Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Float Like A Butterfly
Happy Tuesday, crime slicksters. It's time once again to take a trip to the dark side, where the girls are hot, the drinks are cold, and the hardboiled-pulp-noir action is non-stop, right here, at the coolest crime joint in cyberspace ... at That Killing Feeling.
In Chapter 33 of FILLMORE, Slim goes to a blues club to see his old flame Etta James, after which they go to an after hours club to catch up, where they hang out with Redd Foxx and Muhammed Ali ...
EXT. LOS ANGELES - THE SUNSET STRIP - NIGHT
The east end of the strip, where the glitz starts to fade
into the sleaze of dive bars, hooker stores and cheap burger joints.
We see Sissy working a corner
talking to a couple of young HOOKERS (18)
wearing wild threads.
GLAM ROCK HOOKER
Fillmore Slim? That’s your man?
That’s him. We ride the gravy train.
EXT. BLUES CLUB - NIGHT
A hot blues joint on the right end of the strip.
The sign reads ETTA JAMES TONIGHT!
A line of people wait outside.
INT. BLUES CLUB - NIGHT
Old-school, with dim lighting, leather booths.
Tables in front of the stage. The joint is packed.
Blue smoke swirls in the air.
Excited voices SHOUT and LAUGH in the dark.
Etta’s ripping through a number from her new album.
It has the bump and grind of rock and roll, scorching hot.
The crowd LOVES it, WHOOPS and HOLLERS.
IN A DARK CORNER IN THE BACK
Is the back bar where VIP’s hang out between performances.
Slim sits on a stool sipping a cocktail, smoking.
The song ends. We hear CHEERING and APPLAUSE.
Slim stares off into space.
He pulls an envelope out of his pocket. Does a bump.
Shakes his head. Wets his finger from his glass.
Puts it to his nose. Inhales. Etta appears.
Takes the stool next to him.
What you doin’ hiding back here?
Keepin’ your seat warm.
(to the bartender)
Can I get a Hennessy and milk?
I like that rock thing you’re doing.
That’s hot stuff.
Sure be nice if people bought the record.
The BARTENDER serves her. She takes a big sip.
Slim watches her, sips his drink.
Pulls out the envelope. She nods.
He spoons a bump. Gives it her. She SNORTS it.
Then another. HONK. He does one. Then another.
They look at each other. Smile.
She takes a long pull of her cocktail.
That’s good shit.
That’ll hold me for awhile. Gotta be careful.
I know a great after-hours joint we can go if you want.
First I need to go -- get something.
EXT. FIFTY-ONE CLUB - NIGHT
A small, plain brick building on the corner
of Vermont and Santa Monica Boulevard. No sign.
A TRENDY COUPLE (20’) goes to the door.
Rings the buzzer. A small window opens.
They get checked out. The door opens.
They go in. Start up the stairs.
INT. FIFTY-ONE CLUB - NIGHT
Unbelievably dark, lit only by
strings of colored Christmas lights.
Simple furnishings, nothing fancy.
Old-school soul music plays softly
on the sound system in the smoky haze.
Slim and Etta sit at the bar.
The OWNER (30’s) a good-looking white woman
in glitzy threads holds court over her establishment.
Sitting near them is REDD FOXX (50’s)
and his GIRLFRIEND (20’s),
a real trophy, but clearly in love.
So this lady gets on the bus,
and there’s no more seats --
and an old man sees her and says,
‘why don’t you sit on my lap?’
She gives him a look, and he says,
‘don’t worry, I’m so old, nothing’s gonna happen.’
So she sits on his lap, and the bus gets goin,’
and the street is pretty bumpy,
and she starts to go up and down and up and down --
and the old man suddenly says,
‘I’m sorry, honey, you’re gonna have to get up.
I’m not as old as I thought I was.’
Slim ROARS with laughter. Lights a joint.
Takes a hit. Passes it to Etta.
She smiles, takes a big hit. Passes it to Redd.
I love your show, Redd. Never miss it.
(takes a big hit)
Thanks, baby. And I really like your music --
It’s real good for fuckin.’
His girlfriend laughs a throaty chuckle. Takes the joint.
Slim motions to the Owner. Points at Redd, his girl.
Another round? On me.
Owner nods. Starts making the drinks.
A FIGURE emerges from the shadows.
It’s MOHAMMED ALI (30’s) with an entourage of people.
They sit at the bar, filling up the remaining seats.
Ali sees Redd. Smiles.
Good night, Redd.
I saw you fight Chuck Wepner in Cleveland, man.
You knocked the SHIT outta him.
Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.
Roll with me Henry, you don’t wanna rock with Ali.
(leans over, kisses her cheek)
Love your music, Etta.
He leans over, gives her a kiss on the cheek.
Wanted to see the Thrilla in Manilla,
but I didn’t have a passport.
Never gonna make that mistake again.
If you miss another fight, I’m gonna knock you out.
Good night, y’all.
He starts to leave.
Thanks for taking a stand on Nam.
That took a lot of balls.
Ali nods, and he’s gone.
(to his girl)
C’mon, honey-pie. It’s getting late.
Time for get me some snatch before I pass out.
He throws a wad of money on the bar, and they leave.
Slim and Etta watch them go. Slim drains his drink.
Pulls out the envelope. Offers her a hit.
She bends down. SNARFS it up. Slim does one.
HONKS it up. Shakes his head.
See, my problem was ridin’ the horse.
A little blow is okay now and then.
You know, I was thinking.
That tour we did sure was somethin,’ huh?
That night in Seattle?
We knocked the fucking rafters off.
That was somethin.’
We should do it again. Be like old times.
Yeah. Maybe someday --
So where you been? I ain’t seen you round.
Been travellin.’ Vegas, Chicago, Detroit, Denver --
He looks at her. Can see she knows the truth. Looks away.
You’ve got a gift for music. Shouldn’t squander it.
Gotta chose the right path --
Why do you think I’m here in LA?
An awkward silence. Etta sips her drink.
They both take a drag off their smokes.
Etta stares off into space.
Slim pulls out the envelope again.
it to her. She gently touches his hand,
pushes it down onto the bar.
Where are we going -- what are we doing?
I never stopped thinking about you, Etta.
You were my first love.
We sure had something special, didn’t we?
Always wondered what would of happened
if you came with me.
He smiles. Puts his hand on her knee.
They lean into each other to kiss --
and the door BURSTS OPEN.
An arc of DAYLIGHT stabs the darkness like a spear.
A group of COPS stomp in. Owner DUCKS behind the bar.
KILLS the music.
Alright, everybody -- party’s OVER.
Slim swiftly pulls out his envelope.
TOSSES it on the floor. We hear toilets FLUSH.
EXT. FIFTY-ONE CLUB - DAY
The club patrons stagger outside into the blinding sunlight.
A trio of SQUAD CARS are parked at the curb.
Owner staggers over to her Rolls Royce,
searches in her purse for her keys. Drops it.
Slim and Etta come out. Eyes trying to adjust.
A group of CHILDREN (10) walk by on their way to school.
Slim sees them. Then walks Etta to her car.
I really -- had a good time.
It was great to see you again.
Keep in touch, you hear?
She gets in her car. Drives away.
Slim watches her go. Wistful.
Then a HOT WHITE GIRL (20), walks by.
He starts following her.
Tries to get her attention.
Hey, baby. Where you goin?’
(opens his car)
Your car has came for you.
(off her look)
(closes the door)
I don’t need you. You need me.
He goes to the driver’s side.
She cocks her head. Chuckles.
HOT WHITE GIRL
You can buy me a cup of coffee --