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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

unproduced screenplay: ‘Cat & Mouse’ Part 6

(Cat & Mouse begins here)

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EXT. DRIVEWAY – THE AGENT’S HOUSE – FLASHBACK – NITE

The Agent’s personal car, Virginia plates, pulls into the driveway of a darkened house on a wooded hillside.

An SUV, Virginia plates, is neatly parked near the house.
INT. THE AGENT’S HOUSE

The Agent closes the front door quietly. The house is dark.

IN THE UPSTAIRS HALL

The Agent stops quietly at the bedroom doorway to see his wife asleep in their bed, her back to him.

IN THE BEDROOM

The Agent, stripped to his shorts, climbs quietly into the bed.

He lies down, faces away from his wife, tries not to disturb her.

She stirs and rolls over to lay her hand on his arm.

  • WIFE
  • I saw the news.
  • THE AGENT
  • You know that I’m… You know.
  • WIFE
  • I know. What is this, eight?
  • THE AGENT
  • Nine.
  • WIFE
  • I’m sorry.
  • THE AGENT
  • He left her on the school playground for the other kids to find this morning.
  • WIFE
  • God.
  • THE AGENT
  • How else can you process that kind of information and still stay sane?

She snuggles closer to him, his back still to her, and curls her arm around him.

She caresses his chest, kisses his shoulder gently, consoles him.

  • WIFE
  • I know why you have to be gone all the time, but I wish you didn’t.

He says nothing.

Her touch grows more sexual, more urgent.

He closes his eyes as if in pain. He still does not turn to face her.

  • WIFE
  • Remember what we talked about?
  • THE AGENT
  • Of course.

She continues to caress him.

  • WIFE
  • We can’t wait forever.

He shrugs her hands off.

  • THE AGENT
  • For Christ’s sake, not now, please.
  • WIFE
  • Okay.

She draws back to her side of the bed and turns her back on him once again.

END FLASHBACK

INT. MOTEL #3 ROOM – NITE

The room is dimly lit. The Agent lies in bed, talks quietly on his cell phone.

  • THE AGENT
  • Remember what we talked about?… I’m sorry we got interrupted… Of course I still want to, it was just, then… I know, and you were great, you’re the best… No, I wouldn’t let you do it all alone… This’ll all be over soon, I can feel it. And then I’ll come home.

INT. RURAL COLORADO POLICE STATION – DAY

A slow day. The bored young officer flips around the TV. Every channel he flips to shows the same scene: the funeral of the jogger victim.

The Cop watches out of the corner of his eye while he reads the newspaper — headline: STRANGLER VICTIM TO BE LAID TO REST.

  • JUNIOR OFFICER
  • Golly, I love that satellite. CNN, MSNBC, FOX, BBC and the Spanish news station — 400 channels of the same thing.
  • THE COP
  • Try the paper.
  • JUNIOR OFFICER
  • Same difference.
  • THE COP
  • Try the funnies.

Flip, flip, flip: angles on mourning townspeople, local cops, the Feds, the grieving widower in his Navy dress uniform.

  • THE COP
  • Wait. Go back.

The younger cop flips back just in time for a closeup:

THE AGENT AND THE JOURNALIST

off to one side of the cemetery, talk and survey the scene.

  • THE COP
  • Huh.
  • JUNIOR OFFICER
  • What’s that, boss?
  • THE COP
  • That’s the profiler who ran the conference in Milwaukee.
  • JUNIOR OFFICER
  • Busy guy.
  • THE COP
  • Yeah.

Flip, flip, flip: a minister, a coffin, flowers.

  • JUNIOR OFFICER
  • Say, you get that game mounted, from your little hunting trip after Milwaukee?
  • THE COP
  • It’s not really the mounting kind.
  • JUNIOR OFFICER
  • Gonna have to show me sometime.
  • THE COP
  • You bet.

EXT. CEMETERY

As seen on TV. The whole town seems to have turned out for one of their own.

The periphery of the gathering is ringed by satellite trucks. Local cops keep the press at a distance.

The Journalist stands with the Agent, not far from the graveside ceremony.

The widower tosses a handful of dirt onto the lowered coffin.

The Journalist wears a 35mm camera around his neck, snaps the occasional picture of the scene.

The Agent scans the crowd suspiciously.

  • THE AGENT
  • He’s here, goddammit. I know he’s here. I can practically taste him.
  • THE JOURNALIST
  • They haven’t had much luck at other funerals, have they?

The Agent looks away, searches the crowd.

The Journalist snaps a discreet picture of him.

  • THE AGENT
  • They didn’t have my eye there.
  • THE JOURNALIST
  • How do you pick out a guy who blends in?
  • THE AGENT
  • I’ll know him when I see him.

The Agent watches as the dazed widower greets the mourners who come forward to pay their respects — one of which is the Fan.

The Agent, riveted, watches the Fan shake the widower’s hand.

The Fan walks a few steps away, then turns and snaps a photo of the widower and the open grave.

  • THE AGENT
  • (to himself)
  • He takes photographs…
  • THE JOURNALIST
  • What?

The Agent is off. He sprints across the cemetery.

The Fan, startled, sees the Agent heading his way, looks around, and bolts straight toward the mob of TV cameras.

Local cops and other agents, their attention drawn by the commotion, race toward the Fan.

The Agent is on the Fan first. He knocks the Fan to the ground right in front of a dozen videocameras.

The Fan’s disposable camera flies from his hand and lands in the grass.

A hundred flashbulbs erupt at once, and a chorus of reporters’ voices demand information.

The Fan, spreadeagled on the ground, grins weakly as the Agent snaps cuffs on him.

  • THE FAN
  • You got me.
  • REPORTERS
  • (simultaneous)
  • Is he the Strangler? / Can we get a statement, Agent? / What tipped you off? / What’s he wanted for?

The Agent drags the Fan to his feet.

A cop hands the Agent the disposable camera.

  • THE AGENT
  • Gee, I just wanted to ask him where he got this nice camera. We’ll be more comfortable talking down at the station.

The Fan looks back over his shoulder to smile at the news cameras as he’s led away.

INT. POLICE STATION

The grinning Fan sits by himself, not at all upset by the shackles that cuff both his hands to a chair in a far corner.

A bulletin board near him is covered with crime-scene photos of the dead jogger.

Cops and FBI huddle on the other side of the room.

The Agent confers with the Police Chief and the Assistant Director.

  • ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
  • He hasn’t asked for a lawyer?
  • THE AGENT
  • No. He hasn’t said anything at all. But he’s enjoying this. He’s really enjoying this.
  • POLICE CHIEF
  • What made you think he might be our guy?
  • THE AGENT
  • The camera. No one but media takes pictures at a funeral… except maybe our killer, as a souvenir.
  • ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
  • We’re running his prints, and we’ll have his car soon. We’ll know everything there is to know about him by morning.
  • THE AGENT
  • We need to know… The killer had to have known the first victim, back in Milwaukee. This didn’t start out as a spree, and she wasn’t picked at random. We have to find a connection, if there is one, between her and him to make this stick.
  • ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
  • We’re on it. You, I’m ordering to take the night off.
  • THE AGENT
  • Sir–
  • ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
  • Get outta here.

Behind them, the Fan eyes the crime-scene photos on the bulletin board with relish. He shouts from across the room.

  • THE FAN
  • Hey! Can I have one of these when you guys are done with them?

EXT. HONKY-TONK BAR – NITE

The blare of a jukebox oozes out into the night.

The Journalist’s Beetle pulls into the crowded parking lot.

INT. HONKY-TONK BAR

A comfortably blowsy hangout, busy with a friendly local crowd and loud with jukebox tunes.

The Agent, dressed more casually than his typical dark suit, sits at the bar, nurses a whiskey. He’s a tad more relaxed, taps his toe to the music a little. But hunched over his drink, he exudes an aura of don’t-touch-me, and the stools are either side of him are empty.

He watches the pretty BARTENDER (white, female, 30ish), her long brown hair tied into a ponytail with a bright red silk scarf.

She catches his eye and smiles at him.

He looks away, down into his drink.

INT. THE AGENT’S HOUSE – FLASHBACK – NITE
The Agent closes the front door in the foyer. The living room beyond is half-dark.

His wife is curled up on the couch, a glass of scotch in her hand and a half-empty bottle on the coffee table in front of her.

NEAR THE COUCH

His wife watches without expression as the Agent, standing over her, picks up the bottle and considers it ruefully.

  • THE AGENT
  • Again?

She shrugs.

  • THE AGENT
  • Why?
  • WIFE
  • I’m just… keeping myself company. You haven’t touched me in weeks. A girl’s gotta stay warm somehow.
  • THE AGENT
  • I know. I’m sorry.
  • WIFE
  • I know.
  • THE AGENT
  • I just… can’t. If you’d seen what this guy does to those kids… Not that I’d want you to see…
  • WIFE
  • That’s not gonna happen to our child… if we ever get there.
  • THE AGENT
  • No, it’s not that–

He pauses uncomfortably.

  • THE AGENT
  • I can’t even think about– When I see what gets this guy hard–

She watches him sympathetically.

  • THE AGENT
  • It makes me sick to my stomach, just thinking about– I can’t… I just can’t…

He stares helplessly at his wife, but she says nothing.

  • THE AGENT
  • It’s not you.
  • WIFE
  • I know.

She sips from her drink.

END FLASHBACK

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