Tag Archives: screenwriting

Prisoner’s Dilemma, Pt. 20

INT. A KITCHEN – NIGHT

Francisco sits at the table alone. Young Jimmy watches him from across the room, a look of deep concern on his face. The two of them are silent for a few moments when suddenly Francisco explodes with rage.

FRANCISCO

Fuck! Goddamnit! Fucking Tuco! Those fucking bastards! Goddamnit!

YOUNG JIMMY

Francisco… What happened to Tuco… It’s not your fault. It’s not your–

Francisco closes the distance between himself and Young Jimmy. He is angry and agitated, but not violent.

FRANCISCO

Yes, it is! I’m in charge, and when people die, it’s my fucking fault.

Francisco’s anger fades. He seems drained, on the verge of collapse. Young Jimmy steps forward and puts his arms around him, pulling him close.

YOUNG JIMMY

Come on. You can’t do this to yourself. The crew looks up to you. They can’t see you like this.

Francisco relaxes in Young Jimmy’s arms. After a moment, he pulls back and smiles at him , his face as warm and affectionate as a lover’s.

FRANCISCO

They can’t see me like this, either.

Young Jimmy leans in and kisses Francisco.

YOUNG JIMMY

They won’t.

Francisco sighs and stays in Jimmy’s arms a moment longer. Rejuvenated he pulls back and takes a deep breath, setting his face into a look of stony indifference.

FRANCISCO

Tuco… That’s never going to happen to you, Jimmy. I promise.

YOUNG JIMMY

I know.

FRANCISCO

I’m serious. Anything ever happens to you, I’ll tear this fucking city apart. It’s going to be a war. It’s going to be a bloodbath.

YOUNG JIMMY

You’re sweet, you know that?

FRANCISCO

Believe that. Believe me. Believe in me.

Young Jimmy smiles.

FRANCISCO

You believe in me, don’t you?

YOUNG JIMMY

I do.

FADE TO BLACK

The end! Come back on Monday for something new (that will probably be something old.)

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Prisoner’s Dilemma, Pt. 19

The Grey Man stares at Jimmy in silence for a long moment. Jimmy maintains his bravado for as long as he able, but the Grey Man’s stony face begins to wear him down, and at last he blinks and looks away.

The Grey Man smiles. His smile becomes a sneer.

THE GREY MAN

There? Do you see? Do you see how quick you cracked? You couldn’t even look me in the eye for more than a couple seconds. How long do you think it’ll be once you’ve gone a couple days without food or sleep? How long once we bring Robert back in here for round two? Or maybe we’ll let him have a go at you, instead. I think he’d like that, don’t you?

The Grey Man pats Jimmy gently on the cheek. He bends down to pick up the pillowcase, stands up, and pulls it down over Jimmy’s head, drawing it down tight and securing it with a bit of string.

THE GREY MAN

Sit there and think about that for a while. We’ll be back to check on you, and if you’re ready to talk, you can let us know. Might be a couple hours. Or a day. Or a week. Or maybe you’ll starve to death in that chair. It’s all the same to us.

The Grey Man walks towards the lone door in the room, reaches it, pauses a moment, and turns back to address Jimmy one last time.

THE GREY MAN

I’ll give you this. I really thought you would have cracked already. I don’t know what it is that’s keeping your mouth shut, but it most really be important to you.

Beat.

What a shame.

The Grey Man leaves, the door slamming shut behind him. Jimmy is alone in his chair.

CUT TO:


Prisoner’s Dilemma, Pt. 18

After a few moments and some whispered words, Francisco stands up and walks away from the table. He casts a glance back over his shoulder, not wanting Alex to hear him discuss gang matters.

FRANCISCO

You strapped?

YOUNG JIMMY

Yeah, man. Tuco said it was important. What’s up?

FRANCISCO

A couple of Kings beat the shit out of Two-Piece and started dealing on Malcolm Street. We’re getting all the boys, and we’re going to take care of it. Come at them from both sides of the street so they can’t run. Let them know what happens when they fuck with our boys and move in on our turf.

Young Jimmy nods solemnly. Young Robert frowns.

YOUNG ROBERT

Malcolm Street’s garbage turf. We should–

FRANCISCO

It’s our fucking turf, and nobody takes it from us! They put Two-Piece in the fucking hospital! Don’t you care about the family?

Young Robert says nothing. Young Jimmy looks nervously between the two of them.

YOUNG JIMMY

Hey. Hey. We’re here. We’re in. Let’s roll. You lead, we follow.

Francisco nods, placated. He turns back to walk over to Alex and smiles down at him.

FRANCISCO

I’ve got to go take care of some business, but I’ll be back tonight before you go to bed, okay?

ALEX

Will you read to me before I go to sleep?

FRANCISCO

Only if you do all your homework.

CUT TO:

INT. AN EMPTY WAREHOUSE ROOM

Jimmy smiles, confident for once in the face of the Grey Man.

JIMMY

I don’t know nothing.


Prisoner’s Dilemma, Pt. 17

The Grey Man sighs.

THE GREY MAN

What is it, then? Denial? Have you somehow convinced yourself that you and your buddies aren’t just a group of vicious thugs? That your boss isn’t a murderous amoral psychopath without any redeeming qualities?

Jimmy looks up from the floor and stares at the Grey Man.

JIMMY

And what’s your boss like, huh?

The Grey Man laughs.

THE GREY MAN

Oh, look who found his balls. And yeah, my boss is a prick, but we already talked about this. I’m under no delusions about him or me or anyone else being a good person. If I don’t do this, no one else will. And then the people who don’t give a damn about anything, like your friend Francisco, and the people who genuinely mean harm to the world, like the cartel he’s in bed with and the NGO’s they’re buddy-buddy with, win. And I won’t stand by and do nothing because you think you’re entitled to drugs and money and hands full of fingers.

Beat.

There’s no good guys in this world, but if there were, I’d be one, and you and your friends most certainly would not.

CUT TO:

INT. A KITCHEN – AFTERNOON

ALEX, a child, and Francisco are sitting at the kitchen table. Alex is doing his homework while Francisco looks on, occasionally offering pieces of advice.

Young Jimmy and Young Robert enter the room, looking concerned and annoyed respectively.

YOUNG JIMMY

Tuco said you wanted to see us?

FRANCISCO

Yeah, give me a minute. I’m busy.

Francisco goes back to helping Alex with his homework. Young Robert frowns in irritation.

YOUNG ROBERT

Hey, come on, man. Tuco said it was important. What’s going on?

Francisco’s face twists up in anger. He looks ready to explode, but a quick glance at Alex calms him somewhat.

FRANCISCO

I said I’m busy! We’re doing math right now, alright? Give me a minute.


Prisoner’s Dilemma, Pt. 16

The goons drag Robert out of the room. He looks at Jimmy with exhaustion and hatred in his eyes. The Grey Man and Jimmy silently watch him go.

THE GREY MAN

I’d say he doesn’t consider you a friend anymore, kid. I hope it’s worth it.

Beat.

But I can promise you it won’t be. Come on, kid. Why won’t you talk? Why are you going to make me pull out your nails and break your bones and leave you in a hole with no light and no air? What could possibly be worth so much suffering? What, are you more afraid of him than you are of me?

CUT TO:

EXT. A BACK ALLEY – NIGHT

Francisco is kneeling over a BATTERED KID while Young Jimmy watches on with a look of horror on his face. Blood and sweat drip from Francisco’s face as he mercilessly pummels the kid, snorting and snarling like a rabid animal. The kid tries to raise his arms to defend himself, but it’s useless.

After a few moments, Francisco stops and stands up, his chest rising and falling from the exertion. The kid weakly lifts his hand up. Francisco turns, pulls a pistol from Young Jimmy’s waistband, and turns back to the kid. He pulls the trigger three times, the gunshots echoing like thunder through the alley, then spits on the kid’s corpse. He turns back to Jimmy and holds out the pistol for him to take back. He walks away without another look. Young Jimmy lingers a moment longer, staring at the body. Francisco shouts out for Young Jimmy to hurry the fuck up, and he turns to leave too.

CUT TO:

INT. AN EMPTY WAREHOUSE ROOM

Jimmy looks at the Grey Man, but he can’t hold his gaze. His head drops and his shoulders slump and he stares down at the floor.

JIMMY

I don’t know nothing.


Prisoner’s Dilemma, Pt. 15

The Grey Man begins tightening the cutter around Robert’s pinky but stops once again.

THE GREY MAN

You know what? This isn’t working. I’m not about to cripple this kid further if it’s not going to produce results.

The Grey Man stands up and nods towards the goons. They begin pulling Robert to his feet, restraining him, tying his hands behind his back, etc. As they do so, the Grey Man walks back towards Jimmy, studies him.

THE GREY MAN

We know he’s your best friend, but we really had him pegged as the most important person to you. You’re not cold enough not to care that he’s suffering, so there must be something else you care about more.

Beat.

What is it, Jimmy? Tell me. Help me help you.

Jimmy ignores the Grey Man, his focus on his friend.

JIMMY

What are you going to do with him?

THE GREY MAN

Hm? Oh, him? Well, we’re not going to kill him. You don’t need to worry about that. But he’s heard and seen too much for us to really let him go. I imagine he’ll spend some time somewhere far away. If we think he can be reintroduced to society, he will be. If not, he’ll stay there for the rest of his life. Hell, depending on how cooperative he is and if our psych guys think we can trust him, maybe we’ll even offer him a job. In a different country, of course. Someplace where it isn’t going to do any damage if he decides to snap and start running his mouth.


Prisoner’s Dilemma, Pt. 14

Long beat.

JIMMY

I don’t know anything.

The Grey Man sighs.

THE GREY MAN

Jimmy. Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy. Why did you hesitate? When you hesitate, it just tells me you’re lying.

The Grey Man walks back over to Robert and bends down to pick up the pipe cutter. Robert snaps out of his stupor as the Grey Man approaches, resumes struggling in panic. The goons hold him down, force a different hand from before out into the open. The Grey Man roughly jerks Robert’s hand out and fits the cutter over his pinky finger.

The Grey Man stops, suddenly deep in thought. Never removing the cutter from its place around Robert’s finger, he turns his head to address Jimmy.

THE GREY MAN

You know, I don’t understand you, kid. It takes a certain kind of mind not to be moved by the suffering of one’s fellow mind, and you don’t have it. The puke soaking into your pants is proof enough of that. But you’re not budging. Now, why is that? Don’t you care about your friend here?

JIMMY

I do. I love him. I love him like my brother.

CUT TO:

EXT. CITY STREETS

Young Robert and Young Jimmy are walking down the street with a group of OTHER BOYS. They lead the pack, laughing and joking about nothing in particular.

CUT TO:

Young Robert and Young Jimmy are hanging out in front of a convenience store, catcalling the girls their age who walk by.

CUT TO:

Young Robert and Young Jimmy bumping fists outside of an apartment building as one turns to go inside and the other continues walking down the street.

CUT TO:

INT. AN EMPTY WAREHOUSE ROOM

The Grey Man laughs.

THE GREY MAN

Well, Hell. I’m glad I’m not related to you, kid. I’ve got a brother I haven’t seen in years that I actively hate, but I still would rather not see his fingers get chopped off.


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