Curse of the Gitanos

LOU CHRISTINE’S

“CURSE OF THE GITANOS”

(Screenplay)

DSCN1125

e-mail: <vipsma@gmail.com>

Copyrighted, Library of Congress, 1996

 

BLANK SCREEN:

We hear Spanish-sounding music strummed on an acoustic guitar. The sounds are sweet and deep. The cadence is slow. There’s additional rhythm coming from an accompanying guitar.

The screen is still pitch dark. The credits begin to flash — white-letters on black-screen.

The tempo picks up. We can’t make out anything but there’s a sense of movement and a small-tinge of light. There’s a sense as if the camera is levitating through a dark void.

Gradually we see a trace of light coming from above. The music—more intense. There’s a round-hole in the very-center of what can be perceived as a high ceiling. Five or maybe 6, of-what appears to be thick bars, bridge the ceiling’s circular gap.

Our new perspective has us swaying somewhat in a butter fly-flight, floating upward. The camera begins to move from side-to-side in sync with the music. We seem to pick up speed and zoom towards the light.

CUT TO:

INT. ROOM–CONTINUOUS

With the music continuing we see a hand strumming a guitar.

CUT TO:

INT. THE EARLIER DARK VOID–CONTINUOUS

This time, we see the cut out for three-beats, and we see it more clearly. We make out what appears to be the very-tips of the fingers strumming the guitar.

WE’VE BEEN INSIDE THE GUITAR!

Those bars are in-all-actuality guitar strings! Are we miniature? Are the finger tips strumming that of a giant?

Gears shift. Our perspective rises and shoots right-out of the darkness and places our point of view into the midst of the outside’s bright light. At warped speed we’re darted out of the guitar’s cut out, through and past the instrument’s strings. The moving view point delivers us into a crowded lively room.

The camera is out-of-focus—things are blurred. The focus then sharpens. We’re privy to a room-full of people. Flamenco hand clapping rings past our ears. We, the audience, are within a place, a den-of-revelling with music and laughter. Everything audio reaches its apex.

INT. A SPANISH FORT MID-16th CENTURY MEXICO–NIGHT

Spelled out at the bottom of the screen: MEXICO — 1545 — CORTES’ HEADQUARTERS.

The men are bearded clad in mid-16th century conquistador garb. They’re drinking from goblets.

The credits are still being presented.

The camera pans the room.

We see a particular conquistador wearing his steel helmet. He has a young girl pinned in a corner!

Ruthlessly the brute exposes her breasts. He viciously fondles them. She doesn’t resist. Terror freezes her. The brute gives off an evil laugh.

Older women, Spanish and Aztec appear cooperative. They laugh with the men! They throw their arms around the men’s necks pull them close while flashing a take-what-you-want or do-what-you-want demeanor. They kiss the men back.

There are 50 to 75 people in the candlelit high-ceiling room.

EXT. JUST OUTSIDE THE WALLS–CONTINUOUS

Thousands of slaves are prodded, beaten, forced to toil despite the late hour.  They’re herded by hired henchmen. Conquistadors on mounts press the henchman to lean further on the slaves. A monk in sandals walks amongst the havoc.

MONK

Jesus Christ is your only salvation!

INT. BACK TO THE HALL–CONTINUOUS

MONTAGE:

 

Scared-shitless Aztec slaves, eyes downcast, bring in mounds of food and drink. They remain petrified as they slowly back away.

The camera moves forward, focusing on two Gypsy women. They’re performing a provocative dance. Their performance is directed towards a man sitting in the captain’s chair with a red-gray beard with a sardonic smile and who is in all actuality, HERNAN CORTES, the conqueror of Mexico.

He sits between two-adoring, Aztec girls donned in loin clothes and feathered headpieces. They’re topless. His cronies sit gazing at the seductive movements demonstrated by the two women.

A group of monks with tonsured-styled hair cuts huddle. They are the only men without women. The camera catches a few holding one another’s hands.

FRANCISCO LOPEZ DE GOMARA, the man just to the rear and right of Cortes, a good-looking man, dressed more formal than the others,  acts as Cortes’ personal secretary. He leans forward from his chair to speak into the viceroy’s ear. His eyes dance with excitement.

The credits end.

(CONTINUED)

FOLLOWING DIALOGUE SPOKEN IN SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES:

GOMARA (OS)

What do you think, Your Excellency? They arrived today with Don Corro’s expedition.

Gomara confers with Cortes. The two black-eyed women gyrate, chests extended. Bulging-heaving cleavages fill the screen. We’re back to the women’s faces, eyes fixed on Cortes.

The camera’s shifts to Cortes. He nods and then shoos away Gomara to his proper place with a slight backhanded wave. Cortes’ finger and thumb probes the pointed-end of his bearded chin. Without taking his eyes off the dancers  Cortes summons back his subordinate by bending his index finger.

CORTES

How many are of these Gitanos? are they?Who are they?… Why are they here?

The camera remains on the dancers. The women’s routine has them throwing themselves to the floor, rolling, squirming, thrusting hips skyward, as if they’re overwhelmed with passion, then suddenly and extemporaneously their wild motions has them springing upward on their feet bending forward as if in some sort of pagan frenzy, while doing a spontaneous Gypsy baile!

GOMARA (OS)

They’re a family, about 12… Cales, Gitanos,  led by an old-Gypsy couple who call themselves Coppersmith… Life was becoming difficult for their-kind back in Seville. They’ve worn out their welcome. Now they’re paying the price. Seems, His Majesty in Spain, is no longer amused by their antics. Many are being done away with.   Their voyvoda begged for safe passage with Don Corro.

(CONTINUED)

Both men’s heads together. Cortes’ interest has perked.

CORTES

What’s the voyvoda’s name?

GOMARA

Ithal. He’s the front man…It’s said, behind the scenes, the elder’s wife wields satanic power.

CORTES

Bring him to me! Have the old woman brought also… but don’t permit her to gain entrance to the inner sanctum.

GOMARA

As you wish, Your Excellency..

Cortes releases his hold on Gomara. He contemplates. Then summons Gomara again.

CORTES

What use might they be to us?

GOMARA

Other than song and dance they’re swine, unproductive, with no skills… they’re dangerous and conniving, especially if one is foolish enough to fall to their trickery in palm reading, called the dukkar. They’re all thieves, incredible liars, they fornicate amongst themselves even with their young… it’s rumored there’s cannibalism… Your Excellency may chose to do with them only what he pleases.

Cortes looks at Gamora in a inquisitive manner.

(CONTINUED)

CORTES

(sarcastically)

I may!… Are you sharing power with me, Francisco? Or do I suspect you’re giving me permission! Better change your tune about what I may-or-may not do, before I have your girth strewn over a rack!

GOMARA

Your Excellency! I was only…

Cortes has heard enough. He waves off his secretary.

Cortes rises, as does his entourage. They begin to leave the room. Gomara whispers into a second’s ear. The two-Gypsy women, still doing a mean hoochi-coochi are ushered out bringing up the rear-end of the departing party.

As they pass through a doorway Gomara looks to Cortes.

Cortes turns, gazes towards another doorway, one leading out of the ballroom. We see the troop of monks departing the ballroom.

Cortes nods back to Gomara. Gomara then nods to a second. As the entourage passes out of sight as the camera pans the room as if some signal has been given to permit a full-fledge orgy to ensue. The drunken conquistadors take the cue and begin to rip the clothes off the women.

INT. AN INNER SANCTUM–CONTINUOUS

Cortes lies on his back half-propped up, leaning against a white-stuccoed wall. The two-Aztec girls cuddle close book-ending his excellency. He’s ready to hold court as Gomara, the entourage, and the two-Gypsy women stand about. The Gypsy women have stopped dancing and have their hands on their hips.

EXT. AT PORTHOLE ABOVE AND UNSEEN–CONTINUOUS

A Gypsy youth named, RICO, 14, the girls’ brother has scaled the palace wall, done so unseen; he has a good view.

INT. JUST OUTSIDE THE INNER SANCTUM–CONTINUOUS

ITHAL, the Gypsy leader with his old wife limping in tow, arrive near the archway leading into the inner sanctum.

The old woman’s face is etched with wrinkles—her head is covered by a wool blanket—she casts a blank awful stare. Where her eyeball should be is covered with a icky-milky film clouding-over the hideous socket. She’ll wait outside while her husband goes in and cuts a deal. She stoops and plants herself in a lotus position against the outside wall. She begins to chant in whispers.

INT. INNER SANCTUM — CONTINUOUS

ITHAL, the Gypsy elder and father of the two women is permitted to pass an archway guarded by spear-bearing conquistadors.

He’s in red bandanna, ear rings, bracelets, necklaces and rings on every finger, skin tanned by time, hair shoulder-length, gray. He picks up his pace, rushes towards the chase-lounge and Cortes. He thrust himself to his knees and makes an effort to take Cortes’ hand, as to kiss it.

Cortes will have none of it. He abruptly pulls back. Cortes’ men look as if they’re about to go for the Gypsy.

CONTINUED IN SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES:

ITHAL

(undaunted)

Your Excellency… Your Excellency… Joyful tales of your conquests ring throughout all of Spain.

CORTES

Silence, you fool!… Why do Gitano idiots beg the likes of Don Corro and sail here? What do sinverguenzas have worthy to offer me and my people?

(CONTINUED)

Ithal appears baffled perhaps confused by the order to be silent, and then, not-sure if Cortes expects a reply.

 

GOMARA

(perturbed)

Speak up, you peon when His Excellency addresses you! And it better be chacaipe or I’ll have you skinned alive!

ITHAL

(cracking voice)

We are but simple people, Sire… People merely of song and dance who only wish to serve and give pleasure. I am a poor man seeking a new beginning. I must care for my old wife who is blind, my sons and their wives are poor like me, and we have children.

Cortes gives the chief a blank look. He looks to Gomara, then his eyes dart towards the two Gypsy women. Gomara gives a side look. A chamber door opens.

Other guards, one wielding a black whip, roughly shove two-deformed, hunched-over. gimmped Aztecs dressed in loin clothes. Their faces are distorted. They’re almost toothless. Both are apparently retarded and gimpy. Mutant grunts come from them.

EXT. ABOVE PORTHOLE–CONTINUOUS

Rico looks on with both interest and concern!

INT. INNER SANCTUM–CONTINUOUS

The two deformed misfits are unceremoniously dumped next to the women. They stumble as they slowly rise giving off uninhibited primal sounds. They begin to eye and covet the two women. (CONTINUED)

GOMARA

(sarcastically)

Now is the time you shall begin to serve, His Excellency, and as you say… doing so especially for His Excellency’s pleasure…

Gomara nods. A guard whips one across the face. They take the hint. They both yelp awful-anticipating sounds-of-delight. They begin to maul the two women.

Ithal stands speechless. The two morons embrace the Gypsy women, wrestle them to the floor, groping their bodies and pressing their drooling grotesque faces fiendishly upon their exquisite faces, sucking on their necks and squeezing while fondling.

The young-Gypsy women respond with no problem, closing their-own hungry and submitting eyes. They pout their lips with their-own lust and eagerly place their hands underneath the mutants loin clothes. Shamelessly they stroke the men’s crotches and they-too belt out their-own primal noises.

We are only privy to the staring eyes of the onlookers.

EXT. ABOVE PORTHOLE–CONTINUOUS

The boy continues to gander showing no emotion

INT. INNER SANCTUM–CONTINUOUS

The entourage is riveted. They twitch somewhat by their own sensations, but no one dares to make a move.

In stoic fashion Cortes and the two-Aztec girls absorb the scene. The lounging girls simultaneously look towards his excellency. He blinks, as if he’s given permission. His pets slowly lay back and begin quivering, swiveling their hips with half-closed eyes. They touch themselves. Cortes almost smiles.

The two girls look towards Cortes again, this time with pleading eyes. His excellency goes so far as to bat an eye… Both girls ease off of Cortes’ lounge. We still can’t see the foursome but we hear the grunts and groans.         ( (CONTINUED)

The entourage remains frozen in place. We see the two girls bend down with fruitful anticipation to go and join in.

We see the bare-chested Aztec girls lower themselves to join in.

Three beats: The sound of passion is suddenly broken. The camera joins the broken orgy. We see the defining moment when one of the Gypsy women hauls off and viciously slaps one of the Aztec girls right across the face! The once-willing women break from their self-imposed spell and with surprising strength, toss off the mutants! They spring to their feet with rage and begin to spill out a litany of Gypsy swear words.

EXT. ABOVE PORTHOLE–CONTINUOUS

Now the youth has a frown on his face.

INT. INNER SANCTUM-CONTINUOUS

 

The entourage stands speechless!

Ithal stands straight his lips pursed. The two-deformed ones whimper and crawl to the side.

The Aztec girls, then startled, with once-passionate faces turned to frowns, faces falling apart, cringing into a cry-cry hysteria. They dart back to Cortes and heave themselves landing face down, crying, as they inch and bury their faces next to his excellency’s side. Cortes comforts them, and gently ‘shushes’ while he pets both feathered heads.

He glares towards the rest, makes an awful face. Not taking his eyes off the entourage, he delicately rests the sobbing-girls heads to the side and he rises to his feet frightfully slow.

CORTES

(to Gomara, slow-deliberate)

Take them away!…  Kill them!… Kill them all!…

(CONTINUED)

Cortes’ men whip into action, dragging the two women out by their hair. The girls kick and scream. Their speechless father has thugs around him and they’re straggling him with a strap. There’s another guard with a big knife, he’s beginning to cut out the old man’s tongue while on the move. Cortes seems satisfied. With a wave he dismisses all. Other henchmen quickly form ranks into an execution squad. They begin marching forward in formation to seek out the rest of the Gitanos.

EXT. ABOVE PORTHOLE–CONTINUOUS

The youth looks on in horror and retreats down from his perch.

INT. JUST OUTSIDE THE INNER SANCTUM–CONTINUOUS

The old woman, hearing the worst, senses what-has and what-is about to take place. She seems resounded to the ensuing bad tide. Her once-whispered chant becomes more audible. She looks forlorn and twitches her eye lids. She rocks hard in her lotus position and opens out her arms with her palms downcast. She bends her old gray head downward.

OLD WOMAN

(chanting)

ARMETES! ARMETES! AQUALARRE  ARMETES! BENG! BENG! BASTA! BASTA! MALOS MENGUES!

She continues to belt out what we can presume to be a Gypsy curse.

We hear a cello! With just one string being struck, struck sharply, four-frightening times in succession, repeating at least three times.

With the old lady in view, we see the killer squad marching out of the inner sanctum with conviction. They hold up in front of the old woman. She lifts her head towards them as she continues her wail.

We’re treated to one-last glimpse of her grieving face, able to anticipate what’s coming next. (CONTINUED)

We see the executioner’s lance rise—we’re exposed only to the bulging-eyes and violent-face of her soon-to-be executioner. We can’t see the actual thrust but we can measure his motion. We hear the sickening-piercing sound. From our standpoint we’re glued to the executioner’s eyes.

INT. CORTES’ SLEEPING CHAMBER–NIGHTS LATER

Cortes lies asleep. The two-Aztec girls are curled up like kitties at the foot of his bed. He has a mosquito net over his slumber and a candle burns on a nearby table. He begins to stir slightly, begins to twitch, begins to violently shake, his head oscillates radically, ‘no-no-no!’ His eyes pop open. His mouth gapes. Again, the cello.

CORTES

Ahhhhhhhhhhh!…

Gomara and an aide rush to his side. A doctor, JOSE ROCIO, storms in behind them. The Head Monk, THADIOUS, arrives. Cortes is hysterical and violently resists. Filled-with-fear the girls huddle in a corner and cry.

CORTES

Ahhhhhhhhhhh!…

The doctor administers morphine. THADIOUS raises a cross and spouts out in Latin. Other monks pray the rosary while reduced to their knees. Gomara looks down in horror at the conqueror of Mexico.

INT. JUST OUTSIDE CORTES’ BED CHAMBER–LATER

Gomara and Thadious confer. Jose Rocio walks out of the chamber wearing a mask of concern and joins the men.

JOSE ROCIO

I’ve seen nothing like this.

(CONTINUED)

GOMARA

Its been every night! He’s out of his wits. In order to sleep he drinks himself into a stupor.

THADIUS

Has he revealed the dreams?

JOSE ROCIO

Says he can’t remember once conscious. In his rages he screams the words, pure gibberish and he cries, begs for forgiveness from his parents, from Monctezuma. He’s aged 10 years in seven days.

GOMARA

We must seek information!…  Gain knowledge about such curses. Send out spies. Report instantly. If we don’t act rapidly we’re sure to lose him!

INT. GORMARA’S OFFICE–DAY

Thadious and Jose accompanied by a third man, a priest, a Jesuit with a beard named, FATHER DANIEL ROSALES.

Gormara’s been signing documents with a feathered pen. He drops what he’s doing at the sight of the three men.    (CONTINUED)

Both Thadious and Jose give respective bows. Thadious roughly prompts the Jesuit in order for him to bow in front of Gomara.

THADIUS

This one’s a sorry excuse for a Spaniard. He has too much to say, yet I’ve brought him here, Your Excellency. He possesses valid information about Gypsy curses.

Gomara sparks with interest.

(CONTINUED)

GOMARA

Tell me, priest! What do you know of such things?

The priests shrugs.

GOMARA

Tell me priest or I’ll have pigs licking on your entrails!

THE JESUIT

Forgive me, sire! I cannot be sure. I must hear exactly what His Excellency utters, and observe him under the spell…

GOMARA

Very well…

GOMARA

(towards the doctor)

See he’s lodged close by. Have him sit with His Excellency when he sleeps. You stay there. When the nightmares manifest, send for me at once.

INT. CORTES’ SLEEPING CHAMBER–NIGHT

The Jesuit and the doctor sit in vigil by a sedated Cortes. Cortes begins to stir and twitch, then becomes hysterical.

The doctor waves to an aide. The cello plays.

JOSE ROCIO

Summon Gomara immediately!

CORTES

Ahhhhhhhhh!… Ahhhhhhhh! ARMETES! ARMETES! AQUALARRE  ARMETES! BENG! BENG! BASTA! BASTA! MALOS MENGUES!

(CONTINUED)

Gomara bursts into the chamber. The Jesuit stares down in horror. The cello plays. The doctor and monk cringe at the sight. Cortes is reduced to a bundle of sweat and craziness.

GOMARA

For the sake of the heavens! What is it, man?

The Jesuit has a wild look in his eyes. He crosses himself.

THE JESUIT

I wouldn’t believe unless I’ve seen it with my own eyes. I’ve been told of it, mostly in the Pyrenees… It’s referred to as occhio draculi, ‘the eye of the devil;’ the curse His Excellency yields to, has bedeviled him.

GOMARA

What are you saying, priest?

THE JESUIT

There a story; a passing-band of Gypsies kidnapped a child from a nearby village. Certain tribes believe a stolen busno, especially a fair-complected one, who’s raised amongst them as a—Gypsy tradition predicting the busno will bring fortune. In the case the father and uncle intercepted the kidnappers. The father and uncle retrieved the stolen child and killed four. Gypsy widows shrieked in grief spitting out the very words!

CORTES

ARMETES! ARMETES! AQUALARRE  ARMETES! BENG! BENG! BASTA! BASTA! MALOS MENGUES! (CONTINUED)

THE JESUIT

It’s the same gure tormenting His Excellency. Shortly, the father and uncle were stricken. Stricken with horrifying nightmares which drove them insane, so insane they died agonizing deaths.

JOSE ROCIO

Surely there’s a cure!

THE JESUIT

No, my lord! There’s no cure. The curse is final and eternal! It’s said there’s a formula enabling one to perhaps pass it on to another, but it’s with great difficulty!

CORTES

Ahhhhhhhh! ARMETES! ARMETES! AQUALARRE  ARMETES! BENG! BENG! BASTA! BASTA! MALOS MENGUES!

GOMARA

Dispatch ships! Send emissaries with gold as far as India. Sail to every corner of the empire, find Gypsies, buy ‘em if necessary, even if it means saving them from the gallows. Anything! Seek out Aztec shaman, speak with Mayan, and the Chichimecas, listen closely to what they have to say, don’t leave a stone unturned!

FADEOUT:

FADE IN:

INT. 37TH FLOOR, OFFICE BUILDING IN PHILADELPHIA 1995–DAYTIME

ROGGER DIKKON, 48, looking somewhat disheveled sporting a 4-day growth, dressed in black jeans and T-shirt, eases off the elevator.

The big-law firm’s attractive receptionist sits behind a desk facing the elevator. The receptionist peers up and recognizes Rogger. She’s quick to flash a smile.

ROGGER

(devilishly)

Sorry I didn’t kiss you goodbye

this morning. I didn’t want to wake

you, you were sleeping so soundly.

RECEPTIONIST

Welcome back to Philadelphia, Mr. Dikkon… How was your flight from Hawaii?

Rogger gives the pretty woman a weak smile.

ROGGER

Same as always, long and brutal.

RECEPTIONIST

You know sometimes you look so sad. Someday I should surprise you, show up in Hawaii with my bikini, lets say in February, when it’s icy cold around here.

ROGGER

(with a Di Niro smile)

You don’t need a bikini in February, honey. It’s always warm. Why not come on the 14th-that’s the one day I’m in need of a date… I’ll provide the roses.

(CONTINUED)

RECEPTIONIST

Oh, you’re so cute…

ROGGER

Thanks! Tell, Jackie, I’m here, will ya…

RECEPTIONIST

Go right in. She’s been waiting for you for 3 days now…

ROGGER

Thanks… Aloha.

INT. ALONG THE HALLWAY–CONTINUOUS

Rogger’s pace picks up walking down the law firm’s hallway. At the end stands a pair of brown-stained, French doors, extending from floor to ceiling with inlaid-smoked glass.

Gold-leaf letters painted on the glass read: Manta & Welge, Law Firm, Intellectual Properties Division.

Rogger comes upon another receptionist talking on the phone, who waves him on by using her thumb. She mutely mouths. (CONTINUED)

2nd RECEPTIONIST

(mouthing)

She’s waiting for you!..

INT. JACKIE BOROCK’S OFFICE–CONTINUOUS

We see, JACKIE BOROCK, 34, Rogger’s agent, with an Ivy League graduate degree on the wall behind her. She’s dressed smartly in a hounds-tooth business suit. Underneath the suit’s jacket she wears an immaculate-white blouse with pressed pleats and starched lace. She sits behind her desk while writing.

At the instant of Rogger’s arrival she rises, removes her glasses and moves to greet Rogger. She plants a kiss on his cheek and then gives him a hug; as she backs off she punches him in the chest. (CONTINUED)

JACKIE

Where the fuck you been? You left Maui 4 days ago!

ROGGER

Aye! I took the long route

JACKIE

Don’t give me that! I know you’re a professional bullshit artist, but don’t pull that shit with me. I’m your agent, remember?

ROGGER

Let’s not get into it! You know my disease…

JACKIE

Yeah, I know your disease, buddy boy… It’s called pussyitis!… And who’s it this time?…

ROGGER

Ah, for-crying out loud, Jackie! You already have the answer… She loves me?.. She loves me not.

JACKIE

Not the aerobics instructor! Not the one from Ventnor… I thought you finished it last year? Oooh! When are you ever gonna learn? EEEEEE! Why not find a nice girl? Why do you pick such losers?  (CONTINUED)

ROGGER

It’s my job. I’m ‘Loser Incorporated!’ I can’t envision a broad humming in the kitchen.

Rogger sits down pulls out a butt. Jackie returns to her desk.

(CONTINUED)

JACKIE

Coffee?

ROGGER

No, I’m coffeed out.

Jackie picks up the unopened registered letter.

JACKIE

Do you realize how tempted I’ve been?.. How could you leave me in suspense for 3-long days? Why its been killing me!

ROGGER

Why didn’t ya just open it? Go ahead! Whattaya waiting for? I’m here.

JACKIE

Would you rather open it?

ROGGER

No! You! Go ahead — go for it.

JACKIE

Ready?

ROGGER

Ready as I’ll ever be.

Jackie snatches a nifty, brass-handled letter opener, slicing the envelope with the Walt Disney Logo embossed in the upper-right-hand corner. She removes the crisp stationary, unfolds the letter and takes it in. She looks up to Rogger.

JACKIE

I’m sorry, Rogger. You didn’t get the Fellowship.

ROGGER

(showing little emotion)

Figures… What’s it say? (CONTINUED)

JACKIE

The usual: Dear Mr. Dikkon: Thank you for applying for the Walt Disney Studios Fellowship Program for writers, now going into our sixth year. The number of worthwhile submissions far exceeded our expectations. As a result, despite you being a finalist, we are unable to accept blah, blah, blah…

She purses her lips.

JACKIE

GOD DAMN IT ROGGER! They must be blind! It’s a sure-shot winner!.. Everybody loves it! Not a damn person’s put the story down dry eyed… The film commissioner was drooling… Sometimes I just hate this business!

ROGGER

Geez, Jackie! Don’t take it so hard. You know what they say, ‘about the darkest hour…

JACKIE

Yeah, ‘just before dawn.’ I was hoping to give you good news. Christ, it’s unbelievable! I don’t have one writer as talented or prolific. You’re a damn-good drama writer. I’m starting to feel as if I’m letting you down. I don’t know how much longer this slump can last.

ROGGER

Just ask, Van Gogh.

(CONTINUED)

JACKIE

Stop it, Rogger! Don’t scare me.

ROGGER

Cool your jets. I’m too conceited to take the pipe. Look, Jackie! Understand! I’m in this to the end. And I love that you’re a smart-ass, pushy broad, who’s my number-one fan. If there’s blood in the water you’re the shark, so just continue to pepper the somebitches with the work… Any news about the Chinese Astrology piece?

JACKIE

Haven’t heard a word. At first Warner Books  was hot-to-trot, asked for your original draft… I sent it in but I haven’t heard a thing.

ROGGER

What about Larry Merchant, or David Lester?

JACKIE

I phoned, Merchant. He’s holding Heart of a Champion, said he’s still waiting for the HBO guys. Says he was out-of-breath reading it but echoes the rest, about how slow the business works… Lester’s off in Arizona, shooting some-golf movie with Kevin Costner. He likes your work, still nothing has struck a nerve for him to produce.    (CONTINUED)

ROGGER

Any word from Simon and Schuster about Mightier Than the Sword, or Kill ‘em With Kindness ?

JACKIE

The literary guys are as slow as Hollywood.

Rogger sighs. We wait for words. Five beats.

JACKIE

So, what are you going to do?

ROGGER

I don’t know. Old Mr. Wishful Thinking here brought back most of his stuff. I thought I’d bum around the Jersey Shore for the summer, make love to Kim every morning, finish up that piece I began in Spain, and take walks on the beach until I went out to L.A. so to collect my fat check from Disney. Seems it’s all out the window.

JACKIE

Ready for the bad news?

ROGGER

Now what?

JACKIE

John Abbate called from Taos, he’S looking for you along with the IRS.

ROGGER

How family like, my accountant hunts me down through my agent. (CONTINUED)

JACKIE

Seems that Citizen Extraordinair, Mr. D. H. Lawrence here, hasn’t filed taxes in five years… Hey, dickhead! You’re supposed to let me know if you have problems.

ROGGER

You’re the one who went to school. Didn’t they teach you at if a guy doesn’t do business, or get paid? He doesn’t pay taxes.

JACKIE

Is that so?

ROGGER

When was the last time I cashed a check?

JACKIE

What about the money from settlement and the proceeds from the properties? Did you pay your capital gains?

ROGGER

You know me, baby, it’s been wine, women and song. The rest has been a waist of money.

JACKIE

When you gonna grow up?

ROGGER

I’m afraid to mommy, let me in bed, I’m having a bad dream.

JACKIE

Can I help?

(CONTINUED)

ROGGER

Nah, you know, me, I’m a survivor. Let all the poisons flow. Look! Do me a favor! Call Taos. Tell him I’m stop at his place on my way to L.A., but I don’t know when. Tell him to sit tight. Ask him to write the bastards, tell ‘em I’m lost in Mexico looking for Carlos Castanada, tell ‘em I’m dead…

JACKIE

So, what are you going to do now?

ROGGER

Well, I suppose I should buy a car, find a place to live. I’ll probably stay down at the shore and just cool it a bit.

JACKIE

What about Hawaii?

ROGGER

Jamie! She’s great. Love her to death, Ya hurt the good ones, the bad ones hurt you. Actually, I’ve been checking out the boardwalk.

JACKIE

Whatya going to do huckster pizza or pitch cuepie dolls?

ROGGER

Thousands walk that boardwalk. Madam Loo here has this bug… I’ve always wanted to open a Chinese Astrology studio. There’s no competition. The wives are deserte while hubby throws money away. I thought maybe (CONTINUED)

JACKIE

Man, get a grip… Let me ask you something, Rogger, or would you prefer, Madam Loo?.

ROGGER

What’s that?

JACKIE

Do you really believe all that hocus-pocus you write about Chinese Astrology.

ROGGER

That’s what writers do. Chinese Astrology has merit Miss-Pragmatic, Taurus-Metal Ox, .

JACKIE

Says, who?

ROGGER

It’s a social science. I’ve only given it 17-years of my life and put my findings in a manuscript of which you’ve read honey pie.

JACKIE

A social science! Do you believe yucks are interested about being pegged Fire-Pigs or Aries Snakes? Think that outweighs quarters going into slots? I don’t think so! Maybe that stuff goes over in syrupy Hawaii. You’re back in the land of the Barbarians. A. C’s Boardwalk is no Wally World.

ROGGER

Sounds good to me. Better than having to put the blue box in a blue truck.

(CONTINUED)

JACKIE

OK. OK. Do what you want! You always do anyway. J keep me posted willya? Don’t forget to give me your number. When you get back into town don’t forget to call me! We can go out.

ROGGER

Why should I?… Aren’t ya still banging that five-foot-two, chump; the banker with the big nose, fat-bank account and little dick?…

JACKIE

Leave, Herbert, and his poor little dick out of it. I love him anyway. I’m just extending the invite.

ROGGER

I don’t even own a sport’s jacket, and I know the kind of joints you patronize.

JACKIE

Hey, shit-for-brains! No need for a sport’s jacket at a Phillies game. Just happens, Yours Truly possesses her-own season tickets. So if you want to sit behind home plate then you had better call me!

ROGGER

Ok. Ok. no pressure, I will, scouts honor.

Rogger turns to leave, takes a few steps and glances back.

(CONTINUED)

ROGGER

(to himself but out loud)

Hmm! Phillies tickets! All of a sudden, Metal Oxen seem more appealing.(then to Jackie) At least you’re finally willing to share something I’m interested in.

As Rogger departs Jackie watches him, erasing her smile, replacing it with an expression of concern. When he reaches the door’s threshold she calls out to him and re-flashes her smile.

JACKIE

Hey! Sure you’re OK?

ROGGER

You know me. I’m fine. Things are normal. Remember I’m always miserable… Don’t worry.

He’s gone. Jackie’s facial expression switches back to that of concern and she remains focused towards the-then-empty doorway.

FADEOUT:

FADE IN:

EXT. ATLANTIC CITY BOARDWALK–DAYTIME

We hear the song: In the Summertime.

Rogger walks the boards. He buys a piece of pizza and casually looks over the store fronts. He passes salt-water taffy stores, T-shirt joints and an array of other honky-tonk outlets. Most stores are rented. He notices those vacant have signs posted saying Contact: Carmine Santori, Fun Pier.        

He takes special notice to a palm reader’s cubby hole. He sees Gypsy womeN. He stops to buy a soft pretzel. He views another fortunetelling parlor. While chewing his pretzel he meanders around the open door of the fortunetelling place.

(CONTINUED)

He sees three women customers waiting, sitting on side chairs. The few back cubicles are decorated tacky, tawdry fare with red, dirty, ill-fitted curtains shielding what’s behind them, giving the impression of privacy. He can see all four cubicles have customers inside. Business looks good.

Rogger further walks and finds himself in front of Fun Pier. He enters. The pier is packed with video-games and the usual. There’s an office is in rear. Rogger approaches the office.

INT. INSIDE OFFICE–CONTINUOUS

There’s  guy who looks more like a roustabout than someone belonging to an office staff.

ROGGER

Can I find Carmine Santori?

OFFICE GUY

(sarcastically)

Who wants to know?

ROGGER

My name’s, Rogger Dikkon, It’s about rentals.

OFFICE GUY

What’s the scam?

ROGGER

Are you the rental agent?

OFFICE GUY

Whatta ya writing a fucking book?

ROGGER

Maybe… Look, you don’t look like, Mr. Century 21. So rather than repeating myself, I’d prefer to speak with someone who can tell me about vacancies.

The office boy gives Rogger the twice over. He chews his gum . . . 2 beats (CONTINUED)

OFFICE GUY

Wait, here.

The office boy swaggers to the back and disappears. Rogger looks around. There’s no phones or typewriters. Two banged up desks are deserted. There’s a girlie calendar, an ashtray full of butts, a couple empty quart-sized beer bottles on a shelf.

The guy returns, still like a wise guy, and unceremoniously swings open a gate for Rogger to step past.

OFFICE GUY

Go through that door. Go all the way down the hallway, his office is on the left.

INT. INSIDE HALLWAY–CONTINUOUS

Rogger walks down parquet-floored hallway. His clicking heels signal his oncoming arrival. We hear two men’s voices as he nears the office’s entrance. The door is open, yet he stops and knocks on the outside molding.

CARMINE (OS)

(grouchily)

Yeah….

INT. CARMINE’S OFFICE– CONTINUOUS

Behind the desk, elbows-planted, Buddha-like, sits CARMINE SANTORI, in his late 50s. He’s bald, fat, with a non-lit stogie protruding from his liver lips. The back-end is stuffed deep between his teeth and pressed up against his bulging cheek. Carmine’s upper-half:  dressed in a new-looking, plaid-flannel shirt, buttoned all the way up to his double chin.

SPARKY, with beady eyes sits there too, in a felt fedora and is dressed in a shabby, herringbone sports coat. He’s skinnier, same age as Carmine. Sparky’s leg is crossed. He flicks ashes on the floor.

(CONTINUED)

ROGGER

Rogger Dikkon. How ya doing? I saw your vacancy signs.

Rogger extends his hand and offers a business card.

Carmine shakes his hand in a-matter-of-fact manner, takes the card and gazes down. He gives Rogger an icy stare. He reads the card. Pulling the cigar out as he peers down to read.

CARMINE

(reading the card)

Say high to, Sparky, here. Says, Rogger Dikkon — Author — Chinese Astrologer…

Sparky pipes in.

SPARKY

(high-pitch squeaky)

What the fucks a Chinese Astrologer?

ROGGER

(ignoring Sparky)             Look, don’t laugh, but I’m a Chinese Astrologer. I was wondering if you might have anything available for rent?

SPARKY

What are you some Jean Dickson or something?

ROGGER

Look! Mr. Santori!

CARMINE

Call me Carmine.

(CONTINUED)

ROGGER

OK. Carmine!.. It’s not what you may think. To tell you the truth, I can’t predict if the sun’s gonna shine tomorrow, that’s not what Chinese Astrology is about, I more or less offer clients personality profiles, telling them the Chinese animal in their hearts.

Carmine’s still eying Rogger’s card but at the same time we can tell the man is listening.

SPARKY

Clients!… profiles!… Animals livin’ in the friggin’ heart!.. Hey, Carmine, with the load-of-shit this guy’s shoveling, maybe he can get us blowed!

Rogger shakes it off, directing his comments towards Carmine.

ROGGER

OK. I call ‘em, clients, call ‘em whatever, let’s say people are curious about Chinese Astrology.. I’d like provide space for them. It might sound like malarkey to you, but there’s strong interest in the esoteric, You’ve been to Chinese restaurants, maybe you’ve seen the animals on the place mats.

CARMINE

(coming to life)         Yeah! I’m a friggin’, Dog.

ROGGER

Nineteen-Thirty-Four — Right? (CONTINUED)

CARMINE

Very good!

SPARKY

(laughing — uncouth)

And I’m the year of the cock! 1933. Is that fucking esoteric?

ROGGER

Actually 33’s the Year of the Rooster. Everybody’s a candidate. Not to sound like a jerkoff but I’ve actually written a book on the subject. It measures out. I’m not saying it’s a religion or…

SPARKY

Get a fucking load of this, Scungiel. He’s written a book!.. He’s measured! Is he blowing smoke OR WHAT?

Carmine yanks the cigar out of his mouth exposing the saliva-soaked end. Then balancing his girth on his squeaking swivel-rocker, his upright fix and eyes dart angrily towards Sparky.

CARMINE

Yo! Why don’t you shut-the-fuck up—you’re an ignorant son-of-a-bitch! Know that?

SPARKY

Whatchatalkingabout?

CARMINE

I’m talking about you! This man’s been invited into my office, by me. So far he’s conducted himself like a gentleman, a businessman, and so far in five minutes he’s showed me he’s more of a man than you’ve ever been in the last 40-friggin’ years! (CONTINUED)

SPARKY

Comaaahn!

CARMINE

On his own two feet the man’s trying his best to make a pitch!  And you’re sounding like a guy with a paper ass…ya ain’t stopped running your fucking-skinny-assed mouth since the man hit the door… Now do me a favor, Sparky! SHUT THE FUCK UP! Before you really piss me off!

Sparky sinks in his chair. Carmine turns to Rogger with a smile.

CARMINE

Please ignore this buffoon. Sometimes your friends are an embarrassment to ya. Look, Rogger, you seem like a standup guy… Maybe there’s something to what you say about this Chinese stuff, in all actuality your idea has a petty sound, but I hafta tell, ya, it ain’t goin’ to happen ‘round here.

SPARKY

I could have predicted that.

CARMINE

Shadup! (then towards Rogger)  See, I lease space to the Gypsies. They’re big into their thing. They’re not gonna think much of me, if I work with the competition.

ROGGER

Chinese Astrology’s no competition, it’s different!             (CONTINUED)

CARMINE

I know it’s different! You know it’s different, but that’s not the point, not the way the Gitano would see it… You been walking the boards, right?         ROGGER

Right!

CARMINE

How many fortunetelling joints ya see?

ROGGER

Maybe three or four.

CARMINE

How many Astrologers did ya see or Tarot Card readers? How many anything of your kinda stuff?… I’ll tell ya, ya saw none, ‘cause the Gypsies won’t have it. Look! I like your chutzpah, you’re a real-ambitious Johnny, probably a kick-ass writer too, but since the casinos come-in there’s been no conflict. The last thing we need is the Gypsies up-in-arms. Christ! Once their blood gets boiling the whole-fuckin’ world could end. And besides, Father Joseph would never go for it

ROGGER

Who’s Father Joseph?

(CONTINUED)

CARMINE

What he says goes. Head of the families. He pays the rent. Twenty joints I lease ‘em. And I’ll tell ya something else… Nobody in this town will be willing to rent ya anything, nobody wants to go up against the Gypsies, not the cops, not the unions, not even the mob.

ROGGER

Do you think I could talk to this Father Joseph? I mean, if he gave the OK, wouldya consider renting me some space then?

 

CARMINE

You ever deal with Gypsies, son? Ya had better count your teeth, and hold onto your guyoons… Be my guest if you want. If you can cut a deal without selling your soul you’re a better man than me. I’ve already sold mine a few times.

ROGGER

I’d appreciate if you could tell me where this Father Joseph is. And if you could give me a note of introduction.

CARMINE

… I suppose it wouldn’t hurt.

INT. MOB WAREHOUSE–DAYTIME

A straight-job truck backs into the warehouse. Shady-looking men close the garage’s double door. They check to see they’re not being watched. The driver gets out, opens the back, and starts unloading cases of cigarettes. One man pulls out a large wad of cash and pays off the driver.

The camera pans. We see an office at the rear of the warehouse with a wide window, fluorescent lights. Men are inside.

INT. INSIDE WAREHOUSE OFFICE–CONTINUOUS

EDDIE HARKINS, 48, pocked-marked face sits behind a desk and pours himself a shot of booze. Standing to his right is VITO DEMARCO, 35, greasy, beefy, He’s Eddie’s muscle.

Across from him sit two Gypsies. one of the Gypsies is ENRIQUE CALLITANTO, 29, a-sitting-time-bomb, heir apparent to one of Atlantic City’s Gypsy tribes. Sitting next to his is, HARPO CALO, same age as Enrique, he’s just as crazy, belongs to another Gypsy tribe. The Gypsy men are smiling as if they’ve just cut a deal. Eddie’s writing down figures showing them to Vito.

EDDIE

OK. here’s what I understand. Your people grab the kids, under the age of one. We ain’t interested in kids more than a year old. Your grabs… at least a hundred miles from AC. You keep the kids on ice until either I or Vito tell you when and where to drop them. We’ll pay the expenses, lets say ten a day. Ya get $5000 when ya make the grab and $10,000 when we move each kid, no niggers or spics.

ENRIQUE

How many a month?

EDDIE

My people say start off slow, no more than 2 a-month. We’ll be making deals on our end.

ENRIQUE

I want 20,000 durro for blonde girls.

EDDIE

Whattaya getting cute?

ENRIQUE

Blondes are el mehor. Even a cry ass Gypsy knows certain people pay many durros for female blondes. I’m sure you’ll demand a larger price.

Eddie looks at Vito and shakes his head.

EDDIE

OK you win, 20K for blonde girls, but mix ‘em up. I don’t want to be overstocked with blondes. Some of these kids will be raised in American families and they want boys and brunettes. We’re gonna aim to please.

Enrique confers with Harpo. They speak low in Calo.

ENRIQUE

Yes, my friend, we make much money.

EDDIE

One more thing. I hope you’ve cleared the deal with Father Joseph?… Our people feel strong about Father Joseph! There’s no deal unless Father Joseph gives the OK?

(CONTINUED)

Both men look somewhat disturbed with the strings attached.

ENRIQUE

Why should we have to clear anything with Father Joseph, he’ll get his cut as does all the families? Why should he have to know the means?

EDDIE

‘Cause my people say so! Take it or leave it! If ya don’t discuss the nature of our business with Father Joseph there’s no deal!

Both Gypsies look at each other and then turn to Eddie and shake their heads to affirm Eddie’s suggestion.

FADEOUT:

FADE IN:

INT. FATHER JOSEPH’S LIVING ROOM–NIGHT

FATHER JOSEPH, late 60s, stands in his ornate-decorated living room. Enrique and Vito stand before him.

FATHER JOSEPH

NEVER!… I forbid it!

Enrique spits on the floor.

ENRIQUE

Why care about the primo?

FATHER JOSEPH

You’re looking to play with fire.

ENRIQUE

The risks are worth it.

(CONTINUED)

FATHER JOSEPH

Since when do you decide what’s-worth-what. I’m the elder…

HARPO

But, Father Joseph, this is safe!

FATHER JOSEPH

No! Since the casinos we‘ve flourished. They protect us.

Father Joseph jumps in Enrique’s face!

FATHER JOSEPH

Even suspicion of such would have us losing allies. Do you have to work?… Do you have to cook?… No, the pioropos do it for us…

Then he switches to the front of Harpo’s face.

FATHER JOSEPH

Have you a new automobile?… Money in your pocket?.. Are you harassed?… You don’t remember how we had to move on! You’re both fools, you live lives of kings and you don’t even know it.

ENRIQUE

We are princes! Why be reduced to fortunetelling or body and fender repairmen and still thought of by the primo as petty thieves?

FATHER JOSEPH

They’re honorable Gypsy ways! We’re tolerated here. You want to go back to the old days? One slip could doom all the families. It’s not worth the risk, I will not have it. My decision is final.     (CONTINUED)

A young Gypsy girl, all of 9 comes skipping into the room. She’s JULETTA, dressed in miniature-Gypsy garb.

She’s Father Joseph’s granddaughter. She clutches a note and runs to her grandfather’s side. He wraps his arms around her affectionately. She says nothing but gleams with happiness being in the old man’s grasp. The two other men hold up their pitch.

FATHER JOSEPH

What has my precious brought me? Let’s take one look.

He reads the note. With a gentle push he sends the girl away.

The two men begin again. Father Joseph holds up his hand as to cease them from speaking and looks towards the doorway.

Juletta returns, Rogger’s following her. Rogger goes to stand in front of Father Joseph. Harpo steps out and blocks his path.

Rogger stops abruptly. Harpo places his face up close to Rogger’s. His eyes bug out with a jackal look. Rogger’s befuddled. Harpo flails his arms moving them wildly, He makes goofy-sounding noises. Then he pushes Rogger somewhat, quickly steps back and beats on his own pants pockets with the back of his hands like he’s playing bongos.

Rogger is frozen. Harpo then slowly prances around Rogger, at times he darts his head in front of Rogger’s face so to spook him. Only Rogger’s eyes follow the rude man’s progress not sure just what the hell is going on?

Father Joseph says nothing and permits the ritual to continue.

Then Harpo contorts his slimy mouth as if he’s going to spit right in Rogger’s face, but doesn’t, and looks at Enrique. He belts out a contrived laugh. He reaches down and goes as to grab Rogger by the crotch.

Rogger clocks Harpo and sends him flying. Harpo pops up wildly, unveils a long knife. He mutters something. (CONTINUED)

FATHER JOSEPH

Basta!… Enough!…

Harpo freezes.

FATHER JOSEPH

How dare you in front of my grand daughter!.. Be gone, both of you! I shall summon you later.

Both men glare at Rogger as they storm out of the room.

Father Joseph puts on a smile. Juletta stands silent.

FATHER JOSEPH

The ways of the Gypsies are strange. It’s traditional. Our young men put strangers to the test. Please don’t take it personal. You passed the test, but now I’m afraid one of my family has taken it personal. You’ll have to look out for him… So what is your business? I see my friend Carmine thinks enough of you to send a note.

Rogger clears his throat.

ROGGER

Father Joseph, my name is, Rogger Dikkon. I come from the Hawaiian Islands.

FATHER JOSEPH

You speak like someone from New York.

ROGGER

I was raised in Philadelphia, but Hawaii has been my home base for the past 17 years       (CONTINUED)

FATHER JOSEPH

And?….

ROGGER

Well I’m primarily a writer, at the same time, I’ve studied under a wise-Oriental woman named, Madam Loo. She’s a sage much like you… and she has taught me much about Chinese Astrology.

FATHER JOSEPH

A writer. I have respect for those who write down organized thoughts. Chinese Astrology. I know of it. When Marco Polo returned from China in Kashmir, the land of my ancestors,                 (MORE)     (CONTINUED)

FATHER JOSEPH (CON’T)

his people and my people did business. We shared knowledge, and told stories about such things as your Chinese Astrology. The Gitano people have always been curious about such.

ROGGER

Then you know of its attributes?

FATHER JOSEPH

I know of many things and little of any…. Wait, before we begin, why not have Juletta make us some tea. It’s tradition for Gypsies to have a pesatimasti with new quiribos. You and I shall have a toast, and then speak further about your Chinese Astrology..

Father Joseph motions to young Juletta, and he squeezes her with affection.

FATHER JOSEPH

God has not given her a voice, but he has blessed her with the prettiest face and she’s smart. I love all of my children and grand children equally, but there’s a special place in my heart for Juletta here.

The girl smiles and scurries off behind the beaded curtain to begin to heat the water. Another man enters. He’s ROCHA, late twenties, Father Joseph’s son, noble looking, Juletta’s father.

ROCHA

What did they want? I know they’re up to something!

Father Joseph ignoring his son

FATHER JOSEPH

All of my children seemed to have forgotten their manners. Rocha! Can’t you see I’m conducting business with our new phral? You’re insulting Rogger and you had better watch it, he’s a lavengro. He may not write well of you. You missed the lesson he taught, Harpo! But for now leave us, go along and wait until I call for you. Juletta will stay with me.

At the first sounds of being chastised, Rocha’s eyes went downcast, but at the news of Harpo being taught a lesson, a lesson he can imagine, he looks up and smiles upon Rogger.

ROCHA

Forgive me, father… And forgive me, hombre de veras. Someday you must tell me of the lesson. I shall go. As you say, father, we shall speak later. (CONTINUED)

Once Rocha departs the two return to their conversation.

EXT. JUST OUTSIDE AN OPEN WINDOW–CONTINUOUS

We hear the cello music. Enrique and Harpo confer. They remain unseen outside the window. They lean up against the wall to eaves drop.

INT. FATHER JOSPESH’S PARLOR–CONTINUOUS

FATHER JOSEPH

All you say is intriguing, but I presume you ask for more. I believe your intentions are honorable and I see no conflict But first, I must tell you a story.. you might chose to use in your writings one day, surely you have heard of the word, thug?

ROGGER

Of course.

FATHER JOSEPH

Do you know the word’s origin?

ROGGER

Never gave it much thought.

FATHER JOSEPH

The name stems from a rogue tribe The Thuggee…The Thuggee were the worst of us. While my people assisted caravans going East-to-West, doing so with great dignity, the Thuggee chose to manipulate after they gained the traders confidence, then they’d chour their goods and killed the helpless.            (CONTINUED)

 

ROGGER

Gypsy bad guys, thugs

FATHER JOSEPH

They gave our people a bad name to thrive on deceit and treachery, whose evil ways were flaunted in front of their women, and passed down to their young. I’m sad to say elements of the Thuggee are still with us like those two bravious who gave you a hard time.

ROGGER

What’s this have to do with, me?

FATHER JOSEPH

Everything! You see I must control my people from going picaro. Yet I must look the other way and permit them to expand enterprises. Some of my people are restless to go back to old ways of chouring. Others have more-expansive ideas. For what we do there are no repercussions; we are considered harmless. After all we simply provide the busno with what they want. They pay for our timos and the art of dukkar. We make an effort to predict good bacht and send them then off to the casinos. We plant the seeds of luck. They provide for us the durro.

ROGGER

As I’ve said, Father Joseph, I can’t and don’t predict…

(CONTINUED)

FATHER JOSEPH

Of course you don’t. That goes without saying. But I can’t afford for my people to think you do or you try. I mustn’t lose face especially by granting a busno permission to practice you’re craft. It would weaken me. Such goes against our code and might create trouble with the bravious amongst us.

Juletta returns and deposits the tea on the table. Father lifts his cup

FATHER JOSEPH

Now for our pesastimasti; may you take into your body only the mulo mas! Here’s to long life!

Rogger tries to quell the disappointment, raises his cup. .

FATHER JOSEPH

You a good rom, I have intuition. You’re a baro rai. I’ve enjoyed speaking with you and look forward to doing so again, perhaps then you can tell me more about your Chinese Astrology… But first take it for what’s it’s worth, a vision is coming to my mind…Let me see your palms.

4 beats

Rogger slowly permits Father Joseph to read is palms

4 beats                           (CONTINUED)

FATHER JOSEPH

With strength you can overcome. Yet I sense you taking a journey. They’ll be danger. There’s a chance for good fortune. You may achieve love, something you’ve sought all your life… (2 beats) So be it As a token of our friendship I wish to give you something. Here my friend, may it help protect you.

Father Joseph opens a small wooden box and takes out a quartz crystal and hands it over to Rogger. Rogger shakes his head in thanks. While trying to both balance his cup and saucer and the gift, he places the crystal on a side table. Rogger realizes the audience is over. Though disappointed he seems to appreciate wisdom and relents. He shakes hands and departs.

Father Joseph opens a small wooden box and takes out a quartz crystal and hands it over to Rogger. Rogger shakes his head in thanks. While trying to both balance his cup and saucer and the gift, he places the crystal on a side table.

Juletta picks up the tray and goes behind the beaded curtain as. Father Joseph calls to Rogger as he leaves.

FATHER JOSEPH

Give my warmest regards to my quiribo  Carmine, tell him last month’s rents will eventually come, just a little longer…

EXT. ROGGER WALKING DOWN THE DARK BOARDWALK–CONTINUOUS

He stops abruptly. Frisks his pockets, realizes he’s forgotten his token gift. He turns to go back.

INT. JUST OUTSIDE FATHER JOSEPH’S PARLOR–CONTINUOUS

There’s no one there to greet him, he goes back in on his own.

INT. FATHER JOSEPH’S PARLOR–CONTINUOUS

The cello music plays. It’s eerie. Rogger eases into what seems like an empty parlor. Father Joseph is being murdered behind him but Rogger doesn’t notice.

He retrieves the crystal resting on the side table. When he turns his eyes are shocked by the grisly sight of both Enrique and Harpo squeezing the life out of Father Joseph with a leather strap. The cello music escalates. The old man is bent backwards.

Father Joseph has an awful look on his face, his mouth gapes, his tongue is out. There’s a terrible-sounding death rattle.

Rogger goes for the men.

Perhaps thinking it’s safe, young Juletta comes scooting from behind the curtain. If she could scream she would. Rogger punches Enrique, he goes down. Harpo releases his grip and lets Father Joseph drop dead to the floor. He charges Rogger. Juletta tries to help Rogger. Harpo turns and backhands the girl, she goes flying, tumbling, striking her head on the side wall. She’s knocked unconscious.

Enrique is back on his feet. He joins the attack. Rogger breaks free and holds up his hands in defense. They pull knives, they’re killers and they’ll kill Rogger. Rogger bolts.

Both Gypsies begin a pursuit, Enrique brakes his sprint and holds up Harpo. (CONTINUED)

ENRIQUE

Help! Help! God save us! The busno has killed, Father Joseph! The busno has killed, Father Joseph!

Rogger runs like the wind down the boards, with the new burden of hearing himself being accused of a heinous crime.

EXT. OUTSIDE FATHER JOSEPH’S PARLOR–CONTINUOUS

We see the same old woman, as in the mid-16th century. She rocks nearby Father Joseph’s parlor, and while we hear the shouts of Enrique and Harpo about the non-Gypsy busno who they’ve blamed for the killing, she begins to chant that same old Gypsy curse.

OLD WOMAN

ARMETES! ARMETES! AQUALARRE  ARMETES! BENG! BENG! BASTA! BASTA! MALOS MENGUES!

ARMETES! ARMETES! AQUALARRE  ARMETES! BENG! BENG! BASTA! BASTA! MALOS MENGUES!

The cello music plays.

INT. APARTMENT HOUSE STAIRWAY–NIGHT

We hear the running footsteps coming up the stairs. We see Rogger struggling to fit the keys into a door.

INT. INSIDE ROGGER’S APARTMENT–LATER NIGHT

He grabs a suitcase and begins to pack. He’s throwing things in a suitcase; he dismantles the connections to his computer.

EXT. OUTSIDE ROGGER’S APARTMENT HOUSE–CONTINUOUS

He’s finished packing up the car and with a look of being scared to death he jumps into the red, 87, Ford Escort and zooms off.

INT. FATHER JOSEPH’S PARLOR–NIGHT

DETECTIVE FRED FLANNERY, 48, along with his junior partner, one Detective TOMMY DE OREO, begin a preliminary investigation. Flannery has that two-donuts-with-your-coffee look, flips to his associate, his note pad. Other officers mill around. Rocha stares down where his father lies, a corpse covered in a blanket. There are other Gypsies, Enrique and Harpo and grieving Gypsy women. Uniformed policemen stand behind them as to insure that nobody goes anywhere. The Gypsies stand inside the inner-circle. Flannery and De Oreo stand outside the circle.

FLANNERY

(to De Oreo)

Whatta ya got?

DE OREO

We found a note. I sent Johnson down to Fun Pier to check on it… It had Carmine Santori’s name on it. Seems to have been a note of introduction, introducing one-Rogger Dikkon to the stiff… Johnson’s back, here’s his notes, he couldn’t find, Santori, but he interviewed this Sparky guy…

Flannery reads.

FLANNERY

Good! Photostat it, Tommy. Show it to, Maxwell, and then file it.

Flannery then steps into the inner circle.

FLANNERY

(toward Enrique and Harpo)

You say you heard this Rogger character cursing this Father Joseph?… (quickly to De Oreo) Get this down De Oreo.      (CONTINUED)

ENRIQUE

Claro, as clear as day, He sounded like a crazed dog. Then we heard him say, ‘I kill, you, you, Gypsy swine!’

HARPO

(affirming)

Claro!

FLANNERY

Anything else?

HARPO

We came running, only to see innocent Juletta on the floor, and the stinking busno standing over Father Joseph with a strap around his murdering hands.

Harpo hiccups twice and becomes hysterical as if he’s overwhelmed with grief. The others all begin to cry.

Rocha says nothing but stares towards Harpo and Enrique… A cellular phone rings. De Oreo answers it, hands it to Flannery,

FLANNERY

(on phone)

Yeah… Got it… You don’t say, writer, huh… How’s the girl’s condition?… Stay with it. Give me a run down at the DA’s office I’ll get De Oreo on it.

He clicks off the cellular. He looks towards Rocha.

(CONTINUED)

FLANNERY

Your daughter is in stable condition, but remains in a coma. They won’t know anything until they run tests. I’m going to have Detective De Oreo drop you off at the hospital. Seems this Rogger guy’s a writer… Alls we know, he approached Carmine Santori down at Fun Pier, wanted to rent a spot for some-kind of workshop. Santori wouldn’t rent him space unless Father Joseph gave the OK. According to this Sparky character, the guy was adamant and wouldn’t take ‘no’ for an answer… We haven’t spoken to Carmine yet. Seems to me we have a clear-cut motive….

ENRIQUE

Do you think you will catch this pig?

FLANNERY

We’ll get him all right. Look! Sit tight. You have my deepest condolences, But I’m going to warn you! And you had better take it to heart. I don’t want no wild talk about any kind of vengeance. I know the way the Gitano operate. This is a matter for police. District Attorney Maxwell will see to that.

INT. MOB WAREHOUSE–NEXT DAY

Eddie Harkins and Vito De Marco stand with Enrique and Harpo.

EDDIE

Father Joseph murdered! The timing is bad. (CONTINUED)

ENRIQUE

We lost a great leader. He was a great voyvoda!

EDDIE

Share with me his thoughts about our doing new business together?

ENRIQUE

He was very impressed. Gave us his blessing, Said it would be a new beginning.

Vito can take no more and grabs onto Enrique’s collar!

EDDIE

You’re a fucking Gypsy liar! I never trusted ya from the get-go. We spoke with Father Joseph. He was dead set against it.

VITO

Don’t try and bullshit bullshiters, ya fucking piece of shit. We already figured you two-fucking scum bags knocked off Father Joseph then you half-wits fingered the sucker who came to visit. Fools, everybody knows writers aren’t killers, especially by strangulation, a bull like Flannery will nail that one in a heartbeat! And you two imbeciles let him get away. What about the girl?

HARPO

Nothing could be further from the truth!

Vito pulls a gun, and puts it to Harpo’s head. (CONTINUED)

VITO

Don’t deny the truth! Fucking liar! Just say the word boss and I’ll scatter this prick’s brains all over the floor!

EDDIE

Too late for that. The paste is out of the tube. We’re involved.

ENRIQUE

Please, Eddie! Call him off! We wish to do business. He was old, he stood in our way!

EDDIE

You’re just lucky our people want this kid grabbing thing to get off the ground but only once this mess is cleared up… OK., this is what we’re going to do; find this Rogger before the cops do. Vito stay with it. You and Ralph take these two clods and pick up a trail on this guy. Our people down at police headquarters are will provide us with information.

VITO

What about the girl?

EDDIE

Maybe she’ll never wake up, if she does, have somebody close by so to shut her up permanently.

ENRIQUE

What about our deal?

EDDIE

Like I said, everything’s on hold until we finish this business! (CONTINUED)

ENRIQUE

(sheepishly)

What about the two we’ve already kidnapped?

EDDIE

Fuckin’ Jesus Christ!… See what I mean! I don’t want to hear about it. Return them, take them to a hospital near where you grabbed them from. One-more screw up and you’re both dead!

INT. JACKIE BOROCK’S OFFICE–DAY

She’s on the phone in the midst of a conversation with Rogger.

INTERCUT PHONE CONVERSATION.

JACKIE

Where are you?

EXT. ROADSIDE TELEPHONE BOOTH–DAY

From a telephone booth on an Interstate.

ROGGER

I’ll check with you later once I get to Taos. Call, Abbate, tell him I’m on my way. Jackie… you’re with me aren’t you?

INT. JACKIE’S OFFICE–CONTINUOUS

JACKIE

I’m always with you, Rogger, but we have to clear you!

(CONTINUED)

ROGGER (OS)

The girl’s my only salvation. Her father’s this Rocha guy, Father Joseph’s son, I think he’s on the up-and-up… Well who really knows with Gypsies?

JACKIE

You just get out to Abbate and hang low, I’ll go to work.

She hangs up the phone her intercom buzzes. She listens.

JACKIE

Send them in.

Flannery and De Oreo walk in the office. She invites them to sit.

FLANNERY

Ms Borock, thank you for seeing us. I understand you’re a very-busy woman. This is Detective De Oreo, and I’m Detective Flannery from Atlantic City’s office of the DA. You have a client by the name of Rogger Dikkon?

JACKIE

Yes I do.

FLANNERY

Rogger’s seems to have gotten himself in some hot water and District Attorney Maxwell would like to have a chat with him. Do you know his whereabouts?

JACKIE

What seems to be the trouble? (CONTINUED)

FLANNERY

Well, for the moment he’s being accused of murder. He was the last person seen with one-Father Joseph, a Gypsy elder, down in AC, until some not-so-nice person rung his neck. Seems your boy wanted to rent space up on the boards, wanted to open some Astrology joint. There’S talk about a conflict of interest with the Gypsies… Seems the old man wouldn’t give his OK. and seems your boy took it to heart, if you know what I mean?

JACKIE

I can’t buy that, Officer. Rogger wouldn’t swat a fly.

FLANNERY

Who knows? That may be true but for now we have some strong witnesses who are looking to testify and until we speak with Dikkon, he’s our primary suspect.

JACKIE

What do you want from me?

FLANNERY

Provide anyone in contact with Dikkon, I want names, addresses and telephone numbers. Tell us if you have an idea where he might be or if he’s decided to go on the lam. I want to know where he’s going… If you want to help your boy, you’ll cooperate.                (CONTINUED)

JACKIE

I’m sorry, officers, I haven’t spoken with Rogger in over two weeks. And I don’t know of…

FLANNERY

You’re full of shit! You’re receptionist said you’ve just got off the phone with him. So let’s skip the preliminaries. Be a nice girl, spill the beans!

JACKIE

Touche!(3 beats). He didn’t say where, only he’s completely innocent. Said two Gypsies did it. Said the girl saw everything. That’s all I know.

FLANNERY

You know it’s not very nice and illegal to lie to police, even if it is to protect a friend..

JACKIE

You’re forgetting something, Officer Flannery! I’m not only Rogger’s agent but his attorney. I’m fully licensed in the State of New Jersey AND my prerogative at this particular juncture to chose to reveal what-I-wish or what I-wish-not to discuss about Rogger Dikkon. I presume he hasn’t been charged. You have no warrant. You may be his accusers but that’s all you are. So, if you have nothing further, why don’t you just get the fuck out!And on the way pin a deputy’s badge on that bitch outside. You can tell her she’s fired!   (CONTINUED)

FLANNERY

Very well for now counselor! But next time ya talk to your client, ya better give him some prudent-legal advice to turn himself in. I’ll tell ya something! The minute the DA indites; I’ll be back. If ya don’t come clean I’m going to throw your smart ass in the stern and file charges for harboring a criminal!

EXT. OUTSIDE THE PHILADELPHIA OFFICE BUILDING–CONTINUOUS

DE OREO

She’s protecting him all right. He’s probably boffing her.

FLANNERY

Yeah. Get a tap and phone records. I wanna know everybody she’s called, Put the screws to them two-Gypsys, don’t let them out of sight. I don’t trust any of them Gitano bastards. Put a guard on the girl. If she comes round, get her story. There’s something fishy. The last thing we need is a fucking Gypsy war. The casino bosses and the mayor will scream to the high heavens.

INT. ROGGER’S CAR SOMEWHERE IN OKLAHOMA–LATE NIGHT

The Traveling Woolbury’s sing on the radio the tune; End of the Line. Rogger’s bleary eyed and needs sleep.

EXT. A MOTEL IN OKLAHOMA–NIGHT

Roger Dikkon checks-in, under the name of Carmine Santori; he pays cash and pulls around back.

INT. MOTEL ROOM–CONTINUOUS

He looks especially blue and studies the map; with his finger he measures the distance to Taos, New Mexico.

INT. MOTEL ROOM–HOURS LATER

Rogger’s asleep. In succession there’s four stokes on the cello. He twitches and begins to toss and turn. He grimaces and then.

ROGGER

AHHHHHH!  AHHHHHH!

ARMETES! ARMETES! AQUALARRE  ARMETES! BENG! BENG! BASTA! BASTA! MALOS MENGUES!

ARMETES! ARMETES! AQUALARRE  ARMETES! BENG! BENG! BASTA! BASTA! MALOS MENGUES!

EXT. OUTSIDE ROGGER’S ROOM–CONTINUOUS

There’s pounding on the motel room’s door.

MOTEL CLERK

You OK in there, mister? Open up!

Rogger opens the door and looks like a wild man.

MOTEL CLERK

What’s going on, mister? Ya damn near woke up the whole court! Look, we can’t have any shenanigans here. This is a quite place, all people want to do here is sleep and DO the wild thing.

ROGGER

Sorry! I just had a bad dream.    (CONTINUED)

MOTEL CLERK

Ya should have heard yourself, Mister! You was screaming something terrible. Ya sure have some weird nightmares, I ain’t ever hear that kine of talk around these parts. It sounded spooky to me. Ya look damn right horrible, too! Maybe ya should pour yourself a stiff one.

ROGGER

I appreciate it Thank you, I won’t be disturbing anyone further. I promise.

THe clerk departs. Rogger grabs his head and walks around the room, gathers up his things as to leave.

INT. ROGGER’S CAR SOMEWHERE IN WESTERN OKLAHOMA, WHILE PARKED AT A ROADSIDE REST STOP–HOURS LATER.

Rogger’s asleep, straddled across the Ford Escort’s front seat… He twitches, and all over again is terrorized.

FLASHBACK: INT FATHER JOSEPH’S PARLOR–NIGHT

He sees old-man Joseph’s agonizing face and death rattle!

INT. ROGGER’S CAR — CONTINUOUS

The cello music.

ROGGER

AHHHHHH! AHHHHHH!

ARMETES! ARMETES! AQUALARRE  ARMETES! BENG! BENG! BASTA! BASTA! MALOS MENGUES!

ARMETES! ARMETES! AQUALARRE  ARMETES! BENG! BENG! BASTA! BASTA! MALOS MENGUES!

EXT. JUST SOUTH OF TAOS IN NEW MEXICO–MID DAY

Rogger looks at the landscape while driving. He pulls off the main drag and heads down a dirt road, leaving a trail of dust. He pulls up in front of an adobe home. It’s a rural setting, the high chaparral, dirt and sage surrounded by mountains.

There are two horses sequestered in a corral and a T-pee sits next the house. Rogger shuts off the car and gets out.

The house door opens and LOLA ABBATE, John’s wife, mid-forties, with the look of an Earth mama but still attractive.

She greets Rogger warmly. Behind her is JOHN ABBATE, mid-fifties, Rogger’s longtime friend and accountant; a small man, who looks more like a small-sized, honey bear with his long hair and thick beard. John’s robotic physical movements and the none movement of his eyes indicates he’s blind.

INT. JOHN’S OFFICE, INSIDE THE HOUSE–HOURS LATER

Both sit at a desk and both men share a joint. John’s head is cocked somewhat. He has IRS papers in front of him.

JOHN

Boy! When you do it, you do it.

ROGGER

What can I say?

JOHN

It’s bad enough you’re almost broke, then we can discount the fact you haven’t filed your 1040s in three years. As your accountant I can’t ignore the fact that the IRS wants 70K, and they want it pronto, but somehow, that all that seems like a moot point now that your being blamed for bumping off some Gypsy chief!    (CONTINUED)

ROGGER

I seem to have a knack at complicating things.

JOHN

Hey, buddy, you’re the guy who has a blind accountant.

It’s evident, because of both men’s long affiliation they can see some humor in Rogger’s plight. They have a laugh.

ROGGER

Johnny, look, I just want to make this a brief pit stop. I didn’t know where to go. I wouldn’t want to put you and…

JOHN

Shut the fuck up! You’re sitting tight. Plus, I need to do your taxes, asshole, you’ve got me all backed up. I wanna knock down that 70K, can’t help it, it’s my nature. You’ll sleep out in the T-Pee, a good experience. I love sleeping out there. There’s a futon and bedding.

ROGGER

There’s something else!

JOHN

How’s that?

ROGGER

Well, for the last two nights, I’ve had these nightmares. They’re like the worst fuckin’ dreams I ever had in my life.   (CONTINUED)

JOHN

It’s normal, after a traumatic event, how many times have you witnessed a brutal killing?

ROGGER

True, but I feel funny too. I can’t put my finger on it but something’s not right,

JOHN

You’re telling me. Look, you’ve been on the road. Once you get a good-night’s sleep. Take some doobie, it might calm ya.

ROGGER

Thanks, John, I can’t begin to tell…

JOHN

Now, you’re pissing me off!

ROGGER

OK.! OK.! I’m going to sleep.

FADE OUT:

FADE IN:

EXT. MOB OFFICE–SIMULTANEOUSLY

Harry, Vito, Ralph, Enrique and Harpo stand in the office. It’s evident, because of both men’s long affiliation they can see some humor in Rogger’s plight. They have a laugh.

EDDIE

My people got word from our stooge downtown, this Rogger guy might be heading for Taos.

ENRIQUE

Where’s Taos?                  (CONTINUED)

EDDIE

New Mexico…

ENRIQUE

Harpo has dreams! He sees the Rogger. The dreams say, go to New Mexico! The writer’s been cursed by the Gitano! He suffers as we speak. Harpo has been chosen by the spirits to keep track of his whereabouts. The curse cannot be canceled, even the Gitano cannot stop it…

EDDIE

(sarcastically)

I don’t wantta hear about no fucking dreams. Alls I know his accountant lives out there, and there’s been some phone calls made by Dikkon’s broad agent, so fuck a bunch of curses and dreams and shit like that and let’s stick with the real connection.

VITO

What about the cops?

EDDIE

I don’t know what they’re dreaming about. They’re on to it too. That’s why we gotta act fast… Get on some different planes to Chicago, hook up there, then fly to Albuquerque.

VITO

Boss, why not Santa Fe it’s closer? CONTINUED)

EDDIE

Ya could attract attention. Albuquerque’s bigger, they’ll mostly be taken for Indians.

ENRIQUE

We are Indians!

VITO

These guys dress like fruits.

HARPO

These are the clothes of my people!

EDDIE

Settle down! Vito, just don’t come back with your ears pierced.

ENRIQUE

How do you want us to handle this?

EDDIE

Make it clean! No screw ups. Take out Dikkon, but let no-one else get in your way.

INT. POLICE HEADQUARTERS–SIMULTANEOUSLY

Flannery and De Oreo hold airline tickets in there hands. Both pack brief cases. Their travel bags sit in the corner.

DE OREO

How far’s Santa Fe from Taos.

FLANNERY

About two hours.

DE OREO

What about Taos P-D. — are they in on the pinch?   CONTINUED)

FLANNERY

Are you kidding? The DA wouldn’t take the chance, he’s drooling at the thought of “across-the-country headlines” having us making the pinch, ya know, “Maxwell’s boys nab fugitive.”  Elections are coming.

DE OREO

Yeah, he trusts nobody. I’m flattered. Should we contact INS.? It’s a boarder state.

FLANNERY

The DA said no. He’s set on us making the nab.

The phone rings, Flannery picks it up.

FLANNERY

Flannery here… Who?… Rocha! Why yes, Rocha. What?… Dreams you say?… New Mexico you say! Very interesting. We’ll keep in touch… I’m praying for your daughter… I have to go out of town but call this number and tell the desk sergeant about any further dreams. Goodbye for now. Yes… Yes we’ll look into it.

Flannery clicks off the phone.

FLANNERY

Well, I’ll be damned!… That Rocha guy had dreams. Says he saw Enrique and Harpo killing his father. Says he sees Enrique and Harpo heading to New Mexico, to find this Rogger and do away with him. Christ! I got goose bumps.  (CONTINUED)

DE OREO

Think there could be a leak?

FLANNERY

What? With the fucking Gypsies. Fat chance…

DE OREO

Seems awfully spooky to me. Why don’t we just pinch the Gypsies.

FLANNERY

And go in front of the grand jury, say this Rocha guy saw them choking the mark in a dream. No way! We need this Rogger guy.

DE OREO

‘cause if the girl doesn’t come around, we need him as a collaborating witness, and you figure, just get them all, somebody’s the killer, and somebody’s the witness?

FLANNERY

Know what, De Oreo? You’d make a pretty good detective.

DE OREO

Geez, Fred, thanks a lot. I’ll buy the first drink on the plane.

INT. ROCHA’S BEDROOM–NIGHT

Rocha sleeps with his wife in the dark bedroom.

Two men dressed like ninjas shadows reflect from the moon; they come sneaking into the bedroom. One goes for Rocha, the other silences his wife. They strangle Rocha to death.

INT. JOHN ABBATE’S T-PEE–NIGHT

We hear the familiar sounds of the cello. Rogger’s been struck. He’s in a ball-of-sweat and bolts straight up from the futon.

Lola rushes into the tent. She puts her arms around Rogger to comfort him as he screams; he’s yet conscious and he’s chanting the curse. John enters the T-Pee tapping along with the cane.

John listens intently. Rogger repeats the curse over but eventually comes to. Lola’s compassion helps subside the attack.

INT. JOHN’S OFFICE–MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT

Lola refills both men’s coffee. Rogger exhausted, but he’s one who wishes not to go back to sleep. John seems inquisitive.

JOHN

What can you tell of these dreams?

ROGGER

Nothing, really. They’re horrible. Once I come around, I can’t recall anything except the pain and terror.

JOHN

You’re saying you’ve never heard or thought about what you’ve been saying while under the spell.

ROGGER

No.

JOHN

It sounded like Spanish, but there were other words. Here I wrote them down from memory, see if they mean anything to you. (CONTINUED)

Rogger acts as if he’s almost afraid to look at the words, but he takes them and reads to himself. He looks up at John and shrugs his shoulders. Then his eyes get big.

ROGGER

Hey! Wait a minute! When I was escaping right after they strangled, Father Joseph, I heard this awful-sounding wailing voice, a voice of a woman. I heard it shriek and She was hollering similar words. They’re the exact words! Now, I’m sure of it!

JOHN

Maybe somebody has tried to put a whammy on ya.

ROGGER

A whammy?

JOHN

You know what? It could be a curse, Gypsies are famous for it.

ROGGER

Holy shit!

JOHN

Look! Tomorrow, we’ll go out to the Indian Reservation. I have a client, he’s the local, Pueblo-tribe’s, medicine man, his named is Lotus; he’s a good egg, and when it comes to these things he has lots of knowledge. He might be able to shed some light.

ROGGER

What about, now? (CONTINUED)

JOHN

White men aren’t permitted on the reservation at night, we’ll have to wait, plus there’s no electricity out there and he has no phone…  Let’s go in the living room, you can watch and I’ll listen to some HBO or something, maybe we should play a few games of pitch. Lola’s making a fresh pot. We’ll go see Lotus first thing in the morning…

Rogger has a forlorn look on his face.

EXT. ALBUQUERQUE’S AIRPORT–DAY

We see the plane landing. We hear the cello music.

MONTAGE:

a.) The four bad men are deplaning?

b.) We see them in their car rental.

c.) We see Vito’s cruel disinterested face.

d.) Ralph cleans a revolver. He chews gum and smiles.

e.) Harpo face gleams with evil anticipation.

f.) Enrique stares straight ahead.

INT. SANTA FE’S AIRPORT–DAY

We hear the airport’s intercom announce airport business.

MONTAGE:

a) Flannery’s on the phone, De Oreo waits smoking a cigarette. (CONTINUED)

FLANNERY

Any word on the girl?

b) We see both men getting their own rental.

c) We see both detectives heading out in the rental car, eating tacos on the road.

DE OREO

Hey, this shit’s not bad! What you get, green or red chili?

FLANNERY

Green.

DE OREO

I got the red.

FLANNERY

Know what they say?

DE OREO

Shoot.

FLANNERY

Come morning, he who eats the green will smile and gleam. But he who orders red will regret he was ever fed.

DE OREO

You’re forgetting something, Johnny! I’m a guinnie, we invented the hot stuff. Plus all the olive oil in my system mellows it out and eases everything on the way out.

There’s a green overhead road sign pointing the direction towards Taos.

The cello music plays.

EXT. OUTSIDE ABBATE’S HOME–EARLY MORNING

Rogger and John say goodbye to Lola. They drive off in John and Lola’s Cherokee. Rogger drives. They turn onto the Pueblo Reservation and drive up to a small adobe home.

CUT TOO:

INT. LOTUS’S HOME–DAYTIME

The three men sit. LOTUS, 60, a full-blooded Indian, with long black hair streaked with gray. His eyebrows are bushy and all gray. He wears a Washington Redskin’s football jacket. He looks as if he’s a man with wisdom.

LOTUS

You’re not here because of taxes?

JOHN

Don’t hold it against me, but in a way I wish I was… My friend, Rogger, has some problems, and I thought, perhaps you could unravel some of this… Maybe you can make some sense of this.

John in his blindness extends out the piece of leaf paper, the one of which he wrote the curse on.

Inquisitively, Lotus reaches for the paper. He gazes at it. He holds it up to the light,then lays it on the coffee table. We see his face and he mouths the words. His look getS sterner.

JOHN

Can you make anything of this?

5 beats

JOHN

(impatiently)

Does it mean anything to you?

Lotus still does not answer and he holds up his hand as to have them wait, and he gets up. (CONTINUED) JOHN

Where ya going?

Lotus is over in an old cabinet getting out some old notes, hand written notes.

JOHN

(to Rogger)

What’s he doing?

ROGGER

(low voiced)

He’s reading some notes he took out of a cabinet.

Lotus is glued to the writing. He takes one of the ancient sheets of paper from out of the cabinet and examines it closely, then places back the other notes. He walks towards the two anxious men. he stares down at both. He focuses towards Rogger.

LOTUS

How long have you been having the dreams?

ROGGER

A couple of nights.

LOTUS

Do you know why?

ROGGER

I’m not sure, except I witnessed a murder.

LOTUS

Of whom?

ROGGER

Of an old Gypsy man, the leader of the Gypsy tribes in Atlantic City. And I’ve been accused of committing the deed. I suspect the police are after me… (CONTINUED)

LOTUS

You should be so lucky. You have big trouble!

ROGGER

What is it?   (CONTINUED)

LOTUS

Wait!. I must ask you more, be patient… Do you know who committed this crime?

ROGGER

Yes, two relatives, men I had trouble with earlier. One’s named Harpo.

Four beats

Lotus stares into the fire. He sighs…

LOTUS

(to John)

I wish you hadn’t brought him here, my friend. You have brought into my home a cursed man. Yet, I’m obliged by my forefathers.

ROGGER

What can you tell, me?

LOTUS

The words!.. are that of an ancient curse.

ROGGER

I heard a woman’s awful voice scream them out just after the murder while the actual killers were shouting that I killed Father Joseph!     (CONTINUED)

LOTUS

You say, you chant these exact words in your sleep. The very same words.

ROGGER

That’s what John says, I can’t remember what I say. In a way, I wish I could, I could rationalize perhaps do something to prepare myself. It feels as if it’s driving me mad.

LOTUS

You should! This curse—very old and extremely potent, used by the Calo and the Gitano for many moons. Our people’s most powerful medicine has never been able to weaken its power, it’s a dark power planted inside your mind… There are stories… For years my people passed down the story about, Cortes. The conqueror was eventually relieved of his pain. A Gypsy boy provided the antidote so to save his own life and gain his freedom. It is said the hold cannot be broken… only passed on to another… hopefully an enemy… Cortes’ people summoned doctors, shamans, and medicine men from both sides of the great ocean. It was only when two-Aztec slave girls who were said to be close to Cortes brought forth a boy named, Rico, who was in hiding with a price on his head and he applied some remedies… but of what? I have no idea… Despite the eventual relief, Cortes supposedly was never the same. (CONTINUED)

ROGGER

What more can you tell me?… Can you help me?….

LOTUS

Our people and Aztecs, exchanged ideas, before your Jesus Christ was born. Yet none of us possess medicine enough to extinguish this curse… only a handful of Aztecs are said to possess such power, a direct line from the-boy Rico, somewhere in the mountains of Central Mexico. They may be dead now… those who went by the name of Coppersmith. They alone were to have the remedy. there are only a few known instances… yet I’ve prepared for such instances…

JOHN

How’s that?

Lotus holds up the paper.

The cello plays and the camera zooms in dramatically on the handwritten curse. The parchment’s yellow tinge aged with time. They’re eerie looking all right. Below it we see other words…

LOTUS

I can partially help you, but there’s a heavy price to pay.

JOHN

Are we talking about money?

LOTUS

I’m afraid we’re not… It’s my price to pay.

He sighs heavy.

(CONTINUED)

LOTUS

I can relieve your anguish, temporarily, within the span of this very moon, the moon of the twins, their guarding spirit will travel with you. Two nights you say? We must perform the ceremony at once. When the moon crosses into the sky of the crab; after that, you’ll be alone.

ROGGER

When’s that?

JOHN

I make it out to be June 22nd.

LOTUS

More or less…

JOHN

Let’s see. This is the 16th… Is there a chance you can relieve Rogger for the next 6 days

LOTUS

Perhaps yes! Perhaps no! I have no hands-on experience at such things. To my knowledge no one lives who has has had such an experience or opportunity… I have prepared for such a moment.

ROGGER

Like how? (CONTINUED)

LOTUS

You must go to Central Mexico, today! Seek out the Coppersmiths, they’re your only salvation. Please, step over here… Please-wait John. (CONTINUED)

Rogger and Lotus step over to the corner of the adobe. Lotus clutches the old parchment in his grip, he reaches for a clay pipe. From other clay bowls he sprinkles some straw and an orange-looking powder into the bowl of the pipe. He lights it with a Bic. He then sets it down, an orange smoke permeates.

Lotus grab’s Rogger shoulders to straighten him. Rogger straightens up. Lotus, once satisfied with Rogger’s posture picks up the smoking pipe and walks all around Rogger spreading the smoke. He breaks out into a chant and quick steps. He reads the words in Aztec, the very words below the original curse. He looks to the heavens with open palms and then he looks downwards and shakes his fist at the Earth. He does this over and over and repeats the chant then with pipe back-in-hand Lotus tightly places his hands around his own throat and sticks out his tongue, and eats the old parchment. Chews hard. His look is determined…. He passes out.

CUT TO:

EXT. LOTUS’S ADOBE–LATER

Lotus’s family pile into the back of the Cherokee.

LOTUS

Tell my brother to stay with my family. They will be safe. I must prepare if we’re going to be successful… It is said that the great Cortes had to perform monumental feats to rid himself of the occhio draculli.         

John reaches out to hug Lotus. Rogger does the same.

LOTUS

Please put my accounts in order? Thank you, my friend?

John and Rogger say nothing.

EXT. LOTUS’S BROTHER’S ADOBE– CONTINUOUS

Lotus’s family exits the Cherokee. Lotus’s brother, dressed in a black felt hat with a red feather, helps unload the family. All then wave goodbye.

INT. JOHN CAR–CONTINUOUS

They’re driving back. The Trucus peaks are behind them,

JOHN

What are you gong to do?

ROGGER

First! Hope Lotus’s magic takes hold… And then I guess I should prepare to head South.

JOHN

I have a client. Manuel Rodrigez. He lives in San Miguel, a mountain town in Central Mexico, he’s a writer, a Journalist, writes for a small, English-speaking paper. Let’s fax him once we get back to my place. Perhaps he can help. Whatta ya going to do fly or drive?

ROGGER

I better drive and bolt the border, airports might be off limits. Then, who knows, where I’ll have to further travel once I’m in country.

JOHN

OK. let’s get moving.

ROGGER

I’ll call, Jackie, from back at your place, maybe something has broken.

INT. JOHN’S OFFICE–DAY

Rogger’s on the phone. John’s sending a fax to Mexico.

INTERCUT TELEPHONE:

ROGGER

When were they there?

JACKIE (OS)

A day ago.

ROGGER

Any news about the girl?

JACKIE (OS)

She’s still in a coma.

ROGGER

Do you know if they’ve issued a warrant?

JACKIE (OS)

I don’t think so…. The minute they do they’ll be at my door…. Technically, you’re still a suspect. They’re looking for you all right… Rogger, we have to straighten this mess out!

ROGGER

Right now Mexico seems like the place to go. I can’t believe this shit is happening!

JACKIE (OS)

Keep the faith. Stay in touch. I’ll post, John. Don’t let these dreams throw you, you’re under pressure… Wish I could say more. Just watch it. (CONTINUED)

Rogger says goodbye and hangs up the phone. We see John’s fax machine sending back a message in braille. John’s stubby finger moves over and interprets the braille message coming in from Mexico.

JOHN

Manuel has ya all set up, he’s reserved a room for you at the Quinta Loreta, it’s a nice hotel, Lola and I stayed there. Manuel’s on the case, he’ll get in contact with you, it should take you at least two days to get down there. Hey, watch your ass driving at night! It’s a bitch! It may have contributed to my blindness! Mexico’s notorious for having bandits on the road at night.

ROGGER

I guess there’s no time like the present. I’m on the road.

JOHN

OK. keep in touch.

Rogger embraces John.

ROGGER

Solid!

EXT. ROAD OUT OF TAOS–DAY

We have a bird’s eye view of Rogger driving out of town with the mountains gleaming in the the background.

The cello music plays and with the same bird’s-eye view the camera sweeps down, and we see the bad men’s rental heading towards Taos. Then our point of view zooms skyward, like a soaring eagle, the camera, after 3 beats of soaring, levels off, and we have a breathtaking vista of New Mexico’s splendor.

(CONTINUED)

The camera’s lens magnifies sending our view outward and further into the distance, and then again, from high above, we focus in on the moving-river of autos streaming north from the south, our perspective has us begin to glide downward, now many miles behind the other rental, the one driven by the thugs, also heading north and the view sweeps down and focuses on the very vehicle occupied by Detective Flannery and De Oreo who are also heading towards Taos.

INT. BAD MEN’S CAR JUST OUTSIDE OF TAOS–LATER

Three men sit in the car while Vito’s on the pay phone. Harpo has a frightened look on his face.

EXT. ROADSIDE TELEPHONE–CONTINUOUS

Vito’s on the phone with Eddie. The cello music plays.

VITO

We’re four miles from the accountant’s. Harpo was snoozing in the back; all-of-a-sudden he wakes up, said he saw this-here road in his dream! Ranted about this adobe house! Said Dikkon’s there. The fuckin’ lulu did a freak out in the car, said, if I didn’t stop he’d kill himself, kill us all, insisted I go up this road…

4 beats

VITO

…I’m on it… I figure, call you, whatta ya think?…

4 beats

(CONTINUED)

VITO

OK. boss! What ever ya say. Can’t hurt nothing, I guess. I just wanna get this trip over with. The fuckin’ Gypsies are driving me and Ralph crazy, boss, you should see how they eat. OK. We’ll play it out, before we check the accountant’s.

EXT. OUTSIDE LOTUS’S HOUSE–LATER

The rental carrying; Vito, Ralph, Enrique and Harpo pull up to the adobe. The four men get out cautiously. Vito and Ralph draw weapons. They move slowly towards the door. It’s ajar. Vito peers in. He sees Lotus sitting in the middle of the living room’s floor, still sporting his football jacket but otherwise dressed ceremoniously in a lotus position, with three candles lit before him.

INT. INSIDE THE ADOBE–CONTINUOUS

We see Lotus with eyes staring straight ahead, feather clutched in one hand, beads in another. He’s aware of the men’s presence, but more or less ignores them.

The men ease in and Vito and Ralph seemed spooked. Enrique and Harpo seem destined. Harpo takes on the look of a jackal with a mad glare in his Gypsy eyes. He moves slowly and deliberately over towards Lotus who all but ignores the overt move. He stands over Lotus and stares down at him with a detesting look. Still Lotus does not move an iota or does he blink an eye.

HARPO

ARMETES! ARMETES! AQUALARRE  ARMETES! BENG! BENG! BASTA! BASTA! MALOS MENGUES!

ARMETES! ARMETES! AQUALARRE  ARMETES! BENG! BENG! BASTA! BASTA! MALOS MENGUES!

(CONTINUED)

Harpo reaches down and begins to ring Lotus’s neck. With incredible strength he grips Lotus so hard he’s bring him to his feet.

Vito raises his gun.

VITO

What the fuck ya doing?.. Let him down or I’m gonna plug ya!

Enrique grabs Vito’s arm.

ENRIQUE

It’s no use, Harpo has no jindama, he fears, nothing only the Malos Mengues, he must fulfill his destiny.

Ralph has a befuddled look on his face looking for Vito’s leadership. Vito appears to be spooked and confused as if he must permit this strange-murderous destiny to carry itself through.

The camera focus; back on Harpo, as he chokes the final breath out of Lotus, and Lotus who has never responded drops unceremoniously to the floor. Harpo then spits on the corpse.

harpo

(to the dead man)

Mulajani! Mulajani!

VITO

(to Enrique)

What he say?   (CONTINUED)

ENRIQUE

(with a coy smile)

It’s Gitano; to enjoy oneself with Gypsies.

VITO

Let’s get the fuck outta here!

EXT. OUTSIDE JOHN ABBATE’S HOUSE–LATER

Vito and company drive up to Abbate’s house. They get out and look around. The Cherokee isn’t there. They enter the house.

INT. ABBATE’S HOUSE–CONTINUOUS

No one’s home and they search around.

VITO

We’ll wait.

CUT TO:

EXT. ROAD LEADING TO ABBATE’S–SIMULTANEOUSLY

Flannery and De Oreo head to Abbate’s. The cello plays.

INT. ABBATE’S HOUSE–CONTINUOUS

The four make themselves at home. Ralph rises.

RALPH

I’m going out to the car for my smokes.

EXT. ABATTE’S HOUSE–CONTINUOUS

Ralph comes out the front door and heads to the car. The vehicle occupied by Flannery and De Oreo shows up. The car stops quickly and Flannery is out of the car before Ralph can do anything.

FLANNERY

Hey, you John Abbate.

Ralph

Who wants to know?

Flannery

Detective Flannery, Atlantic City Po….       (CONTINUED)

Flannery draws his gun.

FLANNERY

You’re, Ralphy the Sniff! What the fuck ya doing here?…

Three beats

DE OREO (OS)

Drop it, Flannery!

Vito and the two Gypsies come from the house.

FLANNERY

What have you done De Oreo, lose a screw?

DE OREO

Nah, fatso! Just insuring my pension plan. Give me your gun!

Ralph moves quickly to disarm Detective Flannery.

DE OREO

The Taos PD. report will read something like this: “Seems this Detective Flannery came to Taos to interview a resident accountant about his client who’s a suspect in a murder wrap. At the scene of the crime nobody was home, the door was wide open and the two officers went in. The detectives had no clue but the suspect in question was hiding in a closet and he popped out and jumped poor Detective Flannery, grabbed his gun shot him dead, and then, Dikkon, held Detective De Oreo at bay, only after he slugged him with Flannery’s piece. Dikkon then disappeared to who knows where?…”

(CONTINUED)

FLANNERY

You’ll never get away with it!

DE OREO

Why not?…

FLANNERY

You’re not smart enough! Ya couldn’t make a decent pimple on the a beat-cop’s ass!

DE OREO

Talk tough, fat boy! Your reign is over!.. No more ‘did ya get dat down, De Oreo, wait in the car, De Oreo.’ No more me breathing in your stinking farts while driving your-lard ass around AC. It will be Tommy De Oreo bossing some new smiling Johnny. Me! The one saying, “Go fetch, coffee! Write the report!” Maybe I’ll get a good-looking broad for a junior. Fuck you, Flannery! I’ve hated your guts since day one.

De Oreo quick steps over, takes Flannery’s gun from Ralph.

DE OREO

You ain’t worth shooting on the inside.

He shoots Flannery dead!

FADEOUT:

EXT. MURDER SCENE–LATER

Taos PD. police cars are in front of Abbate’s adobe. Paramedics remove Detective Flannery’s body. De Oreo, with a bruised eye stands with the Chief of Police. Vito and the rest are gone.

CHIEF

I would have appreciated a courtesy call while in my territory.

DE OREO

Sorry chief, the DA calls the shots.

CHIEF

He’s going to hear a piece of my mind… I’ll go light on you, I’m sure you’re pretty broken up

DE OREO

We were like brothers.

CHIEF

Have any hunches on this Dikkon’s whereabouts?

DE OREO

We we going to interview Abbate just a routine investigation.

CHIEF

Why didn’t ya just call him?

DE OREO

The truth is Chief, The DA. and Flannery suspected that Dikkon could be on his way out here, I’m just a pawn.     (CONTINUED)

CHIEF

Well that justifies a courtesy call!

DE OREO

Like I say, I don’t call the shots.

John and Lola’s Cherokee comes roaring up to the house. Lola looks perplexed.

LOLA

John! There’s all kinds of police cars in front of the house!

Lola shuts off the ignition. We see John and his still eyes. He extends out his arm and holds Lola up from getting out. He’s thinking.

JOHN

The police will probably try and question us on the way in… After the introductions, you say, “Goodness! You’ll have to excuse me!”.. Say you have to use the ladies room extra fierce — afterwards; disconnect the fax machine, put it in a drawer.

LOLA

Gotcha!

The blind man and his wife get out and are approached by The Chief, De Oreo and the other officers. (CONTINUED)

CHIEF

Mr. and Mrs. Abbate, I’m Chief Corrigan, sorry for all the excitement. This is Detective De Oreo. He and his partner came out here from back in New Jersey to question you about a fellow named Rogger Dikkon, who’s supposedly your client… De Oreo and his partner, Detective Flannery came to your home. Right now I’m sad to say that a law enforcement officer is on his way to the county morgue. When they arrived, you weren’t home, so the two detectives went around back in different directions… Supposedly your client Dikkon, came out of nowhere jumped Flannery swiped his revolver and shot him dead. Then he held De Oreo here at gun point and delivered an old-fashioned Taos knockout and drove off. What can you tell me about this fellow?

JOHN

Before we answer anything, Chief, I think we’d like to have our attorney present.

DE OREO

Wait a minute!

The chief’s face blanks and he contemplates, places his hand to his chin, and looks down.

CHIEF

Mr. Abbate has a point. We have had a lot going on here. We’ll wait and sort it all out. (CONTINUED)

The camera backs off and the dialogue mutes. Up close, we see Lola make an exasperated face. She mouths some quick words and pulls up her ankle-length dress a few inches as she scurries off to relieve herself. We then see John leading the way and he begins to shuffle on towards the house, purposely slowing his pace. Respectfully the police file in line behind him.

INT. INSIDE ABBATE HOME–CONTINUOUS

We see Lola, quietly closing the office door and then making her way down the hallway, out towards the living room as the other begin to come in the front door.

CUT TO:

INT. ABBATE’S LIVING ROOM–LATER

The chief and John sit comfortably in club chairs. Lola serves coffee. De Oreo’s off in a far corner on a phone.

CHIEF

So you say, because I use my pickup for police business, I can both depreciate its value, and also deduct some of the payments!

JOHN

Just fill out a simple IRS-D22.

CHIEF

Well, I’ll be!

JOHN

Mea culpa, Chief, for taking up your time, it’s just that Lola and I’d prefer legal advice. (CONTINUED)

CHIEF

Fiddle sticks! Think nothing of it, I’d be just losing money at checkers. I’ll tell ya, Mr. Abbate — these fast-talking, slick-looking boys come out here from back East, think they’re Elliot Ness or something. I don’t believe you have anything to worry about. Just tell the truth. It’s a damn shame.

We see De Oreo keeping his eyes on John and the Chief as he speaks into the cellular.

DE OREO

It couldn’t have been avoided… I got everything under control… The accountant won’t talk without his lawyer… (MORE) (CONTINUED))

DE OREO (CONT’D)

We’re waiting for him right now… Dikkon called his agent you say?.. From here!… What fax machine? I didn’t see any…. He sent and got a fax from where?… San Miguel de Allende, in Mexico…  Yeah, Yeah I know how to spell, Miguel… Yeah!.. Got it! What?… Don’t send the two clowns back!… Oh!.. Yeah!  Ok. it will be a pleasure… There’s a lot of open land out here, the fucking, Amazing’ Kreskin won’t be able to find ‘em… Take Vito and Ralph South of the border with me? They’re holed up with the soon-to-be-stiffs down in Albuquerque. We’ll go across the border as tourists. Any news with the kid?… Good…

EXT. DIRT ROAD BORDER CROSSING–DAY

We see Rogger heading down a dirt road in a cloud of dust.

EXT. NORTHERN MEXICO–LATER

MONTAGE:

We see a series of shots. Rogger driving. Passing burros on the road. Driving Mexican hi-ways.

We’re treated to mountains with plateaus in the distance. We get another bird’s eye view of the vastness and only Rogger’s car speeds South.

EXT. ON THE HI-WAY–NIGHT

Rogger is terrorized by high-beams. Trucks nip at his car’s heels on the way down hills, and he’s caught and stuck behind those same once speeding trucks at 15 MPH on the upgrade.

He’s tired. He almost loses control when he almost runs into a motor bike with no back lights. Shadows belonging to people cross his path and force him suddenly brake.

Rogger with sweating face, reverses the gears and back into the bushes. He breathe heavy, perhaps not sure to go on and is apprehensive about getting some sleep.

INT. ROGGER’S CAR–SUNRISE.

We see Rogger soundly asleep. We see a small, cute, Mexican kid squatting on the hood of the car, peering in and gazing at Rogger’s slumber. A burro sits waiting for the curious boy. Roger comes to. He shakes his head and seems surprised by the boy.

THE BOY

Buenes dias, senior!

ROGGER

Buenes… Buenes… Buenes dias, chico.           (CONTINUED)

Rogger sighs with relief, and a smile comes to his mostly solemn face. He starts repeating the Spanish greeting. Eagerly he turns the key start the car, smiles more so at the boy, who’s jumping off the hood and who stands to the side, the boy staring and seemly amused by the Gringo’s joy. Rogger begins to pull away and is repeating the ‘good morning.’

ROGGER

BUENOS DIAS!… BUENOS, FUCKING-A, DIAS! HE-HAWS!… ANDELE! ANDELE!

EXT. ON THE ROAD–NIGHT

We see the sign, and the cut off towards San Miguel de Allende.

We see Roger pick up.

EXT. SAN MIGUEL–LATER

Rogger’s red Ford rumbas down the cobble stone streets of the Central Mexico’s colonial town. Even in the dark we can see the charm of the small town. Rogger stops and inquires directions.

INT. HOTEL ROOM–LATER

CNN plays on the TV. Rogger lays back and places his one hand behind his head and takes deep drags from his cigarette.

He looks as if he’s still not sure if he should close his eyes. He crushes the butt and shuts out the light and adjust his body on its side to its final position and goes to sleep.

FADEOUT:

EXT. SAN MIGUEL SKYLINE–DAY

We see the Parroquia. We camera pans the Parroquia. We hear the church bells and the camera focuses towards another church tower, one-rectangularly built with a clock across from the cathedral. Then our view is slanted downward onto the jardin below, a public square with benches and trees teeming with life. Food carts, people, pigeons, the balloon man, the dogs, beggars, people in progress.                   (CONTINUED)

The sounds of San Miguel are gradually replaced as we hear dinner plates and saucers being moved about. We recognize the sounds of bubbling liquid fizzing after being poured on ice.

EXT. COURTYARD CAFE SAN MIGUEL–LUNCHTIME

MANUEL RODRIQUEZ, 40-ish, bearded, trustworthy looking, and while chewing his food aggressively with napkin stuffed into his collar cuts into his tenderloin.

MANUEL

Hmmm!.. The flavor! Only in Mexico!

Rogger doesn’t seem to have as much of an appetite, and a bow-tied waiter delivers a piping-hot-bowel of soup.

MANUEL

Oh! Wise choice! The garlic soup. Sopa de los Dios.

ROGGER

They say the Chinese have applied properties from garlic for over 6,000 years?

MANUEL

I thought it was the Greeks.

ROGGER

Who knows for sure?

MANUEL

Yes! John has spoken about your penchant for Chinese Astrology. He refers to you, when he’s with me, as his other-writer client.

ROGGER

Seems as if that this time it’s gotten me into a fix. (CONTINUED)

MANUEL

Yes, my friend… John stated the urgency… Knowing, John as I do, you’re not here to compare Dragons with Snakes.

ROGGER

Wish that was the case… I suppose I should trust you, it’s like this…

CUT TO:

EXT. COURTYARD CAFE–LATER

Manuel pays the waiter.

MANUEL

I have an amiga here in town, she owns a book store. Most books deal with the metaphysical. She has access to many people who dabble in such things. I will introduce you. We will go there now. Perhaps she can help.

ROGGER

Good! Let’s go!

EXT. STREETS OF SAN MIGUEL–LATER

We see the two men on the streets. Church bells ring. Street carts sell tortas and tacos. They turn down a small calle. They come upon and enter the place called: The Aquarius Book Store.

It’s a covey hole. Sitar music plays, incense burns, there’s no customers, behind the counter sits, LAURA SANCHEZ, 36, a Mexican beauty, with twinkling-brown eyes. Her mouth; slightly over sized, but ever-so sexy. Her hair; shoulder length, curly, parted in the middle on the verge of looking wild. She has a friendly smile. One can tell she’s educated and a strong-willed.

Manuel approaches, smiles, delivers the mandatory kiss on the cheek. Laura greets him warmly. He introduces Rogger in Spanish.

MANUEL

Senorita, este es Senior Rogger Dikkon… El es un escritor.

LAURA

Hmmm. Mucho gusto, Rogger. Usted hablas Espanol?

ROGGER

Los ciento! Yo hablo Espanol malo, solo em poco!

LAURA

Very well, we speak, English — no?

Manuel interjects.

MANUEL

Mi amigo’s  doing research for a writing project. I thought it best to bring him here.

LAURA

Si, I have this store for books. I can help I suppose.

MANUEL

Gracious Senorita… You’re in good hands, Rogger. Voyca periodico. I have a dead line to beat.  I’ll check with you later, back at the hotel.

Again, Manuel plants a kiss on Laura’s cheek, shakes Rogger’s hand and departs. Rogger studies Laura as she kisses Manuel goodbye and we see, as she closes her eyes just a tad while giving and receiving the peck. She pulls her face from Manuel’s and directs her attention to Rogger.           (CONTINUED)

LAURA

How can I help, you?

ROGGER

(initially stunned)

…I’m-a, working on a piece, a piece about ancient-Gypsy curses. Manuel said you might know some people who are familiar about such curses.

LAURA

Curses! I prefer miracles… but I check my notes. We will go in back to take some tea. There, you tell me, tell me what you write, and about the curse you look for — no?

Rogger smiles. As she walks ahead, he takes a full bodied gander. His interest peaks.

INT. LAURA’S BACK OFFICE–CONTINUOUS

She pours them tea. She plants an inquisitive smile on her face.

LAURA

It’s interesting! Americans have access to much information — no? Yet, they don’t go to libraries or sit in front of computers, they love adventure, take initiative and travel to the source—they are adventurous-no?.. My people should do that — no?

ROGGER

Economics comes into play. When one sawbuck equals 100 pesos, that helps ease the adventure.

(CONTINUED)

LAURA

Saw Buck?

ROGGER

Oh, sorry. Ten dollars. You’ll have to excuse me, I use a lot of slang.

LAURA

(smiling)

Ah! Slang. I like. You can teach.

He’s mesmerized by Laura he smiles back.

ROGGER

Forgive me, Laura. Sorry! For some crazy reason I feel compelled to say, you have the most fantastic eyes!

LAURA

(snappy)

Another thing about Americans. They’re very forward, talk ridiculous like in old-American films, they think Mexican women will swoon — no?

ROGGER

(laughing)

Honest! I wasn’t giving you a line or should I say false story. It’s funny, I’m not usually so open. I suppose I just want to share my observations, it’s not my style. But you’re a big girl, I’m sure others have mentioned your eyes, even Mexican men.

Laura doesn’t respond. She could be angry she could be amused, perhaps inquisitive.

2 beats (CONTINUED)

ROGGER

Lets change the subject? I’d say your English is superb… why, my Spanish is more like baby talk. … not wishing to get into further trouble, but you have one flaw.

LAURA

So, you come to my country and begin to tell me how to speak your language?

ROGGER

I wouldn’t think of it. I thought I’d just lend a helping hand?

LAURA

I thought you needed the help. I was not looking for American aid.

ROGGER

Well, still there’s a flaw

LAURA

And what is that?

ROGGER

I’ve found it interesting, when I meet foreigners such as yourself, those who have a good command of the English language, and yet it seems many times almost their almost-perfect English has one-specific pitfall.

LAURA

(inquisitively and so cute)

And what is this so-called, specific pitfall?

ROGGER

(smiling)

Saying the word ‘no,’ right after a positive statement! It’s contradictory and confuses conversation. Get rid of it, your English is very good. I notice such things being a writer — Hawaiians say the opposite, they say ‘yeah.’

Two beats. Laura stares straight at Rogger. She’s still smiling.

LAURA

Then thank you for sharing … Don’t worry. I am not angry. It is necessary to improve my English, and I find it more refreshing to compare, better than silly-talk about my eyes.

ROGGER

At your service.

LAURA

Very well… Now tell me, tell me all about your writing and about this curse…

CUTE TO:

EXT. NEW MEXICO DESERT, DESERTED MINE SHAFT–LATE AFTERNOON.

We see two men’s long shadows… The sun’s sinking fast… We hear the crackling of flames and a few-muffled explosions. Clouds of black smoke drift pass our vista, which is primarily remote, sage brush and distant New Mexican mountains.(CONTINUED)

The camera identifies the two looming shadows. They belong to Vito and Ralph…. With both hands stuffed in pockets they’re casually gazing down the shaft. Ralph has a cigarette dangling from his lips.

De Oreo pulls up in a car to where they’re standing.  De Oreo rubbernecks, so to observe the men’s cynosure.                  (CONTINUED)

 

VITO

(towards the cynosure)

Un Gotz, un Gohl with your friggin’ dreams! Dream forever, dick wads…

RALPH

Yeah! Now ya can bore the devil’s ears with your friggin’ dreams, ya Scungiel!

Ralph hee-hees and haw-haws! Brazenly mocking the dead while performing an impromptu eulogy for Enrique and Harpo.

De Oreo gives off a weak smile, surmises the situation, and looks toward both men.

DE OREO

Get in! Let’s go! Maxwell says we’re on our way to Mexico?

EXT. SIDE ROAD AND INTERSTATE–SUNSET

From above we see the three men’s car pull back on the Interstate, heading south. The sun begins to set in the West.

The cello music plays… The car’s moves away, the sky is brilliant. The car’s on its way. The cello music plays. The sun sinks and the landscape darkens. The cello plays.

FADEOUT:

INT. ROGGER’S HOTEL ROOM–DAY

Rogger involves himself the phone rings. He answers.

ROGGER

Hello!… Buenos Dias, Laura!.. Yes, I have an auto… How’s a-half hour sound?

He hangs up and calls Jackie. (CONTINUED)

ROGGER

Thank you, operator. Howz’t, Jackie?… San Miguel de Allende…. Have you heard from, Abbate?..

INT. A ROOM SOMEWHERE–CONTINUOUS

We hear the cello music. We see a man in a suit with ear phones listening in on the conversation.

INT. ROGGER’S HOTEL ROOM–CONTINUOUS

ROGGER

…How about, little Julette?  Still no change. Shit!.. OK. OK. Me too, I’ll keep ya posted

Rogger hangs up the phones and puts his hands up to his head.

ROGGER

(to himself)

First things, first.

EXT. STREETS OF SAN MIGUEL–NIGHT

Rogger and Laura stroll the calles

LAURA

This is my place…

ROGGER

Oh?

LAURA

Like to come in and take some tea.

ROGGER

Sure.

INT. LAURA’S APARTMENT–LATER

Rogger and Laura sit and have tea. We see them laughing and talking.

ROGGER

I can’t put my finger on it but… (CONTINUED)

LAURA

Maybe you should give up writing?

ROGGER

I can’t… Besides, how else do you seduce a woman, except through the word.  Well, that’s at least in my case.

LAURA

So! Is that what important. The seduction of woman.

ROGGER

To be honest, I suppose so.

LAURA

And how do you see, me?

ROGGER

Well, you’re certainly a beautiful woman. There’s probably no doubt about it… I’m probably trying to seduce you right now.

4 beats

LAURA

I must sleep if I’m able to help you, you must go.

ROGGER

Sure, Buenos noches, see you in the morning.     (CONTINUED)

Rogger gets up, sees himself in the mirror. He makes a funny face acting as if he should say nothing, further summing that it’s a nonplus situation.

ROGGER

Thanks, Laura, forget the come on stuff. Sorry…

LAURA

Come on?

ROGGER

Just, slang.

FADEOUT:

EXT. OUTSIDE AQUARIUS BOOKSTORE–LATER

Laura puts a padlock on the iron gate. Rogger sits in the car with the engine running. She enters the passenger side and smiles. They head down the cobblestone calle.

ROGGER

Where are we going?

LAURA

To Pozos, 50 kilometers. An old mining town. Nobody lives there, but we might find information.

ROGGER

Shoot!

LAURA

Shoot!… What is shoot?

ROGGER

Shoot means; go ahead, You know, Bang! Bang! (CONTINUED)

LAURA

Oh, shoooot!  I see, ah… OK. once the silver was gone everybody leave, left?. There is an  Americano. Who is a Hermit. They call him Goyo, he lives Mexico many years. We go — no?

ROGGER

?Por que.

  LAURA

He is knowledgeable. Many times he comes to my store. He reads about the occult. He and I talk many times, he knows many things.

ROGGER

Sounds like a good start.

LAURA

It is nice to take time off sometime. You feel free — no?

ROGGER

(no response) (CONTINUED)

LAURA

You sleep well, my friend?

ROGGER

(almost smiling)

Sleep… Yeah, like a baby.

LAURA

You wake up and cry?

ROGGER

Very funny.

Enjoying her joke.          (CONTINUED)

LAURA

Bueno!  We have our Mexican stand off. OK.

They quietly laugh and exchange warm smiles. Rogger peers over at Laura a beat longer and then looks back to the road and there’s a moment of silence. Rogger clears his throat.

ROGGER

Do you like adventure?

LAURA

Yes.

EXT. CRUMBLING TOWN OF POZOS–LATER

Rogger’s Ford limps up the rutted calle. The town is as Laura said, deserted. All-sized buildings, many roofs have fallen through. They drive up to a stone hut a shade more stable looking than the rest. A beat up pick up sits outside and a boy and a burro stand outside the hut’s entrance. Rogger and Laura get out of the car, Laura approaches the boy.

LAURA

Buenos tardes, Chico!

THE BOY

Buenos tardes, Senorita!

LAURA

Senior Goyo, aqui.

THE BOY

No. El regrese en un media ahora.

LAURA

Si… (to Rogger)…  Goyo went to the well. He be back in half hour. You like see the old shafts?

ROGGER

Sure.          (CONTINUED)

We see Rogger and Laura strolling. The wind whips. Everywhere are dilapidated compounds. The mountains loom over the area.

Roger and Laura are a contrast to the dead surroundings They stroll. They converse.

INT. OLD MINE SHAFT–CONTINUOUS

Rogger yanks a sconce off a wall, lights it, then thrust the light into the pitch darkness. Within a few feet they’re upon the precarious-looking mine shaft. Laura points out various things. They both inch-out and lean over carefully to peer into the shaft. A rock under Laura’s boot gives way, Laura loses her footing, begins to slide. Instinctively Rogger nabs her while letting the sconce drop. He prevented what could have been a bad situation. Meanwhile, the sconce goes end-over-end downward and they both watch the flaming sconce drop deep into the bottomless pit. Laura maintains her composure and forces a weak smile.

EXT. AN OASIS JUST OUTSIDE POZOS–LATER

They stroll casually and we see Rogger talking (MOS) using his hands and Laura at times while enjoying herself, she almost doubles over in laughter and clasp her hands as she does so. We then see Laura talking. Rogger has a weed protruding from his mouth one he picked from the ground. He’s listening.

LAURA

…Of course there have been men… In one’s life, life be impossible without them …

ROGGER

Do you like them?

LAURA

They’re mostly superficial. They say this and that… all for one thing… They wear women down. There is no sincerity.   (CONTINUED)

ROGGER

Haven’t you met someone special?

LAURA

Special! I don’t think it is healthy to give away your heart. When you give away the heart you have no love left for yourself.

ROGGER

That’s an odd way at looking at it. What do you like about men?…

LAURA

I like….

Laura stops, smiles and stands tall, making herself big-bodied, she raises  her arms somewhat looking like a skier.

LAURA

… I like the bodies, And if they are able to keep from talk of sex, some of them can be interesting, even fascinating.

ROGGER

Would you like to have children ?

Laura holds up the walk. She contemplates starts walking again and nods slowly a number of times.

LAURA

We should return, Goyo’s sure to be back from the well.

ROGGER

(with extended hand)

Give me your hand.

LAURA

No!

Laura maintains a stoic look. They walk in silence. (CONTINUED)

ROGGER

Do you think by holding my hand would be an outward sign of affection?

 

LAURA

Yes! And besides, I’m not with you to do such things.

EXT. OUTSIDE GOYO’S HUT–LATER

Goyo and the boy stand waiting. Laura and Rogger approach.

EXT. SOMEWHERE HEADING SOUTH IN NORTHERN MEXICO–SIMULTANEOUSLY

De Oreo drives. Vito and Ralph look out the window. They’ve dressed down. It’s hot. De Oreo pulls into a cantina where he sees a phone sign.

DE OREO

Any of ya know how to use these wet-back phones?

The two men just shrug their shoulders.

INT. GOYO’S HUT–CONTINUOUS

Laura, Rogger and Goyo sit.

GOYO

…interesting!… So, you as a the freelance writer have delved into this old case on your own.

ROGGER

(unconvincingly)

Exactly.               (CONTINUED)

GOYO

Sounds like you should be the one who writes about the possibility of such a curse… You express the story so passionately.

ROGGER

Right now it has my interest.

GOYO

I’ll go see somebody and bring them back. Will you wait?

Rogger looks to Laura. She shrugs but affirms. Rogger nods back, they’ll wait and air of seriousness has infiltrated the scene.

GOYO

I’d prefer if you not wait here. Would you mind waiting in the shaft. You can take something to sit on, I might be a few hours. There’s water outside.

Rogger just nods his head and all rise.

INT. MINE SHAFT–NIGHT

Laura and Rogger sit on pillows and lean up against the wall. Rogger has built a cozy fire. They been there some time.

ROGGER

…If I never went back for the crystal I wouldn’t be in trouble.

She’s been mesmerized by the story. Her eyes sparkle almost enjoying that she’s privy to such a macabre fascinating tale.

LAURA

If anybody can help it will be, Senior Goyo. You say the dreams have stopped.     (CONTINUED)  ROGGER

Unless I get help soon, The dreams will begin again.

Understandingly, she extends her hand in a handshake manner.

LAURA

I promise. They won’t come back.

Rogger takes her hand and smiles. They link for a beat. Then Laura yanks back. There’s silence between them.

INT. MINE SHAFT–LATER

The fire has dwindled. Rogger and Laura have fallen asleep. She’s curled up, and he’s a few feet from her propped against the wall. Four-booted feet appear directly in front of Rogger’s slumber. He opens his eyes. Goyo and an Aztec man stand over him. The man has a Cochise look, bandana, Geronimo haircut, dressed, more like he just got out of karate class.

Goyo motions with his finger for Rogger to stay quite, to go with them, and to not wake up Laura. Rogger checks out Laura and quietly rises.

EXT. OUTSIDE MINE SHAFT–CONTINUOUS

The Aztec is RAMON COPPERSMITH.

COPPERSMITH

Goyo has told me your story. I trust, Goyo! I don’t know you. Show me the written words.

Rogger fishes into his pants pocket and hands over a folded piece of paper. Coppersmith reads it.

COPPERSMITH

Anything else. Did this Father Joseph give or offer anything?   (CONTINUED)

ROGGER

Yes. He gave me this crystal.

Rogger hands it to Coppersmith. He studies it with interest.

COPPERSMITH

What American Indian tribe’s land were you born on.

ROGGER

I believe the Lenni Lenepee, they’re Delaware Indians.

COPPERSMITH

Good!.. Then speak up! It is you who has the dreams, is it not?

ROGGER

Yes!

COPPERSMITH

My people know of your affliction. One of my forefathers relieved Cortes. I bear the name. We do not practice diablo’s curse which cannot be canceled but only passed on and only after difficult tasks are performed.

ROGGER

What kind of tasks?

COPPERSMITH

Different than those of Cortes… Place this crystal in your mouth. You are sworn to silence about this matter…

Coppersmith steps back. Draws a line in the dirt. He sweeps his arms over Rogger, his eyes blaze.                         (CONTINUED)

COPPERSMITH

(defiantly)

To appease my brothers, the Lennie Lenepe, the masters of your heritage, you must kill!.. A small gesture for what Indian people have lost… To appease the Gypsy kings, you must increase your worth 10 fold, since Calo spirits thrive on material gain, and for the devil… for diablo you must win, win the heart of another, one who has rejected your romantic notions… …Until you accomplish these tasks you are cursed! I must leave your presence, my brother. It is unhealthy for me to be near Malos Mengues!

GOYO

You may spend the night, but I ask you be gone by morning… I must drive Ramon back.

They leave Rogger to his thoughts. The cello music plays. He removes the crystal from his mouth and inspects it. He recalls Father Joseph’s words.

FATHER JOSEPH’S VOICE (OS)

As a token of our new friendship, I wish to give you something. Here my friend, may it help protect you.

INT. BACK INSIDE SHAFT–LATER

Peter Gabriel’s Red Rain plays. Rogger lies on his back, stares at the ceiling, and smokes a cigarette. Laura remains fast asleep. He turns and ganders at her, he exhales the smoke from inside his lungs. (CONTINUED)

He lays back and again stares up at the ceiling. He’s bummed. And the scene fades just after we hear Peter Gabriel’s final-singing utterance with the words Red Rain.

EXT. ON THE ROAD–NEXT MORNING

Rogger and Laura, in the Ford, head back to San Miguel.

Our ears now hear Peter Gabriel’s; We Do What We’re Told…. Rogger drives, as if he’s weighed down by his-own thoughts. There’s silence between them. We see them as they watch the scenery go by and there seems to be a certain tranquility between them. They near San Miguel.

LAURA

Tonight! There is a fiesta. You come with me — no?

ROGGER

What kind of fiesta?

LAURA

Ah, San Antonio! There will be many band and much dance… How is you say in English?.. Fuego! Ah, I know, many Fire Works! There is one Spanish Restaurant. I remember you live Spain. Perhaps you like… yes?

ROGGER

(dead pan)

Sure.

INT. SPANISH RESTAURANT–NIGHT

Laura and Rogger dine on calamari and paiella. A Flamenco-guitar plays has two accompanying senoritas sitting up straight with classic-Mexican looks, in fiesta dresses, narrow at the waist and with full bottoms with exposed in peasant-type blouses do with ruffles around the lower hems. One women’s in a bright-yellow with black trim ruffles. The other in black ruffles trimmed in red. They both are strapped into matching-colored thick-healed, dancing shoes. (CONTINUED)

Rogger has been casually talking to Laura.

LAURA

Tu hablas, soy un perrito?.. A dog!

ROGGER

Si… You were born in 1959, a Pig Year, but you actually are hinged with those born in ‘58. The year of the Pig didn’t come into play, your year ‘til Chinese New Year, Tet. Which was the new moon in the Aquarian sky, it’s kind-of complicated, maybe you’ve heard of Tet.

LAURA

Yes! I read books.

ROGGER

You’re sign’s a Capricorn Dog… Interesting… your birthday’s Jan. 8th, the same as Elvi’s and David Bowie, all three of you are exactly 12-years apart to the day. Elvis was born in ‘35 and Bowie in ‘47.

LAURA

How you know so much?

ROGGER

Oh, I’m just a nerd I suppose.

LAURA

Nerd?… What is that?

ROGGER

Ya know, sort of a geek, a jerk.     (CONTINUED)

LAURA

Geek?.. Never mind, I get…. Tell me more of dogs.

ROGGER

Well first of all they’re flamboyant, loyal and fearless, and they insist on being adored.

Rogger talks on. His dialogue is muffled and the camera moves in slowly as Rogger continues to talk. The Flamenco music fades and we hear Sting’s Mad About You.

The camera focuses in on Laura’s eyes and we’re privy to Rogger’s eye view of the lovely Mexican brunette with those big, chestnut-brown lookers, and those eyes seem to simmer taking in all of what Rogger says. We the audience too could fall in love with those cozy peepers as they react, dancing to every word spoken by Rogger and they flash with enthusiasm and sparkle.

We shift back to Rogger. He stops his verbiage puts his hand on his chin and fixes his face as to change the subject.

ROGGER

You know, your eyes! Sometimes… when I talk to you, the way you look. Well, and because all this is so bizarre there’s been times I wish I could just crawl inside those eyes of yours, snuggle up, nestle and embrace those brownies. Inside your eyes seems like a nice safe place…. Sorry.

The mushy talk is broken by us hearing a series of hard foot stomps.

The camera shifts. One of the women comes to life, stomping her heals and clicks castanets. She begins a Flamenco dance. She looks defiant, show casing proud-Spanish roots. The sudden dancing interlude saves Rogger from Laura’s sure-to-be wrath. She seems embarrassed about the eye talk. The dance intensifies. Rogger takes peeks. She fixes her eyes on the dancers.

EXT. STREETS OF SAN MIGUEL–NIGHT

We see De Oreo, Vito and Ralph bouncing in their car along the calles of San Miguel. Peter Gabriel’s, This is the Picture plays, but as they find a parking spot and get out of the car, the cello music mutes out This is the picture.

EXT. STREETS OF SAN MIGUEL–CONTINUOUS

Rogger and Laura exit the restaurant. Laura points out the way. The cello music continues to play.

EXT. THE TOWN’S PLAZA–CONTINUOUS

The cello music gives way and we’re back to hearing This is the Picture. The song continues all through this scene .

Volleys of sky-bound rockets shoot and explode. The Parroquia towering steeples bathe in spot lights, a picturesque backdrop.

The sky is dark and with the fire works exploding. It’s a beautiful evening. Enthused Sanmiguelenese, young and old jam the square.

Rogger and Laura stand and watch the array of pyrotechnics.

The thugs scan the crowd. This is the Picture continues. De Oreo pulls out a photo of Rogger, a glossy black and white, which has a Writers Guild of America logo stamped on its border.

Vito, Ralph and De Oreo wade through the crowd. We see De Oreo’s sweaty face as it scans the onlookers. His pan stops dead on Rogger. Rogger looks over and sees the obvious-looking American heading towards him. De Oreo is only a few feet from Rogger.

DE OREO

Dikkon! Freeze! Atlantic City Po…

Instinctively, Laura pulls Rogger’s arm and they begin to run towards the church’s courtyard! Ralph sees the action, joins in on the chase and he heads towards the courtyard and through another gate. Vito brings up the rear, trails De Oreo.

INT. THE PARROQUIA–CONTINUOUS

Laura and Rogger sprint into the church’s vestibule. Right behind them are De Oreo and Vito. Ralph, gun drawn, has entered the church through a side entrance. Seeing Ralph blocking their path, Rogger and Laura stop in their tracks. Laura grabs Rogger’s hand again, she pulls as they begin running up steps.

INT. PARROQUIA STAIRWAY–CONTINUOUS

We hear the volley of fire works from the outside, we hear the blaring horns and banging drums coming from the fiesta outside. We hear the crowd cheering. There’s a chase. After an ascending of a number of flights of turning stairs it’s time to rumble.

EXT. BELL TOWER PLATFORM MIDWAY UP THE STEEPLE–CONTINUOUS

Rogger and Laura are situated on a platform within the series of bell towers, half way up and in the center of the Parroquia. They scamper between the giant bells that add to the celebration below swinging and clanging. A brief cat-and-mouse game ensues. Laura and Rogger ease around a column. Suddenly Ralph jumps out.

Ralph and Rogger struggle. Laura goes to Rogger’s aid, but Ralph tosses her off. She rolls towards the edge. Rogger breaks his hold on Ralph to cease Laura’s roll, and stops her from going over the edge. Ralph jumps Rogger, they fall, they’re grappling. The gift crystal from Father Joseph is dislodged from Rogger’s pocket and lies there.

As the two men fight the grand finally of the fireworks display takes place. The bands play. The church bells are ringing like hell. Rogger fights back on his back and his errant hand comes in contact with the crystal.

Rogger’s hand scoops up the crystal and gashes Ralph in the eye, then slashes the sharp end of the crystal across the entire width of Ralph’s face. Ralph screams out. His vision has been affected. He blindly lunges for Rogger but Rogger moves too quick and Ralph goes screaming over the edge. Over the festivities we hear some screams below. Ralph dropped his gun. Rogger picks up the gun.     (CONTINUED)

Vito seeing the scene, squeezes off a round from his own revolver and the bullet ricochets off of one of the columns. De Oreo comes storming around the corner of another column. He jumps Rogger, Rogger’s gun slides on the surface. Vito runs over to help De Oreo, stops, and tries to shoot Rogger. De Oreo looks hard at Vito. Laura is frozen. Just as Vito takes aim for a second chance an errant projectile from the fireworks explodes and shocks Ralph, disorients him, and he slips over the edge and is dangling, hanging with arms outstretched from the precarious ledge. The hard courtyard’s surface, and place that Ralphy landed, lies 150 feet below.

The crowd from below, see the man dangling from the steeple’s edge. Rogger and De Oreo continue to struggle. Laura comes to life charges the two and body slams De Oreo to the ground. Rogger gets up quick decide to escape and grabs Laura’s hand and runs back towards the descending stairs! De Oreo begins his pursuit. )

VITO

(dangling)

Tommy!.. Help me Tommy!

Tommy De Oreo doesn’t give Vito a give-a-damn glance. He ignores the pleading man with his attention back to the chase, coldly leaving his associate to hang. Vito’s strength gives out and he drops there’s another volley of screams from below.

INT. THE STAIRWAY–CONTINUOUS

Laura and Rogger scamper down the stairs. De Oreo follows. Coming up the stairs are Manuel and a number of Mexican policemen with guns drawn. They all merge at a landing. Manuel shields the two being chased and places them behind the line of police. De Oreo’s badge is drawn along with his revolver.

DE OREO

Detective, De Oreo! Atlantic City police! This man is wanted for murder.

The head of the Mexican police contingent doesn’t want to hear any of it. He directs his men to disarm the detective. (CONTINUED)

MEXICAN POLICEMAN

You have no authority in my country! It’s illegal to carry fire arms!.. (to his fellow officers)… take him away.

The police roughly haul De Oreo off. The head policeman then turns his attention towards Rogger.

MEXICAN POLICEMAN

Passporte!

Rogger produces it. The policeman examines it.

MEXICAN POLICEMAN

I shall keep this for now. I must check with my superiors. On Manuel’s word I will release you, but I warn you, if you leave San Miguel, I will arrest Senorita Sanchez and Manuel for conspiracy and abetting a fugitive. Report to the police station at 4:00 manana.

INT. POLICE HEADQUARTERS–NEXT DAY

Manuel, Laura and Rogger enter the police commander’s office. The commander grabs a folder.

COMMANDER

Sit down, amigo. Well, what have we got here. The man chasing you with the gun is an Americano policeman. The other two, we have no idea. He’s been turned over to your authorities at Laredo. The State of New Mexico has accused him of murder, murder of a fellow officer. For now, there is no record of a warrant for your arrest… You are free to go… Viva Mexico my friend.

EXT. OUTSIDE PHONE–LATER

Rogger’s on the phone:

ROGGER

…you’re actually telling me that Abbate’s neighbor had a surveillance camera out front, and it picked up the whole shooting? What a stroke of luck!

JACKIE(OS)

Hold onto your hat ‘cause I’ve got a bushel full of great news for you! Young Juletta came around, saw it just the way you did, they’ve dropped the investigation, issued search warrants for the two Gypsies… Somehow they were all connected? But here’s the best! David Lester called a half-hour later, Larry Merchant called to. You’ve middled yourself, Rogger. Lester optioned Heart of a Champion for $750K. Merchant swears he and his backers are looking to outbid him, he’s faxing a counter this afternoon. Rogger! We’re in the money!…

Rogger doesn’t respond and seems frozen in place.

JACKIE (OS)

Hey, handsome!.. You still, there?..

ROGGER

(quietly)

Yeah, Jackie… (CONTINUED)

 

JACKIE (OS)

Look! Take a break!..  Have a taco!..  John and I will take care of everything on this end. What’s with the dreams?

ROGGER

Seems as if they’re coming true.

JACKIE (OS)

Get back to me.

Rogger hangs up the phone. Laura’s near him. He looks away, and tears well in his eyes. He shields his eyes and gently waves her off as if he wants a few moments to himself. Then he shrugs his shoulders in relief. He looks as if he’s thinking about trying again to take her hand but he backs off and doesn’t. They both turn and walk slowly towards Laura’s.

INT–LAURA’S APARTMENT–NIGHT

Rogger has a bottle of tequila and a small glass in front of him. Laura’s having tea. He has both the look of a man who’s had much taken off his shoulders but at the same time he looks forlorn and exhausted. Laura comes to life and puts on a smile.

LAURA

You speak more when there’s trouble. Now that your trouble is gone, you stay quiet — no?

ROGGER

It’s just that it’s all been so crazy.

LAURA

Are you scared to sleep?

ROGGER

Not really. Tonight’s the night! Maybe it’s all been something in my mind.        (CONTINUED)

LAURA

I figure… I figure I make you stay tonight. I guarantee, you no have bad dreams.

ROGGER

Thanks, Laura! And thanks for putting it all out there. I’ll tell ya, they were some wild moments. I’ll be grateful to you forever… I couldn’t’ have dreamed all this up in my fiction.

LAURA

I make the futon ready for you.

ROGGER

Thanks.

FADEOUT:

The lights are out in Laura’s apartment. Laura sleeps in her bed. Outside in the living room lays Rogger’s sleeping slumber. The cello music plays its morbid tune. He begins to twitch.

ROGGER

AHHHHH! AHHHHH~

ARMETES! ARMETES! AQUALARRE  ARMETES! BENG! BENG! BASTA! BASTA! MALOS MENGUES! ARMETES! ARMETES! AQUALARRE  ARMETES! BENG! BENG! BASTA! BASTA! MALOS MENGUES!

(CONTINUED)

We see Laura rushing out of the bedroom in her white camisole. She runs to Rogger. He continues to scream out. He’s sweating. Laura hugs him. He doesn’t stop. She leans back and then places both of her hands on his shoulders as if she’s searching her mind. She sees him helpless, no-longer sure of himself, no longer suave, no longer the slang-talking American, a shell of a man reduced to a nothing. Tears of sorrow come to her eyes.

She’s overcome and compassion rules and she embraces him harder. The cello music still plays.

LAURA

I am with you, Rogger! This can’t happen. I tell, you.. I mean, I told you so! Please, Rogger!

It’s as if he can’t comprehend. She kisses his forehead, trying to comfort him, trying to shush him. We see her eyes close as if praying as she holds tight to the suffering man. The cello music plays. Looking hard at the man, Laura appears to have come to some finality and moves her beautiful full lips slowly down from his forehead and begins kissing his entire face, kissing it tenderly. The cello music immediately begins to vary, a few different-sounding notes eke out. With the errant flow of the music Rogger’s demeanor calms, soothed by the gentle pecks.

With authority she moves her mouth to his. The cello music changes it’s tune, does a 180 and springs to a sound of joy as he slowly comes to life and they embrace and begin what is about to be an act of mutual love. Both faces have changed to that of passion.

INT. LAURA’S APARTMENT–LATER

Both Rogger and Laura, naked under the covers, sleep. The camera moves slowly towards Rogger calm-looking face. He dreams.

INT. JAIL CELL SOMEWHERE–CONTINUOUS

We see detective De Oreo asleep in his New Mexico jail cell. He’s dressed in prison garb. The cello music plays. He begins to twitch and the spell is now his to bear. (CONTINUED)

DE OREO

AHHHHH! AHHHHH!

ARMETES! ARMETES! AQUALARRE  ARMETES! BENG! BENG! BASTA! BASTA! MALOS MENGUES!

ARMETES! ARMETES! AQUALARRE  ARMETES! BENG! BENG! BASTA! BASTA! MALOS MENGUES!

INT. HARRY’S BEDROOM–CONTINUOUS

We see the hoodlum Harry, asleep in his bedroom. We hear the cello music.

EDDIE

AHHHHH! AHHHHH!

ARMETES! ARMETES! AQUALARRE  ARMETES! BENG! BENG! BASTA! BASTA! MALOS MENGUES!.ARMETES! ARMETES! AQUALARRE  ARMETES! BENG! BENG! BASTA! BASTA! MALOS MENGUES!

EXT. OUT FRONT OF A COLONIAL HOUSE–CONTINUOUS

We hear the crickets, and the camera moves from the middle of the street towards the two-story, suburban home. We see the mailbox. The letters spelling out the name MAXWELL identifies the house. There’s a plaque: MAXWELL’S CASA.

INT. DOWNSTAIRS OF HOME–CONTINUOUS

The camera darting moves through the dark-living room and the cello music plays. We’re in a house whose occupants are fast asleep, upstairs. The camera slowly and Psycho-like makes it’s way up the carpeted staircase. The cello music plays. In the dark we see a closed-bedroom door in.

INT. MAXWELL’S BEDROOM–CONTINUOUS

We see a stout man in bed with his wife. Her head’s in curlers. The stout man’s in pajamas and his name is DARREN MAXWELL, Atlantic City’s District Attorney. He sleeps well. We continue to hear the cello music. He twitches.

MAXWELL

AHHHHH! AHHHHH!

ARMETES! ARMETES! AQUALARRE  ARMETES! BENG! BENG! BASTA! BASTA! MALOS MENGUES!

ARMETES! ARMETES! AQUALARRE  ARMETES! BENG! BENG! BASTA! BASTA! MALOS MENGUES!

INT. LAURA’S APARTMENT–CONTINUOUS

Rogger and Laura blissfully sleep, they’re fixed in put-away spoon positions. Rogger sleeps with a smile, so does Laura.

FADEOUT:

3 beats

We once again hear the same Flamenco guitars the same ones that we had in the beginning of the film. Again we’re in the darkness and the closing credits begin. Again we’re subject to the butterfly flight upward. When we shoot past guitar strings this time the venue is different.

EXT. OUTSIDE GARDEN TWO MONTHS LATER–DAY

At first the camera is blurred. And then we’re in the midst a wedding scene and we see Laura stunningly beautiful, decked out in her white-wedding gown. We see Rogger too, looking dashing in a traditional-Mexican white-men’s blouse. There’s joy in the air and much hand clapping.  We see Jackie sitting, joined with other people, and with Manuel, who’s still the chow hound chewing food, and clapping his hands. We see John and Lola along with head bobbing Goyo and Ramon, and they’re clapping too. The crowd chants in Spanish for the happy couple to kiss. They do.

The post credits continue to run across the screen.

With the final view they continue to kiss.

FADEOUT:

The screen is black again and for the last time we hear the old woman’s cackle and the mean strokes of the cello.

OLD WOMAN (OS)

ARMETES! ARMETES! AQUALARRE  ARMETES! BENG! BENG! BASTA! BASTA! MALOS MENGUES!

ARMETES! ARMETES! AQUALARRE  ARMETES! BENG! BENG! BASTA! BASTA! MALOS MENGUES!

THE END

Glossory Gypsy Words

Aqualarre — Witches

Armetes — Spirits of the dead

Bacht– Luck

Baile — Dance

Beng — Devil

Bravos — Untamed Force

Busno — None Gypsy

Cales — Spanish Gypsies

Calo– Spanish gypsy Language

Chacaipe — Truth

Chour — Rob

Churi — Knife

Dukker -Fortune Telling

Duro — Dollar

Gafe — Bewitched by the evil eye.

Gitano– Gysy

Hombre de veras — REal man

Jindama — Fear

Lavengro — Writer

Malos Megues — Evil Devils Curse

Mula Jani — Enjoying oneself with Gypsies

Mulo — Meat killed by the hand of God

Occhio Draculu — Eye of the devil

Pesastimasti — Gypsy toast

Phral — Brother

Picaro — To Go Bad

Piropose –n Gypsy Woman

Puro Rom — Old Man

Sin verguenza — Shameless one

Timo — Trick

Voyvoda — Gypsy Chief

Primo — Victim

Quiriso — Griend

Writings, commentaries, scripts from Journalist, Essayist, Novelist, Screenwriter, Playwriter Lou Christine, Philadelphia & Hawaii, Brah, and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico!