Death by Desire

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. Updated 12/09/08


FADE IN:

To a water's surface with focus on a face a few inches below. A hand inserts a pencil and snags fish line choking his neck.

INT. A CONDO, THE BATHROOM - DAY

The MEDICAL EXAMINER(ME), 60, seen it all, bends beside RIKI SANTANA, detective, 35, ice cold, Latin looks, to peer at the DROWNED MAN, in the bathtub.

ME
Fish line, huh? Pretty effective
restraint. Struggle, you cut your
throat, do nothing, you drown.

He notes the folding chair beside the tub.

RIKI
They stayed to watch. Enjoyed it.

EXT. BUDDHIST MOUNTAIN RETREAT - DAY

Riki faces WU, beyond old, Zen master, both in lotus position.

WU
Your mind is too active.

RIKI
I have no thoughts.

WU
Then who do I hear?

They both blind fold their eyes and stand to spar. Riki holds her own, but is clearly outmatched. She hears a noise.

THREE COMBATANTS approach from behind. Riki adjusts her stance to confront them. Wu sits cross-legged in their midst to watch.

Riki dispatches the first with a blow to the face, breaking his nose. The second receives an elbow to the throat and the third a dislocated shoulder as he falls onto Wu.

Riki removes her blindfold to behold the defeated attackers.

WU
Sloppy, no precision in your movements.

RIKI
There were three and I'm blind folded.

WU
I fear I can teach you nothing more.

INT. COUNTRY ESTATE, THE GARAGE - NIGHT

Riki enters a ten stall garage to find the ME and TEAM working on JACK O'NEILL, late 50's, hands tied to the steering wheel.

ME
I wouldn't bother you except for a
couple similarities to the last one.

Riki notes a gash on his head from banging against the window.

RIKI
Carbon monoxide suffocation?

The ME nods.

INT. CITY MORGUE - DAY

Riki watches the ME work on the drowned man and Jack.

ME
Both had chloroform around the nose
and smelling salts.

RIKI
Rendered unconscious, then awakened
to experience their death?

ME
Looks that way.

RIKI
Drowning, then suffocation. Any
connection, message?

The ME shrugs. Riki selects a black credit card from the personal effects. It contains no numbers or markings.

RIKI
What's this?

Another shrug.

INT. POLICE HQ, RIKI'S DESK - NIGHT

Riki sits at her desk contemplating the black card. She snaps her finger and strides from the room.

INT. POLICE HQ, COMPUTER ROOM IN BASEMENT - NIGHT

NED, 34, nerdy, pudgy, sits at his grimy keyboard, leering at a dating site. He notes Riki striding toward him. He wipes a forearm across his mouth to straighten his appearance.

RIKI
I have a favor, Ned.

Ned's hands shake a bit over his keyboard as he gulps. He glances to Riki, then averts his eyes.

NED
Whaddya have in mind?

He catches a hint of her perfume as she hands him the black card. When she glances to the dating site he clears the screen.

RIKI
What do you think this is?

He ponders it then flips on a UV light to reveal the words 'The Sixth Degree' and a logo of the astrology sign for Cancer.

A hologram of an intricate matrix floats in 3-D.

RIKI
Interesting. How you'd you know...

NED
I didn't.

He inserts it into a card reader. A black web site appears on his computer, no words, nothing except a login prompt.

RIKI
A web site?

He nods.

NED
A computer chip's embedded in the card.

RIKI
Can you get into the web site?

Ned attempts to bypass the login. He cracks his knuckles.

NED
Impressive. This won't be easy.

He starts a timer.

RIKI
What's that for?

NED
Three minutes.

Ned types away on the keyboard.

LATER

The timer shows twelve minutes have elapsed. Ned tussles his greasy hair. Riki appears ready to exit.

RIKI
If it's too hard.

He opens another bag of chips, then taps a key. The word 'Enter' appears on the black screen.

NED
We're in.

RIKI
To what?

Jack's profile displays. Ned surfs the site to reveal it's a sophisticated dating sight. Ned sucks in a breath.

RIKI
I take it one you're not aware of?

He shakes his head.

NED
I've never seen anything like it.
Very sophisticated.

RIKI
Another favor, Ned.

He looks to her.

RIKI
For the time being, nobody else
knows about this.

NED
You're the detective.

RIKI
And you're a peach, Ned

Ned munches chips as he watches her stride away.

INT. POLICE HQ, RIKI'S DESK - DAY

Riki sits at her desk surfing the Sixth Degree web site. The CAPTAIN, 50's, irritable, enters with VIC, late 50's.

CAPTAIN
Your new partner, Vic-

Riki looks from the screen to eye him.

RIKI
A little old aren't you?

CAPTAIN
Vic's due to retire this year.

RIKI
You sure it's a good idea to pair
him with me, then?

CAPTAIN
(to Vic)
She's on the latest two murders.

Vic steps to peer at the computer screen. He grunts.

RIKI
Familiar with this?

VIC
No- allergies.

She gives him a full stare.

RIKI
Some kind of a sex club. Haven't
figured it out.

CAPTAIN
Porno?

VIC
No-

They both look at Vic.

VIC
I mean look at it. No pictures.

RIKI
(to the captain)
More like match making.
(looks at Vic)
Yeah?

Vic shrugs. The captain exits.

VIC
Sorry 'bout your partner.

Riki glances to him.