ANNIE VANDERMEER : Designer / Writer / Narrative

(a.k.a. Murderblonde)

The Heist

SETTING - PHILADELPHIA, 1928.

FADE IN:

EXT. ALLEYWAY NEXT TO BUILDING - NIGHT

Two toughs, WILLIS - average height and build, who fancies himself an intellectual - and MURRAY - formidably large, not stupid but a bit single-minded - stand semi-hidden in the shadows outside the BANKERS TRUST building, a formidable structure with long windows between tall Greek columns. Currently, the windows and the wide double-doors are covered with sliding metal shutters, which Willis occasionally eyes, when he's not nervously sliding his gaze up and down the empty street. Finally, the noise of his cohort gets his attention, and he turns to watch Murray cracking open peanuts, popping them in his mouth noisily, and discarding the shells on the ground. He regards his partner with near disbelief.

WILLIS

What is that?

MURRAY

What's what?

WILLIS

You. What are you doing?

MURRAY

(unperturbed)

Eatin'.

WILLIS

Well yeah, I can see that, but what the hell are you eating?

MURRAY

Peanuts. What's eatin' you?

WILLIS

A number of things, but right now it's the fact you're cramming those nuts in your mouth with the gusto of some kind of starving squirrel.

MURRAY

Waitin' makes me hungry.

WILLIS

So eat before we get here!

MURRAY

Don't see why you're sore at me. It's the flat tire that's late.

WILLIS

I told you, don't call her that. She's a professional.

Murray shakes the paper bag, eyes it to make sure it's empty, and tosses it on the ground. Willis snorts.

WILLIS

Aw, you're out of nuts? What a damn shame.

MURRAY

S'okay. I got more.

Murray removes another bag of nuts from inside his coat. Willis blinks in confusion.

WILLIS

Exactly how many bags do you have?

MURRAY

Four. Wait. Three.

A beat. Willis considers this.

WILLIS

...Can I have one?

MURRAY

No.

WILLIS

Why not?

MURRAY

You made fun of me back at the bar.

WILLIS

What?

MURRAY

(sullen and stung)

Lucky said "are you sure you got this covered," and you said "if Murray can handle it." I can handle anything.

WILLIS

Okay, Murray, let me level with you. First, never take too seriously the kind of chatter that comes out of a gin mill – you'll find more seagull shit than shells. Second, that statement was more of a courteous question, directed in your general, ah... direction.

MURRAY

But you know I could handle it.

WILLIS

(cajoling)

Murray, do you understand the kindness of a simple question of that nature? It was a gesture of trust, making certain that your instincts were in tune with mine. This is a carefully orchestrated situation.

MURRAY

Except she's late.

WILLIS

(sudden irritation)

We have established that, let's not get off-track.

(pause, refocusing)

Look. We know this is a big score. And it is a wonderful thing that someone as particular as Lucky has seen fit to work with - and let us be honest with ourselves -  newcomers like us.

MURRAY

You said we were rising stars.

WILLIS

And we are! Why else do you think the best money launderer in the city would trust us? Gold bouillon is very hard to move, both in terms of weight and visibility. So while Lucky is essential to this score not leaving us with a big target on our backs that we cannot shift, I wanted to demonstrate to him how strong the bond of fellowship was betwixt you and I. To acknowledge the burden, both figurative and very literal, that you will be carrying in this endeavor.

A beat. Murray shifts his weight.

MURRAY

So you weren't being mean.

WILLIS

No Murray, I was not.

MURRAY

Okay. You can have some.

WILLIS

I thank you kindly.

Willis takes a bag from Murray, and for a moment, both men crunch away on peanuts in the silence of the night air, flicking the shells on the ground. Shortly thereafter, Willis tenses as he sees a figure approaching, then relaxes and smiles as he sees that it is FLORENCE, the young safecracker, who is approaching at a stealthy jog.

WILLIS

And look who it is! The night continues to improve.

FLORENCE

Sorry I'm late – had to shake off a hangover mean as a junkyard dog. Now let's hurry up and-

Florence starts at the CRUNCH of her stepping on a peanut shell, then looks down. Slowly she looks at the mess, then back at the men.

 

FLORENCE

Where the hell did all these peanut shells come from?

MURRAY

Us. Bought em from the guy up the street earlier today.

FLORENCE

(deliberate, serious)

Do you think that guy would recognize you if he saw you again?

MURRAY

(nonchalant)

Think so. He knows my name.

FLORENCE

And when the cops search this scene and find a heap of peanut shells right near the bank entrance, do you imagine they'll ask that nut seller if he can think of anyone who bought a whole mess of peanuts from him recently?

MURRAY

Probably.

FLORENCE

(focused, irritated)

Okay, here's the scheme. You two yahoos pick up every single shell you can and dump them in the trash while I pick open the locks on the shutters and front door.

WILLIS

(protesting)

That was supposed to be my-

FLORENCE

(cutting him off abruptly)

Not anymore. You want this heist done tonight, you do like I say. Got it? Now get a wiggle on!

 

Florence darts to the shutters and gets to work while Willis and Murray lean down to start picking up the discarded peanut shells.

MURRAY

(impressed whisper)

You were right! She is a professional.

WILLIS

(low growl)

Shut up, Murray.