Justice Delayed Episode 9

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

Vince and his associates hide, trying to figure out how to avoid getting killed by the Crips. Ashton is forced to show up to court and submit formally to a weapons charge and a charge of distributing ecstasy and has to work out a legal strategy with his lawyer as the prosecution takes an aggressive disposition. Meixiang and Huang Ping plot to escape Colorado behind everyone’s back as her relationship with Vince falls apart.







“Well, I’m a-walking down the road with my head in my hand. I’m looking for a woman, needs a worried man. Just a-one kind favor I ask you! Loan me just a one more chance”

  • Bob Dylan & Henry Thomas


(We open on Ashton’s smoking engine. Ashton opens the hood and a plume of smoke erupts)




(Ashton steps back. Vince comes over and waves away the smoke)


VINCE: Jesus, it’s like a Lithuanian bathhouse in there!

(Randall and Jackson walk over)


RANDALL: This thing ain’t gonna run, and the cops is definitely on their way.


JACKSON: Only a matter of time ‘till they find us, we need to get the fuck out of here.


VINCE: Well, we could steal a car, but we can’t leave this here, this is gonna connect us!


ASHTON: Randall, remember the junkyard guy you sent me to, the one who crushed my FUCKING BELOVED TRUCK?! (Ashton takes a deep breath) Sorry. Remember him?


RANDALL: Yeah, he’s got a tow truck, I’ll hit him up.


(Randall steps away and makes a phone call offscreen. We can only hear a mumbled conversation)


VINCE: Who’s gonna watch the truck?


ASHTON: Meixiang- you have the least to lose.


(Meixiang snaps out of her reverie and clocks Ashton)


MEIXIANG …Amazingly, you’re wrong about that.


VINCE: We’re not gonna leave Meixiang-


(Randall walks over, putting his phone away)


RANDALL: Don’t worry about that, Fremont gonna be here in four minutes. Cops in Denver have an average response time of thirteen minutes, so we good.


ASHTON: Christ, I’ve gotten Uber Eats orders in less time.


VINCE: What about the Crips, they’re probably coming RIGHT now!


RANDALL: We gotta steal a car. See anything you like?


(Ashton walks over to a driveway with a blue Subaru Hatchback in it)


ASHTON: I mean, I like the color, but I’d really like to check out the interior. (Ashton breaks the backseat window with his elbow and peeks in) Yeah, it’s really tasteful, let’s go.


(Everybody piles in and Randall gets to work wiring the car. Cut to the Subaru racing down the road)


VINCE: We gotta hide, somewhere the Crips can’t find us.


MEIXIANG: They know where we all live!


RANDALL: They don’t know where the factory is.


VINCE: Oh shit, that’s right.


JACKSON: Shit, let’s go there, then. I’ll keep a lookout for tails.


 (Jackson looks out the back window)


MEIXIANG: We gotta stop by my place, though.


RANDALL: Why the fuck do we gotta…


VINCE: Yeah, why do we?


ASHTON: You can get your makeup later, Meixiang, I mean come on!


MEIXIANG: Fuck you. We have to pick up, uh…Huang Ping…


(Everyone but Randall looks at her)


VINCE: …What the fuck are you talking about!?


ASHTON: We’re pretty far from China.


MEIXIANG: He didn’t leave ChemChina, okay!? I mean, he did, but he came here and I’ve had to hide him in my basement because Randall told me to.


VINCE: You didn’t tell me about this!?


RANDALL: Somehow, I didn’t think you’d take it well.


VINCE: Since when do you give a shit about that?!


RANDALL: Didn’t want to hear your whiny-ass voice, how ‘bout that?


VINCE: So, he’s at the bottom of a hole now, what are you, Buffalo Bill?


MEIXIANG: He’s comfortable there, and fuck you, you don’t get to lecture me about shit.


(Meixiang turns and looks out the window)


ASHTON: Fuck this guy, we don’t need him.


RANDALL: Nah, we should pick him up.


ASHTON: Crips might be there waiting for us!

RANDALL: Yeah, but if they get to him, he could tell them something.


MEIXIANG: EXACTLY! Not that he would, but… exactly.


VINCE: Jesus fucking Christ, how long has he been down there?!


MEIXIANG: Barely, two months.




(Randall makes a sharp right turn at an intersection. Cut to Randall pulling up to Meixiang’s house. Randall surveys the area)


RANDALL: I don’t see any hoopties, do y’all?


VINCE: Fuck, I just realized I was supposed to grade papers tonight.


ASHTON: I don’t see anyone.


MEIXIANG: Someone needs to back me up, just in case.


(Randall and Jackson take out their guns)


JACKSON: Feel like I’m rescuin’ Han Solo and shit.


RANDALL: Please don’t run with that, my dude.


(Jackson, Randall and Meixiang hop out of the car and head toward the front door. Meixiang unlocks it. Randall and Jackson go in first, with their guns drawn. They move into the living room and whip around, checking in the kitchen and they finally move down a hallway, where the basement door is located. Meixiang creeps behind them and takes out her key. Meixiang quickly opens the door and lets Randall and Jackson go down the basement stairs, wielding their guns. She goes in after them and we see Huang Ping pulling up his pants at his table, with a picture of Meixiang and himself on his iPad. He screams in Mandarin)




MEIXIANG: Put down the guns!


(Jackson and Randall lower their guns)


RANDALL: You see or hear anybody come through here?!


(Huang Ping zips up his pants and turns the iPad over)


HUANG PING: Oh fuck, you one try to kill me!


RANDALL: Yo, we ain’t got time to ponder the past, tell me if you seen anyone?


HUANG PING: Nobody here! Except Dylan!


RANDALL: The fuck is Dylan!?


MEIXIANG: That’s his rat friend, let’s just take him, okay?


(Cut to Randall and Jackson dragging him out of the basement)


HUANG PING: What is this about?! You take me to Triads!?


JACKSON: All will be explained, little man.


MEIXIANG: Hey, he’s like 5’10, that is perfectly average!

(Cut to Jackson and Randall dragging Huang Ping out of Meixiang’s house with her following. They jam him in the back seat with Vince and Ashton. Meixiang gets in the back seat as well. Jackson looks behind them and sees a hooptie full of Crips pull up)




(Randall zooms away as the Crips open fire. Randall peels around a corner as the Crips rush back into their hooptie and try to pursue. Randall takes a street leading out of the neighborhood and makes a sharp left, barely missing a car heading the other way. Cut to inside the car. Jackson is looking through the back window)


JACKSON: I think we lost ‘em.


HUANG PING: God, what if they hurt Dylan!?


MEIXIANG: Dylan will be okay, honey, he’s tough.


(Vince groans)


VINCE: “Honey” smells like shit.


ASHTON: I have to agree.


MEIXIANG: I haven’t hosed him off in a few days, I’m sorry.


HUANG PING: You try living in a basement, buddy.


VINCE: Don’t fucking talk to me.


HUANG PING: Are you the man I’ve heard in Meixiang’s house?


VINCE: YES! That is me! (Vincent extends his hand to Huang Ping) Vincent Hall, how the hell are ya?


MEIXIANG: Jesus Christ, guys, have some dignity.


HUANG PING: It’s fine, Meixiang, this man is clearly jealous of our love.


VINCE: LOVE?! HA! This is the most severe case of Stockholm Syndrome I’ve EVER seen!


HUANG PING: She’s just doing what is best for me, BECAUSE she loves me!


VINCE: Oh yeah, I bet she takes you on walks and everything!


HUANG PING: Well, no, but she gives me Vitamin D pills to make up for the lack of sun-


MEIXIANG: ENOUGH! Okay!? Vince, whether you like it or not, Huang Ping matters to me, I want him to be safe! GET OVER IT!

VINCE: That’s fine, but you didn’t even tell me about it!

MEIXIANG: Maybe because I knew you would REACT like this!


VINCE: No, that is- you cannot have known I would overreacted like this!


MEIXIANG: Fine, Vince, why don’t you kill him!? That seems to be your solution for everything else!


HUANG PING: Even if you kill me, you cannot kill the love I hold for Meixiang in my heart.


VINCE: It’s tempting, but I’ll pass.


RANDALL: I’m finna kill all of you if you don’t shut the fuck up.


ASHTON: Seriously, I’ve heard better lovers’ quarrels listening to my parents fight during the divorce that I orchestrated.


JACKSON: You orchestrated your parents’ divorce?


ASHTON: Yeah, I used my dad’s phone to text flirtatious messages to our babysitter, when I was like, nine.


MEIXIANG: What the fuck is wrong with you?


(Ashton shrugs and takes out a cigarette)


ASHTON: Honestly, I did them a favor. Did my baby sister a favor, too.


(Ashton lights his cigarette. Cut to Randall’s truck taking a dirt road up the mountain. Cut to the Subaru Hatchback arriving at the mountaintop cabin. Everyone jumps out and Ashton is speaking on the phone)


ASHTON: Firs thing in the morning, huh? (Ashton looks around) Fuck. No, it’s just, I’m busy.


VINCE: Who is he talking to?


ASHTON: Hello? Hello!? Goddamnit. (Ashton puts his phone away) No signal. (Ashton sighs) My lawyer tells me the Judge scheduled my arraignment for tomorrow morning.


VINCE: When the hell did you have time to hire a lawyer?


ASHTON: This guy’s popular with bangers, I just texted him a few hours back.


RANDALL: You shoulda hired Jackson!


JACKSON: Yeah, what the fuck.


ASHTON: Is Jackson a, lawyer?


RANDALL: Amateur, but yeah. This nigga tall, and tallness impresses the fuck outta judges.


JACKSON: Last case I represented, this judge looked at me and was all like “this nigga tall, he can’t be frontin’”.


VINCE: He called you the N-word?


JACKSON: Nah, I would’ve punched his lights out, had he.


ASHTON: Anyway, I have to make the arraignment.


VINCE: But what about our plan to get back at the Crips?


ASHTON: If I don’t go, it’ll just make them more suspicious and worse of all, they’ll look for me.


MEIXIANG: But would you rather have the law looking for you or the Crips?


(Ashton takes out his piece)


ASHTON: I can shoot the Crips, I can’t shoot the pigs.


RANDALL: He’s right. You should go.


VINCE: But we only have one car!


RANDALL: Fremont’s fixing your truck, I’ll have him bring it up here by the morning.


VINCE: Is he gonna replace the doors, that are covered with bullet holes?


RANDALL: Yeah, he’s gonna do all that. Payin’ this dude a shit ton of money.


ASHTON: Can you have him put a sick subwoofer in there? I’ve been meaning to do it myself, but while he’s there-


RANDALL: No. (Ashton scoffs) Alright, now we got a lot of shit to do tomorrow, let’s turn in.


(They all listlessly walk towards the cabin. Cut to all of them standing in the living room)


ASHTON: Randy and Jackson can take the upstairs bed, Meixiang, Ashton and Huang Ping can take the downstairs bed, I’ll crash on the couch.


VINCE: I’m not sleeping with Huang Ping.


MEIXIANG: Fine, then I will, you can sleep with Ashton.


VINCE: Fine, I’ll sleep with fucking Huang Ping.


HUANG PING: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been out with the boys and heard that. (Huang Ping caresses Meixiang’s hair) Of course, that was before I found true love…


(Meixiang moves away from him)


MEIXIANG: I’m gonna turn in. Head-to-toe sound good, you guys?


(Meixiang walks into the bedroom)


VINCE: Cool, Grandpa Bucket style, I can dig it.


(Vince and Huang Ping follow her into the bedroom and close the door behind them. Ashton falls backwards onto the couch and crosses his legs)


ASHTON: You guys wanna play “Fuck, Marry, Kill” before we go to bed?


RANDALL: Sure, I’d fuck Meixiang, kill you and marry that hoe of yours.


ASHTON: She’s not- she’s not a part of this, plus I was gonna go with Prince, Avicii and Mac Miller.


JACKSON: I mean, no homo, but you fuck Prince, for sure.


RANDALL: Yeah, definitely. Prince.


(Cut to Ashton opening the front door of the cabin early the next morning. He walks out holding a cigarette, with heavy bags under his eyes, dead tired. He takes a lazy drag on his cigarette as he sees Fremont, a chubby guy with a mustache, jump out of Ashton’s truck, which now has slightly mismatched doors and hood)


FREMONT: (Southern twang) You Ashton?


(Ashton puts on a scowl)


ASHTON: …Yeah.


(Fremont throws Ashton his keys)


FREMONT: She’s good as new. Had more work done than my ex’s face, but she looks stunnin’. (Ashton hops in the truck. Fremont gets in the passenger seat) My ex-wife’s a burn victim, so.


ASHTON: I’m dropping you off at the bottom of the mountain.


FREMONT: Hey man, I went to a lot of trouble to do this-


ASHTON: You murdered my truck.


(Ashton starts the engine and drives off. Cut to Ashton wearing a suit and waiting in a spare board room. Michael Lowe, a lawyer in a white suit and bolo tie comes in and shakes Ashton’s hand)


MICHAEL: Thanks for coming early, Mr. Delay. (Michael sits down) Interesting that you’d have a name like that and be so early.


(Michael chuckles)


ASHTON: Yeah, man, sure.


(Awkward beat)


MICHAEL: …So, I appreciate that.


ASHTON: Sure, I had to swipe this suit from a Men’s Warehouse early this morning, though.


MICHAEL: Wow, not off to a great start, son, definitely don’t tell anyone else that.


ASHTON: But it wasn’t open yet, what was I supposed to do?


MICHAEL: Anyway, so- (Michael takes out Ashton’s case file) you probably know my reputation, who I usually represent, right?


ASHTON: Bangers.


MICHAEL: Exactly. It’s how I got this.


(Michael undoes the top few buttons of his shirt and shows a tattoo of a gun pointed up at his head)


ASHTON: What’s that mean?


MICHAEL: Basically, it means I’ll be killed if I get any of my clients to flip. So, you’re not a flipper, right?


ASHTON: No, I don’t flip. I’m the one they want people to flip on.


(Michael laughs)


MICHAEL: That’s the spirit, El Chapo. (Michael buttons his shirt back up) So without flipping, prosecutors are gonna be aggressive. Lucky for you, you’re cleaner than a Boy Scout in a bubble bath.


ASHTON: At least on paper, I’ve done a lot of fucked up shit.


MICHAEL: Luckily, that stays between us. Just like me and that Boy Scout in a bubble bath.


ASHTON: Excuse me?


MICHAEL: So, the drug charge is bullshit, they just have one witness. It’s “he said, she said”. I’ll move to dismiss. But that illegal gun charge could have you looking at up to three years.


ASHTON: But I have no record, can’t we push for like, a formal apology from the court and a promise to never do it again from me?


MICHAEL: FROM the court?


ASHTON: I mean, how good of a lawyer are you?


MICHAEL: …I can get you no jail time. But you have to be on your best behavior in there.


ASHTON: Oh, I’ll be an angel.


(Cut to the court room. An older judge named Sarah Nelson presides. The prosecuting attorneys, Manuel Hart and Jennifer Plock sit on the opposite side of Ashton and Michael)


MICHAEL LOWE: Your honor, the prosecution has but ONE witness to provide for this supposed drug distribution charge, out of all of the dozens of young men and women they arrested at AfterLyfe, they found just ONE scared kid to tell them what they wanted to hear. It’s frankly ridiculous your honor, and I move to dismiss this charge.


(Jennifer Plock stands up)


JENNIFER: We have a pattern of behavior here, your honor, a young man with illegal weapons is certainly not above selling ecstasy, as I’m sure you would agree.


MICHAEL: That is NOT evidence, your honor!

JUDGE NELSON: Enough. I agree with Mr. Lowe, this distribution charge is flimsy, Mrs. Plock. And furthermore, with regard to Mr. Delay’s reputation, he appears to be a thoroughly respectable and handsome young man. (Ashton winks at Judge Nelson) Any grandmother would be lucky to have him as their grandson.


ASHTON: And any grandson would be lucky to have you as their grandmother, your grace.


MICHAEL: Ashton, I got this, thank you.


JENNIFER: Also, she’s not royalty…


JUDGE NELSON: The distribution charge is dismissed without prejudice. (Judge Nelson slams her gavel) However, Mr. Delay, you are still being charged with possession of unlawful firearms, in violation of section 18-12-105 of the Colorado criminal code. How do you plead?


(Michael rises to his feet)


MICHAEL: Your honor, I move that we delay further proceedings until a plea deal can be negotiated between the defense and the prosecution.


JUDGE NELSON: I concur. We’ll take a recess.


(Judge Nelson slams the gavel and they all stand up. Plock approaches Ashton and Lowe)


JENNIFER: You can still give something to the police, kid. You don’t have to go down for this.


ASHTON: Trust me, I don’t go down on anyone for anything, unlike-


MICHAEL: STOP. (Michael laughs) He sure has an irreverent sense of humor, don’t he?


(Cut to Michael, Ashton, Jennifer and Manuel sit in Judge Nelson’s chambers, an elegantly decorated office cluttered with globes, bookshelves, mahogany everything and science classroom skeletons for some reason. Judge Nelson stares out the window)


JUDGE NELSON: …Have you ever noticed how a  Blue Jay’s back shines more like an emerald than a bird?


MANUEL: Your Honor, we don’t have a ton of time.


(Judge Nelson walks over to her desk and sits down)


JUDGE NELSON: Very well. Prosecution, proceed.


MANUEL: We believe-


JUDGE NELSON: If you look at the proverbial jail bird- (They all sigh in exasperation) does he truly want to be free? Or is this all he knows? (Nelson looks at Ashton) This young boy has no record. So, he owned a few illegal guns, my son shot a squirrel with a cap gun the other night.


JENNIFER: That is not the same thing!

JUDGE NELSON: I don’t think jail time is reasonable for a 20-year old boy with no record, Mrs. Plock.


MICHAEL: I agree. I think six months of community service and a formal apology will do.


JENNIFER: Your honor, we tracked down witnesses from Mr. Delay’s high school, and they claimed he was quite the troublemaker!


JUDGE NELSON: Mrs. Plock, if we locked up every high school troublemaker, every one of my ex-boyfriends would be in prison, well, they are anyway, but that’s because I refuse to disclose conflicts of interests when I’m trying cases.


JENNIFER: Excuse me?


JUDGE NELSON: A year of community service and two years’ probation, along with a verbal expression of remorse, is as much as I can do.


ASHTON: Damn, my lawyer didn’t have to say shit.


MICHAEL: We accept this, your honor.


JUDGE NELSON: And you two? It doesn’t matter if you do or not, but feel free to express yourself.


(Jennifer and Manuel get up)


JENNIFER: This is unbelievable.


(Jennifer and Manuel walk out. Ashton and Michael predator handshake each other. Cut to Randall, Jackson, Meixiang and Huang Ping sitting around the dinner table at the cabin. Vince walks in with a few plates of scrambled eggs and one plate of just three eggs)


VINCE: Alright, Chef Vincent is in the house- (Vince puts scrambled eggs in front of Randall, Jackson, Meixiang, and an empty seat for himself) scrambled eggs for you guys, but sorry, Huang Ping, we ran out of scramblers, so you get three hardboiled eggs.


(Vince laughs deviously and sits down)


HUANG PING: Are you serious, man?


MEIXIANG: Here, Huang Ping, you can have my eggs-


(Meixiang tries to hand him her eggs, but he waves them away)


HUANG PING: No, it’s fine, I like hard-boiled egg.


(Huang tries to peel the egg, but it cracks open, spilling yolk on his pants. Vince shrugs)


VINCE: Damnit, must’ve forgot to boil ‘em, my bad.


(Huang Ping angrily tries to wash his pants off with a rag while Meixiang gives Vince a glare and Randall slams his fist on the table)


RANDALL: FOCUS UP! (Everyone immediately turns their attention to Randall) Crips is trying to kill us and we’re acting like fucking children.


VINCE: How do we go about defending ourselves, we have no allies!


JACKSON: …He’s right. We dead men walking without allies. They got hundreds of soldiers. (Beat) Goddamnit…you could’ve given Sack Lunch and all them a fair hearing instead of executing them on the spot like that, dude.


RANDALL: I know, already, I made a mistake. I went too far. So how do we beat them right here, right now? That’s what I’m asking?


VINCE: Can we not ally ourselves with another gang? Maybe the Bloods or the Skinheads or the, fuckin’… Sharks and the Jets? Somebody?!


JACKSON: Nah, there’s no appetite for war right now. Why would they wanna fight our battles for us when we was just on the other side?


RANDALL: Oh shit.




RANDALL: What about NSM? (Quizzical looks) North Side Mafia, them and the Crips have beef since they robbed me. If we can get them to attack the Crips, they can weaken and distract them, buy us time to plan a full-ass retaliation.


VINCE: But why would they help us?


JACKSON: They wouldn’t.


VINCE: Exactly! So?


RANDALL: That’s why we gotta trick them into doing it themselves.


MEIXIANG: Trick them into shooting the Crips?




MEIXIANG: Dear God, I gotta get some air.


(Meixiang gets up and walks toward the back door)


VINCE: What did you think we were planning, Meixiang, a birthday party?


(Huang Ping gets up as Meixiang exits to the back porch)


HUANG PING: I’ll go make sure she’s okay-


(Vince gets up)


VINCE: Nah, I got it, I’m good in these situations-


RANDALL: Sit the fuck down.


(Vince meekly nods and sits down as Huang Ping heads to the back door. Cut to Meixiang standing on the back porch, taking in the mountain air. Huang Ping comes out and joins her, standing beside her as we cut to a wide shot of the cabin- with the clear blue sky and mountainous skyline. Meixiang shivers)


HUANG PING: (Cold)? (Meixiang nods. Huang Ping puts his hands on her arms and rubs them to warm her up) … (Better)?


(Meixiang nods)


MEIXIANG: (Thank you).


HUANG PING: (I would give you my jacket, but I think Vince hid it this morning).


(Huang Ping stops rubbing her)


MEIXIANG: (Of course he did).


HUANG PING: (Listen, Meixiang) … (Huang Ping turns to Meixiang) (I don’t know what kind of feelings you have for Vince, but I can’t imagine they even approach the feelings I have for you. Not to mention Vince’s feelings for you).


MEIXIANG: Huang Ping…


HUANG PING: (I’m serious). (Beat) (I know I may be a bit… clingy. Overbearing. But that’s because I have a big heart). (Huang Ping chuckles) (My mom used to tell me my heart was the size of a bear! That it gobbled up everything in sight)!


MEIXIANG: (And she meant this as a good thing)?


HUANG PING: (Absolutely. When I fall for someone, I fall for them hard. I don’t mean to be poetic, but-) (Huang Ping takes out a piece of paper and clears his throat) (I want to swim in your eyes. I want to climb through the cockles and lobes of your heart like I’m a kid in the McDonald’s Play Place. Even if you don’t choose to be with me, the greatest honor of my life will be that I knew you. That I know you. And it’s not even close. But I hope you will choose to be with me anyway).


(A tear rolls down Meixiang’s face)


MEIXIANG: … (That was really weird, Huang Ping) …


HUANG PING: (I know. It’s a first draft. I was gonna send it to my brother so he could have a pass at it).


MEIXIANG: (But I loved it. It was so “you”). (Meixiang leans in and the two of them kiss passionately. After they separate themselves from each other, Meixiang takes Huang Ping’s hand) (But we can never be together if we stick around).


HUANG PING: (I agree).


MEIXIANG: (Tonight, we escape. Okay)?


HUANG PING: (Okay. I have a friend who can drop off a hang-glider we can use. Go off into the sunset, that’d be really romantic).


MEIXIANG: … (Okay, not to shut that down, but I was thinking we could just take the keys while everyone is asleep and use the Subaru).


HUANG PING: (Right).


MEIXIANG: (Are you cool with that)?


HUANG PING: (Yes. No, I like that too).


MEIXIANG: (Also, you have a friend in the, Denver area)?


HUANG PING: (No, I just realized, he lives in Chengdu).


MEIXIANG: (Right. Okay, so let’s go inside so they don’t get suspicious)-


(Huang Ping grabs Meixiang’s shoulder)


HUANG PING: (What about Vince)?


MEIXIANG: … (I’ll see if I can trust him) …


(Huang Ping gives Meixiang an understanding nod. Cut to Meixiang and Huang Ping walking back inside while Randall, Jackson and Vince are gathered around the dinner table. A voice recorder is on the table and Vince is speaking into it with his hands over his mouth)


VINCE: (Affecting a deep voice) Listen, you punks. Don’t even think about retaliating. (Meixiang and Huang Ping sit down) We’re bad MOFOS and we’ll go after your kids, man-




VINCE: (Regular voice) What?!


RANDALL: “Bad Mofos”?!


VINCE: I’m sorry I don’t know how to sound “HARD” or whatever.


JACKSON: Also, were you trying to sound like Batman or Bane or some shit?


VINCE: We don’t have a voice modulator, I was doing my best!


HUANG PING: You could probably find one on the internet.


JACKSON: Good idea.


(Jackson takes out his phone and starts searching)


MEIXIANG: What are you guys doing?


VINCE: We’re gonna leave a threatening voicemail on some banger’s phone, pretend we’re NSM.


RANDALL: Not “some banger”- Tornado, the guy who’s leading the mutiny.


MEIXIANG: …Alright. If you think that’s best.


(They all look at Meixiang, surprised)


VINCE: I’m glad you’ve come around. We’re just trying to survive here.


(Jackson turns his phone around and shows a “Voice Modulator” app)


JACKSON: Found it.


RANDALL: A’ight, I’ll record it.  (Jackson gives him the phone and Randall presses the record button) Oh, shit. You gotta confirm that you’re not tryin’ to threaten someone anonymously first. Confirm. (Randall presses record) “Listen, motherfucka. I know you think you keepin’ us on our toes by not getting back at us for that robbery, but we see you for the snakes you niggas are. If you even think about hittin’ us back, we comin’ after family. That’s on God, nigga. NSM forever”.


(Randall plays it back)


RANDALL (On recording, pitched down) “Listen, motherfucka. I know you think you keepin’ us on our toes by not getting back at us for that robbery, but we see you for the snakes you niggas are. If you even think about hittin’ us back, we comin’ after family. That’s on God, nigga. NSM forever”.


(Randall slips the phone back to Jackson)


RANDALL: Text the audio file to Tornado from a private number.


JACKSON: Got it. (Jackson does just that) Done.


(Everyone tenses up and blow air nervously)


VINCE: So, now we just wait?


RANDALL: Yeah. My informants will let me know if there’s been an incident.


(Vince nods)


VINCE: …Well, until then, do we…does anybody have Card Against Humanity or anything?


JACKSON: …You think one of just has that?


VINCE: Well, I think they may have it online now, so… (Vince looks around expectantly. Jackson, Randall and Huang Ping get up and walk out of the kitchen) alright, that’s cool, everyone should get a nap in.


MEIXIANG: …I think I’m gonna catch some sleep, too. Let’s talk later, okay?


VINCE: Okay. (Meixiang gets up and leaves the room. Vince pinches bridge of his nose and sits back. Cut to Huang Ping enjoying tea in a lounge chair on the back porch. Vince sits in the lounge chair next to his) …So how the hell did you get to America?


HUANG PING: Shipping crate. Frankly, miserable journey. Had to eat doves to survive. But I knew it would be worth it to see my sweet again.


(Vince shakes his head)


VINCE: …You know, there’s a difference between being romantic and being pathetic…


(Huang Ping looks at Vince)


HUANG PING: Would “joining a drug ring to get closer to a girl” qualify as pathetic?


(Vince glares at Huang Ping)


VINCE: Excuse me?


HUANG PING: Come on. You’re not Walter White, you’re not doing this for your family, you don’t have a family! (Beat) You heard Meixiang was doing this and so you decided to do it. Throw your life away for it.


VINCE: Well, maybe that proves that I love her the most!


HUANG PING: No, sir. (Huang Ping) Because I did the exact same thing, back in China. I heard she was involved, so I got involved. Then I risked my life and followed her to America. And I would follow her to Hell if that’s what it took.


VINCE: …Then who’s to say we don’t love her equally?


HUANG PING: Because I have never lied to her. (Vince scoffs) Scoff all you want. She loves me more. She’ll choose me.


VINCE: That’s up to her to decide, isn’t it?


HUANG PING: …Good luck.


(Huang Ping walks inside. Cut to Ashton standing before the court, flanked by his lawyer Michael Lowe)


ASHTON: Thank you, your honor. I want to take this opportunity to apologize for my conduct. I thought these guns made me look like a big man, but I should’ve realized how dangerous these weapons are. I hope to get my life off this track very soon and become a more responsible member of society.


(Ashton gives a solemn nod)


JUDGE NELSON: The court appreciates your contrition, Mr. Delay. Are you ready to enter your plea?


ASHTON: I plead guilty, your honor.


JUDGE NELSON: Very well. According to the deal negotiated between the parties, sentencing will commence immediately. Mr. Delay, I hereby sentence you to a year of community service and two years’ probation. If you violate parole or skip out on community service, there will be a separate court date set to determine how your sentence will be adjusted. You will be assigned a probation officer, of course. Unless there is further business before the court, Mr. Delay, you’re dismissed.


(Ashton nods and gives a predator handshake to Michael)


ASHTON: I’m gonna keep you around, fam.


(They start to walk toward the exit)


MICHAEL: Hopefully you won’t need me again.


ASHTON: Oh, I will.


(Michael chuckles nervously)


MICHAEL: Let’s aim for “no”, huh?


(Michael and Ashton exit the court room and walk down the hall)


ASHTON: Here’s something you have to understand about me, Mike- (Michael stops in the hallway and turns to his lawyer) I’m a low-life. Always have been, always will be. I’m not a guppy, I’m the whole fucking whale. (Ashton pats Michael’s cheek condescendingly) We’ll become fast friends, don’t worry about that.


(Ashton walks away from Michael, who stares in befuddlement. Cut to Meixiang sobbing into a pillow in the upstairs guest bedroom. She pounds her fists into the pillow’s casing. There’s a hesitant knock at the door. Meixiang turns over)


MEIXIANG: Not now, please.


VINCE: (OS) Okay.


MEIXIANG: Actually, Vince, just come in.


VINCE: (OS) You sure?


MEIXIANG: Yes, go ahead.


(Vince opens the door and walks in. Meixiang gets up and wipes her tears away, trying to compose herself. Vince goes and sits by her)


VINCE: Are you alright? Have you been crying?


MEIXIANG: Yeah, I just…feel overwhelmed by all this. (Beat) How did we let it get this bad.


VINCE: …I don’t know. (Beat) Actually, that’s bullshit. I know how I let it get this far…I kept telling myself I was doing right by you. (Meixiang looks at him) But it was total horseshit the whole time. Just something I told myself.


MEIXIANG: …Does that include Henry?


VINCE: Yes. I figured that if Ashton was picked up for that murder, they’d trace everything back to us. So I’d have to help him, get away with it. To protect you and to protect me. (Vince indicates to everything around him) This is the result of that genius plan.


(Meixiang shrugs)


MEIXIANG: I mean, he has gotten away with it. But so have you. And that’s the problem. (Vince nods) I mean, are you happier now than were you before all of this?


VINCE: …I mean, to tell you the truth, I never would’ve done this if you weren’t involved.


(Meixiang scoffs)


MEIXIANG: What the hell is that?


VINCE: I’m not, blaming you, I’m just telling you my thought process.


(Meixiang stands up)


MEIXIANG: But now you’ve put it out there! You’re handing me guilty on a silver platter and telling me to ignore it, what the fuck is that?


(Vince stands up)


VINCE: You’re right, I shouldn’t have said that. I’m sorry. (Vince looks down) You weren’t the only reason, I’m in my forties, I’ve been single for ten years, same job for the last five. It’s pathetic, but I needed a bit of a jolt in my life. I could’ve bought a motorcycle, I could’ve slept with a student-


MEIXIANG: No, you couldn’t have.


VINCE: But instead I chose to sell drugs. Was it the right decision? History will decide.


MEIXIANG: It wasn’t!


VINCE: But how do I get out of it?


MEIXIANG: …When everyone goes to sleep, I’m planning on taking the car. Going somewhere. Anywhere. Nebraska, or…one of the other states where they grow corn and still follow Jeff Foxworthy’s career.


VINCE: …And you want me to come with you?


MEIXIANG: Yes. I think that since you’ve been involved with this, you’ve changed.


VINCE: …Meixiang, you barely knew me before I got involved with this.


MEIXIANG: …Fair, but…I can’t just turn off how I feel about you. I need to see what you’re like, outside of this violent environment.


VINCE: …I assume Huang Ping is coming?


MEIXIANG: He is, yes. Do you have a problem with that?


VINCE: Well, it’s not ideal, but…I still wanna be in your life.


MEIXIANG: Alright then.


(Meixiang and Vince shake hands. Cut to Randall sleeping on the couch, snoring loudly. Jackson walks in and flips the television on to local news. Jeremy Hubbard is at the news desk- the lower third “Latest News” under him)


JEREMY: It’s FOX 31 at 5 o’clock, all the local news you need to use- and that’s trues. Our top story this evening is- (Jeremy turns to another camera and we see a picture of a puppy wearing a powdered wig and judicial gown with the lower third reading “Puppy Becomes Judge for a day for local school children”) the heartwarming story of a class pet turned master of juris-“paw”-dence. This “ruff” but fair pup became a traffic Judge for a day to entertain and delight Mrs. Judd’s social studies class from Steck Elementary- and teach them a thing or two about the law. His “Paw”-nor handed down decisions on traffic fines by choosing to eat out of one of three bowls labeled “dismiss”, “up the fine” and “community service”. According to our reporter on the scene, the litigious doggy ate out of the “up the fine” bowl every single time, letting the drivers of this notoriously impoverished area of Denver know they were “barking up the wrong tree”. (Jeremy chuckles) Gives new meaning to the phrase “working like a dog”, doesn’t it? (Jeremy looks around, but nobody is on set with him) Doesn’t it?


JACKSON: Goddamnit.


(Jackson mutes the TV. Randall sits up and yawns)


RANDALL: Nothing?


JACKSON: Nothin’.


RANDALL: We left that message at noon, what the fuck is the hold up?


JACKSON: Maybe they just planning this shit out real careful.


(Vince walks downstairs holding a can of La Croix)


VINCE: Nothing yet?




VINCE: Don’t worry, guys, the shoot-out and the deaths will happen real soon.


(Vince crushes the can and throws it away)


RANDALL: Unless they saw through our ploy.


JACKSON: But how?


RANDALL: I don’t know, these niggas superhuman or somethin’.


(Vince takes a Verner’s ginger soda out of the fridge and takes a sup)


VINCE: Oh my God, have you guys ever tried these? They’re so good.


RANDALL: Nah, that shit’s bad for you.


(Vince sighs)


VINCE: Yeah, I guess you’re right. Damnit.


(Vince pours the soda down the sink. Cut to Huang Ping reading “The Woman in the Dunes” on the couch in the lounge. Vince walks in and sits beside him)


VINCE: (Whispering) Meixiang let me in on the plan. So we’re gonna be spending a lot more time together, I think we should learn to be civil. Doesn’t mean I like you. But let’s get along for her sake, okay?


(Vince extends his hand. Huang Ping looks at it, and reluctantly shakes it. Vince stands up and walks out of the room. Huang Ping closes his book forcefully. Cut to Huang Ping and Meixiang standing outside the house, just near a rocky cliff)


HUANG PING: (So you’re bringing Vince)?


MEIXIANG: (Yes, he’s still my friend)!


HUANG PING: (He’s a murderer)!


MEIXIANG: (And I’m a drug manufacturer! Why do I get so much moral high ground)?!


HUANG PING: (So you’re just okay with what he did)?


MEIXIANG: (No, but I think if I get him away from the life, he could become a better person).


(Huang Ping shakes his head)


HUANG PING: … (Or maybe he’ll make you a worse one) …


(Huang Ping walks away)


MEIXIANG: Huang Ping!


(Cut to Randall settling onto the couch later that night. He picks up his gun and slips it under his pillow, before pulling sheets up over himself and closing his eyes. Cut to an Uber pulling up to Ashton’s apartment building. He stumbles out of the car, laughing his ass off)


ASHTON: You’re the fuckin’ MAN, driver! (Ashton throws a wad of cash at his head) Go on, buy a car that doesn’t smell like cat piss- I believe in you!

(The car drives off as Ashton climbs the stairs to his apartment. He steels himself a bit and takes out his knife. He unlocks the door and opens it to find Mandy sitting on the couch. He points the knife at her, but then puts the knife away. Mandy has tears of anguish floating in her eyes, ready to burst. Ashton stumbles over to Mandy and sits next to her, but she gets up)


MANDY: Where the fuck have you been.


ASHTON: I had to go to court for some bullshit, trumped up weapons charges, babe. All because they found some illegal weapons in my car!


MANDY: You can’t call me!?


ASHTON: I called you Tuesday night, didn’t I?


MANDY: You said you were gonna come over, but YOU NEVER DID!


(Ashton sighs and stands up)


ASHTON: I was attacked by a black guy that night- (Ashton stumbles and sits back on the couch) I went to the hospital for it!


MANDY: You got DRUNK tonight?!


ASHTON: Well, I got a really lenient sentence and they were doing karaoke at Buzzard’s, and karaoke’s only good on like a Thursday night when there’s not a long wait to sing-


MANDY: Why the fuck did those cops ask me about you, when it came to, my dad and-and-and Chrissie?!


ASHTON: Mandy, those assholes have it out for me, they were just trying to confuse you, so you’d give them something. You didn’t, did you?


MANDY: No, but- for fuck’s sake, Ashton, when you first came into my life, I had Chrissie and I had my dad, now I have NEITHER! (Beat) So what do I do with that information!?


ASHTON: …Mandy-


(Ashton moves toward her, but she backs away)


MANDY: Get away from me!


ASHTON: Mandy-


(Ashton grabs hold of her by the shoulders, and she squirms)




(Ashton grabs a hold of her and pushes her against the wall)


ASHTON: CALM DOWN! CALM THE FUCK DOWN! (Mandy starts sobbing into his shoulder) Shhhhhhh…


MANDY: Why did this happen…


ASHTON: I don’t know, Mandy, it’s a dangerous city. I’m so sorry.


(Mandy squirms away from Ashton)


MANDY: I need some time alone to think.


(Ashton nods and Mandy slips out. Ashton rolls his eyes and falls into the couch. He flips on the TV. Jeremy Hubbard is sitting at the local news desk with the lower-third beneath him “TWELVE CRIPS ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH EARLY WEDNESDAY MORNING SHOOT-OUT”- and several mugshots of Crips, including Tornado and Dixon, are shown in the graphic with the phrase “GANG ROUND-UP”)


ASHTON: Holy shit!

JEREMY: Just in the last hour, Denver police executed arrest warrants for twelve known gangbangers- members of the notorious Denver Crips. All twelve of the bangers rounded up are said to have been involved in a shoot-out that took place outside the Food Mart on Peco. (Ashton takes out his cell phone and dials Randall’s number) Police say they were arrested while preparing to take out members of the rival North Side Mafia gang. Here’s what Denver police chief Robert White had to say at a press conference.


(Cut to Denver police chief Robert White, a completely bald black man with a mustache, holding a press conference outside the police station)


CHIEF WHITE: We’ve got these thugs on the run. Our message is clear: “Stop!”


ASHTON: Come on, answer…


(Cut to Randall’s phone vibrating on the coffee table. Randall rolls over, his eyes pry open, and then his arm shoots out like it’s a separate entity and slams the phone into the side of his face)




ASHTON: (On the phone) Randall, the just picked up a ton of Crips, including Tornado. They got ‘em before they attacked NSM, they’re gonna be falling all over themselves to flip on you, me and everyone else. We gotta skip town, RIGHT NOW.


(Randall shoots up)


RANDALL: Fuck. Okay, you right. Where you gonna go?


ASHTON: Back to Vermont, maybe?


RANDALL: Nah, meet me in Dallas. We’ll be safer there.




(Randall hangs up and reaches for his keys- but they’re not there. He furrows his brow. Cut to Vince, Meixiang and Huang Ping walking toward the Subaru. Vince opens the door)


VINCE: Alright, I’ll drive.


HUANG PING: No, it’s okay, I’ll drive.


VINCE: It’s dark, and the roads are dangerous-


HUANG PING: What the fuck are you saying about Asians, man?


VINCE: Come on, don’t do that-


(Randall and Jackson approach with guns drawn)



(They all put their hands above their heads)


VINCE: Great, Huang Ping playing the race card has gotten us killed.


RANDALL: SHUT UP! (Beat) You’re lucky the car had a spare, because I don’t think yo’ soft hands could wire a car.


MEIXIANG: Please don’t kill us, we just got scared-


RANDALL: You’re drivin’ us to Dallas.


MEIXIANG: Wha- Dallas?!


RANDALL: Yes. Ashton just called, the police rounded up a fuck ton of Crips and they gonna flip faster than a motherfucker. We gotta get the fuck out of here.


VINCE: We were thinking a more remote area, like Nebraska, so why Dallas?


RANDALL: That’s where my safe house is. (Beat) And that’s where the other Food Mart is.


VINCE: What- this is a chain!?


RANDALL: ENOUGH QUESTIONS! Get the fuck in the car!


(Cut to Vince driving the Subaru down the mountain, with Meixiang in the passenger’s seat, Randall in the far-right seat, pointing the gun in Vince’s direction, with Huang Ping in the middle and Jackson in the far-left seat)


HUANG PING: …It’s so racist that I’m not driving…


RANDALL: Man, shut the fuck up.


(Cut to Ashton quickly throwing a bunch of clothes- almost entirely beanies, dank tanks and skinny jeans- into a big duffel bag. Then a toothbrush and toothpaste, several cartons of cigarettes, a few bongs and pipes, the book “How To Win Friends and Influence People”, a laptop covered in “Bernie 2016” stickers and the book “I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell”. He zips up the bag, throws it over his shoulder and runs out of his apartment. Cut to Ashton rushing outside to the apartment parking lot and looking around furiously)


ASHTON: Oh, fuck it’s at the bar.


(Ashton takes out his phone and opens up the Uber app. Cut to a shot of the Subaru passing a sign reading “Welcome to New Mexico- The Land of Enchantment and Melanoma”. It’s still dark out. Cut to inside the Subaru. Randall is now sleeping. Jackson has the gun on them now)


VINCE: …You don’t have to keep the gun on us, we’re not gonna try anything.


JACKSON: Again, you mean. You’re not gonna try anything, again.


(Vince sighs)


MEIXIANG: …What about the license plate, hasn’t this been reported as a stolen car?


JACKSON: Fremont gave us a fake. He’s the best, honestly.


HUANG PING: (I need to pee).


MEIXIANG: Come on, Huang, you speak pretty good English, just say you need to pee.


(Cut to Ashton zooming down the interstate in his truck. He takes a big drag on a cigarette and ashes into the ashtray, while listening to My Chemical Romance’s “I’m Okay (I Promise)”)


ASHTON: (Singing) I’m not okay, I’m not okaaaaaaaaaaaaay, you wear me ouuuuuuut-


(Ashton slaps the steering wheel in correspondence with the music. Cut to a Food Mart in Dallas, around late morning, near the Gexa Energy Pavilion downtown. Vince pulls the truck into the parking lot and shuts it off. Vince hops out, followed by Randall, Jackson, Meixiang and finally Huang Ping. They’re all dead tired, but Randall still has a gun on them)


RANDALL: A’ight, we goin’ inside.


MEIXIANG: Couldn’t they easily track you here, since you own all these stores-


RANDALL: Shut up and do it.


(They all follow his instructions and they enter the rather well-maintained Food Mart. The layout is a bit different, with the counter at the front of the store rather than the side. There’s a skinny black dude at the register, who looks over)




RANDALL: Get lost, Jay.


(Jay nods and runs out the front door. Tears run down Meixiang’s face)


MEIXIANG: What are you going to do to us?


RANDALL: Jesus, can people not be patient anymore? Shit!


JACKSON: Hella annoying.


RANDALL: We goin’ to the freezers, follow me.


(Randall leads them into the freezer. Cut to Vince, Meixiang and Huang Ping standing before Jackson and Randall in the freezer. Randall still has the gun trained on them)


VINCE: …Randall, if you’ve gotta punish someone for this, punish me. It was my idea.


HUANG PING: That’s true! (Meixiang and Vince glare at him) But don’t kill any of us! Please, we can be of use to you!

MEIXIANG: Yes, we’ll be your loyal soldiers, let us make it up to you. We just got scared!


VINCE: But, if you have to kill someone, let it be me. I’m the one who deserves it the most.



(Randall shoves the gun in Vince’s face. He closes his eyes. Meixiang starts crying)






RANDALL: You’ll be my soldiers, that’s for goddamn sure. You’ve seen what happens when my soldiers go behind my back, of course.


VINCE: Yes! We promise we won’t do that.


RANDALL: ‘Fore we get workin’, though. I have a promise to fulfill.


(Randall points the gun at Huang Ping and shoots him in the head. Meixiang screams. Vince’s jaw drops. Even Jackson looks startled. Huang Ping’s body lands on the floor with a sickening slap. Meixiang drops to her knees and sobs over Huang Ping’s body, trying to lift it off the floor with her hands. Vince turns to Randall, his face sprinkled with Huang Ping’s blood and stares at him in disbelief)


VINCE: …Why?!


RANDALL: Meixiang promised me that she would kill Huang Ping if he ever tried to escape. But I didn’t think it would be right to make her do that.


(Meixiang wails as Vince looks at Randall with disgust. Vince kneels down to Meixiang and places his hand upon her shoulder and rubs it as she collapses onto Huang Ping’s body. “Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance” by Bob Dylan comes in as we transition to a scene of a group of prisoners- namely, the twelve Crips, led by Tornado, in jumpsuits being led by police officers out of county lock-up at the Denver police station. They’re led into a paddy wagon, helped up by cops. After they’re all in, the police close the paddy wagon doors and “giddy-up” the back of the van. The side of the paddy wagon is labeled “PRISON TRANSFER- DENVER CORRECTIONAL”. The Paddy wagon moves along down a long stretch of road. We cut to inside. The Crips sit in utter, despondent silence. The van passes by a gray truck full of bangers. They pull up off the side of the road and follow the paddy wagon. They speed up and pull up alongside the paddy wagon. The driver- a fat guy with a mustache, looks out his window and sees them. He furrows his brow with concern. The gang bangers in the truck flash NSM gang signs and show off NSM tattoos. The driver gets scared and reaches for his cell phone, but the truck quickly rams into the side of the paddy wagon. The driver over-corrects and swerves off the road, but manages to stay upright, until the truck slams into the side of it again and tips it over. The wheels spin uselessly as it lies on its side on the grassy shoulder of a desolate highway. The Crips jump out of the truck carrying gats. They waste both paddy wagon drivers. Cut to inside the paddy wagon. All of the Crips are in a pile, some of them knocked out. Tornado crawls over his brethren, with a big gash on his forehead, and goes toward the exit. Suddenly, their gang leader, a Latino dude with a ponytail and numerous face tattoos, grabs a hold of Tornado and wrangles him. Tornado bites his arm and the gang leader howls and throws him back. The other NSM bangers point their guns and just start firing indiscriminately at all of them. We back out from a shot of NSM picking off Crips as the Bob Dylan song wraps up. Cut to credits)



Submitted: May 21, 2020

© Copyright 2021 NEONETWORK. All rights reserved.

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