INT. CARL'S FRONT OFFICE, CHEMICORP
- SECONDS LATER
Jeff and Kayla whirl around. Carl stands just behind them, a big, harshlooking man, MR. MANN (restrained, deliberate) beside him.
I forgot the report, Amy.
(to the kids)
What are you guys up to?
They say they want to talk to our employees
who live in their area so they can be chemical
The children shrink a little when Mr. Mann stands towering over them.
Interesting, you plan to be just like me when you
Doing a little detective work, huh?
Jeff can't speak; but, Kayla can.
It's part of our school project.
Ah, another project.
School's out. Jeff sweats bullets.
But this if for special credit. A vacation project.
Carl smiles at the girl's brassiness.
That's very good, Kayla; but,....
His eyes fix coldly on Jeff.
Why don't I help you guys some other time.
A storm is on its way. Go home before you're
caught in it.
Jeff and Kayla warily pass Carl and the huge Mr. Mann.
(whispers to Kayla)
We're coming back when they're all gone.
Mr. Mann, make certain they don't get lost
on their way out.
The children turn stiffly around to look up at the gentle, concerned gargantuan one last sickening time, then run.
INT. CARL'S OFFICE - LATER, SAME DAY
There is DISTANT THUNDER as JEFF and KAYLA ENTER quietly and snoop about Carl's office. He pulls a few PAGES FROM THE TRASH CAN. A NOISE. The kids freeze, look at each other, drop everything, and hide.
The NIGHT CLEANER ENTERS and methodically dusts everything to the rhythm of the CLASSICAL MUSIC BLARING FROM HIS HEADSET. Jeff cringes as the Cleaner EMPTIES THE TRASH CAN.
At their first opportunity, while the Cleaner conducts his invisible orchestra, the KIDS DUCK OUT.
"Authorities are on the scene of the [chemical]
spill and Chemicorp Chief Carl Kipling will make
a statement shortly."
INT. CARL'S OFFICE - SAME NIGHT
Carl FLICKS ON A DESK LAMP while he flops tiredly into his chair. He runs his hands over his rain-soaked face and hair as Mr. Mann paces back and forth in front of his boss's desk.
Leave or sit down.
Mann pulls off his RAIN HAT AND SLICKER and sits. Restless, he takes out his GUN, checks it. Rechecks it.
Do you mind?
Mann puts it away, looks down, sees something. He bends to retrieve it. He comes up with a PENLIGHT that he FLICKS ON AND OFF. Carl impatiently sticks out his hand for it, a frown furrows his face as he examines it under the desk lamp.
Sherlock Holmes. A little talk is in order.
Stay close, Mr. Mann, I might need you.
He slowly sits back in his chair as his face disappears into the shadows.
INT. NOBLE HOUSE, BACK ROOM - NEXT
Jeff rummages around the room, looks under cushions, behind a table. There. A DETECTIVE NOVEL. He seats himself in a big, cushy armchair, squirms, then finally settles in a comfortable position, upside down.
Jeff is oblivious as a DISTANT DOOR OPENS AND SHUTS.
Don't laugh, but I need back one of those books
I just returned.
Hearing Carl's voice, Jeff sits bolt upright.
CARL (continues O.S.)
Stop laughing, Frank, or you're giving me all the
brutal details on the "cousin blind date".
Frank quells his LAUGH WITH A COUGH OR TWO as Jeff leans to see into the other room. Precariously, he kneels on the chair's arm and can see Frank but not Carl.
CARL (continues O.S.)
Can you believe last night? My voice mail at
work AND at home is totally full.
It had to be an accident. Who could've done
THAT on purpose? Certainly not anyone I know.
Can...I know you got rules and stuff but can you
tell me something, anything...?
I know you're in the flames but...I...there's not
much yet. I asked Chris Johnson to let me know
if anything comes up about you.
Isn't he last night's date's cousin? Frank nods then both are silent.
CARL (continues O.S.)Carl steps into Jeff's view and hugs his friend. Tenuously balanced, Jeff recoils at the sight of the man with his father, and his knees slip off the edge. He tumbles down, hits the wall with a THUD, and lays there sprawled spread-eagle.
I gotta stay ahead of this thing before the board
takes my head, man, I....
Hey, I'll do what I can.
FRANK and CARL RUSH IN.
What're you doing in here?!
Jeff rubs his head as Carl stands over him.
What you do, kid, trip yourself?
You're making me crazy, Jeff. Even at home,
YOU could get yourself killed.
Frank shakes his head at the boy then turns on his heel.
Let me get that book.
FRANK EXITS and CARL FOLLOWS him out as Jeff rubs his head with one hand and his tender knees with the other.
CARL ENTERS LIKE A RUNAWAY TRAIN, grabs the startled boy by the shirt front, and shoves him against the wall. Limp, Jeff stares wide-eyed up into Carl's hostile tight lips. The husky, almost inaudible tones strike the child hard.
You gotta be careful, Sherlock. Real life is so
Jeff tries to play it cool, but his voice squeaks.
Carl, I don't understand wha---.
Carl suddenly lets go of Jeff's shirt and pins one side of the boy's face to the wall. His large hand almost covers the child's entire head, a finger presses menacingly on an eyelid.
Eyes are delicate things. I knew a nosy kid
whose eye was poked out while he played a
His hand slides slowly down tightening on the small twisted neck.
Curious, the same guy broke his neck a few
years later. Such an inquisitive fellow. Went to
It was nice. It was REALLY nice.
Carl slowly pulls back, his eyes ever on Jeff, as he BACKS OUT of the room. Jeff stays stuck to the wall, at a crooked angle, frozen with fear; his breath coming in gulps.
Here you go. Stay loose and just take care of
CARL POKES HIS HEAD BACK AROUND THE CORNER. Jeff jumps.
Jeff stares in shocked fear as CARL EXITS and the DISTANT SOUND OF THE FRONT DOOR OPENING AND CLOSING.
Jeff, grab your dirty stuff. I'm doin' laundry!
Poor Carl. I really feel for him.
Jeff tries to speak but can't. He takes a deep breath and confidence glows from him again. For a moment. His legs give out as he slips downward and becomes a spineless heap on the floor.