‘The American Dream, Overrated Freedom’ Original Script by Ross McNeil



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ELIZABETH

Yes, but we need his money.


JOSHUA

We don’t need his money, you’re already rich.


ELIZABETH

All my capital is invested in this place. And soon this company is going to crash and burn.


JOSHUA

How? ... Why?


ELIZABETH

There is only a certain amount of time before stockholders realize that the company has inflated its earnings.

(beat)

Stock prices will fall, employees will be laid off –-


JOSHUA interrupts --
JOSHUA

Bankruptcy?


ELIZABETH

Yes.
JOSHUA

What about HOLDEN and MCINTYRE?
ELIZABETH

They are too old and senile to know what day of the week it islet alone what I’m doing.


JOSHUA

How long do you think we have?


ELIZABETH

Ten maybe eleven —-


JOSHUA

Months!


ELIZABETH

Weeks.
JOSHUA

Listen Beth. This better be over by then. I am not going to prison.
ELIZABETH

Don’t worry, nothing can be traced to you. To them you’re just my P.A. Relax baby, were going to be rich.


They have another passionate kiss.
CUT TO:

EXT. SECLUDED AREA IN NYC SIDE STREET -- DAY


Both THOMAS and GILBURT are sitting on the ground there is an upturned crate in front of them. THOMAS is counting out the money.
THOMAS

Five hundred and sixty seven dollars.


GILBURT

Well, give me my share and I’ll be on me way.


THOMAS

Your share?


GILBURT

Yeah, my share?


THOMAS

How does that work?


GILBURT

We found the money, we keeps the money, I get my half, you get yours.


THOMAS

Say, I was to give you some of MY money, what the hell would you do with it?


GILBURT Decent bed, shower, shave, food ...

(beat)


Perhaps a steak. Yeah! a steak. Medium rare.

(beat)


With some A1 sauce ... and some roasted potatoes.
THOMAS

Well, what will you do after that?


GILBURT

Be back out here, with your sorry white ass.

(beat)

What you gonna do wit it?


THOMAS

Invest it.


GILBURT

Invest it? Boy what you gonna do that for?


THOMAS

Well, after you spend your money, you’ll be back out here. As soon as you sleep outside, you’ll stink just as bad and look just as bad. And soon as you take a shit that steak that you ate will be gone.


GILBURT appears to be interested.
GILBURT

O.K. What do you suggest?

THOMAS

We use this money to start a company. We start small and reinvest, until we have enough to get off the street. Who knows what from there.


GILBURT

How long will this take?


THOMAS

Depends how much work you’re willing to do.


GILBURT

Hell, I don’t know.


THOMAS

Well this is the deal, I give you fifty dollars right now, and we go our separate ways, or you stick with me and we get rich.


GILBURT

Why don’t you do this on you own?


THOMAS

I’m just a poor down on my luck yuppie boy remember.

(beat)

Plus I need you, just as much as you need me.


GILBURT

You need me?

(beat)

For what?


THOMAS

You know people. We need more than two of us.


GILBURT

How many?


THOMAS

At least two. Two we can trust.


GILBURT

I know just the motherfuckers.

THOMAS offers a handshake to GILBURT.
THOMAS

My name is THOMAS CRAWFORD, I don’t believe we’ve met.


GILBURT

GILBURT SULIVAN, my friends call us GILL.

THOMAS

Well GILL, are we partners?


GILBURT

GILBURT, we partners, but we aint friends. You still owes me a soup.


THOMAS smiles. They shake hands.
WE MATCH CUT TO:
EXT. GOLF COURSE –- DAY
STEVEN HOLDEN and ALEC MCINTYRE shake hands on the 18th green at a prestigious golf club.
ALEC

Good game today STEVEN. Almost got you

there on the back nine.
STEVEN

Well, the old lady behaved herself today.


(kisses his putter)
STEVEN (Cont’d)

If only the wife would do the same I’ll be onto a winner.


(both of the men laugh)
ALEC

You want to take a steam?

STEVEN

Sure.
CUT TO:


INT. THE STEAM ROOM –- DAY
ALEC is sitting on the wooden beach, with a towel wrapped around him. STEVEN comes in and takes a seat.

STEVEN


No too hot in here for you?
ALEC

Just perfect.

(beat)

I was just thinking about ELIZABETH ...


STEVEN

I was thinking about the same thing. She is placing too much pressure on the rest of the board. I mean GARETH is expecting a pink slip on Monday.

(beat)

She better let up or they’ll blow their heads off before the AGM.


ALEC

Why do you suppose that is? Our stock price is the highest it has been in four years. Our EBIT is up on last quarter.


STEVEN

Something is not right.


ALEC

Might be problems at home.


STEVEN

Perhaps. I was actually going to ask her about it today after the meeting but she had to take a phone call.


ALEC

(Firmly)


Well, we have to do something about it she has everyone on edge.
STEVEN

I’ll look into it. She’ll never tell me herself.


ALEC

Do it quietly. If it gets out that one of the partners is doing something illegal, we all suffer.


ALEC pours more water on the coals. The room steams up.
CUT TO:
EXT. LARGE CHURCH – EVENING
The shot is that of the outside of a large church. It is raining heavily.
CUT TO:
INT. CHURCH BASEMENT -– EVENING
We see THOMAS and GIL sitting next to each other around a small circular table. OSCAR the dog is at his feet. At the other end we see TERRANCE (KID) PARKER, 17, a baby faced kid, wearing a torn shirt and a grimy wool ski hat. Next to him is TONY SERENTO, 36, Italian American, chubby and unshaven. He is also wearing torn, dirty clothing. On his left is ERIC MICHEALS, 40, he is also unshaven, yet his stubble is gray, he is drinking from a whiskey bottle. You can smell the alcohol on his breath from across the room.
THOMAS speaks quietly to GIL while the other three speak amongst themselves.
THOMAS

How did you get us in here?


GIL

I did some shit for the boss one day last year.


THOMAS

Oh yeah. What was that?


CUT TO:
INT. LARGE HOUSE – LONG ISLAND N.Y. (EVENING)
We see GIL dressed like a waiter at a large house. He is serving well dressed people with drinks. He describes what is happening.
GIL (V.O)

Well last years the priest had a Christmas party at his home on Long Island.

(beat)

He asked me to help. You know serve drinks, suck up to rich fuckers.



(beat)

Well its about 2.30 and I cant find the old bastard. He owed me a fifty for the day –

THOMAS (V.O)

Yeah –
GIL (V.O)

I go upstairs ...
We see GIL go up a grand staircase and enter a room.
(interrupts)
THOMAS (V.O)

And –-
GIL (V.O)

I walked on the priest fuckin’ some sixteen year old bitch. I can tell you she wasn’t his wife.

(laughs)
We see GIL’S expression as he stands in the doorway. The priest looks around to see GIL standing there.


CUT TO:
INT. CHURCH BASEMENT – (EVENING)

THOMAS


Holy fuck!

(laughs)
GIL

Damn right it was a holy fuck

(beat)


He was pounding the shit out of her.

(beat)


So he lets me have the keys to this basement when I need them, plus other perks.
THOMAS

Wow! That’s some story.


GIL

Gets better each time I tell it.

THOMAS turns to address the other three men at the table.

THOMAS


Alright, you guys are probably wondering why you are here.
TONY

Betta be fuckin’ good.


THOMAS

Don’t worry I am sure you’ll want to stay, once I tell you what’s happening.


ERIC

Hey, Gill, what the fucks goin’ here?

(beat)

Is this fucker legit or what?


TERRANCE butts in
TERRANCE

Would you shut up and let him get on wit’ it.


TONY

Hey kid, watch ya fuckin’ mouth O.K.


ERIC

(Whispers to TERRANCE)


You speak to me like that again, and I’ll cut ya hairless balls off. You getting’ me?
GILL interrupts
GILL

Hey that’s enough. All you motherfuckers shut ya mouths. THOMAS ...


GILL gestures to THOMAS to proceed.
THOMAS

I want you guys to start a business up with me and GILL here.


TONY

A business! What the fuck, you crazy?


THOMAS

Maybe.
TERRANCE

Don’t you need money for that? And if you hadn’t noticed we aint exactly Donald Trump.

THOMAS


You don’t need money.
He pulls out a black bag and places it on the table. GILL stares at the bag.
ERIC

What the fucks in there?


THOMAS

Five hundred dollars.


As he speaks, GILL jumps up and pulls a knife on THOMAS. He puts it up to his throat. The other three guys slide their chairs back away from GILL. OSCAR starts barking.
THOMAS

(Calmly)


Hey, what you doing GILL?
GILL

I’s thinkin’ man, and I aint gonna let you take my fuckin’ money.


He pulls the knife tighter to his throat. OSCAR continues to bark.
THOMAS

Take it easy.


GILL

You think you can screw my black ass?


THOMAS

Take the money, you fuckin’ black asshole. I’ll find you

GILL

Oh! Now it comes out.



(beat)

Your just a racist fucka’ aint’ ya. (beat) Don’t worry. You aint gonna find me.


THOMAS

You fucking think?


GILL

I fuckin know, yuppie boy!


GILL grabs the bag and walks towards the exit backwards. THOMAS is left bleeding on the floor, his chair knocked over.
GILL

Any of you fuckers follow me and I’ll slit ya’ sack.


He turns and runs out.

THOMAS gets up and dusts himself off.


TERRANCE

Oh fuck man, you’re bleeding.


Touches his neck with his hand.
THOMAS

I think its O.K.


ERIC

Fuck me. I’m gone.


THOMAS

You’re going.


ERIC

Yeah you crazy asshole. He got the money.


THOMAS tosses another black bag on the table.
THOMAS

No he doesn’t.


All three vagrants stare in shock at the bag on the table.
ERIC

Oh man, is that the fuckin’ money?


THOMAS

Well now I know the guys I can trust.


There is a pause as all three men comprehend what’s happened.
TONY

Not quite yet.

TONY pulls a gun from his coat and points it at THOMAS. TERRANCE and ERIC get up out their chairs.
TONY (Cont’d)

(uses the gun to point)

NA AH! Sit the fuck back down.
They sit back down. THOMAS puts his hands up in front of him. There are claps of thunder and flashes of lightening, lighting up TONY’S face.
TERRANCE

HOLY FUCK!


THOMAS

Don’t do this.


TONY

I’m fuckin’ doing it.


TONY snatches the bag and exits the shelter. THOMAS breathes out and sits back in his chair. About five seconds pass without anybody speaking.
THOMAS

Guess we’re down to two.

ERIC

You what?


TERRANCE

That bag had no money in it either?


THOMAS

That bag didn’t.


TERRANCE

So what was the point of the second bag?


THOMAS leans back.
THOMAS

(Shouts)


HEY GILL!
GIL reemerges with the bag in his hands. He enters the basement and puts the black bag back on the table.
THOMAS (Cont’d)

Why in the name of hell, did you cut me?


THOMAS touches his neck with his hands.

GIL


Add a bit more realism.

THOMAS


You could have hit my artery.
GIL

You crazy, I know what I was doin’.

(beat)

So TONY was the one that took the fuckin bait? You know I knew it be that motherfucker.


ERIC

So this whole fuckin’ thing was one big setup.


TERRANCE

Aint’ he gonna find out that bag has nothin’ in it?


THOMAS

He’ll look in there on his way and see thirty ones wrapped in a twenty.


GIL

Shit boy, you gave away fifty bucks of my money?


THOMAS

This way he’ll be long gone before he realizes. If he’d looked in there just outside he’d be back in here.

(beat)

GIL


He aint gonna be back for a while. He ran right by me. Never stoped till’ I couldn’t see him.
THOMAS

We had to find out if we could trust any of you.


ERIC

How do we know we can trust you?


THOMAS

You can’t, but I’m not going to screw you I’m the one with the money.


He places his hand on the bag.
THOMAS (cont’d)

I just need you’re help.


ERIC

Why should we help you?


THOMAS


You will be an equal partner in the business, including an equal share in the profits.
ERIC

Say I will help you, what guarantees do I have?


THOMAS

None, just my word.


ERIC, leans back in his chair. While TERRANCE looks on.
THOMAS (Cont’d)

Hey, its not as if you’ve got anything better to do.

(beat)

Listen, GILL told me you guys could be trusted, he was wrong about one, but you two guys passed the test.


TERRANCE

Hell I’m in.


THOMAS

(towards ERIC)

You?
ERIC

Shit man... Alright count me in.


GIL

Hey THOMAS, how did ya know you could trust me?

(beat)

You know with the money.


THOMAS

I didn’t --


GIL grabs the bag and empties it out on the table. A bundle of cardboard falls out.

THOMAS (Cont’d)

-- But I do now.
GIL

Son of a bitch.

(slight smile and laugh)
THOMAS

Before we go into business, we should no each others names.


TERRANCE reaches over to shake THOMAS’ hand.
TERRANCE

TERRANCE... People call me KID.


They shake hands
THOMAS

Welcome to the team KID.


ERIC

I’m ERIC MICHEALS. The ROADRUNNER.

(beat)

Never been caught.


THOMAS

O.K. My name is THOMAS CRAWFORD and this is OSCAR.


THOMAS pats the dog

THOMAS


O.K. This is the board.

(beat)


One thing. No drugs, no alcohol --
ERIC hides the bottle of whiskey under the table.
THOMAS (Cont’d)
-- and no glue sniffing. If anyone of you even appears in the clouds you’ll be out, back in the shit you came from. We cant afford any liabilities Everyone understand?
TERRANCE

We aint dealin’ drugs then?


ERIC

Fuck man, not guns, I hate guns.


THOMAS

Nope. We’re going to sell lemonade.

(smiles)
The others look bemused.
CUT TO:
INT. ELIZABETH’S HOUSE. SUBURB OF NYC –- DAY
ELIZABETH and ANDY are in bed. The alarm sounds. ELIZABETH opens her eyes slowly and turns off the alarm quickly. She gets out of bed carefully in order not to wake ANDY. She starts to get dressed.
ANDY

(sleepy)


Have a nice day at work.

ELIZABETH is grumpy


ELIZABETH

Well one of us should go.


ANDY

Call in sick and come back to bed.


ELIZABETH

I wish I could, but people are counting on me.

(beat)

And how about doing some work around the house today. Repair the guttering and mend the heating. If I have to take one more cold shower –-


ANDY interrupts --
ANDY

(sarcastic)

-- What, you’ll leave me?
ELIZABETH walks around to ANDY’S side of the bed.
ELIZABETH

Love you honey.


She kisses him on the forehead and leaves the room. ANDY goes back to sleep.
EXT. ELIZABETH’S HOUSE. SUBURB NYC –- DAY
ELIZABETH exits the front door and gets into her Mercedes. She drives about four blocks and stops. JOSHUA gets in the passenger side. They share a passionate kiss. The car moves off.
CUT TO:
INT. CHURCH BASEMENT –- NIGHT
The basement is small. The table where the meeting was held is in the center of the room. There are two dirty, stained mattresses on the ground. THOMAS occupies one, GIL occupies the other. It is cold in the room as we can see the breath of both men.
THOMAS

Thanks for letting me stay here tonight.


GIL

Don’t thank me, I’m protectin’ my fuckin’ interest.

(beat)

Where ever that money goes, old GIL gonna be right there wit it. If I let you sleep outside GIL gonna have to sleep outside, and GIL don’t like that.



THOMAS

You always get to sleep down here?


GIL

Na, sometimes the priest he has to show other religious folk around. I has to clear out.

(beat)

Don’t you say nothin’ bout this to those motherfuckers that were in here tonight. If it got out that I have a place to crash all shit break loose. You only here cause you have the money.


THOMAS

I know when to keep my mouth shut.


THOMAS rolls over and tries to go to sleep. GIL stares into the darkness.
GIL (V.O)

Most of the time I could never sleep. Just stare upon a blank area on the ceiling. Nothing but my thoughts. I would lay there contemplating if I should go and steal a gun. Start shooting folk. I imagined what prison would be like. Out here, on the street, prison seemed like a palace. Daily food, clean clothing, a regular bed. Jail had bars, but there are invisible bars on the street.

(beat)

Freedom was overrated.



(beat)

I was glad THOMAS was here.

(beat)

He kept me from that gun.


GIL turns and looks at THOMAS
GIL

Hey THOMAS, you asleep. Wake your lazy white ass up.


THOMAS

I’m here.


GIL

I’ve gotta ask you sumthin’. Why you here.


THOMAS opens his eyes fully. It is a clear night and the moonlight lights the room.

GIL (Cont’d)

I haven’t known you but five days, but you seem intelligent boy. How you end up lying next me?
THOMAS

I don’t want to talk about.


GIL

Come on. It can’t be drugs. I aint seen ya take nothin’.

(beat)

Hey THOMAS you there boy. You aint jerking off now are ya. This is a house of God.


THOMAS

Just drop it would you.


He rolls over. Covering his face with the sheet.
GIL

Hey man, we’re supposed to be partners. I should know.


THOMAS

THOMAS speaks aggressively


I SAID LEAVE IT THE FUCK ALONE!
GIL

Alright man. I donts have to know.


Both men lay there in silence. THOMAS rolls back over.
THOMAS

All I ever wanted in life was a family. A wife that loved me and who I loved twice as much. A son and a daughter. Running around the garden on a summers day. You know wearing their bathing suits, while I spray them with the hose. The dog trying to drink the spray as it falls. That was my dream.

(beat)

I married my wife on August 15th 1996, at St Mary’s church. The happiest day of my life. For the first time, I believed my dream would come true.



CUT TO:

INT. AN APARTMENT. BEDROOM. DOWNTOWN NYC –- DAY (1997)


4 YEARS EARLIER
We see THOMAS lying on a large bed. ELIZABETH is lying next to him asleep. THOMAS has just awoken as the alarm clock is ringing. He bashes it with his hand and knocks it on the floor, it continues to ring. OSCAR the dog jumps off the end of the bed.
ELIZABETH stirs.
ELIZABETH

Would you shut that thing up.


THOMAS

I’m sorry honey.


He creeps out of bed and goes into the bathroom down the hall. He turns on the shower. He gets undressed and jumps under the jet of water. ELIZABETH is still in bed and asleep.
THOMAS returns and starts to get dressed into his suit. He checks his watch and begins to dress quicker. He has a quick look in the mirror and goes over to ELIZABETHS side of the bed.
THOMAS

I love you


He kisses her on the forehead.
ELIZABETH

(sleepy)


I love you too.
EXT. LOBBY APARTMENT BUILDING –- DAY (Morning)
THOMAS comes out of the elevator. There is a doorman, ALFRED, 71, sitting behind a small desk.
ALFRED

Good morning Mr. CRAWFORD.


THOMAS

Morning Alfred. Did you have a good weekend?


ALFRED

Yes thank you sir. And you?


THOMAS

Good. Good. Um, could you do me a favor?


ALFRED

Yes of course.


THOMAS

Could you call this florist –-


He hands ALFRED a business card.
THOMAS (Cont’d)

--And order a dozen roses to be delivered today.


ALFRED

Where to sir?


THOMAS

Here, there for my wife.


ALFRED

Splendid sir. Anniversary?


THOMAS

No. No. Just to let her know I love her.

(beat)

I written the message on the back of the back of the card.



(beat)

Oh and here for your trouble.


He hands ALFRED a twenty dollar bill
CUT TO:
INT. CHURCH BASEMENT –- NIGHT (2003)
GIL is listening to THOMAS’ story.
GIL

I knew it. You were a yuppie boy. No poor folk would tip a doorman twenty dollar.


THOMAS

You want me to continue?


GIL

(sarcastic)

Go ahead. Excuse me for interrupting!
CUT TO:
EXT. ENTRACE. A LARGE OFFICE BUILDING. NYC –- DAY (1996)
THOMAS pulls into the parking lot. He punches in and the barrier lifts

to let THOMAS in. He checks his watch.


CUT TO:
INT. ELEVATOR –- DAY
THOMAS continues to check his watch.
THOMAS

Come on. Come on.


The elevator gets to the 14th floor. The doors open he hurries out.
CUT TO:
INT. OFFICE BUILDING. 14th FLOOR –- DAY (1996)
THOMAS passes about five or six cubicle offices, before he gets to the

end corner office. He enters. On the door is ‘THOMAS CRAWFORD-HEAD OF PURCHASING’. He takes his seat behind his large desk. He looks through the glass divide and sees ANDREW (ANDY) JACKSON on the phone. ANDY points at his watch and laughs. THOMAS shakes his head and jokingly throws a pen at ANDY, which obviously hits the glass divide. ANDY hangs up the phone, gets up and walks out of his office. He stands in the entrance to THOMAS’ office.


ANDY

Looking at his watch


Eight thirty, a new record. That new wife of yours giving you a hard time.
THOMAS

The alarm clock was still set on Sunday time.


ANDY

O.K, well don’t be late tonight.


THOMAS

What’s tonight?


ANDY

Racquetball.


THOMAS

Oh! Nuts. I totally forgot.


ANDY

Don’t tell me you’re not going. We’re playing Eastside tonight.


ANDY pretends to swing a racket.
THOMAS

You don’t need me. Eastside couldn’t hit fish in a barrel.


ANDY

Thomas where have you been. Eastside beat the the living crap out of us last month.


THOMAS

You’ll be O.K. Just tell them not to hit it to your backhand.


ANDY

What’s wrong with my backhand?

THOMAS

It so bad that most paint has been chipped off the back side of your racket.


ANDY laughs.
ANDY

Hey! That’s from hitting the wall.

(beat)

O.K. Because I’m so bad is the reason we need you on our team.


THOMAS

Because I’m so good.


ANDY

Reluctantly agreeing


Yes –-
THOMAS

-- Yes what?


ANDY

Yes because you’re so good.


THOMAS gives in.
THOMAS

Alright. I’ll be there. At the ‘Y’ right?


ANDY smiles.
ANDY

Three o’clock baby.


ANDY plays his messages. It’s a woman’s voice.
WOMAN #1 (O.S)

Yes hello Mr. Crawford. This is Erica at Tiffany’s. Just to let you know the diamond bracelet set that you ordered has now arrived and you can collect it today. We will be open until six o’clock if...

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