Sunday Matinee – Double Down (Part 11)

A Film Noir

by

A. Jay Adler

DOUBLE DOWN

Part Eleven

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 circumstances 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 her Poppy, her father, in prison. She returns to headquarters to learn that Crank has been murdered.

Now, Part 11:

Sonny questions Jack about Crank’s death. Investigating, she and her partner, Gene Slocum, make crucial discoveries about Crank – and Joseph.

————

EXT. HIGHWAY – DAY

A blinding dust storm. SCREECHING TIRES. The CRASH of impact. More TIRES SKIDDING over the road. MORE CRASHES. Chain reaction.

Then voices, as drivers call from their windows, cautiously leave their cars.

VOICES (O.S.)

What happened? Everyone okay? I couldn’t see a thing. David, David, be careful! Some one call the Highway Patrol. Suddenly he was right in front of me. Anyone hurt? Tell them we need an ambulance. Pull over. Pull over.

More crashes. The scene becomes barely visible amid the wind-driven dust.

Sonny walks along the side of the road, peering into cars, checking on the occupants. She looks into a car.

SONNY

Everyone okay here?

The DRIVER nods.

SONNY (CONT’D)

Good. All right. Look, see if you can pull off the road. As far as you can.

She moves on. A CHIP on motorcycle slowly comes up.

CHIP

You all right?

Sonny flashes her badge.

SONNY

I’m checking cars. I think there’s a big rig over, about a quarter mile.

The CHIP heads off. Sonny approaches a Jaguar pulled onto the shoulder.

It’s Jack.

Sonny stops. They stare through the windshield.

Sonny gets in.

INT. JAGUAR

They’re silent.

JACK

I hoped we’d meet next under better conditions.

Sonny is silent.

JACK (CONT’D)

So it’s not funny.

SONNY

Crank Wilson’s dead. Shot in the chest.

Jack takes it in.

JACK

Do you know who did it?

SONNY

Not yet. You don’t seem surprised.

JACK

Should I be. Crank was Crank, right? Anyway, I don’t surprise easily. Except the other morning.

SONNY

I was going to drop by later and tell you.

JACK

Me? Why?

SONNY

I’m investigating a homicide, Joe. The two of you fought. You didn’t like each other.

The SOUND OF A CRASH nearby. FIGURES run by.

The two look.

Jack looks back at Sonny.

JACK

Are you serious?

SONNY

I’m investigating a homicide. Witnesses saw you in his office last week.

JACK

Witnesses? You mean people in the bank. You did say last week.

SONNY

Why did you see him?

JACK

To tell him I wasn’t moving my accounts. You can check with my attorney. I never gave him any instructions.

SONNY

Why’d you change your mind?

JACK

Evelyn. What happened the other morning? Was it because —

SONNY

Let’s finish with this first. Why’d you change your mind?

JACK

I just figured there was value in a long-term relationship. I figured he got the point. It’s business — you don’t have to like people. I can’t believe you think I killed him.

SONNY

I didn’t say I believed it. Did you, Joe? Did you kill him?

JACK

No. I did not kill him. I wouldn’t — What about us?

SONNY

That was a mistake.

JACK

And when you learn I didn’t do it? Will it still be a mistake?

SONNY

It was a mistake. Regardless of the reason.

JACK

Regardless of what we lose?

Sonny doesn’t answer. She gets out of the car.

A SIREN. An AMBULANCE passes on the passenger side of Jack’s car.

EXT. JACK’S BUNGALOW – NIGHT

Jack gets out his car, looks around, and walks toward the door. He tries it. It’s open. He enters.

INT. JACK’S BUNGALOW

No new occupant. Everything as it was. Jack walks into the living room. He stares at the sofa, at the coffee table, a BOWL OF PISTACHIO NUTS still on it.

He glances at the chair where Joseph sat, then moves on to the bedroom doorway.

BEDROOM – JACK’S POV

The bed and the wall behind it.

BACK TO SCENE

Jack’s cell phone rings. He takes it from his pocket and turns back into the living room.

JACK

Yeah. Hello, Arthur.

Jack sits in the chair, listens.

JACK (CONT’D)

It’s all done then.

(beat)

Uh, huh. Buyers, too. You’ve been a busy man.

(beat)

I don’t know. What does happy sound like?

(beat)

I am. I am happy. I’m happy to be a wealthy man.

(beat)

What time? Yeah, that’s fine. All right. I’ll see you then.

Jack clicks off the phone. He sits and stares.

EXT. PISMO BEACH – DAY

The ocean. The beach. People. Traffic passing on the Pacific Coast Highway.

INT. CRANK’S PISMO BEACH APARTMENT

Sunny, airy. Cool, spare luxury. Soulless.

Sonny, Slocum and TWO PISMO DETECTIVES conduct a search.

PISMO DETECTIVE 1

Place is in the name of Augustus Wilson. Owner’s off site, but he says Wilson used the place summers and weekends.

SONNY

Pretty standard.

PISMO DETECTIVE 2

The neighbors say there were a lot of parties.

Sonny shrugs.

PISMO DETECTIVE 2 (CONT’D)

Always men. Only men.

SLOCUM

Interesting.

(to Sonny)

Did you know?

Sonny shakes her head.

Slocum wanders into the bedroom while the others search the living room.

PISMO DETECTIVE 2

Everybody likes to party. Even the sexsuals.

Sonny glances at him.

PISMO DETECTIVE 2 (CONT’D)

Neutral term. Non-offensive.

Slocum opens a chest at the foot of the bed, puts aside some blankets.

SLOCUM

What have we here?

Sonny enters the bedroom as Slocum pulls out of the chest first a pair of HANDCUFFS, then a WHIP.

BEDROOM

Slocum turns to Sonny.

SLOCUM

Down girl.

Sonny reaches into the chest, comes up with a full LEATHER HEAD MASK.

SLOCUM (CONT’D)

I’ll be good. I promise.

SONNY

In your fucking dreams, Slocum.

Sonny moves on to a chest of drawers.

SLOCUM

You think they lead more interesting sex lives than we do?

SONNY

More painful by the looks of it.

SLOCUM

Pleasure. Pain. Where do you draw the line?

Sonny stares at him.

SONNY

Ouch.

Pismo Detective 1 enters carrying a FINANCIAL REGISTER.

PISMO DETECTIVE 1

This guy was a banker, right?

Slocum looks at him. Sonny comes over.

PISMO DETECTIVE 1 (CONT’D)

Don’t they have computers where you guys come from?

He hands the book to Slocum. Sonny looks over his shoulder.

SLOCUM

(reads)

P & R Transfer. Carga Larga. Those are trucking companies.

SONNY

El Puño fronts. Deposits. Those are transfers. Look.

SLOCUM

A slice off the top every time.

PISMO DETECTIVE 1

Question is, was it the right slice?

SONNY

Was he even supposed to get one?

Sonny turns to look around the bed.

SLOCUM

I love this job. Always something new.

(to Sonny)

I told you the usual suspects.

Sonny smiles back as she gets down to look under the bed. Pismo Detective 2 enters as she comes up holding a vaseline-sized JAR.

SONNY

What’s this?

She hands the jar off to Slocum. The jar has CHINESE LETTERING on it. Slocum hands off to Pismo Detective One, equally mystified, who turns it over to Pismo Detective 2. He opens the jar, sniffs.

PISMO DETECTIVE 2

Chun Su.

SLOCUM

Uh, huh. Translation?

PISMO DETECTIVE 2

I think. I’m not sure. It’s a — what do you call it? — aphrodisiac. Become popular among the —

He glances at Sonny.

PISMO DETECTIVE 2 (CONT’D)

Our gay brothers here. It’s scraped from the skin of toads. They say it sustains performance.

PISMO DETECTIVE 1

Only it can be fatal if ingested.

SONNY

Ugh.

PISMO DETECTIVE 1

Some have tried that. One man died already.

SONNY

Jesus. What’s it all about with some men, anyway?

SLOCUM

Coming and going.

Sonny turns in disgust to the night table by the bed. She opens a drawer.

SONNY

God. This place is a treasure trove.

Slocum heads over.

SLOCUM

What is it?

SONNY

Photos.

PISMO DETECTIVE 1

Of course.

Sonny shuffles through the PHOTOS, hands them off to Slocum. They show Crank with various men, using all the paraphernalia.

Slocum hands them off to Pismo Detective 1.

SLOCUM

You ever try that?

PISMO DETECTIVE 1

Whew.

PISMO DETECTIVE 2

They do tend to be creative types.

Suddenly Sonny is stopped. She can’t hide it. She drops some photos on the table and turns away. Slocum picks them up.

The photos are of Crank and Joseph.

Slocum looks at Sonny.

PISMO DETECTIVE 1

What’s up?

Slocum’s cell phone RINGS.

SLOCUM

Slocum.

He listens.

SLOCUM (CONT’D)

Right. We’ve made some finds, too. We’re heading back.

He shuts off the phone.

SLOCUM (CONT’D)

They’ve traced the cash register receipt to Fresno City College. The bookstore. Paid for with a financial aid check in the name of William Corbett.

AJA

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