LABOR OF LOVE
M. Night Shyamalan
EXT. ROUTE 476 - OUTSKIRTS OF PHILADELPHIA - NIGHT
A three lane highway relegated to one lane. The serpentine
line of cars bottlenecks as it slithers by. An arch of
ORANGE AND RED FLARES outlines the area of shattered glass
and twisted metal.
We are at the site of a gruesome car accident. An ambulance
and four police cars are on the scene. Two cars are involved
in the crash. The first, a SILVER CADILLAC with its front
caved in a perfect semi-circle; there is no-one inside the
The second car is a different story entirely. A DARK GREEN
HONDA PRELUDE crushed against the concrete median that
separates the South-bound lanes from the North-bound lanes.
All the windows have imploded. The original seventeen foot
length of the car, compressed to ten. The hood has folded
back into the front seat. This car is not empty! Through
the sliver that used to be a window, WE SEE a female hand,
purple, swollen and bloody.
Some drivers have stopped their cars on the shoulder and have
walked over to the flares. A set of cops wave them back.
Get back in your cars and continue
with the traffic. There is nothing
you can do.
Get back in your cars...
OFFICER PIERCE speaks to a female OFFICER DANA.
What's the story?
She's been dead about ten minutes.
The jaws are on the way... Ran a
license check. Her name is Ellen
Parker. Forty-two years old.
What about him?
Pierce gestures to a HISPANIC TEENAGER who is cuffed behind
his back and being led to a police car.
Shit... How old is he?
Seventeen. It's his grandfather's
car. On his way back from drinking
with the 'boys'.
Pierce lets it sink in.
Who do we contact for her?
Dana checks the papers in her hand.
Her husband. Maurice Parker. They
live in Wynnewood. Married
Pierce looks back at what remains of the HONDA PRELUDE.
There isn't any good left in the
world, Dana. Not one damn thing.
CLOSE UP of the hypnotic RED AND BLUE LIGHTS that consume the
EXT. ROAD - EARLY MORNING
"TWO WEEKS EARLIER"
Just AFTER DAWN. A gentle mist hangs in the air. The calm
suburban streets wait to be flooded with a sea of middle
class homeowners on their way to work...
A woman's REEBOK CROSS-TRAINERS move along the sidewalk...
long, brisk steps, steps people have when walking with a
The Cross-Trainers enter the doors of a bakery store seconds
after a man turns a window-sign from "CLOSED" to "OPEN"...
This happens with precision timing, not losing a step... a
well practiced routine.
INT. ANGELO'S BAKERY - MORNING
ANGELO, a large man, black slicked hair -- has laid out three
identical loaves of RAISIN BREAD on the counter.
Very good batch today.
We finally see the person standing in the REEBOK CROSS
TRAINERS... MRS. ELLEN PARKER, a woman in her forties with a
heart-warming smile and wise glint in her eyes. The kind of
woman that somehow becomes more beautiful with age.
She carefully squeezes each loaf. Her hand hovers over the
INT. KITCHEN - MORNING
Twenty minutes later. The basket of the "chosen" raisin
bread is placed on the center of a table. Ellen covers it
with a cloth napkin.
The eggs sizzle in a pan. We find Ellen cooking breakfast.
A stunning African Grey Parrot sits proudly on Ellen's
shoulder. CLAUDE is a breathtaking creature with grey
feathers and a cherry red tail.
The DOOR BELL RINGS.
where a delivery man hands over a bouquet of VIOLET ORCHIDS.
Claude, still perched on Ellen like a clothing accessory,
spreads his impressive wings defensively. The delivery man
scans the far wall to find a collection of bird photographs.
A dazzling collection of all kinds of birds, elaborately
framed and hung.
Ellen signs the release and closes the door. She takes a
deep smell of the violet orchids and looks down the hall to
the open bedroom door with a glowing smile. We CATCH A
GLIMPSE of a man dressing.
Where Ellen and her husband are eating breakfast. Claude is
now in a cage in the hallway.
MR. MAURICE PARKER eats a buttered piece of raisin bread. He
is a man in his late forties, neatly combed hair, his New
York Times folded into a manageable rectangle. This is a man
who has been seated a great deal of his life... the type of
man who breaks into a sweat when taking out the garbage.
He feels a stare and looks up to find his wife with that
glowing smile. He smiles back.
Ellen gestures with her eyes to the violet orchids now
displayed proudly on the window ledge.
The flowers... they're beautiful.
Maurice studies them.
They are... who sent them?
Beat. This takes Ellen by surprise. Maurice catches the
You thought I sent them?
There was no card.
Maurice reaches over and searches the bouquet.
Have I forgotten something? Is
this a special day?
It's just a regular day.
Maurice pulls out a small bent card from between the stems.
It's from Dan and Kate Wilkins...
for dinner last week...
Maurice hands Ellen the card, she looks at it uninterested.
It's a special day isn't it?
Well, I'm sure it's not Christmas,
because you'd be worried about how
much money we don't have to spend
on each other... I know it's not
New Years, because you'd be going
on and on about wearing a tuxedo
and how much you don't like to
dance... and I'm sure it's not our
anniversary, because I didn't find
an envelope with a hundred dollars
cash on my bureau with a note that
says, 'Pick out something
pretty'... Yes -- Maurice -- I'm
virtually certain it's not a
special day today.
Ellen begins to eat. Maurice stares at her...
You're mad at me... You were
beaming a minute ago, but since I
didn't send the flowers... now
you're mad at me.
Why would I send flowers? What's
Ellen instantly becomes emotional.
Occasion? Because you love me...
That's the occasion.
Ellen returns to eating. Maurice stares at her quietly.
INT. BOOKSTORE - MORNING
A SHAFT OF LIGHT penetrates the darkness of a room... growing
LARGER as the door swings open.
Ellen steps in first followed by Maurice. Ellen goes
straight for the blinds. BURST OF LIGHT stab the room.
The spines of the BOOKS catch the light... rows and rows of
books cradled by a maze of mahogany book shelves. This is an
old-fashioned store with antique chairs at select places. A
coffee table sits near the window with a set of deep
cushioned sofa-chairs. This store is a home...
Maurice moves behind the counter and TURNS ON THE RADIO.
CHOPIN FLOWS from the old speakers atop the corner shelves --
Ellen opens the door to the store and locks it in that
position with a slanted piece of wood... The store is now
INT. BOOKSTORE - DAY
Half a dozen people wander the isles. Maurice's eyes drift
to a pair of eleven year olds who have sauntered into the
store. One boy disappears behind "Philosophy" and reappears
momentarily with his sweat-shirt zipped up to his neck -- a
rectangle is outlined under his shirt.
I see that!
Maurice comes around the corner -- the boys HAUL ASS out of
the store. They're long gone before Maurice reaches the
door. He yells after them.
I'm getting a Doberman! Two!
Ellen who is sitting in the back room doing the accounts,
comes out when she hears the commotion.
You've been saying that for two
years; I think they know you're
Maurice inspects the "Philosophy" section.
Maurice looks up as a young man, early twenties, hurries in.
KRIS REDDY walks past Maurice, his black locks of hair
peeking out from under his Philadelphia Eagles cap.
Kris waves as he removes his jacket. He is wearing a PARKER
BOOKS T-shirt underneath. He pins an "Assistant Manager" tag
Maurice thinks to himself.
Lizy, Eliza... Elizabeth Bennett...
(the answer comes to him)
Pride and Prejudice.
It has to be a full character's
They called her 'Lizy' in the
Sorry I was late. My jeep died on
the way over from the paper.
They printed your article on, 'Dry
Verses Can Dog Food'... Very
Pulitzer, here I come.
Kris notices as Maurice goes back to searching the isles.
Never have children. If they're
not a burden to you, they're a
burden to someone else.
(on the end of his words)
Kris, go to the pharmacy. Ask Mr.
Donnavan to get you a large bottle
of Geritol... Tell him, Maurice has
officially become a grumpy old man.
What'd they take this time?
Nietzsche!... As if they're going
to read Nietzsche.
Maurice moves back behind the counter clearly irritated.
They pick on you because they can
get a rise out of you... children
can sense those things.
Kris quickly opens his black shoulder bag and pulls out a
mini-tape recorder. He talks into it -- dead serious.
Monday -- August 24... Juvenile
delinquency -- Are the victims to
CLICK. The tape recorder returns to the bag. Ellen stares
at him curiously.
Story ideas. I'll forget them
Ellen nods with realization. Ellen and Kris turn their
attention to Maurice who is mumbling to himself angrily. He
looks out the window to the street to see a familiar group of
school boys waving at him tauntingly.
INT. CHINESE RESTAURANT - NIGHT
DIMLY LIT. Red and gold paper mache lanterns are sprinkled
around the room. WE FIND Ellen and Maurice polishing off a
dish of General Tso's Chicken.
Two thousand square feet... We can
add a used book section.
Ellen is not listening. She is staring at a young couple two
tables over, who can't take their eyes off each other.
Next door is a jewelry store with a
full-time security guard... He
stands outside all day. Let's see
them try and take Nietzsche then...
Maurice finally notices Ellen is not listening.
(snapping out of it)
The new store?
Honey, I told you. If it makes you
happy, we should just do it.
It's a tremendous amount of work --
We can do it together.
Maurice needed the support. His face brightens.
An empty table. The dishes have been cleared. Maurice and
Ellen are opening their fortune cookies.
What's your's say?
... Love is shown through actions
not just words.
What's that? That's not a
fortune... You will be rich...
That's a fortune. What you have is
What it is -- is the truth.
I don't follow.
Maurice, what would you do for me?
What would you do for our love?
I'm not talking about saying, I'm
talking about doing.
Maurice notices the STRAIN IN HER VOICE.
Is this going to be similar to the
Sometimes people need to see things
done for them -- because sooner or
later they don't believe the words
(raising his voice)
You don't think I love you?
(lowering the volume)
I want to be shown...
Maurice would you do anything for
What do you want from me? Would I
swim across an ocean for you?...
Would I walk across the United
States for you? Yes... Yes I
would. You know that.
No I don't. I don't even know if
you'd walk across the street for
Maurice is getting redder by the second. The entire
restaurant hangs on his response...
So what have you done for me that's
The waiter closest to the table cringes with Maurice's words.
Ellen drains of color. She stares at him in complete and
utter disbelief. She drills him with this iron glare for an
eternity then grabs her purse and heads to the exit. Maurice
stares at the table for a moment to gather what's left of his
dignity and follows her out.
The waiter moves to the table and clears the aftermath. He
sees Ellen's fortune crumpled next to her tea cup. He
unravels it. The fortune reads...
"YOU ARE A FRIENDLY AND GENEROUS PERSON."
INT. BEDROOM - DAY
The room is LIT BY ONE BEDSIDE LAMP. Maurice is sitting in
bed wearing a robe. Reading glasses at the end of his nose
as he rubs a yellow cloth over a SILVER MEDALLION. The
medallion has a raised picture of a lamp, the kind Aladdin
uses, seated on an open book and the words BOOK SOCIETY -
1992. Maurice meticulously rubs away the smudge marks.
Ellen is at the edge of the bed -- as far from Maurice as
possible. Her back is to him as she sleeps under the covers.
She speaks without turning around.
Why do you polish that thing all
You're talking to me?
Why do you polish it?
Maurice studies the impressive silver medallion.
A Book Society Award is a very
Why are you polishing it -- in bed
-- in your pajamas -- at 11:15 at
night? Are you going to show it to
There's no reason.
Exactly. No reason. No occasion.
It just makes you feel good to do
something for it, to express your
pride and affection for it some
How come you'd do that for a piece
of metal and not for me?
Maurice has no answer. He just stares at his hands.
ELLEN'S face can be seen under the covers facing away from
Maurice. Her eyes are red. The tears roll off her nose and
land on the pillow unseen and unheard.
INT. KITCHEN - MORNING
The kitchen table is mockingly empty. No bread. Not even a
crumb. Maurice, dressed for work, eyes the table with great
resolve. He rubs his hands together ceremoniously.
I can do this.
Maurice moves to the fridge and gets out two eggs, onions,
green peppers and mushrooms.
CLAUDE is chirping INCESSANTLY FROM THE HALL.
The pile teeters precariously in Maurice's arms as he moves
to the counter. Next the pans come out -- He tries to pull
the bottom pan from the cabinet --
Ellen is seated in bed, arms crossed -- equal resolve in her
face. A LARGE METALLIC CRASH OF POTS ECHOES FROM DOWNSTAIRS.
Ellen grabs her robe.
Ellen gently takes Claude out of his cage. She kisses him.
The bird, once frantic, instantly at peace.
You missed mommie... worried when I
didn't come down... my baby... so
Ellen feeds the bird as she peeks around the corner, careful
not to be seen. Maurice is desperately trying to cook an out
of control omelette. It spills over the sides and SIZZLES on
the range top. He tries to scoop it up with the pan, tilting
it further -- further -- the entire omelette slides onto the
range. Maurice frantically tries to wrangle it back in. Man
vs. Egg. Man losing.
Ellen has to keep herself from laughing. Her expression
changes to pity as she watches the chaos unfold.
INT. BAKERY - MORNING
Ellen scrutinizes a new three loaves of raisin bread.
Angelo smiles and packages the chosen loaf.
INT. KITCHEN - MORNING
A defeated Maurice is eating an apple. He looks up with
surprise as Ellen walks into the kitchen from the back door,
a bag under her arm. She glances at him and then moves to
the counter where she prepares the bread for serving. Ellen
looks down into the trash to find the rebellious omelette
The bread gets laid out in its usual basket, in its usual
manner. Maurice says nothing as Ellen pulls two eggs from
the fridge and cracks them on a sizzling pan with expert
Maurice smiles warmly at his wife's back before moving to her
and hugging her from behind. He whispers in her ear.
Why do you put up with me?
Love... has something to do with
Maurice reaches over and turns off the stove. He then turn
Ellen around and kisses her long and hard. Ellen pulls away
gently and stares into his eyes. Maurice looks very
I do love you... very, very much.
(with all his heart)
I will -- I promise.
Ellen kisses Maurice and returns to the eggs. Maurice
continues to hug her from behind. The MORNING SUN pours into
the kitchen covering Ellen and Maurice in a golden bath.
INT. EMPTY STORE - AFTERNOON
A large black man wearing a dress shirt, sleeves rolled up to
the elbows TURNS ON a switch. A SET OF TUBE LIGHTS FLICKER
CARL STONE leads Maurice out to the main room which is
presently a cob-web infested, barren space with a few
discarded packing boxes left in the corners.
Maurice runs his fingertips against the wall.
History and the arts will be
His hand makes a grand swirl pointing to another area. He
says the next two words with great awe as if he was saying
Carl watches curiously as Maurice walks around in a trance.
He moves to the bay window that over looks the street.
We'll have a hand-painted sign...
(another grand swirl)
... Parker Books.
Maurice's already bright eyes, brighten even more as he spots
the security guard strolling up and down the front of the
jewelry store. The guard catches his stare and waves.
Maurice is aglow... He turns to Carl.
This is my dream... it's finally
Carl has to smile -- rarely does he see someone so happy.
INT. OFFICE ROOM - AFTERNOON
We are in Carl's cramped upstairs office... just enough room
to walk amongst the file cabinets.
Maurice holds his pen over the documents before him.
I wish my wife were here. She
should see this...
She had a doctors appointment in
Blue Bell. That's a one and a half
hour drive. Ellen's been going to
that doctor since she moved to
We could do this tomorrow?
Ellen gave me strict orders to sign
it... We invited some friends over
-- you see, for a celebration.
Carl smiles patiently, he's seen this before.
Maurice gathers his strength as he puts pen to paper... He
scribbles his signature quickly and let's the pen drop to the
table top as if all the energy drained from his body. He
looks up to Carl with powerful eyes.
Every journey begins with one step
Enjoy your party Mr. Parker... Your
new store will be waiting for you
Carl and Maurice shake hands like best friends.
INT. HOUSE - NIGHT
A wine chiller sits proudly on the coffee table. The SOUNDS
OF LIGHT CONVERSATION float through the room. About ten
friends and family have gathered.
Maurice sits on the sofa nearest the window. He's listening
to the drone of TED PRICE.
Ellen is not present.
... So she says the "L" word, after
two dates, the "L" word! She says
'Don't you believe in true love?
Love that can conquer all?' I say,
'Whoa, hold on. Just so we're
clear on things, I think love these
days is shit. It don't mean a
thing and it don't stand for
nothing. Shit.'... You know what
she says, 'Fine, but how do you
feel about kids?'
Everyone near the SOFA LAUGHS. A CAR LIGHT DANCES ON THE
CURTAINS... Maurice quickly pulls the curtain aside and
watches as the car pulls past the house and around the
corner. Maurice turns back from the window hiding his
concern and without missing a beat...
It's nice to see you don't have any
scars from your divorce.
This brings on another ROUND OF LAUGHTER.
THE TELEPHONE RINGS.
Maurice rises from his seat -- but is waved off by ADELLE
MATLIN who picks up the phone right away. Adelle is
Maurice's niece, early thirties, very attractive and always
smiling -- except at this moment.
Ted begins another one of his stories -- the words are
incoherent as Maurice watches Adelle carefully... Adelle
turns her back to the room as she talks and then DISAPPEARS
into the kitchen stretching the phone cord around the
doorway... Something is definitely wrong.
Maurice steadies his gaze at the door of the kitchen...
eternal seconds pass before Adelle appears again. She looks
different -- ghostly. She glances up for a fraction of a
second locking eyes with her uncle -- she immediately looks
Maurice watches Adelle move to her husband GERALD and
whispers in his ear. Gerald changes instantly -- taking on
the same ghostly transformation -- his eyes dart to Maurice.
Ted's story is cut off as Maurice speaks LOUDLY...
The room goes SILENT as all eyes fall on Adelle and Gerald.
Maurice, can we go into the dining
What's happened to my wife?
This hits everyone in the room like a bomb. A dread hangs
over every passing second... Gerald crumbles under the
moment... Adelle begins to cry.
There was a car accident... Drunk
Some of the crowd reacts. A women covers her mouth. The
moment is unbearable.
Please God -- don't do this.
Gerald cracks -- the tears start to flow from his eyes.
Maurice, it was serious... I don't
know how to --
Gerald buries his face into the heels of his palms as if
trying to contain an explosion in his head.
Oh Jesus, please help me... She
didn't... Ellen didn't make it...
Ellen's dead Maurice.
Maurice closes his eyes shut tightly... like a child scared
of the dark.
Adelle blacks out, knocking over the wine chiller on the way
to the ground. In less than a minute the room has
transformed from a celebration to a mourning. Everyone is
frozen staring at Maurice for their cue... A child in her
mother's arms begins to cry as if aware of the circumstances.
EXTREME CLOSE UP. Maurice opens his eyes slowly. The room
stays still as Maurice stares at Ellen's HAT sitting on the
EXT. PARKER HOUSE - MORNING
A "FTD" Florist truck pulls up. A delivery man, moves with
an extravagant bouquet of flowers to the front door. He
RINGS THE DOOR BELL. No answer. KNOCKS. No answer.
The delivery man looks to the ground and searches, before
placing the bouquet on the porch.
WE NOW SEE that the porch is completely covered with flowers,
bouquets and wreaths. The delivery man tip-toes his way
through the maze of condolences and moves to his truck.
INT. KITCHEN - MORNING
Maurice waits, as the SOUND OF THE FLOWER TRUCK FADES AWAY,
then looks into Claude's cage. Claude sits on the highest
perch and continues to call to his mother. Maurice stares at
the pile of untouched food on the floor of the cage.
Eat the food Claude...
Maurice seated at the kitchen table.
He looks at the bouquet of flowers still seated on the window
sill. The violet orchids are all dead and shriveled up.
INT. PARKER HOUSE - NIGHT
The house feels abandoned -- lifeless.
THE HOUSE IS SILENT EXCEPT FOR THE FRANTIC CHIRPING OF CLAUDE
FROM THE HALL. His hopeless cries punctuating the air every
Maurice sits in a chair facing Ellen's wardrobe closet. The
LIGHTS IN THE ROOM ARE OFF. The room is lit only by the
LIGHT FROM THE HALLWAY STREAMING IN AT AN ANGLE.
Maurice gets up and with a great deal of uncertainty, opens
the closet. Maurice stares at the collection of hanging
He reaches out and pulls the cloth of a floral dress towards
him... He closes his eyes and smells the cloth... his face
tightens in pain... both hands cling to the dress tightly...
he tries desperately, can't fight it -- Maurice Parker begins
His hands grab frantically at the rest of the dresses --
pressing them to his face and chest.
Oh God... I'm sorry Ellen... I'm so
He hugs the dresses as if they were her. His weeping turns
to a torturous wail of grief... all the love, all the anger
spilling out in this one moment.
He falls to the ground yanking all the dresses down with him
-- they collapse atop him... He buries his face in his wife's
The MUFFLED SOUND OF HIS CRIES ECHOES through the lonely
EXT. PARK - MORNING
The neighborhood park. The trees in full bloom. Maurice
walks down a path leading to the open fields. Only mothers
with strollers and the elderly are out this early.
Maurice is seated on a park bench. Across from him is an
ELDERLY COUPLE -- in their seventies. The OLD WOMAN is frail
with tiny eyes that disappear when she smiles. The husband
is a skinny man with a baseball hat that makes him look like
a little boy.
Maurice watches them silently as they sit and hold hands...
Their warm laughs and whispered conversations stinging him.
He watches as the old man gets up. The old woman tries to
make him stay, but he playfully pulls away. She shakes her
head like a shy school girl as the old man walks back down
the path by himself.
The old woman glances Maurice's way.
The old woman glances at the empty baby carriage standing
next to the bench.
Is it a boy or a girl?
Oh, that's not mine.
Maurice gestures to the woman and baby who are sitting on a
blanket in the grass.
I don't have kids.
You should. Children are a
blessing from God. I have four.
The old woman studies him.
Are you okay?
Is that your husband?
She nods, "Yes."
You look so happy -- how long have
you been married?
This hits Maurice hard.
Are you married?
This hits Maurice even harder.
(this is painful)
Yes... Seventeen years.
The old woman looks down the path for her husband.
Where did he go?
He's getting my sweater from the
car. I said there was a breeze.
(shaking her head)
I told him not to go.
May I ask you a question that might
How do you know he loves you?
The old woman looks at him oddly.
I mean besides... time -- how did
you know ten years ago -- twenty
She thinks hard... tough question. No answer for a moment
The old woman sees something out of the corner of her eye --
her husband is walking up the path with her white lace
sweater over his arm...
She smiles as the answer comes to her.
Because he shows me... he's not
much for words, but he shows me.
Maurice sits back -- her answer lingers in the air like a
Maurice watches as the old man comes back and drapes his wife
with the sweater. The old woman waves as they continue down
the path... hand in hand.
INT. DOCTORS OFFICE - DAY
An obese woman with a hacking cough sits to the left of
Maurice... To the right, a man with a patch over his eye.
Parker... Maurice Parker.
The nurse sticks her head outside the glass divider till
Maurice stands up.
DR. ROYCE checks a chart. Maurice watches him from his perch
on the examination chair.
So what's the deal Maurice?
I mean why the sudden voluntary
visit -- usually it takes gun-
point to get you in here...
Routine, I assure you. I just
wanted to gage my health. Am I
Yes -- you are.
I'm going to ask you a question
that may sound peculiar.
Dr. Royce folds his arms and waits... What's this all about?
How far could an individual walk if
they had no athletic training --
you understand, just an ordinary
Dr. Royce stares at him suspiciously.
I know what you're getting at.
I've seen it before.
You're feeling old and you want to
start exercising. A lot of men
your age feel the need to recapture
their youth. Don't feel
embarrassed about it.
You should start slow and easy --
fifteen minutes a day.
No. How far in one attempt --
what's the farthest someone like
myself could walk?
The doctor is confused again.
Just for curiosity sake that's all?
I don't know -- maybe twenty
miles... Of course I'm not
recommending that... if someone
like you had to I mean... that's
how far they'd probably get before
encountering serious physical
Twenty miles? I see.
Maurice thinks about it carefully as the doctor returns to
INT. AAA AUTO CLUB - DAY
A hip young woman with her forehead wrapped in a headband
chews away on a stick of gum. JOSELLE leans over the counter
with Maurice and studies a map.
Each inch represents 150 miles...
Making the grand total?
Damn baby, relax. I'm getting to
(taking on a rehearsed
From Philadelphia following the
route highlighted to Pacifica
California -- you're traveling an
estimated three thousand two
Maurice is a bit pale. He follows the yellow highlighted
highways winding it's way across the U.S.
Three thousand miles?... How many
times does twenty go into three
What was that?
Perhaps there's another route?
This is the route approved by
triple A. Even if you followed
back roads the entire way, you'd
still be looking at roughly the
Joselle studies his concerned expression.
Don't worry baby, it shouldn't take
you more than five days if you just
stop to sleep and eat.
By car right?
Joselle scrunches her face in exaggerated shock and takes a
step back to look Maurice up and down.
How else you gonna get there on the
Maurice gives her a sad expression. If she only knew.
INT. NEW STORE - DAY
The future Parker Books. The room sits as empty and barren
Maurice sits on the floor against the far wall. He stares at
his new store. His gaze turns to the window where the guard
strolls by. The guard doesn't notice him.
Maurice looks terrible, his eyes red and framed by bags...
his skin a yellowish white.
He moves to his feet and TURNS OFF THE LIGHTS.
INT. BOOKSTORE - AFTERNOON
Kris unloads the last of a shipment of books. He moves to
Maurice who sits by the window to the street. Maurice points
to a chair across from him and Kris takes a seat.
Why do you want to be a journalist
Kris? What sparked your interest?
I want to reach people. Nobody
listens to me. This is my way to
To reach people, you have to feel
something first... You write about
the wrong things. How can you feel
for dog food? The people at the
Gazette don't respect it, and
neither do you.
This is a ghost town. Nothing ever
Write from your heart. That's why
the classics are great.
Why are you telling me this Mr.
Maurice looks out the window and picks up an envelope from
the coffee table between them. He hands it to Kris.
Your bus is arriving.
Kris opens the envelope and finds money.
It's one month's pay.
Kris gets up. A shock of adrenaline hits him.
Are you firing me?
No. No... I won't be here for a
while. The store will be closed in
Kris grabs his coat, shifting his attention between the
window and Maurice?
You going on a trip Mr. Parker?
Kris moves to the door.
That's cool. What day are you
I'm not sure -- sometime in January
Kris stops cold. The door to the street half-open.
When are you leaving?
Kris is seriously confused now. Maurice decides to end the
I'm walking there Kris.
Kris' jaw hits the floor as the bus pulls to a stop across
the street. Kris pulls up his sleeve and glances at his
The hairs on my arm are standing
up... Something strange is
I always knew you had good
Goodbye Kris. I'll see you when I
Kris hesitates before darting out of the store, across the
street and into the bus. Kris takes a seat in the back and
digs into his bag and pulls out the tape recorder. CLICK.
Thursday, September 25... 'The
Death Of A Spouse - Can It Drive
EXT. WYNNEWOOD PENNSYLVANIA - DAWN
A BRILLIANT RED HUE BLANKETS THE HORIZON.
The suburbs come to life...
Men and women leaving for work...
School buses picking up their cargo of passengers...
Store owners opening their businesses...
A group of eleven year old boys including the two
kleptomaniacs we saw earlier, are standing before a closed
door staring at a sign. They look at each other before
heading down the block.
The sign reads: CLOSED - OWNER OUT OF TOWN.
INT. HOUSE - MORNING
The house is eerily silent.
Three things lay on the dining table. A shoulder bag filled
with clothes. A carrying bag with personals. And a set of
Maurice checks the locks on all windows... He places all the
food in the refrigerator into a trash bag... He pulls out a
drawer and loosens a side panel, a wad of money flops out.
Maurice pockets the bills...
Maurice walks through the hall with a portable cage. He
stops before Claude's hanging cage... no movement, no
chirping. Maurice stares emotionally for a moment before
reaching in and carefully removing CLAUDE'S LIFELESS BODY
from the bottom of the cage. Maurice looks down at the lost
pet in his hands.
I know how you feel.
EXT. HOUSE - MORNING
Maurice buries the bird in the backyard.
Maurice sits at the table... the essentials laying before
him. He clings to a wallet size photo of Ellen.
Maurice stands and gathers his things.
EXT. PENNS LANDING - DAY
Maurice stands at the edge of the water. Recreations of
historical ships are docked in the harbor. The old fashioned
sails and masts sway in the gentle breeze.
The SOUNDS OF A STREET VENDOR catch Maurice's ears. He turns
to see a funnel cake booth in a row of food stalls.
EXT. TWENTY YEARS EARLIER - DAY (FLASHBACK)
The harbor is jammed with people. A street fair is in full
swing. The SOUNDS OF A LIVE BAND MIX WITH THE CRIES OF THE
MAURICE -- EARLY TWENTIES... Skinny, dark rich hair. He
yells out from behind a booth of paperback books.
Three dollars a piece... Two for
four dollars! All the classics!
A young woman emerges from the crowd of browsers. Maurice
begins to speak but is caught off guard by YOUNG ELLEN'S
beautiful features. Maurice manages a few words.
Can I help you?
My father owns the food stall over
Maurice looks over to find an enormous man serving food.
You look thirsty.
Ellen places the soda she had at her side on the table.
Maurice is completely flustered.
Hi, I'm Ellen.
Ellen places her hand out. Maurice grabs it instinctively
Ellen looks at the full table of books.
Not doing too good huh?
Maurice nods "no."
It'll pick up. I've been coming to
these things my whole life...
people don't want to carry things
as they walk around... you'll sell
as the fair starts to end...
Ellen waits for Maurice to say something but nothing comes
You don't talk much do you?
I read a lot.
Ellen's father BELLOWS FOR HER OVER THE CROWD. Maurice jumps
at the sound.
I better go...
(Ellen starts for her
... Come over if you get hungry.
Ellen disappears into a sea of people. Maurice stands in awe
for a second before snapping out. He shakes his head to
I read a lot?
LATER - IN THE FAIR
The people are filing out of the street. Maurice is a whirl
wind of activity as people wave dollar bills at him calling
out classical titles.
Maurice glances over to Ellen's booth. She is watching him
with a big smile. Maurice gestures to the line with a
shocked expression. Ellen laughs.
The booths are packing up. Ellen helps pack away the
remaining food. A book is placed in front of her on the
counter. The book is "Romeo and Juliet." Ellen looks up to
see a very shy Maurice standing before her. Ellen gives him
a smile that melts him.
Are you trying to tell me
Beat. Maurice eyes Ellen's dad who throws him deadly
glances. Maurice is very intimidated. He whispers to her.
Walk with me?
You like to take walks?
No. But I want to take a walk with
Ellen looks at him carefully... looks right through him.
You just said something very sweet.
EXT. THE EDGE OF THE WATER - DUSK
The water reflects the lights from the harbor. Maurice and
Ellen are standing very close.
What are you thinking?
Ellen looks out onto the water.
It's one of those thoughts you keep
Please tell me.
I was just thinking that if we
actually became a couple -- this
was a beautiful place to begin
Maurice is bright red. Ellen giggles at his shyness.
Maurice gathers his strength and looks her straight in the
Maurice leans forward and kisses her softly.
EXT. PENNS LANDING - MORNING (PRESENT)
Maurice, tears in his eyes, stands in the spot they stood
many years before.
I love you Ellen.
On this empty dock... on this hot day in September... with no
witnesses and no fan-fare, Maurice Parker takes the first
steps of his journey.
SUPERIMPOSED ON THE SCREEN: SEPTEMBER 26, 1993
EXT. STREET - DAY
A topless CHERRY RED WRANGLER JEEP pulls out of a mechanic's
garage and moves down route 32. Kris Reddy is at the wheel.
A "Daily Gazette" sign flaps from his roll-bar.
Kris changes the station on the radio as his eye catches a
man walking on the opposite side of the street... Kris turns
back to the road -- mind racing... BRAKES SCREECH as the jeep
slows and then RUMBLES over the island separating the
lanes... making a U turn across a four lane highway.
EXT. STREET - DAY
Maurice wiping his brow with a handkerchief. The Wrangler
jeep rolls up next to him as he walks. Maurice doesn't stop
walking as Kris leans over the passenger seat.
... Round The World In Eighty Days.
... Hello Kris.
You're amazing... What are you
doing Mr. Parker?
I told you.
Beat. Cars HONK as they pull by the slow duo.
You're walking to California?
Pacifica, California -- it's a
Oh, a coastal city. That's good.
Kris looks around to see if anyone else sees the lunacy in
Ellen told me that she didn't know
if I loved her.
She knew you loved her.
She wasn't certain... I never
really showed her.
I'm really lost. What does this
have to do with walking?
I said, 'I would do anything for
her'... and she didn't believe me.
I said, 'I'd walk across the
country for her'... she didn't
Maurice looks to Kris rolling along beside him. He sees the
worried expression on his face.
I need to show her how much I love
Because I should have shown her
before... Everyday, I should have
Pacifica, California... that's a
long ways away.
So I've been informed.
Kris tries to act calm, but it doesn't last long.
Shit Mr. Parker. You can't walk
across the United States -- it's
over three thousand miles.
Maurice takes his time with the response. Kris waves more
cars to pass them.
Ellen got up every morning and went
to the corner store to get me my
bread for breakfast... Everyday.
Now that's about a quarter mile
each way... 17 years... that comes
to about three thousand miles...
(he smiles to himself)
And you know what Kris?
What Mr. Parker?
She never ate a slice.
Maurice picks up speed -- surer with every step... Kris slows
the jeep to a stop and reaches into his bag. The mini tape
recorder goes on with a CLICK.
Thursday, September 26... 'The
Question We Never Ask - What Would
We Do For Love?'
Kris watches through the windshield as Mr. Parker disappears
down Route 32.
EXT. PARKER HOUSE - AFTERNOON
The wreaths, flowers and bouquet have now tripled in number.
They spill onto the lawn and walkway. A neighborhood dog
rummages through the more colorful bouquets.
The abandoned house. A TELEPHONE RINGS CONTINUOUSLY. It
stops after a string of rings. It BEGINS AGAIN AFTER A FEW
INT. BOOKSTORE - AFTERNOON
The dark bookcases echo the RINGS OF THE TELEPHONE. The
answering machine finally picks up.
MACHINE (ELLEN'S VOICE)
Hello you've reached Parker Books --
our store hours are eight to six...
INT. ADELLE'S HOUSE - AFTERNOON
A center-city Town house. Wall to wall books, "Cognitive
Psychology", "Physiology of Behavior", "Abnormal Psychology",
"Clinical Psychology", the titles cover every shelf and every
Adelle Matlin hangs up the phone, and moves to the living
room where her husband is reading a paper in his recliner.
Something's wrong. I'm worried.
Gerald looks on with an assuring smile.
He probably just went somewhere.
For a walk. I don't know.
Uncle Maurice? Are you kidding?
He hates walking.
EXT. MOTEL - NIGHT
Nighttime. The empty street ECHOES with the TIRED SHUFFLE OF
Maurice stops in this tracks and picks up a CRUSHED COKE CAN
FROM THE SIDE OF THE ROAD. He places it upright at the place
where he stands. Maurice immediately walks off the highway
into a small MOTEL PARKING LOT.
INT. MOTEL - NIGHT
A motel clerk checks his wooden keys.
Pool times are 11 am to 5 pm,
there's cable in every room with
two premium channels. HBO and
CINEMAX. Pay Per View Channels can
I need a bed and I need Tylenol...
The room comes with two twin Sealy
Posturepedics... but the Tylenol
will be extra.
Maurice stares at him with exhausted eyes.
THE INSIDE OF A FLORAL PRINTED ROOM
Maurice's shoulder bags are on the bed... The WATER IS
RUNNING IN THE BATHROOM.
Maurice gently moves his hands under the bathtub head,
checking the temperature. He sits on the edge of the tub.
Maurice peels off his shoes with great pain. They slide
across the dull white tiles into the corner. The once well
kept English Loafers could be mistaken for trash now.
Maurice rubs his barefeet with both hands -- grimacing from
the pain. The tub is almost filled. Maurice stops the tap.
The steam from the water fills the room.
Maurice raises his legs with great effort and submerges each
leg into the steaming water. His eyes close with great
relief as his body melts into the tub. Maurice lays his head
on the side of the tub... It only takes ten seconds before
Maurice's SNORING fills the bathroom.
THE OUTSIDE OF THE QUAKER MOTEL ON ROUTE 32
The neon MOTEL SIGN THROBS RED.
SUPERIMPOSED across this image are the words:
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA... MILE 26
EXT. MOTEL - MORNING
Maurice looks down the highway... eyes squinting to block out
the sun. The road winds and dissolves into the horizon...
Maurice looks back the way he came -- a second of
indecision... the moment passes.
Maurice takes a deep breath before moving to the CRUSHED COKE
CAN. He moves to the exact spot where he left the road the
night before and begins walking again...
INT. NEWSPAPER BUILDING - MORNING
The elevator BELL dings, letting off a cargo of newspaper
personnel. FRANK AND SETH are two of them. They make their
way to the desks... a sea of desks pressed against each other
-- each desk has a computer.
Frank and Seth come to their corner and stop before a young
man, Phillies cap turned backwards, sitting behind an IBM 486
DX... fingers flying over the keyboard.
Someone's got a hot story.
What time did you get in?
Kris Reddy keeps typing. He spits out the answer after a few
Five... Couldn't sleep.
What's this one about Kris?
'Blinds or Curtains - The Eternal
No, no... 'Boxers Verses Tight
Undies - The Battle Continues.'
Frank and Seth crack up laughing. Frank reaches for the
printouts... Kris immediately covers them with his hand. He
stares up with a smile.
Read about it on Sunday.
EXT. STREET - DAY
Maurice exits an athletic store in a small town. On his feet
a new pair of sneakers.
EXT. STREET - DAY
Maurice as he walks down a winding highway. His new sneakers
A SHARP PAIN SHOOTS UP MAURICE'S LEG. His knees buckle. The
shoulder bags tumble to the ground followed by Maurice
himself. From a distance it looks like he's been shot.
Maurice grabs the back of his thigh and tries to straighten
his leg out... His face frozen in a painful expression.
Maurice rubs his legs slowly -- working the cramp out. He
relaxes a bit as he finally straightens his leg. Maurice
sits there motionless -- eyes glazed... defeated.
The SOUNDS OF A BIRD snap him out of his trance. He looks up
to see a PAINTED BUNTING, a bird about six inches in height
FLY DOWN from a tree and land on a rock next to him. Maurice
stares at the beautiful bird curiously. Its body splashed
with brilliant blues, reds and greens. It looks out of place
in these mundane surroundings. Maurice looks around the
skies to see no other birds. The Painted Bunting chirps a
few times before taking flight into the air. It circles over
Maurice before disappearing behind the trees.
Maurice smiles. He pulls himself to his feet with great
Maurice opens all of his bags and begins emptying the
essentials -- the maps, food, a canister of water.
Maurice reloads one bag and pulls it over his shoulder with
great effort. At his feet, are the rest of his belonging --
piled on the side of the road.
Maurice painfully begins walking again.
WE PULL BACK on Maurice's figure walking on the highway...
the pile of disregarded things laying by the side... The
highway is endless... winding it's way for miles and miles
into a fixed dot in the distance.
INT. ADELLE'S HOUSE - MORNING
Sunrise on Pennsylvania. Gerald picks the Philadelphia
Gazette off the front porch.
Gerald flips open the paper as he waits before an empty
Smells good, honey.
Adelle puts the finishing touches on a stack of pancakes.
She sets up two plates and brings them into the
Gerald's eyes remain glued to the paper. Adelle comes to the
table, holding the golden pancakes over the table. She
notices the strange look on his face.
What is it?
Adelle... Maurice is in the paper.
She stares silently at the paper laid out on the table. The
headline beams at her:
A PHILADELPHIA NATIVE'S LABOR OF LOVE
Adelle is shocked. She gazes at an old picture of her uncle
printed underneath the headline.
Oh my God.
She STORMS off into the kitchen with the golden pancakes.
Gerald looks down at his empty plate longingly.
INT. POLICE STATION - DAY
SERGEANT DALLY pretends to be concerned.
What would you like us to do?
Put out a P.B.S.... Or whatever
A.P.B.... He isn't breaking any
law. He's a grown man... He can
crawl on his hands and knees to
China if that's what he wants to
Sergeant, I'm a psychologist and I
know the difference between normal
whims people have and actions that
clearly display psychological
problems... My uncle lost his wife
and it devastated him.
We're very sorry about that. Some
of our men were on the scene of the
I think my uncle is suffering from
a condition called Mania which is
linked with depression. It is a
time when an individual will act
over-confident, and will act out
impractical, grandiose plans.
Sometimes these plans can be
How long does this... Mania last?
A couple days to a few months if
Dally digests this information.
Look, I'll see if anyone has
spotted him recently. If I get any
information, I'll call you.
Don't wait by the phone. If he's
really been walking this whole
time, he's out of our
Adelle looks very emotional... on the verge of tears.
Don't worry he'll be back. He's in
his forties. He's had no physical
training... He'll be back by the
end of the week.
EXT. HIGHWAYS - DAY
A floating DOT moves along a flat stretch of road...
The sun drops behind rolling hills. The DOT has become
LARGER, sprouting arms and legs...
Darkness has fallen. The DOT has materializes into MAURICE.
A clerk hands over a set of keys in exchange for money.
ROAD - MORNING
Maurice walks back onto the highway and steps next to an old
boot that has been used as today's MARKER. Maurice starts
walking from that point.
Maurice grabs two handfuls of small green boxes. He places
them on the table. The cashier stares down at the eight
boxes of Ben-Gay and rings it up.
Maurice standing at the entrance to a tunnel that pierces the
side of a mountain side. Maurice makes "The sign of the
cross" and walks into the darkness...
EXIT OF TUNNEL
Maurice appears on the other side with a smile of relief.
He's awed at the beauty of the landscape. Tiny clusters of
buildings far in the distance wrapped in a blanket of green
for miles on every side.
Maurice asleep in the bathtub.
ROAD - DUSK
It's raining hard like gun-fire from the sky. Maurice sits
on the edge of a road rubbing his legs. His hair matted to
his head. The rain pelts the ground in forceful waves.
At a cash register, Maurice slaps ten more boxes of Ben-Gay
down on the counter. A teenage girl with braces looks at him
like he's Charles Manson.
Maurice sleeps. His barefeet are propped up on his bag. His
feet are swollen and red with fresh blisters. A pack of ice
is wrapped around his knee with an old shirt... The picture
of Ellen clutched in his hand.
Two joggers pass Maurice as he sees a flashing school sign.
It is a suburban town. The fallen red and orange leaves
cover every flat surface.
SUPERIMPOSE: ELKHART, INDIANA... MILE 598
EXT. SCHOOL - DAY
A line of cars pulls around a semi-circle driveway. Maurice
watches as parents drop off their children. A couple of ten
year old boys walk by.
Maurice realizes they're talking to him.
Sure man, High-Top Nike Cross
Trainers with heel supports and air
cushioned soles -- They're nasty.
The boys keep walking. Maurice looks down at his sneakers
with new-found pride.
After a while, Maurice's attention switches back to the cars.
One car in question catches Maurice's eye. A woman consoles
a small child who doesn't want to leave the car. She wipes
his tiny tears with her hand and hugs him tenderly. The
little boy's head cradled in her arms.
EXT. FIFTEEN YEARS AGO - NIGHT (FLASHBACK)
The Parker house many years ago. The house semi-furnished.
Ellen carefully hangs her first bird photographs on the wall;
a striking aerial photo of a GOLDEN EAGLE. Wings spread,
soaring high over a mountain range.
I thought we both wanted the same
I've changed my mind.
You can't change your mind.
Beat. Ellen takes a seat on the only sofa.
I want children.
You've just decided, is that right?
Young Maurice is visibly upset.
Ellen, there are two kinds of
people in the world --
Please not, 'The two kinds of
... People that were made to be
parents, and people who were not
made to be parents... My parents,
were people who were not made to be
parents but had kids anyway. I
don't want us to be that way Ellen.
You can change.
Face it Ellen, I'm not the type of
person who reads bedtime stories.
But you love me anyway.
Don't be so sure.
Ellen fiddles with her dress. She bites her bottom lip as
she tries not to cry.
What if something happens to one of
us? We'll be all alone.
Maurice loses his hard demeanor and moves next to her. He
lays his hand across her shoulder.
Nothing will happen to us. It's a
bleak picture, I know, but we're
going to be together till were old
and grey and you don't remember my
Maurice lifts her chin with his hand gently. She blinks her
eyes and a tear rolls down her cheek. He takes a deep
Let me think about it okay.
Ellen brightens up immediately.
I'm not saying anytime soon. I'm
just saying that maybe we can
consider it down the road sometime.
Ellen gives her patented glowing smile. She hugs him with
all her strength. She whispers in his ear.
I love you Maurice Parker.
EXT. INDIANA GRADE SCHOOL - DAY (PRESENT)
Maurice walks away from the school, shuffling through the
piles of leaves that block the walkways.
A child and her father walk down the path towards him.
Maurice looks away painfully. THE CHILD'S SOFT LAUGHTER
POUNDING IN HIS EARS as he quickens his pace.
INT. LIQUOR STORE - DAY
JACKSON LIQUOR WHOLESALERS. For the kind of people who buy
whiskey by the crate.
Maurice has his map unfolded over the cash register.
I can show you the main roads, but
that'll add ten miles to your trip.
Do you mind ten miles?
OUTSIDE OF LIQUOR STORE
The parking lot of the store looks like a used truck lot.
Every kind of supped-up truck one could possibly imagine is
on display here.
Maurice passes a CANARY YELLOW FLATBED PICK-UP with a group
of men drinking a newly purchased case of beer. Maurice gets
about ten feet past them when he stops, hesitates and then
heads back to them.
Excuse me, who's truck is this?
The man sitting on the hood of the truck, has dark hair and
hasn't shaven in days. This unfortunate gentleman is named
Are you and your friends planning
on driving soon?
Denny gives Maurice a greasy curious look. He squints his
Yes we are. Who the fuck are you?
Maurice, doesn't look scared, in fact he looks angered.
You don't know me from Adam, but I
want you to do something for me. I
want you to wait until you sobered
up before you get behind the wheel.
I know this is out of the ordinary,
but one man to another, would you
do me that favor?
Silence. Then everyone in the group BURSTS OUT IN DRUNKEN
Are you a preacher?
(seething with anger)
No, I just don't want anybody dying
because I didn't say something when
I had the chance.
Denny's face goes blank. No emotion. His steady gaze almost
I'll drive my truck shit-faced if I
want to. You better turn around
and walk away preacher. You don't
know who you're talking to.
Maurice looks around at the hostile faces and decides on a
retreat. Denny watches Maurice with predatory eyes.
EXT. ROAD - DUSK
Maurice practically hobbles his way down a road lined by
towering pines. He stops to take a drink from his canister
and keeps walking. The SOUNDS OF A CAR GROW IN THE DISTANCE.
Maurice doesn't turn his back.
The CANARY YELLOW TRUCK pulls over the ridge with a load full
of passengers. It gains distance on Maurice.
Maurice hears the ENGINE and waves HIS ARM IN THE AIR --
signaling for it to pass him. Maurice walks ten more feet
before turning around.
Maurice's face instantly changes when he sees the demented
grins through the windshield of the truck. Maurice turns and
quickens his pace... The truck picks up pace... Maurice
breaks into a run... The truck speeds up, passes Maurice and
stops in front of him.
Panic fills Maurice as he watches the truck unload it's
drunken passengers. Eyes scan the forest on either side for
a way out. Maurice decides to stand his ground.
This is Indiana -- nothing's going
to happen to you.
You need a ride, Preacher?
The men walk up to Maurice.
No thank you I'll walk.
A tall lanky gentleman gestures to Maurice's shoulder bag
with his beer can. Some beer sprays Maurice's feet with the
Where you coming from?
Look gentlemen, I'm late, I need
I've been thinking -- who the hell
is this preacher guy? Coming up to
me and my friends? Looking like he
wanted to kick my ass for drinking?
Denny gives Maurice that inhuman stare. Maurice is clearly
Then I figured it. You're angry.
You lost somebody, because some
asshole was drinking.
Maurice is frozen.
Maybe you lost a son? A sister? A
Maurice looks up for a millisecond. Denny doesn't miss it.
A wife?... Did someone piss drunk
run into your wife? Crushed her
like a bug. Snapped her bones?
Maurice is red with anger. Denny loves it.
Oh the preacher's getting angry
(Denny goes ice cold)
Tell me something. Did she die
instantly or did she feel every
torn muscle and shattered bone?
Were you there to help her? Or
were you safe at home when the
windshield sliced into her face --
I'll kill you!
Maurice swings. Denny easily avoids it. Maurice doesn't see
the first BLOW COMING, IT HITS HIM IN THE CHEST -- Maurice
gasps for air as he buckles to the dirt. Hands grab --
restrain. A POWERFUL KICK IN THE RIBS -- ANOTHER...
LAUGHTER... ANOTHER SET OF VICIOUS KICKS... The road and
forest begin to spin... A PAINFUL SLASH ACROSS HIS FACE...
Maurice prepares for the next blow... it never comes. RED
AND BLUE lights swirl... Maurice looks up, barely focusing --
a man leans over a car door... The image becomes clearer -- a
POLICEMAN stands poised -- gun aimed directly at the men
hovering over him.
(distorted and slowed)
Step away from him now!
INT. INDIANA POLICE STATION - EVENING
OFFICER MERRIL GREY -- balances a phone on his shoulder as he
spreads a new coat of mayonnaise on his hoagie.
Need an I.D. check on a Maurice A.
Grey reads Maurice's license.
Driver's number 22 184 877...
He was assaulted by a group of men
just outside Elkhart, Indiana...
INT. PHILADELPHIA POLICE STATION - EVENING
Sergeant Dally, the officer Adelle spoke to earlier, listens
on the other end of the phone his mouth agape.
How is he?... That's good.
Gesturing to a young officer at another desk to come over.
Dally, cups the phone.
Call Adelle Matlin... tell her we
found her uncle.
INT. PHILADELPHIA GAZETTE BUILDING - EVENING
The sea of desks are empty. One empty desk is lit -- Kris
Reddy's desk. THE CRACKLE OF A SHORTWAVE/C.B. UNIT FLOATS
THROUGH THE LARGE UNOCCUPIED ROOM from an adjacent room. The
VOICES OF DALLY AND OFFICER GREY ARE DISTORTED BUT AUDIBLE.
WE MOVE TO the back room to find Kris writing furiously in
front of an elaborate C.B. setup.
He jots down the words as fast as they're said:
"Maurice Parker... Elkhart... Route 80... Precinct 18..."
The transmission gets cut as the phone conversation ends.
Kris quickly rolls the chair across the room and grabs a map
off the shelf.
The map gets pinned under two coffee cups and a ceramic frog
as Kris traces the route from Philadelphia to Indiana... He
sits up straight in astonishment as his eyes hit the KEY of
Jesus -- he's walked six hundred
Kris glances at the hairs on his arm and smiles.
Kris at his computer and in the 'zone.' Fingers flying over
the keys passionately. On his desk is a cardboard box filled
with letters all shapes and sizes on the verge of overflowing
the top of the box. One the side of the box are the words,
"Labor of Love - Fan Mail."
INT. INDIANA POLICE STATION - MORNING
DAWN IN INDIANA -- the sun spills over the horizon.
EXT. INDIANA POLICE STATION - MORNING
Maurice and Officer Grey are seated on the front stairs of
the precinct drinking coffee when ADELLE MATLIN DRIVES UP.
Adelle steps out of a RENTED TOYOTA CELICA. Her tense --
frightened eyes betray her mental state for the past ten
hours. She walks to the stairs.
Mrs. Matlin... good morning.
Maurice slowly gets up. Adelle is in shock as she looks at
the stranger before her.
Maurice stands in a 'COLTS' football T-shirt, faded jeans and
sneakers. His left cheek is black and blue, and his arm and
side are bandaged.
Uncle Maurice, you're wearing
High-top Nike Cross-Trainers with
heel support and air-cushioned
soles. They're nasty.
Adelle wasn't sure what that meant. She shakes it off and
hugs Maurice. She is visibly relieved to have him in her
My shift ended an hour ago.
Adelle notices the ROSE in Grey's hand. Grey catches her
It's for my wife.
What's the occasion?
Grey looks to Maurice -- they exchange a knowing smile.
Adelle notices the WINK exchanged between Grey and Maurice.
You can use the conference room, if
you want to talk.
That won't be necessary.
We can talk on the way back -- I
rented a car.
It'll be kind of hard to talk,
since you'll be in the car and I
Adelle gives Maurice an angry glare -- Maurice holds his
The conference room is down the
hall on your right.
INT. POLICE CONFERENCE ROOM - MORNING
File cabinets in the corners. A small rectangle table takes
up ninety percent of the space in the room.
Maurice is seated -- his legs extended straight on another
chair. Adelle paces the front of the room.
And your store? What about your
new store? What about all your
I have new dreams now.
I don't accept that.
Maybe one day -- after you've been
married twenty years you'll
Uncle Maurice -- I spent all our
frequent flyer miles on a one way
ticket here... I have a rented car
outside, just listen to me.
Come back with me now, and if you
still want to do something like
this in a year -- maybe we'll plan
a car trip across the country --
Gerald and I will come along --
I have to walk -- by myself -- all
the way -- every inch.
It's what she asked for... It's
what I'm going to do.
She was being symbolic. What if
she asked you to fly to the moon?
You'd be visiting me at Nasa.
Adelle changes gears. She takes a seat next to Maurice and
studies his legs and tired face carefully before uttering the
What if you don't make it?
I'll make it.
If you really want to do this...
plan it out. Rest up. Train for
it. Build up your body. Plan
every stop along the way. How much
money? Time? Really do it
properly. This is all so -- by the
seat of your pants.
No it's not.
Why did you take the back roads
here? They're not safe. You'd
know that if you'd planned.
I've all ready gone six hundred
miles... I can't do it again.
If you can't redo these six hundred
miles when you're rested and ready,
how are you possible going to walk
another two thousand-five hundred
miles in your present condition?
Maurice is stumped. He looks unsure. He instantly looks on
the verge of tears.
Nothing's going to happen.
Uncle, the way I was told, if that
police car didn't happen down that
road, you would be dead right now.
That guy Denny, had jumped bail in
another state, he's dangerous...
They'll be other Dennys, if you
Maurice stares down at the table -- the life draining from
him with every word she says.
Ellen, deserves you to do this
right. Really make it -- if you're
going to do it. She deserves it.
INT. CAR - DAY
The RENTED TOYOTA CELICA turns out of the police station onto
the main road.
Adelle holds a cushion in the air as she looks in the
Do you want this? It's a long
Maurice is stretched out in the back -- his legs propped up
on a blanket. Maurice shakes his head "no" silently.
His sad eyes watching the passing scenery. The speeding car
swallows up the miles effortlessly. Maurice watches the
Jackson Liquor Wholesalers whiz by... The painful hills he
climbed, gone, in an instant... The school where he watched
the children being dropped off, swishes by in a blink... all
those miles lost.
Maurice shuts his eyes in pain.
EXT. GAS STATION/REST STOP - DAY
The rented Toyota Celica is parked at the convenience store.
Maurice is seated in the back staring out at the eighteen
wheelers that come in and out of the parking lot. He glances
in to Adelle who is gathering food.
Maurice's dull eyes are about to shut when something catches
his attention. He sits up and stares out the window with
great intensity. Maurice watches as a large truck pulls into
the parking lot, across it's side in blazing red --
"Jackson Liquor Wholesalers - Since 1945"
Maurice scans the area... gas station ATTENDANTS... A BEARDED
HOMELESS MAN laying next to a heating unit... KIDS eating
fast food on old picnic tables...
Maurice's gaze steadies on the TRUCK, as the driver fills the
tank with gas.
A PHONE BOOTH INSIDE THE CONVENIENCE STORE
Adelle is on the phone.
We'll figure everything out when we
get there... Oh, he's going to need
a lot of help with this... He
wasn't even going to come with me,
I had to tell him that he could do
the walk later if he plans well...
I know, but by that time I'll have
gotten him some treatment... I just
want to get back home before he
changes his mind.
CAR - LATER
Adelle gets in the front seat of the car keeping the bag of
food on the passenger seat. She starts the car as she talks
into the rearview mirror.
You want something to eat?
She stares at Maurice covered in a blanket with his back to
her... an unresponsive blob.
I know you're feeling a lot of
emotions right now. It's okay to
be mad. It's okay to feel
helpless. It's part of the healing
process. I understand. I do.
Adelle puts the Celica into drive and pulls out onto the
EXT. ADELLE'S HOUSE - EVENING
Evening in Philadelphia. The rented Toyota Celica pulls into
the driveway. The front door of the house opens. Gerald
walks out to greet them.
A tired Adelle slips out of the car and hugs Gerald.
He was exhausted -- slept the whole
Adelle and Gerald move to the back door of the Celica. They
open it and stare at Maurice covered by the blanket. Adelle
shakes the blanket.
Uncle Maurice we're home... Uncle
Adelle shakes Maurice, who stirs a little as he wakes. His
feet slide out from under the blanket -- Adelle stares
curiously at the ARMY COMBAT BOOTS that dangle out.
Adelle pulls aside the covers... THE HOMELESS MAN, from the
gas station, sits up. ADELLE'S SHRILL SCREAM BLASTS THROUGH
THE AIR. Gerald and Adelle stumble back as the large,
bearded man struggles out of the car and looks around the
So this is the City of Brotherly
The homeless man raises his hand. He holds up MAURICE'S WELL
POLISHED BOOK SOCIETY MEDALLION and kisses it lovingly.
Adelle and Gerald stare back speechless.
EXT. ROAD - MORNING
JACKSON WHOLESALER'S PARKING LOT. The truck from the gas
station, the only vehicle parked before the store.
EXT. ROAD - MORNING
Maurice back on the road. His limp only slightly visible at
this point in the day. The bandages rubbing him with every
The highway takes him around a beautiful bend of trees. THE
AIR IS FILLED WITH THE SOUNDS OF BIRDS. Maurice spots a
YELLOW WARBLER, a striking bird about eight inches long with
vivid yellow feathers. It sits elegantly on a nearby branch.
He walks towards it -- it stays in position. Closer. The
bird chirps back at him. Maurice is within arms reach of the
Ellen would have loved you.
Maurice looks closer -- and notices it's wings. The feathers
bend back -- a dark area at the center.
How did that happen?
Maurice watches the bird hop around the branch -- unable to
INT. PARKER KITCHEN - FIFTEEN YEARS EARLIER (FLASHBACK)
The kitchen is a different color. The refrigerator and
appliances are brand new. Ellen walks in -- something
cradled in her hand. Maurice looks up from his paper to see
Ellen move to the sink and lay a motionless bird on the
It must've hit the window... I
think its neck is broken.
Don't bring it in here -- it
probably has all kinds of diseases.
Ellen finds an eye dropper from the table and fills it with
water -- she lets a few drops fall into the birds mouth.
Evening, just before bed. Maurice is reading. Ellen is
monitoring the bird closely. It lays on the bedside table --
wrapped gently with a hand towel. A morsel of food is
lowered into its mouth with a pair of tweezers. The bird
stares blankly at the ceiling.
It isn't going to make it Ellen.
Let the poor thing go quietly.
It'll make it.
Her delicate hand rubs the bird's stomach.
The GRAPHIC IMAGES of the TV FLICKER on Maurice's face. He
glances back to Ellen who talks to the bird cradled in her
You must miss flying. Being way up
there in the clouds looking down at
all of us. You miss that don't
you? You miss playing with your
friends and talking with them...
In the SOFT LIGHT of the lamp -- Ellen has transformed into a
mother rocking her child to sleep.
Maurice is reading his paper.
Maurice! Maurice! Come out here.
Maurice looks through the window to see Ellen waving to him
Ellen points to the ground. The little bird awkwardly walks
around the porch.
The bird's wings BURST into motion -- flapping hard --
catching the wind. Ellen jumps up and down, bursting with
pride, as her little child takes flight.
I don't believe it.
Ellen hugs Maurice.
All he needed was love. Once you
have that, you can do anything.
Young Maurice and Ellen watch the bird soar into the blue
EXT. STREAM - DAY (PRESENT)
Maurice is kneeling at a stream by the side of the road. He
gently clears away the dirt from the Yellow Warbler's
You'll be all right. A couple days
and you'll be up there again.
Maurice carries the bird back to the trees. He lays it back
on the branch. He stares at it's beautiful coat with a
Ellen would have loved you.
INT. ADELLE'S KITCHEN - DAY
Adelle is on the cordless. Her fingers tapping on the
kitchen table angrily. Gerald moves around her as he sets
two plates at the table.
Yes I understand, it does sound
humorous, but this is a very
Gerald is cooking. He gently flips the chicken breast in a
butter and garlic sauce.
This smells good.
Why am I such an authority?
(under his breath)
Here comes the resume.
I received my B.S. from the
University of Pennsylvania, my
P.H.D. from Bryn Mawr College. I
worked three years at the Boston
University School of Medicine,
during which time I had articles
printed in the "Journal of
Educational Psychology", "American
Journal of Psychology", "Psychology
Review" and "Science"... So I think
it's safe to say my opinion is
Gerald brings the sizzling pan over and divides the steaming
dish into both plates.
Look, please find him for me...
Officer, I tried... but I brought
back the wrong person.
Gerald quickly scoops some rice onto both plates. His mouth
is watering as he goes for the utensils.
Adelle abruptly stands at her place.
Gerald gets into his seat at the table just in time to see
Adelle angrily hang up the phone. She stares off into space
before unconsciously cleaning the table. Adelle picks up
both plates of food...
Gerald's heart sinks as Adelle pops open the trash can with a
tap of her foot and dumps the picture perfect meal into the
garbage. She goes to the sink and rinses the plates
completely preoccupied with her thoughts. She mumbles to
herself as she shuts off the water.
He says he admires him.
Adelle storms out of the kitchen. Gerald sits at the empty
table with a fork in his hands. He shakes his head in
EXT. MIDWEST HIGHWAYS - DAY
The land is flat. From the roads one can see endless fields
in all directions. When the wind blows, the crops bend in
unison, changing the shape and texture of the land for a
moment and instantly changing back with a snap of the wind.
Maurice takes in the beauty of the land through a painful
grimace. Occasionally clutching his right leg in moments of
Maurice rests on an abandoned tractor by the side of the road
and watches the wind change the fields. He closes his jacket
as the gusts become stronger.
The clock clicks past 11:30 am. Maurice is still in bed --
the curtains drawn. He crawls out from under the sheets and
downs two pills with a glass of water. He looks bad. His
face pale, his eyes at half-mast. He wipes unnatural sweat
from his brow and melts into the bed again.
Just after dusk. A small town's main road. Maurice quietly
passes under the street lights.
He stares up and tightens the hood on his parka as the first
SNOWFLAKE falls into the SHAFT OF THE STREET LIGHT. Soon
thousands of flakes fall into the light...
Kris fields calls frantically as the LIGHTS BLINK ANXIOUSLY
on his phone. The front page of the Gazette is posted on his
pin up board. It reads... "HE MARCHES ON..." Underneath is
A PICTURE of Maurice standing outside his bookstore holding
up THE BOOK SOCIETY MEDALLION proudly.
A teenage boy gets off the elevator and maneuvers an enormous
bag over his shoulder... emblazoned across his back are the
words "MAIL ROOM." The boy comes to Kris and empties the bag
on Kris' desk without a word. Hundreds of letters cascade
down swallowing the table top and covering Kris who stares in
awe as the letters keep coming.
Maurice is COUGHING PAINFULLY. He crouches over the edge of
the bed and holds his side with every strain.
Maurice looks worse than ever. His hair and shirt are soaked
with sweat. The coughing attack stops. Maurice take a
couple deep breaths before laying back down.
His feet are visible -- sticking out from beneath the sheets.
They look like someone has beaten them with a stick, swollen
and bruised. They disappear under the sheets.
SNOW COVERED ROADS
that stretch into a white oblivion.
SUPERIMPOSE: ELM CREEK, NEBRASKA... MILE 1,564
EXT. STREET - DAY
Early morning. The branches of the trees are encapsulated in
ice. The snow piled ten inches on every surface. Maurice,
buried deep beneath three layers of clothes, looks around.
His breath materializes with every step. He forces a weak
smile at the magical landscape before him. White. Pure.
The SOUNDS OF A VOLVO STATION WAGON urges Maurice to the side
of the road. As it passes a little girl waves from the
passenger window. Maurice puts on a brave face and waves
Another CAR ENTERS the picture -- A DARK BLUE FIREBIRD rises
over the hill in the opposite lane moving fast, too fast.
SLOW-MOTION as the Firebird skids over the ice and the snow
-- the driver desperately trying to gain control... The
mother in the Volvo hits the BRAKES as the Firebird spins
into her lane... Maurice yells out.
The cars IMPACT with a sickening CRUNCH -- BACK TO REAL TIME:
The Firebird spins into a guardrail, breaking through it and
coming to a stop in a bank of snow.
The Volvo isn't so lucky. It flips from the impact...
sliding on its roof, driving through the snow, down the
road... It comes to a rest a hundred feet away.
SILENCE. STILLNESS. The entire event took only seconds.
Maurice runs frantically after the Volvo. The windows are
SHATTERED. Snow has packed into the over-turned car. No one
can be seen inside the vehicle.
Maurice kneels down and punctures the wall of snow with his
hand. His arm disappears up to the shoulder. His face
grimacing with the strain. His arm comes out slowly...
A few MUFFLED SOBS ARE HEARD BEFORE the little girl breaks
through the wall of snow and slides out of the window. She
lets out a DESPERATE GASP for air as Maurice pulls her out by
Maurice clears her mouth and face and watches as she coughs.
It's okay. It's all over.
Maurice lays her gently against a snow bank, before moving to
the other side of the car.
Is she okay?
Maurice looks up to see the driver of the Firebird walking
towards him. He looks dazed.
Maurice doesn't waste another second and plunges his arm in
the snow... deeper than before. His cheek pressed against
the snow, almost laying flat on the ground.
Oh no... she's wearing a seat-belt.
Maurice fishes around... his teeth clenched... He lets out a
POWERFUL GRUNT as he pulls back with all his strength -- a
woman's WRIST appears first, then the tangled hair and then
the body spills out onto the road next to Maurice.
The driver appears over the Woman and Maurice and loses it
when he sees them.
It wasn't my fault. It wasn't my
Maurice, out of breath, clears the woman's face and mouth --
no movement. No sound.
Come on... please...
Maurice holds her nose and breaths into her mouth...
She doesn't respond.
A FRIGHTENING FLASH
The mother's UNCONSCIOUS face turns into ELLEN. Her lifeless
eyes -- her bruised cheek and forehead. Her neck at an
awkward angle. Maurice stares down at his wife in horror.
No Ellen... don't die...
being revived by Maurice. He pushes her chest in counting...
push, count, breath... push, count, breath...
The mother's BODY TWITCHES, slightly at first -- then
obviously... The mother let's out a FEW PAINFUL COUGHS.
She takes a breath. Life quickly returns to her body.
Maurice places her head in his lap and hugs her, lightly
rocking back and forth. The tears streaming down his red
Everything's going to be fine
Ellen. I won't let anything happen
to you. I love you sweetie.
Everything's going to be different
The SCENE BACKS OUT as Maurice comforts this stranger in his
EXT. ROAD - AFTERNOON
The police have descended on the scene. Traffic has been
blocked off in both directions. The LIGHT thrown by the
ambulances tints the snow and fields a THROBBING RED.
Maurice's face can be seen in the shadows of the backseat of
a police car.
OUTSIDE THE CAR
OFFICER HANSEN AND OFFICER TANDY converse.
What's his story?
His name is Maurice. He's dancing
around everything else.
Red flag, man.
If he's in trouble with the law --
fine. Not our problem. He yanked
two people from a car wreck, let's
give him some space.
Hansen looks in at the drawn, exhausted face of Maurice
through the window. Hansen opens the back door.
Maurice, you need anything? Which
way were you headed? We can drive
No thank you officer. I'll walk.
Hansen throws a sharp glance to Tandy. Hansen turns back to
Grub? Food? How about food? Our
dime at the local diner...
Maurice mulls this offer.
Come on man, you're a hero. In
Nebraska we don't let hero's walk
around with empty stomachs.
... I need to be brought back here.
INT. DINER - EVENING
The end of the meal. Maurice sits in a booth across from
Hansen and Tandy. They watch as Maurice coughs violently
into his napkin.
You look like shit Maurice.
Maurice takes a couple strained breaths.
How long have you been footing it
Excuse me gentlemen.
Maurice gets up and heads to the bathroom. Hansen and Tandy
stare at Maurice's shoulder bag laying on his seat.
Red flags man.
Not our problem.
Why so vague? Why so evasive? He
could be somebody hot.
Not our problem.
It's going to look beautiful when
he turns out to be that animal who
paid a visit to the Steadman's
This guy's not a murderer.
If he is, half the town has seen us
take him out for dinner like a
couple of jack-asses.
That makes Tandy think.
If he's clean, he'll never know
Tandy looks to the men's bathroom door.
Do it quick.
Hansen instantly reaches over and begins rummaging through
the shoulder bag. Hansen pulls out a little folder. He
opens the folder to reveal an old certificate. Hansen shows
Tandy the worn piece of paper.
A marriage certificate? Who the
hell carries their marriage
Maurice and Ellen Parker... it was
issued in Philly... Mr. Maurice
Parker has come a long way from
Hansen returns the certificate and folder to the bag and
leaves the booth quickly.
Maurice returns to the table to find only Tandy seated.
Maurice sees Hansen in the phone booth at the far end of the
Hansen's whipped. Has to call his
wife every two hours or she'll go
ballistic when he gets home.
P-A-R-K-E-R. Right. Get on the
horn with Philly. Call me here.
INT. PHILADELPHIA POLICE STATION - EVENING
Sergeant Dally packs his things to leave. He sees the light
on LINE 1 LIGHT UP on his phone. He ignores it. The clerk
sticks her head around the corner.
Line one Sarg.
I'm not here.
Dally zips his coat.
It's the Nebraska state police.
You know somebody named -- Maurice
Dally freezes. He shakes his head as he unzips his jacket.
That son of a bitch made it to
Dally grabs the phone.
INT. GAZETTE BUILDING - EVENING
The C.B. CRACKLES WITH THE VOICE OF SERGEANT DALLY AND THE
MICHELLE, a very introverted intern, stares at the radio
A SMALL SIDE OFFICE
It now has "KRIS REDDY" etched on it's door. Kris looks up
from his desk at Michelle who stands in the doorway bright
What is it?
Michelle just points down the hall.
Michelle scribbles down notes.
... He saved a little girl, and her
mother. Pulled them right out of
Kris stands, jaw hanging wide open.
Where is he?
Michelle checks her notes.
(very soft voice)
Umm, Elm Creek, Nebraska.
Kris practically falls over. Michelle scribbles down more
This story is big huh?
The Gazette's small huh?
What are you saying? This story is
too big for this paper?
Umm, no. It's just that --
God damn, you're right... You don't
say much Michelle, but what you say
Kris' mind is racing as the C.B. conversation continues.
INT. DINER - NIGHT
Hansen scoffs down his third dessert. Maurice stares at him
The PAY PHONE RINGS. Hansen jumps to his feet too quickly.
He tries to recover.
I was expecting a call.
Hansen moves to the phone.
Tandy winks at Maurice with a smile.
Hansen listens carefully to the officer on the line.
OFFICER (ON PHONE)
... I'm on first name basis with
half the city of Philadelphia...
Hansen, apparently this guy Parker
lost his wife and went a little
fruity. I spoke with his niece,
Adelle Matlin and she says to
restrain him. That he's dangerous
to himself. She says to call when
we have him in the station.
EXT. POLICE CAR - NIGHT
The ride progresses in silence. Hansen and Tandy in the
front seat. Maurice's head is pressed against the back-seat
window. His eyes begin to shut slightly as sleep overcomes
him. The car goes over a BUMP. Maurice jars awake. He
glances out the window to see a highway sign swish by in the
HEADLIGHTS. 'ROUTE 80 EAST'.
East? Maurice looks around quickly at the passing scenery.
Where are you taking me?
Hansen and Tandy exchange looks.
I'm going to drop off Tandy at the
station and then drop you back.
That's all right isn't it?
Hansen looks back to the road. The drive continues in
silence. Tandy checks his watch just when a CLICK -- A HARD
WIND -- AND A METALLIC SLAM in quick succession shakes the
What the hell was that?
Tandy looks back -- Maurice is GONE. The back seat empty.
Tandy stares out the blackness of the back window.
Shit! He jumped!
Out of the car. He jumped out of
the god damn car!
EXT. FOREST - NIGHT
Maurice staggers through the naked trees. Thin trees every
few feet with no branches. The snow ankle deep.
Maurice braces himself against a trunk, checking his hands.
His vision blurs as he stares down at his scraped bloody
The forest clears quickly into an open field. Far in the
distance across the field of white is a small pointed
building standing alone. The glow of a LIGHT can be seen
through the windows.
Maurice trudges through the deeper snow. Stumbling many
times. The frigid wind pushing him to his knees. Maurice
keeps moving -- the field seems endless...
Maurice's feet hit the snow of the driveway, just as his legs
buckle -- his face HITS the snow hard. He manages to roll
over on his back with great effort. He stares up at the
pointed building -- the dull light becoming duller...
something blocks the light. A man. Maurice feels himself
rise into the air as two powerful arms scoop him off the ice.
A PRIEST carries him into the doors of a CHURCH.
INT. BACK ROOM OF CHURCH - NIGHT
A dimly lit cathedral. Six foot six, FATHER BERCHMAN walks
down the center isle of the cathedral, through a cloth
curtain and into a
where Maurice is sitting in a chair wrapped in a blanket.
What did they ask?
If I had seen you. By the way I'm
sorry about your wife. They told
Thank you... I'm sorry you had to
lie. It must have been difficult.
I asked the officers if you had
committed some crime... If they had
said 'yes', you would be speaking
with them right now.
This is the father's own room. Very sparse as one would
expect. He moves to his bureau and retrieves some pills.
Take these, and if you're up to it,
try to explain how it is you came
to be sitting here.
Maurice follows the father's instructions and tightens the
blanket around his shoulders.
I'm walking for my wife.
Beat. The father nods as if this is not shocking news.
Do you believe a person's soul
lives on after their death?
And that that soul takes part of
the person they were on this earth
That's a reasonable assumption.
I don't want my wife's soul having
Doubts? About what?
About my love for her.
The father nods with understanding as if everything became
very clear with that statement.
You don't have to prove anything to
I'm not proving to her. I'm
showing her. And I know I don't
have to. I want to. I've
realized, love is about giving.
I'm alive, I can still give to her.
I want to give her everything I
The father studies this stranger before him with great
There are some people, including
those officers, that are trying to
stop me. They mean well. But they
don't understand. I wouldn't
either if I were them.
Maurice struggles with the last words. He slumps back --
The father gets up and takes the empty glass of water from
I want you to stay here a few days
until you're better. You're no use
to your wife in this condition.
The father moves for the curtain.
You think I'm crazy too.
The father turns and smiles warmly.
I have spent my life dedicated to
love. Love of God. Love of
humanity. And here you are living
through love. Bathing in it.
Using its strength, its magic, its
ability to overcome any barrier...
If you are crazy, I hope my
insanity is not far off.
Maurice's eyes well up instantly.
EXT. CHURCH - WESTERN HIGHWAY - DAY
Father Berchman wraps one powerful hand around a tiny silver
cross dangling from his neck. The other hand waves high into
the air at the shrinking figure of Maurice Parker walking
through the snow.
The long trek continues. The black tar of the roads peek out
in spots as the SUN BEATS down on the flatlands. Maurice
drapes his worn scarf around a melting snowman.
We are looking inside a fancy Center-City Philadelphia
restaurant. Adelle and Gerald are seated by an enormous bay
window. A waiter comes to their table with their main
course. Gerald watches the food being served with great
Gerald's eyes drift out the window to the magazine stand on
the sidewalk... He squints to see better. Realization hits
hard... His eyes light up. He looks to Adelle and back to
the magazine stand.
In a mad race for time, Gerald begins to devour the food on
his plate. The waiter and Adelle watch him in shock. Adelle
glances out the window. Her eyes squint... then light up.
She jumps to her feet and grabs Gerald by the arm, a fork
full of food drops to his plate. Gerald looks back at his
full plate longingly as Adelle pulls him out of the
The waiter looks out the window to the magazine stand. He
The NEW YORK TIMES are hung like stockings around the border
of the stand. On the front pages, a singular headline stands
out among the others:
"A JOURNEY OF THE HEART"
A large PHOTO OF MAURICE is next to the headline.
A red-headed waitress slices a credit card through the
machine and waits... Green computer letters blink - "This
account has been closed."
The waitress returns with the card -- she shakes her head
"No" at Maurice who digs into his wallet for cash.
Maurice slides two twenties across the counter to the motel
manager. Maurice checks the remaining bills in his wallet...
only a few bills left.
In the motel room we find Maurice sitting over the edge of a
bed buckled over in a coughing attack. It finally stops.
Maurice flops back to the pillows, completely drained.
The flatlands have vanished. The roads now serpentine
through mountain ranges.
VIEW FROM THE MOUNTAIN RANGE; Maurice moves like a grain of
dust over the black line of the road.
Maurice rests every half mile. He labors up every incline
with ultimate effort. He braces himself with a branch
serving as a make due crutch.
Maurice spots a small town nestled in the arms of the
mountain range. He begins the journey to rest.
Maurice pays for his food with the last few bills in his
Another stick serves as a walking cane. The multi layers of
clothes have been shed for a short-sleeve shirt. Maurice
follows a dirt road that breaks free of the mountains and
into the open country again.
SUPERIMPOSE: COALVILLE, UTAH... MILE 2,472
EXT. DRIVEWAY - DUSK
A dust covered mailbox at the end of a long dirt driveway.
Maurice wipes the mailbox clean with his hand. The name
emerges like an ancient inscription from beneath the mud...
Maurice tentatively moving to the front door. His hand
instinctively clutches his empty stomach.
The wind blows gently. Maurice shuts his eyes and takes a
deep breath. He opens his eyes slowly to see a dinner table
being set. Potatoes, gravy, fresh baked bread... floating
through the half open window to Maurice's thankful smile.
THE SOUNDS OF CHILDREN AND ADULTS CAN BE HEARD INSIDE.
The first LIGHT KNOCKS go unheard with all the commotion.
HARDER. The door squeaks open. Maurice puts on his best
smile... the door opens wider -- no one stands before him.
Maurice looks down to find an adorable little boy, black
hair, big eyes and an even bigger grin. This is three year
old ISAAC CALDWELL.
I'm Isaac... I'm three.
I'm Maurice Parker... I'm much
older than three. Are your parents
Beat. Isaac thinks.
You know what, I can play baseball
with my brothers when I'm bigger.
Is that right?
You know what... I'm just little
now, but I'll be big soon.
You'll probably be bigger than your
Isaac is happy with this thought.
Maurice looks up as MRS. CALDWELL comes to the door.
Who are you talking to Isaac?
Mrs. Caldwell stops as she stares at Maurice.
Hello, I'm Maurice Parker. I'm
just passing through and I need to
conserve what little funds I
have... I need some food and a roof
to sleep under for one night... Now
I don't look like much, but if
there are any things that need to
get done around the house --
Mrs. Caldwell doesn't listen, but instead yells behind the
Dave... you're not going to believe
Maurice looks at her oddly. MR. CALDWELL comes to the door;
his face lights up.
This is Maurice Parker -- the one
walking for his wife.
Mr. Caldwell is completely floored. So, for that matter is
Maurice. Mr. Caldwell puts out his hand with awe.
If that ain't fate?... Hi, I'm Dave
Caldwell. I do the copy for the
anchor on the evening news down
We did a piece after your story ran
in the New York Times.
Maurice is truly surprised.
New York Times?
Mrs. Caldwell ushers Maurice in the doorway by the elbow.
Someone said they spotted you in
town... Mr. Parker, you're a
INT. CALDWELL KITCHEN - NIGHT
The Caldwell family dinner... all twelve of them. Ten
children talk and reach for food. Maurice sits at the end
talking, enjoying and sharing. Isaac sits next to him
proudly. Maurice has blended in as another member of this
INT. CALDWELL GUEST BEDROOM - NIGHT
An inviting room. The kind prepared for visiting
grandmothers and grandfathers to stay in.
Maurice checks himself out in the mirror... his borrowed
pajamas fit nicely.
He moves to the window and stares at the moon lit
landscape... enormous, endless, dwarfing.
The rocking chair CREAKS as Maurice melts into it. He rubs
his calves slowly, the pain evident in his face. His head
leans back after a moment... on the verge of sleep.
The SOUND OF TINY FOOTSTEPS stirs him. He looks to the
doorway to find Isaac standing quietly at the door in his
I thought you were asleep.
You know what... I remembered you
were here and I woke up.
Isaac walks silently to Maurice... Tip-toeing all the way.
Your parents would want you to be
You tell stories?
Oh no... I'm not good at that.
Very bad in fact...
Too late. Isaac climbs up into Maurice's lap with great
effort. Maurice looks down at Isaac who waits patiently for
him to begin.
I would be exceedingly boring.
I don't do these type of things.
Isaac -- still waiting.
See there are two kinds of people
in this world.
... Just a short one okay?
Isaac gets in position, cradled in Maurice's arms. Maurice
searches for something to say.
There was a boy named Isaac who
wanted to play baseball, but he was
too small and no one would let him
play... but he kept practicing by
himself -- waiting... He went to
every game and sat in the stands
with his glove.
You know what... maybe I ran onto
the field and hit a home run.
Who's telling this story?
Isaac points to Maurice.
Good, now the team had this great
big player -- Big Billy. He was
the best. He had them in the World
Super-Bowl-Championship of little
kids baseball. But right before
the game, the second best player on
the team was suspended because he
played a prank on a nice man who
owned a book store... When that boy
grew up he was convicted on
burglary charges and spent fifteen
years in prison -- where he
Isaac didn't understand that last part.
Anyway, Big Billy needed another
player so he yelled into the
stands. 'Who can play baseball?'
And there was a little voice that
yelled out, 'Me, I can play.'
Everyone turned to see a little boy
standing with a glove.
Right. But everyone saw how small
Isaac was and laughed... but not
Big Billy. He stared at Isaac
carefully and then told him to join
the game. It came to the end of
the game. It was the eleventh or
twelfth inning or whatever is the
last inning of a game...
Okay nine. Big Billy's team was
losing and he was on base. That's
when Isaac came up. He could
barely hold the bat... Big Billy
winked at Isaac... The ball was
pitched -- Isaac hit the ball hard.
It soared up and out over the
stadium. Everyone cheered. Isaac
hit a home run and won the game.
After the game, Isaac asked Big
Billy why he let he play. Big
Billy smiled and said, I wasn't
always Big Billy, I was Little
Billy first... Isaac and Big Billy
went off after the game and read a
classic book together. The end.
You know what -- that was a really
good story... Tell it again.
Maurice has to smile as Isaac looks up anxiously.
There was a boy named Isaac who
liked to play baseball...
WE BACK OUT as Maurice rocks back and forth in his chair.
Isaac falling asleep in his arms.
EXT. CALDWELL DRIVEWAY - MORNING
The family dog "Max", scurries up and down with great
excitement. Max can sense something big is happening.
The Caldwell clan, one and all has gathered at the end of
their driveway. Maurice is escorted out by Isaac who clings
tightly to his hand. Mr. Caldwell meets Maurice halfway and
pulls him aside.
That's a nice watch.
Maurice looks down at his beat-up Seiko.
I've always wanted a watch like
No. I won't take it unless I pay
for it... Let's see, that's a
pretty nice watch -- I can see
Maurice watches him suspiciously as he pulls out an envelope
from his jacket pocket.
Let's say I give you what's in this
envelope for that beautiful watch.
Maurice is handed the envelope. He opens it to find a thick
PILE OF CASH, TENS AND TWENTIES.
I really want that watch.
This isn't right.
This is my only chance to get a
watch like that. It would mean a
lot to me and my family. Please
take it. It really isn't that
Maurice stares into the envelope emotionally and hands over
the watch tentatively.
This is a loan.
Mr. Caldwell straps on the watch and then hugs Maurice.
The rest of the family say their good-byes.
Isaac won't let go of Maurice's hand as he walks out into the
Isaac, come back here.
Isaac just holds on tighter. After Maurice and Isaac have
walked a few steps out into the street, Maurice kneels down.
I have to go now.
Isaac's bottom lip protrudes as he tries not to cry. Maurice
has to hold back a few tears himself. He hugs Isaac tightly.
Why didn't I meet you fifteen years
Maurice pulls away from Isaac slowly. Isaac runs to his
mother's arms. Maurice waves good-bye to the Caldwells as he
heads down the road.
EXT. ROAD - DAY
Maurice stops, bends down to the road and picks up a TORN
WHITE PAPER STREAMER that spiraled its way to his feet.
He looks ahead and finds both sides of the street lined with
parked cars. Some of the cars are decorated with white
A beautiful canopy of flowers sits at the end of ten rows of
lawn chairs. Maurice watches from near the cars. He smiles
as the young bride and groom nervously say their vows.
Everyone LAUGHS warmly as the groom stumbles over his lines.
INT. CHAPEL - DAY (FLASHBACK)
Moments before the ceremony. The guests are seated. The
ORGAN is PLAYING.
Young Maurice sits on a chair in a tuxedo staring out the
half-open door to an OLD MAN who tries to gain his balance by
holding onto the wall. Maurice is upset. He runs his
fingers through his hair.
THE DOOR OPENS wide as Young Ellen comes in. She is wearing
her WEDDING GOWN. White lace, tight at the arms and waist --
she looks stunning.
What's wrong? They said something
Maurice stares at his rented shoes.
Ellen moves to him and kneels before him. She lifts his
Everyone's here. Everything looks
beautiful. They even got the white
dove I wanted for the cake -- so
what's wrong? What is it?
Maurice moves his gaze from her to the half open door.
Ellen looks back.
That's okay -- really it is.
No it's not. He should be here
with me now, not trying to find
some fucking bottle of Johnny
Walker. He's never been there for
me. I've always been alone.
Maurice looks like he may cry.
I'm afraid Ellen... I'm scared of
being alone again. What if one day
you realize how boring I am? What
if one day you realize you're not
I could have been alone before, but
now you've changed things. I can't
be alone anymore Ellen. I'm scared
what's going to happen to me.
Ellen takes both his hands and squeezes them between hers.
The day I met you, I gave you my
heart. Today, I give you my soul.
Where ever you are, where ever you
go, I will be with you. Maurice
Parker, I promise --
(she shakes him with
I promise, you will never be alone
EXT. OUTDOOR MARRIAGE - DAY (PRESENT)
The bride and groom run through a shower of rice into their
They wave through the window as the car pulls away. They
settle in and look to the seat across from them. On the seat
is a fresh flower. Next to the flower is a note. The groom
picks it up and shows it to the bride. It reads:
"CHERISH EVERYDAY TOGETHER"
It is signed "M.P."
The bride and groom look at each other curiously.
The limousine passes Maurice on the road as he walks.
INT. GAZETTE BUILDING - DAY
A fax machine rolls out a tongue of information. Michelle,
the intern, snatches it and jogs through the maze of desks.
Michelle catches the tail end of a telephone conversation.
-- Come on Pete, this is important,
this is racism in our backyard...
Aw, that's bull... just think about
Kris hangs up.
They're pushing my Jewish temple
vandalism story to the Metro
Kris notices Michelle's familiar bright red face.
Michelle is completely flustered as usual.
Michelle, breathe... that's it,
what is it, talk to me.
(hands the fax over)
Umm, Coalville Utah.
Kris studies the fax before jumping up from his desk and
moving to the wall. An enormous U.S. MAP covers three
quarters of the wall. RED TACKS mark a trail across the
United States, beginning with Philadelphia. Kris puts a red
tack at the top right corner of Utah.
Kris notices through the open officer door that Frank and
Seth are listening in. Kris nods to Michelle. Who
immediately shuts the door on their view. Kris waves bye
before it closes.
He's taking highway 80 all the way.
Kris paces the room -- charged with excitement -- eyes
occasionally stopping on the map. Michelle watches Kris'
You know what this is, don't you?
It's a miracle. Not like... 'It
was a miracle little Johnny passed
his math test.' No! This is a
real miracle... Turning water to
wine kind of miracle. People
should know about this, everyone,
every single person... It's time
for a blitz. Let's see what kind
of TV interest we can generate.
Michelle enjoys watching Kris when he's like this.
Umm, he's going to make it isn't
Kris studies the map.
But he hasn't hit the toughest
INT. ADELLE'S LIVING ROOM - NIGHT
The lights are out. The FLICKER FROM THE TV dances over
Adelle and Gerald. Adelle is fast asleep. Gerald is having
a late night sandwich. NIGHTLINE comes on the TV.
What would you do for love? This
is the question Americans are
starting to ask themselves. The
incredible tale of Maurice Parker's
walk across the country has caught
the imaginations of young and old.
Gerald sighs. He puts the sandwich on the plate and hands it
to his left -- obediently. PAN TO LEFT to find Adelle wide
awake now. She glares at the TV screen silently as she takes
the sandwich and dumps it in the waste basket releasing some
of her frustration.
A COMPUTER MAP OF THE U.S. trails Maurice's walk on the
At 44, this bookstore owner from
Wynnewood Pennsylvania has tallied
an estimated 2,400 miles. His
latest appearance in Coalville Utah
brought the spotlight of the
country to that small town.
I can't believe it.
Whatever has carried Mr. Parker
through snow and rain and thousands
of miles of this countryside, will
have to carry him through the most
dangerous part of his trek... The
three hundred miles through the
sweltering roads of Nevada...
EXT. HIGHWAY - DAY
A merciless sun beats down on a long stretch of highway. The
black tar from the road melting slightly.
No sign of Maurice. WE SEE into the distance, not a soul in
sight. WE LOOK to a hillside a hundred meters from the road.
There we see a figure lying still in the shade of an
overhanging rock formation.
Maurice has a towel over his eyes and his feet propped up on
his shoulder bag. He is fast asleep.
The SUN TURNS RED for one brilliant moment before hiding
behind the horizon. Like an alarm went off, Maurice wakes up
and packs his things.
The MOONLIGHT outlines a line figure hobbling his way step by
step with a walking stick.
The air fills with a POWERFUL RUMBLE. Maurice turns to see a
wave of rocks and sand slide down a hillside to the road.
They CAUSE A GREAT THUNDER that settles to dust. Maurice
walks down the center of the highway away from the hillside.
EXT. HIGHWAY - DAWN
THE FIERY NEVADA SUN BEGINS ITS ASCENT INTO THE SKY. Maurice
looks bad. He's breathing heavy as he moves up a steep
incline by the side of the road. His feet slide on the loose
dirt. Maurice looks like he could collapse at any moment.
He makes it to the indentation in the hillside -- just enough
room to lay down in the shade. Maurice lays out slowly. He
pries off his sneakers, band-aids and blisters cover every
inch of his feet. Maurice dumps the sand out of his sneakers
and painfully pulls them back on. His eyes close as he tries
to unbutton his jacket... too late he's asleep.
Maurice's bed is a rock that juts from the side of the
hill... First WE SEE nothing, then some grains of sand escape
from the crack where the rock meets the hillside. The CRACK
BECOMES SLIGHTLY LARGER -- PULLING AWAY FROM THE HILL BY A
FRACTION OF AN INCH. It stabilizes there.
Maurice unaware of his precarious situation sleeps twenty
five feet above the ground.
Another sizzler. Temperatures in the nineties. The sun is
Maurice stirs in his sleep, moving closer to the edge of the
A STEADY STREAM OF SAND POURS FROM THE CRACK...
A SLIGHT TREMOR...
THEN THE FRIGHTENING SOUND OF ROCK MOVING AGAINST ROCK...
Maurice wakes up as he begins to slide off... Hands scraping
at the dirt... He SLIDES OFF THE ROCK... Feet and hands
desperately trying to cling to the hillside... He picks up
speed as he tumbles down... Maurice looks down in time to see
a small jut in the rock hurtling towards him... no time for
panic... SLAM! A SICKENING CRACK OF BONE as Maurice HITS the
rock square in the ribs... Maurice flops down the rest of the
slope like a rag doll... he comes to rest in the dirt,
clutching his ribs. The sun beats down on his stunned eyes.
Maurice stares up at the dizzying slope. Sand still
trickling down to a stop. He doesn't try to move for the
first few seconds. His breathing increasingly erratic.
Maurice drags himself to sit upright. The sharp pains
causing a distorted grimace on his face. A short rest,
before working his way to his feet.
Maurice uses a highway guardrail as a backrest. He takes a
seat in the dirt. Maurice's hair is damp with sweat. His
breathing relegated to slow gasps. His left hand covering
his rib cage protectively. Blood begins to trickle through
the spaces between his fingers.
Maurice closes his eyes for a moment, before his bent leg
goes into spasms... Maurice is forced to straighten the leg
instantly... jarring his tender rib cafe... Maurice clings to
the back of his thigh... Maurice is defeated... On the verge
He glances way down the road and spots a TINY CLOUD OF SMOKE
miles away in the distance. A car is moving in his
Maurice looks up into the DAZZLING WHITE SKY. Drops of sweat
falling into his eyes.
It's over Ellen... I failed you
Maurice looks down the road at the cloud of dust growing
I tried Ellen, I really tried... I
don't have the strength.
The cloud is now clearly a car... Maurice stares up into the
sky again... The tears racing the sweat down his cheeks.
Maurice YELLS TO THE HEAVENS.
You said I would never be alone!...
(his yelling turns to
... You promised.
Maurice's is interrupted by A SLIGHT RUSTLING BEHIND HIS
HEAD. Maurice turns and looks through his tears...
There, a few feet from him, perched quietly and majestically
on the guardrail is a GOLDEN EAGLE. It stands two and half
feet tall. It spreads it's great wings. The feathers expand
like a blanket, spanning six feet, and throwing a gentle
shade on Maurice's face.
Maurice is frozen in wonder. The MAGIC of the moment glows
in his eyes. Maurice's face gains life... The dark feathered
eagle stands like a god before Maurice. The moment is
The car on the road, takes the last quarter mile in
seconds... SCREECHING IT'S BRAKES at the sight of Maurice on
the side of the road.
Maurice turns away from the bird as the car pulls up. The
driver gets out and calls over the hood.
Hey, man are you okay?
Maurice's face filled with strength. He grins through the
What the hell are you doing out
here? You need a ride somewhere?
No thank you.
The driver is concerned. He opens the driver door.
You by yourself?
This pacifies the driver somewhat. He nods and gets in the
car. Maurice watches as the car pulls away.
He turns back to the guardrail -- the eagle is gone. Maurice
looks up into the sky. The Golden Eagle is flying
overhead... a tiny dot against the blazing sun.
Maurice struggles to his feet using the guardrail as support.
Maurice takes his first step...
EXT. SUBURBAN STREET - DAY
Suburbia. Rows of similar houses with small lawns and custom
mailboxes. Beautiful trees line the streets creating a
canopy over the roadway.
Two women sit on a swing on the front porch of a small
suburban home. JANIS AND AMMIE'S conversation is cut in mid
Who is that?
I don't know. What's the matter
Janis and Ammie stare to the street where a sunburnt MAURICE
staggers in a daze.
Maurice is on the edge of darkness... the trees and faces
swimming -- mixed with the colors of red and blue cloth
waving in the wind... Images come in and out of focus... two
women walking towards him... Maurice clutches his head as the
trees start to swim faster -- color, lights, houses...
DISSOLVING TO BLACK:
Maurice collapses in the middle of this suburban street.
Janis and Ammie run to his side.
SUPERIMPOSED: "ROSEVILLE, CALIFORNIA... MILE 3,205"
INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - DAY
Maurice lays still on a hospital bed. His eyes slowly force
Good morning Mr. Parker.
Maurice turns his head to the side. A pretty woman in her
late twenties, with LARGE LOCKS OF BROWN HAIR smiles back.
This is STEPHANIE.
There are a lot of people worried
Where am I?
In a hospital.
Which hospital? Did you take me
Stephanie understands his worry.
You are in St. Vincent's Hospital
in Roseville California. You've
been here three days.
Maurice closes his eyes in relief.
INT. HOSPITAL - AFTERNOON
The room is crowded. Maurice is now propped up in a seated
position. He tries to digest a set of fish sticks on a tray.
I can't believe you're here. I'm
Maurice looks across to ADELLE AND GERALD.
Are you two planning kids?
You should definitely have
children. They're really special.
Adelle and Gerald are in shock. Maurice forks another fish
stick with a smile.
I don't think you realize how
serious this is Uncle.
How serious is it?
DR. RAY, who has been standing by the window listening, steps
You have two broken ribs, a
punctured spleen and Acute
Maurice gives a comforting smile to Adelle.
The normal amount of build up in
your arteries has been aggravated
by over exertion. This is called,
"Claudication," As a result, there
isn't enough circulation to your
body. That accounts for the
discoloration in your extremities
and the muscle spasms I'm sure
Can it kill me?
It can, but it'll have to wait in
This surprises Maurice.
We ran a C.T. and an M.R.I. We
found bleeding in your brain. Your
collapse was caused by "Transient
Cerebral-Ischemia"... a sudden loss
of blood circulation to the brain.
In other words, Mr. Parker, you had
a mild stroke.
There is dead silence in the room.
I suppose I over did it.
Adelle moves over to Maurice's side and holds his hand.
What steps do we take now?
We operate. We find the artery in
the brain and close the bleeding...
I just did this procedure on a
Senator and he's doing fine.
What are the odds? Do I have a
fifty-fifty chance of surviving the
It's hard to say. It's a delicate
surgery. There's no getting around
the fact that it's a very high-risk
Adelle strokes Maurice's hair. Maurice stares down at his
food before looking up with great resolve.
Then it'll have to wait until I
I finish the walk, and then we may
take all the chances we want.
The room is stunned. Adelle gets off the bed and collects
Listen to me very carefully,
because I don't want you to
misunderstand me... The walk is
over Uncle Maurice. Done.
Finished. You've made it to
California, it was a miracle, now
let's try to save your life.
I'm completing the walk. I'm
Okay, Maurice keep it calm...
We can talk about this again, but
just so you know, we have a guard
on this floor who's sole job it is
to keep an eye on you.
Maurice is crushed.
There are a lot of people out there
who would like to see you finish,
including me, but I'm not willing
to put your life in anymore risk
than it is... We do the operation,
and when you're better, you finish
The room is dead again. Maurice drowns in his thoughts.
INT. HOSPITAL CHAPEL - AFTERNOON
A small chapel. Stain glass windows overlooking the parking
lot. Maurice sits in his wheel chair at the back of the
room. A few other patients are scattered in the four small
Maurice has his hands folded tightly and stares up at the
statue of Mary. His concentration is broken as a man in a
full black suit and black shirt sits next to him. Maurice
nods at the priest.
Hello, Mr. Parker.
How are you feeling?
Confused. I'm not sure what to do
now. I'm not sure what he wants
He wants to reward you... That's
why I'm here.
(a little confused)
What do you mean?
I mean you've done a great thing.
You should be rewarded monetarily.
Maurice is lost.
What's your shoe size?
What? Who are you?
The priest reaches into his jacket -- for the first time WE
SEE a Polo design on his shirt and a gaudy gold chain around
Clive Silver -- Marketing Executive
Maurice stares at the card in disbelief.
We want you to do some spots for
What the hell is this?
Some of the patients turn around.
I'm talking six figures, pay or
play -- for two spots. We want to
push a new line with you...
America's New Hero.
Maurice is flustered. He can't take this. His eyes become
Clive waves his hands in the air excitedly.
Imagine grainy black and white
shots of long stretches of highway
-- quick cuts with a slow pounding
beat underneath... Then we see a
man walking up a steep incline --
it's you Maurice. We see shots of
you walking. Cut. Cut. Cut.
Fast... Music crescendoes -- Bham!
Close up -- and you say...
'Reebok, Because There's Nothing
You Can't Do.'
Clive finishes. He is surprised to find Maurice in tears.
Clive is thrown totally off as Maurice stares at him angrily
through streaming tears.
My wife is dead.
Maurice continues his powerful gaze until Clive looks away.
Clive gathers his things and leaves the chapel without
another word. Maurice drops his head into his hands and
INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - NIGHT
A change of shifts. Stephanie gathers her things. She lifts
her coat off the counter. Underneath is a paper. She spins
the paper to face her. The headline reads, "The End of a
Journey - Parker Hospitalized."
Stephanie peeks into the dark room.
Good night Mr. Parker. I'll see
Stephanie waits for a response from the motionless figure on
the bed. She leaves the room a little disappointed.
WE MOVE CLOSER TO THE BED. We see Maurice laying still --
the battered photo of Ellen clutches to his chest.
INT. HOSPITAL HALL - DAY
Stephanie is wheeling Maurice down the hall. Maurice has a
glint of happiness in his eye. They move through the doors
marked "Visitor's Area."
Maurice stretches a huge grin as KRIS REDDY gets up from a
chair. Kris bends down and hugs Maurice emotionally.
... The Grapes of Wrath.
Maurice and Kris seated in the corner of the room.
I missed you Kris.
I missed you to Mr. Parker.
Adelle told me, your writing is
going well. The Crusader for
social issues and all.
You were right. From the heart is
I drove by the bookstore -- it's
boarded up now. There's a sign
over the wood -- "Office space
The loss is evident on Maurice's eyes.
I haven't been too punctual with
I was thinking you could open
another store with investors. I'm
sure a lot of people would want to
get involved with you now.
Maurice forces a smile.
Actually, I'm not worried about my
career right now... I'm more
worried about how you're getting me
out of here?
Beat. Kris glances at the hair on his forearm.
Are they standing?
(running his hand over his
Come on Mr. Parker.
What, come on?
I can't do it. I want you to
finish, but I want you to live
Maurice sits back straight. He looks upset.
We do the operation after I finish.
I can't risk not finishing... I
thought you understood what I was
Why in God's name did you fly all
the way here then?
Don't do this.
... To look me in the eye and say
what's important to you isn't as
important to me? To tell me you
know what's best? To tell me life
is more precious than what I feel
for my wife?
Kris gets very emotional. He rises from this chair.
Mr. Parker, you can yell at me, if
it'll help. But I'm not risking
It's mine to risk.
Maurice turns to the window away from Kris.
Your operation is scheduled for
Friday. I'll be back before then.
Kris walks to the door and stops.
She knows you love her Mr. Parker.
She knows now.
(not looking at Kris)
No more words. Until I touch the
ocean with my hands... it's all
Kris is tortured. He leaves the room.
INT. HOSPITAL HALL - DAY
Maurice wheels himself into the hall from the waiting area.
He looks around. His eyes lock on the EXIT SIGN over the
door at the end of the hall. His eyes scan the area quickly.
He immediately finds the guard on the floor staring at him.
The guard nods ever so slightly as if to say, "I know what
you're thinking." Maurice turns his attention to a small boy
in a hospital gown, being scolded by a head nurse.
You cooperate with us about taking
your medicine and maybe we'll talk
The head nurse takes a chocolate bar out of the boy's tiny
hands. The boy offers no response. Maurice watches
curiously as STEPHANIE walks over and pats the boys head.
Maurice catches a small exchange -- Stephanie slips another
candy bar into his pocket. The boy breaks into a warm smile.
Stephanie puts her fingers against her lips and winks.
Maurice takes this exchange in with great interest.
INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - DAY
Stephanie steps into the room and prepares a tray of food.
The SILHOUETTED FIGURE of Maurice seated near the bay window
turns to face her.
You should be in bed.
The face stares back from the shadows. She feels him
What do your friends call you?
Do you have a car, Steph?
You should be in bed...
Stephanie moves to Maurice... She stops short when his face
comes into view. His eyes are raw -- red. His face puffy.
You're in pain.
I need your help.
They told me, you might try to talk
me into something... You need to
rest Mr. Parker... It's for your
I've been following your story for
a long while. It's a beautiful
thing you did.
You ever lose somebody Stephanie?
Mr. Parker, I'm supposed to give
you your fish sticks.
Beat. Maurice melts her with his expression.
... My father.
Did you tell him everything you
wanted to? Did you do everything
you could while he was here?
She shakes her head "No" -- the tears welling up in her eyes.
If I don't do this Steph, my life
isn't worth saving.
Maurice reaches out and squeezes her soft trembling hand.
Please, help me.
INT. HOSPITAL HALLWAY - DAY
Stephanie throws a nervous smile to the guard as she escorts
a doctor down the hall... The doctor's oversized while lab
coat almost drags on the floor as he tries to hide the pain
of being on his feet. MAURICE PARKER studies a bogus chart
in his hands. His new glasses, sliding off his nose. Beads
of sweat -- revealing his agony.
Three people in the elevator; Stephanie, Dr. Maurice Parker,
and a female physician. The female doctor looks at Maurice
curiously, studying his demeanor -- she can't place him.
The ELEVATOR DOORS OPEN on the third floor... The SOUND OF A
TV FLOODS THE ELEVATOR COMPARTMENT. Maurice looks up in
horror to see a close-up of his FACE superimposed on the TV
screen seated on the receptionist's desk. A man gets on the
The female doctor stares at the TV as the doors close -- she
immediately turns to Maurice... her view is blocked by the
new passenger... the elevator progresses down 2... 1...
The female doctor leans forward trying to get a glimpse of
Maurice... THE BELL DINGS as the doors open on the ground
Doctor Maurice Parker and Stephanie quickly exit... the
female doctor stays in the elevator and watches carefully.
Excuse me, doctor...
DOWN THE HALL... Maurice pauses and turns around -- fear
etched across his face. The female doctor looks around the
barren hall then turns back to Maurice.
The female doctor smiles as the doors shut. After a few
moments of shock -- Maurice smiles back.
Stephanie yanks Maurice down the hall and out the EMERGENCY
EXT. STREET - DAY
A colorful canopy of leaves... a familiar torn American flag.
Stephanie's white VW Rabbit pulls to a stop.
This is it... This is where I fell.
He turns back to Stephanie who stares back at him
I never thanked my father. He did
so much for me... I never thanked
Maurice holds her sad face in his scared hands.
It's not too late.
Maurice gets out of the car painfully slow. He pulls his
shoulder back upright with a laborious breath. A sense of
pride returns to his face. He turns back to Stephanie and
catches a horrified look. He follows her stare...
She is staring at his shirt... He looks down to see a DARK
CRIMSON STAIN GROWING beneath the surface. He covers the
area with his hand.
You're going to have a lot of work
to do when I get back.
Someone should be with you.
He gives her his best smile and begins shuffling his feet
over the loose gravel of the road... one step at a time.
INT. HOSPITAL STAIRS - AFTERNOON
A black man -- grey, balding hair walks hurriedly up the
stairs. This is STAN NEWTON.
Keeping in step with Newton is a police officer. SERGEANT
EMORY, jet white hair, army cut, gives him an intimidating
Newton stops Emory before entering.
I'm afraid Mrs. Matlin is very
Emory lets the warning sink in before opening the door.
Adelle's VOICE IS BOOMING.
Adelle YELLS at Dr. Ray, a few nurses, and the guard who was
... "American Journal of
Review", and "Science", so I think
it's safe to say my opinion is
She catches her breath.
How does a grown man who can barely
walk, just stroll out?... This is
not James Bond here, this is my
uncle who owns a bookstore, and
gets outwitted by grade school kids
Adelle notices the new people in the room.
Mrs. Matlin, this is Sergeant
Emory. He'll help us find your
Adelle walks up to Emory.
Let me tell you a story Sergeant.
There was a patient of mine who had
a Golden Retriever, Mac... She
loved Mac, not like a pet, but like
a family member. One day, she had
to leave Mac with 'friends', and
wouldn't you know it, Mac gets away
and ends up falling into a sewer.
My patient comes back -- goes nuts
when she hears that Mac has been in
the sewer for over 48 hours.
Apparently the cop who found the
dog didn't want to get his pants
dirty. And neither did anyone
else. So of course, my patient
decides to go in after it... she
falls... breaks her hip and lands
next to her dead dog, who died of
toxic fumes down there...
Adelle looks around at all the engrossed faces.
The moral of the story is... She
sued for a lot of money! She sued
the friends, the city, and the
officer for negligence on duty.
She has no Mac, no happiness, but
she's very rich now... That was a
dog. We're talking about a human
I hope everyone clearly understands
the chain of events that will occur
if something should happen to my
uncle, whom I love more than you
can possibly imagine... Now
Sergeant I would like to know right
now, if you're willing to get your
pants dirty for my uncle?
Adelle and Emory have a staring contest. Adelle wins.
Adelle stands alone in a room with four men, and she is
clearly the one in charge.
The door flies open. A police officer walks in pushing KRIS
REDDY through the door.
I found him sneaking up the back
stairs with this.
The officer holds out a long coat and hat. Emory walks up to
Did you help Mr. Parker leave this
Kris looks to the empty bed and smiles... a BIG SMILE.
No... But I was going to.
Beat. Emory turns to the officer and ushers him to the door.
Forget him. It's time to get our
I want three black and whites from
here to Handley Avenue. And no
communication with the station.
The press monitors the
(a born actor)
They can do that?
That goes for all of you. Not a
word about this disappearance to
anyone. Absolutely no press.
Kris smiles innocently.
EXT. STREET - NIGHT
Police vehicles roam the city streets -- slowing to a crawl
at every white male over forty, walking the sidewalks.
scanning the crowded intersections through the open window of
her moving taxi.
patrolling the streets on foot. He stops at a hot dog vendor
and flashes a picture of Maurice from his wallet. The vendor
shakes his head, "No."
A COMMOTION BREAKS OUT ONE BLOCK DOWN... Kris spins in that
direction... sees a crowd forming at the corner of the
sidewalk... Starts toward them... Kris sees something through
the thinner parts of the crowd... something laying on the
sidewalk... A man! Kris' walk turns into a sprint.
Kris works his way through the growing crowd, puncturing the
center of the circle... Kris gazes down at the man writhing
on the concrete... A black man, shaking uncontrollably. A
women standing over the fallen man waves the crowd back.
He has Epilepsy, just give him
room... An ambulance is on the way.
The crowd spreads out. Kris looks down at the unconscious
man on the sidewalk sadly -- Kris' thoughts race. He moves
on with newfound concern.
INT. HOMELESS SHELTER - EVENING
A converted gymnasium. The room is splintered into rows of
folding tables and chairs. Against the wall, is the serving
stand. Groups of volunteers dispense sandwiches and soup.
IN THE CORNER
The room is crowded with homeless men and women and a few
children. In the back we find MAURICE. In his old clothes,
and tired disheveled appearance -- Maurice is virtually
invisible in this crowd. He presses something to his injured
side. His condition has worsened.
He eyes the entrance where a POLICE OFFICER walks in and
moves to the serving counter. The officer asks the serving
lady something, and shows her a picture. She shrugs her
shoulders and continues serving. The cop takes one last look
around the hundreds of hungry people leaving the room.
Maurice pulls up his hand from underneath his shirt. The
napkin he was holding at his side is SATURATED WITH BLOOD.
Maurice replaces it with a clean napkin.
EXT. POLICE STATION - MORNING
SUNRISE ON SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA.
INT. POLICE STATION - MORNING
Emory rubs his eyes as the papers pile up on his desk.
OFFICER KLEIN lays out the newspapers one after the other.
... L.A. Times -- 'He's Back.'...
San Francisco Chronicle -- 'Have
You Seen Maurice?'... New York Post
Klein lays the last paper on the table.
Is that all?
No. The Mayor sent word, that he
wants this thing handled quickly,
before anything unfortunate
happens. He said he doesn't want
to be known as the 'Mayor of the
City Where Maurice Parker Died!'
Is that all?
No. Mrs. Matlin's waiting for
Klein opens the door. Adelle walks in and stands at a
distance from Emory. She looks beat. Her eyes are
bloodshot, and tired.
What happened with the museum
Adelle is visibly dejected.
It's been a long couple of days for
all of us. So let me be honest.
If he hasn't turned up yet, he's
I spoke with Dr. Ray this morning,
and he said it was highly unlikely
that someone in his condition could
survive this long without medical
attention, let alone walk sixty
miles -- in fact his exact word
Adelle fiddles with her coat.
If I knew where he was, I'd get him
off the street, but I think it's
time that you, the Mayor, and
everyone else be braced for the
EXT. JUNIPERO SERRA FREEWAY - DAY
The freeway is packed -- bumper to bumper. Cars standing
still in the hot sun.
A hispanic man in his late forties, JUAN is seated in his
Dodge Caravan when he sees someone in his rearview mirror. A
man is using a stick as a cane. The struggling man makes his
way along the shoulder very slowly.
Juan reaches over to his passenger seat and turns over the
L.A. Times. Under the heading, "He's Back!" is Maurice's
picture. Juan quickly rolls down his window as Maurice
passes by on the shoulder.
Hey, Maurice man -- keep going
Maurice is startled at the man's yell, but then smiles when
the words register. Maurice struggles forward.
Juan keeps yelling encouragements... This grabs the attention
of other drivers who realize who is walking past them. One
by one, car doors open and people call to Maurice.
Don't stop Maurice!
Go Mr. Parker!
Cars start to HONK... More and more people turn to see the
commotion... The YELLING AND HONKING IS JOINED BY WHISTLES
AND CHEERS --
Maurice can't believe it -- he tries to smile but can't hold
it. His face tightens with every step. His shirt is soiled
with blood. He raises his hand and gives a weak wave to a
woman who holds up her little boy through the sunroof of the
A WCAU NEWS VAN
parked in the traffic. A NEWSREPORTER stares through
Thank you God!
The crew quickly prepares their cameras and equipment. They
move like lightning. In seconds they are shooting the crowd
and their hero.
The air is CHARGED... THE NOISE GROWING, MORE AND MORE PEOPLE
JOIN IN... LOUDER... People stand on top of their cars to get
a better view...
A POLICE CAR
stuck in traffic. OFFICER DAWSON looks around as the PARADE
OF NOISE SURGES TOWARDS HIM. He looks out his window and
catches a GLIMPSE OF MAURICE LIMPING UP THE FREEWAY.
INT. POLICE STATION - DAY
Officer Klein busts into Emory's office just as Adelle is
about to leave.
They found him.
Adelle is instantly charged with life.
Dawson's on the C.B. -- wants to
talk with you Sarg.
Adelle and as many officers that will fit in the room are
listening to the radio conversation.
What's going on? Where is he?
Emory CLICKS TO LISTEN. THE SPEAKERS EXPLODE WITH HONKING
AND CHEERING -- IT SOUNDS LIKE A CARNIVAL. DAWSON YELLS OVER
He's just getting off 280. It's
amazing Sarg... everybody's out of
their cars and cheering him on.
Shit, get him in your car and take
him to St. Vincents.
You ever see that concert footage
of the Doors, Sarg?
Adelle and the room of officers look confused.
What the hell are you talking
The Doors, the musical group. I
saw a documentary where the police
stopped one of their concerts,
snatched Jim Morrison right off the
stage... the crowd went frickin
nuts -- they tore up the place --
it turned into a war.
... I'm not stopping this concert
by myself. And there's no way
you're getting backup here -- it's
jammed up for miles.
Emory is thinking fast.
Why don't we just let him finish
Beat. Emory looks at Adelle's expectant face. He talks into
the C.B. without taking his eyes off her.
How does he look?
Like shit. He's bleeding heavily.
He's having breathing problems and
he's as pale as stone. If he
wasn't moving, I'd swear he was
Emory thinks. He talks to the other officers in the room.
Bring him in. Now! If he dies out
there, who the hell knows what that
crowd will do...
Let alone the Mayor.
The room empties fast. Emory talks to Adelle.
He'll be in a hospital within a
half an hour.
Somehow, Adelle's face doesn't convey much confidence.
INT. PACIFICA MALL - DAY
The shops are empty. The food court abandoned.
Close to five hundred people are huddled at the center of the
mall. The HI-FI HOUSE has four large screen TV's in their
bay windows and speakers on the outside of the doors to lure
passing shoppers in.
All four sets have the same program on -- A NEWSBREAK on
Maurice Parker. The crowd listening anxiously.
... He's headed West on Sharp Park
Road... Witnesses describe him as
A shock of concern shoots through the crowd.
Lynn McCay and our Highway Cam --
has just spotted him...
The picture cuts to a HELICOPTER SHOT OF DOWNTOWN PACIFICA --
at first it just looks like an aerial of buildings, then the
camera ZOOMS. It catches a tiny figure struggling through a
EXT. STREET - DAY
Newspapers spiral through the air. Maurice stretches his
neck up, squinting at the sun. The SILHOUETTE OF A
HELICOPTER hovers above him. The NOISE is overpowering.
Maurice's fatigue grows, every muscle, every ounce of energy
goes into each step. Maurice clutches the side of his
head... the steps halted... hands trembling, teeth clenched,
eyes squeezed shut. A surge of intense pain tries to buckle
him... Maurice fights it off as he moves his feet again.
The helicopter SWOOPS above as he makes his turn onto a FINAL
STRETCH OF ROAD adjacent to the BEACH.
Maurice stops dead in his tracks as he turns the corner to
find a SEA OF PEOPLE WAITING FOR HIM. A momentous sight...
people lined along the street for as far as the eye can see.
AN EXPLOSION OF YELLING, CHEERING CALIFORNIAN'S ENGULFS THE
AIR as they spot Maurice standing at the end of the street.
The CROWD SURGES TOWARDS HIM.
Maurice is dazed... the noise, the pain, the faces swirl in
his head as thousands of people surround him. Maurice is
overwhelmed. He is about to collapse when someone takes hold
of his arm. Maurice turns to see KRIS REDDY STANDING NEXT TO
HIM. In the midst of this chaos and growing madness.
Maurice and Kris have an entire conversation with one
The SOUNDS of SIRENS BREAK the moment. Kris turns to see two
police cars turn on the street behind them.
Kris turns to Maurice.
Don't stop walking.
Kris lets go of his arm and moves like lightning. He jumps
atop a fire-hydrant and yells to the crowd.
The police are here. They're
coming to take Mr. Parker away. He
needs our help.
Kris points to the squad cars inching their way up the
Help Mr. Parker! Don't let them
end the walk.
THE SQUAD CARS
AS THEY COME TO A HALT as a wall of people stand in their
way. The SPEAKER ON THE POLICE CAR BLARES THROUGH THE AIR.
Step aside now! You are ordered to
step aside now!
The people don't move. A WOMAN carrying a BABY makes the
baby move her little hand in a waving gesture to the officers
behind the wheel of the police cars. The officers look at
each other in disbelief.
EXT. STREET - DAY
The far end of the beach road. A POLICE CAR SCREECHES TO A
STOP. Sergeant Emory and Adelle get out.
Adelle is completely blown away. She looks around at the
PANDEMONIUM. Thousands of men, women and children
celebrating with APPLAUSE AND CHEERS, HELICOPTERS IN THE AIR,
camera crews standing on raised platforms. Adelle drinks in
the ELECTRIC ATMOSPHERE with awe.
Emory yells orders into his WALKIE-TALKIE as Adelle breaks
the outer edge of the crowd and disappears into the field of
What the hell is going on? It's
frickin wall to wall people and
they're way too emotional. We need
mucho backup -- now!... Officers
are to bring in Mr. Parker on
sight, don't ask questions, don't
hesitate, bring him in... I want a
barricade placed along the entire
beach area... Now God damn it, now!
Emory CLICKS OFF and looks around at the growing crowd -- he
turns to see a PUBLIC BUS UNLOADING PASSENGERS -- fifty more
spectators rush off the bus and rush toward the crowded
EXT. STREET - DAY
Maurice stares down at the ground... willing each new step.
THE CHEERS AND WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT BLURRING INTO A
Maurice looks up for a moment as something grabs his
attention -- Maurice gasps for air as his eyes focus... The
small faces become clearer... Maurice stands twenty feet from
the entire population of PACIFICA HIGH SCHOOL. They cover
one side of the street for an entire block. Stretched over
their heads, held up by twenty students is a HUGE HAND
PAINTED BANNER. Maurice reads the words:
"ELLEN IS WATCHING!"
EXT. BEACH - DAY
Trucks unload dozens upon dozens of blue-wooden barricades.
An assembly line of officers place the barricades end to end
at the place where the sand meets the pavement.
Emory yells orders as a new truck arrives.
INT. NEWS MONTAGE - DAY
SHOTS OF THE PULSATING CROWD... GLIMPSES OF MAURICE MOVING
THROUGH THE CENTER OF THIS MASS. OVER THESE PICTURES WE HEAR
SNIPPETS OF VOICES OF TV ANCHOR PEOPLE, RADIO PERSONALITIES
AND ANNOUNCERS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY, DISSOLVING INTO EACH
OTHER ONE AFTER THE OTHER...
TV ANCHOR (V.O.)
... Through ten states and over
three thousand miles...
TV ANCHOR 2 (V.O.)
... A bookstore owner from
the father that brought Maurice in out of the cold in the
Midwest, praying intensely in his chapel. AN OLD HAND-HELD
RADIO IS ON THE PEW NEXT TO HIM. He listens to the updates.
RADIO D.J. (V.O.)
... Ellen Parker killed by a drunk
driver September 2nd...
Isaac's father, sitting in a TV station watching the monitors
as the feeds come in from California. Mr. Caldwell watches
with great emotion, eyes glued to the screen.
TV ANCHOR 3 (V.O.)
... A seven month odyssey through
the heart of the country...
the police officer from Philadelphia who worked with Adelle.
He listens with the rest of the precinct to a portable stereo
on a windowsill. The room is silent -- everyone hangs on the
words coming from the speakers.
RADIO D.J. 2 (V.O.)
... the power of the human
in a hotel room. The TV FILLING THE ROOM WITH NEWS. Gerald
sits behind two large room-service carts of food. He takes a
big bite of a sandwich with an emotional smile to the
TV ANCHOR 4 (V.O.)
... A life threatening condition,
Transient Cerebral Ischemia...
ST. VINCENT'S HOSPITAL
where STEPHANIE watches in the jam packed recreation room
with about thirty patients watching a TV screen mounted high
in the corner of the room. Stephanie looks a mess, she's
been crying for a while.
TV ANCHOR 5
... a journey he began by himself,
will end with a family of millions
at his side...
EXT. STREET - DAY
The BOISTEROUS crowd parts like a ripple effect as Maurice
walks through. The eyes fall emotionally on him as he stares
down at the ground trying to keep moving.
Maurice gasps harder now, his eyes stinging with drops of
sweat falling from his brow. People in the crowd cover their
mouths in shock as they get a clear view of him... His shirt
soaked on one side with blood, his entire body shaking with
pain, and exhaustion, his face hollow and pale -- ghostly.
Maurice stops in his tracks. He looks up at a wooden sign,
worn from the years of salt water air. The sign reads:
"PACIFICA BEACH - 1/2 MILE"
Maurice's thoughts fade away from this place, this time...
EXT. PHILADELPHIA - FIFTEEN YEARS AGO - NIGHT (FLASHBACK)
WE ARE IN THE PARKER BEDROOM. The lights are off. The
MOONLIGHT FROM THE WINDOWS BLANKETS Young Maurice and Young
Ellen as they lay in bed. Ellen is cradled in Maurice's
arms. She is awake and watching the shadows dance on the
ceiling. She speaks in whispers.
What do you think heaven is like?
Maurice opens his eyes and stares at his beautiful wife.
I don't know.
I think it's a different place for
Did you have a dream?
I know where my heaven is.
When I was ten, my family lived in
Pacifica for a year. I used to go
to the beach everyday that summer.
I never felt so happy, carefree.
It was a magic place for me...
That's where my heaven will be.
If I die, you'll know where to look
Go to sleep Ellen.
No really, if God takes us away
from each other, you know where to
The beach of Pacifica, California.
Go to sleep Ellen.
Ellen smiles as she cradles deeper into Maurice's arms.
Husband and wife fall asleep together.
EXT. PACIFICA BEACH SIGN - DAY (PRESENT)
Maurice snaps back to the present, the PAIN AND COMMOTION
come back in a tidal wave of reality.
Maurice wipes the tears in his eyes and tries to take a step.
Someone blocks his way.
Uncle Maurice, please, we have to
get you to a hospital.
Adelle looks at her wounded Uncle sadly. She touches his
shirt and her hand comes away with blood.
I have to finish first.
I won't let you die.
The inner circle of people bursts open, as KRIS BREAKS
Let him finish Adelle. He's almost
He's almost dead. Can't you see
that! This has nothing to do with
Maurice touches Adelle's cheek turning her attention back to
him. He barely manages to get the words out.
It has nothing to do with you
either... This is between Ellen and
Beat. Maurice begins crying uncontrollably.
I'm begging you...
Maurice takes her hand and bends down putting his forehead to
her hand as if getting blessings from her.
Let me do this for Ellen, let me do
this for my wife.
Adelle's heart is breaking. She weeps openly as she
straightens her Uncle to an upright position. She wipes the
tears from his eyes with her hand gently.
AT THAT MOMENT THE INNER CIRCLE BREAKS OPEN AS TWO OFFICERS
RUSH IN. They reach for Maurice.
Touch him, and they'll be a riot...
Adelle stands firm, the strength in her growing with each
... and I'll start it.
The officers are taken off guard. They look around at the
countless sea of eyes on them. Adelle sees they won't do
anything and moves to Maurice's side.
Maurice begins to walk again. Adelle to one side, Kris to
the other and thousands of people following in step.
EXT. BEACH FRONT - DAY
The wave of people led by Maurice walk toward the beach. The
beach is blocked off by barricades all along it's perimeter.
Police officers stand every ten feet along it's edge.
A young officer watches fearfully as the ocean of people move
towards him. OFFICER GANTZ TALKS INTO HIS WALKIE-TALKIE.
He's coming. What should I do?
at the other end of the beach barricade, holding back
hundreds of people trying to get to the beach. Emory holds
his walkie-talkie and looks around at the sea of anxious
faces. He makes eye contact with a woman in tears.
clicking off his walkie-talkie as the crowd presses up to the
barricade. Officer Gantz is in awe as Maurice appears from
the crowd -- looking like a ghost of war... a holy
apparition. Maurice works his way painfully to Gantz.
Gantz looks into Maurice's pleading eyes. Maurice tries to
say something, but nothing can come out...
Gantz turns away from Maurice and picks up one of the
barricades. He makes an opening about three feet wide.
Gantz turns back to Maurice, stands at attention, and steps
Watch your step Mr. Parker.
Adelle and Kris watch in amazement as Maurice TAKES HIS FIRST
STEP ONTO THE SAND.
EXT. BEACH - DAY
An empty beach. ALL SOUND AND CHAOS DISAPPEARS. THE GENTLE
HISS OF THE OCEAN FILLS THE AIR.
The last fifty yards...
The steps in the sand, heavy, torturous. Each step, a step
closer to her...
Maurice picks up the pace. His numb feet making prints in
the sand. His lungs on fire...
Twenty feet left... Ten... Five...
The COOL WATER engulfs his feet and ankles. Maurice falls to
his knees like a man falling before God.
Kneeling in the water, Maurice raises his hands to his eyes.
The water spills between his fingers... clear, pure, magical.
Maurice GASPS hard as he falls onto his back. The water
comes in and washes over him... Gasping harder... He's
staring into the sky... Another wave of ocean gently blankets
him... Gasp... He spots something above him, fluttering...
his vision BLURS... WHITE FLUTTERING... SLOW-MOTION. THE
IMAGE CLEARS... Maurice smiles as he makes out the image of a
WHITE DOVE FLYING ABOVE HIM...
Maurice takes a short breath, very short. His body goes
still -- his eyes stay fixes at one point... No more pain, no
more loss, no more words...
The water washes over Maurice A. Parker...
Over his lifeless body...
And over his smile...
FADE TO BLACK.