A Film Noir
A. Jay Adler
The Story So Far
Jack Miles, rock n’ roll roadie, has returned home looking for a job. He encounters old friends and begins a new love with Evelyn “Sonny” Morales, a detective. Old friends, Kyle and Ray, propose to Jack that he help them rob his wealthy, but estranged, identical twin, Joseph. Jack turns them down, and instead goes to see Joseph to ask for a job. But Joseph humiliates Jack and they nearly come to blows. Enraged, Jack lures Joseph to him and kills him, making the murder appear his own accidental death. He then assumes Joseph’s identity and sets Kyle and Ray up in a botched attempt at the robbery. While Sonny investigates Jack’s death, Jack, as Joseph, discovers that Joseph and Crank Wilson were closeted lovers. As Sonny’s investigation continues to bring her and Jack together, Jack tries to adjust to the circumstances of his new life. Soon enough, Crank is on to Jack and tries to blackmail him, but Jack figures a way to accommodate and control Crank. Then, one night, Jack and Sonny give in and make love. Disturbed by events, Sonny seeks advice from her Poppy, her father, in prison. She returns to headquarters to learn that Crank has been murdered. The investigation leads to Crank’s murderer, and to evidence of his and Joesph’s relationship.
Now, Part 12:
Sonny and her partner argue about her relationship with Joseph. They arrest Billy Corbet. Jack receives mixed signals for his future.
INT. KORT MANSION – STUDY – DAY
Jack and Arthur Perry sit around a coffee table. Arthur gathers up the PAPERS into a PORTFOLIO.
So that’s it. The farm, property, investments, and cash — minus Mirabella’s various bequests — you’re worth about sixty million dollars.
Jack is quietly wowed. He stands, moves away.
But I assume you pretty much knew that.
It’s a little different to hear it in so much detail.
Yes, I suppose it is.
To have the responsibility myself.
I’m not sure how many people would think of it as a responsibility, Joseph. Controlling that much money — it’s a lot of opportunity. And speaking of opportunity, I told you on the phone, I put out some discreet feelers. There may be a couple of takers so far, one private, one a large corporate interest.
Actually I’ve changed my mind about that.
I’ve decided to really learn the business, take on the challenge of running it myself.
That is a change.
You know, Arthur — let’s be honest — I’ve never really done anything useful with my life. You know what a lot of people thought about my marriage to Mirabella. Maybe this is my “opportunity.” I’d appreciate it, though, if you continued to keep all this to yourself. No point in letting any uncertainty about the ownership of the farm interfere with business.
Of course not. And the liquidity?
I may still do some traveling. Might even be a way to learn more about the business.
This might be the time, then — I was Mirabella’s attorney. I had to complete her affairs. I’d understand, Joseph, if you’d like to continue working with someone of your own choosing.
No. No, you’ve done a good job. Who knows my affairs better than you do? I see no reason to change. In fact, I very much don’t want to.
Jack extends his hand. Arthur shakes it.
EXT. STREET – DAY
A line of Black and Whites, and one unmarked sedan, speed quickly.
INT. UNMARKED SEDAN – MOVING
Slocum at the wheel. Sonny beside him.
Are you sleeping with him?
It’s none of your business, Gene.
None of my business? You’re my partner, Sonny. First you lay down for –
Lay down for. The whole fucking world saw you in that bar. Or did you imagine there was nothing in the world except your two sets of exploding hormones? A dead-end rocker wannabe who tries to rip off his own brother and drowns himself in booze and pills. And then you sleep with — are you sleeping with him?
He shoots her a look.
Yeah, you’re sleeping with him.
Slocum turns a corner hard.
The goddamned identical twin brother you didn’t know likes his neck choked with leather and a lash on the ass from the banker who got offed by the local drug cartel he was laundering money for. And it’s not my fucking business?
Yeah, well, it’s not easy out there, asshole. Ask all your ex’s won’t give you the time of day.
Oh, you’re gonna cry me that river? Hard life of the female cop, the poor Chicana? All on your own? You’re tough. You can take it. No different than anyone else. Isn’t that the way you want it?
Yeah, that’s the way I want it. Thanks for caring.
You wouldn’t know who cared if he slapped you in the face.
EXT. EL Puño CLUBHOUSE BAR
The sedan and the Black and Whites screech to a halt at all angles on the street.
UNIFORMS rush out their cars, REVOLVERS drawn, to either side of the door.
Slocum and Sonny come up quickly between them and lead the way, on Slocum’s signal, through the door.
INT. EL Puño CLUBHOUSE BAR
Slocum and Sonny enter quickly, revolvers at the ready, the Uniforms fanning out around them.
The bar is empty.
Everyone eases up a bit as they spread and look around.
Sonny walks ahead to a back room door. Stops, listens, motions to Slocum.
She motions to the rest to be still. WHIMPERING CRIES are audible from behind the door.
Sonny gestures her intent to go in first. Slocum nods. They go through.
Crates and liquor boxes stacked high. Nothing visible, but the WHIMPERING louder.
Sonny and Slocum search carefully, Uniforms behind them. The path to the crying is easy.
Billy Corbett hides crouched among the liquor boxes, half crazed, reduced to simpleness, cowering and crying with fear and desperation.
They pull him to his feet.
Sonny cuffs him as Slocum pats him down. He comes across Billy’s torn jacket pocket and shows it to Sonny.
William Corbett, you’re under arrest for the murder of Augustus Wilson.
Billy collapses in their arms. Sonny and Slocum catch him. Two Uniforms take him from their arms, carry him along.
You have the right to remain silent –
Always something new.
INT. KORT MANSION – STUDY – DAY
Jack sits looking over some of the PAPERS Arthur left with him.
The phone rings.
Jack goes to the desk to answer.
INT. POLICE STATION – DAY
Sonny sits at her desk, turned toward the window for greater privacy.
I just thought I’d call — I wanted to let you know that we arrested Billy Corbett this afternoon for Wilson’s murder.
INTERCUT AS NEEDED
Jack looks relieved.
Good. That’s out of the way then.
I guess I owe you an apology.
Suspicion is a part of your work. I’m a forgiving man.
We searched Wilson’s apartment in Pismo Beach. We found some photographs.
Uh, huh. Nothing too kinky I hope. I know how sensitive you detectives can be.
Sonny doesn’t know what to make of this.
I suppose it depends on what you think of as kinky.
In Wilson’s case — Listen, whatever I did, I want to make it up to you. I want to see you again Evelyn. I want that very much.
Sonny is totally confused now.
No. I don’t think so. I have to get back to work.
Then let me call you. Please, Evelyn, just let me call you.
Okay. Call me. No. No. I’ve got to get to work. Goodbye.
INT. KORT MANSION – STUDY
Jack hangs up the phone: Sonny’s conflicted but the door’s not shut.
Jack pours himself a drink at the bar. He gathers up the PORTFOLIO of papers and wanders out onto
Jack strolls easily: Sonny’s an unsettled issue, but the Crank murder no longer hangs over him, and he is now a very wealthy man with a very different life ahead of him. He feels good.
Jack sits at a table.
He sips his drink. He glances through the portfolio again and puts it down contentedly.
He sips his drink and looks out over the orchards with quiet pleasure.
Manuel appears through the doors from the living room.
Excuse me, but dinner will be ready in half an hour. Would you like to dine here on the terrace again tonight, sir?
Jack, thoughtful, is slow to respond.
Yes. I think I would.
Very good, sir.
Manuel. We haven’t had much time to talk these last weeks. How have you been?
How have I been, sir?
Yeah. You know. Your life. Is it going well?
Only Manuel knows how unusual Jack’s interest is.
Actually, sir, I have had some difficulty, but things are better.
What kind of difficulty?
My son, Tonio. He and his wife. These modern marriages. And the children. What can I say? It is not as it once was.
No. But things are better between them now?
Yes. Things are better.
And you? Is there a woman for you?
Only Esperanza, my wife. She is dead many years.
No one since?
The memory is long, sir.
Jack thinks about that.
What about Tonio? What does he do?
He works here in the orchards, sir.
Of course. Stupid. I’m not thinking.
I don’t believe you actually know him, sir.
How does he like it in the orchards? It’s hard work.
It’s not easy. For him. His wife. Or the children.
I could always find them work outside the orchards.
That would be very generous of you, sir. You –
– could also make things better in the orchards.
Jack looks out at the orchards.
I could, couldn’t I?
Anyway, I’m glad things are better for you now. Life starts to seem good again, doesn’t it, after you’ve made it through rough times?
Yes, sir. It does. If I may say so, sir, I think for you, too. You have had the rough times.
But life starts to seem good again?
I think so. Maybe. Yes.
Thanks for talking with me, Manuel.
No, sir. Thank you. Mr. Miles.
Manuel turns away. Jack is struck by the last words: Mr. Miles, not Mr. “Joseph.” A cloud passes over his face.
Next week, the concluding scenes of Double Down: “Dealer’s Call”
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