Sunday Matinee – Double Down (Part 2)

A Film Noir

by

A. Jay Adler

DOUBLE DOWN

Part Two

The Story So Far

Part I: Jack Miles, rock n’ roll roadie, has returned home looking for a job. He meets old friends and begins new love. Her name is Sonny. She’s a detective. Jack’s estranged identical twin is about to be rich.

Now, Part 11: The old friends, Kyle and Ray, make a proposal to Jack. It concerns his brother. Jack and Sonny enjoy California’s roadways. Kyle warns his younger brother Billy off getting involved with the Mexican gang El Puño.

INT. CAB OF A TRUCK – MOVING – DAY

Ray is at the wheel. Jack rides beside him, looking glum.

RAY

So that’s the run. Fresno, Modesto, and back.

EXT. STREET – DAY

The twenty foot truck turns a corner onto the street. It comes to a stop at the curb, across from the bar. Kyle stands there waiting.

Kyle hops in beside Jack. Jack wasn’t expecting this. Ray drives off again.

INT. TRUCK’S CAB – MOVING

Jack eyes Kyle carefully

RAY

So what do you think?

Jack looks at him uncertainly.

RAY (CONT’D)

About the job.

JACK

I can do it. I need the work. Don’t know that I want it. Can I let you know?

RAY

Sure.

KYLE

You looking for something better?

RAY

I’m looking for something better.

KYLE

Aren’t we all. Question is, how do you get it?

Kyle offers Jack a cigarette. Jack takes it. Kyle lights them up.

KYLE (CONT’D)

Look, Jack, I’m not looking to piss you off, but I want to talk about your brother for a second. Can I talk about Joseph? Shit, it used to be Joe. Jack and Joe Miles, right? Then he became high and mighty.

Jack stares at Kyle. Kyle stares back.

KYLE (CONT’D)

I know you don’t like him. That’s really why I brought him up the other day — just making sure you still felt the same way. You know what I mean?

Jack listens.

KYLE (CONT’D)

First off, he’s a prick. Everybody knows that, probably you better than anyone, right?

RAY

Thing is, now he’s a rich prick.

KYLE

Well, not yet. The will’s still in probate. Here’s the thing, though — Kort never trusted him. I don’t know that it was personal — hell, she married him — but a rich old gal like that, not so great looking, marries a man ten years younger —

(to Ray)

Maybe more, huh? —

Ray shrugs.

KYLE (CONT’D)

She’s gotta wonder. She’s gotta be careful.

RAY

So she kept him on a pretty tight spending leash. Not much money in his own name he could control.

Kyle and Ray examine Jack’s reaction so far. There is none.

KYLE

We know this cause we got a source, an inside source, you might say. He tells us your prick brother played all sorts of games with the money he did control.

RAY

Inflated his expenses. He ran part of the farm, made deals with vendors to skim off the top on their contracts. He cut corners, there was money in it for them, too, so nobody squawked.

KYLE

So our source tells us, over five years, he put away maybe two hundred grand, in cash. It’s in a safe she didn’t know about, in the house. We know where it is.

RAY

If we can get into the house —

KYLE

If we know when he’ll be away, and his — what do you call him — manservant, Manuel, is away, we can get into the house. I can get into the safe.

RAY

But we need to know when he’ll be away.

KYLE

We can’t know that. Our source says he’s not in a position to know right now, either.

RAY

And once the probate’s complete — soon — there’s no reason for the stash anymore.

KYLE

You see what we’re gettin’ at. You need the money. You’d get a cut. We can talk about that.

EXT. P & R TRANSFER – LOADING DOCK

Ray comes to a stop some distance from the dock.

INT. TRUCK’S CAB

Kyle and Ray wait for Jack’s response.

JACK

Don’t misunderstand me. If you can do it, you do it. It’s not his money either, is it? But not with me.

Jack points past Kyle to the door. Kyle opens it and gets out. They all do.

EXT. TRUCK

Ray comes around the cab to Jack and Kyle. Jack tosses away his cigarette.

JACK

I know you took a chance telling me this. With my answer, you might think you’ve got reason to worry. You don’t.

(to Ray)

I’ll let you know about the job.

He walks off toward the street.

EXT. HIGHWAY – DAY

Sonny’s unmarked sedan travels a long empty stretch of a four lane route in the center of the sun-baked basin of the valley. Flat, wide open farm land on either side. Mountains in the distance.

There is one other car, a convertible, behind her.

EXT. JACK’S JUNKER CONVERTIBLE

Jack notes the car up ahead, thinks he recognizes it.

INT. SONNY’S SEDAN

Sonny checks the rear view mirror, notices the convertible gaining on her, thinks nothing of it.

EXT. HIGHWAY

Jack edges up on Sonny’s left, hits the horn to draw her attention.

Sonny glances over.

Jack grins.

Sonny lights up.

Jack points at her, then at himself, then to the highway ahead of them. But Sonny doesn’t get it.

Jack grins again.

INT. JACK’S CONVERTIBLE

His foot hits the pedal.

EXT. HIGHWAY

Jack takes off fast, ahead of Sonny.

INT. SONNY’S SEDAN

Surprised, Sonny shakes her head but takes the challenge. She takes off after him.

EXT. HIGHWAY

The two cars speed along. Surprise helped Jack put distance between them. But his junker is no match for Sonny’s sedan. Steadily, she gains on him.

INT. JACK’S CONVERTIBLE

Jack sees this in his rear view. He scans the road ahead.

INT. SONNY’S SEDAN

Sonny pursues him with determination and pleasure.

INT. JACK’S CONVERTIBLE

Jack eyes the length of grassy median ahead.

EXT. HIGHWAY

Suddenly, Jack does a quick, screeching u-turn over the wide median, dipping down into the trough at its center, bumping up again, gaining traction on the other side, taking off in the other direction. Sonny speeds past him.

INT. SONNY’S SEDAN

Sonny’s both pissed and excited. She starts her own u-turn.

EXT. HIGHWAY

Sonny makes it across and is again in pursuit.

INT. JACK’S CONVERTIBLE

Jack checks the distant Sonny in his rear view, laughing.

INT. SONNY’S SEDAN

The angry Sonny claps on her red, rooftop light.

INT. JACK’S CONVERTIBLE

Jack sees the red light whirling in his rear view. Now he really laughs.

EXT. HIGHWAY

Sonny gains fast.

INT. JACK’S CONVERTIBLE

Jack sees this. Again he scans the road ahead.

P.O.V.

A crossroad ahead, a dirt road cutting through farm land.

EXT. HIGHWAY

With Sonny nearly at his tail, Jack makes a quick right onto the dirt road.

This time Sonny’s with him.

EXT. DIRT ROAD

Sonny accelerates better out of the turn. She is on his tail now. Jack’s been run down.

But now he cuts right, off the road, over the plowed grooves of the field.

Sonny follows.

EXT. FIELD

Jack does a series of quick rights and lefts, to shake Sonny. But he doesn’t. She anticipates, and on his next cut left, she cuts in front of him.

Jack brakes before he hits.

EXT. SONNY’S SEDAN

Sonny’s out of the car in a heartbeat, charging around the sedan to

EXT. JACK’S CONVERTIBLE

Sonny whips open the door.

SONNY

Reckless asshole. You want to play with me?

Jack is laughing. He tries to get out, but Sonny pulls him up by the shirt instead, slams him against the car.

She glares at him, furious.

But Jack keeps laughing.

She angrily tightens her grip on his shirt.

But she’s lost to his laughter. To the excitement of him.

She pulls herself with her grip to his face. Kisses him hard. Their arms wrap around in a hard, hard kiss.

INT. BAR – NIGHT

A weekend CROWD. All the pool tables active.

Jack and Ray play at a table against Kyle and his younger brother BILLY, 20’s, a community college student trying to play it straight against his own worst instincts.

They’ve all got drinks. They all smoke a lot.

RAY

The boss wants to know. That’s all.

Jack lines up a shot, a cigarette dangling from his mouth.

JACK

I’m thinking about it.

RAY

He’s thinking about it.

KYLE

He’s a thinker, that Jack. Always was. He’s what you call a deliberate man.

RAY

“Deliberate”?

KYLE

Yeah. He deliberates.

(beat)

Like on this shot.

Jack glances up at Kyle. Finally he takes his shot. Sinks it. The eight ball is left.

RAY

Sounds like a college word to me, Billy. You teach that word to your brother?

Billy shrugs.

Jack lines up his shot on the eight ball.

KYLE

Thing is, sometimes you can deliberate too much.

JACK

I made the shot.

Jack shoots on the eight ball. Misses.

Kyle moves past him to take his shot, lines it up, shoots.

KYLE

It’s the game that counts.

Kyle sinks the eight ball. He looks at Jack. Jack gives him the finger.

Ray goes to rack up the balls for another game.

Kyle edges over to Billy.

KYLE (CONT’D)

So what’s this work you’re talkin’ about?

BILLY

Nothin’. Kyle, man, I just gottta have more money. This school shit takes a lotta time. Guys around me are makin’ things happen —

KYLE

So what’s the work?

BILLY

Just some guy I know at school, lives downtown here, says he could get me some errand work.

KYLE

Errand work? What kind of errand work?

BILLY

I don’t know. With some people he knows.

KYLE

What people? What’s his name?

BILLY

Garcia.

KYLE

Garcia. What Garcia?

BILLY

Just Garcia.

KYLE

Just Garcia. Just fucking Garcia. Who are these people, Billy?

BILLY

I don’t know. Why are you pushin’ me? What the fuck’s the matter with you?

Ray and Jack listen.

KYLE

What the fuck’s the matter with me? I’ll tell you what the fuck’s the matter with me. Errands? Just Garcia? I think this guy’s with El Puño. Is this guy with El Puño, Billy?

BILLY

Maybe.

Kyle gives a mocking smirk, suddenly grabs Billy’s shirt with his forearm across Billy’s chest, pushes him against the pool table.

KYLE

Are you fucking crazy? Are you fucking crazy, Billy? What the fuck are you thinking?  You think you’re gonna be a bad ass mothafucker like them? You think you’re gonna be one of them?

Billy struggles against him. Looks around embarrassed.

BILLY

Let me go.

KYLE

Those fuckin’ Mexies think you’re shit. They’ll use your pale gringo ass and toss you on the side of the road. And then they’ll kill you.

BILLY

(softly, imploring)

Kyle, let me go.

Kyle lets up a little.

KYLE

I wouldn’t fuck with El Puño.

Kyle lets up, releases him. But he stays close.

KYLE (CONT’D)

(softer)

You need more money? I’ll get you more money.

BILLY

How? I know you don’t —

KYLE

I’ll get you more money. But you stay the fuck away from El Puño. And you stay in school. You wanna fuckin’ end up like me? You wanna end up like me, Billy?

Kyle gives Billy a serious stare. Then he walks to the nearby table to knock back his beer.

Ray walks to Billy. He stares seriously, too.

RAY

Listen to your brother.

Jack watches.

AJA

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