An arsonist races against time and bounty hunters to make a huge scientific discovery.
|EXT. AERIAL CITY VIEW-DAY
Aerial view of the city shows pock marks of burnt, decrepit buildings dotting the landscape.
The city has been ravaged by a series of arsons throughout the past year. The Mayor has had no comment about the city’s inability to locate a single suspect in this case of a serial arsonist.
EXT. STREET IN FRONT OF BURNED BUILDING
With city elections coming up next month, citizens are demanding progress. The financial ramifications…
INT. CLASSROOM LECTURE HALL
A large stadium seating lecture hall is full of drowsy, bored, fidgety STUDENTS.
PROFESSOR WHEAT (30’s) stands at the front of the lecture hall in a white coat, glasses, and slicked down hair badly parted to the side. His bad posture and inability to make eye contact with the student body betrays his confident tone.
And plaster consists of elements with high viscosity and rapidly reacting to oxygen.
A STUDENT SNORES loudly in the front row. Professor Wheat glances at him.
PROFESSOR WHEAT (O.S.)
Since 9/11 scientists and inventors all over the world have been competing to develop a form of plaster that is fire proof, quite an impossible task. While plaster currently is fire resistant, it cannot stand up to more than a few hours of exposure to fire…
Professor Wheat drones on to the inattentive class.
AMERICA: Large MEN burst into a darkly lit apartment. Professor Wheat jumps out of his bed and escapes down the fire escape. The men ransack his apartment. One man grabs a folder and drops a lit match in the office.
CHINA: Large MASKED MEN burst into a nicely decorated house. The WIFE and CHILDREN scatter as the HUSBAND is grabbed viciously by the men.
RUSSIA: A deserted small apartment. MEN kick down the door and rush inside. The LEADER walks slowly into the office and picks up a stack of papers.
Fire consumes everything.
EXT. COLLEGE CAMPUS-DAY
Professor Wheat is walking, hunched, with a briefcase in his hands, his tie somewhat askew, and his glasses drooping on his nose.
DEAN THOMAS, (50’S, heavyset, bespectacled and balding) runs out towards Professor Wheat.
John! John! Wait, can I have a word?
Professor Wheat pauses and glances at Dean Thomas.
John, your class has a pass rate of thirty percent.
Professor Wheat doesn’t respond. Dean Thomas looks at him incredulously.
You don’t think there is anything wrong with that? We have high standards here at the University but you go too far! The students must be able to actually pass the
Professor Wheat shrugs.
Sleeping in class won’t get anyone to pass.
Dean Thomas’s jaw drops slightly as he pompously tries to find
Well, change the way you teach them. None of the other professors put their students to sleep! That isn’t the students’ fault, that’s your fault. We do not curve tests here, but your class is the exception. I don’t want to see another test under seventy five percent passing.
Professor Wheat’s anger shows in his face.
Fine. I’ll just give them half the points. That’ll give me an eighty percent passing rate. Fair enough?
Dean Thomas blubbers to himself as Professor Wheat slinks off.
DEAN THOMAS (O.S.)
Remember John, you don’t have tenure!
Professor Wheat shakes his head as he walks away.
INT. PROFESSOR WHEAT’S APARTMENT-DAY
Neat, pristine décor, bookshelves full of books, Picasso prints hang on the walls.
Professor Wheat walks into his apartment and sets his briefcase down in the hallway. He takes off his glasses and rubs his eyes with his fingers, tossing the glasses on the table in the hallway.
Professor Wheat straightens his posture, shrugging out his shoulders and cracking his neck on either side. He runs his hand through his hair, roughly spiking it. He looks like an entirely different person.
He walks into:
INT. PROFESSOR WHEAT’S OFFICE
A complete disaster area. Papers lie all over the desk, the
floor, in the trashcan. Bottles of chemicals sit on the desk, on bookcases, and the window sill. Half-eaten portions of food litter the room. A small safe sits in the back corner.
Professor Wheat picks up a bottle of fluid and reads the label. He sits down at his desk and sifts through the paperwork. He starts to scribble madly.
INT. PROFESSOR WHEAT’S OFFICE -LATER
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! Professor Wheat looks at his watch and turns off the alarm. He SIGHS and stands up from behind the desk, stretching.
He eyes a white jumpsuit hanging in the corner of the office and walks towards it.
INT. YOUNG’S BAR-AFTERNOON
A dimly lit bar empty of patrons. BUD, the owner, stands behind the bar, wiping out glasses, preparing for the night.
Professor Wheat walks into the bar wearing the white jumpsuit and a white painter’s hat. He carries with him a large bucket full of plaster.
He stops at the bar, looking at Bud.
Where do you need me?
Bud glances at Professor Wheat and motions with his arm towards the back of the bar.
Professor Wheat nods and heads to the back. He opens the door to the bathroom and sees a large hole in the wall.
INT. YOUNG’S BAR BATHROOM-SAME
Professor Wheat nods and sets the bucket of plaster down at his feet. He glances back out towards the bar.
Bud is facing away from him. Professor Wheat shuts the door quietly. He kneels down in front of the plaster bucket and pulls a small vial of fluid out of his pocket.
He opens the vial and pours the liquid into the bucket. Using a long piece of flat wood, he stirs the liquid into the plaster.
INT. YOUNG’S BAR-SAME
Bud sets down a glass and looks towards the closed door of the bathroom.
He walks towards the bathroom and opens the door.
INT. YOUNG’S BAR BATHROOM-CONTINUOUS
Bud sticks his head in the door and sees Professor Wheat
applying wet plaster to the hole in the wall. Bud looks
satisfied and leaves, shutting the door to the bathroom.
INT. YOUNG’S BAR-LATER
Professor Wheat walks out of the bathroom, carrying his plaster bucket.
I’ve put up some tape across the wall. Don’t let anyone touch it for 24 hours and it should set just fine.
Bud nods, not even looking at Professor Wheat but keeping his gaze firmly directed at a television hanging above the bar.
Professor Wheat glances at the television and back at Bud, then shakes his head and leaves.
INT. PROFESSOR WHEAT’S BEDROOM-NIGHT
SUPERIMPOSE: 2 DAYS LATER
The bed is unmade, clothes drape from the bed, chair, and poke out of dresser drawers.
Professor Wheat stands facing the mirror, smoothing the collar of his black shirt. His hair is spiked with gel and he has a day’s growth of beard, giving him a handsome, rugged look.
Professor Wheat grabs a black leather coat off of his bed and walks out of the bedroom.
EXT. STREET OUTSIDE APARTMENT BUILDING-NIGHT
Professor Wheat shrugs on his leather coat as he walks across the deserted street, looking around him as he puts his hands in his pockets and hurries towards the commercial district.
INT. YOUNG’S BAR-NIGHT
LAUGHTER and TALKING fill the bar. Glasses CLINK together as a group in the back corner of the bar toast. The television BLARES the current score of a football game.
Professor Wheat walks into the bar and looks around. He sees an empty stool at the bar and heads towards it.
What’ll it be?
Professor Wheat looks him in the eye.
Whatever you have on tap is fine.
Bud fills a glass full of beer and sets it in front of
Professor Wheat. Professor Wheat nods his thanks and focuses on the game on the television.
No! Come on, stop fumbling the damn ball! Kiss the Superbowl goodbye, assholes!
Charlie gulps his beer and SLAMS the glass back down on the bar. He scowls at the television. Professor Wheat glances at him in amusement.
ARIEL (late 20’s, blond, cute) approaches Professor Wheat with a smile. She stands beside him and taps his shoulder.
Professor Wheat turns to look at her.
Hi there. I’ve never seen you here
Professor Wheat smiles warmly at Ariel.
Ah, recently single. Jumping back
into the bar scene.
Ariel’s smile widens.
Buy me a drink?
Professor Wheat looks her up and down and motions Bud over.
Whatever she wants.
Ariel smiles at Bud.
Professor Wheat drinks from his beer, keeping an eye on Ariel as she sits beside him.
Nice to meet you.
Professor Wheat nods.
Professor Wheat stands up, looking down as Ariel LAUGHS.
I’ll be right back. Just have to run to the restroom.
Ariel nods and grins at him seductively.
Professor Wheat winks at her with a smile and walks towards the bathroom.
INT. YOUNG’S BAR BATHROOM-CONTINUOUS
Professor Wheat enters the bathroom and looks around. There is no one else inside. He quickly locks the door and kneels down by the newly plastered wall.
INT. YOUNG’S BAR-CONTINUOUS
Smoke starts to drift through the bar. No one notices.
Bud YELLS at the television.
INT. YOUNG’S BAR BATHROOM-CONTINUOUS
Professor Wheat climbs out of the bathroom window in a cloud of smoke.
INT. YOUNG’S BAR-CONTINUOUS
Bud smells smoke and turns to face the bar.
Hey! Who’s smoking in here! You know the rules, put it out! Go outside!
He turns back to the television. A MURMER from the PATRONS causes him to turn back.
There’s no one smoking in here, Bud.
Then what the hell…
He throws his towel down on the bar and walks through the bar. He sees smoke pouring out of the cracks around the bathroom door.
He tries to open the door and burns his hand. He BANGS on the door with his fists.
Everyone out of the bar! Charlie!
Charlie looks over unconcerned as customers rush out the door.
Charlie call the fire department!
Charlie looks confused.
EXT. YOUNG’S BAR-NIGHT
A crowd watches as flames engulf Young’s Bar.
Yet another fire has destroyed one of the cities most well known establishments, Young’s Bar. We
haven’t been told the cause of the fire, but if arson is suspected, this will be the fourteenth
building burned in a single year.
INT. PROFESSOR WHEAT’S LIVING ROOM-CONTINUOUS
Professor Wheat stands watching the Reporter on his television, drinking a cup of coffee and holding the remote in his other hand.
With a flick of his wrist he turns off the television and walks to his window, sipping his coffee.
INT. POLICE DEPARTMENT-NIGHT
Patrons from Young’s Bar sit in every corner of the precinct, being interviewed by policemen. Phones RING.
Do you remember anyone suspicious?
Anyone seem a little edgy, walk in
and go straight to the bathroom?
Ariel shakes her head, a thoughtful look on her face.
A guy I was talking to went into
the bathroom, but I think he got
out of the bar before it burned.
Policeman #1 writes down her words.
Are you sure he left before the fire?
Ariel shakes her head helplessly.
I’m sorry, I just don’t remember.
Can you tell me in your own words,
what you remember?
I don’t know a damn thing! I was watching the football game and they were losing, goddamn bastards they are, and suddenly Bud’s yelling at me to call the fire
department or some nonsense like that.
Policeman #2 rubs his eyes tiredly and stares at Charlie with glazed eyes as he rambles on.
Course, I didn’t call ‘em. I wanted to finish my beer in peace and see what those good for nothings did on the field. I lost five hundred dollars on those sons-a-bitches!
Policeman #2 sighs and doodles on his notepad as Charlie rants.
EXT. COLLEGE CAMPUS-DAY
STUDENTS mill about the campus in groups and hurry to and from classes.
Professor Wheat, his hair slicked down in a bad part, glasses drooping on his nose, and hunched posture directing his gaze to the ground, walks quickly through the students.
Did you hear about the arson last night?
Yeah, I can’t believe they haven’t caught the guy yet! This is ridiculous.
Professor Wheat overhears their conversation and grins to himself as he walks by.
INT. CLASSROOM LECTURE HALL-LATER
Professor Wheat is LECTURING with his back to the students, writing on a large chalkboard.
He turns around just in time to see a paper airplane float across the room. He turns his head so he can peer around the room at the students, most of which are asleep on their desks.
Professor Wheat continues to lecture.
Of course, when determining the chemical make up of any substance you need to perform certain tests…
Professor Wheat turns back around to the chalkboard.
Dean Thomas stands in the back of the lecture hall, hidden in the shadows. He shakes his head and leaves the lecture hall.
EXT. YOUNG’S BAR-NIGHT
The destruction of the bar is cordoned off by caution tape. The area is deserted.
Professor Wheat, clean-shaven and wearing jeans and a black turtleneck, no glasses, and good posture, walks carefully over the rubble, a flashlight illuminating his steps. He stops and looks around him.
He spots the white porcelain of the toilets over in one corner of the rubble. He walks towards it, shining the flashlight around him as he walks.
He pauses, squats down, training the flashlight on a piece of rubble. He sifts through the ash and finds a section of plaster with burn marks around the edge but otherwise still white.
He stuffs it into his pocket.
Professor Wheat lifts his head as he hears a NOISE. He turns off the flashlight and listens.
EXT. YOUNG’S BAR-CONTINUOUS
Bud leans under the caution tape surrounding the rubble of his bar. He SIGHS at the destruction and shines a flashlight around as he walks.
The light glints off of the porcelain of the toilets in the back of the lot. Professor Wheat is not there.
INT. PROFESSOR WHEAT’S OFFICE-NIGHT
Professor Wheat sits at his messy desk looking over the piece of plaster.
He breaks off a chunk and places it carefully into a jar of liquid, watching as bubbles emit from the plaster in a chemical reaction.
He writes quickly in a notebook.
PROFESSOR WHEAT (V.O.)
The plaster tests positive for
PROFESSOR WHEAT (CONT’D) (V.O.)
fire damage. Every trial gets me
closer and closer to finding the answer. A few more tests, and it will be finished.
Professor Wheat SIGHS and stands up, rubbing the back of his neck, looking at a picture on his bookcase.
INT. MAYOR’S OFFICE-DAY
Typical politician’s office. American flag hanging in the corner, family photos accenting the desk and bookcases.
The MAYOR stands, pacing around the office. The MAYOR’S ASSISTANT sits in a chair, fidgeting nervously.
This is ridiculous! I’m going to be voted out of office unless you do something! Fourteen arsons, fourteen! And not a single lead on who could be doing this. Not one!
Yes, Mr. Mayor, you see, I’ve been
trying, but, no one sees anything!
No one ever notices who starts the
I don’t care who sees what. You get someone in jail before the election or you’re out of a job as well!
The Mayor’s Assistant nods frantically.
Yes, sir. See, the CSI teams have told me that there is something about the walls that isn’t right.
The Mayor stops pacing.
Well, when they run tests on the site of the fire, they find different chemicals, or something like that.
So, what? Get to the point!
Well, I took the liberty of…spreading…that information in certain…circles…and I have hired three bounty hunters who have seen this type of work before.
The Mayor glowers at the Mayor’s Assistant.
They know who’s doing this?
The Mayor’s Assistant stands and goes to the door, opening it.
Three MEN stand in the doorway, large, burly, and mean faced.
The Mayor looks surprised as the Mayor’s Assistant ushers them into the office.
Tell him…what you know…
Scientists are currently trying to develop fireproof plaster that holds up against any flame, protecting the steel supports inside the walls of buildings.
LUCA hands the Mayor a folder. The Mayor takes it as he watches Jimmy.
We have certain contacts that know
the…importance…of this discovery, and wish
to eliminate this contender.
The Mayor looks nervous as he opens the folder and looks over the papers within it.
If he is who we think he is, he’s psychotic. I’m sure with the upcoming election you would not…object…to having this person eliminated? The citizens will call you a hero for saving the community from this destructive scientist.
The Mayor’s Assistant grins at the Mayor proudly. The Mayor glances up at the men, indecisive.
INT. CLASSROOM LECTURE HALL-DAY
Two CSI INVESTIGATORS walk into the Lecture Hall as students pour out. Professor Wheat is gathering his notes and erasing the chalkboard.
The Investigators approach Professor Wheat with their badges exposed.
Professor Wheat turns meekly towards them.
Yes? Can I help you?
Yes, we’re working on the arson
cases that have been occurring over the past year. We were wondering if we could have a look around in your laboratory.
Professor Wheat nods slowly.
Yes, but why?
Oh, just to look around. You see, in the samples we took from the site of origination of the fires, there has been some deviations in the plaster.
Professor Wheat feigns astonishment.
You don’t think one of my students…
No, no, of course not.
Investigator #2 looks at Investigator #1 with a reassuring laugh. Investigator #1 shrugs with a shake of his head and a smile on his face.
We just wanted to see if it were possible the arsonist had access to or was stealing chemicals from your laboratory.
We really just want your cooperation.
Professor Wheat nods slowly and leads the Investigators out of the lecture hall.
INT. CHEMISTRY LABORATORY-SAME
Long laboratory tables line the walls and form aisles in the middle of the room. Cupboards line the walls above the tables. Everything is white and immaculately clean.
Here you go, this is it.
Where do you keep the chemicals?
Over here, in this room. And there are some under the hood.
Professor Wheat opens the door to the Chemical Room. It is full from top to bottom of various chemicals in bottles of all shapes and sizes.
The Investigators look at the plethora of chemicals with jaws open. Professor Wheat grins to himself.
Take your time.
Professor Wheat walks away as the Investigators look at each other with grim faces.
INT. POLICE DEPARTMENT-EVENING
The three bounty hunters approach the front desk.
We have a release from the Mayor to review all police files on the arson cases.
POLICEMAN #3 look suspiciously at the three men.
And who the hell are you?
Private investigators, hired by the Mayor.
Luca pushes a piece of paper at Policeman #3. Policeman #3 studies it for a moment then looks up at the men.
Hold on while I clear this with the chief.
Policeman #3 leaves the front desk with the paper. The three men look around them confidently. Policeman #3 returns with the paper and a large stack of folders.
Chief says it’s all right. Have fun.
Policeman #3 drops the folders on the desk in front of the men. They stare at it ruefully.
INT. BOUNTY HUNTER’S CAR-NIGHT
The three bounty hunters sit in the car, studying the police records of the arsons. Mick sits in the driver seat, Luca in
the passenger seat, and Jimmy in the backseat.
Hey! Look, the local Chemistry
professor was contacted by CSI officials just this afternoon. Do they have a University in
this hillbilly town?
Let me see that.
Jimmy hands the file to Mick. Mick studies it for a moment.
Professor John Wheat. Let’s start with him.
Mick starts the car.
INT. PROFESSOR WHEAT’S OFFICE-AFTERNOON
Professor Wheat is sitting at his desk, writing. A phone RINGS. Professor Wheat does not stop what he is doing. CLICK.
Hello, Plaster, Inc., how can I help you?
Some guests were moving furniture around and gouged a hole in the wall. I need someone to get out here and fix it.
Professor Wheat ignores the conversation as he writes.
I’m sorry, sir, our office is
closing soon. We can send someone out first thing in the morning to fix it.
Goddamn it, I said I need it fixed. It’s a hole, for God’s sakes. I can’t run business with a hole in my wall.
I’m sorry, sir--
Listen! My hotel’s booked for the next two weeks. People are going to live in this room and I’m going to be paying them if this hole isn’t fixed!
Professor Wheat stops writing and looks up excitedly.
Sir, I’m sorry, but we are closing. I can send someone out first thing in the morning.
Ah, just screw you!
CLICK! Professor Wheat raises his eyebrows. He picks up his phone and dials.
Hello, is this the Hotel? Hi, I’m calling from Plaster, Inc… I’m calling to apologize for the inconvenience and offer you an
PROFESSOR WHEAT (CONT’D)
appointment in half an hour. We
have some workers who could use a little overtime. Yes sir. Absolutely. He’ll be there by
Professor Wheat hangs up his phone with a grin.
INT. HOTEL LOBBY-EVENING
A cheaply decorated hotel with tacky floral furniture in the lobby.
Professor Wheat, wearing the white jumpsuit and toting a plaster bucket, walks up to the FRONT DESK CLERK.
You need a hole repaired somewhere?
FRONT DESK CLERK
Yeah, here on the first floor. Here’s the key.
The Front Desk Clerk tosses the key towards Professor Wheat. He catches the key against his chest and glares at the Front Desk Clerk.
The Front Desk Clerk motions with his hand. Professor Wheat walks off.
INT. HOTEL ROOM-CONTINUOUS
Same tacky floral furniture, fake plants, and a large hole just beside the bed. Professor Wheat looks at the hole and walks towards it.
He examines the hole then walks back to the hotel room door, shutting and bolting it.
He takes a vial out of his pocket and dumps it into the plaster bucket, stirring with the stir-stick.
INT. HOTEL LOBBY-LATER
Professor Wheat walks by the Front Desk. The Clerk is nowhere to be seen. Professor Wheat places the key on the desk and leaves.
INT. BOUNTY HUNTERS’ CAR-DAY
The three men sit inside the car, parked in the University parking lot. Jimmy is watching the Chemistry building on the college campus through binoculars.
Mick is smoking in the driver’s seat and Luca is reviewing the police reports on his lap. Jimmy slaps the back of Mick’s seat.
There he is! Good ole Professor Wheat.
What does he look like?
A typical old nerd. Glasses, hunched back. Weak.
Mick grins as he starts the car.
Wait! He’s not coming this way. He’s…what…I guess he parked off campus. Drive over there.
Jimmy motions with his hand towards the edge of campus. Mick drives the car slowly through the parking lot and they see Professor Wheat cross the street away from campus and walk away.
What’s he doing?
They watch silently as Professor Wheat continues to walk, stooped shouldered, down the street.
I guess he walks to and from school.
Mick hits Luca’s shoulder and points to Professor Wheat.
You follow him. Call when he gets home. Don’t lose him.
Luca nods and gets out of the car. Jimmy gets out and sits in the passenger seat.
So what are we going to get out of
Mick lights up a cigarette and breathes in deeply.
Hopefully he knows or has heard of
Why would he know him?
Mick shrugs and blows out smoke.
Wheat’s the only professional chemist in a town where fourteen arsons have been committed. He has to have an idea. Where else would Sean get the supplies?
Jimmy nods thoughtfully.
EXT. CITY STREETS-DAY
Luca follows Professor Wheat closely. Professor Wheat darts in and out of traffic, crossing streets and leaving Luca frantically dodging cars in the street.
Professor Wheat keeps his head low, his shoulders hunched, unaware of the pursuer.
Luca hurries across the street and is BEEPED at repeatedly. Luca holds his hands up to the drivers to stop as he makes it safely to the opposite sidewalk.
Luca pauses to catch his breath at a street corner.
Professor Wheat continues to trek through the city, pace unwavering. Luca shakes his head and stands up to continue the pursuit.
INT. BOUNTY HUNTERS’ CAR-LATER
Jimmy and Mick sit in the front seat of the car, smoking and reading magazines. Mick’s cell phone RINGS. He leans over and pulls the cell phone out of his coat pocket, flipping it open.
Yeah? What? Where the hell is that? Why didn’t you call sooner? Yeah, yeah.
Mick SLAMS the phone shut.
Apparently Professor Wheat walked all the way to the other side of town. Dumb ass just called to tell me.
Jimmy flicks his cigarette out the window.
Well, at least we don’t have to walk.
Mick nods and STARTS the car. He looks in his rearview mirrors and pulls away from the curb.
EXT. CITY STREET-DAY
Luca sits on the curb, leaning wearily against a fire hydrant.
The car comes around the corner. Luca stands up tiredly. The car stops.
Luca reaches for the door handle as Jimmy sticks his head out the window.
You could’ve called a little sooner and we would have followed him in the car!
Luca flips Jimmy off as he slides into the backseat. Jimmy shrugs and pulls his head back into the car. The car drives off.
INT. PROFESSOR WHEAT’S OFFICE-NIGHT
Professor Wheat sits at his desk, scribbling furiously on a piece of paper.
His watch BEEPS incessantly. Professor Wheat casually turns off the alarm and glances at the picture on the bookcase.
Professor Wheat SIGHS and stands up, walking out of the office.
INT. PROFESSOR WHEAT’S BEDROOM-SAME
Professor Wheat stands in front of his mirror, wearing nicely fitting jeans and a button down shirt, styling his hair with gel. He wipes his hands on a towel and adjusts his collar.
His final appearance is very appealing.
Professor Wheat gives himself a once-over in the mirror, grabs his leather jacket from his bed, and walks out the door.
EXT. PROFESSOR WHEAT’S APARTMENT BUILDING
Professor Wheat walks out the front door of the apartment complex. He sees a car parked across the street with three men inside. He sees the burning red tip of their cigarettes.
Professor Wheat pauses for a moment, adjusts his coat as he stares at the car, then stalks off briskly.
INT. BOUNTY HUNTERS’ CAR-CONTINUOUS
The car is parked across the street from Professor Wheat’s apartment building.
Jimmy sits in the passenger side, eyes on the building, cigarette in one hand. Luca sits in the back seat with the case file open on his lap, a book light clipped to the pages. Mick reads a magazine, a cigarette hanging from the corner of his mouth.
Luca and Mick don’t look up.
Is it Wheat?
Jimmy shakes his head as he inhales on his cigarette.
Then who cares?
Mick turns the page of the magazine.
Professor Wheat creeps around the back of the hotel, hidden in shadows.
He approaches a window on the first floor. He peeks inside and raises the window slowly.
INT. HOTEL ROOM-CONTINUOUS
Professor Wheat crawls into the hotel room in the dark. He stands slowly and peers around him in the dark.
He sees a sleeping form on the bed. He tiptoes over to the bed, and gazes down on JO, 20’s, a beautiful young woman with blond hair, long lashes, and a small, pouty mouth.
Professor Wheat pauses, and as he gazes at her, she stirs.
Professor Wheat’s eyes widen as he drops to the floor. Jo rolls over in bed and settles back down against her pillows.
Professor Wheat closes his eyes and SIGHS in relief, turning and inspecting the wall next to the bed. He reaches into his coat pocket and fumbles around for a bit.
He opens a book of matches and his face is illuminated by the flame. He pauses, looking up at the bed. He shakes out the match and stands up.
He stares at Jo for a moment, then reaches his hand out to her shoulder.
He stops, and puts his arm back at his side. He looks at the ceiling and closes his eyes.
He glares at Jo, then walks to the corner of the room and sits in an armchair. He crosses one foot over his knee and rests his face against his fist.
Finally, Professor Wheat stands up, rubs the back of his neck, and walks over to the bed.
He pats Jo’s shoulder lightly. Jo starts and rolls over. Her eyes widen and her mouth opens to scream.
Professor Wheat puts his hand over her mouth and sits on the edge of the bed, leaning his body over her waist to hold her down. Her eyes look at him in terror.
I’m not going to hurt you. You need to leave this room immediately unless you want to burn up with this hotel.
Jo’s eyes widen and she tries to focus on his face in the dark. Her hands come up to lightly touch his hand on her face. Professor Wheat removes his hand slowly.
You’re the arsonist?
Professor Wheat stands quickly and Jo sits up, tossing her feet over the edge of the bed.
Professor Wheat crouches down beside the bed and lights a match.
Flames spread quickly.
He turns to look at Jo, his dark features accentuated by the light of the fire.
Jo gazes into his dark eyes for a moment, then jumps off the bed, racing for the door to her room.
She turns just in time to see Professor Wheat climb out the window.
She opens the door and runs out of the room.
EXT. BURNING HOTEL-NIGHT
Policemen and firemen scurry around the street, aiming fire hoses, escorting hotel patrons to ambulances, and interviewing staff and guests.
It appears yet another building has fallen victim to the
unyielding Arsonist of Bay City.
However, this time, the arsonist spoke with a hotel guest.
INT. PROFESSOR WHEAT’S LIVING ROOM-SAME
Professor Wheat watches the television as he drinks a beer.
Jo Peters, a young woman staying in the hotel room where the fire originated, claims the arsonist woke her and told her to escape before the flames could harm her.
Jo Peters appears on screen, blinking in the lights.
Tell us, Jo, do you remember anything about the arsonist? Can you identify him?
Professor Wheat sets his beer down, turns up the volume, and leans forward, watching Jo.
It was dark, I couldn’t see his face. I’m not from this city, so I don’t know who he was.
Professor Wheat stares at the television. He leans back slowly as the Reporter continues to interview Jo. Professor Wheat can’t tear his eyes away from her.
INT. BOUNTY HUNTERS’ CAR-SAME
Mick and Luca are asleep. Jimmy rubs his eyes tiredly and starts to doze off.
A cell phone RINGS. Mick jerks awake, blinking tiredly. He reaches into his back pocket for his cell phone.
Luca sits forward with a grouchy look on his face.
There’s been another arson! What the hell am I paying you losers for? Find this asshole or I put you three in jail!
Mick shuts his cell phone. Jimmy looks at Mick tiredly.
Looks like we’re going to have to pay Professor Wheat a midnight visit.
The three men get out of the car and head across the street to Professor Wheat’s apartment building.
INT. PROFESSOR WHEAT’S APARTMENT BUILDING-CONTINUOUS
The three men pause just inside the door, looking at the mailboxes. They see Professor Wheat’s, note the apartment number, and head up the stairs.
INT. PROFESSOR WHEAT’S LIVING ROOM-CONTINUOUS
Professor Wheat continues to watch Jo on the screen as he sips his beer.
That’s the story from Jo Peters, the only person to ever come face to face with the arsonist. The hotel says all guests will be transferred to Motel 6 free of charge to make up for the late
wake-up call this evening.
A KNOCK sounds on Professor Wheat’s door. Professor Wheat looks sharply at the door and turns off the television with quick, silent movements.
Professor Wheat approaches the door to his apartment. He looks out through the peephole and sees the three men standing in the hallway.
INT. PROFESSOR WHEAT’S OFFICE-CONTINUOUS
Professor Wheat runs to his office quietly and gathers his papers, bottles of chemicals, and his white jumpsuit.
INT. PROFESSOR WHEAT’S BEDROOM-CONTINUOUS
Professor Wheat runs into his bedroom as POUNDING on the door makes him pause. He drops everything on his bed and kneels down, pulling a small duffle bag out from under his bed.
He places the duffle on his bed and throws his supplies in the duffle bag. He grabs a pair of jeans and a couple of shirts out of his closet and throws those in as well.
The POUNDING on the door grows louder. Professor Wheat grabs his glasses off his dresser and climbs out the window onto the fire escape. He hears his door SPLINTER open.
INT. PROFESSOR WHEAT’S APARTMENT-CONTINUOUS
The three men emerge into the apartment, guns drawn. A quick search of the apartment reveals Professor Wheat is not there.
Mick puts his gun in his coat pocket and walks through the apartment. He pauses in the doorway of the Professor’s Office.
INT. PROFESSOR WHEAT’S OFFICE-CONTINUOUS
Mick notices the cluttered mess and raises an eyebrow. He
walks into the office and looks around at all the chemicals haphazardly lying all over the desk and bookcases. He shakes his head.
Damn, all Chemistry people are slobs.
He turns from the office and joins Jimmy and Luca. They exit the apartment.