S T R A N G E D A Y S
by James Cameron & Jay Cocks
from a story by James Cameron
AUGUST 11, 1993
1:06 AM DEC 30, 1999
Blackness. We hear:
SECOND VOICE (LENNY)
Yeah. Boot it.
A burst of bright white static exploding across the
darkness. A high whine on the audio track gives way to
street sounds and rapid breathing.
AN IMAGE wavers and stabilizes: A nervous POV. We're in a
car, sitting in the backseat, and we're nervous, the view
swinging around, showing the street rolling by outside the
windows, then whipping back to the two guys in the front
Our POV looks down at a SMALL RECORDING DEVICE in "our"
hands. A red LED is flashing. We slip the recorder into
a coat pocket.
Okay. It's goin'. I'm recording.
The guy riding shotgun, LANE, is just pulling a pantyhose
over his head, smearing his features into a pig-like mask.
He turns, DIRECTLY TO THE LENS, pissed off.
Good one, dickhead. Thanks for
waitin' till I get this fuckin thing
on. You tryin' ta I.D. me, or
He tosses another pantyhose right at us and we catch it.
Our POV looks down, into the pantyhose, which comes up
over our field of view.
We realize: this is not some ride-along verite video.
WE ARE ONE OF THESE GUYS. Real honest-to-God point of
view, with no cuts, no music. This is not film, it is
The driver is a Hispanic guy named "SPAZ" DIAZ. Lane is a
white guy who looks very strung out. Couple of
crackheads. The car is a mid-seventies barge, piebald
Next alley... just pull in slow.
(turning to us)
Hurry up will ya. Here.
He hands us a big stainless steel revolver. The POV looks
down as our shaky hands snap open the cylinder, check the
rounds, snap it closed.
Diaz pulls the barge into an alley. The headlights
illuminate overflowing dumpsters. A Chicano busboy is
making trash runs out the back door of a restaurant, which
he has chocked open. The busboy goes back inside.
Out of the car, quickly, our own breathing loud in our
ears. We even hear our own heartbeat, racing now.
Through the door, after Lane, moving fast.
Into the kitchen. Fluorescent glare. The busboy turning,
surprised, Lane putting the shotgun in his face. Freezing
him. Lane puts a finger to his lips: "quiet" in any
Our hand puts the magnum in the THAI COOK's face. We get
them down on the greasy floor, Lane controlling them with
the shotgun. He looks at us, snaps his eyes toward the
We hear voices as we approach the swing door. Go through.
Whip pan left, then right. Scoping the layout. Low-rent
THAI place. Red wallpaper. Closing time. Middle-aged
Thai OWNER, by the cash-register, counting money. Young
Thai WAITRESS, cleaning up. They look up, stunned, as we
put the gun on them.
Don't move, don't talk, don't do
Our POV is whipping around, from the front door to the
owner to the kitchen where Lane is standing in the doorway
covering the cook and busboy, back to the owner as he
steps back from the cash-register.
We scoop up the big wad of bills: seven, eight hundred
bucks in tens and fives.
Now yelling, herding the owner and the waitress into the
kitchen, the owner trying to calm the girl in singsongy
Thai, Lane shouting at him to shut up.
Into the walk-in cooler. The steel door closes on four
scared pair of eyes. POV looking around, seeing... a
dish-rack. Our hand pulls out a spoon, drops the spoon
handle through the hole in the cooler door-latch. Locking
Lane heading out the back door. Laughing, as he looks at
the wad of cash our hand is waving in front of him.
We follow Lane to the car. Snap a look down the alley one
way, then the other.
Shit! Cop Black-and-White pulling into the far end of the
alley. Heartbeat goes triple time. Scrambling into the
Door not even closed and SPAZ has it in reverse, burning
rubber as he launches back down the alley.
SCRUNCH! The car grinds along one wall as SPAZ steers
wildly backward. Sparks right next to us. Then--
KBOOM! As we slam into a dumpster and push it right out
into the street.
The cop has his lights and siren on, and is roaring at us
as SPAZ cranks the wheel and punches it down the street.
He curses in English and Spanish as he weaves between
cars. We pull off the stocking to see better.
The cop car surges onto the street behind us.
Looking ahead. A red light. Cars stopped, blocking the
way. Cutting to the right, onto the sidewalk, around the
cars, into the intersection.
A near miss with cross traffic, then accelerating.
Another red light ahead.
Truck entering the intersection. Everyone yelling. SPAZ
cuts the wheel but too late...
Clipping the truck and spinning.
The street outside smearing past like the view from a
Then KBLAM! Hitting something, God-knows-what, and
launching up and over, and--
KRUNCH! Crushing metal and an explosion of broken glass.
It gets quiet and still. Tinkling glass as Lane moves.
Then SPAZ is screaming. The car is upside down.
Crawling out of the side window. A frenzy now.
Whip pan to see the cops pulling up.
Then whipping back to the wreck. The engine is burning.
Flames spreading rapidly. SPAZ inside, pinned, upside
down, blood pumping across his face.
Our hands pulling Lane out. He comes up running.
We run after him, sprinting toward the welcoming darkness
of an alley.
Panting breath and heartbeats and sirens and somebody
Gunshots. Looking back. Cops next to their car, firing.
Ahead, Lane running into shadow.
Then a door opening, a man coming out of a metal firedoor.
Lane grabbing him, throwing him out of the way, holding
the door open as we dive through into--
A stairwell. Lane sprinting up, two steps at a time.
Trying the door at the second floor landing. Locked.
Running up. Dizzying whirl as we run, up and up.
The POV is finally broken by a...
INT. UNDERGROUND GARAGE
But we don't know where we are yet. We see a man in
extreme close-up: just his eyes and mouth. The eyes are
closed, the eyeballs tracking under the lids, like he is
watching a movie in there. This is LENNY.
This is great... the doors are all
locked. Who are these losers,
friends of yours?
BACK TO POV as we reach the fifth floor landing. Lane is
coming unglued as he finds this door locked. We look
down, see cops coming two floors below. One cranks off a
couple rounds at us and we snap back from the railing.
Pounding up the last flight. Finally! The door is
Blasting through it, behind Lane, onto the roof. Running
all out past AC units and pipes, air vents. Looking up:
an LAPD helicopter orbiting close. It flicks the xenon
onto us and we are running in a vibrating circle of blue
Running along the edge of the roof. Looking down. Car
burning upside down in the street below. The gas tank
explodes, filling the street with orange light. We don't
slow. We're running all out.
Wow... the gas tank is a nice touch.
Oh, oh, end of the line boys.
Ahead, in POV we see the edge of the roof coming up.
Beyond it is another building, about ten feet lower and
separated by a 20 foot alley.
But Lane doesn't slow down. He leaps across the void and
makes it to the other building, landing in a sprawl.
We reach the edge and look down. Six stories. No ladders
or fire-escapes. Whip to behind us. Cops running across
Come on! Fucking jump man!
The POV backs up from the edge and then runs toward it...
Out into the void. Moving... airborne... then...
WHAM! Right into the parapet wall.
Slipping down. Brick wall right in our face. Bloody
fingers grabbing for a rusty piece of pipe running along
Looking down... feet dangling over a sixty foot drop.
A cat walking through a patch of light in the alley below,
Breathing raspy. Snapping a look up as the pipe gives
A keening whine coming from us as we scramble to climb up
Snapping a look down--
Walls rushing past, sound of wind, and our own raspy
Ground rushing up--
Split second impression of a cat, looking up, yowling and
running out of the way as--
Pavement fills frame. A burst of violent red light.
Sound like a gunshot... but no echo.
Only silence. And blackness.
INT. UNDERGROUND PARKING GARAGE
Lit by miles of fluorescent. Empty and echoing. Close on
Lenny. He has something on his head. Something that
looks like a mutated set of Walkman headphones, except
they have little gecko fingers that fit along the temples
and over the forehead. PLAYBACK "TRODES". Lenny whips
off the trodes, gasping as if he got gutpunched.
Goddamnit! You know I don't deal in
snuff. How many times I hafta tell
Lenny is with a guy everybody knows as "TICK", a pale-
skinned creature of the night in T-shirt and leather
jacket. Tick is a bottomfeeder in the techno-underground
of the near future.
Don't have a fucking coronary, Lenny.
Well you could've at least warned
me. You know I hate the zap... when
they die. It just brings down your
whole day. Jeez, Tick.
LENNY NERO is low thirties. Handsome. Charming. And you
better check to see if you still have your ring after you
shake with him. He is wearing an expensive Italian
jacket, and what he thinks of as a "power tie." His Rolex
isn't real. His greasy hair is too long and curls around
his collar. He needs to shave. A little sleazy. But he
has energy, and heavy street smarts.
Lenny is sitting on the hood of his '97 BMW 1035i. Tick
is facing him, sitting in the back of his beat-to-shit
70's van. There are a lot of tapes and tech stuff piled
inside the van. Lenny has a Haliburton case open next to
him, like a drug dealer. In fact the whole setup looks
like a drug deal, but it's not. Though it is illegal.
The case holds Lenny's personal playback deck, his trodes,
and a rack of the little tapes in which he deals. They
are about the size of DAT tapes, and hold about 30 minutes
of sensory experience... everything a person sees, hears,
and feels... recorded directly from the cerebral cortex at
the moment it is happening.
How'd you get the tape? Why didn't
the cops put it in evidence?
With all the blood I guess they
didn't see the rig. Guy had it
under a wig.
Yeah, but how'd it get to you?
I got ways, Lenny, I got ways.
(off Lenny's impatient
Okay, okay... I got a deal with some
a the paramedics. My guy pages me
and I pick it up at the morgue. So
whaddya think? This clip's gotta be
worth at least a grand. Right?
Tick. Not to dash your hopes, but I
don't deal this kind of product, you
know that. I'll give you four for
it, cause I've gotta cut off the
last bit. And my customers want
Fuck that! The last part's the
best. You dry-dive six stories and
blammo! Jack right into the Big
I don't deal black-jack clips! It's
policy. I got ethics here.
Yeah, when did that start? Come on,
man! It's what people want to see,
and you know it.
So lay it off to somebody else.
Come on, Lenny. I got expenses. I
got to get this rig fixed. Look at
Tick holds up a zip-lock bag containing the Walkman-sized
stainless steel CORTICAL RESONANCE RECORDER, the record
deck we saw earlier in the POV. Also in the bag is the
SQUID NET, a matrix of sensors designed to conform to the
human head (this is different from playback trodes). The
whole works are covered with congealed blood.
Give me six at least. This's a good
clip, here. Gets you pumpin'.
Yeah, well, the first part's okay.
Better than the usual soaps you
Now that is cold, Lenny. I always
bring you choice.
Lenny fishes around in a cardboard box at Tick's feet,
pulling out a tape.
Sure, like this low-grade shit here,
some girl in a fight with her
boyfriend... it's a test-pattern.
Nothing happens. I'm snorin'.
Hey, you're always saying, 'Bring me
real life. Bring me street life.
And, like, one man's mundane and
desperate existence is another man's
I said that? Look, I'll take it for
five, and you'll make out okay,
because in this case it's pure
cream, you don't have to cut
anything back to the wearer.
Ha! That's for fucking sure.
What else you got?
MONTAGE/SERIES OF SHOTS
Lenny in his BMW, driving through the LA streets.
Streetlights and neon flare across the windshield in a
calligraphy of light. Lenny works the cellular, gets
messages on his DIGITAL PAGER, weaves in and out of
traffic -- punches the buttons on his radio, changing
stations all the time. Raw, nervous energy: like a kid
who can't stay still. It's a hard hustle in the big food
Look, Jerr. I'm nothing if not a
man of my word. I'll drop the money
by tomorrow, next day latest. It's
a little crazed right now. Yeah, on
my mother's eyes, I swear. Thanks,
(to the car ahead
What kinda move you call that?!
Lenny turns up the radio. SELECTED DRIVE-BY IMAGES, as
the talk-radio provides commentary.
Lenny's car passing under glowing Santa Clauses on the
light-poles. Banners proclaiming the coming "Millennium
... it's a little after 2 am on
December 30th, 1999... the second to
last day of the whole darn century,
and the phone lines are open. Dan
from Silverlake, you're on the air.
Transition to a rougher section of town. Buildings roll
by endlessly, tagged by gangs in graphic tribal patterns.
some are burnt-out ruins.
DAN FROM SILVERLAKE
So Dan, are you looking forward to
the New Year?
A building is burning out of control. In the foreground,
silhouetted, a drunk sleeps soundly on a bus-bench.
Not really. I mean what's the
point? Nothing changes New Years
day. The economy sucks, gas is over
three bucks a gallon, fifth grade
kids are shooting each other at
recess... the whole thing sucks,
right? So what the hell are we
A shanty-camp of homeless people under a freeway overpass.
Homes made of cardboard and carpet remnants. Their lives
in shopping carts.
You're a glass-is-half-empty kind of
guy, aren't you Dan? Well I for one
happen to think that us making it
2000 years is worth celebrating--
Lenny cuts him off, punching to another station, and MUSIC
blasts. Something fast... a rap-metal hybrid. Anger and
WE CUT IN fast blitzes of images like a burst of automatic
weapons fire: helicopters on patrol, people running in the
streets, buildings smoldering, fists raised, shouting
people, paramedics rushing a body into an ambulance,
Korean store owners armed to the teeth, a body covered by
a yellow plastic sheet, blood running down the gutter.
Cops in riot gear, with M-16s, on patrol in a Hispanic
BACK TO LENNY coming out of a bar with a nervous
businessman. We don't hear the conversation. MUSIC OVER.
Lenny palms a roll of bills from the guy as he slips a
squid tape into the pocket of the businessman's suit
jacket. Lenny claps him on the shoulder and walks away.
Lenny's beeper goes off and he pauses to look at the
ON LENNY DRIVING.
Ahead, through the windshield we see a police checkpoint.
The cops have thrown a block across the street and are
shinning their lights in the cars as they creep through.
Lenny slaps his ID against the side window with one hand,
not missing a beat in his conversation. This is just part
of life in LA.
Jimbo. I'm there, Jimmy. Right now,
can't you hear me knockin'?
CUT TO LENNY working his way through a crowded club, music
pounding. Strobe lights. We don't see much. He hears
his phone rings and pulls the tiny DIGITAL CELLULAR out of
his breast pocket. Sticks a finger in his other ear and
CUT TO LENNY, back in the BMW, on the streets. On the
-- so you line up the talent, shoot
the clip, get it to me by Monday.
OK? Client wants a guy and two
girls, the guy wears... yeah, I
know, thinks he's being original.
Girls have to be young. So don't
use your mother like you usually do.
Yeah, you too, pendejo. And no big
tits... French tits. That's it...
like Champagne glasses... you got
it. What a pro. Page me.
LENNY PULLS UP to the security checkpoint of a gated
community. The white upper-middle class hiding behind
walls and paid security.
If you read the Bible, Mark, you'd
know that there won't be another
thousand years. Right now we are in
the Last Days, as foretold in the
The Last Days? You mean the coming
of the Apocalypse, right? The
Lenny fishes around in the glove compartment, flipping
through about twenty plastic security passes for different
parts of town, all bogus. He finds the right one and
flips it onto the dash.
Yes, that's right. You only have to
look at the signs... there are wars
and rumors of wars--
The RENT A COP at the guardshack hits him with his light.
I live here.
The cop waves him through. Lenny is the right color.
Now just so the rest of us know how
much time is left, when is the
Rapture supposed to hit, exactly?
Is it midnight New Year's Eve?
And WE CUT to a burst of news videotape, enlarged, noisy,
distorted... images of a great gathering in the desert,
the faithful waiting for God's sign as the millennium
Is that midnight LA time, or Eastern
Standard or what? I mean, what time
zone is God in, anyway?
I pray for you all.
Lenny's BMW cruises past an overturned burning car. There
is no-one around. He barely glances at it. Common sight
these days. If it is the end of the world, Lenny's not
going to let it break his rhythm.
I just got something in, Bobby, you
might appreciate. A 211 at a Thai
joint goes south, and these three
scuzzballs end up in a gun-and-run.
It's a beauty, two thumbs up.
Parental discretion advised. I'm
talking it's the master, not some
stepped-on copy. One of a kind.
LENNY INSIDE A GLOOMY BAR. He slides into a booth with
NORM SKINNER, a paunchy guy with thinning hair who dresses
too young. A pretty, stoned-looking girl is leaning
Yo, Skinner. The Skin Man.
Red leather. Nice feminine touch.
Fuck you, Nero.
Whattya got for me?
CUT TO: POV of a woman writhing above us in ecstasy.
Lovemaking in point-of-view. We look down, see OUR BODY,
a woman's body... our hands moving over the other woman's
torso. The image is dark, a primal impression. Sound of
harsh breathing, rustling sheets.
BACK TO LENNY in the booth with Skinner. Lenny has
Skinner's tape running in a playback deck clipped to his
belt, next to his pager. He is hunched over the table,
"sampling" the merchandise by touching a few of the trode
pads to his temple without putting on the whole headset.
Like a coke dealer taking a little on the fingernail.
Yeah, I can use this...
(to the stoned girl)
... but honey you gotta move your
eyes slower next time. It's too
It was her first time, Lenny. Cut
her some slack.
TIGHT SLOWMO SHOTS... ABSTRACT: SQUID tapes and money
changing hands. A SQUID tape sliding sensuously into a
TIGHT CU LENNY, through the windshield of his car. Neon
moving over him.
NEWS FOOTAGE: LAPD Aerospatiales circling, their xenon
lights turning night into day, giving the impression of a
futuristic war zone.
INSIDE THE COCKPIT, the infrared camera shows green-screen
images of people in cars, in their homes... like footage
of hyenas shot at night in total darkness.
The impression is of a society under siege, an occupied
nation... a watched society where the camera eye and the
police spotlight define our reality.
Go ahead, caller, you're on the air.
My name's DeWayne, and I got a New
Year's resolution for the po-lice.
Hey, yo Five Oh, you better get down
CRASH Unit cops with a bunch of Salvadoran gang kids
racked up against a storefront. A dozen 16 year-old girls
and guys, hands against the wall, acting bored, as the
cops walk up and down, reading IDs.
2-K? What's that DeWayne?
A group of cops have two black guys proned out. Nearby a
crowd jeers, shouting insults. A black kid throws a beer
bottle and one of the cops chases him into the crowd.
2-K. The big two thousand. Comin
tomorrow night. Out with the old
and in wit da new. See for the Man,
no new is good new, what I'm sayin.
He like to keep it the way it is.
But we going to take it, make it
new, make it our own. History gonna
start right here, right now--
LENNY cuts him off as his cellular call connects.
Hi, Dave, this is Lenny.
Nero. Lenny Nero. That's right.
Oh, is it late? Sorry. It's just
that I have something that might be
of interest, and since I always call
Uh, huh. Well, what would be a good
time? Okay, sure. Catch you then.
A GAME ARCADE. Light and noise as the customers drop
quarters for synthetic thrills. Lenny is talking to a
nice-looking street kid in his early 20's named EDUARDO.
Let me get this straight... you
gonna pay me 200 bucks to put on a
hair net and bang some beautiful
babe. I don't know, I gotta think
Lenny smiles and pulls out a SQUID-net. He motions
Eduardo into the shadows.
Okay, let's get you wired up. I
hope this axle grease you got in
your hair doesn't screw up the squid
What's all this squid shit?
As Lenny works, fitting the network of sensors over
Eduardo's head, he holds class.
Superconducting QUantum Interference
Device. SQUID. Got it? There's
gonna be a test.
Hey, fuck you, man.
Easy, Eduardo, easy. Preserve a
sense of humor at all times. Okay,
the receptor rig... what I'm putting
on your head... sends a signal to
(Lenny holds up the
See we call it "being wired," but
there's no wire. You gotta keep the
recorder close... five, six feet
away max, like in your jacket pocket
by the bed or wherever you're going
to close escrow, know what I mean?
Lenny fits a wig from his briefcase over Eduardo's head,
turning him into a headbanger. Eduardo scowls at this
set-back to his suavete.
Some tips. Don't dart your eyes
around. Don't look in the mirror or
you'll ID yourself. OK? You got a
half hour of tape, so give me some
lead-in to the main event. But
don't wait too long, I don't want to
be going out for popcorn. And don't
act natural. Don't act at all.
Just forget the thing is on. Got
A star is born.
EXT. TRAIN YARD - NIGHT
A woman's feet moving along the steel rail of a train
track at night. The woman has no shoes, her feet bare.
IRIS stumbles along the track, clutching one shoe
pointlessly to her chest. She is swearing and crying,
runny mascara leaving two tragic streaks down her pale
face. Despite this we see that she is attractive, though
her dress and make-up seem designed to convey overt
sexiness. Her white skin is complemented by a wild mane
of curly red hair.
She is in her early twenties, and the harshness of her
life has just begun to harden her features. She looks
lost and without hope, in fear of her life. Her breath
comes in hitching sobs, and her eyes are wild.
She runs between cold steel walls of freight cars, looking
behind her frequently. A police helicopter is circling.
Its xenon beam plays over the train yard, sweeping over
the cars. She hunches into the shadows of a freight-car
as the beam passes over. Looking under the cars she sees
an LAPD patrol car cruising down a street adjoining the
yard, its searchlight sweeping toward her. It moves on.
She continues her run, moving away from the direction of
the patrol car. She reaches a chain-link fence. Crying,
she scrambles over it, cutting her hands and ripping her
dress. Another patrol car passes two blocks away. She
crouches in the tall grass until it rounds a corner out of
EXT. ALLEY AND STREET - NIGHT
Iris sprints down an alley between buildings. Rats
scatter into the shadows ahead of her. She doesn't seem
to notice. All she cares about are the police lights, and
the sound of the helicopter droning, circling.
She pauses at the mouth of the alley, scanning the well-
lit street beyond. There are people here: downtown low-
life street people. A half-block away is a brightly lit
sign marking the entrance to a Red-Line subway station.
She walks along the sidewalk, her eyes on the sign,
feeling exposed as she walks openly, her heart pounding.
She is a mess, but in this section of town people barely
glance at her.
LOW ANGLE on her bare feet, standing out amid the shoes
and boots of winter.
SHE CROSSES the street, and reaches the sidewalk just as a
black-and-white rounds the corner at the end of the block,
IN THE CRUISER are TWO COPS, who are scanning the street.
They look intense. Revved up. They are BURDEN SPREG, a
massive, barrel-chested street-lifer in his mid-forties,
and DWAYNE ENGELMAN, an aggressive hard-on in his twenties
with a brush cut, a Nautilus body, and a face like a
She's a hooker, vice'll have her in
the book. We can pick her up later.
IRIS knows the cops are behind her. She is terrified to
turn. Finally she can't stand it any more. She breaks
into a run. The patrol car speeds up suddenly, roaring
Iris sprints along in her bare feet, all-out like a track
runner. The black-and-white screeches to the curb next to
her and the cops jump out.
Iris hits the stairs down to the subway station at a full-
tilt boogie, knocking down some poor old guy whose
groceries go flying.
INT. SUBWAY STATION AND TRAIN
Iris trips on the landing, spins sprawling across the
filthy tile floor, and comes up running. Panting with
fear and exertion she clears the turnstiles like a
The cops pound down the stairs two at a time. Spreg draws
his 9mm. In his eyes we see an unaccountable craziness...
a hunter who has as much at stake somehow as the prey.
Street people fall back as Spreg thunders through them.
They aren't about to get in the way of this juggernaut cop
and his boy wonder.
The two cops reach the platform. No Iris in sight.
MOVING WITH THEM as they slow to a walk, scanning. A
couple of low-lifes standing around, waiting for trains,
eye them warily as Spreg gets a call on his Rover.
Do you request back-up?
Negative. Suspect is a black male,
age 35 to 40. We're handling it.
A train pulls into the station with a whoosh of air. A
few people board. There is only the sound of the cops'
footsteps as they move along the empty platform. With a
pneumatic hiss the train's doors begin to close.
Suddenly Iris breaks from behind a column up ahead at a
full sprint. Spreg unleashes his size 13 cop shoes,
thundering along the platform to intercept her. Engelman
straight-arms his pistol.
Iris clears the doors just as they hiss shut. Her
momentum carries her clear across the car, where she slams
into the far wall and staggers back, almost falling. She
gasps for breath and looks up to see...
... Spreg crashing against the outside of the doors she
just came through as the train starts to move. He tries
to force the doors apart... can't. He aims his gun
through the window.
Thinking fast Iris dives to his side of the car and
presses herself up against the solid wall next to the
door, where he can't see her.
OUTSIDE, Spreg is running next to the accelerating train.
He swings his pistol, smashing the window with the butt.
Iris screams as Spreg lunges through the opening next to
her like some uniformed nightmare and grabs her. He is
still running alongside, pulling on her. Trying to drag
her right out through the window.
She struggles. Bites his beefy hand. He swears and lets
go. Then makes one last grab. Gets his fingers into her
long mane of hair. Yanks on her. She comes half out the
Then... RIP! The hair pulls off her head.
Spreg drops away, behind the speeding train, holding a
red wig. He looks at it stupidly, then raises his pistol
and fires at Iris.
She jerks back through the window and drops to the floor.
A couple of shots hit the metal outside. We see Iris has
short hair, platinum white. In it are a few of the many
pins which held the wig securely in place. She gasps for
air, sobbing and hugging her knees, trembling all over.
SPREG STANDS on the platform, watching the train
disappear, as Engelman runs up. Spreg looks at the wig in
his hand, disgusted. He turns it and looks inside, at the
CLOSE ON THE CAP inside the wig: there is an intricate
network of sensors in a grid over the entire underside of
the wig. The sensors are connected by wires, in a pattern
like the veins of a leaf, bundling to a small, flat metal
box, the size of a cigarette case. It is a SQUID NET.
Iris was wired. Spreg just stares at the SQUID NET, eyes
going crazy wide.
EXT./ INT. LENNY'S APARTMENT - NIGHT
IT'S 4 AM. Lenny trudges through a heavy security gate
into the center court of his ratty building. The pool
furniture is in the pool. Gang graffiti marks the walls.
Bars on all the windows. One of the doors looks like
somebody opened it with an ax. The pool lights give the
place an eerie, dead glow. Can out slick Lenny really
live in this dump?
Through a barred window we see Lenny approaching as we
hear the OUTGOING MESSAGE on his answering machine in the
Lenny, goddamn it, you got to be
there, you got to help me, come on,
pick up, pick up...
Through the window we see Lenny fishing in his pocket for
EXT. ALL NIGHT GAS STATION - NIGHT
Iris at a pay phone in the cold of an all-night gas
... you got to be there for me...
COME ON! Shit, I'll call later.
INT. LENNY'S APARTMENT
As Lenny unlocks the door, all he hears is Iris' "I'll
call later." He picks up the phone as the connection
EXT. ALL NIGHT GAS STATION - NIGHT
Iris continues to grip the phone even after she has hung
up. She looks desolate, without hope.
INT. LENNY'S APARTMENT
LENNY doesn't stop to play back Iris' message, or any of
the twenty others on his machine. He just deadbolts the
door and locks a steel bar across the door frame, then
carries his Haliburton...
... toward the bedroom. And we see the truth of his
reality. Lenny's crib is a shit-box. It is a small one-
bedroom, barely furnished. A couple of chairs. Swap-meet
couch. Cardboard boxes full of tech gear stacked in the
corners, unidentified electronics components piled on a
table, cables strung everywhere. God knows what this
stuff is. There is aluminum foil taped to all the
windows. Fast food cartons, empty Coke cans, pizza boxes
everywhere. The bachelor apartment from hell. High-tech
He goes into the bedroom. Mattress on the floor. Same
infernal interior decoration, but this room is dominated
by racks of tapes... Squid tapes.
Lenny pours himself a vodka from a bedside bottle, takes
off his clothes and hangs them over a chair. He sits on
the bed in his underwear, looking lonely and depressed.
This is the private Lenny: No plans. No dreams. Nothing
to look forward to but another day of the hustle.
He puts a set of playback trodes carefully on his head,
fishes around in a shoe box among a bunch of tapes,
squinting at the hand-written labels: they all say
"FAITH." Only the dates are different.
He selects one and inserts it in the deck, makes some
minute adjustments. Sips his vodka. Leans back. Closes
his eyes. And hits PLAY.
PLAY BACK SEQUENCE/ POV:
We are moving along the Venice boardwalk, following a
YOUNG WOMAN on Rollerblades. By our motion, it is obvious
that we are on Rollerblades too, and not doing so well.
The woman is laughing, turning circles around us, cracking
up at our discomfort.
We hear Lenny's voice complaining a mile a minute, and we
realize the POV is his. The girl takes our hands, skating
backward, towing us along the boardwalk. It is a sunny
afternoon, and it is the usual boardwalk freak show all
The woman is FAITH JUSTIN, a singer. Lenny is desperately
in love with her. It's not hard to see why. She is
beautiful, in an alive, dynamic way. Her hair is a wild
dark mane, and her eyes are spectacular... intense. She
moves with a lithe, sinuous grace. We are staring at her
eyes instead of concentrating on skating.
Whammo! The POV spins and we are sitting, looking up at
Faith as she circles, laughing. She skates over to help
CUT TO LENNY, on his bed, smiling. He punches Fast
BACK TO POV. A kinetic blur of digital hash, then...
We are following Faith, now holding her skates, up the
steps to a beach apartment. Inside it is funky and
Music from a disk player she left on. Bob Marley singing
"Three Little Birds". Faith, covered with a sheen of
sweat, sways to the music as she goes into a bedroom. We
She comes out of the small bathroom with a towel, starts
to dry off. Sunlight comes in the window lighting up
Faith like she is in a spotlight. We move up behind her
and take the towel away, and now we see Lenny standing
behind Faith in the mirror over the dresser.
He puts his arms around her and they sway together to the
music. He runs his fingers in lazy circles over her
sweaty belly. Then leans down and licks the sweat off her
shoulder, all the while watching her in the mirror. A
voyeur recording his voyeurism through his own eyes, so he
can replay and relive the moment.
Their eyes meet in the mirror.
They both watch as Lenny slides his hand up under her
halter and caresses her nipples. She moans softly,
responding. She turns to him, and our POV shifts directly
to her. She is right in front of us, in TIGHT CLOSE UP.
The intimacy is power.
Hey, you going to watch or you going
Watch and see.
We lean toward her, until her eyes fill frame as they
close in a kiss. We (Lenny) keeps ours open. Our hands
pull her halter over her head. Then she pulls up on
Lenny's T-shirt, laughing. We see it go over our eyes,
blocking the view for a moment.
Then Faith kisses Lenny's bare chest. We are looking down
at her, looking down across our body, Lenny's body, as
Faith kisses lower, kneeling in front of us, unbuckling
our belt and we--
CUT TO LENNY in the here and now. Lost in playback memory
bliss. He inhales sharply behind a wave of electronically
BACK TO POV. Lenny pulls Faith up to his face, kissing
her, then pushing her gently to the bed, where we lie down
together in a pool of sunlight slashing across the tangled
sheets. She looks up, right at us...
I love your eyes, Lenny.
(she touches our
I love the way they see.
CUT TO LENNY, lost in the swirl of sensation. He touches
his tongue to his fingertip.
IN POV we look down at Faith as we enter her. She gasps
and closes her eyes, grabbing the headboard with both
hands. There is only the sound of gasping breaths, the
creaking bed frame. She rocks with the rhythm of our
thrusts, borne away by the intensity until she cries out.
CUT TO LENNY, reliving the past, under the electrodes. He
reacts to the past orgasm. The tape ends, Lenny slowly
takes off the trodes. There is a tiny tear at the corner
of his eye.
INT. LENNY'S APARTMENT/SERIES OF SHOTS
2:14 PM, DECEMBER 30
Lenny cracks an eye as the Sony 35" blinks on in alarm
mode: news flashes of the day before New Year's Eve...
police preparations for the epic Millennium L.A. shebang
downtown, the National Guard doing riot prep, etc.
Sunlight comes like lasers through holes in the aluminum
foil over the windows. Lenny goes to the kitchen in his
underwear, searches for breakfast in the fridge, which is
empty except for a red-white-and-blue 2-stick popsicle.
The TV screen shows a murder scene with cops milling
around, yellow plastic over three crumpled forms on the
ground. It cuts to a file photo of a severe-featured
... bodies of two men found early
this morning under the Hollywood
freeway have been identified as rap
star Jeriko One and bandmember James
Polton, known to fans as "Replay".
A third body, that of a woman, has
not yet been identified. With his
band, the Prophets of Rage, Jeriko
One's outspoken political stance
and violent lyrics have stirred
CUT TO: A little later. Lenny sucks on the popsicle while
he puts the night's wardrobe together. This is a ceremony
he observes carefully. Suit laid out on the bed, shirt
beneath the jacket. Lenny matches a tie to the ensemble
-- well, maybe -- tries another -- that's the one.
Lenny, behind the wheel of the BMW. He is revved up, his
look dialed-in. He's on the move. Seizing the day.
You know I can get you anything you
want, anytime you want it, just not
right now. We'll hook up at the
club later. Around eleven. Yeah.
Lenny wheels into a parking lot, finds a space, grabs his
Haliburton and steps out, heading for the front door of
the Coral Lounge.
INT. CORAL LOUNGE
The decor is sort of Polynesian. Goofy tropical motif
murals on the walls. The place has a mixed bag of
customers, including upwardly mobile low-lifes who have
graduated from the streets and use it as a kind of office.
It is a crossroads for druggies, upscale hookers, junior
entertainment suits slumming after a day in the pressure
Lenny cruises through like he owns the place, greeting a
number of the early regulars. We get the impression he
knows everybody, all the time, everywhere he goes. He
leans on the bar.
Anything without an umbrella.
He gets backslapped by a guy in a satin racing jacket:
Lenny my man, I think you want to
meet a friend of mine.
Lenny follows Fabrizio's look to a guy, dressed LA power-
casual, sitting at a booth across the room.
Looks like money to me.
Lenny grabs his drink off the bar and follows Fabrizio
across the room.
Don't forget your friends.
10 percent, Fabri, like always.
They slide into the booth with KEITH.
Keith, this is Lenny. Guy I was
telling you about. He can get you
(cutting him off)
Just a second. Not to be rude,
Keith, but I got to ask, are you a
I understand. No, I'm not.
You understand? Attorney! Right?
Am I right?
Lenny sizes the guy up, looks around the edge of the
Tassel shoes. Entertainment law,
would be my guess.
(off the guy's scowl)
Relax. I just like to guess, is
all. It's my job to know people and
what they want... what's behind
Lenny gives people their heart's
desire. Ain't that right, Lenny?
That's right. My second question I
gotta ask, so we get our bearings
here... have you ever jacket in?
Have you ever wiretripped?
(a winning grin)
A virgin brain! Well we're going to
start you off right. So what do you
know about this? Save us some
Just what I've read. That the
technology was developed for the
Feds, to replace the body wire. And
now it's gone black market. So, uh,
do I get the deck from you?
I'll set you up, get you a deck at
my cost... since my thing is the
That's right. Clips.
(Lenny leans in,
working the guy)
Look, I want you to know what we're
talking about here. This isn't like
TV only better. This is life. It's
a piece of somebody's life. Pure
and uncut, straight from the
cerebral cortex. You're there.
You're doing it, seeing it, hearing
it... feeling it.
What kind of things exactly?
Exactly anything. Whatever you
want. Whoever you want to be.
(handing Fabrizio a
Fabri, get us another round, would
Fabrizio gets the hint and heads for the bar.
You want to go skiing without
leaving your den, you can. But I'm
assuming a guy like you, you wanna
go skiing you fly to Aspen. That's
not what you're interested in here.
It's about the stuff you can't
have... right? The forbidden
Keith nods, mesmerized by Lenny.
Like running into a liquor store
with a .357 magnum in your hand,
feeling the adrenalin pumping
through your veins. Or...
... see that guy, with the drop-dead
Philipino girl friend?
Wouldn't you like to be that guy for
twenty minutes? The right twenty
minutes. I can make it happen. And
you won't even tarnish your wedding
Keith touches his ring self-consciously, then grins.
(hooked like a carp)
I can get you what you want. You
just have to talk to me. I'm your
priest, your shrink, your main
connection to the switchboard of
souls. I'm the Magic Man, the Santa
Claus of the Subconscious. You say
it, you even think it, you can have
it. You want a girl, you want two
girls? I don't know what your thing
is or what you're curious about...
you want a guy? You want to be a
girl... see what that feels like?
You want a nun to tie you up? It's
Talk to me about costs, here.
Listen, before we get into numbers,
I want you to try a taste. I got a
deck with me.
What? Right Here?
Step into my office.
INT. CORAL LOUNGE/MEN'S ROOM
Close on Keith's face, as he sits on the sink counter
reacting to a Squid tape. He jerks... his mouth drops
open... he gasps. His hands start to move over his body,
feeling it wonderingly. He gasps again, tilts his head
down, moans... and Lenny hits Pause on the Playback.
Keith opens his eyes to a grinning Lenny.
You were just an eighteen year old
girl taking a shower. Are you
beginning to see the possibilities
EXT. PARKING LOT/CORAL LOUNGE
A figure moves stealthily from the shadows and approached
Lenny's car: Iris, hair dyed black now, wearing jeans and
a coat but still showing scars from last night's pursuit.
She tries the door of the car: locked. She looks toward
the Coral Lounge, debates whether to go look for Lenny.
She takes a Squid tape from her pocket, and scribbles a
note on the label: "HELP ME. IRIS." She drops the tape
through a 2-inch gap in Lenny's sun roof... and it bounces
off the seat, onto the floor.
She looks through the windshield, totally distraught,
trying to see where the tape landed... and sees the
reflection of cop cruiser lights coming down the street.
She crouches next to the BMW, trying to blot herself out.
And when the cruiser passes, she slumps to the ground,
crying, afraid to move.
INT. CORAL LOUNGE
A man in his late 30s: longish hair, no shave since the
weekend, army jacket bulking over a massive frame. A
daunting figure as he approaches the bartender.
Where is he?
Bobby, the bartender, cocks his eye toward the restrooms.
INT. CORRIDOR/CORAL LOUNGE
Lenny unlocks the men's room door and walks down the dingy
corridor with her new customer, Keith.
Yeah, I'm interested, but can we get
someplace a little less public?
You nervous? Forget it. The cops
have more to worry about in this
city than the squid-trade, believe
Behind them, the door of the women's bathroom whips open
and the guy in the army jacket grabs Lenny from behind and
SLAMS him face-first into the wall, jamming a .45 against
Don't move! That's it, assume the
position you miserable techno-perv
Cop style, the man in the army jacket kicks Lenny's feet
apart. Starts to cuff him.
Beat it fuckwad.
Ash-white, Keith lays a smoke trail down the hall. On the
main floor of the club, Fabrizio sees him splitting and
hurries after him.
Back in the corridor, Lenny spins around and shoves his
attacker against the opposite wall. The guy offers no
resistance. In fact, he's too weak from laughing.
Damnit, Max, I was with a client!
You think that's funny? To mess
with a man's livelihood? It's not
You see the look on that preppy
puke's face? Fuckin' pissed in his
(laughing a little)
Okay. It was funny. But it cost me
Come on, amigo, the world's full of
marks. And nobody knows how to work
'em like you do, pal. You could
sell a goddamn rat's asshole for a
wedding ring! Let me buy you a
Least you can do.
Max Peltier, which he mispronounces "Pelcher", slings his
arm fraternally over Lenny's shoulder. They cross to the
bar. Max roars greetings to several regulars, pushing
between strangers like an out of control tractor.
Yo, Pelcher! Mad Max!
Fuckin' A right I'm mad! I might
kill every man in here. But first
I'm buyin' my buddy here a drink.
Hey O'Neal! You were right, your
wife does give good head.
Max lurches onto a barstool and hunches there like a
misanthropic bear, pounding the bartop.
Bobbyyyy! Tequila por favor!
Double shots. Make it Tres
Generaciones, huh. Nothin' but the
best for my good friend Lenny, the
finest cop that ever got thrown off
the vice squad. Hey, nice tie.
D'you always have to dress like a
This tie cost more than your entire
That's not sayin' much.
It's the one thing that stands
between me and the jungle.
Max raises his double shooter.
To the jungle! Where outa the blue
some shitbird can cap you in the
back of the head and ruin your whole
He downs it in two fierce gulps.
You were lucky, Max.
Yup. So darn lucky. I wake up with
a .22-short floating in my brainpan,
and a cop pension I can't live off
of. Good thing I wasn't any
luckier. Bobby! Another shooter
Bobby pours for Max.
You seen Faith lately?
Lenny reacts visibly to the name, his whole demeanor
Naw. She won't call me.
Just as well, Lenny. You gotta get
past it. I mean sure, Faith was by
far the most outstanding woman a guy
like you could ever hope to get, I
mean it's completely and deeply
humiliating that she's gone, but
it's over, campadre.
Thanks, Max. I'm touched by your
CUT TO: Iris, working her way from the front door, staying
on the fringe of the crowd, wary, moving toward Max and
Lenny at the bar.
I just hate to see you pining away.
It makes me want to vomit, frankly.
Broken hearts are for assholes.
Hey, Iris, you okay?
Lenny, I got to talk to you, it's
(looking at her face)
What happened, honey, some john get
rough on you?
I mean talk private. Please, I'm in
trouble, and so is Faith.
(as Lenny reacts to
There it is, the magic fuckin' word.
Lenny takes Iris by the arm and pulls her away from the
Can we go to your car? There's
something you have to see right
He nods and steers her toward the front door of the Coral
What's going on?
EXT. CORAL LOUNGE/PARKING LOT - NIGHT
Lenny and Iris come out the front door.
It's a bad situation... if they get
me I know they're going to -- OH
She bridles like a startled horse. Lenny looks at what
she sees: a red beam, sweeping the parking lot. Must be
the cops. He turns back...
She's gone. What the hell?
He looks back at the red light... and edges around the
corner to see what the cops are up to...
It's not a cop car. It's a tow-truck, with Lenny's BMW on
the hook. Lenny runs to the TOW DRIVER, who looks like a
biker only meaner.
Hang on, that's my car--
Not anymore. Belongs to the bank.
Hey wait a second...
Ignoring him, the driver has started the hydraulic lift,
and Lenny makes the mistake of grabbing his beefy arm.
The guy whips around, putting the muzzle of a .38 in
Oh, yeah, that's the answer! Two
million years of human evolution and
that's the best idea you can come up
with the hoist)
Okay. Look, whattya get to repo a
car? Two hundred? Two fifty? I'll
pay you three fifty, right now. All
you gotta do is drop it off the hook
and say you came by, your mark
wasn't here. Simple. Make a few
bucks. Do a good deed. Huh?
You got the cash on you?
I was going to write you a check, if
The guy is getting into his truck.
Okay, okay, I totally respect that
call. I would want cash. They'll
take my check inside... I can see
you're pressed for time, just give
me two minutes... here keep my watch
He hands the guy his watch.
It's a Rolex. Be right back. Two
Lenny gets to the front door of the Coral Lounge, turns
just in time to see the tow-truck pulling out. Lenny runs
after his car, yelling, watching it recede.
Son of a bitch!
Lenny walks back to the bar. He sets his Haliburton up on
the truck of a car and pops it open. He takes out a tiny
digital cellular phone and dials a number. While it's
ringing he takes another, identical Rolex knock-off out of
the briefcase and slips it on.
INT. CAR - NIGHT
A hand pulls a ringing cellular out of a black jacket.
Follow the hand and phone to the face of a black woman.
LORNETTE "MACE" MASON. Late twenties. Striking features.
Hair pulled back tight to her skull. She is driving, but
we don't see the car, or anything but her face.
Hello? Hey Lenny, whatup?
(listens a beat;
Uh huh. Uh huh. Sure. So what
happened to your car this time?
EXT. CORAL LOUNGE - NIGHT
A black limo pulls into the lot. It is a Continental
armored stretch, downsized from today's standards. The
door opens and Mace gets out. She is compactly built,
dressed in black slacks, a conservative black jacket,
heavy rubber-soled shoes. She glances around as she heads
for the Coral Lounge entrance, the unconscious sweeping
gaze of a security professional.
INT. CORAL LOUNGE
Mace scopes the room quickly, professionally, then heads
for the bar.
ON Max and Lenny at the bar.
See, if you packed your piece you
could've made the guy see sense.
Uh unh, carrying a gun wrecks the
line of a fine jacket.
An ex-cop that doesn't carry. It's
embarrassing. I oughta not be seen
(as she slips up
Hey, Mace. What's goin' on?
She plants herself between Max and Lenny and takes a
generous handful of their nachos.
So let's hear this week's sad story.
They jerked my wheels, d'you believe
it? I mean it's outrageous, the
computer errors the banks are making
lately. Have you noticed?
Mace and Max exchange a weary look.
No. I haven't noticed because I
make my payments. So, Max Pelcher,
how's the P.I. business?
(attention caught by
Hey, Bobby, turn that up.
The Bartender obeys: it's more news about the Jeriko One
killing. There's file footage of Jeriko and his band, the
Prophets of Rage; interview with a lot of furious fans,
mostly black inner city kids; and a news clip of Jeriko at
an outdoor rally, exhorting the crowd with near religious
JERIKO ONE (ON T.V.)
The LAPD is a military force turned
against its own people. We live in
a police state! The mayor and the
city council sit up in their offices
with their social programs that
don't work... they're rearranging
deck chairs on the Titanic. But the
new day is coming! Two-K is coming!
The day of reckoning is upon us.
History ends and begins again right
here! Right now!
Max raises a glass in salute to the TV screen.
To the end of all things!
(slugs down the shot)
You know how I know it's the end of
the world? Because everything's
been done, every kind of music's
been tried, every government's been
tried, every fuckin' hairstyle.
How you gonna make it another
thousand years, for Chrissake?
On the TV, clip of Jeriko's speech has been replaced by an
interview with Jeriko One's manager. TRAN VO. Tran is
Vietnamese, and around Lenny's age. He's angular, suave,
cool as an early frost. Dialed in. Lenny sees his face
on the screen like a personal nightmare.
I'm telling ya, it's over. We used
it all up--
(riveted to the TV)
Shutup a second!
Hey, isn't that Tran Vo?
Yup. He was Jeriko's manager.
Bummer, Tran! Lost your golden
goose. Couldn't happen to a nicer
But I mean isn't he Faith's new--
(she mouths the word
Sssssh! Not in front of Lenny. You
may trigger a maudlin display which
will force us to tranquilize him.
ON THE SCREEN, Tran is being jostled as he walks,
answering the reporters questions in a glare of minicam
The LAPD have said they believe
this is a gang-related incident.
Can you comment on that, Mr. Vo?
We have no facts yet. All we know
for sure is that we have lost a
great artist, that a great voice for
change is now silent...
Lenny, scowling, pushes away from the bar. Mace goes with
Thanks for giving me a ride. I just
have a few stops, mostly on the west
Whoa, whoa, whoa. I said I'd
drop you home, but I'm not taking
you on your sleazoid rounds. I've
already pulled twelve hours today.
Come on, Mace. This is gonna be a
big night. Can't you feel it? The
energy in the air? There's money to
be made, dreams to sell.
Sleaze to peddle.
Just a couple of hours. It'll be
Excuse me. What part of NO don't
Mace, you're my friend. I need you.
Plus I'll give you 25% of what I
Lenny, this may be a hard concept
for you, but friends don't have to
pay their friends.
Lenny starts to whine like a puppy. Mace gives up.
Jeez, you're pathetic. Okay, I got
a pickup at the St. James. I'll
take you there, you can get a cab.
(an arm around her
like a buddy)
Mace! You're a life-saver.
Driving Mr. Lenny.
INT. LIMO - NIGHT
As Lenny and Mace cruise the night streets, passing the
ongoing pageant of cops and decay. Mace glances at Lenny,
sitting next to her in front, and at his omnipresent
So, what's up with you? Another
busy night selling porno to
No, wrong... I sell experiences.
Sex is only part of it.
Buncha techno-perv jerkoffs.
Way I look at it, I actually perform
a humanitarian service. I save
Uh huh, I wanna hear this part.
Okay, take some executive... bored
with his life, bored with his
wife... he picks up a hooker or some
girl at a bar. Then he goes around
for months, torn up worrying that
he's got AIDS, that he'll infect his
wife. And maybe he really does
Price he pays for being a
Everybody needs to take a walk to
the dark end of the street sometime,
it's what we are. But now the risks
are outa line. The streets are a
war zone. And sex can kill you. So
you slip on the trodes, you get what
you need and it keeps you from
jumping your tracks.
Lenny, this shit's illegal.
Me bailing your sorry pale ass out
of jail twice in the last six
Yeah, but that was for love.
EXT. ST. JAMES CLUB - NIGHT
Mace's limo wheels up to the hotel on the strip.
A soberly-dressed Japanese executive is waiting next to
INSIDE the car, Mace spots him and scowls.
Dammit, Lenny, you made me late.
Lenny opening the door before the car stops.
What's his name?
Mr. Fumitsu, good evening sir,
Leonard Nero, Security Express.
Lornette Mason here is just
completing our routine driver
evaluation. We do it to make sure
that out VIP clients, such as
yourself, are always treated as
honored guests. I just need to ride
up front and take some notes, if you
Fumitsu nods politely and Lenny opens the car door for
him. Lenny jogs around behind the car to the front
Um, excuse me.
(can't stand to say
Sir. Excuse me. Mr. Nero.
She walks calmly to him.
(hissing through her
What the fuck are you doing?
Coming with you.
You will not live to see the
EXT. HANCOCK PARK HOUSE - NIGHT
As the limo stops at an elegant home in this top-bucks,
old-line residential area. There is a loud party in
progress, with a couple of hundred guests spread through
the house and backyard. Mace scowls deeply as Lenny gets
out of the car and starts into the party with Mr. Fumitsu.
They are laughing uproariously and getting along like old
EXT. HANCOCK PARK HOUSE - NIGHT
Mace, having a cigarette with other security drivers,
watches Lenny through the tall windows of the old Spanish
house. She sees him working the room, rubbing up against
the money, networking. No dialogue. A pantomime of Lenny
working his prime turf. She stares at him for a while,
then looks at her watch. Sighs.
EXT./ INT. HANCOCK PARK HOUSE/GARDEN - NIGHT
... as a tall, stern figure suddenly slides into Lenny's
path, a top cop named PALMER STRICKLAND.
Sure. Whatever. See, since you
shitcanned my career, I don't even
have to call you sir. One of life's
Aren't you peddling your wares a
little far from your usual gutter?
I was invited here by a close
friend, Mr. Fumitsu, see he's right
Lenny waves. Fumitsu waves back from across the room.
I don't like disappointments, Nero.
And do you know what disappoints me
Your sex life?
EXT. HANCOCK PARK HOUSE - NIGHT
Mace sits in her limo, talking on the cellular.
Now listen to me... you have to get
to bed young man. I mean it. No
watching "Tales from the Crypt". I
don't care what Cecile says. I'll
see you in the morning, baby.
As she hangs up, she glances out the window in time to
Lenny flying over a hedge. He lands on the sidewalk, then
scrambles up and brushes himself off as TWO SECURITY TYPES
loom toward him. He adjusts his wardrobe and walks with
dignity (but quickly) toward the car.
Are we having a bad night?
Let's talk in the car.
INT./ EXT. MACE'S LIMO - NIGHT
As Mace pulls out, Lenny starts fitting a pair of playback
trodes to his head. Mace glances at him in disgust. He
hits his playback button.
Lenny's POV as he talks to Faith. Back when things were
good. He's wiring her. They are playful, like a couple
I feel like you're turning me into a
I just want to see what we're like
together through your eyes.
He turns OFF the record button. STATIC. Then TAPE
RESTARTS. We see the two of them standing together,
reflected in a mirror.
We are Faith now.
I don't feel anything. Is it on?
Forget it's there.
Make me forget it, baby.
He turns her to him. They begin to make love. Faith's
face fills our field of view, eyes closed in dreamy
A sudden FLASH OF LIGHT. Lenny opens his eyes to see...
Mace's glowing countenance.
She has stopped the car, torn the trodes from Lenny's head
and tossed them out the window. Now she's yanking him out
of the car by his lapels.
Hey, careful on the jacket. This is
(he looks at her)
I've had enough of this shit.
(getting back into
You're on foot, Lenny.
In LA? Are you crazy?
Mace starts to peel out, but Lenny leaps and plasters
himself on the hood. Mace pretends she doesn't see him.
(as they drive along)
Can I come in please? I'm having a
hard time hearing the stereo.
Mace jams on the brakes and Lenny slides off in front of
the car. Now she starts to move forward...
I need my case. It's still in the
He quickly moves around the car and climbs in the back
door. Lenny grabs his Haliburton but instead of getting
out, he leans through the divider window, next to Mace.
Listen, can we talk a little bit
here, like two rational adults?
Mace hits a button on the dash. The privacy divider rises
suddenly, pinning Lenny to the ceiling.
That would be no.
I've had it. No more wirehead shit
in my car. You understand? You
want to poach your lobes, do it
Okay, you got my attention, but this
is cutting off the circulation to my
head, here. D'you mind?
She lowers the divider, releasing him. Lenny straightens
his jacket and tie. Runs a hand through his greasy hair.
I thought we were friends.
No, see a friend is more than one
person constantly doing favors for
another. You just suck people along
with your schemes and your scams and
your slick act. Well I'm out. I
got a kid, I got rent, I got an ex-
husband someplace who doesn't send
me a dime of support... I'm just
trying to hold on here.
So am I. Just trying to get by.
No, you're just trying to get off.
Macey... I've never seen you like
Lenny, you're turning into some
kinda squid-head low-life. You're
always broke, you just go from one
score to the next. And you're
getting strung out... you don't even
see it. Getting high on your own
supply like some crack dealer.
I know you wouldn't be saying all
this if you didn't care about me.
Thanks, Mace. Really.
Look, I gotta get some sleep.
You still like me, don't you? We're
She hates it that she can't resist his pathetic charm.
(a tiny smile)
Yeah. I don't see a way out of it.
Macey, I know you're tired, but can
you drop me at the Retinal Fetish?
It's on your way.
Begging? Groveling? Any pathetic
behavior at all? Will that help?
Faith's there tonight, and I've got
to talk to her.
(she puts the car in
The only thing worse than a junkie
is someone in love.
EXT. RETINAL FETISH - NIGHT
As Mace pulls to a stop in the parking lot and Lenny opens
Come on, let me buy you a drink.
Let's drink and make up.
(Mace shakes her
Alright, I'm going to see Faith.
That means you can watch me suffer.
I'll be in agony, you'll feel so
much better. Total and thorough
payback, whatdya say?
Mace smiles, shaking her head in wonder at this madman.
INT. RETINAL FETISH
Mace accompanies Lenny into the pounding din of the
Retinal Fetish. The place is a fringe hangout, a
converted schmata factory transformed into a warren of
dark rooms and corridors off the main dance floor. A
thundering labyrinth. Steel cage-like partitions of
chain-link give the place a harsh, concentration-camp
atmosphere. The music is a bass tech-thump, and the
clientele are young and on the rough side. Cybergrunge.
There are many large video screens running a continuous
montage of wild graphics and images... a flurry of
disturbing videos: MTV baptized by William Burroughs.
The Fetish is a street-tech hangout, a meeting place for a
lot of digital-underground types that Lenny knows. You
can buy and sell what you want here: illicit hardware and
software, as well as chemicals for the wetware (brain).
Lenny and Mace are greeted inside by two suited guys with
metal detectors. They barely notice as they are scanned:
it's routine there days. Mace shows her gun, a Sig Saur
9mm, and her state carry-permit. The security guys check
her pistol like a coat, giving her a claim check.
Through the crowd in the lounge Lenny's eyes go
immediately to one table. It seems to be in a pool of
light all it's own; or maybe this is just in Lenny's mind.
SLOW MOTION: Lenny watches a man at the table holding
court, with a beautiful young woman sitting next to him.
It is TRAN VO. He's a mover and shaker in the record
business: he produces, he manages, he tries to keep
everyone in his orbit.
The woman is FAITH JUSTIN. We recognize her from playback
as Lenny's ex-girlfriend. But now her hair has been dyed
jet black and frames her face in a wild tangle. She is
wearing as expensive custom leather jacket over a sheer
silk top. She has on too much make-up, which gives her
features a feral-doll quality. Faith looks like what she
is, a rock star wannabe. But the look is red-hot.
Tran looks around the room. His eyes miss nothing. And
show nothing. His hand -- unhurried, graceful, remarkable
-- brushes past Faith's cheek, barely touching her. His
fingers pick up a strand of hair, tuck it like a treasure
behind her ear... fingers touching her head now... a
moment of suspended time.
... and she trembles. Just a little. For a second.
Tran and Faith are flanked on either side by an entourage
consisting of music types, various hangers on, and Tran's
personal security force of four: JOEY CORTO, a whippet-
thin skinhead; DUNCAN, a none-too-bright armbreaker in the
classic mold; a massively built ex-jock type called WADE
BEEMER; and a sixteen year old Asian stone fox, CINDY
MINH, aka 'VITA', possibly the most lethal of the four.
Who's the new side of beef in Tran's
Guy named Wade Beemer. Used to be a
running back for the Rams in '96 and
Rams... that's football, right?
He can't take his eyes off Faith. Mace scowls at the
tableau and pulls Lenny toward the bar.
She still loves me.
She thinks you're a bucket of dog
vomit. Trust me on this.
She's my destiny.
Destiny? You living in a perfume
commercial? She's a hard-climber
that dropped you like a used tampon
when she got a better ride.
Mace gives up, shakes her head and Lenny plunges into the
crowd... toward Faith. Several patrons greet him, just as
in the Coral Lounge, but uncharacteristically, Lenny
virtually ignores them.
Approaching the main table now. Ringside. Tran sees him;
no reaction. Now Faith sees him: her reaction's a little
tougher to read. Pissed off, maybe, or just tense.
Tran's security force has seen Lenny coming. But they
Lenny doesn't break stride. It's like a game of chicken
without cars. Beemer stands, covering Lenny with his
shadow. Vita looks up at Lenny with cobra eyes. Tran
gives him a glance; royalty amused by Lenny's presumption.
You come to peddle me some tapes,
Lenny? For old time's sake? Make a
couple bucks for the holidays?
You're not a client anymore, Tran.
I wouldn't sell you the sweat off a
dead dog's balls.
(glancing at Faith,
back at Lenny)
I already got everything I need from
Cut it out, Tran.
Too bad about your guy Jeriko.
Show a little respect, Nero. The
man was an important artist.
Yeah, important for your label.
Which no doubt is why you're in
mourning. Don't worry, his
records'll sell out now he's dead.
You'll make out.
I always do.
Faith, can I talk to you a second?
I don't think that's a good idea,
I just got to talk to you for one
That would be between me and Faith,
Tran takes one of his beautiful hands and passes it slowly
in the general area between his table and Lenny.
I don't feel anything between you.
See, your trouble is you assume too
much, Lenny. You assume there's
something where there's nothing.
You assume you have a life. But
you're only hustling pieces of other
lives on tape, and broken parts of
Faith glances at Tran, then cuts her eyes to Lenny.
We have nothing to talk about,
Joey, make sure Mr. Nero gets safely
to his car.
Joey smirks, glances at Beemer who rises like a wall.
Faith, call me, okay?
Wade gets Lenny in a wrist-grip come along hold and starts
him moving. She looks at him -- slowly, gaze unwavering.
As Beemer ushers Lenny through the crowd, Tick greets him
coming the other way.
Tick, listen, I can't stop right
now. but I'll call you tomorrow
about that thing we were talking
He's working the room even as he's getting dragged
Lenny the loser. Panhandler of
Leave him alone, Tran.
He's no concern of mine, as long as
you don't talk to him. Don't talk
to anybody. You understand? Not
with everything that's going on
You're too goddamned paranoid.
Paranoia's only reality on a finer
EXT. RETINAL FETISH
Beemer deposits Lenny on the curb and goes back inside.
A SMALL CROWD of people enters the club. Lenny brushes
off his jacket, falls into step at the rear of the
INT. RETINAL FETISH
Lenny climbs to a landing overlooking the dance floor.
Through chain link he sees a swirl of activity below. And
one face, looking up at him. Kind of casual. Lenny
clocks the guy: cop instincts coming out. Decides he
doesn't know him. But we do. It's Spreg. Lenny walks
on, crosses to a door, and enters...
INT. VJ BOOTH/RETINAL FETISH
A tiny room overlooking the dance floor. Crammed with
electronic gear, at the center of which is Tex Arcana,
whipping from one deck to another, hands flying. He's in
a wheelchair, which pivots nimbly, managing to high-five
Lenny as he walks in.
So, those rascals still haven't
grown back yet, huh?
(peering under the
blanket on his lap)
Nope. Guess not. Any day now,
(handing Tex a Squid)
Present. Something I had made. Let
me know what you think.
Hey, alright. Got something here
for you, too.
(passes him an
It just showed up tonight, don't
know who left it.
Fan mail from some flounder?
Lenny looks at the envelope, which has "Nero" hand-printed
in block letters. Tex takes a pull from a flask as he
takes a squid-deck out of a drawer and sticks the tape in.
He puts on the headset and pushes PLAY.
IN POV we are on a beach. Early morning. We are running
flat out, with the wind. Looking down... we are barefoot
on the wet sand. Foaming water races up the sand and
breaks around our strong male legs. Looking up again, to
see our running companion... a beautiful lithe woman in
shorts and T-shirt. She laughs and we speed up. An
exquisite moment of pure life force.
TIGHT ON TEX'S FACE... as a tear leaks from the corner of
his eye. He is smiling like he is listening to beautiful
music. We see the quiet magnificence of Lenny's gift.
Tex opens his eyes. Looks for Lenny to say thanks: but
Lenny's gone. Not a guy to hang around for thanks-yous.
INT. RETINAL FETISH
As Lenny comes down the stairs from the VJ booth, tearing
open the envelope. An unmarked Squid tape falls into his
The HOUSE LIGHTS dim and the STAGE LIGHTS come up. And
Faith is standing there. Like she beamed in. She is
wearing a revealing leather outfit, showing a lot of her
milk-white skin. Her black hair frames her eyes, giving
her an intense feral look. Faith starts to sing.
Beautiful, unearthly, clear notes.
SUDDENLY the band kicks down with a wall of thundering
sound. Faith explodes into motion. Her body convulses
like a 440 volt mainline is hooked up to her. Her voice
becomes a scream, an inchoate wail, a police siren. The
pain and rage of an entire, hell-bent tormented planet on
its eve of judgment.
Lost in the song, Faith has found herself. She wheels
across the stage, slashing her head up and down so that
her hair bursts in the strobe-flashes like flak.
A techno-erotic pagan. A force of nature.
Lenny is mesmerized. He has seen this before, many times.
But it always has the same effect on him. He is
transported into another world by her, a world in which
there is only the two of them.
TIGHT ON MACE, eyes on the stage... a big piece of the
puzzle suddenly fits. She's never seen Faith perform
before. Holy shit.
Faith doesn't play to the audience, or engage them in any
way. She is merely taking what's in her head and letting
it out. She doesn't care if they are there or not. Now
shrieking into the silence after a climatic downbeat, and
holding the note... holding it longer than you believe she
possibly could. Then nothing.
When it is over she just drops the microphone and walk
away. Fuck you.
INT. RETINAL FETISH/BACKSTAGE & DRESSING ROOM
At BACKSTAGE, Lenny wends his way through the warren of
corridors... past dim rooms full of wire junkies and
playback freaks, all trapped into Squid nirvana: post-
modern opium dens. Sinister and scary. He glimpses
Faith, going into her dressing room. He hurries...
... but she doesn't even look around when his reflection
appears in the cracked mirror above the crummy vanity
table. She is drenched with sweat. Spent. Chugging a
beer. This is the first time they have been alone
together in real-time for months. Pain and the memory of
Hi, baby. I've missed you.
I know. Lenny, if Tran finds you
talking to me he'll hurt you.
I'm already hurting.
She doesn't turn. Just watches him in the mirror. Most
of the scene plays this way. It is a cold parody of their
You have to go. I mean it.
Yeah, OK, whatever you say. Just
answer one question. Is anything
wrong? Iris said you might be in
You talked to Iris? When?
Well I haven't seen her in months.
Who knows what's going on in her
head. You're really running out of
excuses to come around, aren't you?
I know you Faith. You're afraid of
something. What's going on?
Let it alone, Lenny. It'll take
care of itself.
It's Tran, isn't it? This guy is
poison, Faith. Listen to me. He's
got you walled in on all sides. And
he uses the wire too much, he gets
off on tape, not on you.
That's a good one, coming from you.
Why don't you just split? You don't
love him, anybody can see that. And
to him you're just some kinda
possession, like a Ferrari,
something to show the other guys.
He has his uses too.
What? He gonna record you on his
Come on, Faith! He's just toying
with you. And when he gets bored,
you'll be yesterday's papers.
Lenny is right behind her now. He puts his hands on her
Look, baby, I've watched you create
yourself out of nothing. You're
like a goddamn cruise missile,
targeted on making it. And you
It's you up on that stage, not him.
You don't need him.
She shrugs away from his touch. Cold again.
You have to get out of here. If
Tran catches you he'll... he's
acting crazy. He's doing way too
much playback and he's getting
completely paranoid. He's such a
control freak, he's even paying Max
to follow me around.
Max Pelcher? You're kidding?
Yeah, for about a month now. Lenny,
just stay away from Tran, okay? And
stay away from me. Stop trying to
rescue me. Those days are over.
I'm a big girl now. Stop trying to
save me, okay, because I don't need
saving... Just... give up on me.
Can't do it.
You know one of the ways movies
still have Squid beat? Because they
always say "The End." You always
know when it's over. It's over!
Now please leave. I have to go on
again in a couple of minutes.
She looks at him and, after a moment, he nods and leaves.
As the door closes behind him, Faith tosses her towel on
the table. She looks frightened and alone.
INT. RETINAL FETISH/CORRIDOR AND MAIN FLOOR
Turning a corner from the dressing room into the CORRIDOR,
Lenny runs into Max.
Shoulda told me about your new gig,
I was gonna tell ya. Hey, it's just
a job. I feel like shit about it.
You should feel like shit.
I figured, what the hell, I could
take the prick's money and make sure
Faith was OK at the same time. Do
us both good. Right?
Fairly twisted logic, Max, even for
(already over it)
Hey, at least you got a job!
(slaps him on the
Watch her for me. Stay on her.
I'm on her.
Lenny climbs the stairs to the MAIN FLOOR, pushing his way
through the crowd.
Vita, watching the backstage area leans over to Tran,
whispers in his ear. Tran makes a sign to Beemer, and he
stands to go after Lenny.
Mace, at the bar, sees the Tran-Vita-Beemer action, looks
around for Lenny. Can't find him. But figures there's
got to be only one reason Beemer's on the prowl: he's
looking for Lenny. She whips out her cellular.
CUT TO: Beemer, grabbing Lenny in a painful come-along
hold and hustling him toward the back of the club.
Lenny's cellular rings.
Can I get that?
He reaches for his cellular, connects with...
MACE, over by the bar.
Hey Lenny, where the hell are you, I
think Tran's got Beemer looking for
BACK TO: Lenny, as he's hustled out the rear door.
Thanks for the tip.
EXT. ALLEY/RETINAL FETISH - NIGHT
Beemer shoves Lenny into the alley and shuts the door
I recognize you. You're Wade
Beemer. Running back for the Rams,
am I right?
Beemer, who was about to go to work on Lenny, pauses.
Yeah, that's right.
I saw you play, man. You were good.
Like a fucking freight train I
remember saying. So what happened,
injuries or what?
It's always politics. Like this
thing we're in here, he's paying you
to tune me up, right? But I could
pay you more not to. See what I
mean? I could write you a check
Come on, let's go, I got to get
(pulling money out
of his pocket)
Okay cash! Logical. Here's
everything I have on me, what do you
say? How about a Rolex?
(barely a glance at
I already got a real one. Come on,
it won't be too bad. It's not
(taking off the
Just not the eyes.
EXT. PARKING LOT/RETINAL FETISH - NIGHT
As Lenny approaches the car, moving painfully, dabbing at
a bloody nose. Mace looks at him pityingly.
They oughta get some lights back
there. A person could get killed
slipping on those stairs. Let's go.
CUT TO: an eerie NIGHT VISION SHOT of Mace and Lenny
getting into the limo. Then we see: Spreg and Engelman,
the two street Hun cops. Watching.
INT. MACE'S LIMO
Lenny slumps in the back seat.
You're some piece of work, you know
that. Just calmly backstroking
around in the big toilet bowl, and
somehow you never let it touch you.
I mean, between Vice and this so-
called occupation you're in now, you
must've seen it all.
I have crawled through the gutter...
through every wrinkle in the human
What I'm saying. But you still come
out this goofball romantic.
It is my sword and my shield, Macey.
Lenny finds the anonymous tape in his pocket. He looks a
What's that? Present from Faith?
He opens his briefcase, pops the tape into the deck, puts
the Squid rig on and closes his eyes. Maybe he can forget
about Faith a minute. He punches PLAY.
POV SEQUENCE: the first thing we notice is that the POV is
distorted visually. The colors are de-saturated. Almost
black and white. Yet the detail is crisp and clear,
WE ARE WALKING down a windowless hallway at a large hotel.
An apparently endless row of doors. The Wearer's glance
goes to the numbers on the doors from time to time.
We come to a particular door. There is a DO NOT DISTURB
sign on the door. The Wearer moves to the room next door.
Looks both ways. The corridor is empty.
It's a test pattern so far.
"Our" hands appear, quickly pulling on latex surgical
gloves. They look like male hands. The snapping of the
rubber is the only sound in the corridor. The POV hunches
down to the lock and we see the hands go to work with
lock-picking tools. Several seconds and the lock is very
Alright, a little B&E action.
We enter the dark room, which is vacant. The drapes are
open and we see city lights. It is night. One gloved
hand picks up the guest directory and looks at it in the
moonlight coming in the window: the SUNSET SHERATON.
The Wearer drops the directory and the hands reappear
holding... a black ski-mask. He pulls it on, leaving the
subsequent POV seen through the eye-holes of the mask.
The Wearer now looks into a mirror on the dresser. He has
avoided his reflection up until now. We see a man,
dressed in a jogging suit and black fanny-pack, and of
course the ski-mask. Totally anonymous.
Hey, getting good. Solid suspense
The Wearer crosses to the balcony door. Opens it quietly
and goes outside, moving to the wall dividing this room's
balcony from the one next door.
The Wearer climbs the railing and, six stories above the
pavement, slips around the wall, stepping down onto the
other balcony. We hug the wall, looking furtively into
the room. It is a suite. In the living room we see a
woman making herself a drink at the mini-bar. She
It is Iris. She is wearing a T-shirt and panties.
Probably ready for bed. She looks like she can't sleep.
Pours the Scotch shakily.
CUT TO LENNY, the streetlight washing across his face. He
gets suddenly serious with a flash of premonitory dread.
IN POV we see Iris go into the bedroom, out of sight. We
can hear the television on in there. Using a steel jimmy
the Wearer slips the latch on the balcony slider and
silently opens it, slipping inside.
We stalk quietly to the bedroom door, listening to her
movements. Water running in the bathroom. We come around
the door frame. Bedroom dark, bathed in TV glow. Iris in
the bathroom, washing her face with cold water.
We move toward her. Crossing the room as she reaches for
a towel. We are now only a couple of feet away. She
comes out of the bathroom, walking right past us, drying
her face. She lowers the towel, turning away... her eyes
whip back. Widening in terror.
She reacts with surprising speed, diving across the bed.
We go after her.
Her hand goes under the pillow and comes out with a small
automatic. She whips it around toward us but we grab it
and twist it away before she can fire. She smashes the
palm of her hand into our face and rolls off the bed,
We follow her as she scrambles up, running through the
bedroom door. Across the living room and down the short
hall to the front door. Closing rapidly on her as she
somehow gets the chain off the door and gets out into the
Slam! We tackle her against the far wall of the corridor.
Our right hand comes into view holding a small electric
stunner. ZAP! We nail her right in the back between the
She sags to the floor, gasping. We zap her again. The
Wearer's glance does a 180 both ways down the corridor...
nobody in sight. We clamp our hand over Iris' mouth and
drag her back into her room, locking the door.
ON LENNY, reacting. Going white.
What is it?
Go to the Sunset Sheraton. RIGHT
NOW! Just go! GO!
Lenny goes back under the wire, seeing...
WE ARE DRAGGING a semiconscious Iris into the bathroom...
propping her up with her back against the white tile
wall... grabbing her hands and handcuffing them one by one
to the steel towel rack above her. She is moaning. And
I haven't seen your face... I
haven't heard your voice... you can
still let me go...
ZAP! The Wearer hits her with the stunner again. She
jerks and gasps for breath. We see our latex-gloved
finger come up in front of us and hear SSSHHH.
Moving quickly now. Our hands unbuckle the fanny pack.
Pull out something... a set of playback trodes. Our hands
place them on her head. She stares uncomprehending.
What? We catch a glimpse of some electronics stuff inside
the pack... a record deck, some wires, a small metal box.
Holy shit. He's jacking her in to
his own output. She's seeing what
he's seeing. She's seeing herself.
Iris can now see herself as the Wearer sees her... wide-
eyed with terror, white-lipped, weeping. Helpless. And
she can feel what he feels.
The Wearer's hand goes back into the fanny-pack and pulls
out something else. A black athletic headband. We slip
it over her head, down over her eyes. A blindfold. Now
she can only see what the wearer sees.
And also from the bag we pull... a yellow plastic object.
With our thumb we extend the five inch blade of the razor
knife, the type with tips that can be broken off by
segments when they get dull. It extends with an ominous
We lower it toward her and cut up the middle of her T-
shirt, laying it open. Exposing her torso. We then look
down and slide the knife under the side band of her
panties, slicing them off. We put the knife up to her
throat, and she whimpers, afraid to cry out, and then we
draw the flat side of the blade across her body as if to
tease her with the prospect of her death.
MACE LOOKS AT LENNY'S EXPRESSION of dawning horror and
pulls the car to the curb about a half-block from the
Sunset Sheraton. Lenny is hyperventilating, shifting in
his seat as if ants are crawling over him. He is
experiencing the stalker's exhilaration.
IN POV we see the Wearer pull his jogging pants down below
his knees (R-rated please) and reach for Iris. Kneeling
in front of her, he pushes her legs apart and pulls her
hips forward onto him, pushing into her.
Iris is feeling and seeing what he sees and feels... She
feels her own pain and humiliation swirling with the
ON LENNY, sweating and barely able to breath. Mace stops
the tape... concerned by Lenny's reaction. He opens his
eyes... Mace see the fear there, of what the tape may
reveal. But he shakes his head. He has to know. He
pushes her hand away and punches PLAY.
IT FLOODS INTO HIS HEAD AGAIN. The sweaty, grunting
horror. The stalker picks up her slit T-shirt and quickly
wraps it around her neck. He knots it tight and twists
one powerful hand into the knot. The muscles in his
forearm look like cables as he turns the knot tighter.
The stalker viciously twists the knot a full turn and the
T-shirt fabric almost disappears into the skin under her
Via her trodes, Iris watches herself die. Her death comes
at the moment of his orgasm which is fed to her...
blasting off the planet on total overload... terror, pain,
death merging with ecstasy and exultation at the same
ON LENNY, crying out and grabbing for the trodes, but he
just holds onto them, as if they are sucking his brains
out of his skull.
(like a mantra)
On my God. Oh my God.
BACK TO POV, a glimpse of the Wearer's hand relaxing the
knot. Iris' head lolls. Her mouth is slack and open. We
remove her blindfold. Her eyes are half-lidded. Very
dead looking. Our fingers gently push them wide open.
BACK TO LENNY, looking like he has been gut kicked. He
gasps for breath.
TO POV, as the killer's hand calmly moves Iris' head from
side to side... studying her dead face. Her staring eyes.
He leans very close to her and stares into one dead eye,
the pupil wide, seeing nothing.
A burst of static. End of tape.
Lenny opens his eyes. He fumbles open the car door and
practically rolls out onto the sidewalk. The trodes pull
off his head as he lurches up, reeling across the sidewalk
to a darkened storefront where he leans for support. He
doubles over and heaves up the contents of his stomach.
Mace circles around the car and catches him as he sags to
his knees. She holds his shoulders while he throws up
My God, Lenny. What is it?
Blackjack? I don't understand--
Snuff clip. It was Iris. She said
she needed my help and I... aw
Jesus, Mace... the sick fucker
Are you sure it's real?
Lenny looks up, in the direction of the hotel. Mace
follows his glance. They notice for the first time: cop
lights; cop cars; ambulance; coroner's wagon.
CLOSE on Iris' body, in a bag, being loaded into the
EXT. PARKING LOT/DIM SUM JOINT/LITTLE TOKYO - NIGHT
Neon reflections on the roof of Mace's limo as it pulls
into the lot and slides up to Max's car. Max is sitting
in the open door, feet on the pavement, eating dumplings
from a take-out carton. He looks up as Lenny and Mace get
out of the limo. Sees their expressions.
TIME CUT: Lenny, sitting on the hood of Mace's Lincoln,
has his head propped in his hands. His eyes are
distant... replaying. Still shocked to his soul. Mace
Max sits in the open door of his car ten feet away, trodes
on, playing back the tape. His face is transformed into
an ashen mask lit by neon... mouth open in shock. With
shaky hands he stops the deck.
Opens his eyes. Long beat. He glances down at the dim-
sum carton in his hands.
Well... I've lost my appetite.
(lofts it into a
For about a year.
He gets to his feet, offering the deck and trodes to Mace.
Max pulls a hip-flask full of tequila from his army jacket
and takes an eye-watering pull. Offers it to Lenny, who
You alright? Y'okay?
Yeah. No, not really.
Let's work it.
Not now... I don't want to think
Come on, Lenny. You used to be good
at this stuff. Play it down.
What's the perp doing?
He stalks her. He rapes her. Then
he does her...
And he records it. Thrill kill.
Wants to see it again. And again.
He records himself raping and
But at the same time he's sending
the signal to her--
So she feels... what he feels...
while he's in her. The thrill while
he's killing her... is sent to her,
heightening her fear... which in
turn heightens the turn on for him.
(turns to him)
I've seen a lot, Max.
So've I. Too much.
But this is a bad one.
He makes her see her own death,
feeds off the reaction... killer and
victim merging... orgasm and agony
merging. And he records it all.
And gives it to you.
Wants to share.
That's right. He wants to share.
Needs an audience. This is one sick
Mace is hugging herself. Edgy and tense.
Cause you're the man, right? The
Magic Man. If it's got something to
do with the wire, sooner or later it
washes up on your beach.
I've never dealt in black-jacks.
Never. Everybody knows that.
He's skull-fucking you, bud. Trying
to get a reaction. Maybe pushing
you to do something.
Maybe he just figures Lenny will
appreciate what he's created. It's
the dark end of the street, Lenny.
How do you like it now?
Jesus, Mace. Back off.
This guy is someone you know, one of
your squid-head contacts.
Problem is, Lenny knows everybody.
Take the tape to the cops.
Uh unh. No way! They'd crucify me.
So some psycho wire-freak gets to
keep running around--
Naw, he's right. They'll figure
Lenny's the perp, or go through his
client list, ruin his life... such
as it is. Look, I'll call the guys
in Homicide... tell them she was a
friend of mine and they'll keep me
in the loop. Get me the forensics
and all that.
(he opens his car
Get some sleep. I'll call you when
I get something.
(he starts his car)
And Lenny... I'd keep moving if I
INT. ELEVATOR AND TRAN'S LOFT
The elevator is huge -- big enough for a truck -- and
Lenny seems small in the huge space, while shadows crawl
across his body as the old machinery pulls him up
FAITH, in the loft above. She looks into the vast
... at Tran sitting in a chair, tranced out under playback
trodes, his eyes closed. She softly closes the sliding
door and walks across the cavernous main room. The place
is lit by the flickering reflections from a series of huge
television screens along both walls. Otherwise there is
little light. The cavernous loft is sparsely but very
expensively furnished. Haute-tech design. Total contrast
to Lenny's ratty digs.
LENNY'S POV through the cage-door of the elevator as it
reaches the loft and Faith is revealed, waiting for him in
the shadows. He slides open the cage-door and she moves
quickly to him.
You're crazier than I thought,
Lenny. Coming here... Tran's just
Iris is dead. She was murdered.
Faith stiffens. We see the fear, now, exposed.
Who did it?
Don't know. But this guy's real
damaged goods. Iris knew someone
was after her... and she said you
were in danger too.
(he grabs her
Now no more games, Faith. Whatever
you're hiding, whatever's going on,
you have to get out of here now.
Come with me right now. Don't even
think about it.
Then what? Then what, Lenny?! You
going to protect me? Big tough guy.
You're a talker, Lenny. You don't
even have a gun.
I have a gun. It's under my bed.
You don't know what you're fucking
A VOICE from the shadows, like the whisper of a blade in
Go ahead, Faith. Tell him.
Tran steps forward, totally at ease with the situation.
Out of the shadows behind him step Joey Corto, Duncan and
Look, Tran... Lenny just came by to
give me some bad news. An old
friend of mine has been murdered.
You remember Iris?
A tragic story, no doubt.
How'd you get up here?
(looks at Faith)
Uh huh. Look, Nero. I'll make you
(he grabs Faith by
the arm, steps
Take her. Right now. If she wants
to go, if she's unhappy here, she
can go. I'll let her choose. Faith
always knows what she wants.
(he turns her loose)
Hands off. See?
Lenny glances at the open elevator right behind him. So
close. She just has to take one step to him... and they
will be out of there. Together.
It's alright. He means it.
I do mean it.
And I mean this... if Faith stays
you go away and never come back.
You scuttle back into your cockroach
hole and never cross my vision
again. You understand?
She glares at them both for a long moment. Emotions play
across her face, complex and unreadable. She steps back,
taking her place at Tran's side.
I made my choice, Lenny.
(to Lenny, nodding
toward the elevator)
You're going down.
Joey Corto and Duncan shove Lenny roughly backward into
the elevator. Corto slams the gate shut and slaps a
button to lower the lift. The last thing Lenny sees as he
descends is Faith's face, above him.
I don't love you, Lenny. Give up.
INT. BEDROOM AREA/TRAN'S LOFT
Faith is crying as Tran comes up behind her.
You said you were going to get her
out of this.
Maybe now you appreciate the danger
(he moves very close)
It was touching the way you stood by
me in there. "Stand by your man".
I was moved. You were very good. I
don't think he even understands that
you did it for him.
He doesn't know what's going on.
Leave him alone.
I'd love to. But he keeps showing
up. And you keep talking to him. I
can't have that--
And he slaps her. Really hard. Decks her. He's
trembling with rage... and something else. Fear.
The only time a whore should open
her mouth is when she's giving head.
INT. ELEVATOR/TRAN'S LOFT
The huge elevator, with Lenny its sole occupant, descends
through the shadows toward the first floor. Lenny watches
the shadow patterns on the wall through the iron grillwork
door. He's still thinking about Faith...
... even when the elevator reaches the first floor and
Mace comes into view. She's waiting for him. He steps
forward. But he can't open the grillwork door. And the
elevator doesn't stop. It keeps going down. Lenny,
spooked, works the door hard... as Mace disappears from
view above him...
... and the elevator bumps to a stop in the basement.
With Vita and the beef squad waiting for Lenny, stoney-
faced. Last stop. All out.
Lenny tries to keep the door shut, but Duncan wrenches it
open. Vita grabs Lenny and twists his arm painfully
behind him in one fluid move. They hustle him toward a
dank basement room near the elevator.
Listen, can we be smart here? I
could make it really worth your
while... I could cut you a check for
500 each... hell, make it an even
grand... I'm not saying you don't
land a couple shots, just go light
is all I'm saying... here, take my
A glimmer of hope in Lenny's eye as he whips it off his
wrist. Corto doesn't even look at it. Gets it over his
hand about mid-way, then -- using the watch like a pair of
brass knuckles -- clobbers Lenny in the face. Watch parts
go flying as Corto steps away and Duncan slams Lenny up
against a column.
Vita weighs in... gut-punching Lenny savagely. She works
him expertly, with a series of painful jabs.
He sags to his knees. Not only is this painful. It's
goddamn humiliating. And Duncan and Corto enjoy every
second of it.
We tried to find a smaller girl, to
beat the shit out of you, Lenny...
but it was short notice.
Vita grabs Lenny by his hair and pulls him up with one
rock-hard arm. She is cocking back the other arm for a
pile-driver punch when...
Suddenly a dark shape materializes behind her. Mace
drives Vita head first into the steel column.
Duncan lunges in and grabs for Mace. This is a mistake.
Mace doesn't fight fancy. And she doesn't fight fair.
She fights to win. And she is awesomely fast. Her moves
are street moves, coupled with arm-locks and come-alongs
she has been trained to use as a security driver.
Lenny recovers enough to size up Vita, who is still a
little stunned. She has blood dripping in her eyes and
can't see too well.
But she charges him. And -- being the gent that he is --
he busts her over the head with a dusty old folding chair.
Mace drops Duncan about the time Vita is hitting the
CORTO, who fumbles out a Beretta 9mm and sticks it in
Mace's face. He sniggers, loving the upper hand.
And like a jerk, he looks.
She snaps sideways in a headfake and closes blindingly
fast, twisting the gun out of his hand. She continues to
twist his wrist brutally and Corto goes down to one knee,
groaning. She takes his Beretta and backhands the barrel
hard across his face. Mace releases his wrist and he
crumples in a heap.
She and Lenny back out the door. Then Lenny runs back in
and kicks Corto in the ribs.
Mace grabs him and pulls him out of the room, then slams
the metal firedoor behind them, locking it with a piece of
junk wedged behind the release bar.
EXT. STREET - NIGHT
Mace and Lenny hotfoot it toward the parked limo. Mace is
disassembling the Beretta without looking at it. She
chucks pieces over a chain-link fence as they go. Lenny
brushes himself off, checking his jacket for damage. He
is high from winning the fight.
Is this great fabric or what?
You ever wonder why you get beat up
Never really thought about it.
INT. LENNY'S APARTMENT
Squid POV: the killer enters the vacant hotel room,
passing the mirror on the dresser.
Come on... look in the mirror. You
know it's there, you're keeping your
eyes off it, you bastard... SHIT!
Who are you?
CUT TO: Lenny, yanking the wire off his head, Mace near
He knows what he's doing. He's worn
before... a lot.
So that gives you something.
It gives me... I don't know... maybe
two hundred people who I know wear.
As he talks Lenny fiddles with some custom electronics
gear. The back is off the deck, and he has a ribbon wire
connecting it to some kind of amplifier black-box which he
is using to boost the gain.
Don't crank the gain any more.
You're gonna fry yourself.
I need to see more... get more
detail. Something. I feel his
presence, so strong...
Mace watches, concerned, as Lenny puts the trodes back on
and hits playback.
Squid POVs: strobe-like images of Iris' rape and death,
separated by burst of static...
... as Lenny keeps hitting the forward and rewind buttons,
searching the tape for clues, reacting to the feelings on
the tape, trying to manage his revulsion...
... until Mace yanks the trodes off and Lenny sags back on
the couch. He rubs his eyes. He is seeing ghosts,
afterimages burned into his visual cortex. The room is
alive with them, shimmering.
No more, Lenny.
Yeah. I'm ghosting pretty bad.
Lenny see Iris' terrified face. Literally. It floats
iridescent on his living room wall, fading slowly.
She came to me for help. I should
have read it better... I just
figured, y'know... another strung-
out hooker having a bad night.
It's not your fault.
Lenny gets up, staggering to the kitchen. She goes with
Sex killers act alone. So there's
no information on the street, which
is how cases get made. Cops know
they'll never nail this guy the
second they look at the scene.
Lenny sucks down four Tylenol with a long pull from a
bottle of vodka.
And anyway, nobody gives a shit
about a dead hooker. They're
Requiem for Iris. Mace watches Lenny rubbing his eyes,
waiting for the Tylenols to hit.
See, it's all about what they see
walking in. A dead hooker,
handcuffs, penetration... they'll
see a trick gone wrong. Random
kill. The kind you never solve.
But that doesn't add, does it.
No it doesn't.
Because Iris knew somebody was after
Lenny, wound up like a Swiss movement, starts pacing.
She said "If they get me". They.
Which means the whole sex-killer
thing is a cover, which means
somebody whacked her for a reason.
So the guy's not a sicko.
If he could do what's on that tape,
he's a sicko.
Okay, so he's a freak who thinks
he's sane pretending to be a freak.
The point is, he was a hitter.
Somebody wanted to shut her up. But
why not just put a little lead in
Because it had to look random. Not
connected to anything or anyone.
(he seems to run out
But then why give the rape to me?
That's where it gets a little
And what about the guy that was
Now you're really getting paranoid.
Lenny collapses on the couch, rubbing his temples.
The question is not whether I am
paranoid, but whether I am paranoid
enough. You want to rub my neck?
Mace sits next to him and starts to work. Strong, knowing
fingers. Lenny starts to relax a little.
OK. He asks about you all the time.
It's been weeks since you've seen
Lenny sort of keels over. His head slumps in her lap.
I'm sorry about getting on your case
earlier. I just see you getting
sucked in deeper and deeper, and I
-- anyway. I'm sorry.
S'okay. I know you still love me.
She looks down at him, gently brushes his hair off his
sweaty forehead in an unconsciously maternal gesture. He
is out cold.
Mace gazes at Lenny's sleeping face in a way we haven't
seen before: unguarded. Caring. Loving.
And we get it: she does love him. It makes no sense, and
it is a great burden to her that he doesn't see her... but
there it is.
She shakes it off: she doesn't want to deal with it now.
Maybe not ever. She leans her head back against the ratty
top of the couch, sighs. And keeps her hand moving
soothingly on his head.
EXT./ INT. MACE'S HOUSE/INGLEWOOD - DAY
Mace pulls the limo into the driveway of a modest stucco
house in Inglewood. It's dawn. A neighbor is walking the
dog. Mace heads into the house, picking up a couple of
toys left scattered in the front yard.
Inside, ZANDER, age 6, is watching TV in his pajamas and
eating a bowl of cereal. Behind him, on the couch, is
Mace's younger sister CECILE, zee'd-out. Zander frowns at
her and looks at a red-plastic (toy) watch.
Where were you Mom? Did you meet a
Right. That explains it.
Are you going to make me beg?
Zander scrambles over to his mom, throws his arms around
her. Big hug.
(looking at weird
stuff in cereal)
What is that?
Cheerios and wieners. I made it
myself. It's good.
Well give me some then... I'm
INT. LENNY'S APARTMENT
2:20 P.M. DEC 31
Lenny wakes up to the sound of the phone ringing. He is
on the couch, still clothed. He hears Max's voice on the
answer machine and groggily grabs the receiver.
Hey, the last day of the world and
you spend it in bed.
EXT. A.M.E. CHURCH AND STREET/SOUTH CENTRAL - DAY
Max, on the cellular, across the street from a church
where mourners stream out of a memorial for Jeriko One.
The sidewalk and street are clogged with fans, and further
off -- a cordon of very anxious-looking crowd control
Not a whole hell of a lot. They've
just been saying words over Jeriko.
Tensions running pretty high down
here. I'm telling you.
WHAT MAX SEES across the street... SLOWMO as Tran comes
out of the church with Faith next to him. Corto, Vita,
Duncan and Beemer form a loose protective shell around
them as the press bears down, shouting out questions.
Tran ushers Faith into a waiting limo and climbs in after
her. The rest of the muscle keeps the press away from the
car as it pulls away.
CUT TO: Max, still on the phone to Lenny.
Yeah. She's leaving with Tran so I
got to boogie. Real quick... Iris
checked into the Sheraton last night
under a false name. Paid cash.
Looks like she was holding out.
Yup. Hey, so I heard you dropped in
on Tran last night. Another slick
He's in this somehow... I don't know
how. Just stay close to Faith.
I'm on her, amigo. No worries.
INT. LENNY'S APARTMENT
As Lenny is hanging up he notices something. A MANILA
ENVELOPE stuck between the steel bars and the glass of his
front window, next to the door. "NERO" is printed on the
Oh shit. He opens the door, looking both ways. No-one is
around. He fishes out the envelope from behind the bars
and takes it inside. Of course it contains a tape. He
stares at it with dread.
Lenny sits down and put the tape in his playback deck. He
picks up the trodes and places them on his head. He
notices his hands are shaking. He takes a deep breath and
POV SEQUENCE: DAY. As expected we see the de-saturated
signature look of the killer's vision. The Wearer is
walking through the courtyard of Lenny's apartment
building. We recognize it by the unkempt pool, the sunken
deck furniture. We walk through a breezeway to an ally-
like courtyard behind the building. We approach a door...
the back door to Lenny's apartment.
The killer picks the lock on the back door. Opens the
door and enters. The apartment is dark, blacked out. We
are in the kitchen. We stop and listen. Water dripping
in the sink. Soft snoring from the living room.
Moving to the other room. Slowly, silently. Furtively
looking around the door frame to the living room. There
is Lenny, crashed out on the couch.
Now moving stealthily toward him. Kneeling down beside
him. Lenny, burned out from the night before, is deep
under. Our hand comes into view, holding the yellow
plastic razor knife. With his thumb, the killer extends
the blade... click, click, click, click.
The blade flashes in a beam of sunlight as it moves toward
Lenny. The killer lays it gently against Lenny's throat.
Draws it slowly across... not leaving a mark.
The POV backs away and -- static as the tape ends.
LENNY, IN THE PRESENT, whips off the trodes, freaking. He
feels around his throat with one hand... can't feel
Crossing quickly to a mirror near the front door, he
inspects his neck minutely. There is a hair-line red line
over his carotid. He looks around the room wildly, his
heart hammering. Slowly, he gets his breathing under
Then... he hears something in the kitchen. A tiny click.
His eyes go wide. Hyperventilating, Lenny moves silently
into the bedroom. He fishes around under the bed and
pulls out a GLOCK 22 .45 auto pistol. He stalks silently
toward the kitchen.
Then he looks at the butt of the pistol-grip: no magazine.
He un-stalks back to the bed and finds a loaded magazine
under a bunch of dirty socks. He inserts it quietly,
wincing as he chambers a round.
Heart thudding, he works his way to the kitchen door. He
edges around the frame, pie-ing the room. Cop reflexes
Mace is sitting at the kitchen table, giving him a funny
look. She is drinking a cup of coffee, made from the
bottle of instant on the counter. She is dressed
casually, in bicycle pants, work boots and oversized nylon
jacket over a tank-top.
INT. LENNY'S APARTMENT
A little later. As Lenny tosses stuff into a folding bag:
clothes, a playback deck, a box of .45 hollow points. He
grabs his grimy old Second Chance body armor from the LAPD
and stuffs it into his Haliburton. When Mace sees him do
that, she knows things are freaky.
Where we going?
(finger to his lips)
We'll talk about it in the car.
Mace glances around... unnerved by the possibility of
Hand me that box of tapes, will you?
He's pointing to a shoe box full of "Faith" tapes. Mace
hands them over with obvious distaste. He throws them in
the bag, starts to zip it...
... then sees his reflection in the bedroom mirror:
something's the matter.
What is it?
This tie doesn't go with blue!
He yanks off the tie and grabs another.
INT./ EXT. MACE'S LIMO AND STREET - DAY
Mace and Lenny drive through the streets of LA on the last
day of this millennium. There are cops in body armor and
helmets on some street corners, holding automatic rifles.
Helicopters orbit endlessly. And a National Guard tank
rumbles down the street. State of siege. The car radio
is on, with KROQ's poor Man hyping the impending
Millennium LA party.
... the New Years Eve mega-bash of
the century. Ten square blocks of
madness, with live music, fireworks
and the actual rich and famous of LA
hobnobbing with us peons. Also
yours truly the Poor Man will be
there at the KROQ bandshell, giving
away "Millennium LA" and "KROQ 2-K"
T-shirts by the truckload--
Lenny is keyed up and tense. He keeps looking out the
Will you relax. There's nobody back
Mace, the guy had a knife. To my
throat. In my living room.
Relaxing might be right out, okay?!
You better keep a low profile for a
No shit. You got someplace in mind?
EXT. BACKYARD/MACE'S HOUSE - DAY
On Zander, face lighting up, giving Lenny a high five.
Lenny drops his bag, shakes, does a little silly hand
choreography -- a goof on a bro grip -- that makes Zander
laugh. Mace watches this ritual and smiles herself.
Zander can call out a part of Lenny that Mace would like
to see more of.
Cecile is there, hanging out with her boyfriend CURTIS,
and Curtis' friend VEJ. These two guys are about 18,
dressed in gangsta garb. They are listening to "The
Prophets of Rage" on a CD player, and watch Lenny with a
dispassion that flirts with distaste.
What do you got?
(pulls a tape out of
Today I have...
(seeing the tape)
Lenny, have you lost it completely?
Easy, there, Mom. Easy. This is
(hands tape to
John Coltrane. "A Love Supreme."
Give it a listen, let me know what
you think, maybe you won't go for it
now, but it'll get in your head and
grow like a seed into something
Let's play it now!
Later. Your mom'n I are heading
right back out.
Groans of outrage and protestations of unfairness from
Cecile, Vej and Curtis follow this bad news. Cecile even
musters the gumption to speak up.
Hey, come on, I been baby-sitting a
full 24 hours, I have to get ready
for the party tonight...
Mace frosts her with a look. You don't mess with Mace.
(to a disappointed
You're not the only little boy I
have to look out for, honey.
Zander nods: OK. Lenny gives him the grip. Zander's hand
outmaneuvers his, and the boy smiles in triumph.
INT. UNDERGROUND PARKING GARAGE
POV: squid tape of Iris' death. Quick barrages of the
savage imagery interspersed with bursts of static...
... until Tick slips off the trodes. He's been totaled by
what he's seen.
Whoa. That is one unbelievable
piece of eyefuck.
Skip the art criticism, Tick, what
can you tell me about the wearer.
Well... the guy's fucked up.
We know that, Tick.
No, I mean the killer's got some
kind of distortion in his visual
cortex. The color and gray-scale
values are all messed up, like color
He gives the tape a fast run through his processing
Lookit, you see the peak period
ratios there? Could be some kind of
tumor or brain lesion or something.
Some kind of trauma
(shaking his head)
This is not good. I don't like this
Well, it's cutting awful close to
me. I mean she was just here.
Who was just here?
Iris, man. Pay attention.
Wait, wait... wait a minute. Iris
Yeah, she came by last night.
Shaking like a junkie, wanting me to
make a copy of some clip.
What clip? What was it?
I don't know, man, she wouldn't let
me see it. Said I wouldn't want to
see it. She said she was going to
give it to you to hold for her.
Like insurance or somethin'
She never gave me a tape.
Think back about what she said.
Exactly what she said.
She wanted to go out to my car,
something about my car...
Something in your car...
Lenny and Mace swap a look: oh shit.
EXT. SAN PEDRO IMPOUND YARD - DUSK
The last night of this millennium is falling. Mace's limo
pulls to the curb. The yard is located in the vast no-
man's land of storage lots, cranes and warehouses near
harbor piers. The impound office is locked. Closed for
New Years Eve.
CUT TO Lenny and Mace cutting the chain off the gate with
the long-handled bolt-cutters. They enter the yard. Mace
is carrying a blunt object that looks like a ray-gun. A
Right on cue a huge Rottweiller bounds out of the shadows
at them, growling, its head low on an attack run. Mace
fires and the tazer lights up the with 120,000 volts (low
amperage, not lethal). It whines and flips over twice,
then runs off behind some parked cars.
That's a handy little attitude
(sees his car)
Damn. I'm boxed in.
Lenny and Mace approach his BMW, blocked in by ten other
cars, so he's not getting it back this trip. He unlocks
the door and looks inside with a tiny Mag-Lite while Mace
covers them with the tazer. A puppy-like whine comes
occasionally from behind some cars nearby. We catch a
glimpse of the puzzled, snuffling Rottweiller eyeing them
Lenny finds the tape on the floormat, passenger side,
still wrapped in the note. He reads the note: "HELP ME.
What's it say?
He crumples the note.
Nothing. Let's go play this back.
CUT TO LENNY AND MACE returning to the limo. As they
reach the car they are hit by two flashlight beams. It is
the two cops, SPREG AND ENGELMAN, out of uniform, but
looking very serious with their pistols aimed at Lenny and
Mace. They have been following Lenny, knowing sooner or
later he would lead them to the tape.
Give me the tape. Right now.
What tape? I'm just trying to get
my car back but the place is
Shut the fuck up Nero.
Engelman grabs a fist-full of hair at the top of Mace's
head and jams his 9mm into the back of her skull.
(cool and even)
Lenny, give them the tape.
It's in my case. Okay? I'm going
to open my case...
Facing us, where we can see it.
Lenny slowly opens the Haliburton. He takes out the tape
and holds it out toward Spreg.
Take it and turn her loose. Okay?
And you see in his eyes that it isn't going to go that
way. Spreg edges forward and takes the tape. Then he
points his pistol at Lenny's head, about to fire--
Which is when the pissed-off Rottweiller shoots through
the open gate like a black torpedo and tears into
Engelman's leg. Engelman screams in pain. Mace twists
out of his grip. Engelman shoots the dog.
Lenny swings up his Haliburton, using it as a shield, and
dives for the car. The case takes three rounds from
Spreg's 9mm before Lenny gets behind cover.
Mace just seems to vanish. She reappears over the trunk
of the limo and puts two rounds squarely into Spreg's
chest, knocking him down. Lenny and Mace scramble into
the car, starting it up.
Spreg sits up, pulling up his shirt to make sure his body
armor stopped the slugs. No blood. He comes up firing.
He and Engelman empty their magazines at the limo as it
pulls away. No damage. They realize the limo is a bullet
proof security model and run to their pickup truck, parked
nearby, to give chase.
Spreg's face is a mask of rage. He slams the truck in
gear and accelerates after the limo before Engelman even
has the door closed.
INT./ EXT. LIMO AND SAN PEDRO STREET - NIGHT
Mace has the big car floored. She looks in the rear-view
as the truck gains on them. Mace is doing her thing...
what she's trained for. Security driving. She whips some
moves in the big car, but the truck is closing on them.
Oh no, we're not being followed,
Lenny, Don't be so paranoid, Lenny.
They hear rounds hitting the car, and look back. The
truck is right behind them.
Take it easy. The glass is bullet
Bullet resistant? Whatever happened
to bullet proof?
Lenny. Calm down. This is what I
THE LIMO slides broadly through a turn, side slamming a
parked van. Mace accelerates. The truck stays with them.
Engelman is leaning out the passenger side window with an
AK-47 assault rifle. He rips off several burst which
riddle the limo, cracking the glass in starburst patterns.
The Lexan-laminated windows are cracked to hell, but the
rounds don't come all the way through.
Spreg's truck comes alongside, ramming them. The impact
drives them sideways. Mace swerves to miss a light-
standard and finds herself roaring between warehouse
buildings which front the harbor.
The truck stays right with them. Engelman fires bursts at
the tires, shredding them off the rims. The limo thunders
along on steel rims, throwing rooster-tails of orange
Mace finds herself boxed in by the buildings. No way to
turn. Ahead is a short concrete pier. She hits the
brakes and the limo skids on its rims out onto the pier,
stopping before it reaches the end.
They are trapped.
EXT. SAN PEDRO PIER - NIGHT
Engelman and Spreg jump out of the truck, taking cover
behind it. They rake the limo with bursts from their AK-
INSIDE THE CAR. Lenny and Mace keep their heads down
below the door frame. It sounds like they are inside a
steel drum in some psychotic Calypso band. But the
armored body panels hold.
Lenny is punching his cellular.
Goddamnit!! 911 is busy!
It's okay, Lenny
(he looks at her
They'd never get here in time
Mace has reloaded her Sig and is trying to open the door
on her side (away from the bad guys). It is jammed from
Spreg reaches into the bed of the truck and pulls out a
gallon gas can. He uncaps it and throws it across the
pavement. It slides under the limo, glugging its contents
onto the ground. Spreg grabs a road-flare from under the
seat of the truck and strikes the cap, lighting it.
He tosses the flare under the limo...
KA-WHOOMPH!! The gas can explodes in a fireball. The
Continental is engulfed in flames. From the inside all
Lenny and Mace can see is fire. All the windows are
covered in roaring flames.
This is bad.
The gas tank's going to go any
Mace slams the car into gear and floors it. The powerful
Lincoln thunders forward. It crashes through a chain-link
fence and launches right off the end of the pier. A
fireball plunging in a meteoric arc into the oily black
Inside, they are slammed forward by the impact. The car
UNDERWATER: The car hits bottom, twenty feet down, sitting
there amid the junk. Shafts of light play down from the
big streetlights at the end of the pier.
INSIDE, Lenny and Mace are in a flooding black tomb.
Are you out of your fucking mind?!
Fire's out, isn't it?
She scrambles into the back seat. She wrenches at the
rear seatback, pulls it free... and crawls half-into the
huge trunk. Water is up around their legs. She grabs her
shotgun: a sawed-off ten-gauge.
Get in here. Come on Lenny, move
Mace yanks him toward her and he tumbles in.
Get ready to hold your breath.
She aims the ten-gauge at the trunk latch mechanism.
Lenny, kick out hard, then just
follow me. Okay?
He nods. BLAM!! She blows the trunk latch into shrapnel.
The trunk lid belches open in a whoosh of bubbles. Lenny
and Mace kick out, heading toward the lights of the pier.
ON THE SURFACE: Mace breaks the surface slowly alongside
the slimy concrete wall. Lenny comes up beside her,
spluttering. Her hand goes over his mouth. They are in
the inky shadows under a massive bumper made of rail-road
Engelman and Spreg are standing above them, scanning the
black water over the barrels of their AKs.
Let's get out of here.
They run back to the truck and high-tail it out of there.
Down below, Lenny and Mace are clinging to the pier,
chest-deep in the water. They hear the truck pulling
away. They let out a big exhalations of relief.
CUT TO LENNY AND MACE walking on the pier, shoes
squishing. They leave a shiny trail behind them.
I can't believe we had to give them
the damn tape.
Yeah, me neither. It was one of my
favorites. Me and Faith in a hot
tub on my birthday. I'm going to
really miss it.
He feels around in his jacket pocket. He pulls out the
MYSTERY TAPE... nice and dry in its plastic case. He
holds it up to show a grinning Mace.
Are we impressed yet?
INT./ EXT. FREEWAY AND CURTIS' CAR - NIGHT
Lenny and Mace, still wet, riding in the back seat of
I got better things to do on New
Year's Eve than be some kinda damn
Hey Curtis? Just drive.
Curtis swears. But he shuts up and drives.
Those two guys were cops.
It's the walk. Something. Anyway,
they'll run your plates and get your
address. We gotta keep moving.
Mace takes it in. She nods.
INT. MACE'S HOUSE
Mace comes in the front door and walks straight to the TV,
switching it off. Zander and Cecile are shocked.
Lornette, girl... what's going on?
Lenny goes past them and starts grabbing his stuff...
wardrobe bag, playback gear.
We're going to aunt Cecile's, honey.
We're going to watch fireworks from
there. Let's go. Chop chop.
Come on Zander. You can ride on my
shoulders. Here you go.
Lenny hoists him overhead and goes out the door. Cecile
catches up to Mace in the hall, just as she is opening a
locked cabinet and pulling out a little .380 auto, holster
Cecile, get in the car. Now.
INT./ EXT. STREET AND CIVIC - NIGHT
Sirens pierce the night. Two pillars of fire are visible
blocks away. There are dark crowds of people everywhere.
People on the sidewalks, lighting fireworks. There are
flashes and explosions. It could be a celebration, or a
war zone. Maybe both. Or one about to turn into the
Mace is driving, scanning the streets. She has her .380
auto in her hand, resting in her lap. Lenny is riding
shotgun, while Curtis, Cecile and Zander are in the back
EXT. CECILE'S APARTMENT - NIGHT
It is gang territory pure and simple. Blacks and
Hispanics. Graffiti everywhere. Burned-out buildings.
Lenny sees abject poverty, here. Even so, people are
They pull up to the front of Cecile's apartment building
and get out.
There are some homeboys chillin' on the front steps who
give Mace the local hand-sign. She returns the sign
automatically as she carries Zander past them.
ONE OF THE BOYS
Yo, Mace. Whatup wit you, homegirl?
You never come roun' here no more.
Lenny follows with his wardrobe bag. The homeboys give
Lenny the eye as he brushes past them. Mace chills them
with a glare.
He's with me.
INT. CECILE'S APARTMENT - NIGHT
A small and dingy place. Cecile has done her best to make
it a home.
Mace and Lenny go into the kitchen and shut the door.
He quickly sets up his playback deck on the table. He
puts on the trodes and pulls the tape out of his pocket.
Then he pauses, looking at it apprehensively... knowing
that it contains the answer to all this madness.
He puts it into the deck. The deck closes. He punches
INT. APARTMENT/LIVING ROOM - NIGHT
Mace watches Zander lighting bottle rockets with Curtis on
the balcony of the apartment... visible through the
window. Staccato fireworks nearby sound like automatic
weapons, making her flinch. She goes back into the...
KITCHEN. Where she sees Lenny sitting at the table,
trodes in his hands. Stunned. Face the color of old
cement. Hands shaking.
I can't tell you. You've got to
Uh unh. I won't do it.
Mace. I know what you think about
the wire. But I'm asking you to do
this. It's that important.
Mace sees how serious he is. She nods: OK. He puts the
trodes on her.
Sorry this has to be your first
He hits play and Mace reacts as the sensory input hits
her. She opens her eyes...
Keep your eyes closed, or you'll see
She bites her lip as the sensation of being another person
floods through her.
POV SEQUENCE: We are Iris. Riding in a car. Fixing our
makeup in a mirror on the passenger side sun visor. Iris
flips the sun visor back up, revealing the moving street.
It is night.
We look down, and recognize the dress Iris was wearing
when we first saw her, two nights ago. She puts her
lipstick into a purse which is belted to her waist. Iris
turns her head and we see the driver.
It is JERIKO ONE. He is laughing, talking to someone in
the back seat. Iris looks and we see REPLAY, Jeriko's
sideman, and another woman, DIAMANDA. They are amorously
entwined. Then they are all laughing and passing around a
bottle of Jim Beam. The car stereo is thumping loudly.
Iris' POV swings around and looks down, seeing Jeriko's
hand caressing her thigh. She puts her hand on his chest
and leans close to him. Jeriko grins, then looks up and
swears at a wash of red/blue cop flash.
Shit. Fuckin' Five-O
Our POV swings to the rear-view mirror and we see an LAPD
car behind us, with the gumball machine on. A spotlight
hits us and we hear a single whoop on the siren. Jeriko
pulls over, but they are on an overpass... no shoulder.
Go to the bottom of the ramp.
Jeriko and Replay are both swearing. He pulls the car
down the ramp, stopping on a deserted street in a
warehouse district. Our POV looks around nervously.
Black shadows and concrete pillars. No-one around. Cars
whoosh by on the bridge above but they might as well be on
Mars. The car is stopped next to a train yard. We hear
the rumble of diesels nearby, the clank of freightcars.
We see the outlines of TWO COPS advancing through the beam
of the spotlight, their guns drawn.
(jumping out of the
Goddamn, now what you pull me over
for? If I was going any slower I'd
COP VOICE 1
Get down on your knees and put your
hands on your head. Now!
COP VOICE 2
Everyone else, out of the car and
down on the ground.
Our POV comes up and out of the car. Jeriko is
righteously pissed off. He's not following orders.
COP VOICE 1
Put your hands behind your head
He goes along, madder than ever. The cops get Replay down
on his knees as well, in the wet gutter next to the curb.
The cops are closer now. We see that they are SPREG and
Put your hands on the hood of the
car and don't move.
We exchange a look with Diamanda. Fucking cops. But
Jeriko is winding them up. Not giving them the pleasure
of the humiliation. You can see it escalating.
I suppose you stopped us cause you
had suspects fitting our description
in the area, what you're gonna tell
me. What was the description? Two
black males in a car? Yeah, right,
I heard that one before...
As Engelman pulls out Jeriko's wallet, looks at his ID,
Jeriko checks name tags.
Well you stopped the wrong black
male tonight officer... what is it?
Spreg. Officer Spreg. Cause I'm
the 800 pound gorilla in your mist,
fucker. I make more in a day than
you make in a year, and my lawyers
love to spend my money dragging
sorry-ass Aryan robocops like you
into court. Get a man down on the
ground with no probable cause. Fuck
Shut the fuck up!
He kicks Jeriko down on his face. Jeriko hits the ground
Leave the fuck off of us, we weren't
Shut up! Don't make me walk over
Engelman shows the ID to Spreg, saying something we can't
You're that rap puke? Jeriko One?
You're the one getting all the
gangbangers to form citizens groups
and go downtown... trying to rake
the LAPD over a cheese grater?
That's right. And you're gonna be
in my next song, motherfucker, it's
Replay starts laughing. Diamanda stifles a giggle. Spreg
is white-lipped with rage. Years of frustration coming to
a head. Too many disciplinary actions, too many
suspensions, too little appreciation of the tough job they
It's a song about a cop who meets
his worst nightmare, a nigger with
enough political juice to crush his
ass like a stink bug. You're gonna
Spreg looks around the empty street. Looks at Engelman.
Down at Jeriko, proned out on the pavement. Replay's
laughter in his ears.
I don't think so.
And shoots him BLAM! BLAM! Twice in the back of the
head. Just like that.
Diamanda screams. Replay tries to roll to his feet.
Spreg shoots him twice in the stomach. Replay is
screaming. Rolling around, holding his guts.
Hey... I don't hear you laughing!
Engelman's yelling something at him we can't hear. Spreg
turns, eyes wide with adrenaline.
Get the bitches.
Engelman hesitates and then spins toward us. Diamanda is
screaming, backing away from Engelman. Spreg shoots
Replay four more times.
We spin one-eighty and start to run. Hear shots... BLAM!
BLAM! BLAM! Spin back... to see Diamanda dropping to her
knees. Engelman shoots her again. Then raises his gun
We spin away. The world becomes a kinetic blur. The
sound of shots. We see puffs of dust on the ground in
front of us. Missed shots. We tumble over a guardrail
and roll down an embankment... get up and keep running.
Train tracks ahead. Looking back... here come Spreg and
Engelman down the embankment, overtaking us. We hear the
thunder of a train... spinning again to look forward.
Freight-train doing fifty on the nearest track. Almost to
We leap forward. Over the track. The diesel roars past
behind us. Looking back... a black wall of moving steel.
Backing away from it.
We see Engelman and Spreg crouching down... trying to aim
through the wheels. Hear the impotent pop of their guns
over the roar of the train.
Turning to run again. We see a tiny hole appear in a sign
right in front of us with a metallic SPANG. Running and
Looking back. No pursuit. Train still rolling by. Can't
see the cops. Running, running. Heart pounding and lungs
heaving. Sobbing sounds coming from somewhere, seeming to
fill the night.
Looking down... one shoe on, one shoe off. Iris' hand
takes off the remaining shoe, clutches it to her chest.
We move forward into the dark train-yard as--
THE TAPE ENDS.
And Mace sits stone still. Shakes. For a beat. And
another. Then she tears the trodes off and throws them
across the room, near where Lenny is on the cellular.
Hang on. Hang on, Max.
(looks at Mace)
I see the earth opening up and
swallowing us all.
Yeah I know.
So what do we do?
INT./ EXT. MAX'S CAR - NIGHT
As Max drives along a crowded downtown street.
Don't talk to anybody. Anybody.
You're invisible. Okay? Just meet
me at Tick's in a half hour. And
Lenny... don't get pulled over.
INT. CECILE'S APARTMENT - NIGHT
Lenny pushes "End" on his cellular and looks at Mace. The
first-time impact of the Squid experience, and the killing
of Jeriko, still haunts her. We've never seen Mace
scared. But she looks scared now.
We got to make another copy of this.
Little life insurance.
You know what this tape could do if it
(tucking Glock in
I've got a good idea, yeah.
People finding out... seeing... that
the LAPD just flat out executed
Jeriko One. Jesus. Maybe they
ought to see.
Maybe. But tonight is probably not
the best night. Come on, we're
EXT. CECILE'S APARTMENT - NIGHT
Cecile catches them on the steps as they are leaving.
Lornette, when you gonna stop laying
off everything on me? We had plans
Listen to me, little sister.
There's something going on, and it's
very big. Now you've got to take
care of Zander. And stay off the
streets tonight... you hear me on
Cecile gets the message. She nods.
Curtis. What about you? Do we
understand each other? You stay
Yeah. I'm wit it.
Mace and Lenny go on down the steps to the car.
Damn! She worse than you.
INT./ EXT. CIVIC AND STREET - NIGHT
Lenny and Mace see helicopters circling as they maneuver
the dark streets. Xenon searchlights crisscross the
rooftops nearby. They see patrol cars passing on cross-
streets, lights flashing. It feels like the entire LAPD
is looking for them.
Everywhere in the street there are small crowds, street
parties in progress. People drinking and firing bottle
rockets. The police watch everything.
So, let's see, I've got Tran's
goons, some squidhead psycho and the
LAPD all trying to kill me. Happy
new year, Lenny.
Well, look at the plus side.
There's a plus side?
Yeah. You gave up your hot tub tape
to save me. That's real progress
It was a tough call.
I still can't square the psycho
smarts of whoever did Iris with
those two cops.
I don't think those cops did Iris.
I think whoever Iris was wearing for
To break the trail. If those cops
had gotten hold of her, they would
have beat it out of her who she was
wearing for, and then gone after
them too. Our killer is running as
scared as we are. Which makes him
really dangerous. Judging by how
scared I am.
They pull up to the checkpoint; Lenny squirrels into the
seat, hiding in the shadows, as Mace flashes her security
pass and the cop waves them on.
Lenny lets his breath out slowly.
INT. UNDERGROUND GARAGE/TICK'S VAN
Lenny and Mace pull in with a SQUEAL of brakes and park
the car. Sound of rock music -- some kind of refried
psychedelia -- coming from Tick's van down the ramp.
Mace and Lenny get out, approaching the van. Hearing
tires squeal, they turn to see Max pull up. He gets out
wearing an ill-fitting rental tux. Music louder, echoing
in the empty garage, even though the van is shut tight.
Sounds like Tick's already
You may be a little overdressed for
(Lenny pounds on the
Yo, Tick! It's Lenny. Open up!
Mace slips out her .380, on alert.
(knocks again, then opens
rear van door)
Tick, I got to talk to you, man...
Tick's slumped in the back of the van with playback trodes
on his head. He's breathing, but otherwise he's still.
Near lifeless. A cyborg after a power outage. All the
equipment in the van is trashed.
(as he starts to
He's been cooked-off
Is he dead?
No. But his frontal lobes are like
two runny eggs. They put an
amplifier in-line to boost the
signal till it french-fried his
Mace hits "Off" on the built-in CD player. The sudden
silence is creepy. Lenny gets right in front of Tick's
eyes, shouting at him, at the top of his lungs.
TICK'S POV: We see a roaring blizzard of inchoate static.
Somewhere in the middle of it is a suggestion of Lenny's
face, almost invisible. We hear the tiniest ghost of his
voice, like a radio playing two blocks away.
He's totally cut off from the outer
How long does it last?
(off Lenny's look)
Those two psycho cops are on a
slash-and-burn to find the tape and
cover their tracks.
This seems a little sophisticated
for them. These are not subtle
There's more to this whole thing
than you think.
All I'm saying... you don't know how
high up the food chain this thing
goes. I've heard stuff.
Smoke. Rumors. I've heard stuff
about a death squad. A group a guys
loyal to the hardline school. Guys
that've had too many years of city
hall and the review boards and the
goddamn media pissing down their
necks, suspending cops right and
left, tying their hands... while
outa the other side a their mouths
these same people're squealing save
us, save us, do something you
fucking morons, crime is totally out
Lenny takes this in. All the fight goes out of him. This
is just too overwhelming.
Yeah. So don't walk near me in
Thanks, buddy. See... things
weren't bad enough. They weren't
fucking bad enough!
The only card we have to play is the
tape. You know, we get it to the
Yeah, right, blow it open.
Mace... no disrespect... but you run
this on the 11 o'clock news, by
midnight you got the biggest riot in
history. They'll see the fucking
smoke from Canada.
Okay... what about Strickland?
No. Bad idea.
Deputy Commissioner Palmer
Strickland. The sanctimonious prick
who busted me out. His ass is so
tight when he farts only dogs can
hear it. I know this guy. If
there's one cop who's not dirty
Listen to me, Lenny... stay away
from cops. All cops. You have no
way of knowing who you can trust.
Mace looks from one to the other with a growing expression
So you're saying we just pretend is
didn't happen? It happened! The
LAPD executed one of the most
important black men in America! Who
the fuck are you to bury this?!
Fine. Do you want blood running
waist deep in the storm drains? The
gangbangers'll spread like a wave
through this city and burn it to the
ground. And when the fires start
the street cops'll be capping off at
anything that moves. It'll be all-
out war and you know it.
Yeah, well maybe it's time for a
You really want that on your head?
Hey, Max, Mace... whoa... time out.
Whoever killed Iris did Tick. It's
the same sick wirehead shit. Same
reason... to burn the trail. If
Faith knows anything about this, and
I think she does, then she's on the
list. So... who's driving?
EXT. RETINAL FETISH/ALLEY - NIGHT
Roadies are loading out gear through the back doors of the
club into a van in the alley. Lenny and Mace ENTER FRAME
and we follow them between the roadies, going through the
INT. RETINAL FETISH
A grungy black corridor. The thunder of music gets louder
with each step as Lenny and Mace walk down the corridor
with purposeful strides.
Through chainlink partitions and banks of dark equipment,
Lenny catches glimpses of the stage. He can see Faith in
a blue-white spotlight. She is a whirling dervish,
convulsing with the divine madness of her music. Beyond
her, beyond the lights, in the gloom... Lenny can just see
Tran and his entourage. Dressed in tuxes, they look out
of place... clearly on their way somewhere else as the
Faith whirls to a stop as the band crashes in a final
downbeat. The spotlight goes out and the set is over.
ON TRAN, clapping. Watching.
NEARBY, Max arrives through the crowd, scanning for
Tran... spotting him.
BACKSTAGE... FAITH, bathed in sweat, walking along a dark
corridor backstage. WE TRACK WITH HER, as she walks
through the shadows, like a fighter returning from the
ring, soaked and breathing hard.
A HAND shoots from a black doorway and covers her mouth,
pulling her into the shadows. Terrified for a split
second... before she recognizes that it is Lenny. He
pulls her into the room and closes the door. It is Tex
Arcana's VJ control room, full of monitors and constantly
changing graphic images. Tex is not there.
Lenny! Jesus! You scared the Hell
out of me.
Faith sees that Mace is standing there, in the shadows,
waiting. She turns back to Lenny with a frown.
What's going on?
Faith, we know about Jeriko. Iris
made me a copy of the tape.
Oh God, Lenny. I was trying to keep
you out of this.
But she seems relieved now that he knows, now that there
is someone to talk to.
How did it happen? What was Iris
doing riding around with Jeriko
wearing a wire?
We should talk alone.
No. Mace is in this.
Tran's gotten obsesses with
playback, a total wiretrip junkie.
And he's such a control freak, he's
been having people followed,
videotaped... recording his business
partners' calls. Wiring up people
left and right.
INT. CLUB/MAIN FLOOR
Tran looks at his watch and gets up from the table,
Let's go get her. We're late.
Max shows up suddenly, right in front of him. Stopping
Tran, listen. I was wondering how
you want me to work it tonight, down
at the Bonaventure. You want me
downstairs at the party or upstairs
at the suite? Where you going to
INT. TEX'S ROOM
While Max stalls, Faith talks.
Tran and Jeriko weren't getting
along. He was afraid Jeriko was
getting ready to dump him, but he
wasn't sure, so he started with the
surveillance. A couple nights ago
he wires up Iris and sends her and
the other girl, Diamanda, over to
CUT TO: TWO NIGHTS AGO, Iris, wearing a wig, leaves Tran's
table with Diamanda and moves toward... a booth in the
Retinal Fetish where Jeriko One sits with Replay. Iris
stands over Jeriko for just a moment. Then he nods,
smiles a little, and moves over to make room for her in
the booth right next to him.
That night Iris calls up, freaking.
She comes over and Tran watches the
tape. He just loses it. He can't
believe the disaster she's gotten
him into. He's terrified the cops
will beat it out of her who she was
working for, and come looking for
CUT TO: TRAN'S LOFT as a tear-streaked and frantic Iris is
telling Tran about how the cops tried to kill her (we
don't hear). Tran backhands her furiously, his face thin-
lipped with rage. She crumples to the floor, sobbing.
Tran keeps looking at the squid tape in his hand like it's
Kinda guy you can count on in a
Why didn't he just go public with
the tape? Save himself that way.
CUT TO: An image of Tran burning the squid tape. It
blazes in his hand and he hurls it into the fireplace like
a venomous snake.
The scandal would wipe him out. If
it got out that he had his own
artists under surveillance... he'd
lose all his other acts. He'd be
Now we see Tran, more composed, comforting Iris. He wipes
at her tear-streaked face. Hands her a wad of bills.
So finally he gives Iris some cash
and tells her to check into the
hotel under a wrong name till he
figures out what to do.
Yeah... he figured out what to do
You think Tran killed her?
The killer knew right where she was.
Because he put her there.
What a nightmare.
INT. MAIN FLOOR
Tran impatiently gestures to Corto.
Go get her, Joey. Stupid bitch.
We'll talk about this later.
INT. TEX'S ROOM
Mace is getting the sixth sense feeling that seconds
Come on. We're out of here.
Lenny gets close to Faith, taking her face in his hands.
Leave here with me, right now.
Mace sighs heavily, rolls her eyes toward the ceiling.
Faith considers her options. Then she smiles at him.
Okay, Lenny. My guardian angel.
Faith hugs him, and he clutches her. Mace locks her jaw
and looks away. This is hard for her.
Mace leads the way, with Lenny following, gripping Faith's
hand like Orpheus leading Eurydice out of Hell. They push
through shapes of people in the thundering dark corridor.
Half-lit, in alcoves, far-gone wireheads loll in semi-
consciousness. Faith looks back and sees:
TRAN'S POSSE rounding a corner... spotting them. They
start shoving through the crowd like juggernauts, knocking
protesting people out of the way.
Mace, Lenny and Faith break into a run, pounding down the
Behind them, Duncan leads the charge. Suddenly TEX ARCANA
shoots into the hallway, intentionally blocking their path
with his wheelchair. Duncan crashes over him, toppling
the chair, and they both sprawl to the floor. Vita,
Beemer and Corto go around the sprawl.
Tex, like many legless men, has incredibly strong arms.
Lenny looks back to see him pounding Duncan's head against
to mess with...
a helpless cripple!
Lenny et al reach the main floor of the club where they
shove through the buffeting crowd amid strobe-flashes and
a wall of sound.
Behind them we see Corto and Beemer hurling partiers
aside, cutting a swath, while Vita moves like a mongoose
through tall grass. Mace drops back, going tail-end-
Charlie... her bodyguard mode kicking in.
ON LENNY AND FAITH, charging through the jostling crowd,
Lenny is looking back, then he looks ahead and...
TRAN is right in front of him. In the whirling shapes and
colors of the crowd, he is an island of composure in a
white tux. He holds a glass of champagne in one hand, the
bottle in the other. In one lightning-fast move he
uppercuts with the bottle, clipping Lenny under the jaw.
Faith screams as Lenny staggers. Tran swings again,
smashing the bottle over the back of Lenny's head. Lenny
sprawls on the floor amid champagne foam and glass.
Lenny, blood flowing in his eyes, rises blearily to see
Faith being pulled away by Tran, who has her arm twisted
viciously behind her back. They go around a chain-link
divider and double back, heading for the exit. Lenny
staggers to the chainlink, sagging to his knees again as
Faith passes within a few inches of him. He slips down
the chainlink, into unconsciousness, as her image is lost
in the pounding darkness.
Mace gets to him through the crowd, and then whirls like a
cat as the Posse arrives. She stands guard over him like
a rabid dog, her .380 auto straightarmed and covering them
expertly. Corto eyes her with hatred. The stitches on
his nose and the bruised swelling are a reminder of his
last run-in with her. He backs off.
(to the others)
Not here. Lets go.
They back off, fading into the crowd... catching up with
Tran at the exit.
Mace watches them recede. Then she bends to Lenny. Max
arrives a moment later and they lift him to his feet.
EXT. RETINAL FETISH/ALLEY - NIGHT
Max and Mace support a semi-conscious Lenny, hustling him
to the car. As they are putting him in the car, TWO LAPD
OFFICERS come through the crowd, eyeing the bleeding
Everything's cool. Too much to
Lenny picks this moment to slump sideways, falling half
out of the car. The squid tape of the Jeriko kill falls
out of his jacket pocket and clatters to the pavement.
Mace's eyes go wide. The boot of one of the cops is
inches from it.
Yeah, uh... he slipped on the
stairs. We're taking him to
(to the nearest cop)
The cop steps back, giving Mace room to push Lenny back up
in the seat. She surreptitiously kicks the tape under the
car, over to the driver's side.
Go to Cedars. It's closest.
Mace nods and goes around the car. Max starts asking them
questions and the cops turn away, distracted. She picks
up the tape and gets in. Closes the door. Let's out a
INT. PARKING GARAGE/BONAVENTURE HOTEL - NIGHT
A line of expensive cars waiting to valet park. Tran's
limo jumps the line and swoops up parallel to the elevator
doors. The posse get out, scowling at the valet who
swallows his protest. Tran emerges, helping Faith out
with a firm grip on her arm which he does not release as
they head for the elevators.
They push through a group waiting for an elevator... men
in tuxes, women in gowns and diamonds. The elevator opens
and Tran's entourage sweeps inside. Beemer and Duncan
block any civilians from entering.
They ride in silence a moment. Faith is pale, her jaw
clenching. Tran has her arm in a tight grip. There is a
march-to-the-gallows feel about the moment.
Well, I'm certainly in the mood for
Take her up to the suite.
Have a glass of champagne... or
six... I'll be up in a while to help
you ring in the New Year.
I live for the moment.
The elevator doors open, revealing...
INT. FOYER AND BALLROOM
The heart of the MILLENNIUM L.A. New Year's ball. A
glitterati event in full swing. Red carpet, minicam
lights and paparazzi. Limos pulling up outside four deep.
Movie stars rubbing elbows with politicos, music movers
and shakers chatting with city hall types. This is a
party to celebrate the millennium, sure, but its main
function is to celebrate the celebrants: if you're here,
there's no need to be anywhere else. There is a heavy
police presence, as well as lots of private security.
Tran exits the elevator with Vita Minh, Joey Corto and
Duncan. They wedge through the crowd, Tran smiling.
Nodding to people he knows.
INT. CECILE'S APARTMENT - NIGHT
Lenny is in a chair in the kitchen, listening to Max on
the cellular. He is holding a dish-towel full of ice
cubes on his scalp. It is soaked with blood and his
Armani jacket and silk shirt are spattered. Mace lifts
the ice pack to check that the bleeding has stopped.
You are a pussy-whipped sorry-ass
motherfucker, you know that?
She slaps the ice pack back down.
Owww!! Take it easy.
Uh huh. So where are they now?
INT. BALLROOM/BONAVENTURE HOTEL
TIGHT ON MAX, leaning against a pillar. He looks over his
shoulder, around the column.
MAX'S POV: through a dense throng of glitterati we see
Tran and his entourage seated at a table, holding court
with music types and politicos.
He's got her up in the room, under
guard. And he's still working the
party... acting smooth like nothin's
nothin'. So buddy... I say we work
What do you mean?
Give him the tape. See? It's
fucking brilliant! The tape for
Faith. I know he'll go for it. I
can set it up.
This is what we laughingly refer to
as a plan, right?
Come on! If he gives us any shit,
we kill 'em all. Whattya say?
(same old Max)
Just get your butt down here. If
I'm not at the shindig downstairs
go to the room. It's 2203. You
On Lenny, at the table. He dabs his finger in the blood
on the ice pack and writes the number on the table top.
2-2-0-3. Got it. Stay on her.
I intend to.
Lenny punches END. Mace looks at the number written in
blood on the white formica. Her eyes ratchet up, boring
into Lenny. Not noticing, he gets up, still woozy, and
staggers to his wardrobe bag across the room.
Okay, we gotta get over there.
(opens the bag)
Can you borrow a dress from Cecile
I'm not going.
Whatya mean? We're going! Tran's
gonna do her right there unless--
Lenny... shutup. Just park your
mouth and listen. It's a set-up.
Think about it! Why's he been
sending you tapes? To freak you,
get you to rush in without thinking.
Then they put one in you, put one in
her, put the gun in your hand...
crime of passion. This guy's bent
enough to think of that.
Lenny nods, hearing what she is saying.
That sounds right.
(but it changes
He reaches into his wardrobe bag... pulling out the box of
"Faith" tapes and setting it aside, then pulling out the
suit. Mace's frustration explodes as anger.
She grabs his shoebox full of tapes. Holds them up to
You gonna get yourself killed for
this? This toxic-waste bitch!
She dumps the box of tapes on the floor. She starts
stomping on them with one heel, crunching several into
What the fuck are you doing?!
Lenny freaks out and scrambles to pick them up, trying to
stop her, push her away. They struggle for a pathetic,
Mace snaps. She grabs him by the lapels and swings him
around, slamming him back against a wall.
Lenny! This is your life, Lenny!
Right here. Right now. This is
realtime... not playback. Real...
time. Time to get real. Understand
what I'm saying... she doesn't love
you. Maybe she did once, I don't
know, but she doesn't now. These
are used emotions. It's time to
trade them in.
Mace's tone becomes more gentle. We see that her outburst
is, beneath it all, coming from a place of compassion.
Lenny, memories were meant to fade.
They're designed that way for a
Lenny seems to crumple. He knows he has to let go. But
it is so painful.
Have you ever been in love with
somebody who didn't return that
Mace gives him a look like, jeez Lenny, are you dumb
Yeah. Lenny. I have.
It didn't stop you from loving them.
Right? Or understanding them, or
being able to forgive them...
And it didn't stop you from wanting
to protect them. Did it?
No. It didn't.
Lenny's eyes are brimming with tears. He makes no attempt
to hide it... doesn't brush them away.
I worked Vice, Narcotics... Violent
Crimes... and I saw every known
depravity. I was lost, Mace. In
outer darkness. Then I busted this
strung-out little teeny-hooker.
When I met Faith she was just
another runaway giving twenty dollar
blowjobs to buy crank. Another lost
You never told me.
But she was different. There was a
light in her eyes... and she had
this voice. It was scary, all that
pain coming out of that little body.
Like she could take all the hurt and
rage of the entire world and lift it
up to heaven in one voice. I helped
her. And I promised her that I'd
always be there... to protect her.
See? It's not about what's in her
head. It's what's in mine. I can't
let go of the promise. It's...
like... it's all I have left.
No, it's not.
Mace takes his face in her hands. She kisses him lightly
on the cheek, where the tear-track is.
Come on, Lenny. Let's go to a
EXT. STREET AND BONAVENTURE HOTEL - NIGHT
IT IS THE MOTHER OF ALL PARTIES. IN AN AERIAL SHOT we see
there must be 100,000 people jamming the closed streets of
downtown L.A. Arc lights sweep the sky. There are two
outdoor bandstands, with live music pounding. There are
lasers, strobe-lights. People are literally dancing in
the streets... if they can move at all. Huge projection
video screens are set up all over the place.
LA is connected to other cities all over the world by
satellite, sharing in the celebration in different time
zones. The excitement has been building all evening as
midnight sweeps across the country toward the West Coast.
It looks like a U2 concert 10 blocks long: a multimedia
Madness in the streets. And Lenny and Mace are stuck in
it. The Civic can't move in the middle of this millennial
Mardi Gras. People swarm around, pounding on the Civic as
they go by, or press their faces against the glass. It
may be the party of the century, but it looks like the
middle of a third world revolution.
That's it. Let's bail.
And she's out of the car, leaving the keys, ignoring the
protesting horns behind her. And we see that she's
wearing a short black cocktail dress. Lenny comes around
the car, through the wild crowd. He's in his other suit.
Mace unselfconsciously hikes up her dress and slips her
.380 auto into a holster velcroed to her leg. She pulls
the dress down and you can't see the gun, hidden between
her upper thighs.
In fact, it looks like she couldn't be concealing a
quarter anywhere on her body. The dress is cut low at the
top and high at the bottom, showing plenty of muscular
legs. High heels doing great things for her calves. Her
braids now loose and full, like a mane.
Lenny glances at Mace and does a double take. He is
caught by a sudden realization:
Mace... you're a girl.
Good, Lenny. I can see why the
detective gig didn't work out. Come
They push their way through the swirling mass of humanity.
Mace moving like a wedge, security training coming to the
fore. The whole street is vacuum-packed with people.
Filled with cars deserted in the general euphoria, an
unparted Red Sea of man and machine.
They will move through the various strata of society as
they work their way in to the party's inner sanctum. It
is like all of LA, from poorest to richest, compressed
into a few square blocks. There are cops everywhere.
Cops on motorcycles, cops in cars, cops in riot gear.
Lenny scopes out the security at the front entrance...
metal detectors, cops... plus you have to have a 500
Got your ticket?
No. They must have sent it to my
beach house by mistake.
Lenny motions toward the back of the hotel and Mace
follows. They pass a uniformed cop who is standing thirty
feet away, his back to them.
REVERSE ANGLE: It is SPREG. His black eyes scan the
INT. HOTEL KITCHEN
ON LENNY AND MACE moving with purpose through the vast
steaming factory of the kitchen where a thousand dinners
are being prepared. They are ignored by the bustling
INT. HOTEL BALLROOM
Lenny and Mace emerge from a service door into the
glitterati crowd, heading into the ballroom.
They scan the room.
You see Tran?
Lenny whips out his cellular and recalls Max's number. He
hears the phone connect. It starts to ring.
LENNY'S POV... as the crowd parts for a moment. He sees
PALMER STRICKLAND talking to a city-hall type. Lenny
turns away before Strickland sees him.
(to the ringing
Come on, Max. Come on, buddy...
(two more rings)
He looks around now. Starting to feel the creeping edge
of panic. No Tran. No Max.
Alright. We're going up.
And do what? Take on his whole
I still got one ace to play. Tran's
got what I want... and I've got what
Lenny pulls the Jeriko tape out of his breast-pocket and
holds it up. Mace just stares at him completely outraged.
That's the original. There are no
(not getting it)
Exactly. That's why it's a make-
Mace gets very, very close to Lenny, and her voice drops
to an odd, cold... lethal-sounding... growl.
Look. That tape is a lightning bolt
from God. It's worth more than you,
more than me, more than Faith. You
understand? It can change things.
Things that need changing before we
all go off the end of the road. And
you do not have the right to use it
(Lenny's eyes are
You go... you go alone. This is
where I draw the line. I care about
you Lenny... a lot more than you
know... which makes us both pretty
stupid. But you pawn that tape, you
mean nothing to me.
Lenny doesn't know what to say. Tough choice. He
clenches his jaw...
And turns away. He strides into the crowd, heading for
the lobby and the elevators.
ON MACE, watching him go. Wanting to run and stop him.
But she's said what there is to say. She turns away,
desolate and churning with emotion. The moment lengthens
as she wrestles with it. You see her fury, her sadness...
and her protective instincts. Her resolve fails her.
Ultimately, she must protect him if she can.
Ah, hell. Lenny--
She turns, running toward the lobby. And...
BOOM. Slams into him. He came back.
Lenny takes her hand and puts the tape in her palm.
Closes her fingers on it.
See that guy?
The one with the ramrod up his ass.
Mace follows his look to Strickland, across the room.
Take it to him.
A cop? You want me to trust a cop?!
No. Trust me.
He unclips his playback deck from his belt and hands it to
(she takes a deep
What if you're wrong?
Then we'll be right where we are
Yeah, right. Fucked.
INT. BONAVENTURE ELEVATOR
It is a glass-cage scenic elevator, running up the outside
of the building. 10th floor. The last passengers step
out. When the doors whoosh closed and Lenny's left alone
there's only the sound of Muzak Christmas carols. The
elevator rises, the lights of LA spread out below. He is
INT. HOTEL BALLROOM
Mace threads her way past tables circling a dance floor
full of dancers and makes her way through celebs air-
kissing each other.
But as she gets near Strickland's table, he stands up and
excuses himself. He starts toward the men's room. And
Mace follows him.
INT. MEN'S ROOM/HOTEL
A few guys in tuxes tending to themselves. Strickland
enters, crossing to a urinal. He unzips.
Mace steps up beside him. Guys behind her looking on,
slack-jawed. Mace pays no attention to them. Strickland,
stern and flinty-eyed, raises one eyebrow.
She puts the playback deck on top of Strickland's urinal.
There's a tape in there you need to
see. I mean right now.
While see is looking at Strickland, a young LAPD OFFICER
comes out of a stall, and goes to the sink. He glances in
the mirror at Mace.
If it wasn't New Year's Eve, I'd
arrest you for possession of illegal
Just look at the tape! You want to
know who killed Jeriko One? Go in
the stall right now and hit Play.
The young cop steps up behind her.
Sir, is there a problem here?
Mace turns. Oh shit. She backs away from them.
Damn! I knew it--
Strickland motions with his eyes and the cop grabs for
her. Mace twists viciously out of his grip, knocks him
down and vanishes out the door.
STRICKLAND hefts the recorder, pondering it. His
expression is opaque.
INT. HALLWAY/BONAVENTURE HOTEL
Lenny comes out of the elevator. Standing at the corner,
where he can watch the elevators and the corridor, is Wade
Beemer. Lenny doesn't break stride. Just walks toward
Beemer. He's not afraid anymore. He's pissed off.
Beemer moves toward him.
Now, Wade, can we talk here, like
two human beings--
We think he's starting the usual negotiation. But when he
gets in range he lets fly with a line-drive right,
straight into Beemer's face. We're talking a John Wayne
haymaker punch. He staggers back, surprised and dazed,
and Lenny knees him right in the gut as hard as he can.
He drops to his knees, sucking wind. Lenny draws his
Glock and puts it behind Beemer's ear, pulling a pair of
handcuffs off his belt. Okay, we're starting to believe
he might have been a cop once.
It's not personal.
Mace, moving fast as she can through the crowd and past
the tables when...
... she's grabbed by DUNCAN. He gets her in a good tight
come-along. Like any good security person, the hold is
not so obvious that the party around them is disrupted.
VITA MINH steps up next to her, closing ranks.
MACE IS WALKED around behind the bandstand. Joey Corto
walks up to her, looking mean and smug.
Mace twists one hand free and snaps it out in a blur. Her
open palm breaks Corto's nose with an audible crunch.
Corto screams and grabs his face.
Aw, not the fucking nose!!
She slams her foot down on Duncan's instep and snaps her
head back simultaneously in a reverse head-butt. He keeps
the hold. Mace drives her free hand back into the
approximate position of his nuts. Even though Duncan
looks like he bench-presses Buicks, this has the desired
Mace jerks away from him, shoving him back through a
buffet table. Vita draws a knife in a lightning move
Suddenly Mace is standing there with her dress hiked up
and her pistol straight-armed, with the muzzle right in
her face. Vita says the smartest line of the night.
Hey, enjoy the party.
Mace spins and sprints through dumbfounded glitterati, her
gun innocuously tight to her side. She spots a red "Exit"
sign above a fire door and goes through.
INT. STAIRWELL AND PENTHOUSE/BONAVENTURE
Lenny closes the stairwell door, giving us a quick glimpse
of Beemer handcuffed to the steel railing. Lenny moves
down the empty corridor.
He approaches suite 2203. The door is ajar. Always a bad
EXT. STREET - NIGHT
Mace finds herself back in the millennium madness, among
the street crowd who don't even notice her. She holsters
the gun and moves away from possible pursuit. The sky
explodes with purple light as huge fireworks go off
overhead. A crack like thunder follows. Then more
The countdown to midnight has begun. The party is
building to a crescendo. It seems to have a surreal,
nightmarish quality. She passes a MIME in a clock suit,
who keeps adjusting the hands closer to midnight.
INT. SUITE 2203
As Lenny enters the suite. It is very quiet. Dark.
Lenny's heart is pounding. He moves through the luxurious
suite, gun in the low-ready position.
Lenny can barely breathe from the tension. He notices
that one balcony door is open. The roar of the crowd
comes in like the sound of surf from far below. Fireworks
explode across the sky, and the cheers sound like distant
screams of slaughter.
His feet crunch on broken glass... a shattered champagne
bottle. A lamp is knocked over. He reaches the door to
the bedroom and looks in. The room is empty. The bed is
unmade, the bedspread and sheet pulled off. This isn't
right. None of this is right.
EXT. STREET PARTY/HOTEL
Mace is scanning warily as she circles the hotel, looking
for a way back in. She turns and sees ENGELMAN in the
crowd, not twenty feet from her. He is looking right at
her. Not recognizing her for a moment. Then... he
realizes who she is.
He starts toward her and Mace pushes people out of the
way, breaking into a run. Engelman charges after her,
pulling out his rover to call Spreg.
Lenny looks back at the living room. Suddenly he notices
something on the coffee table. It is an envelope, with
NERO hand-printed on it. He is drawn to it, hypnotically.
He opens it...
... and with a nightmarish sense of destiny a SQUID TAPE
falls out into his hand.
EXT. STREET - NIGHT
Now both Spreg and Engelman are stalking Mace through the
crowd. Spreg catches a glimpse of her running and he
charges after her, like a bull, with his gun drawn. He
hammers through anybody that gets in his way.
Mace kicks off her high heels and goes flat out, an Indian
Sprinting through the crowd, she sees an apparition ahead
of her... a guy wearing Death's Head make-up and a black
shroud, carrying a huge cardboard scythe in one hand and a
doll (New Year's Baby) in the other. Death watches her
LENNY, moving as if he's in a trance, puts the trodes on
his head. TIGHT ON THE PLAY BUTTON as his finger punches
IN POV we approach room 2203. It is the familiar
monochromatic vision of the killer. Our hands open the
door quietly with a keycard. We enter the suite.
Some of the lights are on. We see Faith out on the
balcony. Watching the sea of madness below. She comes
back in, carrying an empty champagne glass. She grabs a
bottle off an end-table and up-ends it. Empty. She hurls
it across the room, and it shatters against the wall.
We approach her, standing with her back to us. Closer.
Only a few feet now. She whips around, startled. Gasping
loudly. But then... she recognizes the wearer.
Oh. I didn't hear you come in.
THE RECORDING STOPS, in a blast of static. Lenny jerks at
the discontinuity in the input, he is so keyed up.
THE RECORDING RESTARTS: A new image resolves out of
static. Faith is pushed roughly down on the bed. We
climb onto the bed, straddling her, and she gasps. We
turn her onto her back.
She has been blindfolded. The Wearer goes SSSHHH. A
warning. Like the hiss of a snake. Our hands seize her
wrists and handcuff them one by one to the iron frame at
the head of the bed.
The hands go out of sight and then reappear holding a set
of trodes. They are placed on her head... the spidery
gecko-hand device almost disappearing in her black hair.
LENNY'S guts have turned to water. He is shaking his head
No, no, no...
IN POV we see one of our hands come up holding the yellow
plastic razor knife. The blade clicks out to its full
Our hands reach down and slowly slit her dress open,
starting between her breasts and going down out of sight.
She groans, squirming away from the cold knife. The
killer's hands open the material, exposing her white body,
which in his peculiar vision is pure ivory. The knife
deftly cuts off her panties.
We unbuckle our pants and reach for her, grasping her
hips, pulling her to us.
ON LENNY, gagging. Overcome by revulsion and horror,
mixing obscenely with the pleasure flooding into him from
BACK TO POV as we pull our belt out of the belt loops of
our pants and wrap it around Faith's neck. Faith begins
to pant in tiny rapid breaths. We tighten the belt
LENNY tears the trodes from his head. He clutches his
stomach, gasping for breath. Carrying the playback deck,
he staggers into the bedroom... to the bed. He stares
wildly around the room.
One whole wall of the bedroom is mirrored. In the mirror
he spots a shape, on the floor beyond the bed. It is
covered in the bed sheet, but it is clearly a human form,
propped up against the wall on the far side of the night
stand. He missed it in his earlier look from the bedroom
Lenny moves around the bed and reaches down to the foot of
the figure, grasping the edge of the sheet with a
trembling hand. With horrified apprehension he pulls on
It reveals the head and upper body of... Tran Vo.
The last thing he expected. Lenny leans close and sees
that Tran is breathing shallowly, but his eyes are vacant.
He looks like Tick did.
Lenny sits on the bed and puts the trodes back on. The
fireworks and screaming outside sound like some
nightmarish war, like the sound of the world coming to an
end. But all Lenny cares about is what's on the tape. He
THE POV CONTINUES where it left off. Faith's body lurches
with the Wearer's thrusts. His hand tightens the belt.
Lenny feels the climax building.
Faith's body shakes as the killer comes... she cries out
herself, in pain... or is it? The killers hand releases
the belt. We see Faith gasping for breath and moaning.
Suddenly the POV whips sideways to the mirrored closet
doors along one wall. In the mirror is a reflection of
the bed and on it Faith. And on her...
Pants down, her legs pulled up around him. They are both
gasping for breath, spent, following their shattering
orgasms. He runs his hands over her sweat-slick belly.
LENNY is stunned beyond his power to imagine. He does not
have the strength or the will to stop the tape.
IN POV Max's hands remove her blindfold. She looks right
at us, still gasping with the aftershocks of her pleasure.
Max's hands undo the handcuffs, freeing her. She reaches
for us, her eyes glittering with sated lust. We slump
forward onto her, and her face fills the POV.
I love you.
Lenny is reeling with these revelations. His best friend
is the killer. And the woman he loved loves him. But the
tape is not over...
THE POV CONTINUES as Max's eyes whip around in response to
a sound behind them. The bedroom door is opening. Tran
is standing there, stunned. Maybe the first time he's
ever been surprised in his life. What a way to start.
Like lightning we are off the bed snatching our .45 from
the night stand and whipping around... putting the muzzle
right in Tran's face. We pull him roughly across the
room, too stunned to resist.
You're going to die, you're both
going to fucking die.
We slam him back against the mirror wall and jam the
muzzle of the gun right in his mouth: a deadly gag. Using
the gun we push him down until he is sitting on the floor
with his back to the mirror.
Our eyes whip to Faith. She is freaking out. We see
Max's reflection in the mirror as he talks to her, talking
This piece of puke hired me to kill
you, baby. Do you believe that?
Isn't that right, Tran? You
Oh my God. I don't believe this is
Believe it. Now bring me the
trodes, baby. Come on, quick.
What're you going to do?
Still in a kind of stupor, she hands him the trodes. Max
puts the trodes on Tran's head, then pulls something out
of his pocket. It is a booster box. He plugs it into the
deck. He takes the gain control and cranks it all the way
up. He's setting up a cook-off. Tran's eyes go wide when
he figures that out, starts to splutter.
You can't just... kill him.
I'm not. Just a little poach job.
Hey, he was going to kill you. And
this ratfuck paid to have Iris
killed, to save his own sorry ass.
Tran freaks at that point but Max jams the gun deep into
his throat, up to the trigger guard, choking off his
You shut the fuck up, right now,
I'm gonna pull this fuckin' trigger!
K-BANG! Faith shrieks, thinking Max shot him. But it's
just the start of the fireworks outside (remember all this
has already happened relative to Lenny entering the
Look, baby, it's now of never... the
guy is a known input junkie, so a
little OD won't surprise anybody.
It's the only way we can be
together. You know it's true.
We don't know if her reaction is to the horror of what is
about to happen, or to the realization that she has the
capacity to let it happen.
Here's how much I love you, baby.
She stares, transfixed, as Max reaches for the deck. He
punches PLAY. Max puts his hand over Tran's mouth to
muffle his screams as the input hits his brain like a
screaming chainsaw of static from Hell. The screaming
outside, the pandemonium, give the moment a special
The POV turns, looking out the window... staring fixedly
at burst after burst of brilliant fireworks. Like the
fireworks inside Tran's head.
THE TAPE ENDS.
Lenny takes off the trodes. He is wrung out, drenched
with sweat. We see that there is a figure standing in the
doorway behind him. Lenny turns, not surprised to see Max
there with his .45 aimed at Lenny's chest. Max's surgical
gloves look incongruous with his tux.
Don't make any assumptions about our
Lenny stands up, slowly.
No. I suppose not. I didn't know
you were colorblind, Max.
Only way I could stand your ties.
Max moves up to him cautiously, and takes the Glock out of
I'll have that. Glock 22. Nice.
I sent her to the party. I figured
I'd wait up here until you killed
What makes you think I'm gonna kill
Max looks out the window at the fireworks. Waits for a
flash, knowing that the bang will follow. Keeping his own
.45 on Lenny, he aims Lenny's Glock at the catatonic Tran.
BLAM! One right into Tran's forehead. The crack of
thunder from the fireworks masks the sound.
You just did.
You know, statistically that's the
second most common word people say
right before they die. Shit being
Max sticks Lenny's Glock in his waistband, keeping his own
.45 trained on Lenny. Lenny knows the next bullet is for
him. He does what he does best... talk.
So... I killed Tran. Then you ran
in, being on his payroll, and shot
That's pretty much the way it
CUT TO FAITH in the living room, moving silently up to the
edge of the door frame. She looks through the crack
between the door and the jam. Her POV: Max with the gun
Wait a minute. Now I'm remembering.
I killed Iris too, didn't I?
That's right. They'll find the
original of her snuff clip in your
apartment. The one I left for you
at the club was a copy.
Was I a really busy guy? Did I do
You bet. Did you like it?
Lenny drops the cutesy role.
So why Max... why d'ya have to do
Iris? She never hurt anybody.
CU FAITH, reacting to this.
Picture it... I feel like I gotta
share this with somebody. It's too
I won't say anything.
I know. So, I'm working for this
puke, right? And he says he'll pay
me quite large to do the hooker.
But also I gotta do his bitch
girlfriend cause she knows the whole
score and she's totally out of
Lenny nods. Starting to see it.
Only he doesn't know about me and
Faith. So I say to myself, if I
turn the job down, he just gets
somebody else. And I lose Faith...
to coin a phrase. So to buy time, I
do the skank. I still gotta do
something about Tran... I figure
it's him or me... but I can't cap
him without a chump to take the
fall. And who better than his
girlfriend's loser ex-boyfriend... a
known criminal... who has been seen
hassling them in public numerous
And who was, regrettably, also your
best fucking friend.
No plan is perfect, Lenny. Hey,
cheer up. World's gonna end in ten
You must be so pleased, I followed
your jellybean trail right here,
like a good little chump.
You got froggy on me a couple times.
CUT TO: The Underground Garage, where Tick has been
cooked-off. We see Max running his number on Mace and
Lenny. Lenny buying it.
I thought that riff about the Death
Squad was pretty good. I hadda keep
you from bringing the cops into it.
AND BACK again to REAL TIME.
So there never was a death squad.
Just those two loose-cannon cops
running around covering their butts.
Yeah. Pretty zany, huh? All this
shit caused by a random traffic
stop. Hey... nothing means nothing.
You know that. Look around... the
whole planet's in total chaos. You
gotta take what you can, while you
can. Cause some shitbird can come
up and put a fuckin' .22 in the back
a your head any second.
CUT TO: A brief, violent flash from the Jeriko tape: Spreg
How did you hook up with Faith?
This dink hires me a month ago to
eyeball her, right? But Faith knows
me from you, right, so she comes up
to me and says, 'Hey Max why you
following me?' I say, 'I'll buy you
a drink and explain.' And she says...
'So, do you enjoy watching me?'
Max turns and sees her in the doorway.
You were supposed to go downstairs,
I know. I don't always do exactly
what I'm told.
(she walks slowly
So I said, 'Do you enjoy watching
me?' And you said -- come on Max.
I said, 'Yeah. I'd even do it for
Uh huh. And I said, 'That's good,
because I like the feeling of
someone watching me. I acquired
the taste from Lenny.'
Lenny looks between Faith and Max, feeling like the
asshole of the western world. Faith moves up close to
Max. She puts her hands lightly on his shoulders,
caressing them. Max grins, realizing she is 100% with
And then she said, 'Since we're
going to be spending so much time
'We might as well make the best of
Faith runs her hands appreciatively over Max's shoulders
and arms. Then, in an eyeblink, she grabs his forearm in
both hands and deflects the gun.
Lenny jumps in, wrestling Max for the gun. Faith pulls
the Glock out of Max's waistband and throws it across the
BLAM! BLAM! Max fires wildly, trying to hit Lenny, who
is just barely keeping the muzzle out of his face. Faith
grabs Max's hair, trying to pull him away...
His "hair" comes off in her hands. A prosthetic wig,
containing the squid-net array. Max's head is shaved to a
Sinead O'Connor stubble. He looks demonic, grimacing with
effort as he struggles with Lenny.
He continues firing. The shots hit the mirrors. ANGLES
of the reflected images of them shattering. Faith,
screaming, reflected, her face fragmenting into shards.
The crystal chandelier shatters, reigning glassy snow on
them from above.
Max is stronger and heavier than Lenny, but Lenny has one
advantage: Max has managed to make him really angry.
Lenny gives a guttural cry and drives Max backward into
the doorframe. They tumble together into the living room,
falling together over the couch. Lenny pounds Max's hand
against the glass coffee table, shattering it. He forces
Max's hand along a glass edge, cutting it, and Max drops
the gun. Lenny reaches for it, but Max kicks it away a
split-second before his hand touches it. It skitters
under the couch, out of play.
Max punches Lenny brutally in the face, then in the gut,
and grabs him with both hands. He hurls him against the
wall. Lenny staggers off the wall into several vicious
punches from Max. We feel the tide turning. Lenny goes
down to one knee.
Max pulls out his knife and flicks it open. Lenny throws
a lamp. Max ducks and charges through. Lenny spins away
from the downthrust.
The knife embeds itself in his shoulder blade, sunk into
the bone. Lenny punches Max in the throat and jerks away,
pulling the knife handle out of Max's hand. Max tackles
him and they crash together through a sliding glass door
onto the balcony. Explosion of flying glass.
Max pulls a dazed Lenny to his feet and rushes him
backward toward the railing. At the last instant, Lenny
twists with all his strength and spins Max into the
railing, using his weight against him. He pushes hard and
As he is going over, Max grabs Lenny's tie, pulling him
over. Max is dangling 12 stories above the oblivious
crowd, his entire weight hanging from Lenny's tie. Lenny
has one arm and one foot hooked around the railing, and he
is being strangled by the tie.
Lenny is starting to black out. In agony he gropes with
his free hand to his own shoulder blade, finding the
handle of the knife. He jerks it out of himself. Max
sees it coming a split second before it happens.
Lenny slashes the knife across the tie, just above Max's
Max takes the express elevator to Hell. He hits 12
stories down, on top of a video truck.
Lenny stands there panting, bleeding down the back of his
jacket. Faith runs to the railing and looks down. All
the strength goes out of her legs. She sags to the floor.
Fireworks continue to boom across the sky.
Lenny looks down at her, gazing at the object of his
quest. She looks up at him, her wet eyes seemingly at the
bottom of a deep well from which he cannot save her.
He turns and walks away. It's hard. But he keeps
EXT. STREET - NIGHT
DOWN BELOW, in the madness of the crowd, we move with
Spreg as he searches for Mace. He sees her from behind,
walking near one of the stages. He moves up behind her,
aiming his pistol at the back of her head. She turns
... it isn't Mace. Another girl in a similar dress.
Spreg curses and looks around.
Engelman catches a glimpse of Mace running. He points to
her position and Spreg charges after her. He has his
baton laid back along his forearm and is clubbing people
out of the way as he runs.
Mace sprints barefoot through the crowd, pushing people
out of her way. Strobe-lights from the stage and flashes
from the fireworks give the crowd a nightmarish look.
Spreg fires at her. People drop, their screams drowned
out by the pandemonium. The gunshots don't register above
the concussions from the fireworks. No one notices the
shootings. Spreg continues to fire, missing her as people
block his shots. Mace won't fire back in the crowd.
ON SPREG, coming to a stop at the base of a lighting
tower. He has lost sight of her. He starts to reload his
pistol. Mace comes up to him silently from behind the
tower and hammer punches him behind the ear with the butt
of her pistol.
Spreg comes around with a roar, slamming the baton across
her forearm. Her .380 clatters to the ground. Mace
bodyslams him back against the steel tower, smashing her
palm up under his chin. His head raps off the metal.
Mace is like a she-panther. She rips the baton out of his
hands and cracks him once across the windpipe. He drops
to his knees, gagging and unable to breathe.
A shot hits the metal space-frame next to her head. She
spins to see Engelman, charging toward her. Before he can
fire again she drops behind the kneeling, gasping Spreg,
using him as a human wall. She clamps an arm around his
neck, controlling him, and pulls his tazer from his belt.
She shoots Engelman in the chest from 8 feet. He
convulses and drops instantly to the pavement, flopping
like a fish. She holds the current on him while she goes
over and kicks his gun away.
She takes Engelman's cuffs from his belt. Spreg glares at
her through the blood running into his eyes. She raises
All the way down! RIGHT NOW!!
He slowly drops to the pavement, face down. Now that
she's got them both proned out, she quickly handcuffs one
of Spreg's hands to one of Engelman's.
The crowd of partiers stares. Can't believe what they're
seeing. Mace takes Spreg's cuffs and attaches his other
wrist to the base of the tower. That's when THREE LAPD
COPS in riot gear burst through the surrounding crowd and
see a black girl crouching over two of LA's finest with a
police baton. The cops advance toward her.
Wait. Let me tell you what's going
The nearest shoots her with a tazer. She spasms and goes
to her hands and knees. One of the cops kicks her down.
She cries out, trying to explain, but she can't get the
breath as the batons start to fall. The crowd around them
watches fascinated, gasping.
Mace sees another cop arrive and start to uncuff Spreg.
They crack her with their batons, telling her to stay
down. Another one kicks her in the stomach.
A BLACK KID in the crowd leaps onto one of the kicking
And then they come out of the crowd... one, then three,
then half a dozen. Just normal people... black, white,
Latino people... that can't watch this happen any more.
They jump the cops, swarming them, wrestling them down.
It becomes a brawl.
Then cops are running in from everywhere. We see the
trigger point of a full-scale riot. Cops in full riot-
gear, with Lexan shields, push the crowd back, clearing a
space. A helicopter XENON comes straight down from above,
like the divine light of God.
Mace hugs herself, at the center of it, unable to get up.
Within seconds there are twenty cops there, and more on
the way, forming a human wall. They get the crowd settled
Through the phalanx of riot cops comes Palmer Strickland
and several ranking officers. He surveys the scene.
Strickland looks down at Mace and then at Spreg and
Engelman, who are getting to their knees, though still
handcuffed to each other and the steel tower. The beat
extends... Strickland unreadable, face stern as Moses.
He points at the two prone cops.
(to the nearest
These two are under arrest for
Strickland looks Spreg in the eye and holds up Lenny's
squid tape. Spreg and Engelman react, knowing they are
over. The helicopter Xenon gives the whole moment an
otherworldly quality. Like they are in some celestial
court of judgment.
Get some medical attention for this
Lenny pushes through from behind Strickland. He runs to
Mace and kneels next to her.
Are you okay?
A trickle of blood runs down her face. She nods weakly
and reaches for him. They hug, then they both wince in
pain. Mace sees the cops running in to arrest Spreg and
Engelman. One of them unhooks Spreg from the tower.
I got 'em, Lenny.
ENGELMAN LUNGES, grabbing a gun from the holster of the
closest cop. He waves them back with it. Then puts it in
his mouth and fires.
He topples against Spreg, spraying him with his spurting
blood. Spreg clutches him, lowering him to the ground,
bathing in his blood. You see him going insane, right at
that moment. His face is suddenly demonic.
SPREG, the street-monster cop, RISES IN SLOW MOTION. His
glare is fixed on Lenny and Mace. He has Engelman's gun
in one blood-drenched hand.
Lifting the dead weight of Engelman by the handcuff, he
begins to drag the body, lurching toward Mace. He keeps
the pistol down along his side. Spreg exists at the
center of a circle of cops who don't know what to do. He
has a gun so they can't rush him. But he's a cop, so they
can't shoot him. Several officers shout at him to drop
the weapon. You barely hear them over the pandemonium of
the crowd, the helicopter, the fireworks.
Like a scene from a nightmare the blood-drenched Spreg,
completely unhinged, lurches toward them. Engelman's body
slides over the ground, leaving a snail-track of blood a
YOU FUCKING NIGGER BITCH!!
He raises Engelman's pistol, points it at her and...
Lenny throws himself across her, turning his back to take
the fire, and...
POW POW POW! The LAPD executes Spreg in a hail of fire.
He drops like a sack of cement.
The smoke clears. Lenny blinks... realizing he is alive.
He faints. Mace shakes him, thinking he is shot. He
opens his eyes.
CUT TO SEVERAL MINUTES LATER. Mace and Lenny are being
escorted through the crowd by Strickland and a number of
cops who part the rowdy mob before them.
Lenny and Mace are both limping, bruised, cut up. Lenny's
arm is drenched with blood from his shoulder wound. They
support each other like two soldiers after a battle.
Mace sees Faith... FAITH, escorted by a couple of cops,
passing near them. She is in handcuffs and her eyes are
dull. Mace turns back to Lenny...
Are we under arrest?
Naw. They just have to ask us a
few questions... for about six
They pass DEATH, with the (plastic) BABY still in his
arms. Life out of Death in the endless continuum. Lenny
pushes the scythe out of the way so they can get past.
They reach a row of police cars and an ambulance. The EMT
guys run to Lenny, helping him painfully out of his suit
jacket. Strickland motions Mace toward a waiting squad
car. Lenny sees...
The CLOCK MIME, who smiles at him and puts his hands at
midnight. We hear a roar passing through the crowd. A
huge chanting and cheering, that becomes thunderous as
everyone begins to shout the countdown to midnight.
TEN! NINE! EIGHT!...
Lenny and Mace look around... the wonder of it sinking in.
SEVEN! SIX! FIVE!...
Mace and Lenny let it wash over them... the deliverance
FOUR! THREE! TWO! ONE! HAPPY NEW
The exultation of the moment flows through them as the
people lift their voices in a great cheer. Balloons are
released, confetti and streamers fly in a blizzard.
Couples grab each other and kiss passionately.
Hey, Lenny. We made it.
Yeah. We did.
She hugs him. Then pulls back. Friends... yes. And
always. But there's that line that she can't cross. Only
he can do that.
Get going. You're still bleeding.
See you downtown.
Yeah. See you there.
TRACKING WITH LENNY as he walks toward the ambulance.
They open the back door for him. The walk is
hallucinatory... with confetti falling like snow, and the
hysteria of the crowd. He looks back at Mace as the
paramedics help him up into the ambulance. The back doors
ON MACE, watching him go. A cop gently takes her arm,
opening the squad car door for her. She turns away, her
face sad amid the exultation of the crowd. She gets into
the back seat. The door slams. Strickland gets in next
to her. The driver starts the car. They start to move,
There is pounding on the glass, startling her, and...
The door is wrenched open...
A hand comes in, grabbing her arm, pulling her out...
Lenny. His eyes are full of emotion.
He grabs her in his arms, fiercely, and kisses her... like
there's no tomorrow. She grabs his head and won't let him
break, even if he wanted to, which he doesn't.
Strickland, in the car, rolls his eyes and looks at his
watch. Reflex. Because if there's one time you don't
need a watch, it's...
12:01 A.M. JANUARY 1, 2000
PULL BACK AND UP as Lenny and Mace stay locked together,
while the cops wait for them, and the world begins again.