Justice Delayed Episode 7

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

Vince and Ashton conspire to finish the job on Henry Tessman, all while Vince deals with increased scrutiny from Federico. Randall begins to feel like he's losing respect from his own guys as a new gang descends on the area. Meixiang has to use Huang Ping's help to find a new connection at ChemChina now that their chemical supply is running low.

JUSTICE DELAYED

 

“THE DUNES”

 

TV-MA DLSV

 

“Every single day, I go to work, I fill my cup. Every single day I pray to god to lift me up. Oh, just like I, oh just like I, oh just like I love, I kill, I kill”

  • Xenia Rubinos

 

(We start with Ashton waking up on the floor of his wreck of a bedroom- trashcan overflowing, beer cans and liquor bottles scattered, clothes everywhere, ashtray filled to the brim, dirty dishes littering the bedside table. Ashton picks himself up and opens his bloodshot eyes)

 

ASHTON: Fuck.

 

(“Good Day” by Ice Cube begins playing as Ashton gets up and we match cut to Vince awaking in his pristinely neat bedroom. He slips out of bed, placing slippers upon his feet and making his way to the bathroom. Cut to Ashton sitting naked in his shower, still half-asleep, and smoking a cigarette. He puffs out a cloud of smoke before reaching for the knob and turning the shower on, extinguishing the cigarette immediately as he bows his head. Cut to Vince taking a shower. He is rubbing body wash all over himself. He reaches for the shampoo but finds that it’s bone dry)

 

VINCE: Damnit.

 

(Cut to a soaking wet, naked Ashton, vomiting into his toilet with a sickening wretch, the puke tumbling out of his mouth like so many mashed peas. Cut to Vince taking a stand-up piss in his toilet. His aim is pretty good. His phone lies on the bathroom counter and it vibrates with a new text message from Meixiang- a selfie. He glances at it and smiles. He then notices that his aim is way off, so he backs up so the stream hits just right. Cut to Ashton grabbing a striped dank tank, a beanie and skinny jeans out from one of his room’s many piles. Cut to Vince grabbing a checkered collar shirt and brown coat hung up neatly in his closet. Cut to Ashton looking at himself in the mirror with the tank, jeans, beanie and sunglasses too. He notices a blood stain on his jeans, which he tries to rub out with his hand)

 

ASHTON: Shit.

 

(Cut to Vince straightening out his brown jacket, before noticing a salsa stain on his left lapel)

 

VINCE: Goddamnit.

 

(Vince throws the jacket off. Cut to Ashton slipping into another pair of dark grey jeans as he stumbles out the door of his bedroom. Cut to Vince cooking scrambled eggs in a pan. Cut to Ashton pouring cookie crisp into a massive bowl and filling it full of chocolate milk. Cut to Vince eating eggs and toast while scrolling through the CNN app on his phone- stories include Clinton & Sanders’ first one-on-one debate, Trump’s lead shrinks in new CNN poll, Earth, Wind & Fire frontman dies at 74. Cut to Ashton slurping down Cookie Crisp while watching a YouTube video of a dude eat shit on a skateboard. He laughs stupidly as chocolate milk drips down his chin. Cut to Vince dumping a baggie of castor beans out on his coffee table. He examines one, holding it up to the light. We find Ashton stuffing his gun into his waistband as he climbs into his truck and backs out. The song fades out as we cut to an empty parking lot. Ashton is sitting in his truck as Professor Hall pulls up in his car. Vince ducks out of his car and climbs into the truck)

 

ASHTON: Yo.

 

(Ashton extends his fist, and Vince regards it for a second, then pounds it. Vince looks in the backseat and nods)

 

VINCE: I’m surprised your car is this clean.

 

ASHTON: I had to, uh, give it a deep clean recently.

 

VINCE: …I guess I won’t pry further. Where have you been, the last couple days?

 

ASHTON: Drove up to New York, had some business in Plattsburgh.

 

VINCE: What possible reason would you have to drive to upstate New York when you had obligations here in Denver to attend to? Like selling the last of our MDMA?

 

ASHTON: I was selling boar hair to people who wanted to pass drug tests.

 

VINCE: You drove to New York to do that?

 

ASHTON: Well, I drove there to fuck on a girl I knew in high school, but, I figured, I have all this boar hair-

 

VINCE: Whatever. Let’s just focus on the task at hand.

 

ASHTON: We’ve figured out how to poison Henry Tessman, right?

 

VINCE: Yes. (Vince takes out a baggie of eight castor beans) Do you know if he uses visine or anything?

 

ASHTON: No, but I can find out.

 

VINCE: Do that. Because if we can swap his visine for visine with added ricin, then he’s done.

 

ASHTON: What if they find ricin in his system?

 

VINCE: They’ll think he accidentally ate a castor bean. It happens, people steal them from other peoples’ backyards.

 

ASHTON: I know that, it used to be my side hustle.

 

VINCE: How?

 

ASHTON: I would sell people magic beans, telling them they cured cancer.

 

(Vince takes a deep breath)

 

VINCE: Getting involved with you was a deeply misguided decision.

 

ASHTON: So says you and all my previous girlfriends, and yet they all come crawling back.

 

(Ashton pats Vince on the back. Vince turns to leave, but then turns back to him)

 

VINCE: If he doesn’t have vaccine, try to find a lotion. Not shampoo or anything, water might affect things. We’ll buy whatever his brand is, and switch it out, understand?

 

ASHTON: Alright, alright, I get it.

 

VINCE: Repeat it back to me.

 

ASHTON: Shoot him in the, lung?

 

VINCE: Jesus Christ, just call me when you know.

 

(Vince jumps out and closes the door behind him. Cut to Vince walking into work with his laptop bag over his shoulder. The building is already swarming with students socializing. Vince dodges around them as he makes his way upstairs to his offices. He notices Federico standing at the top of the stairs with an expectant look on his face. Vince reaches Federico, who walks alongside him)

 

FEDERICO: Mr. Hall.

 

VINCE: Morning, Federico.

 

FEDERICO: I trust you had a restful weekend?

 

VINCE: It’s Friday.

 

FEDERICO: It’s also judgement day.

 

VINCE: What? (Federico walks over to his office and opens the door) A word?

 

(Vince narrows his eyes. Cut to Vince sitting in front of Federico’s desk. Federico’s desk is decorated with stacks of dusty books, a magnifying glass, a pipe, a tin of tobacco and a typewriter)

 

FEDERICO: So that’s been my finding. I believe you’re in an undisclosed relationship with a Professor from the college of medicine, namely, Professor Zhou.

 

VINCE: You’ve been snooping on me?

 

FEDERICO: I’ve been snooping on both of you, thanks.

 

VINCE: Right! So that’s worse! This is waaaaaay over the line!

 

FEDERICO: Do you deny a relationship? Remember, relationships are fine as long as they’re disclosed, so as to avoid conflicts of interest.

 

VINCE: Do you have any proof of a relationship?

 

FEDERICO: I’ve seen her go to your house and vice versa, several times.

 

VINCE: We’re friends. We’re allowed to visit each other’s houses. What’s at question here is, whether you’re allowed to follow us around just because you work in administration?!

 

FEDERICO: Well, if it’s SO innocuous between you two, I guess you wouldn’t mind if I asked her out?

 

VINCE: …Wouldn’t that also be a conflict of interest?

 

FEDERICO: Nah, she’s in a different department-

 

VINCE: You are in the administration; it seems like it would be a more serious abuse of power-

 

FEDERICO: Would you mind, is the question?

 

VINCE: I think SHE would, but no I guess I wouldn’t.

 

(Federico sits back, twirls his mustache and smiles)

 

FEDERICO: Very interesting.

 

VINCE: You’re a loser, man.

 

FEDERICO: Excuse me? (Vince stands up and leaves the room. Federico puts the pipe in his mouth, takes a match and lights it) Simply a hater, my dear Watson.

 

(Pan over to a hamster running in a wheel inside of a hamster cage. He squeaks frantically. Cut to Meixiang walking outside the science building, texting on her cell phone. She walks without looking up until she almost runs into Randall, who comes out of nowhere)

 

MEIXIANG: Holy shit!

 

RANDALL: You busy, huh?

 

MEIXIANG: What are you doing here?

 

RANDALL: What, you think I ain’t exist outside of the context of my store?

 

MEIXIANG: No, I just don’t- I mean, yeah, I guess subconsciously I thought that.

 

RANDALL: Have you found a new supplier at ChemChina yet?

 

MEIXIANG: No, not yet, it’s hard because most of the people I knew there are in jail.

 

RANDALL: Ever since Huang Ping moved into yo’ basement, we runnin’ severely low on product, because nobody been sending us chemicals. The only reason we get any left is because Ashton decided to go to New York to fuck some girl without telling anybody.

 

MEIXIANG: It’s not THAT easy, you might remember that I’m wanted in China, calling anyone there would be just ASKING for someone there to turn me in so they can get a gold star from Xi.

 

RANDALL: it ain’t my job to figure this shit out, it’s yours. It’s your only job, besides manufacturing MDMA.

 

MEIXIANG: Feel free to speak louder, by the way.

 

RANDALL: I’ll see you ‘round.

 

(Randall looks around)

 

MEIXIANG: You know where you parked?

 

RANDALL: Nah, I straight-up don’t remember how I got here, point me back to the Food Mart.

 

(Cut to Meixiang walking into her house and putting her purse down on the couch. She walks over to her pantry and takes out a bag of raisins. She absent-mindedly sticks a handful into her mouth as he eyes wander to the door leading to the basement. Cut to Huang Ping sitting at a fold-out table in the basement, a single lamp providing his illumination. He’s wearing a turtleneck and a black cardigan and he’s reading “The Woman in the Dunes” by Kobo Abe. He’s no longer tied to anything. Suddenly, he hears someone unlocking the door at the top of the stairs. He looks up as Meixiang makes her way in and closes the door behind her. He stands up and speaks in Mandarin)

 

HUANG PING: (Did you bring dinner?)

 

(Meixiang makes it to the bottom of the stairs and snaps her fingers with frustration)

 

MEIXIANG: (Damnit, no, but I’ll order something).

 

(Huang Ping walks over and hugs Meixiang close)

 

HUANG PING: (Oh, God, I missed you so much)

 

MEIXIANG: (Huang, please).

 

(Meixiang pulls away from him)

 

HUANG PING: (If I could be a dog, where all I did was wait for you to come home every day, I would).

 

MEIXIANG: (That’s essentially your situation, Huang).

 

HUANG PING: (Right).

 

(Huang Ping sits down as Meixiang pulls up a fold-out chair)

 

MEIXIANG: (You know I’m doing this for your own safety, right? If Randall changes his mind, he could come over and kill you at any time. I’m amazed he let you live to begin with).

 

HUANG PING: (I know).

 

MEIXIANG: (You’re, quite dressed up, by the way).

 

(Huang Ping looks at her, dead pan)

 

HUANG PING: (I like to look good).

 

MEIXIANG: … (Good. How’s your book)?

 

HUANG PING: (It’s about a man trapped at the bottom of a sand pit).

 

(Beat)

 

MEIXIANG: … (I’m sorry, it was just lying around).

 

HUANG PING: (At least he’s trapped down there with a woman).

 

MEIXIANG: (Huang, I’m here right now. And I need your help).

 

HUANG PING: (Anything, my love).

 

MEIXIANG: … (We need a new connect at ChemChina).

 

HUANG PING: … (Oh. I see).

 

(Huang Ping stands up and walks around)

 

MEIXIANG: (Randall is giving me hell for this).

 

HUANG PING: (All of your old friends there are in jail. Including me).

 

MEIXIANG: (I know, but these people are scary, I need someone).

 

HUANG PING: (Have you brought men over here to sleep with them)?

 

(Meixiang rolls her eyes)

 

MEIXIANG: No, I haven’t.

 

HUANG PING: (Say it in Mandarin, that way I know you’re not lying).

 

MEIXIANG: (I haven’t! I have friends over sometimes, but nothing happens).

 

HUANG PING: (Well. You said it in Mandarin, so I believe you).

 

MEIXIANG: … (Thanks. So. Do you have anyone you know who’s even tangentially related to someone at ChemChina)?

 

(Huang Ping sits back and thinks)

 

HUANG PING: (What day is it? May 5th)?

 

MEIXIANG: (Wow, no, it’s February 5th).

 

HUANG PING: (Thank God. You remember Fang? The guy who management didn’t trust because he was so Western)?

 

MEIXIANG: (Yeah, he dressed like Humphrey Bogart all the time and smoked like a chimney)?

 

HUANG PING: (Yeah, exactly. He knows a professor at Shanghai University, and I remember overhearing that Professor will be visiting UC Colorado Springs for an event on Asian Immigrants in Academia, on either the 8th or the 9th).

 

MEIXIANG: (Whoa, I’m an Asian Immigrant in Academia! An Asian fugitive too, but still)!

 

HUANG PING: (Look up the event, call the organizer and see if you can go).

 

MEIXIANG: (Oh, thank you, Huang, you’re a lifesaver).

 

(Meixiang goes over and hugs Huang Ping. He reacts to this unexpected embrace, by squeezing her even tighter)

 

HUANG PING: (We will become one, soon, my love).

 

(Meixiang pulls away)

 

MEIXIANG: (Yes, we do make a great team).

 

(Meixiang lightly punches Huang’s arm, clearly uncomfortable with his comment)

 

HUANG PING: … (Do you want to collect the bodies of the rats I kill down here, or do you want me to bring them up to be processed)?

 

MEIXIANG: (You can just- I’ll get them).

 

(Cut to Josh checking out a group of teenagers buying forty ounces)

 

JOSH: Cool, can I just see your IDs?

 

TEENAGER: Yeah, for sure, man.

 

(The teenagers hand Josh their IDs. Close-ups on the birth dates on all their identifications- “1-12-1998”, “11-6-1997”, “7-2-1997” and “2-2-1998”. He looks up at the sign that says “You Must Have Been Born on or Before This Day in 1998 to Purchase Tobacco”. Josh looks back at the IDs and nods)

 

JOSH: Alright, you guys are good. That’ll be $22.75.

 

(The teenagers beam at each other and one of them puts a twenty and a five on the counter. Josh places the money in the till and gives them their change. They pick up their forties)

 

TEENAGER: You’re the man.

 

JOSH: You guys are the man, peace out.

 

(The teenagers grab their forties and run out of the store. Randall comes in after them)

 

RANDALL: Were those kids twenty-one?

 

JOSH: Yeah, I looked at the sign, they were born before 1998.

 

RANDALL: Fuckin’ hell, Josh, do you know basic math?

 

JOSH: Dude, I try, but it’s like…bullshit.

 

RANDALL: Those kids was eighteen. They can’t buy alcohol. I can’t leave you in charge for even twenty motherfuckin’ minutes, hop off, bitch.

 

(Randall walks around the corner as Josh backs away from the register)

 

JOSH: You want me to do inventory?

 

RANDALL: No, nigga, I want you to sit in that dirty-ass, rank-smellin’ bathroom as punishment for this shit.

 

JOSH: You want me to clean it?

 

RANDALL: FUCK NO, just sit yo’ ass in there. (Josh shrugs and walks toward the bathroom) Better not whack off either, you fuckin’ perv.

 

(A fifteen-year-old black kid walks in)

 

FIFTEEN-YEAR-OLD: Could I get a pack of Newports?

 

(Randall takes a pack of Newports off the back shelf and just tosses them to the kid)

 

RANDALL: Yeah, nigga, just take ‘em, I’m in a shit mood.

 

(The boy squeals and rushes out of the store. Cut to a little later. Randall is reading “Erasure” by Percival Everett behind the register, when a group of three Latino Gang Members roll into the store, wearing baggy jeans, bandanas and various tattoos. Their leader walks up to the counter. He slaps the counter)

 

GANG LEADER: YO! (Randall looks up) You got Swisher sweets, ese?

 

RANDALL: You guys North Side Mafia?

 

GANG LEADER: None of your fuckin’ business, dude! Who the fuck you think you are?

 

RANDALL: Why don’t you answer that question, shithead, who the fuck you think I am?

 

GANG LEADER: I know who the fuck you is, I don’t give a shit, put down the fuckin’ swishers, motherfucker.

 

(Randall throws three Swisher sweets on the ground)

 

RANDALL: Hope yo’ back ain’t too broke from gardening to pick that shit up. (The Gang leader smiles deviously, bends over and picks up the Swishers) You better not think about leaving with that shit.

 

GANG LEADER: You count the shit out, asshole.

 

(The gang leader throws a few five-dollar bills on the counter and him and his homies roll out. Randall stands up and looks through his barred windows as they leave and jump into a souped up Camaro. Randall throws his tip jar across the room with fury)

 

HOMELESS MAN: (OS) Fuck, dude!
 

(Cut to a homeless guy sitting in the corner of the store, clutching his knee with the tip jar nearby)

 

RANDALL: My bad, Adam.

 

(Cut to Randall speaking with Jackson and a crowd of about five crips behind the store)

 

JACKSON: Alright, homies, speak up, this yo’ audience with the big man, don’t waste it.

 

(A skinny Crip of about nineteen, named Punchline, pipes up)

 

PUNCHLINE: I think we oughta let my dad in the crips, he fuckin’ rules!

 

JACKSON: You wasted it. Fuck off, before I pop you.

 

PUNCHLINE: Maaaaaan.

 

(Punchline walks away)

 

JACKSON: Anything else?

 

(A huskier, middle-aged Crip named Sack Lunch pipes up)

 

SACK LUNCH: What you doin’ about the motherfucker who killed Deon?

 

RANDALL: …We ain’t know who did Deon, yet. We wanna be sure before we pull the trigger.

 

SACK LUNCH: How hard can it be? Shit, last time we lost a brother, we had revenge ordered up and ready to go within thirty minutes, like it was a fuckin’ pizza. Bullets right to your door, nigga, with a side of breadsticks.

 

JACKSON: What’s the breadsticks?

 

SACK LUNCH: You the fuckin’ breadsticks, where the guy who killed Deon at, huh?

 

RANDALL: I ain’t gonna pull the trigger on a motherfucka unless I know who did ‘em, got it?

 

SACK LUNCH: What I heard, you won’t pull the trigger even if you do know.

 

RANDALL: THE FUCK YOU SAY!?

 

(Randall steps forward, but Jackson gets in the middle of them)

 

JACKSON: Nah, we ain’t doin’ this! Sack Lunch, apologize, right the fuck now.

 

SACK LUNCH: …My bad, Randall.

 

RANDALL: Yeah, yo’ bad.

 

(Sack Lunch extends his fist. Randall looks at it, and reluctantly bumps it)

 

JACKSON: A’ight, y’all can leave, we need to talk private. (The Crips disband as Jackson and Randall walk over to the tire pump on the far side of the lot) We real low on Molly, my nigga, you got the Asian chick on it?

 

RANDALL: Yeah, she is, what the fuck was that, with Sack Lunch?

 

JACKSON: He’s just an ornery motherfucka, you know that-

 

RANDALL: Nah, he was bein’ super disrespectful, since when does a nigga disrespect me?

 

JACKSON: I don’t know-

 

RANDALL: I think you fuckin’ do, I think he knows too, so tell me.

 

(Jackson sighs)

 

JACKSON: Well…

 

(Suddenly, a white guy with glasses pulls up behind them in a Lexus. He leans out the window)

 

LEXUS DRIVER: Hi, sorry, I gotta pump my tires-

 

(Randall zips down his pants)

 

RANDALL: How about a car wash instead, motherfucka, I piss on your hood?! (The Lexus quickly zooms away in a panic) Fuckin’ right. (Randall zips up his pants) So, go ahead, what is it?

 

JACKSON: …I guess people heard about you lettin’ that Chinese dude off easy…Corey, too.

 

RANDALL: I fuckin’ knew it.

 

JACKSON: Personally, I think mercy’s a quality of a good leader, but you know these kids, they just wanna see niggas get curb stomped.

 

RANDALL: I bet it was Hugh and Dixon that squealed, I sent those niggas to make sure Huang didn’t escape! I bet they’ll see I ain’t soft once a bullet flies through they heads!

 

JACKSON: Randall, nah, we don’t who been squealing that you soft, you never told Hugh and Dixon to keep it a secret, how you know it’s them? You just said you ain’t wanna pull the trigger before you know what’s up.

 

(Randall stews for a few moments)

 

RANDALL: I gotta be alone right now, Jackson.

 

JACKSON: A’ight, nigga, I’ll see you soon.

 

(Jackson pats Randall on the back and walks off. Randall stares forward with fury. He looks over at Josh, who’s inside laughing like an idiot while looking at his phone. His nostrils flare. Cut to Vince walking up to Meixiang’s door and ringing the doorbell. He waits a few moments, as she hears muffled Mandarin and a door closing and locking. Meixiang opens the door)

 

MEIXIANG: Vince! What brings you by?

 

VINCE: Is someone else here? I heard you speaking mandarin-

 

MEIXIANG: Oh, no, I was, practicing, my, mandarin.

 

VINCE: Why would you need to do that-

 

MEIXIANG: I wouldn’t, come in.

 

(Vince walks in and Meixiang closes the door behind her. Vince walks into the living room and sits down)

 

VINCE: Listen, we need to talk.

 

(Meixiang sits down next to Vince)

 

MEIXIANG: What’s going on?

 

VINCE: You know that freak from administration, Federico?

 

MEIXIANG: Yeah?

 

VINCE: He’s been spying on us, he’s seen me going to your house, the freak is obsessed with you.

 

MEIXIANG: Oh my God!

 

VINCE: I’ve thought about it, and considering what we’ve been up to, he’s more dangerous to us than just, you know, revealing our relationship.

 

MEIXIANG: You think he knows about that?

 

VINCE: No, but I thought about it, what would two completely innocent people do about this?

 

MEIXIANG: …They’d try to get him fired?

 

VINCE: That’s what we need to do, then. Go to the administration on Monday morning and get his ass fired.

 

(Meixiang nods)

 

MEIXIANG: That’s good thinking. Jeez, I knew Federico was a bit uptight and took his job too seriously, but I didn’t think he was a creep?

 

VINCE: Did the fact that he dresses like Hercule Poirot not tip you off?

 

MEIXIANG: What, were the words you just said?

 

VINCE: Sorry, I forgot you’re an immigrant.

 

MEIXIANG: Yeah!

 

VINCE: Actually- (Vince peers at his watch) the administration office is still open- do you want to swing by now? Nip this in the bud?

 

MEIXIANG: Okay, yeah, that’s a good idea. Let me grab my purse from the basement.

 

VINCE: Why is your purse in the basement-

 

(Meixiang gets up and runs down the hall)

 

MEIXIANG: Be right back!!!

 

(We cut to Vince and Meixiang sitting in Dean Houghton’s office. Chairs have been set up around Solomon’s desk to accommodate the head of Human Resources- a slightly chubby woman with a prominent nose and strawberry blonde hair named Georgia and a representative from the administration, a slender middle-aged man named Lance)

 

VINCE: So that’s the long and short of it. We think Mr. Kopp has acted inappropriately.

 

GEORGIA: I agree, if this is true, it’s way out of bounds.

 

SOLOMON: Yes, but to be clear, you guys are a thing, right?

 

MEIXIANG: I don’t think that’s the issue here, Dean Houghton, respectfully.

 

SOLOMON: I mean, maybe not, but I think it’s worth talking about.

 

(Vince sighs)

 

VINCE: Solomon, can we not do this?

 

SOLOMON: Can I get a picture of you two, I just wanna send it to some friends with a caption, something like, “did you ever see this happening?”

 

(Solomon laughs)

 

LANCE: Solomon. Please stop. (Solomon shuts up and nods quietly) I think we all agree that Federico needs to be suspended pending an investigation. Thank you for calling our attention to this.

 

VINCE: Thank you for seeing us on short notice.

 

LANCE: Oh, and uh, congratulations to you guys.

 

(Cory smiles)

 

VINCE: Okay-

 

MEIXIANG: Are you serious?

 

(Cut to Ashton sitting at the dinner table with Mandy and Henry at Henry’s house. They’re enjoying a meal of corn on the cob, mashed potatoes and chicken. Henry has a glass of wine, while Mandy and Ashton have Coke in a glass. Ashton chews his corn on the cob busily as Henry takes a sip of his wine)

 

HENRY: Ashton, are you twenty-one?

 

ASHTON: No, sir.

 

HENRY: Well. I won’t tell if you won’t.

 

(Henry scoots a bottle of wine over to Ashton and nods to an empty wine glass. Ashton smiles)

 

ASHTON: Surely, Mandy can also have some.

 

HENRY: Of course, pour it for her like a gentleman.

 

(Mandy smiles and pushes her glass forward. Ashton pours until the glasses are full for both of them and sets the wine aside)

 

MANDY: Wow.

 

ASHTON: Drink a little off the top, come on.

 

(Ashton sips the brim and Mandy follows suit. Henry raises his glass up)

 

HENRY: To young love!

 

(They all clink their glasses together and drink. Ashton chugs his wine and finishes it in one go, to Henry and Mandy’s amazement)

 

ASHTON: I’m gonna hit up the facilities, that cool?

 

(Ashton stands up)

 

HENRY: Yeah, it’s down the hall and to the left.

 

STEPHANIE: Actually, that toilet’s out, daddy.

 

(Cut to Ashton earlier, throwing wad of toilet paper after wad of toilet paper into the toilet and then flushing it. Cut back)

 

HENRY: Oh. Well, my bedroom is to the right of the foyer and you can just use that one.

 

ASHTON: Perfect, thanks, Hank.

 

(Ashton walks towards the foyer. Mandy smiles)

 

MANDY: He grows on you.

 

HENRY: I think he is. I like a man who’s straight-forward about who he is, and what his intentions are.

 

(Mandy smiles)

 

MANDY: That’s my Ashton.

 

(Cut to Ashton taking a piss in Henry’s toilet with the seat down, his aim terrible, as he scrolls through twitter on his phone. He puts his dick up, without flushing or cleaning the seat, and then opens the medicine cabinet. He finds a tiny bottle of visine with just a tiny bit left in it)

 

ASHTON: Yes! (He takes a picture of the visine bottle with his phone. He puts his phone up, closes the medicine cabinet, then heads for the door, but he stops short) Oh yeah. (Ashton turns back, grabs a few handfuls of toilet paper and stuffs them into his pants. He backs up and looks at his increased bulge in the mirror) Dope.

 

(Ashton leaves the bathroom as the camera lingers on the unflushed, piss-stained toilet. Cut to Ashton returning to the dinner table. He sits down)

 

HENRY: So, Ashton, you rushed off rather quickly last time we met.

 

MANDY: Daddy, we don’t have to talk about this.

 

ASHTON: Nah, it’s cool- (Ashton takes out a cigarette and places it in his mouth) you mind, Mr. Tessman?

 

MANDY: Ashton.

 

HENRY: No, Mandy, it’s fine. Just, blow it away from us.

 

ASHTON: You’re cool, Hank, I like you. (Ashton lights the cigarette and blows the smoke over his shoulder) I told Mandy about my dad, he was in Afghanistan. Got killed by Taliban about three years back.

 

HENRY: Good Lord, I’m sorry to hear that.

 

MANDY: But he has a stepdad who’s pretty cool.

 

ASHTON: Well, he’s, he’s alright, anyway, uh…my dad had that exact same truck, that you have. We used to drive around in it most summers, hunting hogs and shit.

 

HENRY: Hunting hogs? Where are you from?

 

ASHTON: I’m from, Tennessee.

 

HENRY: Really, I don’t detect an accent.

 

MANDY: Didn’t you say you were from Vermont, babe?

 

ASHTON: Yeah, I’m from Vermont, by way of Tennessee. Accents change, you know.

 

MANDY: Also, I vaguely remember you once saying you were a bastard born of a coward who was executed for treason?

 

ASHTON: I’m from a lot of places. I wanna travel the world, straight-up, someday I wanna live in Japan. (Henry smirks and nods as he sips his wine) Anyway, that truck just reminds me of what I’ve lost, is all. (Ashton peers at Henry) Have you ever lost someone close to you, Hank?

 

HENRY: Uh, not exactly, no.

 

(Ashton gives Henry a slight glare)

 

ASHTON: It’s the worst feeling in the world.

 

MANDY: …I can attest to that.

 

(Mandy tears up, and Henry puts his hand on hers and turns away from Ashton. Mandy tries to shield her eyes. Ashton quickly takes out an artificial tears solution and squirts it on his eyes while they’re not looking. Cut to Meixiang on the phone in her house)

 

MEIXIANG: Hi, this is Katelyn Lu, I’m a professor and I was wondering if I could get an invitation to Monday’s event at CU Colorado Springs.

 

WOMAN’S VOICE: (On the other line) May I ask why?

 

MEIXIANG: I’m an Asian immigrant, from China.

 

WOMAN: (Mandarin) (What part of China)?

 

MEIXIANG: (Nanning, way, way far away from Beijing. Are you from China)?

 

WOMAN: (Oh, cool, not really, I’m from Taiwan).

 

MEIXIANG: (TAIWAIN IS CHINA! Sorry. Sorry, oh my God, I don’t know where that came from).

 

WOMAN: (It’s alright. Listen, one of our speakers dropped out, so, if you want to come, you can, but I would need you to give a speech, otherwise the schedule gets messed up).

 

MEIXIANG: (Oh…okay…)

 

(Cut to a close-up shot of a leak filling up a bucket with a couple of small wooden ships floating up on the water. We pan up to see Huang Ping, still in his turtleneck, smiling widely)

 

HUANG PING: Meixiang, I have a fleet!

 

(Cut over to Meixiang sitting at the table)

 

MEIXIANG: Looks like it.

 

(Huang Ping walks over and sits near her)

 

HUANG PING: (Thank you for the ship-building set, I had become bored with reading, and playing Flappy Bird on the iPad).

 

MEIXIANG: (You’re welcome. Listen, I need to bounce some ideas off you. The organizer of that Colorado Springs event wants me to give a speech).

 

HUANG PING: (God knows you’ll be exquisite, my love).

 

MEIXIANG: (I know, but just, listen to these opening lines and give me your honest feedback- don’t lie to me, alright)?

 

HUANG PING: (I would never).

 

MEIXIANG: (“Thank you so much-“)

 

HUANG PING: (I love it).

 

MEIXIANG: (Please! Huang, listen to it, and give your honest opinion). (Huang nods) (“Thank you so much for having me, and I apologize if I stumble, but I have two second languages”).

 

(Meixiang looks up at him)

 

HUANG PING: … (I like it, but it might be a bit, self-conscious).

 

MEIXIANG: (Thank you! See, that’s the kind of honest feedback I’m looking for. Alright, second idea). (Meixiang clears her throat) (“Gooooooood morning VIETNAM!”)

 

HUANG PING: (Because of the movie)?

 

MEIXIANG: (What movie? I’m just saying this because a lot of the Professors are Vietnamese).

 

HUANG PING: (Well, then, it’s even weirder, my love, and also, I think this event takes place in the evening).

 

(Meixiang sits back)

 

MEIXIANG: Fuck.

 

(Huang Ping chuckles and grasps her hand)

 

HUANG PING: (Darling, please, don’t fret! Even if you went up there and delivered these frankly terrible lines, everyone there will love you).

 

MEIXIANG: (How do you figure)?

 

HUANG PING: (Because you’re Meixiang. You’re so goddamn likeable and endearing it hurts. And the best part is, you act like you don’t know that. Because I don’t think you do).

 

(A smile grows on Meixiang’s lips)

 

MEIXIANG: … (Thank you, Huang).

 

(Huang Ping kisses Meixiang’s hand and sits back)

 

HUANG PING: (Can I race my ships in your bathtub)?

 

(Meixiang shakes her head “no”. Cut to a hotel ball room full of Asian, European, African and South American immigrants, with a dais and podium upfront. The whole room is applauding as Meixiang walks up to the podium, passing by the Taiwanese woman, whose hand she shakes. She takes the podium and smiles nervously as the applause dies down)

 

MEIXIANG: Thank you. Three immigrants in academia walk into a bar, a German immigrant, a Chinese immigrant and a Cuban immigrant. The German immigrant tells the bartender, “I can make your bar 500% more efficient by next quarter”. The Cuban immigrant says, “I can roll the finest cigars for your patrons to enjoy”. The Chinese immigrant says, “I can do what they do but better”. (Silence) Because, China has a culture of innovation, not necessarily creation, you know what, we can all forget that happened.

 

(Laughter. Cut to Meixiang picking up a cocktail from the bar as she makes her way across the room. He takes out her phone and looks at a faculty picture of Professor Tshien. She looks around, seeing immigrants of many stripes, two Danish immigrants clogging, a German immigrant wearing lederhosen and drinking a giant ale, a Mexican immigrant comparing and contrasting teaching styles with a Japanese immigrant)

 

MEXICAN PROFESSOR: (Mexican accent) I think asking guided questions is a more effective way of teaching, otherwise the kids don’t truly feel like they’re discovering anything-

 

JAPANESE PROFESSOR: (Japanese accent) To an extent, but what if they reach a completely illogical conclusion? That is the problem of the world, people think they know when they do not!

 

(Meixiang smiles as she pushes past them and happens upon a Finnish professor holding a cocktail)

 

FINNISH PROFESSOR: (Finnish accent) Hei! Meixiang, is it?

 

MEIXIANG: Yes, I’m sorry, I’m looking for-

 

FINNISH PROFESSOR: Professor Jarvinen, how are you? I loved your speech- (Professor Jarvinen stumbles a bit and spills a drink on himself) Ah! Damnit, it’s the spring of the pussies for sure, I’ll get a napkin and be right back, stay put!

 

(Jarvinen takes off)

 

MEIXIANG: Will do. (Meixiang escapes past a group of Icelandic professors and stumbles upon Professor Tshien sitting in the corner) Professor Tshien?

 

PROFESSOR TSHIEN: (Chinese accent) Yes? Do I know you?

 

MEIXIANG: No, but I’ve read a couple of your papers, very admirable stuff.

 

PROFESSOR TSHIEN: Which ones?

 

MEIXIANG: I can’t quite remember, it was pretty late. (Meixiang sits next to Tshien) But I remember them being very inciteful.

 

PROFESSOR TSHIEN: Well, thank you. I enjoyed your speech.

 

MEIXIANG: Oh, it was nothing. The joke bombed.

 

PROFESSOR TSHIEN: It did, and rightfully so. But comparing the modern-day immigrant to the Chinese immigrants who built the railroads was very smart, especially with this, Trump jackass doing as well as he is.

 

MEIXIANG: I so appreciate that.

 

(Beat)

 

PROFESSOR TSHIEN: Well. It looks like the Israeli immigrants are about to lift up the Chinese immigrants on chairs so they can form a paper dragon, so we best be a part of that.

 

(Tshien begins to walk on, but then Meixiang stops him)

 

MEIXIANG: Just hold on, sir. I need something from you.

 

PROFESSOR TSHIEN: And what’s that?

 

MEIXIANG: …Do you know Dyun Fang?

 

PROFESSOR TSHIEN: Excuse me?!

 

MEIXIANG: Dyun Fang, he works at ChemChina-

 

PROFESSOR TSHIEN: I know who he is. I’m offended that you would think I would associate myself with that criminal. Now, if you’ll excuse me, they’re about to break the wine glasses.

 

(Tshien pushes past her. Meixiang looks after him)

 

MEIXIANG: But wait, sir, I’m sorry- someone’s getting married here?!

 

(Cut to Randall whittling behind the counter. It appears he’s carving out some kind of phallus. Suddenly, a group of men in balaclavas walk in- around six, three with shotguns, one with a handgun and the other two with knives. Randall immediately pulls out a handgun and points it at them. Josh immediately ducks down and hides behind a shelf, trying to remain as quiet as possible)

 

LEAD ROBBER: Drop that gun or you gon’ die, nigga.

 

(Randall looks around. All of the men holding shotguns cock them. Randall’s eyes dart around)

 

RANDALL: You assholes must not know who you fuckin’ with-

 

(The Lead robber blasts his shotgun into the backwall, causing a flurry of cigarette packs to explode. Randall is startled)

 

LEAD ROBBER: We know who the fuck you think you are. We here to jack yo’ shit. (Randall takes a deep breath and throws his gun at their feet) Hands up.

 

(Randall slowly puts his hands and behind his head. He seems to pat around behind his head)

 

RANDALL: Fuck. Thought I might have somethin’ back there. (Beat) You fuckin’ morons, there’s never more than a hundred bucks in the register.

 

LEAD ROBBER: We ain’t here for the register, dumbass. We know where the real money be.

 

RANDALL: …Holy shit. You’s those North Side Mafia boys who was in here a few days back.

 

LEAD ROBBER: We ain’t heard of them.

 

LACKEY: (Cockney British accent) But we is them, my Lord.

 

LEAD ROBBER: No, we- hmmm. Danny, shut the fuck up, we ain’t them, go wait in the car, dumb fuck.

 

LACKEY: Yes, my lord.

 

(The lackey jaunts out of the store)

 

RANDALL: Fuck was that.

 

LEAD ROBBER: Lead us to the safe, motherfucker.

 

(The lead robber pokes his shotgun into Randall’s chest. Cut to Randall being led at gunpoint back to his office. Josh scoots out of their direct eyeline, behind the far side of the shelf)

 

LEAD ROBBER: Somebody get the boy.

 

(Josh makes a break for it, but one of the robbers wielding a handgun grabs him from behind and places the gun to his temple)

 

JOSH: AGGGHH!!! STOP IT!!! I WAS ON ELLEN!!!

 

ROBBER: Oh shit, were you that douchebag kid who likes Trump?

 

(The robber starts dragging Josh to the back office)

 

JOSH: I DON’T LIKE TRUMP, I DON’T EVEN KNOW SHIT ABOUT STUPID-ASS POLITICS!!!

 

(Cut to the robbers leading Randall and Josh by gunpoint into the freezer. They’re facing the other freezer door at the end of the room)

 

LEAD ROBBER: OPEN IT!
 

RANDALL: Why the fuck should I. You ain’t really gonna kill me.

 

ROBBER: How about I demonstrate on this fuckin’ Trump-supportin’ pretty boy?

 

JOSH: NO! PLEASE! THE SMALDONE FAMILY WILL MAKE YOU PAY FOR THIS!

 

ROBBER: Guess we’ll find out.

 

(The robber clicks the hammer back. Josh braces himself)

 

JOSH: RANDALL, JUST DO IT, PLEASE!

 

(Randall sighs and punches in a code on the keypad. The door unlocks and Randall pulls it open)

 

LEAD ROBBER: Bring out the canisters and dump the money out.

 

RANDALL: You gon’ die for this.

 

(The robber shoves Randall with the butt of his gun)

 

LEAD ROBBER: Just like Corey?

 

(Randall’s eyes flash with anger, but then he looks down, walks inside, grabs the canisters, walks out and dumps wads of cash all over the floor)

 

RANDALL: You can borrow it.

 

(Cut to Meixiang walking out of the science building at CU Colorado University, toward her car. She’s wiping tears from her eyes and clutches her jacket and purse close as a cold wind blows. Suddenly, Professor Tshien swoops in front of her and she gasps. He hands her a business card)

 

PROFESSOR TSHIEN: I know who you really are, “Lucy”.

 

MEIXIANG: How do you know- I used the name “Katelyn”.

 

PROFESSOR TSHIEN: Never ask me about business in public like that, ever again. (Tshien tucks the business card in her hand) And don’t forget you’re a wanted woman. If the CCP didn’t have more pressing things to deal with, they’d have caught you already.

 

(Meixiang glances at the card- it’s Fang Dyun’s personal number)

 

MEIXIANG: Why are you giving this to me?

 

PROFESSOR TSHIEN: As a favor to myself.

 

MEIXIANG: I’m not going to sleep with you, for this.

 

PROFESSOR TSHIEN: I’m asexual, but I appreciate you even entertaining the notion. No, I mean, I got a cut of Fang’s earnings while he was in the game. He’s been out of the game for a while, after most of the others doing it got nabbed. I want back in, and I think you can get him back in.

 

MEIXIANG: How would I do that?

 

(Tshien shrugs)

 

PROFESSOR TSHIEN: Offering to sleep with him wouldn’t hurt, honestly.

 

(Cut to Meixiang pulling up to her house that night. She gets out and immediately clocks Federico’s car parked a few feet from hers. Federico stumbles out of it, his mustache unwaxed and his hair disheveled)

 

MEIXIANG: RICO! STAY AWAY!

 

(Federico puts his hands up)

 

FEDERICO: I’m not gonna hurt you! I’m just gonna bash your brains in! (Federico chuckles) You seen The Shining? Great movie.

 

MEIXIANG: TERRIBLE MOVIE TO QUOTE RIGHT NOW!

 

FEDERICO: If you like that charm, Meixiang, I have plenty more of it for ya. I have a LOT of free time now, thanks to you and your boyfriend. They just sacked my ass.

 

MEIXIANG: YOU DESERVED IT!

 

FEDERICO: Maybe so, but now I’m all yours, if you want me. I’ll quote all the movies you want- (Schwarzenegger impression) “IT’S NOT A TUM-AH!” “That’s like, your opinion, man” “Nobody puts baby in a corner!”

 

MEIXIANG: I DON’T KNOW THESE QUOTES, GODDAMNIT! I’M NOT GONNA DATE YOU, PSYCHO!

 

FEDERICO: Oh, I see. (Federico throws up his hands) You want to keep dating Vince. Do you even KNOW him!? I’ve been following him, and he’s up to some WEIRD shit, I don’t know what it is.

 

MEIXIANG: He’s not a creep who likes to scare women in front of their houses, at least.

 

FEDERICO: Why is he hanging out with some kid who sells drugs, huh? Why are there mafiosos outside of his house SPYING on him, I don’t get it, but I SAW them!

 

MEIXIANG: You don’t know what you’re talking about-

 

FEDERICO: What really happened with Ed? Those two have been enemies since Vince got here, and he winds up getting beaten half to death? You really buy that story about burglars stealing an iPhone and a Porsche? They had no reason to beat him up-

 

MEIXIANG: I’ve heard enough. Leave or I’ll call the police.

 

(Meixiang marches into her house)

 

FEDERICO: STELLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

 

(Meixiang slams the door and locks it. Cut to Ashton and Vince in the Hall living room that same night. Vince opens a bottle of visine, which has just a bit left in it, and he takes a dropper and squirts ricin into it. Vince puts gloves on and puts the cap back on the visine and tightens it)

 

ASHTON: So that’s it, huh.

 

VINCE: Next time you’re over there, find a way to get in his bathroom.

 

ASHTON: …You sure you don’t wanna beat him to death?

 

VINCE: Jesus Christ, we’ve already gotten to this point, nearly without a hitch, can we just stick to one plan?

 

ASHTON: …Fine. Thanks, man.

 

(Ashton pats Vince on the shoulder)

 

VINCE: …Yeah.

 

ASHTON: I feel honored and humbled, I really do.

 

VINCE: As humbled as Hitler after Munich, I’m sure.

 

ASHTON: Yeah, exactly.

 

(There’s a loud knock at the door)

 

VINCE: The fuck?

 

(Vince takes the visine bottle and hides it in the medicine cabinet as the knocking grows louder)

 

ASHTON: If you ordered a hooker, you should’ve told me, I would’ve paid half.

 

(Vince walks toward the door)

 

VINCE: That’s generous, but I can afford a full prostitute. (Vince looks through the peephole) Oh, shit.

 

(Ashton pulls out his gun)

 

ASHTON: (Whispering) Who is it?

 

(Vince runs into the living room)

 

VINCE: (Whispering) Put that away, hide in the closet!

 

ASHTON: (Whispering) Is that what your mom told you when you started trying on dresses? I’m staying right here, dude.

 

VINCE: Hide in the closet or Henry lives, I can throw out that visine whenever I want! (Ashton sighs, pouts and runs into Vince’s bedroom. Vince pulls out a knife and goes toward the front door) FED, GO AWAY!

 

(We suddenly hear the back door swing open with the force of Federico’s foot. Vince runs into the living room and sees Federico standing there with a broken glass bottle in hand)

 

FEDERICO: Congrats, Vince. You ruined my life.

 

VINCE: Did I ruin your pants too?

 

FEDERICO: Yeah, fucker, you did.

 

VINCE: I don’t remember this chapter of Hercule Poirot’s journey.

 

FEDERICO: Who?

 

VINCE: Seriously, not even you!?

 

FEDERICO: I was sacked. I was rejected by Meixiang. I have nothing, because of you. And you have everything, despite all the sordid dealings you’re involved with.

 

VINCE: Fed, sit down, you’re acting crazy.

 

FEDERICO: You hang out with notorious drug dealers, you have members of the mob spying on you- you spend inordinate amounts of time at a convenience store owned by a man with purported connections to the Crips? Who are you?!

 

(Vince forces out a chuckle)

 

VINCE: I’m sorry Meixiang rejected you. (Federico closes his eyes as a tear seeps out) You should sit down. I’ll get you some water.

 

(Federico sits down, covers his eyes and starts crying)

 

FEDERICO: OHHHH, I’M SUCH A MESS! (Vince grabs a glass and fills it up with tap water) “YOU’RE TEARIN’ ME APAAAAART!!!”

 

(Federico discretely takes the bottle of visine and squirts a bit of it into the water. He puts it away and he hands it to Federico)

 

VINCE: There you go.

 

FEDERICO: Thank you.

 

(Federico gulps the water in one go)

 

VINCE: Following a person around all day, I can understand why you’d start to draw insane conclusions. But I’m just a Chemistry professor. Nothing more.

 

(Federico wipes his tears away and puts his glass aside)

 

FEDERICO: I don’t know what you are. (Federico stands up and faces him) But I do know that you’re dating the woman of my dreams.

 

VINCE: …You don’t know her.

 

FEDERICO: That doesn’t mean I can’t be obsessed with her.

 

VINCE: …Just go home and lay down, Fed. I can put in a good word for you at another university.

 

FEDERICO: …You would?

 

VINCE: I would.

 

FEDERICO: …When you have sex, does she think of me?

 

(Vince sighs and shakes his head)

 

VINCE: Just go, please.

 

(Federico sniffs and hobbles out the back door with his head bowed. Ashton appears in Vince’s bedroom doorway)

 

ASHTON: Why’d you let him go!? I overheard him, he knows a lot of shit!

 

VINCE: I put the visine in his glass of water. (Vince points to the glass on the table) Do not touch that glass.

 

(Ashton furrows his brow)

 

ASHTON: Then what about Henry?!

 

VINCE: …I seem to remember you having an alternative idea earlier? (Ashton smiles widely. Cut to Ashton and Vince standing in front of Punchline, Sack Lunch and two other Crips in Ashton’s apartment) So you’ve got everything you need. Address, time, where to dispose the body.

 

ASHTON: It needs to look like a carjacking gone wrong.

 

VINCE: And most importantly, Randall Stewart CAN NOT know about it. Do you accept these terms?

 

PUNCHLINE: Can my dad drive the getaway car?

 

(Vince shrugs)

 

VINCE: …Sure.

 

PUNCHLINE: He plays the best tunes, y’all in for it.

 

(They all look at each other)

 

SACK LUNCH: I’m confident nobody here gonna say shit to Randall. We’ll do it.

 

(Ashton takes out a wad of cash and tosses it to Sack Lunch)

 

ASHTON: You’ll get the other half after it’s done. Remember, bring me his head.

 

VINCE: NO! No part of the body should be left-

 

ASHTON: Just the tip of his tiny little dick then-

 

VINCE: Ew! Why would you want that?!

 

ASHTON: Fine, fucking hell, I can never have fun in this business.

 

(Vince sighs)

 

VINCE: Call Ramsay Bolton’s burner when you’re done.

 

(Vince and Ashton walk away from Sack Lunch and his crew as war drums sound. Cut to Henry Tessman working a late shift at his real estate firm. He yawns as he types away on his work computer, the glow illuminating his face. Henry sits back, pauses, then gets up and grabs the coat off the back of his chair. Cut to Henry walking out the back door of his firm as night falls. He walks to his truck. Cut to his truck about to pull out of the parking lot when Sack Lunch and his cadre of men, all wearing balaclavas, pull up in a Camaro and get out pointing guns at his windshield)

 

SACK LUNCH: YO, HOP OUT THE CAR, MOTHERFUCKA!

 

(Henry tenses up and hops out his truck with his hands held high)

 

HENRY: WHOA, WHOA, WHOA! WHAT DO YOU WANT?! Here! (Henry throws his wallet at their feet) There, take it!

 

PUNCHLINE: Nah, we after that truck, my dude. What kinda towing capacity that thing got?

 

HENRY: I-I-I don’t know, like, 6500 or something-

 

PUNCHLINE: Damn, dad, you like that shit, don’t ya?

 

PUNCHLINE’S DAD: Yeah, I could haul a lot of wood with that thing.

 

(Henry throws them the keys)

 

HENRY: JUST TAKE IT! PLEASE!

 

SACK LUNCH: What’s the fuel economy?

 

HENRY: M-maybe, 400?

 

SACK LUNCH: City or highway?

 

HENRY: Highway, maybe 600- (Sack Lunch shoots Henry in the stomach and he falls on his back) AGGGHHHH!!! FUCK!

 

SACK LUNCH: Goddamn, I think this carjacking just went wrong!

 

(Sack Lunch, Punchline, his dad and the two other Crips descend on Henry and begin kicking the shit out of him. We see a quick underwater shot. A burlap bag containing Henry’s body splashes into frame, tied to cinderblocks and sinking quickly. Cut to Henry’s Dodge Ram 1500 being crushed in an impounder at the dump. We can see a shot of Ashton in the distance, smoking a cigarette, beaming, enjoying every minute of it. Cut to Meixiang sitting across from Vince in her living room)

 

VINCE: …I came here to make sure you’re okay.

 

MEIXIANG: Why.

 

VINCE: Federico showed up and told me about what he did to you, accosting you and harassing you like that.

 

(Meixiang shrugs)

 

MEIXIANG: He’ll get over it. I have already.

 

VINCE: …Good.

 

MEIXIANG: …Do you think he’s a problem…

 

VINCE: No? Why do you say that?

 

MEIXIANG: He told me he’s seen you with some suspicious people. Should we kill him?

 

(Vince is taken aback)

 

VINCE: …He doesn’t know anything.

 

MEIXIANG: Well, we could at least have someone beat him half to death, that’s what you did with Ed.

 

VINCE: Excuse me?!

 

MEIXIANG: Don’t deny it, I’m not stupid.


(Vince cracks a bit)

 

VINCE: …I didn’t have somebody do that.

 

MEIXIANG: So you admit to it?

 

VINCE: I admit to knowing about it.

 

MEIXIANG: And you did nothing to stop it.

 

VINCE: He might be dead if it wasn’t for me.

 

MEIXIANG: What did he do!?

 

VINCE: He’s a degenerate gambler and he lied to the Smaldones. I saved his life, I was never going to let him die-

 

MEIXIANG: How could you know for sure they wouldn’t kill him- oh my God… (Vince looks down) you did it…

 

VINCE: It was the only way to make sure. Meixiang-

 

 (Vince steps forward as Meixiang tears up)

 

MEIXIANG: Stay away from me.

 

VINCE: …This is an ugly business we got into. It’s our own fault that it came to this. (Vince’s faces grows stern) And you can act all innocent, but you don’t have much moral high ground over me. You know exactly what this business makes people do. You’re a part of that.

 

MEIXIANG: Please leave. (Beat) You’re right about all of that, but I don’t want to hear it right now. I’m not mad, I just can’t be around you right now.

 

(Vince nods solemnly and approaches the front door. As soon as it closes behind him, Meixiang walks over and places her body against the locked door to the basement and cries. Cut to Randall and Josh sitting in Randall’s office. Randall finishes off a Corona and throws it into a recycling bin. He looks furious. Josh sips on a Natty Light)

 

JOSH: Ooh, that feels tingly on my tongue.

 

RANDALL: You know what I wanna do right now?

 

JOSH: What’s that?

 

RANDALL: I wanna bash your fuckin’ face in.

 

JOSH: …Why?

 

RANDALL: You know why.

 

JOSH: …Randy, dude, I was hiding so I could go get help. (Randall looks away from him) I’m on your side. You say these guys are North Side Mafia, I’m sure I can get the actual mafia to kill them all.

 

RANDALL: I don’t even know where the fuck they stay at.

 

JOSH: Well, we’ll find out. In the meantime, you gotta save up that anger for the people who deserve it. (Josh takes another sip of his Natty Light) God, this is so gross.

 

(Randall looks off to the left, in bitter contemplation. Cut to Vince walking into his house, as “Just Like I” by Xenia Rubinos comes in. We cut to Ashton bursting into his apartment, dancing almost like Snoopy as he leaps onto his couch. We cut to Vince sinking into his chair and turning on the local news. Jeremy Hubbard sits at the news desk, a graphic of Trump and Sanders floating next to his head and a lower third reading “TRUMP & SANDERS WIN NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARIES RESOUNDINGLY”. Cut to Ashton dancing around his apartment with a cigarette in his mouth, not a care in the world. Cut to Meixiang descending the stairs of the attic. Cut to Vince resting his chin on his hand as Jeremy Hubbard speaks onscreen- the graphic changed to a publicity photo of Henry Tessman and the lower third now reading “ESTEEMED LOCAL REAL ESTATE PARTNER MISSING- PRESUMED DEAD”. Cut to Ashton knocking back a Mountain Dew as he watches the exact same report on TV. He’s cracking up and slapping his armchair with delight. Cut to Meixiang sitting across from Huang Ping, as he looks up from working on his ships. Cut to Vince falling asleep as Jeremy Hubbard reports on local excitement in the wake of the Denver Broncos’ victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Sunday’s Super Bowl. Cut to Ashton crumpling the Mountain Dew can after finishing it and throwing it over his shoulder. Cut to Huang Ping dealing playing cards to himself and to Meixiang. Cut to Ashton’s iPhone vibrating on his side table, displaying Mandy’s name. Cut to Vince turning his TV off. Cut to Ashton answering Mandy’s call and immediately, his face goes from ecstatic to feigned concern. Cut to Randall sitting behind the counter at Food Mart, scrolling through his Twitter and finding a Denver Post headline- “Noted Real Estate Partner Henry Tessman Killed”. His eyes flare with intense anger. Cut to Huang Ping turning over three cards to make “the flop” in a game of poker. Cut to Vince brushing his teeth. Cut to Randall speeding down the road in his car, white knuckling the steering wheel. Cut to Ashton pacing around his apartment on the phone, desperately trying to console Mandy. Cut to Meixiang showing her hand. Three sevens. Cut to Vince pulling sweatpants on in his bedroom. Cut to Randall parking in the visitor’s section at Ashton’s complex. Cut to Huang Ping showing his hand- three sixes. Meixiang scoops the chips her way as Huang Ping plays disappointed. Cut to slipping into bed. Cut to Ashton walking towards his front door. Cut to Meixiang and Huang Ping smiling at each other as Huang deals out the next cards. The song wraps up as we see Ashton opening his front door and seeing Randall barreling toward him)

 

ASHTON: Randall, what the fuck- (Randall pounds him in the face, sending him flying to the ground) FUCK!

 

(Randall starts wailing on Ashton as the camera backs away from them. Cut to Vince sleeping soundly in his bed as his phone begins to vibrate with texts and calls coming in. Vince’s hand slithers out the sheets and turns the phone on silent. Cut to credits)

 

THE END


Submitted: April 21, 2020

© Copyright 2021 NEONETWORK. All rights reserved.

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imafairy

Oh wow!!!!

Tue, April 21st, 2020 5:24am

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