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Sunday Matinee – Double Down (Part 7)

A Film Noir

by

A. Jay Adler

DOUBLE DOWN

Part Seven

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, then assumes Joseph’s identity. As Sonny investigates Jack’s death, Jack, as Joseph, makes a disconcerting discovery about his new private life.

Now, Part 7:

Jack makes necessary adjustments to his new life. Sonny’s investigation of Jack’s death continues to bring her and Jack together.

———–

INT. CITY JAIL VISITING ROOM – DAY

Kyle and Billy talk on either side of a glass partition.

KYLE

I fucked up, Billy. I’m sorry.

BILLY

What are you apologizing to me for? Besides, you didn’t fuck up. Jack did.

KYLE

Fuck that scumbag. I didn’t know he was that big a pussy. What’d he do, kill himself?

Billy shrugs.

KYLE (CONT’D)

You’re on your own now.

BILLY

I can take care of myself, Kyle.

KYLE

Yeah.

BILLY

I can. You’ll see.

KYLE

Well, you’re gonna have to. ‘Cause now I need your help. Joe’s as big a prick as his brother was a pussy, told the cops we got away with some money. This is the second time I’m goin’ down. I’m goin’ away for awhile.

BILLY

At least it wasn’t your third.

KYLE

Yeah.

BILLY

What do you need me to do?

KYLE

I gotta fuckin’ survive, Billy. Maybe I’ll hook up with the Aryans. Maybe better not to. But I need a game. I need to be worth something. I need a source of weed, at least, maybe more. I need you to do that for me.

BILLY

Anything, Kyle.

KYLE

Not anything. That. I need a lot and I need it regular.

Kyle leans in close.

KYLE (CONT’D)

Go see Crank. He’s the piss ass set this whole thing up.

Billy’s eyes go wide.

KYLE (CONT’D)

That’s right. He owes me now. Let him know you know that. He can supply you. Tell him to get you a job, too. A good one. And don’t let him hand you any bullshit. He doesn’t just have a major prick between his legs. He is one.

INT. KORT MANSION – GAME ROOM – NIGHT

Crank stands at a POOL TABLE. He holds his cue stick straight up in front of him, both hands wrapped around it.

There’s also a ping pong table, a dart board, an expensive chess board set up at its own table, and a round poker table.

CRANK

So the little punk tells me Kyle says I owe him.

At the other end of the table, Jack holds his cue stick gingerly, taking care around his broken finger. But he’s skilled. He makes his shot.

JACK

Why would he say that?

Jack takes his empty glass, goes to the bar and fills it up high with bourbon.

Crank observes, thinks.

CRANK

You know. Kyle’s done me little favors over the years. I didn’t always pay him. I knew he thought he was earning credits.

Jack kicks back a large portion of his drink.

CRANK (CONT’D)

What do you do with a small-time hustler? You hustle him.

Jack returns to the table for his next shot.

JACK

Small time or big time?

CRANK

Big time if he’d managed to keep his lazy ass out of prison. I’ll have to settle for small time.

Jack lines up a difficult combination shot. Shoots. Sinks both balls.

CRANK (CONT’D)

Very skillful. How unusual.

(smiles)

But I like a good stick man.

At that, Jack misses an easy shot. Crank walks around the table to shoot.

CRANK (CONT’D)

Aah, what happened, baby? Performance anxiety?

Jack quickly swallows the rest of his drink, heads to the bar to refill. Crank holds out his own glass.

CRANK (CONT’D)

You want to share some of that alcohol?

Jack returns for Crank’s glass. Their eyes meet for a moment. Jack turns away.

JACK

So what’d you do?

Crank looks up from lining up his shot, uncertain.

CRANK

About Billy? Offered him Teller training at min wage. I knew he wouldn’t take it. What the hell do I want him around for?

Jack lights a cigarette, takes a long drink. Crank makes his shot. Jack brings him his drink. Crank waives the cigarette smoke away from his face with disgust.

CRANK (CONT’D)

Why don’t you take a seat. Augie’s gonna be up here for awhile.

Jack drinks some more bourbon, heads to the bar for another refill, then sinks deeply into a lounge chair.

Crank quickly lines up a shot and makes it. He looks over at Jack with a smile.

CRANK (CONT’D)

So tell me, what happened with Jack? He asked for a job and you turned him down, right?

Crank makes his shot. With one ball on the table, he racks up again.

Jack smokes with nervous intensity, sips at his drink.

JACK

That’s right. What the hell did I want him around for?

CRANK

Peas in a pod, you and I.

Crank takes his shots quickly and with confidence. Makes them.

CRANK (CONT’D)

What do you figure? You think he killed himself? Or was it an accident?

JACK

Don’t know. Don’t really care.

CRANK

So cold!  I figure it for an accident. You should have seen him play blackjack over at the bar one night. Fool doubled down on a pair of Jacks. Played it cool, though. I’ll give him that. Lost his shirt and stayed very calm. But stupid. Stupid and reckless. I figure he just mixed it up too much.

JACK

Let’s not talk about him. It’s enough I had to see him once.

Crank’s got only a few balls left on the table.

CRANK

Whatsamatter? Augie’s little run here takin’ your breath away, makin’ you moody?

Crank lines up a shot.

CRANK (CONT’D)

Let’s talk about us then. Us and millions of dollars.

Crank slams the ball with authority across the table into a corner pocket.

CRANK (CONT’D)

Ouch!

He looks over at Jack.

CRANK (CONT’D)

You gotta love me, Joseph. You gotta love me.

Jack smiles, looks into his drink.

CRANK (CONT’D)

It’s like a whole new beginning. That’s a cliché, I know. But it’s funny how clichés don’t feel like clichés when they’re your own. All the shit you and I have had to go through not to live like pigs. You starting out that way, me left like that because my damned fool grandfather couldn’t run a railroad right.

Crank lines up his last shot down the barrel of the cue stick.

CRANK (CONT’D)

But now it’s a whole new start. For you. For me. For you and me together.

Crank sinks the shot. He turns to Jack with satisfaction.

CRANK (CONT’D)

You lose.

He walks over to Jack’s chair, towers over him holding his cue stick against the floor at Jack’s feet.

CRANK (CONT’D)

Or then again, maybe you win. ‘Cause I feel good, lover boy. So good. Why don’t we go upstairs. After all these months, it’ll be like the first time all over again.

Jack looks up at Crank, smiling over him, and then down at his drink.

He knocks the bourbon back in a single gulp.

EXT. THE KORT MANSION – NIGHT

A single light is on in an upstairs bedroom. It goes out.

EXT. THE KORT OLIVE ORCHARDS – DAY

The harvest has begun. MEXICAN PICKERS stand on high LADDERS and pick the olives from the trees by hand.

Jack watches from a grassy avenue running through the trees.

Sonny approaches from behind, from the direction of the house. Jack senses a presence, turns.

JACK

Evelyn. Hello.

SONNY

Hello, Joe.

JACK

What a surprise to see you down here. Is this police business?

Sonny is taken aback by the idea it might be something else.

SONNY

Yes.

JACK

I’ve already heard about Kyle and Ray, if that’s why you’ve come.

SONNY

I know. That’s not my case.

JACK

No, of course not.

SONNY

How’s the harvest going?

JACK

It’s just begun. Looks like it’ll be a good one.

They stroll along the avenue through the trees, back in the direction of the house.

SONNY

I just came to let you know how the investigation is going.

JACK

It was nice of you to come in person. Instead of just calling.

Sonny realizes that she could have done just that.

SONNY

We’ll probably close the case in another day or two. There’s no sign of foul play at all.

JACK

Did you think there might be?

SONNY

You always have to consider the possibility.

JACK

What conclusion have you come to?

Sonny shakes her head.

SONNY

That’s why we haven’t closed it. The amount of alcohol wasn’t too extraordinary. The secobarbital was.

JACK

So he killed himself?

Sonny recoils a little at this. Jack sees this.

JACK (CONT’D)

Why would he have?

SONNY

Kyle and Ray say he’s the one who told them you’d be gone. He was in on it.

(beat)

I’m sorry.

JACK

I suppose he thought I did worse to him.

SONNY

Did you?

JACK

I didn’t give him a job.

(beat)

We started playing this game when we were pretty young. Pretending to be each other. Fooling people. A lot of identical twins do it. We could even fool our parents. The games got meaner as time went by. You remember Josie Corwin?

SONNY

Didn’t you date her?

JACK

Jack did first. We hung out a lot together, with a bunch of others. Jack was pretty in love with her. I didn’t know. He never said anything. Then she started calling me. I could never convince Jack I hadn’t played the game with her.

SONNY

Did you?

JACK

Just a little as a joke. We both did that, but — Would you believe me if I told you I lost track sometimes?

Sonny considers this all. They walk in silence, climb the stairs to the rear terrace of the house.

TERRACE

Manuel dusts the chairs and tables.

JACK (CONT’D)

That kind of remorse so soon after he told them doesn’t make a lot of sense.

SONNY

No.

JACK

(kindly)

There’s that then. He was a reckless man.

(beat)

Do you hate him now?

Sonny has to hold her emotions in check.

JACK (CONT’D)

This must be very hard for you. And looking at me —

SONNY

It must be hard for you, too, whatever you felt about each other.

JACK

(beat)

I lost my parents years ago, my wife, and now — Now I just am.

SONNY

You’re not what I imagined you to be.

Jack looks around him.

JACK

People can be envious. And maybe I wasn’t as nice a person as I could have been once. I was very young. I’m not that person anymore.

They stare at one another.

JACK (CONT’D)

If there’s anything I can ever do.

SONNY

(softly)

What?

JACK

Just anything. You’re welcome any time, Evelyn.

SONNY

Not many people call me Evelyn.

They stare.

SONNY (CONT’D)

I’d better go.

Jack nods.

JACK

Manuel, would you see —

Manuel looks up.

SONNY

No. I can see myself out.

Sonny enters the house. Jack and Manuel both watch her go. Manuel turns to Jack.

MANUEL

If I may be permitted, Mr. Joseph. You’re very kind to her.

JACK

Am I?

MANUEL

If you remember, sir, what we spoke about some months ago. About my leaving? If it would please you, Mr. Joseph, I would like to reconsider. I would be very pleased to continue working for you, sir.

Jack takes this in.

JACK

That would please me, too, Manuel.

MANUEL

Very good, sir.

Jack looks out thoughtfully over the orchards.

AJA

———-

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