MONTAGE - NETWORK NEWS FOOTAGE
A distinguished middle class woman displays her full length fur for garage sale. A displaced homemakers' and battered wives' shelter. Women with small children live on the street. Shivering, abandoned purebred dogs. Empty houses. Etc.
SAM (v.o.)INT. BECKSTON MASTER BEDROOM - PREDAWN
In the late '80s, the president's smooth
economic plans sputtered and failed. The
market fell in places like Houston's oil
district. Fathers lost jobs. Mothers sold
their furniture for food and rent. Dignity
waned as parents, who could no longer protect
and provide for their families, lost their
homes to public auctions. With mortgages
they couldn't meet, some just packed up and
SAM (v.o. continues)Surprising him, LaDonna gracefully strokes his face, his hair, his shy, reluctant, grateful cheek. First a tentative kiss followed by a full one, then he takes her back to bed.
Many of us gage our personal identities
by how others perceive us and by what we
possess. I'd always known others believed
that, but not me. With my parents' guidance,
I've always known Sam Beckett ...until now.
INT. BECKSTON MASTER BEDROOM
SAM and LADONNA under the bed covers. Embracing. Asleep. LUZ SITS at the foot of their bed, staring at them. LaDonna wakes and smiles at her.
LADONNAThe parents laugh and, for the first time, Luz smiles broadly. She crawls forward, kisses them both, and leaves.
SAM & LUZ
LADONNASam sits up to leave, looks back at LaDonna, and falls back, pulling the cover over both their heads.
You'd better get goin'. I don't want to
hear any talk about Deb writin' you up for
INT. OFFICE LAB - DAY
At their terminals, SAM and KAZ check pages and pages of printouts.
KAZThey both laugh until Kaz' laughter trails off as ALVAREZ ENTERS with pad in hand.
...but it's the Jetties.
Night fishing along the edge of the ship
Now's not a good time.
It never is; besides, me and Rink are
You are such a big kid.
Yeah, that's why Trina left me.
ALVAREZTHE OBSERVER ENTERS, he smiles at Alvarez until he sees something's wrong.
Gentlemen, I'm sorry but you're going to
have scratch and redo the entire run.
We have forty more wells shutting down.
Why didn't you tell us sooner?
I just found out myself.
Kaz frowns and tries to cool things down.
"Just"?! I don't believe this!
KAZSam seethes, silently.
Which wells and when do they go down?
(surreptiously to Sam)
Hey, I'm the hot one. Cool off.
KAZ (continues)Sam glares at the Observer over Alvarez' shoulder while she continues to assess Sam, until Kaz breaks her attention.
Are you all right?
KAZHe picks up her notepad, looks approvingly at them, shows them to Sam who snatches the pad from Kaz.
Yes, well, drop everything else because I
need your first run ASAP.
(with Texas accent that
stays with him)
Well, "ASAP" I need you to leave us alone
and stop tryin' to separate me from my job
AND my wife.
What's with the drawl, Sam?
Sam doesn't hear him.
ALVAREZHe throws the pad down at her feet, and gestures menacingly at her.
Henry, you don't want to do this.
Don't tell me what I want to do! I'm in
charge of my life, not you!
SAM (continues)SAM STORMS OUT.
Stay away from LaDonna and the kids.
OBSERVERThe OBSERVER EXITS. Kaz and Alvarez finally look askance at each other.
KAZThe comment slips out too fast to stop but not too fast to regret. She ignores it.
You keep coming down on us...him. He's got
enough problems without that.
We've all got problems. Don't you think I
hear the gossip about my brother-in-law AND
his best friend still being here when others
are still flying out the door?
That makes you top "man" around---.
ALVAREZSilence. He swallows with difficulty. More silence as he squirms a little.
The "bottom line" is they want more cuts.
First staff, then health and life benefits.
You're doing all right.
(plain, direct, ironic)
Am I? I'm overworked and overdue for a
raise or two myself. Plus, I know where
the unemployment office is, too.
KAZShe rubs the finger under her wedding band.
How about I buy you lunch, Boss?
Oooo, brown nosing. That could make the
(staring into her eyes)
I like brown noses.
ALVAREZAs she walks towards the door, Kaz scoops up her notepad, flops into his chair, and slams the pad down on the table. She pauses at the sound but goes on.
I...I've already got a lunch date I can't
miss, maybe another time?
"Another time". I understand.
Then, he suddenly cranes his neck to take one last look at her as she leaves. After she's gone, he repeatedly pounds his fist into a file cabinet.
EXT. HIGH SCHOOL BALL FIELD - DAY
BALL PLAYERS run patterns as the COACH observes. RINK is very good, very aggressive. Too aggressive as he and another boy collide. They part, skirmish, collide again. FIGHT. The Coach and other Players pull them apart.
Rink doesn't like the Coach's interference and in his rage strikes and misses because of the Coach's agility. He gives the boy the thumb to get out now. With his anger barely under control, RINK EXITS.
INT. BECKSTON HOUSE - SAME TIME
LADONNA places ANOTHER PAWN TICKET and MONEY on the dresser beside a FRAMED FOOD STAMP WITH A CIRCLE AND BAR ACROSS IT like a "no smoking" sign. She turns to exit. PHONE RINGS. She returns and answers.
LADONNAHanging up, she holds her head in her hands for a while then wearily exits.
Geez, Deb, I'm just leav---.
Oh!. How are you?
What? Repeat that, please?
Is she all right?
It...it won't happen again.
I know. That's understandable. I'll
Yes! I'll make sure and tell him.
EXT. HOUSTON ICE HOUSE EATERY "MAMIE LEE'S" - LUNCHTIME
A SIGN: "NO PROFANITY PLEASE". An OVERHEAD FAN turns slowly as ICE SLIVERS ARE CHIPPED FROM A BLOCK while VARIOUS PEOPLE sitting at tables eat, play dominoes, read the HOUSTON CHRONICLE.
ALVAREZ and LADONNA are in mid-meal, LaDonna picks at her food. At a distance, SAM STANDS WATCHING THEM. He strides towards them but stops abruptly when realizes his hands are shaking and flexing involuntarily. With a quick look back at the women, he EXITS RUNNING LIKE A MAN CHASED BY DEMONS.
THE OBSERVER ENTERS and looks around.
Ah, I haven't seen an ice house since I
transferred to Edwards'.
(to unseen speaker)
What? Oh, yeah.
(looks around more thoroughly)
Gooshie! You guys screwed up, Sam's not
Swiss cheese computer.
(beat, a piping whine from
Well, excuse me, Ziggy the Perfect.
Then, please do that and let me know when
you lock in the right coordinates.
(looking at LaDonna and Alvarez)
In the meanwhile, I'll just make do.
LADONNAThe Observer scrunches his face as the women both laugh. LaDonna rubs her brow and forces a sudden, false smile.
Yes, but he doesn't think anyone knows.
Well, I certainly didn't; especially,
since he's always so nasty to me.
I guess, it's nice to know men become
more mature as they get older, huhn?
LADONNAAlvarez' eyebrows express a silent "so what" then furrow. In the following silence, LaDonna's teary eyes look off into the distance.
Kaz is really a sweet guy.
LADONNA (continues)Alvarez pulls a small bottle of aspirin from her bag.
Rink and Alison---.
With the red hair?
---went to a movie last night.
They argued about...nothin'. D.A., Rink
grabbed her and held her wrists so tight
there's fingermarks on them.
He told you this?
No, her mother called.
I saw the girl myself on my way here.
What're you going to do?
I don't know.
You have to DO something.
DO anything. Figure something out before---.
I can't think anymore and my feelings are
all over the place!
Those feelings've given me great advice
many times. Listen to them. What do they
(slight, self-conscious laugh)
If he heard us right now...he'd call it
betrayal. God, my head's splittin'.
ALVAREZLaDonna throws her hand up for no further discussion.
The men I work with always say, "Take a
I'm so tired. I can't keep holdin' it all
Like your mother's still doing. Don't think
the kids can't feel the pain you're both in.
Do what you have to do. Let go. Leave him.
It'll save lives and souls, when you do.
ALVAREZ (continues)LaDonna nods curtly. Alvarez grabs the aspirin and swallows some, leaving the rest. As she rises to go, they make eye contact.
Whatever you need, I'll be there.
LADONNAAlvarez agrees with a halfhearted nod.
I'll be fine, besides, he's madder at you
Don't worry, my lovely Jalapena. Sam'll
take good care of her. Gooshie!
EXT. PARK - DAY
SAM lies under a tree, a deep scratch under his eye. THE OBSERVER walks up.
OBSERVERSam stretches lazily.
Boy, are you getting hard to find!
(still has accent)
Oh, hi, Al.
"Oh, hi, Al"? Lives hang in the balance,
the whole project's about to crash and
lose you in time forever, and that's all
you can say?
SAMThe Observer scrutinizes his friend from toe to head.
You're supposed to be solving problems and
you ask that? What are you doing here?
When any of us got angry, Mom and Dad would
send us out to be alone in the fresh air.
Not a fun thing in the dead of winter in
Indiana. I was runnin' when I got her. Now,
I'm feelin' like me, again.
OBSERVERThe Observer shrugs. Sam sits up.
Where'd you get the scratch?
I ran into a low tree branch.
Are you sure?
"Am I sure"?
SAM (continues)Sam stops his own words.
(tired of repeating it)
I didn't mean to hit her. It was an
OBSERVERSam catches himself, again.
But, she didn't "accidently" hit you.
She made me mad---.
I was havin' some trouble, Al. I was doing
the total opposite of what I wanted; but,
my head's as clear as crystal now.
Are you sure?
Yes! LaDonna'll be fine. I know it.
INT. HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOM - EVENING
A WOMAN PATIENT on a table. A HOSPITAL ADMINISTRATOR, TOM (40s, haggard), looks through I.D. papers as he finishes his paperwork.
An ORDERLY, RONNIE (tough 20s woman, inquisitive), cleans up the substantial mess from the emergency procedures (BLOOD, NEEDLES, PAPER, CLOTH, etc.), looks at the patient's MEDICAL CHART.
TOMRonnie leans over the body.
When did orderlies become doctors?
(checks the time)
Why can't I ever get outta here on time?
RONNIERonnie smugly taps on Tom's paperwork.
You didn't have a chance, did yah? Lucky.
Same thing happened to my si...this person
I knew. Busy parking parking garage, you'd
think somebody'd help her, or, at least,
spot her sooner.
You said, "knew".
RONNIE (continues)Tom glares at her then rummages through the personal items, triumphantly retrieving an INSURANCE CARD.
I bet they won't even take care of her.
TOMTom shuts his eyes in frustration.
An excellent insurance company.
But, is this particular policy still good?
TOMHer face swelled with cuts and bruises and stuffed with tubes and tape, the PATIENT IS ALVAREZ.
I'll never get outta here.
You want to hear something really sick?
Do I have a choice?
My cousin told me just Monday they'd laid
off some of the security out there.