Monday, February 19, 2007
THE LONG PUSH continuation
(shrugs, steps up to her)
That was close, thought I’d have to sap you or something—
He kisses her, just lips, no tongue no arms.
(breaking the kiss, flushed) So much for wiles.
When you move it’s straight for the kill, isn’t it?
Just following your lead.
JODI (tugging his hand)
Well come on then, let’s go—
They head over to her car and climb in.
INT. JODI’S SEDAN MOVING – NIGHT
Jodi drives well, Brendan watches her. She bites her lip, distracted.
Would it be too much of a tease if I just dropped you off tonight?
No. Someplace you need to be?
What? No, no, I just... don’t want to rush it, you know?
Are you sure? I’ve been pretty forward—
It’s okay, really.
She gives him a grateful look, he smiles at her reassuringly.
51. EXT. BRENDAN’S HOUSE – NIGHT
Jodi’s sedan pulls to the curb, the engine shuts off. Brendan opens the car door to get out, Jodi grabs his hand.
She pulls him close and kisses him, long and hot.
(coming up for air, breathing hard)
So... is tomorrow too soon to see you again?
BRENDAN (also breathing hard)
Good. You know what they say about girls on a second date—
JODI (her sly smile)
Guess you’ll have to wait and find out.
(Brendan grins, climbs out) Bye.
He closes the car door, she starts the engine up and drives off, he waves, she turns the corner and is gone. Brendan’s face changes, like a mask falling away to something grim.
INT. BRENDAN’S BEDROOM – NIGHT
Brendan enters and shuts the door, agitated. He pulls off his tie, balls it up and tosses it on his desk. It lands near the list of contact numbers Nelly gave him for Steve.
Brendan picks up the list, sits on his bed, thinks. He pulls his phone over, dials, it rings at the other end.
STEVE’S VOICE (a recording)
Hi! You’ve reached Bendix Reality, I’m not here to take your call right now, but if you leave a message—
Brendan hangs up. He dials the second number, it rings.
Sure, that’s okay, that’s entirely okay, Brendan. It’s hard keeping your feelings inside, sometimes you just need to get it all out, you know what I mean?
Yeah, I do.
Listen, I was thinking...
JIMMY SMITH (O.C.)
Brendan turns and Jimmy punches him in the face. Brendan drops to the pavement, the phone receiver swings free, we hear little Steve sounds coming from it. Jimmy has wild eyes, whatever’s cooking him he’s barely keeping a lid on it.
BRENDAN (fingering his lip)
Brendan notices two other boys standing lookout behind Jimmy, all three wear letterman’s jackets.
BRENDAN (cont’d) And crew. Swell.
Got a message for you, punk. From Brad.
He couldn’t deliver it himself?
(hunkering down and reaching for Brendan)
You’re gonna be way worse off than him in about two seconds—
The receiver has stopped swinging, just dangling now, Jimmy’s head is right near it and we hear—
Brendan? What’s happening, Brendan? Brendan can you hear me—
Jimmy freezes. He stares at the receiver, awestruck. He looks at Brendan, awe and fear and hate swirling together. Jimmy stands abruptly and backs up, his boys look confused, he turns and walks away and his boys trot after him.
Brendan stares at the would-be goon squad, his eyes burn with anger. He stands, grabs the receiver – it’s still making Steve noises. Brendan shakes his head, racks the receiver on its hook, he’s about had it with not knowing the what’s going on. A heavy finger falls on his shoulder, he turns.
My office. If you can spare the time.
INT. TRUEMAN’S OFFICE – DAY
Brendan and Trueman sit across from one another, Trueman gets right to it.
I want to know what you know, and I want it now.
(Brendan rolls his eyes)
I just witnessed a fight between you and that other boy, and that’s an easy one-week suspension.
What?! That’s a trumped-up charge and you know it, I’d be back in class in a
day, two tops.
But it would go down on your permanent record. Last time I checked, it’s not a very admissions-friendly document you have there. (beat) I know you haven’t dropped this... whatever it is that’s going on, it’s not in your nature. Maybe we can help each other out. What have you got?
That’s it? That’s all I get?
I’ve got hooks in the water, I’m getting nibbles but no bites.
Was what I saw today a nibble?
TRUEMAN (shaking his head)
Yets and maybes, yets and maybes. You’ve done good by this office before, Frye, I’ve let you have your leash and you’ve made your moves. But let’s be clear: there’s no leash now. Nine out of ten doesn’t cut it, not on this one. Not for anybody.
BRENDAN (snapping to it)
Your neck’s on the block, isn’t it?
It’s not about that, it’s about two students—
Yes it is—
Two students committing suicide on school grounds, and that’s unacceptable. Look, I’m sorry for your friend—
TRUEMAN (also rising)
We’re done when I say so—
Brendan moves to the door.
You go out that door and you are done here, the suspension will just be the beginning.
Brendan opens the door, turns back to Trueman.
Jump it. Harvard wouldn’t know what to do with me anyway.
I wondered if you’d ever show, your name’s been on the list since day one.
I need your help.
Laura laughs, then laughs some more. Brendan stays flat affect, she finally stops.
You’re serious. Just like that. No greeting, no inquiring after my health. Something must be really pushing you, to come here.
A rumor. At least when I heard of it.
(shrugs) Why should I tell you?
I’ll change my story, give a new deposition. I’ll say what I did.
Laura laughs again, quietly.
Wow. You’re really something, you know that?
They can’t do anything to you if I tell them I planted the brick—
They can’t do anything to me now. Why do you think I’m still here and not tried, convicted, and Sing-Singed? Daddy may not be speaking to me, but he buys me the best attorneys. Worst case scenario, I get two years’ probation. And that’s if they don’t toss the case entirely. A jilted lover’s tale, a locker anyone could crack, and little old A-student me. I could get sprung tomorrow –
got any plans? She smiles a wicked smile at him, Brendan’s façade cracks, his brows knit with furious thought.
62. LAURA (cont’d)
You looked shocked. I can’t help it if you don’t read the papers.
Brendan takes out the scrap of paper and holds it to the glass: the complete list of names is written out, Laura glances at it.
I read the papers.
You want to know what they have in common, what links them. (studies the names)
Brad and Jimmy are on the football team, the baseball team, etcetera. May is major royalty. Heidi was royalty till she dropped out of school. Pete. (sighs) Pete had a crush on me in fifth grade, I used to walk past his house, make him crazy. His little sister would say, shame on you. Scamp.
(leans back, done) I don’t know about any of the rest.
You want a lot for your nickel. (ponders, shrugs)
Brad has two brothers, both younger. Jimmy has a little brother too, or is it... May is one of four girls, one older, two younger. I don’t know what good family histories will do you, these kids are from all over the map, unless you’ve got something else—
Brendan takes out the rubber ball, holds it up, turns it so she can see. Laura’s eyes glitter like a slot machine coming up cherries.
What’s perfection? Why is it worth dying for?
Perfection is sex, kind of, but it’s not the why. It’s what you have to do—
Laura stands and knocks twice on the door to the cells.
She holds the door open, Brendan enters.
INT. THE BRAIN’S HOUSE – CONTINUOUS
Brendan steps inside the foyer, Chloe closes the door.
Um, can I get you anything? Coffee—?
I wanted to ask you a favor.
Could I... could I see his room, please?
A beat, Chloe tries to process this, fails.
Yes. Of course.
Brendan nods, there’s an awkward silence, he finally turns to go up the stairs.
INT. THE BRAIN’S BEDROOM
Brendan pushes the door open, the room is unchanged. He steps inside, his eyes traveling slowly around the small, cluttered space. He moves to the desk, looks over the books and papers scattered across it, opens drawers. Brendan sits on the bed, his gaze still darting all around. Sidney pokes her head in the doorway, her eyes shoot bullets at him. The front door opens and closes, voices carry up the stairs. Sidney doesn’t move but her face changes to pure panic. Slowly, Brendan brings a finger to his lips: quiet. Sidney’s eyes grow big, she nods solemnly and runs off.
Footsteps sound in the hallway and Steve appears at the door, Brendan looks up at him with puppy dog eyes. Steve steps into the room.
STEVE (cont’d) (concerned)
How’re you doing?
(IT WILL CONTINUE...)