INT. OFFICE LAB - LATE AFTERNOON
KAZ and SAM work at their computers. The printer spits out pages and pages as they continue keyboarding. They're laughing.
...so Skanke's strolling, naked as you please,
across Carnegie Mel's campus and---.
Kaz's attention rivets on the sight, through the partitions, of DEBORAH ALVAREZ (36, Hispanic, independent) walking briskly as she confidently shows the lab to IMPORTANT VISITOR(S).
Look at that and look at us.
Sam looks around.
We had our own departments and now we're
"downsized", busted, doing technician work. Hell,
some tech's cursing us for taking his job.
It's just the luck of the draw. If you had her job,
you'd probably do what she's done.
I got your "luck of the draw". She doesn't notice
or care about us. You're family and she doesn't...
hasn't had to sell half her furniture to keep her
home. But, I know that doesn't get under your skin,
just a little.
Your house is worthless!
You never lis.... I just hope you never go the
public auction route, too.
Kaz's face is filled with indecipherable frustrations as he stares at Alvarez.KAZ (continues)
Does your sister-in-law bring dinner to her
poorer relations, or what?
Sam reacts to this new relationship twist but the COMPUTER PRINTER GRINDS AND JAMS. They both scramble to fix it until Kaz, infuriated, throws up his hands and kicks the printer stand over.
INT. LUZ'S BEDROOM - AFTERSCHOOL, SAME DAY
Beside the GERBIL in his cage, LUZ writes "4 x 7 = 28" over and over. Hearing VOICES, she goes to and stares, mesmerized, out her open window. The OBSERVER, watching her, crosses to see what she sees below....
EXT. BECKSTON BACKYARD - SAME TIME
LADONNA works intently in her vegetable garden, ALVAREZ beside her.ALVAREZLADONNA
Don't say "nothing's changed" again or I'll
Money's tight. As soon as things get better for
You can't wait that long, it's already been years.
Dona, last night, I had a feeling---.
I'm fine. Stop pickin' with me.
I'm not 'pick---. You're not you anymore.
LaDonna petulantly jabs at the soil.
Then, who am I?Alvarez briskly wipes her eye.ALVAREZ
The one who refused to see me for a whole
You're STILL mad about that?
LaDonna refuses to make eye contact.
I don't have to go out all the time! I'm not like
You could've let me in. Since then, the kids've
(looks her directly in the face)
You camouflage it well, but there's still a tiny
scar on your face.
Teeth clenched, LaDonna turns her face from scrutiny.LADONNA
Stop it! I told---.
What you wanted me to believe. But, I don't.
Let it go.
Perhaps, you should hit him back. Men
understand and respect that, like that piece of
guano at my last job.
I'm not you. I do things my way.
By being a punching bag? He'll kill or cripple
you and say he's sorry and cry big tears when
Don't die bit by bit, especially, in front of the kids.
It's better to be from a broken home than live like
This is my home not yours. It's not your business.
(contained but near tears)
Yes, it is. You and the kids are MY ONLY family.
When Keeler and I had our problems, you were
there; and stood by me through the surgery and
when he and...he and....
She can't finish.
The OBSERVER looks at LUZ who lays her weary head down on the windowsill.
We're havin' a few problems. That's all.
I know, it's all an accident and won't happen
You know, D.A., it's always a good rule of thumb
to mind your own business.
Alvarez raises her thumb for display.ALVAREZALVAREZ (continues)
"Rule of Thumb", from the not so old law that
said a man could beat his wife with a stick no
wider than his thumb. How kind.
She takes LaDonna's hand and compares it to her own.
A man's thumb is pretty wide, isn't it?
LaDonna abruptly pulls away, her chin raised proudly; however, her eyes suddenly widen at a view just past her sister's-in-law shoulder.LADONNALADONNA (continues)
You better go.
Alvarez roots herself right where she stands. LaDonna suddenly reaches for her and clings to her tightly.
I'll see you later. Honest.
Alvarez reluctantly turns and is startled to see SAM directly behind her, his eyes hot with anger.SAM
What're you doing here?
As she walks by, Sam roughly grabs her arm.SAMALVAREZ
Next time, call first.
She pulls away.
Yes, Warden, sir.She glances back at her sister and EXITS.SAM
What'd you talk about?
He scowls tightlipped.SAMLADONNA
Straight from work? She beat me to my own
LaDonna walks away towards the house with her vegetables. He strides to catch up and pass her, and blocks her path. Once. Twice.
We didn't talk about anythin' important.
Again he blocks her path.LADONNA (continues)
I know you think we're too close, but she's
S-still grievin' over little Donna and Keeler.
That's all, really.
Holding her gardening whiteknuckled, LaDonna smiles coyly at her husband who's totally humourless right now.LADONNA (continues)
Why don't we have dinner alone tonight? Luz
won't mind and Rink's goin' out.
Changing the subject?
Yes, you are.
No answer. He snatches her vegetables, throwing them down.SAM (continues)
That woman runs my life at work and then I
come home and she's running my house, too?!
I'm your husband, not her!
Yes, I know.
He steps menacingly close, towering over her.SAM
Sometimes, I don't think you do.
LUZ, suddenly, appears at the back door, pauses, purposefully falling down. She cries as loud as she can, never taking her eyes off her father.
LaDonna backs away from Sam towards Luz, grabs her up, and runs into the house.
Sam slowly follows. He angrily strikes the house on his way in. At a distance, the OBSERVER stands watching, deep in thought. He ACTIVATES THE HANDLINK; THE IMAGING DOOR OPENS AND HE LEAVES.
INT. FRONT DOOR, BECKSTON HOUSE - EARLY EVENING
RINK stands at the door.RINK
Mama, I'm goin'!
That's what your wearin'?
LADONNA ENTERS.RINKShe fusses with his clothes as he fidgets.
We're goin' to the movies not the Houston Grand.
You never know you....
(she smiles seriously)
Drive careful and give Alison a hug for me.
She's a good girl.
He raises his eyebrows to imply, "Can I go, now?" She peers into his young face.LADONNA (continues)
Your father's brains and looks, God help her.
He half turns, hesitates, returns to hug his mother. He EXITS.
INT. DINING ROOM - LATER, SAME EVENING
LADONNA hums as she fusses about the table as SAM ENTERS the dark, candlelit dinner space.SAM
Where's the notice for the house tax?
(sees the table)
(sees something on the floor)
A NOW/ERA BUTTON. Sam smiles at this slice of sexual politics and power.SAM (continues)
Where'd this come from?
LaDonna drops then refolds a napkin which fixes his attention on her, making her more agitated.LADONNA
I was goin' through that old stuff you said I
He turns the button compulsively over in his hands.SAM
Your life with me's not that awful, is it?
Money's still short. Crime's all over. Everyone's
got so many frustrations. It's...it's no one's fault.
You can't even give me a direct answer.
Some people, like Alvarez, are doing better
She's alone, now. We've the kids and the house.
We just need a little more money. It I get a job---?
I've got a job. I provide for this family.
But, a little extra---. Even two income families
are havin' trouble.
Read that at the checkout line?
You love her a lot, don't you?
Rabbit-like, her eyes flit around the room unable to tell if his questions are benign or full of menace. She braves the truth.LADONNA
Yes, I do.
Like a sister?
More than me?
Her eyes enlarge as again he stares at the NOW/ERA pin.LADONNAHe smiles slightly, noncommittally.
Deb's dear to me; but, you're my husband and
the father of my children.SAM
That's what I thought you'd say.
(conversational, but taut)
When are you going to stand up to me?
I...forgot the sauce.
She scoots for kitchen but he grabs her hand, making her gasp. Slowly, Sam turns it over, kissing her palm, he looks at her and smiles. He lets her go. Shaken, SHE EXITS.
In the KITCHEN, tensed from head to toe, LADONNA PACES furiously.
RESUME SCENE, DIFFERENT ANGLE
The OBSERVER signals to SAM.OBSERVERSam follows him away from the table.
Were you waiting for Luz to go to college?
Where've you been?
The Observer's hesitancy is nothing compared to Sam's impatient squirming.OBSERVERSAM
(eyeing Sam closely)
You gotta be careful, here. This guy, Henry S.
'Deuce' is a regular nozzle.
To you, everyone's a nozzle.
Yeah, so tell Gooshie. Beckston clocked the little
guy. His jaw's as big as a melon.
He's in a strange environment.
Who? Oh, Deuce.
No question of concern, Sam?
Sam, lost in thought, refocuses on his best friend.
How is he?
Sedation seemed the best bet. For Beckston.
Gooshie's fine, but, you can't understand a thing
he says now.
(a little annoyed)
Let's just say, he's calmed down, a lot. He's even
been suggesting new parameters for updating
the accelerator generator to Ziggy.
Quantum physics isn't his field.
It is now. Sort of like viciousness is now yours.
Excuse me?! What is it?! You keep staring at me!
You've been a little more...irritable than usual,
You're not your normal poster boy Scouts of
The Observer watches him even closer.OBSERVER
Sam, the synaptic ball game your two brains
are playing is affecting Ziggy. Just getting me
here, with you, has becom---.
Sam doesn't like the close inspection he's getting from the Admiral.SAM
No. You're not.
How would you know?
Who knows you better?
Well, you've been channeling your "evil twin",
making you a little too busy intimidating LaDonna
and scaring Luz to be objective about yourself.
This is my project! YOU DON'T WATCH ME!
Silence. LADONNA ENTERS with the SAUCE CONTAINER. She looks around suspiciously.
Seeing Sam stalk back to the table, she doesn't ask anything further. She keeps her eyes on him while the OBSERVER EXITS. Sam gently takes her hand. They both smile; hers twitching just a bit.
EXT. BECKSTON CAR - NIGHT
A redheaded girl, ALISON (16), tears stream down her cheeks while clutches the door as if for dear life. The driver's door is open. RINK FLOPS behind the wheel, SLAMMING THE DOOR. The whole CAR ROCKS. She sniffles. He stares straight ahead, starting the car.
INT. LUZ'S BEDROOM - LATER, SAME NIGHT
LUZ pets her GERBIL who sits in her lap.
At the sound of her father's voice, she loses control off the animal. It runs out and she frantically pursues.
Come back! Daddy'll get madder.
INT. BECKSTON HOUSE - SAME TIME
SAM searches feverishly though papers.
She pops her head around the corner.
I'm not going to ask you again. Where's
the tax notice?
I've taken care of it already.
How? With what?
An exterior DOOR CLOSES.
We sold the old stereo, remember? And---.
Chaos suddenly reigns as LUZ RACES IN and around the room after her animal, while LaDonna tries to catch them both.
RINK ENTERS just in time to see Sam grab and strike LaDonna. In the HUGE SILENCE, Sam freezes, his hand already drawn back to hit again.
LaDonna's eyes meet Sam's, she snatches herself free, running from the room. Luz runs after her, the child's SHRIEKS receding as the distance swallows them both.
Rink stands stark still, except his heaving chest and his fists as they clutch and unclutch.
How many more "accidents"? Why do you
do it? Why?!
Rink barrels past Sam.
Sam turns from the OBSERVER'S probing stare, only to recoil from HIS LOOK-ALIKE'S MIRRORED REFLECTION.
END OF ACT TWO
Quantum Leap: "Rule of Thumb", Act Three
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