1. EXT: DAY. ELEVATED SUBWAY TRAIN
Against the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline, we see an elevated
subway train heading toward Brooklyn.
After a moment, we begin to hear voices. An animated discussion is
taking place inside the Brooklyn Cigar Company.
2. INT: DAY. THE BROOKLYN CIGAR CO.
The cigar shop from within. Displays of cigar boxes, a wall of
magazines, piles of newspapers. cigarettes, smoking paraphernalia. On
the walls, we see framed black-and-white photographs of people smoking
cigars: Groucho Marx, George Burns, Clint Eastwood, Edward G. Robinson,
Orson Welles, Charles Laughton, Frankenstein's monster, Leslie Caron,
Words appear on the screen: "SUMMER 1990."
AUGGIE WREN is behind the counter. Somewhere between forty and fifty
years old, AUGGIE is a scruffy presence: unkempt hair, a two-day
stubble of beard, dressed in blue jeans and a black T-shirt. We see an
intricate tattoo on one arm.
It is a slow hour. AUGGIE is flipping through a photography magazine.
Near the counter are the three OTB MEN. These are local characters who
like to hang out in the store, shooting the breeze with AUGGIE. One is
black (TOMMY) and the other two are white (JERRY and DENNIS). DENNIS
wears a T-shirt with the following words printed across the front: "If
life is a dream, what happens when I wake up?"
I'll tell you why they're not going anywhere.
Yeah? And why is that?
Management. Those guys are walking around with
their heads up their asses.
They made some great deals. Tommy. Hernandez.
Carter. Without those two, there never woulda
been no World Series.
That was four years ago. I'm talking about now.
(Growing more intense)
Look who they got rid of. Mitchell. Backman.
McDowell. Dykstra. Aguillera. Mookie. Mookie
Wilson, for Chrissakes.
(Shakes his head)
And Nolan Ryan. Don't forget him.
Yeah. And Amos Otis.
Okay, joke about it. I don't give a shit.
Jesus, Tommy, it ain't science, you know. You
got your good trades and your bad trades.
That's how it works.
They didn't have to do a thing, that's all I'm
saying. The team was good, the best fucking
team in baseball. But then they had to screw it
They traded their birthright for a mess of
(Shakes his head)
A mess of porridge.
The bells on the door jangle as someone enters. It is AUGGIE'S protégé,
JIMMY ROSE, a mentally retarded man in his late twenties. He has been
sweeping the sidewalk outside the store and holds a broom in his right
How'd you do out there, Jimmy?
Good, Auggie. Real good.
(Proudly thrusts out broom)
It'll never be finished.
That's how it is with sidewalks. People come,
people go, and they all drop shit on the
ground. As soon as you clean up one spot and
move on to the next, the first spot is dirty
(Trying to digest AUGGIE'S comment)
I just do what you tell me, Auggie. You tell me
to sweep, so I sweep.
The bells on the door jangle again, and a customer enters the store: a
middle-class man in his early thirties. He walks to the counter as
JERRY teases JIMMY. In the background, we see him talking to AUGGIE.
AUGGIE pulls some cigar boxes out of the display case and puts them on
the counter for the YOUNG MAN to inspect. In the foreground we see:
Hey, Jimmy. You got the time?
(Turning to the SECOND OTB MAN)
You still have that watch Auggie gave you?
(Holds up left wrist showing
cheap digital watch. Smiles)
So what's the time?
(Pause, marveling as
the numbers change)
(Looks up, smiling)
A sudden outburst is heard from the area near the counter.
The focus of the scene shifts to AUGGIE and the YOUNG MAN.
They don't come cheap, son. These little honeys
are works of art. Rolled by hand in a tropical
climate, most likely by an eighteen year old
girl in a thin cotton dress with no underwear
on. Little beads of sweat forming in her naked
cleavage. The smooth, delicate fingers nimbly
turning out one masterpiece after another...
And how much are these?
Seventy-eight dollars. The girl who rolled these
was probably wearing panties.
Fifty-six. That girl had on a corset.
Forty-four. They're on special this week from
the Canary Islands. A real bargain.
I think I'll take them.
(Takes wallet from his pocket
and counts out $50 which he
hands to AUGGIE)
A good choice. You wouldn't want to celebrate
the birth of your firstborn with a box of
stinkers, would you? Remember to keep them in
the refrigerator until you hand them out.
It'll keep them fresh. If they get too dry,
they'll break. And you don't want that to
happen, do you?
(Putting cigar box into a bag,
ringing up sale on the cash register)
Tobacco is a plant, and it needs the same
loving care you'd give an orchid.
Thanks for the tip.
Any time. And congratulations to you and your
wife. Just remember, though, in the immortal
words of Rudyard Kipling: "A woman is just a
woman, but a cigar is a smoke.
What does that mean?
Damned if I know. But it has a nice ring to it,
At that moment, we hear the bells on the door jangle again. Cut to the
door. Another customer enters the store: PAUL BENJAMIN. He is in his
early forties, dressed in rumpled casual clothes. As he approaches the
counter, the YOUNG MAN brushes past him and leaves the store. The OTB
MEN and JIMMY look on as PAUL and AUGGIE talk.
Hey, Auggie. How's it going?
Hey, man. Good to see you. What'll it be today?
Two tins of Schimmelpennincks. And throw in a
lighter while you're at it.
(Reaching for cigars and lighter)
The boys and I were just having a philosophical
discussion about women and cigars. Some
interesting connections there, don't you think?
I suppose it all goes back to Queen Elizabeth.
The Queen of England?
Not Elizabeth the Second, Elizabeth the First.
Did you ever hear of Sir Walter Raleigh?
Sure. He's the guy who threw his cloak down
over the puddle.
I used to smoke Raleigh cigarettes. They came
with a free gift coupon in every pack.
That's the man. Well, Raleigh was the person
who introduced tobacco in England, and since he
was a favorite of the Queen's -- Queen Bess, he
used to call her -- smoking caught on as a
fashion at court. I'm sure Old Bess must have
shared a stogie or two with Sir Walter. Once,
he made a bet with her that he could measure
the weight of smoke.
You mean, weigh smoke?
Exactly. Weigh smoke.
You can't do that. It's like weighing air.
I admit it's strange. Almost like weighing
someone's soul. But Sir Walter was a clever
guy. First, he took an unsmoked cigar and put
it on a balance and weighed it. Then he lit up
and smoked the cigar, carefully tapping the
ashes into the balance pan. When he was
finished, he put the butt into the pan along
with the ashes and weighed what was there.
Then he subtracted that number from the
original weight of the unsmoked cigar. The
difference was the weight of the smoke.
Not bad. That's the kind of guy we need to take
over the Mets.
Oh, he was smart, all right. But not so smart
that he didn't wind up having his head chopped
off twenty years later.
But that's another story.
(Handing PAUL his change and putting
cigar tins and lighter in a paper bag)
Seven eighty-five out of twenty.
(As PAUL turns to leave)
Take care of yourself now, and don't do
anything I wouldn't do.
I wouldn't think of it.
(Waves casually to the OTB MEN)
See you around, fellas.
AUGGIE and the OTB MEN watch as PAUL leaves the store.
(Turning to AUGGIE)
What is he, some kind of wise guy?
Nah. He's a good kid.
I've seen him around. He comes in here a lot,
Couple of times a week, maybe. He's a writer.
Lives in the neighborhood.
And what kind of writer is he? An underwriter?
Very funny. Some of the cracks you make. Tommy,
sometimes I think you should see a doctor. You
know, go in for some wit therapy or something.
To clean out the valves in your brain.
(A little embarrassed. Shrugs)
It was just a joke.
The guy's a novelist. Paul Benjamin. You ever
hear of him?
That's a stupid question. The only things you
guys read is the Racing Form and pages of the
He's published three or four books. But
nothing now for the past few years.
What's the matter? He run out of ideas?
He ran out of luck.
Remember that holdup out here on Seventh Avenue
few years back?
You talking about the bank? The time those two
guys started spraying bullets all over the
That's it. Four people got killed. One of them
was Paul's wife.
The poor lug, he hasn't been the same since.
The funny thing was, she stopped in here just
before it happened. To stock up on cigars for
him. She was a nice lady, Ellen. Four or five
months pregnant at the time, which means that
when she was killed, the baby was killed, too.
Bad day at Black Rock, eh, Auggie?
Close-up of AUGGIE'S face. Remembering.
It was bad, all right. I sometimes think that
if she hadn't given me exact change that day,
or if the store had been a little more crowded,
it would have taken her a few more seconds to
get out of here, and then maybe she wouldn't
have stepped in front of that bullet. She'd
still be alive, the baby would have been born,
and Paul would be sitting at home writing
another book instead of wandering the streets
with a hangover.
(Pensive, his expression suddenly
turns to one of alarm)
Cut to white youth in the corner of the store, shoving paperback books
into the pockets of his tattered army fatigue jacket.
Hey! What are you doing there, kid? Hey, cut
AUGGIE scrambles out from behind the counter, pushing his way past the
OTB MEN as the kid takes off and runs out of the store.
3. EXT: DAY. SEVENTH AVENUE
AUGGIE chases the BOOK THIEF down the street. Eventually, he gets
winded and gives up. He pauses for a moment to catch his breath, then
turns around and heads back in the direction of the store.
4. INT: DAY. PAUL'S APARTMENT. A BROWNSTONE BUILDING IN PARK SLOPE
Shot of a little brown cigar, burning in an ashtray.
The camera pulls back to reveal PAUL at his desk. He is writing in
longhand, using a pad of yellow legal paper. An old Smith-Corona
typewriter is also on the desk, poised for work with a half-written
page in the roller. Off in the corner, we see a neglected word
The workroom is a bare and simple place. Desk, chair, and a small
wooden bookcase with manuscripts and papers shoved onto its shelves.
The window faces a brick wall.
As PAUL continues to write, the camera travels from the workroom into
the larger of the two rooms that make up his apartment.
This larger room is an all-purpose space that includes a sleeping area,
a kitchenette in one corner, a dining table and a large easy chair.
Crowded bookshelves occupy one wall from floor to ceiling. The bow
windows face front, looking down onto the street. Near the bed, we see
a framed photograph of a young woman. (This is Ellen, Paul's dead
The camera travels back into the workroom. We see PAUL at work. Fade
Fade in. We see PAUL at his desk, eating a TV dinner while still
writing in the pad. After a moment, he inadvertently knocks the food
off the desk with his elbow. He begins to bend over to pick up the
food, but as he does so a new idea suddenly occurs to him. Instead of
cleaning up the mess, he turns back to his pad and continues writing.
5 EXT: DAY. IN FRONT OF THE BROOKLYN CIGAR CO.
We see PAUL walking out of the cigar store. JIMMY ROSE is on the
corner, observing him throughout the scene. PAUL takes three or four
steps, then realizes he has forgotten something. He goes back into the
store. During his brief absence, JIMMY remains on the corner, imitating
PAUL'S gestures: patting in pockets, looking puzzled, realizing that he
has forgotten the cigars he just bought.
PAUL comes out again a moment later, holding a tin of Schimmelpenninck
cigars. He pauses, takes a cigar out of the tin, and lights up. He
continues walking, obviously distracted. He stops briefly at a corner,
then steps out into the street, paying no attention to the traffic. A
speeding tow truck is rushing toward the intersection. At the last
second, a black hand reaches out, grabs PAUL by the arm, and pulls him
back to the curb. If not for that timely move, PAUL would surely have
been run down.
We see PAUL'S rescuer: it is RASHID COLE, a black adolescent of sixteen
or seventeen. He is tall and well built for his age. A nylon backpack
is slung over his left shoulder.
Watch out, man. You'll get yourself killed like
(Badly shaken, still
clinging to RASHID'S arm)
I can't believe I did that ... Christ. I'm
walking around in a fog ...
No harm done. Everything's okay now.
(Looks down and notices that he and
PAUL are still gripping each other's
arms. Tries to pull away)
I've got to be going.
(Still rattled. Begins to loosen grip,
then grabs hold of RASHID'S again)
No, wait. You can't just walk off.
You saved my life.
I just happened to be there. The right place
at the right time.
(Relaxes grip on RASHID'S arm)
I owe you something.
It's okay, mister. No big deal.
Yes it is. It's a law of the universe. If I let
you walk away, the moon will spin out of orbit
... pestilence will reign over the city for a
(Mystified, amused. Smiles faintly)
Well, if you put it that way...
You have to let me do something for you to put
the scales in balance.
(Thinks, shakes his head)
That's all right. If I think of something, I'll
send my butler over to tell you.
Come on. At least let me buy you a cup of
I don't drink coffee.
On the other hand, since you insist, if you
offered me a cold lemonade. I wouldn't say no.
Good. Lemonade it is.
(Pause. Extends right hand)
Rashid. Rashid Cole.
(Shakes PAUL'S hand)
6. INT: DAY. GREEK DINER IN PARK SLOPE
PAUL and RASHID are sitting in a booth. The restaurant is nearly empty.
We see RASHID finishing his second lemonade.
(Watching RASHID drink)
Are you sure you don't want some food to go
along with it? It might help to absorb some of
that liquid. You don't want to slosh around
too much when you stand up.
That's okay. I've already had lunch.
(Looks at clock on wall)
You must eat lunch pretty early. It's only
I mean breakfast.
(Studying RASHID closely)
Yeah, sure, and I bet you had lobster last
night. Along with two bottles of champagne.
Just one bottle. I believe in moderation.
Look, kid, it's okay with me. You don't have to
play games. If you want a hamburger or
something, go ahead and order it.
Well, maybe just one. To be polite.
(Turning to WAITRESS. She comes)
Cocktail hour is over. The young man would
like to order a hamburger.
How do you want that cooked?
Medium rare, please.
(Looks at PAUL. PAUL nods)
Lettuce and tomato?
(Looks at PAUL. PAUL nods)
(Pointing to RASHID'S empty
You want another one of these, too?
Yeah, give him another one. And I'll take a cup
of coffee while you're at it.
Hot coffee or iced coffee?
Do you have real iced coffee, or do you just
pour hot coffee over some ice cubes?
Everything is real in here, honey.
As real as the color of my hair.
PAUL and RASHID look at her hair. It is dyed bright red.
I'll take the iced coffee.
You only live once, right?
If you're lucky.
Then again, it depends on what you call living.
(She walks off)
I don't mean to pry, but I see a kid walking
around with a big knapsack on his back, and I
begin to wonder if all his worldly possessions
aren't stowed in there. Are you in some kind of
trouble or what?
(Keeping up his pose)
You don't have to tell me if you don't want to,
but I might be able to help.
You don't know me from a hole in the wall.
That's true. But I also owe you something, and
I'm not sure that buying you a hamburger is
going to do the job.
What is it? Family problems? Money problems?
(Imitating white upper-class accent)
Oh no. Momsie and Popsie have oodles.
And where do Momsie and Popsie live?
East Seventy-fourth Street.
Of course. Where else?
Then what are you doing in Park Slope? It's a
little far from home, isn't it?
(Beginning to relent)
That's where the what comes in.
I've kind of run away from home, you see.
It has nothing to do with my parents or money.
I saw something I wasn't supposed to see, and
for the time being it's best that I keep myself
out of sight.
You can't be more specific than that?
RASHID looks at PAUL, hesitates, then lowers his eyes.
(Pause. Decides not to press him)
So where have you been staying in the meantime?
Here and there. Around.
Uh-huh. One of those cozy bed and breakfast
Yeah, that's right.
Except that there's no bed, is there? And no
The material world is an illusion. It doesn't
matter if they're there or not. The world is in
But your body is in the world, isn't it?
If someone offered you a place to stay, you
wouldn't necessarily refuse, would you?
People don't do that kind of thing. Not in New
I'm not "people." I'm just me. And I do
whatever I goddamn want to do. Got it?
Thanks, but I'll manage.
In case you're wondering, I like women, not
little boys. And I'm not offering you a
long-term lease -- just a place to crash for a
couple of nights.
I can take care of myself. Don't worry.
Suit yourself. But if you change your mind,
here's the address.
(Takes out a pad from his pocket and
scribbles down the address. Tears
sheet from the pad and hands it to
The WAITRESS arrives with their orders.
One burger medium rare with lettuce and tomato.
(Setting down plate in front of RASHID)
One order of fries.
(Setting down plate)
(Setting down glass)
And one dose of reality.
(Setting down iced coffee
in front of PAUL)
PAUL looks on as RASHID picks up hamburger and takes his first bite.
7. INT: DAY. THE BROOKLYN CIGAR CO.
A slow hour. AUGGIE is sitting behind the counter, looking through a
magazine and eating a slice of pizza for lunch. VINNIE enters the
frame. He is the owner of the store: a large man in his fifties.
Okay. I think everything's set.
(Lights up cigar)
You've got the number for Cape Cod, right? Just
in case something goes wrong.
(Chewing pizza; not looking
up from magazine)
No problem, Vinnie. Everything's under control.
(Finally looking up)
I could run this store in my sleep.
How long you been working for me, Auggie?
(Shrugs, looks down at magazine again)
I don't know. Thirteen, fourteen years.
Something like that.
It's pretty crazy, don't you think? I mean, a
smart guy like you. What do you want to hang
on to a dead-end job like this for?
I don't know.
(Turns pages of magazine)
Maybe because I love you so much, boss.
Shit. You should have been married to someone
by now. You know, settled down somewhere with a
kid or two, a nice steady job.
I almost got married once.
Yeah, I know. To that girl who moved to
Ruby McNutt. My one true love.
Sounds like another one of your stories to me.
(Shakes his head)
She upped and married some other cat after I
joined the navy. By the time I got my
discharge, though, she was divorced. Her
husband poked out her eye in a domestic
(Puffing on his cigar)
She made a play for me after I got back, but
her glass eye kept interfering with my
concentration. Every time we got into a clinch,
I'd start thinking about that hole in her head,
that empty socket with the glass eye in it. An
eye that couldn't see, an eye that couldn't
shed any tears. The minute I started thinking
about it, Mr. Johnson would get all soft and
small. And I can't see getting married if Mr.
Johnson isn't going to be in tiptop shape.
(Shaking his head)
You don't take anything seriously, do you?
I try not to, anyway. It's better for your
health. I mean, look at you, Vincent. You're
the guy with the wife and three kids and the
ranch house on Long Island. You're the guy with
the white shoes and the white Caddy and the
white shag carpet. But you've had two heart
attacks, and I'm still waiting for my first.
(Takes cigar out of his mouth
and looks at it with disgust)
I should stop smoking these damn things is what
I should do. The fuckers are going to kill me
Enjoy it while you can, Vin. Pretty soon,
they're going to legislate us out of business
They catch you smoking tobacco, they'll stand
you up against a wall and shoot you.
Tobacco today, sex tomorrow. In three or four
years, it'll probably be against the law to
smile at strangers.
Speaking of which, are you still going ahead
with that deal on the Montecristos?
It's all set. My guy in Miami said he'd have
them within the next few weeks.
Are you sure you don't want to go in with me?
Five thousand dollars outlay, a guaranteed
ten-thousand-dollar return. A consortium of
Court Street lawyers and judges. They're just
drooling to get their lips around some genuine
No thanks. I don't care what you do, but just
make sure you don't get caught, okay? The last
I heard, it was still illegal to sell Cuban
cigars in this country.
It's the law that's buying. That's what's so
beautiful about it. I mean, when was the last
time you heard of a judge sending himself to
Suit yourself. But don't keep the boxes around
They come in, they go out. I've got it planned
to the last detail.
(Looking at his watch)
I've got to get moving. Terry will bust my
chops if I'm late. See you in September,
Okay, my man. Love to the wife and kids, et
cetera, et cetera. Drop me a postcard if you
can remember the address.
VINNIE leaves. AUGGIE turns back to his pizza and magazine.
8. EXT: EVENING. FACADE OF THE BROOKLYN CIGAR CO.
A shot of the darkening sky. A shot of the cigar store. We see the
lights go out. AUGGIE comes outside, locks the door, and begins pulling
down the metal gate in front of the windows. Cut to:
A shot of PAUL running down the street toward AUGGIE.
(Out of breath)
Are you closed?
You run out of Schimmelpennincks?
Do you think I could buy some before you leave?
No problem. It's not as though I'm rushing off
to the opera or anything.
AUGGIE lifts the gate and the two of them go into the store.
9. INT: EVENING. THE BROOKLYN CIGAR CO.
PAUL and AUGGIE enter the darkened store. AUGGIE turns on the lights
and then goes behind the counter to fetch PAUL'S cigars. PAUL, on the
other side, notices a 35-millimeter camera near the cash register.
Looks like someone forgot a camera.
Yeah, I did.
It's mine all right. I've owned that little
sucker for a long time.
I didn't know you took pictures.
(Handing PAUL his cigars)
I guess you could call it a hobby. It doesn't
take me more than about five minutes a day to
do it, but I do it every day. Rain or shine,
sleet or snow. Sort of like the postman.
Sometimes it feels like my hobby is my real job,
and my job is just a way to support my hobby.
So you're not just some guy who pushes coins
across a counter.
That's what people see, but that ain't
necessarily what I am.
(Looking at AUGGIE with new eyes)
How'd you get started?
It's a long story. I'd need two or three drinks
to get through that one.
A photographer ...
Well, let's not exaggerate. I take pictures.
You line up what you want in the viewfinder and
click the shutter. No need to mess around with
all that artisto crap.
I'd like to see your pictures some day.
It can be arranged. Seeing as how I've read
your books. I don't see why I shouldn't share
my pictures with you.
(Pause. Suddenly embarrassed)
It would be an honor.
10. INT: NIGHT. AUGGIE'S APARTMENT
AUGGIE and PAUL are sitting at the kitchen table, opened boxes of
Chinese food pushed to one side. Most of the surface of the table is
covered with large black photograph albums. There are fourteen in all,
and the spine of each one is labeled with a year -- ranging from 1977
to 1990. One of these albums (1987) is open on PAUL'S lap.
Close-up of one of the pages in the album. There are six
black-and-white photos on the page, each one of an identical scene: the
corner of 3rd Street and Seventh Avenue at eight o'clock in the
morning. In the upper right-hand corner of each photo, there is a small
white label bearing the date: 8-9-87, 8-10-87, 8-11-87, etc. PAUL'S
hand turns the page; we see six more similar photographs. He turns the
page again: same thing. And again: same thing.
They're all the same.
That's right. More than four thousand pictures
of the same place. The corner of 3rd Street and
Seventh Avenue at eight o'clock in the morning.
Four thousand straight days in all kinds of
That's why I can never take a vacation. I've
got to be in my spot every morning. Every
morning in the same spot at the same time.
(At a loss. Turns a page,
then another page)
I've never seen anything like it.
It's my project. What you'd call my life's
(Puts down the album and picks up
another. Flips through the pages and
finds more of the same. Shakes his
head in bafflement)
(Trying to be polite)
I'm not sure I get it, though. I mean, how did
you ever come up with the idea to do this ...
I don't know, it just came to me. It's my
corner, after all. It's just one little part of
the world, but things happen there, too, just
like everywhere else. It's a record of my
(Flipping through the album,
still shaking his head)
It's kind of overwhelming.
You'll never get it if you don't slow down,
What do you mean?
I mean, you're going too fast. You're hardly
even looking at the pictures.
But they're all the same.
They're all the same, but each one is different
from every other one. You've got your bright
mornings and your dark mornings. You've got
your summer light and your autumn light. You've
got your weekdays and your weekends. You've
got your people in overcoats and galoshes,
and you've got your people in shorts and
T-shirts. Sometimes the same people,
sometimes different ones. And sometimes the
different ones become the same, and the same
ones disappear. The earth revolves around the
sun, and every day the light from the sun hits
the earth at a different angle.
(Looks up from the album at AUGGIE)
Slow down, huh?
Yeah, that's what I'd recommend. You know how
it is. Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, time
creeps on its petty pace.
Close-ups of the photo album. One by one, a single picture occupies the
entire screen. AUGGIE'S project unfolds before us. One picture follows
another: the same place at the same time at different moments of the
year. Close-ups of different faces within the close-ups. The same
people appear in different pictures, sometimes looking into the camera,
sometimes looking away. Dozens of stills. Finally, we come to a
close-up of Ellen, PAUL'S dead wife.
Close-up of PAUL'S face.
Jesus, look. It's Ellen.
The camera pulls away. AUGGIE leans over PAUL'S shoulder. We see PAUL'S
finger pointing to Ellen's face.
Yeah. There she is. She's in quite a few from
that year. She must have been on her way to
(Moved, on the point of tears)
It's Ellen. Look at her. Look at my sweet
11. INT: NIGHT. PAUL'S APARTMENT
We see PAUL scribbling furiously in his legal pad, lost in his work.
Behind him, we see ten or twelve index cards pinned to the wall. The
cards are covered with writing. One of them reads: "The woman with
brown hair and blue eyes." Another one reads: "The mind is led on, step
by step, to defeat its own logic." A third one reads: "Remember the
PAUL stands up from his desk, goes over to the wall, pulls off one of
the cards, and studies it as he returns to his desk. An instant later,
he begins writing again.
The intercom buzzer sings loudly in the other room. PAUL continues to
work, oblivious to the noise. The buzzer sounds again. PAUL puts down
(Under his breath)
(He stands up from his chair, walks
to the other room, and presses the
"talk" button on the intercom)
Who is it?
VOICE FROM THE INTERCOM
VOICE FROM THE INTERCOM
Rashid Cole. The lemonade kid, remember?
(Without much enthusiasm)
Come on up.
(Pushes "door" button the intercom)
PAUL walks to the door and opens it, peering into the hall as he waits
for RASHID to arrive. A moment later, RASHID appears -- dressed as
before, the backpack slung over his shoulder. He appears awkward, ill
I didn't expect to see you again.
(Making the best of it)
Same here. But I had a long talk with my
accountant this afternoon. You know, to see how
a move like this would affect my tax picture,
and he said it would be okay.
PAUL studies him with a mixture of bafflement and curiosity, but
doesn't answer. RASHID puts down his bag and begins looking around the
apartment. After a moment:
That's it. Just the two rooms.
(Continuing to study
his new surroundings)
This is the first house I've been in without a
I used to have one, but it broke a couple of
years ago and I never got around to replacing
I'd just as soon not have one anyway. I hate
those damn things.
But then you don't get to watch the ball games.
You told me you were a Mets fan.
I listen on the radio. I can see the games just
fine that way.
The world is in your head, remember?
(Smiles. Continues to walk around. Sees
a small pen-and-ink drawing hanging on
the wall above the stereo cabinet: the
head of a small child. He stops to
Nice drawing. Did you do that?
My father did. Believe it or not, that little
baby is me.
(Studying the drawing more carefully.
Turns to look at PAUL, then turns
back to the drawing)
Yeah, I can believe it.
It's strange, though, isn't it? Looking at
yourself before you knew who you were.
Is your father an artist?
No, he was a schoolteacher. But he liked to
Twelve, thirteen years ago.
Actually, he died with his sketch pad open on
his lap. Up in the Berkshires one weekend,
drawing a picture of Mount Greylock.
(Studying the picture, nodding
his head. As if to himself)
Drawing's a good thing.
Is that what you do? Draw pictures?
(Shrugs, as if suddenly embarrassed)
I like to dabble, too.
12. INT: DAY. PAUL'S APARTMENT
Two hours later. We see PAUL writing at his desk in the workroom. After
a moment, he stands up and opens the double doors a crack. From PAUL'S
POV: we see RASHID sitting at the table in the main room, head resting
on his arms, asleep. The backpack is still where he put it down in the
13. INT: DAY. PAUL'S APARTMENT
8:00 in the morning. PAUL is sitting at the dining table drinking
coffee. He looks at his watch, puts down the cup, walks to the workroom
door, opens it, pokes head inside. Shot of RASHID asleep on the floor;
shot of the typewriter and legal pad on the desk. PAUL closes the door,
sighs, returns to the other room and pours himself another cup of
coffee. Looks at his watch. Close-up of the watch: dissolve from 8:05
to 8:35. PAUL puts down the cup, stands up, walks to the workroom door,
Time to wake up.
(Waits, listens, knocks again)
Hey, kid, time to wake up.
(Waits, listens, knocks again)
(Opens door. RASHID is
groggily opening his eyes)
Up and out. I have to work in here. The slumber
party is over.
(Sitting up, rubbing his eyes)
What time is it?
(Appalled by early hour)
You'll find juice and eggs and milk in the
refrigerator. Cereal in the cupboard. Coffee
on the stove. Take whatever you want. But it's
time for me to get started in here.
RASHID stands up, embarrassed. He is dressed in underpants only. He
rolls up the sleeping bag and pushes it to one side, then he gathers up
his clothes and hustles out of the room.
14. INT: DAY. PAUL'S APARTMENT
Twenty minutes later. PAUL is sitting at his desk, staring at his
typewriter. A loud noise comes from the other room: the clatter of
dishes being put into the sink. PAUL stands up, walks to the door,
opens it. He sees RASHID, now fully dressed, picking up the telephone
next to the bed. He sees RASHID'S knapsack opened; a brown paper bag is
sitting next to it. He watches RASHID dial a number.
(In a low voice)
May I speak to Emily Vail, please? Yes, thank
you, I'll wait.
(Silence, three or four beats. RASHID
fiddles with a pillow on the bed)
Aunt Em? Hi, it's me. I just wanted you to know
(Pause, as he listens. The response from
the other end is an angry one)
I know, I'm sorry.
(Pause, as he listens)
I just didn't want you to worry about me.
(Silence, as he listens. Begins to show
irritation with Aunt Em's hostility)
Just cool it, okay? Take it easy.
(Click on the other end. He stares at the
receiver for a moment, then hangs up)
PAUL closes the door quietly. RASHID does not know he has been
observed. Cut back to PAUL in workroom. He sits down at his desk,
thinks for a moment, then begins typing.
15. INT: DAY. PAUL'S APARTMENT
Several hours later. With the sounds of PAUL'S typing continuing to
come from the workroom, we see RASHID stand on a chair next to the
bookcase in the larger room and deposit the brown paper bag behind the
books on one of the upper shelves.
16. INT: NIGHT. PAUL'S APARTMENT
A shot of RASHID asleep in PAUL'S bed. Lying next to him on the bed is
an open, half-read copy of one of PAUL'S books: The Mysterious
Barricades by Paul Benjamin.
Cut to a shot of PAUL sleeping on the floor of the workroom.
17. INT: DAY. PAUL'S APARTMENT
PAUL is in his workroom, sitting at his desk, typing. We see more index
cards pinned to the wall. PAUL hears a loud crash from the other room.
He pops up from his desk, exasperated, then walks to the door and opens
it. Shot of the other room: RASHID is standing there, looking down at
Jesus, do you make a lot of noise. Can't you
see I'm trying to work?
I'm sorry. They just... they just slipped out
of my hands.
A little less clumsiness around here would be
nice, don't you think?
I'm a teenager. All teenagers are clumsy. It's
because we're still growing. We don't know
where our bodies end and the world begins.
The world is going to end pretty soon if you
don't learn fast.
(Pause. PAUL reaches into his pocket and
pulls out his wallet, then removes a
Look, why not make yourself useful? I'm just
about out of smokes. Go around the corner to
the Brooklyn Cigar Company and buy me two tins
of Schimmelpenninck Medias.
(Hands the bill to RASHID)
(Taking the bill)
Twenty dollars is a lot of money. Are you sure
you can trust me with it? I mean, aren't you
afraid I might steal it?
If you want to steal it, that's your business.
At least I won't have you around here making
It might be worth it.
RASHID, visibly hurt by PAUL'S remark, puts the money in his pocket.
For once, he is unable to come up with a quick retort.
RASHID walks out of the apartment. PAUL watches the door slam. Slight
pause, then he bends down and starts picking up the broken dishes.
18. INT: DAY. PAUL'S APARTMENT
The workroom. A few minutes later. PAUL returns to his desk and begins
to type. Almost immediately, the ribbon jams. He lets out a groan, then
opens the typewriter to inspect the damage.
19. EXT: DAY. THE BROOKLYN CIGAR CO., AS SEEN FROM ACROSS THE STREET
Eight o'clock in the morning. We see AUGGIE on the corner, getting
ready to take his daily photograph. Cut to the corner as seen through
the lens of the camera. Hustle and bustle, people on their way to work.
Automobile traffic, buses, delivery trucks. We hear the shutter click.
The picture freezes.
20. INT: DAY. PAUL'S APARTMENT
The workroom. PAUL is sitting at his desk, writing. A loud crash from
the other room punctuates the silence. He jumps in his chair.
He stands up, goes to the door, opens it. Shot of RASHID standing
precariously on the arm of a chair, his right hand groping behind the
books on the top shelf of the bookcase. Several books have already
fallen to the floor.
Jesus Christ. Are you at it again?
RASHID turns at the sound of PAUL'S voice, momentarily losing his
balance. As he grabs hold of the bookcase again to steady himself, more
books fall off the shelf and come tumbling to the floor. An instant
later, he lands on the floor as well.
What is it with you, anyway? You're like a
human wrecking ball.
(Climbing to his feet. Ashamed)
I'm sorry. I'm really sorry... I was trying to
reach for one of the books up there ...
And then, I don't know, the sky fell on top of
(With growing irritation)
It just won't do, will it? I go two and a half
years without being able to write a word, and
then, when I finally get started on something,
when it looks as though I might actually be
coming to life again, you show up and start
breaking everything in my house. It just won't
do, will it?
I didn't ask to come here. You invited me,
If you want me to leave, all you have to do is
How long have you been here?
And how long did I tell you you could stay?
Two or three nights.
It sounds like our time is up, doesn't it?
(Looking down at floor)
I'm sorry I messed up. You've been very kind to
(Walks toward the bed, picks up the
backpack from the floor, and begins
stuffing his things into it)
But all good things have to come to an end,