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Still Life - "Evidence" - Acts IV & V

Evidence, Acts I, II, & III



Act IV

Interior, Morgan parlor, Evening:

Ben and Stack are sitting together on one couch with Daisy in an arm chair and Gid and Em on a love seat/sofa opposite. Em is sitting on the arm of the couch above/next to Gid, her arm leaning on his shoulder.

Charlotte gives Gid a glass of wine, then takes her seat next to Ben. (So it’s blocked Charlotte, Ben, Stack on one side, Daisy, Gid, Em on the other.)

Charlotte: (to Gid) Glad to actually meet you.

Stack: (to the parents) Now, I never said I—

Ben: (with a good natured tone) I think we’ve got things straightened out now.

Daisy: Yeah. You’re (pointing to Gid) the boyfriend, and you’re (pointing to Stack) Stack. (Her tone and smile say that she’s having too much fun at her sister’s expense, and that she might actually consider Stack for herself.)

Em: Dinner’s almost ready, sooo . . .

Stack: (rising from his place) Yeah, you know what? I’m sorry for the mix-up. I’m gonna hit the road. Uh, it was really nice meeting everyone—

Daisy: (hopping up out of her own seat) No, stay. Have dinner with us. Right? Em?

Em cannot believe her sister is doing this. She’s really on the spot here.

Daisy: We’re not kicking Stack out.

Em: No. Of course not.

Stack: I mean, I don’t want to intrude. Only if . . .

Em: (rising from her place) I’m gonna go finish with the food.

Stack moves to follow, but Gid intervenes.

Gideon: (directed more at Stack than Em, the body language definitely says “back off”) I’ll give you a hand.

As Em and Gid head to the kitchen, Stack calls after them . . .

Stack: Say, man, if you overcook gnocchi it turns to paste. Just . . .

Ben: (holding a bottle out to Stack) Stack. Sit down. Finish your beer. (An aside to Charlotte) Gideon was twenty-five minutes late.

Stack takes Gid’s vacated seat.

Cut to:

Interior, Blondie’s apartment, Night:

She’s in her black slip, lighting candles around the room, setting the mood.

Blondie: So I ask again, are you a cop?

Max enters, taking off his satchel and putting it down.

Max: No, I’m not.

Blondie: (hand on hip, a subtle pose) Just lookin’ for a good time?

Max takes in the room, circles the coffee table toward the couch.

Blondie: You want a drink?

Max shakes his head and wordlessly declines.

Blondie: Well, I need one. Have a seat. (She pours herself a drink.)

Max takes a seat on the couch, but he remains sitting forward; he does not lean back, he does not make himself comfortable.

Blondie: (glass in hand, taking a seat next to Max) Sorry I freaked out your friend. (She smiles at him, friendly, trying to make him at ease) What’s your name? Or do you not want to do those?

Max: Max.

Blondie: I’m Darien. Where’re you from, Max? (She leans back, arm across the back of the couch, making herself comfortable.)

Max: (still leaning forward, looking at her, but sort of from the side) From here. What about you?

Darien: Originally Colorado. (She reaches over and rubs his knee.) Don’t be nervous.

Max: I’m okay.

She smooths her hand up his leg, strokes his arm, brushes a lock of hair from his face.

Darien: We can take it slow. It’s okay. (She caresses the nape of his neck and runs her fingers through the hair there.)

Max: I just want to talk.

This shuts her down a little bit. She pulls away and shrugs.

Darien: Oh. Okay. I charge extra, though, if you want me to listen.

He doesn’t quite know what to make of that.

She smiles and leans back, relaxing into a conversational mode.

Darien: What do you want to talk about? (Her smile is a little mischievous, like she’s ready to talk sex instead of actually performing it.)

Max reaches into the inside pocket of his suede jacket and pulls out a photo.

Max: A guy who used to come and see you. I was hoping you could tell me anything you remember about him. (He shows her the picture.) His name was Jake. (Insert CU of photo of Jake.)

Darien: Was?

Max: Yeah, he passed away.

Darien: I’m sorry. He was a friend of yours?

Max: Brother.

Darien takes the picture for a closer look.

Darien: I mean, I, I wish I could help you, but I never seen that guy before. (She hands the picture back.)

Max: Are you sure?

Darien: Yeah, I’d remember.

Long pause as Max tries to figure what she just told him.

Darien: You don’t believe me.

Max puts the picture back in his pocket.

Long beat (pause).

Max: Wha . . . (looking around, then back at her) Why do you do this?

That does shut her down. She gets up and heads over to her makeshift bar on an end table.

Darien: That does cost extra.

Max: How much?

Darien: (turning back to him) What, are you like some kind of rescuer? I’m up to my ass already in rescuers.

Max: (pushing himself to a stand and moving toward her) Is that what Jake was? A rescuer? Is that why he came here?

Darien: (firmly) I don’t know. I didn’t know Jake.

They look at each other for a long moment, then Max picks up his satchel.

Max: Thanks.

And he leaves.

Cut to:

Interior, Morgan kitchen, Night:

Em and Gid are in kitchen getting ready to serve. Em is very apologetic, says Stack must have misunderstood, that he just came to help her cook, that she’s gonna kill Daisy. Gid assures her that this is not a romantic dinner, just a meet the family. And the food is gorgeous, just like the chef. “You rock,” Em says.

Cut to:

Different angle, dining area with kitchen area in background. Ben is at the head of the table, with Charlotte sitting at the end opposite. From Ben’s left, the seating is Gideon, Em, Charlotte at the end, Daisy, and Stack between Daisy and Ben. Everyone is very impressed with the food as Em and Gid place it on the table and sit. “It’s unbelievable,” Stack says.

Ben: So, uh, Em, I can ask what he does, right? Just not a cop question.

Em: Go ahead.

Stack: I’m a chef.

Em: No, it was Gideon’s. That was for Gideon.

Stack nods in a sheepish, “Right. Gotcha.” Kind of way.

Em: (serving Gideon with a smile) Go ahead.

Gideon: I was a club promoter before I came out here. Bad hours, crazy life, so, now I’m in computers. Web design, mostly.

Charlotte: Oooh, we could have used you today with the campaign website.

Gideon: I’d love to help.

Ben: Careful, Gideon. You’ll end up covered with posters and buttons.

Everyone has a chuckle as they pass around the food.

Daisy: (to Mom) I have a music suggestion for the website. I heard this chorus of orphans from Timbuktu.

Em: Orphans. That’s real cheery.

Daisy: (still very confident, ignoring Em) It was beautiful.

Gideon: I went to Timbuktu when I was backpacking through Africa. It was amazing.

Daisy: Really?

Stack: I was on a cruise ship one time that was docked in Honolulu. That’s a beautiful place. I could see it from my, uh, porthole. (I should probably have made note earlier that Stack talks with his hands. His gestures emphasize his words—as with “porthole.”)

Em looks really apprehensive, like she’s totally not sure this evening is going to go well or get any better.

Ben: (chuckling) Porthole? They didn’t let you off the ship?

Stack: No, no. They did. It was just, it was football season, and they had a satellite dish, so . . .

Ben: Who’s your team?

Stack: ‘Niners. You’re not a Raiders fan, are you? (His tone holds anticipated exasperation)

Ben: Hell, no.

Stack: It breaks my heart to see Jerry Rice in those colors.

Em is watching Ben and Stack talk sports and raises her eyebrows at her father.

Ben: What?

Em’s expression is disgust and disappointment as her eyes dart to a dejected-looking Gid. Awkward silence.

Ben: Well, how about you, Gideon? You a ‘Niners fan?

Gideon: (after an embarrassed pause, with a sheepish smile) Raiders.

Stack: (as a way to make a brief exit from the awkward silence) I’m gonna get another beer. Anybody?

Gid declines with a raise of his wine glass, but Ben accepts the offer. Stack claps been on the shoulder on his way past.

Ben seems content, doesn’t realize he’s done anything wrong. Em looks disappointed and sighs inwardly.

Cut to:

Exterior, Channel Road, Night:

CU of a foot trying to kick start a bike. It’s Max, and try as he might, he can’t get the bike to start.

“C’mon,” he mutters as the creepy guy from earlier approaches, flicking away his cigarette.

Creep: (hands shoved in pockets, shoulders hunched) Smoke?

Max: No.

Creep: Nah. You got any?

Max: No, I don’t.

(Note: The Triumph label on the bike is very prominent in these shots. I’m thinking product placement, though having your placed product not start doesn’t really say much for said product. Unless it's not so much product placement as a subtle joke. Anyway . . . )

Creep: (eyeing the bike and popping a piece of gum in his mouth) So. She’s still up to her old tricks, huh?

Max gives the guy a little more of his attention, looks puzzled.

Creep: (clarifying his meaning) Your bike. Thought you would have lobbed this thing off a bridge by now.

Max: You know this bike?

Creep: (shrug) Maybe. (He looks around, then nods. He’s obviously indicating payment.)

Max reaches into his pocket and pulls out some money. The guy eagerly snatches the bill Max offers.

Creep: I remember how much trouble you had with it.

Max: (stuffing his money back in his pocket) Me?

Creep: Maybe another guy. I dunno. It was a long time ago.

Max: What did he look like?

Creep: I dunno. (shrugs) Tall dude.

Max pulls out Jake’s picture and shows it to the guy.

Max: Him?

Creep takes a close look at the pic in Max’s hand.

Creep: Yeah. Him. (He walks away.)

Max: (getting off his bike and following) Wait a second. Wait a second. Did you know him? (He puts the pic back in his pocket.)

Creep pulls out a cigarette and lights it, shakes his head.

Creep: No. Saw him around a couple times, hangin’ out, waiting. (He points to the upper floor of number 37.) Watching that window. He never got the nerve to go in and see her, though. But he was here.

Max eyes the upstairs window, watching, wondering.

Cut to:

Interior, Morgan kitchen (pretty much a reverse angle of the previous scene):

Gid and Em are clearing the table. Em assures Gid that her parents really like him. Gid’s cell rings, and he excuses himself.

Em gets the dessert out of the fridge and starts putting it together, fruit on cake drizzled with chocolate sauce.

Mom is clearing the glasses and tells Em with a smile, “Gideon’s great.”

Daisy joins them with more glasses.

Em: Yeah, he is. The Stack thing’s a disaster, though. He and Dad are bonding like old army buddies.

Daisy: I know. It’s like love at first sight. Poor Gideon. He’s getting jumped.

The phone rings, and Daisy leaves to get it.

Em: Go over there, Mom, and keep them from fraternizing. Please?

Charlotte: Honey, I can’t stop them from talking.

Em: No, but . . . you can stop them from liking each other. Dad needs to save the liking part for Gideon.

Charlotte smiles and nods, and heads back to the table. Daisy returns after the phone call.

Daisy: (a little worried) That was Maggie.

Em: Yeah? Why’d she call you?

Daisy: I don’t know but she, uh, sounded pretty upset, actually. She wanted me to come over. Is that okay? If I go?

Em: Sure. (calling after as Daisy leaves) I hope she’s okay.

Gid returns after his phone call and tells Em he has to go. “Yeah, right,” she laughs. “My family’s not that bad.”

Gid insists that he has to bail, it’s a work crisis. Em is confused and disappointed. He apologizes, kisses her on the cheek, and promises to call her. Then he bolts, leaving Em stunned, confused, disappointed, and angry.

Cut to:

Establishing shot: Exterior, Maggie’s apartment, Night.

Cut to:

Interior, Maggie’s apartment, Night:

Maggie has a glass of wine for herself and a bottle of pop for Daisy. She’s dressed comfortably in an oversized button-down (one of Jake’s?) over a spaghetti strapped t-shirt and jeans.

Maggie: Thanks for coming over. I hope I didn’t sound too insane over the phone.

Daisy: Just upset. What happened?

Maggie: (taking a drink of her wine) It was a bad day.

Daisy: Did you have a fight with Max?

Maggie: No. Yeah. But it’s not that . . . um . . . (she sets her glass down on the table.) Can I ask you something crazy?

Daisy: (setting her bottle down on the table) Any time.

Maggie: I can’t feel Jake like you can. Um . . . And I need to know . . .

Daisy: What?

Maggie: I need to know . . . if he loved me.

Daisy: (she can’t believe the question) Maggie. Of course he loved you.

Maggie: Then why would he— (Gathering herself and her thoughts) I need to know if he has anything— (she laughs at herself and throws her hands over her face) This is crazy!

Daisy: No. It isn’t.

Maggie: I guess I just need to know . . . if he’s thinking anything now.

Daisy: It doesn’t really work like that, you know? I . . . sometimes I just know he’s there, and I feel certain things, but I don’t hear him talking or anything. I’m sorry. I wish I did.

Maggie laughs softly at the foolishness of her question.

Maggie: Me, too.

Daisy: What happened that got you so upset?

Maggie: I can’t—

Daisy nods her understanding, then scoots over next to Maggie, takes her hand, and smiles warmly.

Daisy: Maggie, he loved you so much that I do feel. All the time.

Maggie offers her a smile of gratitude, and Daisy lays her head on Maggie’s shoulder. Maggie hugs Daisy’s head to her shoulder, two young women comforting each other the best they know how.

Cut to:

Interior, Morgan dining room, after dinner:

Ben and Stack are in deep conversation about cruise ships.

Ben: An old buddy worked security on cruise ships, saved all kinds of money.

Stack: Oh, yeah. It’s a great gig.

Ben: What are ya gonna spend it on?

Stack: Exactly.

Em unceremoniously places the dessert on the table between them while Char pours coffee.

Em: Dessert.

Ben: Wow. Look at that.

Charlotte: Where’s Gideon?

Em: He left. He wasn’t exactly having the time of his life being ignored. (crossed arms, walking away)

Ben: Ignored? Who ignored him? I mean, I talked to him, asked him what he did for a living.

Stack: You made that great joke about the posters and the buttons. That was funny.

Ben: Yeah.

Em: I’m gonna go find him. Apologize. (To Stack) You can do the dishes.

Ben and Stack dig into the dessert as the ladies exit the scene.

Ben: I cannot win.

Stack: I don’t think you ignored him.

Ben: Me either.

Blue wash/dissolve to:

Exterior, Channel Road, Night.

The bike is still parked outside of number 37, but Max is now a distance off, hiding behind a concrete support to a house opposite, watching.

He imagines (or does he actually see?) Jake sitting on the bike, watching the upper window. Jake turns to look at Max.

Max: Who you lookin’ for, man?

Jake turns back toward the window. The light comes on. When Max looks back at the bike, it’s just the bike. Jake is gone.

Max sneaks forward quietly and sees a man, unkempt, in a denim jacket, coming around the side of number 37. Max takes a closer position behind a post and watches the man climb the steps to the porch. The man rings the buzzer.

VOJ: There’s Eddie Marble. The only guy who knows the truth about my death.

Max watches as the door unlocks and Eddie goes in.

VOJ: And now Max is one step closer.

Max can see Darien in the upper window, blowing out a match as she lights candles, wearing the same black slip that she had on earlier.

Blue fade to BLACK.

Act V

Interior, Morgan parlor, Night:

(Note: For this scene, Max does a good job of looking his father in the eye. He knows his place, and he knows he might be in for it, but he’s more confident about holding his ground.)

Ben is clearing away beer bottles when Max comes in from the front hall.

Max: Hey.

Ben: Hey.

Max: Can I talk to you a sec?

Ben: (giving Max his attention) You in trouble, Max?

Max: (In a tone that sort of says, of course that’s the first question Dad will ask; get it out of the way) No. (Ben resumes his clean-up.) Did Jake . . . (Ben pauses, realizing this is gonna be something that requires his cop-like attention) I think Jake knew Eddie Marble.

Ben: (eyeing Max) Where you been?

Max: I saw him someplace Jake used to hang out.

Ben sets the bottles down.

Ben: (firm, combo of cop and father) Where were you, Max?

Max: Channel Road

Ben: (with a sigh) I told you not to get involved in this case.

Max: I know. It just kinda happened. I thought it was important.

Ben: And you couldn’t come to me first.

Pause. Max does not reply.

Ben: We know about it. It’s a dead end.

That takes a little of the wind out of Max’s sails. He sinks down onto the arm of the arm chair as Dad leans against the fireplace mantle.

Ben: Their paths crossed at Channel Road and some other places. Our guys talked to that woman, we got nothin’.

This gets Max’s attention.

Max: It’s not about the woman. He never went inside.

Ben: What makes you say that?

Max: There was a guy standin’ outside the apartment. Recognized our motorcycle. Said he used to see Jake there. Eddie was there for the girl. Jake must have been there for Eddie.

Ben’s expression gives nothing away, but this is definitely new information to him.

Cut to:

Interior, Front hall, Night:

Char is seeing Stack to the door.

Stack: Well, it was great meeting everybody. Please pass my thanks on to the detective.

Charlotte: Well, it was great meeting you, Stack.

Stack: (with a sigh) I shouldn’t have stayed, huh. She’s pissed at me.

Charlotte: (trying to make light of the mistake) Oh, no, I think she’s angry at her father, or Daisy, or . . . you maybe, I don’t know. I don’t know.

Stack nods in resignation. As he walks out the door, he turns to ask one more question.

Stack: You think that guy’s good enough for her?

Charlotte: I think it’s too soon to tell yet. But he seems like a pretty good guy.

Stack: Yeah, he does. Yeah. Well, good luck to them, right? Good night. (He leaves)

Charlotte: Good night.

Dissolve to:

Interior, Apartment hallway:

Em finds Gid’s apartment, and the door is ajar. She calls for Gid, but no answer.

VOJ: There’s something about my family.

Em taps on the door. “Hello?” She pushes it slowly open and steps inside.

VOJ: We mess up when it comes to love.

The room is a shambles. The place has been searched, or there’s been a fight or something. Em calls for Gid worriedly.

VOJ: We get drawn to danger.

Blue dissolve to:

Interior, Maggie’s apartment, Night:

Knocking on the door as Maggie goes to answer.

Maggie: I have neighbors! They like sleeping!

She unlocks and opens the door. It’s Max.

Maggie: You don’t give up easily, do you.

Max walks past her into the apartment. She closes the door behind him.

Maggie: Used to be I couldn’t keep you. Now I can’t get rid of you.

She picks up and drains her wine glass as she sinks onto the sofa. Max sees the two empty wine bottles and her empty wine glass by the couch and immediately starts to detour to the kitchen.

Max: I’ll make you some coffee. (His tone is no-nonsense.)

Maggie: (as she sprawls back into the cushions) I don’t want coffee. (Max stops, but he won’t look directly at her.) If I wanted coffee, I’d make it.

Max: Okay. Well, I’m not gonna stay long, I just wanted to let you know that I went and saw the woman again. Jake wasn’t seeing her. He wasn’t sleeping with her, that’s for sure.

Maggie: He scored, Max.

Max: It wasn’t that.

Maggie: What, drugs?

Max: Apparently he was, uh . . . had something goin’ with Eddie. He’d wait for him there.

Maggie perks up at this. Sits up, surprised by the information.

Maggie: Eddie Marble? Well, what was he—

Max: I don’t know. Nobody knows what. Except maybe Eddie. Maybe.

Maggie: Do you believe any of this, Max?

Max: (looking her in the eye) I believe Jake. And I believe that you were his life. And the basic difference between him and me is that he would’ve never done what I did. (He knows he screwed up, and he knows he has to live with the consequences.)

Maggie: I was so angry. I was trying to find a way of hurting him. Jake, I mean. And you. I wanted to get back at both of you.

Max: I don’t blame you. You’ve been through hell. (A small nod, a swallow, and he casts his eyes downward.)

Maggie: Just looking at you hurts.

He looks back at her briefly, then averts his eyes, doesn’t look at her. What’s he suppose to say to that?

Max: It’s been a rough couple of days.

Maggie: (looking up at him through her lashes from her seat on the couch) It’s been that way for me since we met.

He looks at her again, and she leans back.

Max: Scared me, too, you know. Us.

Pause.

Maggie: I’m so tired. She lays back and closes her eyes.

Max: C’mon. I’ll help you to bed. (He offers her his hand. The shot is a beautiful silhouette.) You’ll feel better if you sleep this off.

She takes his hand and pulls herself up, up along his body, and she’s right there, bodies close, as close as dancing, breathing him in. He won’t look at her.

Maggie: Stay.

And he is sorely tempted. He looks at her, but says nothing.

Maggie: I want you to.

He looks away, but he has not moved. He’s looking past her, avoiding her eyes while she slips her arms around him.

Max: (lips barely moving) I can’t.

She reaches up around his neck and starts nuzzling him. He could have her if he wanted.

Max: You’ve had too much to drink.

Maggie: (breathy in his ear) Please, Max.

He closes his eyes for a moment; he wants to stay. But he reaches up and gently pulls her arms off of him, pushes her away gently.

Max: Not like this.

She pulls away, tucking her hair behind her ears.

Maggie: Good night, then.

They don’t look at each other, then he watches her for a moment, but she won’t meet his eye.

Max: Good night.

He leaves.

VOJ: Max and Maggie. I can’t make them stay apart, but they should.

Maggie is left in her living room, and we hear the door close behind Max.

VOJ: Of course, we’ve all done things we shouldn’t have.

Blue dissolve to:

Exterior, 37 Channel Road, Night:

Darien is looking out her window, smoking a cigarette.

VOJ: People say you die and are forgotten. I don’t see it that way. For better or worse, we live in our evidence. We still touch people.

Blue wash dissolve to:

Reverse shot, Jake on motorcycle, watching Darien’s apartment.

VOJ: And the story of our lives keeps being written.

Fade to BLACK

End Credits

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