New York Story

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          INT: NYC SUBWAY, NIGHT

A young and well-groomed white man in his mid twenties sits
alone in the car. He is middle-class to a T freshly
shaven with well-groomed parted blonde hair, fashionable
clothes and a designer messenger bag.

His name is Andy.

His eyes close over and his head droops as the lights of
stations whizz past. Each time his head drops, he shakes
himself awake again.

CONDUCTOR (V.O.)
East one-sixteenth!

The man sleepily pulls himself out his seat, swings around
the pole by the doors and out onto the platform.

EXT: NEW YORK STREETS, NIGHT

Andy stops on the sidewalk of Luis Munoz Blvd. A few people
have exited behind him. He looks around, spots a familiar
land-mark down the street, and heads off. At the end of the
corner, he turns right and follows the sidewalk. He strides
purposefully down and across streets, thinking he knows
where hes going. A few turns later, he's landed on the
wide stretch of Park Avenue.

EXT: PARK AVENUE, NIGHT

By the time he reaches 119th, a look of concern is crossing
his face. He isn't sure where he is at all. He looks left,
and right. He sees a group of bums huddled in an alleyway.
He sees a group of surly looking police officers sharing
coffee by their vehicles. He sees a shopkeeper eyeing him -
and everyone else - suspiciously from the doorway of his
store. The man is completely out of his element. He shoves
his hands in his pockets, and begins to stride down the
sidewalk, his shoulders hunched and his head down. He turns
a corner.

EXT: EAST HARLEM STREETS, NIGHT

Andy is overtaken by an attractive young HUSBAND & WIFE.
They are the first similarly-dressed people the man has seen
since the subway - fashionable clothes and fancy haircuts.
They walk comfortably, arm in arm, giggling.

ANDY
Excuse Me?

HUSBAND
Yes?

ANDY
Uh ... Where am I?

The Husband looks around.

HUSBAND
Ummm ... East 120th. And that's
... ummm ...

WIFE
Lexington?

HUSBAND
That's it. 120th & Lexington.

ANDY
I'm sorry, East 120th & Lexington?

HUSBAND
That's right.

Andy swears under his breath.

ANDY
That's like ... Harlem? Right?

HUSBAND
It's more like Spanish Harlem.

Andy swears again, and looks back and forth worryingly.

ANDY
Well, uh , thanks.

HUSBAND
No problem.

The couple set off, giggling to each other and cosy-ing up
together.

Andy looks back the way he came. He looks nervous. He opts
to follow the couple, walking a few paces behind them.

EXT: EAST HARLEM RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBOURHOOD, NIGHT

The shops quickly give way to tall brownstones. As The
Couple, followed by Andy, turn into the street, another
figure - SONNY - swaggers into view behind them. He is a
Hispanic man, a little older than Andy. He walks with a
strong swagger and wears baggy jean-shorts and a baseball
vest, but seems fairly well-presented, and is upbeat to the
point of being jovial. His tone is loud and bodacious, but
not aggressive or violent.

SONNY
Hey! Hey, WHITE BOY!

Andy doesn't turn. He pushes his hands deeper into his
pockets and looks at the ground. His mouth pulls taught
with fear. The Couple walk up the steps of one of the
brownstones. Andy stops at the bottom of the steps. Sonny is
closing in on him.

SONNY
Hey, man! You know any WHITE
JOKES?

Andy looks up sympathetically at The Couple and, for a
moment, catches The Wife's eyes. She gives him a quizzical
look in return, unsure of him. Andy, too polite to do
anything else, gives her an uneasy smile and walks on.

SONNY
Hey, man!

Sonny catches up with Andy at this point. He walks slightly
ahead and cranes to look in Andy's face as he talks.

SONNY
You know any white jokes, man?

ANDY
No, sorry.

SONNY
What you doin' walkin' around
Spanish Harlem on a Saturday night,
you don't know any white jokes?

ANDY ignores him and keeps moving. Sonny puts a hand out in
front of him, and ANDY jerks to stop. He stares at the
hand. They freeze for a moment.

SONNY
What's your name, son?

Andy is terrified. He mumbles, looking at the ground.

ANDY
I ... don't have any money ...

SONNY
What?

Sonny really didn't hear him. Andy just mumbles again,
unable to look Sonny in the eyes.

SONNY
A'ight. I'm Sonny.

Andy, hesitantly and gingerly, goes to shake Sonny's
outstretched hand. Sonny flips it, wrapping his hand around
the Man's thumb and slapping the back of Andy's hand with
his other. As soon as the grip is broken, Andy sets off
walking.

SONNY
You wanna hear a joke?

ANDY
Sure. Whatever.

SONNY
Why did Mickey Mouse dump Minnie?

ANDY
I don't know.

Sonny grabs Andy's shoulder and spins him around. Andy's
eyes are wide with fear, but Sonny is grinning from ear to
ear.

SONNY
Because she was fucking goofy!

There is a tense silence as Andy stares, terrified, at the
giant smile on Sonny's face. Eventually, cautiously, Andy
begins to smile a little himself.

ANDY
You're a funny guy, Sonny.

SONNY
There you go!

Sonny punches the man on the shoulder so hard he almost
falls over. When Andy regains his balance, the two begin
walking.

SONNY
You lost, white boy?

ANDY
Yeah - uh ... no ...

SONNY
Well, you're lucky I found you,
son! Heh heh ... lost little white
boy, out wandering Spanish Harlem
by his-self at night, with your
fancy clothes and your fancy bag.
A man could get stabbed around here
for that bag, man!

Andy visibly tenses, and pulls his bag close.

SONNY
But you with Sonny now, boy!

Sonny lifts his shirt, revealing a large scar on his side,
like a big knot under the skin.

SONNY
You see that?

Sonny sticks his athletically toned bicep in Andy's face. A
faded tattoo is visible.

SONNY
You see that? Marine corps, man,
Semper Fi! Semper Fi!

Andy cautiously - almost mockingly - half-raises a fist and
mumbles.

ANDY
Semper Fi.

SONNY
Fuckin' A, man! Semper Fuckin' Fi!

Andy continues walking. Sonny follows.

SONNY
Yo, man, you a fighter? You like
to scrap?

Sonny throws jabs in the air as he walks behind the man.

ANDY
Not really.

SONNY
Aw, come on, man! When was the
last time you was in a fight?

Andy slows to a halt as the color drains from his face and
he rubs his shoulder where Sonny punched him earlier.

ANDY
Uh ... high school, I guess.

SONNY
What? What? Come with me. Come
with me.

With that, Sonny takes Andy by the arm and pushes him down
an alleyway.

EXT: ALLEYWAY, NIGHT

Everything is dark. Andy is panicking. Everything begins
to distort slightly. Sonny stands in front of Andy. In the
dark, his eyes are shining. He seems three feet taller. He
looks wild, a little mad.

SONNY
Put yo' hands up.

Andy raises his arms weakly, but Sonny grabs them and
presses them into Andy's chest.

SONNY
You keep 'em like that. Protect
yo' solar plexus. Now watch ...

Sonny bobs and weaves, then SUDDENLY throws a hand, fingers
outstretched, up at Andy's face. Andy yelps. As Sonny
speaks, his white eyes widen terrifyingly.

SONNY
That's yo' eeeeeyyyyyyeees. That's
how they get you.

Sonny bobs and weaves some more, then throws his hand out at
the Man's crotch.

SONNY
That's yo' nuts. You gotta protect
yo' nuts, son!

Sonny and the Man start to spar, slowly at first, and soon
Andy is pushing Sonny's hands away as they come in. As they
move fast and faster, eventually Andy loosens up. Andy
shoots a hand out, his loose fingers clipping Sonny's face.
The two freeze. Sonny's face is frozen, his gaze locked on
Andy. Andy is panicking, his heart racing, sweat forming on
his forehead. Suddenly Sonny BURSTS INTO LAUGHTER.

SONNY
See, you getting it! That's my
boy!

Andy begins to laugh awkwardly.

SONNY
See, now you got what you need to
protec' yo' self out here! How
about you buy my a beer?

Andy smiles - a little awkwardly, but still sincere.

ANDY
Sure.

The two head off out the alleyway and arrive:

EXT: OUTSIDE GROCERY STORE/BODEGA, NIGHT

The two are outside what looks like a well-lit run-down
grocery store. Sonny opens the door and waves Andy to come
in.

ANDY
I thought we were getting a veer?

SONNY
We are, man, come on!

INT: BODEGA

Dozens of haggard old Puerto Rican heads swivel to look at
the two youths coming into the store. The Bodega is a
grocery store by day, but at night the local elders come
here to play cards and drink beer as soft guitars and
accordions play in the background, despite the jukebox on
the wall. The old men mumble quietly to each other in their
native tongue as Sonny strides over to the counter, leaving
the strange white youngster to smile politely as he picks
his way through the regulars.

SONNY
Two Heinekens.

The grocer/bartender removes two Heinekens from the fridge
behind them and drops them on the counter. Sonny motions to
Andy, who carefully draws a note out and pays for the beer.
Sonny swipes a few coins from the change.

SONNY
Come on!

Sonny heads over to the jukebox and drops the coins in.
Some of the old men visibly shake their heads. As Andy
makes his way over, he tries to convey his discomfort to
them, but they just glare disapprovingly at him.

SONNY
What kind of music d'you like?

ANDY
Uh ... rock, I guess.

Sonny's face lights up in a big grin.

SONNY
Alriiiight! A little Zeppelin!

Sonny punches the numbers on the jukebox. Andy throws his
beer back, gulping furiously. He sways a little when its
all gone.

ANDY
Well, Sonny, it's been fun, but-

Sonny cuts him off. His eyes look wild and angry again.

SONNY
Woah! What you think you're
doing? Take your time! Savour
that drink! You leave now, you
disrespecting me, and you
disrespecting the music. That what
you are, boy? You disrespectful?

The fear is coming back to Andy. He looks around
desperately at the foreign faces around him.

ANDY
Uh ... No? No! Sorry, I, uh ...

Sonny signals the grocer/bartender.

SONNY
Two more Heinekens ... and two
shots of vodka!

Sonny knocks his beer back as he goes to collect the drinks
and pay the bartender/grocer.

As Sonny brings the drinks over, the first strains of “Rock
And Roll� by Led Zeppelin start to play over the jukebox.

The two clink their shot glasses together and, as Andy
knocks his shot back, everything begins to sway slightly.

Colours start to shift.

Sonny laughs.

Everything distorts as the music kicks in.

MONTAGE (DISTORTED & WARPED)

Sonny laughing, his head thrown back. More drinks. The two
playing air guitar. More drinks. Sonny howling like a dog.
The old Puerto Ricans looking on disapprovingly. More
drinks.

INT: BODEGA

Finally, the two are hugging and singing along to the last
verse of “Stairway to Heaven�. They both seem visibly
drunk.

SONNY
Look, man. Look ... you a'ight,
you know that?

Andy looks at Sonny quizzically.

SONNY
It's .. I'm serious, man! I was
needin' this. I had such a bad
day, man ...

Sonny smiles to himself, and Andy smiles with him.

SONNY
You know, man, when I saw you ... I
thought you was gonna be one of
those stuck up little white kids
that's all like, "oh no, I'm in
Harlem, I'm gonna get shot by a
gang"

Sonny waves his arms around theatrically. Andy smiles
awkwardly and shuffles his feet.

SONNY
But you a'ight man. You's my BOY!

The two laugh, slinging arms around each others shoulders.

ANDY
Naw, man. You's my boy!

SONNY
I tell, you man. You's my boy!
It's like ... it's like you's house
is my house ... you's moms is my
moms ... we brothers, man!

ANDY
Yeah, man. We's brothers!

SONNY
Hey, what you doin' for
thanksgiving, man? You want to
come to my house? You wanna have
dinner with me and my moms?

Andy looks bewildered for a moment.

ANDY
Uh ... sure ... why not?

Sonny pulls his phone out.

SONNY
Here, man. Lemme get yo' number.

Sonny stares at the phone. He holds it at arm's length,
then right up to his face.

SONNY
Can't ... can't make this out in
this light ... c'mere ...

Sonny guides Andy to the door, where he huddles in the
doorway, his spare hand cupped around the phone's screen.

EXT: OUTSIDE GROCERY STORE/BODEGA, NIGHT

Andy slinks by Sonny and stands beneath him on the steps.

ANDY
Okay, its zero-seven-TAXXXIIIIII!

A cab screeches to a halt, and Andy dives in the back.

SONNY
Hey, where you goin', man?

INT: TAXI, NIGHT

The cab driver doesn't even turn to look before Andy speaks.

ANDY
Get me the hell out of this place.

CAB DRIVER
Rough night?

Andy adjusts his clothes, smoothing down his jacket and
fixing his hair.

ANDY
Are you kidding me? Lucky I didn't
get stabbed or shot in a place like
this.

EXT: OUTSIDE GROCERY STORE/BODEGA, NIGHT

Sonny stares into the distance as the cab speeds away.

He looks down at his phone, with only the first two numbers
punched in.

Dejected, he hangs his head and slouches away down the
street.


 


 

Created: Jan 16, 2011

Tags: screenplay script "new york" story

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