Love Bites

An aging playboy meets his match when he falls hard for a strong, beautiful woman. But when he gives in to his old ways, he finds himself going from a relationship that would have lasted forever to being on the menu.


This screenplay is currently a work in progress being written LIVE on Twitch. Follow me on Twitter to stay up-to-date as the project develops.

Read the original rough draft/treatment here.


FADE IN:

EXT. COFFEE HOUSE -- NIGHT

It’s open mic night. A handful of local PERFORMERS hunch over notebooks and instruments, rehearsing lines and fine-tuning. Several COMICS are sharing a smoke by the wayside, their meerkating gives away this ain’t a nicotine fix. The show’s MC, ANTHONY, a rail-thin, “I wear my sunglasses at night”-type in a man-bun, stands by the door. Everyone else is curious about what’s happening inside...

INT. COFFEE HOUSE – NIGHT

CARLOS, an aging pretty boy, serenades an intimate crowd from atop a make-shift stage. His smoldering gaze passes over everyone as he works the room.

PERFORMERS

Uninterested, waiting their turn.

ANTHONY

Flirts with a hustling BARISTA in passing.

And then, Carlos seizes on--

A PRETTY GIRL

Against a distant wall, too young and in love to know any better, giving Carlos puppy-dog eyes.

Carlos looks her over and approves.

They share a moment.

EXT. UPSCALE COMMUNITY – NIGHT

An upscale community full of gorgeous luxury condominiums and town homes.

INT. CONDO -- NIGHT

Carlos and the Pretty Girl, fused at the lips and hips, just barely manage to stumble in without tripping over themselves. He pulls away only to lock the door behind them and to turn on the lights. As she comes up for air, she’s not-entirely taken away by what she sees.

PRETTY GIRL

Huh.

REVEAL: a small, dark place. The view is nothing to die for, the decor is luxurious yet spartan in a way that says, “I’m never home.”

Carlos is running with the assumption she’s impressed. She’s not.

CARLOS

(chuckling)

I know, right?

PRETTY GIRL

So, this is all yours?

Carlos pours them drinks.

CARLOS

I mean, do any of us really own anything?

She’s totally lost in the unrestrained display of wealth surrounding her. Carlos joins her.

PRETTY GIRL

It’s all so...

CARLOS

Ostentatious?

PRETTY GIRL

What?

CARLOS

Nothing. Drink?

He holds up a GLASS of some sort of liquor. She looks to the glass, and then back to Carlos.

PRETTY GIRL

(shrugging)

Meh, why not?

She takes the glass, chugging it all down like she kinda needs it. As she belches, Carlos is confused about how he should feel about this.

CARLOS

Huh.

PRETTY GIRL

There a problem?

He puzzles this for a moment.

CARLOS

Nope. You?

PRETTY GIRL

Not anymore.

She literally throws herself on Carlos.

INT. CONDO/BEDROOM – LATER

Carlos and the Pretty Girl are in bed. He is mounted behind her. He hears, as we do:

The front door OPENS, as a MATURE WOMAN calls out in a motherly tone.

MATURE WOMAN (O.S.)

Carlos-Baby, are you home?

Carlos seizes up.

CARLOS

[startled yelp]

PRETTY GIRL

Oh, my god. Is that your mother?

MATURE WOMAN (O.S.)

(controlled rage)

His what now?

REVEAL: the MATURE WOMAN in the doorway with her luggage, dressed in an expensive three-piece suit. She’s not happy about this shit.

The Girl has no idea what to do, think, or feel right now, so she waves at the Mature Woman.

PRETTY GIRL

(to Mature Woman)

Hi, Mrs...

(to Carlos)

Wait. What was your name again?

Carlos tries to play it cool.

CARLOS

(to Mature Woman)

Hey, Baby. I thought you weren’t gonna be back till Sunday.

The Mature Woman closes her eyes, centering herself with a deep breath. And then:

EXT. CONDO – NIGHT

POP-POP-POP, the sound of GUNFIRE inside the apartment. The DOOR bursts open. Carlos bursts out like a naked bat out of hell, underwear in one hand and shoes in the other.

The Mature Woman follows, unnervingly calm, her GUN aimed on Carlos. She considers pulling the trigger.

MATURE WOMAN

Nope.

She reluctantly lower her weapon.

MATURE WOMAN (CONT’D)

Not worth it.

PRETTY GIRL (O.S.)

Um, excuse me?

MATURE WOMAN

Ugh. What?

REVEAL: the Pretty Girl in the doorway, a concerned but tasty little treat in nothing but Carlos’ shirt.

PRETTY GIRL

You’re not going to hurt me, are you?

The Mature Woman looks her over and smiles. Momma likes.

MATURE WOMAN

Depends.

PRETTY GIRL

On what?

MATURE WOMAN

Ya eighteen yet?

The Pretty Girl smiles and nods.

EXT. SKETCHY NEIGHBORHOOD – NIGHT

Carlos walks through a sketchy neighborhood in only his underwear and shoes. Everyone seems him, but nobody cares.

PRE-LAP: KNOCKING on someone’s door.

INT. VICKY’S APARTMENT -- NIGHT

A woman stumbles and swears through a dark, cluttered apartment. She’s tired, annoyed, and too old for this shit. This is VICKY, Carlos’ older sister. A baby CRIES from somewhere in it all...

KNOCK-KNOCK-KNOCK, more rude knocking at Vicky’s door.

Vicky opens the FRONT DOOR, more annoyed than surprised by who she sees.

REVEAL: Carlos, in his underwear, standing in the doorway. He’s rather nonplussed about the whole thing, as if this were routine. Ditto for Vicky.

CARLOS

Hey.

VICKY

Hey.

An uncomfortable silence.

BECCA (O.C.)

Hi, Carlos.

REVEAL: BECCA, Vicky’s wife, holding a crying BABY. She turns on whatever lights she can find.

CARLOS

Hi, Becca.

INT. VICKY’S APARTMENT/KITCHEN – MOMENTS LATER

Carlos and Vicky sit at the kitchen table in mutual silence, as Becca emerges from the bedroom, voice full of sleep.

BECCA

A’ight. Baby’s finally asleep. I’m gonna try to do the same.

Becca gives Vicky a quick kiss goodnight.

VICKY

Hey, what time is it?

BECCA

You don’t want to know.

VICKY

Ugh.

BECCA

Yeah. I know.

(to Carlos)

Goodnight, Carlos.

CARLOS

G’night.

Becca heads for bed.

VICKY

So, what was it this time? Some poor sonnuvabitch come home to find you bangin’ his wife?

CARLOS

What? No.

Vicky shoots him a look. She ain’t buying it.

CARLOS

I mean, not this time. Look, it was a whole thing. Okay?

VICKY

Does it always have to be a “thing,” though?

CARLOS

What can I say, Vicky? I live a life of excitement, adventure, and occasionally women who make full use of their right to bear arms.

VICKY

Occasionally?

CARLOS

Jesus, fine. “Frequently.”

(pouting)

When did you get as bad as Mom?

VICKY

Ouch.

CARLOS

I’m sorry. It’s been a bit of a rough night.

VICKY

Look, far be it from me to tell someone how to live their life. But don’t you ever stop to think that maybe one of these days you won’t get away so easily?

CARLOS

Never crosses my mind.

VICKY

Obviously. So, what’s next?

CARLOS

Well, seeing as I don’t really have a place to stay...

VICKY

Goddammit.

CARLOS

Also, there’s the possibility that everything I own that isn’t in my storage unit is being incinerated as we speak.

VICKY

Wait, seriously?

CARLOS

Maybe?

CUTAWAY: EXT. CARLOS’ STORAGE UNIT – NIGHT

Mature Woman and Pretty Girl watch everything inside BURN.

PRETTY GIRL

Hey, isn’t this kinda illegal?

MATURE WOMAN

Yup. Little bit.

A pregnant pause.

PRETTY GIRL

Huh.

BACK TO SCENE

Vicky shakes her head in disbelief.

CARLOS

Come to think of it, she paid for the storage unit too.

VICKY

Carlos...

CARLOS

Look, I’m pretty sure she’d never do something that.

VICKY

How sure?

CARLOS

Relatively?

Vicky sighs.

VICKY

Okay. Look. I’ve got a friend who manages a bar not far from here. He always needs someone to help out during the week. Do you have any experience bartending?

Carlos puzzles this.

CARLOS

Yes?

VICKY

Utterly. Helpless.

CARLOS

Hey, I think I can handle pouring a few beers.

VICKY

Yeah, well, do you think you can handle not sticking your dick in crazy?

CARLOS

For how long?

VICKY

Ugh. Whatever.

She gets up to leave.

VICKY (CONT’D)

Look, I’ve got to try and get some sleep before I have to wake up in--

(glancing at the clock)

--forty-five minutes. Goddammit.

CARLOS

Sorry. Again.

VICKY

Yup. Me too. Do me a favor?

CARLOS

What?

VICKY

Don’t fuck this up while you’re still sleeping on my couch, okay?

CARLOS

What kind of asshole do you take me for?

A pregnant pause.

VICKY

Goodnight.

Vicky heads for bed, Carlos watches.

Silence. And then:

CARLOS

(sighing)

Goddammit.

CHUCK (PRE-LAP)

What is it now?

INT. BAR – NIGHT

A mostly-empty local dive. The PATRONS are handful of lingering day-drinkers and those who cut out of work early. The owner, CHUCK STEAK, a salty old timer, tidies up behind the bar while trying to not strangle:

Carlos bursts out of the MEN’S ROOM, wearing an apron, gloves, and goggles. He’s visibly shaken, clutching his mop like a security blanket

CARLOS

Have you seen the things some of these guys do to those stalls?

CHUCK

Yup. That’s why I agreed to hire you.

CARLOS

Yeah. Hey. Thank you for that, by the way. Seriously. Cuz, ya know, I don’t mean to sound ungrateful--

CHUCK

HA!

Carlos stares daggers at Chuck. Chuck stares right back.

CARLOS

--when I say that I figured working at a bar would a little more, I dunno, glamorous? You know, like that Tom Cruise movie.

CHUCK

Cocktail?

CARLOS

What? No. Jesus, Chuck. Does this look like a bar in Jamaica?

CHUCK

No?

CARLOS

Exactly. And the closest thing I’ve seen to flairtending so far is--

(to Tom O.S.)

--Tom trying to juggle three beers as he vomits all over the goddamn floor in the goddamn Men’s room!

TOM (O.S.)

Sorry, Carlos!

CARLOS

(to Tom O.S.)

Fuck you, Tom! If you were really sorry, you’d either learn to handle your liquor or improve that aim of yours!

CHUCK

Look. I appreciate an employee willing to clean up Tom’s ungodly messes--really, I do. But running a bar ain’t like it’s made out to be in movies and TV.

CARLOS

Obviously.

A pregnant pause.

CARLOS

Sorry. You were saying?

CHUCK

Sometimes you get to know a few of the regulars, maybe even make a few friends. But most of the time you’ll just wish you didn’t have to associate with sad, miserable sacks of shit like Tom over there.

TOM (O.S.)

Hey!

CHUCK

(to Tom O.S.)

Sorry, Tom. But it’s true, and you know.

TOM (O.S.)

Yeah...

CHUCK

My point is this: I’ve owned this place for thirty years. And I can tell you, without a shadow of a doubt, that there’s zero glamor here. No crazy tricks. And not once has some alluring women suddenly appeared to steal mine, yours, or anybody else’s heart.

ALLURING VOICE (O.S.)

Excuse me?

REVEAL: An alluring woman waits at the bar, mildly annoyed and an effortless eleven-out-of-ten. This is CASSANDRA, a woman of indeterminate age or origin. Tom is gobsmacked. Carlos is in love.

CHUCK

What. The. Shit.

CASSANDRA

I’m sorry?

Carlos snaps out of it.

CARLOS

Huh? Oh, no. We’re the one’s who should be sorry.

CASSANDRA

Is he okay?

CARLOS

Who? Oh, Chuck?

REVEAL: Chuck is now catatonic.

CARLOS

Well, he’s either in another diabetic coma--

CASSANDRA

Oh, my god. That’s awful.

CARLOS

(heartfelt)

Yeah, it’s pretty bad sometimes.

(moving on)

But it’s either that, or this sort of thing really has never happened to him before.

CASSANDRA

What sort of thing?

CARLOS

(making it up as he goes)

A stunning woman of mysterious origin suddenly speak to him?

She smirks.

CASSANDRA

Cute.

CARLOS

Thank you. So how can I help you, Miss...?

CASSANDRA

Cassandra.

He holds out a filthy, glove-covered hand.

CARLOS

I’m Carlos.

Cassandra reaches out to shake it, thinks better of it.

CASSANDRA

I’ll take your word for it.

CARLOS

What?

CASSANDRA

Nothing. Look, I’ve been waiting for someone to take my order for about twenty minutes now. When can I expect to get any service?

CARLOS

Again, sorry about that. But if you give me two minutes to clean up, I’ll be right over to, uh, service you.

Cassandra looks him over and approves.

CASSANDRA

I certainly hope you will, Carlos.

She sashays away, happy with herself.

CARLOS

Wow.

(to Chuck)

Hey, now she must’ve been worth waiting thirty years for. Am I right, Chuck?

(a beat)

Chuck?

REVEAL: Carlos is all alone at the bar.

CARLOS

What the hell?

He looks all around, then DOWN at

REVEAL: Chuck on the floor, unconscious and foaming at the mouth.

CARLOS

Oh, shit. Maybe it really was a diabetic coma.

(a beat)

Chuck? You okay there, buddy?

Chuck twitches and gurgles.

VICKY (PRE-LAP)

Bullshit.

INT. VICKY’S APARTMENT/KITCHEN -- NIGHT

Vicky, Becca, and the Baby eat dinner at the kitchen table, listening to Carlos’ day at work.

CARLOS

Okay, so Chuck wasn’t really in a diabetic coma. But his blood sugar was totally out of whack.

VICKY

He really needs to take better care of himself.

CARLOS

Right?

BECCA

Well, it sounds like you and this Cassandra really hit it off. I’m happy for you, Carlos.

CARLOS

Thank you, Becca. At least someone is.

VICKY

Seriously? Did everyone suddenly forget that Carlos’ last fling resulted in attempted murder and arson?

CARLOS

Oh, like you’re so perfect.

BECCA

Right?

VICKY

Hey!

BECCA

Just sayin’.

VICKY

Yeah, okay. So, I’m not perfect. But I’m also not the one who leaves chaos and destruction behind in the wake of his dick.

BECCA

(shrugging)

Meh.

VICKY

Okay, there was that one time.

CARLOS

Was that the affair with your manager at Wendy’s? Cuz that was pretty gross.

VICKY

Ugh. Yes.

BECCA

What did everyone used to call him?

CARLOS

“Baconator.”

VICKY

(sighing)

No. That’s what he used to call his penis...

CARLOS & BECCA

Ew.

VICKY

Yeah, I know. It wasn’t my finest moment. But I straightened myself out after that, didn’t I?

CARLOS & BECCA

(not believing a word they say)

Yeah. Sure. I guess.

VICKY

Screw you guys.

BECCA

Maybe a strong woman is exactly what Carlos needs to straighten him out a bit. It did you a world of good, after all.

VICKY

Yeah. No, you’re right. I just don’t want anymore trouble for a while, ya know?

CARLOS

Oh, come on. Cassandra is just some mysterious, attractive older woman that I know almost nothing about. What’s the worst that can possibly happen?

INT. BAR – NIGHT

Cassandra nurses a drink at the bar, looking like a gorgeous million bucks as she does so. Carlos stands across from her, not doing his job.

CASSANDRA

Well, I suppose my husband could find out.

CARLOS

Wait, what?

CASSANDRA

Oh, I don’t think he’d mind much.

CARLOS

I mean, it’s great that you two can make that sort of arrangement work. But I’m not exactly into the whole “cuckold” thing.

Cassandra cocks an eyebrow at this. She ain’t buying it.

CARLOS

Ugh. Fine. I meant, “I’m not into the whole ‘cuckold’ thing anymore.”

(ashamed)

Not, uh...not after last time.

FLASHBACK: EXT. BEDROOM – NIGHT

A candlelit bedroom. Rose petals strewn about. Carlos and Anthony stand naked at the foot of the bed, not entirely comfortable with it.

CARLOS

Ya know, I’m starting to have second thoughts about this whole “cuckold” thing.

Anthony nods in agreement.

A gun COCKS O.S.

VOICE (O.S.)

I’m sorry. What was that?

REVEAL: ANTHONY’S GIRLFRIEND naked on a chair, GUN trained on Carlos and Anthony.

ANTHONY’S GIRLFRIEND

Silly me. I didn’t hear you over the sound of my gun.

BACK TO SCENE

Carlos stands silent behind he bar with a thousand-yard stare. Cassandra looks on with mild concern and general confusion.

CASSANDRA

Uh, Carlos?

Carlos snaps out of his daze.

CARLOS

Sorry. What were we talking about?

CASSANDRA

My husband.

CARLOS

Oh, right. Yeah. Sorry, no can do. Way too many bad memories.

CASSANDRA

Well if helps matters any, my husband’s dead.

CARLOS

What?

CASSANDRA

Yes, he’s been gone for quite some time now.

CARLOS

But you said--

CASSANDRA

That he wouldn’t mind. Because he’s--

CARLOS

Because he’s dead. Yeah, I get it now.

CASSANDRA

Wonderful. I suppose that leaves one last question, then.

CARLOS

What’s that?

She smiles, a cat with the mouse in her claws.

CASSANDRA

What time are you hoping to get off tonight?

EXT. WATERFRONT RESTAURANT – NIGHT

An upscale restaurant, the sort with an unwritten dress code and no prices on the menu. The parking lot is empty save for a single stretch limo.

INT. WATERFRONT RESTAURANT – NIGHT

Carlos and Cassandra look out over the water, chatting over drinks and half-finished entrees. She is looking lovely. He is still dressed in his work clothes.

CASSANDRA

Beautiful view, isn’t it?

CARLOS

Yeah.

(turning to Cassandra)

The scenery is pretty nice too.

She smiles, raising her glass to Carlos.

CASSANDRA

Nice line. A little cheesy, but smooth.

He raises his glass in return.

Their WAITRESS, a mousy, adorable thing, approaches the table.

WAITRESS

Can I get you two anything else?

CASSANDRA

No, thank you.

Carlos shakes his head, “No.”

The Waitress leaves, as Carlos casually eyes her perky little backside. He doesn’t think Cassandra notices, but she does.

CASSANDRA

My husband was a frighteningly jealous man, always so quick to tear out the throats of any man he so much as suspected had caught my eye.

CARLOS

Sorry.

CASSANDRA

Don’t be. We’re all creatures of habit.

CARLOS

Still. That was rude of me.

CASSANDRA

Who am I to judge? I wasn’t much different before I met my husband. I loved the attention and temporary affection I received from others. I lived for it. But then he came into my life, promising to make all my hopes and dreams come true if I promised to love only him.

CARLOS

Did he keep his promise?

CASSANDRA

He did.

CARLOS

And you?

CASSANDRA

In the many years we were married, I never gave my husband reason to doubt my love or my loyalty to him. But his... insecurities often got the better of him.

CARLOS

Look. Cassandra...

CASSANDRA

Yes?

CARLOS

I think you’re smart, elegant, and absolutely stunning.

CASSANDRA

Thank you.

CARLOS

You’re very welcome. Also, I think it’s incredibly impressive that you rented out this whole place out just for us.

REVEAL: The restaurant is entirely EMPTY except for them and the RESTAURANT STAFF.

CASSANDRA

What can I say? I am a woman who enjoys her privacy.

CARLOS

I bet. But, full disclosure? My last girlfriend tried to kill me and burned everything I owned after she walked in on me sleeping with another woman.

CASSANDRA

Huh.

CARLOS

Yeah... I figured you should know that before you place too much trust in me.

An uncomfortable silence.

CASSANDRA

Excuse me for a moment, won’t you?

CARLOS

Yeah. Yes, of course. Please.

Cassandra hurries off, leaving a confused but not entirely surprised Carlos alone with himself and the view.

CARLOS

(to himself)

Well, what do you know? It really is a beautiful view.

A beat.

The Waitress returns.

WAITRESS

Excuse me, Sir?

CARLOS

Yeah?

WAITRESS

This is for you.

She hands a LETTER to Carlos.

CARLOS

Aw, shit. She left, didn’t she?

The Waitress shrugs, and then leaves.

CARLOS

I knew this was too good to be true.

Carlos reads the letter.

REVEAL: the letter reads, “WASHROOM. NOW.”

CARLOS

Wait. What?

INT. RESTAURANT/WASHROOM – NIGHT

Carlos enters, knocking on the door as he does so. He’s seemingly all alone.

CARLOS

Cassandra? You in here?

CASSANDRA (O.S.)

It must’ve been hard for you to open up to me to like that, Carlos. Thank you.

CARLOS

You’re welcome?

Cassandra steps out of a STALL in only the sexiest undergarments imaginable.

CASSANDRA

Trust is a fragile thing. It has to be earned, maintained.

Carlos’ jaw hits the floor, tongue practically hanging out.

CARLOS

[garbled nonsense]

CASSANDRA

Surprised?

CARLOS

(nodding)

Uh-huh.

She closes the gap between them, slow and easy.

CASSANDRA

I’m not some insecure little girl, Carlos. I’m a grown-ass woman.

CARLOS

I can see that.

CASSANDRA

Do you? Good.

CARLOS

Cassandra, wait. I can’t make you any promises.

CASSANDRA

Did I ask you to?

CARLOS

No, but--

CASSANDRA

So shut up, then. I can take care of myself.

(a beat)

Well, mostly.

She GRABS Carlos, pulling him close. Very close.

CASSANDRA

I’m a creature of habit too, ya know. And ever since my husband passed away, I’ve had an old itch in dire need of scratching. Do you think you can help me out with that?

CARLOS

We are talking about sex, right?

She wraps herself around him.

CASSANDRA

Yup. Besides, it’s not like I’m offering you the world. Not yet.

She kisses him. He melts in her arms.

And then...

CARLOS

Wait. Wait.

CASSANDRA

What?

CARLOS

It’s just--aren’t you afraid someone might walk in?

CASSANDRA

Nope.

She kisses him again, gyrating and rubbing her body against him, BITING his neck, and pushing him down to the floor. He loves every bit of it.

RAPID-FIRE MONTAGE: THE WHIRLWIND AFFAIR

Shots of Carlos and Cassandra dating and eagerly sexing it up at museums, nightclubs, hospitals. In a dressing room, a movie theater, a porta potty. We end with Carlos and Cassandra in a MAUSOLEUM at a cemetery, sweaty and clothes askew, as the night SECURITY GUARD walks in and blinds them with his FLASHLIGHT. Carlos squints. Cassandra hisses.

CARLOS

Hey, do you mind?

The Guard looks them over and approves. He likes.

CARLOS

Oh, for fuck’s sake.

Carlos throws everything in reach at the Guard, punctuating himself with every shoe, belt, and bra.

CARLOS

We! Are trying! To grieve! Over here!

Carlos throws everything in reach at the Guard, punctuating himself with every shoe, belt, and bra. The Guard leaves, annoyed and confused.

CARLOS

We! Are trying! To grieve!

EXT. FARMER’S MARKET -- DAY

A flea market with food. Vicky pushes Baby in a stroller as Carlos walks beside them, playing with his way too cool GUITAR.

CARLOS

Oh, yeah. And then there was that time in the guitar shop when the manager caught us coming out of the restroom together. That’s where Cassandra got me this.

VICKY

How...sweet?

CARLOS

Right? I’ve never been with anyone who supported my music the way Cassandra does. Did I tell you she’s going to introduce me to a producer friend of hers?

VICKY

Seriously?

CARLOS

Yeah. She thinks I might have a real shot at making something of myself.

VICKY

Well, it definitely sounds like I was wrong about you guys. You two really do love each other.

CARLOS

Yeah, she’s pretty--wait, what?

VICKY

Don’t tell me you haven’t told her you love her yet.

QUICK FLASHBACKS:

1) Carlos tells Cassandra he loves her as she gifts him his new guitar.

2) Carlos tells Cassandra he loves her as they have sex in a porta potty.

3) Carlos tells Cassandra he loves her as they share a joint and eat a box of fancy donuts.

BACK TO SCENE

CARLOS

I mean, it might have slipped out once or twice.

VICKY

I don’t understand why you’re getting so hung up on it.

CARLOS

I’m not?

VICKY

Were you asking me, or yourself?

CARLOS

Shut up.

VICKY

Look. You have a great thing going right now. Don’t screw it up by pretending you this is only about sex to you.

CARLOS

I mean, she did get me this sweet guitar.

VICKY

That’s what people do when they love each other, Carlos. They do shit for them. Buy them gifts. Support their stupid, dead-end dreams.

CARLOS

And go to organized garage sales to buy overpriced produce together?

VICKY

Ugh. Yes.

BECCA (O.S.)

Hey, look at all the cool shit I got!

VICKY

Oh, goddammit.

REVEAL: Becca, in a BOOTLEG screen-printed tee, arms filled with ugly, handcrafted SOAPS, mangled DREAMCATCHERS, and some suspect-looking PRODUCE.

BECCA

I got us all dreamcatchers! Aren’t they cool?

CARLOS

Super cool.

BECCA

Can you hold my stuff for a sec? I wanna get this kick-ass wicker buffalo head before someone else snatches it up.

VICKY

Ugh. Fine. But can we--

Becca dumps everything in Vicky’s arms and runs off.

BECCA

Thank you! Love you! Bye!

VICKY

(half-heartedly)

Yeah, love you too.

Silence. And then, Carlos chuckles to himself.

CARLOS

The things we do for love, huh?

VICKY

Shut up.

TO BE CONTINUED...

A Better Man

When David Zaragoza, a recovering alcoholic, fails to convince those he hurt in his past life that his attempts to become a better man are sincere, he finds himself at the mercy of both his personal demons and a strange woman with an even stranger scar.


This screenplay is currently a work in progress. The version below is the complete first draft. Follow me on Twitter to stay up-to-date as the project develops.

Read the original rough draft/treatment of here.


Fight the Dawn is (currently) an unofficial series of short films written live on Twitch. If you would like to help bring this screenplay to life, please consider becoming a patron.


FADE IN

NOTE: The opening sequence set at location “HOUSE” is initially presented in the style of a 1950s, three-camera sitcom--black and white, “stage” acting, canned laughter.

EXT. HOUSE – DAY

A beautiful little house with a white picket fence in a beautiful little suburb. The lawn is pristine. The rose bushes lining the property award-winning. It’s all like something out of “Leave it to Beaver.”

INT. HOUSE/LIVING ROOM – DAY

The inside is as immaculate as the exterior. The decor simple, warm and inviting. It’s as if it were designed with a TV audience in mind.

A man dressed in a tailored three-piece suit and fedora enters. This is DAVID ZARAGOZA, man of the house.

DAVID

Honey, I’m home!

CHERYL, David’s wife, appears from the kitchen. She looks like Mrs. June Cleaver in her lovely little house dress with apron combo. She’s the sweetest little house wife ever. Almost too perfect to be real.

CHERYL

Welcome home, Dear!

She greets him with an embrace and a kiss. And then, she pulls away. She’s just realized something.

CHERYL (CONT’D)

Oh, but you’re so early! Did something happen at the office?

David laughs playfully at this.

DAVID

No, I just missed you is all.

She smiles and kisses him a second time. This is the sweetest thing she’s ever heard.

CHERYL

Oh, David, I’ve missed you too.

DAVID

(sniffing at the air)

Something smells wonderful.

CHERYL

That would be dinner.

(pouting)

But it won’t be ready for at least another hour. I’m sorry, Dear.

He rubs and pats his own belly.

DAVID

I’m sure I can manage the wait.

Cheryl smiles at this.

CHERYL

You must be exhausted. Let’s get you nice and comfortable.

She helps David get comfortable. She takes his hat, coat, and briefcase before guiding him to his favorite chair. David pretends to not find any of this appealing.

CHERYL (CONT’D)

Now, you wait right there.

She quickly disappears into the kitchen only to reappear just as quickly. She now has a beer in one hand and a newspaper in the other.

David takes these without thinking.

DAVID

Thank you, Honey.

NOTE: For the remaining duration of the sequence, things take on the style of American horror movies of the 1930s.

And then...

David trembles at the mere sight of the beer in his hand. His breath shortens. He sweats bullets. He’s terrified of the beer can in his hand, but he has no earthly idea why.

Cheryl is nowhere near as concerned as David.

CHERYL

David? David-dear, are you all right?

David doesn’t hear this. He’s a million miles away right now.

CHERYL

I didn’t buy the wrong brand again, did I?

And then, he snaps out of his daze.

DAVID

No. No, I, uh...just--

He stops, looks at Cheryl, sees the disappointment in her eyes, and then thinks better of it.

DAVID (CONT’D)

It’s perfect, Honey. Thank you.

She relaxes and smiles.

CHERYL

Oh, thank goodness.

She kisses him once more.

CHERYL

Now, you relax and enjoy yourself. I’ll be right back. I’ve got to run to the neighbors and borrow a few things.

She turns to leave.

DAVID

Cheryl?

She stops and turns to David.

CHERYL

Yes, Dear?

DAVID

I love you.

She smiles a big smile at this sweet husband of hers.

CHERYL

I love you too.

And then, she leaves.

David looks longingly at the beer.

The BEER looks back.

And then...

David opens the beer, and drinks.

A pleasant silence.

And then...

David TRANSFORMS into something inhuman. The change is painful and violent. His body twists and turns, bends and snaps its new monstrous form. His SCREAMS fill the house.

Cheryl returns. She’s clearly heard David’s screams.

CHERYL

David? Dear, is everything all right?

She reaches for her husband.

A horrifying BEAST-MAN snaps around and SNARLS and DROOLS.

Cheryl YELPS in fear. And then, she’s utterly consumed by silent, abject horror.

The Beast-Man, covered in the tattered remnants of a three-piece suit, rises to its feet. It stares at and looms over Cheryl like an angry bear or gorilla.

A silence.

CHERYL

David?

And then...

The Beast-Man strikes.

EXT. HOUSE – DAY

Cheryl’s screams echo up and down the street and all across the suburb.

INT. HOUSE/LIVING ROOM – DAY

The house is silent and dark.

Blood stains the walls, broken furniture, and everything in-between.

Cheryl’s tattered remains rest at the feet of the Beast-Man.

The Beast-Man stands victorious over his prey. He huffs and puffs through gore-clogged teeth. His claws drip with goo. Large, dead eyes stare off into the abyss.

RANDY (V.O.)

David?

INT. MEETING ROOM – DAY

A group therapy session in some small backroom. Modern Day. The really-real world.

THE GROUP

A collection of characters, big and small, men and women and other. They sit in an intimate circle. And all eyes are on

DAVID

No suit, hat, or jacket. Just a modern day mess of a man. He sits silently in his chair. His mind is somewhere else.

RANDY (O.S.)

Earth to David.

David snaps out of his daze. He looks up and across to

RANDY

a middle-aged hippie with a heart of gold and eyes that have seen some serious shit in his younger days.

RANDY

You still with us, amigo?

DAVID

Yeah. Yeah, sorry.

RANDY

Cool. Okay.

(beat)

Thank you for sharing with us, David. I know that couldn’t have been easy.

An uncomfortable silence.

RANDY

So, how about a break?

EXT. PARKING LOT – DAY

The Group is scattered about the lot. They talk and smoke and play on their phones.

David stands alone, holding something up to the light.

A COIN

A six-month sobriety chip. It shines in the light.

David’s not very impressed.

RANDY (O.S.)

You should be proud of yourself.

David turns to

RANDY

The old hippie stands beside David, puffing away on a vape pen. It’s as if he appeared out of thin air.

RANDY (CONT’D)

I know six months might not seem like much. But change is fuckin’ hard, man. For some of us, it’s damn near impossible. That right there...

He gestures to the COIN in David’s hand.

RANDY (CONT’D)

That’s proof you’re up to the challenge.

David laughs at this.

DAVID

Doesn’t really feel like it. I’ve hurt a lot of people, Randy.

Randy processes this.

RANDY

Yeah. Yeah, maybe you did. But you ain’t some monster. If you were, I don’t think you’d be here worrying so much about it. Those dreams of yours? That’s just all the guilt and regret and pain and doubt trying to drag you down. Don’t get me wrong--those feelings are really real. But you ain’t a monster unless you let yourself be one.

DAVID

What if other people still see me like that? The people I hurt.

RANDY

Then maybe it’s time you show them something different.

David and Randy share a moment there in the chaos of the parking lot.

DAVID

Thanks, Randy.

RANDY

No problemo, amigo. No problemo at all.

EXT. TOWN – DAY

A bustling little college town. Traveling into and through it is like a trip back in time. The main street is lined with small dress and antique and coffee shops. At the center of it all is the town square where old couples sit on benches and watch the children play.

David makes his way through this on foot. He comes to a stop at

A BAR

A small, local dive. The music and merriment and chaos pours out into the street from its always-open front doors.

DAVID

stands outside the bar’s doors. He watches as people enter and leave. The sounds of the bar call to him like a siren song.

DAVID’S HAND

nervously fidgets with the COIN.

David takes a deep breath, holds it, and then enters the bar.

INT. BAR – NIGHT

A “hipster-chic“ version of an old-town college dive joint with a luxurious speakeasy vibe.

David makes a beeline for

THE BAR

A bartender keeps himself busy with small tasks. This is MILES WARREN, and he’s not happy to see David.

MILES

Didn’t think we’d be seeing much of you anymore.

David saddles up.

DAVID

What can I say? I’m a man who defies expectations.

David sets the COIN on the bar.

MILES

The shit is this?

DAVID

Defying expectations.

Miles takes the CHIP and inspects it.

MILES

You’re on the fuckin’ wagon?

DAVID

That’s right.

Miles sets the COIN back down with authority, sliding it back across to David.

MILES

I’m happy for you, David. Really, I am. But you’ve got to leave before Cheryl catches you in here.

David returns the COIN to his pocket.

DAVID

Well, I hope she does. I wanted to talk with her too.

MILES

No. No chance.

DAVID

I’m just asking for five minutes.

MILES

That right? Cuz I sorta remember the last time you two “talked” ended with one of you needing stitches and the other dragged away in cuffs.

David winces. He doesn’t notice he’s rubbing at his own wrists at the thought of this.

DAVID

Yeah, that’s the way I remember it too.

MILES

Do you? Good. Then get to steppin’ before you’re escorted out.

(beat)

Besides, you know the rules. This place is for customers only. No loitering.

DAVID

Yeah, so gimme something.

MILES

Seriously? What about all this shit just now about defying expectations?

DAVID

I’m not askin’ for a fuckin’ beer, Miles. Okay? Just gimme something without a lot of sugar.

An uncomfortable silence.

MILES

Fuck off. I have real customers.

Miles turns to leave.

David pulls a slip of paper from his pocket and tosses it on the bar.

DAVID

Check that out.

Miles ignores this, pours several drinks, turns to David, eyes the slip of paper, and then reads it.

MILES

My name’s on here. The shit is this?

DAVID

That, my friend, is a list of everyone I have ever hurt with my drinking.

MILES

And?

DAVID

(reciting from memory)

“Step 9: Make direct amends to such people wherever possible.”

MILES

David...

DAVID

Five minutes. That’s all I’m asking for.

MILES

And if she don’t want to see you?

DAVID

Then, I’ll fuck off--peacefully, quietly. You’ll never see me here again. But if she does? Then I can at least try to do right by her.

Another silence.

Miles returns to the list to David.

MILES

One drink. Five minutes.

DAVID

Deal.

MILES

Cheryl’s on her lunch. I’ll let her know you’re here when she gets back in.

DAVID

Thanks, Miles. And I swear, you don’t have anything to worry about.

MILES

Yeah, it ain’t me I’m worried about.

Miles walks off.

David eyes the crowd and plays it cool. He watches the other patrons talk and laugh and cheer on their favorite team on the TV.

And then...

His attention seizes on the drinks in their hands, and then to the assorted bottles behind the bar.

The bottles stare right back.

David fishes the COIN from his pocket again and clutches at it like a rosary.

EXT. BAR/PATIO – NIGHT

A CROWD OF BAR PATRONS gather and huddle close, drawn to the warmth of the deck torches. Cigarettes in one hand, drinks in the other. The flames dance and flicker on the stainless steel, washing everything in a soft glow.

TARZAN, an alpha male-type dressed in khakis and a polo shirt two sizes too small, approaches JANE, a pretty young thing.

Tarzan not so good with words. Tarzan let muscles speak for him.

Jane likes what Tarzan’s muscles have to say. She feels the veiny masses that are Tarzan’s arms and laughs in that way young ladies are want to do when they’re trying to flatter young men.

DAVID

watches this from a distant table as he nurses a can of Red Bull. His attention split between Tarzan, Jane, and the bar’s PATIO DOOR.

And then...

Jane YELPS.

Tarzan stands there with his meaty paw wrapped around Jane’s willowy arm. Jane desperately tries to free herself. And everyone but David seems to be doing their damnedest to ignore this.

JANE

Step-off, will ya? Jesus, just step the fuck off!

TARZAN

Cut the bullshit. Flaunting your tits like that, feeling up my guns the way you are? There’s no need to be such a fucking tease.

CHERYL (O.S.)

Look familiar?

David turns to find a stunning but exhausted woman beside him. This is the real CHERYL, a woman who embodies the old adage, “It’s not the years, it’s the mileage.”

Cheryl seats herself. Close, but only close enough.

DAVID

Was I really that bad?

CHERYL

Not always.

DAVID

But often enough.

CHERYL

We all have our demons.

DAVID

Yeah? And what was yours?

CHERYL

What can I say? I liked the bad boys.

(wistfully)

Something about the way a man just took whatever he wanted from me...

(back to reality)

Stupid me, though. Took a few visits to the ER to learn when enough was enough.

DAVID

Cheryl--

CHERYL

That’s my name. So, what’s your game? Miles says you’ve found Jesus, or some shit. You want to make it right between me, you, and the Lord. That about it?

David nods.

DAVID

Yeah, something like that.

CHERYL

You moving back to town?

DAVID

No. Got myself a room at The Castaway Inn. But only for one night. Just long enough to talk about us.

CHERYL

Okay, us--you and me? That’s long over with. Let’s make that very clear right now.

CHERYL

Look, I’m going to be straight with you. Maybe God and Jesus forgive you, but I don’t think I can. Maybe that’s a little fucked up, or whatever. I dunno. It’s not like I want to feel this way. I just do.

DAVID

Cheryl, you have every right to hate me.

CHERYL

I don’t hate you, David. Not anymore.

She sighs.

CHERYL (CONT’D)

Look, I had a lot of time to think about you and me and all the messed up shit we did to each other when I was laid up in a hospital bed. Honestly? Between all the booze and pain killers, I don’t remember too much of that night. But I do still kinda remember my sister yelling at me, calling me a stupid piece of pussy for sticking with you for so long. All while the nurse stapled my head shut.

DAVID

I’m sorry.

CHERYL

Me too.

David reaches for her hand. Cheryl reflexively pulls it back, as if burned by fire.

An uncomfortable silence.

DAVID

I know there’s nothing that I can do or say to make up for all the awful shit I’ve done. Not to you, or anyone else. I don’t like the man that I was when I was still drinking. I don’t think I really like the man I am now. Not yet. But I am sorry. And I am trying to be a better man. I guess I just wanted you to know that.

CHERYL

That’s beautiful, David. I mean it. Did you stand in the mirror when you practiced that?

DAVID

Cheryl--

CHERYL

We’re done here, David.

DAVID

Cheryl, please.

CHERYL

That shit might go over a bit better with some of the other people on that little list of yours. But it don’t do much for me. I know you, David. I know it wasn’t the fucking drinking that made you act like such a piece of shit. Okay? That was all you. It always was.

She shows the scar on her head, a pale zig-zag void of hair.

CHERYL (CONT’D)

You see this? You did this, David. The staples, the scar, the cracked rib. It wasn’t the drinking of the drugs. This shit was all you. So, you want to come in here and give me a little speech to help you sleep better at night? That’s fine. I hope you can one of these days. But if you think that you can make things right between us? That ship fucking sailed off into the sunset a very long time ago.

He reaches for her.

DAVID

I didn’t mean--

She swats his hand away. Hard. Loud.

CHERYL

(panicked)

Don’t fucking touch me!

The whole place goes silent. All eyes are on David and Cheryl. Even Tarzan and Jane are left in stunned silence.

CHERYL

I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to blow up like that. How’s about I get back to work, and you crawl back to whatever urine-soaked hellhole you came out of, okay?

DAVID

Yeah. Okay.

David stands and walks away, leaving the COIN behind on the table.

CHERYL

Take some fuckin’ responsibility for once, David..

Cheryl watches David hop the patio fence and disappear into the night.

And then...

She looks at the COIN atop the table. She takes it, looks at it, and then sighs a frustrated sigh.

CHERYL

Why do you have to be such an asshole?

She heads back into the bar.

EXT. LIQUOR STORE – NIGHT

A corner liquor store just around the corner from THE BAR.

INT. LIQUOR STORE – NIGHT

A not entirely empty corner store. The CLERK does his best to not look too bored between customers.

David stares at the BEER cooler.

The WALL OF BEER stares back.

And then...

David gets the feeling someone is watching him. He turns to

A WOMAN

stares at David. Her skin is deathly pale. She wears a long jacket and a scarf wrapped tight around her face. Her dark, unkempt hair flows over her.

David stares back, then behind himself, and then back at the Woman.

She’s still there. Still staring.

DAVID

Yeah, okay. Fuck this.

He reaches into the cooler, picks his poison, and then heads for

THE REGISTER

The Clerk rings David up.

David stands there, staring at the BEER.

The BEER stares back.

The CLERK stares at David.

CLERK

Hey, uh, cash, debit, or credit?

David snaps out of it.

DAVID

Yeah. Just, uh--just forget about it.

David walks away, stops, then turns to the Clerk.

DAVID

Oh, you might want to keep an eye on the chick with the scarf back there.

(gesturing)

Back by the cooler.

The Clerk looks BACK THERE.

DAVID (O.S.)

She’s not lookin’ so good.

There’s nobody BACK THERE.

The Clerk looks back to

David is already out the door.

EXT. TOWN -- NIGHT

The town is a sea of bodies and rivers of cars flowing here and there. COUPLES walk arm in arm to and from their favorite restaurants and bars. GROUPS of friends and family flock together.

David walks aimlessly among this, alone, sober, and empty handed. The WOMAN from the LIQUOR STORE lingers close by. Close, but never too close. A shape in David’s peripheral. Always present, but never seen.

EXT. TOWN/OUTSKIRTS

The edge of town, far from the bustling chaos of the shops and bars. Here, the shops are closed. Streets are darker. Traffic is nonexistent.

David walks through the still darkness. The Woman follows close behind.

INTERSECTION

Green lights turn red.

David stops at the corner, and waits.

And then...

A NOISE.

David turns back and sees how absolutely alone he is. Not a soul in sight in every direction.

And then, he turns back to the

INTERSECTION

Red lights turn green. “DON’T WALK” turns to “WALK.”

David steps forward.

And then...

The same NOISE.

David turns to see

THE WOMAN

stands beneath a street light, staring at David. Her body is a twisted, broken mess. Half her face masked in shadow. The other half covered in a CRIMSON MASK, blood running down and dripping from her chin.

An uncomfortable silence.

DAVID

Hey. You need help, or somethin’, Lady?

The Woman says nothing. She only stumbles and shuffles awkwardly toward David.

David takes a step back.

DAVID

Hey. Hey, are you okay?

Again, the Woman says nothing. She only stutter steps and stumbles closer and closer.

David steps back, again and again.

She takes a step, he takes a step back.

David reaches the curb, nearly stumbles off, and catches himself.

The Woman pushes forward.

David stands on the curb like a man on the edge of a cliff, unsure if he should stand his ground or jump.

She gets close. Too close.

And then...

She stops.

David looks at the Woman.

The Woman looks back at him with dead eyes.

WOMAN

Home...

He thinks about this, and then gestures down the way.

DAVID

That way?

And then...

She goes THAT WAY.

Green lights turn red.

The Woman stops at the corner, waiting.

David watches this.

Red lights turn green.

The Woman stutter-steps and stumbles her way across the street and down THAT WAY.

David watches her disappear down THAT WAY.

Green lights turn red.

David stands alone in still silence, waiting.

Red lights turn green.

David steps forward into the intersection.

SHRIEKING. Distant, but growing closer way too fast.

David stops dead in his tracks and turns to

THE WOMAN

is coming right for him. A shape in the distance getting closer and closer. A walk turns into a sprint. The sprint turns into an animal-like dash.

David can’t even process what he’s seeing.

And then, the Woman leaps through the INTERSECTION and pounces on David.

And then...

A BUS pulls up. It’s doors open with a WHOOSH. The BUS DRIVER, a hefty man too old for this shit, looks out at

DAVID AND THE WOMAN

The two are wrapped around each other, on top of one another. Are they drunk and at each other’s throats, or in desperate need of a room?

DRIVER

Getting on?

David looks at the Bus Driver, then to the Woman, and then back to the Bus Driver.

DAVID

No. Just catching our breath. Thanks, though.

A silence.

And then...

The Bus Driver closes the doors and rolls out.

David watches the Bus disappear down the road.

WOMAN

(muttering)

Beautiful...

DAVID

I bet you say that to all the boys.

He tries to move, but can’t. She’s got him pinned down. And she’s dead weight.

DAVID

Shit. Sorry. Okay, I can’t--hold up a sec.

David struggles free. He helps the Woman up and over to a

BUS STOP BENCH

They sit together. She struggles to stay upright. He holds her up and in place.

DAVID

A’ight. So what were you saying?

She mutters again.

DAVID

You gotta speak up, lady. I don’t hear too good anymore on account of my tinnitus. Too many late nights at the bars standing by the jukebox. Ya feel me?

The Woman goes limps.

DAVID

Jesus--!

David catches her and holds her upright.

She looks up to him. Her dark hair and scarf obscure everything but her eyes.

WOMAN

(clearer)

Beautiful.

He pretends to take in the night sky.

DAVID

It is a nice night, ain’t it?

David turns back to the Woman.

The Woman’s clothes are fashionable but stained. Her skin is covered in thick scars. She bleeds from a nasty-looking wound along her hairline.

DAVID

So, uh, I’d love to soak up the ambiance a little more--really, I would. But I--

She touches his face with an outreached hand. He instantly goes calm.

They share a moment.

And then...

The Woman lurches forward and vomits.

DAVID

Fucking--you’re pretty fucked up, aren’t you, Lady?

The Woman looks up at David. Fresh vomit and drool runs thick down and through her scarf. Chunks of something are caught in her hair.

WOMAN

Am I beautiful?

David looks at the hot mess in front of him.

DAVID

Yeah, sure.

He helps her upright again.

DAVID (CONT’D)

So you got yourself a name, beautiful?

A drunken beat.

WOMAN

Tien.

David processes everything. And then...

DAVID

Can I buy you a drink, Tien?

EXT. CASTAWAY INN – NIGHT

A sleepy, overlit motel. The sort of place with a very loose definition of what qualifies as a “smoking” room.

A loud CLATTER.

A can of DIET ORANGE SHASTA drops out of an old vending machine and onto a can of CANADA DRY.

David takes both cans and walks off with his disappointing haul.

INT. MOTEL ROOM – NIGHT

A small, stained room with decor dating back to the Carter administration. A backpack rests atop one of the room’s two double beds. The HISSING of a shower fills the room.

David enters, juggling the room key and door with the drinks in his hands.

DAVID

Hey, it’s just me. Got us a few drinks and snacks.

INT. MOTEL ROOM/BATHROOM – NIGHT

The shower runs hot, steaming up the place like sauna. Light glistens off wet porcelain and glass. Water runs down the walls and drips from the lights.

SINK

A change of clothes rests beside the basin. The basin is filled with dark, sudsy water and Tien’s vomit-stained clothes.

SHOWER

Tien sits on the floor of the shower, arms wrapped around her knees. Her body is covered in thick scars of varying age and size. The water rushes over everything.

DAVID (O.S.)

Everything going okay in there?

Silence.

And then...

She kills the water and steps out.

INT. MOTEL ROOM – NIGHT

David sits on the foot of the bed, watching TV and drinking his soda.

And then...

The bathroom door opens and Tien emerges in a thick cloud of steam. She’s practically swimming in David’s spare clothes, a pair of gym shorts and a SANTA CRUZ tee.

DAVID

Those fit you okay?

Tien nods, “Yes.”

DAVID

Cool.

An uncomfortable silence.

DAVID

A’ight. Let’s do this, then.

EXT. CASTAWAY INN – NIGHT

A SMOKER stands beneath a security light, trading off between her cigarette and a coffee mug full of whiskey.

INT. MOTEL ROOM – NIGHT

Tien sits in a chair and watches TV as David stitches her head wound. He pauses only to allow her a chance to reply to his small talk.

DAVID

Did you have any luck reaching your family earlier?

She shakes her head, “No.”

DAVID

Hm. That’s too bad. For what it’s worth, I still think we’d be better off getting you to the ER, or somethin’. I’ve got a bit of experience doing this, but I’m not exactly certified. Ya know?

She shakes her head, “No.”

Silence.

And then...

David finishes, tossing his gloves and everything else into the trash.

DAVID

That should do it. Not too bad, huh?

She looks up at him and nods.

David seats himself on the edge of the bed, beside Tien. Close, but not too close.

DAVID

Ya know, it’s kinda funny. I’m usually the one causing wounds like this. Feels kinda nice to be the one stitching it up for once.

Silence. And then

Tien reaches out and touches David.

David looks at her.

Tien looks back at him through a curtain of hair. Her dead eyes are a million miles away, as if she’s looking through David rather than right at him. She’d be absolutely sexy if she weren’t so clearly damaged.

David puts his hand on hers.

DAVID

So, uh, I know it’s not much. But if you want to take the bed, I can--

Tien rises from her seat.

The chair falls over with a CLATTER.

The oversized shorts fall to the floor on their own.

Tien pushes against David with her body, pushing him over and pinning him down on the bed.

He looks up at her.

She looks down at him with her dead eyes through that curtain of black hair.

Silence.

And then...

David lifts a shaky hand up to her waist, touching it.

She looks at him. He looks at her.

His hand gently brushes down her side, over her hips and ass, under the oversized shirt, and then back up to her breast.

She gasps, moans.

And then...

He flips her over.

She looks up at him. Her dark hair cascades across the bed.

He looks down at her.

She reaches a hand to his cheek.

TIEN

Am I beautiful?

He looks at her, all of her. Her dead eyes. Her hair. Her scars. All of it.

DAVID

You’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

And then...

She claws at his cheek, as if she were trying to tear it open.

Blood sprays and splatters.

David SCREAMS and leaps to his feet, clutching at his wound and stomping about the room in a fit.

DAVID

What the fuck?!

She rises and watches him from the bed.

He turns to her, blood pouring from his wound and through his hands.

DAVID

What the fuck did you do that for?

She looks at him with dead eyes.

He snaps his fingers in her face.

DAVID

Hey. Hello? Anybody fuckin’ home? The fuck did you do this for, you stupid bitch?

Silence.

DAVID

(to himself)

You’ve got to be fuckin’ kidding me.

(to Tien)

Okay, you need to get the fuck out of my room right the fuck now.

More silence.

DAVID

Did you hear a word I just fuckin’ said? Get the fuck out. Now.

And then...

Tien grabs the SCISSORS from David’s first aid kit and attacks.

DAVID

What the fuck?

She swings and misses.

David backhands her, hard.

She flies back and down onto the bed. She doesn’t move a muscle.

David marvels at his handiwork and all the blood everywhere.

DAVID

Oh, Jesus-fuck.

He leans over Tien to check on her, shaking her lifeless body.

DAVID

Hey. Hey, are you okay? Tien? Hey, you gotta snap out of it, okay? Come on. Wake up. Open your eyes you stupid, freaky bitch.

And then...

Tien snaps awake.

David yelps.

She flips David over and pins him to the bed. She attempts to claw at his eyes. David struggles to stop her. She’s just way too strong. Inhumanly strong.

And then...

He reaches for a nearby lamp

She digs her claws into his flesh, at his eye.

David RIPS the lamp free from the wall, the room goes DARK.

David CRACKS the lamp over Tien’s skull.

Tien drops lifeless on the bed.

David stands over her, holding the broken lamp in his hand.

Tien looks up at him with dead eyes, through a curtain of matted, bloodied hair. She’s bleeding from a fresh wound.

TIEN

Am I beautiful?

Silence. And then...

DAVID

No.

And then...

She RISES upright with a SHRIEK, arms outstretched, hands clawed.

CRACK! David strikes her again with the lamp.

She drops back to the bed.

And then...

He strikes her again. And again and again--CRACK! CRACK! CRACK!--until it goes SPLAT. He’s gone berserk.

And then...

Silence.

David stands hunched over Tien’s lifeless body, covered in blood. His eyes are wild. His breathing short and quick. A wild animal in human form. A MAN-BEAST.

And then...

David snaps out of his daze and sees what he’s done.

The broken lamp in his hand.

The blood on everything.

Tien’s lifeless, pulpy body.

DAVID

I’m--I’m not...

He drops the broken lamp and steps away from the body.

DAVID

What did you make me do?

INT. MOTEL ROOM/BATHROOM – NIGHT

David rushes into the bathroom, panicked and talking to himself. He scrubs himself clean in the sink until he’s raw. The sink overflows with a sickening soup of suds, brown water, blood, Tien’s clothes.

And then, a CLATTER.

David turns to

THE BATHROOM DOOR

Still darkness lies beyond this.

He looks at the darkness.

The darkness stares back.

INT. MOTEL ROOM – NIGHT

David steps into the darkened motel room, holding his breath and listening for signs of life.

The bed is empty.

DAVID

What the fuck...

And then...

A WET, GURGLING NOISE.

DAVID

Tien?

David moves closer, closer.

And then...

Tien RISES from the darkness. Her body is broken and twisted. The WET GURGLING comes from the pulpy mess atop her neck.

David looks on in abject horror.

DAVID

Oh, God.

Silence.

He looks at her.

She “looks” at him.

GURGLE.

DAVID

I’m so sorry.

And then...

She POUNCES. She claws and mauls eviscerates as David screams WET SCREAMS. Blood and gore flies and splatters EVERYWHERE.

EXT. CASTAWAY INN – NIGHT

David’s SCREAMS echo up and down the motel and out across the street.

FADE TO:

OVER BLACK, a news report.

NEWS ANCHOR

...law enforcement agents continue their investigation into a recent homicide at a local motel...

INT. BAR – NIGHT

Miles and Cheryl look up. Sad but not surprised by what they’re watching.

NEWS ANCHOR

David Zaragoza has been identified as one of the two possible victims in the case...

Tarzan drags his knuckles through the bar, making his way to Miles and Cheryl. Buzzed, horny, angry, and in a hurry, Tarzan is trying to seal the deal. He’s not a happy customer.

NEWS ANCHOR

Officials have yet to identify who they believe to be a possible second victim...

Tarzan pounds on the bar. He commands:

TARZAN

My beer. Now.

Cheryl looks to Miles. Miles nods, and then he tends to Tarzan.

MILES

A’ight, man. You know the rules. You want another beer, I want your keys.

Cheryl returns her attention to the TV.

ON TV: The motel swarmed by chaos in the form of officials and lookie-loos and motel employees and news reporters.

NEWS ANCHOR

Witnesses claimed to have seen Mr. Zaragoza return to his room with a female companion.

ON TV: Footage of the crime scene. A police-secured motel room. Broken furniture. The blood and gore stained everything

NEWS ANCHOR

And reports released this week indicate more than one source of blood was found at the crime scene.

Tarzan takes the deal. He throws down his keys on the counter and walks off with his beer.

NEWS ANCHOR

Unfortunately for investigators, the remains of this second, female victim have yet to be located.

Cheryl gets back to work.

EXT. BAR/REAR – NIGHT

Miles steps out from the rear service door with a load of trash. He makes his way to the

DUMPSTER

Miles stops mid-step, turns a sickly white, and drops what’s in his hands.

Tarzan is dead against the dumpster. His body torn in half, eviscerated. A smile carved into his face, ear to ear.

Miles attempts to call for help, but the words are caught in his throat.

And then...

TIEN (O.S.)

Am I beautiful?

FADE OUT.

THE END