Beggar

Julian Winter

508-904-8319

julian@julianwinter.com

Note: Due to the nature of a web page some of the standard screenplay formatting is lost.




FADE IN

EXT. THE OCEAN - NIGHT

Under a moonlit sky two dolphins cavort behind a yacht, The Mountain Rose, catching shrimp tossed overboard one by one.

EXT. ON DECK OF THE MOUNTAIN ROSE, THE STERN - NIGHT

BENSON, Brooklyn-bred, and DEXTER, Ivy League, both early 30's, a drink in hand, balance a platter of cocktail shrimp on the rail.

BENSON
(slurred speech)
Montrose made three million. What'd
we split for commission?

Dexter dips a shrimp in caviar, then tosses it to the dolphins.

BENSON
(holds up three shaky fingers)
Thousand, three lousy thousand.

Benson downs his drink and examines the rose-etched crystal.

BENSON
What's this worth?

Dexter holds his aloft and clicks the crystal with a finger.

DEXTER
Hand-blown crystal, inlaid rose.
Hundred fifty.

Benson tosses his overboard as does Dexter.

BENSON
Three hundred bucks goodbye, Mr. Montrose.

Dexter hands Benson a drink from a trayful and they toast. Benson dumps the mound of shrimp and caviar to the dolphins.

BENSON
I heard the best silver floats, ya
know, like cream.

He eyes Dexter and frisbee tosses the silver platter overboard. It skips along the surface before sinking. With a chuckle,

BENSON
Not the highest quality I guess.

They turn, startled by giggles. GAVIN MONTROSE, late 40's, steps on deck, a drink in each hand and a WOMAN on each arm.

Benson and Dexter exchange a glance and Benson looks overboard toward where he threw the platter.

Gavin notes the men's presence, but doesn't greet them. Benson and Dexter turn away and face over the stern, subdued.

The women kiss Gavin. He tilts his head back as they pour liquor in his mouth. He drinks from one woman's stiletto pump.

They whisper in his ear before exiting. Benson and Dexter study their drinks, not saying a word.

GAVIN
Bernard?

Benson and Dexter turn to Gavin, precarious against the rail.

BENSON
Benson, Sir.

GAVIN
Right, Bernard Benson.
(to Dexter)
And you're...?

DEXTER
Dexter.

GAVIN
Hodges?

DEXTER
No, Dex-

Benson elbows Dexter and shakes his head. The vessel lurches sending Dexter half over the rail. Benson grabs him.

BENSON
Whoa, fella. What was-?

The two turn, catching a glimpse of what might be Italian shoe soles disappearing over the side. They exchange a glance.

DEXTER
You think?

Benson considers the waves below.

BENSON
Naw.

DEXTER
If he did we should do something.
There are sharks-

BENSON
(laughing)
They'd extend a professional courtesy.

Dexter locates a lifeguard ring.

BENSON
He probably went inside. We make a
big deal and they turn the ship around.

What if he's in bopping those two?
Whadda we say? You wanna do that?

Dexter peers into night searching the waves.

DEXTER
He didn't go inside.

Benson frisbee tosses the other silver platter over the side.

BENSON
Then he can hang onto this. Let's party.

Dexter nods and tosses the lifeguard ring over the side.

IN THE WATER

Gavin thrashes in the water. As he opens his mouth to yell, the platter hits his head, knocking him unconscious. He sinks.

ONBOARD THE MOUNTAIN ROSE

Benson and Dexter, drink in hand, dance with Gavin's escorts.

IN THE WATER

Gavin sinks slowly beneath the waves. The dolphins nudge him.

EXT. A COAST GUARD CUTTER - DAY

The cutter draws alongside a dock. The captain shakes his head.

EXT. A CEMETARY - DAY

A coffin is laid to rest. The MOURNERS, none crying, disperse, leaving the WIDOW to linger, her face obscured by a veil.

Two MOURNERS converse.

FEMALE MOURNER
She was quick to put him in the dirt.

The male mourner looks around.

MALE MOURNER
Don't see anybody complaining.

Benson and Dexter turn and walk away.

DEXTER
We were the last to see him alive.

Benson shrugs.

DEXTER
We should've done something.

BENSON
Like what? As drunk as he was he'd
sink like a rock. Others would've
pushed him overboard.

Hell, we threw him a life preserver.

Two late-60's GENTLEMEN muse as they step away.

CONTEMPLATIVE MAN
Strange thing 'bout life. Take Montrose.
Smarter than everyone, quicker than
everyone. Sees a bigger picture.

And for that, life gives him immeasurable
wealth. But, at the end of the day,
like everyone else, he can't go more
than four minutes without oxygen.

SHALLOW MAN
(looking toward the widow)
I give her three months.

CONTEMPLATIVE MAN
(looking ahead)
Already the vultures circle.

The shallow man looks toward two OTHERS up ahead.

SHALLOW MAN
Roberts and Holmes are planning a
run at his accounts. You should too.

The contemplative one nods. He looks down to step on a beetle.

CONTEMPLATIVE MAN
Circle of life.

Shallow man bids goodbye and scurries to hail the other two. The contemplative one looks skyward then to the widow.

GRAVESIDE

The widow tosses a burgundy rose onto the rose-engraved coffin, the barest hint of a smile visible behind the veil.

INT. MONTROSE INVESTMENT CORPORATION - DAY

A SOMBER WOMAN approaches Benson and Dexter.

SOMBER WOMAN
Ms. Montrose will see you now.

The somber woman steps away. Benson leans toward Dexter.

BENSON
Here's how we play it. We don't
settle for less than a $50,000 bonus.

I'll indicate we have offers. You
play that we wanna stay, but the
other firms have sweet deals.

DEXTER
I don't know, Benson. Fifty grand?

BENSON
And a higher commission cut. Or we walk.

DEXTER
To where?

BENSON
She don't know that. It's all over
the street she's gonna be eaten
alive. She can't cut it with the
big boys.

Dexter raises his eyebrows with a smirk.

DEXTER
Maybe sixty grand then?

BENSON
Now you're talkin'.

INT. A LUXURY OFFICE SUITE - DAY

The widow, Jenna Montrose, early 40's, reviews papers at her desk while Benson and Dexter stand at attention.

JENNA
In my experience, in every partnership,
one party carries more of the weight.

Benson and Dexter glance to each other, waiting.

JENNA
You, Benson, are dead weight.

DEXTER
Ms. Montrose he was key to the-

She silences him with a wave of her hand. She looks to Benson.

BENSON
Dexter and I are a team. He's the back
guy, I'm the front. Inside, outside.

JENNA
I only need inside talent here. I
handle the "outside".

Benson shoots Dexter a "man overboard, save me" look.

DEXTER
If he goes, I go.

She looks to Benson, who's now slightly cocksure.

BENSON
Yeah, I go, he goes. We have offers.

Jenna signs a check and extends it to Benson.

JENNA
You go.
(glancing to Dexter)
You stay. Good day, gentlemen.

She returns to work as the two look to each other.

EXT. SOMEWHERE ON THE OCEAN - DAY

Beneath heavy rain, a groggy Gavin lies on a makeshift raft of flotsam and driftwood. His head rests on the lifeguard ring.

He sports days of beard growth, his hair tangled, his white tuxedo a mess. He drinks rainwater from his Italian shoes.

The two dolphins escort him on either side.

DAYS LATER

An even worse looking Gavin rends his Italian shoes for nourishment. One of the dolphins flips a fish into his lap. He rips into it, spitting out the scales.

LATER THAT NIGHT, PITCH DARK

The raft is caught up in an invisible force tugging it along. The dolphins squeal, alarmed. Gavin notes a large number of fish racing alongside the raft.

Then he sees the massive commercial fishing net drawing tight. It lumps him in with hundreds of fish and the two dolphins.

The net swings up and deposits them in a ship's hold. He clings to a rope to keep from suffocating beneath the mass.

Nearby the dolphins breathe frantically, looking to him.

EXT. THE FISHING DOCK - DAY

The vessel dumps its load into a processing plant. Gavin slides with the fish and the dolphins onto a cutting table.

The dolphins labor to breath, their bodies weak. THREE MEN arrive to sort the fish and spy Gavin, chewing a fish.

LEAD MAN
Damn bums. In here again.

The other two hoist Gavin to his feet.

LEAD MAN
I've told you street people not to
come 'round stealing fish. You wanna
eat, get a job.

GAVIN
I was-

One of the men smacks Gavin. He looks to the dolphins.

GAVIN
You can't kill them.

LEAD MAN
Gahbage. Good for nothing.

He slams a meat hook into one and pulls it to the ground.

LEAD MAN
Least I get a little money selling
'em for bait to the sport fishermen.
Sharks like dolphin.

Gavin lunges forward to help the dolphin. The two pull him back and the leader thrusts the meat hook against his neck.

LEAD MAN
Sharks ain't choosy 'bout bait. Careful
or I'll sell you with these two.

He kills the second dolphin with the hook and two men throw Gavin onto the street after roughing him up.

INT. A PHONE BOOTH - DAY

Gavin dials a number.

GAVIN
Send a limo.
(pause for response)
Montrose account.
(pause for response)
Uhh, Bernard Benson.
(pause for response)
Then Gavin Montrose.

The line goes dead to dial tone. Gavin hangs up.

INT. GRAND CENTRAL STATION - DAY

Gavin stands at the ticket window with a long line behind him.

GAVIN
I'll have the money sent to you.

The TICKET VENDOR covers her nose.

TICKET VENDOR
Sir, please step aside.

GAVIN
I'll have my driver bring the money.

A MAN in the line addresses Gavin.

MAN IN LINE
Maybe your driver could take you home.

Gavin considers the line behind him, several wrinkling their nose at his smell. He looks from them to his appearance.

EXT. LARCHMONT TRAIN STATION - DAY

Gavin disembarks from the train. The patrons give him a wide berth. He walks to a cab. The DRIVER ignores him. He enters.

DRIVER
Whoa buddy. This no park bench. Out.

GAVIN
Need a ride to One Gild Road.

DRIVER
(chuckling)
Gild Road? You live there?

GAVIN
Actually I do.

DRIVER
I see the money, first.

GAVIN
I can pay you at the house.

DRIVER
Don't think so, pal. Scram.

Gavin extends his Rolex, still intact and ticking.

GAVIN
Get me there and it's yours.

The driver nods sarcastically.

GAVIN
It's real.

The driver slides his sleeve up to reveal a forearm of watches.

DRIVER
Like these? They're all real. Real fakes.

EXT. ONE GILD ROAD - DAY

Gavin exits the cab and hands the driver his Rolex. He steps to iron gates, emblazoned with gold roses, leading to a mansion. Not just a millionaire's mansion, a billionaire's.

Gavin keypunches a code, but the gates don't open. A scrawny, stray cat, entwines his legs. He kicks at the cat.

He tries the code again, no luck. A WOMAN, wearing escargot size diamonds, walks coiffured poodles and stops to study him.

He looks to her with a scowl and keeps kicking at the cat as he punches the security pad. She opens her cell phone to punch only three numbers. Gavin scurries away.

EXT. A SIDE WALL AT ONE GILD ROAD - DAY

Gavin struggles to the top of a wall. The cat stands on top meowing and licking his skin. A Doberman growls below.

GAVIN
Zeus, I'm glad to see you.

Zeus jumps at the cat which claws his nose. Gavin jumps down.

FRONT DOOR OF THE MANSION

Gavin tries a security code for the front door to no avail.

GAVIN
Million dollar security system. How
do I get in?

Zeus races off.

SERVANT ENTRANCE

Zeus pushes through the doggie door. Gavin shakes his head.

GAVIN
Million dollar security system.

Gavin bends down and crawls inside.

THE KITCHEN

Gavin tears through the refrigerator eating everything.

THE MASTER BEDROOM

Gavin surveys a bedroom large enough to live in.

THE BATHROOM

The expected gold fixtures and sunken tub. Gavin turns on TV.

THE WALK-IN CLOSET

Gavin enters a room looking more like Barney's than a closet. From dozens of suits and shoes he picks an outfit.

BACK IN THE BATHROOM

Gavin watches TV waiting for the tub to fill.

ON TV

A split screen of a NEWSCASTER and a picture of Gavin.

NEWSCASTER
Gavin Montrose declared dead. His
considerable fortune passes uncontested
to his wife.

GAVIN
She's got to find it first.

The newscast shows images of a boisterous party at the mansion.

NEWSCASTER
The funeral reception was more like
a wedding reception.

Zeus pops in with the newspaper and drops it open. The headline reads "Tycoon drowns, Wall Street toasts."

MOMENT OF TRUTH

Gavin surveys his domain, the home of a man at the top of his game, top of the food chain.

He looks to the TV showing his picture, the newspaper headline, the magnificent bathroom and then lingers on the pathetic image reflected in the mirror.

EXT. OUTSIDE THE MANSION GATES - DAY

In the same clothes, still disheveled, Gavin holds and feeds the purring cat as he contemplates the mansion inside the gates. A police cruiser pulls up, lights flashing.

EXT. THE LARCHMONT TRAIN STATION - DAY

Gavin and the cat are dumped from the cruiser.

EXT. WALL STREET - DAY

Gavin squints against the midday sun, surveying his former kingdom. The cat meows and winds between his legs. He pets her.

GAVIN
How about I call you Juno?