A Film Noir
A. Jay Adler
Finale: the Dealer Calls the Hand
The Story So Far
Jack Miles, rock n’ roll roadie, has returned home looking for a job. He encounters old friends and begins a new love with Evelyn “Sonny” Morales, a detective. Old friends, Kyle and Ray, propose to Jack that he help them rob his wealthy, but estranged, identical twin, Joseph. Jack turns them down, and instead goes to see Joseph to ask for a job. But Joseph humiliates Jack and they nearly come to blows. Enraged, Jack lures Joseph to him and kills him, making the murder appear his own accidental death. He then assumes Joseph’s identity and sets Kyle and Ray up in a botched attempt at the robbery. While Sonny investigates Jack’s death, Jack, as Joseph, discovers that Joseph and Crank Wilson were closeted lovers. As Sonny’s investigation continues to bring her and Jack together, Jack tries to adjust to the conditions of his new life. Soon enough, Crank is on to Jack and tries to blackmail him, but Jack figures a way to accommodate and control Crank. Then, one night, Jack and Sonny give in and make love. Disturbed by events, Sonny seeks advice from Poppy, her father, in prison. She returns to headquarters to learn that Crank has been murdered. The investigation leads to Crank’s murderer, and to evidence of his and Joesph’s relationship. Even as Jack begins to truly appreciate the life he might lead as Joseph, circumstances begin to close in on the life that Joesph led.
Now, the Finale:
Jack and Sonny find their destiny.
INT. POLICE STATION – DAY
STEVE TAKAMURA, 30’s, a slight, youthful toxicologist, walks through the squad room in the direction of Sonny and Slocum’s desks.
Slocum sits at his desk, with Sonny perched on it, both eating burritos.
I’m telling you it’s not really Mexican. Just like chow mein isn’t really Chinese.
Chow mein’s not Chinese?
Takamura arrives, holds out a folder to Sonny.
I know it doesn’t really matter anymore, since you got your guy, but I thought you might still want to know what was in the jar.
Takamura. Chow mein’s Chinese food, isn’t it?
What makes you think I’d know?
It was Chun Su. Chemically, a bufadienolide.
That’s easy for him to say.
Whoever’s using it is crazy. It’s deadly.
So we heard. Thanks, Steve.
Takamura starts to leave.
How is it used?
Slocum shoots her a salaciously curious look. Sonny shoots a nasty one back.
Well, normally, I gather, as a topical anesthetic. It would increase stamina.
Takamura stares at Slocum.
Improve performance, I guess, for those who feel in need of it.
But that’s not fatal.
No. But sometimes people ingest it. I don’t know what they think they’re going to get from that.
A big stick that won’t quit. I’ll tell you about it some time.
Takumura glances at Slocum, goes on.
Swallow enough and it can cause cardiac dysrythmia. It has all the physiological appearances of a fatal arrhythmia, even to the point of being accompanied by vomiting.
Sonny nods. Takamura throws Slocum another look, leaves.
Sonny walks around to sit at her desk, her thinking troubled. She turns in her chair, her back to Slocum.
Slocum stares at her back.
Lose your appetite?
Sonny doesn’t answer for a long moment. She turns around, faces Slocum.
What did Mirabella Kort die of?
Slocum shakes his head.
Kraft worked the investigation.
Slocum turns to a desk in the middle of the room.
Kraft. Mirabella Kort. What’d she die of?
KRAFT, 50’s, heavy, slow in every way, looks up from his desk.
Mirabella Kort? Heart attack.
Is that the medical term?
You want a doctor, Morales, call an HMO.
No, how about you check the case file.
Kraft’s glance at Slocum says, What’s up with her?
Slocum rolls his eyes, nods to Kraft to do it.
Kraft slowly, reluctantly rises to go get the file.
Sonny withdraws into herself.
INT. POLICE STATION – EVENING
Sonny sits at her desk in the growing dark, staring out the window.
Slocum walks by the door to the squad room as Kraft enters with the case file. They talk. Slocum looks in Sonny’s direction.
Sonny looks away from the window, sees the two talking. They walk to her.
Says here Mirabella Kort was suffering from congestive heart failure. She was taking a medication called di-gox-in to regulate her heart beat. Apparently she took an overdose. She suffered —
Kraft checks the file.
Digi… digi… digitalis intoxication, causing a fatal arr–
Was there any vomiting?
Shit, I was first on the scene. It was everywhere. Practically drowned in it.
Sonny looks at Slocum. He stares at her as he speaks.
Where was her husband?
Off in Pismo Beach for the weekend. She was dead two days before her body was discovered. Their manservant was off too.
Sonny and Slocum stare at each other.
I’ll get the court order.
Court order for what?
Exhume Mirabella Kort’s body.
Sonny comes between them on her way out.
Don’t say it.
She moves on.
INT. KORT MANSION – STUDY – NIGHT
Jack is at his desk with PAPERS scattered everywhere.
The PHONE RINGS.
Hello? Evelyn? I am so glad to hear from you. Really, I’m so glad. I’m sitting here going over the whole operation, everything.
EXT. COUNTY COURT HOUSE – NIGHT
Sonny stands on the front steps, CELL PHONE in hand.
I’m at the county court. I just got an order to exhume Mirabella’s body.
INT. KORT MANSION – STUDY
Jack is perplexed.
EXT. COUNTY COURT HOUSE
Sonny sits on a step.
We have reason to reconsider the cause of death.
INT. KORT MANSION – STUDY
Now Jack is stunned.
EXT. COUNTY COURT HOUSE
Sonny wipes tears from her eyes.
If you don’t know, don’t worry.
Sonny ends the call.
INT. KORT MANSION – STUDY
Jack lets the phone fall from his hand. He’s motionless with shock. He tries to put it all together. A frenzy grows in him.
He shoots up. His arms, his legs, go this way, that. He doesn’t know what to do with himself.
He looks at a wall filled with PHOTOS of Joseph: public events, parties, the country club.
He storms to the wall, takes a photo of Joseph smiling between two men, grips it between his hands in a rage, as if he would strangle it.
He SLAMS the photo against the wall.
The glass SHATTERS loudly.
He turns wildly, walks almost drunkenly to the terrace door.
Jack staggers along, straightens himself, staggers again to the steps down into the orchards.
He navigates the steps uncertainly.
He stumbles near the bottom, falls to the ground.
He lies there, winded and crazed, dizzy, on his back, staring up at the sky, the world spinning around him, with no center.
Jack rises slowly. He steadies himself. He walks into
calmly, as if in a trance.
He walks on and on, deep among the trees.
And then he stops.
He stares into the night, as if in another world.
EXT. CEMETERY – DAY
SHOVELS stand in a mound of dirt beside Mirabella Kort’s grave.
Sonny and Slocum watch with two cemetery workers as a LIFT raises the CASKET from it’s vault.
EXT. THE ORCHARDS – NIGHT
Jack stands beneath a brilliantly FULL MOON. He stares into the darkness, along an avenue between the trees.
INT. SONNY’S SEDAN – MOVING – NIGHT
Sonny’s cell phone rings. She picks it up.
INT. MEDICAL EXAMINER’S LABORATORY – NIGHT
Slocum stands by a desk, talks on the phone.
It’s me. They found it. There’s no doubt.
INT. SONNY’S SEDAN – MOVING
Sonny is silent.
Back me up. But don’t come in. I’ll bring him out.
Sonny turns off the phone.
INT. MEDICAL EXAMINER’S LABORATORY
Slocum hangs up the phone.
EXT. SONNY’S SEDAN – MOVING
Sonny does a u-turn and speeds off.
EXT. THE ORCHARDS – NIGHT
Jack stares into the darkness.
Suddenly he shivers from the cold.
He turns and looks back at the house.
He walks toward it.
He walks with purpose, as if headed toward something.
He walks up the stairs to
Jack pauses. He walks to the study doors, then stops.
He looks along the wall of the house, toward the living room doors.
INT. KORT MANSION – FOYER
Sonny walks beside the wall toward the living room. Manuel stands in the b.g. by the closed front door.
Jack walks along the wall of the house toward the living room doors. He glances at the wall as if sensing, seeing something on the other side.
Sonny walks beside the wall.
Jack walks along the wall.
Sonny approaches the entrance to the living room.
Jack reaches the doors as Sonny enters the living room.
He sees her.
INT. FORMAL LIVING ROOM
She sees Jack on the other side of the glass doors.
Jack enters and walks to her. He stops and is silent for a moment.
How did she die?
Don’t you know?
Jack doesn’t answer.
We found something at Crank’s apartment in Pismo Beach — an aphrodisiac. We also found some photos. I told you. You — were in them. The aphrodisiac was in Mirabella’s body. It kills, just like an overdose of her heart medication.
Jack is quietly overwhelmed by the irony of his fate.
Is this really what you want to do?
That’s a question you should have asked yourself, isn’t it? This is my job. I solve crimes. I arrest the bad people. I make the world a better place.
But you love me, Sonny. I know you do. I love you. I never loved anyone like I love you.
Not even Mirabella?
I loved a man named Jack Miles. He’s dead now.
You know who I am.
Who? Who are you? Do you even know?
You know who I am. I don’t think anyone else ever has known.
I don’t know who you are. All I know is what you did.
A slowly developing but hard driving ROCK SONG, something like U2, begins to play.
I have to take you in now. Will you come with me?
Jack stares at her. Can this be? Is this it?
Sonny holds out her hand.
Come with me.
Jack looks at, then takes, her hand.
They walk together, hand in hand, into
and walk slowly, neither looking at the other, to the front door.
Jack looks up toward the top of the stairs.
Manuel stands looking down at the two of them.
Jack turns to Sonny.
You’re the closest thing to Heaven I ever knew.
Heaven’s not on this earth.
Suddenly but gently, she turns him around, cuffs him.
It’s for when you die.
She stares at his back.
Didn’t you know that?
She turns him and looks at him.
The MUSIC is about to go full out.
As Sonny opens the door, it does.
Jack is bathed in LIGHT.
EXT. KORT MANSION
Black and whites, on both sides of the driveway, have their high beams and spot lights trained on the door.
Jack is framed in the doorway, almost blinded by the light, Sonny behind him.
The MUSIC is full tilt.
Jack hesitates, then slowly walks out. As he advances —
— the faint ROAR of a crowd as at a Rock concert.
Jack walks on slowly, and out of sight, into the bright lights.
Sonny looks on after him from the door.