The Internet Movie Script Database (IMSDb)


The web's largest
movie script resource!

Search IMSDb

Alphabetical
# A B C D E F G H
I J K L M N O P Q
R S T U V W X Y Z

Genre
Action Adventure Animation
Comedy Crime Drama
Family Fantasy Film-Noir
Horror Musical Mystery
Romance Sci-Fi Short
Thriller War Western

Sponsor

TV Transcripts
Futurama
Seinfeld
South Park
Stargate SG-1
Lost
The 4400

Movie Software
DVD ripper software offer
Rip from DVD
Rip Blu-Ray

Latest Comments
Star Trek4/10
Shawshank Redemption, The10/10
Jackie Brown10/10
Usual Suspects, The7/10
Usual Suspects, The10/10

Movie Chat



ALL SCRIPTS





Midnight Cowboy by Waldo Salt


FADE IN:

INT. TV STUDIO - DAY

A Susskind-type MODERATOR is speaking into camera:

			MODERATOR 
	Tonight we'll discuss a subject
	most of us seem to consider either
	bad taste or frivolous or funny.
	But if our experts are right, we
	face what might be called a
	masculinity crisis. Every fourth
	American man uptight, threatened by
	the increasing sexual demands of
	American women...

EXT. SIDEWALK INTERVIEW - DAY

An IRATE WOMAN speaks into camera:

			IRATE WOMAN
	They always put it that way, but
	well, all it means, you know, is
	every fourth American woman's never
	satisfied. That's it. I never am --
	have been, you know...

EXT. SIDEWALK INTERVIEW - DAY

A COOL WOMAN speaks into camera:

			COOL WOMAN
	This, this image of the, the man
	eating woman. It isn't our
	increasing demands. I think it's
	the shrinking American male...

EXT. SIDEWALK INTERVIEW - DAY

A SAD WOMAN speaks into camera:

			SAD WOMAN
	No, I never had, well, whatever it
	is you call it. But the hours he
	works, I can't blame him...

INT. CAFETERIA SCULLERY (TEXAS) - DAY

Full frame -- a scandal sheet picture of a sex-starved wife,
naked while her husband sleeps, captioned I BUY WHAT MY
HUSBAND CAN'T GIVE.

			SAD WOMAN'S VOICE 
	... but it's a problem. A big
	problem. With so many women I
	know...

Camera pulls back to show the picture among other pinups of
women -- rich, beautiful or naked, but all blonde -- steam
wilted on the wall over a dishwashing machine. JOE BUCK grins
at the wall as he scrapes garbage.

			JOB 
	Just keep your pants on, ladies...

MULTIPLE SPLIT SCREEN

A LADY COMMENTATOR, gradually surrounded by lonely women...
	BEAUTY PARLOR			
	FASHION SHOW		
	PSYCHIATRIST'S COUCH       
	COCKTAIL BAR			
	GYMNASIUM			 
	STATUE OF LIBERTY

			LADY COMMENTATOR
	Before World War One -- American
	men outnumbered women by over six
	percent. Today American women not
	only outnumber men, but live five
	years longer -- leaving them in
	control of vast corporate wealth
	and seventy-five percent of
	America's purchasing power...

The Lady Commentator is replaced by Joe, stacking dishes,
surrounded by frustrated ladies. He laughs tolerantly.

			JOE
	Y'all,line up and take your turn...

INT. TV STUDIO - DAY

The Moderator smiles into camera.

			MODERATOR 
	My question is this -- will
	American know-how come up with a
	marketable male to replace all the
	men who are worrying themselves
	into an early grave over women's
	increasing sexual demands?

INT. STALL SHOWER - DAY

Joe sings as he soaps himself, "Whoopee ti yi yo, git along
little dogies, for you know New York will be your new home!"
Sound and image freeze on Joe's open mouth.

SUPERIMPOSED MAIN TITLE AND CREDITS

TITLES follow as indicated, sound and action continuing after
each credit.

INT. SUNSHINE CAFETERIA - DAY

Joe's song continues over a sweating WAITRESS, glancing up.

			WAITRESS 
	Where's that Joe Buck?

INT. HOTEL ROOM - DAY

Wrapped in a towel, singing in front of his dresser mirror,
Joe sprays himself with deodorant, aiming a last playful
blast at the unseen crotch -- freezing song and image as
CREDITS continue over...

... a calendar girl on the wall blushing orange, mouth frozen
in a tiny O, staring wide-eyed. Joe's song continues as...

... Joe rips the wrapping from a new Stetson and sets it on
his head, freezing song and image as CREDITS continue.

INT. CAFETERIA SCULLERY - DAY

RALPH, an aging black man, faces a mountain of dirty dishes.

			RALPH
	Where's that Joe Buck?

INT. HOTEL ROOM - DAY

Singing as he buttons his new cowboy shirt, Joe interrupts
himself to answer Ralph...

			JOE
	Yeah, where's that Joe Buck?

... continuing his song as he pulls up and zips his tight
thighed black slacks, freezing song and image for CREDITS.

INT. REMEMBERED BEAUTY PARLOR - ANOTHER TIME

SALLY BUCK, a pretty middle-aged blonde, smiles down at
camera,

			SALLY BUCK
	You look real nice, Joe baby...

INT. HOTEL ROOM - DAY

Joe sings as he pulls on his new cowboy boots, arranging his
cuffs to show off the yellow sunburst at the ankle, freezing
song and image for CREDITS.

INT. SUNSHINE CAFETERIA - DAY

The pink MANAGER scowls at his pocket watch.

			MANAGER 
	Where's that Joe Buck?

INT. HOTEL ROOM - DAY

Joe hums as he piles a complete wardrobe of cowboy clothes,
still in their wrappers, into a shiny new suitcase of black
and white horsehide.

			JOE
	Yeah, where's that Joe Buck?

INT. SUNSHINE CAFETERIA - DAY

Holding his watch, the Manager wags a finger at camera.

			MANAGER 
	You're due here at four o'clock.
	Look at those dishes, look!

INT. HOTEL ROOM - DAY

Joe laughs as he locks his suitcase.

			JOE
	Know what you can do with those
	dishes? And if you ain't man enough
	to do it yourself, I'd be happy to
	oblige...

Joe picks up his suitcase, a portable transistor radio, walks
away from the mirror, then pauses to run a comb through his
hair, hook a cigarette at the corner of his mouth and strike
a match on his thumbnail before he turns back for one
admiring glance at himself in the mirror -- proud, exultant,
ready -- freezing the image as CREDITS END.

EXT. TEXAS TOWN MAIN STREET - DAY

Joe leaves the hotel, carrying his suitcase.

INT. CAFETERIA SCULLERY - DAY

The pink Manager points at his watch angrily.

			MANAGER 
	Four to midnight, understand?

Angle widens to include Joe, holding his suitcase and radio.
Ralph stares at him curiously, stacking dishes.

			JOE
	Say, look, uh, I gotta have a word
	with you, if you got a second.

			MANAGER
	Later. Later maybe.

The Manager hurries away, carrying a basket of dishes.

			RALPH 
	You ain't coming to work?

			JOE
	Don't guess. Just come for my day's
	pay owing and to tell you I'm
	heading East.

Joe tilts his Stetson as the Waitress appears at the door...

			WAITRESS 
	Cups!

... but she disappears without noticing Joe. Ralph offers his
hand. Joe takes it, holds it.

			RALPH 
	What you gonna do back there, East?

			JOE 
	Lotta rich women back there...

			RALPH
	Yeah?

			JOE 
	Men, they mostly faggots.

			RALPH 
	Must be some mess back there.

			JOE 
	Well, ain't no use hanging around
	here.

			RALPH
	Ain't gonna collect your pay?

			JOE 
	I got me two hundred twenty-four
	bucks of flat folding money... 
		  (slaps hip)
	He know what he can do with that
	chicken-shit day's pay. And if he
	ain't man enough to do it for
	himself, I be happy to oblige!

INT. SUNSHINE CAFETERIA - DAY

The door marked EMPLOYEES ONLY swings open and Joe appears,
measuring his effect on the customers and his fellow
employees as he crosses the sterile white dining room,
observing the drab details of the life he has left behind -
garbage on greasy dishes, limp food in steam table trays,
coffee-soaked cigarette butts, caked mustard and ketchup on
formica table tops -- two pimply high school girls slurping
suggestive noises after Joe through the straws of empty coke
glasses. O.S. a Tiomkin-tradition chorus sings, "From this
valley they say you are going -- we will miss your bright
eyes and sweet smile for they say you are taking the
sunshine..."

EXT. TOWN MAIN STREET - DAY

The song ends as Joe comes from the cafeteria "... that
brightened our pathway a while."

			JOE 
	Tough tiddy, ladies, you had your
	chance.

From a high angle -- Joe starts his long walk toward the bus
depot along the street of a small Western town struggling to
urbanize itself. The click-clack-click of his boots is loud
but somehow lonely The radio at his ear drones grain prices
on the Commodity change. Joe's pace slows as he passes...

EXT. SALLY BUCK'S BEAUTY SALON - DAY

... a gilt-lettered sign in the window, glittering in the
sun, momentarily hiding the fact that the shop is deserted.
Joe grins as he hears remembered sounds and voices incomplete
flashes, more significant in tone than content a girl
giggling sexily -- "Keep your meat hooks off my beauty
operators, sugar" -- tinkling noises of a busy beauty parlor 
- Sally Buck singing "Hush, little baby, don't say a word,
Grammaw gonna buy you a mockingbird..."

... a shift of light revealing a row of tarnished driers, a
broken mirror, a FOR RENT sign in the window. Joe turns
toward the bus depot, radio pressed to his ear.

			ANNOUNCER'S VOICE
	Benson and Hedges One Hundreds
	makes special awards from time to
	time for anything that's longer
	than anything...

			JOE 
	Care to get out your yardstick,
	gentlemen?

At the same moment, a recognizable variant of the "Big
Country" theme blares loud.

INTERCUT WESTERN FILM CLIP

Gary Cooper (or John Wayne) walks a frontier street.

EXT. BUS DEPOT - DAY

High angle of the departing bus, intercut "Big Country"
fashion, alternating high shots with close-ups of the bus
wheals.

EXT. FREEWAY CLOVERLEAF - DAY

Through the bus windshield -- a dizzying montage of traffic
lines, arrows and signs as the bus sweeps around and up onto
the freeway.

INT. BUS - DAY

Joe sits at the front, opposite the driver, cracking his gum
as he watches the huge billboards streaking by, promising him
power, happiness and beautiful women if he chooses the right
breakfast food, hair oil or automobile. Joe listens to the
humming tires, the roar of the engine, shaking his head.

			JOE
	This is a powerful mothah, ain't
	it?

Ignored by the driver, Joe rises and walks back to his empty
double seat, glancing around to see what impression he's made
on his immediate fellow travelers -- an OLD LADY in front of
him -- a hostile young sailor with acne behind him -- two
teeny-boppers flirting with Joe hysterically -- a PALE BLONDE
directly across the aisle, smiling at Joe weakly.

			PALE BLONDE 
	Do you have a stick of gum?

Joe leans across, snapping his gum as he offers her a stick.
He watches her nibble it daintily on her front teeth.

			PALE BLONDE (CONT'D)
	Thank you.

			JOE 
	Plenty more where that came from.

			PALE BLONDE 
	Thank you, no, it's just till the
	Dramamine works. I get carsick.

			JOE 
	I only get carsick on boats. 
		  (waits, then)
	But seems to me that's more the
	fish smell than the bouncing...

Joe realizes that her eyes are closed. Mildly depressed, he
stretches himself across both seats and turns on his radio,
finds only static and snaps it off. Further depressed, he
examines his reflection in the bus window, squeezes a black
head and runs the comb through his hair, picks a piece of
tobacco off his tooth and lights a cigarette, watching the
flame die in reflection, forgetting to discard the burnt-out
match as he stares out at a vast lonely prairie, a solitary
cowboy in the distance, a row of sharecropper shacks
apparently deserted, a barefoot little girl motionless at the
roadside, watching the bus pass. Through this, leading into
the next scene, Sally Buck sings softly "... if that mocking
bird don't sing, Grammaw gonna buy you a golden ring..."

INT. REMEMBERED BEAUTY SALON - ANOTHER TIME

Sally Buck, relaxing in the middle of a busy day, eyes closed
wearily, while little Joe massages her neck. Her song
continues over the noises of the busy beauty parlor "... if
that golden ring turns brass, Grammaw gonna buy you a looking
glass..."

			SALLY BUCK
	No, a little lower, sugar, yeah,
	yeah, that's good. Grammaw's beat.

			SALESMAN'S VOICE 
	You gotta sell yourself, that's the
	whole trick...

INT. BUS - DAY

A seedy TRAVELING SALESMAN with badly-fitted dentures and a
frayed collar has taken the aisle seat next to Joe. As he
lectures Joe on salesmanship, he figures his expenses in a
worn leatherette notebook, nervous fingers and eyes
unconsciously revealing the extent of his failure.

			SALESMAN 
	It ain't the product and it ain't
	the price, no sir, and it ain't
	what you sell, it's personality,
	pure and simple. I ain't shined my
	own shoes or shaved my own face in
	forty years, how's that? Not bad
	for a kid that didn't pass the
	eighth grade, right?

			JOE 
	Yeah, hell, yeah.

			SALESMAN
	And that's my golden rule. Make 'em
	love you. Put yourself over and you
	can sell them anything. If they
	like you, they'll buy horsemeat for
	prime beef...

INT. REMEMBERED BEAUTY SALON - ANOTHER TIME

A gawky, adolescent Joe sits sprawled on the couch, leafing
through a magazine while Sally Buck bleaches the roots of a
young woman's hair.

			SALLY BUCK 
	You get him to the church, honey.
	He ain't gonna find out you ain't a
	real blonde till after you're
	married, then's too late.

Sally Buck turns, pretending to be stern as Toe laughs.

			SALLY BUCK (CONT'D)
	You getting too big for your
	britches, sugar.

EXT. HIGHWAY - NIGHT

The headlights of the bus flash past a huge sign, painted on
the slant roof of a barn: JESUS SAVES.

INT. BUS - NIGHT

Joe is alone again. The Salesman has disappeared. The bus is
dark, most-passengers trying to sleep. Only one reading light
still burns, over the head of the old-Lady in the seat ahead
of Joe. Joe squirms, restless, trying to lull himself to
sleep with the music of a revivalist gospel group on the
radio.

			SALLY BUCK'S VOICE 
	Don't forget to say your prayers,
	honey...

Joe leans forward to help the old Lady, irritably struggling
with the release button on her seat. She scowls as Joe leans
over to release her seat, then pulls her blanket around her
and turns away from him. Joe switches off her reading light.

			OLD LADY 
	I want it on.

Joe switches it on again, fakes a good-natured grin, settles
back with his radio, aware of an OLD COWHAND seated opposite
him, replacing the Pale Blonde. The Old Cowhand is appraising
Joe's wardrobe curiously. He looks away when he sees Joe
watching him. Joe settles back, unable to think of a way to
open a conversation.

			EVANGELIST'S VOICE
	Oh, my friends, I say unto you,
	invest with Jesus, put your dollars
	to work where they'll pay off at
	compound interest. The Good Book
	says money answereth all things...

The Old Cowhand has rolled-himself a cigarette. Joe quickly
lights a match on his thumb and holds it across the aisle.

			JOE 
	Light?

The Old Cowhand's "thanks" is lost in a fit of coughing as he
inhales his first drag. He settles back, wiping his watery
eyes on a faded bandana.

			EVANGELIST'S VOICE 
	... everyone who sends a dollar to
	the Evangelical Congregation of the
	Air will get free gratis a genuine
	leatherette hymn book so you can
	sing along with Sister Rosella and
	the Evangelical Choir...

			JOE
	You throw in Sister Rosella and you
	got a deal, right, old timer?

Joe glances across the aisle. The Old Cowhand manages a
faint, humorless smile.

			JOE (CONT'D)
	Going far?

			OLD COWHAND 
	Up the line. Not far.

			JOE
	I'm bound for New York City.

The Old Cowhand reappraises Joe's wardrobe even more
curiously.

			JOE (CONT'D)
	Ever happen to come across a cowman
	name of Woodsy Niles? Friend of my
	grammaw Sally Buck...

The Old Cowhand considers, shakes his head. Joe leans back,
laughing to himself.

INT. REMEMBERED BEDROOM - ANOTHER TIME

Little Joe's head is lost in a beat-up cowboy hat, similar to
the one worn by the old Cowhand. Sally Buck smiles on WOODSY
NILES -- a long-legged cowboy with a shock of black hair --
who stands at her dressing table, admiring himself in a new
Stetson.

			SALLY BUCK 
	Like it, honey? Does it fit?

			WOODSY 
	You do me good, Sal, you do me real
	good. You know what I gonna give
	you for that Stetson?

Woodsy grabs Sally Buck, lifting her off her feet, carrying
her to the bed. Struggling, they fall across the covers
together, Little Joe laughing with them.

			SALLY BUCK 
	Woodsy Niles! The boy!

			WOODSY 
	He don't know what makes little
	apples by now, it's time he found
	out.

INT. BUS - NIGHT

Joe shakes his head, grinning, offering the old Cowhand a
cigarette.

			JOE
	Smoke?

The old Cowhand shakes his head, showing the rolled cigarette
Joe lit for him. Joe nods, still bemused.

INT. REMEMBERED BEDROOM - ANOTHER TIME

Little Joe is cuddled in Sally Buck's arms, under the covers,
watching Woodsy, sitting cross-legged on the bed, naked
except for his Stetson and guitar, singing drunkenly.

			WOODSY
	... git along little dogies!

EXT. MIDWEST TOWN - MORNING

From a high angle -- the bus slows to a stop.

INT. BUS - MORNING

Joe awakens, stiff-necked, momentarily confused. He
straightens in his seat as he sees the old Cowhand lifting a
sweat-stained saddle down from the overhead rack, starting
toward the front of the bus. Joe calls after him.

			JOE
	Nice talking to you, old timer.

Joe stuffs a stick of gum in his mouth, turns to wave at the
Old Cowhand through the window as the bus pulls away.

			WOODSY'S VOICE
	She-dogs squat, boy. He-dogs stand
	up and lift their leg...

INT. REMEMBERED MEN'S ROOM - ANOTHER TIME

Woodsy, in his new Stetson, watches Little Joe in his beat-up
cowboy hat, trying to balance on one foot, one leg lifted in
front of the trough. Woodsy roars with laughter.

			WOODSY 
	... but he-men stand and shoot from
	the hip.

INT. BUS RESTROOM - DAY

Joe laughs, flushes, checks his hair in the mirror.

EXT. HIGHWAY - DAY

The bus streaks past a brightly-colored billboard -- IN NEW
YORK, A WELCOME AWAITS YOU AT THE TIMES SQUARE PALACE HOTEL!

INT. BUS - DAY

Joe is now sitting in the wide rear seat, between two young
MARINES and a group of VETERANS wearing campaign caps and
convention buttons, passing a bottle, singing "From the Balls
of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli..." Joe follows the
conversation between a VETERAN and a MARINE, participating
only because he's sitting beside them, adopting a remembered
military stance.

			VETERAN
	Ever stationed at Kennedy? Those
	Florida chicks...

			MARINE 
	Instant V-goddam-D.

			VETERAN 
	This Pensacola teeny-bopper -- jail
	bait -- but built? Ten bucks she
	wanted. Three of us made a deal
	for, twenty-five, see, big goddam
	bargain?

			MARINE 
	Big peni-goddam-cillin bargain,
	right?

			VETERAN 
	You got it.

			MARINE 
	No. You got it.

			JOE 
	Jesus goddam Christ, I ain't
	laughed so hard since I was out at
	Fort Benning, Georgia.

			MARINE
	Did you make the Viet?

			JOE 
	What? Oh, hell no. Motor pool
	mostly...
		  (shakes his head)
	Kee-rist...

INT. REMEMBERED WHOREHOUSE - ANOTEER TIME

A plump, aging PROSTITUTE laughs up into camera.

			PROSTITUTE 
	Hey, hey, what you try to do to me?
	You gonna cost me money, soldier!

INT. BUS - DAY

Joe laughs as he passes the bottle, trying to sing along
without knowing the words as the Veterans segue into "Over
hill, over dale, we will hit the dusty trail, as the caissons
go rolling along..."

INT. REMEMBERED BEAUTY SALON - ANOTHER TIME

Sally Buck fondly wipes lipstick from Joe's lips.

			SALLY BUCK
	Keep your meat hooks off my
	operators, sugar, hear?

INT. BUS - DAY

Joe slaps one of the Veterans on the back, trying to follow
the song into "Off we go, into the wild blue yonder..."

INT. REMEMBERED MOVIE HOUSE - ANOTHER TIME

ANASTASIA clutches a younger Joe, eyes wild, gasping.

			ANASTASIA 
	You're the only one, Joe, the only,
	only one ever!

INT. BUS - DAY

Joe is leaning across the two Marines, staring out of the
window as the Veterans switch to "Anchors aweigh, my boys,
anchors aweigh..."

EXT. MANHATTAN SKYLINE - DAY

A stunning view through the bus window past Joe's reflection.

			JOE'S REFLECTION 
	Gonna swing my lasso and rope that
	whole goddam island, yeah!

EXT. BROADWAY PARADE - DAY

Drum majorettes leading the parade -- ticker tape and
confetti -- girls at skyscraper windows.

INTERCUT NEWSREEL CLIP

Charles Lindberg (or James Stewart) waving at the crowd.

EXT. NEW YORK HARBOR - DAY

Girls lining the piers -- flags, banners, bunting -- ship
horns, whistles, bells.

INT. BUS - DAY

Joe crowded as the veterans prepare to leave the bus, lifting
down banners and flags.

EXT. LINCOLN TUNNEEL - DAY

The bus suddenly surrounded by converging traffic, horns
honking, segueing into the noises of Times Square.

EXT. MARQUEE - DAY

Flag draped, reading: WELCOME VETERANS.

EXT. STREET - BANNER - DAY

Flapping in the wind -- WELCOME VETERANS!

EXT. TIMES SQUARE PALACE HOTEL - DAY

The marquee announces TRANSIENTS WELCOME. O.S. a singing
radio station break blares "W-I-N-S NEW YORK..."

EXT. RADIO TOWER - DAY

The sign flashes WINS "... ten-ten on your dial!" A torchy
woman's voice sings from a lonely echo chamber -- introducing
a love theme which will haunt Joe throughout the film.

INT. ROOM 1014 - DAY

Joe sets his radio on the dresser, his suitcase on the bed,
then turns to examine his new home -- as anonymous as his
Texas hotel room -- but boasting a coin-operated television
set. Fascinated, Joe inserts a quarter.

... the love song continues over a television talk Show
featuring a POODLE WIGMAKER defending his profession against
a Joe Pyne-type PANEL HOST, "...well, I perform a real
service, there's a need, so many people, you know, really
live in their pets, I mean, lonely, I grant you, but their
feeling is real. They want to lavish as much love, give them
as much, yes, pamper them like they were really human
children or whatever..."

			SALLY BUCK'S VOICE 
	There's a TV dinner in the fridge,
	lover boy...

INT. REMEMBERED PARLOR - ANOTHER TIME

Little Joe stares sullenly at an antique TV box while Sally
Buck puts her hat on at the fireplace mirror. There is a
framed picture of Woodsy Niles on the mantle.

			SALLY BUCK 
	You be okay, won't you? Maybe I
	bring you a treat if you're a good
	boy...

INT. ROOM 1014 - DAY

Joe watches the Panel Host, "... you're a nut case, fella, a
real nut case..."

INT. REMEMBERED BEAUTY SALON - ANOTHER TIME

Little Joe massaging Sally Buck's neck -- continuing the
earlier scene.

			SALLY BUCK 
	I'm so beat, no point you waiting
	round, toots, think I'll stop in
	for a beer or two...

INT. ROOM 1014 - DAY

Joe sits on the edge of the bed, watching the poodles primp.

INT. REMEMBERED PARLOR - ANOTEER TIME

Little Joe stares unblinking at the TV screen as Sally Buck
kisses him on the forehead, dressed for the street.

			SALLY BUCK 
	Expect me when you see me. Looks
	like I got me a new beau, lover
	boy, how's that for an old grammaw?
	I'll leave you movie money...

Sally Buck tucks a dollar bill under a framed picture of
Jesus, who has replaced Woodsy Niles on the mantle.

INT. ROOM 1014 - DAY

As a fairy godmother's magic wand removes sticky hair spray
from a pretty model's head, Joe's quarter runs out and the
screen goes blank. At the same moment, the love song is cut
off by a singing station break "W-I-N-S NEW YORK" Joe rises,
flipping the dial of the radio to a cultured woman's voice
reading "...the Dow Jones averages, brought you by Morgan
Vandercook. Up your income with sound investment
counseling..."

			JOE 
	Up yours, lady.

... but Joe leaves the lady on, savoring the expensive sound
of her voice reading the stock quotations. Joe seats himself
at the desk, pleased to find a postcard photograph of the
hotel. He picks up a ballpoint pen, counts ten floors up from
the street and marks a huge X -- THIS IS ME, then turns the
card over, pen poised over the address blank.

INT. CAFETERIA SCULLERY - DAY

Ralph stares at the card, surrounded by dirty dishes.

			RALPH
	Hell, he know I can't read...

INT. ROOM 1014 - DAY

Joe's pen wavers, starts to write and stops.

EXT. SALLY BUCK'S BEAUTY PARLOR - DAY

As we saw it last, deserted, a FOR RENT sign in the window.
Joe's reflection appears, staring at himself, dressed in his
dishwasher's clothes.

			JOE'S VOICE 
	After all them dishes are washed,
	what?

			JOE'S REFLECTION 
	Then they bring some more dishes
	and I wash them and then I, uh,
	sleep some and then wash some more
	dishes and then I...

			JOE'S VOICE
	Say it, lover boy!

			JOE'S REFLECTION 
	Die.

INT. ROOM 1014 - DAY

Joe stares at the postcard, bemused,

			JOE'S VOICE
	Well, you better just shake your
	tail, lover boy, and root, hog or
	die.

Joe rises abruptly, rips up the postcard and tosses it out
the window.

			JOE
	Goddam if I came to this town to
	write postcards.

EXT. TIMES SQUARE - DAY

The torn fragments flutter down on the crowd -- a woman
brushing irritably at her hair -- a man grimacing, glancing
up -- a cop removing his hat to examine it.

EXT. TIMES SQUARE PALACE HOTEL - DAY

From a low angle -- identical with the postcard photograph --
an unseen hand scrawls a huge X--- THIS IS ME. Camera zooms
up to a close-up of Joe at the window.

EXT. FIFTH AVENUE - DAY

From on high -- as though Joe were watching himself -- the
Stetson moves through a crowd of Fifth Avenue shoppers...

EXT. GLASS BUILDING - DAY

... passing a glass bank, lady tellers counting money...

EXT. CAR SHOWROOM - DAY

... passing a display of imported luxury cars...

EXT. JEWELRY STORE - DAY

... passing a window which features a single gem -- pausing
as horns blast O.S. and a mod blonde in a stalled sports car
motions to Joe -- she needs a push. Joe grins, glances at
himself in the window, runs a comb through his hair, then
turns back to see a cop helping the mod blonde. 

EXT. PARK AVENUE - DAY

Joe's heels drag as he walks a deserted block of luxury
apartment houses. O.S. The torchy woman's voice sings Joe's
love theme in counterpoint to the blasting horns, a siren, a
fire bell, a screech of brakes. Joe's spirits rise as he
hears the tic-tac-tic of high heels overtaking the heavy
click-clack-click of his boots. He adjusts his pace to arrive
at the corner at the same time as a smart and -- in Joe's
eyes -- very RICH LADY. Joe grins boyishly, holding his
Stetson over his heart.

			JOE
	Beg pardon, ma'am, I'm new here in
	town, just in from Houston, Texas,
	and looking for the Statue of
	Liberty.

The delicate profile gives no signs of hearing. Joe follows
her to the parkway in the middle of the avenue. There she
stops and turns, neither friendly nor hostile. 

			RICH LADY
	Were you looking? About the Statue
	of Liberty?

			JOE 
	Joking? No, ma'am. Oh no! I mean
	business!

			RICH LADY 
	I'm sorry. I thought you were --
	never mind -- I've never actually
	been there, but let me see, you
	take the Seventh Avenue subway, I
	think, to the end of the line...

			JOE 
	You sure are a pretty lady.

The Rich Lady tries to frown, taken aback, blushing.

			RICH LADY
	You're not looking for the Statue
	of Liberty at all.

			JOE 
	No, ma'am, I'm not.

			RICH LADY
	Why, that's perfectly dreadful.
	Aren't you ashamed of yourself?

A twinkle of amusement and sympathy reveals the age lines at
the corner of her eyes. Then she continues on quickly, just
as the light turns. Joe's view is blocked for a moment by
traffic, then he sees...

... the Rich Lady, newly aware of her flanks as she climbs
the steps of a brownstone and searches for her key. Still
from Joe's viewpoint, he sees himself move into frame and
follow the Rich Lady up the steps. The love theme swells O.S.
as the Rich Lady leads him into the house and closes the
door...

... leaving Joe standing alone on the parkway island,
surrounded by towering wealth. The love theme continues
over...

EXT. LEXINGTON AVENUE - DAY

... a pair of high-heeled pink slippers, walking a miniature
poodle -- slowing slightly, reacting to Joe's cowboy boots as
they pass, pause and turn back.

			CASS'S VOICE 
	Hurry up, Baby. Do um goody-goods
	for Mama.

Joe grins, holding his hat over his heart as he approaches
CASS TREHUNE, a blonde lady in a tight black dress, with the
look of a movie star who wrecked her career with food.

			JOE 
	Beg pardon, ma'am. I'm brand
	spanking new to this town, come 
	from Houston, Texas, and hoping to
	get a look at the Statue of
	Liberty...

			CASS 
	You're hoping to get a look at
	what?

			JOE 
	The Statue of Liberty.

			CASS 
	It's up in Central Park, taking a
	leak. If you hurry, you'll make the
	supper show. Now get lost.

But as she turns, Cass winks, dimpling the corners of her
mouth, signaling Joe to follow her.

INT. APARTMENT HOUSE ELEVATOR - DAY

Cass holds the DOOR OPEN button till Joe enters the elevator,
then the doors close with a soft expensive little kllooosh
and Cass turns with the smile of a very tiny girl...

			CASS 
	Hi.

... her lips closing on Joe's as the poodle yaps shrilly at
their feet. Superimposed, almost subliminally, a golden
dollar sign appears, halating like a star, and the bell of a
pinball machine rings O.S.

INT. CASS'S APARTMENT - DAY

A princess telephone is ringing on a gold and white desk.
Cass runs to grab it...

			CASS 
	Hello?

... as Joe steps from the elevator, which opens directly onto
Cass's penthouse. Cass beckons him toward her, hooks a finger
into his neckerchief and pulls his mouth toward hers while
she talks on the phone.

			CASS (CONT'D)
	Morey? Hi-ee, honey...

Cass gurgles happily as her free hand unbuckles Joe's
garrison belt.

			CASS (CONT'D)
	I'm just out of breath, honey,
	running to catch the phone.

As her fingers reach for Joe's zipper, cut to...

... Joe's hand unzipping her dress.

			CASS (CONT'D)
	I was walking Baby. Him got to do
	him goody-goods, right?

The poodle tugs at Joe's slacks until they fall. Cass steers
her ear to Joe's mouth, shuddering deliciously.

			CASS (CONT'D)
	Oh God, oh stop. I can't stand
	that. I just die...
		  (quickly into phone)
	It's Baby, Morey. Him trying to say
	hello. Say hello to Morey, Baby.

Cass holds the phone toward the yapping poodle, twisting
herself against Joe as she wriggles out of her dress, passing
the phone from one hand to the other.

			CASS (CONT'D)
	Okay, old goosie? Now lookie, when
	do you want me to meet you?
	Whatever you say. I'll take a nap,
	watch TV, you know, kill time.
	Okay, but just one, a big wet one.

Cass hangs up. The poodle yaps hysterically, disentangling
himself from her tumbling dress -- hops onto the couch 
glances off and flees again as an overturned lamp crashes
O.S.

INT. CASS'S BEDROOM - DAY

The poodle bounces onto the bed -- remaining long enough to
establish a TV REMOTE CONTROL TUNER lying on the satin
coverlet -- then leaps down in panic as he hears Joe and Cass
explode into the bedroom, laughing lustily...

... the remote control tuner buried suddenly under the full
flesh of Cass's hip, activating...

... a twenty-five-inch television screen, blasting at full
volume...

... Cass's eyes widening, profoundly impressed...

			CASS 
	Ye gods...

... the images and sound of the television set flicking
joyfully from channel to channel...

... Joe laughing, engulfed by Cass's abundance...

... Cass wild-eyed, overflowing the frame...

... a gleaming slot machine -- three Sahara cowgirls clicking
into line for jackpot -- silver dollars overflowing the
frame...

EXT. MANHATTAN SKYLINE - DAY

... the Mutual of New York tower flashes MONY!

			JOE'S VOICE 
	Holy shee-it, this is a goddam
	penthouse you got here, Cass, a
	real goddam penthouse.

INT. CASS'S BEDROOM - DAY

Joe turns away from a small terrace, buckling his belt,
glancing off toward the sound of Cass in the shower. He
flicks the TV remote control, enjoying his power, ignoring
the silent images on the screen -- battle casualties, a
pretty girl recommending aspirin, a man's stomach flashing
animated pain, starving war refugees, a dog eating pzazz --
flicking it off to concentrate on the costume jewelry and
perfume bottles on Cass's dressing table.

			CASS'S VOICE
	Don't look, baby...

Joe turns to look as Cass comes from the bathroom, holding a
towel around her as she runs behind the closet door.

			JOE 
	Say, Cass, I, uh, sure have enjoyed
	being here. Believe it's as fine a
	time as I've had in my life!

			CASS'S VOICE 
	Me, too, lover.

			JOE
	That's good, it is, cause, well I
	guess I didn't tell you why I came
	to New York, did I?

A tower of black bugle beads emerges from the closet door.

			CASS
	Zip this thing, will you, Tex?

Joe zips her dress, follows her to the dressing table, where
she sprays her hair with lacquer.

			JOB 
	Truth is, Cass, I'm, well, I'm in
	business.

			CASS 
	Oh, poor you. Morey's got terrible
	ulcers.

Cass stretches her upper lip across her teeth and she smears
it with, orange lipstick.

			JOE 
	Don't know what line Morey's in,
	but myself now, fact is -- I'm a
	hustler.

			CASS 
		  (lips stretched)
	Hers'n zodda meg a livig.

			JOE 
	Beg pardon, ma'am?

			CASS 
	Said, a person's gotta make a
	living.

			JOE 
	You sure you heard what I said?

			CASS 
	Scuse me, hon, fraid I'm only half
	here. Maybe you oughta run on
	along. But why don't you take this
	phone number?

Joe grins, relieved as she takes out a gold lame purse and
opens it. He frowns as she folds; it upside down, empty.

			CASS (CONT'D)
	Darn! I didn't get to the bank --
	Tex -- could you let me have a
	little coin for the taxi-waxi?

Joe stands mute as she cups his chin in her hand,
seductively.

			CASS (CONT'D)
	You're such a doll. I hate money,
	don't you? God, it's been fun.

			JOE 
	Funny thing, you mentioning money.
	I was just about to ask your for
	some...

Joe tries to laugh but it sticks in his throat as Cass speaks
-- an impassioned whisper -- still holding Joe's chin.

			CASS 
	You bastard! You son of a bitch!
	You think you're dealing with some
	old slut? Look at me! You think
	just cause you're a longhorn bull
	you can get away with this crap?
	Well, you're out of your mind. I am
	a gorgeous chick, thirty-one,
	that's right, you said it!

Sobbing suddenly, she throws herself on the bed. Joe stands
bewildered by the vastness of her grief.

			JOE 
	Hey. Hey, Cass. Did you think I
	meant that? Christ, would I be
	asking you for money with a wad
	like that riding on my hip?

Joe waves his wallet at her, but she only cries louder. He
hands her a kleenex. She clutches it to her face, wailing.
Joe leans over the bed, whispering in her ear:

			JOE (CONT'D)
	Hey. You are a gorgeous-looking
	piece, Cass. Guy gets horny, just
	looking at you. It's a fact. How
	much you need for that taxi? Ten?
	Twenty? There you go.

Joe tucks a twenty-dollar bill into her bosom, tilts his
Stetson and starts out. Cass blows her nose, looking after
him. O.S. chorus sings, "From this valley they say you are
going -- we will miss your bright eyes and sweet smile..."

EXT. LEXINGTON AVENUE - DAY

From a high angle, Joe walks away from the apartment house,
chorus continuing O.S. "... they say you are taking the
sunshine that brightened our pathway a while."

INT. EVERETT'S BAR - DAY

Joe sits at the bar, staring morosely at his image in the
mirror, already quite drunk, oblivious to the assorted types
hiding from daylight in the barn-like saloon, waiting for
night to fall.

			RATSO'S VOICE 
	Excuse me, I'm just admiring that
	colossal shirt...

RATSO studies Joe across the corner of the bar -- a sickly,
child-size old man of twenty-one -- hopefully nursing an
empty beer glass, contemplating the money on the bar in front
of Joe.

			RATSO 
	That is one hell of a shirt. I bet
	you paid a pretty price for it, am
	I right?

			JOE 
	Oh, it ain't cheap. I mean, yeah,
	I'd say this was an all right
	shirt. Don't like to, uh, you know,
	have a lot of cheap stuff on my
	back.

Ratso spits as JACKIE leans on the bar next to Joe -- a
feminine young person, heavily made-up, hair teased, wearing
earrings and a lace-trimmed blouse over shocking pink  levis.

			JACKIE 
	Got a cigarette, cowboy?

			RATSO
		  (a stage whisper)
	More goddam faggots in this town.

Reaching for a cigarette, Joe glances at Jackie, startled as
Jackie twitches his pink levis angrily and turns away.

			JOE
	Shee-it...
		  (shakes his head)
	Kee-rist, you really know the
	ropes. Wish to hell I bumped into
	you before. I'm Joe Buck from Texas
	and I'm gonna buy you a drink, what
	do you say to that?

			RATSO 
	Enrico Rizzo from the Bronx. Don't
	mind if I do.

			JOE
		  (slaps bar)
	Same all around! For my friend,
	too!

The TV screen over the bar features a mating game program as
Jackie cruises down to join a tall farm boy with plucked
eyebrows. The TV HOST points to three young men, visible only
from the shoulders up, from whom a pretty DATE GIRL in
blindfold must choose an escort.

			TV HOST 
	... and for the losers, who don't
	get the girl, we'll give as
	consolation prices -- a six month
	supply of underarm deodorant...

In a booth now -- the TV screen in the background, continuing
the game -- Joe is refilling Ratso's beer glass as he speaks,
loud over the laughter of the TV audience.

			JOE 
	... you see what I'm getting at
	here? She got a penthouse up there
	with color TV and more goddam
	diamonds than an archbishop and she
	busts out bawling when I ask for
	money!

			RATSO 
	For what?

			JOE 
	For money.

			RATSO 
	For money for what?

			JOE 
	I'm a hustler, hell, didn't you
	know that?

			RATSO 
	How would I know? You gotta tell a
	person these things 
		  (shakes his head)
	A hustler? Picking up trade on the
	street like that -- baby, believe
	me -- you need management.

			JOE 
	I think you just put your finger on
	it, I do.

			RATSO 
	My friend O'Daniel. That's who you
	need. Operates the biggest stable
	in town. In the whole goddam
	metropolitan area. A stud like you 
	- paying! -- not that I blame you --
	a dame starts crying, I cut my
	heart for her...

			JACKIE'S VOICE 
	I'd call that a very minor
	operation...

Ratso grabs the neck of a bottle, sliding back in the booth.
Joe scowls as Jackie appears with the tall farm boy.

			JACKIE 
	... in fact, you just sit comfy and
	I'll cut it out with my fingernail
	file. You won't even need Blue
	Cross, Ratso.

			RATSO 
	The name is Rizzo.

			JACKIE 
	That's what I said, Ratso.

			JOE 
		  (suddenly)
	Hey now, you heard him.

On the TV screen -- the Date Girl announces:

			TV DATE GIRL 
	I pick Number Two! He's cool!

			RATSO 
	That's okay, Joe. I'm used to these
	types that like to pick on
	cripples. Sewers're full of 'em.

			JACKIE
	May I ask one thing, cowboy? If you
	sit there and he sits way over
	there, how's he gonna get his hand
	into your pocket? But I'm sure he
	has that all figured out...
		  (to Ratso)
	Good night, sweets.

			TV HOST
	May present your chosen mate!

The TV host pulls aside the screen which has concealed the
lower half of the three young men. Number Two, her chosen
mate, is a dwarf sitting on a high stool. The girl's
spontaneous dismay starts everyone laughing hysterically,
including the dwarf.

EXT. SIXTH AVENUE - DAY

Joe has difficulty keening up with Ratso, who swings himself
along with surprising agility, his half skipping little gate
favoring one game leg.

			RATSO 
	Look, with these chicks that want
	to buy it, most of 'em are older,
	dignified, right? Social register
	types. They can't be trotting down
	to Times Square to pick out the
	merchandise. They need a middleman,
	right? That's O'Daniel.

Joe hesitates as Ratso darts into traffic against a red
light, yelling unheard obscenities at a cab driver who blasts
his horn. Joe runs recklessly forward as Ratso slams the taxi
fender with his fist, pretending to be hit, falling into
Joe's arms. The taxi stops, halting traffic. Ratso, recovers,
strolls casually in front of the cab, biting his thumb at the
driver.

			RATSO (CONT'D)
	It is a crime, a stud like you
	passing out double sawbucks to a
	chick like that. With proper
	management you should be taking
	home fifty, a hundred bucks a day.
	More if you wanta moonlight...

EXT. SIDEWALK CAFE - COCKTAIL HOUR

At,the corner of Central Park South, Ratso points toward a
young man with diamond cuff-links, sitting with a blue-haired
matron who puffs on a small cigar. Ratso waves jauntily at
the young man, raising his thumb and forefinger in a circle,
leaving the young man baffled as Ratso hurries Joe on.

			RATSO 
	Him I placed with O'Daniel just two
	weeks ago. And look. Not much of a
	stud either, what I hear...

EXT. CENTRAL PARK SOUTH - COCKTAIL HOUR

Ratso automatically checks the coin return boxes of the phone
booths they pass. Walking the park side of the street,
looking across at the limousines and taxis waiting outside
luxury hotels and apartment buildings.

			JOE
	Hey, listen, how about you take me
	to mee this Mister O'Diddle bird
	right now?

			RATSO 
	Well, Joe, you're a nice guy, and
	I'd be doing you both a favor, but
	why? What'm I dragging my bum leg
	all over town for? It's no picnic
	and what for, for me myself, what?

Ratso stops opposite the Plaza hotel, pointing across at an
aristocratic blonde stepping out of a Rolls Royce.

			RATSO (CONT'D)
	Tomorrow when some piece like
	that's scratching your back in a
	Fifth Avenue townhouse, where'll
	your pal Rizzo be? Nedicks.

			JOE 
	Hold it, just hold it. You think
	I'm that kinda sombitch? Just name
	your cut, whatever you want, you
	got it right now. Five? Ten, how's
	that?

Joe peels a ten from his wallet and offers it to Ratso.

			RATSO 
	Joe, please. You know what I'd ask
	anyone else? Oh hell, tell you what
	I'll do, I'll take the ten...
		  (he does)
	... but when I hand you over to Mr.
	O'Daniel, I'll have to have another
	ten, Joe; just to like cover
	expenses...

INT. PUBLIC PHONE BOOTH - DUSK

Ratso is on the phone. Joe holds the door open, listening.

			RATSO 
	This boy is just your meat, Mr.
	O'Daniel, believe it, I'm telling
	you -- what? -- Enrico Rizzo from
	the Bronx. The point is he needs
	you. Right now. Tonight...
		  (aside to Joe)
	I got his tongue hanging out...

EXT. WEST SIDE HOTEL - DUSK

Camera moves slowly up the anonymous wall of a drab hotel,
following the line of dim red lights marking the fire exits.

			RATSO'S VOICE
	Name's Joe Buck. Cowboy. Just in
	from Texas, don't know the ropes,
	new to the city, but very promising
	material, sir, and ready, if you
	get what I mean. Fabulous. Right
	away. What's that room number there
	again? 

INT. WEST SIDE HOTEL ELEVATOR - DUSK

As ancient open cage lift rises at the same pace as camera in
preceding shot. Joe grins excitedly at Ratso, who nods but
glances significantly at the elevator operator. Ratso follows
Joe to door as the operator grinds to a stop.  

INT. WEST SIDE HOTEL CORRIDOR - DUSK 

Ratso steps out with Joe, gesturing to the corridor...

			RATSO
	Hold it a second...

... but the operator slams the door and starts on up. Ratso
leans heavily on the down button, glancing at Joe.

			RATSO (CONT'D)
	Nine-oh-one, got it?

Ratso glances up the elevator shaft nervously, rings again
and turns back to Joe. 

			RATSO (CONT'D)
	Let's see how you look. Fine. You
	look fine. Now I'm gonna have to
	have that other ten...

			JOE
		  (digs in wallet)
	Ten, ten -- I got a twenty -- take
	that...

			RATSO
	Oh hell, forget it. 

			JOE
	Now take it. Go on. 
		  (gives it to him)
	Listen, where can I reach you?
	Cause I'm gonna make this right
	with you soon's I get me set up...

			RATSO
	Forget it.

			JOE
	I mean, dammit, where you live?

Ratso leans on the DOWN as the cage grinds slowly down into
view and stops. 

			RATSO
	Sherry-Netherlands Hotel. Now get
	your ass in there. He's waiting!

Ratso steps into the elevator as the door opens then closes,
leaving Joe alone, repeating "Cherry Neverlin" as he starts
along the corridor looking for 901. 

EXT. WEST SIDE HOTEL - DUSK 

Ratso bursts from the hotel, almost running as he disappears. 

INT. WEST SIDE HOTEL CORRIDOR - DUSK

Joe finds 901 at a dark end of the corridor, knocks
confidently, hearing a few bars of his love theme as he
stuffs a fresh stick of gum in his mouth. Then the door is
thrown open by O'DANIEL -- for an instant appearing to wear a
diamond-studded skull-cap, the naked overhead light bulb
bright after the dark corridor, halating in Joe's eyes like
the earlier dollar sign. 

			O'DANIEL
	You must be Joe Buck. Come in. 

O'Daniel, fat in a worn-out bathrobe, examines Joe like a
prodigal son as he leads him into the room -- as anonymous as
Joe's own room. 

			O'DANIEL (CONT'D)
	Am I tickled to find you, boy! Come
	on in and let's get a look at you.
	Turn around. Good strong back.
	You'll need it. So you want help --
	take a seat, relax, tell me about
	yourself. Cowboy, huh?

			JOE 
	No sir, I'm no cowboy really, but
	I'm a first class stud.

			O'DANIEL 
	Take it,easy, boy... 
		  (laughs)
	Seems to me you're different than a
	lotta boys that come to me. Most of
	'em seem troubled, confused, but
	I'd say you knew exactly what you
	want.

			JOE
	You bet I do, sir.

			O'DANIEL 
	But I'll bet you got one thing in
	common with them other boys. I'll
	bet you're lonesome.

			JOE 
	Well, not too, I mean, a little.

O'Daniel rises suddenly in a fury of self-righteousness,
pacing, his voice simpering, whining sarcastically.

			O'DANIEL 
	I'm lonesome. I'm lonesome so I'm a
	drunk. I'm lonesome so I'm a dope
	fiend. I'm lonesome so I'm a thief,
	a fornicator, a whore-monger. Poop,
	I say, poop! I've heard it all and
	I'm sick of it, sick to death.

			JOE 
	Yessir, I can see that.

			O'DANIEL 
	Lonesomeness is something you take.
	You bear? Dammit, you take it and
	go about your business, that's all.

			JOE 
	Well, uh, I'm raring to go.

			O'DANIEL 
	Yes, I believe you are. Cowboy,
	huh?

			JOE 
	Uh, yessir.

			O'DANIEL 
	Ready for hard work, son?

			JOE
	Ready for anything.

			O'DANIEL 
	I got a hunch, Joe Buck, it's gonna
	be easier for you than most.

			JOE 
	Gonna be like money from home.

			O'DANIEL 
	Money from home, see, there's your
	strength, you put things in earthy
	terms any man can understand, son.
	I warn you I'm gonna use you, I'm
	gonna run you ragged!

Joe laughs, driving an obscene uppercut into the air.
O'Daniel laughs with him.

			O'DANIEL (CONT'D)
	You're a wonderful boy. You'n me
	gonna have fun, dammit, it don't
	have to be joyless. Say, why don't
	we get right down on our knees now?

			JOE
	Get down -- where?

			O'DANIEL 
	Right here, why not? I prayed in
	saloons, I prayed in the street, I
	prayed an the toilet. He don't care
	where, what He wants is that
	prayer.

O'Daniel drops on all fours, crawling to find the plug of an
electric cord. He shoves it into a wall socket, switches off
the overhead light and suddenly a hollow, tinted plastic
Jesus glows on the dresser. O.S. a revivalist congregation
sings. And now we notice, with Joe, placards and flags, horns
and tracts, all the paraphernalia of a street corner
evangelist.

			JOB 
	Shee-it...

			O'DANIEL 
	That's the ticket, just open your
	heart and let it flow. It ain't the
	words, it's the love beyond 'em!

EXT. REMEMBERED BAPTISM - ANOTHER TIME

Sally Buck sings with the congregation while a rawboned
preacher stands in the river, preparing to immerse little
Joe.

			O'DANIEL'S VOICE 
	Don't fight it, boy!

INT. WEST SIDE HOTEL ROOM - DUSK

O'Daniel tries to pull Joe down beside him.

			O'DANIEL 
	Pray and you shall be heard!

EXT. REMEMBERED BAPTISM - ANOTHER TIME

Camera becomes little Joe, glimpsing the fevered faces of
Sally Buck and the congregation singing on the riverbank,
just before being plunged under the river. O'Daniel's voice
reechoes, filtered through water.

			O'DANIEL
	Don't be frightened, son!

EXT. TIMES SQUARE - NIGHT

Joe runs in aimless panic, pushing through the crowd, pursued
by O'Daniel's voice and the singing congregation.

			O'DANIEL
	Don't run from Jesus!

Joe stops short as he sees the front page of a tabloid on a
newsstand. There is a picture of Joe being led away by two
deputies, under a headline ALABAMA MURDERER SHOTGUNS ELEVEN.

EXT. FORTY-SECOND STREET - NIGHT

Joe searches the faces of the crowd, running forward suddenly
as he sees Jackie and the farmboy picked up by two men in a
large convertible. Joe chases the car to Eighth Avenue but
stops, frightened as he sees himself in multiple image on the
front of every newspaper displayed on a newsstand.

INT. EVERETT'S BAR - NIGHT

The saloon is almost empty during the after dinner lull. The
BARTENDER doesn't look up from his newspaper as Joe
approaches.

			JOE
	Say, you know that runty little
	bastard I was with?

			BARTENDER
	I don't know nothing.

Joe tenses as he sees the . tabloid picture of himself on the
back of the bartender's paper. Joe's hand closes around an
empty beer bottle, a terrible violence surging very near the
surface. O.S. women scream.

INT. REMEMBERED BEAUTY SALON - ANOTHER TIME

Reflected in the mirror, we see little Joe wildly smashing
bottles and glass display cabinets -- the voices of women
screaming O.S. -- little Joe hurling a perfume bottle which
shatters the mirror and his own image.

INT. EVERETT'S BAR - NIGHT

The empty beer bottle stands where it was. Joe has
disappeared. On the TV screen over the bar, sound drowned out
by the jukebox, we see a blowup of the tabloid photograph,
revealing a young man very similar to, but clearly not Joe.

EXT. TIMES SQUARE - NIGHT

Colorful lights still flash seductive promise. The vertical,
lights on the MONY tower reach bottom and freeze momentarily.

STILL PHOTOGRAPH

Joe at his hotel window staring out blankly. Gun fire O.S....

INT. SHOOTING GALLERY - DAY

The radio at Joe's ear is drowned out by a kid in cowboy hat,
shooting alone in the gallery.
Two policemen idly slap their thighs with night sticks. Joe
moves on, unconsciously checking the coin return box of a pay
phone.

STILL PHOTOGRAPH

Joe curled up on his bed like a baby, fully dressed, his
radio on the night stand. O.S. his love theme, remote,
hollow...

EXT. FORTY-SECOND STREET - NIGHT

Joe's radio is at his ear "... never too late to look great,
Ben's Bargain Basement's open 'till five a.m., miles and
miles of Western styles, worth more at any store, money talks
and nobody walks." For the first time, Joe is aware of the
other midnight cowboys lurking in doorways, the cruising
queens, the middle-age men in sport shirts. Joe moves on self
consciously as he sees a scar-faced policeman, unconsciously
massaging his night stick. Camera holds on a window display
of gag buttons, featuring NEW YORK WILL BREAK YOUR HEART,
BABY.

STILL PHOTOGRAPH

Joe soaking in the tub, eyes closed.

EXT. TIMES SQUARE DANCE HALL - DAY

Joe's radio promises job opportunities for young men eighteen
to twenty-five in the U.S. Air Force. He stands with a crowd
staring up at a girl go-go dancing in the window of SERGEANT
PEPPER'S LONELY HEART CLUB.

STILL PHOTOGRAPH

Joe staring in the mirror. O.S. static over his love theme.

EXT. SIXTH AVENUE - NIGHT

By work-light, the tarrier in metal helmet leans on a jack
hammer, beyond the sign DIG WE MUST, drowning out Joe's
radio.

STILL PHOTOGRAPH

Joe flexing his muscles in his jockey shorts while -- LIVE ON
TV SCREEN -- a physical culture personality finishes push-ups
and starts pitching his own extra protein bread.

EXT. TIMES SQUARE PANCAKE HOUSE - DAY

Joe's radio continues the super-break commercial while a fry
cook flips flapjacks in the window.
But Joe's eyes are on a sign DISHWASHER WANTED. Joe looks up
and his eyes meet those of the young man scraping garbage
behind the counter. It's Joe.

			JOE 
	Shee-it.

STILL PHOTOGRAPH

Joe sits in the hotel lobby, staring out at the street,
unable to concentrate on his comic book. On two-way radio, a
woman's voice giggles as she speaks, "When I can't sleep,
well, I just dial the time and listen to those old seconds
clicking by like, you know, counting sheep?"

EXT. SIDEWALK CAFE - COCKTAIL HOUR

Joe watches a young man hold a taxi door for an older lady,
at the same corner where Ratso waved to another young man.
The woman's predatory eyes linger momentarily on Joe before
she leads the young man into the Cafe. The two-way radio
continues over, "... that's what I do about insomnia."

			JOE 
	Well, now, ma'am, next time you got
	that feeling coming on, you dial
	Joe Buck. I'll show you what to
	do...

STILL PHOTOGRAPH

Joe straddles a chair, staring at a blank TV screen.

			SINGING COMMERCIAL 
	Need a little easy money? It's E-Z.
	Want a little easy cash? It's E-Z.

E-Z LOAN COMMERCIAL

As the jingle continues, we follow Joe and his radio into the
loan office, the depressing reality photographed and edited
in the style of a TV commercial:

			JINGLE 
	Easy locations to get to 
	Easy ladies to greet you 
	Easy chairs to seat you 
	Easy payments to meet 
	Let E-Z set you 
	On Easy Street 
	Joe arrives confident      
	Harassed E-Z receptionist     
	Lines of uneasy customers       
	Desperate, angry faces	
	Reams of E-Z forms to fill  
	Clerk's sneer, says		
	Joe has to be kidding

INT. TIMES SQUARE PALACE LOBBY - NIGHT

Joe's image frozen -- as if another still photograph -
standing at the desk, waiting for his key.

			JOE'S VOICE 
	Key to 1014...

Action continues as the DESK CLERK hands Joe a folded paper
instead of a key. Joe opens it, deeply perplexed.

			DESK CLERK 
	Looks like you been locked out of
	your room, buddy. Till you pick up
	your tab.

			JOE
	Uh, what about my things'n all?

			DESK CLERK 
	We keep them nice and safe till you
	get this straightened out.

INTERCUT

Room 1014 warm and inviting, Joe's suitcase on the bed.

			JOE 
	Listen, tell you what, you can keep
	all the rest of the goddam junk if
	you let me have just the suitcase.
	That suitcase means a lot to me.

INTERCUT

The postcard photograph marked X -- THIS IS ME.

			DESK CLERK
	We keep everything. House rules.

EXT. TIMES SQUARE - NIGHT

Joe stands outside the hotel, stunned, seeing the bright
colored lights turn suddenly grey. The film continues in
black and white as Joe walks into the crowd.

EXT. SALLY BUCK'S BEAUTY SALON - DAY

The FOR RENT sign flapping in the wind.

INT. BAR - DAY

Joe nurses a short beer, like the regulars. He looks up as a
crippled panhandler approaches, vaguely reminiscent of Ratso.

			JOE 
	Screw off.

INT. ROOM 1014 - NIGHT

The bed turned back, clean sheets, a soft night light.

INT. BUS DEPOT - NIGHT

Joe is stretched on a bench, his Stetson over his eyes. A
loud speaker announces a bus "departing for Texas" but Joe
does not move. A policeman taps Joe's boots with his night
stick. Joe rises and starts away with mixed anger and
apprehension.

INT. PUBLIC MEN'S ROOM - DAY

Two matching Ivy Leaguers exchange a glance as they see Joe
washing his feet in the basin. Joe stares back with a
belligerent grin.

			JOE
	Any objection, gentlemen?

INT. ALL NIGHT CAFETERIA - NIGHT

Joe balances a cup of coffee, walking past the other solitary
night people, avoiding each other's eyes. Joe spots what he's
looking for and seats himself next to a gaunt woman and her
ten year old son, both freaked out, erratically touching
things, themselves, each other in a futile effort to make
contact with reality. But Joe is only concerned with the
plastic-wrapped crackers left by their empty soup bowls.

			JOB
	Y'ain't gonna eat them?

The woman stares at Joe blankly. The boy runs a toy mouse
across the table, up his mother's arm and around her face.
With a polite nod, Joe opens the crackers and squirts one
with ketchup. Joe upsets his chair as a great gob of ketchup
spills onto his pants...

			JOE
	Shee-it.

... glancing around with an embarrassed laugh, but the only
one looking is a cop, scratching his calf with a night stick.
Joe keeps his back to the customers as he moves to the water
dispenser, wets a paper napkin and tries to wipe away the
stain. But the water has only spread the stain across his
pants and down his leg. He blushes as a blonde young
streetwalker giggles.

			SALLY BUCK'S VOICE
	Wet your britches, lover boy?

INT. SUBWAY ARCADE - NIGHT

Joe tries to hide the stain with his jacket as he checks the
coin boxes of vending machines, wary as he passes a burly
policeman, abstractedly snapping his handcuffs in front of a
bakery window display of bride-and-groom wedding cakes. Joe
barely glances at a confused MIDDLE-AGE LADY.

			MIDDLE-AGE LADY
	How do I get to Grand Central?

			JOE
	Shuttle. Follow the green light.

Automatically,checking the trough of a gum vending machine,
Joe unexpectedly faces himself in the mirror, the eyes
staring at him tired and hopeless. His hand reaches
unconsciously for a cigarette, The package is empty. He
crumples it in his fist but holds it.

			JOE (CONT'D)
	Alright, cowboy. Enough of this
	shee-it. You know what you got to
	do? 
		(nods)
	Then go do it.

EXT. FORTY-SECOND STREET - NIGHT

Joe hurls the crumpled package into a DON'T BE A LITTERBUG
basket as he emerges from the subway, his radio at his ear.
The torchy voice belts his love song, merging with street
noises crying danger -- an ambulance, a burglar alarm, a
policeman's whistle -- the lights flashing lurid color for
the first time since Joe was locked out, no longer promising
but threatening, clashing, warning as...

... from a high angle, across the street, Joe joins the other
midnight cowboys, offering himself to all comers. His figure
is momentarily obliterated by traffic then...

... zooming in, we see Joe self-consciously trying to hide
the stain on his pants, embarrassed as a large sedan slows
then moves on to stop in front of a motorcycle freak. Joe is
briefly obliterated again by a passing police car...

... the receding flash of its turret light revealing Joe in
close conversation with a frightened young FAT BOY, whose
eyes plead for reassurance as Joe scowls.

INT. ROOM 1014 - DAY

Joe's black and white suitcase gleams on the bed.

			JOE'S VOICE
	Twenty-three bucks, I got to have
	twenty-three bucks...

INT. ALL NIGHT MOVIE - NIGHT

From an apparently empty balcony -- an old science fiction
film grinds endlessly through the night -- a lost spaceman
trying to make contact with a tantalizing Martian maiden
across an invisible time barrier, theremin voices calling,
"Earthling, where are you?"

			FAT BOY'S VOICE 
	Okay. Sure. I got twenty-five...

At the top of the balcony, Joe leans back, turning his face
away as the Fat Boy embraces him, kissing Joe's cheek and
neck, his head moving down out of frame to show -- on the
screen -- the spaceman and Martian maiden meeting, arms
outstretched. But the Martian maiden moves right on through
the spaceman, crying, "Earthling come back, however many
centuries it is, I'll wait!" Joe closes his eyes, forcing his
memory back...

INT. REMEMBERED MOVIE HOUSE - ANOTHER TIME

... repeating the remembered image of Anastasia and a younger
Joe, behind the movie screen...

			ANASTASIA 
	You're the only one, Joe, the only,
	only one ever!

... the remembered passion continuing, mounting -- intercut
with flash impressions, like flipping pages of a nudie
magazine -- naked, half-draped blondes gazing into camera
with sultry eyes, including one comic strip sexpot and the
calendar girl in Joe's Texas hotel room...

			ANASTASIA'S VOICE
	You're the best, the very best,
	yes, yes, kiss me, oh God please
	kiss me, Joe, now, now, now!

... Joe's face in extreme close-up, sounds of both movie
houses merging, confused, dominated by the voices of
adolescent boys...

			BOYS' VOICES 
	Hey, Joe, give someone else a
	chance! What's he doing for
	chrisake? He kissing Anastasia? You
	better swallow a whole goddam
	drugstore, man!

... an adolescent ratpack waiting in line behind the screen,
laughing in coarse whispers, watching Joe and Anastasia. O.S.
theremin voices call "Earthling, where are you?"

INT. ALL NIGHT MOVIE - NIGHT

On screen, the Martian maiden moves through the spaceman,
crying, "Earthling, come back, however many centuries it is,
I'll wait!"

INT. ALL NIGHT MOVIE RESTROOM - NIGHT

Joe watches the Fat Boy doubled over, retching.

			JOE
	I'm awful damn sorry you're sick,
	kid, but you gonna have to gimme
	that money like you said.

			FAT BOY 
	I was lying. I don't have it.
	What're you going to do to me?

			JOE 
		(controls fury)
	What you got in your pockets?

Eagerly, the boy produces a family photograph, a subway
token, a dirty handkerchief. Joe grabs his wrist, revealing a
watch.

			JOE (CONT'D)
	How much's that worth?

			FAT BOY 
	I can't go home without my watch!
	My mother'd die! She'd die! Take my
	books! Not my watch! She'd die!

But Joe has already kicked open the door. Theremin voices
drown out the Fat Boy, calling "Earthling, where are you?"

INT. ALL NIGHT MOVIE - NIGHT

Joe sprawls, trying to sleep, his feet on the balcony rail,
the radio at his ear. On screen, once again, the Martian
maiden moves through the spaceman, crying, but we hear the
voice of a desperate woman on two-way radio. As she speaks, a
policeman moves along the aisle, slapping his palm with his
night stick.

			DESPERATE VOICE 
	Bill, can I call you Bill, Mister
	Bonner? I feel like I know you from
	listening. What I called about,
	Bill, I'm gonna kill myself...

EXT. SIXTH AVENUE - DAY

From a high angle, only Joe's Stetson and radio can be seen
above a passing bus, its side panel advertising BILL BONNER'S
STRAIGHT LINE, A STRAIGHT TALK SHOW.

			BONNER'S VOICE 
	Why call me, baby? If you want to
	do it; just do it, don't talk about
	it. Are we drunky? Feeling a little
	sorry for ourselves maybe?

Joe appears in full figure as the bus passes. He stands
looking at the suitcases in a luggage shop window.

			DESPERATE VOICE 
	Well, Bill, what I got thinking, I
	didn't want the neighbors to have
	to find me, this young couple with
	the boy I want to have my cat, see,
	Bill?

INT. RADIO STATION - DAY

BONNER, tough in a grey crew-cut, talks on the phone.

			BONNER 
	Okay, baby, now listen, just hold
	on while I leave the line for a
	minute. And think about all the
	kids that are dying overseas for
	you, okay, baby? Got that? I'll be
	back in exactly sixty seconds.
	After this message from...

A taxi born blasts, interrupting the sponsor's message.

EXT. SIXTH AVENUE - DAY

Joe's fist slams a fender violently, using Ratso's fake
injury trick to stop traffic, running across the street
toward...

EXT. NEDICK'S - DAY

... Ratso staring out at Joe, paralyzed in the act of
lighting a cigarette -- intercut in flashing close-ups -- Joe
outside the window, Ratso inside -- reflecting their
conflicting emotions -- Joe's murderous rage -- Ratso's panic
-- one almost subliminal flash of each revealing something
like pleasure at finding a long-lost friend...

INT. NEDICK'S - DAY

... Ratso staring up into camera, holding his breath.

			RATSO 
	Don't hit me, I'm a cripple.

Joe's hand falls on Ratso's shoulder.

			JOE 
	Oh, I ain't gonna hit you, I'm
	gonna strangle you to death...

The cigarette in Ratso's mouth burns into his lip. He jerks
spasmodically, choking on smoke as he rips skin away with the
butt and drops it in his coffee cup.

			JOE (CONT'D)
	... only first I'm gonna turn you
	upside down and shake you out right
	here and now.

Coughing, eyes tearing, Ratso empties his pockets on the
counter, finally producing: sixty-four cents, a few sticks of
gum, an almost empty cigarette package, a book of matches and
two pawn tickets. He raises his eyes, somehow ashamed. Joe
kicks the toe of Ratso's loafer.

			JOE 
	What's in your socks?

			RATSO 
	Not a cent, I swear to God, I swear
	on my mother's eyes.

Ratso removes his loafers and shakes them, glancing at the
counter man. His socks don't even conceal his toes.
Disgusted, Joe shoves Ratso's small pile back at him.

			RATSO (CONT'D)
	You keep the sixty-four cents. I
	want you to have it.

			JOE 
	It's sticky. What you do, slobber
	on 'em? I wouldn't touch 'em.

Joe should leave -- Ratso obviously has nothing tangible to
offer -- but Joe hesitates, lighting a cigarette as Ratso
pulls on his loafers.

			RATSO 
	How do you like that O'Daniel,
	flipping out like that? I wanted to
	get in touch with you when I heard,
	but I been laid up with this
	cold...

Ratso touches his chest, forcing a cough which continues
itself beyond his intention.

			JOE 
	You want some free medical advice,
	shut your goddam mouth about that
	night.

			RATSO 
	Okay, right, right, okay. Another
	subject. Where you living? Still at
	the hotel?

INT. ROOM 1014 - DAY

The black and white suitcase lies open on the bed.

INT. NEDICK'S - DAY

Joe turns abruptly and walks away.

			JOE 
	Shee-it. I got better things to do
	than talk to you.

EXT. SIXTH AVENUE - DAY

Joe strides north, pretending he doesn't hear...

			RATSO'S VOICE 
	Hey, wait up, for crissake!

... Ratso hop-skipping to overtake Joe at the traffic light.

			JOE 
	Listen, keep away from me, hear?
	You come near me again, I snatch
	you bald-headed!

			RATSO 
	I'm inviting you. I mean if you're
	not located, I got a place. I'm
	inviting you, goddamit.

			JOE 
	You inviting shee-it.

EXT. TENEMENT STREET - DAY

A contractor's sign announces LUXURY APARTMENTS AVAILABLE in
high-rise co-op, under construction beyond a raw of tenements
with X's taped on the windows. Ratso's voice continues over
the click-clack-click of Joe's boots and the flip-flap-squeak
of Ratso's loafers as camera moves toward a condemned
building.

			RATSO'S VOICE 
	The X on the window means the
	landlord can't collect rent --
	which is a convenience, hey? -- on
	account of it's condemned.

INT. TENEMENT STAIRS - DAY

Footsteps climb past rubbish piled outside empty flats.

			RATSO'S VOICE 
	The electric's off. Another
	convenience.
	I don't mess with Con Edison, hey?
	What the hell, I got candles,
	right?

INT. X FLAT - DAY

Light from the X window shines on a Florida tourist poster as
Ratso leads Joe into an abandoned tub-in-kitchen flat, barely
furnished with a table and chair, a rumple of blankets on a
burnt-out mattress.

			RATSO 
	I got no heat, but by that time,
	you know, cold weather, hey, I'll
	be in Florida. Stretch out. Make
	yourself comfortable. You hungry?
	I'll put up some water for coffee.

Ratso fills a saucepan from the tub-sink, sets it on a Sterno
stove. Joe sits himself on the mattress-bed, pretending to
test it, weeks of exhaustion and tension overwhelming him
suddenly, his only immediate problem being the effort to
restrain a large, comfortable yawn.

			JOE
	Comfortable, kee-rist, I slept on
	subways softer than this.

Joe stretches himself, yawning, his eyelids drooping heavily.
The sounds of the city recede. Joe's love theme plays softly
on a distant radio. Joe's eyes close momentarily in spite of
him elf.

INT. REMEMBERED CAR - ANOTHER TIME

A vintage dashboard, radio dial glowing, Anastasia's face.

			ANASTASIA
	Love me, Joe?

EXT. DEMOLITION SITE - DAY

A huge metal ball arcs on chain, demolishing a brick facade.

INT. X FLAT - DAY

Ratso's face seems to radiate evil as he lights a Sterno can.
Joe forces his eyes half-open.

			JOE
	Smart thing for me to do is haul
	ass outta here.

			RATSO
	Whatsa matter now?

Joe shivers, pulls a blanket around him, resisting sleep, but
the noises of demolition fade, the love theme lures Joe back.

			JOE 
	You don't seem like no fag...

			RATSO 
	What's that supposed to mean?

Joe's eyes close, his voice continuing out of half-sleep.

JOE 

Want me to stay here, y'after something. What y'after?

INT. REMEMBERED CAR - NIGHT

Joe's thumbnail flares a match, exposing Anastasia on the car
seat with Joe, both nearly naked. Anastasia butterfly-kisses
Joe's chest as he lights a cigarette.

ANASTASIA

Say you love me. Just say it.

JOE

Okay. I love you.

Anastasia purrs as her lips find Joe's breast, trying to
nurse. A flashlight flares suddenly through the car window.

NIGHTMARE - MULTIPLE SPLIT SCREEN

Low angle Ratso bending over Joe, into camera...
... Sally Buck shocked, hand still on switch... 
... Joe blinded by halation... 
... Anastasia's mouth screaming soundlessly... 
... flashlights multiplying on car window...

Full frame -- Anastasia catatonic in hospital gown -- a
woman's voice "What'd he do to you, Annie?"...
... gang-bang ratpack surrounding car with flashlights... 
... Jackie shrieking "He loves her he loves her"... 
... hands closing on Joe's buttocks... 
... hand closing on Joe's naked left foot... 
... hand on naked right foot... 
... dentist leaning over Joe's mouth... 
... hands pulling Joe's legs apart...

Zoom close-up -- Anastasia screaming soundlessly...
... thermometer under Little Joe's tongue... 
... Sally Buck shoves chocolate in her mouth... 
... bewigged poodle licks her fingers... 
... Sally Buck hangs enema can on bedpost... 
... Ratso leads ratpack chasing naked Anastasia... 
... corona of flashlights...

Anastasia screaming soundlessly -- flashlight shoved into her
mouth -- electronic rock blasting...
... blank-eyed go-go girl in dance hall window... 
... Joe held naked by ratpack... 
... Ratso breaking beer bottle on Everett's bar... 
... dwarf laughing on television... 
... Ratso aims broken bottle at Joe's crotch... 
... shooting gallery cowboys riddle Joe's pelvis...

Anastasia catatonic in courtroom -- between gaunt parents -
whining singsong "Raped her raped her Joe Buck raped her"...
... Fat Boy's mouth finds Joe's breast, tries to nurse... 
... Sally Buck kisses him open-mouthed... 
... slug crawls up Joe's stomach, trailing mucus... 
... Cass's poodle laps at his toes... 
... butterflies settle on his eyes...

Anastasia catatonic in courtroom between parents -- who are
now O'Daniel and Sally Buck...
... drawling voice "evidence of repeated violations"... 
... Bill Bonner in flag-cloth judge's robe... 
... police advancing, swinging night sticks... 
... Joe running into Times Square, suddenly naked... 
... Anastasia sitting in all-night cafeteria... 
... freaky child running toy mouse over her naked body...

Siren screaming -- Anastasia staring catatonic from rear
window of ambulance...
... ambulance racing away... 
... Joe chasing naked after ambulance... 
... running into the arms of the police... 
... Ratso laughing as police beat Joe...

INT. X FLAT - NIGHT

Joe awakens in a cold sweat, fighting the blankets, wild-eyed
as he sees Ratso at the table, examining Joe's radio by
candle-light. Joe lunges across the room to snatch the radio
from Ratso's hands.

			RATSO
	For crissake!

Still wild-eyed, Joe suddenly points at his stocking feet.

			JOE
	Where's my boots -- ?

EXT. TIMES SQUARE - DAY

Joe facing the crowd, naked except for his boots.

INT. X FLAT - NIGHT

Ratso points to the boots on the floor by the mattress.

			JOB
	How'd they get off me?

			RATSO
	I took 'em off.

			JOE
	What for?

			RATSO
	So you could sleep! I mean Christ!

Joe inspects the boots, seats himself on a battered Army cot 
- which has been added while he slept -- swinging a boot by
its strap, considering whether to stay or go.

			RATSO (CONT'D)
	I drug in a cot, if you want to
	stay.

			JOE 
	Well now, Ratso, I'm gonna tell you
	something for your own good, only
	first gimme a cigarette.

Ratso offers a cigarette from his crushed package, Joe
strikes a match on his thumbnail and lights up, staring at
Ratso.

			JOE (CONT'D)
	You want me to stay here tonight,
	is that the idea?

			RATSO 
	I ain't forcing you, like, I mean,
	who's forcing you?

			JOE 
	Oh. Guess I got the wrong
	impression.

Joe makes a slow move to pull on one boot.

			RATSO 
	I want you to stay, okay? I goddam
	invited you, didn't I?

			JOE 
	Well, I hope you know what you're
	in for. I'm a very dangerous
	person. Someone does me bad like
	you. If I caught up with you that
	night, there'd be one dead Ratso
	long about now. Hear?

			RATSO 
	I'm impressed. You're a killer.

			JOE 
	So if you want me to hang around
	for a few days, I thought you
	should know.

Joe yawns, picks up a few blankets and spreads them on the
cot. He puzzles out the faded printing on one blanket.

			JOE (CONT'D)
	Property of the YMCA. You make me
	wanna puke sometimes, Ratso.

Ratso blows out the candle and wraps himself in blankets.

			RATSO 
	Joe -- do me one favor -- this is
	my place, am I wrong? You know, in
	my own place my name ain't Ratso. I
	mean it so happens my name is
	Enrico Salvatore Rizzo.

			JOE 
	Shee-it, man, I can't say all that.

			RATSO 
	Rico then, at least call me Rico in
	my own goddam place.

			JOE 
	Rico! Rico! Rico! Is that enough?
		(then)
	And keep your meat hooks off my
	radio.

EXT. VEGETABLE MARKET - DAY

Ratso wears a threadbare raincoat of faded black, several
sizes too large, as he shops with housewives at a sidewalk
vegetable stand -- elbowing his way through the ladies,
testing fruit, picking up vegetables and putting them back --
till the GREENGROCER spots him.

			GREENGROCER 
	You! Out! Out! I told you, I calla
	cops!

The other shoppers deliberately turn their backs, avoiding
involvement. As the Greengrocer grabs Ratso, Joe ambles into
the scene, wearing his dangerous little smile.

			JOE 
	Hey, looka here, that ain't nice,
	picking on a cripple...

Joe intervenes just long enough for Ratso to escape, then
ambles on, leaving the Greengrocer in frustrated fury. Camera
holds on a tray of coconuts.

INT. X FLAT - DAY

Joe lies on his cot, watching Ratso struggle to penetrate the
fibrous husk of a coconut, experimenting with a variety of
rusty tools in an old cigar box.

			RATSO 
	The two basic items necessary to
	sustain life are sunshine and
	coconut milk. That's a known fact.
	If I can find the goddam hole the
	milk squirts out.

			JOE 
	This is an okay setup you got here,
	but I'd say you ain't just exactly,
	uh, flush, is that right or not?

			RATSO
	I been sick. Hold this, will ya?

Joe takes his time rising to hold the coconut while Ratso
tries to poke a hole with a bent ice-pick.

			RATSO (CONT'D)
	In Florida, they come smooth, ready
	to eat.
	Down there, your only problem is,
	diet-wise, you gotta lift an arm to
	wipe warm milk off your chin.
	Tough, hey?

			JOE 
	I think finding you's the smartest
	thing I ever did, for both of us.
	You just the crooked kinda sneaky
	little sidewinder I need to get me
	hustling in this town. Hey!

Joe jerks his hand away just in time to avoid the ice-pick.
The coconut bounces on the floor. Ratso picks it up, holds
it, while Joe tries to crack it, swinging his boot like a
hammer.

			RATSO 
	Miami Beach is the only place for a
	real hustler. Florida has more rich
	chicks per square yard than any
	resort spot in the world. They lie
	out in their pagodas and pergolas
	waiting to grab the first jockstrap
	that passes.

			JOE 
	What's all this sweet talk about
	Florida? Your friend O'Daniel got a
	stable down there now?

Joe swings violently. Ratso yelps, hopping on his one good
leg, sucking his thumb.

			RATSO 
	Cowboy killers! Break my finger,
	Christ! I got news for you, baby,
	no chick with any class buys that
	big dumb cowboy crap...

Ratso holds his thumb under the tub-sink faucet.

			RATSO (CONT'D)
	... the cowboy bit's out, except
	among fags of a certain type, which
	take a certain, type hustler to
	exploit. Like I could handle it --
	being a stealing operation
	basically -- but take your average
	fag, very few of them want a
	cripple.

Joe holds the coconut like Yorick's skull, thinking hard.*

			JOE 
	Well, I am dumb, that's for sure. I
	don't talk right. I can't think too
	good. Just only one thing I ever
	been good for's loving. Women go
	crazy for me. Fact. Crazy Annie.
	Had to send her away. So I don't
	cash in on that, what am I? I'm
	shee-it. May's well flush me down
	that hole with the dishwater.

Joe sets the coconut on the floor, holding it with both hands
while he tries to smash it with the heel of his boot.

			JOE (CONT'D)
	That's why you gonna stop crapping
	about Florida and get your skinny
	butt moving to earn twenty bucks
	worth of management you owe me...

INT. ROOM 1014 - DAY

The suitcase lies open, displaying Joe's wardrobe.

			JOE'S VOICE 
	Make that twenty-three bucks.

INT. X FLAT - DAY

Joe slams his heel down. The coconut shoots out from under
him and he lands on his ass.

			RATSO 
	Look at yourself, Joe, no offense,
	but frankly, you're beginning to
	smell. For a stud in this town
	that's a handicap.

			JOE 
	You talk like a man with a tin
	twat.

Ratso sets the coconut on the window sill, balancing it as he
raises the X window.

			RATSO 
	You ain't got a chance in hell. You
	need threads and glitter, baby. A
	front, hey?

			JOE 
	Well, uh, my manager's gonna manage
	all that crap, or else he gonna get
	a coconut up his flue.

Joe slams, the window down. The coconut flies down to crash
O.S. on the sidewalk below.

EXT. SIDEWALK - DAY

An alley cat laps up the milk of the broken coconut.

EXT. TIMES SQUARE - FANTASY

Joe stands naked in the middle of traffic. A siren shrills.
Anastasia, catatonic in a hospital smock, moves toward Joe
like a sleepwalker, passing through him.

INT. LAUNDROMAT - DAY

Wearing only his boots, Joe sits like an Indian chief,
wrapped in a blanket -- angle widening to show Ratso,
spotting Joe's jacket, slacks and shirt with cleaning fluid --
his eyes on a very pregnant Italian lady. As she starts to
load a coin cleaning machine, Ratso intervenes solicitously,
speaking in Italian...

			RATSO 
	A woman in your condition shouldn't
	do that. Let me help...

... adroitly slipping Joe's cleaning in with her load as she
turns to seat herself beside Joe.

			JOE'S VOICE 
	It ain't right, stealing from a
	pregnant lady.

INT. HAT CLEANERS - DAY

Joe and Ratso stand waiting at the counter.

			RATSO 
	What did it cost her? The
	laundromat syndicate lost a couple
	coins. I'm crying.

The owner brings Joe's clean and blocked Stetson from the
rear of the shop. Joe sets it on his head and examines
himself in a mirror as the owner hands Ratso, the bill.

			RATSO (CONT'D)
	Where's mine? The black homburg? I
	brought it in the same time.

The owner glances at the slip, puzzled, returns to the rear
of the shop to search for the nonexistent homburg. Ratso
quickly drags Joe away from the mirror and out of the shop.

INT. SUBWAY ARCADE - NIGHT

The rhythmic duet of boots and loafers follows Joe and Ratso 
- checking coin boxes and telephone booths -- till they reach
a shoeshine stand, locked for the night. They loiter till a
young couple has disappeared, then Joe kicks loose 'the
padlock on the equipment drawer, mounts one of the chairs and
Ratso goes to work on his boots with furious expertise,
flourishing double brushes, snapping the rag like a jazz
drummer.

			JOE 
	Hey, you're good! I bet you could
	pick up a living at this if you
	tried.

			RATSO 
	And end up a hunchback like my old
	man? You think I'm crippled? You
	shoulda caught him the end of a
	day.

Ratso demonstrates a chimpanzee walk. Joe laughs. Ratso turns
back in panic as another man takes a chair next to Joe. Ratso
is about to retuse when a cop takes the third chair, swinging
his handcuffs around to the front, tapping his shoe with his
night stick. Ratso quickly drops a rag over the broken
padlock, cursing under his breath as he starts working on all
three customers at the same time.

			RATSO'S VOICE 
	You think it's funny?

INT. X FLAT - DAY

Joe is seated in a straight-back chair near the X window, a
towel tucked around his neck as Ratso trims his hair, almost
as expert a barber as shoeshine boy.

			RATSO 
	Stupid bastard coughed his lungs
	out breathing that resin all day.
	They buried him with gloves on.
	Even the fag undertaker couldn't
	get his nails clean.

As if by conditioned reflex, Ratso chokes on the cigarette in
his mouth, coughing painfully. He crushes it out, opens the
window to spit, shivering, then slam it and turns back to
remove the towel from Joe's neck.

			JOE 
	Kee-rist, you pretty damn clever
	for a skimpy little gimp.

			RATSO 
	You like it? Take a look.

			JOE 
	Don't rush me. How I do it, see, I
	get myself primed, like I was
	turning on the charm for some
	pretty little blonde lady, then
	kinda mosey away slow and easy and 
	- swing around! -- and there you
	are, you handsome devil.

Joe performs his ritual as he speaks, but more relaxed,
faintly laughing at himself with Ratso. The wall mirror has
been added since we last saw the flat, along with a legless
overstuffed chair with burnt-out cushions, a tasselled table
cover, pinups, calendar girls and several new Florida tourist
posters, Ratso moves to Joe's side, arranging the
neckerchief, nodding.

			RATSO 
	Not bad -- for a cowboy -- you're
	okay, you're okay.

			JOE 
	What I'm gonna do, I'm gonna make a
	cowboy outta you, kid. How about
	that? Build you up a little, teach
	you couple little tricks'n turn
	y'out to stud, Rat-stuff.

Joe slaps his hat on Ratso's head, tilts it, hooks Ratso's
thumbs in his jeans and shoves a cigarette into the corner of
Ratso's mouth. Ratso laughs till he chokes -- for one
instant, self-consciously, mimicking Joe -- then removes the
hat and reaches for his threadbare black raincoat.

			JOE (CONT'D)
	Okay, you got yourself one
	handsome, sweet-smelling cowboy,
	strut your stuff...

EXT. CONVERTED TOWN HOUSE - DAY

Joe and Ratso peer down through a basement bay window, into
the office of THE PERFECT GENTLEMAN ESCORT SERVICE --
endorsed by leading travel agencies and credit clubs offering
discreet companionship and personal guided tours in any
language. A large-busted matron, on a French phone, fills out
a memo and hands it to an immaculate young ESCORT, who slips
the memo into his topcoat pocket as he comes from the office
and hails a cab. Ratso darts forward, limping exaggeratedly,
holding the door, lifting the memo as he brushes off the
Escort's topcoat. The young man waves him away with out a
tip. Ratso slams the door and bites his thumb after the cab,
unfolding the memo as he joins Joe on the sidewalk.

			RATSO 
	How do you like that? Cheap
	bastard...
		(reads, then)
	I think we struck gold. This is one
	high-class chick. The Barbizon for
	Women!

EXT. MANHATTAN SKYLINE - DUSK

The Mutual of New York tower flashes MONY.

INT. CORNER PHONE BOOTH - DUSK

Ratso consults the memo as he speaks into the phone.

			RATSO 
	Mr. McNeill, I'm calling for Miss
	Beecham at the Barbizon Hotel for
	Women. She won't need you
	tonight...

EXT. BARBIZON FOR WOMEN - NIGHT

A doorman helps a young lady into a limousine.

			RATSO'S VOICE 
	Would you believe a whole goddam
	hotel with nothing but lonely
	chicks?

Joe and Ratso watch from across the street.

			RATSO 
	Score once in that setup, the way
	chicks talk, Christ...

Joe cracks his gum, tilts his hat, starts across the street.

			RATSO (CONT'D)
	Get the money! Remember Cass
	Trehune? Cash! These rich bitches
	write a check at night, call the
	bank and stop payment in the
	morning. Get the cash!

In Ratso's eyes -- as Joe enters the hotel -- its facade
suddenly wipes away to reveal rich ladies in negligee waiting
in every room.

INT. BARBIZON FOR WOMEN - NIGHT

Joe starts up the stairs, two at a time. A BELLHOP grabs him.

			BELLHOP 
	Hey! No men upstairs!

EXT. BARBIZON FOR WOMEN - NIGHT

Ratso warms his hands at a chestnut vendor's cart, seeing...

... zoom close-up, a lady in a window grabbing Joe.

INT. BARBIZON FOR WOMEN - NIGHT

Joe picks up a house phone, watched by the Bellhop.

EXT. BARBIZON FOR WOMEN - NIGHT

Ratso sees Joe zip from room to room in wild animation.

INT. BARBIZON FOR WOMEN - NIGHT

The lobby watches Joe blow a gum bubble at the elevator.

EXT. EXCLUSIVE DRESS SHOP - NIGHT

Staring at a window display of Florida sportswear, Ratso's
imagination soars, seeing...

EXT. FLORIDA BEACH FRONT - FANTASY

... Ratso, like a model in a travel poster, in gaudy sport
shirt, talking on the phone against a background of hotels...

... Ratso like James Bond, surrounded by bikinis, dictating
while girls serve coconut milk and massage his game leg...

... Ratso like George Raft, in evening clothes, running a
posh casino, flicking a coin...

... Ratso simply himself, dressed as he is, sitting on the
beach, at peace in the sun...

... the same identical picture with Joe sitting beside Ratso.

INT. BARBIZON FOR WOMEN - NIGHT

Joe faces MISS BEECHAM, a reserved and rather plain young
lady in evening dress, She tries to speak softly.

			MISS BEECHAM 
	I'm afraid there's been a terrible
	mistake...

EXT. EXCLUSIVE DRESS SHOP - NIGHT

Ratso leans against the window, flipping a coin.

EXT. BARBIZON FOR WOMEN - NIGHT

Miss Beecham is flushed with humiliation, the entire lobby
watching Joe in the hands of two bellboys.

			JOE 
	I want my money, goddamit, you owe
	me my money whether you get laid or
	not, lady, shee-it!

EXT. EXCLUSIVE DRESS SHOP - NIGHT

The lights in the window suddenly switch off, blacking out
Florida. Ratso glances toward the growl of a siren O.S.

EXT. BARBIZON FOR WOMEN - NIGHT

A police prowl car slows in front of the hotel. Ratso swings
across the street with incredible speed to meet Joe as he's
tossed onto the sidewalk. Ratso picks up the Stetson and
brushes it off, then helps Joe to his feet.

EXT. SIXTH AVENUE - NIGHT

From a high angle -- the two figures move slowly along the
deserted avenue, their rhythmic musical duet growing more and
more faint in the distance, a broken grasshopper and a six
foot tarnished cowboy -- passing a tuxedo rental store, next
to a lighted sign -- TEMPERATURE IN MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA 89
DEGREES -- their pace slowing to a dead stop...

INT. X FLAT - NIGHT

... Joe and Ratso frozen -- rain on the X windowpane freezing
into sheet ice. O.S.
a radio commercial plays warm, sentimental music while a cozy
voice explains how easy it is to heat with Humble oil.

EXT. CONDEMNED TENEMENTS - DAY

Joe and Ratso frozen in a narrow shaft of sunlight, watching
the huge metal ball demolish the building next door. O.S. a
radio announcer sells FROZEN SUNSHINE ORANGE JUICE.

INT. X FLAT - NIGHT

Joe and Ratso frozen, staring significantly at Joe's radio.
O.S. a singing commercial, "Don't wheeze and sneeze the
winter away! Drink Frozen sunshine every day!" 

EXT. PAWN SHOP - DAY

Through the window -- Joe and Ratso watch the pawnbroker
examine Joe's radio, "Be healthier, wealthier, life can be
fine, when you drink Frozen" -- Sunshine is clicked off by
the pawnbroker.

INT. X FLAT - NIGHT

Joe and Ratso frozen, wrapped in blankets as...

... the canned heat dies with a faint puff...

... water dripping in the tub-sink freezes into an icicle...

... the candle burns down and out, leaving the screen dark.

EXT. CONDEMNED TENEMENTS - DAY

Joe and Ratso warm themselves on the smoke and steam rising
from a subway grating -- watching two officials in fur
collared coats inspect the front of their X flat building.
Reading their doom, Joe and Ratso, continue on, disappearing
into the subway.

EXT. FORTY-SECOND STREET - NIGHT

Joe stands alone, watching the midnight cowboys ply their
trade. Camera pulls back as Joe turns away and enters a store
front blood bank, offering ten dollars to blood donors.

INSERT

A huge hypodermic fills the frame, sucking Joe's blood. O.S.
Ratso coughs uncontrollably.

INT. X FLAT - NIGHT

Ratso leans over the tub-sink, dry-heaving while he coughs,
wearing a sheepskin coat much too large for him. He controls
the cough with effort -- hearing the door open and close O.S.
-- wipes his mouth and turns to grin at...

... Joe, trying to light the empty Sterno can, deliberately
ignoring Ratso. Ratso shrugs, washes his mouth at the faucet,
finds a cigarette butt and lights it, careful to avoid
inhaling the first puff.

			JOE 
	Shee-it. Cough yourself inside out,
	then light a fag, a goddam fag. You
	make me puke. Where'd you steal it?
	In the movies?

			RATSO 
	The coat? A guy I did a favor once
	gave it to me. Christ.

			JOE 
	Who'd you ever do a favor for? You
	just let some poor bastard freeze
	to death, wouldn't you?

Joe slams ten dollars on the table. Ratso glances at Joe with
curious concern.

			RATSO 
	Where'd that come from?

			JOE 
	Forty-second Street. Where'n hell
	you think it come from?

			RATSO 
	You wanna know the truth? You dumb
	bastard, I got it for you. Look at
	it. Goddam thing's ten sizes too
	big for me.

Ratso pulls off the coat and throws it at Joe.

			JOE 
	Wear it yourself. I wouldn't put it
	on my back.

Joe throws it back at Ratso.

			RATSO 
	Goddamned if I'll wear it!

Ratso hurls it in a corner. Joe shoves the ten at Ratso.

			JOE 
	Go get your medicine. Before you
	die on my goddam, hands...

EXT. EAST RIVER BRIDGE - DAY

High angle -- Joe and Ratso cross an foot, chilled by wind,
neither wearing the sheepskin coat. The Queens riverfront and
factories appear cold and bleak, deserted on Sunday.

EXT. LONG ISLAND CEMETERIES - DAY

Camera moves into acres of tombstones, piled like low-rent
housing projects for the dead, the various faiths segregated
by crumbling boundaries.

			JOE'S VOICE
	Shee-it. I hate boneyards.

			RATSO'S VOICE 
	So split. He ain't your goddam,
	father.

EXT. PROTESTANT CEMETERY - DAY

Ratso leads Joe past a Negro family at a grave -- glances
around -- snatches an elaborate floral piece from a headstone
and hides it under his black raincoat as he darts toward a
low dividing wail and swings himself over into...

EXT. CATHOLIC CEMETERY - DAY

... an endless section of plain stone markers. Joe touches
his hat to two nuns, guiltily hurrying to overtake Ratso at
ibis father's grave, indistinguishable from the other graves
except for the name on the headstone. Ratso places the floral
piece on the grave with almost absurd solemnity. Joe laughs.

			JOE 
	Kee-rist, you sure are one twisty
	little bastard, Ratso.

			RATSO 
	The name's Rico, at my own father's
	grave, a man deserves some respect.

			JOE
	Respect shee-it! You even steal
	flowers for his grave.

			RATSO
	Can he smell the difference, eh?

Joe reads from the ribbon on the floral display.

			JOE 
	Well, uh, he dam well know he ain't
	'be-loved Aunt Winifred'.

			RATSO
	He can't read. Even dumber than
	you. Couldn't write his own name. X
	-- that's what it ought to say
	there on that goddam headstone. One
	big lousy X like our flat.
	Condemned. By order of City Hall.

Joe is frowning, standing at the,headstone, momentarily
depressed with an undefined sorrow.

			JOE 
	My Grammaw Sally Buck, she died
	without letting me know.

EXT. SALLY BUCK'S BEAUTY SALON - DAY

Through the window, past the FOR RENT sign, the tarnishing
driers are lined up like tombstones.

EXT. JEWISH CEMETERY - DAY

Joe frowns, puzzled, as Ratso pulls out a black skullcap,
leading Joe toward a group of professional mourners,
whispering:

			RATSO 
	Just keep your hat on and cry a
	little. They tip you when it's
	over.

Joe and Ratso join the mourners as the funeral moves to the
grave, Ratso mouthing an authentic double-talk...

... Joe standing self-consciously, aware of the covert
glances of the other mourners, automatically reaching up to
remove his hat, remembering when Ratso elbows him in the
ribs...

... Joe scowling, tight-lipped, embarrassed by the tip that
is thrust in his hand.

INT. LUNCH COUNTER - EVENING

A weary Santa Claus, in a rented beard and over-large
costume, warms his hands over the steam of his coffee cup.
Joe and Ratso are arguing farther down the counter.

			JOE 
	Just ain't right, cheating someone
	dead and can't cheat back.

In the background, as Ratso speaks, HANSEL and GRETEL
MACALBERTSON enter the lunch counter, inspecting the
customers one by one. Both wear black turtlenecks and jeans,
dressed as twins, both blond and pretty.

			RATSO 
	You and my old man. Same kinda
	mind. Putting me down till the day
	he died...
		(mimics)
	... why can't you be like your
	brothers? Sons a father could be
	proud of. Yeah, sure. My brothers.
	Too goddam busy making something of
	themselves to show up when the old
	man's dying!

Conditioned reflex, Ratso starts to cough. Joe sees the
MacAlbertsons in the mirror, standing behind him, studying
him. Gretel nods, Hansel hands Joe a large black card,
smiling vaguely, then moves on.

			RATSO (CONT'D)
	What was that all about?

Joe studies the black card, frowning at first, suddenly
smiling, turning as if to call after the MacAlbertsons, but
they are disappearing around the corner. Joe hands the card
to Ratso.

			JOE 
	You wanna read something, read
	this. I been invited somewhere.

Shocking pink letters on the black card read YOU ARE INVITED
TO HELP US BURY LOVE -- TONIGHT AT BROADWAY AND HARMONY LANE 
- HANSEL AND GRETEL MACALBERTSON.

			JOE (CONT'D)
	They picked me. The only one in the
	whole goddam place. You see how
	they looked me over, up and down
	before they give me that?

			RATSO 
	So?

Joe sees a young man washing cups behind the counter. Joe
shakes his head, wonderingly, turning to study himself in the
mirror.

			JOE 
	Well, this thought just struck me.
	It wasn't too long ago I was
	washing dishes way the hell
	somewhere in Texas.

			RATSO 
	Yeah, well, so?

			JOE 
	Now I'm here. I'm in New York City.
	Getting picked for things. Don't
	you see what I'm driving at?

			RATSO 
	What you're driving at, you want me
	to get lost so you can go to your
	fancy-ass party.

			JOE 
	Did I say that? Did I? 
		(studies card)
	It don't say nothing about you...

			RATSO 
	Don't say nothing about you either.

			JOE 
	But they picked me, right? So what
	I'll do, I'll just say, now look,
	you want me? Well, I don't go
	nowhere without my buddy here.

			RATSO
		(shrugs)
	Well, what the hell, I got nothing
	better to do.

EXT. LOFT BUILDING - NIGHT

Snow swirls in the aureole of a street light as Joe and Ratso
run, heads lowered, turning into...

INT. LOFT BUILDING - NIGHT

... a drab entrance hall, dimly lit -- signs identifying
various commercial tenants -- a pink-on-black placard reading
MACALBERTSON, TWO FLIGHTS UP. Joe has started up before he
notices Ratso, leaning on the bannister at the foot of the
stairs, struggling to catch his breath. His face and hair are
wet with perspiration, his lips lavender-blue.

In swift flashes -- intercut -- Joe reads the panic in
Ratso's eyes, so intense that Joe shares it, unable to speak
or offer reassurance.

			JOE 
	Better dry your hair some. You
	sweating all over the goddam place.

Joe pulls out his shirttail, grabs Ratso by the neck and rubs
his head dry.

			JOE (CONT'D)
	You got a comb?

			RATSO 
	Don't need a comb.

			JOE 
	Few dozen cooties won't kill me,
	don't guess.

Joe hands Ratso his own comb. Ratso swipes at his tangled
hair angrily until two teeth break in the comb. He hands the
comb back, tugs at his hair with his fingers, pats it in
place, then looks back into Joe's eyes.

			RATSO
	Okay? I look okay?

In a moment of silence, distant sounds can be heard -- a
siren, the grinding teeth of a garbage truck, the twang of an
electric guitar upstairs at the party -- then Ratso makes a
quick gesture of impatience and starts up the stairs, pulling
himself on the bannister.

INT. MACALBERTSONS' LOFT - NIGHT

A bank of lights blinds Joe and Ratso as they enter --
electronic rock blasts their ears -- a bearded cameraman on a
step-ladder photographs them as they stand confused -- facing
a monstrous collage of tabloid photos blown up, showing the
murder of a hippie known as Groovy -- in-huge black letters,
LOVE WAS GROOVY -- GROOVY IS DEAD. Joe shouts over the
amplified music.

			JOE 
	Better get a hold of someone and
	tell them I'm here.

Ratso points to his ear -- he can't hear -- following Joe
across the room. The huge loft is crowded with a random
selection, gathered to serve as dress extras in an
underground film. The party is the scene. The MacAlbertsons
merely supply the ingredients and allow it to happen, with
cameras strategically placed to record the happening...

... Hansel with tape recorder, Gretel with hand-held camera 
drifting through the crowd -- catching words and images in a
detached, whimsical fashion. Gretel turns her camera on Joe
and Ratso as they approach.

			JOE (CONT'D)
	Well, I made it. This here is Ratso
	Rizzo and I...

			RATSO 
	Rico. Rico Rizzo.

Gretel smiles without recognition. Hansel gestures vaguely.

			HANSEL 
	Do you need anything? I mean
	there's beer and so forth. Whatever
	your thing is...

The twins move away together, pausing to confer with the
operator of a tripod camera -- focused on an emaciated flower
girl with long hair and dirty feet, stretched in a
sarcophagus, clutching a dead daffodil, her eyes glazed.
Scrawled in huge letters on the wall over her head -- LOVE!

			RATSO
	If you want the word on that
	brother and sister act, I'll give
	you the word. That Hansel's a fag
	and Gretel's got the hots for
	herself. So who cares, right? Load
	up on the salami...

Ratso heads for the refreshment table. Joe starts after him
but pauses, intrigued by an alcove under the balcony where a
light show is in progress -- surreal images of naked bodies
projected against abstract currents of color and strobe
light...

... a bored fat lady in a muu-muu, squatted like a Buddha at
a low table, rolling joints for the guests.
She lights a joint and offers it to Joe as he wanders in to
watch the show. Joe laughs delightedly when he realizes what
it is...

			JOE 
	Shee-it, this is one helluva party!

... glancing around at the others, imitating their techniques
-- the quick inhaler, who follows with sharp gulps of air -
the deep inhalers who draw air as they inhale -- the stylist
who lets the smoke drift out and inhales through the nostrils
-- Joe puffing himself slightly dizzy, starting to laugh at
the silent flick effect of the strobe light -- the action
around him slowing almost imperceptibly, overcranked -- a
veil of smoke hanging over the fat woman's face, transforming
her into a laughing witch -- a similar veil around Joe's
head, relaxing the self-conscious tension of his face,
spontaneously curious about the play of light on his hand,
grinning at...

... a serious young technician handling the light show,
scattering psychedelic stars across a sky of magenta flesh...

... Joe reaching for the stars as he rises and wanders back
to the crowded loft, fascinated to see...

... a crew with cameras and lights, on the balcony at one end
of the loft, photographing the scene below...

... a dark-haired lady by the name of SHIRLEY -- chic in the
style of a gangster's moll -- drinking beer from the bottle,
predatory eyes searching the crowd...

... Ratso surreptitiously stuffing his pockets from the
buffet table, glancing nervously over his shoulder, unaware
of Gretel and her hand-held camera, photographing Ratso as he
steals, turning away casually, disinterested...

... Joe laughing as he dances for a moment with a tall black
girl -- the lights swinging around them -- faces swimming...

... Shirley in fleeting close-up, gone in an instant,
reappearing...

INT. MACALBERTSON BATHROOM - NIGHT

... her face in the mirror smiling in a dark, provocative way
-- Joe standing at the bathroom door, forgetting to be
embarrassed as Shirley turns away from the mirror,
unhurriedly, running her fingers through her hair, boldly
meeting Joe's eyes.

			SHIRLEY 
	I can tell, can't you?

			JOE 
	Yeah, oh yeah.

			SHIRLEY 
	What'll we do? Leave now or what?
	Your place or mine? Oh God, the
	second I looked at you I knew. Did
	you?

Joe grins, watching Shirley's lips move, unable to keep her
in sync, startled to hear Ratso's voice.

			RATSO'S VOICE
	She's hooked...

INT. MACALBERTSONS' LOFT - NIGHT

Joe realizes he is back at the party, Ratso whispering
hoarsely.

			RATSO
	... I'd say she was good for ten
	bucks, but I'll ask for twenty...

But Joe is watching with terrible fascination as Hansel and
Gretel lift the flower girl from her sarcophagus.

			SHIRLEY'S VOICE 
	Did you know? We were going to make
	it?

Joe glances down to see himself flanked by Ratso and Shirley.

			RATSO 
	You really want to do business?

			SHIRLEY
	Who's he? Oh God! Don't tell me you
	two are a couple -- ?

The flower girl, hypnotically dazed, accepts a broom dipped
in black paint and smears a huge X across LOVE. Joe laughs.

			HANSEL'S VOICE
	Why are you laughing, Joe?

Hansel holds a microphone toward Joe, who shrugs, grinning at
Ratso and Shirley. Gretel's camera moves down Joe's body.

			HANSEL
	Are you for real, Joe?

			JOE 
	Well, I ain't a f'real cowboy, but
	I'm one hell of a stud!

Shirley glances at Ratso, who nods, whispering in her ear.

			RATSO 
	A very expensive stud. And I happen
	to be his manager.

The scene -- from Joe's viewpoint -- becomes increasingly
confusing and fragmented, dialogue and image moving in and
out of focus, cameras and lights surrounding him, keeping the
center of attention in his own blown mind...

... Shirley's eyes unnaturally bright, inspecting his body,
lingering on his thighs, moistening her lips...

			SHIRLEY 
	It's too much -- to come face to
	face with a walking talking sex
	fantasy -- to buy a man's -- God!

... the tall black girl dancing in stroble light, starting to
remove her clothes -- Gretel following her with a camera...

			SHIRLEY'S VOICE
	I can't wait to tell my man Monday.
	I should be taking notes. Look at
	my arm!

... Shirley's talon-like fingernails caressing the gooseflesh
on her tanned arm...

			RATSO'S VOICE
	I gotta sit down. I feel crummy.

Ratso stretched out on a Victorian love seat -- the flower
girl walking unsteadily, passing out dead daffodils, placing
one in Ratso's hand Gretel photographing his reaction...

			SHIRLEY'S VOICE
	Eat it -- a man in your line of
	work has to keep his strength up...

... Shirley bringing Joe a massive sandwich on a paper plate,
watching him bite into it...

			SHIRLEY 
	It's fantastic, now I know,
	everything you do has sexual
	implications.
	If I you know, bought it -- could I
	take pictures of you naked? That's
	part of it, isn't it, kinky kinda
	things?

... the tall black girl and a few others are trying to
promote an orgy. A scrofulous old wino dances spastically,
working his toothless gums, preparing to expose himself to
two girls dancing together...

			HANSEL'S VOICE
	We want you, Joe. You've been
	chosen.

... five youths stand beside the sarcophagus -- two sailors,
two cycle freaks, a weight-lifter -- waiting to be
pallbearers. Joe joins them. All lights and cameras are
turned on the slow funeral procession, carrying the flower
girl out of the loft to the tune of "Moonlight and Roses".
Strobe light adds to the unreality of the scene...

			SHIRLEY'S VOICE 
	I had a thing for him. Before I
	knew. Why should knowing make it
	more of a thing?

... Shirley talks to Gretel as she photographs the funeral.

			SHIRLEY 
	Naturally I'll have to ask myself
	why a cowboy? And why a cowboy
	whore? But not tonight.

INT. MACALBERTSON LANDING - NIGHT

Shirley is pulling her coat out of the pile on the bannister.

			SHIRLEY 
	Incidentally, how much is this
	going to cost me anyway?

Joe turns to Ratso, whose attention is fixed on the coats.

			JOE 
	Tell her, Ratso.

			RATSO 
	Twenty bucks...

			SHIRLEY 
	Sold. Let's go.

			RATSO 
	... and taxi fare for me.

			SHIRLEY 
	Get lost.

			RATSO 
	I agree. And for that service I
	charge one dollar taxi fare.

She takes a dollar from her purse and hands it to Ratso,
takes Joe's arm and starts down the stairs. Ratso lingers,
starting quickly through the coats, frisking them for loose
change.

INT. LOFT BUILDING LOBBY - NIGHT

At the foot of the stairs, Shirley kisses Joe violently.

			SHIRLEY 
	Your name's Joe. Which is fabulous.
	Joe could be anyone. Kiss me, Joe,
	move over, Joe, go away, Joe. It's
	just perfect.

They glance up as Ratso appears, swinging down too rapidly on
the bannister. He misses a step and falls -- a clown's fall,
unable to stop but apparently not hurting himself. Shirley
and Joe are laughing when Ratso lands at the foot of the
stairs.

			SHIRLEY (CONT'D)
	He fell. Hey, fella, you fell. Is
	he all right?

			RATSO
		(rises, mimics)
	Is he all right!

			JOE 
	Well, if you're awright, why you
	hanging on the bannister. Can you
	walk or not?

			RATSO 
	Walk? Naturally I can walk.

			SHIRLEY 
	He's got taxi fare.

			JOE 
	Sure you're all right?

			RATSO 
		(shouts)
	I said yeah! Yeah, yeah, yeah!

INT. TAXICAB - NIGHT

Joe and Shirley are kissing. Shirley rolls away, flushed,
fanning herself. Joe rolls down the window.

EXT. VILLAGE STREET - NIGHT

Joe leans out of the taxi window, waving his Stetson,
bellowing at the snow.

			JOE
	Whoopee ti yi yo...!

EXT. LOFT BUILDING - NIGHT

Ratso makes his way slowly from the building to the curb,
whistling between his teeth sharply, hailing a cab. The cab
slows to a stop. Then the driver sees Ratso, shifts into gear
and drives on. Ratso bites his thumb after the cab, rests for
a moment on the lamp post, then starts painfully inching his
way along the deserted street.

INT. SHIRLEY'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

Joe lies on his back, staring fixedly at a fragile mobile
hanging from the ceiling, stirring listlessly.

			SHIRLEY'S VOICE
	That happens. Don't worry about
	it...

Shirley leans on one elbow, looking at Joe sympathetically,
fighting an almost irrepressible desire to laugh. Still
avoiding Shirley's eyes, Joe finds a cigarette on the side
table, searches for matches.

			JOE 
	Well, that's something never
	happened to me before, you can bet
	your bottom dollar. Uh, where's the
	matches, ma'am?

			SHIRLEY 
	Top drawer. Maybe if you didn't
	call me ma'am, things would work
	out better.

Joe finds the matches, lights up and lies back, staring at
the mobile as he smokes, still not looking at Shirley.

			JOE
	First goddam, time it ever quit on
	me. Fact.

The repressed laugh finally breaks through. Shirley stifles
it quickly as Joe sits up, looking at her.

			JOE (CONT'D)
	You think I'm lying!

			SHIRLEY
		(controls herself)
	No. Of course not. Just something
	struck me funny...

Close on Joe -- watching Shirley closely, reacting.

			SHIRLEY'S VOICE 
	I just put myself in your shoes. I
	had this image of a bugler without
	a horn, a policeman without a
	stick, etcetera, etcetera and I...
		(giggles)
	I think I'd better shut up, I'm
	making it worse.

Shirley composes her face, reaching out to touch Joe. But
that doesn't help either. He reacts sharply.

			SHIRLEY 
	Maybe we should take a little nap,
	see what happens?

			JOE 
	I ain't sleepy.

			SHIRLEY 
	I know. Scribbage!

Extreme close-up of Joe -- frowning, puzzled...

			JOE 
	Shee-it...

... camera pulling back to show Joe concentrating on a game,
spread out on the sheet, consisting of nine dice lettered on
all sides, the object being to build as many words as
possible, Scrabble fashion, while a sand timer counts the
seconds. Shirley watches Joe's efforts to think with
sympathetic amusement. The only word Joe has composed so far
is MAN.

			SHIRLEY 
	That's pretty Freudian, Joe.

			JOE 
	What? It's a perfectly good word,
	ain't it. How much time I got?
		(glances up)
	Goddam sand thing drive you crazy.
	Kee-rist. Spelling never was a very
	strong point with me. Even in
	school.

			SHIRLEY 
	If you didn't talk so much, maybe
	you could think more.

			JOE 
	Talking helps. Don't talk, you get
	muddled in your head. Hey! Now you
	just look at this here!

Joe spells out MONY, down from the M in MAN.

			SHIRLEY 
	There's an E in MONEY. If that's
	your word.

			JOE 
	M-O-N-Y -- I'm right! That's just
	exactly how they spell it up there
	on that big building, bet you could
	see it from here. M-O-N-Y.

			SHIRLEY 
		(stifles giggle)
	Okay. Never argue with a man.

			JOE
	Y -- what in hell starts with Y?

Shirley slyly trails the tips of her fingernails across Joe's
chest as she leans over to study the game, breathing softly
into his ear as she speaks.

			SHIRLEY
	It can end in Y day, pay, lay --
	hey, pay lay!

One predatory hand rests on his knee -- as if by accident -
disarranging the sheet, talon nails lightly brushing his
thigh.

			JOE 
	Cut it out. That's cheating,
	teasing me so I can't think.
	Just one bitsy Y word and I gonna
	beat you!

			SHIRLEY 
	You gonna beat me, Joe?

			JOE 
	Beat your butt, you don't lemme
	think!

			SHIRLEY 
	Gay ends in Y. Fey. You like that --
	gay fey -- is that your problem?

			JOE 
	I show you what problem --

But the end of his sentence is swallowed by Shirley, taking
his kiss in her open mouth, crushed by its impact, an animal
noise snarling deep in her throat -- the agonized alley cat
wail of pleasure -- Joe's problem is solved. Joe's love theme
swells triumphant. At the same time, Shirley half-rises,
trying to force Joe's head down, her own on top. The issue is
joined. Shirley has named the game. Her objective is to force
Joe onto his back. Joe's objective is to retain his
initiative. Camera ignores the classic action on the central
front, concentrating exclusively on peripheral tactical
maneuvers...

... Joe's elbows pinning her shoulders...

... her eyes bright, accepting the challenge...

... his tight smile revealing clenched teeth...

... her fingers searching out then tickling his underarm...

... Joe laughing as he falls lopsidedly...

... Shirley laughing triumphantly...

... his hand closing on her wrist...

... her talon-nails clawing the air...

... her toes walking up his calf...

... her legs suddenly locking around his knees...

... her free hand grabbing his hair...

... her shoulder rising as she forces his head back...

... her lips pressing down on his...

... his hand swatting an unidentified mass of flesh...

... her eyes popping, teeth clamping his ear lobe...

... his hand catching her ankle...

... her teeth losing the ear lobe as she screams...

... her foot appearing upside down beside her face...

... her talon-nails furrowing flesh, drawing blood...

... his head rearing back, roaring...

... both rolling to the floor, out of view...

... her feet suddenly flying up into view...

... her hand tugging rhythmically at the blanket...

... her other hand wildly exploring Joe's back...

... her ankles locking spasmodically...

... her eyes and mouth wide, gaping...

... the blanket suddenly ripping free, flying into the air as
her arm flings itself around Joe...

... the bedclothes spilling down around them, muffling her
ascending shrieks.

			JOE'S VOICE
	Whoopee ti yi yo...

INT. SHIRLEY'S BEDROOM - MORNING

Shirley has difficulty reverting to her nine-to-five role as
a Madison Avenue career girl. Half-dressed for work, she is
talking on the telephone, her eyes on the open door to the
bathroom, through which Joe's voice continues singing.

			SHIRLEY
	Well, I really can't talk now, if
	you know what I mean, but believe
	me when I say, Myra, it's an
	experience every emancipated woman
	owes herself. I'm not. I'm not
	exaggerating. Well, what's Phil's
	poker night?
		(yells off)
	Joe -- are you available next
	Thursday, eight-thirty?

INT. SHIRLEY'S BATHROOM - MORNING

Thoroughly shaved, bathed and groomed, Joe is sprinkling an
expensive cologne into his boots. He yells back
enthusiastically.

			JOE 
	Well, lemme think now, Thursday,
	eight-thirty, yeah, I guess I could
	be available. Hell, yeah.

INT. SHIRLEY'S BEDROOM - MORNING

Shirley turns back to the phone. Joe appears, grinning.

			SHIRLEY 
	Why don't you just come here? I'll
	be working every night this week.
	I'll leave a key with the super...

			JOE'S VOICE 
	Well, ma'am -- Shirley -- I sure
	hate to trouble you, but...

Shirley opens her purse, savoring the moment. As she places
the money in Joe's hand...

INT. MEN'S STORE - DAY

... Joe slaps a bill on the counter, admiring a fine new
cowboy shirt in the mirror, wriggling new white socks into
his boots. Suddenly remembering, he goes to the sock rack and
buys two pairs, one large and one small. Gradually
dominating, Joe's love theme recurs, continuing over...

INT. CHAIN DRUG STORE - DAY

... Joe slaps down money to pay for an assortment of
medicine.

INT. CONDEMNED TENEMENT - DAY

Joe takes the stairs two at a time to burst in on...

INT. X FLAT - DAY

... Ratso huddled in the overstuffed chair -- wearing the
stolen sheepskin coat -- wrapped in blankets, his teeth
chattering, in spite of the sweat on his forehead. Joe stops
abruptly, his mood shattered by Ratso's alarming condition.
They simply stare at each other for a moment, then Joe turns
away to see soup heating on the Sterno stove. Joe tosses one
of his paper bags onto Ratso's lap...

			JOE 
	See what you think of that crap.
	I'll pour your soup. Got some of
	that junk you like to swill, too.
	Mentholatum. Aspirin. All that shee
	it...

Ratso opens the paper bag, trying to control his shivering,
pulling out the socks and a suit of long underwear. He sees
Joe watching him for a reaction. The best Ratso can do is a
slight shake of his head.

			JOE (CONT'D)
	They wrong?

			RATSO 
	No. But while you was buying the
	underwear, I could have lifted the
	socks.

			JOE 
	You couldn't lift fly specks from a
	sugar bowl. Can you hold this?

Joe hands Ratso the soup. Ratso seems steadied by the warmth
in his hands. He nods, sipping the soup.

			RATSO
	But thanks.
		(hesitates, then)
	Hey, Joe, don't get sore about this
	or anything. You promise?

			JOE 
	Yeah.

			RATSO 
	Well, I don't think I can walk.
		(embarrassed)
	I mean, I been falling down a lot
	and, uh...

			JOE 
	And what?

			RATSO
	I'm scared.

			JOE 
	What of?

			RATSO 
	What'll happen. I mean what they do
	to, you know, do with you -- if you
	can't -- ah, Christ!

			JOE 
	Who?

			RATSO 
	I don't know. Cops. Or the -- how
	should I know?

Ratso is trembling so violently that the sou, starts to slop
over. Joe takes it and sets it on the table.

			JOE 
	Okay. Here it is. You gonna go see
	the doctor. I got nine bucks and
	twenty more Thursday and I gonna be
	riding high before you know it. So
	you gonna get you the best goddam
	doctor in this town and get
	yourself straightened out, that's
	what.

			RATSO 
	No doctors. No, sir. Not me.
	Doctors are like goddam auto
	mechanics. Fix one-thing, unplug
	another. Operate for piles and
	while they're there, they unscrew
	your liver. My old man, for God's
	sake, wasn't any sicker'n I am when
	he went to the doctor.

			JOE 
	Well, just exactly what the hell
	you think you're gonna do? Die on
	me?

			RATSO 
	I'm going to Florida, that's my
	only chance.

			JOE 
	You know what's wrong with you? You
	got fevers. You kinky as a bedbug.
	How you gonna get to Florida?

			RATSO 
	I'll find the money. If you just
	get me on the bus, that's all I
	ask.

			JOE 
	Just when everything's going my
	way, you gotta pull a stunt like
	this.

			RATSO 
	I don't even want you to go.
	Whaddya think of that? I got other
	plans for my life than dragging
	around some dumb cowboy that thinks
	he's God's gift to women. One
	twenty-buck trick and he's already
	the biggest stud in New York City.
	It's laughable.

Joe sets his Stetson on his head.

			JOE 
	When I put you on that bus down to
	Florida tonight, that'll be the
	happiest day of my life!

INT. PHONE BOOTH - DAY

Joe strikes a match with his thumbnail and watches it curl
away while he waits, hearing a phone ring. Then the phone is
answered by a woman's voice.

			JOE 
	Hey, Shirley... Miss who? Oh, yeah,
	well, when will Missus Gardner be
	home? ... I'm a friend of hers, a
	goddam good friend... Shee-it, I
	can't wait till then...

Joe hangs up while the answering service's voice is still
talking. The match has burned out. Joe flips it away.

INSERT

Headline -- WALTER P. BOX TAKES NEW YORK BY SURPRISE.

EXT. TIMES SQUARE - DUSK

Joe loiters outside a gag headline print shop, his eyes
following a man in homburg and chesterfield.

EXT./INT. METROPOLE - DUSK

Joe lingers momentarily, identifying with the violence in a
jazz drummer, his eyes searching for a pickup.

INT. ARCADE - DUSK

Joe tests his skills in a shoot-down with a large metal
cowboy and kills him, a recorded voice sneaks, "Got me!" as
the cowboy slumps. Joe glances off as he hears polite
applause...

			TOWNY'S VOICE
	Bravo...

... TOWNY -- a stout, round-faced man -- clasps Joe's hand
between both of his own, like an old friend.

			TOWNY 
	How are you?
		(more quietly)
	Townsend P. Locke, from Chicago.
	Call me Towny. I'm here to attend a
	paper manufacturers' convention
	and, frankly, to have a little fun,
	dammit...

Towny grips Joe's elbow, almost forcibly leading him away.

EXT. SIDE STREET WEST OF BROADWAY - DUSK

Towny's face appears huge at Joe's shoulder.

			TOWNY 
	This is my first night in town and
	I'll consider it a ghastly omen
	clouding my entire ten days, if you
	don't consent to have dinner with
	me. Anywhere you like...

Towny's mouth continues speaking at an incredible rate, but
his words are drowned out momentarily by the grinder of a
sanitation truck, chewing up a discarded Christmas tree with
tinsel clinging to it. Towny is still talking when they've
passed the truck.

			TOWNY (CONT'D)
	... never mind how you're dressed.
	They know me. I'll say you're with
	the rodeo. There's always a rodeo
	in New York, dammit. Besides, you
	look very elegant...

EXT. STREET CORNER - NIGHT

Joe hardly notices O'Daniel on a far cornet, his whining
scarcely audible.
"Ye are the salt of the earth, Jesus said, but if the salt
hath lost its savor, wherewith shall it be salted?"

			TOWNY 
	But, dammit all, I just remembered,
	we'll have to eat in my room
	because I have this phone call
	coming at nine-thirty...

INT. TOWNY'S HOTEL ELEVATOR - NIGHT

An ancient open cage lift.

			TOWNY 
	What I like about you, you're such
	a wonderful conversationalist. So
	won't that be nice to have dinner
	sent up?

INT. TOWNY'S HOTEL CORRIDOR - NIGHT

A threadbare, carpeted but spacious hallway.

			TOWNY 
	Fifty years ago this was the only
	hotel in Manhattan. My mother
	always calls me at her bedtime, so
	I've got to be there.

INT. TOWNY'S BEDROOM-SITTING ROOM - NIGHT

The room has little to recommend it except its size and large
French window, through which -- ignored by Joe -- the Mutual
tower flashes MONY. Towny waves Joe toward the couch, quickly
slipping several physical culture magazines from the coffee
table onto a shelf beneath.

			TOWNY 
	A drink? I've got some nice gin. If
	you'd prefer something else,
	they'll send it up...

			JOE
	Gin's okay.

			TOWNY 
	It's so exciting. New York. The mad
	forward thrust of everything. My
	sense of time here is completely
	altered.

INT. TENEMENT STAIRS - DAY

Joe carries Ratso down the stairs, wrapped in a blanket.

INT. TOWNY'S BEDROOM-SITTING ROOM - NIGHT

The coffee table is littered with empty cartons of Chinese
food, soaked through with brown sauce. Joe finds the last egg
roll and eats it as Towny's voice drones on.

			TOWNY 
	Sometimes it seems to me time
	stopped twenty years ago. There was
	this war, there was this handsome
	young man with quite black hair and
	he was supposed to die. But he
	didn't. Isn't that amusing?

			JOE 
	What?

Towny's dialogue moves out of sync. Towny's eyes seem to look
into camera -- from Joe's viewpoint -- but slightly past it.
The quality of the scene grows increasingly disjointed as Joe
glances around the room, looking for something to steal,
losing personal contact with Towny, viewing him as an object
to be used for a specific purpose.

			TOWNY 
	Enough about me. I'm through
	talking for the evening. Now I want
	to hear about conditions in the
	West. The romance of the West holds
	a tremendous power over me. Mother
	was actually a pioneer woman, can
	you believe it? When she calls,
	I'll introduce you and she'll be so
	thrilled.

EXT. TENEMENT NEIGHBORHOOD - DAY

Ratso sits an a stoop while Joe hails a cab.

INT. TOWNY'S BATHROOM - NIGHT

Towny's voice is only a shrill monotone from here, Joe
searches with increasing desperation for something of value.
An old electric razor is too bulky for Joe's pocket, probably
worthless anyhow. Towny's array of medicines merely recalls
Joe's purpose.

			TOWNY'S VOICE 
	Mama, a coincidence. Guess who was
	being discussed. Discussed. Not
	disgusted. Discussed! Do you have
	that thing turned up? Why aren't
	you wearing it! This is impossible!

EXT. GREYHOUND BUS TERMINAL - DAY

Joe lifts Ratso from the taxi and carries him inside.

			JOE'S VOICE 
	Listen, Towny, did I mention I got
	a sick kid?

INT. TOWNY'S BATHROOM - NIGHT

Joe is rehearsing the speech in the bathroom mirror.

			JOE 
	Well, he is, he's sicker'n shee-it.
	And I've gotta get him South quick
	as I can...

INT. GREYHOUND BUS TERMINAL - DAY

Joe stands in a long line, glancing impatiently at the clock
while Ratso waits on a bench, wrapped in his blanket.

INT. TOWNY'S BEDROOM-SITTING ROOM - NIGHT

Towny is stretched out on the couch, staring morosely.

			TOWNY 
	I was so childish with her.

Joe moves into frame past camera, standing in front of him,
so that we can see the scene from behind Joe's waist.

			JOE 
	What d'you want?

			TOWNY 
	What?

			JOE 
	What you got me up here for?

			TOWNY 
	Oh, difficult, it's so difficult.
	You're a nice person, Joe -- I
	should never have asked you up -- a
	lovely person. Oh, how I loathe
	life. I loathe it. Please go.
	Please.

			JOE 
	You want me to leave?

			TOWNY 
	No, yes. No, I mean yes please go.
	Help me to be good. Come back
	tomorrow. Promise.

			JOE
	I'm going to Florida.

			TOWNY 
	This is terrible. I meet someone
	who -- then -- wait, I want to give
	you a present. For your trip.
	You'll let me please...

INT. GREYHOUND BUS TERMINAL - DAY

Joe's face is expectant, next in line at the ticket window.
He nods reassuringly toward Ratso.

INT. TOWNY'S BEDROOM-SITTING ROOM - NIGHT

Joe's face is puzzled then angry as Towny takes a Saint
Christopher medal from his sack and hands it to Joe. His eyes
are looking past Joe, his speech out of sync.

			TOWNY 
	Please take it. You don't have to
	be Catholic. Saint Christopher is
	the patron saint of all travelers.
	I want you to have it. For helping
	me be good.

INT. GREYHOUND BUS TERMINAL - DAY

It's Joe's turn. The clerk looks at him expectantly.

INT. TOWNY'S BEDROOM-SITTING ROOM - NIGHT

Joe's voice is angry.

			JOE 
	Listen, I gotta have money.

			TOWNY 
	Oh. Yes. Of course. I should have
	thought. You shouldn't have to ask.
	That was thoughtless of me. Yes.
	Wait here...

Towny hurries across the room to the bedside table. Beside
the telephone is a picture of a prosperous pioneer woman
wearing a hearing-aid.
Towny tries to conceal his movements as he takes a wallet
from the drawer, lifts out a bill and tucks the wallet back
and turns -- terrified to see Joe close behind him -- almost
knocking the lamp off the table in his fright. Pressed
against the table, protecting but calling attention to his
wallet, Towny holds out the bill.

			TOWNY (CONT'D)
	Here. Don't even thank me.

			JOE
		(takes the bill)
	I gotta have more'n ten. I gotta
	have fifty-seven dollars.

			TOWNY
	I simply don't have it, Joe.

			JOE
	Get outta my way.

			TOWNY 
	You're wasting your time. There's
	nothing in there.

Towny clutches the table, staring at Joe, shaking his head
like a bad little boy. Joe backhands him angrily. Trying to
duck the blow, Towny stumbles and slips to the floor, but
grabs the table in his arms, watching Joe out of the corner
of his eyes, whimpering. Joe grabs his hair, turning his face
up.

			JOE 
	Let go. Let go of the table.

Joe slaps him, but Towny clings more fiercely to the table as
Joe tries to jerk it free. Joe strikes him with his fist.

			TOWNY 
	I deserved that, I know I did.

But he clutches the table wildly. His mother's picture falls
unnoticed. Joe stands in panic, sickened, unable to fulfill
the role Towny has assigned him.

			TOWNY (CONT'D)
	I brought this on myself. I'm
	bleeding, my nose is bleeding,
	isn't it?

Towny's eyes shine, teeth clenched in a crazy smile, blood
trickling from his nose. Suddenly Joe jerks the lamp free of
its socket.

			JOE 
	You wanna gimme fifty-seven dollars
	or you wanna busted skull?

Towny simply stares at the lamp.

			JOE (CONT'D)
	Please let go of that table.

Joe threatens, swings the lamp down, but stops short of
hitting Towny. Towny shrieks -- eyes rolling back as he falls
limp -- loosing his grip on the table, leaning on the bed,
laughing and crying hysterically. Joe has to step over him to
reach the wallet in the drawer. He takes all the money --
probably twice what he needs -- desperate to get out of the
room.

INT. GREYHOUND BUS TERMINAL - DAY

Joe carries Ratso up the steps onto the bus.

INT. TOWNY'S BEDROOM-SITTING ROOM - NIGHT

Towny's shrill little whisper says...

			TOWNY 
	Thank you, Joe.

... provoking Joe to glance back. Towny is reaching for the
telephone, his eyes on Joe with wild brightness, holding his
hand on the receiver. Joe knocks the phone from his hand,
hits Towny in the mouth, jerks the cord from the wall as
Towny falls -- gagging -- finally dislodging his dentures on
the carpet. Joe stands sick and confused, holding the useless
phone in two hands...

EXT. GREYHOUND BUS TERMINAL - DAY

The bus driver revs the powerful engine, shifting gears.

INT. TOWNY'S BEDROOM-SITTING ROOM - NIGHT

... Joe is about to hang the dead receiver on its hook when 
on sudden impulse -- he shoves the small end of the receiver
into the toothless mouth of the man on the floor.

EXT. LINCOLN TUNNEL - DAY

The bus roars into the tunnel.

INT. GREYHOUND BUS - DAY

Joe and Ratso sit near the rear of the bus. Ratso's teeth
chatter, wrapped in the blanket.

			RATSO 
	Thirty-one hours.

They ride a few moments in silence.

			RATSO (CONT'D)
	The trip is. Nine-thirty in the
	morning we get there. Not this
	morning but the next one at nine
	thirty.

Both nod for a moment in silence.

			JOE 
	These guys're good drivers.

			RATSO 
	They gotta be.

			JOE 
	Yeah.

EXT. HIGHWAY - DAY

The bus tires sing as it speeds South.

INT. GREYHOUND BUS - DAY

Joe and Ratso have reversed places, putting Ratso by the
window. Joe watches a middle-aged couple try on their new
straw hats, unaware that Joe is watching them.

			RATSO 
	You get your first palm tree in
	South Carolina.

			JOE 
	How'n hell a dumb Bronx kid like
	you know that?

			RATSO 
	I read it.

			JOE
	Shee-it. You believe all you read?

EXT. BRIDGE - NIGHT

The metal grating rings as the bus soars onto it.

INT. GREYHOUND BUS - NIGHT

Two aging young ladies in brand-new resort wear are casually
examining Joe, along with the other men on the bus, but Joe
is frowning at Ratso, who shivers despite the bright sun.

			JOE 
	If you have to shiver, why don't
	you pull the blanket up more?

			RATSO 
	I been thinking. I hope we're not
	gonna have a lotta trouble about my
	name down there. Because like
	what's the whole point of this trip
	anyway?

			JOE 
	Keep the goddam blanket on.

			RATSO 
	I mean New York's one thing, but
	can you see this guy, imagine it,
	running around the goddam beach all
	suntan and he's going in swimming,
	like, and then somebody yells 'Hey,
	Ratso' -- how does that sound to
	you?

			JOE 
	Sounds like they knew you.

			RATSO 
	Sounds like crap, admit it. And I'm
	not gonna have it. I'm Rico all the
	time, okay, do you blame me? That's
	agreed, okay? We're gonna tell all
	these new people my name's Rico?

Joe nods. Ratso closes his eyes, momentarily at peace.

EXT. HIGHWAY - DAWN

The bus passes a Florida hotel sign too swiftly to read it.

INT. GREYHOUND BUS - DAWN

Joe frowns in his sleep, awakens, lifts his Stetson to see
Ratso wide awake, in misery, wiping tears from his eyes.

			JOE
	Hey -- whatsa matter?

			RATSO
		(barely audible)
	I'm wet.

			JOE 
	You're what?

			RATSO 
	I wet my pants! My seat's all wet.

			JOE 
	Hell, don't cry about it!

			RATSO 
	Here I am going to Florida and my
	leg hurts, my butt hurts, my chest
	hurts, my face hurts, and like that
	ain't enough, I gotta pee all over
	myself.

Joe laughs suddenly, uncontrollably.

			RATSO (CONT'D)
	I'm falling apart, that's funny?

			JOE
		(nods, laughing)
	You just -- just -- what happened,
	you just had a little rest stop
	wasn't on the schedule.

Ratso begins to laugh with Joe as if it were the funniest
thing they'd ever heard. Then Ratso's face pales as he starts
to choke and cough. Joe pats him on the back.

			JOE (CONT'D)
	Hey, what size pants you wear?

EXT. SMALL TOWN STREET - DAY

The bus is parked in the distance. Joe comes from a clothing
store, bare-headed, wearing plain slacks and sport-shirt. He
carries the boots, Stetson and cowboy suit in one hand, a
bundle under his arm. He dumps his cowboy regalia in the
trash bin of a sandwich stand and calls to the WAITRESS.

			JOE
	Couple crullers'n coffee to go.

The Waitress draws coffee, wraps crullers.

			WAITRESS
	Where you from?

			JOE
	New York.

Joe pays. She smiles, gives him change. Joe smiles, starts on
toward the bus, hardly aware that he has accomplished
something rare and remarkable for Joe -- a simple human
contact without fear or threat, a pleasant everyday
happening.

INT. GREYHOUND BUS - DAY

Joe and Ratso have moved to the seat farthest back, wider
than the others. Joe blocks the view of the other passengers
as he helps Ratso into a new pair of corduroy pants and a
Florida shirt. In the middle of the operation, Ratso dozes
off. Joe shakes his head, scowling, annoyed, but continues,
lifting Ratso enough to slide the pants around his waist.
Ratso awakens as Joe zips the fly.

			RATSO 
	Hey, what the hell you doing?

			JOE 
	I'm zipping your fly, what the hell
	you think I'm doing?

They both smile. It isn't funny enough to laugh at. Joe
arranges the blanket, takes out a package of cigarettes,
glances at Ratso and puts it away.

EXT. TRAVELING SHOT WITH BUS - DAY

Palm trees are streaking past the window. The sun is glaring
hot. A group of kids in bare feet and straw hats wave to the
bus as it passes.

INT. GREYHOUND BUS - DAY

Ratso's eyes squint in a dazed half-sleep. Joe leans across
to pull down the shade. He hesitates a moment, watching...

... past his reflection, a group of young men on their way to
work, carrying lunch pails, dressed exactly as Joe is now
dressed...

... then Joe lowers the blind and seats himself. Ratso nods
slightly, his voice practically inaudible.

			RATSO 
	Thanks, Joe.

			JOE 
	Shee-it, you know, I got this thing
	all figured out, Ratso. I mean
	Rico. When we get to Miami, what
	I'll do, I'll go to work. I gotta
	do that, 'cause see, I ain't no
	kind of a hustler. I ain't even any
	goddam good as a bum. I'm a
	nothing, that's what I am. So
	reckon I'd better go to work and
	get me a goddam job. Okay?

Joe glances at Ratso, but there is no response.
Surreptitiously, Joe takes out a cigarette, turns his face
away from Ratso and lights it, hiding it cupped in his hand
as he smokes.

			JOE (CONT'D)
	Yeah, guess that's what I'm gonna
	do.

They ride for a moment in semi-darkness, Joe smoking, looking
at the other people on the bus, brighter without the shades
down. Joe turns, checking the blanket around Ratso, noticing
that Ratso is sitting in a peculiarly stiff, awkward
position. Joe leans over to straighten Ratso's head, blocking
our view for a moment. Then Joe leans back, frowning,
thoughtful. We still do not see Ratso's face. Joe rises
slowly, starting forward in the bus...

... passing an older couple, a schoolgirl, two ladies with
straw hats, a young man trying to read, pausing when he
reaches...

... the DRIVER, staring out at the Sunshine Parkway with the
Driver, leaning over so he won't have to speak too loudly.

			DRIVER
	Yes, sir?

			JOE,
	My friend's dead in the back seat.

			DRIVER
	Your friend's what in the back
	seat?

			JOE
	Dead. Dead as a doornail.

			DRIVER
	Is this some kind of...

He glances at Joe, then pulls off the road and stands up.

			DRIVER (CONT'D)
	Okay, folks, everything's fine.
	Nothing to worry about.

The passengers crane their necks as Joe follows the Driver to
the rear of the bus. The passengers at the rear are staring
ahead, trying not to see what is going on. The Driver touches
Ratso, straightens, touches his hat, but doesn't remove it.

			DRIVER (CONT'D)
	Is he kin to you?

Joe nods no.

			DRIVER (CONT'D)
	Don't you want to close his eyes?

			JOE
	Close them?

			DRIVER 
	Just reach over and close them.
	That's all.

Joe closes Ratso's eyes.

			DRIVER (CONT'D)
	I guess we'll just drive on, right?
	Nothing else to do.

			JOE 
	No, sir. Not till Miami. I'll see
	to burying then.

The Driver moves to the front and turns to the passengers.

			DRIVER
	Just a little sickness, folks,
	nothing serious. We'll be in
	Miami...
		(looks at watch)
	... in forty minutes.

INT. GREYHOUND BUS - DAY

Joe sits stiffly, very frightened, as the bus starts on. Then
he glances at Ratso, frowning, reaches out an arm and puts it
around Ratso, settling back, staring straight ahead.

				  THE END



Midnight Cowboy



Writers :   James Leo Herlihy  Waldo Salt
Genres :   Drama


User Comments


Internet Movie Script Database
Back to IMSDb





Index    |    Submit    |    Links    |    Link to us    |    RSS Feeds    |    Disclaimer    |    Privacy policy