CHILDREN AT PLAY

A tragedy in a 1980's Cold War dystopian future.

EXT. BEACH - NIGHT

Starry night way off, though the haze blocks them out directly above. Waves, suds, a large clump of see weed down the beach.

A booming cu-tunk-clang! way out to sea, and then an upward explosion follows, then dies down calmly. Again. Syndicated. Controlled.

A pick up truck pulls in right where the water begins, and TWO MEN jump out. They pull the tarp off the flatbed and drag out a body wrapped in a bed spread. The back of the head smacks against the sand.

They're wearing masks. They drag the body into the water, and toss it. Seeing the body get washed back to shore, one man wattles in and begins to push the body away.

Another explosion. Farther off. To the left. Far enough to be lower behind the curve of the earth.

The man goes in to his waist, then lets out one final push. The body gets dragged underwater by a wave, then gets pushed out the other side. The man comes back.

They both get back in the truck and drive off silently.

CUT TO

INT. TRUCK - NIGHT

The two men sit silently. The passenger pulls off his mask. The driver glances over, and pulls off his. He tosses it in the back.

He sighs.

KYLE

What do we do with the baby?

WILLARD

I don't know, Kyle.

KYLE

It's still alive.

WILLARD

I know.

KYLE

We could just go back. Put it in the ocean.

WILLARD

Don't talk 'bout drowning baby's, man.

KYLE

It'd be the easiest thing to do.

WILLARD

Sure, it'd be easy, but I don't want to do that.

KYLE

You don't want to make your job easier for yourself?

WILLARD

No, I just don't want to be drownin' any babies.

KYLE

What do you suppose then?

WILLARD

I don't know. Let's just- go back to town. Jack'll tell us.

KYLE

(Shrugs)

Alright.

They don't look at each other. Kyle keeps driving.

CUT TO

EXT. 7TH STREET - CLOUDY AFTERNOON

"The Ability to Swing" by Thomas Dolby.

Wide streets, traffic jam on one side. double cinder-block walls cutting off each road. Cars from the 1980's pimped out just a bit to make them look futuristic. Some rusting, old and used, and others as sleek, shining sports cars right out of display.

Litter on the sidewalks. Most pedestrians walking as if they were sick or ready to pull a knife. Dilapidated buildings to varying extents. As you look farther into the background, down the city strip, the buildings get taller and taller, until mega-complexes reach up through the clouds and into the heavens.

A Boeing taking off in the distance. It wraps around the skyscrapers, then keeps ascending.

On the right side of the road, a construction project with a crane and multiple jack hammers clanking away.

We start off from the rooftops, then pan down to the project; workers wearing orange vests, most buff, most harrier than apes. One in particular, ALAN, is only just slim, and working hard on a jackhammer. 30's, sunken eyes, straight, kind of long hair jetting off to the side as it hangs over his forehead.

We come to his face. He looks out across the street to nothing.

Cars honk. Alan wipes his forehead.

A group of bikers to Alan's left, down the road at the intersection, drift right into his street. Engines roar. The bikers each get out a whacking object of sorts and go in a straight line down the left of the road. They whack at the car windows.

The other construction workers turn. One, DONAVIN, tips his hat backwards and shows off his top row of bad teeth.

Most of the bikers pass through safely until a MAN steps out of his badly beaten car with a revolver in hand, and fires at the back biker.

The biker's head shoots forward with an explosion of blood and falls to the right, limp. His neck takes out a side mirror with a shatter. He completely falls. His head gets stopped with a collision of his neck and a tire.

The bikers at the next intersection drift to a stop and looks at the man.

The man flips them off.

The bikers take off again, down the right street, out of sight.

The man angrily pounds the hood of his car. Others step out.

MAN

Freakin' Christ, I just made ten payments on this thing!

Back to the workers.

Alan casually looks back to Donavin, who tilts his head. Donavin smirks. Alan gives him a look.

DONAVIN

What? That was cool.

ALAN

Seeing people die is cool to you?

DONAVIN

I don't know, it's cool on TV. What can you do except get entertained by it?

Gruff and old, a voice barks at them off screen.

VOICE

What the hell are you guys doing!? Get back to work, now! We got a deadline!

They all get back to work.

Alan looks up to the sky. A police helicopter flies overhead, disappearing behind the rooftop boundaries. It head's East.

CUT TO

EXT. ALAN'S APARTMENT BUILDING - CLOUDY AFTERNOON

Also dilapidated. Wooden planks used in some parts of the outer wall to seal it up. Brown bricks. Ten stories high. No cars except a wheeless one with its windows smashed out and seating taken in the background. The mega-complexes miles away, angels living it up on the roof pools.

No people around. Other smaller shops down the streets.

A Taxi pulls up to the building, and Alan steps out, pays the driver, and walks in the building.

CUT TO

INT. ALAN'S APARTMENT BUILDING - CLOUDY AFTERNOON

A single desk to the right, then a hallway that banks to an elevator and a utility closet.

No one at the desk. He looks over to talk to the usually-there manager.

ALAN

Okay...

He reaches the elevator, steps in, pushes a button, and leans back against the wall, tapping the metal railings.

CUT TO

INT. ALAN'S APARTMENT - CLOUDY AFTERNOON

Dark. Only the bleak sun gives light through the drapes.

A small room as you walk in, the living room, to the wall is the kitchen; a long strip, very small. A bedroom door to the back of the living room.

A brick TV on a cabinet. A couch, a chair, table, hanging light with multi-colored glass like a dress.

Plants. Dying.

Alan walks in and locks the door.

ALAN

Hey baby!

He takes off his jacket. Lays it on the floor.

ALAN (CONT.)

Did you see th-...

He enters the living room. Blood on the wall above the couch. Some more on the top headrest. A towel, bloodstained, on the couch.

Alan stops, shakes, mouth opens a little bit, hesitates.

ALAN

Uh, Loren?

He knows no one will answer.

He inches into the living room, then leaps for the kitchen.

He jumps on top of a counter, opens a cupboard, and frantically searches aimlessly through the top shelf.

Clinging and clanging of pots and pans. He grabs a pocket pistol and jumps down.

He peaks his head out to the living room. Nothing new. Silence.

He raises his gun, and tip toes to the bedroom.

He's shaking. He's not scared to find someone there to shoot him. He's just afraid to see someone dead instead.

Uses his index finger to creak the door open.

Walks in, gun still raised.

On the bed, more blood, not as much as he expected. Then a note with newspaper clippings for letters. He looks over to the crib; no blood, but no baby either.

He reads the note.

NOTE

Mr. Wayne, you've been putting off your payments for too long now. You know how much you owe, and you know the interest rate. Do the math. You know where we are. Pay us by 7:00 P.M. tomorrow or you won't get your baby or wife back. We won't specify if they are okay, injured, or deceased. We never hoped to operate like this, but you left us without options. Simply business.

Alan sweats. He drops the note. It flutters peacefully down to the bed.

He sits upon the bed, head in his hands, crying.

ALAN

What is this...?

Looks up at the crib. Still no baby. Face back in his hands.

CUT TO

EXT. HORSE RACE TRACK - CLOUDY AFTERNOON

A starter's pistol fires. The gun smoke quickly gets sweeped away.

The gates open. Horses with different colored saddles and matching, elegant blanket-like fabrics drooped over the horses back. The JOCKEYS stand up, their feet getting pushed and dragged up and down in the stirrup.

The audience cheers. Mainly rich folk spending their money without a single thought.

A few men, TOADVINE, WALLACE, JACKY, and OSWALD, sit coolly in their seats. Wearing suits and ties. Oswald leans against a pillar, head cocked.

Toadvine: Grey suit, rolling a mint in his mouth, full head of brown hair, 30's.

Wallace: 40's, John McClane styled hair in a black suit and matching tie. We see a pistol tucked in his pants. A badge on his suit pocket.

JACKY: The youngest, an unhealthy hunch, resting his elbows at the end of his knees, looking inventively at the race. Grey suit.

Oswald: A crooked nose, hands in his pockets, a Tom Shelleck mustache. No suit, a stylish vest with a shoulder-holstered pistol. Bushy eyebrows.

The horses gallop around the track.

TOADVINE

Looks like you're out of luck.

JACKY

(Without looking back)

We'll see. I think we can all agree on Wallace.

WALLACE

Me? No. I'm in second.

OSWALD

And I'm in first.

JACKY

But that's expected with you, Oswald. You always seem to win.

OSWALD

There's no illusion about it, it just happens.

JACKY

Whatever. It's only the first lap anyway.

Oswald bounces once on the pillar.

WALLACE

How many horses do you think will fall?

OSWALD

Two.

JACKY

None.

TOADVINE

I don't know, one.

WALLACE

Guys want to bet on it?

TOADVINE

How much money we got?

WALLACE

$4,000. Each.

OSWALD

I'll bet $800

Wallace takes four fat stacks of bills out of his inner suit pockets, and lays them flat on the bench next to him.

WALLACE

Take out $800.

TOADVINE

What are you betting on, Wallace?

WALLACE

I'ma say three. See what happens.

OSWALD

No way there'll be three downs.

WALLACE

We'll see. There were five that one time.

OSWALD

That's because it was raining and muddy.

WALLACE

It's cloudy now, maybe god will bring down some holy rain or something to help me win.

JACKY

Yeah, we'll see.

TOADVINE

Why does Wallace have all of our money?

WALLACE

Because I'm the most responsible here, shithead. And I'm not the one who goes and buys a fucking Lamborghini after his first pay check.

OSWALD

Hey, that doesn't apply to me!

WALLACE

You're right, it applies to Toadvine.

JACKY

Me neither!

WALLACE

That's right.

JACKY

Then why can't we have our money?

WALLACE

I'm still the most responsible one here.

JACKY

Whatever. Don't go spendin' our money behind our backs, okay?

WALLACE

I won't, I'm responsible.

JACKY

Fine.

A horse trips itself with another horse. One horse falls forward and snaps its neck, neighing, and the jockey flies off to the side. The other horse just stops and falls on it's side. The jockey of that horse LEAPS off and rolls into the green center of the track, over the boundaries.

OSWALD

That was fast. Jacky, looks like you're out of the race.

JACKY

Dammit! Toadvine, can I hang at your apartment this week? That was my rent.

TOADVINE

Seriously!? You do this every time you fuck up, which is all the time.

JACKY

What can I say, the only way to truly live is to take risks.

WALLACE

You can say that when the stakes are higher and they actually mean something. You can't pull that card in middle-ground like this.

JACKY

You aren't even involved in this.

WALLACE

I'm your superiority. I'm always involved.

JACKY

This sucks.

WALLACE

Cool it. I just need two more.

JACKY

Why'da bet so fucking high if I can't take risks?

WALLACE

Because I'm still going to have my home if I lose. And my car. I won't lose anything. I make sure it's luxury money I'm betting all the time before I'm doin' it.

TWO BOYS a few roes down and off to the side lay many bills in between each other on the bench. They're laughing, and one kid slaps his bills down like cards.

Wallace leans towards them, and raises his voice.

WALLACE

Hey kids! What do you think your doing?

BOY 1

Huh?

WALLACE

You two, what are you doing?

BOY 1

Makin' some dough off of each other, is all.

WALLACE

"Dough?" You shouldn't be betten' that kind of cash this young. You should be- betting legos, or-

Toadvine, Jacky and Oswald chuckle.

WALLACE (CONT.)

-or pretzels, crackers, you know?

BOY 2

Why don't you mind your own business, mister?

WALLACE

(Tugs on his badge)

I believe you should listen to me and take my advice, k kiddo?

BOY 1

Fuck off!

OSWALD

(Angry, steps away from the pillar)

Hey, you little shits! You listen to this man, and you listen damn good or I'll slit your fucking throats! Finding out where you live isn't even a problem!

The boys go pale, divide the stack of money evenly, return each's share, and turn away.

Oswald grins, and Toadvine fist bumps him, chuckling. He leans back on the pillar.

OSWALD

Not the most conventional way to go about, but it works.

WALLACE

Yeah.

A triple beep, and Oswald glares down at a pager. We don''t see what it says.

OSWALD

(Bored)

Uh oh.

WALLACE

What?

OSWALD

Got a 207.

(moans)

Again...

JACKY

It's always a 207!

TOADVINE

Shut up Jacky! You've only been on the force two months, you can't say it's ALWAYS a murder.

JACKY

It's always a murder in the papers since I was a kid.

WALLACE

Are you two this dense? That's not even a murder! How do you not know this? Well-

(gets up)

-we can read about this in the papers tomorrow, k?

TOADVINE

Yeah, sure.

JACKY

I don't care.

OSWALD

Because you lost the fucking bet...

The two get up and walk away with Wallace, and Oswald bounces off the pillar and follows off screen.

CUT TO

EXT. ALAN'S APARTMENT BUILDING - CLOUDY AFTERNOON

It's raining slightly.

A few other police cruisers parked outside. Clouds being sliced by the mega-complexes like butter.

They pull up in a boxy, 80's squad car. They all step out, and Wallace holds his hand out, and lets the rain fall into his palm.

He smiles at it.

WALLACE

Maybe I'm still in luck.

Wallace takes a glance up into the sky, then leads the rest into the building.

CUT TO

INT. ALAN'S APARTMENT - CLOUDY AFTERNOON

Wallace opens the door. A police officer waiting right outside, hands clasped together.

The four walk in and observe; several police officers standing around. One doing something with the blood on the wall and couch. Collecting it.

A police officer turns to them.

OFFICER

The man's in the back, go talk to him.

(Wallace nods and the four follow. They enter the bedroom.)

Alan sits on the bed, staring blankly, eyes sunken from his sadness and his cheeks red from his anger. Another officer leans up against the wall in front of Alan.

She turns.

OFFICER

Okay, now these men will carry on, Alan?

ALAN

Okay...

She walks out.

Wallace takes her place while the other three stay by the door.

WALLACE

There's been a kidnapping?

ALAN

Yeah, uh, my wife and, uh-

(Sniffles)

-my son.

WALLACE

How old is your son?

ALAN

Eleven months old.

WALLACE

Do you know when this took place?

ALAN

I don't know, when I was at work. They left a note.

WALLACE

(As if talking to a little kid)

Oh really, well let me see it.

Alan reaches behind him and grabs the note, gives it to Wallace.

Wallace skims it over.

WALLACE

Now this isn't good.

ALAN

(Quickly, annoyed)

Of coarse it's not, it's my fucking wife and child!

WALLACE

Okay, just calm down, we'll have this underway shortly. Now, what is this note about though?

ALAN

I don't know.

WALLACE

About owing any people money? any enemies you might have. Any corporation, or mob, this might be from? Anything?

ALAN

I don't owe anyone any money.

WALLACE

So this isn't connected to you whatsoever?

ALAN

Well, it does; they took my wife...

WALLACE

I know, and we'll have that taken care of. What is your occupation? Alan?

ALAN

I'm a construction worker.

WALLACE

For what company?

ALAN

Barren construction. Two years. I don't know what this is about.

WALLACE

I know that. What was your wife?

ALAN

An orthodontist. This doesn't make sense.

WALLACE

I know.

A brief pause. Wallace returns to the window to see it's raining hard. He smiles, and turns back.

WALLACE (CONT.)

What's her name?

ALAN

Loren.

WALLACE

Well I'm going to assume that Loren was the main source of income for the family- no- disrespect to you or anything.

ALAN

I know. She was.

WALLACE

Are you going to be able to afford the apartment?

ALAN

Well, you're going to get her back, right?

WALLACE

We'll try. That's all I can say.

ALAN

What are you going to do, then?

WALLACE

We'll scan the place for finger prints, test the blood, you know, pick out little hairs... all that jazz.

ALAN

Don't talk like that.

WALLACE

Sorry.

Wallace looks over to the three by the door. Just standing.

Turns back to Alan.

WALLACE

So I think we'll have to get you out of the house for know while we search the place.

ALAN

(Sighs, slaps his legs, gets up)

Okay.

Alan leaves the room and almost bumps into an entering PHOTOGRAPHER. He takes a picture. The photo slides out the front, and he catches it while it falls.

He turns. Takes another elsewhere. Then again.

Wallace joins the other three.

WALLACE

Maybe we should ask the neighbors?

An OFFICER hears this, and chips in.

OFFICER

He's the only one in this building.

TOADVINE

No neighbors?

OFFICER

Yeah.

JACKY

(Wallace)

Then what do we do?

Wallace looks around. Sees everyone at work.

WALLACE

Then I think we're done here.

JACKY

Then what would we do?

WALLACE

Then we take a little Sunday drive. Out for justice and all that.

OSWALD

(Smirks)

You kidding me?

WALLACE

(Also smirks)

Well, we have to at least SEEM like we're productive.

They exit the apartment.

CUT TO

EXT. ALAN'S APARTMENT BUILDING - CLOUDY AFTERNOON

Heavy rain.

A propelled drone slowly spies down on the streets. One eye, white, moving back and forth, up and down. It disappears behind a building.

Wallace brings out both of his palms and lets them both get soaked. He turns, cocks his head, and smiles.

WALLACE

I'm feelin' pretty good about our little bet.

OSWALD

We'll see.

They all get in their squad car. Wallace driving, Oswald in the passenger seat, and the other two in the back.

From inside the car.

JACKY

But what ARE we going to do? Just drive around?

OSWALD

Yep.

JACKY

Shouldn't we do something about the kidnapping.

WALLACE

Looked to me like it was under control.

JACKY

But shouldn't we do something ANYWAY?

WALLACE

(Turns back, holds the head rest)

Jacky, you got to understand. If you don't need to do something you don't want to do, don't do it. In this job. School, extra credit, yeah, of coarse. But not as a cop. Don't waste your time, don't take unnecessary risks.

JACKY

(Confused)

And this is coming from you?

WALLACE

I said it...

OSWALD

He's right, Jacky.

Jacky turns to Toadvine, and Toadvine shrugs.

JACKY

So we aren't going to do anything about what happened?

WALLACE

No.- Look, I just want to get paid. To get paid, I need to be productive. We'll drive around, stop some petty theft or something. THEN, we get paid. Being a police officer isn't taking up a role, it's just taking up a job. A job at a company called the police department. And the sooner you get that through that puny skull of yours, the easier this job will be.

JACKY

Are you for real?

WALLACE

Whole-heartily.

OSWALD

Jacky, don't say anything else. Just accept it. You'll thank yourself later.

JACKY

This is ridiculous!

WALLACE

What you need to know is that police work, ISN'T like it is on TV! It's boring, tedious, and a hell of a lot of paper work. Stay clear, you get less paper work, and you still get paid. You should know this by now.

JACKY

Are you corrupt?

WALLACE

(Smirks)

Don't ask me that up front...

Without looking at the stick-shift, he shifts into drive, and turns around.

Cut out to down the street a little ways, leveled with the car, as Wallace goes forward and does a U-turn, then drives off towards the mega-complexes.