Written by: Paul Stark
A standard Request For Parole form.
A hand, clenching a rubber stamp, comes crashing down on the form. When the stamp is lifted, "DENIED" is printed across the text in fresh red ink.
int. Jail hall - momENTS LATER
A jail GUARD closes the jail cell door behind a PRISONER. A SALESMAN in the near background pushes a small cart, selling cigarettes from cell to cell.
Only the back of the PRISONER's head is visible as he looks out at the guard.
(locking the door)
Too bad boss... Maybe next time.
The guard pulls his key out of the lock then checks the door to make sure it's locked. He glances at the salesman who is now approaching.
The guard strolls off.
(to the prisoner)
What've you got?
Camels? Rothchilds? Salems?
A cell phone sits on the tray among the cigarettes.
What's with the phone?
The salesman leans closer and whispers something inaudible to the prisoner.
The prisoner is silent for a moment.
I'll take it.
int. hotel room - DAY
Floor schematics for First National Bank, schedules, and city and provincial street maps are spread out on the bed.
BILL, a young man dressed in an open dress shirt and casual pants, is having a heated discussion on the phone. He has a five o'clock shadow and his shirt is wrinkled.
You bail on me now, you get nothing... I don't care. That's the whole job... no... NO. You don't get a percentage... YOU DON'T GET A PERCENTAGE!
Bill slams the phone.
He paces anxiously for a moment, then makes a call.
Tony. It's me. Reg is out... I don't know. Doesn't matter; we don't need him. You OK to drive?...
As Bill listens, his arms drop to his sides while he throws his head back in frustration, silently cursing the air.
What is with you guys? Tony. It's two million dollars. Alright? You're just driving the car for God's sake. And what about our agreement?... I thought so. Listen, your share just went up since Reg bailed on us... So you're in?... Good. Then lets get moving. We're running out of time.
(looking at his watch)
I'll meet you in one hour. Don't be late.
Bill hangs up.
He grabs his suitcase and opens it up on the bed.
He takes all documents out of the suitcase, and puts them in a knapsack sitting on the floor at the foot of the bed.
He assembles all the documents scattered on the bed into one pile and places them, too, in the knapsack.
He walks over to the closet and pulls out a suit, which he lays out on the bed.
The room phone rings. Bill answers.
You're making a mistake.
Bill freezes. He stands silently for a moment and is uncharacteristically still.
Who is this?
Never mind. Just listen... Don't rob the bank. It's a mistake.
Who is this?!
That won't work with me, Bill. I know you too well.
Stay out of my business!
Bill hangs up, looking at the phone in disbelief.
He looks desperately at the suitcase, then back to the phone. Standing perfectly still now, he stares nervously at the phone, waiting, anticipating.
The phone rings again. Bill is startled.
He watches as the phone rings a second time. He answers.
You're desperate right now. I know what you're thinking. It's all wrong. You have to look past it.
Bill tries to suppress his anxiety, but is only moderately successful at keeping a cool, controlled tone.
Okay. Whoever you are, you have the wrong number. Now, if you'll please stop calling; I have dinner arrangements.
Bill is about to hang up the phone.
You're about to kill someone!
...Bill? ...Bill! ...Listen to me. Look at the signs. Tony's car stalling. The wet floor. The pregnant teller. What follows doesn't have to happen.
Bill is still motionless, curious.
Don't ignore what is right in front of your face. It's wrong. You've justified it all in your head but it's wrong. Listen to your conscience - there's a voice of truth you're--
Bill hangs up. His body goes limp as his hand rests on the receiver and he leans against the dresser for support.
Then, in a powerful outburst, he simultaneously bellows in anger as he rigorously shoves the phone off the dresser.
He walks decisively to the suitcase and closes it.
He sets it on the floor.
ExT. Street - DAY
Car pulls up to the curb on a city street.
Bill comes out of the car, clean shaven and sporting his suit, dark shades, and a visor. He walks over to the back of the car, opens the trunk, and pulls out his briefcase.
As he is closing the trunk, the car engine stops.
Bill walks over to the driver side where TONY is sitting with the window rolled down.
What are you doing?
Tony looks at Bill helplessly.
Keep it running. You won't have time to play around with it when I come out.
Do we need to go over anything?
(fiddling with the keys in the ignition)
Uh. No. It's pretty straightforward.
As Bill starts walking toward the bank, he double-taps the hood of the car for good luck. Meanwhile, Tony tries to start the car, but the engine keeps turning over.
Bill reaches the sidewalk before he acknowledges the car isn't starting.
He walks back to the passenger-side window as Tony continues his attempts to start the car.
What the hell is going on?
I don't know. It must be flooded.
Bill stares pensively at the hood of the car. He stares for a long time as the engine continues to turn over and over.
While his stare remains fixed, he speaks with a silent rage.
Tony didn't hear Bill over the sound of the struggling engine. He continues trying to start the car.
Bill bursts spontaneously into momentary rage.
Tony is startled and stops immediately.
(suppressing his rage)
...Leave it alone for a minute.
Bill still stares blankly at the hood for another moment, then walks to the driver-side door, puts his briefcase down, and opens the door.
Tony gets out of the car.
Bill sits down, leaving his left leg extended to the street. He massages his eyebrows with his thumb and forefinger as he sighs.
How can this be?
After a moment, he tries the ignition. The engine turns over a couple of times then finally starts.
Bill stares pensively forward as he shakes his head.
inT. baNK - MOMENTS LATER
A WOMAN,holding a coffee, is about to exit the bank from the main doors.
Before she can open the door, Bill enters abruptly, briefcase in hand, unintentionally causing the woman to drop her coffee.
Bill rudely continues into the bank as the woman, distraught and astonished, watches him walk away.
(looking for words)
Excuse me? ...What is your problem?...
The woman checks herself to see if any coffee was spilled on her, then shakes her head as she looks at the mess on the floor.
(disheartened, mumbling to herself)
Damn kids. No manners anymore...
A bank security officer arrives to assist.
bank line up
Bill stands in line, massaging his eyebrows with his thumb and forefinger. There are two people in front of him.
As the person at the front of the line walks to one of the available tellers, Bill opens his briefcase and pulls out a withdrawal slip. On the back it reads: "This is a hold up. Keep quiet or I will shoot you."
Bill's upper back and shoulder muscles become stiff. He's at the front of the line now, and he turns to glance toward the main door.
The security officer is directing people to watch the spill on the floor.
bank line up
Bill notices one of the tellers finishing up with a customer. He cautiously walks toward her station.
As he steps up to the counter, the TELLER, a very pregnant woman, is counting money.
I'll be with you in just a moment sir.
Bill places the deposit slip on the counter, the "hold-up" message face down. He leaves his hand on the slip.
He looks up at the security cameras; some are still while others are panning back and forth. He observes the employees going about their business.
The teller is suddenly wincing from pain and stops counting. She places her hand on her abdomen.
Bill is suddenly aware that she is pregnant. He watches, bewildered.
A SECOND TELLER checks up on her.
This one's a feisty one.
Bill fidgets irritably.
How is this possible?
He glances nervously at his watch, then turns to look toward the main entrance.
A janitor is mopping up the floor. A large bucket with wheels is next to him, and a "Wet Floor" sign is placed next to the spill.
The words from the phone call echo in Bill's head: "Tony's car stalling. The wet floor..."
He turns and looks again, bewildered, at the teller's large abdomen. The teller has resumed her counting.
A surreal symphony of sounds echoes in Bill's head: "What follows doesn't have to happen..." A woman's scream. A baby crying. Voices of fear and distress. The confusion of sounds continues as his eyes move erratically.
Among the confusion of sounds is a woman's voice echoing the words "Can I help you?"
At first, the voice is blended quite seamlessly with all the other sounds; but as the sounds begin to fade, the woman's voice becomes more dominant until suddenly, it is the only sound that can be heard.
woman's vOICE (v.O.)
Excuse me sir.
Bill becomes aware he is staring at the mopping janitor.
Excuse me. Sir.
Bill turns around to see the teller waiting impatiently for him.
Can I help you?
Bill looks down at the withdrawal slip under his hand.
He picks up the withdrawal slip.
...I was going to make a deposit, but I just realized I forgot my wallet.
Bill puts the slip in his pocket and walks away.
exT. street - dAY
Bill is still dazed. His cell phone rings. He answers.
The voice on the phone is the same as the voice from the caller at the hotel.
It's me again.
Bill is stunned.
Slowly reveal prisoner. It's old Bill.
That feeling that you have right now-- That sense of relief-- Remember it. Don't ever make the mistake of ignoring you conscience again.
The image of Old Bill slowly fades until he disappears.
The jail cell is empty.
Bill is perplexed.
He is holding the phone in front of his face, staring incredulously at it.
Dropping his arm to his side, he bows his head in shame.
After several moments, he lifts his head to look at the people around him. He watches them as they pass around him, carrying on with their daily lives.
He slowly begins to walk, eventually reaching the general pace of the other pedestrians and blending in with them.