ORANGE by Joseph Sortland
Joseph Sortland 120 Quebec Ave S Golden Valley, MN 612.600.2846 [email protected]
FADE IN: EXT. HIGHWAY - DAY The motel and restaurant lined strip is torn to pieces. Branches, cars and roofs litter the landscape. EXT. LUI’S CHOW MAIN RESTAURANT - DAY The Chinese-style roofed restaurant sits boarded up with plywood. In front, a small, scrubby tree sits ripped to shreds. A lone orange hangs on the stripped branch of the tree. INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - DAY The sterile white room’s silence is broken only by a quiet heart monitor beep. MIKE KORN (25), fair-haired, bruised, cut, and bandaged, lies on a hospital bed in a gown. An oxygen mask covers his face; his arm is hooked to a blood bag. Through a palm branch plastered to the window, an emerging orange sun glows onto Mike’s closed, swollen eye. His eye creaks open. EXT. LUI’S CHOW MAIN RESTAURANT - DAY Cars whiz by the blue-sky windows of Lui’s. INSERT TITLE: 2 DAYS EARLIER, 2004 Mike, fresh-faced and wide-eyed, in a long sleeve collared shirt, sits next to the window. He’s fascinated by the oranges on the tree outside. An RV pulls into the highway restaurant parking lot.
INT. LUI’S CHOW MEIN - DAY Retirees, construction workers, and bratty kids with pissy parents fill the restaurant. Mike, in a booth with a Chinese paper lantern overhead, stares out the window. C.P. (60), gruff with a tropical shirt and suspenders, plops a six-inch thick BOOK onto the booth’s table. Mike snaps from his gazing. C.P. The City of Orange’s sacred code book. Your bible. It has been drafted by the City Commission since the beginning of time. MIKE (shocked) How much of this do I have to learn? C.P. All of it! Mike flips open the cover. C.P. scowls. C.P. Not NOW. Mike slaps the cover shut. C.P. slides into the booth. Mike brings a steaming cup of coffee to his lips. C.P. You hear Hurricane Ana could pass by? The cup shakes and a drop spills onto Mike’s white shirt. He sets the cup down. MIKE A real hurricane? C.P. Congratulations.
MIKE For what? C.P. Asking the dumbest question you better ask today. Mike points at the FLAMINGO MOTEL, a classic Route 66 joint, across the highway. MIKE I’m staying at a motel. What should I do? C.P. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. C.P. sets a yellow legal pad and pen on the table. C.P. These are the rules to survive as a city planner. Write them down. Lui, in apron and bacon grease shirt, sets down two steaming breakfasts. MIKE Should we wait until we eat? C.P. No. You’re working in the fastest growing county in Florida. You will multi-task while working, eating, and sleeping. Mike readies the pen in his right hand and attempts to fork the bacon with his left. C.P. Write down everything. Mike nods and picks up the bacon. C.P. That’s rule number one! Write everything down. Mike frantically scribbles. C.P. Rule number two: NEVER sign anything you’re not sure about. (MORE)
C.P. (cont’d) Your signature is the only thing you truly own. Everything else can be taken away from you. Sign something you’re not sure about and the mayor might wake up with a strip mall in his front yard. Guess who gets that call at five in the morning? I do. Guess whose ass everything crashes down on? Your ass. C.P. chomps into a sausage. C.P. Rule number three: During business hours, never ride in a car alone with a female. Mike cocks his head curiously. C.P. Trust me on this one. Mike scribbles. C.P. claps his hands. C.P. Enough writing. Tell me about yourself! You got the job, don’t worry, tell me everything. MIKE Well, I’m from Minneapolis, graduated from MinnesotaC.P. I remember your resume. Mike, I was in ’Nam. MIKE Yes, sir. C.P. If I’m gonna be working with you, I need to know the true you. Mike nods. C.P. You drink?
5. MIKE Of course. C.P. Smoke grass? MIKE On occasion. C.P. Honesty, good. That’s why we hired you. However, if you get into an accident with a city vehicle, you’ve gotta take a piss test. MIKE Yes, sir. C.P. sighs. C.P. I remember my hippie roommate freshman year, Brian Bickle, gave me my first joint. Not bad either. C.P. daydreams with a smile. C.P. Six months later I was in the National Guard billy-clubbing his protesting ass. That was better than grass. MIKE You’re against free speech? C.P. I’m against events and gatherings of significant size being held without an approved permit. There’s a big difference. MIKE But how do you determine what a gathering of significant sizeC.P. Any other habits besides being a smart-ass? MIKE (proud) I give blood.
C.P. How often? MIKE Every eight weeks. C.P. throws down his napkin. C.P. Oh God, you’re a do-gooder. MIKE What? C.P. points at the legal pad and holds up four fingers. C.P. Rule number 4: You are an enforcer, NOT a do-gooder. Cities are not planned with exceptions to the rule, and society without enforced rules is anarchy. A bell chimes as BRODY MAYS (45), a mustached cowboy, enters. He spots C.P. and Mike. BRODY C.P.! I’ve been looking all over town for you. C.P. Jesus. MIKE (whispering) Who’s that? C.P. Brody Mays, he’s a developer. The only man who profits from anarchy. Brody hears this and stomps over in his white leather boots. BRODY I call it making an honest living and providing jobs to the hard working souls of this community. Brody lights up a cigarette. Concerned mothers nearby glare at him.
7. BRODY So this is where you’ve been eating these days. C.P. I’m surprised someone from Sand Ridge, even as cocky as yourself, has the balls to stop in Orange today. Mike looks curious. BRODY Even though high school football is a kids sport, it’s a shame Sand Ridge’s only neighbor is Orange. Us Miners are getting awful tired of always squashing you FRUITS. MIKE Sand Ridge Minors as in kids? C.P. Miners, as in mining. Sand Ridge is the only town dumb enough to take pride in a sand pit. BRODY Helps keep you riffraff out, and it’s a helluva lot better than being something you eat for breakfast. Brody puffs his cigarette. BRODY But, I digress, I’m here on real business. An outraged soccer MOM (40) coughs. MOM Waitress, can you tell this man to put out his cigarette? Brody turns. BRODY Are you referring to me? The mom ignores Brody. Brody stoops down to mom’s eye level.
8. MOM I am. BRODY Then why are you calling the poor waitress? MOM Because youBRODY As I presumed it does include me! Then answer me this: why would you bother this poor, busy waitress, who has to bust her ass for passive aggressive whiners like yourself, when you could simply ask me? MOM Would you put out that cigarette? BRODY Fuck no. The family hurries out of Lui’s behind a cloud of smoke. Brody turns to C.P. and Mike. BRODY Like I said, I’m here on real business. C.P. presents Mike to Brody. C.P. Mike Korn from Minnesota, Orange’s newest Planner. BRODY Minnesota! Where all the dogs have short tails from closing the doors so fast in the winter. Mike and Brody shake hands. C.P. They don’t have endangered animals on the menu here, Brody. BRODY Really? Brody sniffs.
BRODY I thought I recognized the smell of fear when I entered. Maybe that was just the smell of government workers getting caught resting on the job. C.P. What do you want? BRODY What I want more than anything is a criminal to come into my unlocked house, so I can exercise the Castle Doctrine, and shoot his sorry ass into oblivion. Brody puffs. BRODY Seeing as I can’t control that, I want you to approve my project at the review board meeting today. C.P.’s face turns bright red and angry. He sets down his fork and knife. C.P. I’ll say this one last time: I wouldn’t sign off on those plans if my life depended on it, you miserable vulture. Brody pops up from the table. BRODY Fair enough! Don’t say I never tried working with you. He puts the cigarette out on Mike’s pancakes. Mike jumps up pissed from the booth. C.P. waves him down. C.P. Brody, didn’t your mother tell you it’s easier to catch bears with honey than vinegar? BRODY When I have a problem with the bear, I shoot it.
Brody starts for the exit, but turns back. BRODY C.P., how come you’re always hiring them northern boys to be your Planner? We don’t wanna trend of northerners getting burned in the hot Florida sun, do we? Mike stares Brody down. BRODY He’s ice cold! I bet you’re able to handle the hottest assholes, huh, snowman? MIKE Judging by you? I’d say so. C.P. laughs. Brody points at C.P.’s tropical shirt and suspenders. BRODY C.P., if I’d known your taste was that shitty, I’d take dumps in your mouth more often. INT. C.P.’S CADILLAC - DAY C.P. steers down the strip. C.P. Brody would build on his mother’s grave for a dollar. Mike fidgets. MIKE How many Planners have there been, exactly? C.P. Two, but don’t worry. Third time is the charm. Shock splashes Mike’s face. C.P. turns off the highway.
EXT. NEIGHBORHOOD - DAY The scenery changes from gas stations and strip malls to small wooden homes. Mike pears out the window with interest as they drive by. MIKE Looks like a Caribbean village. C.P. Like any backwards southern city, Orange has a white part, a black part, Hispanic part, a rich part, and retirees. Black kids laugh and play in front yards. MIKE I assume we’re in the black part? C.P. Oakland. MIKE Oakland of Orange. C.P. No, just Oakland. EXT. BURNT HOUSE - DAY Mike and C.P. exit the Cadillac. A small yellow wooden home is burnt and blackened on one end. A blue tarp covers the roof. An angry black lady, TARLENE STEWART (42), berates HAWK O’SHEA (24), who wears dirty jeans and shirt. Hawk dismisses her rant with a wave. OFFICER WILLIS (26), a young black policeman, keeps the two separated. TARLENE I told you for five weeks the gas needed fixing, Mr. O’Shea. Hawk throws his hands into the air.
HAWK I’ve received no messages. TARLENE I left ten! HAWK Can you prove that? Tarlene steps toward Hawk. Officer Willis puts up his hands. OFFICER WILLIS Easy, Ms. Stewart. From around the burnt house steps lanky but handsome WES HOUSTON (30). He spots Mike and C.P. WES You’re gonna scare away the new guy on the first day, C.P.! Mike and Wes shake hands. The feud between Tarlene and Hawk escalates, and Mike steps back. Wes thumbs back at the burnt house. WES All these shacks violate code. TARLENE (at Hawk) You’re a slumlord! C.P. Can’t Hawk at least fix the roof? WES It doesn’t look like Hawk has had a repairman out here since he inherited the shacks from his pa. HAWK (at Wes) I’ve made repairs as required by city code! WES C.P., they’ve gotta be condemned. Mike turns as a black, tinted truck pulls up next to him.
13. The truck’s black window buzzes down to reveal shit-grinning Brody. BRODY What’s the commotion about, son? MIKE House fire. BRODY That’s a damn shame. Tarlene is hysterical. TARLENE (at Hawk) Where we supposed to stay? HAWK That’s not MY problemTARLENE It’s gonna be your problem when my Jojo hears about this! News gonna get told, and you’re gonna need a real good lawyer. Brody leans out the window. BRODY You aren’t harassing my partner, are you, Ms. Stewart? Hawk cuts through city staff toward Brody’s truck. He sneers back at Tarlene. HAWK I’m sure the news will see plain as day that you tenants are responsible for the damage to my homes, as I’m sure they also will in court. Tarlene dashes around Officer Willis and corners Hawk against the truck door. Brody aims a pistol at Tarlene. BRODY Cool it, Ms. Stewart. No need to make your day any worse. Tarlene shakes her head at Brody and Hawk.
14. TARLENE There’s no rest for the wicked. Officer Willis gently pulls Tarlene back and Brody lowers the pistol. She swats Officer Willis’ hands away. TARLENE Get your hands off me. Tarlene turns and accidentally clocks Mike’s nose. He winces. MIKE Ow! Mike’s nose looks like a popped cherry gusher. TARLENE I’m sorry, sweetie! Hawk jumps into Brody’s pickup with a laugh. Brody peels off. Mike holds a tissue to his nose. Tarlene points at city staff. TARLENE I ain’t moving from here. C.P. Please, Ms. Stewart, it’s for your own safety. TARLENE If y’all had returned my calls earlier, or inspected my house sooner, then I wouldn’t need to find a new home right now. She frowns. TARLENE Nah. I’m taking my sweet time moving outta here, just like y’all took YOUR time. MIKE We’re very sorry, Ms. Stewart. C.P. groans.
15. TARLENE Y’all ain’t nothing. That’s why my Jojo got elected, to protect the people of Oakland! Tarlene gets onto her porch. TARLENE And when Jojo finds out about this, y’all are gonna have H.T.P. Hell To Pay! A train rumbles by behind Tarlene’s house. She enters her house and slams the door, which rattles with the passing train. INT. C.P.’S CADILLAC - DAY Mike sits in C.P.’s car, holding a bloody tissue to his nose, at the railroad crossing as the train rolls past. C.P. The hell was that back there? MIKE I was trying to make good of a bad situation. C.P. wags his finger. C.P. You were being a do-gooder. NEVER apologize for something you’re not responsible for. MIKE I’m sorry. C.P. Jesus, are you Canadian? Mike winces. MIKE Long train. C.P. If Orange beats out Sand Ridge for a station on the new Tampa-Orlando commuter rail, there’ll be a lot more of them.
MIKE A train station here? C.P. Somewhere. Don’t worry about it. Lots of things have to be worked out before that happens. C.P. points. C.P. That reminds me. Jojo Stewart, Orange’s newest city commissioner, wants to meet you. MIKE Is he anything like Tarlene? C.P. She. MIKE She? C.P. She’s angrier. Mike points at the bloody tissue. MIKE (baffled) How? C.P. nods at the train. C.P. Three years ago, the conductor illegally stopped the train here. Jojo did a citizen’s arrest after the conductor refused to move, despite the train blocking emergency vehicles from entering Oakland. MIKE You’re kidding. The train passes and the flashing guards pull up. C.P. laughs, shakes his head, and steps on the gas.
17. INT. COUNCIL CHAMBER - DAY Mike walks into the vaulted ceiling chamber carrying name plates. JOJO STEWART (24), a smiling, well-dressed lady, sits in a council chair above. PERCY O’SHEA (18), a bucktoothed ginger with a Sand Ridge High School press-pass, interviews her. Mike slides the nameplates into the holders below them. PERCY Despite being just a kicker, some regard you as their first female football player for Orange High. What are your thoughts on that? JOJO My thoughts are that your older brother, Hawk O’Shea, told you to ask that question, on account of the time I tackled him so hard in the 1998 Orange vs. Sand Ridge game, he shit himself on the field. Percy glances at his notes. PERCY Does your criminal record ever affect your duties as a City Commissioner? JOJO (cold) That incident occurred when I was a juvenile, and I have led a clean life since. Now get back to Sand Ridge before you overstay your welcome in my city. Percy gathers up his notepad and recorder and scurries out. Mike offers his hand to Jojo. MIKE You’ve got your mother’s tact. HiJOJO Mike Korn, I know you. The new city worker who kicked me out of my house.
MIKE No! I had nothing to do with that. JOJO Why’d you apologize if you had nothing to do with it? MIKE Excuse me? JOJO What’re you, Canadian? Jojo breathes in heavily and slowly exhales. JOJO You and C.P. are gonna have a lot of questions to answer in an hour. Jojo exits. SHARON (50), a frumpy secretary, waddles in clasping a piece of paper. SHARON Did you put them in order? MIKE I think so... Sharon glances at the nameplates. SHARON No, no! She hands Mike the paper. CLOSE ON PAPER: Pahn, Easton, Arnolds, Rooney, Stewart. CLOSE ON PAPER’S FOOTNOTE: Pears.doc TRANSITION TO: Mike points from left to right at the empty commissioner seats with their nameplates. MIKE Commissioners Pahn, Easton, Mayor Arnolds, and Commissioners Rooney, and Stewart.
SHARON Good! I’m craving a sweet-tea. You want a sweet-tea? INT. PLANNING LOBBY - DAY Mike enters the lobby. Through the blinds of the Planning Department’s conference room window, adjacent to the lobby, emerge silhouettes and the muffled voices of C.P. and Brody arguing. PATTY PINEWOOD(57), a tall blond, sits in a lobby chair holding two Tupperware containers. She smiles at Mike and stands. PATTY You must be Mike! I’m Patty, C.P.’s wife. Mike and Patty shake hands. MIKE It’s very nice to meet you, Mrs. Pinewood. PATTY Oh please, call me Patty! The arguing in the conference room grows louder. Patty frowns. PATTY I hope C.P. hasn’t been too rough on you on your first day. MIKE No! Today’s going prettyMike jumps back as Brody bursts from the conference room. C.P. follows. BRODY I’m going to the mayor about this. C.P. Good! Go to the mayor and complain! BRODY You went over the line this time.
C.P. What do you expect me to say? Your plans are shit, your work is shit, and you are shit! BRODY Your prick couldn’t satisfy a virgin. Patty laughs at Brody. PATTY As C.P.’s wife, and the mother of four children, I must say C.P. can satisfy more than just a virgin. Brody turns red and nods at Patty. BRODY Good day, ma’am. He slams the door. C.P. points at Patty. C.P. That’s why I married her. Patty kisses C.P. and hands each C.P. and Mike a Tupperware container. PATTY I made you boys some dinner for the meeting tonight. Mike smiles. MIKE Thank you so much! C.P. Lay off, Mr. Korn. She’s my gal. PATTY (to C.P.) I’ll see you tonight? C.P. Hopefully. You never know how long these meetings go. C.P. shakes his head and checks his phone.
21. C.P. Crap. I’ve gotta run out and check something before the meeting. C.P. hands Mike his Tupperware container. C.P. Put this on my desk. Mike nods, taking the container. C.P. Chamber all set for the meeting? MIKE Yup. C.P. kisses Patty. C.P. Good. I’m gonna walk out my wife, go check a site, and be right back. CLOSE ON PLANNING LOBBY CLOCK: 4:45PM fades to 5:55PM. INT. MIKE’S OFFICE - DAY An open Tupperware container sits empty on Mike’s desk. Mike, in a black leather chair in a blank wall office, looks at the clock. INT. C.P.’S OFFICE - DAY Mike enters the messy, quiet office. C.P.’s Tupperware sits on the desk untouched. Raven haired OFFICER THURSTON (30), enters the office. OFFICER THURSTON Still not back? Mike turns, worried. MIKE Not yet. OFFICER THURSTON I’ll take a drive around town. You better get in there, meeting’s gonna start.
22. INT. COUNCIL CHAMBER - NIGHT All eyes in the packed council chamber stare at Mike, standing at the podium. His shaking hand nervously wipes the sweat from his brow. COMMISSIONER PAHN (80), a pruned granny, knits; COMMISSIONER EASTON (75), dozes off in overalls; tanned MAYOR ARNOLDS (55), in golf polo, checks his watch; COMMISSIONER ROONEY (60), retired military crew cut, looks at the ceiling; and Commissioner Jojo Stewart glares down at Mike. He frantically flips through the code book. MIKE I’m still trying to find itJOJO You’ve been trying to find it for five minutes. Mike glances back at the empty chair behind him. MIKE I’m sure when C.P. returns he’ll be able to answer your question. JOJO I don’t understand why it’s so difficult for you to tell me what percentage of a non-conforming structure has to be damaged for it to lose its grandfather-status. MIKE I’m sorryJOJO Sorry isn’t the answer I’m looking for. Mayor Arnolds covers his mic. MAYOR ARNOLDS (loud whisper) Why does C.P. always hire these northern boys? The commissioners mumble and nod.
Seated across the aisle from Mike, TIFF FELLOWS (32), a pants-suit wearing, smiling, strawberry blonde, stands in the front row. TIFF Mayor, I’d be a thoughtless City Manager if I didn’t say that, seeing as this is Mr. Korn’s first day, perhaps we should allow him until next week to answer these questions? JOJO This concerns the home my mother and I are being evicted from right now. I won’t be living in a house at the next city commission meeting, I’ll be living in a motel. Mike, looking ill, desperately scans through the pages of the code book. MAYOR ARNOLDS Commissioner Stewart, this young manJOJO Is proving himself to be unfit for the duties of this job unless he can answer a simple questionMIKE Wait! I think I found- here we go. Mike hiccup-burps and covers his mouth. JOJO Speak up, Mr. Korn. Mike nods. He vomits on the floor. The chamber goes silent. Jojo is disgusted. Tiff bursts out laughing. Mike wipes his mouth on his sleeve. MIKE Oh God, I’m sorry.
24. MAYOR ARNOLDS Son, go freshen up in the bathroom. Mike, covering his mouth, walks past the rows of the wide-eyed audience members toward the exit. Mike reaches for the door handle, when Officer Thurston enters. Officer Thurston grabs Mike’s arm, unfazed by the vomit speckle. OFFICER THURSTON I need to talk to you. MIKE I’m going to the bathroom. OFFICER THURSTON Don’t leave. Officer Thurston rushes past Mike toward the mayor. Mike watches from the exit as Officer Thurston whispers to the mayor. Commissioner Pahn leans toward Commissioner Easton. COMMISSIONER PAHN (inadvertently into mic) What’d he say about C.P.? Easton whispers to Pahn. COMMISSIONER PAHN (inadvertently into mic) C.P.’s dead!? Mike’s face grows grim and pale. The chamber erupts in alarmed murmurs. He clutches his stomach and exits. Mayor Arnolds bangs the gavel. MAYOR ARNOLDS Please, people. Commissioner Pahn shades her eyes. COMMISSIONER PAHN Can we take a recess? I need to change seats. The lighting irks my glaucoma.
INT. CITY HALL MEN’S ROOM - NIGHT Mike splashes water on his face. He inhales and exhales at his sick reflection in the mirror. MIKE It’s not so bad. His head flops down. MIKE It’s horrible. Resting on the mirror stand, a piece of folded paper catches Mike’s eye. He dries his hands and opens it. CLOSE ON PAPER: Four words: "PEARS, RAPES, REAPS, PRAES" Puzzled, Mike puts it in his pocket. INT. COUNCIL CHAMBER - NIGHT Mike sneaks into the back of the chamber and takes a seat. The commissioner now sits from left to right: Commissioner Rooney, Mayor Arnolds, and Commissioners Pahn, Easton and Stewart. Tiff sits next to Mike. TIFF (whisper) Are you alright? MIKE (whisper) Yeah, thanks. Mayor Arnolds nods to crew cut Commissioner Rooney. MAYOR ARNOLDS At this time I think it’d be appropriate to end the city commission meeting with a prayer. The commissioners and chamber audience fold their hands as Commissioner Rooney clears his throat. COMMISSIONER ROONEY Dear Lord, please bless the family of C.P., a Vietnam Veteran like (MORE)
26. COMMISSIONER ROONEY (cont’d) myself, a man who ensured the holy land you have bestowed upon us Americans was planned properly, and may he rest in peace. Please also bless the Orange High football team as they enter the wicked lands of Sand Ridge tomorrow night, and bless them with a win. In your name we pray. CHAMBER Amen. Mike stares stunned as Mayor Arnold pounds the gavel. MAYOR ARNOLDS Meeting adjourned. INT. PLANNING LOBBY - NIGHT Tiff sits on Sharon’s desk, arms folded, and listens to Officer Thurston, holding a Tupperware container, interview Mike. OFFICER THURSTON Poor guy didn’t even get a last meal? Mike sadly shakes his head. MIKE Didn’t even tell me where he was going. TIFF Where did you find him? OFFICER THURSTON Up on Angel’s property, under the orange water tower on Fruit Hill Road. MIKE Who shot him? Officer Thurston shakes his head. OFFICER THURSTON Investigation is still ongoing. He pats Mike on the back.
OFFICER THURSTON Thanks, Mike. We’ll give you a call if we have any questions. Officer Thurston, about to exit, pats hits tummy and points at Mike’s. OFFICER THURSTON And feel better! MIKE Thanks, I will. Officer Thurston exits laughing. Tiff slides off Sharon’s desk. TIFF Rough first day. Mike forces a smile. MIKE You could say that. TIFF Staff always goes out for drinks after City Commission meetings. MIKE Thank you, Ms.Tiff extends her hand and grins. TIFF Tiff Fellows, City Manager. They shake hands. MIKE I appreciate the offer, but I think I’d rather just go to sleep. TIFF No one sober falls asleep the day they’ve thrown up in front of eighty people. MIKE I-
TIFF (stern) C.P. would not have allowed you to skip out on drinks after your first commission meeting. INT. GATOR’S BAR - NIGHT The walls are painted with the neon glow of beer signs and exotic license plates. Mike, Wes Huston, Tiff Fellows, a mustached fire chief, sun-burned police chief, and several other city hall workers crowd in the rocking bar. Mike nods as Wes laments. WES Poor C.P., only had one year left until retirement. MIKE One day can make a helluva difference. Tiff whistles down a server carrying a tray of shots. TIFF Jag-bombs make it up to Minnesota yet, Mike? Mike scoffs. DISSOLVE TO: Staff clink their shot glasses together. STAFF To C.P.! They throw the shots down the hatch. DISSOLVE TO: Mike and Tiff sit drunk in a quiet empty bar, their table littered with glasses. Tiff holds up a tilting shot glass and clinks it with Mike’s.
TIFF Here’s to being the only thirty year old female in Orange who still hasn’t popped out five babies. He spits out his shot with a laugh. TIFF I’m serious! MIKE No, I believe you. TIFF What’s that supposed to mean? MIKE NothingTIFF You don’t think I’m pretty enough to find a husband? MIKE No! I mean, of course you are! Tiff laughs and smiles at Mike, TIFF Relax! I’m pulling yourTiff turns toward the bar’s TV. CLOSE ON TV: "BREAKING NEWS" scrolls across the bottom of a picture with: C.P., Tarlene Stewart and Jojo Stewart. BACK TO SCENE Mike cocks his head and Tiff points at the TV. TIFF Chaz, turn up the volume! The TV reporter’s voice loudens. REPORTER (O.S.) -say that Tarlene Stewart, mother of Orange City Commissioner Josephine "Jojo" Stewart, shot and killed Charles "C.P." Pinewood, the Planning Director of Orange.
Mike nearly falls off his stool. MIKE (O.S.) Oh my God. REPORTER (O.S.) But not before C.P. returned fire, killing Tarlene Stewart. Tiff clutches Mike’s arm. TIFF (O.S.) Oh my God! ON SCREEN: The REPORTER stands lit in the dark orange groves next to the orange, steel legs of the water tower. REPORTER Police report that Pinewood was performing a routine inspection, unaware he was being tracked by Stewart. EXT. FLAMINGO MOTEL - NIGHT Mike and Tiff stand in front of room 111, laughing. TIFF Fancy digs, Mr. Korn! MIKE You didn’t need to walk me here. Tiff motions at the white pickup next door at Gator’s Bar. TIFF I’ll survive the walk back to my truck. She reaches into her purse, getting out her keys. MIKE Are you good to drive? TIFF No, but don’t worry about it. Mike opens his room door.
MIKE I will worry about it. Have some water. INT. ROOM 111 - NIGHT Tiff sits on one of the beds and sips water. She drunkenly gestures. TIFF It’s just so messed up. Two lives lost over an issue that in the grand scheme of things, is so small and insignificant. Mike, with a water, stumbles onto the other bed. MIKE (confused) C.P. never told me he had a gun. TIFF Conceal and carry, it’s popular down here. Mike shakes his head. MIKE (hopeless) I don’t know how I’ll manage without him. Tiff finishes her water. TIFF You’ll do great and win all of them over. MIKE I’ll try. TIFF You will. MIKE How do you know? Tiff stands and grabs her keys on the night-stand.
TIFF Mike, I manage a city with 25,000 residents, 200 city workers, and a budget of 50 million. When I know things, I know. Mike stands and extends his hand. MIKE Thanks again for the drinks. I’ll get them next time. Tiff twirls her keys and shakes her head. TIFF I don’t accept I.O.U’s. She pulls Mike close to her. MIKE ITiff kisses Mike. MIKE OhTiff pushes him onto the bed with her. A flurry of kisses and grinding envelope the two. Tiff kicks the nightstand light off with a crash. BLACK INT. ROOM 111 - DAY Mike’s eyes groggily open. A pair of teeth bite into his ear and he jumps awake. Tiff, in her work clothes, laughs and jumps from the bed. MIKE You. TIFF Relax, it happens. You’re a nice, disease free guy. I’m clean, on birth control.
33. MIKE (doubtful) How do you know I’m clean? TIFF From the physical you took to get the job. Mike laughs. MIKE Is that legal? She winks. TIFF I’ve had my eye on you since your interview. A warm smile brights up his face. MIKE So, are weTIFF No! Mike’s face goes blank as she approaches. TIFF You can’t tell anyone about this. MIKE Of course not. TIFF I’m your supervisor, that’s a big conflict of interest. MIKE You don’t have to worry. Tiff grins. TIFF I know. She bends down and gives him a kiss. TIFF I’ll stop by and make sure things are going okay. She makes for the door, then turns back.
TIFF Oh, C.P. had a letter for the "Ah-Prey" project he said he’d give me yesterday. Could you find it? INT. PLANNING OFFICE - DAY Sharon’s phone rings incessantly. Her chair is empty. Mike enters and looks around. Nothing. MIKE Sharon? INT. MIKE’S OFFICE - DAY Mike slumps in a black leather chair. The door closes itself. Mike looks up to see Jojo, holding a knife. JOJO What do you know about last night? Mike scoots back in his chair. JOJO Quickly. MIKE It said on the news that C.P. was shot and killed by your mother, who also died. JOJO That’s bullshit. Mike, visibly afraid, nods at the knife. MIKE What did you do to Sharon? JOJO I told her about the box of donuts in the kitchen for the blood drive. MIKE What do you want?
JOJO There’s no way my mom killed C.P. MIKE That’s not what the policeJOJO The police have it wrong! MIKE Then why are you here? Jojo looks at the knife. JOJO I need your help. Mike can’t believe it. MIKE You made me throw up last night. Jojo dismisses it with a wave. JOJO I didn’t make you do anything. MIKE And now, the next morning, you hide in my office and ambush me with a knife. JOJO (grave) Someone’s following me. Mike sits forward. MIKE Look, I’m terribly sorry about your mom, but that’s crazy. JOJO Some orange or red pickup, I’ve seen it in Orange twice today. MIKE (sarcastic) Sounds like a conspiracy. SHARON (O.S.) Mike! Donuts are almost gone!
36. JOJO (hush) You know where the murder site is? MIKE (hush) Underneath the water towerJOJO (hush) Meet me there in an hour. MIKE (hush) ButINT. PLANNING LOBBY - DAY Jojo opens the door to Mike’s office. Sharon enjoys a mouthful of donuts. JOJO Sorry again about last night. I hope you don’t consider moving back to WisconsinMIKE Minnesota. JOJO Same thing. MIKE There’s a huge difference. JOJO Have a good day. Jojo exits past Sharon, her face stuffed. INT. MIKE’S OFFICE - DAY Mike shuffles through a stack of files on his desk. MIKE Ah-Prey, where is the Ah-Prey project? Through Mike’s doorway in the lobby, Sharon snatches up her phone.
SHARON Hey Nancy, what happened at the meeting last night? I didn’t mean C.P.’s murder, bless him. INT. PLANNING LOBBY - DAY Sharon gasps. SHARON You’re kidding! Sharon peers at Mike. SHARON (whisper) Threw up? She barely contains a snort-snicker. Mike looks up at her. SUSAN During which part? The questioning part or the praying part? Oh, thank God. She looks at Mike, scanning through files. SHARON Nancy, I’ll call you right back. Sharon hangs up the phone and grabs a small bottle from her desk drawer. CLOSE ON BOTTLE LABEL: "HOLY OIL" INT. MIKE’S OFFICE - DAY Sharon enters the office and sprinkles holy oil in front at the base of Mike’s door frame. Mike ruffles his brow. MIKE Sharon? She draws a cross on the left, top, and right sides of Mike’s door frame. SHARON You a Christian, Mike?
MIKE I was raised Lutheran. SHARON That’s good enough. Mike nervously taps his pen on the desk. MIKE But I’m an atheist. Sharon dumps the holy oil around Mike’s office. SHARON There’s a blood drive today. Least a heathen like yourself can do. Mike, looking happy to help, stands. MIKE Perfect, I’m due to donate. INT. BREAK ROOM - DAY Mike, needle in arm, lies on a portable bed as Sharon eats donuts and clucks to the cigarette smoking NURSE. A TV shows SHERIFF Rudd (50), stoic and in aviator glasses, interviewed by the local news. CLOSE ON TV: Sheriff Rudd stands in front of a hospital. SHERIFF RUDD Should Hurricane Ana pass through the central Florida region, residents may take shelter at the county hospital in Barton. BACK TO SCENE Sharon shakes her head. SHARON First we get an atheist commie in city hall, and now we might get a hurricane. MIKE I never said I was a comm-
39. SHARON He’s gonna need to donate a martyr’s worth of blood to get past them pearly gates. NURSE Mhmm! Tiff enters in fresh clothes and a smirk. TIFF Mike, I asked Sharon to send you to my office thirty minutes ago. Mike jumps and turns to Sharon. MIKE Tiff! No one told me. Tiff points at Mike for Sharon and the nurse. TIFF Ain’t he sweet? Donating blood on his second day. He’ll be Planning Director before we know it. MIKE I’ll stop by your office as soon as I’m done. Tiff shakes her head. TIFF I just wanted to check on how your day was going. Mike grins. MIKE It’s going well, thank you. TIFF Did you find that Ah-Prey file yet? MIKE I will right after this. Tiff exits. Sharon nudges Mike. SHARON I think Ms. Tiff fancies you! Mike turns red.
MIKE No. SHARON She talks to you different than how she talks to Florida boys. The nurse smiles. NURSE Mhmm! Sharon leans in toward Mike. SHARON Y’all would make a cute couple. Couldn’t get married in a church though; on account of your communism. MIKE Atheism. The nurse blows smoke, unconvinced. NURSE Mhmm. INT. C.P.’S OFFICE - DAY Mike, arm bandaged, opens the door to the dark office. He turns on the light to reveal walls covered in maps, and a desk piled high with plans and files. MIKE Oh God. Mike shuffles through the papers. Patty Pinewood, with swollen red eyes, knocks on the door. Mike turns. MIKE Mrs. Pinewood, I’m so sorPatty, a head taller than Mike, envelopes him in a hug. She sobs onto Mike’s head.
PATTY C.P. was looking forward to you so much. MIKE I wish I’d had more time with him. Patty sniffs. PATTY You’ll do fine. You’re a northerner like me and C.P. She covers her mouth, about to cry. Mike helps her sit. PATTY C.P. had been so busy with work, I feel like we’d grown apart some. After he retired, I wanted us to move back to Illinois and be closer with the grandkids. Patty shakes her head. PATTY C.P. loved Florida so much that he didn’t want to leave. She grabs Mike’s hand. PATTY But C.P. would’ve told me if he’d bought a gun. Mike nods. INT. MIKE’S CITY SUV - DAY Houses line the left side of the highway as Mike pulls into the right turn lane, alongside orange groves. An orange water tower with the bold black letters: "ORANGE" sits tall amidst the orange groves. Ahead, he notices a red Toyota pickup with tinted windows sitting off the side of the road. Mike slows the SUV.
MIKE Fruit Hill Road... The SUV turns right onto Fruit Hill Road. EXT. CLEARING - DAY Mike hops out of the city SUV. Yellow police tape ropes off an empty patch of sand. Small red markers in the ground paint a grisly scene. Jojo holds her head, facing the scene. MIKE How would you ever find someone here? Jojo turns. JOJO That’s what I’m saying. But the police already finished the investigation. Mike approaches. MIKE Look, I’m a city planner. I can’t question how the police, my coworkers, do their job. Jojo points at a red marker near the edge of the trees. JOJO It involves your boss. MIKE I have a lot of work to do. Listen, I saw a red pickup back there. Jojo waves him off. JOJO Don’t worry, that’s Angel’s pickup. MIKE Angel? Jojo whistles.
JOJO Angel! ANGEL (82), a silver-haired, leather jacket retiree, emerges from the orange groves. JOJO Find anything, sir? Angel sadly shakes his head. ANGEL Ain’t nothing out there. Angel nods at Mike. ANGEL He the city guy who’s helping you? MIKE No, sir. I’m not getting involved in anything. ANGEL You’re right Jojo, he does have a weak stomach. MIKE Listen here, grandpaJOJO Careful. Angel’s a WWII pilot. MIKE I didn’t mean any offense. ANGEL Sonny, I’ve taken everything that can be shot at you through the air. I can take an insult. Hell, if an insult could kill me, I’d welcome the challenge. JOJO Angel had the best air showin Florida right here for fifty years. MIKE Here? Why’d you stop? ANGEL My wife, Dotty, crashed her plane and died.
Mike winces. Jojo pats Angel’s shoulder. JOJO Angel and Dotty would put on shows for us Oakland kids, free of charge. ANGEL Tore up the airfield and planted orange groves after she left. MIKE Why oranges? Angel picks an orange off the tree. ANGEL Oranges come back every time they leave. Can’t say the same thing about a plane carrying your wife. You can lose yourself in these groves and wake up a new man. Every orange in this grove reminds me of a new sunrise, each sunrise a new day, each day a new dream. Jojo pulls a piece of paper from his pocket and hands it to Mike JOJO I want you to see this. CLOSE ON PAPER: "PEARS, RAPES, REAPS, PRAES" with "1865.DOC" in the footnote. Mike pulls an exact copy out of his pocket. MIKE I found this same paper in the men’s room last night. She snaps her fingers. JOJO Mine was in a trash can at city hall. MIKE (doubtful) It’s just four random words.
JOJO (paranoid) All the other city commissioners had this paper last night except me. ANGEL You don’t think that’s suspicious? Mike hands it back. MIKE I can ask around. JOJO No! Some city staff could also be in on this. You’re the only one I trust right now. ANGEL Besides Officer Willis. MIKE Officer Willis? Your mom told him never to touch her. Jojo sighs. JOJO She’s- she was just emotional sometimes. My mom didn’t mean it. A passing train whistle blows (O.S.) MIKE You weren’t there. How would you know? Angel laughs. ANGEL Jojo’s known her whole life. Willis is her brother! INT. CITY SUV - DAY Mike slowly drives down the sandy road. Jojo sits shotgun.
JOJO My dad was a cop, too. Died on patrol last year. As if punched in the gut, pained Mike turns to stone-faced Jojo. MIKE That’s horrible. JOJO That’s life. My momma begged my brother to leave the force, find another job. But he’s too proud for that. MIKE They catch the guy? Jojo shakes her head. JOJO Nope. Just some masked thug who must’ve thought shooting an unsuspecting cop in the back outside a gas station would give him street cred. Mike looks back in the rear-view mirror. MIKE With this heat, I should’ve given Angel a ride to his pickup. Jojo thumbs back. JOJO Angel’s pickup is back there. MIKE No, I told you, I saw it on the side of the highway. JOJO Angel drove me here, I know where he parked.
47. EXT. HIGHWAY - DAY The city SUV creeps out of the orange grove. The red Toyota pickup sits on the shoulder down the road. INT. CITY SUV - DAY Jojo, eyes locked on the pickup, taps Mike’s arm. JOJO Stop! MIKE Why? JOJO Angel drives a Ford. EXT. HIGHWAY - DAY Jojo approaches the Toyota pickup. A "S.R." sticker adorns the back window. Mike trails behind, frustrated. MIKE Okay, so what if it’s the same pickup you saw earlier today? Jojo points at the red "S.R." sticker on the back window. JOJO I want to know why a pickup with a Sand Ridge High School sticker is parked next to Angel’s grove. MIKE Because it’s a free country? JOJO Not on the day Orange High plays Sand Ridge! Hawk O’Shea slinks out of the orange groves. JOJO Hawk O’Shea, what were you doing in there? Hawk zips up his fly.
HAWK Taking a leak. MIKE I saw your pickup ten minutes ago. HAWK (annoyed) Hey Jojo, why does the city keep hiring northern boys? JOJO Because your family is a good example of not having enough variety in the bloodline. Not get back to Sand Ridge before you regret stopping here. Hawks puts up his hands in mocking defense. HAWK Easy, Jojo. Don’t kill me now like your mama would. Jojo steps at Hawk, but Mike blocks her. MIKE Come on, he’s just trying to get a rise out of you. HAWK I ain’t trying very hard! JOJO We’ll follow you out of town to the Narrows. Make sure nothing bad happens to you. Hawk curtsies. HAWK Y’all are so kind. INT. CITY SUV - DAY Mike steers and points at O’Shea’s pickup driving ahead. MIKE What the hell was that?
JOJO Those O’Sheas are a pack of rats. MIKE I don’t care if they’re Klan members. City commissioners can’t fight someone from the neighboring city on the side of a highway. JOJO First, they probably ARE Klan members. Second, you wouldn’t get it. Sand Ridge is Orange’s only neighbor, and enemy. Always has been, always will be. They pass a sign: "Orange you glad you visited Orange?" and drive onto a landbridge, saddled by expansive sand canyons on both sides. Jojo spreads her arms. JOJO The Narrows of Florida! Just enough room for a road and train tracks. MIKE Sand Ridge dug the pit all they way to the city limits? JOJO Yup! And even if you fill in the pit with something, you can never rebuild on it because it’s too unstable. Town of idiots. The canyon gives way to orange groves and they pass a sign: "Welcome to Sand Ridge". Hawk drives off ahead, waving his middle finger. INT. MIKE’S OFFICE - DAY Mike slumps in his chair and exhales. There’s a knock and Tiff enters. TIFF Hey! I’ve been trying to find you!
MIKE I just got back from a field visit. Tiff puts her hands on her hips. TIFF I told you you’d fit right in! Did you find that Ah-Prey project yet? MIKE Not yet. Tiff thumbs toward C.P.’s office. TIFF Come on, let’s find it. INT. C.P.’S OFFICE - DAY Mike fingers through files as Tiff scours the desk. MIKE What was the file called again? TIFF Ah-Prey. MIKE I don’t see anything. Tiff yanks a manila file off the desk. TIFF Here we go! CLOSE ON FILE LABEL: "APRES" BACK TO SCENE: Tiff gives Mike a sly look. TIFF How’d you think "Apres" was spelled? MIKE Never you mind. Tiff rifles through the file. Sharon pokes her head in, quietly clucking on the telephone.
51. TIFF Thank goodness, it’s here. Tiff groans and holds up the letter. She points to the unsigned signature line. Mike peers at it. MIKE C.P. forgot to sign it. She hands Mike the letter. TIFF Would you like to do the honors, city planner? Mike places the letter on the desk and grabs a pen. MIKE (reading) Please consider this letter to be the final approval for the Apres project? TIFF You do work in the planning department. MIKE I’d just like to review the file before I sign-off on anything. TIFF You’re cute. Tiff hands him the file. MIKE I won’t take all day. TIFF Good, because the mayor is bugging me to get that letter mailed. Sharon peeks in, whispering into the phone. SHARON (whispering) It’s precious. She’s training him like a little puppy. Mike and Tiff turn to Sharon, who turns silent and scoots away on her chair. Tiff grows concerned.
TIFF What time is it? Mike checks his watch. MIKE 12:15. Tiff claps her hands. TIFF Come on, we can still catch it! MIKE Catch what? INT. PLANNING LOBBY - DAY Mike sets the Apres file on Sharon’s desk. Tiff hurries for the door. MIKE A pep rally? I’ve got work to do. Tiff waves him forward. TIFF It’s the best one of the year. Mike heeds her beckon. Sharon holds the phone close with excitement. SHARON (into phone) Oh my God, I think they’re going on their first date. EXT. CITY HALL PARKING LOT - DAY Mike and Tiff exit City Hall into the hot sun. MIKE I’ll meet you there. TIFF You know where Orange High is?
MIKE No, I’ll follow you. TIFF Mike, we’re going to a high school pep rally during our lunch hour, what’s wrong with carpooling? Mike sighs. MIKE No, you’re right. TIFF I’ll drive. Don’t worry, C.P. would’ve wanted you to see this. INT. PICKUP - DAY Tiff slaps the steering wheel with a laugh. TIFF C.P. said no driving with girls during work hours? Mike chuckles. MIKE Yeah, but I figured we’re okay since we’re on our lunch break. Tiff gives him a baffled look. TIFF Plus we had sex last night? Embarrassed, Mike nods. MIKE Of course. INT. ORANGE HIGH SCHOOL GYM - DAY The gymnasium roars as bleachers full of orange clad students clap and cheer for growling COACH BEAU (50), as he marches up and down the gym floor. The football players stand upright, facing the students.
COACH BEAU Even though Sheriff Rudd has ordered that no one from Orange, with the exception of the band, cheerleaders, and football players, may attend the game in Sand Ridge tonight for safety reasonsSTUDENTS Boo! COACH BEAU That don’t mean you can’t cheer your boys right here, right now, at Orange High School! Mike and Tiff watch from the side of the gym. MIKE (impressed) He’s like Patton! TIFF Our rivalry is so intense they only allow it once a year. It’s in Sand Ridge this year, so everyone in Orange will have to watch it on TV. Coach Beau points at the students. COACH BEAU Now give these boys some of your Orange High love so they can venture into that hostile, filthy, sorry excuse of a city, Sand Ridge, and come back with good health, their dignity, and a WIN! The students clap and stomp in unison. STUDENTS (chanting) Orange you glad you Orange you glad you Orange you glad you Orange you glad you Orange you glad youMIKE (shocked) It’s like a cult. TIFF Worse. It’s football.
EXT. ORANGE HIGH PARKING LOT - DAY A single red line of spray paint runs down a long line of cars. Tiff slaps the hood of her vandalized white pickup. TIFF Of all the low-class pranks! Mike grimaces at the paint job. MIKE Red paint - Sand Ridge? TIFF You haven’t already met that trash, have you? Officer Willis approaches. OFFICER WILLIS He and Jojo ran into Hawk O’Shea earlier today, taking a piss. TIFF Mike, have you met Officer Willis? They shake hands. MIKE We met yesterday atOFFICER WILLIS My mom’s. Tiff frowns. TIFF Willis, take the day off. Officer Willis shakes his head. OFFICER WILLIS I’d rather not, Ms. Fellows. Don’t worry, I’m not doing any patrols today. Tiff nods at Mike. TIFF Would you mind taking Mike back? I should stay and make sure all this (MORE)
TIFF (cont’d) vandalism gets documented for Sand Ridge’s bill. OFFICER WILLIS My pleasure. INT. POLICE CRUISER - DAY Officer Willis steers as Mike observes the police gadgets. OFFICER WILLIS Two days in Orange and you already get to see the ugly side of our neighbor, Sand Ridge. MIKE Why would anyone vandalize vehicles before a football game? OFFICER WILLIS Fear. MIKE Fear? Officer Willis accelerates and they pass a car. OFFICER WILLIS Fear is a survival instinct. We all experience it, it’s how the DNA that makes up you and me has survived to this day. MIKE People survive because of rules and empathy, not fear. OFFICER WILLIS Humans are organisms, like every other living thing on this planet. Even cities are living organisms competing with one another for survival. They will, and do, fiercely fight anything they perceive as a threat to their way of life. MIKE But vandalizing cars will just make Orange want to beat Sand Ridge even more.
The police cruiser picks up speed and Mike grasps the door hesitantly. OFFICER WILLIS Whether or not those Sand Ridge vandals knew it, they’re no different than white blood cells attacking a virus. You, me, everybody, we’re all more than just cogs in a wheel. We’re vital organs in a growing, breathing, uncontrollable animal called a city. The cruiser screams down the highway past cars. Officer Willis glances at a ghostly pale Mike and laughs. He slows the car. OFFICER WILLIS Lemme show you something. EXT. NON-DISCRETE BUILDING - DAY Officer Willis’ cruiser sits on a gravel parking lot outside a blank, concrete-block building. A group of black children laugh and bike down the street. INT. PLUSH CLUB - DAY Mike’s jaw drops at the swank lounge, bar and strip club. OFFICER WILLIS They busted the place this morning. Mike chuckles and sits on a purple velvet couch. MIKE Can you believe this? OFFICER WILLIS Johns have sex with hookers on that. Mike jumps off. JOJO (O.S.) I had to tell City Hall there was an illegal brothel operating here (MORE)
JOJO (O.S.) (cont’d) for two years before they finally closed it down. Officer Willis and Mike turn to Jojo. OFFICER WILLIS Mike, can you believe how poorly city commissioners treat their staff? MIKE I found out at the city commission meeting last night. OFFICER WILLIS (to Jojo) What’d you do to him? JOJO I asked him a question and he got sick. MIKE She grilled me until I threw up. Officer Willis howls with laughter. OFFICER WILLIS You are sick, Jojo. JOJO No, I’m determined to find out what happened last night. I was thinking about why Hawk O’Shea would’ve been in that grove today. What if he was making sure there wasn’t any evidence that could link him back to C.P. and mom’s murder? Officer Willis holds his head. OFFICER WILLIS For God’s sake, Jojo, give it a rest. JOJO Do you know how bad it makes me look if my mom killed a city employee?
OFFICER WILLIS Do you know how bad it looks to everyone if a city commissioner performs her own investigation and ignores the findings of her own police department? JOJO ButOFFICER WILLIS Mom shot C.P., and then he shot her. Jojo, you have to accept that. MIKE But Hawk was in that grove for at least ten minutes. It doesn’t take anyone that long to piss. Jojo points at them. JOJO You two saw the way Hawk talked to Mom like a bitch. OFFICER WILLIS (frustrated) Speaking disrespectfully to someone who is angry and accusing them of being a slumlord, is NOT a motive to murder her and C.P., who barely had anything to do with the situation! Mike shrugs. MIKE Couldn’t you at least take Hawk in for questioning? OFFICER WILLIS In a few hours I won’t be able to even cross into Sand Ridge because of a damn football game. JOJO You could get in through the sand pit.
EXT. SAND PIT RIDGE - DAY The wooden homes of Oakland go all the way up to Sand Ridge’s gouged sand pit. Mike and Jojo down into the pit. Officer Willis waves them off. OFFICER WILLIS Don’t you understand the danger? Sheriff Rudd ordered the border closed! MIKE It’s high school football. How bad could it be? Officer Willis and Jojo stare at Mike. JOJO Don’t be joking about high school football down here. OFFICER WILLIS Are you trying to get killed and buried in the pit by the people in Sand Ridge or us? Jojo pulls out the "PEARS, RAPES, REAPS, PRAES" paper. JOJO Why did all the city commissioners have this paper except me? Office Willis shrugs. OFFICER WILLIS They’re retirees! They don’t have squat to do, so they play games, golf, and talk about their grandkids. How should I know what a piece of paper with four words means to a bunch of old people? Mike’s eye catches a glimmer across the pit. MIKE Do you guys see that? The three strain a stare. A black pickup and a red pickup sit across the pit.
61. JOJO Those look like Brody and Hawk’s trucks. OFFICER WILLIS And what if they are? You want me to go over into their city and arrest them for meeting and talking? Jojo and Mike sniff. MIKE Smells like a campfire. Officer Willis points at a plume of black smoke coming from across the train tracks, in the orange groves. Jojo could die from grief. JOJO That’s Angel’s house! The three race across the train tracks. EXT. ORANGE GROVE - DAY Mike weaves and bobs through the orange branches, as he chases after Jojo and Officer Willis. EXT. ANGEL’S HOUSE - DAY A small home blazes in a sandy clearing surrounded by orange groves. A helicopter emblazoned with "Angel’s Heli Rides" rests nearby on an adjacent patch of grass. Officer Willis grabs his two-way radio. OFFICER WILLIS This is Officer Willis requesting fire and EMS at 20 Fruit Hill Road. Mike turns to see Jojo kick in the door of the flaming house and run in. OFFICER WILLIS Jojo! Mike makes a move for the door.
OFFICER WILLIS Mike... Mike runs inside the inferno. INT. ANGEL’S HOUSE - DAY Flames cover the walls, as Mike breathes through his shirt sleeve. JOJO (O.S.) In here! INT. BEDROOM - DAY Jojo pulls an unconscious Angel off his bed. Burning rafters fall, lighting the mattress ablaze. Mike rushes to her and throws Angel’s arm over his shoulder. EXT. ANGEL’S HOUSE - DAY Mike and Jojo carry Angel out. They cough as they lay the old man down. The burning roof of the house caves in with a fiery crash. DISSOLVE TO: A fire truck and ambulance sit in the clearing. Paramedics try to keep the oxygen mask on Angel’s face, and a blanket around his shoulders, but he still has some fight left in him. ANGEL I said I’m fine, dammit! He removes the mask and throws off the blanket. ANGEL It’s hot enough out here without a blanket. Officer Willis shakes his head at Mike and Jojo.
63. OFFICER WILLIS Are you two done with heroics? Mike coughs. MIKE Yes. JOJO Brody and Hawk started that fire. OFFICER WILLIS From all the way across the pit? You’re crazy. Angel rests his hands on Mike and Jojo. ANGEL If I wasn’t 80 years old, I’d say I owe you kids my life. Jojo hugs the old man. JOJO You don’t owe us anything. ANGEL I should at least show y’all this. Angel pulls an envelope from his back pocket and hands it to Mike. Mike unfolds the letter and reads it. MIKE It’s an offer to buy Angel’s land. JOJO From who? MIKE (reading) 1865 Development, LLC. JOJO Angel, who delivered this? Angel shrugs. ANGEL Don’t know, but they’ve dropped off this same letter for six weeks now. Found this one on my doorstep after you kids visited earlier.
64. MIKE Hawk must’ve dropped it off. OFFICER WILLIS Or it’s a development company offering to purchase Angel’s land so they can build on it. Which has been happening in Florida since the state existed. JOJO Or it’s a veiled threat. MIKE I might be able to look up who owns 1865 Development LLC if it’s incorporated in Delaware. INT. MIKE’S OFFICE - DAY Mike types "1865 Development" into the Delaware business search box. He sighs. MIKE Never volunteer to do something you don’t have time for. Mike clicks enter and the website searches. MIKE (to himself) "Stop being a do-gooder." The computer beeps and he peers up. MIKE (reading) 1865 Development is owned by.. Brody Mays. Mike pulls the four-word paper from his pocket. CLOSE ON PAPER FOOTNOTE: "1865.DOC" MIKE Brody Mays owns 1865 Development, wants to buy Angels land, and is in cahoots with the Orange city commission? Sharon raps the door with enthusiasm.
SHARON Heard you saved old man Angel from a fire? MIKE (boastful) That should hopefully prove that atheists can also be good people. SHARON That’s for baby Jesus to decide. You just hope you’re right because they’re saying Hurricane Ana changed her course. Mike points at the ground. MIKE To here? SHARON It’s a possibility. MIKE Cripes. SHARON Don’t worry too much. We’re inland, it’s usually not as bad as the coast. Usually. Sharon exits. Mike picks up the phone and dials. Wes the building inspector knocks and enters. Mike gestures him the "one minute." Wes closes the door to Mike’s office. Mike hangs up the phone. WES Hey new guy, Fire Department and I both think that Angel’s fire might be suspicious. MIKE (shocked) How?
WES Still putting it together. You see anything peculiar over there? MIKE It’s the house of an 80 year old WWII pilot and stuntman, located in the middle of an orange grove, but, no, I don’t think I saw anything strange other than the house being on fire. WES You don’t think, or you don’t know if you saw anything strange? MIKE Both, I suppose. Wes nods. WES Look, this is between you and me: that fire at Jojo and Tarlene’s was suspicious too. That wasn’t just a gas leak. MIKE (concerned) What’d the fire chief say? WES Inconclusive. And he refuses to speculate. MIKE So what do you suggest? WES Lay low and go with the flow. I think there’s some sick pyro getting off on these fires. Mike nods. Wes opens the door. WES That was a brave thing you did back there, rescuing that old man. Stupid, but brave.
MIKE Thanks? Wes exits. Mike picks up the phone and dials. MIKE Jojo, it’s Mike. Brody is the owner of 1865 Development, and get this: 1865 is the name of the document in the "pears, rapes, reaps, praes" footnote. EXT. ORANGE HIGH PARKING LOT - DAY Jojo, on the phone, scopes out the buses at Orange High School. JOJO Great! Print off the ownership documents and meet me at Orange High School. MIKE (V.O. / FILTERED) I can’t skip out on anymore work! JOJO We have to get these documents to Sheriff Rudd in Barton. But there’s only one way there, and it goes through Sand Ridge. Hurry over here, the buses leave in thirty minutes. MIKE (V.O. / FILTERED) Buses? What? No. I have to reviewJOJO Mike, I need that document. I don’t have anything without it. MIKE (V.O. / FILTERED) Alright, I’ll run it over.
INT. MIKE’S OFFICE - DAY Mike hangs up the phone. He turns his head to faint laughing (O.S.), coming from outside city hall. He looks at the window. OUTSIDE The sun shines on the City Hall lawn and sidewalk. Elderly city commissioner Ms. Pahn walks down the sidewalk with a SUITOR in arm. The suitor grabs Ms. Pahn’s butt and she yipes. TIFF (O.S.) Did you know Florida is the only state with an elderly STD problem? INSIDE Mike jumps to find Tiff behind him, also watching the old love birds. MIKE Seriously? TIFF Dead serious. MIKE Gross. Tiff nods outside. OUTSIDE Commissioner Pahn gives her suitor a smooch. TIFF (O.S.) It’s like their second chance at Junior High for all these retirees. No jobs, no responsibilities, and newly found erections.
69. MIKE (O.S.) Ms. Pahn should be wearing sunglasses out there for her glaucoma. INSIDE Tiff caresses Mike’s shoulder. TIFF Aren’t you Mr. Thoughtful? Did you review the Apres project yet? MIKE I will right now. Tiff is disappointed. TIFF Alright, but only because it’s your first day and you’re too damn cute. She slides her hand onto his neck. TIFF And why didn’t you mention on your resume that you rescue the elderly from burning buildings? MIKE I’ll be sure to add it. TIFF Hurricane Ana might be heading our way. You should stay at my house and we’ll ride out the storm together. Tiff kisses Mike’s neck. He rubs his cheek against hers until his lips are at her ear. MIKE (whisper) I’d like that very much. The moment is killed as Tiff’s cell phone rings. She glances at her phone. TIFF Shit, I’ve gotta take this. She pecks him on the cheek and exits.
Mike taps his pen on the "APRES" label of the project file. MIKE A-P-R-E-S... Mike pulls out the four-word paper. He points his pen at "PEARS". MIKE P-E-A-R-S. Mike points at "RAPES". MIKE R-A-P-E-S. They all use the same five letters. REAPS, PRAES. He taps the last letter, "S", on all the words. MIKE But why does "S" never move? BEGIN FLASHBACK INT. COUNCIL CHAMBER - NIGHT Commissioner Pahn squints and covers her eyes. COMMISSIONER PAHN Can we take a recess? I need to change seats. The lighting irks my glaucoma.. EXT. SAND PIT RIDGE - DAY Officer Willis shrugs. OFFICER WILLIS They’re retirees! They don’t have squat to do all day, so they play gamesEND FLASHBACK Mike loads the video of the previous night’s city commission meeting on his computer. Mike clicks PLAY. CLOSE ON MONITOR:
The chamber clock is at 7:30PM. Officer Thurston whispers to the mayor. Commissioner Pahn leans toward Commissioner Easton. COMMISSIONER PAHN (inadvertently into mic) What’d he say about C.P.? Easton whispers to Pahn. COMMISSIONER PAHN (inadvertently into mic) C.P.’s dead!? The chamber erupts in alarmed murmurs. Mayor Arnolds bangs the gavel. MAYOR ARNOLDS Please, people. Commissioner Pahn shades her eyes. COMMISSIONER PAHN Can we take a recess? I need to change seats. The lighting irks my glaucoma.. BACK TO SCENE: Mike clicks PAUSE. A screenshot of the video buzzes out from Mike’s printer. He clicks PLAY. CLOSE ON MONITOR: The chamber clock is at 7:35PM. The city commission is now seated: Commissioner Rooney, Mayor Arnold, and Commissioners Pahn, Easton, and Stewart. Mike clicks PAUSE. Another video screenshot buzzes from the printer. He grabs the 7:30 screenshot and a black marker. He writes on the printed photo.
MIKE Pahn, Easton, Arnolds, Rooney, and Stewart. Mike grabs the 7:35 screenshot and writes on it. MIKE Rooney, Arnolds, Pahn, Easton, and Stewart. Mike holds the two screenshots up. CLOSE ON SCREENSHOTS: Above each commissioner’s head of the 7:30 screenshot: P-E-A-R-S Above each commissioner’s head of the 7:35 screenshot: R-A-P-E-S MIKE What theHe jolts to a knock as Sharon waddles in. SHARON There are some people here with planning questions. Mike places the screenshots with the 1865 Development incorporation documents and turns them over. MIKE Send them in. SHARON (O.S.) Y’all can go on in. Mike stands to greet a nerdy ENGINEER carrying plans, followed by a sleazy CAR-SALESMAN, a group of bitching RETIREES, a PASTOR and his CHOIR, a raggedy REDNECK carrying a roll of chain link fence, and a Mexican FARMER, his five CHILDREN, and a loose chicken. Mike can’t believe his eyes, when the Engineer shakes his hand. ENGINEER I was wondering if you had some time to look at-
73. CAR-SALESMAN The street is public property and I can park my carsFARMER (in Spanish) El pollo es familia! His office, packed to the brim, bursts with questions. Mike grabs the papers and the Apres file from his desk. MIKE Excuse me. The office is deafening. MIKE (yelling) Excuse me! He has their undivided attention. MIKE I just need to deliver these documents, and I’ll be right back. Mike squeezes through the unsatisfied crowd. EXT. ORANGE HIGH PARKING LOT - DAY Four yellow buses sit in front of the school. Mike approaches Jojo carrying the documents. MIKE I shouldn’t even be here. JOJO Let’s see that ownership paper. He hands it over. JOJO That Brody is one slick bastard, I’ll give him that. MIKE There’s something else, Wes thinks that the fire at your house also looked suspicious. Jojo holds up her hands.
JOJO Brody and Hawk are working together to burn down homes in Oakland and get rid of Angel! Mike holds up the Apres project file. MIKE You know what other word has the same letters as pears, rapes, reaps and praes? Apres. 1865 Development is the applicant of the Apres project. Jojo nods at the equipment trailer. JOJO We’ll sneak into Sand Ridge, break into Brody’s office, and get all the information we need. MIKE Sneak in with the football team? No way, this is a police issue. JOJO This isn’t something the Orange police department can handle. We have to get to Sheriff Rudd in Barton. MIKE You can’t just break into Brody’s office because you suspect he might be involved in some fires. JOJO We won’t have to break into his office, it’s at his house. It’s the only place he’ll have evidence we need. MIKE He’ll shoot us on the spot if we trespass! JOJO He’ll be at the game with every other breathing person in Sand Ridge! A school SECURITY GUARD waves at them.
SECURITY You two, stay right there! JOJO (to Mike) Follow me. MIKE Where? Jojo runs and Mike sprints after her into the school. INT. SCHOOL HALLWAY - DAY Jojo runs into an unmarked door, with Mike on her heels. The Security Guard runs down the hallway seconds after they close the door. INT. CLOSET - DAY Mike and Jojo peek through the cracked door as the Security Guard roams the halls. MIKE (whisper) Do you know what happens to guys in prison who get arrested for sneaking into schools? JOJO (whisper) Strip. MIKE (whisper) No, it’s much worseJOJO (whisper) Take off your clothes. MIKE (whisper) Look, Jojo, this isn’t really the timeJojo flips on the light. The closet is full of shiny outfits, pompoms, and wigs.
JOJO He saw what we were wearing. Jojo hands him a sparkly shirt. Mike shakes his head, horrified. MIKE Absolutely not. JOJO The buses will leave any minute. INT. SCHOOL HALLWAY - DAY A blonde and black pair of Orange High cheerleaders, in sparkly orange skirts, mosey past school security. SECURITY They’re just about to leave, girls. The black cheerleader shakes her pompoms and gives him a wink. The blond carries a cheerleading duffle bag. The "cheerleaders", Mike and Jojo, increase their pace as they make for the exit. MIKE (whispering) Do you know what happens to guys in prison who get caught sneaking into schools and stealing girls clothing? EXT. ORANGE HIGH PARKING LOT - DAY The two "cheerleaders" scurry past the FOOTBALL PLAYERS, BAND MEMBERS and CHEERLEADERS loading into the buses. Mike and Jojo scramble into the last trailer of the final bus and pull the door closed. INT. TRAILER - DAY Jojo illuminates the windowless trailer with her cellphone. Mike twists the handle of the door, locking it.
EXT. ORANGE HIGH PARKING LOT - DAY Coach Beau checks the back of the trailer. Walking into view of the buses, he blows his whistle and twirls his finger. COACH BEAU All set - fire em up! The buses roar to life. INT. TRAILER - DAY Mike and Jojo jolt as the trailer lurches forward. From the duffle bag, Mike pulls out pictures. MIKE There was something else I wanted to show you. Jojo lights up the city commission screenshots with her phone. JOJO 7:30: PEARS. 7:35: RAPES. It’s just like the sheet. MIKE Sharon was very particular about where I put seated the commissioners last night. Mike holds up the four-word paper. MIKE You’re the "S" in all the words, see? You’re always at the end. JOJO But why did they change seats at 7:30? MIKE Commissioner Pahn said that she needed to switch seats right after they said C.P. had been found dead. Which moved their seating from "PEARS"-
JOJO My mom and C.P. were found on FRUIT Hill Road, surrounded by oranges, a fruit, like a pear. MIKE To "RAPES"... JOJO "Rape" can also mean take something by force. MIKE Like burning you and your mother out of your home, trying to kill Angel, killing C.P. because he wouldn’t approve their project, and your mom for saying she was going to the news. The two mull it over. MIKE But why couldn’t the commission just wait until the next meeting to change seats? JOJO You said you found that paper in the bathroom, right? MIKE Yeah? JOJO And all of the commissioners had theirs, so there had to be other people, like investors in the 1865 Development, that must have been in the audiences that nightMIKE -or watching onlineJOJO -and the commissioners switch seats to inform the investors of 1865 Development the status on the Apres project without leaving a paper trail. Jojo waves the four-word paper.
79. JOJO At least a paper trail that doesn’t make any sense. EXT. THE NARROWS - DAY The bus caravan passes through the blockade at Orange’s city limits, protected by armed police. INT. TRAILER - DAY The faint cellphone light illuminates the dark trailer. Jojo pulls her clothes from the cheerleading duffle bag. JOJO Alright, we should change. Mike grabs his work clothes and strips. Laying on a pile of duffle bags, they change. MIKE When Percy O’Shea was interviewing you, what’d he mean by your "criminal record"? Jojo sighs. JOJO Anyone tell you about the time I did a citizens arrest on the train conductor who was blocking Oakland? MIKE Yeah. JOJO Railroad company brought charges against me for trespassing onto their right-of-way, and causing emotional harm to that dick of a conductor. MIKE All that trouble for doing good. JOJO It’s never easy swimming against the flow. Explosive pounding rocks the trailer.
MIKE Sounds like we’ve entered Sand Ridge. EXT. DOWNTOWN SAND RIDGE - DAY Sand Ridge FANS, adorned in red, slap the buses and trailers as the caravan crawls through the crowd. JOJO (V.O.) Alright, we won’t have much time until we get to the field. EXT. SAND RIDGE HIGH PARKING LOT - DAY The old brick high school sits surrounded by shaded trees. The buses slow to a stop and the trailer door slides open. JOJO (O.S.) Once we get to the school, we’ve gotta run for it before anyone from Sand Ridge or the team sees us. Mike and Jojo flee from the trailer away from the buses into a neighborhood. EXT. BACKYARD - DAY The two sprint through the backyards. JOJO (V.O.) We’ll have to stay off the streets. Mike and Jojo jump over a picket fence. Mike lands on a clay flower pot, shattering it. A light turns on inside the house and a HOUSEWIFE steps outside. Mike and Jojo hide, cowering in the corner of the back steps and the house. A parade of red Sand Ridge fans march down the street, yelling and singing. The housewife murmurs and goes back inside.
EXT. BRODY’S HOME - BACKYARD - DAY Mike and Jojo jump a fence into a lush backyard. They rush past a blue swimming pool surrounded with fake Greek columns. Mike and Jojo creep along the backside of the classic white stucco mansion. The sky darkens as drops of rain wet the patio. They peek into the windows. MIKE (V.O.) And if what Brody says is the truth, and he doesn’t own a security systemMike places his hand on the backdoor handle. MIKE (V.O.) Hopefully he won’t be home. Mike and Jojo stare into the dark house. INT. BRODY’S HOME - HALLWAY - NIGHT Mike and Jojo tiptoe through. JOJO (whisper) Brody’s office is on the first floor of the house. Jojo points at the shadowy staircase. JOJO You check upstairs, while I try to get into his computer and look for plans or emails. Mike sneaks up the black staircase. Thunder rumbles outside.
INT. BRODY’S HOME - UPSTAIRS - NIGHT Mike pauses atop the stairs. All is black except a FAINT BLUE LIGHT flickering from a doorway down the hallway. A BRIGHT CRASH of thunder and lightning reveals a hallway filled with ANIMAL HEADS. Mike calms his breathing and approaches the lit doorway. INT. BRODY’S HOME - BEDROOM - NIGHT The TV broadcasts the radar of a hurricane entering inland Florida. WEATHERMAN (V.O.) Hurricane Ana is now entering inland Florida faster than initially forecast. Residents are urged to seek shelter immediately. Mike peeks his head into the bedroom. All is still except for the TV. Mike walks over to the nightstand and opens it: a REVOLVER rests in the drawer. INT. BRODY’S HOME - OFFICE - NIGHT In the dark office, a monitor illuminates Jojo’s frustrated face. JOJO Come on. Mike emerges from the black. MIKE Find anything? Jojo jumps. JOJO You scared me! She clicks "enter."
JOJO I can’t even get into his computer. MIKE What passwords have you tried? JOJO Every password an asshole like Brody might use: Sand Ridge, Miners, his name. MIKE Considering Brody’s cocky enough to not lock his doorsMike sets the revolver on the desk. MIKE He may feel the same about computers as he does his house. CLOSE ON MONITOR: The password box sits empty as the cursor clicks ENTER. The computer chimes to life. JOJO (O.S.) Unbelievable. Jojo opens up Brody’s email. BACK TO SCENE: Rain splashes on the windows outside. MIKE They wouldn’t cancel a football game for rain down here, would they? JOJO Hell no. They wouldn’t cancel the Orange versus Sand Ridge game for the apocalypse. CLOSE ON MONITOR: Jojo searches "1865" in the email. One email appears.
JOJO (O.S.) I found something! The email is blank. MIKE (O.S.) Not even a hello. Who’d Brody send the email to? Jojo clicks the "TO" box. JOJO (O.S.) There’s at least two dozen people here! Hawk O’Shea, Commissioner Pahn, Rooney, Easton, Mayor Arnolds! They’re all here! MIKE (O.S.) But the email doesn’t say anythingJOJO (O.S.) There’s an attachment. The blank email has one attachment: "1865.doc" Jojo opens the attached word document. CLOSE ON WORD DOCUMENT: Four words appear on the document: "PEARS, RAPES, REAPS, PRAES" BACK TO SCENE: Mike points at list of recipients of the email. JOJO This is it. Brody orchestrated the whole thing! Mike and Jojo jump as a siren blares through Sand Ridge. MIKE Would they cancel the game for a hurricane? JOJO Shit, we’ve gotta hurry. The monitor flickers to thunder.
MIKE Print the email showing all the investors who received the "1865" document before we lose power! Jojo clicks print. The two jump as the printer behind them buzzes to life. JOJO I’ll look and see if anyone is coming down the street. Jojo exits. Mike watches the printer slowly print, when he spots a large set of plans titled "APRES". CLOSE ON PLANS: The boundary of the monstrous Apres project cover Angel’s grove, Oakland, and the Sand Ridge sand pit. Mike points at the proposed blocks. MIKE (O.S.) High density mixed-use residential, office, commercial- it’s got everything. BACK TO SCENE: Mike closes the plans. MIKE But how can a project be in Orange and Sand Ridge? The email prints and Mike grabs it. He stuffs the email and the plans in the duffle bag. He turns to a soaking wet Brody holding a bowie knife at Jojo’s neck. BRODY You stay real still, snowman. MIKE Let her go, Brody. Brody laughs.
BRODY That’s fresh, kid! You break into my home, snoop on my computer, and you expect me to let you go free? MIKE We know what you did. BRODY You don’t know shit! MIKE You’ve bribed the city commission, burned down homes, murderedBRODY My hands are clean. JOJO You lying piece ofBrody pokes Jojo in the neck. BRODY You could’ve been set for life. MIKE I can’t live with murder. BRODY Think of it as conquering people who block progress. JOJO All for a dollarBRODY For the good of everyone! Lightning illuminates the office and the revolver shines on the desk between them. Brody hurls the knife at Mike. Mike dives, grabs the gun, and shoots lunging Brody as thunder crashes outside. Thunder yields to Mike’s heaving breathing. Brody moans on the floor bleeding from the chest.
BRODY (weak) You idiots... MIKE (angry) Your plan was idiotic. How could the Apres project have been built in both Orange and Sand Ridge? They’re different cities! BRODY (pained) "1865"... when the civil war ended... JOJO Civil War? BRODY (faint) We were gonna be like fa-familyBrody dies. Jojo pats Mike’s back. JOJO We’ve gotta get to Sheriff Rudd. EXT. BACKYARDS - NIGHT Mike and Jojo sprint through the rain. Jojo stops and takes shelter behind a tree. Sand Ridge police cruisers block the road next to a sign "Visit us again!" JOJO They’ve got the exit blocked too! MIKE We might still be able to make it to the buses.
88. EXT. SAND RIDGE HIGH PARKING LOT - NIGHT The school buses pull out of the parking lot. Mike and Jojo race after the caravan. JOJO Wait! Hopeless, they slow as the buses tear away. MIKE How do we get back to Orange now? Mike and Jojo turn to the sound of a whistle. A mob of Sand Ridge fans trudge toward them. JOJO Quickly. EXT. DOWNTOWN SAND RIDGE - NIGHT Pursued by the mob, Mike and Jojo sprint through the rainy downtown street. EXT. HIGHWAY - NIGHT They turn a corner and the Narrows is in sight. The town siren wails as they run for the unguarded Narrows. In the distance, a pair of lights turn on. MIKE Run! Mike and Jojo, about to run onto the Narrows, get blocked as a RED PICKUP tears around a corner. MEN jump from the pickup’s bed and grab the two. Hawk O’Shea emerges from the red pickup. Mike and Jojo fight back, but they’re held down. JOJO Help! Reaching around, Hawk pulls a knife from the back of his pants and holds it to Jojo’s throat.
89. HAWK Not another word. You hear? Members of the mob wrap duct tape around Jojo and Mike’s mouths. HAWK (amused) Would you look at these two characters? He kicks Jojo in the side. Jojo screams through the duct tape. Hawk steps on Mike’s groin. Mike lets out a muffled yell and struggles with his captives. HAWK Don’t waste too much energy, boy. We wanna see you squirm during your ride. Hawk grabs a rope from the bed of his pickup and ties it to the hitch. HAWK With the rain it’s kinda gonna be like a Slip N Slide - only it ends with you going into a tree! Hawk ties the rope around Mike’s feet. HAWK And while you’re enjoying your little ride, we’ll be enjoying a romantic evening with Ms. Jojo. Hawk feels Jojo’s leg. She frees her foot and kicks him in the ankle. The mob holds her down. HAWK Don’t worry sweetie, we’ll have plenty of time to teach you some manners. Hawk backhands her. Jojo turns her face back at Hawk, eyes enraged.
HAWK You’re just full of sass. Hawk raises his hand againThree GUNSHOTS ring out. Officer Willis and Officer Thurston approach, guns aimed at the crowd. OFFICER WILLIS Let them go, Hawk! HAWK You coppers must’ve got lost in the storm, cuz y’all are in Sand Ridge now! Officer Thurston cocks his gun at Hawk. OFFICER WILLIS This isn’t how we do things. Hand them over, and we all leave happy. Hawk and the mob back off Jojo and Mike. They tear the duct tape off their mouths and gasp for breath. OFFICER WILLIS Thurston, handcuff our captives and put them in the car. OFFICER THURSTON But they’reOFFICER WILLIS We do this by the book. The crowd scatters as Officer Thurston approaches and handcuffs Jojo. He escorts her past Willis. JOJO Grab our bagOFFICER WILLIS Don’t say a word. CUT TO: Officer Thurston shuts the back door of the squad car.
Mike and Jojo sit relieved in the backseat, the cheerleading duffle bag between them. INT. POLICE CRUISER - NIGHT Officer Willis shuts the door of the squad car as rain showers the windshield. OFFICER THURSTON (worried) Let’s go! The hurricane will be here any minute! Officer Willis shifts into DRIVE. JOJO Willis, you’ve gotta get us to Sheriff Rudd! OFFICER WILLIS I said don’t speak. JOJO We’ve got evidence that links Hawk and Brody Mays to everything! They drive across the Narrows as the wind howls. MIKE It’s all in the bag. It could involve city staff too. OFFICER THURSTON What if they’re right, Willis? Something flies across the highway into the groves. OFFICER WILLIS The hell was that? Officer Willis turns off the highway onto Sand Pit Road, lined with orange groves. He turns on the spotlight. OFFICER THURSTON Probably some trash blowing in the wind. We’ve gotta get back to the station!
92. JOJO WillisOFFICER WILLIS It went over there. Officer Willis shines the light to the front of the squad car, into the waving orange trees. OFFICER THURSTON Where? OFFICER WILLIS There. Officer Willis pulls his gun and blasts Officer Thurston, blowing out the passenger window and his brains. Mike and Jojo scream. MIKE Whoa! JOJO What the fuck? Officer Willis remains strangely calm. JOJO Willis, turn the car around. The squad car bumps down the sandy road. MIKE Where’s he going? JOJO Down to the sand pit! Jojo kicks the front seat with her knees. JOJO Willis! MIKE Please, Willis, we have to find shelter! JOJO You know what, Willis? I have a feeling Mom didn’t track down C.P. to Fruit Hill Road. YOU brought her there.
OFFICER WILLIS Be quiet, Jojo. Tears swell in Jojo’s eyes. JOJO And I’ll bet that C.P. didn’t shoot Mom that night, you did! OFFICER WILLIS Shut up, Jojo! Tears stream down Jojo’s face. JOJO In fact, I’m willing to guess that it wasn’t a masked thug who shot Dad in the back last year. It was you! Officer Willis taps the gun against the glass at Jojo. OFFICER WILLIS I’ll do it, Jojo. JOJO I know you would. EXT. SAND PIT - NIGHT The wind whips through the bare sand pit. A steel drum sits ablaze, next to a city vehicle illuminating two more steel drums. The police cruiser parks next to the city vehicle, illuminating the barrels. CUT TO: Mike and Jojo, sit on the barrels, arms handcuffed behind their backs. The cheerleading duffle bag sits in front of the cars. Wes, lit by the drum fire, shakes his head. WES I told you to lay low, Mike. JOJO You set the fires.
WES You two were snooping too much. A RED PICKUP pulls up to the two cars. Hawk, furious, leaps out. HAWK Brody’s dead. Mike looks worried. CUT TO: Hawk punches Mike’s bloodied face. A pair of lights pulls up to the pow-wow, blinding Mike and Jojo. TIFF (O.S.) Dammit Hawk! Hit him any harder and he won’t remember how to sign his name! Mike’s bloody face looks up. MIKE (shocked) Tiff? Tiff walks into the lights, holding a gun. TIFF You should’ve signed that letter, Mike. MIKE I’m sorryTiff pops a bullet into the sand at Mike’s FEET. His bloody jaw drops. TIFF Enough with the God damn apologies! Do you know what kind of forces you’ve messed with? MIKE You and Brody-
TIFF Are continuing progress, Mike! JOJO You killed C.P. and my mom. TIFF In the grand scheme of things, extinguishing two lives is insignificant compared to the plans they were attempting to stop! MIKE They weren’t just two lives, they had families, loved ones! Mike quietly attempts to pull his hand through the handcuff without luck. TIFF It all was done for the greater good. Neither Orange nor Sand Ridge would have ever been awarded a station on the Tampa to Orlando commuter rail, but with the two cities combined, we will! JOJO That’s impossible. The citizens of Orange and Sand Ridge would never agree to that! TIFF With the Apres project, there wouldn’t need to be a vote. It combines the two cities, and develops Angel’s grove and Oakland to create, in between Orange and Sand Ridge, a brand new city with condo towers, a grand park, AND a new rail station. JOJO But you can’t build on a sand pit. TIFF Exactly! It’d be filled in with trash and made into the largest city park Florida has ever seen! She pulls a letter from her pocket.
TIFF Sign the approval letter, Mike, or be set on fire and buried underneath the future park of ORANGE RIDGE. MIKE Look, I just need to review the file andTiff points the gun at Jojo. TIFF Sign the letter or your new fuck buddy loses her knee. Jojo freaks. JOJO Whoa! What do I have to do with this? MIKE (earnest) Tiff, Jojo and I have never done anything like that. The other night, I felt like there was something special between you and me. Tiff loses her poker face and bursts out laughing. TIFF You are too cute, baby. She motions to the Hawk, Willis, Wes, and the others standing behind her. TIFF I don’t mean to break your heart, but I’ve fucked everybody here. Jojo is disgusted. JOJO "Rapes" didn’t mean to take by force! She always intended to seduce you! Mike’s mouth hangs open.
TIFF Do you know why C.P. was at Fruit Hill Road when he got murdered? Because he thought he was gonna fuck me. Do you know why? Because I’ve been fucking him, too. MIKE (nauseous) I wish I’d worn a condom... JOJO And "reaps" ment that all of the 1865 developers would cash in on the Apres projectTIFF And "praes" was because we’d all be patting each other on the back millions of dollars richer. But only if Mr. Mike Korn signs the approval letter. MIKE This isn’t howTiff cocks the gun and aims at Jojo’s left knee. TIFF Say "I’ll sign" or I shoot. MIKE TiffTiff blasts Jojo’s knee. Jojo screams into the windy sky. Tiff aims at Jojo’s head. MIKE (desperate) Okay! I’ll sign! Officer Willis hands Tiff the handcuff key. She approaches Mike’s backside. His hand already free, he grabs her gun and aims it at her head. Mike aims the gun at the crowd.
98. MIKE Throw your weapons on the ground, NOW! He aims the gun back at Tiff’s head, as guns pile on the ground. MIKE Make one step and you’ll lose the town’s best fuck-bucket. TIFF (whisper) Mike, please. Mike presses the gun into her head as he backs his way toward Tiff’s pickup. MIKE I want a volunteer to help Jojo into the truck. Hawk emerges from the crowd with his hands up. Hawk approaches Jojo and gracefully puts his hand behind his back. Mike SHOOTS him in the head, and Hawk falls dead on his stomach, a knife tucked in the back of his pants. MIKE Next joker who tries pulling something gets Tiff shot in the head! TIFF Don’t fuck around, you idiots! Officer Willis slowly emerges from the shadows. He shows his empty hands and does a slow turn. Mike motions to the driver seat of Tiff’s truck. MIKE Get her in. Officer Willis helps a crying Jojo toward the truck. JOJO WaitShe leans down and grabs the duffle bag and a gun from the sand.
Officer Willis eases wincing Jojo into the truck. OFFICER WILLIS I’m sorry. JOJO Not yet. Officer Willis steps away. Jojo takes aim at the crowd from the seat. The wind howls as Tiff turns to Mike. TIFF I wanted it to work. Mike, with gun aimed at Tiff as she backs away, gets into the passenger seat of the truck. MIKE I’ve had better. INT. PICKUP - NIGHT Jojo steers the speeding truck up Sand Pit Road. Mike glances into the sandpit to see police lights and the red Toyota race behind them. EXT. HIGHWAY - NIGHT The white truck flies onto the empty highway as the rain pours down in sheets. INT. PICKUP - NIGHT Jojo yells in pain. JOJO Where should I go? The police cruiser and pickup fly onto the highway behind them. MIKE We’ve gotta get this bag to Sheriff Rudd at the Barton hospital!
JOJO But Sand Ridge is closed off! The faint horn of a train bellows through the windy air. MIKE Get me on that train. Jojo swerves across the highway onto a side road toward the train. EXT. SIDE ROAD - NIGHT The train flashes by, blocking the road. The police car and pickup follow close behind. Jojo turns hard into an orange grove. EXT. ORANGE GROVE - NIGHT The pickup races next to the speeding train as the last train car passes them. MIKE Speed up! Jojo accelerates as Mike steadies himself, duffle bag around his shoulder. The truck is neck and neck with the last train car. JOJO I’ll draw them away. Mike gives her hand a squeeze. MIKE I’ll see you at the hospital! Mike climbs through the window and clutches the ladder of the train car. Jojo pulls the pickup away as Mike dangles from the ladder.
INT. TRUCK - NIGHT Jojo jerks the pickup into the orange grove as the red pickup follows close behind. Tearing between waving orange trees, she accelerates and flies down a sandy stretch. She turns but keeps going straight; she loses control, smashes into a tree and herself through the windshield. EXT. ORANGE GROVE - NIGHT Jojo hits the sand with a groan as oranges fall around her. Wincing, she gasps. She pushes herself up. Lights beam behind, past the trees. EXT. TRAIN - NIGHT Mike clings onto the train ladder. The police car bumps and jolts the ladder and Mike loses his grip, but hangs on with his elbow. Mike pulls his legs up as Officer Willis aims the car for his dangling feet. EXT. ORANGE GROVE - NIGHT Jojo hobbles on her good leg through the rain. A GUNSHOT rings out and Jojo shrieks. EXT. CLEARING - NIGHT Jojo falls into the sandy clearing and collapses on a plastic sheet. Her blood pools on the plastic as sand and wind whip through the clearing. Jojo, wheezing in pain, looks toward the sky at a bright, orange light.
EXT. TRAIN - NIGHT Mike steadies himself with his good leg and climbs up the ladder. A GUNSHOT pops from the police cruise and Mike screams. His armpit, wrapped on the ladder, stops him from falling. Mike feels his stomach, and his fingers turn red. Grunting, he pulls the gun from the back of his pants. He aims at the police cruiser and unloads the gun, shattering the windshield. The police cruiser horn goes off and it crashes into a tree. Mike, wide-eyed, breathes with pain. EXT. CLEARING - NIGHT The bright light grows stronger and closer to Jojo’s face. She reaches her arm up toward the light - someone grabs it! ANGEL (O.S.) Easy. CUT TO: Jojo deliriously floats over the orange groves. Lights down in the groves, and up in the sky, violently flicker. EXT. TRAIN - NIGHT Mike, gripping the ladder, spots the roof of the hospital approaching through the passing orange groves. He throws himself from the train. Rolling to a stop in the sand, he screams in agony, clutching his gut.
INT. HELICOPTER - NIGHT The wind screams furiously as it rains on Jojo. She closes his eyes. ANGEL (O.S.) Stay with me, Jojo! EXT. ORANGE GROVE - NIGHT Mike pulls himself up with a cry and grabs the duffle bag. Sand blows through the air, as he hobbles toward the hospital. EXT. HOSPITAL PARKING LOT - NIGHT Covered in sand and blood, Mike stumbles into the parking lot. He looks up as Angel’s helicopter floats down from the sky. MIKE Jojo! The hurricane roars behind him, and Mike hurries toward them. Sheriff Rudd and two DEPUTIES rush from the hospital. SHERIFF RUDD Get them inside! Jojo regains consciousness as a deputy, along with Angel, pull her toward the hospital. The second deputy runs toward Mike, who collapses. The deputy drags Mike, arm wrapped in the duffle bag strap, toward Sheriff Rudd, frantically waving them in. INT. HOSPITAL ENTRY - NIGHT Unconscious Mike is placed on a gurney and rushed away. Jojo looks outside to see Angel has stopped. JOJO Angel!
SHERIFF RUDD It’s too late! EXT. HOSPITAL PARKING LOT - NIGHT Angel looks up at the awesome, swirling storm. He raises his arms as the wind licks his hair back. ANGEL I’m coming, Dotty. With a growing screech, the helicopter drags across the parking lot. INT. HOSPITAL ENTRY - NIGHT Jojo fights with the deputies. JOJO No! A blanket of rain and wind slams the glass, shaking it violently. SHERIFF RUDD Take shelter! The lights flicker dead. BLACK The wind shrieks. The soft, quiet beep of a heart monitor grows with the fading wind. A dull light grows brighter. INT. HOSPITAL ROOM - DAY Mike’s eyes creak open. The sun pokes through a palm branch plastered against the window. JOJO (O.S.) Mike.
Mike, bandages wrapped around his torso, with tubes in his arms and an oxygen mask over his face, slowly turns his head. Next to Mike sits relieved, smiling Jojo, in a wheelchair, legs bandaged and propped up. Through the oxygen mask, a weak grin grows on Mike’s face. MIKE You made it. JOJO We were more worried about you. MIKE What happened to everyone? Jojo shakes her head. JOJO They haven’t found anyone. Sheriff Rudd silently enters the hospital room. MIKE (confused) How did you get here? JOJO Angel. MIKE Angel? Where is he? Jojo bites her lip. SHERIFF RUDD It took an angel to keep you two from going up to heaven too early, son. JOJO They can’t find him either. MIKE (whisper) Did we do good? Tears swell in Jojo’s eyes. She smiles and nods. Sheriff Rudd moseys into the hospital room.
106. SHERIFF RUDD Y’all did more than good. We arrested them democracy-thwarting city commissioners and staff of yours, and have an investigation going full-steam! EXT. BRODY’S MANSION - DAY The wet lawn, littered with broken branches, is surrounded by deputies. A DEPUTY knocks on the door. DEPUTY Mr. Brody Mays? Sheriff’s DepartmentINT. HOSPITAL ROOM - DAY Jojo turns on the TV. CLOSE ON TV: Sharon, surrounded by reporters, clucks away as she’s taken away in handcuffs. SHARON Mr. Korn is an atheist communist who is working with the colored folk in this town to force hisBACK TO SCENE: Mike groans. MIKE Oh Jesus. JOJO I’m gonna need a good city planner to help rebuild Orange, Mr. Korn. MIKE JojoJojo holds his hand. JOJO And I’m gonna need a good friend. Mike squeezes her hand.
MIKE Okay. FADE OUT