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since 1997 | by maryann johanson

unproduced screenplay: ‘Cat & Mouse’ Part 9

(Cat & Mouse begins here)

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INT. THE AGENT’S OFFICE – FLASHBACK – NITE

The Agent has the phone receiver to his ear while he pulls down DC crime-scene photos from the bulletin board. The phone on the other end of the line rings.

  • WIFE
  • (over the phone)
  • Hello?
  • THE AGENT
  • (on the phone)
  • It’s over. It’s done.
  • WIFE
  • Oh, sweetheart, that’s wonderful.
  • THE AGENT
  • What’re you doing?

INT. THE AGENT’S HOUSE – KITCHEN

His wife unpacks groceries from a bag. She has the phone jammed between her shoulder and ear.

  • WIFE
  • Oh, I’ve been out buying some stuff for a little celebration tonight.

She sips from a nearly empty glass of wine as she finishes unpacking and surveys her shopping.

  • WIFE
  • Damn.

INT. THE AGENT’S OFFICE

  • THE AGENT
  • What is it?
  • WIFE
  • Oh, I just forgot something. I’ll have to run back out.
  • THE AGENT
  • Race you home?
  • WIFE
  • Mmmm. Hurry, my love.

The Agent closes his eyes in sheer delight at the sound of her voice.

END FLASHBACK

INT./EXT. THE AGENT’S CAR/RURAL ROAD

The Agent drives. Fast.

He flashes on:

EXT. BEHIND THE BAR – FLASHBACK

The Bartender lies dead on the dirt path, looking like she’s asleep.

END FLASHBACK

INT./EXT. THE AGENT’S CAR/RURAL ROAD

He drives. Faster.

He flashes on:

EXT. MILWAUKEE ALLEY – FLASHBACK

The Journalist’s sister, dead on the wet ground, posed as in sleep.

END FLASHBACK

INT./EXT. THE AGENT’S CAR/RURAL ROAD

He drives, furious, going nowhere.

INT. SQUAD CAR

The cop drives, the Assistant Director in the passenger seat. In the back, the Police Chief and the Journalist, his hands cuffed behind him.

The Assistant Director turns to look at the Journalist.

  • ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
  • I guess he just couldn’t bear to look at you for another minute.
  • THE JOURNALIST
  • He said he was gonna call his wife. Maybe that’s what he went to do.
  • ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
  • You misheard. His wife died last month. Car wreck.
  • THE JOURNALIST
  • What?

INT./EXT. THE AGENT’S CAR/RURAL ROAD

He drives, terrified.

He SLAMS on the brakes and the car fishtails to a stop, half off the road, with an enormous SQUEAL of rubber on asphalt.

He grips the steering wheel, knuckles white, and with a considered deliberateness, opens his mouth to

SCREAM…

EXT. HILLY VIRGINIA ROAD – FLASHBACK – NITE

The POV of a driver slowing as the car approaches a rain-slicked curve in the road. Flashing lights of emergency vehicles hidden around the curve cast weird shadows in the woods off either side of the road.

AROUND THE CURVE

The Agent’s personal car comes to a stop, blocked by police cars and fire trucks in the road.

A cop approaches the driver’s side of the Agent’s car.

  • COP
  • You may want to detour around, sir. We’ve got a pretty bad accident here.

The Agent flashes his badge.

  • THE AGENT
  • I live just over the hill. What’s going on?
  • COP
  • SUV went off the road. Speeding. Looks like she was drinking, too.
  • THE AGENT
  • She?
  • COP
  • Local woman, about 30. Maybe you know her–

The Agent is out of his car. He dashes through the emergency vehicles, their flashing lights in his face. He ignores the cries for him to stop from cops and EMS workers.

He comes to the edge of the road, where he sees:

A MANGLED SUV

His wife’s, crashed against a tree.

Her body-bagged body is loaded onto a stretcher.

A strangled CRY catches in his throat as he stares at the scene in anguish.

END FLASHBACK

INT. THE AGENT’S CAR – CONTINUOUS

His scream dies. He sits perfectly still, barely breathing.

LATER

The Agent talks into his cell phone.

  • THE AGENT
  • Dammit, where are you? Jesus, answer the phone…

INT. SQUAD CAR

As before.

  • THE JOURNALIST
  • His wife died a month ago, and he’s out here, working?
  • ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
  • Too bad for you, huh? If he hadn’t insisted on giving his seminar in Milwaukee as scheduled, even after… Well, then he wouldn’t have been there to get on your tail right from the start.
  • THE JOURNALIST
  • Wait… He was already in Milwaukee before the murders started?
  • ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
  • Yeah. Your dumb luck, asshole.

INT. POLICE STATION

The Agent and the Assistant Director confer.

  • THE AGENT
  • I don’t want to do this here. Omaha, maybe, the Field Office. Somewhere… My ground, not neutral territory like this place here.
  • ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
  • Are you sure it’s him? Where’s your evidence?
  • THE AGENT
  • Intuition. Instinct. I don’t know.
  • ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
  • Agent–
  • THE AGENT
  • We always suspected that the killer knew the first victim back in Milwaukee. He’s her brother. He didn’t come forward after her murder. He weaseled his way into the investigation. He’s been tracking me. I thought I was following him, but–
  • ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
  • All right. We’ll arrange for a car, get him back to Omaha.
  • THE AGENT
  • No. Let me take him. On my own.
  • ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
  • I can’t let you–
  • THE AGENT
  • Have I ever– I’ve never been wrong, have I? I’ve never let you down.
  • ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
  • No.
  • THE AGENT
  • Let me do this. Let me work on him. I– I need to understand why… I need to understand him.

EXT. POLICE STATION – A LITTLE LATER

The Colorado Cop pushes his way through the mob of reporters and cameras outside the station.

INT. POLICE STATION

The Agent leans wearily against a desk in the back of the station. The Police Chief approaches.

  • POLICE CHIEF
  • He’s ready.
  • THE AGENT
  • Thanks.
  • POLICE CHIEF
  • I don’t wanna go all jurisdictional on you, Agent–
  • THE AGENT
  • You’ll get him back. I promise. The Bureau appreciates your cooperation.

The Agent looks up to see:

THE COLORADO COP

enter the front door.

INT. MILWAUKEE LECTURE HALL – FLASHBACK

The seminar has ended. The Agent, at the lectern, is surrounded by a mob of eager cops, including the Colorado Cop, who hang on his every word.

  • THE AGENT
  • Would we have caught the DC Child Killer if he hadn’t barged his way into our investigation? Sure, yeah. These guys, they get cocky — they think they can taunt the cops with their cleverness. He was escalating, getting more daring. It was only a matter of time.

Shouts from the cops. One gets through.

  • COP
  • Let’s us buy you a drink.
  • THE AGENT
  • Great. Lead on.

END FLASHBACK

INT. POLICE STATION

As before.

  • THE AGENT
  • Let’s take him out the back way. The press is going wild out front.

He rises and moves toward the back door, away from the Colorado Cop, who stands near the front door, looking lost.

EXT. BACK OF POLICE STATION

The Agent ducks the Journalist, hands cuffed behind him, into the backseat of his car, passenger side. The Assistant Director slams the door.

  • THE AGENT
  • My cell phone’s not working. I’ll try to call you from the road somewhere.
  • ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
  • Just get yourself and him to Omaha in one piece.
  • THE AGENT
  • He’ll be fine.
  • ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
  • He’s not the one I’m worried about.

INT./EXT. THE AGENT’S CAR/RURAL ROAD

The car pulls onto the paved road from a dirt track several hundred yards away from the police station. It drives away in the opposite direction from which the press face.

The Agent meets the gaze of the Journalist in the rearview mirror.

  • THE JOURNALIST
  • I didn’t do this. I didn’t kill my own sister.

The Agent says nothing, and drives.

LATER

The Agent and the Journalist trade glances in the mirror. Silence hangs heavy in the air.

The Journalist stares out the window at the rural nothingness passing by.

  • THE JOURNALIST
  • You were in Milwaukee before my sister was killed, weren’t you?
  • THE AGENT
  • I was giving a seminar on criminal profiling. Ironic, isn’t it?
  • THE JOURNALIST
  • Are you always one step ahead of the bad guys?
  • THE AGENT
  • I caught you, didn’t I? And soon I get to go home.

The Journalist watches the Agent caress the photo of his wife taped to the dashboard. The Journalist looks away, out the window.

  • THE JOURNALIST
  • Oh my God… You told me you saw my sister’s body in the alley…
  • THE AGENT
  • Did I?

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