INT. APARTMENT - MORNING
JOHN lies dead on the kitchen floor, RED smeared on his forehead. RUSH examines John's body while GRACE, a woman in a forensic coverall, waits impatiently by the counter.
Rush stands and turns to Grace with a flourish.
RUSH: All right, picture this…
Rush and Grace now stand by the apartment door. John’s body is gone and it is DARK.
RUSH: It was late at night, the moon shining fitfully through the trees—
GRACE: Liver temp puts death approximately 20 hours ago. (off Rush’s blank look) It was day when he died.
The room LIGHTENS.
RUSH: OK. (BEAT) Picture this… It was mid-afternoon, the bright sun cutting through the blinds—
GRACE: It was cloudy yesterday .
The room becomes LESS LIGHT.
RUSH: (frustrated) Fine! It was mid-afternoon, and the clouds were– clouding. Our victim arrived home after a hard day at the office—
John opens the door and walks in.
RUSH (CONT’D): Note the scratch marks on the back of his left hand, the bitten nails, the inflamed eyes—
John paces frantically and we get a CLOSE UP of his left hand, nails, and face.
RUSH (CONT’D): –all signs of job-related stress. This was a man who was psychologically tortured: a man worn down, battered and traumatized, day in, day out—
Grace picks up a LETTER from the counter.
GRACE: He was a park ranger.
A park ranger’s UNIFORM pops onto John.
RUSH: (trying to save his last statement) –by seasonal allergies.
GRACE holds up another letter.
GRACE: A currently unemployed park ranger.
John’s uniform DISAPPEARS.
RUSH: (in a furious rush) Seasonal allergies are still capable of affecting someone even if they’re not working in a park all day, all right? (Pulls himself together) Ahem. It was a cloudy day. Our victim came home from the mall—
John re-enters and takes a small BOX out of his pocket.
RUSH (CONT’D): –where he’d gone to purchase antihistamines. While he’d taken into account the usual proliferation of cherry trees in the street outside—
As John opens the box, CLOSE UP of a cherry blossom in his hair, a touch of pollen on his shoulder.
RUSH (CONT’D): –not expecting to be laid off, he’d forgotten to account for the compounding effect of being trapped inside his dusty apartment all day.
John tosses a pill in his mouth and STEPS forward. SLOW MOTION and CLOSE UP as his foot hits the carpet and sends DUST flying.
RUSH (CONT’D): Grabbing the last of his coffee—
John grabs a coffee MUG from the kitchen counter and raises it to his lips. Before it can get there—
GRACE: Not a coffee drinker.
John looks confused, as does Rush. Grace pulls open John's mouth and fires a small FLASHLIGHT at John's teeth.
GRACE (CONT'D): Wrong teeth for a coffee drinker.
RUSH: Tea then.
The coffee mug turns into a TEACUP. John is AGHAST.
GRACE: He look like a tea drinker to you?
The CUPBOARDS and FRIDGE open, displaying JUNK FOOD—ramen, chips, soda— and DISPOSABLE plastic dishes.
RUSH: A beer, then.
A BEER appears in John’s hands, and he happily takes a swig.
RUSH (CONT'D): Washing the antihistamine down with his beer, the deceased decided to indulge in a favourite pastime of the unemployed—the watching of daytime TV.
John sinks into the COUCH and clicks the remote.
GRACE: No TV.
The TV disappears.
RUSH: –using his laptop.
A COMPUTER appears on John’s lap.
GRACE: No wifi.
RUSH: (ignoring Grace) Suddenly, the doorbell rang–
The bell rings, DING DONG
GRACE: I don’t remember—
RUSH: (cuts her off) Suddenly, a knock at the door–
KNOCK KNOCK from the door.
John walks to the door.
RUSH (CONT’D): Who should be there, but the victim’s lover.
An attractive young WOMAN stands in the hall, then throws herself into John’s arms.
RUSH (CONT’D): Snipped hairs and small nicks on the deceased’s neck indicate he’d recently shaved and had his hair cut—
CLOSE-UP of John’s neck and chin.
RUSH (CONT’D): (speeding up) –two entirely unnecessary operations for an unemployed man, unless he was in a relationship. Lingering perfume on his collar–
SLOW MOTION and CLOSE-UP of the Woman’s and John’s faces, pressed together in a kiss.
RUSH (CONT’D): –smelling distinctly of jasmine and orange blossom– tells us yet another fact: his amour was a slightly older, but still attractive woman.
The Woman ages a few years.
RUSH (CONT’D): (now at rapid pace) Coupled with the fact that our victim was clearly stealing his wifi from someone in the building, our only conclusion can be an illicit affair between himself and this sugar-mama–
The door slams open: a MAN with a GUN stands there.
RUSH (CONT’D): –an affair which was quickly discovered by the jealous husband. Furious at being cuckolded by his neighbour—
GRACE: His only neighbours are a single man, a married couple in their eighties, and a newlywed-couple who were in Cuba all week.
The Man and Woman turn into a SINGLE MAN, an ELDERLY COUPLE, and a pair of WOMEN holding hands, dressed in tropical prints. John awkwardly adjusts his lipstick-stained collar.
RUSH: All right. (BEAT) The thin walls--
A TIMER goes off, and Grace takes a cell phone from her pocket.
GRACE: (faking regret) Oo, looks like time’s up. Out you go—
She puts hand on Rush’s back, and pushes him towards the door.
RUSH: (resisting) No, please- wait. Just another five minutes.
GRACE: Another five minutes is another two hundred bucks. (off Rush’s look) That’s what I thought. Go on.
RUSH: (resisting Grace’s pushing) At least tell me why he was shot. Please?
GRACE: Shot? (Bitter laugh) He was making a sandwich.
OH HIGH-SPEED, John walks through the door, opens the antihistamines, and swallows one with a beer. He opens the fridge, pulls food out, and at NORMAL SPEED starts making a sandwich out of KETCHUP and CHIPS.
GRACE (CONT’D): A combination of poor lifestyle choices, alcohol mixed with medication, and pre-existing genetic factors caused him to have a stroke.
John has a stroke and collapses to the ground, ketchup smeared on his forehead.
RUSH: A stroke?
GRACE: That’s right. It’s not all blunt force trauma and death by misadventure– people just die sometimes. That's why we have the real police, not wannabe-Sherlocks like you.
Rush steps out the door, then turns, epiphany in his eyes.
RUSH: Wannabes. What if—
Grace slams the door.
As recgator said, this is a tough nut to crack. I'm made it much too long, and it could use a definite tightening up. I've also changed it so Rush is just a random wannabe-detective, with Grace turning it to her profit-- definitely outside the challenge parameters but it just sort of happened.
And I've somehow got it in my head that Grace is strongly Scottish, so... there's that.
Created: May 12, 2017hipsterchocobo Document Media