Ninth Street

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
Philadelphia's legendary Italian Market is the setting for a series of murders that sets the neighborhood asunder, while one of its most respected families finds itself in the midst of a shocking dilemma.

Submitted: August 18, 2016

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Submitted: August 18, 2016

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TIME: 1990
PLACE: Philadelphia, PA
EXT: A balmy Spring morning along the six blocks known as the Italian Market, but referred to simply as Ninth Street by the locals.
An organ arrangement of the Bach-Gounod 'Ave Maria' is heard in the distance.
Merchants are methodically preparing for the day's business, casually exchanging greetings. The stores are nondescript, purely functional, the pavements protected by tin awnings. Wooden bins covered with tarpaulins line the street adjacent to the curbs, leaving minimal space for the traffic that defers consistently to the street's business.
The exception is Forlano's, the largest store in the market. It sits on a corner of the widest intersection and sells produce, meats, a small selection of flowers and canned goods. Instead of tin, it is surrounded by dark green canvass awnings with the family name repeated in yellow on the scalloped borders. Four groups of wide, high double doors, darkly stained and varnished, fold back, while the entire perimeter is dotted with bins on both the pavement and at the curb. Only the last building that sits on the side facing Washington Avenue uses a large garage door for access to the loading and storage area. The entire structure was originally five buildings that have been adapted to the business, four on Washington Avenue and one immediately north of them on Ninth Street. This last building contains the most conspicuous feature - a stained glass window of the Infant of Prague. The camera pans up slowly to the window, as the sound of the 'Ave Maria' gets louder.
INT: A private chapel. Antonietta Forlano, a handsome woman in her mid-fifties, is kneeling in front of an ornate statue of the Infant of Prague. The organ music continues softly. After a few moments of prayer, which resemble more of a silent conversation, with nods, shrugs, a few hand gestures, she blesses herself and rises. She gently touches a large brass ring of keys next to the statue and runs her fingers across the top of a photograph in a silver frame. She turns and walks quickly past two rows of pews toward the double doors that lead to her living room. Before opening the doors, she throws a switch on the wall, bringing the music to a slow, dissonant halt. Her look is both exasperated and apologetic. She enters the living room.
INT: The apartment. She passes through an eclectic collection of late nineteenth and early twentieth century pieces, all well restored and placed without looking cluttered, and reaches the French doors in time to see Costaldo's meat truck go up on the curb. She quickly opens the outside screen and shouts:
ANTONIETTA
Hey, 'stunad'!! Get that truck off my curb!! You drive like your sister's ass!!
The truck jerks forward and stops. She closes the French doors neatly.
EXT: The market an hour later. Activity has increased. Most of the bins are filled with vegetables, fruits, fish, poultry, eggs, some with shoes and clothing. A few bins remain covered.
Emma Salpizzio, whose small store and bins are adjacent to Forlano's, is placing fish on beds of ice with the help of her husband Pete. She takes quick, hostile glances at the Forlano flowers next to her. Antonietta is moving quickly from bin to bin, arranging produce and flowers, while her four employees, all men and much younger, try to keep up with her.
EMMA (mumbling)
Don't splash.
PETE
What?
EMMA
Don't splash. You know how she worries about the smell getting on her damn flowers.
PETE
We sell fish.
EMMA
Yeah.
One of Emma's bins is still covered. Pete places two buckets of ice next to it, and she starts to lift the tarp but stops when a customer points to two fish she has chosen and hands her the money. Not noticing that her slight movement of the tarp has exposed a man's hand, she quickly wraps the fish and makes change.
PETE
I gotta get the 'calamad'.
Frankie, Antonietta's thirty year old son, dashes across the street and into the market. Though casually dressed, he is still over-dressed for the work he does.
INT: Forlano's. Antonietta sees Frankie's reflection in a mirror over the meat counter.
ANTONIETTA
Late! You're late!
She picks up two empty cartons and hands them to one of her employees.
In the back.
The employee takes them and starts toward the rear of the building.
If you came dressed right, you wouldn't waste time changing clothes.
Frankie has entered a small glass enclosed office. His well built torso is visible from the waist up as he changes his clothes.
If you moved back home you wouldn't have to go through all that trouble.
His expression negates her suggestion.
Where's your sister?
He shrugs.
Another one.
Critically taking in every aspect of the preparations, she returns to the main entrance that faces Ninth Street and steps into a small, slightly elevated cashier's booth. Unlocking the register, she removes rolls of bills and change from her apron and puts them in the register. Directly behind her in the booth are neatly stacked boxes of artichokes surrounded by flowers for decoration. They are the only produce not accessible to the customers. Next to the display sits a portable tape deck. She calls out to one of the workers who has just finished stacking oranges and grapefruits in a bin.
ANTONIETTA
Put the crates in the back. I don't want this place looking like...
She turns in time to catch him mimicking the words 'shit house'.
You ain't so funny, you know.
She sees her daughter Connie putting on her apron at the meat counter. Though yawning, she is moving quickly, and anticipating what her mother is about to say. A beauty who wears no makeup, she has her mother's earthy good looks and no nonsense attitude.
Eh! Come home with the milkman?
CONNIE
There are no milkmen left, Mom.
ANTONIETTA
I called 'til one in the morning. Where were you?
CONNIE
Playing cards down at Longo's. I told you.
During this exchange, Emma is heard yelling.
EMMA
Son of a bitch! I ain't runnin no hotel here. Wake him up! Get him the hell out!
Antonietta locks the register and goes to her bins in the street.
EXT: Forlano's. The men who work for her and the vendors on the opposite side of the street are smiling at Pete as he tries to wake the old man in the bin. The man's body remains covered below the shoulders.
PETE
C'mon! Hey! Wake up! C'mon!
Antonietta cannot resist getting a better look.
EMMA
Up! Get up! Out!
ANTONIETTA
Whatta you charge to sleep there, Emma?
EMMA
More than you can afford.
Antonietta moves closer.
PETE
Hey, Ant-net...
ANTONIETTA
An-ton-iet-ta. My name is An-ton...he looks dead.
EMMA
Madam know it all. He's a bum; he's asleep. What dead?
Pete presses his palm against the old man's cheek and leans closer to his face. Connie is nearby, staring down incredulously at the man. There is a large birthmark on the upper part of his left cheek.
PETE
Hey, you know, she's right.
The expressions on the faces nearby become serious.
EMMA
No.
Antonietta touches the old man's cheek.
ANTONIETTA
Yeah.
EMMA
Oh, Jesus, where we gonna put our 'calamad'?
Antonietta sees that a few of the early customers have begun to notice. She tries to obstruct their views, while acknowledging them with forced smiles and nods.
ANTONIETTA
Get him out of here. Put him inside.
EMMA
Hang him from the ceiling?
PETE
We got no room.
Connie walks back into the market, shaking her head. Antonietta quickly pulls the tarp over the body.
EMMA
I need the bin. Where am I gonna put my 'calamad'?
ANTONIETTA
Joey!
One of her employees rushes over.
(to Emma and Pete) If we carry him, it'll be up and down the street in ten seconds. (to Joey) Get three of the guys to help you move this to the back. Inside. Out of sight. (to Pete) You call the cops.
Joey beckons the men. Pete enters his store. Antonietta starts back to her booth.
EMMA
Where am I gonna put my 'calamad', Ant-net?
ANTONIETTA
Va fanculo!! An-ton-iet-ta!!
INT: Forlano's. As she moves swiftly back to her booth, she notices that a few of the older Italian female customers are staring at her
disapprovingly. Defiantly she presses the tape deck and the strains of Artie Shaw accompanying Tony Pastor singing 'Rosalie' back up her abrupt shift in tone.
Antonietta's artichokes! Antonietta's artichokes! Fresh! Tender! Get 'em right here!
EXT: Forlano's. Emma rolls her eyes, but immediately gets back to work.
INT: Corridor - highrise. Frankie leaves the elevator. He looks impatient, as he rushes down the hall, fumbling for his keys, while carrying a large bag of canned goods and produce.
INT: He enters a bright, six room apartment with a river view. Much of the furniture is similar to the pieces at his mother's place. The fabrics and colors are subtle. There is a large collection of books, tapes and CD's.
FRANKIE
You home?
CAL
I'm home.
Frankie goes directly to the kitchen where Cal, a tall, handsome blonde Englishman with a swimmer's body, is carefully arranging a tray of cold shrimp and canapes. He is about eight years older than Frankie.
FRANKIE
You're not going to believe what happened at the market.
Frankie kisses him quickly on the cheek, then starts removing the vegetables and canned goods from the bag.
CAL
The murder I just heard about on the news?
FRANKIE
Already? The T.V. trucks got there just before I left.
CAL
It was live. Your usual live telecast about a dead subject.
FRANKIE
Murdered! Who? Why? And the way they did it.
CAL
The reporter said it appeared to be murder. He didn't say how--
FRANKIE
Someone cut out his heart. It's missing--his heart. And it was very neatly done.
Cal looks revolted.
Hardly any blood on his clothes.
Frankie holds up a can.
Look, roasted peppers. Your favorite.
CAL
Cut out his heart?
FRANKIE
Yeah. I was glad no one noticed.
CAL
You didn't actually see it, did you?
FRANKIE
God forbid. I overheard the cops talking about it. No one's supposed to know.
Cal removes a roll of plastic wrap from a closet and covers the tray. Frankie starts washing the vegetables.
CAL
Anyone recognize him? On the news they said they didn't know.
FRANKIE
No. And no identification on him. Just Connie. She was the only one who said she thought she'd seen his face before. But then she said she was probably wrong. Mom didn't know him either. She sure as hell didn't care. She was really pissed that it took the cops an hour to get there. She just wanted him out and she didn't want our place mentioned at all. Did they mention it?
CAL
No. Not once. They just stood in front of it and photographed it. What's the difference? It's a landmark. Run by one of the few great eccentrics left in this country.
FRANKIE
She loves you. You're a university professor.
Since Pop died, she doesn't understand why we don't move down there with her and save a whole lot of money.
CAL
And live with the Infant of Prague?
FRANKIE
You went all the way upstate to that Polish town to buy her that statue.
CAL
But I am not about to give up my freedom to a woman who thought Mussolini was the good humor man.
FRANKIE
Always the jokes. Always the exaggerations. My folks hated Mussolini.
CAL
Do you want us to move in with your mother?
FRANKIE
Oh, no.
CAL
Why not?
FRANKIE
Ah, there's no view of the river.
Cal kisses him on the forehead.
CAL
Come on, you better get ready. We're going down to Phil and Diane's for drinks.
Cal puts the tray in the refrigerator and starts for the bedroom.
Our annual celebration of school closings. You can tell them all about the missing heart.
FRANKIE
No one's supposed to know about that. It's deliberately withheld evidence. Like in the movies. Mom and Connie don't even know.
Cal is out of sight.
CAL
All of Ninth Street probably knows by now. All the
more reason to discuss it at length. Just think of yourself as Miss Marple. (screaming) NO VIEW OF THE RIVER!
Cal laughs uproariously. Frankie smiles, resigned.
EXT: Connie leaving her house, which sits diagonally across from the family market. She carries a small bag of donuts. It is early the following morning, and the market is still going through its usual preparations. She crosses the street and goes to a side door of Forlano's and opens it with a key.
INT: She starts up the stairs but stops when she hears her mother shout:
ANTONIETTA
Niente! Niente! Niente! 'Capeesh?'
Connie quickens her pace.
MAN'S VOICE
Any little thing might help.
ANTONIETTA
I don't know little things. I know big things. When, where, how to order fifty crates of the best Romaine I can get. That's what I know.
INT: Connie enters the large kitchen. Her mother is washing dishes, while a handsome, ruddy, thickly built man in his early thirties sits at the table, a cup of coffee and a note pad in front of him.
CONNIE
Mom, you all right?
ANTONIETTA
Yeah, yeah.
Connie and the man are instantly attracted to each other. He cannot keep his eyes off her body; she cannot keep her eyes off his face. Both are visibly embarrassed. Antonietta has her back to them.
This here's Detective -- Meddigan.
BILL
The name's McCusker.
He rises and extends his hand toward Connie.
Bill McCusker.
She takes it, but neither shakes.
ANTONIETTA
I been telling him we don't know about the old guy.
Antonietta turns to wipe the table just as the hands separate slowly. She notices.
CONNIE
No one recognized him.
BILL
How many people saw him?
ANTONIETTA
We didn't wheel him up and down Ninth Street asking people, 'Does this belong to you?', if that's what you mean.
BILL
Did you see him?
CONNIE
For maybe a couple of minutes, if that.
Antonietta is carefully observing Bill's reaction to her daughter. Connie starts drying the dishes and putting them in cabinets.
You know, it was funny. The second I saw him I thought he looked familiar.
Antonietta purses her lips in disapproval.
Just for a second.
Antonietta lifts the coffee pot.
ANTONIETTA
More coffee?
BILL
No, thanks. Miss - Ms. - Forlano --
CONNIE
Miss - Ms. - definitely not Mrs.
Antonietta scowls.
BILL
Birthmark, maybe.
Connie is putting utensils in drawers. Antonietta watches Bill follow the sway of her hips. She sits in a chair at the table, her hands folded on her lap.
CONNIE
Maybe. I don't know. It was only for a split second. I was looking at him upside down.
Bill looks at Antonietta quizzically.
ANTONIETTA
No, she wasn't upside down. The dead guy was upside down. She was standing behind his head.
BILL
Did you look at him right side up?
CONNIE
He was dead. You sure you won't have more coffee?
He is almost mesmerized by her body.
BILL
Well, maybe--
ANTONIETTA (to Connie)
We gotta get to work, you.
BILL (pleading)
Just a few more questions.
CONNIE
Mom, the man has an important job to do.
ANTONIETTA
Look, mister, you gonna ask questions, or you gonna sit there and stare at my daughter's ass?
Bill is stunned. Connie nonchalantly reaches for the coffee pot, not at all affected by her mother's remark.
CONNIE
Help yourself to a donut.
Connie pours him more coffee. He picks up a donut slowly.
ANTONIETTA
Connie, the man's wearing a wedding ring, for God's sake.
CONNIE
Oh.
Connie turns away to hide her disappointment.
BILL
I'm not - I'm not married.
Antonietta taps his finger.
ANTONIETTA
What the hell is this?
BILL
My wedding ring.
ANTONIETTA
And they send you out to investigate murders?
BILL
I'm a widower.
Her back to them, Connie's eyes widen gleefully. Antonietta is immediately sympathetic.
ANTONIETTA
You're so young.
BILL
It happened sixteen months ago. I don't want to take off the ring.
ANTONIETTA
Yeah, I know. I lost my husband--
CONNIE
Mom, we all lost Pop.
ANTONIETTA
...a little over a year ago. I'll never take off my ring. And I'll never take off my clothes again either. For a man, I mean. But I'm fifty-seven years old. You're so young.
CONNIE
Any kids?
BILL
Two.
CONNIE
Must be rough.
BILL
My mother's with us now.
ANTONIETTA
Boys? Girls?
BILL
Two girls.
ANTONIETTA
Ah, that's nice. So some day you'll understand why I have to look out for every over-sexed son of a bitch who comes in here and tries to get into my daughter's pants.
Connie's exasperation begins to show.
CONNIE
And how many have gotten as far as this kitchen, Mom?
ANTONIETTA
Two. Only two. When she was in high school.
Antonietta rises to go down to work.
One's in jail. The other guy's a Holy Ghost Father.
Bill looks bewildered.
BILL
Look, I think I better go.
CONNIE
This is why I got my own place.
ANTONIETTA
You got your own place 'cause you wanna be a zingara.
Bill rises and pockets his note pad.
BILL
I'm going now. I'll--
CONNIE
And where did I buy a house? (to Bill) You know where I bought a house just to keep her happy?
BILL
Well, I really don't think this--
CONNIE
I live right across the street. Right across the street.
ANTONIETTA
And she still comes home with the milkman.
CONNIE
There are no milkmen anymore!!
BILL
Maybe if I just--
CONNIE
She watches me with binoculars
ANTONIETTA
Who sez?
CONNIE
I sez!
BILL
I'm leaving now.
He starts down the stairs; the women follow, Connie in the rear.
ANTONIETTA
How do you know?
CONNIE
Because I watch you with binoculars watching me with binoculars! You've been doing it ever since I moved in!
ANTONIETTA
And that's why you're still alive and safe!
CONNIE
Ha!
BILL
Oh, my God.
ANTONIETTA
You better be safe.
CONNIE
Safe! What the hell is that anymore!!?
ANTONIETTA
Hear that mouth to her mother? Hear it? She doesn't know how much I love her, how much I worry about her. I love her so much I could slit her throat when she talks like this.
The shouting continues as Connie slams the door behind her.
EXT: Ninth Street after midnight. A creaking metal cellar door is opening slowly. The street is deserted.
POV of someone climbing up to the street and closing the metal door as quietly as possible. The person walks slowly for a few yards, then stops behind a hanging tarpaulin. On the opposite side of the street, a neon sign stating LONGO'S in the window of a small bar and restaurant goes off. A man in his mid-twenties comes out to the street and places a large garbage can at the curb. Wiping his hands on his apron, he starts back, but must step aside quickly when a burly man in his fifties, dressed in polyester with three large gold chains around his neck, exits and starts walking in the direction of the tarpaulin. The young man looks at him belligerently then enters the restaurant. An exterior view reveals a woman, also in her mid-twenties cleaning the bar. Four men in their sixties are seated around a table, talking intensely. The woman gives the young man a look of exasperation to show her dissatisfaction with the men at the table. The young man shrugs helplessly. Cut to the POV of the person behind the tarpaulin crossing the street to head off the man who left the restaurant. The man glances toward the camera but continues his aggressive pace. The camera stops as the man approaches. His pace slackens. His expression becomes more hostile, and then slightly bewildered. A bright red scarf appears in front of his face.
MAN
No. No tricks.
The scarf is snapped three times.
Hey, go sleep somewhere.
The snapping accelerates. He laughs nervously. The final snap occurs close to his face. In one swift move the scarf is wrapped around his head and his throat is slit. The body is caught before it falls, then dragged a few feet to the door of a store that has NASUTI'S SAUSAGE written on its window. The person dragging the body unlocks the door with a key, drags the body inside, then closes the door slowly.
EXT: The Forlano market the following sunny morning. Activity on the street has just begun to increase.
INT: Forlano's. Antonietta is in her booth, neatly stacking her
artichokes. Katyna Ranieri is on the tape singing 'Zingara'. Connie is at her butcher counter slicing meat for braciole and smirking at her mother.
ANTONIETTA
Get 'em right here. Fresh. Tender.
Emma rushes in and whispers to Antonietta.
EMMA
D'ya hear that old guy had his heart cut out?
ANTONIETTA
No. No, I didn't hear that.
Emma keeps nodding as she backs away. Antonietta looks over at Connie.
CONNIE
Whatever she said, Mom, just remember she never got a story straight in her life.
Phil, one of Connie's assistants, places a box of large beef chunks next to her.
PHIL
He had one box left.
CONNIE
Good. Thanks.
She glances into the box, then does a double take. She takes a closer look.
He did it again! Pick it up.
Phil lifts the box and follows her to the loading area. Frankie is walking toward her.
Is Costaldo's truck still back there?
FRANKIE
Yeah.
Her pace quickens.
EXT: Loading area. Don Costaldo, a heavy, unpleasant looking man in his early thirties, is about to get into his truck. His assistant, Tommy, smaller, somewhat shy, is already seated on the passenger's side, looking very uncomfortable.
CONNIE
Hey, Don.
Don looks knowingly at Tommy, then turns toward Connie.
This is the fifth time in two months!
DON
What?
CONNIE
What? You know what! It's no good.
DON
Looks good to me.
CONNIE
Oh, yeah? Then you eat it. It's not good enough for our customers!
Don opens the side door to his truck and gestures for Phil to put the box in.
DON
You say so, boss.
His smug attitude angers her.
CONNIE
You know, when your father ran this business...
DON (snaps)
My father's not runnin' the business no more!
CONNIE
No! Now your new boss picks out the slop and you deliver it!
DON
We got a good reputation!
CONNIE
Then keep it! Pay attention to what the hell you're doing. Cause you're not ruining our reputation.
Connie and Phil start back to the butcher counter. Don gets in his truck. Tommy speaks to him gently.
TOMMY
You'll never do that.
DON
Oh, yes I will.
TOMMY
She has eyes like a hawk. She's good.
INT: Forlano's. Antonietta is in her booth; Frankie is handing her rolls of change.
ANTONIETTA
I need some small bags.
FRANKIE
I'll get them. I have to go down and get a new changer. This one's acting up.
ANTONIETTA
Did you hear about the old guy? His heart was cut out.
FRANKIE
Who told you?
ANTONIETTA
Emma.
FRANKIE
Nobody's supposed to know. How'd she find out?
ANTONIETTA
'Stunad.' Everybody talks when they're not supposed to. A cop probably told her.
FRANKIE
You sound like Cal.
ANTONIETTA
If I sounded like Cal I wouldn't be selling artichokes.
Connie and Phil have returned to the butcher counter.
Everything all right?
CONNIE
Don! He's really getting careless.
Frankie starts toward the rear staircase that leads to the basement. The market is busy. Connie is deftly sharpening a knife as she gets ready to prepare a crown roast. An old woman carrying a shopping bag and walking a seven year old boy approaches Antonietta's booth. On the opposite side of the street, Emilio Nasuti, the maker of sausage, is lumbering toward his
store.
INT: Basement. Frankie switches on a light and comes down the steps. A series of four spaces are separated by the supporting walls of the row houses that originally stood on the site. The spaces are connected by arched openings, with storage areas to the right and left. The storage areas contain neatly stacked pieces of old and new wood, tools, old children's furniture, unrepaired antiques, and one old, completely assembled bin with the fading letters ANTONIETTA'S ARTICHOKES painted on its side. Frankie goes to the third area and switches on another light, revealing a collection of neatly arranged butcher's utensils hanging on a board and lined up neatly on an old butcher block. Everything is dusty.
INT: Forlano's. Antonietta is handing the old woman her change and the youngster a lollypop.
ANTONIETTA
'Teh.'
BOY
Thank you.
The boy notices Nasuti at the door of his store, talking with one of his employees.
He's there now, Grandmom. The sausage man.
GRANDMOM
Why's he so late?
ANTONIETTA
'Guarda che culo che ha.
Grandmom laughs.
INT: Basement. Frankie is transferring coins to the new changer. He stops when he notices the dust free impression of a large knife that has been removed from the butcher block. His expression, at first quizzical, shifts quickly to irritation.
INT: Forlano's. Antonietta is quickly making change for customers, as the boy, sucking on his lollypop, begins tugging impatiently on his grandmother's hand. Nasuti and his assistant are turning on lights and putting on aprons.
GRANDMOM
(to boy) 'Aspett!' (to Antonietta) I'm sinking the sausage in the gravy. That's it. I don't feel like rolling no meatballs.
A frail, elderly woman, hesitant as to where she wants to go first, has
stopped in front of Nasuti's store. Antonietta removes two twenty dollar bills from a roll she has in her apron.
ANTONIETTA
Get me six pounds. Half and half.
GRANDMOM
Keep this.
Antonietta hands her the money and places her shopping bag in the booth. After propping open his front door, Nasuti opens the door to his walk-in refrigerator, which can be seen from the street. Changing his mind, he leaves the door slightly ajar and starts checking the contents of the cases. The door starts opening slowly on its own. The frail woman starts toward the entrance. Frankie re-enters the market, hooking the new changer to his belt as he walks quickly. Joey calls out to him.
JOEY
Frankie, hey, we need--
FRANKIE
Wait a minute.
He moves directly toward Connie.
GRANDMOM
If your husband didn't teach that guy how to make sausage, I don't know what he'd be doing today. Francesco was a saint.
The boy is leaning precariously, the lollypop in his mouth. The refrigerator catches his eye. He straightens up slowly. The frail woman has stopped before the threshold. Her head tilts from side to side.
ANTONIETTA
Did I ever tell you about the two of them making sausage?
GRANDMOM
Uh-uh.
ANTONIETTA
I'll tell you someday. You'll piss yourself.
The boy and the frail woman are the only two who have noticed the body hanging upside down in Nasuti's refrigerator. The red scarf and gold chains hang from the side of the neck. A piece of dark organ meat is stuffed in the mouth.
BOY
Grandmom.
GRANDMOM
All right.
BOY
Look.
Frankie leans across the counter and whispers to his sister.
FRANKIE
If Mom finds out you're using one of Pop's knives, she'll use it on you.
She looks incredulous.
CONNIE
What?
FRANKIE
There's a knife--
The steady wail of the frail woman pierces the air, growing in intensity to almost operatic decibel levels. She lifts her arms above her head and starts stomping her feet fiercely. Nasuti and his assistant approach her cautiously, as she continues to scream and back onto the pavement. All eyes are on her.
GRANDMOM
Oh, how 'sgoombareesh'. What the hell's wrong with her?
BOY
Grandmom, I think there's something wrong with that man hanging in the refrigerator.
The horror of it starts to register on everyone's face. Grandmom returns Antonietta's money.
GRANDMOM
We're going to roll meatballs whether we like it or not.
Antonietta takes the money, but her eyes never leave Nasuti's.
INT: The dining room and kitchen of Antonietta's apartment the following Sunday afternoon. Antonietta, Connie, Frankie, and Cal are nearing the end of the meal. Bowls of leftover meatballs and spaghetti and two bottles of wine are still on the table.
Connie rises and picks up the bowl of spaghetti.
CAL
I think he's right. I think these murders might be good for business.
CONNIE
I'll get the salad, Mom.
FRANKIE
I didn't say that.
ANTONIETTA
Put the coffee on. It's all ready. It could ruin his business.
CAL
People can be strangely curious about such things. After all, how often do you find one dead body munching on the heart of another dead body?
ANTONIETTA
This is one of your dumb ass English jokes, isn't it?
CAL
Some people will eat anything if it's tasty enough and the price is right.
CONNIE
For God's sake, Cal!
ANTONIETTA
Caledonia, you're really full of it.
Connie and Frankie suppress laughs. Cal puts his fork down.
CAL
Oh, please.
ANTONIETTA
What's wrong? Caledonia's a nice name.
Connie returns with the salad and places a salad plate and fork in front of Cal.
And you're still using a salad plate. When--
FRANKIE
He likes it that way, Mom.
ANTONIETTA
Your father couldn't understand it either. When's that guy gonna learn to eat his salad with the left over gravy on his plate, he used to say.
CAL
The idea of putting that roughage into this sauce--
ANTONIETTA
Gravy! Gravy!
CAL
Gravy! It still revolts me.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, but body parts in sausage is all right?
Connie and Frankie laugh.
I'll make you a promise. You learn to eat the salad the way you're supposed to eat it, and I'll never call you Caledonia again, and I'll never tell a soul that's your name.
She starts for the kitchen.
CAL
Why did I ever show that woman my naturalization papers?
ANTONIETTA
Cause I didn't want my son living with a foreigner, remember?
Antonietta is removing cups and saucers from a cabinet when the bell rings. She throws a switch on the intercom and continues moving as she shouts.
ANTONIETTA
Yeah!
BILL
Mrs. Forlano, it's Detective McCusker.
Connie rolls her eyes and shakes her hands at Frankie and Cal.
ANTONIETTA
Yeah, whatta ya want?
BILL
I thought your daughter might be here.
CONNIE (quietly)
I'm here! I'm here!
ANTONIETTA
I thought you said you had a family.
BILL
I - I do.
ANTONIETTA
Then why ain't you home eatin'? If you was Italian, you'd be home eatin' now.
BILL
I've got work to do, Mrs. Forlano. Is she there?
Connie speaks softly into the intercom, forcing her composure.
CONNIE
Yes, I'm here.
BILL
Could I come up, please?
Connie looks at her mother.
ANTONIETTA
Eh, he said please.
Connie pushes the button. Antonietta turns on the heat under the soup and quickly assembles a place setting. Connie dashes to the dining room, biting her hand in gleeful anticipation, then dashes back to the kitchen. Bill comes up the steps dressed in jeans and a knit shirt that show off his large, muscular frame, which no one fails to notice, including Antonietta, who smirks blatantly at the effect. He carries a large brown envelope.
BILL
Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't know you were eating.
With the plates and utensils in her hands, she leads him to the dining room.
ANTONIETTA
Sit down.
She pulls out a chair and sets the table.
Did you meet my son, Frankie?
Bill shakes hands with Frankie, but he is trying to figure out who Cal is in relation to the family.
BILL
No. Bill McCusker. Are you doing this for me? I didn't--
ANTONIETTA
Sit.
He sits.
And that's--
She hesitates, realizing that an explanation of Cal's role is not easily achieved. Cal is giving her a steely look.
-- eh - Cal -- Cal Douglas. He's - eh - he's a college professor.
They shake hands.
CAL
But I always wanted to be a gumshoe.
Connie enters with a bowl of soup and a basket of sliced Italian bread, which she places in front of Bill. He looks up at her almost shyly. Antonietta returns to the kitchen.
BILL
That's a word you don't hear often. Thank you.
Connie sits opposite him.
FRANKIE
What does it mean?
CAL
We'll look it up together when we get home.
The implication of Cal's remark registers quickly with Bill. He controls a smile. Antonietta at the stove reheating the spaghetti and meatballs rolls her eyes. Frankie reaches for the bottle of wine. He is not controlling a smile.
FRANKIE
Have some wine.
Connie moves quickly.
CONNIE
I'll get it.
She leans across the table to pour the wine, revealing her cleavage, which
Bill finds impossible to ignore.
BILL
I was wondering if you remembered--
ANTONIETTA (calling)
Connie, whatever you do, don't lean across the table.
CONNIE
All right, Mom.
Frankie and Cal suppress their laughter.
If I remembered who the old guy was? No.
BILL
How about the man they found yesterday?
CONNIE
I wouldn't even look at him, except for that first shock when the old lady screamed. Are they sure it was the other guy's heart?
BILL
That's what the test showed. So you didn't get a good look at him?
CONNIE
Uh-uh.
Antonietta enters with a tray of spaghetti, meat balls and braciole.
BILL
Look at these pictures and tell me if he looks familiar.
Connie touches the envelope squeamishly, then Antonietta slaps her palm on it as soon as she places the tray on the table.
ANTONIETTA
You got pictures of a stiff here?
Cal mouths 'a stiff'.
BILL
Huh-huh.
ANTONIETTA
After we eat. Help yourself. (to Connie) I
forgot to give him a plate for his salad.
BILL
I always put it on the same plate with the gravy from the macaroni.
The others turn to Antonietta and wait for her reaction. She nods approvingly, but retains a hint of suspicion.
ANTONIETTA
I'll get the coffee cups.
FRANKIE
I'll get them, Mom.
Antonietta sits at the table, as Frankie goes to the kitchen.
ANTONIETTA
So, you talk to 'Nazut'?
BILL
Nasuti?
She nods.
ANTONIETTA
Cal, you shoulda seen 'Nazut' when they found that body in his fridge. He was melted mozzarella.
CAL
Do you have any idea who's doing this?
BILL
We haven't even been able to identify the bodies. Nasuti's place wasn't broken in to, and he was the only one with a set of keys.
Frankie returns with cups and saucers.
FRANKIE
Now he is.
CONNIE
My father used to have a set of keys.
ANTONIETTA
'Nazut's' a good guy, but years ago he had trouble holding a job. So one day he comes to my Francesco and says, 'I saved a few bucks. I want my own little business, but I don't know how to do nothin. Can you teach me how to do somethin?' So Pop says,
'Give me a day or two and I'll think about it.' My Francesco never made a quick decision in his life.
Bill is eating the spaghetti. Connie enjoys looking at him. Cal enjoys watching Connie's delight. Nothing gets by Antonietta. Frankie distributes the cups and saucers, then returns to the kitchen for a platter of fruits and cheeses.
So he comes to me and says he really wants to help him, but he knows only one way to do it. He wants to give him the sausage recipes my grandmother gave me before she was killed by the sons-a-bitchin' facisti. I wanted to kill him. My grandmother's recipes. We were supposed to sell our sausage.
BILL
Why didn't you?
CONNIE
They sold artichokes instead.
ANTONIETTA
When we came over on the boat we didn't have enough money to buy the meats and spices and casings to make the sausage. So Francesco built a cart and we sold artichokes. We did good. Real good. First the artichokes. Then vegetables. Then a little fruit. We moved from the cart to a building right here on this corner. And Pop started the meat business. That's what he was learnin' to do on the other side. Be a butcher. He was just about to introduce the sausage when 'Nazut' asked for help.
FRANKIE
'Nazut' didn't even know how to make sausage.
ANTONIETTA
You remember that?
CONNIE
I remember.
ANTONIETTA
Now he makes the best sausage on Ninth Street. Thanks to Francesco and my grandmother's recipes. I could have killed both of them.
BILL
Why did you let him give away the recipes?
ANTONIETTA
'Cause it made him feel good. Made me feel good, too, once 'Nazut' opened and his store did so good. That's why, to this day, we never once sold a piece of sausage in our market. In honor of my grandmother, who's up in heaven makin sausage for Christ himself.
All of them are smiling.
BILL
But what does this have to do with keys?
ANTONIETTA
Keys? What keys?
BILL
The keys to Nasuti's. The set you said your husband had.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, yeah. I show you.
Bill puts salad on his plate.
They're still on his key ring. You sure you don't want another plate?
BILL
This is fine.
ANTONIETTA
Good.
She goes to the chapel.
CONNIE
She keeps Pop's keys on the alter in her chapel.
BILL
You have a chapel here?
FRANKIE
Mom said it would be cheaper than going to church.
Antonietta returns carrying a large brass ring with sixteen keys separated into four groups by the brass images of the saints. She sits next to bill.
ANTONIETTA
Here. 'Nazut's' between the Blessed Mother and Saint Jude.
CAL
How could he miss?
Connie moves to Bill's side of the table and sits close to him. He holds the keys.
CONNIE
Pop was funny about some things. He hated locks. He said a world with locks was a world uncivilized. He had this mental block about remembering what keys belonged to what locks.
She is running her fingers over the keys.
BILL
So he divided them into groups.
ANTONIETTA
He remembered the keys by remembering the saints.
Bill is staring at Connie.
BILL
Who uses these keys now?
ANTONIETTA
Nobody. They stay on my altar with his picture and the Infant of Prague. I got my own set.
She removes a small change purse from her apron and retrieves her keys.
But I don't have 'Nazut's' keys.
CONNIE
He was a real good man, our Pop.
Bill is enthralled.
Everybody loved him.
Antonietta loses patience. She grabs Bill's face by his chin and turns him toward her.
ANTONIETTA
Hey, Mr. Detective, why'd you come here today?
BILL
Would it be alright if I asked your daughter
to dinner?
ANTONIETTA
Ask her. She's a big girl now.
She releases him. He turns to Connie.
CONNIE
Sure.
A satisfied, devilish look crosses Antonietta's face. She reaches for the envelope.
ANTONIETTA
So the stiff's in here. Did you snap his picture with or without the heart in his mouth?
EXT: Frankie and Cal approaching their apartment building a short time later.
FRANKIE
"We'll look it up together when we get home"? Why the hell didn't you just come out and tell him we're two fruits?
CAL
I thought that's what I was doing. I just didn't want him thinking--
FRANKIE
That you were Connie's date or something? Fat chance.
CAL
When we get to Venice, I'm going to throw you into the Grand Canal.
INT: Kitchen of Antonietta's apartment. She and Connie are doing the dishes.
CONNIE
I hope he calls soon.
ANTONIETTA
I like him. A little old fashioned. Your father would have liked him.
Connie looks longingly at a photograph of her father in his butcher whites hanging on the wall.
INT: Bill and Connie in a small, quiet, dimly lighted restaurant, coffee
and after dinner drinks in front of them.
CONNIE
They say the smoke kills you first. They found his body, what was left of it, in bed. So maybe he didn't feel it.
BILL
Probably not.
Pause.
CONNIE
Do you mind if I ask what happened to your wife?
Pause.
BILL
After dinner one night, she said she didn't feel well. She went upstairs to lie down. Fifteen minutes later I went up to see how she was. She had - died.
Connie looks pained.
I felt - (pause) I felt - (pause) dead. (pause) I never said that to anyone. (pause) We knew each other since we were ten. We got married when we were eighteen. I've - eh - never -
Pause.
CONNIE
You never dated.
BILL
Not like most guys.
CONNIE
Is that why you asked my mother first - if you could take me out?
BILL
Like somebody from the nineteenth century.
CONNIE
She liked that.
INT: Antonietta seated by the French doors that face toward Connie's house. She is sewing a button on a dress. Placido Domingo singing "El Dia Que Me Quieras" is playing on a tape. She reaches for the binoculars on a nearby
table, hesitates, then returns them with a resigned sigh.
EXT: Connie and Bill strolling by the river.
CONNIE
You must have looked at other women. I'm damn sure they looked at you.
BILL
Yeah, but I was always - scared.
CONNIE
I wonder what century that comes from.
He laughs at himself. She smiles and takes his arm. He looks relieved.
BILL
Why hasn't anyone latched onto you? Your mother couldn't have scared everyone away.
CONNIE
She thinks she did.
Her expression is serious; she keeps her face averted.
INT: Antonietta still seated by the French doors, sewing. The tape has changed to Frank Sinatra's recording of "Mamselle". She moves her head in time to the music, glances toward her daughter's house, then smirks.
EXT: Bill and Connie standing close, without touching, on a quay by the river.
BILL
Where is he now?
CONNIE
South America.
BILL
I guess your folks never knew.
CONNIE
No. No.
BILL
Did anyone?
CONNIE
Frankie. Then Cal. Now you.
BILL
Why did you feel you had to tell me? Because it went on for over ten years? Because he was a priest?
She looks at him, astonished.
CONNIE
Have you ever heard of a disease...AIDS?
He looks apprehensive.
BILL
Oh.
Then the relative safety registers.
Ohh - that's - ah - nice.
CONNIE
And if we're both telling the truth, it's as good as it gets.
They chuckle.
INT: Antonietta dozing in the same chair. The music is off. The phone rings and startles her. She and answers it at a table by the French doors.
ANTONIETTA
Hello. (pause) Hello. Eh!
She shrugs and hangs up. She parts the curtains on the doors and looks at Connie's house. As she turns slightly, she notices someone standing outside a phone booth on the opposite corner. It is a man in silhouette. He appears to be staring back. She gasps.
INT: Connie and Bill sitting in his car, laughing uproariously.
BILL
Thirty-two years old - two kids - and I feel like somebody just told me the facts of life.
CONNIE
Only today's facts.
They look at each other, as their laughter dissolves.
INT: Antonietta sitting rigidly in a chair by the phone, staring straight ahead. The phone rings, she jerks, it rings again. Her voice is strained when she answers.
ANTONIETTA
Hello. (pause) Hello.
MAN'S VOICE
Ti amo con tutto il mio cuore. Vieni in cantina.
The caller hangs up. Her eyes close; she is on the verge of fainting.
INT: Bill driving Connie to her house and parking. She looks over at her mother's apartment. All the lights are off.
CONNIE
She went to bed already. I thought she'd be waiting up with her binoculars. She must trust you.
BILL
She's just making noise.
CONNIE
Yeah. Does somebody have to get killed before I get to see you again?
He kisses her gently.
INT: Antonietta timorously walking down the steps to the first floor. She carries her keys. When she reaches the bottom she keeps herself concealed as she looks through the small window in the door and sees Connie waving to Bill as he pulls away in his car. She waits until Connie enters her house before unlocking the door that leads to the market.
INT: Forlano's. Carefully remaining in the shadows, she makes her way to the basement door. She must steady herself before opening it and turning on the light.
INT: Basement. Her legs almost give out as she walks down the steps, clutching the railing. The Katyna Ranieri recording of 'Capri' is heard playing softly. She reaches for the light switch at the arched passageway, then withdraws her hand slowly. The wall at the far end is illuminated by a glow coming from the right. Reaching out for support, she makes her way slowly, then stops when a male figure steps from the light and into the passageway. She groans and starts to collapse. The man rushes to support her and leads her toward the light. Weak, she still tries to resist.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, Dio, Dio, Dio, Holy Mother of God! Oh, Dio.
INT: He leads her through a small alcove and into a large room containing a little more than the basic necessities: a stove, sink, refrigerator, slightly elevated bathroom, a couple of easy chairs, a few oriental rugs, a vanity, lamps, and a handsome hand carved Victorian bed. He leads her
to the bed and places her gently on her back. She cannot look at him, and keeps her eyes closed tightly. A little portly, he has a handsome, gentle face with thick, black hair greying only at the temples. He starts kissing her on her face and neck. When he gets to her lips she returns the kiss, clutching him to her, clawing his back. He pulls away to look at her, gently stroking her hair and face. Her eyes are tearful, her expression one of shock. Suddenly she brings up a knee and gives him a kick and a slap that send him to the floor. He groans.
ANTONIETTA
Where in the name of Jesus Christ have you been for over a year, Francesco?!! Where?!!
She rises from the bed quickly. He starts backing away on his haunches.
FRANCESCO
Be nice, Antonietta.
ANTONIETTA
Where?! Huh?
FRANCESCO
I tell you, my darling.
She starts stalking him; he crawls as fast as he can.
ANTONIETTA
Yes, my darling, you will tell me!
She kicks him.
FRANCESCO
Please, be nice, Antonietta!
ANTONIETTA
Where have you been? In this room?
FRANCESCO
No! No!
ANTONIETTA
Where?!
FRANCESCO
Ah, New York, Paris, Geneva, Venice. I still like Venice best.
She goes limp.
ANTONIETTA
Oh!
FRANCESCO
You know how much I always wanted to see Venezia.
She sits on the bed.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, my!
FRANCESCO
I had a good time.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, Jesus Christ.
She notices the bed.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, this bed. You said you sold this bed years ago. You said you sealed this room cause it was too damp.
FRANCESCO
I tell a little lie. I know how much you like that bed.
ANTONIETTA
A husband I think is dead is not dead. A bed I think is sold is not sold. And a whole room. What is happening in this place?
He makes himself comfortable on the rug, grinning sheepishly.
FRANCESCO
You happy to see me, my Antonietta of the Artichokes?
ANTONIETTA
Oh, bullshit!
She takes a long look at him.
ANTONIETTA
Why?!!
His grin shifts instantly to a deadly serious look.
FRANCESCO
I had work to do.
Her expression changes slowly from confusion to apprehension.
ANTONIETTA
Work.
He smiles broadly, proudly.
EXT: Forlano's - noontime the following day. Along with the usual customers, there is a spattering of young couples, college students, and middle aged tourists, some of whom are taking pictures of Nasuti's. Frankie is in the cashier's booth, Connie at her butcher counter. Antonietta is carrying bags to the bins on the street. She stops when she sees the number of spectators. A man blocks her way as he attempts to photograph Nasuti's, which is crowded with customers. Emma catches Antonietta's attention and shrugs. Antonietta goes to the bin next to Emma.
ANTONIETTA
This is Monday, no?
EMMA
Tourists. I bet they're hoping we'll find another body.
ANTONIETTA
Oh.
EMMA
What do we care? They're not buying nothin'
INT: Francesco's hideaway. He moves a chair across the floor and places it under the boarded up window.
EXT: Forlano's.
ANTONIETTA
I don't know if all this is good or bad.
INT: Francesco's hideaway. He is standing on the chair and removing the board. A dirty torn curtain is hanging on the window.
EXT: Forlano's.
PETE
I thought they was newspaper people taking pictures.
Antonietta turns to look at Nasuti's. An exterior shot of the basement window reveals shapely legs going by.
INT: Francesco's hideaway. He quickly moves his face closer to the curtain.
EXT: Forlano's. Antonietta turns back to her bin and gets a quick glimpse
of her husband's nose protruding through a hole in the curtain. Her face goes rigid.
ANTONIETTA
Have the - eh - cops been back?
EMMA
Yeah. But not with my bin.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, so careless, so careless.
INT: Francesco's hideaway.
FRANCESCO
Hmmm - hmm -
EXT: Forlano's. Antonietta is biting down on her lip. Someone approaches from behind and taps her on the shoulder. She turns quickly to face the big, slow witted Nasuti, still wearing his apron and totally exasperated.
ANTONIETTA
'Nazut'!
NASUTI
Antonietta, who, who would hang a body, a dead body, with a heart in its mouth, in my refrigerator? Upside down!!
ANTONIETTA
Yeah, 'Nazut', who would do such a thing?
NASUTI
Who?
ANTONIETTA
Who?
She tries hard not to look at the window.
EMMA
Ah, look at all the business you're doing.
Antonietta sees the nose again and starts nervously stacking her vegetables.
NASUTI
I'm almost out of sausage. I can't make it that fast. Oh, Antonietta, I wish Francesco was here.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, yes!
NASUTI
He'd know what to do.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, yes!
PETE
C'mon, I'll buy you a beer.
NASUTI
I gotta get back inside.
Nasuti returns to his store. Antonietta looks down at the nose as it moves quickly from side to side.
EMMA
He's right. Francesco woulda handled this.
ANTONIETTA
Yes. Francesco.
Connie walks over and notices her mother's eyes darting about.
CONNIE
What are you watching, mice?
ANTONIETTA (abruptly)
Where you going?
CONNIE
Crowd making you nervous?
ANTONIETTA
Go eat!
Connie is not concerned with her mother's attitude. She crosses the street, makes her way through the crowd, acknowledges some of the vendors, and stops at Longo's. Dominick has just finished cleaning the glass in the door. He looks dismayed and motions for her to enter.
INT: Longo's. Sparsely decorated, it has ten tables, a short bar, two rest rooms, and a small kitchen. A screened back door in the kitchen leads to an alley. As soon as she enters Dominick pulls the shade and locks the door. Connie looks at him curiously. Joanne enters from the kitchen with a bowl of limes, which she slices in a highly agitated way.
JOANNE
It's not making me crazy. We worked too hard.
Mom, Connie's here.
CONNIE
What's wrong?
Josephine, short, chubby, in her mid-sixties, pokes her head out of the kitchen and raises one, then two fingers, smiling benignly.
CONNIE
Just one, please, Josephine.
Josephine returns to the kitchen.
JOANNE
Tell her. Go ahead, tell her.
DOMINICK
Yesterday, Joanne was passing 'Nazut's' when they found that guy. He was in here the night before.
JOANNE
With them.
DOMINICK
Fortunato and his 'friends'.
Josephine enters with a meatball sandwich on a plate and puts it on the bar. Joanne places several paper napkins next to it.
CONNIE
You sure it was the same guy? Thanks, Josephine.
JOANNE
Same clothes. Same ugly gold chains.
Josephine sits at the bar, still smiling. Connie starts eating the sandwich, relishing it.
CONNIE
Did you tell the cops?
DOMINICK
He was with Tony Fortunato!
A memory registers on Connie's face.
CONNIE
Do you think they did it?
JOANNE
After that guy left, they were here for an hour or more.
JOANNE
They can ruin a restaurant's reputation.
Josephine shakes her head in disgust.
CONNIE
Oh, that's what you're worried about.
JOANNE
You're damn right. If this place gets known as a hangout for the mob, who the hell's gonna wanna eat here?
Josephine nods.
CONNIE
It's a big mob. This is a small place.
Josephine smiles.
DOMINICK
It's not funny.
Josephine shakes her head.
CONNIE
I'm glad we don't have to worry about that kind of crap. At our place they come in, they get out.
The others look at one another and smile knowingly.
What?
JOANNE
Your meat man, Costaldo?
DOMINICK
Every so often you get a bad piece of meat?
CONNIE
He's stupid. He makes mistakes.
JOANNE
It's no mistake. He does it on purpose.
DOMINICK
It's a game. A mean, nasty little game.
JOANNE
He wants to get one, just one bad piece of meat past you. Just cause you're so good at checking it out.
CONNIE
Why?
JOANNE
Cause he's nuts, that's why. Cause he has a real vicious thing for women.
Josephine looks disgusted.
DOMINICK
And it's gotten worse since his dad lost the business to the mob just before he died.
CONNIE
How do you know this?
Josephine looks quizzical.
DOMINICK
As you said, the place is small. We hear things.
Josephine is not totally convinced by this explanation.
Connie is controlling her anger.
CONNIE
Best meatballs in town, Josephine.
Josephine, Dominick and Joanne nod appreciatively, if weakly.
INT: Connie alone in the office of the Forlano market, talking on the phone shortly after lunch.
CONNIE
I can tell you now, or you can come to dinner tonight. Fine.
She hangs up, smiling.
INT: Francesco's hideaway. Antonietta is standing over Francesco lying on his back on his bed, his hands behind his head, smiling. She shakes her fist at him.
ANTONIETTA
The next time I see your nose poking through them filthy curtains I cut it off. 'Capeesh?'
FRANCESCO
Kiss me.
ANTONIETTA
I got a business to run. Maybe I kiss you tonight.
FRANCESCO
Oh, tonight we do something very special.
ANTONIETTA (suspiciously)
Here or out there?
FRANCESCO
You see.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, Dio, oh Dio, oh Dio.
She leaves.
INT: The small, modern kitchen of Connie's house. She is putting the finishing touches on two plates of salad. When the doorbell rings she goes quickly to the partitioned dining area and lights the candles on the attractively set table. Much of the furniture is similar to the period pieces at Antonietta's, but the house itself has the look of a recent renovation. When she opens the front door, Bill is holding up a pastry box. His other hand is behind his back.
BILL
Dessert.
CONNIE
Thank you.
He reveals a small bouquet of flowers.
BILL
And for your viewing pleasure.
She is genuinely surprised as she accepts the flowers. She starts laughing.
CONNIE
Come on in.
Her laughter grows louder as he follows her to the kitchen.
I don't believe this.
She gets a small vase for the flowers and arranges them, but does nothing to control her laughter.
Would - would you like --
BILL
I would like to know what's so funny.
CONNIE
No one's ever given me flowers.
BILL
That's something to laugh about?
CONNIE
When you realize no one's ever done it before. I'm just laughing at how much I'm enjoying it.
BILL
The priest never gave you flowers?
CONNIE
The priest didn't have a pot to piss in. I paid for everything. Food. Motels. Condoms.
He suppresses his urge to laugh.
Go ahead, laugh. We didn't even need the damn condoms. If there was ever two people who were safe for each other, it was us. But he - eh - he liked wearing them.
BILL
Why?
CONNIE
Who knew? He was a priest. I guess a condom made him feel all dressed up.
He laughs freely. She pours him a glass of wine.
Should we be talking like this?
BILL
Oh, yeah.
He accepts the wine and puts an arm around her.
CONNIE
Yeah? I guess so. Only a fool would try to keep secrets from a detective.
He kisses her neck.
INT: Cal and Frankie shopping in a men's boutique. Cal is looking at pants on a rack; Frankie searches through a stack of bathing suits.
CAL
It's good. She's seeing a policeman.
FRANKIE
It's good she's seeing anyone at all.
Frankie holds up a very skimpy bikini.
FRANKIE
You likee English fly boy?
CAL
If you wear it as an earring.
He returns the bikini to the stack and joins Cal at the rack.
FRANKIE
I wonder if she'll ever get married. Pop would have liked that. My daughter, the butcher, is getting married.
CAL
He would have loved that. I miss him.
FRANKIE
We all do.
Frankie stops looking at the pants.
Remember when we went to the Cape a few years ago? Pop said, "Why go there? What's there? The ocean. Go to Venice. Venice is the place to go with the one you love."
CAL
He was probably the most accepting human being I've ever known.
FRANKIE
Now we're going to Venice.
They look at each other affectionately.
INT: Francesco's room. He presses the start button on a tape deck sitting on the vanity. The mandolin solo that introduces the Katyna Ranieri recording of 'Scapricciatiello' begins. Wearing dark trousers and a neatly pressed shirt, he approaches Antonietta slowly. Her hair is piled
attractively. She wears a little makeup, her dress is sleeveless and full. She appears almost shy.
ANTONIETTA
I - I don't know. I put on a little weight since you - eh - died.
FRANCESCO
Like riding a bicycle.
He lifts her hand gently and takes her in his arms. The dance starts with slow swaying motions during the introduction, followed by a series of rhythmic folk like steps during the solo. It is a dance they have done before. Antonietta's pleasure increases with each step and the assurance that she has forgotten nothing. Francesco is the consummate romantic lead.
INT: Connie's dining room. She and Bill are seated at the table having coffee and the last of the wine. She wears a robe; he is shirtless.
CONNIE
You think I was fibbing when I called today?
BILL
About the guy in the bin? No. I just think we got sidetracked.
She chuckles.
INT: Francesco's room. He and Antonietta are dancing freely to 'Scapricciatiello'.
INT: Frankie and Cal's living room. Frankie is on the phone listening to the ringing at the other end of the line. Cal is looking through guide books.
FRANKIE
She's still not answering.
CAL
Did she say she was going anywhere?
FRANKIE
No.
He hangs up the phone.
I wanted to get to the passport office early. If she doesn't have this key--
CAL
I'd run it down, but I have that meeting.
Frankie looks resigned.
INT: Francesco's room. They are still dancing to the same song.
ANTONIETTA
Francesco.
FRANCESCO
Hmmm?
ANTONIETTA
Tell me--
FRANCESCO
Anything.
ANTONIETTA
Are you going to kill more people?
FRANCESCO
Oh, yes.
ANTONIETTA
But not tonight.
FRANCESCO
Oh, no, not tonight.
She almost swoons as he guides her into a low dip.
INT: Connie's kitchen. She and Bill are doing the dishes together.
CONNIE
We always knew when Pop was kidding. He did that a lot. But that day he was serious, real serious. "Stay away from him. He does bad things to bad people." That's what he said.
BILL
And the guy was just sleeping on a bench in a bocce club?
CONNIE
That's why, when I saw him in that bin last week, the first thing that popped into my head was, "Why the hell does this look so familiar?"
BILL
You're sure it's the same man?
CONNIE
Oh, yeah. That birthmark on his left cheek.
BILL
Where's the bocce club?
CONNIE
Tenth and Kimball. They won't tell you much.
BILL
I guess not.
CONNIE
You can say anything you want about the mob in this neighborhood. You just can't say it to the cops. And you sure as hell can't say it to the mob. It's a simple code, and it seems to work for them. They call it respect.
BILL
Then why are you talking to me?
CONNIE
Because I think they're shit. And I hope to God you're not a crooked cop.
BILL
I'm too scared, too dumb to be a crooked cop.
Satisfied, she nods, smiling at his candor.
EXT: Forlano's. Frankie gets out of his car and locates the key to his mother's apartment on his ring. He presses the bell, waits for a response, then lets himself in when there is none.
INT: Entryway. When he closes the door behind him, he does not notice that the slight breeze sets the door to the market ajar. He goes upstairs.
INT: Apartment. A dim light is on in the kitchen; the rest of the apartment is dark.
FRANKIE
Mom. Mom.
He goes through the rooms quickly, then returns to the kitchen and places a key and a note on the table. He looks around suspiciously, then goes downstairs.
INT: Entryway. He turns to use the light from the door window to find its key on his ring of keys. He sees that the door to the market is open, pushes
it gently, and walks in.
INT: Forlano's market. His apprehension grows, as he walks toward the bins. He stops a few feet short of the basement door, but does not notice that it is open. He hears music, faintly, at a distance. Seeing the open door, he goes to close it, then realizes the music is slightly louder. He opens the door and sees a dim glow coming from the basement.
INT: Basement. He starts down slowly, quietly, making his way to the rear. He stops just beyond the last arch. In a large mirror leaning against the wall he watches the reflections of his parents doing a stylish, energetic jitterbug to the Artie Shaw Gramercy Five recording of 'Cross My Heart'. He is immobilized.
INT: Francesco's room. Antonietta and Francesco conclude their dance. Laughing, she sits on the edge of the bed, he leans against the footboard. The next song is Dinah Shore's recording of 'Something to Remember You By'.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, I remember when you made those tapes from our old records.
FRANCESCO
Yeah, yeah.
ANTONIETTA
You were so happy when Frankie bought that tape machine. You put all the old songs in the order we wanted. Just so we could dance. Oh, my!
FRANCESCO
I made copies of a lot of the tapes. Took them with me.
ANTONIETTA
I play them in the market. They've been like company for me--
She sees Frankie's reflection.
Ooopsey-doopsey.
She taps Francesco on the shoulder. He turns, sees his son, and smiles.
FRANCESCO
Oh, my first born.
Frankie is almost on the verge of fainting. They approach him slowly and lead him to the bed. He finds it impossible to look at them, as he allows himself to be seated.
ANTONIETTA
Now, isn't this a nice surprise, Frankie?
Tearful, he looks at them, then starts crying like a baby. Francesco takes his head in his hands and kisses him on both cheeks.
FRANCESCO
Such a good boy.
Frankie wails.
INT: Connie and Bill are kissing in the vestibule of her house. He gives her a long look.
BILL
If I can get free on Sunday, would you like to go to the zoo with me and the kids?
CONNIE
I'll bring the peanuts.
He kisses her, then goes to his car.
EXT: Doorstep. She remains at the door, watching him. As he pulls away, she waves, then notices her brother's car parked across the street.
EXT: Terrace of Frankie and Cal's. They sit opposite each other at a breakfast table. A radio plays quietly nearby - Juice Newton's 'Break It To Me Gently'. Their movements are slow, tentative. The song comes to an end.
ANNOUNCER
And now the news. Still no clues to the baffling murders of two men in the Italian market. Police say -
Cal turns off the radio. Frankie starts to sob. Cal remains composed, but exasperated.
CAL
I would be so grateful if you would stop doing that.
FRANKIE
I -- can't -- can't -- help -- it. How -- am I -- going -- to -- to work -- today?
CAL
Sell onions.
Frankie manages to smile weakly.
FRANKIE
But my dad's become a serial killer. Of Mafia hit men.
He starts to wail.
CAL (firmly)
Shut up!
Frankie strains to control himself.
FRANKIE
Oh, God, what if the police find --
CAL
You must control yourself.
FRANKIE
-- out? My sister's dating the police. A police.
CAL
We'll think of something.
FRANKIE (stunned)
We will?
CAL
You bet your gorgeous dago ass we will.
FRANKIE
But he's killing people, Cal!
CAL
People? People? You call them people?
FRANKIE
Well --
CAL
If what you told me last night is true, your father is merely exterminating vermin -- performing a much needed public service.
Frankie nods.
FRANKIE
And he's having such a good time doing it.
INT: Forlano's market. Antonietta and Connie are completing their
preparations. Several early customers are looking at produce, while the employees stack it neatly. Antonietta is putting cash and change in the register. Connie goes from the meat counter to the booth and reaches in for a large roll of white wax paper.
CONNIE
Good, there is a roll here.
ANTONIETTA
Get one of the men to carry that.
CONNIE
It's not the first one I lifted.
She stops before lifting the roll.
Where's Frankie?
ANTONIETTA
He'll be here.
Connie is mildly surprised by her mother's casual attitude.
CONNIE
Where were you last night? I called.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, that was you. I was soaking the bones.
CONNIE
I thought Frankie was here. I saw his car.
ANTONIETTA
I didn't see him. How did your date go with the 'Meddigan'?
CONNIE
Fine.
ANTONIETTA
Good. Just pray to the Infant of Prague that you don't get a disease that cannot be cured by some kind of medicine.
CONNIE
Look, Mom, if it makes you feel any better, he married young and he was true blue. 'Capeesh?!'
ANTONIETTA
Ah!
CONNIE
Just like Pop.
ANTONIETTA
Ho! Ho!
The intensity of Antonietta's exclamations startles Connie, but she is diverted by Frankie's arrival. He is nervously tying on his apron and trying to control himself.
FRANKIE
Well, I, ah, ordered my passport.
Connie starts to lift the roll of paper.
Give me that.
He lifts it, then starts turning as though he lost all sense of direction.
ANTONIETTA
Hey, 'stunad'.
CONNIE
Behind the counter.
Antonietta watches him closely as he carries the paper to the counter. Connie looks concerned.
Just set it down on the shelf.
She adjusts a few knives in their slots.
Hey, did you ever find that knife of Pop's you said was missing downstairs?
He looks directly at her, his eyes widen, his face quivers. He is on the verge of tears.
Frankie.
Antonietta is motionless. Frankie walks quickly to the glass enclosed office.
What's wrong with him?
ANTONIETTA (weakly)
He's very sensitive.
CONNIE
Mom.
Antonietta motions for Connie to take over the booth, then goes to the office. Connie watches intently as her mother goes to Frankie, seated at the desk, his head in his hands, and shakes him vigorously.
INT: Office.
ANTONIETTA
Son of a bitch. What will happen if we screw up!
FRANKIE
But she has to be told.
ANTONIETTA
We will tell her.
FRANKIE
When?
ANTONIETTA
Soon.
FRANKIE (whining)
She's dating a cop, Mommy.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, Frankie, c'mon. This is a serious thing. You can't act like a -- mommy he calls me. You must control yourself.
FRANKIE
That's what Cal says.
ANTONIETTA
He knows?
FRANKIE
Oh, Mom -- Mom, I live with the man.
ANTONIETTA
What did he say?
FRANKIE
He said we'd think of something.
ANTONIETTA
And -- about -- the
She draws a finger across her throat.
FRANKIE
Vermin. He said Pop was killing vermin, performing a public service.
Pleased, she slaps the desk.
ANTONIETTA
And that's why that man's a college professor working for the Jesuits!
Frankie is as surprised as he was when Cal said they would think of something. Antonietta turns and sees Connie talking with Bill at the booth.
But what do we do about your sister and the flatfoot?
FRANKIE
He seems like such a nice guy.
ANTONIETTA
I'll talk to your father.
He smiles.
FRANKIE
It sounds so good to hear that again. "I'll talk to your father." If only he wasn't slitting throats and cutting out hearts.
She opens the door to leave.
ANTONIETTA
Vermin. That's rats, ya know.
INT: Forlano's. Connie watches her mother approach. Antonietta grabs a bag and fills it with fruit.
BILL
We'll go early, right after church, then-
He notices Connie's concern.
have lunch at -- . Is something wrong?
CONNIE
Uh-uh. I'll be ready.
She kisses his cheek. Antonietta hands him the bag.
ANTONIETTA
'Teh.' Fruit is very good for you.
She returns to the booth.
BILL (facetiously)
I'm not allowed to accept bribes.
ANTONIETTA (fiercely)
It is no bribe!
CONNIE
Mom, he's only kidding.
Antonietta quickly regains her composure. She wipes her hands on her apron.
ANTONIETTA
I'm sorry. I don't always understand the 'Meddigan' sense of humor.
She squeezes his cheeks and shakes his head vigorously.
You a nice boy, Billy.
Connie is mildly embarrassed.
INT: Francesco's room. The April Stevens recording of 'I'm In Love Again' plays softly on the tape deck. Antonietta is lying in his arms, both nude under the covers.
ANTONIETTA
I always liked this bed.
FRANCESCO
Ah.
ANTONIETTA
But I hate this room.
FRANCESCO
Oh.
ANTONIETTA
You think we'll ever get out of here?
FRANCESCO
When my work is done.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
INT: Bedroom of Connie's house. She and Bill are nude under the covers. Morgana King's recording of 'Corcorvado' plays softly on the stereo. He
rests in her arms.
BILL
I thought the workout at the gym would do it, but afterwards I was still-- I had to be here.
CONNIE
This is just where I want you to be.
BILL
You wouldn't lie to me, would you?
CONNIE (seriously)
I'll never lie to you.
They kiss.
INT: Bedroom of Frankie and Cal. They are nude under their covers, both on their backs with their arms intertwined. Cal's eyes are closed; Frankie is staring at the ceiling.
FRANKIE
Have you thought of something?
CAL
We just finished, for heaven's sake.
FRANKIE
I'm not talking about sex.
Cal rolls over and nuzzles closer.
CAL
No, no I haven't thought of something.
FRANKIE
I wonder if he'll kill more of them.
CAL
Oh, I hope so. I hope so.
Frankie looks horrified.
INT: Dining room of the Forlano apartment. Day. Connie sits motionless at the table. Antonietta is seated at the head of the table, smiling nervously. Frankie, seated at the other end, is biting his lower lip. Cal is standing by the open French doors, his eyes shifting between the street and the family, his expression tender, sympathetic. Connie's eyes are almost blank. Her father has taken the seat opposite her, smiling broadly, unaware of the effect his return might have on her.
FRANCESCO
My baby, the butcher.
Cal turns his head away nervously. Antonietta and Frankie are grinning unconsciously. Francesco gently takes Connie's hands.
How you been?
Connie opens her mouth slowly and releases a sustained piercing scream. Antonietta leaps up and rushes to close the French doors. Cal helps.
ANTONIETTA
Ah, 'manadg!' You'd think she'd have more sense.
FRANKIE (to Cal)
This I can understand. I can understand this.
FRANCESCO
'Aspett!' 'Aspett!'
Francesco goes to her. Cal turns up the radio. Connie screams louder, but not louder than Keely Smith singing 'I'm Gonna Live, 'Til I Die.'
ANTONIETTA
Shut up, for Christ's sake!
Francesco stands next to Connie, holds her, strokes her hair.
FRANCESCO
It's all right. It's all right.
FRANKIE
That's what I should have done.
Cal is fascinated by the scene but keeps his eye on the street.
ANTONIETTA
It's your father, Connie!
FRANKIE
You just got to get it out of your system.
FRANCESCO
Bene. Bene.
ANTONIETTA
Doesn't he look wonderful?
CAL
He really does look wonderful.
Connie stops screaming and starts taking deep breaths.
Antonietta strokes Connie's arms.
ANTONIETTA
That's it. That's it. Breathing is good.
FRANCESCO
The best.
Everyone is silent as Connie rises and walks slowly to the radio and turns it off.
ANTONIETTA
Ah, that's not my favorite Keely Smith number.
FRANKIE
She's upset. I can understand.
ANTONIETTA
You're not glad to see your father?
Connie hugs Francesco.
CONNIE
You look wonderful.
ANTONIETTA
See.
CONNIE
But you just killed two men! And I'm dating a cop.
FRANCESCO
A nice boy, I hear.
CONNIE
An honest man. A good cop. He's working on your murders.
ANTONIETTA
And you're going to help him?
CAL
Who says he has to be told?
FRANKIE
That's true. You know, it never occurred to me. He won't know unless somebody tells him. Right?
CONNIE
He's a detective! He detects things!
ANTONIETTA
Let's eat.
The suggestion sets everyone in motion - Antonietta to the range to stir the soup and check the roast; Frankie to the refrigerator for the vegetables to make a salad; Connie to the dishes; Cal to the utensils. Francesco picks up the newspaper and stretches out on a chaise.
CAL
How do you detect a dead person?
FRANKIE
There was a funeral, Connie.
ANTONIETTA
I cried my eyes out. (to Connie) Use the big platter.
CONNIE
Who didn't?
FRANKIE
Yeah.
ANTONIETTA
And the good dishes - and silver.
CONNIE
We'll have a celebration. Pop's back from the dead.
CAL
He has risen.
Silence. The pace slackens. The four exchange quizzical looks. Francesco raises the newspaper to cover his grin. Antonietta wipes her hands on her apron and goes to the door of the kitchen. The others listen attentively.
ANTONIETTA
Hey, Francesco, who has not risen? Eh?
FRANCESCO
Come?
ANTONIETTA
'Come' shit. Who the hell's buried in our plot at the Holy Cross?
FRANCESCO
I've been wondering when --
ANTONIETTA
Who!?
FRANCESCO
I don't know.
CONNIE
Oh, God.
FRANKIE
Pop, you didn't wipe out a total stranger?
FRANCESCO
He was already dead. In a doorway. In Atlantic City. Like a piece of human trash.
CAL
Were you out there looking for a dead body?
FRANCESCO
Eh, it was a stroke of good fortune, finding one just about my age, my size, my race.
CONNIE
Oh, God.
Antonietta carries the soup tureen to the table.
ANTONIETTA
'Mahng.'
CONNIE
Who has an appetite?
CAL
I do.
FRANKIE
So do I.
Connie sighs. They converge on the table. Cal deliberately exaggerates his accent.
CAL
Francesco, old chap, after you discovered that heap of human flotsam in the doorway, torched your own house --
ANTONIETTA
Our house, our good seashore house.
CAL
-- faked your own death --
FRANKIE
That hurt, Pop.
CONNIE
Yeah.
CAL
-- did you then plan to slash throats, gouge out hearts, and string up the brutalized bodies of Mafia hit men in freezers --
Spoons are arrested in mid-air, except for Francesco's, who continues eating and smiling broadly.
-- or were these revolting, albeit socially significant, murders all planned beforehand?
FRANCESCO
Now that's how a college professor asks a question. Years before.
CONNIE
And what if someone recognizes you?!
Francesco looks at them slyly.
FRANCESCO
Oh, no. Oh, no, no, no.
INT: Francesco's basement room a short time later. Antonietta and Connie are sitting on the bed. Frankie and Cal are standing nearby. The relatives look stunned, but Cal is grinning. Standing in the middle of the room is the slightly hunched figure of a Black Bag Lady -- with her bag. Along with the usual layers of soiled clothes that completely conceal almost every square inch of skin, there is the dominant feature of hair -- a thick, dark brown mass that has not been combed, cut, or washed in years. It looks more like a structure than something nature provided. Part of it is covered by a soiled cloth. The 'Bag Lady' smiles, revealing three gold teeth.
FRANCESCO
Va bene?
CAL
Very va bene.
The relatives are speechless.
FRANCESCO
I made these little gold caps myself. You like the teeth?
CAL
I love the wig.
FRANCESCO
I figured out how to make it after I watched the Oprah Winfrey show one day.
ANTONIETTA
Francesco, Francesco, why, why -- this?
CONNIE
Oh, God, yes, why that?
Francesco stands erect.
FRANCESCO
I had work to do. A mission. But - I - had - to - be - ignored. It took me six months to think of this get up. Two months to work it out. I thought maybe I'd be a priest, maybe a rabbi. Then one day I'm in New York and I say to myself, 'What don't they look at, Francesco? What is it most people never see?'
CAL
Good taste?
FRANCESCO
The bag ladies! They see the panhandlers, the drunks, the addicts. But the bag ladies - ah - they were different. They never spoke. Most of them never spoke when they were spoken to. Two weeks I watched only the bag ladies. I watched that silence between those women and the world. I watched them walk slowly through every kind of neighborhood. Always ignored.
CONNIE
What am I going to wear to the zoo tomorrow?
They turn slowly to look at Connie.
EXT: The zoo the following morning. Connie is being tugged by nine year
old Livia. Carol, the seven year old, is holding Bill's hand. They are walking toward the Morris Impala Fountain near the entrance. Bill and the children are relaxed, unaware that Connie's smiles are, at first, forced, the concern in her eyes difficult to hide. A series of cuts take them through the animal exhibits, with Connie becoming more at ease, more absorbed in the girls' reactions. By the time they get to the children's zoo, her laughter is not forced.
INT: A table by a window at the Valley Green Inn on the Wissahickon. Connie is wiping crumbs from Carol's chin.
CAROL
You're not as chunky as I thought you'd be.
Bill looks embarrassed.
LIVIA
Daddy said you didn't look like our mom at all. He said you were on the chunky side.
CAROL
Could we go sit on the porch?
BILL
Yes. Right out there.
The girls leave. Connie looks at Bill in mock anger.
They wanted to know what you look like.
She smiles.
Were you worried they wouldn't like you?
CONNIE
No. I was worried I wouldn't like them.
He laughs.
They're good kids.
BILL
You're a lot like your mother. I bet you're a lot like your father, too. He must have been remarkable.
She speaks a little too quickly.
CONNIE
People really respect my folks. They run a good
business, they never cheat, they'll help anybody who --
She stops when he rests his hands on hers.
BILL
I catch myself doing that. You talk about them as if they're alive.
She nods slowly.
CONNIE
Have you ever killed anyone?
BILL
No. Can you believe that? With all the crap going on in the streets, I never once killed anybody. But I've wanted to.
CONNIE
Who?
BILL
Some of the bastards I work with. The ones who add to the crap on the street.
CONNIE
How's your investigation going?
BILL
You might be right about that guy in the cart being an old hit man for the mob. One of our informants said the same thing.
CONNIE
How did he know?
BILL
I haven't talked to him yet. But I'm damn sure of one thing. If they are in the mob, and their killings aren't mob related, then the mob knows by now that something's going on. They'll find out what, and they'll take care of it themselves.
Connie tries to conceal her shock with a slow nod of surprise.
CONNIE
Oooh.
INT: The living room of Cal and Frankie's apartment later the same day. Frankie, moving quickly, almost frantically, is clearing coffee cups from
the table in the dining alcove. Connie follows him. She is just as frantic but manages to help by picking up what he has forgotten and wiping what he neglects to see. Cal is stretched out on a sofa, surrounded by tourist magazines and guide books.
CONNIE
I even like his kids, for God's sake! It was the worst day of my life!
FRANKIE
He's not even sure.
CONNIE
Lying. I felt, I knew --
FRANKIE
But you said he hasn't talked to the --
CONNIE
-- I was lying --
FRANKIE
-- informer yet.
CONNIE
-- the whole time I was with him.
FRANKIE
You weren't lying. You never said --
CONNIE
Aw, c'mon, don't give me that crap. What the hell do you think I am, a politician? I know when I'm hiding something. I know a lie when I feel one.
FRANKIE
Then how the hell did you manage to pull off that affair with your little priest for over ten years? Wasn't that a lie?
CONNIE
For God's sake, Frankie, that was sex, love. This is murder.
CAL
Is there a difference?
FRANKIE
Then stop seeing him.
CONNIE
I don't want to stop seeing him!
FRANKIE
For a while.
CONNIE
If the tables were turned, would you stop seeing Cal?
FRANKIE
No.
CONNIE
You bet your ass you wouldn't.
CAL
That is one of the major features that keeps me here.
CONNIE
It's not so easy to give up, is it? Even for a while.
CAL
There are days when I think it's the only thing that keeps me here.
They turn sharply to Cal.
FRANKIE
And you were supposed to --
FRANKIE & CONNIE
-- think of something!
CAL
What's the rush?
Cal sits up quickly, his manner rigidly professorial.
Just a minute! I'll be only too happy to point out a few salient features you've been so carelessly overlooking.
FRANKIE
Oh, here we go. He gets like this.
CONNIE
Okay.
CAL
First, you're worried that Pop will be discovered by the police, specifically the one policeman with whom you've been exchanging bodily fluids. Right?
They nod.
Now you're worried that the Mafioso, the Mob, will discover Pop and what he's been doing. Right?
They nod, but look as though they would like to smack him.
This is not a cheap mystery novel you're dealing with here. With all undue respect to Mister Mario Puzo and Dame Agatha Christie, neither the mob nor the police possess skills that would qualify them for the Mensa Society. It's a sad but well known fact that the police are almost totally dependent on tips, confessions, and prearranged deals to solve crimes. In very, very rare instances are they able to collect enough evidence and logically deduce a path that would enable them to find, much less convict a criminal. As for the Mob, they know only violence and corruption. They used to know cheese and olive oil. But now it's merely cocaine and bad pizza. Fear is their forte. They're certainly now very imaginative, and they're certainly not very bright. Brutes and authoritarians never are. So, I ask you, if they already lack the imagination to deal with that which they already know and believe exists, then how the hell would you expect them to have any capacity whatsoever for dealing with that which, in their eyes, doesn't exist.
Frankie and Connie sigh deeply, obviously missing the point.
Your father's a dead man. The police know it. All of Ninth Street knows it. His funeral was attended by all of Ninth Street. The trouble you two are having stems from the unusual fact that so little of your lives have been spent lying or deceiving anybody. No facades. You assume that just because you know what the truth is, then the entire world knows it, or will certainly discover it in the not too distant future. That is almost never the case. Your daddy is dead. Your daddy is now a Black bag lady. Your daddy is now engaged in committing the perfect crimes. 'Capeesh?'
Connie and Frankie are now exhausted by the lecture.
FRANKIE
And you want him to succeed.
Cal nods.
And you call yourself an Englishman.
CONNIE
But - what - if - Pop -
FRANKIE
Fucks up?
Cal is genuinely surprised.
CAL
Oh, shit. That never occurred to me.
EXT: Forlano's a short time later. Connie is pulling her car into the diagonal space in front of her house, while Frankie and Cal are pulling into a space in front of the entrance to the apartment. Frankie rushes to the door and opens it with his key.
INT: Entryway.
FRANKIE
Mom! Mom!
Connie taps Frankie on the shoulder and indicates the entrance to the market. He gently pushes the door open.
INT: Forlano's. As soon as they enter they see that the door to the basement is open.
INT: Basement. They go down very quietly, as though they were sneaking up on someone. Just past the first arch Connie taps Frankie on the shoulder and whispers:
CONNIE
What if they're --
Frankie turns and shouts.
FRANKIE
Mom! Pop!
Antonietta calls back.
ANTONIETTA
Frankie? Come in here!
INT: Francesco's room. They go quickly and find Antonietta sitting on the edge of the bed, a piece of paper in her hand, looking dejected.
ANTONIETTA
He's gone!
CONNIE
Where?
ANTONIETTA
Doesn't say. Doesn't say how long. "I'll be back when I'll be back." That's what the son of a bitch says.
They look weak.
EXT: Forlano's market a week later. A meat order has arrived. Connie leaves her counter to go out and inspect it. Don and Tommy remain near their truck, their backs to Connie. Don conceals his sheepish grin; Tommy is smirking -- at Don. Six sides of beef are hanging on hooks. She wipes a long, sharp knife on her apron, then uses it to guide her through her inspection. She looks suspicious. Don and Tom casually close up their truck. Connie finishes checking the last side of beef, sighs, wipes the knife again, and steels herself. She goes quickly to the second side of beef and focuses on a two inch triangular cut. She thrusts her knife into it and removes a wedge of beef, an insert cut from another side and tainted. She walks toward Don with the meat on the end of the knife.
CONNIE
You have to win, don't you?
He looks away, more angry than embarrassed.
I don't even want to play your games, and you still have to beat me. Get every piece of beef out of here! All six! And I want six back here in an hour. All different! All fresh!
DON
Hey, c'mon, Connie, it's a joke. If I take all six sides back my boss'll --
Connie turns and walks toward him pointing the knife.
CONNIE (fiercely)
I don't care if your boss fucks you up your ass!
Don is immobilized. Tommy turns away to hide a look of satisfaction. The two men who work with Connie are standing nearby, staring protectively. Frankie is between them, holding a tray of artichokes.
FRANKIE
She said an hour, Don.
Tommy starts lifting the sides of beef back onto the truck. Still furious, Connie starts back to her counter, with Frankie following, a look of concern on his face.
INT: Forlano's
CONNIE
He wouldn't try this if Pop was here.
FRANKIE
Well, Pop's not going to be here.
CONNIE
Where the hell is he? It's almost a week now.
As they approach the booth they both notice the controlled expressions on the faces of Cal and Antonietta. Antonietta rings up a sale for a customer, while Cal deliberately obstructs the entrance to the booth. Frankie hands the artichokes to his mother.
CONNIE
Hello.
Cal nods.
FRANKIE
What are you doing here? I thought you had some shopping to do.
CAL
I found more than I expected.
Cal moves aside. Connie and Frankie look in the booth but are not able to determine what it is they're supposed to see. They look up at their mother. She widens her eyes, then casts them down dramatically.
ANTONIETTA
'Manadg.'
On the floor of the booth is a New York tabloid, its front page headline blazing - MOB POISONED - with a large photo of six bodies slumped around a table by the window of a restaurant. In the background a crowd peers in from the street. Just beyond the crowd, leaning against a pole, is a very familiar Black 'Bag Lady'. Connie and Frankie look sick. Cal suppresses a smile. Antonietta is almost numb, her voice flat.
ANTONIETTA
Antonietta's Choke-a-hearts. Get 'em here. Get 'em fresh.
The three look up at her in disbelief.
INT: Forlano's - closing time later the same day. Frankie is locking the large doors that lead to the loading area. Antonietta and Connie are at the door to the apartment.
ANTONIETTA
Another day like this, I'll be a dead woman. It was nice of Cal to come back and cook for us.
FRANKIE
Much better than eating out.
CONNIE
Oh, please.
As soon as Antonietta opens the door the sound of Placido Domingo singing "Vida Mia" is heard coming from the apartment.
INT: Stairway. They go up the stairs.
ANTONIETTA
I'm losing my mind and your boyfriend's listening to Domingo. Oh, Dio.
INT: Apartment. As soon as the three enter the kitchen, Cal and Francesco enter, cheek to cheek, doing the tango. The three no longer know how to react.
FRANCESCO
Hey, this guy's not bad.
INT: Apartment - twilight, after dinner. All five are seated around a television set in the living room.
ANNOUNCER
The murders yesterday of six alleged Mafia members in a restaurant in Little Italy has left the community stunned. But only because of the method used to kill them. We go now to Helen Sarcone for a live report.
Cut to a close shot of Helen standing in front of a small nondescript restaurant with the word Marie's painted on its one window.
HELEN
Steve, gangland style killings have always, by
tradition, involved a lot of gunfire and bloodshed. What happened here at Marie's yesterday has everyone baffled. The word on the street is that the murders are not mob related. Still, there is no way of knowing what the motive might have been. The one suspect, and I must stress that she was suspected only briefly, is Marie herself. She has agreed to talk with us.
Cut to half shot of Helen standing next to Marie -- small, frail, toothless, close to ninety, and feisty.
CONNIE
Marie --
MARIE
Mahd-ee
HELEN
How long have you had this restaurant?
MARIE
Sixty-five years, and I never kill nobody. Once in a great while they shoot 'em in my place, but that's not my fault. This is the littlest restaurant in Lil' Itly and it's the best.
HELEN
What was your reaction when the police said you were a suspect?
MARIE
Li ho detto di andare a fanculo? Eh?
HELEN
I see. Well, thank you very much.
Close shot of Helen, but Marie's voice can still be heard talking.
STEVE
Helen, do they know how they were poisoned?
MARIE
That's it? That's all they want me to say? I wait an hour for this?
HELEN
No, Steve, they don't. The official report hasn't been released yet. But witnesses said that, whatever it was, it was quick and extremely
painful.
MARIE
They screamed their goddamn heads off!!
Cut back to Steve in the studio.
STEVE
Thank you, Helen. When we return --
Antonietta turns off the set with a remote control. She looks exhausted. Connie is almost in tears. Frankie is confused. But Cal is relaxed.
CAL
What did you use?
He grins at his wife.
ANTONIETTA
Yeah, I'd like to know.
He hesitates.
FRANCESCO
I killed them with their own drugs. The shit they sell on the street. Each day, in my funny costume, I bought a little bit here, a little bit there. Strong stuff, I guess. Expensive. I mixed it all together. Didn't even know if it would work.
CONNIE
How did you get into that restaurant dressed like that?
FRANCESCO
I never went in. But I was there before. In my funny costume. Whenever I was in New York, I'd go round to the back to the kitchen, and I'd stand there, and Marie, she's not as tough as she puts on, she gives me something to eat. She cooks like an angel from heaven. That's why the place is a hangout for the big boys. She's always running back and forth from the kitchen to the front. First afternoon I see a whole table full of the bastards, I drop the stuff in the soup.
CONNIE
What about the other customers, Pop? You could have killed them.
FRANCESCO
When that crowd's there, you don't get other customers. They're afraid they'll get shot.
ANTONIETTA
That poor woman. Working so hard. For what?
FRANKIE
What if she ate the soup?
FRANCESCO
Cops took everything out.
Pause.
CAL
Their own drugs. My, my, my.
Smiles appear on their faces. They look pleased, despite themselves. They start laughing. Francesco beams.
INT: Liberty Bell Pavilion - day. Bill, Connie, Livia, Antonietta and Carol are standing with a group of spectators listening to a lecture given by a tour guide. The girls are attentive, their concentration serious. The lecture ends. Livia walks over to Antonietta and tugs her hand. The woman smiles, listens, then nods. Livia walks over to Carol, takes her by the hand, and the three of them touch the bell gently. Connie and Bill are smiling.
EXT: Independence Mall. The girls take Antonietta's hands and the five stroll through the park toward Independence Hall. Connie and Bill walk a short distance behind.
LIVIA
Was that the first time you touched it, Mrs. Forlano?
ANTONIETTA
No. The second day we were here, after we came from the other side, with my Francesco, we touched it - together. For good luck.
On a bench a short distance up the path sits the 'Bag Lady'. The head is down, but the eyes are looking up at the group. Antonietta has to control her anger as soon as she sees the figure.
CAROL
Did you have good luck?
Antonietta's expression softens.
ANTONIETTA
Yes. Yes, I guess we had very good luck.
Connie and Bill are now directly behind them.
CONNIE
My father loves --
Connie has seen the 'Bag Lady'; Antonietta turns, a stern forced smile on her face.
ANTONIETTA
He loved this Independence Hall.
CONNIE
Oh, God, yes.
They are passing the bench.
ANTONIETTA
He liked the design. The way they built it. He was crazy, crazy about the old furniture.
BILL
So he was the collector.
Antonietta and Connie look at each other and start laughing. After they pass the bench, six Black teenagers approach the 'Bag Lady'. One of them starts mocking and gesturing obscenely, while the others stand by laughing. Connie and Antonietta have not noticed.
ANTONIETTA
He was a collector all right. A trash collector.
CONNIE
A lot of the furniture we have Pop found in the trash. He bought a few pieces here and there.
ANTONIETTA
For a couple of bucks. Most of it came out of the trash. He'd go to fancy neighborhoods on trash day.
The teenager is getting louder. The 'Bag Lady' is turned away from him, motionless on the bench.
TEENAGER
You are the sunshine of my life. Swing on this baby.
CONNIE
He found and refinished almost every piece before we were born.
TEENAGER
I got somethin' send you to heaven, mama.
ANTONIETTA
He used to say that this country was crazy for throwing away its old furniture and replacing it with --
She has turned and seen the teenagers.
-- oh, what are they doing?
Bill and Connie turn. The teenager drops to one knee, his arms outstretched.
TEENAGER
Wild thing, I think I love you.
The 'Bag Lady' swings her shopping bag and hits him on the side of his head, knocking him to the ground.
Aaaah! What the fuck you got in that bag, woman? Aaaaah! Shit!
Bill moves quickly toward them, as he removes his badge from his pocket. The rest of the gang raise their arms and start running.
GANG
No problem, man. Hey. It's cool. Yeah.
BILL
Have you had enough?
TEENAGER
Damn.
The teenager forces himself up and runs off. Connie and Antonietta watch tensely. Bill looks at the 'Bag Lady' to assure himself that no harm was done. The 'Bag Lady' never acknowledges his presence. Bill returns to the group.
BILL
I'm surprised she did that.
ANTONIETTA
I'm not.
They continue walking toward Independence Hall. Antonietta has an arm behind her back, shaking a clenched fist. The 'Bag Lady' is smiling.
INT: Living room of the Forlano apartment, later the same day. Antonietta looks concerned, Connie morose, while Francesco sounds apologetic.
FRANCESCO
I wanted to see how he was. With you. With his kids. With her even. I wanted to see for myself.
CONNIE
But what if something goes wrong, Pop?
FRANCESCO
We always looked out for you.
CONNIE
What was there to look out for? What? What have I done all these years? I'm a butcher. I cut meat. I never even --
FRANCESCO
Dated?
CONNIE
Yeah. Not much.
Francesco and Antonietta exchange sympathetic looks.
And now I've met somebody and look what -
ANTONIETTA
Connie, you never went out on dates cause you fell in love with a priest.
Pause.
CONNIE
You knew?
They nod. She sits on the edge of a chair.
You knew. All that time?
They continue nodding. Francesco sits next to his wife.
But we were so careful.
ANTONIETTA
Kids. 'Manadg.' What the hell do you think we are?
CONNIE
Why didn't you try to stop us?
The couple exchange affectionate glances.
FRANCESCO
Because you both seemed happy. Like Frankie and Cal.
ANTONIETTA
Even if your little priest did look like a stick of pepperoni, you seemed happy. And that's all we ever wanted for you.
Connie looks at them pleadingly.
CONNIE
I'm in love.
FRANCESCO & ANTONIETTA
Eh! So are we!
INT: Longo's - day. Connie, dejected, sits alone at the end of the bar. Lost in thought, she wipes her mouth slowly, having just finished a sandwich. A trendily dressed couple sit by the window. A handsome man in his late fifties, with thick silver grey hair, sits at the opposite end of the bar. He is casually dressed and reading a paper. He nods at Connie. She smiles back weakly. Dominick has just given the couple espresso. Joanne is behind the bar at the espresso machine. They all look sullen. Josephine appears at the entrance to the kitchen and raises a hand toward Connie.
CONNIE
Uh-uh. I'm full. Thanks.
Josephine leans against the door, wiping her hands on her apron. Joanne serves Connie an espresso. Dominick sits next to her.
JOANNE
Mom can't help it if she can cook.
Dominick nods; Josephine shrugs.
CONNIE
You can't stop them from eating here.
Josephine shakes her head.
DOMINICK
It's not exactly what we were hoping for.
JOANNE
And then there's --
Josephine glares at Joanne.
CONNIE
What?
Josephine takes a pad and pencil from a shelf and places them in front of Joanne.
JOANNE
You're right.
Josephine returns to the kitchen. Joanne writes on the pad and slides it in front of Connie. She looks at it. WE THINK THE PLACE IS BUGGED Connie gestures, 'Who?' Dominick writes. COPS - FBI - WE'RE NOT SURE An odd black voice, similar to Butterfly McQueen's, is heard coming from the kitchen.
VOICE
Hey, mama, what's happenin'?
Connie glances to her right and freezes when she sees the silhouette of the Bag Lady standing at the screen door that leads to the alley. The man at the opposite end of the bar glances up from his paper and smiles pleasantly. The couple by the window glance toward the rear.
DOMINICK (to Connie)
She's been showing up lately. Mom gives her food.
JOANNE (while writing)
It's a sin. Mom feels bad for her. Swears she used to see her shopping on Ninth Street all the time.
CONNIE
Oh.
The man places a bill on the bar and leaves. Connie looks at what Joanne has written. MOM SAYS THE MOB'S BUGGING US
Why?
DOMINICK (whispers)
So we don't repeat what we hear.
Connie nods and tries hard not to look at the screen door.
CONNIE
Have you heard anything?
Dominick and Joanne exchange quick looks, then Dominick grabs the pad and pencil. The screen door is heard opening.
VOICE
Thanks so much. And you have a wonderful day now, mama.
Connie appalled by the sound of the voice, looks down at the pad. ASSASSIN FROM SICILY
CONNIE
Where?
JOANNE
Here. In this country.
CONNIE
In - in - eh - this city?
They shrug.
When?
DOMINICK
Now.
CONNIE
Wh-why?
They slide fingers across their throats.
Wh-wh-who?
DOMINICK & JOANNE
We don't know.
Connie works at concealing her fears.
INT: Forlano's - later the same day. Antonietta is closing the last door on the handsome grey haired man seen at Longo's. He smiles shyly as he backs away. She nods politely, locks the door, then goes to her booth to put the bills and coins in a cigar box. Frankie is stacking papers in the office. Connie is cleaning up her counter. She is agitated. Her mother and brother keep an eye on her.
ANTONIETTA
I wish the neighbors would leave me the hell alone. Every couple of months they send someone around to ask me out. That one wasn't bad. A little shy but very handsome.
Joey sticks his head in from the loading area.
JOEY
Night.
FRANKIE
Good night, Joey.
Connie gives him a perfunctory wave.
ANTONIETTA
See you tomorrow.
As soon as the rear door is heard closing after Joey's departure, Connie picks up a cleaver and hurls it. Her voice is husky.
CONNIE
If we're here tomorrow!
The cleaver wedges into a column thirty feet away.
ANTONIETTA (gently)
You know I like to keep the place neat.
Frankie walks toward his sister, his manner sympathetic.
CONNIE
What is he going to do to himself?! To us?!
ANTONIETTA
Shh.
FRANKIE
You can't be sure they brought that guy over here to get Pop. We don't know.
CONNIE
He ain't here looking for Mother Cabrini!
ANTONIETTA
A good woman, but no.
CONNIE
Assassin from Sicily. I wanted to throw up.
ANTONIETTA
Ah.
CONNIE
Where is he going with this? Huh? How far does Pop think he'll get?
FRANKIE
I don't know, Connie. I don't think he has a plan.
ANTONIETTA
A plan. Ah.
The Butterfly McQueen voice is heard at the rear of the market.
"BAG LADY"
Ize got mah plan. Ize got my plan togethah yeahs ago.
Connie and Frankie look exhausted. Antonietta smiles and nods.
EXT: Terrace of Frankie and Cal's apartment early the following morning. Cal is sunbathing and shaking his body to the rhythms of Martha and the Vandellas singing "Heat Wave" on the radio. Frankie, looking grave, walks out and sits down next to him. After a pause, he reaches over and turns down the radio.
FRANKIE
You said we would think of something. I haven't thought of a thing. Have you?
CAL
No.
FRANKIE
Then what am I supposed to do?
CAL
I would suggest you do what I'm doing.
FRANKIE
Sunbathe?
CAL
Just have faith in your Dada.
FRANKIE
My Dada is nuts.
Cal pats him gently on the cheek.
INT: Connie's bedroom - twilight. She and Bill are in bed, moments after making love. Their affection dissolves gently into mutual exhaustion. He lifts himself up to look at her and notices tears on her cheeks.
BILL
Hey.
She tries to smile.
What?
She tenses to keep from releasing the tears.
You never did this before.
CONNIE
I've never been this satisfied before.
BILL
No kidding?
She manages to smile but her tone is serious.
CONNIE
No kidding.
INT: Kitchen of Forlano apartment - twilight. Frankie, Cal, Francesco and Antonietta are seated around the table having coffee. Frankie and Cal look astonished. Antonietta is patting Francesco's cheek.
ANTONIETTA
It's good I didn't know. I would have killed you.
FRANKIE (to Cal)
It's easy to hide money in the food business.
CAL
Six hundred and fifty thousand dollars?
FRANCESCO
Hey, it took thirty-five years.
Antonietta rises and pours more coffee.
ANTONIETTA
To Switzerland, he took me. Said it was the cheapest way to get to Rome. What did I know?
FRANKIE
They never took a vacation after we were born.
CAL
And now this.
INT: Vestibule of Connie's house. She and Bill are kissing.
BILL
I'll be able to see more of you. They're taking us off the case.
She tries to conceal her apprehension.
CONNIE
Yeah. Why?
INT: Forlano kitchen - minutes later. Connie is pacing furiously. Antonietta, Francesco, Frankie and Cal are watching and listening intently.
CONNIE
He's ruthless, quick, never misses his target, and - he's - in - this - country - now!!
FRANCESCO
In Philadelphia?
CONNIE
They don't know yet. But they're sure he's here to get whoever's doing the killings.
ANTONIETTA
I'll be a son of a bitch.
CONNIE
They all know the murders are connected. But nobody knows why. So the mob sends word to back off. I suppose they think it takes a killer to catch a killer.
CAL
It's so Italian.
CONNIE
And what's even more Italian is if they find out who he is.
FRANKIE
They could wipe out all of us.
ANTONIETTA
And take over the whole business, like they did when Castaldo the meat man died.
FRANCESCO
Do they know what the assassin looks like?
CONNIE
I guess they do. They know his name.
FRANCESCO
Do you think your Bill could get a picture of him?
CONNIE
I can't ask for a picture. How the...
FRANCESCO
I will ask him for the picture.
They all look at Francesco, astonished.
INT: Dining area of Connie's home the following evening. Cal is arranging the flowers and putting the finishing touches on a beautifully set table for two. Connie comes downstairs in a loose fitting, low cut white cotton dress. She is attaching the last earring.
CONNIE
That looks wonderful.
CAL
You look wonderful. Except for...
He removes her earrings.
Too obvious.
CONNIE
It's one thing getting a guy into bed. It's something else when you try to get them to break the law.
CAL
But now the law has relinquished its responsibility. They want the big boys to do it.
She nods.
I'll stick with your father.
CONNIE
This is not like anything I've ever known.
CAL
Oh, yes it is. You just don't remember your own history. In the old west, if a cattleman caught someone stealing cattle, they hung them on the spot, because justice, the law, was often as far away as a hundred miles.
CONNIE
Where did you learn that?
CAL
I heard it on Sixty Minutes.
CONNIE
Oh.
CAL
It's very possible that justice is still a hundred miles away.
She looks at him affectionately, then kisses him on the cheek.
INT: Connie's dining room - later. She and Bill are staring at each other at the table by candlelight after dinner.
BILL
My mother asked if we were getting serious.
CONNIE
'Getting serious'. I always liked that expression. But I'm afraid your mother doesn't know how serious this is going to get.
EXT: Forlano's - later. Bill and Connie are headed toward her mother's apartment. He looks bewildered.
BILL
Is there something wrong? You can tell me.
CONNIE
We have to show you. And whatever happens in here, there's one thing you've got to remember. I love you more than I've loved anyone in my life.
He looks very concerned. She opens the door with her key. As soon as they enter they see Antonietta, Frankie and Cal waiting just inside the market.
INT: Francesco's room - moments later. Antonietta, Frankie, Connie and Cal are standing; Bill is paused just outside the door. Antonietta gestures gracefully for him to enter. He walks in slowly, then looks totally confused when he sees the 'Bag Lady' sitting at the vanity.
BILL
This is --
FRANKIE
It's no joke.
CONNIE
Do you remember this person?
Bill hesitates, then it registers.
BILL
The 'Bag Lady' at Independence Mall.
CONNIE
Bill, I'd like you to meet my father, Francesco Forlano.
Bill starts laughing.
CAL
It's a start.
Francesco rises and extends a hand. Still laughing, Bill takes it, then his laughter quickly diminishes when he feels the strength of the grip. He looks astonished.
INT: Francesco's room - moments later. Francesco is seated at the vanity, facing the mirror. Bill is seated to his right, watching him intently. Connie is on his left. Antonietta is behind him, her hands resting on his shoulders. Frankie and Cal are seated on the bed. Francesco starts removing his disguise slowly, beginning with the wig. He is relaxed, the warmth and sincerity in his voice convincing. The entire disguise is pealed away during his speech.
FRANCESCO
We came from the hills of Abruzzi. Two kids. Antonietta was fourteen; me, fifteen. Right after the war. The war that killed our families. Both families. Ah. Two kids. Alone. So we come to America. To Philadelphia.
ANTONIETTA
He insisted - Philadelphia. I want to be where it all began, he said.
FRANCESCO
Only twelve blocks away from the Liberty Bell. We had nothing but hope and our youth. It was enough. And we sold the carciofi. Arthichokes. It was good. The people here, they were good to us. We had our cart, our little room with a gas stove and refrigerator. It was good. We had each other. Then we got the radio.
Antonietta smiles. Bill looks around quizzically.
ANTONIETTA
A neighbor, she gave us a second hand radio. We had no money for entertainment. It all went into the business. With the radio we had music.
FRANCESCO
We danced. All day on our feet, we worked like a couple of jackasses. But at night we danced. It was our hobby. When we had a little extra we went around the corner to the movies. Then we really learned how to dance. Hey, we were happy. We felt safe and we were happy. Do you know how that feels, Detective? Huh?
BILL
Happy, yes, I know.
Bill forces himself not to look at Connie.
Safe, I'm not so sure.
FRANCESCO
Ah-ha. It all changed. Right after the babies come, I see it starts to change. First the assassinations, then the drugs, then the politics. Until little by little, maybe not so little by little, I see all that matters is greed and corruption. I got pissed off. Very pissed off. And I never show it. But a plan begins in my head. All by itself it starts. One day I walk along the beach down the shore and I see all this slop wash up. So I pray. I ask God for help. And I never ask God for help. I don't believe in it. My life is too good. But I see these needles and bags of blood and I pray, 'Dear God, dear God, before I die, give me just one chance to teach some Mafioso mother fucker a lesson.'
ANTONIETTA (gently)
This man is a saint.
FRANCESCO
And now they want to find me and teach me a lesson.
BILL
By sending for the Sicilian.
FRANCESCO
Lo Scorpione.
BILL
You know this man?
FRANCESCO
By reputation. He's probably the one they got. He'll kill anybody for a price. Whole families, women, children, babies. He's done that.
BILL
How do --
FRANCESCO
-- I know? About him? I think you call it 'the word on the street.' Yes. People talk. About the Scorpion they've been talking for years.
BILL
And nothing's ever been proven against him.
FRANCESCO
He leaves no witnesses. No witnesses.
BILL
Mr. Forlano, what did you want to accomplish by murdering these people?
FRANCESCO
The same thing they accomplish with their corruption.
BILL
They have money. Many of them have money and a lot of power. Is that what you wanted -- power?
FRANCESCO
And what have they accomplished with their money, with their power? Niente. Nothing. This country now, right now, is not as good as it was when we first came here. And they are to blame for a lot of the problems. I accomplish what they accomplish. Nothing. Only revenge. I accomplish revenge.
BILL
But there are others besides the Mafia responsible for these wrongs. Other groups.
FRANCESCO
But I don't know what they look like. I recognize
the Mafia. You just can't go killing people off willy-nilly, you know.
Cal and the relatives look at Francesco in quiet admiration. A hint of a smile appears on Bill's face.
EXT: Connie's house a short time later. She and Bill are standing on the steps. He is running a hand up and down her arm, while his eyes roam over her body. She has to work at controlling herself.
CONNIE
Oh, Bill, please, don't let my tits influence you.
BILL
You always know what I'm thinking, what I'm feeling. Marrying you would be like marrying a gypsy.
She sighs, then gently touches his cheek.
INT: The Duchamp Gallery at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Cal is looking through the peepholes of 'Etant Donnes'. Bill enters the room carrying a brown envelope. He walks up behind him.
BILL
What are you looking at there?
CAL
Snatch.
BILL
What?
CAL
Snatch. Take a look.
They change places. Bill's view reveals the nude body of a woman in a glade.
Frankly, I can't see what all the fuss is about.
BILL
Holy shit. You weren't kidding.
Bill repositions himself at the peepholes.
CAL
Don't bother, you can't see her face.
Bill moves away from the doors.
BILL
Why did you want to meet here?
CAL
I thought it would be the last place any of the mob would see us. They have such horrible taste.
They start walking through the galleries.
CAL
The pictures?
Bill nods. Cal looks at him, concerned.
Are you all right?
BILL
I've never done anything crooked in my life.
Cal glances around to be sure no one is nearby. He sits on a ledge by a large window.
CAL
I don't think what Francesco did was wrong. I also happen to love his son. I love all three of them.
BILL
That's not hard to do.
Cal smiles.
CAL
I even got to love their taste in music. It's me, the Forlanos, and Artie Shaw and absolutely no facades.
BILL
And now look who's running around dressed like a Black bag lady and murdering people.
CAL
Another work of art.
BILL
That might end up cracked like that piece over there.
CAL
You think so?
Cal opens the envelope and looks at the pictures.
BILL
I don't know. Something tells me this guy won't come to Philly. He'll stay in New York. That's where --
CAL
He's already here.
A shot of the candid photos reveals that it is the same man who was seated at Longo's bar, the man who approached Antonietta.
BILL
What?
CAL
This man's been at the market the last few days making passes at Antonietta.
They start leaving the gallery quickly.
I saw him yesterday. We laughed about it.
INT: Forlano kitchen and dining room. Cal and Frankie are spreading a cloth on the dining room table. Connie is removing a roast from the oven. Francesco is dicing vegetables for a salad. Bill is seated at the kitchen table with Antonietta standing over him, wiping her hands on her apron and looking at the candid photos he holds. Francesco listens intently.
ANTONIETTA
Look at that 'fatch.' The son of a bitch looks like everybody's saintly uncle. No wonder he gets away with murder.
BILL
You're sure it's the same man?
ANTONIETTA
Yeah. How often do you get to see a face like that?
CONNIE
Bill, it's the same man. We've been laughing about him for what - three - four days now?
BILL
What has he told you about himself?
ANTONIETTA
Not much. He's visiting relatives in Jersey for
a couple of months, then he goes back to Naples. He said his wife died a few years ago.
CAL
You don't think he's connected Antonietta and Francesco?
BILL
How could he?
FRANCESCO
No, he could not connect us.
ANTONIETTA
Eh, va bene.
FRANCESCO
But he knows something.
FRANKIE
What the hell could he know, Pop?
FRANCESCO
We know he's not here to visit relatives in Jersey. He talked to someone.
BILL
Who?
Slight pause.
FRANCESCO
Mahd-ee.
ANTONIETTA
Mahd-ee who?
FRANCESCO
The old lady who cooks like an angel. Remember? The news? She said nothing to the cops. She saw nothing, she knows nothing. Right?
BILL
That's what we got.
FRANCESCO
But she said everything to them. They know an old Black bag lady was there. I was on the front page. And the Scorpion knows an old Black bag lady is here.
BILL
They're everywhere.
FRANKIE
White ones, too.
FRANCESCO
But he has seen me.
ANTONIETTA
Where? When?
FRANCESCO
At Longo's.
It registers with Connie.
CONNIE
Oh, Jesus. Oh, Jesus. You're right. He was sitting at the end of the bar. I didn't pay much attention. He was reading a newspaper. Oh, Jesus.
FRANCESCO
He was at the end of the alley when I came out. I thought he was following me, but I wasn't sure. I could see him for maybe a block, a block and a half, then he was gone.
BILL
If we could find out if he's been there regularly --
CAL
Then we'd know if he's watching the place deliberately.
FRANKIE
Yeah. Mom, bring the bread.
BILL
That'll give us some idea of what he knows or doesn't know. Maybe.
CONNIE
But what about Mom? Why's he coming around to see Mom?
FRANKIE
Yeah. Does that mean something?
Antonietta returns from the kitchen with a basket of bread.
ANTONIETTA
It means he wants to get laid.
FRANCESCO
I'll kill him.
ALL
We know!
ANTONIETTA
Time to eat! 'Manadg!'
INT: Longo's - day. Connie and Bill are paused just inside the door. The restaurant is not yet open; the shade on the door is drawn. Joanne is behind the bar at the sound system. She raises a hand to keep Bill and Connie from moving or talking. Dominick and Josephine are on the opposite side of the bar. She puts on a tape of Frank Sinatra singing 'Nice and Easy'. Dominick beckons for Connie and Bill to approach, as he moves a chair to a wall in the rear and stands on it. He points to the top rear of a light fixture extending from the wall, then changes places with Bill. Bill nods his head, indicating that it is a bug, then motions that they should walk back to the alley. Connie follows. Dominick and Josephine remain just inside the screen door.
EXT: Alley. Joanne is intense, anxious; Dominick resigned; Josephine reacting to every word.
JOANNE
We don't know what to do. What should we do?
BILL
Cook. That bug has nothing to do with you.
JOANNE
Then why the hell's it there?
BILL
Somebody's interested in a few of your customers.
JOANNE
You mean like the cops or the F.B.I., huh?
BILL
Or other 'families'. Don't worry. The bug will probably disappear in a few weeks.
Joanne starts back to the restaurant.
JOANNE
All right. We'll cook. You coming?
CONNIE
We'll go this way. I'll see you for lunch tomorrow.
Joanne goes into the restaurant. Connie and Bill walk slowly down the alley.
You're sure they have nothing to worry about? Besides Pop?
BILL
They're no threat to anybody. And I don't think your father would hurt them.
CONNIE
Then what was he doing there? Look what he did in New York! He already hung one dead body in 'Nazut's' refrigerator. 'Nazut'! Of all people, he hurts 'Nazut'.
BILL
No, he didn't. People like Nasuti are so clean, innocent, nothing to hide. We knew in hours Nasuti had nothing to do with the murder. The same with Emma and Pete and the first body. Pop placed the bodies with people he was absolutely sure had nothing to hide. Pop's no dope.
CONNIE
You called him Pop.
He nods.
You know how you sound?
He nods again.
I like it.
BILL
So do I.
He kisses her gently. When he pulls back his look is serious, distracted. He glances back down the alley toward the restaurant.
BILL
He was standing at the door when you saw him that day? In his bag lady outfit?
CONNIE
Uh-huh.
BILL
What time? As close as possible to the right time.
CONNIE
Just a few minutes later than it is now. I took an early lunch.
BILL
The weather? What was the weather like?
CONNIE
Just like today. Clear. Sunny. What? What is it?
INT: Forlano apartment - later that day. Antonietta and Francesco are doing the tango to a Placido Domingo recording. They move from room to room, disappearing and reappearing. Frankie and Cal are washing up the last of the dinner dishes. Connie and Bill are setting a table for coffee and pastries in the living room. All four must dodge the couple whenever they glide pass.
CAL
Don't get carried away you two.
FRANKIE
Yeah, Pop. You can't go getting careless.
CONNIE
You could still be right.
FRANCESCO
No! Wrong! Wrong! I was wrong!
BILL
Francesco, it's just another possibility.
FRANCESCO
Ah, but it makes more sense. I didn't lose him that day cause he was never following me.
BILL
I only said it was hard to see you in that light with the sun behind you.
FRANCESCO
Si! I was La Silhouette! I am still a mystery to one and all!
CAL
Oh, yes you are.
The tango comes to a dramatic finish. Antonietta staggers to the tape deck, turns it off, and collapses on the sofa. Everyone is in the living room.
ANTONIETTA
'Aspett!' 'Aspett!'
FRANCESCO
One more time, cara.
ANTONIETTA
I'm on my feet all day!
CONNIE
Give her a break, Pop.
ANTONIETTA
I want my coffee. A sweet. Sit down, Francesco.
FRANCESCO
Eh.
He shrugs and sits.
ANTONIETTA
And tell me something.
FRANCESCO
What?
ANTONIETTA
If this - ah - assassin isn't looking for you, then why is he always stopping by to see me? Tell me that, Francesco.
FRANCESCO
Ah, look at you. What man could resist you?
He quickly raises his hand in Cal's direction.
ANTONIETTA
Listen to me. All the time you were - ah - dead, the men come.
FRANCESCO
They came when I was alive.
ANTONIETTA
Si! And always I put them in their place.
FRANCESCO
That's my gal.
ANTONIETTA
But this one I cannot stop. Why? Why is he so - so -
CAL
Persistent.
ANTONIETTA
Yes, what he said. Why?
FRANCESCO
Cause, like you said, he wants a little action. And that's just one of the reasons I'm going to kill him.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, no you're not! No! You, you said yourself, he leaves no witnesses. You could get us all killed.
BILL
She's right.
FRANCESCO
But the son of a bitch doesn't even know I exist. He's - ah - persistent cause he thinks I'm dead.
BILL
You will be if you go after him.
ANTONIETTA
It's time you tell them what you're going to do.
FRANCESCO
Ah -
ANTONIETTA
Now, Francesco! Now!
FRANKIE
What's going on, Mom?
ANTONIETTA
You wanted to know if your father had a plan? Well, he has a plan. A big plan. And we are going to do it now, Francesco.
INT: Forlano's - morning. Final preparations are being made for the day's business. Three elderly women are the only customers. Two are browsing the fruits and vegetables, one is sitting on a stool at the butcher counter. Connie is not ready for customers. Her two assistants are still replenishing cases, but she is distracted by her brother and mother in the office. Frankie is comforting Antonietta as she dabs her eyes. All the employees are aware that something is wrong. Antonietta leaves the office and heads for the cashier's booth. She does not check the fruits and vegetables or acknowledge anyone. The employees and the few customers notice the uncharacteristic neglect. Connie looks concerned and starts toward the booth, but Antonietta waves her away. When Emma sees Antonietta in the booth, she sarcastically mouths, 'Antonietta's artichokes - Antonietta's artichokes.' She looks at her watch, puts the last few touches on her fish display, then mouths the words again - impatiently. Pete glares at her. She gestures beckoningly towards Antonietta, trying to extract the words from her.
PETE
Hey!
EMMA
The day doesn't start 'til she opens that 'Bruzzes' trap of hers.
Antonietta cannot control her crying. She keeps her back to the store - and an eye on Emma. Emma approaches slowly, looking genuinely concerned.
INT: Emma and Pete's small store, moments later. Emma and Antonietta are in a closed off section in the rear. Antonietta is seated, holding a handkerchief. Emma hands her a cup of coffee.
EMMA
What a shock.
Antonietta nods while grimacing at the stench of the fish.
What a shock. How did she find you?
ANTONIETTA
She didn't find me. She found the address of another Forlano family in Wilmington. The family in Wilmington sent me the letter. They figured since our store was so well know, maybe we would know someone who knew this woman.
EMMA
What a shock. Your sister. What a -
ANTONIETTA
-- shock. Yeah, I know.
EMMA
It must be over forty years.
Antonietta nods and sips her coffee.
ANTONIETTA
I thought they were all dead.
EMMA
Any of the others still living?
ANTONIETTA
No, just her. She said so in her letter.
EMMA
My, God. Are you sure it's your sister?
ANTONIETTA
She knew names, nicknames, dates - everything.
EMMA
Oh, it'll be wonderful if you get to go and see her.
ANTONIETTA
Yes. Yes. But you must do me a favor, Emma. A big favor.
EMMA
Anything, Ant-net, anything.
ANTONIETTA
Not a word to anyone about this. Not one word. I don't want - a - a curse on this.
EMMA
Oh, Ant-net, my lips are --
EXT: Emma and Pete's. Emma is closing up for the day and talking to Grandmom.
EMMA
-- as big as a circus tent. That's how big her purse'll have to be once that sister on the other side gets her hands on it.
GRANDMOM
She can afford it.
EMMA
Yeah, but them relatives from It-ly can be real greedy.
GRANDMOM (resentfully)
I was a relative from It-ly and I still got holes in my drawers.
INT: Francesco's room - later the same day. Francesco, Antonietta, Connie, Frankie and Bill are packing boxes.
ANTONIETTA
The Daily News couldn't get the news out any faster. That woman's got a mouth --
CONNIE
Mom, that's why you told her in the first place.
ANTONIETTA
Yeah, but some people just talk too much.
Cal enters with some empty boxes.
Oh, good. I have more newspapers upstairs. I'll get them.
CONNIE
I'll go, Mom.
ANTONIETTA
There are some things I think I send, but I'm not sure.
FRANCESCO
Hey, my ring. I want my key ring.
ANTONIETTA
Okay! Okay!
Francesco's affectionate gaze lingers on her as she goes.
INT: Forlano apartment. Antonietta comes up the stairs. She picks up a stack of newspapers on a kitchen chair, hesitates, then puts them down. A feeling of melancholy comes over her. She walks slowly, touching furniture, objects, making her way to the chapel. As she turns on the electric votive candles, she also inadvertently throws the switch for the taped organ music. It starts dissonantly. She turns it off quickly, smiles, and shakes her head. She goes to the altar and picks up the keys. Her eyes fall on the
Infant of Prague. She stares at it, then backs into a pew, her eyes never leaving the statue. Her gaze reveals nothing except an intense concentration. A sound is heard in the apartment. Cal appears at the entrance to the chapel. He approaches slowly and sits nearby. She does not shift her gaze away from the statue.
CAL
Would you like to wrap him up nice-a-nice and take him with you?
She smiles.
ANTONIETTA
I feel like a hypocrite. When we thought Francesco was dead, I was in here every morning. Now the little guy looks ridiculous. What kind of mother puts her boy in a dress?
CAL
Any mother who names her son Caledonia.
ANTONIETTA
But you're English.
She looks at him warmly.
You look after my Frankie?
CAL
What do you think?
ANTONIETTA
I couldn't do better. He couldn't do better.
CAL
We couldn't do better. I love all of you very much.
ANTONIETTA
Now that's not very English.
CAL
It's not, but I never said it before.
ANTONIETTA
You never had to.
CAL
We'll miss you.
ANTONIETTA
You think it's wrong for us to go?
CAL
I never questioned it.
ANTONIETTA
Well, question it - now. Do you?
CAL
I left my country, my insufferably dreary parents. But I didn't leave any children behind.
ANTONIETTA
We leave no children. Our kids are as big as they're going to get - unless they put on weight.
CAL
Do you think it's wrong to go?
She shakes her head slowly.
ANTONIETTA
Not one bit. I have to be with Francesco. He's all I've ever known, because he's all I ever wanted to know. I got my husband back and I'm going to keep him.
CAL
How long has he been planning this?
She smiles thoughtfully.
ANTONIETTA
Many, many years. He never talked much about - world problems The work, yeah. Music - furniture. But not the big problems. Now he talks all the time. Last night he told me when we left the old country he knew, he said he knew what happened there could happen anywhere.
CAL
War. That was war.
ANTONIETTA
Destruction. That's what he meant - destruction. What difference does it make what causes it? Bombs, guns, dope, trash - greed. It's all destruction. You don't see things til you're older. I always knew he was a good man. I never realized how good til we lost him. Or thought we did. Life shouldn't be like that. There's a word
you hear a lot in this neighborhood.
CAL
Respect.
ANTONIETTA
Huh-huh. 'Show respect,' they shout at their kids. And the Mob uses it a hell of a lot. You always have to show respect to the boss - bosses.
CAL
That's not respect, Antonietta.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, you saw that too.
CAL
It's fear.
ANTONIETTA
It's all fear, isn't it? Once they scare you, and keep you scared, then they got you. And they can do anything they want to you.
CAL
But they never scared Francesco - or you.
ANTONIETTA
They left us alone. You know, I never thought about it. But we were left alone. We worked hard. When we had to, when we could, we helped people. Especially Francesco, always helping people. They left us alone.
She stares at Cal in wide eyed realization, then screams:
WE WERE SO FUCKIN' NICE!
They laugh uproariously.
EXT: A deserted parking area near I-95 along the river. Night. A trolley car passes under the highway, stops, discharges The Scorpion, and moves on. He scans the area, as he lights a cigarette. A late model black Cadillac is parked in a shadowed area of the underpass. He walks toward it slowly. The driver's window opens a few inches, but the driver remains concealed.
SCORPION
I do not like this.
DRIVER
Nessunu ni vede ca'.
The Scorpion switches to Italian very reluctantly.
SCORPION
Faccio le cose al modo mio.
DRIVER
Beh, ti devi disbrigare, ca ella parte pe' l'Italia.
SCORPION
Come lo sai?
DRIVER
Lu sapa tutta la Nova Strada. Pare che ricevette 'na lettera da sorella, o 'na cosa simile.
SCORPION
Quale sorella? Tu mi hai detto che...
DRIVER (aggressively)
Che cazzo ne sacci'io quala sorella? Idda va in Italia, e tu si' pagato tanti soldi. Percio' fai quello che bisogna fare, e fallo subito.
SCORPION
Perche' parli in Italiano?
DRIVER
Come?
SCORPION
Why do you speak Italian?
DRIVER
So we understand one another better.
SCORPION
Oh, no. I do not understand you any better. I have never met an Italian in this neighborhood who speaks Italian correctly. Or any language correctly for that matter.
DRIVER
You make your living killing people and you're criticizing me cause of the way I talk?
SCORPION
Before I complete my work here, I just thought you
should know, you sound like shit.
The Scorpion turns and walks off slowly.
DRIVER
I sound like shit?
INT: Passport Office. Connie and Antonietta are at the counter. A young, female clerk is checking her application.
CLERK
Everything seems to be in order. You must be very excited about going back, Mrs. Forlano. How long has it been since you've been to Italy?
ANTONIETTA
Since the son of a bitch Mussolini busted our balls.
CLERK (calmly)
Oh, and when was that?
Connie gives her mother a satisfied nod.
EXT: Passport Office. Connie and Antonietta walk quickly toward Connie's car.
ANTONIETTA
What am I going to cook tonight?
CONNIE
Mom --
ANTONIETTA
You eating at my place?
CONNIE
Pop's not home.
ANTONIETTA
But he might be back, so I cook.
CONNIE
We still have to get you some clothes. And we can eat --
ANTONIETTA
Clothes?! Who the hell has time to wear clothes?
CONNIE
You're going on a trip. Not around the corner to
the movies.
ANTONIETTA
We got no movies around the corner no more.
EXT: Longo's later the same day. Most of the businesses have closed, but the dinner business is yet to begin. Antonietta walks wearily toward the restaurant. She carries a small old fashioned change purse.
INT: Longo's
DOMINICK
Hey, Ant-net.
ANTONIETTA (mumbles)
An-ton-oh, the hell with it.
JOANNE
It's good to see you get out.
Josephine appears at the entrance to the kitchen and waves her hands gleefully at Antonietta. She waves back.
ANTONIETTA
I've been out. Believe me, I've been out.
The hand holding the purse is resting on the bar. Someone comes up behind her. She turns and is openly surprised to see the Scorpion, impeccably dressed, looking very handsome. She has difficulty concealing her discomfort -- and admiration.
Oh, you! You! Ha, ha! It's you. You look - eh - very nice. You smell very good.
Almost tenderly, his eyes roam over her face and body. Joanne, Dominick and Josephine enjoy watching the flirtation.
I thought you went back to Sicil - Naples - back to Naples.
SCORPION
I am flattered you remembered.
ANTONIETTA
I remembered. Ha, ha.
She has nervously thrust her hands into the pockets of her house dress. The Scorpion has one hand resting on the bar.
SCORPION
Does this mean you will have supper with me this evening?
He starts to remove the boutonniere from the lapel of his jacket.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, I am so sorry. But my daughter, my son -- people. I am having dinner with - with many people.
He gently slips the flower into the buttonhole on her dress.
SCORPION
Then you will accept this as a token to remember me by.
Joanne, Dominick and Josephine exchange looks of approval.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, you are such a - a kind man.
He takes her hand and kisses it.
Just like Charles Boyer.
He nods graciously, then leaves, passing Connie as she enters.
DOMINICK
I thought men did that only in the movies.
ANTONIETTA
That man is a killer.
CONNIE (calmly)
You okay?
ANTONIETTA
He has a way about him.
Antonietta picks up her purse.
CONNIE
Probably needs it in his work.
Dominick signals that the corner table is ready. Connie follows her mother toward it, then glances up at the light where the bug was hidden. Joanne notices.
JOANNE
Gone. A couple of days ago. Just like he said.
She shrugs, as if she no longer cared. Frankie, Cal and Bill enter. Connie
is surprised.
FRANKIE
We found him looking for you.
Bill is a bit edgy.
BILL
You don't mind?
Connie shakes her head, aware of Bill's state.
ANTONIETTA
Sit down, Billy.
He sits next to Connie. Frankie and Cal flank Antonietta.
CAL
I'm starving.
Antonietta is about to comment, but is stopped by Bill's question to Connie.
BILL
Will you marry me?
All motion stops, except for Cal trying to break a slice of crusty bread as quietly as possible and slipping a piece into his mouth. Pause.
CONNIE
Sure.
ANTONIETTA
Congratulations. He didn't even give you a nice little flower. Let's eat.
EXT: Forlano's, after dinner. Bill and Connie are walking with their arms around each other's waists. Frankie and Cal walk behind, mimicking them. Antonietta glances back, as she opens her purse to get her keys.
ANTONIETTA
That's not nice, you two. Oh, where the hell are my keys?
CONNIE
Check your pockets?
ANTONIETTA
I checked.
FRANKIE
Maybe you left them at the restaurant.
ANTONIETTA
No, no. Go see.
Frankie and Cal head back to the restaurant. The others walk on to the Forlano apartment.
I know I double locked that door.
Antonietta looks seriously distracted. Connie takes her key and inserts it in the doorknob. The door opens.
I double locked it, Connie.
CONNIE
You probably left the keys upstairs, Mom.
BILL
Do you want us to come up and help you look?
She shakes her head. Frankie and Cal return.
FRANKIE
No keys.
They see the opened door.
CAL
You found them.
CONNIE
I opened it. She thought --
ANTONIETTA
Frankie, give me your key to the top lock.
FRANKIE
We'll come up and help you look.
ANTONIETTA
Just give me the key. I'll find them myself.
He snaps the key off his ring, hands it to her, then kisses her on the cheek. Cal kisses her, then Connie. She accepts the kisses casually, but then looks at Bill, who hesitates only briefly, then kisses her. They are all aware of the significance of the gesture. Antonietta smiles and nods.
Go home. Make wedding plans.
She enters the building. Frankie and Cal go to their car nearby; Connie
and Bill toward her house. The late model black Cadillac is parked on the opposite side of the street. Connie and Bill stop at his car parked in front of her house.
CONNIE
She'll find them. She's so distracted by everything that's -- Oh, my God, wait til Pop hears we're getting married.
BILL
I think he likes me.
CONNIE
Oh, he does. But he'll want to be there. He can't give me away. Oh, God how -- how long do you want to wait before we get married?
He shrugs.
BILL
Ten minutes.
She throws her arms around him and kisses him.
INT: Frankie's car a short time later.
FRANKIE
You don't mind cancelling the trip?
CAL
There'll be other trips. We're young, we're healthy.
FRANKIE
Thanks.
INT: Connie's bedroom a short time later. She is alone, standing near a dresser by a front window, smiling to herself. She removes her keys from her dress pocket and places them on the dresser. She reaches to turn on a lamp but her hand goes to the sheer window curtain. She parts them and looks at her mother's place. Her face is relaxed until she sees the sudden appearance of her mother's profile in the small window of the door that leads to the apartment. She grabs her binoculars and for seconds she can see Antonietta arguing with someone. Her mother's face snaps away from the window, followed by a shock of silver grey hair passing swiftly. She drops the binoculars on the dresser, grabs her keys, and starts running.
INT: Forlano's. Antonietta breaks away from the Scorpion's grip, staggers against crates, and stumbles toward the cashier's booth. The Scorpion remains composed, moving slowly, casually attaching a silencer to his gun.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, Dio, oh Dio --
SCORPION
'Oh, Dio, oh, Dio,' that's what they all say.
EXT: Connie running from her house, clutching her keys. The driver's door of the black Cadillac opens.
INT: Forlano's
ANTONIETTA
You - you cannot get away with this.
SCORPION
I am a professional. I do get away with it.
ANTONIETTA
We know - we know all about you.
SCORPION
Oh, yes.
EXT: Forlano's. Connie is running to the apartment door. A man is approaching her quickly.
INT: Forlano's
ANTONIETTA
I am a good woman!
SCORPION
Then you will not take this personally.
EXT: Connie is unlocking the door as fast as she can. She turns and sees someone coming toward her.
CONNIE
Help me! Help me! Someone's trying to hurt Mom.
INT: Forlano's. The Scorpion is taking aim, but his expression is sympathetic.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, Jesus Christ!
The door crashes open.
CONNIE
Mom!
ANTONIETTA
He's got a gun! He's got a gun!
Connie rushes to her mother. Don Costaldo closes the door and remains a few feet inside the market, motionless.
CONNIE
Are you all right? Are you all --
Antonietta starts flailing.
ANTONIETTA
He's going to blow my head off and you ask if I'm all right?!
CONNIE
Mom, I --
Antonietta's hand hits the tape deck. "Rosalie" blares through the market. The Scorpion shoots the tape deck.
ANTONIETTA
He shot Tony Pastor!!
SCORPION
That was Tony Pastor? I have heard of him.
CONNIE
How did he get in here?
ANTONIETTA
The son of a bitch stole the keys from my purse at Longo's.
The women are between the cashier's booth and the butcher block.
CONNIE
Money, do you want money?
ANTONIETTA
He doesn't even want sex!
CONNIE
Mom!
ANTONIETTA
I thought he broke in to rape me.
SCORPION
Only very sick people do that kind of thing.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, God help us.
She sees Don.
What's he doing here?
CONNIE
He was outside. I --
Connie's wheels are turning.
ANTONIETTA (to Don)
You are a dead man! He leaves no witnesses.
SCORPION
You have heard of me.
ANTONIETTA
My husband told me! Oh, where is my Francesco?
DON
Your Francesco's dead! Remember?
He is agitated, sweaty, but unable to move.
CONNIE (calmly)
And that's why you hired this man to kill Mom.
ANTONIETTA
What?!
CONNIE
He brought him here.
ANTONIETTA
Me?! Why me?!
CONNIE
The mob took the business away from him when his father died.
ANTONIETTA
That's not my fault!
Connie is very calm.
CONNIE
With you out of the way he would get them to take over and he would run it. He would front it for them. Is that right, Don?
Connie is moving closer to the butcher block.
SCORPION
But he was very smart not to tell anyone he hired me. They all knew I was here, but no one knew why. He is not a complete fool.
DON
And I'd have some respect again!
ANTONIETTA
You? Nobody ever respected you. You can't even wipe your own ass. And you sure as hell couldn't run my business.
DON
Kill em! Both of em!
SCORPION
You are paying for only one.
Connie is at the butcher block.
DON
And you don't leave no witnesses.
SCORPION
That is not true. No one ever tells a story accurately. They also say I kill babies and old women. I have never done such a thing.
ANTONIETTA
I'm an old woman!
SCORPION
Not old enough, I'm afraid. And I must say there is a little bit of regret --
DON
Kill em!
The Scorpion turns his head toward Don and speaks evenly.
SCORPION
No - orders. I - told - you - I - work - alone.
He is about to turn back toward the women, but the flash of metal whizzing by and the sight of a cleaver hitting Don between the eyes stops him. Connie moans at her accomplishment.
ANTONIETTA (softly)
Oh, my. He's going to get blood on the 'cagootz.'
The Scorpion keeps the gun pointed at the women. Don staggers. He tries to bring his hands up to the cleaver but lacks the strength. Groaning, he drops to his knees. The Scorpion has moved toward him. Connie is trying to control her groans. Antonietta is shocked but still trying to anticipate what might happen. The Scorpion places the gun behind Don's ear and fires.
SCORPION
It is more merciful.
ANTONIETTA
And that's what we want.
CONNIE
Oh, God, Mom, what are you talking about?
The Scorpion pats Don's jacket then removes an envelope from the inside pocket. With the gun still pointed at the women, he gives the money in the envelope a cursory count. Satisfied, he quickly disassembles his gun. Connie is almost on the verge of tears, shocked at her own action. She hardly notices what has been happening. Antonietta approaches the Scorpion tentatively. He looks at her apologetically.
SCORPION
This man was a dangerous idiot. I should not have accepted his offer. I have my money. No one knows why I came here. You and your children are safe. But I'm afraid I cannot help you get rid of this body.
ANTONIETTA
We'll think of something.
Connie approaches slowly, almost staggering. She looks down at the body and winces. Then she begins to listen to the exchange taking place and observes the almost affectionate glances incredulously.
SCORPION
It is not difficult. In a city this large you can make anything vanish.
ANTONIETTA
Vanish. Yes, that's the right word.
Slight pause.
SCORPION
You are an exciting woman. If only we had met under propitious circumstances.
Connie's eyes widen in disbelief. Antonietta is touched, but controlled and very uncomfortable.
ANTONIETTA
You speak such good English. I always liked that.
He nods gracefully, then turns and leaves. Antonietta is moved and relieved. Connie is doubled over.
CONNIE
Oh, Mom, I think I'm going to mess myself.
ANTONIETTA (distracted)
Please, not on the vegetables.
Connie dashes for the office toilet. Antonietta moves her head slowly to look down at Don's body, then points toward the door, advising -
ANTONIETTA
Now, that was a gentleman.
INT: The basement under the market two hours later. Don's body is on a table, covered with plastic bags. Antonietta, Frankie and Cal are staring at it in disbelief.
CAL
I hate this person.
FRANKIE
Killed. He wanted them killed.
Connie is coming down the stairs carrying two large knives and a bow saw.
ANTONIETTA
She got to him first.
CONNIE
Because I missed.
They look at her incredulously.
I missed. I was trying to hit the Scorpion. I hit him instead.
Francesco enters quickly from his back room, tying on an apron over an old butcher's shirt. She hands her father the knives and saw.
FRANKIE
Pop, you don't have to do this. We can put him in his car and get rid of him.
FRANCESCO
He goes where he belongs. In the trash. Our trash. Tomorrow. When I get through with him, nobody will know he's there.
ANTONIETTA
I can take only so much.
She starts to leave.
CONNIE
Pop, I'd help --
FRANCESCO
No. Go. You all go. Get rid of the car.
Cal attempts an impersonation of Boris Karloff.
CAL
Oh, master, why may I not stay and watch?
FRANKIE
Get upstairs!
Cal follows Antonietta and Connie upstairs. Frankie hesitates.
FRANKIE
I'll help.
FRANCESCO
You and Cal get rid of the car.
FRANKIE
Sure?
FRANCESCO
I appreciate the offer.
Frankie starts upstairs.
Hey.
He stops.
Remember, I made you go to college, but what did I always tell you?
FRANKIE
'Everybody should also have a trade.'
FRANCESCO
That's right.
When Frankie gets to the top of the stairs he hears -
Banzai!
WHACK!
Just kidding.
Frankie nods approvingly.
INT: A church. Day. The wedding march begins. At the altar is one chubby, smiling priest and two bored altar boys. Cal is serving as Bill's best man. Bill's mother, in her early sixties, dressed simply, is seated in a front pew, smiling at him. Antonietta is in the front pew on the opposite side of the center aisle. Her outfit is almost theatrical in comparison. Emma, Pete, Nasuti, Dominick and Josephine, along with all the employees of Forlano's and their families, sit among the many merchants and vendors of Ninth Street. The crowd occupies half of the front pews of the church. At the rear, ten young girls from the neighborhood sit in small groups, giggling, eager to see the bride. Interspersed are six elderly women, heads bowed, saying their rosaries, oblivious to the proceedings. Bill's daughters are flower girls, Joanne the maid of honor. Frankie is giving Connie away. When they start up the aisle, one of the elderly women, stout, buxom, hair pulled back in a bun, dressed entirely in mourning black, starts making her way toward the center aisle. She kneels, leans back on the pew, then turns to watch the procession. Frankie is first to see that the woman is his father, crying copiously. Frankie utters a deep, controlled moan that causes Connie to follow his gaze. She is surprised, pleased, and proud. Antonietta nods approvingly, knowing who the woman is. Bill turns slowly to Cal.
BILL
Is that --
CAL
You betcha.
BILL
Looks good to me.
No one else pays any attention to the woman.
EXT: A quiet residential neighborhood in Europe. Day. Connie and Bill are kissing. When they part they reveal a small butcher shop on the opposite side of the street with a sign that says Forlano above its one window. Customers are coming and going quickly.
CONNIE
Amazing what you can accomplish with a few good sausage recipes.
Antonietta waves from the window as she retrieves some items from its shelf. Connie gestures to ask if she wants them to help. Antonietta shakes her head and waves them away. Francesco is busily handling customers. Artie Shaw's 'Cross My Heart' can be heard faintly.
BILL
I thought for sure they'd go back to Italy.
They are walking away from the shop.
CONNIE
Said he wanted to be close to his money.
As they walk on, a wider angle reveals that the shop is next to the largest bank in Switzerland. The volume of 'Cross My Heart' increases.
EXT: Forlano's on Ninth Street. The usual morning bustle is taking place, with everyone putting finishing touches on the day's preparations.
INT: Forlano's. Frankie is sharpening knives at the butcher counter. Cal is arranging flowers around a box of artichokes in the cashier's booth. Artie Shaw is playing on the new tape deck. Josephine is just outside the market, carrying a shopping bag and inspecting Emma's fish. Tommy, Don Costaldo's assistant, enters from the rear and places a box of beef cubes next to Frankie.
FRANKIE
Thanks. Eh, hear anything from Don?
TOMMY
No! And we hope she never comes back! That was a sick woman!
Tommy goes off, leaving Frankie laughing. Emma checks her stands to make sure everything is in place. Cal looks down at her just as she looks up at him and shouts, playfully
EMMA
All right! Hit it, kid!
Frankie and the employees break into broad grins. Cal is resigned, accepting. He increases the volume on the tape deck, then turns and shouts in an exaggerated American accent:
CAL
Ant-nets dor-a-bell r-tee-chokes! Juicey! Tender! Get-em-rye-cheer. Get-em-fresh.
Everyone within hearing distance laughs, including Nasuti, who is at his door tying on his apron. As Josephine turns to leave she raises her hand in a flourish and shouts in a basso profundo voice.
JOSEPHINE
You sock it to em, Caledonia!
Cal looks at Frankie for an instant, then both start laughing uncontrollably. 'Cross My Heart" comes up to full volume. The camera pulls back and rises slowly, ending in an aerial view of Ninth Street.
THE ENDTIME: 1990
PLACE: Philadelphia, PA
EXT: A balmy Spring morning along the six blocks known as the Italian Market, but referred to simply as Ninth Street by the locals.
An organ arrangement of the Bach-Gounod 'Ave Maria' is heard in the distance.
Merchants are methodically preparing for the day's business, casually exchanging greetings. The stores are nondescript, purely functional, the pavements protected by tin awnings. Wooden bins covered with tarpaulins line the street adjacent to the curbs, leaving minimal space for the traffic that defers consistently to the street's business.
The exception is Forlano's, the largest store in the market. It sits on a corner of the widest intersection and sells produce, meats, a small selection of flowers and canned goods. Instead of tin, it is surrounded by dark green canvass awnings with the family name repeated in yellow on the scalloped borders. Four groups of wide, high double doors, darkly stained and varnished, fold back, while the entire perimeter is dotted with bins on both the pavement and at the curb. Only the last building that sits on the side facing Washington Avenue uses a large garage door for access to the loading and storage area. The entire structure was originally five buildings that have been adapted to the business, four on Washington Avenue and one immediately north of them on Ninth Street. This last building contains the most conspicuous feature - a stained glass window of the Infant of Prague. The camera pans up slowly to the window, as the sound of the 'Ave Maria' gets louder.
INT: A private chapel. Antonietta Forlano, a handsome woman in her mid-fifties, is kneeling in front of an ornate statue of the Infant of Prague. The organ music continues softly. After a few moments of prayer, which resemble more of a silent conversation, with nods, shrugs, a few hand gestures, she blesses herself and rises. She gently touches a large brass ring of keys next to the statue and runs her fingers across the top of a photograph in a silver frame. She turns and walks quickly past two rows of pews toward the double doors that lead to her living room. Before opening the doors, she throws a switch on the wall, bringing the music to a slow, dissonant halt. Her look is both exasperated and apologetic. She enters the living room.
INT: The apartment. She passes through an eclectic collection of late nineteenth and early twentieth century pieces, all well restored and placed without looking cluttered, and reaches the French doors in time to see Costaldo's meat truck go up on the curb. She quickly opens the outside screen and shouts:
ANTONIETTA
Hey, 'stunad'!! Get that truck off my curb!! You drive like your sister's ass!!
The truck jerks forward and stops. She closes the French doors neatly.
EXT: The market an hour later. Activity has increased. Most of the bins are filled with vegetables, fruits, fish, poultry, eggs, some with shoes and clothing. A few bins remain covered.
Emma Salpizzio, whose small store and bins are adjacent to Forlano's, is placing fish on beds of ice with the help of her husband Pete. She takes quick, hostile glances at the Forlano flowers next to her. Antonietta is moving quickly from bin to bin, arranging produce and flowers, while her four employees, all men and much younger, try to keep up with her.
EMMA (mumbling)
Don't splash.
PETE
What?
EMMA
Don't splash. You know how she worries about the smell getting on her damn flowers.
PETE
We sell fish.
EMMA
Yeah.
One of Emma's bins is still covered. Pete places two buckets of ice next to it, and she starts to lift the tarp but stops when a customer points to two fish she has chosen and hands her the money. Not noticing that her slight movement of the tarp has exposed a man's hand, she quickly wraps the fish and makes change.
PETE
I gotta get the 'calamad'.
Frankie, Antonietta's thirty year old son, dashes across the street and into the market. Though casually dressed, he is still over-dressed for the work he does.
INT: Forlano's. Antonietta sees Frankie's reflection in a mirror over the meat counter.
ANTONIETTA
Late! You're late!
She picks up two empty cartons and hands them to one of her employees.
In the back.
The employee takes them and starts toward the rear of the building.
If you came dressed right, you wouldn't waste time changing clothes.
Frankie has entered a small glass enclosed office. His well built torso is visible from the waist up as he changes his clothes.
If you moved back home you wouldn't have to go through all that trouble.
His expression negates her suggestion.
Where's your sister?
He shrugs.
Another one.
Critically taking in every aspect of the preparations, she returns to the main entrance that faces Ninth Street and steps into a small, slightly elevated cashier's booth. Unlocking the register, she removes rolls of bills and change from her apron and puts them in the register. Directly behind her in the booth are neatly stacked boxes of artichokes surrounded by flowers for decoration. They are the only produce not accessible to the customers. Next to the display sits a portable tape deck. She calls out to one of the workers who has just finished stacking oranges and grapefruits in a bin.
ANTONIETTA
Put the crates in the back. I don't want this place looking like...
She turns in time to catch him mimicking the words 'shit house'.
You ain't so funny, you know.
She sees her daughter Connie putting on her apron at the meat counter. Though yawning, she is moving quickly, and anticipating what her mother is about to say. A beauty who wears no makeup, she has her mother's earthy good looks and no nonsense attitude.
Eh! Come home with the milkman?
CONNIE
There are no milkmen left, Mom.
ANTONIETTA
I called 'til one in the morning. Where were you?
CONNIE
Playing cards down at Longo's. I told you.
During this exchange, Emma is heard yelling.
EMMA
Son of a bitch! I ain't runnin no hotel here. Wake him up! Get him the hell out!
Antonietta locks the register and goes to her bins in the street.
EXT: Forlano's. The men who work for her and the vendors on the opposite side of the street are smiling at Pete as he tries to wake the old man in the bin. The man's body remains covered below the shoulders.
PETE
C'mon! Hey! Wake up! C'mon!
Antonietta cannot resist getting a better look.
EMMA
Up! Get up! Out!
ANTONIETTA
Whatta you charge to sleep there, Emma?
EMMA
More than you can afford.
Antonietta moves closer.
PETE
Hey, Ant-net...
ANTONIETTA
An-ton-iet-ta. My name is An-ton...he looks dead.
EMMA
Madam know it all. He's a bum; he's asleep. What dead?
Pete presses his palm against the old man's cheek and leans closer to his face. Connie is nearby, staring down incredulously at the man. There is a large birthmark on the upper part of his left cheek.
PETE
Hey, you know, she's right.
The expressions on the faces nearby become serious.
EMMA
No.
Antonietta touches the old man's cheek.
ANTONIETTA
Yeah.
EMMA
Oh, Jesus, where we gonna put our 'calamad'?
Antonietta sees that a few of the early customers have begun to notice. She tries to obstruct their views, while acknowledging them with forced smiles and nods.
ANTONIETTA
Get him out of here. Put him inside.
EMMA
Hang him from the ceiling?
PETE
We got no room.
Connie walks back into the market, shaking her head. Antonietta quickly pulls the tarp over the body.
EMMA
I need the bin. Where am I gonna put my 'calamad'?
ANTONIETTA
Joey!
One of her employees rushes over.
(to Emma and Pete) If we carry him, it'll be up and down the street in ten seconds. (to Joey) Get three of the guys to help you move this to the back. Inside. Out of sight. (to Pete) You call the cops.
Joey beckons the men. Pete enters his store. Antonietta starts back to her booth.
EMMA
Where am I gonna put my 'calamad', Ant-net?
ANTONIETTA
Va fanculo!! An-ton-iet-ta!!
INT: Forlano's. As she moves swiftly back to her booth, she notices that a few of the older Italian female customers are staring at her
disapprovingly. Defiantly she presses the tape deck and the strains of Artie Shaw accompanying Tony Pastor singing 'Rosalie' back up her abrupt shift in tone.
Antonietta's artichokes! Antonietta's artichokes! Fresh! Tender! Get 'em right here!
EXT: Forlano's. Emma rolls her eyes, but immediately gets back to work.
INT: Corridor - highrise. Frankie leaves the elevator. He looks impatient, as he rushes down the hall, fumbling for his keys, while carrying a large bag of canned goods and produce.
INT: He enters a bright, six room apartment with a river view. Much of the furniture is similar to the pieces at his mother's place. The fabrics and colors are subtle. There is a large collection of books, tapes and CD's.
FRANKIE
You home?
CAL
I'm home.
Frankie goes directly to the kitchen where Cal, a tall, handsome blonde Englishman with a swimmer's body, is carefully arranging a tray of cold shrimp and canapes. He is about eight years older than Frankie.
FRANKIE
You're not going to believe what happened at the market.
Frankie kisses him quickly on the cheek, then starts removing the vegetables and canned goods from the bag.
CAL
The murder I just heard about on the news?
FRANKIE
Already? The T.V. trucks got there just before I left.
CAL
It was live. Your usual live telecast about a dead subject.
FRANKIE
Murdered! Who? Why? And the way they did it.
CAL
The reporter said it appeared to be murder. He didn't say how--
FRANKIE
Someone cut out his heart. It's missing--his heart. And it was very neatly done.
Cal looks revolted.
Hardly any blood on his clothes.
Frankie holds up a can.
Look, roasted peppers. Your favorite.
CAL
Cut out his heart?
FRANKIE
Yeah. I was glad no one noticed.
CAL
You didn't actually see it, did you?
FRANKIE
God forbid. I overheard the cops talking about it. No one's supposed to know.
Cal removes a roll of plastic wrap from a closet and covers the tray. Frankie starts washing the vegetables.
CAL
Anyone recognize him? On the news they said they didn't know.
FRANKIE
No. And no identification on him. Just Connie. She was the only one who said she thought she'd seen his face before. But then she said she was probably wrong. Mom didn't know him either. She sure as hell didn't care. She was really pissed that it took the cops an hour to get there. She just wanted him out and she didn't want our place mentioned at all. Did they mention it?
CAL
No. Not once. They just stood in front of it and photographed it. What's the difference? It's a landmark. Run by one of the few great eccentrics left in this country.
FRANKIE
She loves you. You're a university professor.
Since Pop died, she doesn't understand why we don't move down there with her and save a whole lot of money.
CAL
And live with the Infant of Prague?
FRANKIE
You went all the way upstate to that Polish town to buy her that statue.
CAL
But I am not about to give up my freedom to a woman who thought Mussolini was the good humor man.
FRANKIE
Always the jokes. Always the exaggerations. My folks hated Mussolini.
CAL
Do you want us to move in with your mother?
FRANKIE
Oh, no.
CAL
Why not?
FRANKIE
Ah, there's no view of the river.
Cal kisses him on the forehead.
CAL
Come on, you better get ready. We're going down to Phil and Diane's for drinks.
Cal puts the tray in the refrigerator and starts for the bedroom.
Our annual celebration of school closings. You can tell them all about the missing heart.
FRANKIE
No one's supposed to know about that. It's deliberately withheld evidence. Like in the movies. Mom and Connie don't even know.
Cal is out of sight.
CAL
All of Ninth Street probably knows by now. All the
more reason to discuss it at length. Just think of yourself as Miss Marple. (screaming) NO VIEW OF THE RIVER!
Cal laughs uproariously. Frankie smiles, resigned.
EXT: Connie leaving her house, which sits diagonally across from the family market. She carries a small bag of donuts. It is early the following morning, and the market is still going through its usual preparations. She crosses the street and goes to a side door of Forlano's and opens it with a key.
INT: She starts up the stairs but stops when she hears her mother shout:
ANTONIETTA
Niente! Niente! Niente! 'Capeesh?'
Connie quickens her pace.
MAN'S VOICE
Any little thing might help.
ANTONIETTA
I don't know little things. I know big things. When, where, how to order fifty crates of the best Romaine I can get. That's what I know.
INT: Connie enters the large kitchen. Her mother is washing dishes, while a handsome, ruddy, thickly built man in his early thirties sits at the table, a cup of coffee and a note pad in front of him.
CONNIE
Mom, you all right?
ANTONIETTA
Yeah, yeah.
Connie and the man are instantly attracted to each other. He cannot keep his eyes off her body; she cannot keep her eyes off his face. Both are visibly embarrassed. Antonietta has her back to them.
This here's Detective -- Meddigan.
BILL
The name's McCusker.
He rises and extends his hand toward Connie.
Bill McCusker.
She takes it, but neither shakes.
ANTONIETTA
I been telling him we don't know about the old guy.
Antonietta turns to wipe the table just as the hands separate slowly. She notices.
CONNIE
No one recognized him.
BILL
How many people saw him?
ANTONIETTA
We didn't wheel him up and down Ninth Street asking people, 'Does this belong to you?', if that's what you mean.
BILL
Did you see him?
CONNIE
For maybe a couple of minutes, if that.
Antonietta is carefully observing Bill's reaction to her daughter. Connie starts drying the dishes and putting them in cabinets.
You know, it was funny. The second I saw him I thought he looked familiar.
Antonietta purses her lips in disapproval.
Just for a second.
Antonietta lifts the coffee pot.
ANTONIETTA
More coffee?
BILL
No, thanks. Miss - Ms. - Forlano --
CONNIE
Miss - Ms. - definitely not Mrs.
Antonietta scowls.
BILL
Birthmark, maybe.
Connie is putting utensils in drawers. Antonietta watches Bill follow the sway of her hips. She sits in a chair at the table, her hands folded on her lap.
CONNIE
Maybe. I don't know. It was only for a split second. I was looking at him upside down.
Bill looks at Antonietta quizzically.
ANTONIETTA
No, she wasn't upside down. The dead guy was upside down. She was standing behind his head.
BILL
Did you look at him right side up?
CONNIE
He was dead. You sure you won't have more coffee?
He is almost mesmerized by her body.
BILL
Well, maybe--
ANTONIETTA (to Connie)
We gotta get to work, you.
BILL (pleading)
Just a few more questions.
CONNIE
Mom, the man has an important job to do.
ANTONIETTA
Look, mister, you gonna ask questions, or you gonna sit there and stare at my daughter's ass?
Bill is stunned. Connie nonchalantly reaches for the coffee pot, not at all affected by her mother's remark.
CONNIE
Help yourself to a donut.
Connie pours him more coffee. He picks up a donut slowly.
ANTONIETTA
Connie, the man's wearing a wedding ring, for God's sake.
CONNIE
Oh.
Connie turns away to hide her disappointment.
BILL
I'm not - I'm not married.
Antonietta taps his finger.
ANTONIETTA
What the hell is this?
BILL
My wedding ring.
ANTONIETTA
And they send you out to investigate murders?
BILL
I'm a widower.
Her back to them, Connie's eyes widen gleefully. Antonietta is immediately sympathetic.
ANTONIETTA
You're so young.
BILL
It happened sixteen months ago. I don't want to take off the ring.
ANTONIETTA
Yeah, I know. I lost my husband--
CONNIE
Mom, we all lost Pop.
ANTONIETTA
...a little over a year ago. I'll never take off my ring. And I'll never take off my clothes again either. For a man, I mean. But I'm fifty-seven years old. You're so young.
CONNIE
Any kids?
BILL
Two.
CONNIE
Must be rough.
BILL
My mother's with us now.
ANTONIETTA
Boys? Girls?
BILL
Two girls.
ANTONIETTA
Ah, that's nice. So some day you'll understand why I have to look out for every over-sexed son of a bitch who comes in here and tries to get into my daughter's pants.
Connie's exasperation begins to show.
CONNIE
And how many have gotten as far as this kitchen, Mom?
ANTONIETTA
Two. Only two. When she was in high school.
Antonietta rises to go down to work.
One's in jail. The other guy's a Holy Ghost Father.
Bill looks bewildered.
BILL
Look, I think I better go.
CONNIE
This is why I got my own place.
ANTONIETTA
You got your own place 'cause you wanna be a zingara.
Bill rises and pockets his note pad.
BILL
I'm going now. I'll--
CONNIE
And where did I buy a house? (to Bill) You know where I bought a house just to keep her happy?
BILL
Well, I really don't think this--
CONNIE
I live right across the street. Right across the street.
ANTONIETTA
And she still comes home with the milkman.
CONNIE
There are no milkmen anymore!!
BILL
Maybe if I just--
CONNIE
She watches me with binoculars
ANTONIETTA
Who sez?
CONNIE
I sez!
BILL
I'm leaving now.
He starts down the stairs; the women follow, Connie in the rear.
ANTONIETTA
How do you know?
CONNIE
Because I watch you with binoculars watching me with binoculars! You've been doing it ever since I moved in!
ANTONIETTA
And that's why you're still alive and safe!
CONNIE
Ha!
BILL
Oh, my God.
ANTONIETTA
You better be safe.
CONNIE
Safe! What the hell is that anymore!!?
ANTONIETTA
Hear that mouth to her mother? Hear it? She doesn't know how much I love her, how much I worry about her. I love her so much I could slit her throat when she talks like this.
The shouting continues as Connie slams the door behind her.
EXT: Ninth Street after midnight. A creaking metal cellar door is opening slowly. The street is deserted.
POV of someone climbing up to the street and closing the metal door as quietly as possible. The person walks slowly for a few yards, then stops behind a hanging tarpaulin. On the opposite side of the street, a neon sign stating LONGO'S in the window of a small bar and restaurant goes off. A man in his mid-twenties comes out to the street and places a large garbage can at the curb. Wiping his hands on his apron, he starts back, but must step aside quickly when a burly man in his fifties, dressed in polyester with three large gold chains around his neck, exits and starts walking in the direction of the tarpaulin. The young man looks at him belligerently then enters the restaurant. An exterior view reveals a woman, also in her mid-twenties cleaning the bar. Four men in their sixties are seated around a table, talking intensely. The woman gives the young man a look of exasperation to show her dissatisfaction with the men at the table. The young man shrugs helplessly. Cut to the POV of the person behind the tarpaulin crossing the street to head off the man who left the restaurant. The man glances toward the camera but continues his aggressive pace. The camera stops as the man approaches. His pace slackens. His expression becomes more hostile, and then slightly bewildered. A bright red scarf appears in front of his face.
MAN
No. No tricks.
The scarf is snapped three times.
Hey, go sleep somewhere.
The snapping accelerates. He laughs nervously. The final snap occurs close to his face. In one swift move the scarf is wrapped around his head and his throat is slit. The body is caught before it falls, then dragged a few feet to the door of a store that has NASUTI'S SAUSAGE written on its window. The person dragging the body unlocks the door with a key, drags the body inside, then closes the door slowly.
EXT: The Forlano market the following sunny morning. Activity on the street has just begun to increase.
INT: Forlano's. Antonietta is in her booth, neatly stacking her
artichokes. Katyna Ranieri is on the tape singing 'Zingara'. Connie is at her butcher counter slicing meat for braciole and smirking at her mother.
ANTONIETTA
Get 'em right here. Fresh. Tender.
Emma rushes in and whispers to Antonietta.
EMMA
D'ya hear that old guy had his heart cut out?
ANTONIETTA
No. No, I didn't hear that.
Emma keeps nodding as she backs away. Antonietta looks over at Connie.
CONNIE
Whatever she said, Mom, just remember she never got a story straight in her life.
Phil, one of Connie's assistants, places a box of large beef chunks next to her.
PHIL
He had one box left.
CONNIE
Good. Thanks.
She glances into the box, then does a double take. She takes a closer look.
He did it again! Pick it up.
Phil lifts the box and follows her to the loading area. Frankie is walking toward her.
Is Costaldo's truck still back there?
FRANKIE
Yeah.
Her pace quickens.
EXT: Loading area. Don Costaldo, a heavy, unpleasant looking man in his early thirties, is about to get into his truck. His assistant, Tommy, smaller, somewhat shy, is already seated on the passenger's side, looking very uncomfortable.
CONNIE
Hey, Don.
Don looks knowingly at Tommy, then turns toward Connie.
This is the fifth time in two months!
DON
What?
CONNIE
What? You know what! It's no good.
DON
Looks good to me.
CONNIE
Oh, yeah? Then you eat it. It's not good enough for our customers!
Don opens the side door to his truck and gestures for Phil to put the box in.
DON
You say so, boss.
His smug attitude angers her.
CONNIE
You know, when your father ran this business...
DON (snaps)
My father's not runnin' the business no more!
CONNIE
No! Now your new boss picks out the slop and you deliver it!
DON
We got a good reputation!
CONNIE
Then keep it! Pay attention to what the hell you're doing. Cause you're not ruining our reputation.
Connie and Phil start back to the butcher counter. Don gets in his truck. Tommy speaks to him gently.
TOMMY
You'll never do that.
DON
Oh, yes I will.
TOMMY
She has eyes like a hawk. She's good.
INT: Forlano's. Antonietta is in her booth; Frankie is handing her rolls of change.
ANTONIETTA
I need some small bags.
FRANKIE
I'll get them. I have to go down and get a new changer. This one's acting up.
ANTONIETTA
Did you hear about the old guy? His heart was cut out.
FRANKIE
Who told you?
ANTONIETTA
Emma.
FRANKIE
Nobody's supposed to know. How'd she find out?
ANTONIETTA
'Stunad.' Everybody talks when they're not supposed to. A cop probably told her.
FRANKIE
You sound like Cal.
ANTONIETTA
If I sounded like Cal I wouldn't be selling artichokes.
Connie and Phil have returned to the butcher counter.
Everything all right?
CONNIE
Don! He's really getting careless.
Frankie starts toward the rear staircase that leads to the basement. The market is busy. Connie is deftly sharpening a knife as she gets ready to prepare a crown roast. An old woman carrying a shopping bag and walking a seven year old boy approaches Antonietta's booth. On the opposite side of the street, Emilio Nasuti, the maker of sausage, is lumbering toward his
store.
INT: Basement. Frankie switches on a light and comes down the steps. A series of four spaces are separated by the supporting walls of the row houses that originally stood on the site. The spaces are connected by arched openings, with storage areas to the right and left. The storage areas contain neatly stacked pieces of old and new wood, tools, old children's furniture, unrepaired antiques, and one old, completely assembled bin with the fading letters ANTONIETTA'S ARTICHOKES painted on its side. Frankie goes to the third area and switches on another light, revealing a collection of neatly arranged butcher's utensils hanging on a board and lined up neatly on an old butcher block. Everything is dusty.
INT: Forlano's. Antonietta is handing the old woman her change and the youngster a lollypop.
ANTONIETTA
'Teh.'
BOY
Thank you.
The boy notices Nasuti at the door of his store, talking with one of his employees.
He's there now, Grandmom. The sausage man.
GRANDMOM
Why's he so late?
ANTONIETTA
'Guarda che culo che ha.
Grandmom laughs.
INT: Basement. Frankie is transferring coins to the new changer. He stops when he notices the dust free impression of a large knife that has been removed from the butcher block. His expression, at first quizzical, shifts quickly to irritation.
INT: Forlano's. Antonietta is quickly making change for customers, as the boy, sucking on his lollypop, begins tugging impatiently on his grandmother's hand. Nasuti and his assistant are turning on lights and putting on aprons.
GRANDMOM
(to boy) 'Aspett!' (to Antonietta) I'm sinking the sausage in the gravy. That's it. I don't feel like rolling no meatballs.
A frail, elderly woman, hesitant as to where she wants to go first, has
stopped in front of Nasuti's store. Antonietta removes two twenty dollar bills from a roll she has in her apron.
ANTONIETTA
Get me six pounds. Half and half.
GRANDMOM
Keep this.
Antonietta hands her the money and places her shopping bag in the booth. After propping open his front door, Nasuti opens the door to his walk-in refrigerator, which can be seen from the street. Changing his mind, he leaves the door slightly ajar and starts checking the contents of the cases. The door starts opening slowly on its own. The frail woman starts toward the entrance. Frankie re-enters the market, hooking the new changer to his belt as he walks quickly. Joey calls out to him.
JOEY
Frankie, hey, we need--
FRANKIE
Wait a minute.
He moves directly toward Connie.
GRANDMOM
If your husband didn't teach that guy how to make sausage, I don't know what he'd be doing today. Francesco was a saint.
The boy is leaning precariously, the lollypop in his mouth. The refrigerator catches his eye. He straightens up slowly. The frail woman has stopped before the threshold. Her head tilts from side to side.
ANTONIETTA
Did I ever tell you about the two of them making sausage?
GRANDMOM
Uh-uh.
ANTONIETTA
I'll tell you someday. You'll piss yourself.
The boy and the frail woman are the only two who have noticed the body hanging upside down in Nasuti's refrigerator. The red scarf and gold chains hang from the side of the neck. A piece of dark organ meat is stuffed in the mouth.
BOY
Grandmom.
GRANDMOM
All right.
BOY
Look.
Frankie leans across the counter and whispers to his sister.
FRANKIE
If Mom finds out you're using one of Pop's knives, she'll use it on you.
She looks incredulous.
CONNIE
What?
FRANKIE
There's a knife--
The steady wail of the frail woman pierces the air, growing in intensity to almost operatic decibel levels. She lifts her arms above her head and starts stomping her feet fiercely. Nasuti and his assistant approach her cautiously, as she continues to scream and back onto the pavement. All eyes are on her.
GRANDMOM
Oh, how 'sgoombareesh'. What the hell's wrong with her?
BOY
Grandmom, I think there's something wrong with that man hanging in the refrigerator.
The horror of it starts to register on everyone's face. Grandmom returns Antonietta's money.
GRANDMOM
We're going to roll meatballs whether we like it or not.
Antonietta takes the money, but her eyes never leave Nasuti's.
INT: The dining room and kitchen of Antonietta's apartment the following Sunday afternoon. Antonietta, Connie, Frankie, and Cal are nearing the end of the meal. Bowls of leftover meatballs and spaghetti and two bottles of wine are still on the table.
Connie rises and picks up the bowl of spaghetti.
CAL
I think he's right. I think these murders might be good for business.
CONNIE
I'll get the salad, Mom.
FRANKIE
I didn't say that.
ANTONIETTA
Put the coffee on. It's all ready. It could ruin his business.
CAL
People can be strangely curious about such things. After all, how often do you find one dead body munching on the heart of another dead body?
ANTONIETTA
This is one of your dumb ass English jokes, isn't it?
CAL
Some people will eat anything if it's tasty enough and the price is right.
CONNIE
For God's sake, Cal!
ANTONIETTA
Caledonia, you're really full of it.
Connie and Frankie suppress laughs. Cal puts his fork down.
CAL
Oh, please.
ANTONIETTA
What's wrong? Caledonia's a nice name.
Connie returns with the salad and places a salad plate and fork in front of Cal.
And you're still using a salad plate. When--
FRANKIE
He likes it that way, Mom.
ANTONIETTA
Your father couldn't understand it either. When's that guy gonna learn to eat his salad with the left over gravy on his plate, he used to say.
CAL
The idea of putting that roughage into this sauce--
ANTONIETTA
Gravy! Gravy!
CAL
Gravy! It still revolts me.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, but body parts in sausage is all right?
Connie and Frankie laugh.
I'll make you a promise. You learn to eat the salad the way you're supposed to eat it, and I'll never call you Caledonia again, and I'll never tell a soul that's your name.
She starts for the kitchen.
CAL
Why did I ever show that woman my naturalization papers?
ANTONIETTA
Cause I didn't want my son living with a foreigner, remember?
Antonietta is removing cups and saucers from a cabinet when the bell rings. She throws a switch on the intercom and continues moving as she shouts.
ANTONIETTA
Yeah!
BILL
Mrs. Forlano, it's Detective McCusker.
Connie rolls her eyes and shakes her hands at Frankie and Cal.
ANTONIETTA
Yeah, whatta ya want?
BILL
I thought your daughter might be here.
CONNIE (quietly)
I'm here! I'm here!
ANTONIETTA
I thought you said you had a family.
BILL
I - I do.
ANTONIETTA
Then why ain't you home eatin'? If you was Italian, you'd be home eatin' now.
BILL
I've got work to do, Mrs. Forlano. Is she there?
Connie speaks softly into the intercom, forcing her composure.
CONNIE
Yes, I'm here.
BILL
Could I come up, please?
Connie looks at her mother.
ANTONIETTA
Eh, he said please.
Connie pushes the button. Antonietta turns on the heat under the soup and quickly assembles a place setting. Connie dashes to the dining room, biting her hand in gleeful anticipation, then dashes back to the kitchen. Bill comes up the steps dressed in jeans and a knit shirt that show off his large, muscular frame, which no one fails to notice, including Antonietta, who smirks blatantly at the effect. He carries a large brown envelope.
BILL
Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't know you were eating.
With the plates and utensils in her hands, she leads him to the dining room.
ANTONIETTA
Sit down.
She pulls out a chair and sets the table.
Did you meet my son, Frankie?
Bill shakes hands with Frankie, but he is trying to figure out who Cal is in relation to the family.
BILL
No. Bill McCusker. Are you doing this for me? I didn't--
ANTONIETTA
Sit.
He sits.
And that's--
She hesitates, realizing that an explanation of Cal's role is not easily achieved. Cal is giving her a steely look.
-- eh - Cal -- Cal Douglas. He's - eh - he's a college professor.
They shake hands.
CAL
But I always wanted to be a gumshoe.
Connie enters with a bowl of soup and a basket of sliced Italian bread, which she places in front of Bill. He looks up at her almost shyly. Antonietta returns to the kitchen.
BILL
That's a word you don't hear often. Thank you.
Connie sits opposite him.
FRANKIE
What does it mean?
CAL
We'll look it up together when we get home.
The implication of Cal's remark registers quickly with Bill. He controls a smile. Antonietta at the stove reheating the spaghetti and meatballs rolls her eyes. Frankie reaches for the bottle of wine. He is not controlling a smile.
FRANKIE
Have some wine.
Connie moves quickly.
CONNIE
I'll get it.
She leans across the table to pour the wine, revealing her cleavage, which
Bill finds impossible to ignore.
BILL
I was wondering if you remembered--
ANTONIETTA (calling)
Connie, whatever you do, don't lean across the table.
CONNIE
All right, Mom.
Frankie and Cal suppress their laughter.
If I remembered who the old guy was? No.
BILL
How about the man they found yesterday?
CONNIE
I wouldn't even look at him, except for that first shock when the old lady screamed. Are they sure it was the other guy's heart?
BILL
That's what the test showed. So you didn't get a good look at him?
CONNIE
Uh-uh.
Antonietta enters with a tray of spaghetti, meat balls and braciole.
BILL
Look at these pictures and tell me if he looks familiar.
Connie touches the envelope squeamishly, then Antonietta slaps her palm on it as soon as she places the tray on the table.
ANTONIETTA
You got pictures of a stiff here?
Cal mouths 'a stiff'.
BILL
Huh-huh.
ANTONIETTA
After we eat. Help yourself. (to Connie) I
forgot to give him a plate for his salad.
BILL
I always put it on the same plate with the gravy from the macaroni.
The others turn to Antonietta and wait for her reaction. She nods approvingly, but retains a hint of suspicion.
ANTONIETTA
I'll get the coffee cups.
FRANKIE
I'll get them, Mom.
Antonietta sits at the table, as Frankie goes to the kitchen.
ANTONIETTA
So, you talk to 'Nazut'?
BILL
Nasuti?
She nods.
ANTONIETTA
Cal, you shoulda seen 'Nazut' when they found that body in his fridge. He was melted mozzarella.
CAL
Do you have any idea who's doing this?
BILL
We haven't even been able to identify the bodies. Nasuti's place wasn't broken in to, and he was the only one with a set of keys.
Frankie returns with cups and saucers.
FRANKIE
Now he is.
CONNIE
My father used to have a set of keys.
ANTONIETTA
'Nazut's' a good guy, but years ago he had trouble holding a job. So one day he comes to my Francesco and says, 'I saved a few bucks. I want my own little business, but I don't know how to do nothin. Can you teach me how to do somethin?' So Pop says,
'Give me a day or two and I'll think about it.' My Francesco never made a quick decision in his life.
Bill is eating the spaghetti. Connie enjoys looking at him. Cal enjoys watching Connie's delight. Nothing gets by Antonietta. Frankie distributes the cups and saucers, then returns to the kitchen for a platter of fruits and cheeses.
So he comes to me and says he really wants to help him, but he knows only one way to do it. He wants to give him the sausage recipes my grandmother gave me before she was killed by the sons-a-bitchin' facisti. I wanted to kill him. My grandmother's recipes. We were supposed to sell our sausage.
BILL
Why didn't you?
CONNIE
They sold artichokes instead.
ANTONIETTA
When we came over on the boat we didn't have enough money to buy the meats and spices and casings to make the sausage. So Francesco built a cart and we sold artichokes. We did good. Real good. First the artichokes. Then vegetables. Then a little fruit. We moved from the cart to a building right here on this corner. And Pop started the meat business. That's what he was learnin' to do on the other side. Be a butcher. He was just about to introduce the sausage when 'Nazut' asked for help.
FRANKIE
'Nazut' didn't even know how to make sausage.
ANTONIETTA
You remember that?
CONNIE
I remember.
ANTONIETTA
Now he makes the best sausage on Ninth Street. Thanks to Francesco and my grandmother's recipes. I could have killed both of them.
BILL
Why did you let him give away the recipes?
ANTONIETTA
'Cause it made him feel good. Made me feel good, too, once 'Nazut' opened and his store did so good. That's why, to this day, we never once sold a piece of sausage in our market. In honor of my grandmother, who's up in heaven makin sausage for Christ himself.
All of them are smiling.
BILL
But what does this have to do with keys?
ANTONIETTA
Keys? What keys?
BILL
The keys to Nasuti's. The set you said your husband had.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, yeah. I show you.
Bill puts salad on his plate.
They're still on his key ring. You sure you don't want another plate?
BILL
This is fine.
ANTONIETTA
Good.
She goes to the chapel.
CONNIE
She keeps Pop's keys on the alter in her chapel.
BILL
You have a chapel here?
FRANKIE
Mom said it would be cheaper than going to church.
Antonietta returns carrying a large brass ring with sixteen keys separated into four groups by the brass images of the saints. She sits next to bill.
ANTONIETTA
Here. 'Nazut's' between the Blessed Mother and Saint Jude.
CAL
How could he miss?
Connie moves to Bill's side of the table and sits close to him. He holds the keys.
CONNIE
Pop was funny about some things. He hated locks. He said a world with locks was a world uncivilized. He had this mental block about remembering what keys belonged to what locks.
She is running her fingers over the keys.
BILL
So he divided them into groups.
ANTONIETTA
He remembered the keys by remembering the saints.
Bill is staring at Connie.
BILL
Who uses these keys now?
ANTONIETTA
Nobody. They stay on my altar with his picture and the Infant of Prague. I got my own set.
She removes a small change purse from her apron and retrieves her keys.
But I don't have 'Nazut's' keys.
CONNIE
He was a real good man, our Pop.
Bill is enthralled.
Everybody loved him.
Antonietta loses patience. She grabs Bill's face by his chin and turns him toward her.
ANTONIETTA
Hey, Mr. Detective, why'd you come here today?
BILL
Would it be alright if I asked your daughter
to dinner?
ANTONIETTA
Ask her. She's a big girl now.
She releases him. He turns to Connie.
CONNIE
Sure.
A satisfied, devilish look crosses Antonietta's face. She reaches for the envelope.
ANTONIETTA
So the stiff's in here. Did you snap his picture with or without the heart in his mouth?
EXT: Frankie and Cal approaching their apartment building a short time later.
FRANKIE
"We'll look it up together when we get home"? Why the hell didn't you just come out and tell him we're two fruits?
CAL
I thought that's what I was doing. I just didn't want him thinking--
FRANKIE
That you were Connie's date or something? Fat chance.
CAL
When we get to Venice, I'm going to throw you into the Grand Canal.
INT: Kitchen of Antonietta's apartment. She and Connie are doing the dishes.
CONNIE
I hope he calls soon.
ANTONIETTA
I like him. A little old fashioned. Your father would have liked him.
Connie looks longingly at a photograph of her father in his butcher whites hanging on the wall.
INT: Bill and Connie in a small, quiet, dimly lighted restaurant, coffee
and after dinner drinks in front of them.
CONNIE
They say the smoke kills you first. They found his body, what was left of it, in bed. So maybe he didn't feel it.
BILL
Probably not.
Pause.
CONNIE
Do you mind if I ask what happened to your wife?
Pause.
BILL
After dinner one night, she said she didn't feel well. She went upstairs to lie down. Fifteen minutes later I went up to see how she was. She had - died.
Connie looks pained.
I felt - (pause) I felt - (pause) dead. (pause) I never said that to anyone. (pause) We knew each other since we were ten. We got married when we were eighteen. I've - eh - never -
Pause.
CONNIE
You never dated.
BILL
Not like most guys.
CONNIE
Is that why you asked my mother first - if you could take me out?
BILL
Like somebody from the nineteenth century.
CONNIE
She liked that.
INT: Antonietta seated by the French doors that face toward Connie's house. She is sewing a button on a dress. Placido Domingo singing "El Dia Que Me Quieras" is playing on a tape. She reaches for the binoculars on a nearby
table, hesitates, then returns them with a resigned sigh.
EXT: Connie and Bill strolling by the river.
CONNIE
You must have looked at other women. I'm damn sure they looked at you.
BILL
Yeah, but I was always - scared.
CONNIE
I wonder what century that comes from.
He laughs at himself. She smiles and takes his arm. He looks relieved.
BILL
Why hasn't anyone latched onto you? Your mother couldn't have scared everyone away.
CONNIE
She thinks she did.
Her expression is serious; she keeps her face averted.
INT: Antonietta still seated by the French doors, sewing. The tape has changed to Frank Sinatra's recording of "Mamselle". She moves her head in time to the music, glances toward her daughter's house, then smirks.
EXT: Bill and Connie standing close, without touching, on a quay by the river.
BILL
Where is he now?
CONNIE
South America.
BILL
I guess your folks never knew.
CONNIE
No. No.
BILL
Did anyone?
CONNIE
Frankie. Then Cal. Now you.
BILL
Why did you feel you had to tell me? Because it went on for over ten years? Because he was a priest?
She looks at him, astonished.
CONNIE
Have you ever heard of a disease...AIDS?
He looks apprehensive.
BILL
Oh.
Then the relative safety registers.
Ohh - that's - ah - nice.
CONNIE
And if we're both telling the truth, it's as good as it gets.
They chuckle.
INT: Antonietta dozing in the same chair. The music is off. The phone rings and startles her. She and answers it at a table by the French doors.
ANTONIETTA
Hello. (pause) Hello. Eh!
She shrugs and hangs up. She parts the curtains on the doors and looks at Connie's house. As she turns slightly, she notices someone standing outside a phone booth on the opposite corner. It is a man in silhouette. He appears to be staring back. She gasps.
INT: Connie and Bill sitting in his car, laughing uproariously.
BILL
Thirty-two years old - two kids - and I feel like somebody just told me the facts of life.
CONNIE
Only today's facts.
They look at each other, as their laughter dissolves.
INT: Antonietta sitting rigidly in a chair by the phone, staring straight ahead. The phone rings, she jerks, it rings again. Her voice is strained when she answers.
ANTONIETTA
Hello. (pause) Hello.
MAN'S VOICE
Ti amo con tutto il mio cuore. Vieni in cantina.
The caller hangs up. Her eyes close; she is on the verge of fainting.
INT: Bill driving Connie to her house and parking. She looks over at her mother's apartment. All the lights are off.
CONNIE
She went to bed already. I thought she'd be waiting up with her binoculars. She must trust you.
BILL
She's just making noise.
CONNIE
Yeah. Does somebody have to get killed before I get to see you again?
He kisses her gently.
INT: Antonietta timorously walking down the steps to the first floor. She carries her keys. When she reaches the bottom she keeps herself concealed as she looks through the small window in the door and sees Connie waving to Bill as he pulls away in his car. She waits until Connie enters her house before unlocking the door that leads to the market.
INT: Forlano's. Carefully remaining in the shadows, she makes her way to the basement door. She must steady herself before opening it and turning on the light.
INT: Basement. Her legs almost give out as she walks down the steps, clutching the railing. The Katyna Ranieri recording of 'Capri' is heard playing softly. She reaches for the light switch at the arched passageway, then withdraws her hand slowly. The wall at the far end is illuminated by a glow coming from the right. Reaching out for support, she makes her way slowly, then stops when a male figure steps from the light and into the passageway. She groans and starts to collapse. The man rushes to support her and leads her toward the light. Weak, she still tries to resist.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, Dio, Dio, Dio, Holy Mother of God! Oh, Dio.
INT: He leads her through a small alcove and into a large room containing a little more than the basic necessities: a stove, sink, refrigerator, slightly elevated bathroom, a couple of easy chairs, a few oriental rugs, a vanity, lamps, and a handsome hand carved Victorian bed. He leads her
to the bed and places her gently on her back. She cannot look at him, and keeps her eyes closed tightly. A little portly, he has a handsome, gentle face with thick, black hair greying only at the temples. He starts kissing her on her face and neck. When he gets to her lips she returns the kiss, clutching him to her, clawing his back. He pulls away to look at her, gently stroking her hair and face. Her eyes are tearful, her expression one of shock. Suddenly she brings up a knee and gives him a kick and a slap that send him to the floor. He groans.
ANTONIETTA
Where in the name of Jesus Christ have you been for over a year, Francesco?!! Where?!!
She rises from the bed quickly. He starts backing away on his haunches.
FRANCESCO
Be nice, Antonietta.
ANTONIETTA
Where?! Huh?
FRANCESCO
I tell you, my darling.
She starts stalking him; he crawls as fast as he can.
ANTONIETTA
Yes, my darling, you will tell me!
She kicks him.
FRANCESCO
Please, be nice, Antonietta!
ANTONIETTA
Where have you been? In this room?
FRANCESCO
No! No!
ANTONIETTA
Where?!
FRANCESCO
Ah, New York, Paris, Geneva, Venice. I still like Venice best.
She goes limp.
ANTONIETTA
Oh!
FRANCESCO
You know how much I always wanted to see Venezia.
She sits on the bed.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, my!
FRANCESCO
I had a good time.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, Jesus Christ.
She notices the bed.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, this bed. You said you sold this bed years ago. You said you sealed this room cause it was too damp.
FRANCESCO
I tell a little lie. I know how much you like that bed.
ANTONIETTA
A husband I think is dead is not dead. A bed I think is sold is not sold. And a whole room. What is happening in this place?
He makes himself comfortable on the rug, grinning sheepishly.
FRANCESCO
You happy to see me, my Antonietta of the Artichokes?
ANTONIETTA
Oh, bullshit!
She takes a long look at him.
ANTONIETTA
Why?!!
His grin shifts instantly to a deadly serious look.
FRANCESCO
I had work to do.
Her expression changes slowly from confusion to apprehension.
ANTONIETTA
Work.
He smiles broadly, proudly.
EXT: Forlano's - noontime the following day. Along with the usual customers, there is a spattering of young couples, college students, and middle aged tourists, some of whom are taking pictures of Nasuti's. Frankie is in the cashier's booth, Connie at her butcher counter. Antonietta is carrying bags to the bins on the street. She stops when she sees the number of spectators. A man blocks her way as he attempts to photograph Nasuti's, which is crowded with customers. Emma catches Antonietta's attention and shrugs. Antonietta goes to the bin next to Emma.
ANTONIETTA
This is Monday, no?
EMMA
Tourists. I bet they're hoping we'll find another body.
ANTONIETTA
Oh.
EMMA
What do we care? They're not buying nothin'
INT: Francesco's hideaway. He moves a chair across the floor and places it under the boarded up window.
EXT: Forlano's.
ANTONIETTA
I don't know if all this is good or bad.
INT: Francesco's hideaway. He is standing on the chair and removing the board. A dirty torn curtain is hanging on the window.
EXT: Forlano's.
PETE
I thought they was newspaper people taking pictures.
Antonietta turns to look at Nasuti's. An exterior shot of the basement window reveals shapely legs going by.
INT: Francesco's hideaway. He quickly moves his face closer to the curtain.
EXT: Forlano's. Antonietta turns back to her bin and gets a quick glimpse
of her husband's nose protruding through a hole in the curtain. Her face goes rigid.
ANTONIETTA
Have the - eh - cops been back?
EMMA
Yeah. But not with my bin.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, so careless, so careless.
INT: Francesco's hideaway.
FRANCESCO
Hmmm - hmm -
EXT: Forlano's. Antonietta is biting down on her lip. Someone approaches from behind and taps her on the shoulder. She turns quickly to face the big, slow witted Nasuti, still wearing his apron and totally exasperated.
ANTONIETTA
'Nazut'!
NASUTI
Antonietta, who, who would hang a body, a dead body, with a heart in its mouth, in my refrigerator? Upside down!!
ANTONIETTA
Yeah, 'Nazut', who would do such a thing?
NASUTI
Who?
ANTONIETTA
Who?
She tries hard not to look at the window.
EMMA
Ah, look at all the business you're doing.
Antonietta sees the nose again and starts nervously stacking her vegetables.
NASUTI
I'm almost out of sausage. I can't make it that fast. Oh, Antonietta, I wish Francesco was here.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, yes!
NASUTI
He'd know what to do.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, yes!
PETE
C'mon, I'll buy you a beer.
NASUTI
I gotta get back inside.
Nasuti returns to his store. Antonietta looks down at the nose as it moves quickly from side to side.
EMMA
He's right. Francesco woulda handled this.
ANTONIETTA
Yes. Francesco.
Connie walks over and notices her mother's eyes darting about.
CONNIE
What are you watching, mice?
ANTONIETTA (abruptly)
Where you going?
CONNIE
Crowd making you nervous?
ANTONIETTA
Go eat!
Connie is not concerned with her mother's attitude. She crosses the street, makes her way through the crowd, acknowledges some of the vendors, and stops at Longo's. Dominick has just finished cleaning the glass in the door. He looks dismayed and motions for her to enter.
INT: Longo's. Sparsely decorated, it has ten tables, a short bar, two rest rooms, and a small kitchen. A screened back door in the kitchen leads to an alley. As soon as she enters Dominick pulls the shade and locks the door. Connie looks at him curiously. Joanne enters from the kitchen with a bowl of limes, which she slices in a highly agitated way.
JOANNE
It's not making me crazy. We worked too hard.
Mom, Connie's here.
CONNIE
What's wrong?
Josephine, short, chubby, in her mid-sixties, pokes her head out of the kitchen and raises one, then two fingers, smiling benignly.
CONNIE
Just one, please, Josephine.
Josephine returns to the kitchen.
JOANNE
Tell her. Go ahead, tell her.
DOMINICK
Yesterday, Joanne was passing 'Nazut's' when they found that guy. He was in here the night before.
JOANNE
With them.
DOMINICK
Fortunato and his 'friends'.
Josephine enters with a meatball sandwich on a plate and puts it on the bar. Joanne places several paper napkins next to it.
CONNIE
You sure it was the same guy? Thanks, Josephine.
JOANNE
Same clothes. Same ugly gold chains.
Josephine sits at the bar, still smiling. Connie starts eating the sandwich, relishing it.
CONNIE
Did you tell the cops?
DOMINICK
He was with Tony Fortunato!
A memory registers on Connie's face.
CONNIE
Do you think they did it?
JOANNE
After that guy left, they were here for an hour or more.
JOANNE
They can ruin a restaurant's reputation.
Josephine shakes her head in disgust.
CONNIE
Oh, that's what you're worried about.
JOANNE
You're damn right. If this place gets known as a hangout for the mob, who the hell's gonna wanna eat here?
Josephine nods.
CONNIE
It's a big mob. This is a small place.
Josephine smiles.
DOMINICK
It's not funny.
Josephine shakes her head.
CONNIE
I'm glad we don't have to worry about that kind of crap. At our place they come in, they get out.
The others look at one another and smile knowingly.
What?
JOANNE
Your meat man, Costaldo?
DOMINICK
Every so often you get a bad piece of meat?
CONNIE
He's stupid. He makes mistakes.
JOANNE
It's no mistake. He does it on purpose.
DOMINICK
It's a game. A mean, nasty little game.
JOANNE
He wants to get one, just one bad piece of meat past you. Just cause you're so good at checking it out.
CONNIE
Why?
JOANNE
Cause he's nuts, that's why. Cause he has a real vicious thing for women.
Josephine looks disgusted.
DOMINICK
And it's gotten worse since his dad lost the business to the mob just before he died.
CONNIE
How do you know this?
Josephine looks quizzical.
DOMINICK
As you said, the place is small. We hear things.
Josephine is not totally convinced by this explanation.
Connie is controlling her anger.
CONNIE
Best meatballs in town, Josephine.
Josephine, Dominick and Joanne nod appreciatively, if weakly.
INT: Connie alone in the office of the Forlano market, talking on the phone shortly after lunch.
CONNIE
I can tell you now, or you can come to dinner tonight. Fine.
She hangs up, smiling.
INT: Francesco's hideaway. Antonietta is standing over Francesco lying on his back on his bed, his hands behind his head, smiling. She shakes her fist at him.
ANTONIETTA
The next time I see your nose poking through them filthy curtains I cut it off. 'Capeesh?'
FRANCESCO
Kiss me.
ANTONIETTA
I got a business to run. Maybe I kiss you tonight.
FRANCESCO
Oh, tonight we do something very special.
ANTONIETTA (suspiciously)
Here or out there?
FRANCESCO
You see.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, Dio, oh Dio, oh Dio.
She leaves.
INT: The small, modern kitchen of Connie's house. She is putting the finishing touches on two plates of salad. When the doorbell rings she goes quickly to the partitioned dining area and lights the candles on the attractively set table. Much of the furniture is similar to the period pieces at Antonietta's, but the house itself has the look of a recent renovation. When she opens the front door, Bill is holding up a pastry box. His other hand is behind his back.
BILL
Dessert.
CONNIE
Thank you.
He reveals a small bouquet of flowers.
BILL
And for your viewing pleasure.
She is genuinely surprised as she accepts the flowers. She starts laughing.
CONNIE
Come on in.
Her laughter grows louder as he follows her to the kitchen.
I don't believe this.
She gets a small vase for the flowers and arranges them, but does nothing to control her laughter.
Would - would you like --
BILL
I would like to know what's so funny.
CONNIE
No one's ever given me flowers.
BILL
That's something to laugh about?
CONNIE
When you realize no one's ever done it before. I'm just laughing at how much I'm enjoying it.
BILL
The priest never gave you flowers?
CONNIE
The priest didn't have a pot to piss in. I paid for everything. Food. Motels. Condoms.
He suppresses his urge to laugh.
Go ahead, laugh. We didn't even need the damn condoms. If there was ever two people who were safe for each other, it was us. But he - eh - he liked wearing them.
BILL
Why?
CONNIE
Who knew? He was a priest. I guess a condom made him feel all dressed up.
He laughs freely. She pours him a glass of wine.
Should we be talking like this?
BILL
Oh, yeah.
He accepts the wine and puts an arm around her.
CONNIE
Yeah? I guess so. Only a fool would try to keep secrets from a detective.
He kisses her neck.
INT: Cal and Frankie shopping in a men's boutique. Cal is looking at pants on a rack; Frankie searches through a stack of bathing suits.
CAL
It's good. She's seeing a policeman.
FRANKIE
It's good she's seeing anyone at all.
Frankie holds up a very skimpy bikini.
FRANKIE
You likee English fly boy?
CAL
If you wear it as an earring.
He returns the bikini to the stack and joins Cal at the rack.
FRANKIE
I wonder if she'll ever get married. Pop would have liked that. My daughter, the butcher, is getting married.
CAL
He would have loved that. I miss him.
FRANKIE
We all do.
Frankie stops looking at the pants.
Remember when we went to the Cape a few years ago? Pop said, "Why go there? What's there? The ocean. Go to Venice. Venice is the place to go with the one you love."
CAL
He was probably the most accepting human being I've ever known.
FRANKIE
Now we're going to Venice.
They look at each other affectionately.
INT: Francesco's room. He presses the start button on a tape deck sitting on the vanity. The mandolin solo that introduces the Katyna Ranieri recording of 'Scapricciatiello' begins. Wearing dark trousers and a neatly pressed shirt, he approaches Antonietta slowly. Her hair is piled
attractively. She wears a little makeup, her dress is sleeveless and full. She appears almost shy.
ANTONIETTA
I - I don't know. I put on a little weight since you - eh - died.
FRANCESCO
Like riding a bicycle.
He lifts her hand gently and takes her in his arms. The dance starts with slow swaying motions during the introduction, followed by a series of rhythmic folk like steps during the solo. It is a dance they have done before. Antonietta's pleasure increases with each step and the assurance that she has forgotten nothing. Francesco is the consummate romantic lead.
INT: Connie's dining room. She and Bill are seated at the table having coffee and the last of the wine. She wears a robe; he is shirtless.
CONNIE
You think I was fibbing when I called today?
BILL
About the guy in the bin? No. I just think we got sidetracked.
She chuckles.
INT: Francesco's room. He and Antonietta are dancing freely to 'Scapricciatiello'.
INT: Frankie and Cal's living room. Frankie is on the phone listening to the ringing at the other end of the line. Cal is looking through guide books.
FRANKIE
She's still not answering.
CAL
Did she say she was going anywhere?
FRANKIE
No.
He hangs up the phone.
I wanted to get to the passport office early. If she doesn't have this key--
CAL
I'd run it down, but I have that meeting.
Frankie looks resigned.
INT: Francesco's room. They are still dancing to the same song.
ANTONIETTA
Francesco.
FRANCESCO
Hmmm?
ANTONIETTA
Tell me--
FRANCESCO
Anything.
ANTONIETTA
Are you going to kill more people?
FRANCESCO
Oh, yes.
ANTONIETTA
But not tonight.
FRANCESCO
Oh, no, not tonight.
She almost swoons as he guides her into a low dip.
INT: Connie's kitchen. She and Bill are doing the dishes together.
CONNIE
We always knew when Pop was kidding. He did that a lot. But that day he was serious, real serious. "Stay away from him. He does bad things to bad people." That's what he said.
BILL
And the guy was just sleeping on a bench in a bocce club?
CONNIE
That's why, when I saw him in that bin last week, the first thing that popped into my head was, "Why the hell does this look so familiar?"
BILL
You're sure it's the same man?
CONNIE
Oh, yeah. That birthmark on his left cheek.
BILL
Where's the bocce club?
CONNIE
Tenth and Kimball. They won't tell you much.
BILL
I guess not.
CONNIE
You can say anything you want about the mob in this neighborhood. You just can't say it to the cops. And you sure as hell can't say it to the mob. It's a simple code, and it seems to work for them. They call it respect.
BILL
Then why are you talking to me?
CONNIE
Because I think they're shit. And I hope to God you're not a crooked cop.
BILL
I'm too scared, too dumb to be a crooked cop.
Satisfied, she nods, smiling at his candor.
EXT: Forlano's. Frankie gets out of his car and locates the key to his mother's apartment on his ring. He presses the bell, waits for a response, then lets himself in when there is none.
INT: Entryway. When he closes the door behind him, he does not notice that the slight breeze sets the door to the market ajar. He goes upstairs.
INT: Apartment. A dim light is on in the kitchen; the rest of the apartment is dark.
FRANKIE
Mom. Mom.
He goes through the rooms quickly, then returns to the kitchen and places a key and a note on the table. He looks around suspiciously, then goes downstairs.
INT: Entryway. He turns to use the light from the door window to find its key on his ring of keys. He sees that the door to the market is open, pushes
it gently, and walks in.
INT: Forlano's market. His apprehension grows, as he walks toward the bins. He stops a few feet short of the basement door, but does not notice that it is open. He hears music, faintly, at a distance. Seeing the open door, he goes to close it, then realizes the music is slightly louder. He opens the door and sees a dim glow coming from the basement.
INT: Basement. He starts down slowly, quietly, making his way to the rear. He stops just beyond the last arch. In a large mirror leaning against the wall he watches the reflections of his parents doing a stylish, energetic jitterbug to the Artie Shaw Gramercy Five recording of 'Cross My Heart'. He is immobilized.
INT: Francesco's room. Antonietta and Francesco conclude their dance. Laughing, she sits on the edge of the bed, he leans against the footboard. The next song is Dinah Shore's recording of 'Something to Remember You By'.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, I remember when you made those tapes from our old records.
FRANCESCO
Yeah, yeah.
ANTONIETTA
You were so happy when Frankie bought that tape machine. You put all the old songs in the order we wanted. Just so we could dance. Oh, my!
FRANCESCO
I made copies of a lot of the tapes. Took them with me.
ANTONIETTA
I play them in the market. They've been like company for me--
She sees Frankie's reflection.
Ooopsey-doopsey.
She taps Francesco on the shoulder. He turns, sees his son, and smiles.
FRANCESCO
Oh, my first born.
Frankie is almost on the verge of fainting. They approach him slowly and lead him to the bed. He finds it impossible to look at them, as he allows himself to be seated.
ANTONIETTA
Now, isn't this a nice surprise, Frankie?
Tearful, he looks at them, then starts crying like a baby. Francesco takes his head in his hands and kisses him on both cheeks.
FRANCESCO
Such a good boy.
Frankie wails.
INT: Connie and Bill are kissing in the vestibule of her house. He gives her a long look.
BILL
If I can get free on Sunday, would you like to go to the zoo with me and the kids?
CONNIE
I'll bring the peanuts.
He kisses her, then goes to his car.
EXT: Doorstep. She remains at the door, watching him. As he pulls away, she waves, then notices her brother's car parked across the street.
EXT: Terrace of Frankie and Cal's. They sit opposite each other at a breakfast table. A radio plays quietly nearby - Juice Newton's 'Break It To Me Gently'. Their movements are slow, tentative. The song comes to an end.
ANNOUNCER
And now the news. Still no clues to the baffling murders of two men in the Italian market. Police say -
Cal turns off the radio. Frankie starts to sob. Cal remains composed, but exasperated.
CAL
I would be so grateful if you would stop doing that.
FRANKIE
I -- can't -- can't -- help -- it. How -- am I -- going -- to -- to work -- today?
CAL
Sell onions.
Frankie manages to smile weakly.
FRANKIE
But my dad's become a serial killer. Of Mafia hit men.
He starts to wail.
CAL (firmly)
Shut up!
Frankie strains to control himself.
FRANKIE
Oh, God, what if the police find --
CAL
You must control yourself.
FRANKIE
-- out? My sister's dating the police. A police.
CAL
We'll think of something.
FRANKIE (stunned)
We will?
CAL
You bet your gorgeous dago ass we will.
FRANKIE
But he's killing people, Cal!
CAL
People? People? You call them people?
FRANKIE
Well --
CAL
If what you told me last night is true, your father is merely exterminating vermin -- performing a much needed public service.
Frankie nods.
FRANKIE
And he's having such a good time doing it.
INT: Forlano's market. Antonietta and Connie are completing their
preparations. Several early customers are looking at produce, while the employees stack it neatly. Antonietta is putting cash and change in the register. Connie goes from the meat counter to the booth and reaches in for a large roll of white wax paper.
CONNIE
Good, there is a roll here.
ANTONIETTA
Get one of the men to carry that.
CONNIE
It's not the first one I lifted.
She stops before lifting the roll.
Where's Frankie?
ANTONIETTA
He'll be here.
Connie is mildly surprised by her mother's casual attitude.
CONNIE
Where were you last night? I called.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, that was you. I was soaking the bones.
CONNIE
I thought Frankie was here. I saw his car.
ANTONIETTA
I didn't see him. How did your date go with the 'Meddigan'?
CONNIE
Fine.
ANTONIETTA
Good. Just pray to the Infant of Prague that you don't get a disease that cannot be cured by some kind of medicine.
CONNIE
Look, Mom, if it makes you feel any better, he married young and he was true blue. 'Capeesh?!'
ANTONIETTA
Ah!
CONNIE
Just like Pop.
ANTONIETTA
Ho! Ho!
The intensity of Antonietta's exclamations startles Connie, but she is diverted by Frankie's arrival. He is nervously tying on his apron and trying to control himself.
FRANKIE
Well, I, ah, ordered my passport.
Connie starts to lift the roll of paper.
Give me that.
He lifts it, then starts turning as though he lost all sense of direction.
ANTONIETTA
Hey, 'stunad'.
CONNIE
Behind the counter.
Antonietta watches him closely as he carries the paper to the counter. Connie looks concerned.
Just set it down on the shelf.
She adjusts a few knives in their slots.
Hey, did you ever find that knife of Pop's you said was missing downstairs?
He looks directly at her, his eyes widen, his face quivers. He is on the verge of tears.
Frankie.
Antonietta is motionless. Frankie walks quickly to the glass enclosed office.
What's wrong with him?
ANTONIETTA (weakly)
He's very sensitive.
CONNIE
Mom.
Antonietta motions for Connie to take over the booth, then goes to the office. Connie watches intently as her mother goes to Frankie, seated at the desk, his head in his hands, and shakes him vigorously.
INT: Office.
ANTONIETTA
Son of a bitch. What will happen if we screw up!
FRANKIE
But she has to be told.
ANTONIETTA
We will tell her.
FRANKIE
When?
ANTONIETTA
Soon.
FRANKIE (whining)
She's dating a cop, Mommy.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, Frankie, c'mon. This is a serious thing. You can't act like a -- mommy he calls me. You must control yourself.
FRANKIE
That's what Cal says.
ANTONIETTA
He knows?
FRANKIE
Oh, Mom -- Mom, I live with the man.
ANTONIETTA
What did he say?
FRANKIE
He said we'd think of something.
ANTONIETTA
And -- about -- the
She draws a finger across her throat.
FRANKIE
Vermin. He said Pop was killing vermin, performing a public service.
Pleased, she slaps the desk.
ANTONIETTA
And that's why that man's a college professor working for the Jesuits!
Frankie is as surprised as he was when Cal said they would think of something. Antonietta turns and sees Connie talking with Bill at the booth.
But what do we do about your sister and the flatfoot?
FRANKIE
He seems like such a nice guy.
ANTONIETTA
I'll talk to your father.
He smiles.
FRANKIE
It sounds so good to hear that again. "I'll talk to your father." If only he wasn't slitting throats and cutting out hearts.
She opens the door to leave.
ANTONIETTA
Vermin. That's rats, ya know.
INT: Forlano's. Connie watches her mother approach. Antonietta grabs a bag and fills it with fruit.
BILL
We'll go early, right after church, then-
He notices Connie's concern.
have lunch at -- . Is something wrong?
CONNIE
Uh-uh. I'll be ready.
She kisses his cheek. Antonietta hands him the bag.
ANTONIETTA
'Teh.' Fruit is very good for you.
She returns to the booth.
BILL (facetiously)
I'm not allowed to accept bribes.
ANTONIETTA (fiercely)
It is no bribe!
CONNIE
Mom, he's only kidding.
Antonietta quickly regains her composure. She wipes her hands on her apron.
ANTONIETTA
I'm sorry. I don't always understand the 'Meddigan' sense of humor.
She squeezes his cheeks and shakes his head vigorously.
You a nice boy, Billy.
Connie is mildly embarrassed.
INT: Francesco's room. The April Stevens recording of 'I'm In Love Again' plays softly on the tape deck. Antonietta is lying in his arms, both nude under the covers.
ANTONIETTA
I always liked this bed.
FRANCESCO
Ah.
ANTONIETTA
But I hate this room.
FRANCESCO
Oh.
ANTONIETTA
You think we'll ever get out of here?
FRANCESCO
When my work is done.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
INT: Bedroom of Connie's house. She and Bill are nude under the covers. Morgana King's recording of 'Corcorvado' plays softly on the stereo. He
rests in her arms.
BILL
I thought the workout at the gym would do it, but afterwards I was still-- I had to be here.
CONNIE
This is just where I want you to be.
BILL
You wouldn't lie to me, would you?
CONNIE (seriously)
I'll never lie to you.
They kiss.
INT: Bedroom of Frankie and Cal. They are nude under their covers, both on their backs with their arms intertwined. Cal's eyes are closed; Frankie is staring at the ceiling.
FRANKIE
Have you thought of something?
CAL
We just finished, for heaven's sake.
FRANKIE
I'm not talking about sex.
Cal rolls over and nuzzles closer.
CAL
No, no I haven't thought of something.
FRANKIE
I wonder if he'll kill more of them.
CAL
Oh, I hope so. I hope so.
Frankie looks horrified.
INT: Dining room of the Forlano apartment. Day. Connie sits motionless at the table. Antonietta is seated at the head of the table, smiling nervously. Frankie, seated at the other end, is biting his lower lip. Cal is standing by the open French doors, his eyes shifting between the street and the family, his expression tender, sympathetic. Connie's eyes are almost blank. Her father has taken the seat opposite her, smiling broadly, unaware of the effect his return might have on her.
FRANCESCO
My baby, the butcher.
Cal turns his head away nervously. Antonietta and Frankie are grinning unconsciously. Francesco gently takes Connie's hands.
How you been?
Connie opens her mouth slowly and releases a sustained piercing scream. Antonietta leaps up and rushes to close the French doors. Cal helps.
ANTONIETTA
Ah, 'manadg!' You'd think she'd have more sense.
FRANKIE (to Cal)
This I can understand. I can understand this.
FRANCESCO
'Aspett!' 'Aspett!'
Francesco goes to her. Cal turns up the radio. Connie screams louder, but not louder than Keely Smith singing 'I'm Gonna Live, 'Til I Die.'
ANTONIETTA
Shut up, for Christ's sake!
Francesco stands next to Connie, holds her, strokes her hair.
FRANCESCO
It's all right. It's all right.
FRANKIE
That's what I should have done.
Cal is fascinated by the scene but keeps his eye on the street.
ANTONIETTA
It's your father, Connie!
FRANKIE
You just got to get it out of your system.
FRANCESCO
Bene. Bene.
ANTONIETTA
Doesn't he look wonderful?
CAL
He really does look wonderful.
Connie stops screaming and starts taking deep breaths.
Antonietta strokes Connie's arms.
ANTONIETTA
That's it. That's it. Breathing is good.
FRANCESCO
The best.
Everyone is silent as Connie rises and walks slowly to the radio and turns it off.
ANTONIETTA
Ah, that's not my favorite Keely Smith number.
FRANKIE
She's upset. I can understand.
ANTONIETTA
You're not glad to see your father?
Connie hugs Francesco.
CONNIE
You look wonderful.
ANTONIETTA
See.
CONNIE
But you just killed two men! And I'm dating a cop.
FRANCESCO
A nice boy, I hear.
CONNIE
An honest man. A good cop. He's working on your murders.
ANTONIETTA
And you're going to help him?
CAL
Who says he has to be told?
FRANKIE
That's true. You know, it never occurred to me. He won't know unless somebody tells him. Right?
CONNIE
He's a detective! He detects things!
ANTONIETTA
Let's eat.
The suggestion sets everyone in motion - Antonietta to the range to stir the soup and check the roast; Frankie to the refrigerator for the vegetables to make a salad; Connie to the dishes; Cal to the utensils. Francesco picks up the newspaper and stretches out on a chaise.
CAL
How do you detect a dead person?
FRANKIE
There was a funeral, Connie.
ANTONIETTA
I cried my eyes out. (to Connie) Use the big platter.
CONNIE
Who didn't?
FRANKIE
Yeah.
ANTONIETTA
And the good dishes - and silver.
CONNIE
We'll have a celebration. Pop's back from the dead.
CAL
He has risen.
Silence. The pace slackens. The four exchange quizzical looks. Francesco raises the newspaper to cover his grin. Antonietta wipes her hands on her apron and goes to the door of the kitchen. The others listen attentively.
ANTONIETTA
Hey, Francesco, who has not risen? Eh?
FRANCESCO
Come?
ANTONIETTA
'Come' shit. Who the hell's buried in our plot at the Holy Cross?
FRANCESCO
I've been wondering when --
ANTONIETTA
Who!?
FRANCESCO
I don't know.
CONNIE
Oh, God.
FRANKIE
Pop, you didn't wipe out a total stranger?
FRANCESCO
He was already dead. In a doorway. In Atlantic City. Like a piece of human trash.
CAL
Were you out there looking for a dead body?
FRANCESCO
Eh, it was a stroke of good fortune, finding one just about my age, my size, my race.
CONNIE
Oh, God.
Antonietta carries the soup tureen to the table.
ANTONIETTA
'Mahng.'
CONNIE
Who has an appetite?
CAL
I do.
FRANKIE
So do I.
Connie sighs. They converge on the table. Cal deliberately exaggerates his accent.
CAL
Francesco, old chap, after you discovered that heap of human flotsam in the doorway, torched your own house --
ANTONIETTA
Our house, our good seashore house.
CAL
-- faked your own death --
FRANKIE
That hurt, Pop.
CONNIE
Yeah.
CAL
-- did you then plan to slash throats, gouge out hearts, and string up the brutalized bodies of Mafia hit men in freezers --
Spoons are arrested in mid-air, except for Francesco's, who continues eating and smiling broadly.
-- or were these revolting, albeit socially significant, murders all planned beforehand?
FRANCESCO
Now that's how a college professor asks a question. Years before.
CONNIE
And what if someone recognizes you?!
Francesco looks at them slyly.
FRANCESCO
Oh, no. Oh, no, no, no.
INT: Francesco's basement room a short time later. Antonietta and Connie are sitting on the bed. Frankie and Cal are standing nearby. The relatives look stunned, but Cal is grinning. Standing in the middle of the room is the slightly hunched figure of a Black Bag Lady -- with her bag. Along with the usual layers of soiled clothes that completely conceal almost every square inch of skin, there is the dominant feature of hair -- a thick, dark brown mass that has not been combed, cut, or washed in years. It looks more like a structure than something nature provided. Part of it is covered by a soiled cloth. The 'Bag Lady' smiles, revealing three gold teeth.
FRANCESCO
Va bene?
CAL
Very va bene.
The relatives are speechless.
FRANCESCO
I made these little gold caps myself. You like the teeth?
CAL
I love the wig.
FRANCESCO
I figured out how to make it after I watched the Oprah Winfrey show one day.
ANTONIETTA
Francesco, Francesco, why, why -- this?
CONNIE
Oh, God, yes, why that?
Francesco stands erect.
FRANCESCO
I had work to do. A mission. But - I - had - to - be - ignored. It took me six months to think of this get up. Two months to work it out. I thought maybe I'd be a priest, maybe a rabbi. Then one day I'm in New York and I say to myself, 'What don't they look at, Francesco? What is it most people never see?'
CAL
Good taste?
FRANCESCO
The bag ladies! They see the panhandlers, the drunks, the addicts. But the bag ladies - ah - they were different. They never spoke. Most of them never spoke when they were spoken to. Two weeks I watched only the bag ladies. I watched that silence between those women and the world. I watched them walk slowly through every kind of neighborhood. Always ignored.
CONNIE
What am I going to wear to the zoo tomorrow?
They turn slowly to look at Connie.
EXT: The zoo the following morning. Connie is being tugged by nine year
old Livia. Carol, the seven year old, is holding Bill's hand. They are walking toward the Morris Impala Fountain near the entrance. Bill and the children are relaxed, unaware that Connie's smiles are, at first, forced, the concern in her eyes difficult to hide. A series of cuts take them through the animal exhibits, with Connie becoming more at ease, more absorbed in the girls' reactions. By the time they get to the children's zoo, her laughter is not forced.
INT: A table by a window at the Valley Green Inn on the Wissahickon. Connie is wiping crumbs from Carol's chin.
CAROL
You're not as chunky as I thought you'd be.
Bill looks embarrassed.
LIVIA
Daddy said you didn't look like our mom at all. He said you were on the chunky side.
CAROL
Could we go sit on the porch?
BILL
Yes. Right out there.
The girls leave. Connie looks at Bill in mock anger.
They wanted to know what you look like.
She smiles.
Were you worried they wouldn't like you?
CONNIE
No. I was worried I wouldn't like them.
He laughs.
They're good kids.
BILL
You're a lot like your mother. I bet you're a lot like your father, too. He must have been remarkable.
She speaks a little too quickly.
CONNIE
People really respect my folks. They run a good
business, they never cheat, they'll help anybody who --
She stops when he rests his hands on hers.
BILL
I catch myself doing that. You talk about them as if they're alive.
She nods slowly.
CONNIE
Have you ever killed anyone?
BILL
No. Can you believe that? With all the crap going on in the streets, I never once killed anybody. But I've wanted to.
CONNIE
Who?
BILL
Some of the bastards I work with. The ones who add to the crap on the street.
CONNIE
How's your investigation going?
BILL
You might be right about that guy in the cart being an old hit man for the mob. One of our informants said the same thing.
CONNIE
How did he know?
BILL
I haven't talked to him yet. But I'm damn sure of one thing. If they are in the mob, and their killings aren't mob related, then the mob knows by now that something's going on. They'll find out what, and they'll take care of it themselves.
Connie tries to conceal her shock with a slow nod of surprise.
CONNIE
Oooh.
INT: The living room of Cal and Frankie's apartment later the same day. Frankie, moving quickly, almost frantically, is clearing coffee cups from
the table in the dining alcove. Connie follows him. She is just as frantic but manages to help by picking up what he has forgotten and wiping what he neglects to see. Cal is stretched out on a sofa, surrounded by tourist magazines and guide books.
CONNIE
I even like his kids, for God's sake! It was the worst day of my life!
FRANKIE
He's not even sure.
CONNIE
Lying. I felt, I knew --
FRANKIE
But you said he hasn't talked to the --
CONNIE
-- I was lying --
FRANKIE
-- informer yet.
CONNIE
-- the whole time I was with him.
FRANKIE
You weren't lying. You never said --
CONNIE
Aw, c'mon, don't give me that crap. What the hell do you think I am, a politician? I know when I'm hiding something. I know a lie when I feel one.
FRANKIE
Then how the hell did you manage to pull off that affair with your little priest for over ten years? Wasn't that a lie?
CONNIE
For God's sake, Frankie, that was sex, love. This is murder.
CAL
Is there a difference?
FRANKIE
Then stop seeing him.
CONNIE
I don't want to stop seeing him!
FRANKIE
For a while.
CONNIE
If the tables were turned, would you stop seeing Cal?
FRANKIE
No.
CONNIE
You bet your ass you wouldn't.
CAL
That is one of the major features that keeps me here.
CONNIE
It's not so easy to give up, is it? Even for a while.
CAL
There are days when I think it's the only thing that keeps me here.
They turn sharply to Cal.
FRANKIE
And you were supposed to --
FRANKIE & CONNIE
-- think of something!
CAL
What's the rush?
Cal sits up quickly, his manner rigidly professorial.
Just a minute! I'll be only too happy to point out a few salient features you've been so carelessly overlooking.
FRANKIE
Oh, here we go. He gets like this.
CONNIE
Okay.
CAL
First, you're worried that Pop will be discovered by the police, specifically the one policeman with whom you've been exchanging bodily fluids. Right?
They nod.
Now you're worried that the Mafioso, the Mob, will discover Pop and what he's been doing. Right?
They nod, but look as though they would like to smack him.
This is not a cheap mystery novel you're dealing with here. With all undue respect to Mister Mario Puzo and Dame Agatha Christie, neither the mob nor the police possess skills that would qualify them for the Mensa Society. It's a sad but well known fact that the police are almost totally dependent on tips, confessions, and prearranged deals to solve crimes. In very, very rare instances are they able to collect enough evidence and logically deduce a path that would enable them to find, much less convict a criminal. As for the Mob, they know only violence and corruption. They used to know cheese and olive oil. But now it's merely cocaine and bad pizza. Fear is their forte. They're certainly now very imaginative, and they're certainly not very bright. Brutes and authoritarians never are. So, I ask you, if they already lack the imagination to deal with that which they already know and believe exists, then how the hell would you expect them to have any capacity whatsoever for dealing with that which, in their eyes, doesn't exist.
Frankie and Connie sigh deeply, obviously missing the point.
Your father's a dead man. The police know it. All of Ninth Street knows it. His funeral was attended by all of Ninth Street. The trouble you two are having stems from the unusual fact that so little of your lives have been spent lying or deceiving anybody. No facades. You assume that just because you know what the truth is, then the entire world knows it, or will certainly discover it in the not too distant future. That is almost never the case. Your daddy is dead. Your daddy is now a Black bag lady. Your daddy is now engaged in committing the perfect crimes. 'Capeesh?'
Connie and Frankie are now exhausted by the lecture.
FRANKIE
And you want him to succeed.
Cal nods.
And you call yourself an Englishman.
CONNIE
But - what - if - Pop -
FRANKIE
Fucks up?
Cal is genuinely surprised.
CAL
Oh, shit. That never occurred to me.
EXT: Forlano's a short time later. Connie is pulling her car into the diagonal space in front of her house, while Frankie and Cal are pulling into a space in front of the entrance to the apartment. Frankie rushes to the door and opens it with his key.
INT: Entryway.
FRANKIE
Mom! Mom!
Connie taps Frankie on the shoulder and indicates the entrance to the market. He gently pushes the door open.
INT: Forlano's. As soon as they enter they see that the door to the basement is open.
INT: Basement. They go down very quietly, as though they were sneaking up on someone. Just past the first arch Connie taps Frankie on the shoulder and whispers:
CONNIE
What if they're --
Frankie turns and shouts.
FRANKIE
Mom! Pop!
Antonietta calls back.
ANTONIETTA
Frankie? Come in here!
INT: Francesco's room. They go quickly and find Antonietta sitting on the edge of the bed, a piece of paper in her hand, looking dejected.
ANTONIETTA
He's gone!
CONNIE
Where?
ANTONIETTA
Doesn't say. Doesn't say how long. "I'll be back when I'll be back." That's what the son of a bitch says.
They look weak.
EXT: Forlano's market a week later. A meat order has arrived. Connie leaves her counter to go out and inspect it. Don and Tommy remain near their truck, their backs to Connie. Don conceals his sheepish grin; Tommy is smirking -- at Don. Six sides of beef are hanging on hooks. She wipes a long, sharp knife on her apron, then uses it to guide her through her inspection. She looks suspicious. Don and Tom casually close up their truck. Connie finishes checking the last side of beef, sighs, wipes the knife again, and steels herself. She goes quickly to the second side of beef and focuses on a two inch triangular cut. She thrusts her knife into it and removes a wedge of beef, an insert cut from another side and tainted. She walks toward Don with the meat on the end of the knife.
CONNIE
You have to win, don't you?
He looks away, more angry than embarrassed.
I don't even want to play your games, and you still have to beat me. Get every piece of beef out of here! All six! And I want six back here in an hour. All different! All fresh!
DON
Hey, c'mon, Connie, it's a joke. If I take all six sides back my boss'll --
Connie turns and walks toward him pointing the knife.
CONNIE (fiercely)
I don't care if your boss fucks you up your ass!
Don is immobilized. Tommy turns away to hide a look of satisfaction. The two men who work with Connie are standing nearby, staring protectively. Frankie is between them, holding a tray of artichokes.
FRANKIE
She said an hour, Don.
Tommy starts lifting the sides of beef back onto the truck. Still furious, Connie starts back to her counter, with Frankie following, a look of concern on his face.
INT: Forlano's
CONNIE
He wouldn't try this if Pop was here.
FRANKIE
Well, Pop's not going to be here.
CONNIE
Where the hell is he? It's almost a week now.
As they approach the booth they both notice the controlled expressions on the faces of Cal and Antonietta. Antonietta rings up a sale for a customer, while Cal deliberately obstructs the entrance to the booth. Frankie hands the artichokes to his mother.
CONNIE
Hello.
Cal nods.
FRANKIE
What are you doing here? I thought you had some shopping to do.
CAL
I found more than I expected.
Cal moves aside. Connie and Frankie look in the booth but are not able to determine what it is they're supposed to see. They look up at their mother. She widens her eyes, then casts them down dramatically.
ANTONIETTA
'Manadg.'
On the floor of the booth is a New York tabloid, its front page headline blazing - MOB POISONED - with a large photo of six bodies slumped around a table by the window of a restaurant. In the background a crowd peers in from the street. Just beyond the crowd, leaning against a pole, is a very familiar Black 'Bag Lady'. Connie and Frankie look sick. Cal suppresses a smile. Antonietta is almost numb, her voice flat.
ANTONIETTA
Antonietta's Choke-a-hearts. Get 'em here. Get 'em fresh.
The three look up at her in disbelief.
INT: Forlano's - closing time later the same day. Frankie is locking the large doors that lead to the loading area. Antonietta and Connie are at the door to the apartment.
ANTONIETTA
Another day like this, I'll be a dead woman. It was nice of Cal to come back and cook for us.
FRANKIE
Much better than eating out.
CONNIE
Oh, please.
As soon as Antonietta opens the door the sound of Placido Domingo singing "Vida Mia" is heard coming from the apartment.
INT: Stairway. They go up the stairs.
ANTONIETTA
I'm losing my mind and your boyfriend's listening to Domingo. Oh, Dio.
INT: Apartment. As soon as the three enter the kitchen, Cal and Francesco enter, cheek to cheek, doing the tango. The three no longer know how to react.
FRANCESCO
Hey, this guy's not bad.
INT: Apartment - twilight, after dinner. All five are seated around a television set in the living room.
ANNOUNCER
The murders yesterday of six alleged Mafia members in a restaurant in Little Italy has left the community stunned. But only because of the method used to kill them. We go now to Helen Sarcone for a live report.
Cut to a close shot of Helen standing in front of a small nondescript restaurant with the word Marie's painted on its one window.
HELEN
Steve, gangland style killings have always, by
tradition, involved a lot of gunfire and bloodshed. What happened here at Marie's yesterday has everyone baffled. The word on the street is that the murders are not mob related. Still, there is no way of knowing what the motive might have been. The one suspect, and I must stress that she was suspected only briefly, is Marie herself. She has agreed to talk with us.
Cut to half shot of Helen standing next to Marie -- small, frail, toothless, close to ninety, and feisty.
CONNIE
Marie --
MARIE
Mahd-ee
HELEN
How long have you had this restaurant?
MARIE
Sixty-five years, and I never kill nobody. Once in a great while they shoot 'em in my place, but that's not my fault. This is the littlest restaurant in Lil' Itly and it's the best.
HELEN
What was your reaction when the police said you were a suspect?
MARIE
Li ho detto di andare a fanculo? Eh?
HELEN
I see. Well, thank you very much.
Close shot of Helen, but Marie's voice can still be heard talking.
STEVE
Helen, do they know how they were poisoned?
MARIE
That's it? That's all they want me to say? I wait an hour for this?
HELEN
No, Steve, they don't. The official report hasn't been released yet. But witnesses said that, whatever it was, it was quick and extremely
painful.
MARIE
They screamed their goddamn heads off!!
Cut back to Steve in the studio.
STEVE
Thank you, Helen. When we return --
Antonietta turns off the set with a remote control. She looks exhausted. Connie is almost in tears. Frankie is confused. But Cal is relaxed.
CAL
What did you use?
He grins at his wife.
ANTONIETTA
Yeah, I'd like to know.
He hesitates.
FRANCESCO
I killed them with their own drugs. The shit they sell on the street. Each day, in my funny costume, I bought a little bit here, a little bit there. Strong stuff, I guess. Expensive. I mixed it all together. Didn't even know if it would work.
CONNIE
How did you get into that restaurant dressed like that?
FRANCESCO
I never went in. But I was there before. In my funny costume. Whenever I was in New York, I'd go round to the back to the kitchen, and I'd stand there, and Marie, she's not as tough as she puts on, she gives me something to eat. She cooks like an angel from heaven. That's why the place is a hangout for the big boys. She's always running back and forth from the kitchen to the front. First afternoon I see a whole table full of the bastards, I drop the stuff in the soup.
CONNIE
What about the other customers, Pop? You could have killed them.
FRANCESCO
When that crowd's there, you don't get other customers. They're afraid they'll get shot.
ANTONIETTA
That poor woman. Working so hard. For what?
FRANKIE
What if she ate the soup?
FRANCESCO
Cops took everything out.
Pause.
CAL
Their own drugs. My, my, my.
Smiles appear on their faces. They look pleased, despite themselves. They start laughing. Francesco beams.
INT: Liberty Bell Pavilion - day. Bill, Connie, Livia, Antonietta and Carol are standing with a group of spectators listening to a lecture given by a tour guide. The girls are attentive, their concentration serious. The lecture ends. Livia walks over to Antonietta and tugs her hand. The woman smiles, listens, then nods. Livia walks over to Carol, takes her by the hand, and the three of them touch the bell gently. Connie and Bill are smiling.
EXT: Independence Mall. The girls take Antonietta's hands and the five stroll through the park toward Independence Hall. Connie and Bill walk a short distance behind.
LIVIA
Was that the first time you touched it, Mrs. Forlano?
ANTONIETTA
No. The second day we were here, after we came from the other side, with my Francesco, we touched it - together. For good luck.
On a bench a short distance up the path sits the 'Bag Lady'. The head is down, but the eyes are looking up at the group. Antonietta has to control her anger as soon as she sees the figure.
CAROL
Did you have good luck?
Antonietta's expression softens.
ANTONIETTA
Yes. Yes, I guess we had very good luck.
Connie and Bill are now directly behind them.
CONNIE
My father loves --
Connie has seen the 'Bag Lady'; Antonietta turns, a stern forced smile on her face.
ANTONIETTA
He loved this Independence Hall.
CONNIE
Oh, God, yes.
They are passing the bench.
ANTONIETTA
He liked the design. The way they built it. He was crazy, crazy about the old furniture.
BILL
So he was the collector.
Antonietta and Connie look at each other and start laughing. After they pass the bench, six Black teenagers approach the 'Bag Lady'. One of them starts mocking and gesturing obscenely, while the others stand by laughing. Connie and Antonietta have not noticed.
ANTONIETTA
He was a collector all right. A trash collector.
CONNIE
A lot of the furniture we have Pop found in the trash. He bought a few pieces here and there.
ANTONIETTA
For a couple of bucks. Most of it came out of the trash. He'd go to fancy neighborhoods on trash day.
The teenager is getting louder. The 'Bag Lady' is turned away from him, motionless on the bench.
TEENAGER
You are the sunshine of my life. Swing on this baby.
CONNIE
He found and refinished almost every piece before we were born.
TEENAGER
I got somethin' send you to heaven, mama.
ANTONIETTA
He used to say that this country was crazy for throwing away its old furniture and replacing it with --
She has turned and seen the teenagers.
-- oh, what are they doing?
Bill and Connie turn. The teenager drops to one knee, his arms outstretched.
TEENAGER
Wild thing, I think I love you.
The 'Bag Lady' swings her shopping bag and hits him on the side of his head, knocking him to the ground.
Aaaah! What the fuck you got in that bag, woman? Aaaaah! Shit!
Bill moves quickly toward them, as he removes his badge from his pocket. The rest of the gang raise their arms and start running.
GANG
No problem, man. Hey. It's cool. Yeah.
BILL
Have you had enough?
TEENAGER
Damn.
The teenager forces himself up and runs off. Connie and Antonietta watch tensely. Bill looks at the 'Bag Lady' to assure himself that no harm was done. The 'Bag Lady' never acknowledges his presence. Bill returns to the group.
BILL
I'm surprised she did that.
ANTONIETTA
I'm not.
They continue walking toward Independence Hall. Antonietta has an arm behind her back, shaking a clenched fist. The 'Bag Lady' is smiling.
INT: Living room of the Forlano apartment, later the same day. Antonietta looks concerned, Connie morose, while Francesco sounds apologetic.
FRANCESCO
I wanted to see how he was. With you. With his kids. With her even. I wanted to see for myself.
CONNIE
But what if something goes wrong, Pop?
FRANCESCO
We always looked out for you.
CONNIE
What was there to look out for? What? What have I done all these years? I'm a butcher. I cut meat. I never even --
FRANCESCO
Dated?
CONNIE
Yeah. Not much.
Francesco and Antonietta exchange sympathetic looks.
And now I've met somebody and look what -
ANTONIETTA
Connie, you never went out on dates cause you fell in love with a priest.
Pause.
CONNIE
You knew?
They nod. She sits on the edge of a chair.
You knew. All that time?
They continue nodding. Francesco sits next to his wife.
But we were so careful.
ANTONIETTA
Kids. 'Manadg.' What the hell do you think we are?
CONNIE
Why didn't you try to stop us?
The couple exchange affectionate glances.
FRANCESCO
Because you both seemed happy. Like Frankie and Cal.
ANTONIETTA
Even if your little priest did look like a stick of pepperoni, you seemed happy. And that's all we ever wanted for you.
Connie looks at them pleadingly.
CONNIE
I'm in love.
FRANCESCO & ANTONIETTA
Eh! So are we!
INT: Longo's - day. Connie, dejected, sits alone at the end of the bar. Lost in thought, she wipes her mouth slowly, having just finished a sandwich. A trendily dressed couple sit by the window. A handsome man in his late fifties, with thick silver grey hair, sits at the opposite end of the bar. He is casually dressed and reading a paper. He nods at Connie. She smiles back weakly. Dominick has just given the couple espresso. Joanne is behind the bar at the espresso machine. They all look sullen. Josephine appears at the entrance to the kitchen and raises a hand toward Connie.
CONNIE
Uh-uh. I'm full. Thanks.
Josephine leans against the door, wiping her hands on her apron. Joanne serves Connie an espresso. Dominick sits next to her.
JOANNE
Mom can't help it if she can cook.
Dominick nods; Josephine shrugs.
CONNIE
You can't stop them from eating here.
Josephine shakes her head.
DOMINICK
It's not exactly what we were hoping for.
JOANNE
And then there's --
Josephine glares at Joanne.
CONNIE
What?
Josephine takes a pad and pencil from a shelf and places them in front of Joanne.
JOANNE
You're right.
Josephine returns to the kitchen. Joanne writes on the pad and slides it in front of Connie. She looks at it. WE THINK THE PLACE IS BUGGED Connie gestures, 'Who?' Dominick writes. COPS - FBI - WE'RE NOT SURE An odd black voice, similar to Butterfly McQueen's, is heard coming from the kitchen.
VOICE
Hey, mama, what's happenin'?
Connie glances to her right and freezes when she sees the silhouette of the Bag Lady standing at the screen door that leads to the alley. The man at the opposite end of the bar glances up from his paper and smiles pleasantly. The couple by the window glance toward the rear.
DOMINICK (to Connie)
She's been showing up lately. Mom gives her food.
JOANNE (while writing)
It's a sin. Mom feels bad for her. Swears she used to see her shopping on Ninth Street all the time.
CONNIE
Oh.
The man places a bill on the bar and leaves. Connie looks at what Joanne has written. MOM SAYS THE MOB'S BUGGING US
Why?
DOMINICK (whispers)
So we don't repeat what we hear.
Connie nods and tries hard not to look at the screen door.
CONNIE
Have you heard anything?
Dominick and Joanne exchange quick looks, then Dominick grabs the pad and pencil. The screen door is heard opening.
VOICE
Thanks so much. And you have a wonderful day now, mama.
Connie appalled by the sound of the voice, looks down at the pad. ASSASSIN FROM SICILY
CONNIE
Where?
JOANNE
Here. In this country.
CONNIE
In - in - eh - this city?
They shrug.
When?
DOMINICK
Now.
CONNIE
Wh-why?
They slide fingers across their throats.
Wh-wh-who?
DOMINICK & JOANNE
We don't know.
Connie works at concealing her fears.
INT: Forlano's - later the same day. Antonietta is closing the last door on the handsome grey haired man seen at Longo's. He smiles shyly as he backs away. She nods politely, locks the door, then goes to her booth to put the bills and coins in a cigar box. Frankie is stacking papers in the office. Connie is cleaning up her counter. She is agitated. Her mother and brother keep an eye on her.
ANTONIETTA
I wish the neighbors would leave me the hell alone. Every couple of months they send someone around to ask me out. That one wasn't bad. A little shy but very handsome.
Joey sticks his head in from the loading area.
JOEY
Night.
FRANKIE
Good night, Joey.
Connie gives him a perfunctory wave.
ANTONIETTA
See you tomorrow.
As soon as the rear door is heard closing after Joey's departure, Connie picks up a cleaver and hurls it. Her voice is husky.
CONNIE
If we're here tomorrow!
The cleaver wedges into a column thirty feet away.
ANTONIETTA (gently)
You know I like to keep the place neat.
Frankie walks toward his sister, his manner sympathetic.
CONNIE
What is he going to do to himself?! To us?!
ANTONIETTA
Shh.
FRANKIE
You can't be sure they brought that guy over here to get Pop. We don't know.
CONNIE
He ain't here looking for Mother Cabrini!
ANTONIETTA
A good woman, but no.
CONNIE
Assassin from Sicily. I wanted to throw up.
ANTONIETTA
Ah.
CONNIE
Where is he going with this? Huh? How far does Pop think he'll get?
FRANKIE
I don't know, Connie. I don't think he has a plan.
ANTONIETTA
A plan. Ah.
The Butterfly McQueen voice is heard at the rear of the market.
"BAG LADY"
Ize got mah plan. Ize got my plan togethah yeahs ago.
Connie and Frankie look exhausted. Antonietta smiles and nods.
EXT: Terrace of Frankie and Cal's apartment early the following morning. Cal is sunbathing and shaking his body to the rhythms of Martha and the Vandellas singing "Heat Wave" on the radio. Frankie, looking grave, walks out and sits down next to him. After a pause, he reaches over and turns down the radio.
FRANKIE
You said we would think of something. I haven't thought of a thing. Have you?
CAL
No.
FRANKIE
Then what am I supposed to do?
CAL
I would suggest you do what I'm doing.
FRANKIE
Sunbathe?
CAL
Just have faith in your Dada.
FRANKIE
My Dada is nuts.
Cal pats him gently on the cheek.
INT: Connie's bedroom - twilight. She and Bill are in bed, moments after making love. Their affection dissolves gently into mutual exhaustion. He lifts himself up to look at her and notices tears on her cheeks.
BILL
Hey.
She tries to smile.
What?
She tenses to keep from releasing the tears.
You never did this before.
CONNIE
I've never been this satisfied before.
BILL
No kidding?
She manages to smile but her tone is serious.
CONNIE
No kidding.
INT: Kitchen of Forlano apartment - twilight. Frankie, Cal, Francesco and Antonietta are seated around the table having coffee. Frankie and Cal look astonished. Antonietta is patting Francesco's cheek.
ANTONIETTA
It's good I didn't know. I would have killed you.
FRANKIE (to Cal)
It's easy to hide money in the food business.
CAL
Six hundred and fifty thousand dollars?
FRANCESCO
Hey, it took thirty-five years.
Antonietta rises and pours more coffee.
ANTONIETTA
To Switzerland, he took me. Said it was the cheapest way to get to Rome. What did I know?
FRANKIE
They never took a vacation after we were born.
CAL
And now this.
INT: Vestibule of Connie's house. She and Bill are kissing.
BILL
I'll be able to see more of you. They're taking us off the case.
She tries to conceal her apprehension.
CONNIE
Yeah. Why?
INT: Forlano kitchen - minutes later. Connie is pacing furiously. Antonietta, Francesco, Frankie and Cal are watching and listening intently.
CONNIE
He's ruthless, quick, never misses his target, and - he's - in - this - country - now!!
FRANCESCO
In Philadelphia?
CONNIE
They don't know yet. But they're sure he's here to get whoever's doing the killings.
ANTONIETTA
I'll be a son of a bitch.
CONNIE
They all know the murders are connected. But nobody knows why. So the mob sends word to back off. I suppose they think it takes a killer to catch a killer.
CAL
It's so Italian.
CONNIE
And what's even more Italian is if they find out who he is.
FRANKIE
They could wipe out all of us.
ANTONIETTA
And take over the whole business, like they did when Castaldo the meat man died.
FRANCESCO
Do they know what the assassin looks like?
CONNIE
I guess they do. They know his name.
FRANCESCO
Do you think your Bill could get a picture of him?
CONNIE
I can't ask for a picture. How the...
FRANCESCO
I will ask him for the picture.
They all look at Francesco, astonished.
INT: Dining area of Connie's home the following evening. Cal is arranging the flowers and putting the finishing touches on a beautifully set table for two. Connie comes downstairs in a loose fitting, low cut white cotton dress. She is attaching the last earring.
CONNIE
That looks wonderful.
CAL
You look wonderful. Except for...
He removes her earrings.
Too obvious.
CONNIE
It's one thing getting a guy into bed. It's something else when you try to get them to break the law.
CAL
But now the law has relinquished its responsibility. They want the big boys to do it.
She nods.
I'll stick with your father.
CONNIE
This is not like anything I've ever known.
CAL
Oh, yes it is. You just don't remember your own history. In the old west, if a cattleman caught someone stealing cattle, they hung them on the spot, because justice, the law, was often as far away as a hundred miles.
CONNIE
Where did you learn that?
CAL
I heard it on Sixty Minutes.
CONNIE
Oh.
CAL
It's very possible that justice is still a hundred miles away.
She looks at him affectionately, then kisses him on the cheek.
INT: Connie's dining room - later. She and Bill are staring at each other at the table by candlelight after dinner.
BILL
My mother asked if we were getting serious.
CONNIE
'Getting serious'. I always liked that expression. But I'm afraid your mother doesn't know how serious this is going to get.
EXT: Forlano's - later. Bill and Connie are headed toward her mother's apartment. He looks bewildered.
BILL
Is there something wrong? You can tell me.
CONNIE
We have to show you. And whatever happens in here, there's one thing you've got to remember. I love you more than I've loved anyone in my life.
He looks very concerned. She opens the door with her key. As soon as they enter they see Antonietta, Frankie and Cal waiting just inside the market.
INT: Francesco's room - moments later. Antonietta, Frankie, Connie and Cal are standing; Bill is paused just outside the door. Antonietta gestures gracefully for him to enter. He walks in slowly, then looks totally confused when he sees the 'Bag Lady' sitting at the vanity.
BILL
This is --
FRANKIE
It's no joke.
CONNIE
Do you remember this person?
Bill hesitates, then it registers.
BILL
The 'Bag Lady' at Independence Mall.
CONNIE
Bill, I'd like you to meet my father, Francesco Forlano.
Bill starts laughing.
CAL
It's a start.
Francesco rises and extends a hand. Still laughing, Bill takes it, then his laughter quickly diminishes when he feels the strength of the grip. He looks astonished.
INT: Francesco's room - moments later. Francesco is seated at the vanity, facing the mirror. Bill is seated to his right, watching him intently. Connie is on his left. Antonietta is behind him, her hands resting on his shoulders. Frankie and Cal are seated on the bed. Francesco starts removing his disguise slowly, beginning with the wig. He is relaxed, the warmth and sincerity in his voice convincing. The entire disguise is pealed away during his speech.
FRANCESCO
We came from the hills of Abruzzi. Two kids. Antonietta was fourteen; me, fifteen. Right after the war. The war that killed our families. Both families. Ah. Two kids. Alone. So we come to America. To Philadelphia.
ANTONIETTA
He insisted - Philadelphia. I want to be where it all began, he said.
FRANCESCO
Only twelve blocks away from the Liberty Bell. We had nothing but hope and our youth. It was enough. And we sold the carciofi. Arthichokes. It was good. The people here, they were good to us. We had our cart, our little room with a gas stove and refrigerator. It was good. We had each other. Then we got the radio.
Antonietta smiles. Bill looks around quizzically.
ANTONIETTA
A neighbor, she gave us a second hand radio. We had no money for entertainment. It all went into the business. With the radio we had music.
FRANCESCO
We danced. All day on our feet, we worked like a couple of jackasses. But at night we danced. It was our hobby. When we had a little extra we went around the corner to the movies. Then we really learned how to dance. Hey, we were happy. We felt safe and we were happy. Do you know how that feels, Detective? Huh?
BILL
Happy, yes, I know.
Bill forces himself not to look at Connie.
Safe, I'm not so sure.
FRANCESCO
Ah-ha. It all changed. Right after the babies come, I see it starts to change. First the assassinations, then the drugs, then the politics. Until little by little, maybe not so little by little, I see all that matters is greed and corruption. I got pissed off. Very pissed off. And I never show it. But a plan begins in my head. All by itself it starts. One day I walk along the beach down the shore and I see all this slop wash up. So I pray. I ask God for help. And I never ask God for help. I don't believe in it. My life is too good. But I see these needles and bags of blood and I pray, 'Dear God, dear God, before I die, give me just one chance to teach some Mafioso mother fucker a lesson.'
ANTONIETTA (gently)
This man is a saint.
FRANCESCO
And now they want to find me and teach me a lesson.
BILL
By sending for the Sicilian.
FRANCESCO
Lo Scorpione.
BILL
You know this man?
FRANCESCO
By reputation. He's probably the one they got. He'll kill anybody for a price. Whole families, women, children, babies. He's done that.
BILL
How do --
FRANCESCO
-- I know? About him? I think you call it 'the word on the street.' Yes. People talk. About the Scorpion they've been talking for years.
BILL
And nothing's ever been proven against him.
FRANCESCO
He leaves no witnesses. No witnesses.
BILL
Mr. Forlano, what did you want to accomplish by murdering these people?
FRANCESCO
The same thing they accomplish with their corruption.
BILL
They have money. Many of them have money and a lot of power. Is that what you wanted -- power?
FRANCESCO
And what have they accomplished with their money, with their power? Niente. Nothing. This country now, right now, is not as good as it was when we first came here. And they are to blame for a lot of the problems. I accomplish what they accomplish. Nothing. Only revenge. I accomplish revenge.
BILL
But there are others besides the Mafia responsible for these wrongs. Other groups.
FRANCESCO
But I don't know what they look like. I recognize
the Mafia. You just can't go killing people off willy-nilly, you know.
Cal and the relatives look at Francesco in quiet admiration. A hint of a smile appears on Bill's face.
EXT: Connie's house a short time later. She and Bill are standing on the steps. He is running a hand up and down her arm, while his eyes roam over her body. She has to work at controlling herself.
CONNIE
Oh, Bill, please, don't let my tits influence you.
BILL
You always know what I'm thinking, what I'm feeling. Marrying you would be like marrying a gypsy.
She sighs, then gently touches his cheek.
INT: The Duchamp Gallery at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Cal is looking through the peepholes of 'Etant Donnes'. Bill enters the room carrying a brown envelope. He walks up behind him.
BILL
What are you looking at there?
CAL
Snatch.
BILL
What?
CAL
Snatch. Take a look.
They change places. Bill's view reveals the nude body of a woman in a glade.
Frankly, I can't see what all the fuss is about.
BILL
Holy shit. You weren't kidding.
Bill repositions himself at the peepholes.
CAL
Don't bother, you can't see her face.
Bill moves away from the doors.
BILL
Why did you want to meet here?
CAL
I thought it would be the last place any of the mob would see us. They have such horrible taste.
They start walking through the galleries.
CAL
The pictures?
Bill nods. Cal looks at him, concerned.
Are you all right?
BILL
I've never done anything crooked in my life.
Cal glances around to be sure no one is nearby. He sits on a ledge by a large window.
CAL
I don't think what Francesco did was wrong. I also happen to love his son. I love all three of them.
BILL
That's not hard to do.
Cal smiles.
CAL
I even got to love their taste in music. It's me, the Forlanos, and Artie Shaw and absolutely no facades.
BILL
And now look who's running around dressed like a Black bag lady and murdering people.
CAL
Another work of art.
BILL
That might end up cracked like that piece over there.
CAL
You think so?
Cal opens the envelope and looks at the pictures.
BILL
I don't know. Something tells me this guy won't come to Philly. He'll stay in New York. That's where --
CAL
He's already here.
A shot of the candid photos reveals that it is the same man who was seated at Longo's bar, the man who approached Antonietta.
BILL
What?
CAL
This man's been at the market the last few days making passes at Antonietta.
They start leaving the gallery quickly.
I saw him yesterday. We laughed about it.
INT: Forlano kitchen and dining room. Cal and Frankie are spreading a cloth on the dining room table. Connie is removing a roast from the oven. Francesco is dicing vegetables for a salad. Bill is seated at the kitchen table with Antonietta standing over him, wiping her hands on her apron and looking at the candid photos he holds. Francesco listens intently.
ANTONIETTA
Look at that 'fatch.' The son of a bitch looks like everybody's saintly uncle. No wonder he gets away with murder.
BILL
You're sure it's the same man?
ANTONIETTA
Yeah. How often do you get to see a face like that?
CONNIE
Bill, it's the same man. We've been laughing about him for what - three - four days now?
BILL
What has he told you about himself?
ANTONIETTA
Not much. He's visiting relatives in Jersey for
a couple of months, then he goes back to Naples. He said his wife died a few years ago.
CAL
You don't think he's connected Antonietta and Francesco?
BILL
How could he?
FRANCESCO
No, he could not connect us.
ANTONIETTA
Eh, va bene.
FRANCESCO
But he knows something.
FRANKIE
What the hell could he know, Pop?
FRANCESCO
We know he's not here to visit relatives in Jersey. He talked to someone.
BILL
Who?
Slight pause.
FRANCESCO
Mahd-ee.
ANTONIETTA
Mahd-ee who?
FRANCESCO
The old lady who cooks like an angel. Remember? The news? She said nothing to the cops. She saw nothing, she knows nothing. Right?
BILL
That's what we got.
FRANCESCO
But she said everything to them. They know an old Black bag lady was there. I was on the front page. And the Scorpion knows an old Black bag lady is here.
BILL
They're everywhere.
FRANKIE
White ones, too.
FRANCESCO
But he has seen me.
ANTONIETTA
Where? When?
FRANCESCO
At Longo's.
It registers with Connie.
CONNIE
Oh, Jesus. Oh, Jesus. You're right. He was sitting at the end of the bar. I didn't pay much attention. He was reading a newspaper. Oh, Jesus.
FRANCESCO
He was at the end of the alley when I came out. I thought he was following me, but I wasn't sure. I could see him for maybe a block, a block and a half, then he was gone.
BILL
If we could find out if he's been there regularly --
CAL
Then we'd know if he's watching the place deliberately.
FRANKIE
Yeah. Mom, bring the bread.
BILL
That'll give us some idea of what he knows or doesn't know. Maybe.
CONNIE
But what about Mom? Why's he coming around to see Mom?
FRANKIE
Yeah. Does that mean something?
Antonietta returns from the kitchen with a basket of bread.
ANTONIETTA
It means he wants to get laid.
FRANCESCO
I'll kill him.
ALL
We know!
ANTONIETTA
Time to eat! 'Manadg!'
INT: Longo's - day. Connie and Bill are paused just inside the door. The restaurant is not yet open; the shade on the door is drawn. Joanne is behind the bar at the sound system. She raises a hand to keep Bill and Connie from moving or talking. Dominick and Josephine are on the opposite side of the bar. She puts on a tape of Frank Sinatra singing 'Nice and Easy'. Dominick beckons for Connie and Bill to approach, as he moves a chair to a wall in the rear and stands on it. He points to the top rear of a light fixture extending from the wall, then changes places with Bill. Bill nods his head, indicating that it is a bug, then motions that they should walk back to the alley. Connie follows. Dominick and Josephine remain just inside the screen door.
EXT: Alley. Joanne is intense, anxious; Dominick resigned; Josephine reacting to every word.
JOANNE
We don't know what to do. What should we do?
BILL
Cook. That bug has nothing to do with you.
JOANNE
Then why the hell's it there?
BILL
Somebody's interested in a few of your customers.
JOANNE
You mean like the cops or the F.B.I., huh?
BILL
Or other 'families'. Don't worry. The bug will probably disappear in a few weeks.
Joanne starts back to the restaurant.
JOANNE
All right. We'll cook. You coming?
CONNIE
We'll go this way. I'll see you for lunch tomorrow.
Joanne goes into the restaurant. Connie and Bill walk slowly down the alley.
You're sure they have nothing to worry about? Besides Pop?
BILL
They're no threat to anybody. And I don't think your father would hurt them.
CONNIE
Then what was he doing there? Look what he did in New York! He already hung one dead body in 'Nazut's' refrigerator. 'Nazut'! Of all people, he hurts 'Nazut'.
BILL
No, he didn't. People like Nasuti are so clean, innocent, nothing to hide. We knew in hours Nasuti had nothing to do with the murder. The same with Emma and Pete and the first body. Pop placed the bodies with people he was absolutely sure had nothing to hide. Pop's no dope.
CONNIE
You called him Pop.
He nods.
You know how you sound?
He nods again.
I like it.
BILL
So do I.
He kisses her gently. When he pulls back his look is serious, distracted. He glances back down the alley toward the restaurant.
BILL
He was standing at the door when you saw him that day? In his bag lady outfit?
CONNIE
Uh-huh.
BILL
What time? As close as possible to the right time.
CONNIE
Just a few minutes later than it is now. I took an early lunch.
BILL
The weather? What was the weather like?
CONNIE
Just like today. Clear. Sunny. What? What is it?
INT: Forlano apartment - later that day. Antonietta and Francesco are doing the tango to a Placido Domingo recording. They move from room to room, disappearing and reappearing. Frankie and Cal are washing up the last of the dinner dishes. Connie and Bill are setting a table for coffee and pastries in the living room. All four must dodge the couple whenever they glide pass.
CAL
Don't get carried away you two.
FRANKIE
Yeah, Pop. You can't go getting careless.
CONNIE
You could still be right.
FRANCESCO
No! Wrong! Wrong! I was wrong!
BILL
Francesco, it's just another possibility.
FRANCESCO
Ah, but it makes more sense. I didn't lose him that day cause he was never following me.
BILL
I only said it was hard to see you in that light with the sun behind you.
FRANCESCO
Si! I was La Silhouette! I am still a mystery to one and all!
CAL
Oh, yes you are.
The tango comes to a dramatic finish. Antonietta staggers to the tape deck, turns it off, and collapses on the sofa. Everyone is in the living room.
ANTONIETTA
'Aspett!' 'Aspett!'
FRANCESCO
One more time, cara.
ANTONIETTA
I'm on my feet all day!
CONNIE
Give her a break, Pop.
ANTONIETTA
I want my coffee. A sweet. Sit down, Francesco.
FRANCESCO
Eh.
He shrugs and sits.
ANTONIETTA
And tell me something.
FRANCESCO
What?
ANTONIETTA
If this - ah - assassin isn't looking for you, then why is he always stopping by to see me? Tell me that, Francesco.
FRANCESCO
Ah, look at you. What man could resist you?
He quickly raises his hand in Cal's direction.
ANTONIETTA
Listen to me. All the time you were - ah - dead, the men come.
FRANCESCO
They came when I was alive.
ANTONIETTA
Si! And always I put them in their place.
FRANCESCO
That's my gal.
ANTONIETTA
But this one I cannot stop. Why? Why is he so - so -
CAL
Persistent.
ANTONIETTA
Yes, what he said. Why?
FRANCESCO
Cause, like you said, he wants a little action. And that's just one of the reasons I'm going to kill him.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, no you're not! No! You, you said yourself, he leaves no witnesses. You could get us all killed.
BILL
She's right.
FRANCESCO
But the son of a bitch doesn't even know I exist. He's - ah - persistent cause he thinks I'm dead.
BILL
You will be if you go after him.
ANTONIETTA
It's time you tell them what you're going to do.
FRANCESCO
Ah -
ANTONIETTA
Now, Francesco! Now!
FRANKIE
What's going on, Mom?
ANTONIETTA
You wanted to know if your father had a plan? Well, he has a plan. A big plan. And we are going to do it now, Francesco.
INT: Forlano's - morning. Final preparations are being made for the day's business. Three elderly women are the only customers. Two are browsing the fruits and vegetables, one is sitting on a stool at the butcher counter. Connie is not ready for customers. Her two assistants are still replenishing cases, but she is distracted by her brother and mother in the office. Frankie is comforting Antonietta as she dabs her eyes. All the employees are aware that something is wrong. Antonietta leaves the office and heads for the cashier's booth. She does not check the fruits and vegetables or acknowledge anyone. The employees and the few customers notice the uncharacteristic neglect. Connie looks concerned and starts toward the booth, but Antonietta waves her away. When Emma sees Antonietta in the booth, she sarcastically mouths, 'Antonietta's artichokes - Antonietta's artichokes.' She looks at her watch, puts the last few touches on her fish display, then mouths the words again - impatiently. Pete glares at her. She gestures beckoningly towards Antonietta, trying to extract the words from her.
PETE
Hey!
EMMA
The day doesn't start 'til she opens that 'Bruzzes' trap of hers.
Antonietta cannot control her crying. She keeps her back to the store - and an eye on Emma. Emma approaches slowly, looking genuinely concerned.
INT: Emma and Pete's small store, moments later. Emma and Antonietta are in a closed off section in the rear. Antonietta is seated, holding a handkerchief. Emma hands her a cup of coffee.
EMMA
What a shock.
Antonietta nods while grimacing at the stench of the fish.
What a shock. How did she find you?
ANTONIETTA
She didn't find me. She found the address of another Forlano family in Wilmington. The family in Wilmington sent me the letter. They figured since our store was so well know, maybe we would know someone who knew this woman.
EMMA
What a shock. Your sister. What a -
ANTONIETTA
-- shock. Yeah, I know.
EMMA
It must be over forty years.
Antonietta nods and sips her coffee.
ANTONIETTA
I thought they were all dead.
EMMA
Any of the others still living?
ANTONIETTA
No, just her. She said so in her letter.
EMMA
My, God. Are you sure it's your sister?
ANTONIETTA
She knew names, nicknames, dates - everything.
EMMA
Oh, it'll be wonderful if you get to go and see her.
ANTONIETTA
Yes. Yes. But you must do me a favor, Emma. A big favor.
EMMA
Anything, Ant-net, anything.
ANTONIETTA
Not a word to anyone about this. Not one word. I don't want - a - a curse on this.
EMMA
Oh, Ant-net, my lips are --
EXT: Emma and Pete's. Emma is closing up for the day and talking to Grandmom.
EMMA
-- as big as a circus tent. That's how big her purse'll have to be once that sister on the other side gets her hands on it.
GRANDMOM
She can afford it.
EMMA
Yeah, but them relatives from It-ly can be real greedy.
GRANDMOM (resentfully)
I was a relative from It-ly and I still got holes in my drawers.
INT: Francesco's room - later the same day. Francesco, Antonietta, Connie, Frankie and Bill are packing boxes.
ANTONIETTA
The Daily News couldn't get the news out any faster. That woman's got a mouth --
CONNIE
Mom, that's why you told her in the first place.
ANTONIETTA
Yeah, but some people just talk too much.
Cal enters with some empty boxes.
Oh, good. I have more newspapers upstairs. I'll get them.
CONNIE
I'll go, Mom.
ANTONIETTA
There are some things I think I send, but I'm not sure.
FRANCESCO
Hey, my ring. I want my key ring.
ANTONIETTA
Okay! Okay!
Francesco's affectionate gaze lingers on her as she goes.
INT: Forlano apartment. Antonietta comes up the stairs. She picks up a stack of newspapers on a kitchen chair, hesitates, then puts them down. A feeling of melancholy comes over her. She walks slowly, touching furniture, objects, making her way to the chapel. As she turns on the electric votive candles, she also inadvertently throws the switch for the taped organ music. It starts dissonantly. She turns it off quickly, smiles, and shakes her head. She goes to the altar and picks up the keys. Her eyes fall on the
Infant of Prague. She stares at it, then backs into a pew, her eyes never leaving the statue. Her gaze reveals nothing except an intense concentration. A sound is heard in the apartment. Cal appears at the entrance to the chapel. He approaches slowly and sits nearby. She does not shift her gaze away from the statue.
CAL
Would you like to wrap him up nice-a-nice and take him with you?
She smiles.
ANTONIETTA
I feel like a hypocrite. When we thought Francesco was dead, I was in here every morning. Now the little guy looks ridiculous. What kind of mother puts her boy in a dress?
CAL
Any mother who names her son Caledonia.
ANTONIETTA
But you're English.
She looks at him warmly.
You look after my Frankie?
CAL
What do you think?
ANTONIETTA
I couldn't do better. He couldn't do better.
CAL
We couldn't do better. I love all of you very much.
ANTONIETTA
Now that's not very English.
CAL
It's not, but I never said it before.
ANTONIETTA
You never had to.
CAL
We'll miss you.
ANTONIETTA
You think it's wrong for us to go?
CAL
I never questioned it.
ANTONIETTA
Well, question it - now. Do you?
CAL
I left my country, my insufferably dreary parents. But I didn't leave any children behind.
ANTONIETTA
We leave no children. Our kids are as big as they're going to get - unless they put on weight.
CAL
Do you think it's wrong to go?
She shakes her head slowly.
ANTONIETTA
Not one bit. I have to be with Francesco. He's all I've ever known, because he's all I ever wanted to know. I got my husband back and I'm going to keep him.
CAL
How long has he been planning this?
She smiles thoughtfully.
ANTONIETTA
Many, many years. He never talked much about - world problems The work, yeah. Music - furniture. But not the big problems. Now he talks all the time. Last night he told me when we left the old country he knew, he said he knew what happened there could happen anywhere.
CAL
War. That was war.
ANTONIETTA
Destruction. That's what he meant - destruction. What difference does it make what causes it? Bombs, guns, dope, trash - greed. It's all destruction. You don't see things til you're older. I always knew he was a good man. I never realized how good til we lost him. Or thought we did. Life shouldn't be like that. There's a word
you hear a lot in this neighborhood.
CAL
Respect.
ANTONIETTA
Huh-huh. 'Show respect,' they shout at their kids. And the Mob uses it a hell of a lot. You always have to show respect to the boss - bosses.
CAL
That's not respect, Antonietta.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, you saw that too.
CAL
It's fear.
ANTONIETTA
It's all fear, isn't it? Once they scare you, and keep you scared, then they got you. And they can do anything they want to you.
CAL
But they never scared Francesco - or you.
ANTONIETTA
They left us alone. You know, I never thought about it. But we were left alone. We worked hard. When we had to, when we could, we helped people. Especially Francesco, always helping people. They left us alone.
She stares at Cal in wide eyed realization, then screams:
WE WERE SO FUCKIN' NICE!
They laugh uproariously.
EXT: A deserted parking area near I-95 along the river. Night. A trolley car passes under the highway, stops, discharges The Scorpion, and moves on. He scans the area, as he lights a cigarette. A late model black Cadillac is parked in a shadowed area of the underpass. He walks toward it slowly. The driver's window opens a few inches, but the driver remains concealed.
SCORPION
I do not like this.
DRIVER
Nessunu ni vede ca'.
The Scorpion switches to Italian very reluctantly.
SCORPION
Faccio le cose al modo mio.
DRIVER
Beh, ti devi disbrigare, ca ella parte pe' l'Italia.
SCORPION
Come lo sai?
DRIVER
Lu sapa tutta la Nova Strada. Pare che ricevette 'na lettera da sorella, o 'na cosa simile.
SCORPION
Quale sorella? Tu mi hai detto che...
DRIVER (aggressively)
Che cazzo ne sacci'io quala sorella? Idda va in Italia, e tu si' pagato tanti soldi. Percio' fai quello che bisogna fare, e fallo subito.
SCORPION
Perche' parli in Italiano?
DRIVER
Come?
SCORPION
Why do you speak Italian?
DRIVER
So we understand one another better.
SCORPION
Oh, no. I do not understand you any better. I have never met an Italian in this neighborhood who speaks Italian correctly. Or any language correctly for that matter.
DRIVER
You make your living killing people and you're criticizing me cause of the way I talk?
SCORPION
Before I complete my work here, I just thought you
should know, you sound like shit.
The Scorpion turns and walks off slowly.
DRIVER
I sound like shit?
INT: Passport Office. Connie and Antonietta are at the counter. A young, female clerk is checking her application.
CLERK
Everything seems to be in order. You must be very excited about going back, Mrs. Forlano. How long has it been since you've been to Italy?
ANTONIETTA
Since the son of a bitch Mussolini busted our balls.
CLERK (calmly)
Oh, and when was that?
Connie gives her mother a satisfied nod.
EXT: Passport Office. Connie and Antonietta walk quickly toward Connie's car.
ANTONIETTA
What am I going to cook tonight?
CONNIE
Mom --
ANTONIETTA
You eating at my place?
CONNIE
Pop's not home.
ANTONIETTA
But he might be back, so I cook.
CONNIE
We still have to get you some clothes. And we can eat --
ANTONIETTA
Clothes?! Who the hell has time to wear clothes?
CONNIE
You're going on a trip. Not around the corner to
the movies.
ANTONIETTA
We got no movies around the corner no more.
EXT: Longo's later the same day. Most of the businesses have closed, but the dinner business is yet to begin. Antonietta walks wearily toward the restaurant. She carries a small old fashioned change purse.
INT: Longo's
DOMINICK
Hey, Ant-net.
ANTONIETTA (mumbles)
An-ton-oh, the hell with it.
JOANNE
It's good to see you get out.
Josephine appears at the entrance to the kitchen and waves her hands gleefully at Antonietta. She waves back.
ANTONIETTA
I've been out. Believe me, I've been out.
The hand holding the purse is resting on the bar. Someone comes up behind her. She turns and is openly surprised to see the Scorpion, impeccably dressed, looking very handsome. She has difficulty concealing her discomfort -- and admiration.
Oh, you! You! Ha, ha! It's you. You look - eh - very nice. You smell very good.
Almost tenderly, his eyes roam over her face and body. Joanne, Dominick and Josephine enjoy watching the flirtation.
I thought you went back to Sicil - Naples - back to Naples.
SCORPION
I am flattered you remembered.
ANTONIETTA
I remembered. Ha, ha.
She has nervously thrust her hands into the pockets of her house dress. The Scorpion has one hand resting on the bar.
SCORPION
Does this mean you will have supper with me this evening?
He starts to remove the boutonniere from the lapel of his jacket.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, I am so sorry. But my daughter, my son -- people. I am having dinner with - with many people.
He gently slips the flower into the buttonhole on her dress.
SCORPION
Then you will accept this as a token to remember me by.
Joanne, Dominick and Josephine exchange looks of approval.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, you are such a - a kind man.
He takes her hand and kisses it.
Just like Charles Boyer.
He nods graciously, then leaves, passing Connie as she enters.
DOMINICK
I thought men did that only in the movies.
ANTONIETTA
That man is a killer.
CONNIE (calmly)
You okay?
ANTONIETTA
He has a way about him.
Antonietta picks up her purse.
CONNIE
Probably needs it in his work.
Dominick signals that the corner table is ready. Connie follows her mother toward it, then glances up at the light where the bug was hidden. Joanne notices.
JOANNE
Gone. A couple of days ago. Just like he said.
She shrugs, as if she no longer cared. Frankie, Cal and Bill enter. Connie
is surprised.
FRANKIE
We found him looking for you.
Bill is a bit edgy.
BILL
You don't mind?
Connie shakes her head, aware of Bill's state.
ANTONIETTA
Sit down, Billy.
He sits next to Connie. Frankie and Cal flank Antonietta.
CAL
I'm starving.
Antonietta is about to comment, but is stopped by Bill's question to Connie.
BILL
Will you marry me?
All motion stops, except for Cal trying to break a slice of crusty bread as quietly as possible and slipping a piece into his mouth. Pause.
CONNIE
Sure.
ANTONIETTA
Congratulations. He didn't even give you a nice little flower. Let's eat.
EXT: Forlano's, after dinner. Bill and Connie are walking with their arms around each other's waists. Frankie and Cal walk behind, mimicking them. Antonietta glances back, as she opens her purse to get her keys.
ANTONIETTA
That's not nice, you two. Oh, where the hell are my keys?
CONNIE
Check your pockets?
ANTONIETTA
I checked.
FRANKIE
Maybe you left them at the restaurant.
ANTONIETTA
No, no. Go see.
Frankie and Cal head back to the restaurant. The others walk on to the Forlano apartment.
I know I double locked that door.
Antonietta looks seriously distracted. Connie takes her key and inserts it in the doorknob. The door opens.
I double locked it, Connie.
CONNIE
You probably left the keys upstairs, Mom.
BILL
Do you want us to come up and help you look?
She shakes her head. Frankie and Cal return.
FRANKIE
No keys.
They see the opened door.
CAL
You found them.
CONNIE
I opened it. She thought --
ANTONIETTA
Frankie, give me your key to the top lock.
FRANKIE
We'll come up and help you look.
ANTONIETTA
Just give me the key. I'll find them myself.
He snaps the key off his ring, hands it to her, then kisses her on the cheek. Cal kisses her, then Connie. She accepts the kisses casually, but then looks at Bill, who hesitates only briefly, then kisses her. They are all aware of the significance of the gesture. Antonietta smiles and nods.
Go home. Make wedding plans.
She enters the building. Frankie and Cal go to their car nearby; Connie
and Bill toward her house. The late model black Cadillac is parked on the opposite side of the street. Connie and Bill stop at his car parked in front of her house.
CONNIE
She'll find them. She's so distracted by everything that's -- Oh, my God, wait til Pop hears we're getting married.
BILL
I think he likes me.
CONNIE
Oh, he does. But he'll want to be there. He can't give me away. Oh, God how -- how long do you want to wait before we get married?
He shrugs.
BILL
Ten minutes.
She throws her arms around him and kisses him.
INT: Frankie's car a short time later.
FRANKIE
You don't mind cancelling the trip?
CAL
There'll be other trips. We're young, we're healthy.
FRANKIE
Thanks.
INT: Connie's bedroom a short time later. She is alone, standing near a dresser by a front window, smiling to herself. She removes her keys from her dress pocket and places them on the dresser. She reaches to turn on a lamp but her hand goes to the sheer window curtain. She parts them and looks at her mother's place. Her face is relaxed until she sees the sudden appearance of her mother's profile in the small window of the door that leads to the apartment. She grabs her binoculars and for seconds she can see Antonietta arguing with someone. Her mother's face snaps away from the window, followed by a shock of silver grey hair passing swiftly. She drops the binoculars on the dresser, grabs her keys, and starts running.
INT: Forlano's. Antonietta breaks away from the Scorpion's grip, staggers against crates, and stumbles toward the cashier's booth. The Scorpion remains composed, moving slowly, casually attaching a silencer to his gun.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, Dio, oh Dio --
SCORPION
'Oh, Dio, oh, Dio,' that's what they all say.
EXT: Connie running from her house, clutching her keys. The driver's door of the black Cadillac opens.
INT: Forlano's
ANTONIETTA
You - you cannot get away with this.
SCORPION
I am a professional. I do get away with it.
ANTONIETTA
We know - we know all about you.
SCORPION
Oh, yes.
EXT: Forlano's. Connie is running to the apartment door. A man is approaching her quickly.
INT: Forlano's
ANTONIETTA
I am a good woman!
SCORPION
Then you will not take this personally.
EXT: Connie is unlocking the door as fast as she can. She turns and sees someone coming toward her.
CONNIE
Help me! Help me! Someone's trying to hurt Mom.
INT: Forlano's. The Scorpion is taking aim, but his expression is sympathetic.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, Jesus Christ!
The door crashes open.
CONNIE
Mom!
ANTONIETTA
He's got a gun! He's got a gun!
Connie rushes to her mother. Don Costaldo closes the door and remains a few feet inside the market, motionless.
CONNIE
Are you all right? Are you all --
Antonietta starts flailing.
ANTONIETTA
He's going to blow my head off and you ask if I'm all right?!
CONNIE
Mom, I --
Antonietta's hand hits the tape deck. "Rosalie" blares through the market. The Scorpion shoots the tape deck.
ANTONIETTA
He shot Tony Pastor!!
SCORPION
That was Tony Pastor? I have heard of him.
CONNIE
How did he get in here?
ANTONIETTA
The son of a bitch stole the keys from my purse at Longo's.
The women are between the cashier's booth and the butcher block.
CONNIE
Money, do you want money?
ANTONIETTA
He doesn't even want sex!
CONNIE
Mom!
ANTONIETTA
I thought he broke in to rape me.
SCORPION
Only very sick people do that kind of thing.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, God help us.
She sees Don.
What's he doing here?
CONNIE
He was outside. I --
Connie's wheels are turning.
ANTONIETTA (to Don)
You are a dead man! He leaves no witnesses.
SCORPION
You have heard of me.
ANTONIETTA
My husband told me! Oh, where is my Francesco?
DON
Your Francesco's dead! Remember?
He is agitated, sweaty, but unable to move.
CONNIE (calmly)
And that's why you hired this man to kill Mom.
ANTONIETTA
What?!
CONNIE
He brought him here.
ANTONIETTA
Me?! Why me?!
CONNIE
The mob took the business away from him when his father died.
ANTONIETTA
That's not my fault!
Connie is very calm.
CONNIE
With you out of the way he would get them to take over and he would run it. He would front it for them. Is that right, Don?
Connie is moving closer to the butcher block.
SCORPION
But he was very smart not to tell anyone he hired me. They all knew I was here, but no one knew why. He is not a complete fool.
DON
And I'd have some respect again!
ANTONIETTA
You? Nobody ever respected you. You can't even wipe your own ass. And you sure as hell couldn't run my business.
DON
Kill em! Both of em!
SCORPION
You are paying for only one.
Connie is at the butcher block.
DON
And you don't leave no witnesses.
SCORPION
That is not true. No one ever tells a story accurately. They also say I kill babies and old women. I have never done such a thing.
ANTONIETTA
I'm an old woman!
SCORPION
Not old enough, I'm afraid. And I must say there is a little bit of regret --
DON
Kill em!
The Scorpion turns his head toward Don and speaks evenly.
SCORPION
No - orders. I - told - you - I - work - alone.
He is about to turn back toward the women, but the flash of metal whizzing by and the sight of a cleaver hitting Don between the eyes stops him. Connie moans at her accomplishment.
ANTONIETTA (softly)
Oh, my. He's going to get blood on the 'cagootz.'
The Scorpion keeps the gun pointed at the women. Don staggers. He tries to bring his hands up to the cleaver but lacks the strength. Groaning, he drops to his knees. The Scorpion has moved toward him. Connie is trying to control her groans. Antonietta is shocked but still trying to anticipate what might happen. The Scorpion places the gun behind Don's ear and fires.
SCORPION
It is more merciful.
ANTONIETTA
And that's what we want.
CONNIE
Oh, God, Mom, what are you talking about?
The Scorpion pats Don's jacket then removes an envelope from the inside pocket. With the gun still pointed at the women, he gives the money in the envelope a cursory count. Satisfied, he quickly disassembles his gun. Connie is almost on the verge of tears, shocked at her own action. She hardly notices what has been happening. Antonietta approaches the Scorpion tentatively. He looks at her apologetically.
SCORPION
This man was a dangerous idiot. I should not have accepted his offer. I have my money. No one knows why I came here. You and your children are safe. But I'm afraid I cannot help you get rid of this body.
ANTONIETTA
We'll think of something.
Connie approaches slowly, almost staggering. She looks down at the body and winces. Then she begins to listen to the exchange taking place and observes the almost affectionate glances incredulously.
SCORPION
It is not difficult. In a city this large you can make anything vanish.
ANTONIETTA
Vanish. Yes, that's the right word.
Slight pause.
SCORPION
You are an exciting woman. If only we had met under propitious circumstances.
Connie's eyes widen in disbelief. Antonietta is touched, but controlled and very uncomfortable.
ANTONIETTA
You speak such good English. I always liked that.
He nods gracefully, then turns and leaves. Antonietta is moved and relieved. Connie is doubled over.
CONNIE
Oh, Mom, I think I'm going to mess myself.
ANTONIETTA (distracted)
Please, not on the vegetables.
Connie dashes for the office toilet. Antonietta moves her head slowly to look down at Don's body, then points toward the door, advising -
ANTONIETTA
Now, that was a gentleman.
INT: The basement under the market two hours later. Don's body is on a table, covered with plastic bags. Antonietta, Frankie and Cal are staring at it in disbelief.
CAL
I hate this person.
FRANKIE
Killed. He wanted them killed.
Connie is coming down the stairs carrying two large knives and a bow saw.
ANTONIETTA
She got to him first.
CONNIE
Because I missed.
They look at her incredulously.
I missed. I was trying to hit the Scorpion. I hit him instead.
Francesco enters quickly from his back room, tying on an apron over an old butcher's shirt. She hands her father the knives and saw.
FRANKIE
Pop, you don't have to do this. We can put him in his car and get rid of him.
FRANCESCO
He goes where he belongs. In the trash. Our trash. Tomorrow. When I get through with him, nobody will know he's there.
ANTONIETTA
I can take only so much.
She starts to leave.
CONNIE
Pop, I'd help --
FRANCESCO
No. Go. You all go. Get rid of the car.
Cal attempts an impersonation of Boris Karloff.
CAL
Oh, master, why may I not stay and watch?
FRANKIE
Get upstairs!
Cal follows Antonietta and Connie upstairs. Frankie hesitates.
FRANKIE
I'll help.
FRANCESCO
You and Cal get rid of the car.
FRANKIE
Sure?
FRANCESCO
I appreciate the offer.
Frankie starts upstairs.
Hey.
He stops.
Remember, I made you go to college, but what did I always tell you?
FRANKIE
'Everybody should also have a trade.'
FRANCESCO
That's right.
When Frankie gets to the top of the stairs he hears -
Banzai!
WHACK!
Just kidding.
Frankie nods approvingly.
INT: A church. Day. The wedding march begins. At the altar is one chubby, smiling priest and two bored altar boys. Cal is serving as Bill's best man. Bill's mother, in her early sixties, dressed simply, is seated in a front pew, smiling at him. Antonietta is in the front pew on the opposite side of the center aisle. Her outfit is almost theatrical in comparison. Emma, Pete, Nasuti, Dominick and Josephine, along with all the employees of Forlano's and their families, sit among the many merchants and vendors of Ninth Street. The crowd occupies half of the front pews of the church. At the rear, ten young girls from the neighborhood sit in small groups, giggling, eager to see the bride. Interspersed are six elderly women, heads bowed, saying their rosaries, oblivious to the proceedings. Bill's daughters are flower girls, Joanne the maid of honor. Frankie is giving Connie away. When they start up the aisle, one of the elderly women, stout, buxom, hair pulled back in a bun, dressed entirely in mourning black, starts making her way toward the center aisle. She kneels, leans back on the pew, then turns to watch the procession. Frankie is first to see that the woman is his father, crying copiously. Frankie utters a deep, controlled moan that causes Connie to follow his gaze. She is surprised, pleased, and proud. Antonietta nods approvingly, knowing who the woman is. Bill turns slowly to Cal.
BILL
Is that --
CAL
You betcha.
BILL
Looks good to me.
No one else pays any attention to the woman.
EXT: A quiet residential neighborhood in Europe. Day. Connie and Bill are kissing. When they part they reveal a small butcher shop on the opposite side of the street with a sign that says Forlano above its one window. Customers are coming and going quickly.
CONNIE
Amazing what you can accomplish with a few good sausage recipes.
Antonietta waves from the window as she retrieves some items from its shelf. Connie gestures to ask if she wants them to help. Antonietta shakes her head and waves them away. Francesco is busily handling customers. Artie Shaw's 'Cross My Heart' can be heard faintly.
BILL
I thought for sure they'd go back to Italy.
They are walking away from the shop.
CONNIE
Said he wanted to be close to his money.
As they walk on, a wider angle reveals that the shop is next to the largest bank in Switzerland. The volume of 'Cross My Heart' increases.
EXT: Forlano's on Ninth Street. The usual morning bustle is taking place, with everyone putting finishing touches on the day's preparations.
INT: Forlano's. Frankie is sharpening knives at the butcher counter. Cal is arranging flowers around a box of artichokes in the cashier's booth. Artie Shaw is playing on the new tape deck. Josephine is just outside the market, carrying a shopping bag and inspecting Emma's fish. Tommy, Don Costaldo's assistant, enters from the rear and places a box of beef cubes next to Frankie.
FRANKIE
Thanks. Eh, hear anything from Don?
TOMMY
No! And we hope she never comes back! That was a sick woman!
Tommy goes off, leaving Frankie laughing. Emma checks her stands to make sure everything is in place. Cal looks down at her just as she looks up at him and shouts, playfully
EMMA
All right! Hit it, kid!
Frankie and the employees break into broad grins. Cal is resigned, accepting. He increases the volume on the tape deck, then turns and shouts in an exaggerated American accent:
CAL
Ant-nets dor-a-bell r-tee-chokes! Juicey! Tender! Get-em-rye-cheer. Get-em-fresh.
Everyone within hearing distance laughs, including Nasuti, who is at his door tying on his apron. As Josephine turns to leave she raises her hand in a flourish and shouts in a basso profundo voice.
JOSEPHINE
You sock it to em, Caledonia!
Cal looks at Frankie for an instant, then both start laughing uncontrollably. 'Cross My Heart" comes up to full volume. The camera pulls back and rises slowly, ending in an aerial view of Ninth Street.
THE ENDTIME: 1990
PLACE: Philadelphia, PA
EXT: A balmy Spring morning along the six blocks known as the Italian Market, but referred to simply as Ninth Street by the locals.
An organ arrangement of the Bach-Gounod 'Ave Maria' is heard in the distance.
Merchants are methodically preparing for the day's business, casually exchanging greetings. The stores are nondescript, purely functional, the pavements protected by tin awnings. Wooden bins covered with tarpaulins line the street adjacent to the curbs, leaving minimal space for the traffic that defers consistently to the street's business.
The exception is Forlano's, the largest store in the market. It sits on a corner of the widest intersection and sells produce, meats, a small selection of flowers and canned goods. Instead of tin, it is surrounded by dark green canvass awnings with the family name repeated in yellow on the scalloped borders. Four groups of wide, high double doors, darkly stained and varnished, fold back, while the entire perimeter is dotted with bins on both the pavement and at the curb. Only the last building that sits on the side facing Washington Avenue uses a large garage door for access to the loading and storage area. The entire structure was originally five buildings that have been adapted to the business, four on Washington Avenue and one immediately north of them on Ninth Street. This last building contains the most conspicuous feature - a stained glass window of the Infant of Prague. The camera pans up slowly to the window, as the sound of the 'Ave Maria' gets louder.
INT: A private chapel. Antonietta Forlano, a handsome woman in her mid-fifties, is kneeling in front of an ornate statue of the Infant of Prague. The organ music continues softly. After a few moments of prayer, which resemble more of a silent conversation, with nods, shrugs, a few hand gestures, she blesses herself and rises. She gently touches a large brass ring of keys next to the statue and runs her fingers across the top of a photograph in a silver frame. She turns and walks quickly past two rows of pews toward the double doors that lead to her living room. Before opening the doors, she throws a switch on the wall, bringing the music to a slow, dissonant halt. Her look is both exasperated and apologetic. She enters the living room.
INT: The apartment. She passes through an eclectic collection of late nineteenth and early twentieth century pieces, all well restored and placed without looking cluttered, and reaches the French doors in time to see Costaldo's meat truck go up on the curb. She quickly opens the outside screen and shouts:
ANTONIETTA
Hey, 'stunad'!! Get that truck off my curb!! You drive like your sister's ass!!
The truck jerks forward and stops. She closes the French doors neatly.
EXT: The market an hour later. Activity has increased. Most of the bins are filled with vegetables, fruits, fish, poultry, eggs, some with shoes and clothing. A few bins remain covered.
Emma Salpizzio, whose small store and bins are adjacent to Forlano's, is placing fish on beds of ice with the help of her husband Pete. She takes quick, hostile glances at the Forlano flowers next to her. Antonietta is moving quickly from bin to bin, arranging produce and flowers, while her four employees, all men and much younger, try to keep up with her.
EMMA (mumbling)
Don't splash.
PETE
What?
EMMA
Don't splash. You know how she worries about the smell getting on her damn flowers.
PETE
We sell fish.
EMMA
Yeah.
One of Emma's bins is still covered. Pete places two buckets of ice next to it, and she starts to lift the tarp but stops when a customer points to two fish she has chosen and hands her the money. Not noticing that her slight movement of the tarp has exposed a man's hand, she quickly wraps the fish and makes change.
PETE
I gotta get the 'calamad'.
Frankie, Antonietta's thirty year old son, dashes across the street and into the market. Though casually dressed, he is still over-dressed for the work he does.
INT: Forlano's. Antonietta sees Frankie's reflection in a mirror over the meat counter.
ANTONIETTA
Late! You're late!
She picks up two empty cartons and hands them to one of her employees.
In the back.
The employee takes them and starts toward the rear of the building.
If you came dressed right, you wouldn't waste time changing clothes.
Frankie has entered a small glass enclosed office. His well built torso is visible from the waist up as he changes his clothes.
If you moved back home you wouldn't have to go through all that trouble.
His expression negates her suggestion.
Where's your sister?
He shrugs.
Another one.
Critically taking in every aspect of the preparations, she returns to the main entrance that faces Ninth Street and steps into a small, slightly elevated cashier's booth. Unlocking the register, she removes rolls of bills and change from her apron and puts them in the register. Directly behind her in the booth are neatly stacked boxes of artichokes surrounded by flowers for decoration. They are the only produce not accessible to the customers. Next to the display sits a portable tape deck. She calls out to one of the workers who has just finished stacking oranges and grapefruits in a bin.
ANTONIETTA
Put the crates in the back. I don't want this place looking like...
She turns in time to catch him mimicking the words 'shit house'.
You ain't so funny, you know.
She sees her daughter Connie putting on her apron at the meat counter. Though yawning, she is moving quickly, and anticipating what her mother is about to say. A beauty who wears no makeup, she has her mother's earthy good looks and no nonsense attitude.
Eh! Come home with the milkman?
CONNIE
There are no milkmen left, Mom.
ANTONIETTA
I called 'til one in the morning. Where were you?
CONNIE
Playing cards down at Longo's. I told you.
During this exchange, Emma is heard yelling.
EMMA
Son of a bitch! I ain't runnin no hotel here. Wake him up! Get him the hell out!
Antonietta locks the register and goes to her bins in the street.
EXT: Forlano's. The men who work for her and the vendors on the opposite side of the street are smiling at Pete as he tries to wake the old man in the bin. The man's body remains covered below the shoulders.
PETE
C'mon! Hey! Wake up! C'mon!
Antonietta cannot resist getting a better look.
EMMA
Up! Get up! Out!
ANTONIETTA
Whatta you charge to sleep there, Emma?
EMMA
More than you can afford.
Antonietta moves closer.
PETE
Hey, Ant-net...
ANTONIETTA
An-ton-iet-ta. My name is An-ton...he looks dead.
EMMA
Madam know it all. He's a bum; he's asleep. What dead?
Pete presses his palm against the old man's cheek and leans closer to his face. Connie is nearby, staring down incredulously at the man. There is a large birthmark on the upper part of his left cheek.
PETE
Hey, you know, she's right.
The expressions on the faces nearby become serious.
EMMA
No.
Antonietta touches the old man's cheek.
ANTONIETTA
Yeah.
EMMA
Oh, Jesus, where we gonna put our 'calamad'?
Antonietta sees that a few of the early customers have begun to notice. She tries to obstruct their views, while acknowledging them with forced smiles and nods.
ANTONIETTA
Get him out of here. Put him inside.
EMMA
Hang him from the ceiling?
PETE
We got no room.
Connie walks back into the market, shaking her head. Antonietta quickly pulls the tarp over the body.
EMMA
I need the bin. Where am I gonna put my 'calamad'?
ANTONIETTA
Joey!
One of her employees rushes over.
(to Emma and Pete) If we carry him, it'll be up and down the street in ten seconds. (to Joey) Get three of the guys to help you move this to the back. Inside. Out of sight. (to Pete) You call the cops.
Joey beckons the men. Pete enters his store. Antonietta starts back to her booth.
EMMA
Where am I gonna put my 'calamad', Ant-net?
ANTONIETTA
Va fanculo!! An-ton-iet-ta!!
INT: Forlano's. As she moves swiftly back to her booth, she notices that a few of the older Italian female customers are staring at her
disapprovingly. Defiantly she presses the tape deck and the strains of Artie Shaw accompanying Tony Pastor singing 'Rosalie' back up her abrupt shift in tone.
Antonietta's artichokes! Antonietta's artichokes! Fresh! Tender! Get 'em right here!
EXT: Forlano's. Emma rolls her eyes, but immediately gets back to work.
INT: Corridor - highrise. Frankie leaves the elevator. He looks impatient, as he rushes down the hall, fumbling for his keys, while carrying a large bag of canned goods and produce.
INT: He enters a bright, six room apartment with a river view. Much of the furniture is similar to the pieces at his mother's place. The fabrics and colors are subtle. There is a large collection of books, tapes and CD's.
FRANKIE
You home?
CAL
I'm home.
Frankie goes directly to the kitchen where Cal, a tall, handsome blonde Englishman with a swimmer's body, is carefully arranging a tray of cold shrimp and canapes. He is about eight years older than Frankie.
FRANKIE
You're not going to believe what happened at the market.
Frankie kisses him quickly on the cheek, then starts removing the vegetables and canned goods from the bag.
CAL
The murder I just heard about on the news?
FRANKIE
Already? The T.V. trucks got there just before I left.
CAL
It was live. Your usual live telecast about a dead subject.
FRANKIE
Murdered! Who? Why? And the way they did it.
CAL
The reporter said it appeared to be murder. He didn't say how--
FRANKIE
Someone cut out his heart. It's missing--his heart. And it was very neatly done.
Cal looks revolted.
Hardly any blood on his clothes.
Frankie holds up a can.
Look, roasted peppers. Your favorite.
CAL
Cut out his heart?
FRANKIE
Yeah. I was glad no one noticed.
CAL
You didn't actually see it, did you?
FRANKIE
God forbid. I overheard the cops talking about it. No one's supposed to know.
Cal removes a roll of plastic wrap from a closet and covers the tray. Frankie starts washing the vegetables.
CAL
Anyone recognize him? On the news they said they didn't know.
FRANKIE
No. And no identification on him. Just Connie. She was the only one who said she thought she'd seen his face before. But then she said she was probably wrong. Mom didn't know him either. She sure as hell didn't care. She was really pissed that it took the cops an hour to get there. She just wanted him out and she didn't want our place mentioned at all. Did they mention it?
CAL
No. Not once. They just stood in front of it and photographed it. What's the difference? It's a landmark. Run by one of the few great eccentrics left in this country.
FRANKIE
She loves you. You're a university professor.
Since Pop died, she doesn't understand why we don't move down there with her and save a whole lot of money.
CAL
And live with the Infant of Prague?
FRANKIE
You went all the way upstate to that Polish town to buy her that statue.
CAL
But I am not about to give up my freedom to a woman who thought Mussolini was the good humor man.
FRANKIE
Always the jokes. Always the exaggerations. My folks hated Mussolini.
CAL
Do you want us to move in with your mother?
FRANKIE
Oh, no.
CAL
Why not?
FRANKIE
Ah, there's no view of the river.
Cal kisses him on the forehead.
CAL
Come on, you better get ready. We're going down to Phil and Diane's for drinks.
Cal puts the tray in the refrigerator and starts for the bedroom.
Our annual celebration of school closings. You can tell them all about the missing heart.
FRANKIE
No one's supposed to know about that. It's deliberately withheld evidence. Like in the movies. Mom and Connie don't even know.
Cal is out of sight.
CAL
All of Ninth Street probably knows by now. All the
more reason to discuss it at length. Just think of yourself as Miss Marple. (screaming) NO VIEW OF THE RIVER!
Cal laughs uproariously. Frankie smiles, resigned.
EXT: Connie leaving her house, which sits diagonally across from the family market. She carries a small bag of donuts. It is early the following morning, and the market is still going through its usual preparations. She crosses the street and goes to a side door of Forlano's and opens it with a key.
INT: She starts up the stairs but stops when she hears her mother shout:
ANTONIETTA
Niente! Niente! Niente! 'Capeesh?'
Connie quickens her pace.
MAN'S VOICE
Any little thing might help.
ANTONIETTA
I don't know little things. I know big things. When, where, how to order fifty crates of the best Romaine I can get. That's what I know.
INT: Connie enters the large kitchen. Her mother is washing dishes, while a handsome, ruddy, thickly built man in his early thirties sits at the table, a cup of coffee and a note pad in front of him.
CONNIE
Mom, you all right?
ANTONIETTA
Yeah, yeah.
Connie and the man are instantly attracted to each other. He cannot keep his eyes off her body; she cannot keep her eyes off his face. Both are visibly embarrassed. Antonietta has her back to them.
This here's Detective -- Meddigan.
BILL
The name's McCusker.
He rises and extends his hand toward Connie.
Bill McCusker.
She takes it, but neither shakes.
ANTONIETTA
I been telling him we don't know about the old guy.
Antonietta turns to wipe the table just as the hands separate slowly. She notices.
CONNIE
No one recognized him.
BILL
How many people saw him?
ANTONIETTA
We didn't wheel him up and down Ninth Street asking people, 'Does this belong to you?', if that's what you mean.
BILL
Did you see him?
CONNIE
For maybe a couple of minutes, if that.
Antonietta is carefully observing Bill's reaction to her daughter. Connie starts drying the dishes and putting them in cabinets.
You know, it was funny. The second I saw him I thought he looked familiar.
Antonietta purses her lips in disapproval.
Just for a second.
Antonietta lifts the coffee pot.
ANTONIETTA
More coffee?
BILL
No, thanks. Miss - Ms. - Forlano --
CONNIE
Miss - Ms. - definitely not Mrs.
Antonietta scowls.
BILL
Birthmark, maybe.
Connie is putting utensils in drawers. Antonietta watches Bill follow the sway of her hips. She sits in a chair at the table, her hands folded on her lap.
CONNIE
Maybe. I don't know. It was only for a split second. I was looking at him upside down.
Bill looks at Antonietta quizzically.
ANTONIETTA
No, she wasn't upside down. The dead guy was upside down. She was standing behind his head.
BILL
Did you look at him right side up?
CONNIE
He was dead. You sure you won't have more coffee?
He is almost mesmerized by her body.
BILL
Well, maybe--
ANTONIETTA (to Connie)
We gotta get to work, you.
BILL (pleading)
Just a few more questions.
CONNIE
Mom, the man has an important job to do.
ANTONIETTA
Look, mister, you gonna ask questions, or you gonna sit there and stare at my daughter's ass?
Bill is stunned. Connie nonchalantly reaches for the coffee pot, not at all affected by her mother's remark.
CONNIE
Help yourself to a donut.
Connie pours him more coffee. He picks up a donut slowly.
ANTONIETTA
Connie, the man's wearing a wedding ring, for God's sake.
CONNIE
Oh.
Connie turns away to hide her disappointment.
BILL
I'm not - I'm not married.
Antonietta taps his finger.
ANTONIETTA
What the hell is this?
BILL
My wedding ring.
ANTONIETTA
And they send you out to investigate murders?
BILL
I'm a widower.
Her back to them, Connie's eyes widen gleefully. Antonietta is immediately sympathetic.
ANTONIETTA
You're so young.
BILL
It happened sixteen months ago. I don't want to take off the ring.
ANTONIETTA
Yeah, I know. I lost my husband--
CONNIE
Mom, we all lost Pop.
ANTONIETTA
...a little over a year ago. I'll never take off my ring. And I'll never take off my clothes again either. For a man, I mean. But I'm fifty-seven years old. You're so young.
CONNIE
Any kids?
BILL
Two.
CONNIE
Must be rough.
BILL
My mother's with us now.
ANTONIETTA
Boys? Girls?
BILL
Two girls.
ANTONIETTA
Ah, that's nice. So some day you'll understand why I have to look out for every over-sexed son of a bitch who comes in here and tries to get into my daughter's pants.
Connie's exasperation begins to show.
CONNIE
And how many have gotten as far as this kitchen, Mom?
ANTONIETTA
Two. Only two. When she was in high school.
Antonietta rises to go down to work.
One's in jail. The other guy's a Holy Ghost Father.
Bill looks bewildered.
BILL
Look, I think I better go.
CONNIE
This is why I got my own place.
ANTONIETTA
You got your own place 'cause you wanna be a zingara.
Bill rises and pockets his note pad.
BILL
I'm going now. I'll--
CONNIE
And where did I buy a house? (to Bill) You know where I bought a house just to keep her happy?
BILL
Well, I really don't think this--
CONNIE
I live right across the street. Right across the street.
ANTONIETTA
And she still comes home with the milkman.
CONNIE
There are no milkmen anymore!!
BILL
Maybe if I just--
CONNIE
She watches me with binoculars
ANTONIETTA
Who sez?
CONNIE
I sez!
BILL
I'm leaving now.
He starts down the stairs; the women follow, Connie in the rear.
ANTONIETTA
How do you know?
CONNIE
Because I watch you with binoculars watching me with binoculars! You've been doing it ever since I moved in!
ANTONIETTA
And that's why you're still alive and safe!
CONNIE
Ha!
BILL
Oh, my God.
ANTONIETTA
You better be safe.
CONNIE
Safe! What the hell is that anymore!!?
ANTONIETTA
Hear that mouth to her mother? Hear it? She doesn't know how much I love her, how much I worry about her. I love her so much I could slit her throat when she talks like this.
The shouting continues as Connie slams the door behind her.
EXT: Ninth Street after midnight. A creaking metal cellar door is opening slowly. The street is deserted.
POV of someone climbing up to the street and closing the metal door as quietly as possible. The person walks slowly for a few yards, then stops behind a hanging tarpaulin. On the opposite side of the street, a neon sign stating LONGO'S in the window of a small bar and restaurant goes off. A man in his mid-twenties comes out to the street and places a large garbage can at the curb. Wiping his hands on his apron, he starts back, but must step aside quickly when a burly man in his fifties, dressed in polyester with three large gold chains around his neck, exits and starts walking in the direction of the tarpaulin. The young man looks at him belligerently then enters the restaurant. An exterior view reveals a woman, also in her mid-twenties cleaning the bar. Four men in their sixties are seated around a table, talking intensely. The woman gives the young man a look of exasperation to show her dissatisfaction with the men at the table. The young man shrugs helplessly. Cut to the POV of the person behind the tarpaulin crossing the street to head off the man who left the restaurant. The man glances toward the camera but continues his aggressive pace. The camera stops as the man approaches. His pace slackens. His expression becomes more hostile, and then slightly bewildered. A bright red scarf appears in front of his face.
MAN
No. No tricks.
The scarf is snapped three times.
Hey, go sleep somewhere.
The snapping accelerates. He laughs nervously. The final snap occurs close to his face. In one swift move the scarf is wrapped around his head and his throat is slit. The body is caught before it falls, then dragged a few feet to the door of a store that has NASUTI'S SAUSAGE written on its window. The person dragging the body unlocks the door with a key, drags the body inside, then closes the door slowly.
EXT: The Forlano market the following sunny morning. Activity on the street has just begun to increase.
INT: Forlano's. Antonietta is in her booth, neatly stacking her
artichokes. Katyna Ranieri is on the tape singing 'Zingara'. Connie is at her butcher counter slicing meat for braciole and smirking at her mother.
ANTONIETTA
Get 'em right here. Fresh. Tender.
Emma rushes in and whispers to Antonietta.
EMMA
D'ya hear that old guy had his heart cut out?
ANTONIETTA
No. No, I didn't hear that.
Emma keeps nodding as she backs away. Antonietta looks over at Connie.
CONNIE
Whatever she said, Mom, just remember she never got a story straight in her life.
Phil, one of Connie's assistants, places a box of large beef chunks next to her.
PHIL
He had one box left.
CONNIE
Good. Thanks.
She glances into the box, then does a double take. She takes a closer look.
He did it again! Pick it up.
Phil lifts the box and follows her to the loading area. Frankie is walking toward her.
Is Costaldo's truck still back there?
FRANKIE
Yeah.
Her pace quickens.
EXT: Loading area. Don Costaldo, a heavy, unpleasant looking man in his early thirties, is about to get into his truck. His assistant, Tommy, smaller, somewhat shy, is already seated on the passenger's side, looking very uncomfortable.
CONNIE
Hey, Don.
Don looks knowingly at Tommy, then turns toward Connie.
This is the fifth time in two months!
DON
What?
CONNIE
What? You know what! It's no good.
DON
Looks good to me.
CONNIE
Oh, yeah? Then you eat it. It's not good enough for our customers!
Don opens the side door to his truck and gestures for Phil to put the box in.
DON
You say so, boss.
His smug attitude angers her.
CONNIE
You know, when your father ran this business...
DON (snaps)
My father's not runnin' the business no more!
CONNIE
No! Now your new boss picks out the slop and you deliver it!
DON
We got a good reputation!
CONNIE
Then keep it! Pay attention to what the hell you're doing. Cause you're not ruining our reputation.
Connie and Phil start back to the butcher counter. Don gets in his truck. Tommy speaks to him gently.
TOMMY
You'll never do that.
DON
Oh, yes I will.
TOMMY
She has eyes like a hawk. She's good.
INT: Forlano's. Antonietta is in her booth; Frankie is handing her rolls of change.
ANTONIETTA
I need some small bags.
FRANKIE
I'll get them. I have to go down and get a new changer. This one's acting up.
ANTONIETTA
Did you hear about the old guy? His heart was cut out.
FRANKIE
Who told you?
ANTONIETTA
Emma.
FRANKIE
Nobody's supposed to know. How'd she find out?
ANTONIETTA
'Stunad.' Everybody talks when they're not supposed to. A cop probably told her.
FRANKIE
You sound like Cal.
ANTONIETTA
If I sounded like Cal I wouldn't be selling artichokes.
Connie and Phil have returned to the butcher counter.
Everything all right?
CONNIE
Don! He's really getting careless.
Frankie starts toward the rear staircase that leads to the basement. The market is busy. Connie is deftly sharpening a knife as she gets ready to prepare a crown roast. An old woman carrying a shopping bag and walking a seven year old boy approaches Antonietta's booth. On the opposite side of the street, Emilio Nasuti, the maker of sausage, is lumbering toward his
store.
INT: Basement. Frankie switches on a light and comes down the steps. A series of four spaces are separated by the supporting walls of the row houses that originally stood on the site. The spaces are connected by arched openings, with storage areas to the right and left. The storage areas contain neatly stacked pieces of old and new wood, tools, old children's furniture, unrepaired antiques, and one old, completely assembled bin with the fading letters ANTONIETTA'S ARTICHOKES painted on its side. Frankie goes to the third area and switches on another light, revealing a collection of neatly arranged butcher's utensils hanging on a board and lined up neatly on an old butcher block. Everything is dusty.
INT: Forlano's. Antonietta is handing the old woman her change and the youngster a lollypop.
ANTONIETTA
'Teh.'
BOY
Thank you.
The boy notices Nasuti at the door of his store, talking with one of his employees.
He's there now, Grandmom. The sausage man.
GRANDMOM
Why's he so late?
ANTONIETTA
'Guarda che culo che ha.
Grandmom laughs.
INT: Basement. Frankie is transferring coins to the new changer. He stops when he notices the dust free impression of a large knife that has been removed from the butcher block. His expression, at first quizzical, shifts quickly to irritation.
INT: Forlano's. Antonietta is quickly making change for customers, as the boy, sucking on his lollypop, begins tugging impatiently on his grandmother's hand. Nasuti and his assistant are turning on lights and putting on aprons.
GRANDMOM
(to boy) 'Aspett!' (to Antonietta) I'm sinking the sausage in the gravy. That's it. I don't feel like rolling no meatballs.
A frail, elderly woman, hesitant as to where she wants to go first, has
stopped in front of Nasuti's store. Antonietta removes two twenty dollar bills from a roll she has in her apron.
ANTONIETTA
Get me six pounds. Half and half.
GRANDMOM
Keep this.
Antonietta hands her the money and places her shopping bag in the booth. After propping open his front door, Nasuti opens the door to his walk-in refrigerator, which can be seen from the street. Changing his mind, he leaves the door slightly ajar and starts checking the contents of the cases. The door starts opening slowly on its own. The frail woman starts toward the entrance. Frankie re-enters the market, hooking the new changer to his belt as he walks quickly. Joey calls out to him.
JOEY
Frankie, hey, we need--
FRANKIE
Wait a minute.
He moves directly toward Connie.
GRANDMOM
If your husband didn't teach that guy how to make sausage, I don't know what he'd be doing today. Francesco was a saint.
The boy is leaning precariously, the lollypop in his mouth. The refrigerator catches his eye. He straightens up slowly. The frail woman has stopped before the threshold. Her head tilts from side to side.
ANTONIETTA
Did I ever tell you about the two of them making sausage?
GRANDMOM
Uh-uh.
ANTONIETTA
I'll tell you someday. You'll piss yourself.
The boy and the frail woman are the only two who have noticed the body hanging upside down in Nasuti's refrigerator. The red scarf and gold chains hang from the side of the neck. A piece of dark organ meat is stuffed in the mouth.
BOY
Grandmom.
GRANDMOM
All right.
BOY
Look.
Frankie leans across the counter and whispers to his sister.
FRANKIE
If Mom finds out you're using one of Pop's knives, she'll use it on you.
She looks incredulous.
CONNIE
What?
FRANKIE
There's a knife--
The steady wail of the frail woman pierces the air, growing in intensity to almost operatic decibel levels. She lifts her arms above her head and starts stomping her feet fiercely. Nasuti and his assistant approach her cautiously, as she continues to scream and back onto the pavement. All eyes are on her.
GRANDMOM
Oh, how 'sgoombareesh'. What the hell's wrong with her?
BOY
Grandmom, I think there's something wrong with that man hanging in the refrigerator.
The horror of it starts to register on everyone's face. Grandmom returns Antonietta's money.
GRANDMOM
We're going to roll meatballs whether we like it or not.
Antonietta takes the money, but her eyes never leave Nasuti's.
INT: The dining room and kitchen of Antonietta's apartment the following Sunday afternoon. Antonietta, Connie, Frankie, and Cal are nearing the end of the meal. Bowls of leftover meatballs and spaghetti and two bottles of wine are still on the table.
Connie rises and picks up the bowl of spaghetti.
CAL
I think he's right. I think these murders might be good for business.
CONNIE
I'll get the salad, Mom.
FRANKIE
I didn't say that.
ANTONIETTA
Put the coffee on. It's all ready. It could ruin his business.
CAL
People can be strangely curious about such things. After all, how often do you find one dead body munching on the heart of another dead body?
ANTONIETTA
This is one of your dumb ass English jokes, isn't it?
CAL
Some people will eat anything if it's tasty enough and the price is right.
CONNIE
For God's sake, Cal!
ANTONIETTA
Caledonia, you're really full of it.
Connie and Frankie suppress laughs. Cal puts his fork down.
CAL
Oh, please.
ANTONIETTA
What's wrong? Caledonia's a nice name.
Connie returns with the salad and places a salad plate and fork in front of Cal.
And you're still using a salad plate. When--
FRANKIE
He likes it that way, Mom.
ANTONIETTA
Your father couldn't understand it either. When's that guy gonna learn to eat his salad with the left over gravy on his plate, he used to say.
CAL
The idea of putting that roughage into this sauce--
ANTONIETTA
Gravy! Gravy!
CAL
Gravy! It still revolts me.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, but body parts in sausage is all right?
Connie and Frankie laugh.
I'll make you a promise. You learn to eat the salad the way you're supposed to eat it, and I'll never call you Caledonia again, and I'll never tell a soul that's your name.
She starts for the kitchen.
CAL
Why did I ever show that woman my naturalization papers?
ANTONIETTA
Cause I didn't want my son living with a foreigner, remember?
Antonietta is removing cups and saucers from a cabinet when the bell rings. She throws a switch on the intercom and continues moving as she shouts.
ANTONIETTA
Yeah!
BILL
Mrs. Forlano, it's Detective McCusker.
Connie rolls her eyes and shakes her hands at Frankie and Cal.
ANTONIETTA
Yeah, whatta ya want?
BILL
I thought your daughter might be here.
CONNIE (quietly)
I'm here! I'm here!
ANTONIETTA
I thought you said you had a family.
BILL
I - I do.
ANTONIETTA
Then why ain't you home eatin'? If you was Italian, you'd be home eatin' now.
BILL
I've got work to do, Mrs. Forlano. Is she there?
Connie speaks softly into the intercom, forcing her composure.
CONNIE
Yes, I'm here.
BILL
Could I come up, please?
Connie looks at her mother.
ANTONIETTA
Eh, he said please.
Connie pushes the button. Antonietta turns on the heat under the soup and quickly assembles a place setting. Connie dashes to the dining room, biting her hand in gleeful anticipation, then dashes back to the kitchen. Bill comes up the steps dressed in jeans and a knit shirt that show off his large, muscular frame, which no one fails to notice, including Antonietta, who smirks blatantly at the effect. He carries a large brown envelope.
BILL
Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't know you were eating.
With the plates and utensils in her hands, she leads him to the dining room.
ANTONIETTA
Sit down.
She pulls out a chair and sets the table.
Did you meet my son, Frankie?
Bill shakes hands with Frankie, but he is trying to figure out who Cal is in relation to the family.
BILL
No. Bill McCusker. Are you doing this for me? I didn't--
ANTONIETTA
Sit.
He sits.
And that's--
She hesitates, realizing that an explanation of Cal's role is not easily achieved. Cal is giving her a steely look.
-- eh - Cal -- Cal Douglas. He's - eh - he's a college professor.
They shake hands.
CAL
But I always wanted to be a gumshoe.
Connie enters with a bowl of soup and a basket of sliced Italian bread, which she places in front of Bill. He looks up at her almost shyly. Antonietta returns to the kitchen.
BILL
That's a word you don't hear often. Thank you.
Connie sits opposite him.
FRANKIE
What does it mean?
CAL
We'll look it up together when we get home.
The implication of Cal's remark registers quickly with Bill. He controls a smile. Antonietta at the stove reheating the spaghetti and meatballs rolls her eyes. Frankie reaches for the bottle of wine. He is not controlling a smile.
FRANKIE
Have some wine.
Connie moves quickly.
CONNIE
I'll get it.
She leans across the table to pour the wine, revealing her cleavage, which
Bill finds impossible to ignore.
BILL
I was wondering if you remembered--
ANTONIETTA (calling)
Connie, whatever you do, don't lean across the table.
CONNIE
All right, Mom.
Frankie and Cal suppress their laughter.
If I remembered who the old guy was? No.
BILL
How about the man they found yesterday?
CONNIE
I wouldn't even look at him, except for that first shock when the old lady screamed. Are they sure it was the other guy's heart?
BILL
That's what the test showed. So you didn't get a good look at him?
CONNIE
Uh-uh.
Antonietta enters with a tray of spaghetti, meat balls and braciole.
BILL
Look at these pictures and tell me if he looks familiar.
Connie touches the envelope squeamishly, then Antonietta slaps her palm on it as soon as she places the tray on the table.
ANTONIETTA
You got pictures of a stiff here?
Cal mouths 'a stiff'.
BILL
Huh-huh.
ANTONIETTA
After we eat. Help yourself. (to Connie) I
forgot to give him a plate for his salad.
BILL
I always put it on the same plate with the gravy from the macaroni.
The others turn to Antonietta and wait for her reaction. She nods approvingly, but retains a hint of suspicion.
ANTONIETTA
I'll get the coffee cups.
FRANKIE
I'll get them, Mom.
Antonietta sits at the table, as Frankie goes to the kitchen.
ANTONIETTA
So, you talk to 'Nazut'?
BILL
Nasuti?
She nods.
ANTONIETTA
Cal, you shoulda seen 'Nazut' when they found that body in his fridge. He was melted mozzarella.
CAL
Do you have any idea who's doing this?
BILL
We haven't even been able to identify the bodies. Nasuti's place wasn't broken in to, and he was the only one with a set of keys.
Frankie returns with cups and saucers.
FRANKIE
Now he is.
CONNIE
My father used to have a set of keys.
ANTONIETTA
'Nazut's' a good guy, but years ago he had trouble holding a job. So one day he comes to my Francesco and says, 'I saved a few bucks. I want my own little business, but I don't know how to do nothin. Can you teach me how to do somethin?' So Pop says,
'Give me a day or two and I'll think about it.' My Francesco never made a quick decision in his life.
Bill is eating the spaghetti. Connie enjoys looking at him. Cal enjoys watching Connie's delight. Nothing gets by Antonietta. Frankie distributes the cups and saucers, then returns to the kitchen for a platter of fruits and cheeses.
So he comes to me and says he really wants to help him, but he knows only one way to do it. He wants to give him the sausage recipes my grandmother gave me before she was killed by the sons-a-bitchin' facisti. I wanted to kill him. My grandmother's recipes. We were supposed to sell our sausage.
BILL
Why didn't you?
CONNIE
They sold artichokes instead.
ANTONIETTA
When we came over on the boat we didn't have enough money to buy the meats and spices and casings to make the sausage. So Francesco built a cart and we sold artichokes. We did good. Real good. First the artichokes. Then vegetables. Then a little fruit. We moved from the cart to a building right here on this corner. And Pop started the meat business. That's what he was learnin' to do on the other side. Be a butcher. He was just about to introduce the sausage when 'Nazut' asked for help.
FRANKIE
'Nazut' didn't even know how to make sausage.
ANTONIETTA
You remember that?
CONNIE
I remember.
ANTONIETTA
Now he makes the best sausage on Ninth Street. Thanks to Francesco and my grandmother's recipes. I could have killed both of them.
BILL
Why did you let him give away the recipes?
ANTONIETTA
'Cause it made him feel good. Made me feel good, too, once 'Nazut' opened and his store did so good. That's why, to this day, we never once sold a piece of sausage in our market. In honor of my grandmother, who's up in heaven makin sausage for Christ himself.
All of them are smiling.
BILL
But what does this have to do with keys?
ANTONIETTA
Keys? What keys?
BILL
The keys to Nasuti's. The set you said your husband had.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, yeah. I show you.
Bill puts salad on his plate.
They're still on his key ring. You sure you don't want another plate?
BILL
This is fine.
ANTONIETTA
Good.
She goes to the chapel.
CONNIE
She keeps Pop's keys on the alter in her chapel.
BILL
You have a chapel here?
FRANKIE
Mom said it would be cheaper than going to church.
Antonietta returns carrying a large brass ring with sixteen keys separated into four groups by the brass images of the saints. She sits next to bill.
ANTONIETTA
Here. 'Nazut's' between the Blessed Mother and Saint Jude.
CAL
How could he miss?
Connie moves to Bill's side of the table and sits close to him. He holds the keys.
CONNIE
Pop was funny about some things. He hated locks. He said a world with locks was a world uncivilized. He had this mental block about remembering what keys belonged to what locks.
She is running her fingers over the keys.
BILL
So he divided them into groups.
ANTONIETTA
He remembered the keys by remembering the saints.
Bill is staring at Connie.
BILL
Who uses these keys now?
ANTONIETTA
Nobody. They stay on my altar with his picture and the Infant of Prague. I got my own set.
She removes a small change purse from her apron and retrieves her keys.
But I don't have 'Nazut's' keys.
CONNIE
He was a real good man, our Pop.
Bill is enthralled.
Everybody loved him.
Antonietta loses patience. She grabs Bill's face by his chin and turns him toward her.
ANTONIETTA
Hey, Mr. Detective, why'd you come here today?
BILL
Would it be alright if I asked your daughter
to dinner?
ANTONIETTA
Ask her. She's a big girl now.
She releases him. He turns to Connie.
CONNIE
Sure.
A satisfied, devilish look crosses Antonietta's face. She reaches for the envelope.
ANTONIETTA
So the stiff's in here. Did you snap his picture with or without the heart in his mouth?
EXT: Frankie and Cal approaching their apartment building a short time later.
FRANKIE
"We'll look it up together when we get home"? Why the hell didn't you just come out and tell him we're two fruits?
CAL
I thought that's what I was doing. I just didn't want him thinking--
FRANKIE
That you were Connie's date or something? Fat chance.
CAL
When we get to Venice, I'm going to throw you into the Grand Canal.
INT: Kitchen of Antonietta's apartment. She and Connie are doing the dishes.
CONNIE
I hope he calls soon.
ANTONIETTA
I like him. A little old fashioned. Your father would have liked him.
Connie looks longingly at a photograph of her father in his butcher whites hanging on the wall.
INT: Bill and Connie in a small, quiet, dimly lighted restaurant, coffee
and after dinner drinks in front of them.
CONNIE
They say the smoke kills you first. They found his body, what was left of it, in bed. So maybe he didn't feel it.
BILL
Probably not.
Pause.
CONNIE
Do you mind if I ask what happened to your wife?
Pause.
BILL
After dinner one night, she said she didn't feel well. She went upstairs to lie down. Fifteen minutes later I went up to see how she was. She had - died.
Connie looks pained.
I felt - (pause) I felt - (pause) dead. (pause) I never said that to anyone. (pause) We knew each other since we were ten. We got married when we were eighteen. I've - eh - never -
Pause.
CONNIE
You never dated.
BILL
Not like most guys.
CONNIE
Is that why you asked my mother first - if you could take me out?
BILL
Like somebody from the nineteenth century.
CONNIE
She liked that.
INT: Antonietta seated by the French doors that face toward Connie's house. She is sewing a button on a dress. Placido Domingo singing "El Dia Que Me Quieras" is playing on a tape. She reaches for the binoculars on a nearby
table, hesitates, then returns them with a resigned sigh.
EXT: Connie and Bill strolling by the river.
CONNIE
You must have looked at other women. I'm damn sure they looked at you.
BILL
Yeah, but I was always - scared.
CONNIE
I wonder what century that comes from.
He laughs at himself. She smiles and takes his arm. He looks relieved.
BILL
Why hasn't anyone latched onto you? Your mother couldn't have scared everyone away.
CONNIE
She thinks she did.
Her expression is serious; she keeps her face averted.
INT: Antonietta still seated by the French doors, sewing. The tape has changed to Frank Sinatra's recording of "Mamselle". She moves her head in time to the music, glances toward her daughter's house, then smirks.
EXT: Bill and Connie standing close, without touching, on a quay by the river.
BILL
Where is he now?
CONNIE
South America.
BILL
I guess your folks never knew.
CONNIE
No. No.
BILL
Did anyone?
CONNIE
Frankie. Then Cal. Now you.
BILL
Why did you feel you had to tell me? Because it went on for over ten years? Because he was a priest?
She looks at him, astonished.
CONNIE
Have you ever heard of a disease...AIDS?
He looks apprehensive.
BILL
Oh.
Then the relative safety registers.
Ohh - that's - ah - nice.
CONNIE
And if we're both telling the truth, it's as good as it gets.
They chuckle.
INT: Antonietta dozing in the same chair. The music is off. The phone rings and startles her. She and answers it at a table by the French doors.
ANTONIETTA
Hello. (pause) Hello. Eh!
She shrugs and hangs up. She parts the curtains on the doors and looks at Connie's house. As she turns slightly, she notices someone standing outside a phone booth on the opposite corner. It is a man in silhouette. He appears to be staring back. She gasps.
INT: Connie and Bill sitting in his car, laughing uproariously.
BILL
Thirty-two years old - two kids - and I feel like somebody just told me the facts of life.
CONNIE
Only today's facts.
They look at each other, as their laughter dissolves.
INT: Antonietta sitting rigidly in a chair by the phone, staring straight ahead. The phone rings, she jerks, it rings again. Her voice is strained when she answers.
ANTONIETTA
Hello. (pause) Hello.
MAN'S VOICE
Ti amo con tutto il mio cuore. Vieni in cantina.
The caller hangs up. Her eyes close; she is on the verge of fainting.
INT: Bill driving Connie to her house and parking. She looks over at her mother's apartment. All the lights are off.
CONNIE
She went to bed already. I thought she'd be waiting up with her binoculars. She must trust you.
BILL
She's just making noise.
CONNIE
Yeah. Does somebody have to get killed before I get to see you again?
He kisses her gently.
INT: Antonietta timorously walking down the steps to the first floor. She carries her keys. When she reaches the bottom she keeps herself concealed as she looks through the small window in the door and sees Connie waving to Bill as he pulls away in his car. She waits until Connie enters her house before unlocking the door that leads to the market.
INT: Forlano's. Carefully remaining in the shadows, she makes her way to the basement door. She must steady herself before opening it and turning on the light.
INT: Basement. Her legs almost give out as she walks down the steps, clutching the railing. The Katyna Ranieri recording of 'Capri' is heard playing softly. She reaches for the light switch at the arched passageway, then withdraws her hand slowly. The wall at the far end is illuminated by a glow coming from the right. Reaching out for support, she makes her way slowly, then stops when a male figure steps from the light and into the passageway. She groans and starts to collapse. The man rushes to support her and leads her toward the light. Weak, she still tries to resist.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, Dio, Dio, Dio, Holy Mother of God! Oh, Dio.
INT: He leads her through a small alcove and into a large room containing a little more than the basic necessities: a stove, sink, refrigerator, slightly elevated bathroom, a couple of easy chairs, a few oriental rugs, a vanity, lamps, and a handsome hand carved Victorian bed. He leads her
to the bed and places her gently on her back. She cannot look at him, and keeps her eyes closed tightly. A little portly, he has a handsome, gentle face with thick, black hair greying only at the temples. He starts kissing her on her face and neck. When he gets to her lips she returns the kiss, clutching him to her, clawing his back. He pulls away to look at her, gently stroking her hair and face. Her eyes are tearful, her expression one of shock. Suddenly she brings up a knee and gives him a kick and a slap that send him to the floor. He groans.
ANTONIETTA
Where in the name of Jesus Christ have you been for over a year, Francesco?!! Where?!!
She rises from the bed quickly. He starts backing away on his haunches.
FRANCESCO
Be nice, Antonietta.
ANTONIETTA
Where?! Huh?
FRANCESCO
I tell you, my darling.
She starts stalking him; he crawls as fast as he can.
ANTONIETTA
Yes, my darling, you will tell me!
She kicks him.
FRANCESCO
Please, be nice, Antonietta!
ANTONIETTA
Where have you been? In this room?
FRANCESCO
No! No!
ANTONIETTA
Where?!
FRANCESCO
Ah, New York, Paris, Geneva, Venice. I still like Venice best.
She goes limp.
ANTONIETTA
Oh!
FRANCESCO
You know how much I always wanted to see Venezia.
She sits on the bed.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, my!
FRANCESCO
I had a good time.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, Jesus Christ.
She notices the bed.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, this bed. You said you sold this bed years ago. You said you sealed this room cause it was too damp.
FRANCESCO
I tell a little lie. I know how much you like that bed.
ANTONIETTA
A husband I think is dead is not dead. A bed I think is sold is not sold. And a whole room. What is happening in this place?
He makes himself comfortable on the rug, grinning sheepishly.
FRANCESCO
You happy to see me, my Antonietta of the Artichokes?
ANTONIETTA
Oh, bullshit!
She takes a long look at him.
ANTONIETTA
Why?!!
His grin shifts instantly to a deadly serious look.
FRANCESCO
I had work to do.
Her expression changes slowly from confusion to apprehension.
ANTONIETTA
Work.
He smiles broadly, proudly.
EXT: Forlano's - noontime the following day. Along with the usual customers, there is a spattering of young couples, college students, and middle aged tourists, some of whom are taking pictures of Nasuti's. Frankie is in the cashier's booth, Connie at her butcher counter. Antonietta is carrying bags to the bins on the street. She stops when she sees the number of spectators. A man blocks her way as he attempts to photograph Nasuti's, which is crowded with customers. Emma catches Antonietta's attention and shrugs. Antonietta goes to the bin next to Emma.
ANTONIETTA
This is Monday, no?
EMMA
Tourists. I bet they're hoping we'll find another body.
ANTONIETTA
Oh.
EMMA
What do we care? They're not buying nothin'
INT: Francesco's hideaway. He moves a chair across the floor and places it under the boarded up window.
EXT: Forlano's.
ANTONIETTA
I don't know if all this is good or bad.
INT: Francesco's hideaway. He is standing on the chair and removing the board. A dirty torn curtain is hanging on the window.
EXT: Forlano's.
PETE
I thought they was newspaper people taking pictures.
Antonietta turns to look at Nasuti's. An exterior shot of the basement window reveals shapely legs going by.
INT: Francesco's hideaway. He quickly moves his face closer to the curtain.
EXT: Forlano's. Antonietta turns back to her bin and gets a quick glimpse
of her husband's nose protruding through a hole in the curtain. Her face goes rigid.
ANTONIETTA
Have the - eh - cops been back?
EMMA
Yeah. But not with my bin.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, so careless, so careless.
INT: Francesco's hideaway.
FRANCESCO
Hmmm - hmm -
EXT: Forlano's. Antonietta is biting down on her lip. Someone approaches from behind and taps her on the shoulder. She turns quickly to face the big, slow witted Nasuti, still wearing his apron and totally exasperated.
ANTONIETTA
'Nazut'!
NASUTI
Antonietta, who, who would hang a body, a dead body, with a heart in its mouth, in my refrigerator? Upside down!!
ANTONIETTA
Yeah, 'Nazut', who would do such a thing?
NASUTI
Who?
ANTONIETTA
Who?
She tries hard not to look at the window.
EMMA
Ah, look at all the business you're doing.
Antonietta sees the nose again and starts nervously stacking her vegetables.
NASUTI
I'm almost out of sausage. I can't make it that fast. Oh, Antonietta, I wish Francesco was here.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, yes!
NASUTI
He'd know what to do.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, yes!
PETE
C'mon, I'll buy you a beer.
NASUTI
I gotta get back inside.
Nasuti returns to his store. Antonietta looks down at the nose as it moves quickly from side to side.
EMMA
He's right. Francesco woulda handled this.
ANTONIETTA
Yes. Francesco.
Connie walks over and notices her mother's eyes darting about.
CONNIE
What are you watching, mice?
ANTONIETTA (abruptly)
Where you going?
CONNIE
Crowd making you nervous?
ANTONIETTA
Go eat!
Connie is not concerned with her mother's attitude. She crosses the street, makes her way through the crowd, acknowledges some of the vendors, and stops at Longo's. Dominick has just finished cleaning the glass in the door. He looks dismayed and motions for her to enter.
INT: Longo's. Sparsely decorated, it has ten tables, a short bar, two rest rooms, and a small kitchen. A screened back door in the kitchen leads to an alley. As soon as she enters Dominick pulls the shade and locks the door. Connie looks at him curiously. Joanne enters from the kitchen with a bowl of limes, which she slices in a highly agitated way.
JOANNE
It's not making me crazy. We worked too hard.
Mom, Connie's here.
CONNIE
What's wrong?
Josephine, short, chubby, in her mid-sixties, pokes her head out of the kitchen and raises one, then two fingers, smiling benignly.
CONNIE
Just one, please, Josephine.
Josephine returns to the kitchen.
JOANNE
Tell her. Go ahead, tell her.
DOMINICK
Yesterday, Joanne was passing 'Nazut's' when they found that guy. He was in here the night before.
JOANNE
With them.
DOMINICK
Fortunato and his 'friends'.
Josephine enters with a meatball sandwich on a plate and puts it on the bar. Joanne places several paper napkins next to it.
CONNIE
You sure it was the same guy? Thanks, Josephine.
JOANNE
Same clothes. Same ugly gold chains.
Josephine sits at the bar, still smiling. Connie starts eating the sandwich, relishing it.
CONNIE
Did you tell the cops?
DOMINICK
He was with Tony Fortunato!
A memory registers on Connie's face.
CONNIE
Do you think they did it?
JOANNE
After that guy left, they were here for an hour or more.
JOANNE
They can ruin a restaurant's reputation.
Josephine shakes her head in disgust.
CONNIE
Oh, that's what you're worried about.
JOANNE
You're damn right. If this place gets known as a hangout for the mob, who the hell's gonna wanna eat here?
Josephine nods.
CONNIE
It's a big mob. This is a small place.
Josephine smiles.
DOMINICK
It's not funny.
Josephine shakes her head.
CONNIE
I'm glad we don't have to worry about that kind of crap. At our place they come in, they get out.
The others look at one another and smile knowingly.
What?
JOANNE
Your meat man, Costaldo?
DOMINICK
Every so often you get a bad piece of meat?
CONNIE
He's stupid. He makes mistakes.
JOANNE
It's no mistake. He does it on purpose.
DOMINICK
It's a game. A mean, nasty little game.
JOANNE
He wants to get one, just one bad piece of meat past you. Just cause you're so good at checking it out.
CONNIE
Why?
JOANNE
Cause he's nuts, that's why. Cause he has a real vicious thing for women.
Josephine looks disgusted.
DOMINICK
And it's gotten worse since his dad lost the business to the mob just before he died.
CONNIE
How do you know this?
Josephine looks quizzical.
DOMINICK
As you said, the place is small. We hear things.
Josephine is not totally convinced by this explanation.
Connie is controlling her anger.
CONNIE
Best meatballs in town, Josephine.
Josephine, Dominick and Joanne nod appreciatively, if weakly.
INT: Connie alone in the office of the Forlano market, talking on the phone shortly after lunch.
CONNIE
I can tell you now, or you can come to dinner tonight. Fine.
She hangs up, smiling.
INT: Francesco's hideaway. Antonietta is standing over Francesco lying on his back on his bed, his hands behind his head, smiling. She shakes her fist at him.
ANTONIETTA
The next time I see your nose poking through them filthy curtains I cut it off. 'Capeesh?'
FRANCESCO
Kiss me.
ANTONIETTA
I got a business to run. Maybe I kiss you tonight.
FRANCESCO
Oh, tonight we do something very special.
ANTONIETTA (suspiciously)
Here or out there?
FRANCESCO
You see.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, Dio, oh Dio, oh Dio.
She leaves.
INT: The small, modern kitchen of Connie's house. She is putting the finishing touches on two plates of salad. When the doorbell rings she goes quickly to the partitioned dining area and lights the candles on the attractively set table. Much of the furniture is similar to the period pieces at Antonietta's, but the house itself has the look of a recent renovation. When she opens the front door, Bill is holding up a pastry box. His other hand is behind his back.
BILL
Dessert.
CONNIE
Thank you.
He reveals a small bouquet of flowers.
BILL
And for your viewing pleasure.
She is genuinely surprised as she accepts the flowers. She starts laughing.
CONNIE
Come on in.
Her laughter grows louder as he follows her to the kitchen.
I don't believe this.
She gets a small vase for the flowers and arranges them, but does nothing to control her laughter.
Would - would you like --
BILL
I would like to know what's so funny.
CONNIE
No one's ever given me flowers.
BILL
That's something to laugh about?
CONNIE
When you realize no one's ever done it before. I'm just laughing at how much I'm enjoying it.
BILL
The priest never gave you flowers?
CONNIE
The priest didn't have a pot to piss in. I paid for everything. Food. Motels. Condoms.
He suppresses his urge to laugh.
Go ahead, laugh. We didn't even need the damn condoms. If there was ever two people who were safe for each other, it was us. But he - eh - he liked wearing them.
BILL
Why?
CONNIE
Who knew? He was a priest. I guess a condom made him feel all dressed up.
He laughs freely. She pours him a glass of wine.
Should we be talking like this?
BILL
Oh, yeah.
He accepts the wine and puts an arm around her.
CONNIE
Yeah? I guess so. Only a fool would try to keep secrets from a detective.
He kisses her neck.
INT: Cal and Frankie shopping in a men's boutique. Cal is looking at pants on a rack; Frankie searches through a stack of bathing suits.
CAL
It's good. She's seeing a policeman.
FRANKIE
It's good she's seeing anyone at all.
Frankie holds up a very skimpy bikini.
FRANKIE
You likee English fly boy?
CAL
If you wear it as an earring.
He returns the bikini to the stack and joins Cal at the rack.
FRANKIE
I wonder if she'll ever get married. Pop would have liked that. My daughter, the butcher, is getting married.
CAL
He would have loved that. I miss him.
FRANKIE
We all do.
Frankie stops looking at the pants.
Remember when we went to the Cape a few years ago? Pop said, "Why go there? What's there? The ocean. Go to Venice. Venice is the place to go with the one you love."
CAL
He was probably the most accepting human being I've ever known.
FRANKIE
Now we're going to Venice.
They look at each other affectionately.
INT: Francesco's room. He presses the start button on a tape deck sitting on the vanity. The mandolin solo that introduces the Katyna Ranieri recording of 'Scapricciatiello' begins. Wearing dark trousers and a neatly pressed shirt, he approaches Antonietta slowly. Her hair is piled
attractively. She wears a little makeup, her dress is sleeveless and full. She appears almost shy.
ANTONIETTA
I - I don't know. I put on a little weight since you - eh - died.
FRANCESCO
Like riding a bicycle.
He lifts her hand gently and takes her in his arms. The dance starts with slow swaying motions during the introduction, followed by a series of rhythmic folk like steps during the solo. It is a dance they have done before. Antonietta's pleasure increases with each step and the assurance that she has forgotten nothing. Francesco is the consummate romantic lead.
INT: Connie's dining room. She and Bill are seated at the table having coffee and the last of the wine. She wears a robe; he is shirtless.
CONNIE
You think I was fibbing when I called today?
BILL
About the guy in the bin? No. I just think we got sidetracked.
She chuckles.
INT: Francesco's room. He and Antonietta are dancing freely to 'Scapricciatiello'.
INT: Frankie and Cal's living room. Frankie is on the phone listening to the ringing at the other end of the line. Cal is looking through guide books.
FRANKIE
She's still not answering.
CAL
Did she say she was going anywhere?
FRANKIE
No.
He hangs up the phone.
I wanted to get to the passport office early. If she doesn't have this key--
CAL
I'd run it down, but I have that meeting.
Frankie looks resigned.
INT: Francesco's room. They are still dancing to the same song.
ANTONIETTA
Francesco.
FRANCESCO
Hmmm?
ANTONIETTA
Tell me--
FRANCESCO
Anything.
ANTONIETTA
Are you going to kill more people?
FRANCESCO
Oh, yes.
ANTONIETTA
But not tonight.
FRANCESCO
Oh, no, not tonight.
She almost swoons as he guides her into a low dip.
INT: Connie's kitchen. She and Bill are doing the dishes together.
CONNIE
We always knew when Pop was kidding. He did that a lot. But that day he was serious, real serious. "Stay away from him. He does bad things to bad people." That's what he said.
BILL
And the guy was just sleeping on a bench in a bocce club?
CONNIE
That's why, when I saw him in that bin last week, the first thing that popped into my head was, "Why the hell does this look so familiar?"
BILL
You're sure it's the same man?
CONNIE
Oh, yeah. That birthmark on his left cheek.
BILL
Where's the bocce club?
CONNIE
Tenth and Kimball. They won't tell you much.
BILL
I guess not.
CONNIE
You can say anything you want about the mob in this neighborhood. You just can't say it to the cops. And you sure as hell can't say it to the mob. It's a simple code, and it seems to work for them. They call it respect.
BILL
Then why are you talking to me?
CONNIE
Because I think they're shit. And I hope to God you're not a crooked cop.
BILL
I'm too scared, too dumb to be a crooked cop.
Satisfied, she nods, smiling at his candor.
EXT: Forlano's. Frankie gets out of his car and locates the key to his mother's apartment on his ring. He presses the bell, waits for a response, then lets himself in when there is none.
INT: Entryway. When he closes the door behind him, he does not notice that the slight breeze sets the door to the market ajar. He goes upstairs.
INT: Apartment. A dim light is on in the kitchen; the rest of the apartment is dark.
FRANKIE
Mom. Mom.
He goes through the rooms quickly, then returns to the kitchen and places a key and a note on the table. He looks around suspiciously, then goes downstairs.
INT: Entryway. He turns to use the light from the door window to find its key on his ring of keys. He sees that the door to the market is open, pushes
it gently, and walks in.
INT: Forlano's market. His apprehension grows, as he walks toward the bins. He stops a few feet short of the basement door, but does not notice that it is open. He hears music, faintly, at a distance. Seeing the open door, he goes to close it, then realizes the music is slightly louder. He opens the door and sees a dim glow coming from the basement.
INT: Basement. He starts down slowly, quietly, making his way to the rear. He stops just beyond the last arch. In a large mirror leaning against the wall he watches the reflections of his parents doing a stylish, energetic jitterbug to the Artie Shaw Gramercy Five recording of 'Cross My Heart'. He is immobilized.
INT: Francesco's room. Antonietta and Francesco conclude their dance. Laughing, she sits on the edge of the bed, he leans against the footboard. The next song is Dinah Shore's recording of 'Something to Remember You By'.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, I remember when you made those tapes from our old records.
FRANCESCO
Yeah, yeah.
ANTONIETTA
You were so happy when Frankie bought that tape machine. You put all the old songs in the order we wanted. Just so we could dance. Oh, my!
FRANCESCO
I made copies of a lot of the tapes. Took them with me.
ANTONIETTA
I play them in the market. They've been like company for me--
She sees Frankie's reflection.
Ooopsey-doopsey.
She taps Francesco on the shoulder. He turns, sees his son, and smiles.
FRANCESCO
Oh, my first born.
Frankie is almost on the verge of fainting. They approach him slowly and lead him to the bed. He finds it impossible to look at them, as he allows himself to be seated.
ANTONIETTA
Now, isn't this a nice surprise, Frankie?
Tearful, he looks at them, then starts crying like a baby. Francesco takes his head in his hands and kisses him on both cheeks.
FRANCESCO
Such a good boy.
Frankie wails.
INT: Connie and Bill are kissing in the vestibule of her house. He gives her a long look.
BILL
If I can get free on Sunday, would you like to go to the zoo with me and the kids?
CONNIE
I'll bring the peanuts.
He kisses her, then goes to his car.
EXT: Doorstep. She remains at the door, watching him. As he pulls away, she waves, then notices her brother's car parked across the street.
EXT: Terrace of Frankie and Cal's. They sit opposite each other at a breakfast table. A radio plays quietly nearby - Juice Newton's 'Break It To Me Gently'. Their movements are slow, tentative. The song comes to an end.
ANNOUNCER
And now the news. Still no clues to the baffling murders of two men in the Italian market. Police say -
Cal turns off the radio. Frankie starts to sob. Cal remains composed, but exasperated.
CAL
I would be so grateful if you would stop doing that.
FRANKIE
I -- can't -- can't -- help -- it. How -- am I -- going -- to -- to work -- today?
CAL
Sell onions.
Frankie manages to smile weakly.
FRANKIE
But my dad's become a serial killer. Of Mafia hit men.
He starts to wail.
CAL (firmly)
Shut up!
Frankie strains to control himself.
FRANKIE
Oh, God, what if the police find --
CAL
You must control yourself.
FRANKIE
-- out? My sister's dating the police. A police.
CAL
We'll think of something.
FRANKIE (stunned)
We will?
CAL
You bet your gorgeous dago ass we will.
FRANKIE
But he's killing people, Cal!
CAL
People? People? You call them people?
FRANKIE
Well --
CAL
If what you told me last night is true, your father is merely exterminating vermin -- performing a much needed public service.
Frankie nods.
FRANKIE
And he's having such a good time doing it.
INT: Forlano's market. Antonietta and Connie are completing their
preparations. Several early customers are looking at produce, while the employees stack it neatly. Antonietta is putting cash and change in the register. Connie goes from the meat counter to the booth and reaches in for a large roll of white wax paper.
CONNIE
Good, there is a roll here.
ANTONIETTA
Get one of the men to carry that.
CONNIE
It's not the first one I lifted.
She stops before lifting the roll.
Where's Frankie?
ANTONIETTA
He'll be here.
Connie is mildly surprised by her mother's casual attitude.
CONNIE
Where were you last night? I called.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, that was you. I was soaking the bones.
CONNIE
I thought Frankie was here. I saw his car.
ANTONIETTA
I didn't see him. How did your date go with the 'Meddigan'?
CONNIE
Fine.
ANTONIETTA
Good. Just pray to the Infant of Prague that you don't get a disease that cannot be cured by some kind of medicine.
CONNIE
Look, Mom, if it makes you feel any better, he married young and he was true blue. 'Capeesh?!'
ANTONIETTA
Ah!
CONNIE
Just like Pop.
ANTONIETTA
Ho! Ho!
The intensity of Antonietta's exclamations startles Connie, but she is diverted by Frankie's arrival. He is nervously tying on his apron and trying to control himself.
FRANKIE
Well, I, ah, ordered my passport.
Connie starts to lift the roll of paper.
Give me that.
He lifts it, then starts turning as though he lost all sense of direction.
ANTONIETTA
Hey, 'stunad'.
CONNIE
Behind the counter.
Antonietta watches him closely as he carries the paper to the counter. Connie looks concerned.
Just set it down on the shelf.
She adjusts a few knives in their slots.
Hey, did you ever find that knife of Pop's you said was missing downstairs?
He looks directly at her, his eyes widen, his face quivers. He is on the verge of tears.
Frankie.
Antonietta is motionless. Frankie walks quickly to the glass enclosed office.
What's wrong with him?
ANTONIETTA (weakly)
He's very sensitive.
CONNIE
Mom.
Antonietta motions for Connie to take over the booth, then goes to the office. Connie watches intently as her mother goes to Frankie, seated at the desk, his head in his hands, and shakes him vigorously.
INT: Office.
ANTONIETTA
Son of a bitch. What will happen if we screw up!
FRANKIE
But she has to be told.
ANTONIETTA
We will tell her.
FRANKIE
When?
ANTONIETTA
Soon.
FRANKIE (whining)
She's dating a cop, Mommy.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, Frankie, c'mon. This is a serious thing. You can't act like a -- mommy he calls me. You must control yourself.
FRANKIE
That's what Cal says.
ANTONIETTA
He knows?
FRANKIE
Oh, Mom -- Mom, I live with the man.
ANTONIETTA
What did he say?
FRANKIE
He said we'd think of something.
ANTONIETTA
And -- about -- the
She draws a finger across her throat.
FRANKIE
Vermin. He said Pop was killing vermin, performing a public service.
Pleased, she slaps the desk.
ANTONIETTA
And that's why that man's a college professor working for the Jesuits!
Frankie is as surprised as he was when Cal said they would think of something. Antonietta turns and sees Connie talking with Bill at the booth.
But what do we do about your sister and the flatfoot?
FRANKIE
He seems like such a nice guy.
ANTONIETTA
I'll talk to your father.
He smiles.
FRANKIE
It sounds so good to hear that again. "I'll talk to your father." If only he wasn't slitting throats and cutting out hearts.
She opens the door to leave.
ANTONIETTA
Vermin. That's rats, ya know.
INT: Forlano's. Connie watches her mother approach. Antonietta grabs a bag and fills it with fruit.
BILL
We'll go early, right after church, then-
He notices Connie's concern.
have lunch at -- . Is something wrong?
CONNIE
Uh-uh. I'll be ready.
She kisses his cheek. Antonietta hands him the bag.
ANTONIETTA
'Teh.' Fruit is very good for you.
She returns to the booth.
BILL (facetiously)
I'm not allowed to accept bribes.
ANTONIETTA (fiercely)
It is no bribe!
CONNIE
Mom, he's only kidding.
Antonietta quickly regains her composure. She wipes her hands on her apron.
ANTONIETTA
I'm sorry. I don't always understand the 'Meddigan' sense of humor.
She squeezes his cheeks and shakes his head vigorously.
You a nice boy, Billy.
Connie is mildly embarrassed.
INT: Francesco's room. The April Stevens recording of 'I'm In Love Again' plays softly on the tape deck. Antonietta is lying in his arms, both nude under the covers.
ANTONIETTA
I always liked this bed.
FRANCESCO
Ah.
ANTONIETTA
But I hate this room.
FRANCESCO
Oh.
ANTONIETTA
You think we'll ever get out of here?
FRANCESCO
When my work is done.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, Jesus, Mary and Joseph.
INT: Bedroom of Connie's house. She and Bill are nude under the covers. Morgana King's recording of 'Corcorvado' plays softly on the stereo. He
rests in her arms.
BILL
I thought the workout at the gym would do it, but afterwards I was still-- I had to be here.
CONNIE
This is just where I want you to be.
BILL
You wouldn't lie to me, would you?
CONNIE (seriously)
I'll never lie to you.
They kiss.
INT: Bedroom of Frankie and Cal. They are nude under their covers, both on their backs with their arms intertwined. Cal's eyes are closed; Frankie is staring at the ceiling.
FRANKIE
Have you thought of something?
CAL
We just finished, for heaven's sake.
FRANKIE
I'm not talking about sex.
Cal rolls over and nuzzles closer.
CAL
No, no I haven't thought of something.
FRANKIE
I wonder if he'll kill more of them.
CAL
Oh, I hope so. I hope so.
Frankie looks horrified.
INT: Dining room of the Forlano apartment. Day. Connie sits motionless at the table. Antonietta is seated at the head of the table, smiling nervously. Frankie, seated at the other end, is biting his lower lip. Cal is standing by the open French doors, his eyes shifting between the street and the family, his expression tender, sympathetic. Connie's eyes are almost blank. Her father has taken the seat opposite her, smiling broadly, unaware of the effect his return might have on her.
FRANCESCO
My baby, the butcher.
Cal turns his head away nervously. Antonietta and Frankie are grinning unconsciously. Francesco gently takes Connie's hands.
How you been?
Connie opens her mouth slowly and releases a sustained piercing scream. Antonietta leaps up and rushes to close the French doors. Cal helps.
ANTONIETTA
Ah, 'manadg!' You'd think she'd have more sense.
FRANKIE (to Cal)
This I can understand. I can understand this.
FRANCESCO
'Aspett!' 'Aspett!'
Francesco goes to her. Cal turns up the radio. Connie screams louder, but not louder than Keely Smith singing 'I'm Gonna Live, 'Til I Die.'
ANTONIETTA
Shut up, for Christ's sake!
Francesco stands next to Connie, holds her, strokes her hair.
FRANCESCO
It's all right. It's all right.
FRANKIE
That's what I should have done.
Cal is fascinated by the scene but keeps his eye on the street.
ANTONIETTA
It's your father, Connie!
FRANKIE
You just got to get it out of your system.
FRANCESCO
Bene. Bene.
ANTONIETTA
Doesn't he look wonderful?
CAL
He really does look wonderful.
Connie stops screaming and starts taking deep breaths.
Antonietta strokes Connie's arms.
ANTONIETTA
That's it. That's it. Breathing is good.
FRANCESCO
The best.
Everyone is silent as Connie rises and walks slowly to the radio and turns it off.
ANTONIETTA
Ah, that's not my favorite Keely Smith number.
FRANKIE
She's upset. I can understand.
ANTONIETTA
You're not glad to see your father?
Connie hugs Francesco.
CONNIE
You look wonderful.
ANTONIETTA
See.
CONNIE
But you just killed two men! And I'm dating a cop.
FRANCESCO
A nice boy, I hear.
CONNIE
An honest man. A good cop. He's working on your murders.
ANTONIETTA
And you're going to help him?
CAL
Who says he has to be told?
FRANKIE
That's true. You know, it never occurred to me. He won't know unless somebody tells him. Right?
CONNIE
He's a detective! He detects things!
ANTONIETTA
Let's eat.
The suggestion sets everyone in motion - Antonietta to the range to stir the soup and check the roast; Frankie to the refrigerator for the vegetables to make a salad; Connie to the dishes; Cal to the utensils. Francesco picks up the newspaper and stretches out on a chaise.
CAL
How do you detect a dead person?
FRANKIE
There was a funeral, Connie.
ANTONIETTA
I cried my eyes out. (to Connie) Use the big platter.
CONNIE
Who didn't?
FRANKIE
Yeah.
ANTONIETTA
And the good dishes - and silver.
CONNIE
We'll have a celebration. Pop's back from the dead.
CAL
He has risen.
Silence. The pace slackens. The four exchange quizzical looks. Francesco raises the newspaper to cover his grin. Antonietta wipes her hands on her apron and goes to the door of the kitchen. The others listen attentively.
ANTONIETTA
Hey, Francesco, who has not risen? Eh?
FRANCESCO
Come?
ANTONIETTA
'Come' shit. Who the hell's buried in our plot at the Holy Cross?
FRANCESCO
I've been wondering when --
ANTONIETTA
Who!?
FRANCESCO
I don't know.
CONNIE
Oh, God.
FRANKIE
Pop, you didn't wipe out a total stranger?
FRANCESCO
He was already dead. In a doorway. In Atlantic City. Like a piece of human trash.
CAL
Were you out there looking for a dead body?
FRANCESCO
Eh, it was a stroke of good fortune, finding one just about my age, my size, my race.
CONNIE
Oh, God.
Antonietta carries the soup tureen to the table.
ANTONIETTA
'Mahng.'
CONNIE
Who has an appetite?
CAL
I do.
FRANKIE
So do I.
Connie sighs. They converge on the table. Cal deliberately exaggerates his accent.
CAL
Francesco, old chap, after you discovered that heap of human flotsam in the doorway, torched your own house --
ANTONIETTA
Our house, our good seashore house.
CAL
-- faked your own death --
FRANKIE
That hurt, Pop.
CONNIE
Yeah.
CAL
-- did you then plan to slash throats, gouge out hearts, and string up the brutalized bodies of Mafia hit men in freezers --
Spoons are arrested in mid-air, except for Francesco's, who continues eating and smiling broadly.
-- or were these revolting, albeit socially significant, murders all planned beforehand?
FRANCESCO
Now that's how a college professor asks a question. Years before.
CONNIE
And what if someone recognizes you?!
Francesco looks at them slyly.
FRANCESCO
Oh, no. Oh, no, no, no.
INT: Francesco's basement room a short time later. Antonietta and Connie are sitting on the bed. Frankie and Cal are standing nearby. The relatives look stunned, but Cal is grinning. Standing in the middle of the room is the slightly hunched figure of a Black Bag Lady -- with her bag. Along with the usual layers of soiled clothes that completely conceal almost every square inch of skin, there is the dominant feature of hair -- a thick, dark brown mass that has not been combed, cut, or washed in years. It looks more like a structure than something nature provided. Part of it is covered by a soiled cloth. The 'Bag Lady' smiles, revealing three gold teeth.
FRANCESCO
Va bene?
CAL
Very va bene.
The relatives are speechless.
FRANCESCO
I made these little gold caps myself. You like the teeth?
CAL
I love the wig.
FRANCESCO
I figured out how to make it after I watched the Oprah Winfrey show one day.
ANTONIETTA
Francesco, Francesco, why, why -- this?
CONNIE
Oh, God, yes, why that?
Francesco stands erect.
FRANCESCO
I had work to do. A mission. But - I - had - to - be - ignored. It took me six months to think of this get up. Two months to work it out. I thought maybe I'd be a priest, maybe a rabbi. Then one day I'm in New York and I say to myself, 'What don't they look at, Francesco? What is it most people never see?'
CAL
Good taste?
FRANCESCO
The bag ladies! They see the panhandlers, the drunks, the addicts. But the bag ladies - ah - they were different. They never spoke. Most of them never spoke when they were spoken to. Two weeks I watched only the bag ladies. I watched that silence between those women and the world. I watched them walk slowly through every kind of neighborhood. Always ignored.
CONNIE
What am I going to wear to the zoo tomorrow?
They turn slowly to look at Connie.
EXT: The zoo the following morning. Connie is being tugged by nine year
old Livia. Carol, the seven year old, is holding Bill's hand. They are walking toward the Morris Impala Fountain near the entrance. Bill and the children are relaxed, unaware that Connie's smiles are, at first, forced, the concern in her eyes difficult to hide. A series of cuts take them through the animal exhibits, with Connie becoming more at ease, more absorbed in the girls' reactions. By the time they get to the children's zoo, her laughter is not forced.
INT: A table by a window at the Valley Green Inn on the Wissahickon. Connie is wiping crumbs from Carol's chin.
CAROL
You're not as chunky as I thought you'd be.
Bill looks embarrassed.
LIVIA
Daddy said you didn't look like our mom at all. He said you were on the chunky side.
CAROL
Could we go sit on the porch?
BILL
Yes. Right out there.
The girls leave. Connie looks at Bill in mock anger.
They wanted to know what you look like.
She smiles.
Were you worried they wouldn't like you?
CONNIE
No. I was worried I wouldn't like them.
He laughs.
They're good kids.
BILL
You're a lot like your mother. I bet you're a lot like your father, too. He must have been remarkable.
She speaks a little too quickly.
CONNIE
People really respect my folks. They run a good
business, they never cheat, they'll help anybody who --
She stops when he rests his hands on hers.
BILL
I catch myself doing that. You talk about them as if they're alive.
She nods slowly.
CONNIE
Have you ever killed anyone?
BILL
No. Can you believe that? With all the crap going on in the streets, I never once killed anybody. But I've wanted to.
CONNIE
Who?
BILL
Some of the bastards I work with. The ones who add to the crap on the street.
CONNIE
How's your investigation going?
BILL
You might be right about that guy in the cart being an old hit man for the mob. One of our informants said the same thing.
CONNIE
How did he know?
BILL
I haven't talked to him yet. But I'm damn sure of one thing. If they are in the mob, and their killings aren't mob related, then the mob knows by now that something's going on. They'll find out what, and they'll take care of it themselves.
Connie tries to conceal her shock with a slow nod of surprise.
CONNIE
Oooh.
INT: The living room of Cal and Frankie's apartment later the same day. Frankie, moving quickly, almost frantically, is clearing coffee cups from
the table in the dining alcove. Connie follows him. She is just as frantic but manages to help by picking up what he has forgotten and wiping what he neglects to see. Cal is stretched out on a sofa, surrounded by tourist magazines and guide books.
CONNIE
I even like his kids, for God's sake! It was the worst day of my life!
FRANKIE
He's not even sure.
CONNIE
Lying. I felt, I knew --
FRANKIE
But you said he hasn't talked to the --
CONNIE
-- I was lying --
FRANKIE
-- informer yet.
CONNIE
-- the whole time I was with him.
FRANKIE
You weren't lying. You never said --
CONNIE
Aw, c'mon, don't give me that crap. What the hell do you think I am, a politician? I know when I'm hiding something. I know a lie when I feel one.
FRANKIE
Then how the hell did you manage to pull off that affair with your little priest for over ten years? Wasn't that a lie?
CONNIE
For God's sake, Frankie, that was sex, love. This is murder.
CAL
Is there a difference?
FRANKIE
Then stop seeing him.
CONNIE
I don't want to stop seeing him!
FRANKIE
For a while.
CONNIE
If the tables were turned, would you stop seeing Cal?
FRANKIE
No.
CONNIE
You bet your ass you wouldn't.
CAL
That is one of the major features that keeps me here.
CONNIE
It's not so easy to give up, is it? Even for a while.
CAL
There are days when I think it's the only thing that keeps me here.
They turn sharply to Cal.
FRANKIE
And you were supposed to --
FRANKIE & CONNIE
-- think of something!
CAL
What's the rush?
Cal sits up quickly, his manner rigidly professorial.
Just a minute! I'll be only too happy to point out a few salient features you've been so carelessly overlooking.
FRANKIE
Oh, here we go. He gets like this.
CONNIE
Okay.
CAL
First, you're worried that Pop will be discovered by the police, specifically the one policeman with whom you've been exchanging bodily fluids. Right?
They nod.
Now you're worried that the Mafioso, the Mob, will discover Pop and what he's been doing. Right?
They nod, but look as though they would like to smack him.
This is not a cheap mystery novel you're dealing with here. With all undue respect to Mister Mario Puzo and Dame Agatha Christie, neither the mob nor the police possess skills that would qualify them for the Mensa Society. It's a sad but well known fact that the police are almost totally dependent on tips, confessions, and prearranged deals to solve crimes. In very, very rare instances are they able to collect enough evidence and logically deduce a path that would enable them to find, much less convict a criminal. As for the Mob, they know only violence and corruption. They used to know cheese and olive oil. But now it's merely cocaine and bad pizza. Fear is their forte. They're certainly now very imaginative, and they're certainly not very bright. Brutes and authoritarians never are. So, I ask you, if they already lack the imagination to deal with that which they already know and believe exists, then how the hell would you expect them to have any capacity whatsoever for dealing with that which, in their eyes, doesn't exist.
Frankie and Connie sigh deeply, obviously missing the point.
Your father's a dead man. The police know it. All of Ninth Street knows it. His funeral was attended by all of Ninth Street. The trouble you two are having stems from the unusual fact that so little of your lives have been spent lying or deceiving anybody. No facades. You assume that just because you know what the truth is, then the entire world knows it, or will certainly discover it in the not too distant future. That is almost never the case. Your daddy is dead. Your daddy is now a Black bag lady. Your daddy is now engaged in committing the perfect crimes. 'Capeesh?'
Connie and Frankie are now exhausted by the lecture.
FRANKIE
And you want him to succeed.
Cal nods.
And you call yourself an Englishman.
CONNIE
But - what - if - Pop -
FRANKIE
Fucks up?
Cal is genuinely surprised.
CAL
Oh, shit. That never occurred to me.
EXT: Forlano's a short time later. Connie is pulling her car into the diagonal space in front of her house, while Frankie and Cal are pulling into a space in front of the entrance to the apartment. Frankie rushes to the door and opens it with his key.
INT: Entryway.
FRANKIE
Mom! Mom!
Connie taps Frankie on the shoulder and indicates the entrance to the market. He gently pushes the door open.
INT: Forlano's. As soon as they enter they see that the door to the basement is open.
INT: Basement. They go down very quietly, as though they were sneaking up on someone. Just past the first arch Connie taps Frankie on the shoulder and whispers:
CONNIE
What if they're --
Frankie turns and shouts.
FRANKIE
Mom! Pop!
Antonietta calls back.
ANTONIETTA
Frankie? Come in here!
INT: Francesco's room. They go quickly and find Antonietta sitting on the edge of the bed, a piece of paper in her hand, looking dejected.
ANTONIETTA
He's gone!
CONNIE
Where?
ANTONIETTA
Doesn't say. Doesn't say how long. "I'll be back when I'll be back." That's what the son of a bitch says.
They look weak.
EXT: Forlano's market a week later. A meat order has arrived. Connie leaves her counter to go out and inspect it. Don and Tommy remain near their truck, their backs to Connie. Don conceals his sheepish grin; Tommy is smirking -- at Don. Six sides of beef are hanging on hooks. She wipes a long, sharp knife on her apron, then uses it to guide her through her inspection. She looks suspicious. Don and Tom casually close up their truck. Connie finishes checking the last side of beef, sighs, wipes the knife again, and steels herself. She goes quickly to the second side of beef and focuses on a two inch triangular cut. She thrusts her knife into it and removes a wedge of beef, an insert cut from another side and tainted. She walks toward Don with the meat on the end of the knife.
CONNIE
You have to win, don't you?
He looks away, more angry than embarrassed.
I don't even want to play your games, and you still have to beat me. Get every piece of beef out of here! All six! And I want six back here in an hour. All different! All fresh!
DON
Hey, c'mon, Connie, it's a joke. If I take all six sides back my boss'll --
Connie turns and walks toward him pointing the knife.
CONNIE (fiercely)
I don't care if your boss fucks you up your ass!
Don is immobilized. Tommy turns away to hide a look of satisfaction. The two men who work with Connie are standing nearby, staring protectively. Frankie is between them, holding a tray of artichokes.
FRANKIE
She said an hour, Don.
Tommy starts lifting the sides of beef back onto the truck. Still furious, Connie starts back to her counter, with Frankie following, a look of concern on his face.
INT: Forlano's
CONNIE
He wouldn't try this if Pop was here.
FRANKIE
Well, Pop's not going to be here.
CONNIE
Where the hell is he? It's almost a week now.
As they approach the booth they both notice the controlled expressions on the faces of Cal and Antonietta. Antonietta rings up a sale for a customer, while Cal deliberately obstructs the entrance to the booth. Frankie hands the artichokes to his mother.
CONNIE
Hello.
Cal nods.
FRANKIE
What are you doing here? I thought you had some shopping to do.
CAL
I found more than I expected.
Cal moves aside. Connie and Frankie look in the booth but are not able to determine what it is they're supposed to see. They look up at their mother. She widens her eyes, then casts them down dramatically.
ANTONIETTA
'Manadg.'
On the floor of the booth is a New York tabloid, its front page headline blazing - MOB POISONED - with a large photo of six bodies slumped around a table by the window of a restaurant. In the background a crowd peers in from the street. Just beyond the crowd, leaning against a pole, is a very familiar Black 'Bag Lady'. Connie and Frankie look sick. Cal suppresses a smile. Antonietta is almost numb, her voice flat.
ANTONIETTA
Antonietta's Choke-a-hearts. Get 'em here. Get 'em fresh.
The three look up at her in disbelief.
INT: Forlano's - closing time later the same day. Frankie is locking the large doors that lead to the loading area. Antonietta and Connie are at the door to the apartment.
ANTONIETTA
Another day like this, I'll be a dead woman. It was nice of Cal to come back and cook for us.
FRANKIE
Much better than eating out.
CONNIE
Oh, please.
As soon as Antonietta opens the door the sound of Placido Domingo singing "Vida Mia" is heard coming from the apartment.
INT: Stairway. They go up the stairs.
ANTONIETTA
I'm losing my mind and your boyfriend's listening to Domingo. Oh, Dio.
INT: Apartment. As soon as the three enter the kitchen, Cal and Francesco enter, cheek to cheek, doing the tango. The three no longer know how to react.
FRANCESCO
Hey, this guy's not bad.
INT: Apartment - twilight, after dinner. All five are seated around a television set in the living room.
ANNOUNCER
The murders yesterday of six alleged Mafia members in a restaurant in Little Italy has left the community stunned. But only because of the method used to kill them. We go now to Helen Sarcone for a live report.
Cut to a close shot of Helen standing in front of a small nondescript restaurant with the word Marie's painted on its one window.
HELEN
Steve, gangland style killings have always, by
tradition, involved a lot of gunfire and bloodshed. What happened here at Marie's yesterday has everyone baffled. The word on the street is that the murders are not mob related. Still, there is no way of knowing what the motive might have been. The one suspect, and I must stress that she was suspected only briefly, is Marie herself. She has agreed to talk with us.
Cut to half shot of Helen standing next to Marie -- small, frail, toothless, close to ninety, and feisty.
CONNIE
Marie --
MARIE
Mahd-ee
HELEN
How long have you had this restaurant?
MARIE
Sixty-five years, and I never kill nobody. Once in a great while they shoot 'em in my place, but that's not my fault. This is the littlest restaurant in Lil' Itly and it's the best.
HELEN
What was your reaction when the police said you were a suspect?
MARIE
Li ho detto di andare a fanculo? Eh?
HELEN
I see. Well, thank you very much.
Close shot of Helen, but Marie's voice can still be heard talking.
STEVE
Helen, do they know how they were poisoned?
MARIE
That's it? That's all they want me to say? I wait an hour for this?
HELEN
No, Steve, they don't. The official report hasn't been released yet. But witnesses said that, whatever it was, it was quick and extremely
painful.
MARIE
They screamed their goddamn heads off!!
Cut back to Steve in the studio.
STEVE
Thank you, Helen. When we return --
Antonietta turns off the set with a remote control. She looks exhausted. Connie is almost in tears. Frankie is confused. But Cal is relaxed.
CAL
What did you use?
He grins at his wife.
ANTONIETTA
Yeah, I'd like to know.
He hesitates.
FRANCESCO
I killed them with their own drugs. The shit they sell on the street. Each day, in my funny costume, I bought a little bit here, a little bit there. Strong stuff, I guess. Expensive. I mixed it all together. Didn't even know if it would work.
CONNIE
How did you get into that restaurant dressed like that?
FRANCESCO
I never went in. But I was there before. In my funny costume. Whenever I was in New York, I'd go round to the back to the kitchen, and I'd stand there, and Marie, she's not as tough as she puts on, she gives me something to eat. She cooks like an angel from heaven. That's why the place is a hangout for the big boys. She's always running back and forth from the kitchen to the front. First afternoon I see a whole table full of the bastards, I drop the stuff in the soup.
CONNIE
What about the other customers, Pop? You could have killed them.
FRANCESCO
When that crowd's there, you don't get other customers. They're afraid they'll get shot.
ANTONIETTA
That poor woman. Working so hard. For what?
FRANKIE
What if she ate the soup?
FRANCESCO
Cops took everything out.
Pause.
CAL
Their own drugs. My, my, my.
Smiles appear on their faces. They look pleased, despite themselves. They start laughing. Francesco beams.
INT: Liberty Bell Pavilion - day. Bill, Connie, Livia, Antonietta and Carol are standing with a group of spectators listening to a lecture given by a tour guide. The girls are attentive, their concentration serious. The lecture ends. Livia walks over to Antonietta and tugs her hand. The woman smiles, listens, then nods. Livia walks over to Carol, takes her by the hand, and the three of them touch the bell gently. Connie and Bill are smiling.
EXT: Independence Mall. The girls take Antonietta's hands and the five stroll through the park toward Independence Hall. Connie and Bill walk a short distance behind.
LIVIA
Was that the first time you touched it, Mrs. Forlano?
ANTONIETTA
No. The second day we were here, after we came from the other side, with my Francesco, we touched it - together. For good luck.
On a bench a short distance up the path sits the 'Bag Lady'. The head is down, but the eyes are looking up at the group. Antonietta has to control her anger as soon as she sees the figure.
CAROL
Did you have good luck?
Antonietta's expression softens.
ANTONIETTA
Yes. Yes, I guess we had very good luck.
Connie and Bill are now directly behind them.
CONNIE
My father loves --
Connie has seen the 'Bag Lady'; Antonietta turns, a stern forced smile on her face.
ANTONIETTA
He loved this Independence Hall.
CONNIE
Oh, God, yes.
They are passing the bench.
ANTONIETTA
He liked the design. The way they built it. He was crazy, crazy about the old furniture.
BILL
So he was the collector.
Antonietta and Connie look at each other and start laughing. After they pass the bench, six Black teenagers approach the 'Bag Lady'. One of them starts mocking and gesturing obscenely, while the others stand by laughing. Connie and Antonietta have not noticed.
ANTONIETTA
He was a collector all right. A trash collector.
CONNIE
A lot of the furniture we have Pop found in the trash. He bought a few pieces here and there.
ANTONIETTA
For a couple of bucks. Most of it came out of the trash. He'd go to fancy neighborhoods on trash day.
The teenager is getting louder. The 'Bag Lady' is turned away from him, motionless on the bench.
TEENAGER
You are the sunshine of my life. Swing on this baby.
CONNIE
He found and refinished almost every piece before we were born.
TEENAGER
I got somethin' send you to heaven, mama.
ANTONIETTA
He used to say that this country was crazy for throwing away its old furniture and replacing it with --
She has turned and seen the teenagers.
-- oh, what are they doing?
Bill and Connie turn. The teenager drops to one knee, his arms outstretched.
TEENAGER
Wild thing, I think I love you.
The 'Bag Lady' swings her shopping bag and hits him on the side of his head, knocking him to the ground.
Aaaah! What the fuck you got in that bag, woman? Aaaaah! Shit!
Bill moves quickly toward them, as he removes his badge from his pocket. The rest of the gang raise their arms and start running.
GANG
No problem, man. Hey. It's cool. Yeah.
BILL
Have you had enough?
TEENAGER
Damn.
The teenager forces himself up and runs off. Connie and Antonietta watch tensely. Bill looks at the 'Bag Lady' to assure himself that no harm was done. The 'Bag Lady' never acknowledges his presence. Bill returns to the group.
BILL
I'm surprised she did that.
ANTONIETTA
I'm not.
They continue walking toward Independence Hall. Antonietta has an arm behind her back, shaking a clenched fist. The 'Bag Lady' is smiling.
INT: Living room of the Forlano apartment, later the same day. Antonietta looks concerned, Connie morose, while Francesco sounds apologetic.
FRANCESCO
I wanted to see how he was. With you. With his kids. With her even. I wanted to see for myself.
CONNIE
But what if something goes wrong, Pop?
FRANCESCO
We always looked out for you.
CONNIE
What was there to look out for? What? What have I done all these years? I'm a butcher. I cut meat. I never even --
FRANCESCO
Dated?
CONNIE
Yeah. Not much.
Francesco and Antonietta exchange sympathetic looks.
And now I've met somebody and look what -
ANTONIETTA
Connie, you never went out on dates cause you fell in love with a priest.
Pause.
CONNIE
You knew?
They nod. She sits on the edge of a chair.
You knew. All that time?
They continue nodding. Francesco sits next to his wife.
But we were so careful.
ANTONIETTA
Kids. 'Manadg.' What the hell do you think we are?
CONNIE
Why didn't you try to stop us?
The couple exchange affectionate glances.
FRANCESCO
Because you both seemed happy. Like Frankie and Cal.
ANTONIETTA
Even if your little priest did look like a stick of pepperoni, you seemed happy. And that's all we ever wanted for you.
Connie looks at them pleadingly.
CONNIE
I'm in love.
FRANCESCO & ANTONIETTA
Eh! So are we!
INT: Longo's - day. Connie, dejected, sits alone at the end of the bar. Lost in thought, she wipes her mouth slowly, having just finished a sandwich. A trendily dressed couple sit by the window. A handsome man in his late fifties, with thick silver grey hair, sits at the opposite end of the bar. He is casually dressed and reading a paper. He nods at Connie. She smiles back weakly. Dominick has just given the couple espresso. Joanne is behind the bar at the espresso machine. They all look sullen. Josephine appears at the entrance to the kitchen and raises a hand toward Connie.
CONNIE
Uh-uh. I'm full. Thanks.
Josephine leans against the door, wiping her hands on her apron. Joanne serves Connie an espresso. Dominick sits next to her.
JOANNE
Mom can't help it if she can cook.
Dominick nods; Josephine shrugs.
CONNIE
You can't stop them from eating here.
Josephine shakes her head.
DOMINICK
It's not exactly what we were hoping for.
JOANNE
And then there's --
Josephine glares at Joanne.
CONNIE
What?
Josephine takes a pad and pencil from a shelf and places them in front of Joanne.
JOANNE
You're right.
Josephine returns to the kitchen. Joanne writes on the pad and slides it in front of Connie. She looks at it. WE THINK THE PLACE IS BUGGED Connie gestures, 'Who?' Dominick writes. COPS - FBI - WE'RE NOT SURE An odd black voice, similar to Butterfly McQueen's, is heard coming from the kitchen.
VOICE
Hey, mama, what's happenin'?
Connie glances to her right and freezes when she sees the silhouette of the Bag Lady standing at the screen door that leads to the alley. The man at the opposite end of the bar glances up from his paper and smiles pleasantly. The couple by the window glance toward the rear.
DOMINICK (to Connie)
She's been showing up lately. Mom gives her food.
JOANNE (while writing)
It's a sin. Mom feels bad for her. Swears she used to see her shopping on Ninth Street all the time.
CONNIE
Oh.
The man places a bill on the bar and leaves. Connie looks at what Joanne has written. MOM SAYS THE MOB'S BUGGING US
Why?
DOMINICK (whispers)
So we don't repeat what we hear.
Connie nods and tries hard not to look at the screen door.
CONNIE
Have you heard anything?
Dominick and Joanne exchange quick looks, then Dominick grabs the pad and pencil. The screen door is heard opening.
VOICE
Thanks so much. And you have a wonderful day now, mama.
Connie appalled by the sound of the voice, looks down at the pad. ASSASSIN FROM SICILY
CONNIE
Where?
JOANNE
Here. In this country.
CONNIE
In - in - eh - this city?
They shrug.
When?
DOMINICK
Now.
CONNIE
Wh-why?
They slide fingers across their throats.
Wh-wh-who?
DOMINICK & JOANNE
We don't know.
Connie works at concealing her fears.
INT: Forlano's - later the same day. Antonietta is closing the last door on the handsome grey haired man seen at Longo's. He smiles shyly as he backs away. She nods politely, locks the door, then goes to her booth to put the bills and coins in a cigar box. Frankie is stacking papers in the office. Connie is cleaning up her counter. She is agitated. Her mother and brother keep an eye on her.
ANTONIETTA
I wish the neighbors would leave me the hell alone. Every couple of months they send someone around to ask me out. That one wasn't bad. A little shy but very handsome.
Joey sticks his head in from the loading area.
JOEY
Night.
FRANKIE
Good night, Joey.
Connie gives him a perfunctory wave.
ANTONIETTA
See you tomorrow.
As soon as the rear door is heard closing after Joey's departure, Connie picks up a cleaver and hurls it. Her voice is husky.
CONNIE
If we're here tomorrow!
The cleaver wedges into a column thirty feet away.
ANTONIETTA (gently)
You know I like to keep the place neat.
Frankie walks toward his sister, his manner sympathetic.
CONNIE
What is he going to do to himself?! To us?!
ANTONIETTA
Shh.
FRANKIE
You can't be sure they brought that guy over here to get Pop. We don't know.
CONNIE
He ain't here looking for Mother Cabrini!
ANTONIETTA
A good woman, but no.
CONNIE
Assassin from Sicily. I wanted to throw up.
ANTONIETTA
Ah.
CONNIE
Where is he going with this? Huh? How far does Pop think he'll get?
FRANKIE
I don't know, Connie. I don't think he has a plan.
ANTONIETTA
A plan. Ah.
The Butterfly McQueen voice is heard at the rear of the market.
"BAG LADY"
Ize got mah plan. Ize got my plan togethah yeahs ago.
Connie and Frankie look exhausted. Antonietta smiles and nods.
EXT: Terrace of Frankie and Cal's apartment early the following morning. Cal is sunbathing and shaking his body to the rhythms of Martha and the Vandellas singing "Heat Wave" on the radio. Frankie, looking grave, walks out and sits down next to him. After a pause, he reaches over and turns down the radio.
FRANKIE
You said we would think of something. I haven't thought of a thing. Have you?
CAL
No.
FRANKIE
Then what am I supposed to do?
CAL
I would suggest you do what I'm doing.
FRANKIE
Sunbathe?
CAL
Just have faith in your Dada.
FRANKIE
My Dada is nuts.
Cal pats him gently on the cheek.
INT: Connie's bedroom - twilight. She and Bill are in bed, moments after making love. Their affection dissolves gently into mutual exhaustion. He lifts himself up to look at her and notices tears on her cheeks.
BILL
Hey.
She tries to smile.
What?
She tenses to keep from releasing the tears.
You never did this before.
CONNIE
I've never been this satisfied before.
BILL
No kidding?
She manages to smile but her tone is serious.
CONNIE
No kidding.
INT: Kitchen of Forlano apartment - twilight. Frankie, Cal, Francesco and Antonietta are seated around the table having coffee. Frankie and Cal look astonished. Antonietta is patting Francesco's cheek.
ANTONIETTA
It's good I didn't know. I would have killed you.
FRANKIE (to Cal)
It's easy to hide money in the food business.
CAL
Six hundred and fifty thousand dollars?
FRANCESCO
Hey, it took thirty-five years.
Antonietta rises and pours more coffee.
ANTONIETTA
To Switzerland, he took me. Said it was the cheapest way to get to Rome. What did I know?
FRANKIE
They never took a vacation after we were born.
CAL
And now this.
INT: Vestibule of Connie's house. She and Bill are kissing.
BILL
I'll be able to see more of you. They're taking us off the case.
She tries to conceal her apprehension.
CONNIE
Yeah. Why?
INT: Forlano kitchen - minutes later. Connie is pacing furiously. Antonietta, Francesco, Frankie and Cal are watching and listening intently.
CONNIE
He's ruthless, quick, never misses his target, and - he's - in - this - country - now!!
FRANCESCO
In Philadelphia?
CONNIE
They don't know yet. But they're sure he's here to get whoever's doing the killings.
ANTONIETTA
I'll be a son of a bitch.
CONNIE
They all know the murders are connected. But nobody knows why. So the mob sends word to back off. I suppose they think it takes a killer to catch a killer.
CAL
It's so Italian.
CONNIE
And what's even more Italian is if they find out who he is.
FRANKIE
They could wipe out all of us.
ANTONIETTA
And take over the whole business, like they did when Castaldo the meat man died.
FRANCESCO
Do they know what the assassin looks like?
CONNIE
I guess they do. They know his name.
FRANCESCO
Do you think your Bill could get a picture of him?
CONNIE
I can't ask for a picture. How the...
FRANCESCO
I will ask him for the picture.
They all look at Francesco, astonished.
INT: Dining area of Connie's home the following evening. Cal is arranging the flowers and putting the finishing touches on a beautifully set table for two. Connie comes downstairs in a loose fitting, low cut white cotton dress. She is attaching the last earring.
CONNIE
That looks wonderful.
CAL
You look wonderful. Except for...
He removes her earrings.
Too obvious.
CONNIE
It's one thing getting a guy into bed. It's something else when you try to get them to break the law.
CAL
But now the law has relinquished its responsibility. They want the big boys to do it.
She nods.
I'll stick with your father.
CONNIE
This is not like anything I've ever known.
CAL
Oh, yes it is. You just don't remember your own history. In the old west, if a cattleman caught someone stealing cattle, they hung them on the spot, because justice, the law, was often as far away as a hundred miles.
CONNIE
Where did you learn that?
CAL
I heard it on Sixty Minutes.
CONNIE
Oh.
CAL
It's very possible that justice is still a hundred miles away.
She looks at him affectionately, then kisses him on the cheek.
INT: Connie's dining room - later. She and Bill are staring at each other at the table by candlelight after dinner.
BILL
My mother asked if we were getting serious.
CONNIE
'Getting serious'. I always liked that expression. But I'm afraid your mother doesn't know how serious this is going to get.
EXT: Forlano's - later. Bill and Connie are headed toward her mother's apartment. He looks bewildered.
BILL
Is there something wrong? You can tell me.
CONNIE
We have to show you. And whatever happens in here, there's one thing you've got to remember. I love you more than I've loved anyone in my life.
He looks very concerned. She opens the door with her key. As soon as they enter they see Antonietta, Frankie and Cal waiting just inside the market.
INT: Francesco's room - moments later. Antonietta, Frankie, Connie and Cal are standing; Bill is paused just outside the door. Antonietta gestures gracefully for him to enter. He walks in slowly, then looks totally confused when he sees the 'Bag Lady' sitting at the vanity.
BILL
This is --
FRANKIE
It's no joke.
CONNIE
Do you remember this person?
Bill hesitates, then it registers.
BILL
The 'Bag Lady' at Independence Mall.
CONNIE
Bill, I'd like you to meet my father, Francesco Forlano.
Bill starts laughing.
CAL
It's a start.
Francesco rises and extends a hand. Still laughing, Bill takes it, then his laughter quickly diminishes when he feels the strength of the grip. He looks astonished.
INT: Francesco's room - moments later. Francesco is seated at the vanity, facing the mirror. Bill is seated to his right, watching him intently. Connie is on his left. Antonietta is behind him, her hands resting on his shoulders. Frankie and Cal are seated on the bed. Francesco starts removing his disguise slowly, beginning with the wig. He is relaxed, the warmth and sincerity in his voice convincing. The entire disguise is pealed away during his speech.
FRANCESCO
We came from the hills of Abruzzi. Two kids. Antonietta was fourteen; me, fifteen. Right after the war. The war that killed our families. Both families. Ah. Two kids. Alone. So we come to America. To Philadelphia.
ANTONIETTA
He insisted - Philadelphia. I want to be where it all began, he said.
FRANCESCO
Only twelve blocks away from the Liberty Bell. We had nothing but hope and our youth. It was enough. And we sold the carciofi. Arthichokes. It was good. The people here, they were good to us. We had our cart, our little room with a gas stove and refrigerator. It was good. We had each other. Then we got the radio.
Antonietta smiles. Bill looks around quizzically.
ANTONIETTA
A neighbor, she gave us a second hand radio. We had no money for entertainment. It all went into the business. With the radio we had music.
FRANCESCO
We danced. All day on our feet, we worked like a couple of jackasses. But at night we danced. It was our hobby. When we had a little extra we went around the corner to the movies. Then we really learned how to dance. Hey, we were happy. We felt safe and we were happy. Do you know how that feels, Detective? Huh?
BILL
Happy, yes, I know.
Bill forces himself not to look at Connie.
Safe, I'm not so sure.
FRANCESCO
Ah-ha. It all changed. Right after the babies come, I see it starts to change. First the assassinations, then the drugs, then the politics. Until little by little, maybe not so little by little, I see all that matters is greed and corruption. I got pissed off. Very pissed off. And I never show it. But a plan begins in my head. All by itself it starts. One day I walk along the beach down the shore and I see all this slop wash up. So I pray. I ask God for help. And I never ask God for help. I don't believe in it. My life is too good. But I see these needles and bags of blood and I pray, 'Dear God, dear God, before I die, give me just one chance to teach some Mafioso mother fucker a lesson.'
ANTONIETTA (gently)
This man is a saint.
FRANCESCO
And now they want to find me and teach me a lesson.
BILL
By sending for the Sicilian.
FRANCESCO
Lo Scorpione.
BILL
You know this man?
FRANCESCO
By reputation. He's probably the one they got. He'll kill anybody for a price. Whole families, women, children, babies. He's done that.
BILL
How do --
FRANCESCO
-- I know? About him? I think you call it 'the word on the street.' Yes. People talk. About the Scorpion they've been talking for years.
BILL
And nothing's ever been proven against him.
FRANCESCO
He leaves no witnesses. No witnesses.
BILL
Mr. Forlano, what did you want to accomplish by murdering these people?
FRANCESCO
The same thing they accomplish with their corruption.
BILL
They have money. Many of them have money and a lot of power. Is that what you wanted -- power?
FRANCESCO
And what have they accomplished with their money, with their power? Niente. Nothing. This country now, right now, is not as good as it was when we first came here. And they are to blame for a lot of the problems. I accomplish what they accomplish. Nothing. Only revenge. I accomplish revenge.
BILL
But there are others besides the Mafia responsible for these wrongs. Other groups.
FRANCESCO
But I don't know what they look like. I recognize
the Mafia. You just can't go killing people off willy-nilly, you know.
Cal and the relatives look at Francesco in quiet admiration. A hint of a smile appears on Bill's face.
EXT: Connie's house a short time later. She and Bill are standing on the steps. He is running a hand up and down her arm, while his eyes roam over her body. She has to work at controlling herself.
CONNIE
Oh, Bill, please, don't let my tits influence you.
BILL
You always know what I'm thinking, what I'm feeling. Marrying you would be like marrying a gypsy.
She sighs, then gently touches his cheek.
INT: The Duchamp Gallery at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Cal is looking through the peepholes of 'Etant Donnes'. Bill enters the room carrying a brown envelope. He walks up behind him.
BILL
What are you looking at there?
CAL
Snatch.
BILL
What?
CAL
Snatch. Take a look.
They change places. Bill's view reveals the nude body of a woman in a glade.
Frankly, I can't see what all the fuss is about.
BILL
Holy shit. You weren't kidding.
Bill repositions himself at the peepholes.
CAL
Don't bother, you can't see her face.
Bill moves away from the doors.
BILL
Why did you want to meet here?
CAL
I thought it would be the last place any of the mob would see us. They have such horrible taste.
They start walking through the galleries.
CAL
The pictures?
Bill nods. Cal looks at him, concerned.
Are you all right?
BILL
I've never done anything crooked in my life.
Cal glances around to be sure no one is nearby. He sits on a ledge by a large window.
CAL
I don't think what Francesco did was wrong. I also happen to love his son. I love all three of them.
BILL
That's not hard to do.
Cal smiles.
CAL
I even got to love their taste in music. It's me, the Forlanos, and Artie Shaw and absolutely no facades.
BILL
And now look who's running around dressed like a Black bag lady and murdering people.
CAL
Another work of art.
BILL
That might end up cracked like that piece over there.
CAL
You think so?
Cal opens the envelope and looks at the pictures.
BILL
I don't know. Something tells me this guy won't come to Philly. He'll stay in New York. That's where --
CAL
He's already here.
A shot of the candid photos reveals that it is the same man who was seated at Longo's bar, the man who approached Antonietta.
BILL
What?
CAL
This man's been at the market the last few days making passes at Antonietta.
They start leaving the gallery quickly.
I saw him yesterday. We laughed about it.
INT: Forlano kitchen and dining room. Cal and Frankie are spreading a cloth on the dining room table. Connie is removing a roast from the oven. Francesco is dicing vegetables for a salad. Bill is seated at the kitchen table with Antonietta standing over him, wiping her hands on her apron and looking at the candid photos he holds. Francesco listens intently.
ANTONIETTA
Look at that 'fatch.' The son of a bitch looks like everybody's saintly uncle. No wonder he gets away with murder.
BILL
You're sure it's the same man?
ANTONIETTA
Yeah. How often do you get to see a face like that?
CONNIE
Bill, it's the same man. We've been laughing about him for what - three - four days now?
BILL
What has he told you about himself?
ANTONIETTA
Not much. He's visiting relatives in Jersey for
a couple of months, then he goes back to Naples. He said his wife died a few years ago.
CAL
You don't think he's connected Antonietta and Francesco?
BILL
How could he?
FRANCESCO
No, he could not connect us.
ANTONIETTA
Eh, va bene.
FRANCESCO
But he knows something.
FRANKIE
What the hell could he know, Pop?
FRANCESCO
We know he's not here to visit relatives in Jersey. He talked to someone.
BILL
Who?
Slight pause.
FRANCESCO
Mahd-ee.
ANTONIETTA
Mahd-ee who?
FRANCESCO
The old lady who cooks like an angel. Remember? The news? She said nothing to the cops. She saw nothing, she knows nothing. Right?
BILL
That's what we got.
FRANCESCO
But she said everything to them. They know an old Black bag lady was there. I was on the front page. And the Scorpion knows an old Black bag lady is here.
BILL
They're everywhere.
FRANKIE
White ones, too.
FRANCESCO
But he has seen me.
ANTONIETTA
Where? When?
FRANCESCO
At Longo's.
It registers with Connie.
CONNIE
Oh, Jesus. Oh, Jesus. You're right. He was sitting at the end of the bar. I didn't pay much attention. He was reading a newspaper. Oh, Jesus.
FRANCESCO
He was at the end of the alley when I came out. I thought he was following me, but I wasn't sure. I could see him for maybe a block, a block and a half, then he was gone.
BILL
If we could find out if he's been there regularly --
CAL
Then we'd know if he's watching the place deliberately.
FRANKIE
Yeah. Mom, bring the bread.
BILL
That'll give us some idea of what he knows or doesn't know. Maybe.
CONNIE
But what about Mom? Why's he coming around to see Mom?
FRANKIE
Yeah. Does that mean something?
Antonietta returns from the kitchen with a basket of bread.
ANTONIETTA
It means he wants to get laid.
FRANCESCO
I'll kill him.
ALL
We know!
ANTONIETTA
Time to eat! 'Manadg!'
INT: Longo's - day. Connie and Bill are paused just inside the door. The restaurant is not yet open; the shade on the door is drawn. Joanne is behind the bar at the sound system. She raises a hand to keep Bill and Connie from moving or talking. Dominick and Josephine are on the opposite side of the bar. She puts on a tape of Frank Sinatra singing 'Nice and Easy'. Dominick beckons for Connie and Bill to approach, as he moves a chair to a wall in the rear and stands on it. He points to the top rear of a light fixture extending from the wall, then changes places with Bill. Bill nods his head, indicating that it is a bug, then motions that they should walk back to the alley. Connie follows. Dominick and Josephine remain just inside the screen door.
EXT: Alley. Joanne is intense, anxious; Dominick resigned; Josephine reacting to every word.
JOANNE
We don't know what to do. What should we do?
BILL
Cook. That bug has nothing to do with you.
JOANNE
Then why the hell's it there?
BILL
Somebody's interested in a few of your customers.
JOANNE
You mean like the cops or the F.B.I., huh?
BILL
Or other 'families'. Don't worry. The bug will probably disappear in a few weeks.
Joanne starts back to the restaurant.
JOANNE
All right. We'll cook. You coming?
CONNIE
We'll go this way. I'll see you for lunch tomorrow.
Joanne goes into the restaurant. Connie and Bill walk slowly down the alley.
You're sure they have nothing to worry about? Besides Pop?
BILL
They're no threat to anybody. And I don't think your father would hurt them.
CONNIE
Then what was he doing there? Look what he did in New York! He already hung one dead body in 'Nazut's' refrigerator. 'Nazut'! Of all people, he hurts 'Nazut'.
BILL
No, he didn't. People like Nasuti are so clean, innocent, nothing to hide. We knew in hours Nasuti had nothing to do with the murder. The same with Emma and Pete and the first body. Pop placed the bodies with people he was absolutely sure had nothing to hide. Pop's no dope.
CONNIE
You called him Pop.
He nods.
You know how you sound?
He nods again.
I like it.
BILL
So do I.
He kisses her gently. When he pulls back his look is serious, distracted. He glances back down the alley toward the restaurant.
BILL
He was standing at the door when you saw him that day? In his bag lady outfit?
CONNIE
Uh-huh.
BILL
What time? As close as possible to the right time.
CONNIE
Just a few minutes later than it is now. I took an early lunch.
BILL
The weather? What was the weather like?
CONNIE
Just like today. Clear. Sunny. What? What is it?
INT: Forlano apartment - later that day. Antonietta and Francesco are doing the tango to a Placido Domingo recording. They move from room to room, disappearing and reappearing. Frankie and Cal are washing up the last of the dinner dishes. Connie and Bill are setting a table for coffee and pastries in the living room. All four must dodge the couple whenever they glide pass.
CAL
Don't get carried away you two.
FRANKIE
Yeah, Pop. You can't go getting careless.
CONNIE
You could still be right.
FRANCESCO
No! Wrong! Wrong! I was wrong!
BILL
Francesco, it's just another possibility.
FRANCESCO
Ah, but it makes more sense. I didn't lose him that day cause he was never following me.
BILL
I only said it was hard to see you in that light with the sun behind you.
FRANCESCO
Si! I was La Silhouette! I am still a mystery to one and all!
CAL
Oh, yes you are.
The tango comes to a dramatic finish. Antonietta staggers to the tape deck, turns it off, and collapses on the sofa. Everyone is in the living room.
ANTONIETTA
'Aspett!' 'Aspett!'
FRANCESCO
One more time, cara.
ANTONIETTA
I'm on my feet all day!
CONNIE
Give her a break, Pop.
ANTONIETTA
I want my coffee. A sweet. Sit down, Francesco.
FRANCESCO
Eh.
He shrugs and sits.
ANTONIETTA
And tell me something.
FRANCESCO
What?
ANTONIETTA
If this - ah - assassin isn't looking for you, then why is he always stopping by to see me? Tell me that, Francesco.
FRANCESCO
Ah, look at you. What man could resist you?
He quickly raises his hand in Cal's direction.
ANTONIETTA
Listen to me. All the time you were - ah - dead, the men come.
FRANCESCO
They came when I was alive.
ANTONIETTA
Si! And always I put them in their place.
FRANCESCO
That's my gal.
ANTONIETTA
But this one I cannot stop. Why? Why is he so - so -
CAL
Persistent.
ANTONIETTA
Yes, what he said. Why?
FRANCESCO
Cause, like you said, he wants a little action. And that's just one of the reasons I'm going to kill him.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, no you're not! No! You, you said yourself, he leaves no witnesses. You could get us all killed.
BILL
She's right.
FRANCESCO
But the son of a bitch doesn't even know I exist. He's - ah - persistent cause he thinks I'm dead.
BILL
You will be if you go after him.
ANTONIETTA
It's time you tell them what you're going to do.
FRANCESCO
Ah -
ANTONIETTA
Now, Francesco! Now!
FRANKIE
What's going on, Mom?
ANTONIETTA
You wanted to know if your father had a plan? Well, he has a plan. A big plan. And we are going to do it now, Francesco.
INT: Forlano's - morning. Final preparations are being made for the day's business. Three elderly women are the only customers. Two are browsing the fruits and vegetables, one is sitting on a stool at the butcher counter. Connie is not ready for customers. Her two assistants are still replenishing cases, but she is distracted by her brother and mother in the office. Frankie is comforting Antonietta as she dabs her eyes. All the employees are aware that something is wrong. Antonietta leaves the office and heads for the cashier's booth. She does not check the fruits and vegetables or acknowledge anyone. The employees and the few customers notice the uncharacteristic neglect. Connie looks concerned and starts toward the booth, but Antonietta waves her away. When Emma sees Antonietta in the booth, she sarcastically mouths, 'Antonietta's artichokes - Antonietta's artichokes.' She looks at her watch, puts the last few touches on her fish display, then mouths the words again - impatiently. Pete glares at her. She gestures beckoningly towards Antonietta, trying to extract the words from her.
PETE
Hey!
EMMA
The day doesn't start 'til she opens that 'Bruzzes' trap of hers.
Antonietta cannot control her crying. She keeps her back to the store - and an eye on Emma. Emma approaches slowly, looking genuinely concerned.
INT: Emma and Pete's small store, moments later. Emma and Antonietta are in a closed off section in the rear. Antonietta is seated, holding a handkerchief. Emma hands her a cup of coffee.
EMMA
What a shock.
Antonietta nods while grimacing at the stench of the fish.
What a shock. How did she find you?
ANTONIETTA
She didn't find me. She found the address of another Forlano family in Wilmington. The family in Wilmington sent me the letter. They figured since our store was so well know, maybe we would know someone who knew this woman.
EMMA
What a shock. Your sister. What a -
ANTONIETTA
-- shock. Yeah, I know.
EMMA
It must be over forty years.
Antonietta nods and sips her coffee.
ANTONIETTA
I thought they were all dead.
EMMA
Any of the others still living?
ANTONIETTA
No, just her. She said so in her letter.
EMMA
My, God. Are you sure it's your sister?
ANTONIETTA
She knew names, nicknames, dates - everything.
EMMA
Oh, it'll be wonderful if you get to go and see her.
ANTONIETTA
Yes. Yes. But you must do me a favor, Emma. A big favor.
EMMA
Anything, Ant-net, anything.
ANTONIETTA
Not a word to anyone about this. Not one word. I don't want - a - a curse on this.
EMMA
Oh, Ant-net, my lips are --
EXT: Emma and Pete's. Emma is closing up for the day and talking to Grandmom.
EMMA
-- as big as a circus tent. That's how big her purse'll have to be once that sister on the other side gets her hands on it.
GRANDMOM
She can afford it.
EMMA
Yeah, but them relatives from It-ly can be real greedy.
GRANDMOM (resentfully)
I was a relative from It-ly and I still got holes in my drawers.
INT: Francesco's room - later the same day. Francesco, Antonietta, Connie, Frankie and Bill are packing boxes.
ANTONIETTA
The Daily News couldn't get the news out any faster. That woman's got a mouth --
CONNIE
Mom, that's why you told her in the first place.
ANTONIETTA
Yeah, but some people just talk too much.
Cal enters with some empty boxes.
Oh, good. I have more newspapers upstairs. I'll get them.
CONNIE
I'll go, Mom.
ANTONIETTA
There are some things I think I send, but I'm not sure.
FRANCESCO
Hey, my ring. I want my key ring.
ANTONIETTA
Okay! Okay!
Francesco's affectionate gaze lingers on her as she goes.
INT: Forlano apartment. Antonietta comes up the stairs. She picks up a stack of newspapers on a kitchen chair, hesitates, then puts them down. A feeling of melancholy comes over her. She walks slowly, touching furniture, objects, making her way to the chapel. As she turns on the electric votive candles, she also inadvertently throws the switch for the taped organ music. It starts dissonantly. She turns it off quickly, smiles, and shakes her head. She goes to the altar and picks up the keys. Her eyes fall on the
Infant of Prague. She stares at it, then backs into a pew, her eyes never leaving the statue. Her gaze reveals nothing except an intense concentration. A sound is heard in the apartment. Cal appears at the entrance to the chapel. He approaches slowly and sits nearby. She does not shift her gaze away from the statue.
CAL
Would you like to wrap him up nice-a-nice and take him with you?
She smiles.
ANTONIETTA
I feel like a hypocrite. When we thought Francesco was dead, I was in here every morning. Now the little guy looks ridiculous. What kind of mother puts her boy in a dress?
CAL
Any mother who names her son Caledonia.
ANTONIETTA
But you're English.
She looks at him warmly.
You look after my Frankie?
CAL
What do you think?
ANTONIETTA
I couldn't do better. He couldn't do better.
CAL
We couldn't do better. I love all of you very much.
ANTONIETTA
Now that's not very English.
CAL
It's not, but I never said it before.
ANTONIETTA
You never had to.
CAL
We'll miss you.
ANTONIETTA
You think it's wrong for us to go?
CAL
I never questioned it.
ANTONIETTA
Well, question it - now. Do you?
CAL
I left my country, my insufferably dreary parents. But I didn't leave any children behind.
ANTONIETTA
We leave no children. Our kids are as big as they're going to get - unless they put on weight.
CAL
Do you think it's wrong to go?
She shakes her head slowly.
ANTONIETTA
Not one bit. I have to be with Francesco. He's all I've ever known, because he's all I ever wanted to know. I got my husband back and I'm going to keep him.
CAL
How long has he been planning this?
She smiles thoughtfully.
ANTONIETTA
Many, many years. He never talked much about - world problems The work, yeah. Music - furniture. But not the big problems. Now he talks all the time. Last night he told me when we left the old country he knew, he said he knew what happened there could happen anywhere.
CAL
War. That was war.
ANTONIETTA
Destruction. That's what he meant - destruction. What difference does it make what causes it? Bombs, guns, dope, trash - greed. It's all destruction. You don't see things til you're older. I always knew he was a good man. I never realized how good til we lost him. Or thought we did. Life shouldn't be like that. There's a word
you hear a lot in this neighborhood.
CAL
Respect.
ANTONIETTA
Huh-huh. 'Show respect,' they shout at their kids. And the Mob uses it a hell of a lot. You always have to show respect to the boss - bosses.
CAL
That's not respect, Antonietta.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, you saw that too.
CAL
It's fear.
ANTONIETTA
It's all fear, isn't it? Once they scare you, and keep you scared, then they got you. And they can do anything they want to you.
CAL
But they never scared Francesco - or you.
ANTONIETTA
They left us alone. You know, I never thought about it. But we were left alone. We worked hard. When we had to, when we could, we helped people. Especially Francesco, always helping people. They left us alone.
She stares at Cal in wide eyed realization, then screams:
WE WERE SO FUCKIN' NICE!
They laugh uproariously.
EXT: A deserted parking area near I-95 along the river. Night. A trolley car passes under the highway, stops, discharges The Scorpion, and moves on. He scans the area, as he lights a cigarette. A late model black Cadillac is parked in a shadowed area of the underpass. He walks toward it slowly. The driver's window opens a few inches, but the driver remains concealed.
SCORPION
I do not like this.
DRIVER
Nessunu ni vede ca'.
The Scorpion switches to Italian very reluctantly.
SCORPION
Faccio le cose al modo mio.
DRIVER
Beh, ti devi disbrigare, ca ella parte pe' l'Italia.
SCORPION
Come lo sai?
DRIVER
Lu sapa tutta la Nova Strada. Pare che ricevette 'na lettera da sorella, o 'na cosa simile.
SCORPION
Quale sorella? Tu mi hai detto che...
DRIVER (aggressively)
Che cazzo ne sacci'io quala sorella? Idda va in Italia, e tu si' pagato tanti soldi. Percio' fai quello che bisogna fare, e fallo subito.
SCORPION
Perche' parli in Italiano?
DRIVER
Come?
SCORPION
Why do you speak Italian?
DRIVER
So we understand one another better.
SCORPION
Oh, no. I do not understand you any better. I have never met an Italian in this neighborhood who speaks Italian correctly. Or any language correctly for that matter.
DRIVER
You make your living killing people and you're criticizing me cause of the way I talk?
SCORPION
Before I complete my work here, I just thought you
should know, you sound like shit.
The Scorpion turns and walks off slowly.
DRIVER
I sound like shit?
INT: Passport Office. Connie and Antonietta are at the counter. A young, female clerk is checking her application.
CLERK
Everything seems to be in order. You must be very excited about going back, Mrs. Forlano. How long has it been since you've been to Italy?
ANTONIETTA
Since the son of a bitch Mussolini busted our balls.
CLERK (calmly)
Oh, and when was that?
Connie gives her mother a satisfied nod.
EXT: Passport Office. Connie and Antonietta walk quickly toward Connie's car.
ANTONIETTA
What am I going to cook tonight?
CONNIE
Mom --
ANTONIETTA
You eating at my place?
CONNIE
Pop's not home.
ANTONIETTA
But he might be back, so I cook.
CONNIE
We still have to get you some clothes. And we can eat --
ANTONIETTA
Clothes?! Who the hell has time to wear clothes?
CONNIE
You're going on a trip. Not around the corner to
the movies.
ANTONIETTA
We got no movies around the corner no more.
EXT: Longo's later the same day. Most of the businesses have closed, but the dinner business is yet to begin. Antonietta walks wearily toward the restaurant. She carries a small old fashioned change purse.
INT: Longo's
DOMINICK
Hey, Ant-net.
ANTONIETTA (mumbles)
An-ton-oh, the hell with it.
JOANNE
It's good to see you get out.
Josephine appears at the entrance to the kitchen and waves her hands gleefully at Antonietta. She waves back.
ANTONIETTA
I've been out. Believe me, I've been out.
The hand holding the purse is resting on the bar. Someone comes up behind her. She turns and is openly surprised to see the Scorpion, impeccably dressed, looking very handsome. She has difficulty concealing her discomfort -- and admiration.
Oh, you! You! Ha, ha! It's you. You look - eh - very nice. You smell very good.
Almost tenderly, his eyes roam over her face and body. Joanne, Dominick and Josephine enjoy watching the flirtation.
I thought you went back to Sicil - Naples - back to Naples.
SCORPION
I am flattered you remembered.
ANTONIETTA
I remembered. Ha, ha.
She has nervously thrust her hands into the pockets of her house dress. The Scorpion has one hand resting on the bar.
SCORPION
Does this mean you will have supper with me this evening?
He starts to remove the boutonniere from the lapel of his jacket.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, I am so sorry. But my daughter, my son -- people. I am having dinner with - with many people.
He gently slips the flower into the buttonhole on her dress.
SCORPION
Then you will accept this as a token to remember me by.
Joanne, Dominick and Josephine exchange looks of approval.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, you are such a - a kind man.
He takes her hand and kisses it.
Just like Charles Boyer.
He nods graciously, then leaves, passing Connie as she enters.
DOMINICK
I thought men did that only in the movies.
ANTONIETTA
That man is a killer.
CONNIE (calmly)
You okay?
ANTONIETTA
He has a way about him.
Antonietta picks up her purse.
CONNIE
Probably needs it in his work.
Dominick signals that the corner table is ready. Connie follows her mother toward it, then glances up at the light where the bug was hidden. Joanne notices.
JOANNE
Gone. A couple of days ago. Just like he said.
She shrugs, as if she no longer cared. Frankie, Cal and Bill enter. Connie
is surprised.
FRANKIE
We found him looking for you.
Bill is a bit edgy.
BILL
You don't mind?
Connie shakes her head, aware of Bill's state.
ANTONIETTA
Sit down, Billy.
He sits next to Connie. Frankie and Cal flank Antonietta.
CAL
I'm starving.
Antonietta is about to comment, but is stopped by Bill's question to Connie.
BILL
Will you marry me?
All motion stops, except for Cal trying to break a slice of crusty bread as quietly as possible and slipping a piece into his mouth. Pause.
CONNIE
Sure.
ANTONIETTA
Congratulations. He didn't even give you a nice little flower. Let's eat.
EXT: Forlano's, after dinner. Bill and Connie are walking with their arms around each other's waists. Frankie and Cal walk behind, mimicking them. Antonietta glances back, as she opens her purse to get her keys.
ANTONIETTA
That's not nice, you two. Oh, where the hell are my keys?
CONNIE
Check your pockets?
ANTONIETTA
I checked.
FRANKIE
Maybe you left them at the restaurant.
ANTONIETTA
No, no. Go see.
Frankie and Cal head back to the restaurant. The others walk on to the Forlano apartment.
I know I double locked that door.
Antonietta looks seriously distracted. Connie takes her key and inserts it in the doorknob. The door opens.
I double locked it, Connie.
CONNIE
You probably left the keys upstairs, Mom.
BILL
Do you want us to come up and help you look?
She shakes her head. Frankie and Cal return.
FRANKIE
No keys.
They see the opened door.
CAL
You found them.
CONNIE
I opened it. She thought --
ANTONIETTA
Frankie, give me your key to the top lock.
FRANKIE
We'll come up and help you look.
ANTONIETTA
Just give me the key. I'll find them myself.
He snaps the key off his ring, hands it to her, then kisses her on the cheek. Cal kisses her, then Connie. She accepts the kisses casually, but then looks at Bill, who hesitates only briefly, then kisses her. They are all aware of the significance of the gesture. Antonietta smiles and nods.
Go home. Make wedding plans.
She enters the building. Frankie and Cal go to their car nearby; Connie
and Bill toward her house. The late model black Cadillac is parked on the opposite side of the street. Connie and Bill stop at his car parked in front of her house.
CONNIE
She'll find them. She's so distracted by everything that's -- Oh, my God, wait til Pop hears we're getting married.
BILL
I think he likes me.
CONNIE
Oh, he does. But he'll want to be there. He can't give me away. Oh, God how -- how long do you want to wait before we get married?
He shrugs.
BILL
Ten minutes.
She throws her arms around him and kisses him.
INT: Frankie's car a short time later.
FRANKIE
You don't mind cancelling the trip?
CAL
There'll be other trips. We're young, we're healthy.
FRANKIE
Thanks.
INT: Connie's bedroom a short time later. She is alone, standing near a dresser by a front window, smiling to herself. She removes her keys from her dress pocket and places them on the dresser. She reaches to turn on a lamp but her hand goes to the sheer window curtain. She parts them and looks at her mother's place. Her face is relaxed until she sees the sudden appearance of her mother's profile in the small window of the door that leads to the apartment. She grabs her binoculars and for seconds she can see Antonietta arguing with someone. Her mother's face snaps away from the window, followed by a shock of silver grey hair passing swiftly. She drops the binoculars on the dresser, grabs her keys, and starts running.
INT: Forlano's. Antonietta breaks away from the Scorpion's grip, staggers against crates, and stumbles toward the cashier's booth. The Scorpion remains composed, moving slowly, casually attaching a silencer to his gun.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, Dio, oh Dio --
SCORPION
'Oh, Dio, oh, Dio,' that's what they all say.
EXT: Connie running from her house, clutching her keys. The driver's door of the black Cadillac opens.
INT: Forlano's
ANTONIETTA
You - you cannot get away with this.
SCORPION
I am a professional. I do get away with it.
ANTONIETTA
We know - we know all about you.
SCORPION
Oh, yes.
EXT: Forlano's. Connie is running to the apartment door. A man is approaching her quickly.
INT: Forlano's
ANTONIETTA
I am a good woman!
SCORPION
Then you will not take this personally.
EXT: Connie is unlocking the door as fast as she can. She turns and sees someone coming toward her.
CONNIE
Help me! Help me! Someone's trying to hurt Mom.
INT: Forlano's. The Scorpion is taking aim, but his expression is sympathetic.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, Jesus Christ!
The door crashes open.
CONNIE
Mom!
ANTONIETTA
He's got a gun! He's got a gun!
Connie rushes to her mother. Don Costaldo closes the door and remains a few feet inside the market, motionless.
CONNIE
Are you all right? Are you all --
Antonietta starts flailing.
ANTONIETTA
He's going to blow my head off and you ask if I'm all right?!
CONNIE
Mom, I --
Antonietta's hand hits the tape deck. "Rosalie" blares through the market. The Scorpion shoots the tape deck.
ANTONIETTA
He shot Tony Pastor!!
SCORPION
That was Tony Pastor? I have heard of him.
CONNIE
How did he get in here?
ANTONIETTA
The son of a bitch stole the keys from my purse at Longo's.
The women are between the cashier's booth and the butcher block.
CONNIE
Money, do you want money?
ANTONIETTA
He doesn't even want sex!
CONNIE
Mom!
ANTONIETTA
I thought he broke in to rape me.
SCORPION
Only very sick people do that kind of thing.
ANTONIETTA
Oh, God help us.
She sees Don.
What's he doing here?
CONNIE
He was outside. I --
Connie's wheels are turning.
ANTONIETTA (to Don)
You are a dead man! He leaves no witnesses.
SCORPION
You have heard of me.
ANTONIETTA
My husband told me! Oh, where is my Francesco?
DON
Your Francesco's dead! Remember?
He is agitated, sweaty, but unable to move.
CONNIE (calmly)
And that's why you hired this man to kill Mom.
ANTONIETTA
What?!
CONNIE
He brought him here.
ANTONIETTA
Me?! Why me?!
CONNIE
The mob took the business away from him when his father died.
ANTONIETTA
That's not my fault!
Connie is very calm.
CONNIE
With you out of the way he would get them to take over and he would run it. He would front it for them. Is that right, Don?
Connie is moving closer to the butcher block.
SCORPION
But he was very smart not to tell anyone he hired me. They all knew I was here, but no one knew why. He is not a complete fool.
DON
And I'd have some respect again!
ANTONIETTA
You? Nobody ever respected you. You can't even wipe your own ass. And you sure as hell couldn't run my business.
DON
Kill em! Both of em!
SCORPION
You are paying for only one.
Connie is at the butcher block.
DON
And you don't leave no witnesses.
SCORPION
That is not true. No one ever tells a story accurately. They also say I kill babies and old women. I have never done such a thing.
ANTONIETTA
I'm an old woman!
SCORPION
Not old enough, I'm afraid. And I must say there is a little bit of regret --
DON
Kill em!
The Scorpion turns his head toward Don and speaks evenly.
SCORPION
No - orders. I - told - you - I - work - alone.
He is about to turn back toward the women, but the flash of metal whizzing by and the sight of a cleaver hitting Don between the eyes stops him. Connie moans at her accomplishment.
ANTONIETTA (softly)
Oh, my. He's going to get blood on the 'cagootz.'
The Scorpion keeps the gun pointed at the women. Don staggers. He tries to bring his hands up to the cleaver but lacks the strength. Groaning, he drops to his knees. The Scorpion has moved toward him. Connie is trying to control her groans. Antonietta is shocked but still trying to anticipate what might happen. The Scorpion places the gun behind Don's ear and fires.
SCORPION
It is more merciful.
ANTONIETTA
And that's what we want.
CONNIE
Oh, God, Mom, what are you talking about?
The Scorpion pats Don's jacket then removes an envelope from the inside pocket. With the gun still pointed at the women, he gives the money in the envelope a cursory count. Satisfied, he quickly disassembles his gun. Connie is almost on the verge of tears, shocked at her own action. She hardly notices what has been happening. Antonietta approaches the Scorpion tentatively. He looks at her apologetically.
SCORPION
This man was a dangerous idiot. I should not have accepted his offer. I have my money. No one knows why I came here. You and your children are safe. But I'm afraid I cannot help you get rid of this body.
ANTONIETTA
We'll think of something.
Connie approaches slowly, almost staggering. She looks down at the body and winces. Then she begins to listen to the exchange taking place and observes the almost affectionate glances incredulously.
SCORPION
It is not difficult. In a city this large you can make anything vanish.
ANTONIETTA
Vanish. Yes, that's the right word.
Slight pause.
SCORPION
You are an exciting woman. If only we had met under propitious circumstances.
Connie's eyes widen in disbelief. Antonietta is touched, but controlled and very uncomfortable.
ANTONIETTA
You speak such good English. I always liked that.
He nods gracefully, then turns and leaves. Antonietta is moved and relieved. Connie is doubled over.
CONNIE
Oh, Mom, I think I'm going to mess myself.
ANTONIETTA (distracted)
Please, not on the vegetables.
Connie dashes for the office toilet. Antonietta moves her head slowly to look down at Don's body, then points toward the door, advising -
ANTONIETTA
Now, that was a gentleman.
INT: The basement under the market two hours later. Don's body is on a table, covered with plastic bags. Antonietta, Frankie and Cal are staring at it in disbelief.
CAL
I hate this person.
FRANKIE
Killed. He wanted them killed.
Connie is coming down the stairs carrying two large knives and a bow saw.
ANTONIETTA
She got to him first.
CONNIE
Because I missed.
They look at her incredulously.
I missed. I was trying to hit the Scorpion. I hit him instead.
Francesco enters quickly from his back room, tying on an apron over an old butcher's shirt. She hands her father the knives and saw.
FRANKIE
Pop, you don't have to do this. We can put him in his car and get rid of him.
FRANCESCO
He goes where he belongs. In the trash. Our trash. Tomorrow. When I get through with him, nobody will know he's there.
ANTONIETTA
I can take only so much.
She starts to leave.
CONNIE
Pop, I'd help --
FRANCESCO
No. Go. You all go. Get rid of the car.
Cal attempts an impersonation of Boris Karloff.
CAL
Oh, master, why may I not stay and watch?
FRANKIE
Get upstairs!
Cal follows Antonietta and Connie upstairs. Frankie hesitates.
FRANKIE
I'll help.
FRANCESCO
You and Cal get rid of the car.
FRANKIE
Sure?
FRANCESCO
I appreciate the offer.
Frankie starts upstairs.
Hey.
He stops.
Remember, I made you go to college, but what did I always tell you?
FRANKIE
'Everybody should also have a trade.'
FRANCESCO
That's right.
When Frankie gets to the top of the stairs he hears -
Banzai!
WHACK!
Just kidding.
Frankie nods approvingly.
INT: A church. Day. The wedding march begins. At the altar is one chubby, smiling priest and two bored altar boys. Cal is serving as Bill's best man. Bill's mother, in her early sixties, dressed simply, is seated in a front pew, smiling at him. Antonietta is in the front pew on the opposite side of the center aisle. Her outfit is almost theatrical in comparison. Emma, Pete, Nasuti, Dominick and Josephine, along with all the employees of Forlano's and their families, sit among the many merchants and vendors of Ninth Street. The crowd occupies half of the front pews of the church. At the rear, ten young girls from the neighborhood sit in small groups, giggling, eager to see the bride. Interspersed are six elderly women, heads bowed, saying their rosaries, oblivious to the proceedings. Bill's daughters are flower girls, Joanne the maid of honor. Frankie is giving Connie away. When they start up the aisle, one of the elderly women, stout, buxom, hair pulled back in a bun, dressed entirely in mourning black, starts making her way toward the center aisle. She kneels, leans back on the pew, then turns to watch the procession. Frankie is first to see that the woman is his father, crying copiously. Frankie utters a deep, controlled moan that causes Connie to follow his gaze. She is surprised, pleased, and proud. Antonietta nods approvingly, knowing who the woman is. Bill turns slowly to Cal.
BILL
Is that --
CAL
You betcha.
BILL
Looks good to me.
No one else pays any attention to the woman.
EXT: A quiet residential neighborhood in Europe. Day. Connie and Bill are kissing. When they part they reveal a small butcher shop on the opposite side of the street with a sign that says Forlano above its one window. Customers are coming and going quickly.
CONNIE
Amazing what you can accomplish with a few good sausage recipes.
Antonietta waves from the window as she retrieves some items from its shelf. Connie gestures to ask if she wants them to help. Antonietta shakes her head and waves them away. Francesco is busily handling customers. Artie Shaw's 'Cross My Heart' can be heard faintly.
BILL
I thought for sure they'd go back to Italy.
They are walking away from the shop.
CONNIE
Said he wanted to be close to his money.
As they walk on, a wider angle reveals that the shop is next to the largest bank in Switzerland. The volume of 'Cross My Heart' increases.
EXT: Forlano's on Ninth Street. The usual morning bustle is taking place, with everyone putting finishing touches on the day's preparations.
INT: Forlano's. Frankie is sharpening knives at the butcher counter. Cal is arranging flowers around a box of artichokes in the cashier's booth. Artie Shaw is playing on the new tape deck. Josephine is just outside the market, carrying a shopping bag and inspecting Emma's fish. Tommy, Don Costaldo's assistant, enters from the rear and places a box of beef cubes next to Frankie.
FRANKIE
Thanks. Eh, hear anything from Don?
TOMMY
No! And we hope she never comes back! That was a sick woman!
Tommy goes off, leaving Frankie laughing. Emma checks her stands to make sure everything is in place. Cal looks down at her just as she looks up at him and shouts, playfully
EMMA
All right! Hit it, kid!
Frankie and the employees break into broad grins. Cal is resigned, accepting. He increases the volume on the tape deck, then turns and shouts in an exaggerated American accent:
CAL
Ant-nets dor-a-bell r-tee-chokes! Juicey! Tender! Get-em-rye-cheer. Get-em-fresh.
Everyone within hearing distance laughs, including Nasuti, who is at his door tying on his apron. As Josephine turns to leave she raises her hand in a flourish and shouts in a basso profundo voice.
JOSEPHINE
You sock it to em, Caledonia!
Cal looks at Frankie for an instant, then both start laughing uncontrollably. 'Cross My Heart" comes up to full volume. The camera pulls back and rises slowly, ending in an aerial view of Ninth Street.
THE END


© Copyright 2017 Robert E. DiNardo. All rights reserved.

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