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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/1919969
Rated: 13+ · Other · Thriller/Suspense · #1919969
A down-on-his-luck Ad Exec. devises a plan to prevent his wife from receiving alimony.
INT. AMANDA GRANT'S OFFICE - DAY

HALLWAY

Rachel is walking down a long office hallway with many doors
on either side. She comes to a door labelled "Amanda Grant
LLP".

Rachel opens the door to find AMANDA GRANT seated at her
desk, talking to someone on the phone. Amanda is a thin,
well-maintained woman in her mid-40s with an intimidating,
harsh look. She has a slight British accent, which makes
her seem even more intimidating.

AMANDA GRANT
Well I can't, Harry. No, I can't,
I told you, I've got meetings
until at least seven o' clock.

Amanda looks up and sees Rachel. She waves her in.

OFFICE

AMANDA GRANT
Well, you'll just have to get her
ready yourself. The skates are
hanging up in the basement.
Honestly, it's not that hard. Yes
well, that's very unfortunate but
I have faith in you. Listen, I
have to go, I have a client here.
Chicken tonight, OK? Oh for
fuck's sake, it's in the freezer.
Goodbye!

Rachel makes an awkward face, to appear sympathetic.

AMANDA GRANT
Honestly...the man has his Ph.D,
he can perform heart surgery but
getting our daughter to skating
practice is an ordeal.

Rachel laughs nervously.

RACHEL AVERY
Men, right?

AMANDA GRANT
Makes me remember why I do what I
do.

Amanda SIGHS loudly.

AMANDA GRANT
Rachel, right? How are you? Come,
sit down.

Amanda extends her hand.

AMANDA GRANT
Amanda Grant. You can just call
me Amanda.

Rachel shakes Amanda's hand lightly and sits down in front
of her.

RACHEL AVERY
I'm fine, I'm just here to get
some information, really.

AMANDA GRANT
Certainly. What can I help you
with?

RACHEL AVERY
Well, obviously...I'm thinking
of...divorce...

AMANDA GRANT
Let me stop you right there. Now,
there's a few different ways we
can run with this thing and I'd
like to make sure we're on the
same page. What's the reason for
the divorce?

RACHEL AVERY
Um...infidelity?

Amanda CLAPS her hands together, excitedly.

AMANDA GRANT
That's FANTASTIC.

Rachel gives her a disturbed look.

AMANDA GRANT
Oh, not for your marriage, of
course, but from a legal point of
view...let's just say that it
gives us many, many options. Have
you spoken to your husband about
this yet?

RACHEL AVERY
No, no, we...we really haven't
spoken about anything in a while,
to be honest.

AMANDA GRANT
Good. Keep it that way.

RACHEL AVERY
Excuse me?

AMANDA GRANT
Don't talk to him. About
anything! And by anything, I mean
anything at all. Don't ask him to
pick up milk on his way home,
don't ask him why he's such a
slob, don't even yell at him when
he leaves the toilet seat up.
Total...silence.

RACHEL AVERY
OK...and why is that so important?

AMANDA GRANT
You don't want to give him any
indication of what you're about to
do. No indication whatsoever!
It's important that he has no
forewarning of your intentions.

Rachel looks concerned.

AMANDA GRANT
Now...tell me everything.


INT. AVERY ADVERTISING - DAY

LOBBY

John walks into the lobby of his office suite. He's wearing
sunglasses to cover his eye. He walks past the reception
desk. Elizabeth is on the phone with a client.

ELIZABETH REISENFELD
We can totally help you with that.
Um, did you want to talk to a
sales associate now, or...OK. OK,
sure!

She gives John a small smile as he passes.

JOHN'S OFFICE

John enters his office. He removes his sunglasses and
jacket. At the same time, Steve enters.

STEVE PETERS
Hey buddy, how are ya? Just
wanted to give you a heads up
on...Jesus John, what the hell
happened to you? Please tell me
you haven't been...

Steve lowers his voice and rubs his fingers together, giving
John the "money" signal, hinting at John's gambling habit.

John SIGHS loudly and shakes his head.

JOHN AVERY
Got into an argument with Rachel
last night...about you-know-what.
I had it coming. It's no big deal.

John shrugs.

STEVE PETERS
Wow she really popped you good.
She's a real force of nature.
Anyways...uh...you know what, I'll
give you some space. Talk to you
later, all right?

John leans back in his chair and stares at a clock mounted
on the wall.

The clock ticks away, second by second.

Focus is brought to the second hand of the clock. It
approaches the twelve...

The moment it hits the twelve, John's phone rings and he
jumps in his chair.

John picks up the phone.

JOHN AVERY
Avery Advertising.

FISCHER
It's me.

JOHN AVERY
Jesus, what are you--

FISCHER
Shut up and listen. I need to
make the pick-up this week a bit
earlier, something's come up. Can
I come in for a second?

JOHN AVERY
What are you talking about? Are
you...you're not HERE, are you?

John swings around in his chair and looks outside, not
seeing anything suspicious.

FISCHER
I'm coming up or you're coming
down, what's it gonna be?

John glances around the office and then stares out the
window again.


EXT. AVERY ADVERTISING - MOMENTS LATER

John is walking through the parking lot with his heavy
winter coat on. He approaches Fischer's car.

Fischer gets out of his car and walks towards John.

FISCHER
You got it here or we takin' a
trip again?

JOHN AVERY
What the hell's goin' on here, you
said we'd always do this at night,
in a private place. This is not--

FISCHER
Don't tell me my fuckin' business,
Avery. Don't ever raise your
voice at me like that again. Don't
forget who's doin' who a favour
here. I'll ask again...you have
it or we goin' for a ride?

John is fuming, but he reaches into his jacket and pulls out
a Manila envelope. He looks around the parking lot and then
hands it to Fischer.

FISCHER
See you in a week. Put a steak on
the eye.

JOHN AVERY
Hold on...hey, hold on, I wanna
talk to you.

FISCHER
What is it?

JOHN AVERY
Do you think you can get me a spot
at the table this Saturday?

FISCHER
What?

JOHN AVERY
If I could just get another
chance, I know I could--

FISCHER
You've already fucked me over
once, it's not gonna happen again.
The best thing for you to do
right now is to march your little
ass back in there, put your head
down, and get to work. Don't
forget how much you owe me. Start
selling some fucking ad space.

Fischer gets into his car and drives off.

John stands in the snow and watches him drive away.

ANTON BRODY
John?

John TURNS QUICKLY around to find Anton standing behind him.
John goes wide-eyed.

John THROWS his hands up in the air.

JOHN AVERY
What the hell?

ANTON BRODY
We need to talk. You have a few
minutes?

John's arms are still up in the air, he's amazed at what's
taking place.

JOHN AVERY
Is everyone in my life conspiring
against me today? What do you
want?

Anton motions to his car.

John puts his hands down, defeated, and marches over to
Anton's car.


INT. CAR - CONTINUOUS

ANTON BRODY
Who was that guy? He looked
pissed.

JOHN AVERY
What do you want, Anton? What are
you doing here?

After a beat:

ANTON BRODY
It's Rachel.

A look of concern washes over John's face.

JOHN AVERY
What, what do you mean? Is she
OK?

ANTON BRODY
I love her.

An awkward beat.

John scoffs.

JOHN AVERY
What?

ANTON BRODY
Look, I know, it's crazy, right? I
didn't' expect it, you sure as
hell didn't expect it but...it's
the God's honest truth. I love
her, John. More than I've ever
loved anyone before.

JOHN AVERY
Wait, why are you telling me this?

After a beat:

Anton reaches into the back seat and grabs a Manila
envelope, the same one that John gave him originally, and
hands it back to John.

John opens the envelope cautiously and sees that it's full
of money.

John looks confused.

JOHN AVERY
What the hell is this?

ANTON BRODY
It's money.

JOHN AVERY
I know it's fucking money, why are
you giving this to me?

ANTON BRODY
I'm not giving it to you. I'm
buying back that disc from you.

JOHN AVERY
Oh no, no you're not, we're done!
The transaction or whatever you
want to call it, it's DONE.

ANTON BRODY
If she sees that tape, John,
she'll--

JOHN AVERY
She'll what? Realize who you
really are? What your intentions
were? Yeah, you're right, she
will. But that's not my problem.
You agreed to do this, you're the
one that's supposed to be a...a...
'professional', whatever the hell
that means in this situation.

John throws the envelope back at Anton.

JOHN AVERY
I don't want to see you around
here again.

John opens the car door and begins to make his exit.

ANTON BRODY
I'll give you double your money
back.

John pauses and turns back around.

JOHN AVERY
A hundred-thousand.

Anton laughs to himself.

ANTON BRODY
That's more than ten times...

Anton stares at John, who is staring back at him with a
frown.

ANTON BRODY
Fifteen.

JOHN AVERY
One hundred. You have my number
if you decide she's worth it.

John gets out of the car and marches away, SLAMMING the car
door behind him. The CRUNCHING of snow is heard as Anton
shakes his head.

Anton reaches into his jacket and pulls out his cellphone.
He punches in a number.

ANTON BRODY
Hey pal, how are ya? Everything
good? Ha ha! That's great.
Listen, I need a favour. Think
you can meet me tonight?

Anton looks at his watch.

ANTON BRODY
I dunno, a couple hours or so? My
place. All right, great, see you
soon.

Anton flips his phone closed. He starts his car and drives
off.


INT. UNKNOWN - DAY

FLASH FORWARD TO AN UNKNOWN POINT IN TIME

Blood is dripping down a pane of glass, it's falling
quickly. It reaches the floor of the room and starts to
collect on a pamphlet. The pamphlet is titled "Avery
Advertising". In the background, through the glass, we can
see people running frantically.

CUT TO BLACK


EXT. UNKNOWN - EVENING

A garbage bag, with an arm poking out, is seen floating in a
body of water. A heavy wave suddenly pushes it violently
onto a strip of icy land. A young boy and his parents are
building a snowman nearby. The young boy runs over to have a
look and screams when he sees what's inside the bag.

CUT TO BLACK


EXT. UNKNOWN - NIGHT

The blood is pooling on the icy pavement of the parking lot,
spurting and spraying all over the place. A grunting noise
can be heard and suddenly a bloody arm comes into frame. And
then another. Someone is crawling along the ice. The
bloody arms come to a stop at the shoes of an unknown
person, clawing at them. A gunshot is heard and the arms go
limp.

CUT TO BLACK

THE FLASH FORWARD ENDS AT THIS POINT


INT. ANTON'S APARTMENT - EVENING

RACHEL AVERY
I was thinking, maybe tonight we
could go out and watch a movie,
whaddya think?

ANTON BRODY
Baby, that sounds like a
fantastic idea.

Anton and Rachel are cooking dinner together. Rachel is
chopping carrots and onions while Anton is searing some meat
on the stove top.

RACHEL AVERY
You're gonna love this recipe, I
used to make it all the time. One
might say it's my speciality.

ANTON BRODY
Well it smells fantastic already,
I'm tempted to just eat it right
now.

RACHEL AVERY
No way! You're gonna wait it out,
no cheating. So, what movie you
wanna see?

Anton's cell phone RINGS.

ANTON BRODY
Hold on, babe.

Anton flips his cell phone open. The display reads "Bill".

WILLIAM DAFINO
I'm here, you wanna let me in?

ANTON BRODY
Uh, yeah, actually, tell you
what...I'll come down to you. Give
me a minute.

Rachel frowns.

RACHEL AVERY
Who's that?

ANTON BRODY
That there was just a friend of
mine. I haven't seen him in ages.
I'm just gonna whip down and say
hi to him, I'll be two seconds.

RACHEL AVERY
Why don't you just invite him up?

ANTON BRODY
Listen...to be perfectly
honest...he's a bit of an asshole.
There's a reason I haven't seen
him in a while. Between you and
me, I can't stand the guy.
Just...let me go down, say hi, and
I'll get him out of here, OK?

RACHEL AVERY
Sure...

Anton kisses Rachel on the forehead.

ANTON BRODY
Love ya babe...be RIGHT back!
Don't eat without me!

Anton throws on a heavy jacket and heads out the door.


INT. CAR - MOMENTS LATER

It is snowing heavily outside. William Dafino is sitting in
his car, sipping on a coffee. He has a look of annoyance on
his face.

The passenger door opens and Anton slides in.

ANTON BRODY
Sorry, old-timer, got some company
up there. You know how it is.

WILLIAM DAFINO
Well, I hope you're having a good
time. Me? I just drove my ass
through the god damn blizzard of
the century. Took me two hours to
drive ten miles. Whatever this is
better be worth it.

ANTON BRODY
Well, it's actually about a
girl...

WILLIAM DAFINO
And it's not usually?

ANTON BRODY
No, it's not like that. As it
turns out, I'm out of the
business. For good. I'm throwing
in the towel.

Dafino scoffs.

WILLIAM DAFINO
I've heard THIS story before.

ANTON BRODY
Hey, listen, I know what you're
thinking. It didn't exactly work
out the last time but that doesn't
mean it won't work out with
Rachel. I'm on my hands and knees
here, Bill. I need your help.

Dafino frowns at Anton.

ANTON BRODY
Ten Grand. Cash. I can get it to
you tomorrow.

WILLIAM DAFINO
I'm listening.

ANTON BRODY
There's a disc, I need you to get
it back for me. Well, a disc and
probably a computer or a laptop,
too. There's a video that I need
to make sure doesn't get out.

Dafino is still frowning.

ANTON BRODY
The house'll be empty. Should
just be a quick in and out.
Oh...and if you could, you know,
just make it look like a
robbery...

WILLIAM DAFINO
All right, Anton, I'll do this
thing for you, but this is it,
man. After this, I'm done. I'm
gettin' old, in case you haven't
noticed. You can consider me
retired after this.

ANTON BRODY
Hey look at us, a couple of old
retired farts. That's great,
really! You told Marge yet?

WILLIAM DAFINO
It was her idea, mostly.

ANTON BRODY
Haha, sounds like a great idea
until she realizes she has to put
up with you all day long. How's
she doing these days? She still
having a tough time with her dad?

WILLIAM DAFINO
Oh you know, he's in and out of
the hospital. Surprised he's not
racking up frequent flier miles in
that god damn place. Worst part
is, she drags ME there every
single weekend. You know that
hospital smell? That moth-bally
pungent smell? Makes me sick
every time I go there. I love the
man, he means the world to Margie
but god damn it...that smell.

ANTON BRODY
That's a shame. I'm sure he'll
pull through, though, he's made of
tougher stuff than you and I.

WILLIAM DAFINO
Well, it's the cancer now,
too...eating through him like a
shark. Doctors gave him nine
months but he's holding strong.
Fuckin' don't know how I'd handle
that. Hook me up to one of those
machines, you might as well kill
me right then and there. Fuck
that. Promise me that ever
happens, you'll take my gun and
put me out of my misery.

ANTON BRODY
You're not the type to die like
that Bill, don't worry. Margie'll
kill ya before the cancer ever
will.

Both men laugh.

WILLIAM DAFINO
Well...you seem happy, Anton. For
someone as sick as yourself,
that's really saying somethin'.
Don't get delusional though. One
woman can't change the world.

ANTON BRODY
Ah, that's where you're wrong
old-timer. I'm sure Marge used to
put a spring in your step back in
the day. You play the tough guy
now but I bet you were a real
charmer back in the eighteen
hundreds.

Anton laughs. Dafino takes out his gun and waves it around
playfully at Anton.

WILLIAM DAFINO
Bang bang, you're dead.

Both men continue laughing together inside the car.

FADE TO BLACK


EXT. AVERY HOME - LATER

Dafino pulls his car up to the curb a few houses down from
John and Rachel's.

Dafino is dressed all in black and wearing white surgical
gloves.

Dafino opens his phone and punches in Anton's number.

WILLIAM DAFINO
Send the message, I'm here.


INT. AVERY HOME - CONTINUOUS

John is watching TV when his cell phone VIBRATES. He picks
it up and sees a text message from Rachel.

RACHEL AVERY
(text message)
I'm sorry, John. I'm ready to
talk. Meet me at the coffee shop?

John stares at the message on the phone and breathes a heavy
sigh of relief.


EXT. AVERY HOME - CONTINUOUS

Dafino is staring at the Avery home, waiting for John to
leave.

Suddenly, the only LIGHT in the house goes off and John
exits. John gets into his car and backs out of the
driveway, taking off in a hurry.

Dafino slides out of his car and opens the trunk to retrieve
a large satchel. He closes the trunk and walks towards the
home.

He walks around the side of the house. The side gate has
been left open. He makes his way to the back door, lightly
kicking aside a snow shovel that's in his way and begins
picking the lock.

After a beat:

The door CLICKS and swings open slightly. A loud BEEPING
noise is heard, signifying that the house alarm will sound
shortly.

WILLIAM DAFINO
(Calmly)
Oh for Christ's Sake...


INT. AVERY HOME - CONTINUOUS

Dafino walks at a steady pace to the front door. He bends
down and reaches into his bag, pulling out a multi-purpose
screwdriver. He attempts to unscrew the panel from the wall
with the bit that's currently in the screwdriver, but the
bit head is too large. He swaps it out with a slightly
smaller one and tries again, successfully. The panel slips
off and falls to the floor with a metallic CLANG.

He puts the screwdriver back into his bag and pulls out a
pair of wire cutters. He thinks to himself for a brief
moment before clipping the red wire.

The beeping noise stops.

Dafino looks around the room, triumphantly, with a slight
smile on his face.


INT. CAR - CONTINUOUS

John is driving in a hurry to the coffee shop. He suddenly
sees his own bare hand on the steering wheel. He isn't
wearing his ring.

JOHN AVERY
Shit...shit!

John rubs his bare finger. With his other hand, he searches
the pockets of his jacket and pants, but comes up empty. He
does a sudden U-TURN and heads back home for his wedding
ring.


INT. AVERY HOME - CONTINUOUS

Dafino picks up his bag and stares up the stairwell to the
second floor. He walks slowly up the stairs.

Dafino, now on the second floor, looks in each room, one by
one. The master bedroom, the two guest bedrooms and finally
the office, the room he's looking for.

He starts to enter the office before remembering something.
He steps back into the hallway and heads into the master
bedroom.

He lazily grabs a handful of necklaces and bracelets from
the dresser and throws them into his bag.

He goes back to the office, where he carefully unplugs the
laptop and places it in the bag he's been carrying. He
continues looking for the DVD but can't find it on the desk.
He sees a filing cabinet next to the desk and begins to
rummage around in it.


EXT. AVERY HOME - MOMENTS LATER

John pulls into his driveway. He gets out of the car and
approaches the front door.

He fumbles for his keys, dropping them once before finally
finding the right one. He opens the door and sees the cover
for the alarm system resting on the floor in front of him.

He looks panicked, but isn't moving. His eyes are searching
the first floor of his house. Everything else appears
normal. He closes the door behind him very slowly and
quietly.


INT. AVERY HOME - CONTINUOUS

John very slowly and very quietly heads for the kitchen at
the back of the house.

He reaches into a cabinet and pulls out a small SIX-SHOT
REVOLVER. It's never been fired before and is not loaded.

He frantically searches for the bullets. They are in a tin
case, but the cabinet is full of them. He searches through
three or four cases, trying to make as little noise as
possible, before he comes across the right one. He clumsily
loads the gun with six bullets. He has a look of terror on
his face as he stands in his kitchen with the loaded weapon.

John slowly and carefully searches the main floor of his
home. He doesn't find anything out of place.

As John approaches the stairs, he hears a loud THUMP. Dafino
is emptying the filing cabinet, dumping it's contents on the
carpeted floor upstairs.

John holds his breath and slowly ascends the staircase.

As John reaches the top of the stairs, he knows that the
sound is coming from the office. He walks slowly down the
hallway towards it but stops suddenly, frozen in fear, as
the home phone RINGS loudly from the master bedroom.

The RUSTLING stops in the office.

John is holding his breath.

Dafino moves quickly to the master bedroom to find the
source of the noise. His back is to John as he moves.

John stares, horrified, as Dafino moves to the bedroom,
unable to speak. He raises his gun, but doesn't fire. He
has a direct line of sight to Dafino at this point.

Dafino finds the phone on the bedside table and takes a look
at the call display. Beside the phone is the DVD. He lets
out a chuckle and grabs it. He turns around to leave, but
instead finds John aiming the gun at him.

Neither men say a word. After a beat, the phone rings
again.

John fires his weapon in reflex. BAM! The bullet hits
Dafino in the shoulder and he falls to the ground with a
loud grunt, clutching his arm.

Horrified, John rushes into the bedroom and stands over
Dafino.

MASTER BEDROOM

Dafino, gasping for air, slowly reaches under his shirt for
his gun. John sees him going for his weapon.

JOHN AVERY
(whimpering)
No...

John seems more concerned about having to fire the weapon
again than being shot at.

Dafino grabs his silenced pistol but before he can bring it
up to shoot, John fires another round into Dafino's chest,
killing him.

John drops to his knees and puts his hands on his head. He
doesn't know what to make of the situation. He doesn't know
this man.

The phone stops ringing.

John suddenly remembers Dafino's gun and bats it out of the
way. It smacks against the wall with a THUD.

John shuffles over top of Dafino's body and hovers his hands
over him, as if he's about to give him CPR. He doesn't know
where to place his hands, there's too much blood. He
realizes there's no point.

John reaches into Dafino's jacket and pulls out his wallet.
He reads the driver's license and shakes his head in
confusion, not recognizing the name.

John reaches into Dafino's pants pocket and finds his cell
phone. He flips it open and looks for the most recent calls.
He comes across a familiar phone number. It belongs to
Anton Brody. John pockets the phone with a look of harsh
realization on his face.

John grabs the DVD and puts it back in the office on top of
his desk. He then goes back to Dafino's body and kneels
beside it. He lightly puts his hands on Dafino's shoulders
and starts to drag him. John notices the mess he's making,
as Dafino's blood smears all over the carpet. John stops
immediately, stands up, and walks out of the room.

STAIRS

John now has Dafino's body wrapped in drawstring garbage
bags. One end covers his head, the other covers his legs
and feet. His torso is showing because the bags aren't long
enough.

John begins dragging Dafino down the stairs. He doesn't
realize how heavy Dafino is and almost loses his footing.

John stops and calms himself before trying again. This time
he gets three or four stairs down before Dafino's body
starts SLIDING on it's own.

John loses his grip and Dafino's head takes out John's legs,
causing him to TUMBLE down the stairs awkwardly.

John SMACKS his head on the hard ceramic floor. Dafino's
body SLAMS against the wall head-first, putting a large dent
in the drywall.

John's eyes flutter briefly for a moment before he passes
out completely. Blood is trickling down his face.

FADE TO BLACK


INT. AVERY HOME - MORNING

FLARE TO WHITE

FRONT DOOR

John opens his eyes, squinting, to find that it's now light
outside. He has a pounding headache and is confused why
he's lying on the floor. There is dried blood all over his
head, face and shirt.

John sits up and blinks several times to bring the room into
focus.

John looks around the room and sees the body wrapped in
garbage bags. There is a large pool of blood on the ceramic
floor under the body.

Everything suddenly comes rushing back to him. He stands up
in a hurry, nearly falling on his way up.

John rubs his face, SMEARING blood all over his cheeks.

John grabs hold of Dafino's feet and DRAGS him slowly to the
door leading to the garage. He leaves a bloody smear all
across the floor as he drags the body.

He makes it to the door after some struggling and leans up
against the wall, panting. He catches his reflection in the
mirror on the wall.

JOHN AVERY
Oh my God...

John STUMBLES to the kitchen, grabs a tea towel that's
hanging from the oven and wipes his face off. He throws the
towel in the sink and takes his shirt off, turns it inside
out, and puts it back on.

John stares with a look of concern at the body lying slumped
against the door to the garage.


EXT. AVERY HOME - MOMENTS LATER

John reverses his car into the garage. As seen from the
back of the car, the trunk pops open.
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