A Film Noir
A. Jay Adler
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 for help with 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, then assumes Joseph’s identity.
Now, Part 5: Jack directs Kyle and Raye to the Kort mansion for the proposed robbery of Joseph, then purposely interrupts the robbery. The next morning, Sonny discovers the body of the apparently dead Jack and takes the lead in the investigation. She questions “Joseph” at the mansion.
EXT. THE KORT MANSION – NIGHT
Jack drives Joseph’s Jaguar sedan to the large garage a small distance from the house.
Jack searches the glove compartment, finds the garage door opener, clicks it.
Jack drives in. The door closes behind him.
Jack gets out of the car, goes to a window facing the house. He checks the view, then he crosses the garage and looks out another window, facing the entrance to the mansion grounds. He turns away, prepares to wait.
INT. GARAGE – LATER
Jack stands by the window in darkness, smoking a cigarette.
He hears the LOW HUM of an approaching engine. He quickly puts out the cigarette and carefully looks out the window.
An old Camaro drives slowly toward the house. Jack watches until it is out of view. He crosses to the other window, sees the Camaro stop in front of the house.
Kyle and Ray quickly exit the car, look around, go to the front door.
Jack watches through the window as Kyle kneels before the door, works the lock. Then they’re in, and the door closes.
Jack turns from the window, checks his watch: 1:05 a.m.
Then it’s 1:07 a.m., Jack still checking the watch. He heads for the door.
Jack exits and walks deliberately toward the house.
He pauses at the door, then enters with Joseph’s keys, taking no care to be quiet.
INT. THE KORT MANSION
Jack closes the door loudly, stops and listens. Nothing.
He walks to a TABLE in the front foyer and drops the keys onto it. Still nothing.
He looks around, tries to guess where the safe might be.
He heads toward the study.
He stops before its closed door, prepares himself for what might be behind it.
He opens it.
Two figures — Kyle’s and Ray’s — charge past him, over him, knocking him down in their break to escape.
Kyle is first and gets by. But as Jack goes down, he grabs hold of Ray’s leg.
He makes a show of trying to hold on to the leg as Ray is brought to the ground, tries to crawl away.
Fuck. Get the fuck —
Ray kicks at Jack’s face, glancing blows that Jack allows to beat him off.
Ray scrambles to his feet and runs off.
Jack gets up, makes no attempt to follow. He turns back to the
Looks around. He sees the door ajar on a SMALL REFRIGERATOR built into the wall near the liquor table. He goes to it.
The door has a key lock on it. Its interior panel, on disguised hinges, is pulled away.
Inside, the secret compartment is empty. Except for a note, presumably written by Joseph. It reads: FUCK YOU.
Jack shows the trace of a smile. He crumbles up the note and turns away.
Jack approaches the open front door. Outside the Camaro is gone. He locks the door.
Then he goes to the PHONE on the table, where he dropped his keys. He dials.
Hello? This is Joseph Miles at the Kort Orchards. That’s right, on Los Carneros Road. I’d like to report a burglary. And assault.
EXT. JACK’S BUNGALOW – MORNING
Several police cars, marked and unmarked are parked around the house. Another unmarked sedan pulls up.
INT. JACK’S BUNGALOW
Sonny stands watching beside the body as the MEDICAL EXAMINER zips up the body bag. A PHOTOGRAPHER snaps some final photos. A COUPLE OF CRIMINALISTS bag evidence.
Enter GENE SLOCUM, 40’s, Sonny’s partner, hard and steady, soft on Sonny, though she’ll never know it. He looks around, comes up beside Sonny.
What do we have?
(slow to respond)
Apparent overdose. Alcohol and —
Sonny indicates the vial of pills on the coffee table as a Criminalist bags it.
I’m guessing you knew him to drink his fair share.
Sonny glances at him, nods.
Was he a pill popper, too?
Not since I knew him. On the road he probably did about everything.
So he’d tend to know how much is too much.
Slocum pulls Sonny aside, away from the others.
Any reason you know of it wouldn’t have been accidental?
Sonny looks in Slocum’s eyes sadly, shakes her head firmly.
Slocum feels for her, presses on.
What brought you here?
I was calling him. All night. He didn’t answer.
Slocum looks around.
No sign of anyone else?
Sonny shakes her head.
Look, I can take the lead on this.
I was first on the scene, Slocum.
Good, you know procedure. Morales. Let me —
First on the scene.
I’ll go check out what he did last night.
Sonny heads for the door.
I’m sorry, Sonny.
Sonny stops, nods, leaves.
Slocum watches through the window as Sonny gets into her car. He sees her start it up, pause, then break down in sobs.
But she quickly pulls herself together. She peels out.
INT. KORT MANSION – DAY
Manuel opens the door to Sonny.
Detective Morales. Mr. Miles is expecting me.
Manuel lets her in.
I’ll let Mr. Joseph know you’re here.
No need, Manuel. Mr. Joseph is here.
Jack stands at the entrance to the foyer. He and Sonny are both stopped by the sight of the other, though Jack tries not to show it.
Sonny does. Manuel leaves them alone.
I know. Identical. Still.
I should tell you. This is not just professional. You’re brother and I — we’d been involved.
Then I guess I should say I’m sorry.
But I am here on police business.
Of course. Let’s go into the living room.
INT. FORMAL LIVING ROOM
Neither Jack nor Sonny sits.
Don’t misunderstand me — I have to ask about it. I gathered from —
Sonny has a hard time saying Jack’s name.
You didn’t get along very well. Others say the same thing. I never noticed that in high school.
Well, you didn’t know us very well in high school, Evelyn. Me even less I think.
Why didn’t you?
Get along? It’s supposed to be the other way, right? I don’t know exactly. It’s like — it’s like we were two people trying to occupy the same space. We both felt crowded. I think that’s why he left all those years ago.
It’s almost the way he explained it.
My point, I guess.
Sonny becomes lost in thought, for a moment seems a little unsteady. Jack is genuinely concerned.
Are you all right? I’m sorry. I should have offered you a seat.
No. No. I’m just trying to figure out why he would do it. I can’t make any sense of it.
Do it? You think he killed himself? When you called, I don’t know, I just assumed it was an accident.
There’s no way tell right now. Maybe never. The reason I came — I thought he might have come to see you, about a job?
He did, actually.
Sonny reacts alertly to this news.
It was hard for him to do. I could tell. Probably the last thing he wanted to do. He did say it was because of a woman. He just didn’t say who.
Sonny waits eagerly for more.
I didn’t have anything for him. Really. And to be honest with you, I didn’t look forward to his working for me anymore than he did. I guess that makes me sound terrible, but it could never have worked. I did offer him money, though. To tide him over until he found something else.
Did he take it?
Jack shakes his head.
Probably the one thing it would have been harder for him to do than work for me.
How was he when he left?
Disappointed. Wishing he’d never come, I guess.
What time was it?
Eight. Eight thirty.
I don’t think he would have killed himself over anything I did. And apparently he had something to live for.
They look at each other, seeing what they want to see.
I heard at the station you had a burglary last night.
Yeah, it was quite a night all around.
Jack heads in the direction of the study, Sonny following.
I gave the detectives all the details when they were here this morning.
You surprised them?
It was Manuel’s night off. I was planning to get away for the night, too.
Did Jack know that?
They stop outside the study.
I told him he was holding me up. Seems cruel now.
Where were you heading?
Pismo Beach. Sometimes, since Mirabella died, I just need to get away from the house. Couple of hours out I thought, “This is stupid. The night’s gone anyway.” I turned back.
Jack leads Sonny to the refrigerator. He shows her the hidden compartment.
They must have known where to look. I guess they thought they could get in and out fast. You think they knew I’d be gone?
Sonny examines the refrigerator.
Seems that way.
Sonny considers a difficult thought.
You think there might be a connection?
Jack pretends not to get her drift. Then —
You mean with Jack? That’s why you asked if he knew I’d be gone. I don’t know. I identified the two men as Kyle Corbett and Ray Hansen. Jack used to know them. Were they back in contact?
(ignores the question)
The report said they got away with some money.
A few thousand dollars I kept for convenience.
Sonny looks closely at his face. Their eyes lock.
There was a struggle?
Jack touches the scratches on his face.
Oh. Yeah. I don’t think I did too well.
Sonny heads out of the study.
You’re alive. You did fine.
Jack walks Sonny to the door. They stop.
Did you hate him?
It’s hard to know what you feel for someone so close when things go wrong. I think maybe you know what I mean. I’m sorry, truly.
Sonny nods and leaves.