Sunday Matinee – Double Down (Part 3)

A Film Noir

by

A. Jay Adler

DOUBLE DOWN

Part Three

The Story So Far

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. The old friends, Kyle and Ray, propose to Jack that he help them rob his brother. Jack turns them down. Kyle warns his younger brother Billy off getting involved with the Mexican gang El Puño.

Now, Part 3: Jack encounters another old high school acquaintance, Augustus “Crank” Wilson, and plays a risky double down at black jack. Kyle offers a revelation about Crank. Jack and Sonny, at a table in the bar, begin to seal their love.

INT. BAR – BACK ROOM – LATER

A non-nondescript storeroom, cases of liquor lining the walls. A filthy window.

Two tables. At one SEVERAL MEN play poker. At another, Jack and Kyle play blackjack, the Bartender dealing. Ray and Billy look on.

AUGUSTUS “CRANK” WILSON, another old high school acquaintance of Jack, slips through the door. Tall and lean, he looks like the scion of a lost railroad fortune he is, the remnants of an almost ante-bellum breeding a tattered cloth over the degenerate hustler he’s become.

Kyle stands up.

BARTENDER

You cashing in?

Kyle takes his remaining chips.

KYLE

You’ve taken enough of my fuckin’ money.

The Bartender looks up at Crank, rises.

BARTENDER

Here. You take over. Rock and roll over here has won a lot more than this joker’s lost. I’ve gotta relieve Sal at the bar.

Jack stares at Crank as he sits.

KYLE

Jack, you remember Crank Wilson, don’t you?

CRANK

(to Jack)

Augustus. I don’t choose to be called by that name anymore.

Crank immediately begins dealing.

KYLE

Still got it between your legs though.

CRANK

You want to go in the locker room, like the old days, and see?

Jack motions for a hit. Crank hits him.

CRANK (CONT’D)

How you doing, Jack? Welcome home. Is it good to be home?

Jack waives off another hit. Crank pushes chips his way.

JACK

You run back room games now?

CRANK

I’m in banking now. I have a small interest in this place.

Jack gives the room a sideways glance.

JACK

Really.

Crank catches the glance.

CRANK

“An ill-favoured thing, but mine own.” My own little piece of Heaven, you might say.

The Bartender appears in the doorway with Sonny behind him. He looks to Crank, who looks at Kyle, who looks at Jack.

Jack turns to the door, then looks at Crank, who nods to the Bartender. Sonny enters.

SONNY

You can put your hands back in your pockets, fellas. I work homicide, not vice. I’m just here to see a friend.

CRANK

Is that Evelyn Morales? My, isn’t this cozy. You have friends here?

Sonny stands behind Jack.

SONNY

One.

JACK

Last hand.

He pushes the larger portion of his chips over as his bet. Crank eyes the chips.

Crank deals the cards. Jack has a Jack up, Crank a King. Jack peeks at his down card. He considers calmly for a moment.

Jack turns up his down card. Another Jack. He splits them.

JACK (CONT’D)

Double down.

Everyone looks amazed. The barest twinkle in Crank’s eye.

Crank deals a four to one Jack, a three to the other. Jack has no choice but to hit again.

The first Jack gets an eight, the second a ten. Jack loses it all.

Low groans from the others.

KYLE

(low, to Ray)

What a fuckin’ asshole.

Jack rises easily, without reaction.

CRANK

I’ll trust you for what you owe, Jack. I’m a trusting man.

Jack heads out of the room with Sonny.

INT. BAR

Jack and Sonny head for a table at the back of the bar, near the jukebox. On the way, Kyle catches up to them and pulls Jack aside.

KYLE

Listen, Jack —

Kyle looks at Sonny.

JACK

(to Sonny)

I’ll be right with you.

Sonny moves on to the table.

KYLE

I don’t mean to rub it in or anything, but you just lost a load. I wanna let you know that the offer is still open — in case you’re suddenly feeling in need of money. You just met our inside source.

Jack looks at Kyle a moment. He turns and heads over to the table, sits beside Sonny.

SONNY

What was that about?

JACK

He thought I might be in need of some work.

SONNY

You didn’t seem to have much to say to him.

JACK

It’s not the kind of work I’m interested in.

Sonny thinks about this. The bar’s one WAITRESS delivers two bourbons.

SONNY

I’m glad. I don’t like him.

JACK

I know.

SONNY

I don’t like you with him. I thought these guys weren’t your new friends. They weren’t your old ones.

JACK

We hung around some times. And I might need that job with Ray.

SONNY

But you don’t want it.

Jack shakes his head.

SONNY (CONT’D)

Any idea what you do want?

Jack shakes his head again.

JACK

I’m in “transition.”

SONNY

“Transition?”

JACK

(grins)

Uh,huh.

SONNY

(carefully)

What about your brother? He could get you some good work — work with your background you could learn fast.

Jack looks straight at her. He shakes his head very deliberately.

SONNY (CONT’D)

What’s the story with you and Joseph? Aren’t identical twins supposed to be incredibly close?

JACK

Yeah, well, every now and then, it goes the other way.

Sonny waits for more

JACK (CONT’D)

It’s complicated. Maybe we were too close. Maybe the one thing we were was the one thing we didn’t want to be.

SONNY

Identical.

JACK

Look, I don’t want you to think I’m like them.

Jack gestures toward Kyle and Ray at the bar.

SONNY

I know you’re not.

JACK

I know I need a job

He gives Sonny a look.

JACK (CONT’D)

Maybe now even more. A man needs a job.

SONNY

A woman, too.

JACK

(smiles)

You know what I mean.

SONNY

I know what you mean.

JACK

I guess what I’m saying is, stick with me.

SONNY

I never thought of doing anything else.

INT. BAR – LATER

Jack and Sonny still at the table, a lot of drinks later. Jack calls to the passing Waitress.

JACK

Two shots of tequila.

SONNY

Whoa. You really want to put me on my ass.

JACK

You reach your limit?

SONNY

Not till you reach yours.

JACK

Competitive.

SONNY

Like you.

Sonny gestures toward the back room.

SONNY (CONT’D)

Back in there. I don’t play blackjack, so I don’t know. But was splitting the Jacks a smart move? Everybody seemed to think you played the hand wrong.

Jack is untroubled.

JACK

They’d have thought different if I’d won, wouldn’t they?

Sonny takes this in, takes Jack in.

SONNY

Are you a gambler, Jack?

Jack smiles.

SONNY (CONT’D)

You want to gamble and win?

JACK

Sure.

Sonny knocks back the last of her drink. The Waitress puts the two shots of tequila on the table.

SONNY

Me, too. I think I want to gamble on you. You want to gamble on me?

Jack looks at her. He puts a shot glass in her hand, picks up the other in his. He circles their arms around each other.

They knock back the shots to seal it.

The shot and the place they just reached put Sonny over the edge. She throws her head back and rises suddenly, moved by the beat of a slow, sexy R&B SONG on the JUKE.

Sonny begins to dance. Moves Jack has never seen — except maybe in bed.

Sonny reaches out for Jack to join her, but he shakes his head.

He sits back to watch.

So Sonny dances alone. An intense, seductive dance just for Jack.

Head by head, almost everyone in the bar turns to watch.

Sonny may be a “Sonny,” but she’s no man, and what she delivers in the dance is all she’s had waiting for the right man. Jack is completely seduced.

Sonny dances over to him and this time pulls him up to join her. They dance together, Sonny leads the way with her body close to his.

The whole bar watches.

But the two are oblivious, virtually making love in slow grinding dance moves.

Finally, as the song reaches a climactic end, Sonny edges Jack back into a chair

— sits astride him

— begins to kiss him.

Their descent into love and desire is now so total, their passionate necking literally does become love making

— and the fascinated onlookers actually look away.

AJA

——

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