For your reading pleasure, my work in progress… Love and Death.
FADE IN: EXT. ROAD TO NOWHERE - DAY A heavy mist hides most of a lonely stretch of road somewhere in the mountains. The silence is broken by the faraway sound of an engine rising and fading as it shifts from gear to gear. The sound grows louder, more urgent until finally... A high performance sports car erupts sideways through the mist, pulling plumes of it in its back draft. The car seems to drift too far left and goes into a sidelong skid. It slides left, then right and just when we think the driver is regaining control of the powerful sports car, it tips, catching its meaty tires in the macadam and rolls over... side over side, bits and pieces flying from the wreckage; glass, metal and rubber scattering in all directions. After a countless number of flips, the car comes to rest upside down, next to a signpost that warns drivers of the dangerous curves next 15 miles.
EXT. CAR WRECKAGE - SAME Smoke rises from the wreckage, the quiet that filled the scene prior to the car's disastrous entrance returns, swallowing up the thunderous crash as if it never happened. From the wreckage a moan. The sounds of glass falling, then another moan. Amazingly, KIP CARLYSLE, 30s, crawls out from the wreckage, slowly and with care. OC VOICE I know what you're thinking... but don't do it. Panic I mean. Don't do it. It won't help, plus it's really annoying. Carlysle, blood streaming from a glass encrusted cut above his left eye, looks around for the source of the voice. OC VOICE (cont'd) Over here. Woohoo, this way Mario! Sitting on the guardrail across from the wreck is MORT GRAVES, 30s, pale skinned, a black coat over a white button up shirt tucked neatly into a pair of ill-fitting black slacks, white athletic socks and thick soled black shoes. On Mort's face are thick, black rimmed glasses hiding pale blue eyes that are watching Carlysle passively. CARLYSLE Who... who... Carlysle pauses, licking his lips and tries again. CARLYSLE (cont'd) Who... MORT What say we tackle that question when you're more composed? Mort stands and brushes broken glass from his pants, then strides purposefully up to the twisted piece of metal that was once Carlysle's car. He stands above Carlysle who is struggling to raise himself up onto his knees. MORT (cont'd) That was a spectacular crash. Personally, I'm of the mind-set that if you're going to do something, you should do it right. That my friend was done right! Mort reaches into the wreckage and pulls a loose control arm out. He inspects it for a moment then tosses it unceremoniously aside. Mort claps his hands together to get the dust, dirt and grime off before offering his hand to Carlysle. At first Carlysle looks at the hand unsure of what to do with it. Tentatively, he reaches up and grasps Mort's hand, letting himself be lifted from the ground. CARLYSLE Is that what happened? MORT Huh? Oh, yeah. Crash. Bad one. Carlysle stares at the remains of his car, then at the trail of wreckage, and finally at the skid marks that lead into the thick, swirling mists some 150 feet away. CARLYSLE Do you have a phone? We should call someone. I think I need a doctor. Carlysle touches his head wound carefully, pulling his hand back to look at the blood. MORT Oh, I don't think anyone can help you at this point. There weren't any survivors. Mort takes out a PDA from his coat and begins tapping at the screen with his index finger. CARLYSLE That fog just came up out of nowhere. Like it was waiting for someone to pop over that rise and into the turn before... Carlysle stops abruptly. CARLYSLE (cont'd) Did you say "no survivors?" MORT You're Kip Carlysle? Of 27 Frontage Place? Mort switches fingers a few times looking for a finger more conducive to writing. The skin, then muscles, tendons, veins and blood vessels disappear revealing a skeletal hand. Carlysle doesn't notice. MORT (cont'd) These gizmos are great but I keep losing the little damned pencil thingy you're supposed to use. CARLYSLE What did you say your name was again? Mort makes a few more marks on the PDA screen with his skeletal pinky finger and slips the PDA back into his coat as the flesh begins growing back on his hand in the reverse order in which it disappeared. MORT I didn't. But with the preliminaries out of the way... Mort extends his fully fleshed out hand again, this time in greeting. MORT (cont'd) I am the Angel of the Lord, the Destroyer, Mal'ak ha-mashhit to the Jews, Izanami to the Japanese, Enma Daiou to some further East. In Mexico, I am known as La Calaca for some reason even I can't remember. I am the Grim Reaper or the Pale Rider if you believe any of that horseshit in Revelations. Most of my friends just call me Mort. Pleased to meet you. EXT. ROAD TO NOWHERE - MOMENTS LATER Mort and Carlysle walk into the mist and all features of the landscape disappear. Mort looks at his watch and hurries his pace. CARLYSLE So you've coming to take me to the hereafter? MORT Not exactly no. I'm like a civil servant. I only do one small part in the whole process of death. I let you know you're dead, take you to limbo where... CARLYSLE Limbo is a real place? MORT Well, of course its real. We can't just have the dead shambling about here and there can we? CARLYSLE No, I guess not, but I thought Limbo was just a mythical place... a metaphor. MORT Limbo is where you'll find out where you're going for the balance of eternity. It is as real as anything you'll experience from here on out. Carlysle stops. Mort continues on for a few paces before he realizes Carlysle is no longer following. Mort stops and faces Carlysle. CARLYSLE You don't look anything like how I imagined. MORT Oh, yeah...right. You mean with the hooded robe, the sickle and the whole... Mort gestures with his hands and the same morphing trick from earlier transforms his whole body into something even more repulsively skeletal, bigger, blacker and much more in line with the typical representation of Death. Huge gray wings unfurl from his back completing the image. Carlysle is horrified and cringes in fear. Mort morphs back into his previous form. MORT (cont'd) Yeah, that's the usual reaction. Makes getting people to follow you really tough, though. CARLYSLE I can imagine. MORT Well honestly I didn't peg you for a traditionalist. Would you prefer that I... Mort begins to morph back. CARLYSLE No. No this is fine. Really. MORT Yeah, I think so too. Hard to get people to pay much attention when they're pissing themselves with fright. Took me a long time to convince them upstairs that we should ease up on the special effects and concentrate on communication of basic ideas. Well, we're here. In the distance a light begins to grow until it cuts through the swirling mists surrounding Carlysle and Mort. MORT (cont'd) Just head in that general direction and you'll be fine. Mort points toward the bright white light and begins walking in the opposite direction. CARLYSLE Wait. You're leaving? I have so many questions. MORT Sorry kid. Ask anyone in white with bushy facial for answers. Good luck. He starts away and suddenly turns back as if remembering something. He looks at Carlysle's frightened look and thinks better about whatever he was going to say. Mort shakes his head and disappears into the mist. EXT. SWIRLING MIST OF ETERNITY Mort walks in the nothingness, hands in pockets, thinking. OC VOICE Just now, there with the dead guy, what were you going to ask him? MORT Nothing. Well, nothing you'd be interested in. OC VOICE Having a bad day, huh? Me? I'm pretty excited about my schedule today. From out of swirling mists of eternity ALBRECHT, a 30 something man, wearing a green hooded sweatshirt, Doc Martens and long dark hair, begins walking alongside Mort. ALBRECHT I have three people on my list for today... the first one is a plague that will be transferred by a rabid monkey to a German tourist on his first African safari. Really nothing much to it, just a standard bleeding out of every orifice virus. Later I'll unleash the latest influenza strain. It's not particularly complex either, but after a few thousand versions I'm running out of ideas on that one as you can imagine. But the third? The third one I'm really proud of... He pulls out an old fashioned perfume spray bottle filled with black goo and waves it under Mort's nose. ALBRECHT (cont'd) It starts off as an average looking but persistent rash, then jumps to festering sores and finally excruciatingly painful lesions! The best part? It's transmitted through sex! The fuckers won't know what hit 'em! I just need to find the right carrier and this one could really be the start of something big. Mort waves away the new virus and continues through the mist until they appear EXT. BUSY STREET - DAY The teeming masses of the city scamper to and fro, none of them paying much attention to the two people who just materialize out of nowhere. ALBRECHT Where are you going now? MORT You know, you're really a pest when you get all worked up. ALBRECHT I can't help it. I'm living embodiment of Pestilence. It's in my job description. MORT I'm pretty sure annoying me isn't in your job description. Just then a beautiful blonde woman in a sun dress passes by catching Albrecht's attention. He pokes her purse out and as she bends over to pick it up, Albrecht lifts her dress up revealing a sexy black thong. He smiles and sprays her bottom with the perfume spray bottle we saw earlier. She reacts as if stung, rising up and pulling her dress down in the same movement. She looks around staring right through Albrecht. She continues on her way throwing accusing glances all around. Albrecht and Mort are obviously invisible to the humans. ALBRECHT Go forth and multiply! Albrecht hurries to catch up with Mort who has kept walking. A ballet of sorts is taking place in front of Albrecht and Mort as people and objects somehow cause people to deviate from their path to avoid collisions with the invisible Albrecht and Mort. ALBRECHT (cont'd) You didn't answer my question. MORT I'm doing my job, which is what you should be doing. ALBRECHT Hey, I'm a multi-tasker. One down three to go. Man is her boyfriend gonna be pissed! Of course, she has no idea he's been cheating on her with a few different women. I guess this will even up the score. Mort stops outside a brownstone apartment building and pulls out his PDA and taps the screen a few times. MORT Do me a favor, go away. ALBRECHT Please, please, please let me watch! C'mon, c'mon, c'monnnnnnnnnnnn? MORT No. I've got a few million of these things to do today and you're not helping. ALBRECHT I promise I'll just watch, won't touch a thing, please, please, pretty please? Mort looks at Albrecht and seeing his excitement, caves to his request. MORT Okay. Just this one and then you're gone. No talking, no questions, no spreading botulism, dusting the air with ricin or infecting anyone with STDs while we're up there. Deal? Albrecht puts his left hand on his heart, his right hand in the air, fingers in a boy scout oath and ALBRECHT I promise on my mother's grave. A third arm, hiding behind Albrecht's back, has the fingers on its taloned hand crossed. Satisfied Mort disappears into the apartment building. INT. BROWNSTONE STAIRWELL - DAY Mort jogs up the stairs, effortlessly slipping around two burly delivery men carrying a new refrigerator up the steps. Albrecht is having a difficult time, breathing hard, sweating and clearly out of shape. He passes the two delivery men who seem to be having an easier time despite their load. ALBRECHT We're granted powers of invisibility, omnipotence and teleportation. Hell, we have wings, we could fly for Christsakes. Why are we taking the stairs? MORT I like the illusion of humanity more than the conveniences of our powers. Besides its healthier. ALBRECHT You're the embodiment of death! We can't die no matter what we do! MORT If that's true, a few flights of stairs won't kill you. Albrecht leans against the railing, head down on his arm, panting like a dog. INT. CLASSIC AMERICAN KITCHEN - LATER KATHLEEN KENNY, late 30s, brunette, a few years past perky, but still spry, hustles to and fro preparing to cook. She flies to the stove where she turns the knob on the burner which fails to light and she fails to notice. She goes to the sink where she is peeling a potato, sending the peels into the sink. She turns on the faucet and flips the switch for the disposal which fails to turn on. She frowns and flips it off and on a few times with no response from the appliance. She frowns and leans over the sink trying to get a look inside the drain. As she does so she knocks over a bottle of dish soap which starts spilling out onto the floor. She reaches into the drain unaware that she has left the disposal switch in the on position. She wiggles her hand around in an effort to free the blockage that is preventing the disposal from functioning. She pulls her hand out and leans back over the sink trying to get a look inside her drain. It is too dark to see inside. Kathleen leaves the room, barely missing a puddle of dish soap building on the linoleum floor. Mort and Albrecht watch her leave from their perch on top of the counter separating the kitchen from the dining room. Pots hang from a rack on the ceiling above them. ALBRECHT I thought for sure the disposal was going to be it. Start up while her hand was inside, chew up her fingers and spit her ring out at a gazillion miles an hour and into her head. How's it going happen? The gas? She going pass out from the fumes? Mort puts a finger to his lips, shushing Albrecht as Kathleen returns holding a lighter. ALBRECHT (cont'd) Oh man... she going blow up? Burn to death? MORT Sssshhhhh! Kathleen flicks the lighter a few times with no result. Nothing seems to be going right for the woman. She steps back to assess the situation. The ceiling above her explodes as something big pushes through spraying plaster in all directions. Whatever was above her just moments ago comes crashing down with a heavy thud. It is the fridge we saw earlier. Panicked shouts from above hide the sounds of falling plaster. ALBRECHT Didn't see that coming. MORT No one ever does. That's kinda the point. ALBRECHT Right. Mort hops off the counter and extends a hand down out of frame into the hole in the floor. MORT I know what you're thinking... but don't do it. Panic I mean. It won't help, plus it's really annoying. A bloodied hand rises up from somewhere under the fridge and grasps Mort's hand. EXT. SWIRLING MIST OF ETERNITY - MOMENTS LATER Mort is once again scribbling notes in his PDA standing in the swirling mists of eternity. Off to the side, lies down, everything but his knees hidden under a layer of mist, Albrecht contemplates what he's just seen. ALBRECHT It's all just so unpredictable. MORT You get used to it. ALBRECHT How many do you do every day? MORT Too many to count. That's why I use the gizmo. ALBRECHT So, each death, every death? MORT C'mon, we've been over this before. Albrecht pops up out of the mist to stand next to Mort who turns to face him. ALBRECHT Humor me. MORT No, not each death, every death. Just the ones that need me to lead them from there to here. Sometimes there's a lot, sometimes there's not. Mort barely pays attention, whatever it is he's doing on his PDA is taking most of his attention. ALBRECHT How many is that? I mean, time waits for no man. MORT Time is a suggestion. I can be in every yesterday and every tomorrow at the same time if I needed to. Luckily that doesn't happen too often. Albrecht nods, understanding everything and nothing at once. ALBRECHT So like you're not on a... a... The words fail him. MORT Deadline? No. Why are you so interested in this stuff all of a sudden, anyway. ALBRECHT Just something Bosch said. Mort looks up for the first time. MORT Bosch? He talked to you? Albrecht freezes up, clearly saying more than he should have. ALBRECHT Hey, look at the time! Got to run. With a puff of greenish smoke Albrecht is gone. Mort taps a few more times on the PDA screen and slips it back inside his coat pocket. Behind him a door rises from the mists of eternity. Mort straightens his cuffs, opens the door and enters... INT. ABANDONED WAREHOUSE - DAY DESTINY, 20s, blonde, and currently tied to the chair with a hood over her head, sits in a patch of ground illuminated by the light from the skylight above. She struggles against her bonds, but it's no use. She's the knots are too tight. Sweat is beading on her forehead above the blindfold. All around her are large shipping containers stacked nearly to the ceiling. From one of these many containers with open doors, high above her... Mort watches patiently, but after a few moments, he loses interest. He wanders deeper into the container and begins looking around at the random items. He spins the blades of a fan...shakes the dust off a lamp, lifts a dusty book from a pile and leafs through it as if visiting a garage sale. He opens a cabinet door and a bowling ball rolls out, falls soundlessly onto a large cushion, and rolls off toward the edge. Mort dives for the ball catching it just as it plummets off the edge. ON DESTINY Above her, half in and half out of the container, Mort hangs onto the bowling ball. Somewhere a door opens and footsteps echo. The footsteps get louder until JIMMY MONK steps into the pool of light. An elegant suit, an expensive haircut and boyish face can't seem to hide Jimmy's cold eyes any more than the tailored suit jacket can hide the gun he carries in a shoulder holster. Jimmy rips the hood roughly from Destiny's head and we see that she is stunning. Grace Kelly come back to life. ON MORT Beads of sweat roll down his hand and the ball slips slightly in his grip. Mort looks at Destiny and his eyes go wide with wonder. ON DESTINY Nothing but contempt for Jimmy shows in her eyes, but even this look can't do much to dampen her beauty. JIMMY Sorry to keep you waiting sweetheart. You miss me? Jimmy walks into the shadows of an open container and comes back with a chair, and sets it down in front of Destiny. He makes a great show of pulling out his handkerchief to dust off the chair so he won't soil his expensive suit. He unbuttons his coat and pulls out a mean looking .45 caliber. JIMMY (cont'd) We didn't get too much time to talk you and I. I bet you feel neglected. Jimmy reaches out and caresses her cheek. For her part, Destiny reacts with suitable revulsion. JIMMY (cont'd) Look, no big speeches, okay. You messed with the wrong fella okay? Mister B says no hard feelings. Jimmy levels the gun at Destiny's face. Above them, Mort struggles with the bowling ball until... He lets go. On purpose or by accident isn't immediately apparent, but the ball does drop with sickening speed. With a loud crash it hits the edge of another container some twenty feet below and takes a lucky bounce. ON JIMMY Surprised he turns toward the sound. The bowling ball connects Jimmy's head.