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



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All three take off their shirts and throw them at THOMAS
THOMAS (Cont’d)

-- Pass them here.


The guys sit there in old T-shirts. THOMAS takes some change from the bag. He gets up and goes to leave the room. OSCAR the dog, follows him.
GIL

THOMAS. Wait up. I’m comin’ too. Need some fresh air.


GIL gets up and follows THOMAS. KID and ROADRUNNER are left sitting at the table alone.
ROADRUNNER

So, what you think?


KID

I want to be a millionaire.

CUT TO:
INT. LAUNDROMAT –- NIGHT
THOMAS and GIL sit watching the laundry spin in the machine. They are sitting in the center of the room. There are perhaps fourteen machines, seven on each side of the room. The place is old, slightly run down. An elderly lady works at the back of the room, folding sheets.
THOMAS

What are you thinking?


GIL

Bout the store?


THOMAS nods.
GIL (Cont’d)

Heck, I don’t know THOMAS. I’m not much of a business man.

(beat)

I trust you now. You’re an educated man, intelligent –-


THOMAS interrupts—-
THOMAS

--Yet here I sit. Right next to you.

(beat)

Tell me how did you come to sit here.


GIL

Shit, I’ve been out here since I was sixteen.

Never had a childhood. Never really had any normal part of my life. What you call normal anyway.
THOMAS

Tell me about it. I’ve told you my story. And we have still got...


TIGHT ON WASHER DISPLAY
THOMAS (Cont’d)

...thirteen minutes.


GIL

My whole life in thirteen minutes. Won’t even take that long.


CUT TO:
EXT. FARM. KANSAS –- DUSK (1955)
A ten year old GIL is sitting out under a tree in an open field. The tree has a rope swing attached to an outstretched limb. In the background there is a typical Mid-west wooden house. A front porch, with two solitary rocking chairs placed either side of a small white front door. The house is isolated. A working class farming house.
GIL (V.O)

I grew up in Hanceville, Kansas. A small farming community. My father worked for a wealthy white family on their farm He would plough the fields ...


CUT TO:
EXT. LARGE FIELD –- DAY (1955)
We see a black male, ploughing a field with horses. He is GIL’s father.
GIL (V.O)

Tend to the animals. To others he was a model father...


CUT TO:
EXT. FRONT PORCH. SULIVAN HOUSE –- DUSK

GIL’S father, 32, steps out onto the front porch, he is drinking from a whiskey bottle.


FATHER

YOU OUT HERE BOY.

CUT TO:
EXT. UNDER GIL’S TREE –- DUSK
GIL looks back scared. He begins to cry.
GIL (V.O)

...to me he was a bitter drunk.


CUT TO:
INT. SMALL FARM HOUSE – NIGHT.
GIL is hiding in the corner of a bedroom. He hears footsteps coming up the stairs. He is really scared. We see the small boy wet his pants.
FATHER (O.S)

WHERE ARE YOU? I isn’t gonna hurt you.


He sees the young GIL hiding.
FATHER (O.S)

There you is.


His father grabs him by the hand and pulls him up on his feet.
FATHER (O.S)

(angry drunk)

You fouled your pants. You gone AND FOULED YOUR PANTS!
He takes off his belt.
YOUNG GIL

NO Dad NO!


The father then begins to hit GIL with the belt.
GIL (V.O)

I would scream, but we were the only people for two miles.

(beat)

His arm would eventually get tired and he would give up. I would usually pass out from the pain.


CUT TO:
INT. GIL’S BEDROOM –- NIGHT
GIL lays in bed wide awake. He stares at the ceiling. He rolls over and we see the wounds his father inflicted. The door opens and his father is standing there.
CUT TO:
INT. LAUNDROMAT –- (2003)
GIL

Most nights he would come into my bedroom--


GIL has tears in his eyes. THOMAS puts a hand on his shoulder to comfort him.
GILL (Cont’d)

and...


(beat)

Do things to me.


He looks at THOMAS, who looks confused.
GILL (Cont’d)

Sexual things.


CUT TO:

INT. GIL’S BEDROOM –- NIGHT (1957)


Young GIL is putting some clothes in a small bag. He is being very quiet.
GILL (V.O)

So. When I was thirteen years old. I packed a bag and left home.

CUT TO:
EXT. FRONT GATE. SULIVEN FARM –- NIGHT (1957)
Young GIL opens the front gate to the farm and leaves. As he leaves the shot, his fathers bedroom light is switched on.
GILL (V.O)

I never looked back.


CUT TO:
INT. LAUDROMAT –- NIGHT (2003)
THOMAS is listening intently to GIL.
THOMAS

What happened after that?


GIL

I spent the next three years working wherever I could.


CUT TO:
INT. MACHINERY FACTORY. CHICAGO –- DAY (1958)
GIL is working on the assembly line. He is taking parts from a box and attaching it to other parts from the line.
GIL (V.O)

For six months I worked the line fixin’ together engines. Barely made enough to eat.


CUT TO:
INT. OFFICE. FACTORY –- NIGHT (1958)
A young GIL opens the door to the office and goes to sleep on the couch.

GIL (V.O)

I had no money to afford a place to stay, so one day I broke into the bosses office to sleep on the couch ...
The boss, 45, white hair glasses, enters the office.
GIL (V.O)

The boss caught me and fired me on the spot.


CUT TO:
INT. LAUNDROMAT –- NIGHT (2003)
GIL (V.O)

I’ve been livin’ on the streets since then. Shelter to shelter, doorway to doorway.


THOMAS

I’m sorry GIL. I thought I had it bad.


GIL

I wouldn’t trade with you. You had it all, and lost it through no fault of your own.

You tasted the good life. I’d rather never have a good life, than lose it.
The buzzer sounds on the washer/dryer.
THOMAS

Come on. Lets go.


CUT TO:
EXT. OUTSIDE LAUDROMAT –- NIGHT
The two men are walking away from the Laundromat. Both are carrying a bag of clothes each.
GIL

Man. It is damn cold tonight


GIL rubs his hands together. Four men move out of the alley obstructing GIL and THOMAS. They try and walk round but one of the men pushes THOMAS back. The four men were the one’s that raped and beat up THOMAS earlier. THOMAS and GIL drop the bags of clothing.
THOMAS

Hey guys, we don’t want any trouble.


MAN #1

Too fuckin’ bad. I want another shot at that pretty little ass of yours.


GIL

You want to start something motherfuckers, you can start wit me.


MAN #2

You bout’ seventy years old.

(laughs)
THOMAS

Gets aggressive. Street language that he never uses.


You start somethin’ you fuckers, and I’ll kill ya’.
THE group of men laugh at THOMAS’ remarks.
MAN #1

There is four of us—


THOMAS

That maybe true. And we may lose. But at least one of you will die tonight.


THOMAS pulls out a big kitchen knife from his pants.
THOMAS (Cont’d)

Even if all of you come at us, I’ll get one of you motherfuckers. NO WHO IS GONNA BE?

(beat)

YOU.


(beat)

You want me to stick this in your gut, BOY?

(beat)

WELL COME ON!


The four men look at each other as if to say ‘what do we do now’.
MAN #2

Fuck this.

(beat)

You’re a fuckin’ psycho motherfucker.


The man turns and quickly walks away.
MAN #1

You better watch ya’ back.


He turns and walks off. The other two men follow. GIL is shocked.
GIL

You had a kitchen knife –-


THOMAS

Interrupts --

Yeah.
GIL

I mean... You could have cut your nuts off!


The two men pick the bags of clothing back up.

GIL


Damn boy. You used some street language back in there.
THOMAS

Must have picked it up from you.


GIL

Shit. Even I don’t talk like that anymore.


The two walk out of shot.

CUT TO:
INT. CHURCH BASEMENT –- NIGHT


GIL and THOMAS enter the room with the clothing. ROADRUNNER and KID are standing up excitedly.
THOMAS

What do you guy’s want?


THOMAS drops the bags.
ROADRUNNER

We want to be millionaires.


THOMAS turns and looks at GIL inquisitively.
GIL

It would be nice to taste that good life. But I aint’ gonna’ lose it.


CUT TO:
EXT. ENTRANCE TO BANK. STREET. NYC – DAY
THOMAS enters the bank. He is wearing his blue shirt, dress pants and tie. He is carrying a file.
CUT TO:
INT. BANK OFFICE –- DAY
THOMAS is sitting across from MR. DONALD, 45, thin, gray hair, glasses. There is a name sign on the desk stating ‘MR. DONALD - FINANCE MANAGER’. DONALD is looking through THOMAS’ papers.
DONALD

Your accounts are flawless Mr. CRAWFORD.


THOMAS

You have to know where you stand financially, in order to be precise in reinvesting.


DONALD is impressed and nods. He takes off his reading glasses.

DONALD


O.K. Tell me about your plan.
THOMAS

Alright. My partners and I, would like to open up a small store. A place where the public could sit out of the cold.


DONALD

What would you serve?


THOMAS

A selection of fruit drinks, that are freshly prepared on the premises. We also would like to still keep the stalls out on the street.


DONALD

How many different drinks to you intend to sell?


THOMAS tries to recall the flavors.

THOMAS

Strawberry, orange, kiwi, apple, banana and oh, and lemon.


DONALD

Well MR. CRAWFORD. I have looked at your plan and I must admit it is very professional. But--


THOMAS

As if expecting rejection


But—-
DONALD

--Your credit history is very poor. It is one of the lowest that has ever crossed my desk. And although I applaud your efforts for trying to better yourself, it is too much of a risk in today’s climate.


THOMAS

With all due respect MR. DONALD, it is not as if I am asking for the GNP of the country, I am asking for ten thousand dollars. This place must make that in a day.


DONALD

I’m sorry but I have to decline. It is my job to access risk.


THOMAS

(angry)


All I am asking for is a bit of faith.
He stands up and takes the file off the desk. MR. DONALD offers a hand shake.
DONALD

If there is anything else please call.


THOMAS

(angry)


Have a nice day.
THOMAS does not accept the hand shake and leaves the office. Out side the door he takes a list from his pocket. He crosses off the first one on the list ‘NewSouth Bank’. There are about eight banks on the list.
CUT TO:
EXT. OUTSIDE MIDTOWN BANK –- DAY
THOMAS looks at his watch. He enters the bank.
CUT TO:
INT. BANK OFFICE 2 -- DAY
Another finance manager sits across from THOMAS. The camera is at THOMAS’S view (1st Person).
MANAGER 2

No.
CUT TO:


INT. BANK OFFICE 3 – DAY
A fatter manager sits across from THOMAS. He is bald.
MANAGER 3

I’m sorry but it’s no.


CUT TO:
INT. BANK OFFICE 4 -- DAY

Another finance manager sits across the desk. He is reading the files. He looks up.


MANAGER 4

No.
CUT TO:


INT. BANK OFFICE 5 –- DAY
MANAGER 5

I would like to say yes—-


THOMAS interrupts.
THOMAS

But you won’t.


MANAGER 5

No.
CUT TO:


INT. BANK OFFICE 6 -- DAY
Another manager sits across from THOMAS.
MANAGER 6

No.
THOMAS gets up and exits the office. Outside he crosses off all the banks but one.


CUT TO:

INT. BANK OFFICE 7 -- DAY

This is the last bank on the list. Across the desk is a younger man, 34. He is looking over the papers that THOMAS has given him.
MANAGER 7

How many banks have you come to before me?


THOMAS

Six.
The manager smiles. THOMAS has been rejected so many times he isn’t confident of an approval.


MANAGER 7

And how much of a loan do you need?


THOMAS

Ten thousand.


MANAGER 7

O.K.


THOMAS

O.K?
MANAGER 7

You have a deal. The interest rate is going to be high though.
THOMAS is shocked.
THOMAS

Um. Wow. Don’t worry it’ll be paid back in half the time. Is this real? Are you kidding?


MANAGER 7

Happy that THOMAS is happy.
No sir I am not.
THOMAS

Thank you.

(beat)

YES. (loudly)


MANAGER 7

Alright. I’ll go and get the forms and we’ll discuss specific terms and conditions.

(beat)

Can I get you a cup of coffee?


THOMAS

Yes... sir. Black.


MANAGER 7 exits the office. THOMAS sits there smiling and cheering under his breath, waving his arms in the air.
CUT TO:

EXT. BUSY STREET. NYC –- DAY


GIL is manning the stall. Selling drinks. He serves a gentleman in a business suit. THOMAS comes strolling up as if he has no cares in the world.
GIL

(excited)

Well. Did we get it?
THOMAS

Get what?


GIL

The money, you asshole.


THOMAS

No.
GIL

DAMN. Motherfuckers. Excuse me language.
THOMAS

Cant stop smiling.


That’s alright.
THOMAS is grinning.
GIL

Why the hell are you smiling?


THOMAS

Well the first six banks turned me down.

(beat)

But the seventh—


GIL

(excited)

You lying son of a bitch. We got the money!
THOMAS

We got the money baby!


THOMAS/GIL

Oh yeah.
The two guys hug in celebration.


THOMAS

Let’s go tell the others.


FADE TO:

INT. HOLDENS OFFICE –- NIGHT


HOLDEN is in his office late at night. He is working on the computer. He checks his watch and mutters. There is disused cabinet on the far side. There is a knock at the door.
HOLDEN

Yeah.
MCINTYRE enters the office.


HOLDEN (Cont’d)

What time do you call this ALEC?


MCINTYRE

Sorry I’m late. I had to be careful not to wake MARY.


MCINTYRE takes a seat on the couch to the right of the door.
HOLDEN

How is she?


MCINTYRE

She is doing O.K. Almost back to full health.


MCINTYRE takes off his jacket and loosens his tie.
HOLDEN

Well give her my best.


MCINTYRE

Thanks STEVEN. She’ll appreciate it.

(beat)

So what this all about?


HOLDEN

Hey?
MCINTYRE

Well, what do you need me for?

(beat)


I thought it might be about the files we obtained from ELIZABETH’S P.A.
HOLDEN

But you sent me a fax telling me to meet you here.


HOLDEN takes a piece of fax paper off his desk and holds it up. MCINTYRE also takes a piece of paper out of his suit pocket.
MCINTYRE

You mean like his.


HOLDEN

Holy shit. Lets go. Now!


JOSHUA bursts out of the cabinet. He is wearing a clear plastic sheet. He is brandishing a handgun with a silencer. He unloads two rounds into the chest of MCINTYRE and one round into the head of HOLDEN. Both men lay still on the ground. JOSHUA’S leaves.
CUT TO:
INT. FIRE ESCAPE STAIRS -- NIGHT
JOSHUA calmly runs down the stairs and exits through the fire escape.
CUT TO:
EXT. BACK ENTRANCE. FIRE ESCAPE -- NIGHT
ELIZABETH is waiting for him outside.
ELIZABETH

Did you do it?


JOSHUA

It’s done. Were in the clear.


ELIZABETH

Lets go.
CUT TO:


INT. HOLDENS OFFICE –- NIGHT
MCINTYRE is still alive. He is crawling along the office floor, leaving a smeared blood stain. We see HOLDEN slumped over the desk, blood pouring from the head wound. He reaches up onto the desk and knocks the phone onto the floor. He slowly types in ‘0’, leaving blood on the phone.

SECURITY GUARD (O.S)

Security.
MCINTYRE

Whispered dying.

Help...me. HOLDENS office.
SECURITY GUARD (O.S)

Sir. Sir.


He lets out one final breath, his eyes close. Blood on the floor. About five seconds pass. The door opens and the guard notices the blood and the two bodies. He dashes over to check for signs of life. He picks up his two-way.
SECURITY GUARD

FUCKING HELL. JESUS.

(beat)

(Into 2-way)



SECURITY. APPREHEND ANY SUBJECTS LEAVING THE PREMISES. I REPEAT APPREHEND ANY SUBJECTS LEAVING THE PREMISES.
CUT TO:
EXT. PARKING LOT OUTSIDE BUILDING – NIGHT
JOSHUA and ELIZABETH are walking fast in the parking lot away from the building. A guard, holding a flash light and an Alsatian walk around the corner. He sees the two walking away.
GUARD 2

FREEZE!
ELIZABETH and JOSHUA start running. The guard releases the guard dog, which begins to chase down the two running fugitives. JOSHUA and ELIZABETH get to a high wall. There is no way of escaping without climbing over it. JOSHUA jumps up and pushes his way to the top. ELIZABETH reaches up her hand.


ELIZABETH

Give me your hand. I cant get up there alone.


JOSHUA looks at ELIZABETH.
ELIZABETH

JOSHUA your hand.


The guard dog comes around the corner, closing in on ELIZABETH.
JOSHUA still doesn’t extend his hand. He is almost enjoying watching ELIZABETH plead with him.
ELIZABETH

PLEASE. HELP ME.


She tries to climb the wall alone, but falls back down.

ELIZABETH

Give me your fucking hand.
The guard dog is closing in. Joshua smiles.
JOSHUA

I’m sorry baby. Wish me luck.


He jumps over the other side of the wall. The guard dog jumps on ELIZABETH, seizing her arm. The security guard approaches.
ELIZABETH

AHHH. Get off. Get off me!


JOSHUA

FREEZE LADY! DOWN REX DOWN!!


The dog releases ELIZABETHS arm and lays on the ground. In the background we see an army of police cars arrive. ELIZABETH is on the ground facedown
TIGHT ON ELIZABETHS FACE
ELIZABETHS lifts her face. It is dirty. She is in shock and tearful. The security guard secures her hands in cuffs.
SLOW MOTION
The police closing in.
FADE TO:
EXT. BUSY STREET. NYC –- DAY
GIL and THOMAS are selling lemonade from their stall.
GIL

So when is the money being deposited?


A customer approaches.
CUSTOMER

One lemonade.


GIL hands her a cup of lemonade. She gives him a dollar.
GIL

Thank you. Come again.

(beat)

Well?
THOMAS



Today at noon. Looking at stores this afternoon.
GIL

Do you want me to come?

THOMAS

No. I should be alright. Besides someone needs to watch the stall.


There is another transaction with a customer. GIL takes the money.
GIL

Thank you, come again.


SOPHIE walks past.
GIL (Cont’d)

THOMAS. Isn’t that the girl your gonna’ marry?

THOMAS looks around and sees SOPHIE. He gets embarrassed and goes red.
THOMAS

(Longingly)

Yes. There she is.
GIL

Go and talk to her man.


THOMAS

Hell no.
GIL

Why not? You’re successful now.
THOMAS

Not yet. Not yet.


GIL

If you don’t go now, you might miss your chance.


THOMAS

If I go now I’ll blow my chance.

(beat)

If it’s meant to be, I’ll see her again.


The two guy’s watch as SOPHIE disappears.
GIL

I hope your right. I hope your right.


A lady customer is standing waiting for service. THOMAS notices.
THOMAS

I’m sorry madam. What would you like?


CUSTOMER

One lemonade please.


THOMAS

O.K. It’s on the house. For the wait.

CUSTOMER

Why thank you.


THOMAS

You’re welcome.


CUT TO:
EXT. OUTSIDE SMALL VACANT STORE –- DAY (SUNSHINE)
THOMAS, GILL, ROADRUNNER and THE KID are unloading a van that is parked next to a small store on and NYC side street. The store is bare, with white walls. There is a food bar at the back of the room and a door to left of it, leading into a small kitchen area. The guy’s are carrying chairs, tables, signs and other boxes. GIL is in the back of the van handing out boxes to THOMAS who passes it to KID who hands it to ROADRUNNER who is placing it in the store.
GIL (V.O)

Four months after finding the five hundred dollars, we began our business in our very own shop.


CUT TO:
GIL is standing in the shop looking around at the bare walls, holding a box. He has a big grin on his face. The three other guy’s walk past carrying various boxes.
GIL (V.O)

It was small, but to the four of us, it was better than Macy’s. The smell of new paint, the newly laid floor all added to my excitement so much so that I could barely keep my concentration.


GIL drops a box. KID walks past.
KID

Hey GIL. You wanna do some work?


GIL

Yeah. With you in a minute.


GIL (V.O)

Yes. I was as happy as a reindeer in the snow at Christmas.


ROADRUNNER walks by with a small refrigerator.
GIL

Let me take that.


ROADRUNNER

Thanks.
CUT TO:


EXT. OUTSIDE STORE. SIDE STREET. NYC – DAY
The store, which is now totally furnished is set up with tables and chairs. The food bar has various products assortment displays and a small fridge sits on the back shelf. The fruit processing equipment is displayed also. There are pictures hanging on the wall, various fruits. The walls have been painted a lemon colored yellow.
All four guys stand outside and admire their new acquisition.
The camera pans up and we see the sign area above the store is blank.
CUT TO:
INT. THE SMALL STORE –- NIGHT
GILL, THOMAS, KID and ROADRUNNER all sit around a table in the new store. There is pizza in the middle of the table. It is late at night and everybody appears tired and frustrated.
GIL

Shit. Can’t any of you boys agree on a name?


ROADRUNNER

You aint come up with anything good.


GIL

Maybe the last piece of pizza will stir my imagination.


KID

No fuckin’ way. That slice is mine. I’ve only had two bits


THOMAS

Hey hey. Stop the cussing. Whoever comes up with the best name idea in ten seconds, gets the last slice.

(beat)

Fair?
KID



Sounds fair.
GIL

Who judges what’s best?


THOMAS

Me and ERIC.


GIL

You guys don’t know shit, but seeing as there is nobody else.


THOMAS

Alright. Ten seconds... starting now.

GIL

MR. FRUITY Umm —-


THOMAS and ROADRUNNER laugh.
ROADRUNNER

Almost uncontrollable laughter


MR. FRUITY!!
KID

Fruit on a stick. Errr... Fruit in a cup!

GIL

Taste that fruit.


THOMAS and Gil are still laughing.
GIL (Cont’d)

Hey shut up.


THOMAS

Two, one, times up.


ROADRUNNER

Still laughing.

MR FRUITY! I almost pissed myself.
GIL

What’s wrong with Mr. Fruity?


ROADRUNNER

It sucks.


GIL

Damn good name.


THOMAS

ERIC is right it does suck. But you both sucked, and KID, what the hell is fruit on a stick?


They all laugh except KID who looks embarrassed. He lightly chuckles.
ROADRUNNER

Why would someone buy a piece of fruit on stick?


KID

Embarrassed

Might not want to uhhh... get their hands dirty.
They all laugh.
The laughter dies down.

THOMAS


Listen, we are not going to come up with a name tonight, let’s sleep on it and convene in the morning.
THE KID yawns and stands up.
KID

Sounds damn good to me.


ROADRUNNER

How about tomorrow, to like save space in the basement, two of us move in here? Out the back of course.

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