  Like a bad trip thru the Bat-Cave...

     DOWN STAIRS

     Past OTHER ROOMS likewise awash in vibrant slurs...

     THRU THE KITCHEN

     Now also revealed as ruined.  Nicholas goes out the door...

     EXT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, BACKYARD -- NIGHT

     Nicholas runs to the GUEST HOUSE.

     INT.  VAN ORTON GUEST HOUSE, FOYER -- NIGHT

     BANGING on the FRONT DOOR.  Ilsa comes to look thru the
     peephole, opens the door to a breathless Nicholas.

                               ILSA
                    Mr. Van Orton... ?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Ilsa... you're alright?

                               ILSA
                    Yes. What do you mean?  What's wrong?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Did the alarm go off?  The house...
                    they... you didn't see... ?

                               ILSA
                    I don't know what you're talking
                    about.  What's happened?

                               NICHOLAS
                    There's been a break in.  Lock this
                    door and stay here.  Don't move a
                    muscle.

     Nicholas runs back toward the house.

                               ILSA
                    Be careful!

     EXT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, BACKYARD -- NIGHT

     Crossing the lawn, Nicholas pulls out his cellular phone,
     dialing as he runs, takes out his gun.

                               911 OPERATOR (v.o.)
                         (from cellular)
                    Nine-one-one, emergency...

                               NICHOLAS
                         (into cellular)
                    I need the police.  There's been a
                    break-in at my home...

                              911 OPERATOR (v.o.)
                         (from cellular)
                    Okay, sir.  Stay on the line and give
                    me your address...

     INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, KITCHEN -- NIGHT

     Nicholas enters, still on the phone, locking the door,
     beginning to punch the security code into the ALARM KEYPAD.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (into cellular)
                    Twenty-two Moore Street.  At the
                    corner of Moore and Buchanan.

                               911 OPERATOR (v.o.)
                    Now, sir, you said it was a
                    break-in...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Yes...

                               911 OPERATOR (v.o.)
                    Are you sure they're gone... ?

     As Nicholas finishes the security code, the KEYPAD BEEPS,
     and Nicholas straightens, worried.

                               911 OPERATOR (v.o.)
                    ... are you sure there's not still
                    someone somewhere in the house?

                               NICHOLAS
                    I... don't think so.

     And with the DYING HUMMMMMMMM of POWER FAILING, all the
     BLACK LIGHTS GO OUT.  Nicholas raises his gun...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Oh God...

     Pointing it into the dark kitchen, hand trembling.

                               911 OPERATOR (v.o.)
                    Hello?  Are you still there?

     Behind, a DARK FIGURE outside rises against the kitchen door
     window, POUNDING FRANTICALLY!  Nicholas leaps and spins,
     CRYING OUT in terror, dropoping the gun...

     The gun bounces across the linoleum.

     It's CONRAD at the kitchen door, haggard and scared, his
     pale face pressed against the glass, pointing frantically.

                               CONRAD
                    Meet me out front!

     Conrad ducks away, moving on.

                                                        CUT TO:

     EXT.  CITY STREETS -- NIGHT

     The Bentley takes a corner fast, heading downhill, moving
     from residential to mostly urban...

     INSIDE THE BENTLEY

     Nicholas drives.  Conrad looks back over his shoulder, a man
     on the run, dark circles under his eyes.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Tell me where we're going.

                               CONRAD
                    Just drive, man.
                         (slumps low)
                    It's fucking nuts!

                               NICHOLAS
                    What's this all about, Connie?

                               CONRAD
                    Shhhhhhh.  Wait... wait...

     Conrad flips the sunshade, looks behind it, feels the fabric
     of the roof and the seam of the door.

     He grips the interior LIGHT, breaks it open, pulling the
     bulb and wires.

                               NICHOLAS
                    What are you doing?

                               CONRAD
                    They're methodical.  They're nothing
                    if they're not that.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Who?

                               CONRAD
                    C.R.S.  Who do you think?  Jesus H.,
                    thank your lucky charms.  To think
                    what I almost got you into.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (miserable)
                    Yeah, almost...

                               CONRAD
                    You dodged a bullet.

                               NICHOLAS
                    How do you mean, exactly?

                               CONRAD
                    They fuck you and they fuck you and
                    they fuck you.  And then, just when
                    you think it's done, that's when
                    the real fucking begins.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Slow down, take a breath...

                               CONRAD
                    It doesn't stop, Nick.  I paid the
                    bill, I gave 'em their money, but it
                    all started again.  They won't leave
                    me alone...

                               NICHOLAS
                    What have they been doing to you?

                               CONRAD
                    Everything.  I'm a goddamn
                    human-pinata...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Calm down.  Why would they keep
                    playing after you paid?

                               CONRAD
                    You think I know?  I paid them more
                    to make it stop.

     BOOM! -- the wheel jerks in Nicholas' hand, TIRES SCREAM...

                               CONRAD
                    What the hell... !?

     ON THE STREET

     A TIRE'S BLOWN OUT.  Riding the rim, the car jerks over...

     INSIDE THE BENTLEY

     Nicholas stops at the curb.  Conrad's turned in his seat.

                               CONRAD
                    It's them.  They did this.

                               NICHOLAS
                    It's a flat tire.  That's all.

                               CONRAD
                    How do you know?

                               NICHOLAS
                    We're going to figure this out.  Get
                    a grip on yourself.

                               CONRAD
                    Okay... okay.

     Conrad faces forward.  Nicholas gets out to look at the
     wheel, using his cellular, then returns to the open window.

                               NICHOLAS
                    The phone's dead.

                               CONRAD
                    Really?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Do you know how to change a tire?

                               CONRAD
                    No.  Do you?
                         (off Nicholas' frown)
                    Can't be too hard, can it?  I don't
                    think we should be here out in the
                    open like this.

     Nicholas rubs his temples, looks all around, frustrated.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Check the glove box... might be
                    another battery there.

     Conrad OPENS the glove compartment: KEYS SPILL OUT.  At
     least fifty, silver and gold, all stamped "C.R.S."

     Conrad's breath catches in his throat.  He looks to
     Nicholas, afraid.  Nicholas leans closer...

                               NICHOLAS
                    How did those... ?

                               CONRAD
                    You're part of it...

                               NICHOLAS
                    What?  Connie...

     Conrad climbs out, pointing across the roof of the car...

                               CONRAD
                    No!  You're one of them.  Of course,
                    it makes perfect sense!

                               NICHOLAS
                    No, it doesn't!  Those keys were put
                    there.  I didn't even know...

                               CONRAD
                    You're behind this, aren't you?  You
                    and your sick friends.  Well, make it
                    stop!

                               NICHOLAS
                    Listen to yourself.   Why would I do
                    anything like what you're describing?

                               CONRAD
                    Because you hate me.  Because you had
                    to be here, when mom died.  Because
                    you had to do it alone.
                         (near tears)
                    Well, don't you think if I'd known...
                    I'd've been here too.  I'd have been
                    here...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Stop this.  It's not true...

                               CONRAD
                    I'm sorry, Christ, I'm sorry!  How
                    many more times do I have to say I'm
                    sorry before you forgive me... ?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Stop it!

     Conrad bolts away, full tilt, into a nearby PARK and PUBLIC
     GARDENS.  Nicholas gives chase, calling after.

     AHEAD, Conrad runs headlong, disappearing thru thick bushes.

     Nicholas follows, downhill, falls and slides, gets up.  At
     the bottom, he shoves thru vegetation...

     On the other side, Nicholas looks all directions, gulping
     air.  Conrad's nowhere to be seen.  Nicholas stops.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (shouting)
                    Connie!

     Far off, there's a concrete path winding thru the park past
     a BANK OF PAYPHONES.  ONE PAYPHONE starts RINGING.  Nicholas
     starts back the way he came.

     Behind, ALL THE PAYPHONES start RINGING.  Nicholas halts.

     He runs to the phones, answers one.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (into phone)
                    You sons-of-bitches...

                               MAN'S VOICE (v.o.)
                         (from phone)
                    Flippy?  Is Flippy there?  Flippy?

     Nichols slams the phone down, picks up another...

                               RECORDING (v.o.)
                         (from phone)
                    If you'd like to make a call, please
                    hang up and...

     PHONE STOP RINGING.  Nicholas hangs up, digging out his
     wallet.  Rifling thru it, he comes up with the VALET TICKET
     with the C.R.S. EMERGRENCY 800-NUMBER on it.  He dials...

     Puts the phone to his ear.  BUSY SIGNAL.  He slaps the
     headset-tongue, redialing, waiting...

                               RECORDING (v.o.)
                         (from phone)
                    We're sorry.  The number you have
                    dialed has been disconnected or is no
                    longer in service...

     He throws the receiver, tears the valet ticket in half and
     tosses it, then steps back -- KICKS the phone.

     EXT.  CITY STREET -- NIGHT

     Nicholas returns to his car, looks down at the flat tire.

     At the rear, Nicholas opens the trunk.  He reaches in and
     takes out the car's JACK.  He looks at it like an alien
     thing, turns it over, tosses it into the street.

     He closes the trunk, REMOTE's the ALARM, walking away.
     There's a TAXI heading this way.  Nicholas hails it...

     INSIDE THE TAXI

     Nicholas gets in.  GLASS separates him from the CAB DRIVER

                               NICHOLAS
                    Twenty-two Moore Street.

     The driver nods and hits the gas.

     EXT.  CITY STREETS, FURTHER ON -- NIGHT

     The taxi roars down the street.

     INSIDE THE TAXI

     Nicholas has his head back, eyes closed, loosening his tie.
     He looks out the window, narrow his eyes.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (pointing)
                    Um... you want to turn here...
                         (TAXI KEEPS GOING)
                    Excuse me, you missed the turn.

     The driver says nothing.  Nicholas knocks on the glass.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Did you hear me?  You're...

     Nicholas stops, noticing the DRIVER I.D. on the other side
     of the partition.  "California Regal Sedans."  C.R.S.

                               NICHOLAS
                    No... no, no, no.  Stop the car!

     The taxi HALTS at a LIGHT.  Nicholas tries the DOOR HANDLE.
     Doesn't work.  He tries the WINDOW HANDLE -- it COMES OFF.

     ON THE STREET

     The cab PEELS OUT as the light turns green.

     INSIDE THE TAXI

     Nicholas tries the other door, panicky.  Same results --
     locked in.  The taxi makes a SCREEEEECHING TURN...

     ON THE STREET

     The taxi speeds up... heading for a WHARF AREA and PIERS.

     INSIDE THE TAXI

     Nicholas presses against the partition, urgent, calm...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Listen.  I am a very wealthy man.
                    Whatever they're paying you, I'll
                    double it!

     The taxi driver simply opens his door and leaps out...

     THRU THE WINDOW: the driver ROLLS, a perfectly executed
     stunt fall.  Nicholas can't believe.  He grabs frantically
     for his seatbelt, SNAPS it around him, looks up...

     Opens his mouth to SCREAM...

     ON THE WHARF

     The taxi goes FLYING off a deserted pier... airborne...

     SPLASHES DOWN! in the San Francisco Bay.

     INSIDE THE TAXI

     Nicholas is jerked forward, breath slammed out of him.

     ON THE SURFACE OF THE WATER

     The taxi goes under in an eruption of bubbles.

     UNDERWATER

     THRU THE TAXI WINDOW: Nicholas pulls off his seatbelt,
     extricates himself and starts kicking the window.  Dashboard
     lights grow eerie as they submerge.

     INSIDE THE TAXI

     Nicholas stops kicking, trying to calm.  He looks to the
     front: water's gushing in through two-inches of open window.
     The taxi's less that half full.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (to himself)
                    It's a game... it's a game...

     He tries the DOOR HANDLE again, yanking, to no avail.  He
     realizes something, searches his pockets...

     UNDERWATER

     The taxi sinks, headlights dimming in murkier depths.

     INSIDE THE TAXI

     Nicholas finds the METAL CRANK.  He takes a deep breath...

     SUBMERGING.  He puts the crank in the WINDOW HANDLE HOLE,
     turns the crank.  The WINDOW LOWERS, water flooding in...

     UNDERWATER

     Nicholas swims out the window, heading upwards...

     EXT.  SAN FRANCISCO BAY -- NIGHT

     Nicholas bursts to the surface, sucking air.  He treads
     water, catching his breath.

                               GIRL'S VOICE (o.s.)
                    Hey, mister... are you alright?

     Nicholas turns.  There's a CABIN CRUISER docked nearby.  A
     beautiful GIRL in a yellow raincoat throws a life preserver.
     Nicholas swims to it.

     EXT.  CABIN CRUISER -- NIGHT

     Nicholas climbs the rear ladder with the girl's help.  He
     stays on his knees, teeth chattering.  The boat's luxurious.

                               GIRL
                    You could get hepatitis from that
                    water.

     She helps Nicholas up, keeps a grip on him.

                               NICHOLAS
                    I need the police.

                               GIRL
                    Let's get you dried off first.  I
                    might have some clothes below.

     INT.  CABIN CRUISER, BATHROOM -- NIGHT

     The shower and mirrors are fogged.  Nicholas' wet clothing
     sits in the sink.  He's wearing a short-sleeved shirt,
     pulling on trousers.

     IN THE ADJOINING BEDROOM

     QUIET MUSIC.  Nicholas comes from the bathroom, feeling the
     waistband of the pants, checking out the cuffs.

                               NICHOLAS
                    You know, these fit... perfectly.

                               GIRL
                    They were my husband's.  My late
                    husband... may he rest in peace.

     Nicholas looks to the girl.  She rises from the bed and
     slides the raincoat off, wearing only a BIKINI.  A Playmate.

     Nicholas just sort of sags.

     The girl undoes her top, which falls.  She steps forward.

                               GIRL
                    I've been so lonely.

                               NICHOLAS
                    I can't tell you how not interested
                    I am.

                               GIRL
                    Don't be nervous.  They said you'd be
                    nervous.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Don't take another step.

     The girl covers her breasts, confused.  Nicholas gathers his
     clothing from the sink, heading for the stairs.

                               GIRL
                    Isn't this what you like?  They told
                    me you had a thing for boats.

                               NICHOLAS
                    First they try to kill me, now you?
                         (to girl)
                    Put your damn clothes back on.

     Nicholas scrambles upstairs...

     EXT.  CABIN CRUISER -- NIGHT

     Nicholas leaps off onto the wharf.  The girl, pulling on her
     raincoat, crosses to the boat's rail, waving a BOX.  Thru
     the box's window: a gold GLASS CUTTER nestled in velvet.

                               GIRL
                    Don't you want your thing?  I was
                    supposed to give you this thing.

     Nicholas just keeps walking.

                                                        CUT TO:

     EXT.  C.R.S. BUILDING -- DAY

     TWO POLICE CARS, marked and unmarked, pull to the curb.
     From the plainclothes car, MALE DETECTIVE and FEMALE
     DETECTIVE get out.  Nicholas and Sutherland get out.

     INT.  C.R.S. BUILDING, LOBBY -- DAY

     Nicholas, Sutherland, Male and Female Detective cross the
     busy lobby with TWO UNIFORMED OFFICER'S behind.

     INT.  C.R.S. BUILDING, OFFICES -- DAY

     Nicholas enters, followed by the others.  He stops short...
     REVEAL: this huge room, once filled with cubicles far as the
     eye could see, is now entirely EMPTY.  Trash.  Dust.
     Fixtures jutting from the floor.

                                                        CUT TO:

     INT.  NICHOLAS' OFFICE -- DAY

     Nicholas stands with hands in pockets, staring at the floor.
     Sutherland's here.  Female and Male Detective stand
     together.  She's checking notes.

                               FEMALE DETECTIVE
                    Management for the building says that
                    space hasn't been officially rented
                    yet.  The county recorder has no
                    listing for "Consumer Recreation
                    Services" or any derivation thereof.
                    No sign of the boat or the girl.
                    We're checking escort services, but
                    it's unlikely.  Divers are looking
                    for the taxi, and soon as they find
                    it they'll pull the plates and V.I.N.

                               MALE DETECTIVE
                    Have you gotten in touch with your
                    brother?

                               NICHOLAS
                    He hasn't called back.

                               SUTHERLAND
                    What about the house?

                               MALE DETECTIVE
                    The graffiti was painted in an
                    oil-based marine marking solution.
                    Illegal in the states.  Not impossible
                    to trace, but it'll take time.

                               FEMALE DETECTIVE
                    The photos, gun, the clown, the
                    ambulance, cable box, everything
                    else... it's all pending.
                         (shuts notebook)
                    Breaking and entering we have, solid.
                    Malicious mischief, vandalism,
                    harassment.  But, that's about all.

                               SUTHERLAND
                    Illegal surveillance, reckless
                    endangerment...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Attempted murder.

                               MALE DETECTIVE
                    Except... you said you hired these
                    people.

                               SUTHERLAND

                    That's irrelevant.

                               MALE DETECTIVE
                    It's our job to let you know what we
                    have.  We haven't got motive.

                               FEMALE DETECTIVE
                         (to Nicholas)
                    You are who you are, so we know
                    you're not making it up.  But, we've
                    never dealt with anything quite like
                    this.  Be appropriately cautious.
                         (pause)
                    Unless you think they're done with
                    you.

                                                        CUT TO:

     INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, KITCHEN - NIGHT

     Ilsa sets down a plate: sandwich with crust cut off, potato
     chips and carrot sticks.  Nicholas eats, pondering.

                               NICHOLAS
                    What was my father like?

     Ilsa's at the fridge, near where drop-cloths, paint cans and
     other repair preparations are piled.

                               ILSA
                    What makes you ask?

                               NICHOLAS
                    I'm not sure.

     Ilsa comes to set down a glass, fills it with milk.

                               ILSA
                    All the time I've known you, you've
                    never once asked about him.

                               NICHOLAS
                    He came to my mind recently, that's all.

     Ilsa moves to put food back into the refrigerator.

                               ILSA
                    Your mother thought he was a good
                    man.  He worked very hard.  What I
                    remember most was his manner was
                    so... slight.  It was easy to spend
                    time in a room, and not realize he'd
                    been there the whole time.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Was he morose, or...?  I mean...

                               ILSA
                    No.  What happened... no one expected
                    it.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Sometimes I wonder how much of him
                    there is in me.

                               ILSA
                    Not much, I think.

                               NICHOLAS
                    I'm just like him.

                               ILSA
                    You're not like him at all.  I don't
                    know exactly what's going on around
                    here lately, but don't make me start
                    worrying about you.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Did you worry about him?

                               ILSA
                    Nobody worried about your father.

     Nicholas stares at his milk.  PHONE RINGS.  He answers...

                               NICHOLAS
                         (into phone)
                    Hello.

                               MARIA (v.o.)
                         (from phone)
                    It's Maria.  I found the address you
                    wanted from Elite Taxi.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (picks up pen and paper)
                    Go ahead...

                                                        CUT TO:

     EXT.  SUBURBAN NEIGHBORHOOD -- NIGHT

     Rows of lower-middle-class homes.  Nicholas parks.  A WHITE
     VAN sits near, a wrench-wielding WORKMAN painted on the
     side.  "Cable Repair Specialists."

     Nicholas crosses the lawn of a WHITE HOUSE, to the porch.
     He rings the doorbell and waits.  Finally, an older man in a
     bathrobe answers, CHRISTINE'S DAD, puffy-eyed.

                               CHRISTINE'S DAD
                    Yeah?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Hello.  Is Christine in?

                               CHRISTINE'S DAD
                    She's sleeping.

                               CHRISTINE (o.s.)
                    Who is it, dad?

     INT.  CHRISTINE'S LIVING ROOM -- NIGHT

     Christine looks down from the top of the stairs.  Below,
     Nicholas looks up past Christine's dad.

                               CHRISTINE
                    What are you doing here?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Can we talk?

                               CHRISTINE
                    It's okay, dad.

     Christine's dad opens the door and heads away.  Christine
     comes down, in a pajama top and shorts, pleased.

                               CHRISTINE
                    Didn't think I'd ever see you again.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Come here...

     He watches to make sure dad's gone, leads Christine to the
     middle of the room, takes out a PHOTOCOPY, unfolds it.

                               NICHOLAS
                    What can you tell me about this?

     The SEX PHOTO of the woman in the RED BRA.

                               CHRISTINE
                    What is it?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Is this you?

                               CHRISTINE
                    Where'd you get this?

                               NICHOLAS
                    It was left in my hotel room, well,
                    not really mine.  You're saying it's
                    not you?

                               CHRISTINE
                    I think I would remember.
                         (hands it back)
                    What makes you think it's me?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Well... the red bra.

                               CHRISTINE
                         (like he's crazy)
                    Okay.

                               NICHOLAS
                    I thought...

     He's at a loss, drained.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Do you mind if I sit?

                               CHRISTINE
                    Sure.  You alright?  Is this still
                    that contest you're in...

                               NICHOLAS
                         (sits)
                    I'm tired.  I'm sorry, I should go.
                    I've been enough of a nuisance.

                               CHRISTINE
                    Let me go get some clothes on.
                    We'll talk, okay?  Be right back.

     Christine hurries upstairs.  Nicholas stands, calls after.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Do you have any aspirin?

     Nicholas takes in the room, unhappy.  He squints at a VIRGIN
     MARY figurine, picks it up... unscrews the head.  It's a
     decanter.  He sniffs it and puts it back.  He sniffs the
     air, noticing...

     A WISP OF SMOKE rises from a bright LAMP.

     INSIDE THE LAMPSHADE: Nicholas peers inside.  A PRICE TAG
     dangles against the bulb, turning brown, smoking.

     Nicholas reaches to remove the tag -- burns his finger on
     the bulb, jerking his hands away.  He blows on his finger,
     sighs, walks to poke his head thru a swinging door...

     INT.  CHRISTINE'S KITCHEN -- NIGHT

     Modest, cluttered.  Nicholas goes to the sink, holds his
     finger under the faucet.  NO WATER.  He jerks the faucet
     handle, but gets nothing.  He looks around...

     Opens a drawer -- EMPTY.  He opens another drawer -- EMPTY.
     He opens more EMPTY DRAWERS, a disturbing thought forming.
     Opens a cabinet -- EMPTY.

     INT.  CHRISTINE'S LIVING ROOM -- NIGHT

     Nicholas returns, scanning the room.  He picks up a FRAMED
     PHOTO of a LITTLE GIRL in a dress, takes the frame apart...

     The picture is an ADVERTISEMENT from a glassy magazine, with
     TEXT folded behind and print on the back.

     Nicholas takes a breath, quickly replaces the clipping just
     as Christine returns from upstairs.  She's in a pull-over
     dress, putting her hair up.

                               CHRISTINE
                    Want anything to drink?

                               NICHOLAS
                         (holds up frame)
                    You?

                               CHRISTINE
                    Yeah.  First Communion.  Aren't I a
                    little angel?

     Nicholas offers the frame to Christine, fury showing...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Take the picture out.

                               CHRISTINE
                    What's wrong?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Take the picture out of the frame and
                    show it to me.

                               CHRISTINE
                    I don't...

     Christine tries to assess the situation... realizes he's
     onto her.  She swallows, making a quick decision, drops her
     facade, her voice a desperate WHISPER.

                               CHRISTINE
                    They're watching.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Wha... ?

                               CHRISTINE
                         (under her breath)
                    Not here!  They can see.

     Christine motions with her eyes.  Nicholas looks...

     ON THE CEILING, a red-bulbed SMOKE DETECTOR.

                               CHRISTINE
                         (cheery, in character)
                    So, what do you say we go for a
                    drive?  We'll take your car...

     She takes his hand and pulls him.  Nicholas yanks away...

                               NICHOLAS
                    No!  I'm sick of this...

                               CHRISTINE
                    Nicholas...

     Nicholas points up at the smoke detector, addressing it...

                               NICHOLAS
                    You can come out now, if you're
                    there.  Come on out!  Let's go!

     Nicholas walks to the fireplace, picks up a FIREPLACE POKER.
     He moves to SWING it up -- SWATS the smoke detector.

     Christine runs to the picture window.

                               CHRISTINE
                    Now you've done it!

     THRU WINDOW: THUG 1 and THUG 2, muscle men, climb out from 
     the CABLE REPAIR VAN, running this direction.

     Nicholas comes to look, poker in hand.

                               NICHOLAS
                    What?  Oh, and I suppose they're going to...

     THRU WINDOW: Thug 1 and 2 draw guns, pointing...

     Nicholas furrows his brow, unsure.

                               CHRISTINE
                    Get down!

     WINDOW'S BLOWN IN by GUNFIRE! as Christine tackles Nicholas.

     Shattered glass showers down.  KNICK-KNACKS FLY TO PIECES.
     Christine crawls.  Nicholas follows.  They flee, Nicholas
     gasping and glancing back, terrified...

     IN THE KITCHEN

     Christine pulls Nicholas thru a door...

     INT.  CHRISTINE'S GARAGE -- NIGHT

     Christine and Nicholas come downstairs to the empty garage.

     Christine's dad looks up from his solitaire game at a card
     table, a day player thrown off by this backstage intrusion.

                               CHRISTINE'S DAD
                    What the hell... !?

     Christine leads Nicholas out the REAR DOOR...

     EXT.  CHRISTINE'S BACKYARD - NIGHT

     They run along the back of the house...

                               NICHOLAS
                    What is this!?

                               CHRISTINE
                    God, wake up, it's a con!

     Around the corner, toward the front, Christine stops, looking
     across the front lawn to Nicholas' Bentley.

     INT.  CHRISTINE'S GARAGE - NIGHT

     Thug 1 and 2 bluster in, guns up.  Christine's dad points to
     the open rear door, afraid.  Thug 1 thinks quick -- SLAMS
     the GARAGE DOOR OPENER...

     The OPENER'S MOTOR RATTLES to life, GARAGE DOOR RISING...

     EXT.  CHRISTINE'S FRONT LAWN - NIGHT

     Nicholas and Christine speed away in the Bentley.

     BEHIND, Thug 1 and 2 crawl under the garage door, giving
     chase, FIRING.  Too little, too late.  They run to the van.

     EXT.  SUBURBAN STREETS -- NIGHT

     The Bentley roars onwards...

     IN THE BENTLEY

     Nicholas drives, white-knuckled.  Christine watches behind.

     ON THE STREET

     The van pursues, far behind, but closing ground.

     IN THE BENTLEY

     Nicholas checks his mirror.  Christine looks forward...

                               CHRISTINE
                    Look out!

     ON THE STREET

     The Bentley SIDESWIPES another CAR as Nicholas runs a light.

     The Bentley keeps going, the other car SPINNING...

     The van BRAKES HARD to avoid the spun-out car.  The van
     reverses, angling to get around...

     FURTHER ON

     The Bentley SKIDS into an alley, lights off, still moving.

     The van, having lost half a block, misses this and continues
     straight, raging forward, then SCREEEEECHING to stop...

     In the middle of a four-way intersection, stumped.  The van
     chooses a direction, cutting a corner, roaring away...

     INT.  BENTLEY - NIGHT

                               CHRISTINE
                         (looking back)
                    Okay... they're gone...

     She's thrown forward as Nicholas SLAMS BRAKES.  He reaches
     across and throws Christine's door open.

                               CHRISTINE
                    What are you doing... ?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Get out.

                               CHRISTINE
                    I could've handed you to them.  They
                    find me now, I'm dead...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Get out of my car!

                               CHRISTINE
                    You don't have a choice.  No one else
                    is going to tell you what's going on.

     Nicholas stares at her with hatred.

                               CHRISTINE
                    Do you want to know?  If I'm gone,
                    you never will.

     Nicholas flips the headlights on, puts the car in gear and
     drives.  She pulls the door shut.

                               NICHOLAS
                    You can talk while I drive us to the
                    police.

                               CHRISTINE
                    No cops.  I've got a warrant out.
                    Mail fraud.  They'll take me in, but
                    you won't be able to prove anything
                    else.

     Christine takes out cigarettes, lights up.

                               CHRISTINE
                    I can't believe they didn't take the
                    time to get the house right.

     Nicholas grabs the cigarette, throws it out his window.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Who are "they?"

                               CHRISTINE
                    I don't know, nobody does.  I'm an
                    employee.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Then, what good are you?

                               CHRISTINE
                    I know things... like who you can
                    trust.  Like that your brother was in
                    on it from the beginning.

                               NICHOLAS
                    That's a lie...

                               CHRISTINE
                    Yeah?  I was your waitress on your
                    birthday.  Connie told you about
                    C.R.S. that day, remember?  I was
                    already playing my part, before you
                    started the game.

     Nicholas looks to her, realizing the truth of it.
     Christine's lighting up a new cigarette.

                               CHRISTINE
                     It wasn't his fault.  He thought it
                    was his only way back.  They fleeced
                    him real good.

                               NICHOLAS
                    How?  How could they have gotten
                    anything?

                               CHRISTINE
                    They did the same to him as they did
                    to you.

                               NICHOLAS
                    What are you talking about... ?

     She gives him a pitying look.

                               CHRISTINE
                    They've already got it, Nicholas.
                    They got everything.

     Nicholas shoots her a glance; this is absurd.

                               CHRISTINE
                    Check your accounts.  That night in
                    your office, when we were there...

     FLASHBACK -- NICHOLAS' OFFICE -- THAT NIGHT

     Christine runs her finger down Nicholas' TELEPHONE.  She
     looks to see Nicholas is preoccupied, lifts the receiver...

     Reads the PHONE NUMBER underneath.  She turns, looks down...

     There's a NUMBER written on the PHONE JACK on the wall: #C4.

                               CHRISTINE
                    I got the number to your private line
                    and modem.  I gave C.R.S. remote
                    access to your computer...

     FLASHBACK -- VARIOUS INSERTS

     NICHOLAS' C.R.S. TESTING: Nicholas' hand scribbles his
     SIGNATURE... fills out a FINANCIAL QUESTIONNAIRE.  A TAPE
     RECORDER'S REEL SPINS... a PENCIL blackens TEST BLOCKS...

                               CHRISTINE
                    You already gave them everything
                    else.  Handwriting, voice samples,
                    psych-info.  They used it all to
                    figure out your passwords.

     FLASHBACK: ON A MONITOR, combinations of LETTERS and NUMBERS
     SCROLL BY, multiplying, too quickly for the eye to see...

                               CHRISTINE
                    From there, they only had to keep you
                    distracted while they broke into the
                    network and transferred your holdings
                    to dummy accounts.

     FLASHBACK: FIGURES appear on a COMPUTER SCREEN; HIGH NUMBERS
     flying down to 000,000,000's.  More NUMBERS, falling.

                               CHRISTINE
                    Remember Jim Feingold, the guy who
                    signed you up?  He did five years for
                    hacking Citibank in eighty-four...

     FLASHBACK: PAN UP from deft fingers at a keyboard to JIM
     FEINGOLD, lit by cold COMPUTER SCREEN GLOW.

     BACK TO SCENE IN BENTLEY

     Nicholas sweats.  He checks his watch, takes out his
     cellular, dialing with his thumb.  Christine smokes.

                               CHRISTINE
                    Why else would they be willing to put
                    you under... ?

                               NICHOLAS
                         (into cellular)
                    Overseas operator?  Please dial
                    Allgemeine Bank, Zurich.

                               CHRISTINE
                    They don't care about you anymore.
                    Alive or dead is the same, as long as
                    they bury you deep enough.

     EXT.  HIGHWAY -- NIGHT

     The Bentley SPEEDS out a tunnel on the highway toward S.F.

     INSIDE THE BENTLEY

                               NICHOLAS
                         (into cellular)
                    Guten tag.  Vilen dank, Englisch.
                    Blue-two-backslash-five.  Mother's
                    maiden name: Miller.  Six-nine-zero,
                    D as in David.  Yes.  The balance...
                         (listens)
                    That's impossible.  When did... ?

     Nicholas listens, scarcely breathing.  Christine seems
     regretful.  Nicholas lowers the phone, shuts it off.

                               CHRISTINE
                    They got everything.

     Lights flash across Nicholas' sweaty features.

                                                        CUT TO:

     EXT.  GAS STATION/CONVENIENCE HUT - NIGHT

     Nicholas pumps gas, pale, on his cellular.  Christine stands
     across the lot, out of earshot, watching the dark freeway.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (into cellular)
                    Call soon as you get this message,
                    Sam.  I checked them all, I don't
                    know how, but they drained my
                    accounts.  Now they're trying to kill
                    me.  You tell the cops, I've got one
                    with me.  We'll make her testify.  I
                    know how it must sound.  Call on my
                    mobile.  Be careful

     INT.  CONVENIENCE HUT -- TIME CUT

     A FEMALE CLERK taps a gold credit card, listens on a PHONE.
     She hangs up, goes to the BULLETPROOF WINDOW.  Nicholas and
     Christine wait on the other side with armloads of food.

                               CLERK
                         (into intercom)
                    They say I have to take the card.

     Nicholas seems numb.  Christine checks her pockets.

                               CHRISTINE
                         (via intercom)
                    I think I've got some cash.

                                                        CUT TO:

     EXT.  DIRT ROADWAY -- NIGHT

     The Bentley overtakes a logging TRUCK on this dirt road.

     IN THE BENTLEY

     QUIET NEWS RADIO.  Nicholas drains coffee from a styrofoam
     cup, rolls his window and tosses the cup out, trying to stay
     awake.  He looks beside him.

     Christine's asleep against her door, placid and
     innocent-looking.  Nicholas stares at her.

                                                        CUT TO:

     EXT.  LAKE, VAN ORTON CABIN -- NIGHT

     Beautiful lake.  Dense forest.  The Bentley's parked near a
     relatively humble CABIN.  LIGHTNING FLASHES across the sky.

     INT.  CABIN -- NIGHT

     FIRE in the fireplace.  Christine tends a metal pot over the
     flames.  Nicholas sleeps slumped in a low chair.  Christine
     passes with the pot.  Nicholas awakens, disoriented,
     searching for familiarity.  He sits forward...

     Christine's in the candle-lit kitchenette.  He watches her,
     grim.  She makes coffee.  He sits back.

                               CHRISTINE
                    What?

     Christine comes over and gives him a mug of coffee.

                               CHRISTINE
                    What did you say?

                               NICHOLAS
                    I didn't say anything.

     He gets up, walks, sipping coffee.  Christine watches him.
     Nicholas stares at FAMILY PHOTOS on the mantle.

                               CHRISTINE
                         (sad, unsure)
                    My name's not Christine.  It's not my
                    real...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Who the fuck cares?

     He doesn't even look at her, picks up a PHOTO: FATHER and
     YOUNG NICHOLAS, holding up fish.  Nicholas rubs the dust off
     his father's face.

                               CHRISTINE
                    It's just money.  You should be glad
                    you're alive.

                               NICHOLAS
                    It might be best if we didn't talk.

                               CHRISTINE
                    All I mean is... someone like you...

                               NICHOLAS
                    How many times have you done this?
                    I'm interested.

                               CHRISTINE
                    What?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Scams, con games.  How many?

                               CHRISTINE
                    I don't know.  A lot.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Whatever kind of nickel-and-dime shit
                    you did before, this is more than
                    just me.  Your friends raided pension
                    plans, and payrolls... they took just
                    over six-hundred million.  You ruined
                    people's lives.

     Christine looks sick and truly scared.  The CELLULAR CHIRPS.
     Nicholas goes to pick it up off a table.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (into cellular)
                    Yes.

                               SUTHERLAND (v.o.)
                         (from cellular)
                    I got your message.  I was disturbed,
                    to say the least...

     Christine stands.

                               CHRISTINE
                    Who is it?

                               NICHOLAS
                         (into cellular)
                    What do we do?

                               SUTHERLAND (v.o.)
                         (from cellular)
                    I've been on the phone for an hour
                    already.  Nicholas, your funds are
                    intact.  Nothing's been touched.

                               CHRISTINE
                         (worried, insistent)
                    Who is it?

                               NICHOLAS
                         (still into cellular)
                    What do you mean?  I checked them
                    myself.  I made the calls...

                               SUTHERLAND (v.o.)
                    Nothing's changed.  I'm telling you,
                    not a cent is unaccounted for...

                               NICHOLAS
                         (cups phone, to Christine)
                    My lawyer... says nothing's missing.

     She shakes her head ominously.

                               CHRISTINE
                         (fear, whisper)
                    He's in on it...

     Nicholas stares at Christine, trying to comprehend...

                               SUTHERLAND (v.o.)
                    I don't know what's happening, but
                    stay where you are till I get to you.
                    Give me your precise location...

                               CHRISTINE
                    Sutherland's in on it.

                               SUTHERLAND (v.o.)
                    I'll come there.  Hold on, Nicholas,
                    I have another call.  Tell me where
                    you are.

     Nicholas lowers the phone, pushes DISCONNECT, afraid.

                               NICHOLAS
                    We have to get out of here.

     The PHONE CHIRPS again.  Nicholas looks at it, flicks a
     switch on the side, silencing it.  He sits, sickened.

                               NICHOLAS
                    How did they get to him?  Why didn't
                    you tell me?

     She lights a cigarette, backing toward the kitchenette.

                               CHRISTINE
                    Mm... I wouldn't worry about it.

                               NICHOLAS
                    What... what do you mean?

                              CHRISTINE
                    It's out of your hands.

     He looks up, trying to figure.  His head lulls...
     He takes a breath, looks at his trembling hands.  Drugged.

     He looks around, confused... spots the COFFEE CUP, realizes.

     With a CRY of RAGE, he LUNGES toward Christine, but comes up
     short, toppling a shelf, contents CRASHING DOWN...

     Nicholas rolls, pained, clutching his throat, taking air in
     RASPING GULPS.  He crawls, swings his fist, slams a table...

                               CHRISTINE
                    Cellular calls can be intercepted,
                    you know.

     Christine backs to avoid, hefts a heavy cooking POT in case.
     She maneuvers, steps over him.  He grabs, blindly...

     She scoops up the dropped PHONE and crosses away.

                               CHRISTINE
                         (cigarette 'tween lips)
                    All those calls you made, to B of A,
                    France, Switzerland... you were
                    talking to my people.
                         (hits REDIAL on cellular)
                    You filled the blanks.  Access codes,
                    passwords, stuff even your lawyer
                    didn't have -- but we have it now.

     Nicholas tries to stand, falls, clutching his gut, CRYING
     OUT in great pain, frothing at the mouth.

                               CHRISTINE
                    It's over, Nicholas.  Goodbye.

     THE ROOM SPINS round and round, spinning OUT OF CONTROL.

                                                        FADE TO BLACK

     BREATHING... then a STRUGGLE... POUNDING, KICKING...

     INT.  CRYPT -- MORNING

     A PARTICLE-BOARD LID SPLINTERS as Nicholas pounds his way
     out of a COFFIN, looking wildly around, eyes blood-shot...

     A moldering MAUSOLEUM.  Light seeps thru cracked walls.
     Piles of rotten flowers.  Coffins.  Hundreds of flies.

     Nicholas gags on the air, climbing free and falling to the
     floor, legs weak.  He's in a WHITE SUIT, dazed and afraid.
     There's a RED ROSE taped to his chest.

     EXT.  MEXICO CEMETERY -- MORNING

     Pushing the plywood door of the MAUSOLEUM outward, Nicholas
     tumbles into dawn light.  He's in a ramshackle GRAVEYARD.
     Tombs for miles.  Misty, tropical vegetation.  Third World.

     Nicholas walks, trying to figure this.  He notices the red
     rose, pulls it off and throws it.  An OLD WOMAN sits at a
     grave with her rosary.  She watches Nicholas, emotionless.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Where am I?  What is this place?

     The OLD WOMAN speaks SPANISH.  Nicholas stares blankly.  She
     seems to be asking questions.  Nicholas finally realizes
     it's a foreign language, turns, walks away.

                                                        CUT TO:

     EXT.  MEXICO STREET -- MORNING

     A busy downtown street.  A sea of MEXICAN PEOPLE, many poor.
     Nicholas walks, caught in the flow of the crowd, JOSTLED,
     aimless.  The world's a NOISY BLUR around him.

     Nicholas pushes to the TRAFFIC JAMMED street, spotting a
     POLICEMAN directing traffic, heads for him...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Officer... officer...

     HORNS BLAST.  Nicholas comes to the officer, relieved...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Do you speak English?  I'm an
                    American.

     The policeman scolds Nicholas in SPANISH, shoos him away.
     Nicholas searches his empty pockets...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Listen... they took my wallet...
                         (insistent, of himself)
                    American.  I am an American citizen.

     The policeman shouts angrily, grabs Nicholas' arm.  Nicholas
     reflexively pulls away...

                               NICHOLAS
                    No, you don't understand, I'm an
                    American...

     The policeman unsheathes his baton -- STRIKES Nicholas.
     Nicholas hits the street, raising his arms in defense.  The
     policeman SWINGS AGAIN...

     Hits Nicholas' skull.  Nicholas runs, escaping thru traffic.

     The policeman curses after him.

                                                        CUT TO:

     EXT.  MEXICAN BUS STOP -- DAY

     Hot.  Nicholas sits on a bench, a dried blood trail down his
     face, holding balled-up newspaper to his bleeding head.
     Others on the BUSY SIDEWALK don't even take notice of him.

     Nicholas checks to see if he's clotted, tosses the
     newspaper.  He watches traffic pass, sits forward, elbows on
     his knees, staring at the sidewalk.

                               NICHOLAS
                    ... fuck...

     Tears forming in his eyes.  He takes a deep breath, stops
     himself, swallowing back despair, deciding.  Determined...

     He gets up and walks.  He picks up the pace, running.

     LONG SHOT: Nicholas running, across one street, down
     another, a strange sight in his filthy white suit.  Stopping
     now and then to ask questions of passerbys, moving on...

     FOLLOW: Nicholas continuing, stopping in a SHOP DOORWAY.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (to SHOPKEEPER)
                    The embassy?  Please... the American
                    embassy, do you know it?

     No answer.  Nicholas continues, slowing.  Ahead down the
     sidewalk, there's another MEXICAN COP, tough-looking.
     Nicholas hesitates, then, approaches...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Excuse me... Buenos Diaz, I'm looking
                    for the United States embassy.  U.S.
                    embassy, please... pour favor?

     The cop seems angry, eyeing Nicholas' appearance, deciding.
     The cop points down the street.  Nicholas heads away.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Thank you.  Thank you, sir.

     Nicholas runs.

     EXT.  AMERICAN EMBASSY -- ESTABLISHING -- LATER DAY

     "Embassy of the United States of America, MEXICO CITY."

     INT.  AMERICAN EMBASSY, OFFICE - DAY

     A secretary leads Nicholas in from a crowded hallway.  An
     American COUNSELOR rises from his small desk in his small
     office, shaking Nicholas' hand, taking PAPERWORK.

                               COUNSELOR
                    Please, sit...

     Nicholas sits in a metal chair.  A fan blows, poor remedy in
     the heat.  The counselor reads the paperwork.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Mister...
                         (sees desk name plate)
                    Mister Patterson.  Some things have
                    happened... it's important that I...

The counselor holds up his hand, still reading...

                               COUNSELOR
                    No money, no identification or
                    passport.  You are in a fix.
                         (looks up from papers)
                    What did happen to you?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Well, where to begin.  It's
                    complicated...

                               COUNSELOR
                         (matter of fact)
                    It always is.

     Nicholas looks to the counselor, who sips a glass of water
     and looks at papers.  Nicholas takes a moment, rethinks.

                               NICHOLAS
                    What happened was, I'm on vacation,
                    alone... I was robbed, at gunpoint.
                    They hit me and ran.  Two men, a few
                    blocks away.  They took my wallet,
                    money... all of it.  So...

                               COUNSELOR
                    Robbed?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Yes.

                               COUNSELOR
                    Have you gone to the police?

                               NICHOLAS
                    I don't speak Spanish.  All I need is
                    to get back... just enough for that.

     The counselor taps his finger on desk's edge.

                               COUNSELOR
                    We'll help with the police, if you
                    want to bother.  As far as money
                    goes... can I make a suggestion?
                         (off Nicholas' nod)
                    You say you were mugged?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Yes.

                               COUNSELOR
                    And, they didn't take that watch?

     Nicholas looks at the ROLEX he's wearing, didn't realize it
     till now, having taken it for granted.

                               COUNSELOR
                    How much is it?  A few thousand, at
                    least.  A Rolex like that... lucky
                    for you they missed it.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Yes, very lucky.

     INT.  MEXICO CITY PAWN SHOP -- LATER DAY

     INSCRIBED on the back of Nicholas' ROLEX: "On your 18th
     birthday, your father's watch.  Love, Mother"

     The FEMALE OWNER examines the Rolex inside a rusty metal
     cage, makes a face.  Nicholas is at the front of the long
     line in this impossibly cluttered pawn shop.

                               PAWN SHOP OWNER
                    Cincuenta dolares Americano.  Fifty.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Fifty?  Do you know...
                         (deep sigh)
                    It's a Rolex.  It's gold.  Not gold
                    colored, actual gold.

                               PAWN SHOP OWNER
                    Si, oro.  Cincuenta y cinco.
                    Cincuenta y cinco Estados Unidos.

     Nicholas runs his hands thru his hair... resigned.

                               NICHOLAS
                    You see, all you had to do was get in
                    the ballpark.  Yes, fifty-five... si,
                    senorita.

     The owner counts battered dollar bills from a cigar box.

                                                        CUT TO:

     EXT.  BUS STOP/TACO STAND -- DAY

     At a faltering TACO STAND painted in peeling orange paint,
     Nicholas pays for tacos wrapped in paper and a bottle of
     Budweiser.  A bus ticket sticks out his breast pocket.

     Nicholas steps away, wolfing down the food, following it
     with guzzled beer.  MANY PEOPLE are waiting for the bus, on
     and around benches, suitcases and belongs in piles.

     Nicholas looks, still chewing, to THREE YOUNG MEXICAN
     CHILDREN staring at him.  They stand with their plump
     MOTHER, just watching him.  Nicholas faces away, eating.

                                                        CUT TO:

     EXT.  MEXICAN HIGHWAY -- DUSK

     A repainted SCHOOL BUS zooms past, trailing exhaust.

     INT.  BUS -- DUSK

     Not one empty seat.  At the back, Nicholas' eyes flutter
     under their lids.  He SNORES QUIETLY.  The MOTHER of the
     three Mexican children is next to him, one child in her lap.
     She's asleep, leaning toward Nicholas.  The child's awake.

     The bus shifts, GEARS GRINDING, and mother slides further
     over till her head rests on Nicholas' shoulder.  Nicholas
     awakens, looking at Mother against him.

     The child looks up at Nicholas.  Nicholas looks at the
     child.  Nicholas puts his head back, closes his eyes.

     After a moment, the bus jerks and Nicholas opens his eyes,
     turning to look out the window, watching a far-reaching
     SUNSET.  Crimson and gold clouds.

                                                        CUT TO:

     EXT.  MEXICO/UNITED STATES BORDER - NIGHT

     In the line of vehicles at the U.S. BORDER, the BUS' BRAKES
     HISS, doors swinging open for an AMERICAN BORDER OFFICER...

     INT.  BUS -- NIGHT

     The BORDER OFFICER comes on, not a calming presence.  The
     Mexican passengers know what to do, holding up GREEN CARDS
     and PASSPORTS for perusal...

     The officer grunts at each passenger he approves, moving on.

     Nicholas slides lower in his seat.  Mother, beside him,
     produces her GREEN CARD and holds it aloft, waiting.
     The officer comes to glare at Nicholas.

     Nicholas looks back at him, unblinking.

     The officer looks to Mother's card.  He says something in
     SPANISH.  Mother responds in SPANISH.  The officer grabs her
     card, speaking, dissatisfied.

     He shouts for Mother to get off... hurrying her up, moving
     her out...

     Mother moves, carrying the child in her lap, hastening the
     other two children seated in front of her.

     Mother protests about her rope-bound SUITCASES in the
     overhead shelf, trying to grip one, arms full of child.  The
     official pulls her along, ignoring...

     Nicholas watches.  He rises...

     OUTSIDE THE BUS

     Mother and three children are unloaded.  The official waves
     the bus on to the border, despite Mother's protest.

     The bus sets in motion...                                          
     AT THE BACK OF THE BUS, the rear emergency door is forced
     open.  Nicholas is there, dropping one suitcase...

     Following with a second suitcase, tossing it to the ground
     gently as the bus' motion allows.  Mother spots this, moving
     to collect the suitcases, children following...

     ON THE BUS

     The BUS DRIVER shouts a complaint in SPANISH.

     At the rear, Nicholas pulls the door shut and latches it,
     watching thru the window as Mother and children drag their
     suitcases out of the path of other vehicles.

                                                        CUT TO:

     EXT.  CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY -- NIGHT

     Nicholas walks backwards, exhausted, hitchhiking on the
     freeway shoulder.  TRAFFIC absolutely SOARS PAST.

     EXT.  BOB'S BIG BOY RESTAURANT -- NIGHT

     Highway in the b.g., Nicholas hikes across the parking lot
     of this 24-hour DINER, past many parked TRACTOR TRAILERS.

     INT.  BOB'S BIG BOY RESTAURANT - NIGHT

     There's a heavy duty TRUCK DRIVER clientele elbow to elbow
     at the counter, eating, drinking coffee.  The BELL above the
     door TINKLES as Nicholas enters.

                               NiCHOLAS
                    Pardon me...

     Nicholas moves to the end of the counter, louder...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Excuse me, please, if I could have
                    your attention...

     Conversations stop.  Everyone looks to Nicholas.  He's
     scruffier than ever; a hobo freak in a white suit, fed up.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Thank you.  If anyone's heading to
                    San Francisco, I need a ride.

     Met with silence.  Nicholas clears his rough throat.

                               NICHOLAS
                    There's...
                         (digs in pockets)
                    There's all the money I've got left
                    in it for you... eighteen dollars and
                    seventy-nine cents...

     Nicholas puts his crumpled bills and coins on the counter.
     One penny falls.  You can hear it hit the floor and roll.

                                                        CUT TO:

     EXT.  UPSTATE CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY -- DAY

     BRIGHT DAY.  A big, Baskin-Robbins TRUCK rumbles by...

     INT.  BASKIN-ROBBIN'S ICE CREAM TRUCK -- DAY

     ENGINE and ROADWAY ROARING.  Windows open, wind whipping.
     Beside the DRIVER, Nicholas sleeps wrapped in a blanket.

                                                        CUT TO:

     EXT.  SAN FRANCISCO -- EARLY EVENING

     The Baskin-Robbin's tractor trailer keeps on truckin'.

     AHEAD: the San Francisco skyline.


     EXT.  WAREHOUSE DISTRICT -- NIGHT

     Nicholas climbs down from the Baskin-Robbin's truck, thanks
     the driver.  The truck lurches away.  Nicholas walks.

                                                        CUT TO:

      EXT.  VAN ORTON MANSION -- NIGHT

     The gate is WRAPPED IN CHAINS.  Nicholas arrives, trudging.
     He pulls to test the chains.  There's a "PUBLIC AUCTION"
     SIGN hung.  Nicholas tears it down, begins climbing...

     INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, KITCHEN -- NIGHT

     A ROCK SMASHES a glass pane in the door.  Nicholas reaches
     thru to let himself in.  No electricity.  Graffiti's gone.
     There's scaffolding.  Work in progress.  Appliances gone.

     Nicholas checks the PHONE, finds it dead.

     INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, DEN -- NIGHT

     Nicholas looks in.  Furniture's wrapped in thick plastic.
     Curtains and paintings are gone.  Like the kitchen, this
     room's repainted.  Cold and bare.

     INT.  GUEST HOUSE, FOYER/LIVING ROOM -- NIGHT

     The front door's ajar.  Nicholas pushes it open slow,
     entering darkness.  The living room is completely empty.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (calling upstairs)
                    Ilsa.

     Pitch dark at the top of the stairs.  Nicholas moves forward
     into another EMPTY ROOM.  It's creepy quiet.

     INT.  VAN ORTON MANSION, GARAGE -- NIGHT

     Nicholas enters the moonlit garage.  THREE EMPTY SPACES.

     INT.  MANSION, MASTER BATH -- NIGHT

     IN THE SHOWER, Nicholas scrubs his hair with a bar of soap,
     huddled under the cold spray, shuddering.

     INT.  MANSION, MASTER BEDROOM - NIGHT

     In the stripped bedroom, Nicholas, in a baggy t-shirt and
     jeans, pulls a paper wrapped package from a dresser.  On the
     bed, he tears open the paper, pulling out a long OVERCOAT.

     INT.  MANSION, KITCHEN - MORNING

     Dawn light.  BIRDS HEARD SINGING.  Nicholas opens drawers.
     He finds a mason jar with CASH inside, unscrews the lid.

     INT.  MANSION, LIBRARY -- MORNING

     Moving boxes.  Half the shelves of this impressive library
     are emptied into high stacks of books on the floor.
     Nicholas moves to search a section still lined with books...

     ... looking for one in particular, reading spines...

     "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee, leather bound.
     Nicholas takes it down.

     INT.  MANSION, FOYER -- MORNING

     Nicholas heads for the front door.  He halts, noticing...
     An ENVELOPE on the counter, "TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN."

     Nicholas opens the envelope, unfolding a letter... "Like my
     father before me, I choose eternal sleep."  Still with the
     RED SIGNATURE ARROW affixed below.

     INT.  MANSION, KITCHEN -- MORNING

     The "suicide note" lands in the sink, BURNING.

                                                        CUT TO:

     EXT.  UNION SQUARE, GEARY STREET -- DAY

     A MINI BUS halts at a corner.  Nicholas is the second rider
     off, paranoid, book under his arm.  He moves down the
     sidewalk... toward the FOUR SEASONS HOTEL.

     INT.  FOUR SEASONS HOTEL, FRONT DESK -- DAY

     Unkempt, unshaven Nicholas is a blight in this flawless
     hotel.  At the desk, he gets the CLERK'S attention.

                               NICHOLAS
                    I'm here to see Conrad Van Orton.
                    Ring his room.

     The desk clerk gives a pause while Nicholas scans the lobby.

                               DESK CLERK
                    One moment, please...

     The desk clerk crosses to a gray, elder statesman MANAGER,
     huddling to speak in hushed tones.  Nicholas watches them,
     concerned.  The manager walks over...

                               NICHOLAS
                    What's the trouble?

                               MANAGER
                    You're here for Conrad Van Orton?
                    I'm the hotel manager...

     He offers a handshake which Nicholas ignores.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Pleasure to meet you, I'd like to see
                    my brother, thank you.

                               MANAGER
                         (worry, guiding Nicholas)
                    Your brother.  Will you come with me?

                               NICHOLAS
                    What's this about?

                               MANAGER
                    It's a private matter, for you... I
                    think you'll be more comfortable...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Where's my brother?

     The manager looks around, feeling indiscreet, voice low.

                               MANAGER
                    There were complaints by other
                    guests, and damage to his room.  We
                    did the best we could to accommodate
                    his behavior.

                               NICHOLAS
                    His behavior... ?

                               MANAGER
                    He couldn't, or refused to pay.  We
                    extended credit...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Look, where is he?!

                               MANAGER
                    There was an incident a few days
                    ago... a nervous breakdown, they
                    said.  The police took him.  They
                    left this address, in case anyone...

     Nicholas struggles to absorb this while the manager takes
     out a BILLFOLD of business cards, offers a SLIP OF PAPER...

                               MANAGER
                    It's a hospital in Napa.  I'm
                    terribly sorry.  If you'd have been
                    here, you'd have seen, there was
                    nothing else to do.

     Nicholas regards the paper, disbelieving, sorrow welling up.

                                                        CUT TO:

     EXT.  ELIZABETH'S HOME (SAUSALITO) -- DAY

     ELIZABETH, Nicholas' ex-wife, bends to kiss her young
     DAUGHTER.  The daughter runs to a waiting, luxury MINI-VAN.
     The female driver waves as the van pulls away.

     Across this suburban street, Nicholas stands watching.

     Elizabeth is about to go back inside, but she sees Nicholas.
     She's surprised, smiling at first instinctively, but then
     she looks concerned.

     INT.  RESTAURANT -- DAY

     BUSINESS PEOPLE chat over breakfast.  A TV at the bar shows
     GOOD MORNING AMERICA.  Nicholas and Elizabeth are seated
     near.  He's edgy, fingering a spoon, hand on his book.

                               NICHOLAS
                    I need your car, Elizabeth.

                               ELIZABETH
                    What happened to you, Nick?  I mean,
                    look at yourself...

                               NICHOLAS
                    I know, look at me, well...
                         (short laugh)
                    What happened?  I don't know.  I
                    don't even really know.  I have some
                    things to try to take care of... I
                    need the car a little while.

                               ELIZABETH
                    Of course you can have it if you need
                    it.  Can I get you something to eat?

     She starts working the CAR KEY off her keychain.

                               NICHOLAS
                    You're the only person I can trust.
                    Everyone else...
                         (pause)
                    If Sam Sutherland calls, don't tell
                    him you saw me.  Lie to him.  And,
                    whatever you hear, whatever anyone
                    tells you when this is over...

     Nicholas straightens as a PALE WAITRESS arrives.  He studies
     her.  She notices his fixation, tries to ignore.

                               PALE WAITRESS
                         (serving...)
                    There we go... coffee and English
                    muffin... water...
                         (smiles)
                    So, if there's anything...

     Nicholas picks up his bottled water, examining the broken
     plastic SAFETY SEAL around the cap.

                               NICHOLAS
                    This is open.  Someone opened it.

                               PALE WAITRESS
                    Yes sir, I...

                               NICHOLAS
                    I can't have this open.
                         (gives it back)
                    I'd like another unopened.  And I
                    don't want ice.  I need a glass
                    without ice.

     The waitress leaves, glad to get away from this freak.
     Nicholas keeps looking all around the restaurant and over
     his shoulder.  Elizabeth takes Nicholas' hand, worried. 

                               ELIZABETH
                    Nick, talk to me.  You're scaring me.
                    I don't even know what you're saying.

     He faces her, looks down at her hand in his.

                               NICHOLAS
                    I'm sorry, Liz... I don't mean to.

     Nicholas clasps her hand, caresses it, looks at her.

                               NICHOLAS
                    The last few days, um... I've been
                    thinking... had a lot of spare time.
                         (pause, sad)
                    I want to tell you... I'm starting to
                    understand why you left me.  I've
                    been resenting you for it, maybe, but
                    ... I want to apologize, for all of
                    it.  For shutting you out, for not
                    being there.  I...
                         (swallows)
                    Anyway, I hope you can forgive me.

                               ELIZABETH
                    There's nothing to forgive.

                               NICHOLAS
                    It would mean a lot to me... if you
                    and I could be friends.  If I could
                    have you back in my life... in some
                    small way.  It would be important.

                               ELIZABETH
                    Of course, Nick...

     Nicholas tries to smile.  He glances away for a second, and
     he lets out a STRANGLED CRY because he SEES SOMETHING...

                               NICHOLAS
                    No... no!

     He stands, agonized, looking across to the...
     TELEVISION, where JIM FEINGOLD is ON SCREEN in C.U.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (to television)
                    You fucking bastard!

     ON TELEVISION: Feingold looks menacing, the top of his HEAD
     REDDENING and beginning to THROB.  CHEESY SOUND EFFECTS...

                               NICHOLAS
                         (still to t.v.)
                    How did you find me here?!

     Obviously, everyone's watching Nicholas, Elizabeth included.

                               FEINGOLD (v.o.)
                         (ON TELEVISION)
                    Honey, my head is killing me!

                               WIFE'S VOICE (v.o.)
                         (from t.v., o.s.)
                    Did you take anything, sweetie?

                               FEINGOLD (v.o.)
                         (on television)
                    I took aspirin, but it's not working!

     ON TV: a FEMALE HAND appears, offering a BOTTLE OF PILLS.

                               WIFE'S VOICE (v.o.)
                         (from television)
                    Try Ambutol, you silly goose.  It's
                    stronger than aspirin and...

     Nicholas is starting to understand, stunned.

                               NICHOLAS
                    He... he's an actor...

     ON TV: Feingold, now cured, holds up the pills and smiles.

                               FEINGOLD (v.o.)
                    Thanks to Ambutol, I've got my head
                    back together.

     JINGLE MUSIC.  Nicholas looks to Elizabeth, points to t.v.

                               NICHOLAS
                    It's just a t.v.  He's just an actor.

                               ELIZABETH
                         (slowly)
                    Yes.

     Nicholas realizes how he must look.  He picks up the car
     key, gives Elizabeth a kiss on the forehead.

                               NICHOLAS
                    I'll explain someday.

                               ELIZABETH
                    I hope.

     She watches Nicholas hurry away.  She sits forward,
     wondering, shaking her head.

     NEAR THE CASH REGISTER, Nicholas moves to the door, but
     stops.  He goes to the CASHIER.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Can I borrow your Yellow Pages... ?

     The cashier digs under the counter, comes up with the PHONE
     BOOK.  Nicholas takes it, leaving...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Thanks.

     Nicholas goes out the door, gone.  The cashier does a
     double-take, about to say something, confused, dour.

                                                        CUT TO:

     EXT.  URBAN STREET -- DAT

     A run-down neighborhood.  Nicholas drives Elizabeth's VOLVO,
     erratically, distracted...

     INSIDE THE VOLVO

     He steers with one hand while paging thru the YELLOW PAGES
     open on the seat.  He gets to RESTAURANTS, trading glances
     between the book and the street.

     ON THE STREET

     Red light ahead.  The Volvo stops.

     INSIDE THE VOLVO

     Nicholas finds ads for CHINESE RESTAURANTS, running his
     finger down, flipping the page.  His finger hits it -- a
     grinning CARTOON PANDA.  "TUNG HOY Chinese Restaurant."

                               NICHOLAS
                    Tung Hoy.  Tung Hoy... best in
                    Chinatown.

     He tears the page out and studies it like a pirate with a
     treasure map.  Suddenly, an arm reaches in thru the window,
     putting a KNIFE to Nicholas' throat...

                               MALE VOICE (o.s.)
                    Get out of the car, fucker...

     Nicholas holds still, eyes shifting to look at the wasted,
     skittish TEEN THUG threatening.

                               TEEN THUG
                    Open the door and climb out.  Leave
                    it running.

     Nicholas is twitchy calm, motionless.

                               NICHOLAS
                    You're making a mistake...

     The knife presses harder against Nicholas' throat.

                               TEEN THUG
                    Get out of the car.

                               NICHOLAS
                    You don't understand...

                               TEEN THUG
                    Get out of the car, motherfucker!
                    Get out of the car... !

     Nicholas' hand finds and opens the book "To Kill a
     Mockingbird" beside him.  It's HOLLOWED-OUT with a GUN
     hidden inside, a revolver, which Nicholas grips...

     Nicholas brings the gun across, into the thug's face...

                               NICHOLAS
                    You have no idea how fragile I am
                    right now.

     The thug backs off... runs away.  Nicholas watches him go,
     puts down the gun, drives.

                                                        CUT TO:

     EXT.  TUNG HOY -- DAY

     A festive Chinatown neighborhood.  At "TUNG HOY," ducks hang
     behind the CARTOON PANDA painted on the window.

     INT.  TUNG HOY -- DAY

     Cramped.  Walls covered in CELEBRITY HEADSHOTS.  Nicholas
     faces an OLD CHINESE WOMAN behind the counter.

                               NICHOLAS
                    He's an actor.  He does television
                    commercials...

                               CHINESE WOMAN
                    Do you know how many customers we
                    have?  Hundreds.  Thousands.

                               NICHOLAS
                    I know he orders from you.  He had
                    his food delivered to Montgomery
                    Street.  Fifteen-thirty-three...

     The woman just shakes her head, continues bagging orders.
     Nicholas realizes it's futile.  He bends over the counter.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Is there anyone else I could ask?
                    Maybe they'll remem...

     Nicholas stops, eyes locked...

     Low on the wall, amongst the grease-browned pictures of
     pseudo-celebs, there's a newer GLOSSY OF FEINGOLD,
     smiling big, labeled "William Fisher."

     Nicholas looks to woman who's shouting into the kitchen.  He
     jumps up on the counter, reaching with his fingertips for
     the "Feingold" PHOTO, straining, almost has it...

     EXT.  CHINATOWN STREET -- DAY

     On a PAYPHONE, Nicholas looks at the BACK OF THE HEADSHOT --
     credits, phone number -- flips it to show Feingold/Fisher.

                               NICHOLAS (v.o.)
                         (into phone)
                    ... I know it's short notice Mrs.
                    Fisher, but we were hoping your
                    husband could audition today.  He's
                    perfect for the part...

                               MRS FISHER (v.o.)
                         (from phone)
                    Oh, this will break his heart...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Is there any way we can get in
                    touch with him?

                               MRS FISHER (v.o.)
                    His beeper's here on the table.  He
                    took the kids to the zoo.

                               NICHOLAS
                    The zoo.  How sweet.  Which zoo?

                                                        CUT TO:

     EXT.  ZOO -- DAY

     ANIMALS lounge in their cages.  TOURISTS wander, mostly
     families.  Here comes Nicholas, running, searching...

     Ahead: Feingold's in casual clothes, eating ice cream, doing
     his best to supervise THREE OBNOXIOUS CHILDREN.  Nicholas
     moves in, slows when he's close.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Bill Fisher, I love your work...

     Feingold turns, smiling... till he sees Nicholas and
     recognition sets in.  He goes pale, sheepish.

                               FEINGOLD
                    Okay, please.. I got my kids...

     Nicholas casually shows him the gun.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Get rid of them.

                               FEINGOLD
                    Hey, everyone -- snack time!  Here...
                    here you go...

     Feingold takes out cash and dispenses it.  KIDS CHEER and
     run to a nearby SNACK CART.

                               FEINGOLD
                    Look, it was just a job.  Nothing
                    personal, ya know?  I play my part,
                    improvise a little.  That's what I'm
                    good at.

                               NICHOLAS
                    I'm tired of dealing with peons.  I
                    need to get to whoever's in charge.

                               FEINGOLD
                    Nobody knows, pal.  Nobody gets the
                    big picture...
                         (looking away)
                    Jason, Tommy, cut it out!

     His BOYS are THROWING ROCKS at the MONKEYS.  They look to
     their father, drop the rocks and saunter away.

                               FEINGOLD
                    Goddamnit, why do they do that?

                               NICHOLAS
                         (grips Feingold's shirt)
                    How do I find them?  Their offices are empty.

                               FEINGOLD
                    They own the whole building.  They
                    just move from floor to floor.

     Nicholas releases him.

                               NICHOLAS
                    They know you... you worked for them.
                    You can get me in.

                               FEINGOLD
                    No, I can't.  I'm sorry and all,
                    but...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Tell them the cops are after you...
                    tell them you've got to talk to
                    someone, I'm threatening to blow the
                    whistle.

                               FEINGOLD
                    What whistle?  There's no fucking
                    whistle.  This is fucking dangerous.

     Nicholas gets in Feingold's face, furious.

                               NICHOLAS
                    You don't seem to understand.  Right
                    now -- I'm dangerous.

     Feingold gets the message.

                                                        CUT TO:

     EXT.  C.R.S. BUILDING -- EARLY EVENING

     Dusk.  LIGHTS OFF in the towering building.  A battered
     STATION WAGON rounds a corner, PAUSES at the GARAGE RAMP.

     IN THE STATION WAGON

     Cluttered car.  Feingold at the wheel, tense, appears alone.

                               FEINGOLD
                    We're here.

     BEHIND THE SEAT, Nicholas peeks from under a blanket.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Drive in.

                               FEINGOLD
                    What are you gonna do anyway?  You
                    won't get your money back.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (muffled, under blanket)
                    I don't want money.  I'm pulling back
                    the curtain.  I'm here to meet the
                    wizard.

     INT.  C.R.S. UNDERGROUND GARAGE -- NIGHT

     The station wagon comes down the ramp to a closed GATE.  A
     BEEFY GUARD looks from his booth.  Feingold waves timidly.
     The GATE RISES and the station wagon moves on...

     IN THE STATION WAGON

     IN THE REARVIEW MIRROR: Beefy Guard watches, suspicious.

                               FEINGOLD
                         (under his breath)
                    He's eyeing us like Tiffany Towers.

                               NICHOLAS (o.s.)
                    Just go.  Park where he can't see.

     IN THE UNDERGROUND GARAGE

     ACROSS THE GARAGE, near elevators, the station wagon parks.
     Feingold gets out, scared.  Nicholas climbs out, crouched,
     gun in hand, points for Feingold to go first.

     Feingold goes to push the elevator button, sweating.
     Nicholas remains hidden between cars.

     A few elevators down, ELEVATOR DOORS open and a fierce
     C.R.S. SECURITY GUARD gets off, spots Feingold, murmurs into
     a WALKIE-TALKIE while taking out a gun.

                               C.R.S. GUARD
                    You're not allowed to be here.

                               FEINGOLD
                    No, they called me back... I have a
                    fitting...

     Behind, Nicholas puts his gun to the guard's neck.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Give me the gun.

     Security Guard gives it up, an automatic, which Nicholas
     throws across the garage.  Nicholas forces the guard to the
     open elevator, takes the WALKIE-TALKIE and pockets it, pulls
     Feingold along...

     IN THE ELEVATOR

     Nicholas frisks the Guard... pulls out HANDCUFFS.

                               FEINGOLD
                    You don't need me...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Shut up.  Cuff him to the rail.

     Feingold takes the handcuffs and obeys.  Nicholas jams the
     gun against the guard's neck.

                               NICHOLAS
                    What floor? 

                               C.R.S. GUARD
                    Fourteen.  But this elevator ain't
                    gonna get you there, college boy.

     Nicholas pulls off the guard's KEYCHAIN, sorts keys...

     He uses a GOLD C.R.S. KEY on the control pad, turns it and
     hits 14.  DOORS CLOSE.  The elevator sets IN MOTION.


                               C.R.S. GUARD
                    You'll never get away with this.
                    These people will fuck you up.

     Nicholas ignores.  Feingold whimpers.

     INT.  C.R.S. BUILDING, 14TH FLOOR HALLWAY -- NIGHT

     ELEVATOR OPENS.  Nicholas peers out.  No one in the hall.
     He pushes Feingold ahead, pushes ALL THE FLOOR BUTTONS.

                               C.R.S. GUARD
                    You're fucked.  You're both...

     ELEVATOR SHUTS.  Nicholas and Feingold move on.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Where?

                               FEINGOLD
                    I told you, they hired me over the
                    phone.  I never met anyone.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Where'd you pick up your checks?

                               FEINGOLD
                    It was a different floor then...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Guess!

                               FEINGOLD
                    Like, this way... sort of...

     Nicholas nudges Feingold ahead with the gun.

     INT.  COMMISSARY -- NIGHT

     Door swings open.  Nicholas and Feingold enter...
     A BUSTLING, NOISY COMMISSARY.  A cafeteria counter along one
     wall.  People CHATTING and LAUGHING at rows of long tables.

     Nicholas keeps a grip on Feingold, walks forward, stunned...

     EVERYONE FROM THE GAME IS HERE: the PARAMEDICS eat with the
     HEAVY MAN who faked the heart attack.  CHRISTINE'S FATHER is
     seated near the airport HOMELESS BUM, BIKINI GIRL and the
     MEXICAN MOTHER with her THREE CHILDREN from the bus.

     PLUMP GUY, the P.I. who followed Nicholas and had his gun
     taken, comes off the cafe line with a soda, spotting
     Nicholas... spotting the gun, quaking.  He flees...

     Nicholas and Feingold continue.  BUSINESSMAN 1 and 2 from
     Nicholas' club sit near AMBULANCE ATTENDANTS.  The TAXI
     DRIVER and the FEMALE DETECTIVE chat.

     There's the HOTEL MANAGER from the Claremont... the
     BELLHOP... the CHINESE WOMAN from Tung Hoy... the DESK CLERK
     from the Four Seasons and TEEN THUG.  Every incidental
     character from Nicholas' recent life.

     Nicholas inches into the room.  A few of the players begin
     to notice him, some trying to place him, others pointing him
     out to their dining partners.  Nicholas halts, sees...

     CHRISTINE rising, picking up her dirty tray, in
     mid-conversation till she turns and sees...

     Nicholas, who raises his gun.

                               CHRISTINE
                    Oh, fuck...

     People notice the gun.  SOME SCREAM.  Everyone goes HUSHED.

                               CHRISTINE
                    What are you doing here?

                               NICHOLAS
                    I'm back from the dead.

                               CHRISTINE
                    Nicholas, okay... you're not about to
                    shoot anyone...

     Nicholas moves to grab Christine.  She drops her tray...

                               NICHOLAS
                    You're coming with me!

                               MALE VOICE (o.s.)
                    Everybody down!

     Nicholas spins.  At a far entrance, TWO SECURITY GUARDS aim
     guns.  PEOPLE SCREAM.  Some run.  Many dive for cover.
     PANIC.  Nicholas gets behind Christine...

     He uses Christine as a shield, arm around her throat, pulling
     her backwards.  Feingold's frozen, hands held high...

                               SECURITY GUARD 1
                    Don't move!

     Nicholas glances at the door, moving for it, dragging
     Christine.  Feingold's still got his hands up...

     Nicholas and Christine near the doors...

     Feingold bolts another direction, leaping tables...

     Security Guard 1 shifts aim to Feingold...

                               SECURITY GUARD 1
                    Stop!

     Security Guard 1 FIRES...

     INT.  12TH FLOOR HALLWAY - NIGHT

     Nicholas shoves out into the hall with Christine just as
     GUNSHOTS ECHO behind.  MORE horrified SCREAMS HEARD and
     TABLES TOPPLING and PLATES CRASHING.

     Nicholas shoves Christine ahead, searching desperately...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Get us out of here...

                               CHRISTINE
                    Nicholas...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Get us out!

     He shoves.  She falls.  He pulls her back up...

     INT.  STAIRWELL -- NIGHT

     They enter.  He makes her climb at gunpoint...

                                NICHOLAS
                    Move, move, move!

     They climb stairs... up towards the "HELIPORT..."

     EXT.  ROOFTOP -- NIGHT

     Air ducts, etc.  A MUFFLED ALARM SOUNDS as Christine comes
     out the door onto the windy rooftop, followed by Nicholas.
     She backs against the railing the borders the huge BLACK
     PIT at the center of the building; an atrium SKYLIGHT.

     Nicholas SLAMS the door, throws the HEAVY BOLT, searches to
     make sure the rest of the roof is clear.

                               CHRISTINE
                    What do you think you're doing?

                               NICHOLAS
                    You tell me... I want to know who's
                    behind this.  Who did this to me...
                    how, why... ?

                               CHRISTINE
                    How deluded can you be?  There's no
                    why...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Who's responsible?!

                               CHRISTINE
                    It wasn't you.  It wasn't personal...

                               NICHOLAS
                    You call them...

     Nicholas pulls out the WALKIE-TALKIE, throws it to her.

                               CHRISTINE
                    It could have been any asshole with a
                    couple hundred million in the bank.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Call them, tell them to get the boss
                    up here.  Tell them I'll kill you...

     POUNDING is HEARD from the other side of the roof DOOR.
     MUFFLED VOICES.  Nicholas reacts.

                               CHRISTINE
                    They won't...

                               NICHOLAS
                    They will!  You tell them if they
                    don't come now, I will shoot you!

     STATIC and GARBLED ORDERS HEARD from the WALKIE-TALKIE.

                               CHRISTINE
                    I'm telling you... they'll let me die
                    first.  You're not in a position to
                    threaten them.  You're trapped.
                    You're the one who...

     Christine freezes, thrown...

                               CHRISTINE
                    ... wait a minute...

     She's taking notice of the revolver Nicholas brandishes...

                               CHRISTINE
                    Where'd you get that... ?

                               NICHOLAS
                    ... what... ?

                               CHRISTINE
                    That gun.  That... that's not
                    automatic.  The guard had an
                    automatic...

     POUNDING is LOUDER against the nearby door.

                               NICHOLAS
                    What the fuck are you... ?

                               CHRISTINE
                    Where'd you get that gun?

                               NICHOLAS
                    It's mine...

                               CHRISTINE
                    We searched the house.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Guess you missed it.

                               CHRISTINE
                         (suddenly very afraid)
                    Just... wait.  Just wait!  Okay...
                    please, I'm not kidding anymore...

     Christine brings the WALKIE-TALKIE to her mouth...

                               CHRISTINE
                         (into walkie-talkie)
                    He's got a gun.  Everyone, he's got a
                    real gun up here!  Real situation!
                         (switching channels)
                    ... damn it...

                               NICHOLAS
                    What are you doing?

                               CHRISTINE
                    Nicholas, this is fake.  It's all
                    part of the game...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Fuck you.

     THUMP-THUMP-THUMP against the DOOR...

                               CHRISTINE
                    Listen very carefully, I'm telling
                    the truth... this is the game.  This
                    was all the game.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Bullshit.  They killed him.
                    Feingold, Fisher, whoever... they
                    shot him...

                               CHRISTINE
                    No, now wait... think about it.  What
                    did you see... ?

                               NICHOLAS
                    I saw them kill him!

                               CHRISTINE
                    What did you really see?  This
                    whole time... special effects,
                    squibs, like in the movies.  Please,
                    you've got to believe me...
                         (into walkie-talkie)
                    He's got a gun, with real bullets!

                               NICHOLAS
                    Stop talking to them!

                               CHRISTINE
                    Okay... okay...
                         (drops walkie-talkie)
                    I put it down.  Now open that door.
                    Mister Fisher's right on the other
                    side of that door.  He's an actor...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Stop talking...

                               CHRISTINE
                    Nicholas...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Shut up!

                               CHRISTINE
                    Let me show you...

     She takes a step toward the door.

                               NICHOLAS
                    No!  You take another step, I'll
                    shoot!  They're trying to kill me...

                               CHRISTINE
                    You're wrong.  You're about to make
                    the biggest mistake of your life.
                    Put that gun down.

     POUNDING on the DOOR is DESPERATE.  Nicholas falters...

                               CHRISTINE
                    Think about it!  They followed you
                    every step of the way.  There was
                    always a safety net.  The taxi, there
                    was a diver.  At my house, the window
                    was rigged... they shot at us with blanks...

                               NICHOLAS
                    That's not true...

                               CHRISTINE
                    It is.  It's what you hired us for.
                    Nobody touched your money.  Nobody
                    stole anything.  They're waiting on
                    the other side of that door with
                    champagne... all your friends... it's
                    a celebration...

                               NICHOLAS
                    No...

                               CHRISTINE
                    Open that door, you'll see.  Your
                    brother's there... Conrad.  He's
                    there.  It's your birthday party...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Stop it!

                               CHRISTINE
                    Please, Nicholas, let me show you...

     She takes a tentative step towards the door...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Don't move, you bitch... !

                               CHRISTINE
                         (still moving)
                    I have to show you...

                               NICHOLAS
                    No!

     And from the staticy WALKIE-TALKIE on the ground:

                               MALE VOICE (v.o.)
                         (thru WALKIE-TALKIE)
                    ... Take him down!  Take him down...

                               CHRISTINE
                         (shouts to door)
                    He's got a gun!

     With a CLANK! -- the DOOR is POUNDED OPEN, swinging...

     Nicholas turns, aims at the door...

                               CHRISTINE
                    Don't!

     Nicholas FIRES, gunshot DEAFENING... !

     In the doorway, Conrad, in TUXEDO and PARTY HAT, is startled
     as the magnum of CHAMPAGNE he holds EXPLODES and throws foam
     and glass in a wide spray...

     The smile falls from Conrad's face as BLOOD spreads across
     his chest.  He looks to Nicholas, confused, collapsing...

     A collective cry of horror comes from the gaily dressed
     PARTY-GOERS behind as Feingold catches Conrad and eases him
     to the ground, cradles him...

     Nicholas lowers his gun... realizing...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Connie...

     Feingold clutches Conrad, trying to stop the bleeding,
     feeling for a pulse.  Blood flows out Conrad's mouth.

                               FEINGOLD
                    Jesus... you shot him... !
                         (back to others)
                    Someone call an ambulance!

     Conrad's eyes are closed.  He's motionless.  He's dead.

     Christine lets out a hysterical sob, hands to her mouth.

                               FEINGOLD
                    Oh, God... oh, God...

     Nicholas drops the gun, moves forward, stunned, numb...

                               FEINGOLD
                    He's dead... he's dead... !
                         (to Nicholas)
                    You killed him!

     Nicholas falls to his knees in front of Feingold and Conrad.
     Christine's eyes fill with tears...

                               CHRISTINE
                         (to Nicholas)
                    Why?!  I told you... I told you.  Why
                    didn't you listen?

     Feingold releases Conrad to the floor, rising, bloody...

                               FEINGOLD
                    We're going to jail.  We're all going
                    to jail for the rest of our lives...

     People start clearing out of the stairwell, heading down.

                               FEINGOLD
                         (to Nicholas)
                    We thought you knew!  How could you
                    let this get so out of hand?

     Nicholas just remains kneeled there, breathing unevenly,
     staring at his brother's corpse...

                               CHRISTINE
                    Why wouldn't you listen to me?  What
                    is wrong with you?  You killed your
                    own brother!

     Nicholas looks to the dark sky, tears streaming down his
     face.  He looks all around.

     Christine stops, looking down at the corpse, crying out of
     control.  Feingold comes to attempt to comfort her.

     Nicholas gets to his feet, unsteady, backing away, looking
     to the GLASS SKYLIGHT.  He wipes his tears.

     Nicholas stands motionless for the longest time.  Calm.

     Nicholas moves forward... a goal in mind...

     Christine turns, sees...

     Nicholas comes to the edge of the SKYLIGHT...

     Christine screams...

     Nicholas leaps...

     INT.  C.R.S. BUILDING -- NIGHT

     Nicholas CRASHES thru the SKYLIGHT, FALLING...
     SPARKLING SHARDS surround him like stars as he PLUMMETS...

     The WORLD BELOW is PITCH DARK.  Nicholas turns in the air,
     head thrown back, closing his eyes...

     FLASHBACK/GRAINY HOME MOVIES -- FLASH FRAMES

     QUICK IMAGES: the CLOWN, CHRISTINE'S FACE, NICHOLAS and
     CONRAD as children, Nicholas' FATHER striking the ground...
     IMAGES so RAPID they're hard to process.

     BACK TO SCENE

     As Nicholas falls...

     FALLING forever...

     He lets out a CRY as the end rushes closer...        
     BRILLIANT LIGHT suddenly illuminates him.  Nicholas throws
     his eyes open, gasping in the brightness...

     LIGHTS come on from all sides to show NICHOLAS' IMPACT as he
     lands on his back, arms outstretched, SWALLOWED by an
     ENORMOUS INFLATED LIFESAVING CUSHION that covers the entire
     floor of the atrium...

     AIR is HEARD RUSHING.  Nicholas sinks, coming to rest as the
     cushion DEFLATES.  Harmless bits of BREAKAWAY GLASS shower
     down.  He doesn't move...

     He can't comprehend.  Motionless.                        
     DOORS are HEARD OPENING.  FOOTSTEPS RUSHING FORWARD.

                               VARIOUS VOICES (o.s.)
                    ... let's go! ... make sure he's
                    alright... see if he's okay...

     STUNT COORDINATORS come from all directions, in C.R.S.
     jumpsuits, wading thru the flowing cushion, coming to help
     Nicholas up, asking if he's okay.  Nicholas just blinks at
     them, quaking, lips trembling...

     He's led out of the cushion, barely standing, sees...

     Conrad runs from the elevators, covered in blood but very
     much alive, smiling...

     Conrad reaches Nicholas, throwing his arms around him,
     giving him a long kiss, laughing...

                               CONRAD
                    Happy Birthday, Nickie.  Happy
                    fucking Birthday...

     Conrad embraces him again, knocks him back into the cushion.
     Nicholas is still not all there, pulling away...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Get... get off.  Get off me!!
                    You... you...

     Nicholas shoves free, staring at Conrad, looking up, looking
     back at Conrad, looking all around, terrified, near tears...

     Emotion overwhelms Nicholas.  He laughs and cries at once,
     takes Conrad in him arms, holding tight, hands balled into
     fists, clinging gratefully.

     ACROSS THE ATRIUM, DOORS OPEN and people flow out, cheering:
     Sutherland, Ilsa and Elizabeth at front, looking unsure,
     forcing smiles, led by C.R.S. ESCORTS.  And behind, DOZENS
     and DOZENS of C.R.S. WORKERS, ASSISTANTS and TECHNICIANS.

     At the bank of ELEVATORS, DING, DING, DING... DOORS OPEN and
     the CAST OF CHARACTERS EMERGES, Feingold leading, holding
     Christine's hand, everyone elated and shouting victoriously.

     The crowd encircles Conrad and Nicholas as they climb back
     out of the cushion.  HUNDREDS of WELL-WISHERS gathering...

     Conrad climbs a few stairs, pulls Nicholas along, motions...

                               CONRAD
                    Ladies and gentlemen...
                         (pause)
                    My big brother... Nicholas Van Orton!
                    He had it all, and now he has it all
                    back!

     THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE.  Nicholas looks out over them, flush,
     awed, unable to catch his breath.

                                                        CUT TO:

     INT.  C.R.S. BUILDING, ATRIUM/LOBBY -- TIME CUT - NIGHT

     LOUD MUSIC.  COCKTAIL PARTY IN PROGRESS.  A huge CAKE is
     being cut.  Tables surround a PACKED dance floor area where
     Feingold dances crazily.  Everyone's drinking, eating...

     IN THE CROWD, FIND: Nicholas stands with a bottle of
     champagne in hand, watching Ilsa embrace Conrad.

                               ILSA
                    I hope we'll be seeing more of you.

                               CONRAD
                    Count on it.

     Ilsa reaches to straighten Conrad's hair.  She regards
     Nicholas with affection, kisses his cheek.

                               ILSA
                    Goodnight.  See you home.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Goodnight.
                         (watches her go, to Conrad)
                    Where was she?

                               CONRAD
                    In a hotel.  Ordering room service
                    and watching pay-per-view.  She was a
                    real sport.

     BUSINESSMAN 1 and HEAVY MAN come thru the crowd to Nicholas.

                               BUSINESSMAN 1
                    Hey, congratulations!  You did
                    great... really kicked ass...

                               HEAVY MAN
                    Amazing, just wanted to tell you...

     Nicholas thanks them, shaking hands as they move on.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (to Conrad)
                    You know... how'd you manage the gun?
                    I mean...

                               CONRAD
                    Baby, they were all over the house
                    with metal detectors.  They switched
                    your gun with a look-alike, rigged
                    barrel, loaded with blanks.  Pop-gun.

                               MAN'S VOICE (o.s.)
                         (from behind)
                    Mister Van Orton... ?

     Nicholas and Conrad both turn to face a C.R.S. ACCOUNTANT, a
     nebbish who holds a CLIPBOARD and gives an amused look.

                               ACCOUNTANT
                    Conrad Van Orton.

                               CONRAD
                    Yeah... ?

     Conrad steps aside with the accountant.  Nicholas takes a
     swig off his champagne, nods in response to C.R.S. WORKERS
     who slap his back as the pass.

     Nicholas realizes something, begins searching the crowd as
     Elizabeth arrives with HUSBAND and DAUGHTER hand in hand.

                               ELIZABETH
                    We have to head out... just wanted to
                    say goodbye.

                               NICHOLAS
                    You're going?  Well, thanks again.
                         (to DAUGHTER)
                    Good to see you, Rachel...
                         (shakes HUSBAND'S hand)
                    Thanks for coming, Mel.  I'll get
                    your car back.  Right now it's, uh...
                    at the zoo.  Sorry.

                               ELIZABETH
                    Happy Birthday, Nicholas.

                               NICHOLAS
                    I'll call.  I really will.

                               ELIZABETH
                    I know.

     She kisses his cheek.  Nicholas waves as they go...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Bye guys.

     Nicholas looks around, still searching.  He walks, receiving
     more random congratulations, heading to a table where
     Sutherland sits puffing a cigar.  Nicholas sits.

                               SUTHERLAND
                    Bravo, young man.  you have to tell
                    me what this was all about sometime.
                         (blows cigar smoke)
                    I want you to know... when it looked
                    there for awhile like you were going
                    slowly insane... I was fully
                    prepared to have you committed to the
                    finest mental-health facility
                    available.  I mean that sincerely,
                    don't thank me.

                               NICHOLAS
                    You warm my heart.

     Sutherland smiles, raises his glass.  Conrad deposits
     himself in a seat, holding an inch-and-a-half thick stack of
     COMPUTER PAPER, studies the last sheet, thumbs the pages.

                               NICHOLAS
                    What?

                               CONRAD
                    This... ?  Oh, this is just... this
                    is the bill.

     Conrad tries to laugh, daunted.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Really?

                               CONRAD
                         (none too happy)
                    Yeah.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Split it?

                               CONRAD
                    Oh, God yes please.  Thanks, man.
                    I'll take you up on that.

                               NICHOLAS
                         (leans forward)
                    Where's Christine?
                         (off Conrad's look)
                    The waitress.

                               CONRAD
                    Yeah, yeah.  She called a cab.
                    Said something about catching a plane.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Did she?

     Nicholas looks around.

     EXT.  C.R.S. BUILDING -- NIGHT

     Nicholas comes out of the building to the street, hurrying
     without wanting to appear hurried, looks both ways.  Down
     the block, a TAXI arrives.  Christine's getting in.

     Nicholas runs to catch it...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Excuse me... Christine... !

     She looks out, waiting with the door open.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Hi.  Didn't get a chance to say
                    goodbye.

                               CHRISTINE
                    That's my fault.  I get too worked up
                    at these.  I'm very method.  You do
                    know... that's not my name.

                               NICHOLAS
                    I didn't know what else to call you.

                               CHRISTINE
                    Claire.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Claire.  Pleased to meet you.

     He holds out his hand.  She shakes.

                               CHRISTINE
                    I have to get to the airport...

                               NICHOLAS
                    Where are you going in such a hurry?

                               CHRISTINE
                    There's another gig starting in Saudi
                    Arabia.  I'm just a walk-on this time
                    though.  Bit-part.

                               NICHOLAS
                    What about dinner sometime, when you
                    get back?  Would that be... ?

                               CHRISTINE
                         (pause)
                    Is this something you're interested
                    in?  I'm not really that person I was.

                               NICHOLAS
                    I realize.  Maybe you could... tell
                    me a little about yourself.

                               CHRISTINE
                    Like what... my favorite color... ?

                               NICHOLAS
                    Like... where are you from?

                               CHRISTINE
                    Originally, Connecticut.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Big family... small?

                               CHRISTINE
                    One brother, one sister.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Studied acting, I assume?

                               CHRISTINE
                    Julliard, yeah.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Single?

                               CHRISTINE
                    Yes.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Boyfriend?

                               CHRISTINE
                    No.

                               NICHOLAS
                    Underwear?

                               CHRISTINE
                    Always.

     Nicholas nods, scratches his head.

                               NICHOLAS
                    I could learn to live with that.

     Christine smiles.

                               NICHOLAS
                    See how much I've learned already.
                    Imagine how much more I could learn
                    if you let me keep you company to the
                    airport.

     She considers.

     She moves over.  Nicholas gets in beside her, shuts the
     door.  The cab drives away, into the nighttime city.

     THE END