THE JACK OF HEARTS, Scene 45
OPEN SCENE: Detective Richardson walks into the crime scene, a crime scene he really has no earthly business walking into in the first place. There are dead bodies on the floor. Scratch that, there are pieces of dead bodies scattered across the light beige carpet, a shade of beige so light you might think it was white after the sun went down. But not now. Now it’s streaked with red, deep crimson slashed and splattered all the way across the carpet and up across the white couch (really white) and up the wall. Splatter. The guys who would about to be entering any moment were called the Splatter Crew, they’re not called that on CSI.
Richardson approaches one of the officers on the scene, it’s REGGIE, but Richardson has trouble remembering that.
RICHARDSON: What the fuck is going on here?
Reggie turns to him, clipboard in hand. Very official.
REGGIE: Homicide, sir.
RICHARDSON: Yeah, I can fucking see that, Ricky, where’s the body?
REGGIE: Well, uh, all over, sir…
RICHARDSON: Yeah, all over…
Huge chunks of flesh are sitting pooled in crimson puddles along the carpet.
RICHRDSON: You want to give me a little more of a lowdown, Ricky?
REGGIE: It’s Reggie, sir, and from what I see it was done with a hacksaw.
RICHARDSON: You’re from the lab, right?
REGGIE: Yes, sir. The M.E.’s office, actually. We’re just waiting on the splatter crew before we move anything, since it’s all, uh, sort of… mixed in.
RICHARDSON: Yeah, holy shit,right?
REGGIE: Holy shit indeed.
Kodek stopped typing, put his hands together, index fingers up, straight up in fron tof his face. Thinking.
But to Anna, who was sitting directly across from him at the double-desk (they were facing each other), it looked suspiciously like staring to her.
“Dialog,” Kodek said.
“Trouble with that again?”
“I don’t know. Sounds wooden, but I don’t know if it sounds wooden because I can’t think of anything good to say, or if it really works with the type of post-modern thriller that’s coming out of me.”
Anna smirked. “Post-modern, huh?”
“You learn that one in your screenwriting class?”
“Actually, no,” the fingers finally relaxed, “Saw somebody use that one in a movie review recently.”
“Yeah? Which film?”
“Pulp Fiction, I think”
“Maybe. Or Ed Wood?”
“Ed Wood was a filmmaker, isn’t he?”
“Yeah, but they did a biopic on him.”
Kodek smiled. “Biopic. Pic. Like Picture.”
“Yeah, got it, thanks. So, does it work?”
“As a biopic?”
“No, your dialog. Does it work?”
“Then what’s the problem?”
“I don’t know if it’s on purpose or not.”
Anna rolled her eyes. She got up from the desk and turned away, and Kodek could see the baby bump. “I’m going to get a drink from the kitchen, you want anything?”
“No, I don’t think so.”
“Okay,” she said, and he watched her leave. His fingers ascended in front of the tip of his nose once again. He went back to the work processor and scrolled back to an earlier scene.
“Maybe I need a flashback,” he half-heartedly called out towards the kitchen, where he could hear the kettle rattling.
“That’s a cheat<” she called back.
“Not if it’s necessary!”
She wandered back in from the kitchen. “It’s never necessary,” she explained. “Did Deathtrap have a flashback?”
“Deathtrap was written for the stage.”
“Exactly,” she agreed. “So if you can write a thriller for the stage, then you don’t need a flashback to tell a story in that genre.”
“Ah,” he said, separating his hand but leaving his right index finger jutting up into the air, “but I didn’t write Deathtrap.”
“No, but somebody did, and it was a thriller. Without a flashback.”
“But they talked about past events.”
“So, then write past events into your dialog. Then maybe it won’t be so wooden.”
He hoisted an eyebrow. “Do you even remember what Deathtrap was about?”
“Of course I do. Why?”
“Just curious if you remembered the first act was about a writer killing his wife.”
“Actually, it was about a writer killing another writer.”
“No,” Kodek agreed with a grin. The kettle whistled.
“Ah, that’s it!” He said aloud as Anna went back to the kitchen.
SCENE: The author’s flat. IN the kitchen, the kettle suddenly whistles. CUT TO: FLASHBACK.
“You’re not writing that flashback in, are you?!” Anna called from the kitchen as she poured the cup of tea.
“Of course not!”
She re-entered. “That sounds like it means of course you are.”
Kodek smiled again. “I have to write something the agency is expecting this thing to be a hundred and fifteen pages-” Just then, the phone rang. Kodek got up and answered it.
Anna continued to watch him for a moment, then went back to her pile of mail on the edge of the desk.
“Yes, no, no it’s fine. Really. No, no problems. Thanks.”
After another moment of the mundane verbal exchange, Kodek hung up.
“Was that the car dealership?” Anna asked as he returned to the desk.
“Now how did you know that?”
Anna shrugged. “Lucky guess.”
INT. BEDROOM – NIGHT (LATER)
Kodek was still awake when he finally heard Anna start to snore. It was light, but her snoring was always light. He knew he could move. He quietly swung his legs off his side of the bed and crept barefoot back downstairs, first stopping at the props room he’d had decorated last spring. On the walls were an array of weapons: Handguns, machine guns, knives, axes, swords and even a chainsaw. Mostly fake. As far as Anna knew, all fake, used as props in various films and stage productions that Kodek had been involved in. She’d once joked that she though in another life, if Kodek hadn’t become a writer, he may have become a gangster’s hitman, or some sort of serial killer. She didn’t know about the certain weapons, hidden in plain sight (just as Kodek liked them) just as she hadn’t know that it wasn’t actually the car dealership who had called. That had been someone else entirely, speaking in code and mundane terms in case anyone was close enough to over hear…
Kodek lifted the AK-47 off the wall, really off the wall, he punned himself and smiled as he carried it all the way through the kitchen, out the back door (keeping it quiet) and into the garage.
She quietly popped the trunk of the used (almost new) car he and Anna actually had bought from the car dealership ten days ago, and even in the dark, just as he was about to lay the rifle in the bed of the trunk, he stopped. Staring. He could even smell it.
I knew we should have looked in the trunk before we bought it, he thought angrily to himself. But who the hell does that? Kodek didn’t know, shit, maybe everyone did that, he’d never purchased a used car before.
He could smell rotten blood. Unmistakable. And as the colours of the dark leaked their way into his night vision, Kodek could see that he’d been just about to rest his for-real AK-47 in a sticky puddle of coagulated blood.
But from where…?!
FLASHBACK: SAN FRANSISCO – TWO YEARS AGO.
INT. MOTEL ROOM.
The Jack of Hearts Killer is on the floor, kneeling over the corpse, The camera pans up to reveal the identity of the dead woman: Zarana.
Suddenly, the door opens behind The Killer and he turns to see…
It’s Kodek. Kodek has just stepped through the door of the motel room and he feels like he’s just stepped through a rip in the universe. His world spins. Because now he’s staring at himself, there, kneeling on the hotel room floor, ripping open the torso of the corpse (Zarana). He’s the Jack of Hearts Killer!
Kodek leans back in his chair, letting the word processor blink green phosphor into his face.
“That’s fucking stupid,” he said to himself.
INT. MOTEL ROOM – RIGHT NOW.
Kodek walked through the door and saw himself, or rather, o version of himself, his own full-colour 3-d copy ripping the guts out of the girl.
“You seriously need to quit fucking around,” he says to his own doppelganger. The doppelganger turns around and is more than slightly surprised to find a gun pointed in his general direction.
The girl – Zarana – blinks her eyes open and looks, too, she’s not dead yet.
Kodek pulls the trigger and his doppelganger flinches and ducks, but the bullet was going to sail right past him either way. It splits Zarana’s skull wide open and splatters her brains all across the beige carpet. Blood hits the wall and his doppelganger.
“She needs to be stopped,” is all Kodek can say, although he isn’t exactly sure if he did say it or if he just thought it. He hasn’t had his meds in quite some time now…