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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

unproduced screenplay: ‘Cat & Mouse’ Part 8

(Cat & Mouse begins here)

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INT. POLICE STATION – CONTINUOUS

The TV in the station cuts away from live coverage of the Agent’s press conference. Cops and agents near the TV wander away, discouraged by the turn of events.

The Agent enters.

The Journalist sits on a desk, turns away from the TV. He rises and sways from sudden vertigo. His hand shoots to his head as he winces in pain.

  • THE AGENT
  • One too many last night?
  • THE JOURNALIST
  • About ten too many, I think.
  • THE AGENT
  • I guess a pretty bartender is good for business. Or are you always the hard-drinking type of journalist?
  • THE JOURNALIST
  • She was cute, wasn’t she?

The Agent says nothing.

  • THE JOURNALIST
  • So, do you really think the killer was watching that?
  • THE AGENT
  • Oh yeah. He’s following the news, wondering how close we’re getting.
  • THE JOURNALIST
  • That’s pretty twisted.
  • THE AGENT
  • Sometimes these guys even try to ingratiate themselves with the investigators, really try to get the inside scoop.
  • THE JOURNALIST
  • You mean like by making friends with the cops?
  • THE AGENT
  • It’s been known to happen.
  • THE JOURNALIST
  • Jesus.

INT. THE AGENT’S HOUSE – BEDROOM – FLASHBACK – MORNING

The Agent, dressed for work, sits on the edge of the bed, watches his wife sleep. She lies on her belly, her head turned away from him. He strokes her long hair.

She stirs but does not turn to him.

  • WIFE
  • Mmmm?
  • THE AGENT
  • They found him.
  • WIFE
  • Hmmm?
  • THE AGENT
  • He’s a paramedic, the sick bastard. There was another kid this morning, and God, he responded to the 911 call. Started asking all sorts of questions of the cops on the scene, and they knew my profile and they got suspicious. He hasn’t even asked for a lawyer.
  • WIFE
  • Does this mean I get my husband back?
  • THE AGENT
  • Absolutely. I have to go help them with the interrogation, but I’ll be home tonight.
  • WIFE
  • I’ll be here.

He bends over her, kisses the back of her head, strokes her hair. Then he rises to leave.

At the door, he looks back at her.

THE AGENT

He smiles. His eyes shine with love.

END FLASHBACK

INT. POLICE STATION – CONTINUOUS

  • THE JOURNALIST
  • So what happens when this guy does turn himself in, and trusts you to take care of him? You gonna be pals with him?
  • THE AGENT
  • I’m gonna throw his ass in jail. And then I’m gonna help the prosecutors in Wisconsin and Iowa and Nebraska convict him and put him behind bars for as many years as possible.
  • THE JOURNALIST
  • So he gets to live?

A phone RINGS in the background.

  • THE AGENT
  • Maybe not. Nebraska has the death penalty.
  • THE JOURNALIST
  • But there’s no guarantee he dies.
  • THE AGENT
  • No.
  • POLICE CHIEF
  • Agent?

The Agent turns to see the Police Chief, who holds a phone receiver toward him.

  • POLICE CHIEF
  • There’s a call for you, sir.

INT. RURAL COLORADO POLICE STATION – CONTINUOUS

The Colorado Cop holds the phone receiver to his ear.

  • THE COLORADO COP
  • Agent, I’m calling from the Holyoke, Colorado, sheriff’s office over in Phillips County.

INT. POLICE STATION – CONTINUOUS

  • THE AGENT
  • (on the phone)
  • That’s not all that far from here, is it?
  • THE COLORADO COP
  • (over the phone)
  • No, sir, it sure isn’t. Just a short hop over the border.
  • THE AGENT
  • What can I do for you?
  • THE COLORADO COP
  • It’s more what I can do for you, sir. I saw on the news that you had to let your suspect go. I think I may have some information pertaining to the case.
  • THE AGENT
  • What’ve you got?
  • THE COLORADO COP
  • I’d much rather speak to you in person, sir. Would you mind if I took a drive over to you?
  • THE AGENT
  • Not at all.
  • THE COLORADO COP
  • I’ll see you soon, then.
  • THE AGENT
  • All right.
  • THE COLORADO COP
  • Oh, and sir, I really enjoyed your profiling seminar in Milwaukee. It was very enlightening.
  • THE AGENT
  • Glad to hear it.

The Agent hangs up the phone.

A young officer bursts into the station.

  • YOUNG OFFICER
  • It’s her– down at the tavern– oh God, she’s dead like the others!

The Agent snaps around to glare at the Journalist, who’s stunned.

INT. THE AGENT’S CAR – MINUTES LATER

The Agent drives toward the honky-tonk, the Journalist beside him. The flashing lights of police cars precede and follow them.

  • THE JOURNALIST
  • God, I must have been the last one to see her alive.
  • THE AGENT
  • Yes.
  • THE JOURNALIST
  • She was… God, she was like my sister.
  • THE AGENT
  • How?
  • THE JOURNALIST
  • My sister, she was always taking someone under her wing, taking in strays. Men, I mean. Guys with broken hearts, she could just pick ’em out, she just wanted to take care of them.
  • THE AGENT
  • And you were the stray last night?
  • THE JOURNALIST
  • I guess. I mean, no! Jesus, I didn’t kill her!
  • THE AGENT
  • Didn’t kill who? Your sister?
  • THE JOURNALIST
  • Yes! No, I didn’t kill her. Or the bartender. Christ.

EXT. RURAL ROAD – CONTINUOUS

The Agent’s car, in the middle of a line of FBI and police cars.

Lights strobe, sirens wail.

They speed along the road, followed closely by a fleet of satellite news trucks.

EXT. HONKY-TONK BAR – MINUTES LATER

The parking lot is rimmed with police and FBI cars and evidence vans, not treading on any possible evidence in the lot itself.

One lone civilian car — the Bartender’s — is parked in a far corner of the lot.

A line of cops in the road keeps the swarming media at bay.

NEAR THE BAR

A wooded area stretches out behind the building. The young officer who burst into the police station leads the Police Chief, the Assistant Director, and the Agent around the back of the bar, into the trees.

  • THE AGENT
  • Who found her?
  • YOUNG OFFICER
  • I– I did, sir.
  • THE AGENT
  • What happened?
  • YOUNG OFFICER
  • I drove by earlier and saw her car in the lot, so I figured I’d stop and say hi. Figured she was opening up for the day. She– she kinda liked me.

EXT. HONKY-TONK BAR – FLASHBACK

The young officer tries the door of the bar, but it’s locked. He knocks, hard.

  • YOUNG OFFICER
  • Anybody home?

SIDE OF THE BAR

The young officer walks around the side of the building, toward where the Bartender’s car is parked.

Her red scarf lies on the ground next to her car. He picks it up.

  • YOUNG OFFICER
  • What the…?

He sees footprints on the ground, steps back to avoid trampling them. He follows them around to the back of the building. The footprints enter a path into the trees.

END FLASHBACK

ON THE PATH

The Agent, the Assistant Director, the Police Chief, and the young officer walk down the path.

  • YOUNG OFFICER
  • She’s just back here. Watch those prints there.
  • THE AGENT
  • You have the scarf?

The young officer pulls it from a pocket and hands it to the Agent, who caresses it.

  • THE AGENT
  • He’s getting sloppy.
  • ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
  • He’s getting more daring. He’s got a real taste for it now.
  • YOUNG OFFICER
  • Here she is.

The Agent stares at:

THE BARTENDER

posed in death on the ground, like she’s peacefully asleep, like the other victims.

  • THE AGENT
  • Why didn’t you call it in? Why didn’t you use your radio to call us out here? Why’d you race back in your car?
  • YOUNG OFFICER
  • I– I don’t know, sir.

The young officer bursts into tears.

IN THE PARKING LOT

The Journalist leans against a squad car, talks to a local cop.

The Agent strides toward them from behind the bar, the Police Chief and the Assistant Director at his heels.

  • THE AGENT
  • (to the cop, nodding at the Journalist)
  • Arrest him.
  • COP
  • What?
  • POLICE CHIEF
  • What?

The Police Chief looks to the Assistant Director for confirmation. The Assistant Director looks to the Agent. The Agent nods.

  • THE AGENT
  • Do it.

No one moves. The Journalist is stunned into silence.

The Agent swings the Journalist around bodily, seizes the Journalist’s wrists, and slaps cuffs on him.

  • THE AGENT
  • You’re under arrest for the murder of 13 women.

The Agent leans in over the Journalist’s shoulder and whispers in his ear.

  • THE AGENT
  • I’m gonna call my wife and tell her that it’s over, and that I’m coming home. And you’re gonna get a needle in your arm.

The Agent shoves the Journalist toward the cop.

  • THE AGENT
  • Get him out of my sight.

The Agent stalks off toward his car.

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