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Backdraft Movie Script

Writer(s) : Gregory Widen

Genres : Action, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

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                                       "BACKDRAFT"

                                      Screenplay by

                                      Gregory Widen

                                      SHOOTING DRAFT

                

               INT. FIRE STATION 17 - STORAGE ROOM - 20 YRS. EARLIER

               Darkness. Then the GLINT of a flashlight. Its beam rocks 
               crazily to and fro across the inside of a small storage room 
               as we hear two children arguing.

                                     OLDER KID
                         You're doing it wrong.

                                     YOUNGER KID
                         Shut up.

                                     OLDER KID
                         You're doing it wrong.

               It's hard, but we get a sense of the room in the whipping 
               beam of light. Huge, dark coats lined up like sides of beef 
               on steel batons. Bent, stained helmets hung like African 
               masks.

               Beneath them BRIAN, 7, and STEPHEN, 12, are trying to struggle 
               into a pair of the ludicrously massive coats over their 
               pajamas.

                                     STEPHEN
                         It doesn't go like that.

                                     BRIAN
                         Who asked you?

                                     STEPHEN
                         If you do it like that it'll open in 
                         the fire. Then you'll get burned and 
                         DIE.

               The door suddenly opens, morning sunlight roaring in. It's a 
               fire station storage room full of fire gear. A fireman stands 
               in the doorway, tall, athletic, their father; DENNIS 
               McCAFFREY.

                                     DENNIS
                         Who's going to die?

                                     STEPHEN
                         Brian. He's not doing it right, dad. 
                         He never does it right.

                                     DENNIS
                              (gestures for them to 
                              come out)
                         Well, let's have a look.

               INT. FIRE STATION 17 - DAY

               The two boys tromp out of the closet. The rubber turn-out 
               boots are as high as their thighs. The ends of the coats 
               drag on the floor. They salute, Brian's arm just an empty 
               sleeve. Dennis kneels down and re-fastens Brian's coat.

                                     DENNIS
                         Your brother's right. If you don't 
                         fasten these correctly they could 
                         open and you'd get burned.

                                     STEPHEN
                         And DIE!

                                     BRIAN
                         You wouldn't let me die, would you, 
                         Dad?

                                     DENNIS
                         McCaffreys are smarter than fire, 
                         Brian.
                              (playfully slaps their 
                              shoulders)
                         How 'bout lunch, huh?

                                     STEPHEN
                         Fireman shit?

                                     DENNIS
                         Hey, what's with the mouth? Where'd 
                         you grow up, a barn?

                                     STEPHEN
                         Firehouse.

                                     DENNIS
                         Cute.

               -- The station suddenly fills with the BELLOW of an ALARM 
               KLAXON.

                                     DENNIS
                              (sighs)
                         Never fails...

               A young fireman, ADCOX, appears with the dispatch card.

                                     DENNIS
                         Big deal?

                                     AXE
                         Medium deal.

                                     DENNIS
                         Want to come along, Brian? Watch the 
                         old man earn his keep?

                                     STEPHEN
                              (pissed)
                         Dad!

                                     DENNIS
                         You've come along a dozen times, 
                         Stephen, give your brother a chance. 
                         We'll be back in a few minutes.
                              (to Brian)
                         How 'bout it, sport?

                                     BRIAN
                         Sure!

               Dennis scoops Brian up and loads him into the fire engine 
               cab. The other three firemen climb aboard and take their 
               places.

               EXT. FIRE STATION 17 - DAY

               There's a cough of diesel, a crunch of gears, and the engine 
               is pulling out of the station.

                                     DENNIS
                         Hit the button, Brian.

               Brian stamps his foot on the siren button. The red light 
               snaps on, the siren growls and blares, and they're off down 
               the street. Brian turns around in his seat and, at the last 
               instant before the corner, makes eye contact with his older 
               brother.

               They stick their tongues out.

               EXT. CHICAGO STREET - DAY - 20 YRS. EARLIER

               The engine howls its way through the city. Brian, sandwiched 
               between his father and Adcox, looks out in wonderment at 
               intersections zipping past like picket fences, at people on 
               sidewalks holding hands over their ears, at the red emergency 
               lights bouncing crazily off shop windows.

               EXT. BUILDING - DAY - 20 YRS. EARLIER

               Lazy smoke curls out the second story of a commercial block. 
               Medium deal. The engine pulls up and the firemen are jumping 
               off like ship rats. Dennis opens his door, hops down, and 
               pauses just long enough to point a serious finger at his 
               son.

                                     DENNIS
                         Stay near the truck.
                              (winks)
                         And keep an eye out for us, huh? 
                         We're short handed today.

               Brian nods vigorously, taking the command seriously. Dennis 
               smiles and is off, dragging a hoseline with his crew toward 
               a doorway they disappear into. Brian climbs down from the 
               cab.

                                     ENGINEER
                         Don't stray too far, little man.

               Brian smiles to the pumper operator. He just wants a better 
               look. And he gets it: Smoke turned evil and dark now, taking 
               on purpose.

               EXT. BUILDING - DAY - 20 YRS. EARLIER

               There's a level of apartments above the storefronts. As Brian 
               watches, a window opens and out steps his father and Adcox 
               onto a small fire escape. Their attention's on the next window 
               over, out of reach, wrapped in leaky smoke.

               Suddenly Dennis climbs up onto the fire escape railing, armed 
               with only an axe, and JUMPS across to the next metal balcony. 
               A ballsy, dangerous move. He kicks in the window, breaks out 
               the frame with his axe, and dives in.

               A beat later he reemerges on the balcony with a terrified, 
               smudged little girl. He hands the little girl over the railing 
               to a fireman now coming up the more traditional way -- a 
               ladder.

               Dennis's face lifts and grins at Brian; dirty, bigger than 
               life, invincible. He winks a wink only possible between 
               fathers and sons and he's gone again, back into the swirling 
               darkness. As Brian stands there, full of love, full of pride, 
               he sees a piece of awning along the roofline crack; releasing 
               a sickly yellow tongue of flame that slinks over the roof. 
               The flame seems to pause, to stare at Brian a beat. Shhh, 
               don't tell anyone. Brian is transfixed, his little head 
               staring up in astonishment.

               Nobody else has noticed it.

               Brian can see his father and Adcox through the window; 
               probing, looking for the flame lurking just above. Brian 
               starts to call out in a small, hesitant voice,

                                     BRIAN
                         Dad...

               He tries to call louder... But suddenly everything is 
               happening very fast in slow motion:

               -- Brian can see Adcox testing the ceiling with a pike pole 
               as Brian steps forward, under the power of a flame that 
               beckons him as -- 

               Dennis suddenly THROWS his body against Adcox, knocking him 
               clear just as a flame EXPLODES DOWNWARD from the ceiling 
               fully against him as -- All the building's windows BLOW OUT 
               and it's like the sky's erupted for Brian, a burning hailstorm 
               that falls and pelts the ground around him. Plaster, wood, 
               and something metal that cracks against the pavement and 
               spins slowly.

               A fire helmet.

               And Adcox is coming out the door now, blackened and torn, 
               hopeless tears streaming down his face.

                                     AXE
                         Get us some backup! We need some 
                         goddamn backup!

               And, spotting Brian, he runs towards him. And the helmet 
               spins and spins and Adcox keeps running, and the sky is 
               raining fire, and the flame on the roof has risen up now to 
               its full, horrifying size and it's laughing now, laughing at 
               the little boy as the helmet finally stops spinning, and we 
               read the printing on the neck guard.

               MCCAFFREY

               And Adcox is sobbing and has his arms around the boy, 
               protecting him from the fire, the world, but it's like Brian 
               doesn't see him. He pulls away from Adcox, walks up to his 
               father's helmet, And puts it on.

               The scene EXPLODES with a flash as a photographer captures 
               the instant.

               INT. SEEDY APARTMENT - DAY

               Sequence omitted from original script.

               INT. BRIAN'S CAR - DAY

               Hold on the freeze-frame. Let it become an aged cover of 
               LIFE. The magazine jiggles and rocks and we see now it's 
               sitting atop a box of knick-knacks jostling in the back seat 
               of an aging BMW. There's plenty of other boxes here, a live 
               on the move, and in the driver's seat, BRIAN McCAFFREY, now 
               27. There's piles of empty burger wrappers, Coke cans, and 
               Florida knick-knacks on the dash board; a little blow-up 
               palm tree, a cheesy hula girl emblazoned with "McCaffrey 
               High-End Stereo Sales".

               EXT. HIGHWAY - MONTAGE - DAY

               Brian and his battered BMW shoot past prairie, cow country, 
               nervous suburbs and finally a sign: WELCOME TO CHICAGO.

               EXT. CEMETERY - DAY

               Wind tugging at his bangs, Brian stares down at the graves 
               of Dennis and Mary Elizabeth McCaffrey.

               INT. CHICAGO GAS STATION RESTROOM - DAY

               In a crusty sink he combs his hair, knots a tie around his 
               neck.

               EXT. CHICAGO FIRE DEPARTMENT TRAINING ACADEMY - DAY

               Brian walks through its sculpted columns, straightening his 
               tie. He comes to a door, FIRE ACADEMY CHIEF. He takes a deep 
               breath, steadies his gaze, and enters.

               INT. FIRE ACADEMY CHIEF'S OFFICE - DAY

               The ACADEMY CHIEF sits at his desk going over a file. Out 
               the window can be heard a FIRE TRAINING CLASS in action.

                                     CHIEF FITZGERALD
                         Is this a joke?

               Brian's sitting in the seat opposite.

                                     BRIAN
                         If it was a joke, sir, you'd be 
                         laughing.

                                     CHIEF FITZGERALD
                         You walked out on this academy six 
                         years ago. One week to graduation. 
                         You think we forgot that? You think 
                         I did?

                                     BRIAN
                         I want another shot, Sir.

                                     CHIEF FITZGERALD
                              (beat)
                         Look, everybody remembers your old 
                         man. Being his son, all you had to 
                         do was breathe to graduate here. 
                         Dead Hero Father Rule. But you blew 
                         us off. Why should I take you back?

                                     BRIAN
                         If you remember, sir, my test scores 
                         were in the top --

                                     CHIEF FITZGERALD
                         -- I don't give a damn what your 
                         test scores were, maybe you could 
                         have been a good firemen, but you 
                         had your shot.

                                     BRIAN
                         I need another one, sir.

                                     CHIEF FITZGERALD
                         Sorry, but it's out of my hands. Try 
                         again next year.

                                     BRIAN
                         No, it isn't out of your hands or 
                         you wouldn't even have met me. If I 
                         push you have to let me back in. 
                         Dead Hero Father Rule. Sir.

                                     CHIEF FITZGERALD
                              (simmers)
                         Even if you graduate this academy, 
                         you've still got nine months of 
                         probation. That's hard duty, son. If 
                         you don't really love this job, it'll 
                         kill you.

                                     BRIAN
                              (rises)
                         See you Monday. Sir.

               As we hear the BLOW OF A WHISTLE

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. CHICAGO FIRE DEPT. TRAINING ACADEMY - GRADUATION DAY

               And everybody lined up at attention in dress blues.

                                     CHIEF FITZGERALD
                              (at podium)
                         Though the world changes every day, 
                         some things are truly forever: 
                         Courage, devotion, and honor in what 
                         we do. This class is a special one, 
                         for we dedicate it to the three 
                         firefighters that have fallen this 
                         year: Donald Knowlton, Richard Walter 
                         and Michael Petzold...
                              (silent beat)
                         Ladies and gentlemen, it is with 
                         pleasure that I certify that Candidate 
                         Class number 322, having successfully 
                         completed all academy requirements, 
                         are hereby graduated to the Chicago 
                         Fire Department.

               Candidates and their relatives CHEER and leap to their feet. 
               Something struggles inside of Brian. He doesn't stand at 
               first. Another Candidate, TIM, 20, looks at him strangely. 
               So does the Academy Chief, his eyes finding Brian's. And 
               Brian's standing slowly now, joining them...

               EXT. BROWNSTONE - NIGHT

               An expensive one. We hear a window BREAK.

               INT. BROWNSTONE - NIGHT

               Through the dimness a file cabinet. An AXE SUDDENLY SLAMS 
               into it, RIPPING it apart. Files crash to the floor. And a 
               picture. 1970. Four young guys marlin fishing. Time of their 
               lives.

               INT. BROWNSTONE BEDROOM - NIGHT

               And a GREY PUTTY being SLAPPED along the edges of a door.

               INT. PUB - NIGHT

               A split-level firemen's dive; complete with mounted axes and 
               personalized T-shirts from various engine companies proudly 
               declaring "LADDER CO. 6 -- AXE FIRST, HOSE LATER" and "CHICAGO 
               FD, 150 YEARS OF TRADITION UNIMPEDED BY PROGRESS".

               Tonight the place is firmly in the hands of an army of 
               recently graduated candidates. A few on the back patio have 
               hooked up a charged hoseline and are taking potshots at 
               balloon targets, each other, the neighbor's cat. Brian and 
               Tim, still in their uniforms, enter from the street. Survey 
               the scene.

                                     BRIAN
                         Completely out of control.

                                     TIM
                         What the hell are we waiting for?

               As they shoulder their way inside, another CANDIDATE appears 
               holding proudly a fistful of sealed envelopes.

                                     CANDIDATE
                         Hot off the presses, guys. Station 
                         assignments.

               Tim and everyone else but Brian eagerly tear into them. Brian 
               nonchalantly shoulders up to the bar.

                                     BRIAN
                         A beer, Willy!

               The barkeep turns and smiles.

                                     WILLY
                         Well, if it isn't the littlest 
                         McCaffrey.
                              (to candidates with 
                              hose)
                         Hey! You break anything with that 
                         you buy it!
                              (to Brian)
                         Sorry, there must be something wrong 
                         with my eyes. I keep thinking that's 
                         a fire department uniform.

                                     BRIAN
                         It's in my blood, Willy.

               The candidates are ripping open their assignments, exclaiming 
               to each other: "All right! Engine 117! That's a slum! They 
               get cookers every day!". "Oh no, Engine 10, that's a nice 
               neighborhood"...

               Willy turns to the bulletin board behind him and unpins a 
               stack of business cards.

                                     WILLY
                         Really. Well, let's have a look at 
                         what else was "in your blood". I 
                         always look forward to getting these, 
                         they make such a nice collage for 
                         the bar... "Assistant Director, Sales, 
                         Aspen Snowmobile Tours..."

                                     BRIAN
                         Didn't offer the kinda growth and 
                         challenge I need.

                                     WILLY
                         Uh huh. And "Pioneer's Pride, Mobile 
                         Log Cabins". That was in your blood 
                         about six months wasn't it?

                                     BRIAN
                         Management were pin heads.

                                     WILLY
                         "Laguna Jamming, Custom Surfboards"?

                                     BRIAN
                         Coffee sucked.

                                     WILLY
                         And just this year, "Brian's Sound 
                         Spectrum". Your own company even. 
                         Big step.

                                     BRIAN
                         I was ahead of my time.

                                     WILLY
                         You know, I've got a perfect little 
                         spot here for "Brian McCaffrey, 
                         Fireman"...

               Tim holds an envelope marked McCAFFREY out to Brian.

                                     TIM
                         Aren't you even curious?

                                     BRIAN
                         Engine 115, right?

                                     TIM
                              (opens it, surprised)
                         How'd you know? These are supposed 
                         to be sealed.

                                     BRIAN
                         Lucky guess.
                              (winks)
                         And a case of scotch to a captain in 
                         station assignments.

                                     TIM
                         You crooked son of a bitch. Why 115?

                                     BRIAN
                         Lots of fires. They promote faster 
                         there. Take a look at the last Lt.'s 
                         list, half the guys on it came from 
                         that battalion. Gotta think about 
                         your future, Timmy. 115's the station.

                                     TIM
                         Ah man, if you're gonna bribe your 
                         way into a station, why not 17 with 
                         me and your brother?

               On Brian's reaction

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. STREET - NIGHT

               A Porsche knifes through darkened streets. The DRIVER, 50, 
               is dressed for success. Pulling up to the brownstone we saw 
               earlier, he gets out and rubs his eyes. Another day in the 
               salt mines.

               Climbing the short stairs, he sticks his key into the lock 
               and opens the door. It is the last thing he will ever do.

               A THUNDERING EXPLOSION ENGULFS the stoop.

               INT. PUB - NIGHT

               The place is packed now with girls flirting with the 
               candidates, putting their helmets on, etc. The horseplay 
               around the bar suddenly stops at the sweet sound of a SIREN.

               EXT. PUB - NIGHT

               Everyone steps outside, cocks an ear. And here it comes, the 
               real thing, SCREECHING past in a full-tilt rush. Shouts and 
               raised toasts.

                                     TIM
                         Hey, that's my cousin's company! 
                         C'mon! Let's go!

               As Brian turns, he suddenly confronted by an elderly 
               LITHUANIAN WOMAN.

                                     BRIAN
                              (surprised)
                         Mrs. Viatkus...

               She grabs his cheeks and rattles off in Lithuanian. Brian 
               can only smile. Then two attractive jean-clad legs step up. 
               JENNIFER.

                                     JENNIFER
                         Brian.

                                     BRIAN
                              (surprised)
                         Jennifer.

                                     JENNIFER
                         You're back.

                                     BRIAN
                         You look great.

                                     JENNIFER
                         Thanks for calling.

                                     BRIAN
                         Uh... I've been sorta keeping a low 
                         profile... the academy... I graduated 
                         today.

                                     JENNIFER
                         Huh.

                                     BRIAN
                         So... I see you're still in the 
                         neighborhood.

                                     JENNIFER
                         Not quite. Just visiting. I live in 
                         Lincoln Park now.

                                     BRIAN
                         Yeah? What have you been up to?

                                     JENNIFER
                         I work for city hall.

                                     BRIAN
                         Really? No kidding.

                                     JENNIFER
                         What, you think I just dried up and 
                         blew away when you left? The world 
                         does turn once in awhile Brian, even 
                         without your permission.

               Just then, Tim OPENS UP the hoseline, DRENCHING Brian.

                                     TIM
                         Don't want you overheating, Brian!

               Brian ducks the stream and PULLS a length of hose near his 
               feet, FLIPPING Tim. Brian JUMPS him, shuts off the hose and 
               pins him to the pavement.

                                     TIM
                         Okay okay! Uncle!

               Brian walks back toward Jennifer

                                     JENNIFER
                         You've certainly matured.

               She turns to leave.

                                     BRIAN
                         Well, if nothing else, it's nice to 
                         know we can still be friends.

                                     JENNIFER
                         I don't want to be your friend, Brian.

               Another in a series of fire engines HOWL past. Tim grabs 
               Brian by the shoulder.

                                     TIM
                         Let's go, man!

               EXT. STREETS - NIGHT

               Brian and Tim jump into Brian's car. They shoot blindly down 
               the street looking for the fire engine, running down red 
               lights or anything else that gets in their way. Brian suddenly 
               hits the brakes, SCREECHING to a stop. They roll down their 
               windows. Far off can be heard the wind-up of a siren.

                                     TIM
                              (points)
                         That way.

               EXT. STREETS - FIRE ENGINE - NIGHT

               SCREECH. They fly around a corner, down a block, and there 
               it is, lights flashing up ahead. Brian GUNS it, roars up 
               alongside the fire engine. Tim leans out the window, shakes 
               a bottle of beer, and lets loose a foamy eruption in the 
               truck driver's face.

                                     DRIVER
                         Tim! You crazy motherfucker!

               But he's laughing.

                                     TIM
                         What'cha got?

                                     DRIVER
                         Box alarm. Walton Ave.

                                     TIM
                         We'll meet ya.

               EXT. BROWNSTONE - WALTON AVENUE - NIGHT

               As Brian and Tim pull up two engine companies are already 
               dragging lines toward the rolling brownstone we saw explode 
               earlier. Tim cheers the firemen on like a drive-in movie.

               Brian watches the fire with uneasy fascination. Embers 
               whipping into the night, drifting to the ground around him.

               One of the engine companies is entering the doorway now. He 
               watches as they willingly crawl into a place any sane person 
               would run for their life from. Jesus Christ. FLASH -- Brian 
               turns at the blinding snap of a camera. Several locals are 
               gathered around a parked car, some taking pictures. Brian 
               notices that right away. It takes a beat longer to notice 
               the CHARRED CORPSE stuffed head-first through the windshield. 
               It's the Porsche driver, his legs sticking out at crazy 
               angles. A dog barks furiously at it.

                                     TIM
                              (also looking at body)
                         Man. Something sure put a crimp in 
                         his evening.

                                     BRIAN
                         Backdraft.

               The brownstone fire quickly transforms itself into noisy 
               clouds of dirty white steam. And one of the firemen is coming 
               back out now, walking toward Brian.

               When he's just a few yards away he pulls off his air mask 
               and helmet and we shudder with Brian, because the man is a 
               dead ringer for HIS FATHER.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Well, look what we have here. Nice 
                         costume. Rent it?

                                     BRIAN
                         I want to thank you for coming to my 
                         graduation, Stephen. It was a great 
                         inspiration to me.

                                     STEPHEN
                         So you're going to fight fires now, 
                         huh?

               He pats Brian's cheeks, leaving behind large charcoal smears.

                                     STEPHEN
                              (re smears)
                         Doesn't work on you.
                              (turns to leave)
                         See ya around, little brother.

                                     BRIAN
                         Not likely.

                                     STEPHEN
                              (turns)
                         Well, see you're wrong already. Had 
                         a talk with Chief Fitzgerald, and we 
                         decided in the interest of brotherly 
                         love, that maybe you shouldn't be 
                         way over on the other side of town. 
                         So starting tomorrow, your assigned 
                         to company 17. My company.
                              (Brian's color drops 
                              a hue)
                         One case of scotch, you're getting 
                         cheap in your old age, Brian...

               And Stephen turns for his own men, Tim staring at Brian as 
               clouds of smoke drift past like ghosts.

               EXT. BROWNSTONE - ACROSS THE STREET - NIGHT

               A flame LEAPS up into the foreground. Touches a cigarette. 
               The cigarette glows, lingers, then lowers slowly from the 
               mouth of RIMGALE, fifty-five years old and six and a half 
               feet of solid granite. Wearing a windbreaker and grey slacks 
               tucked into fire department rubber boots, he takes another 
               slow drag. Looks at the body stuffed into the windshield. 
               It's twenty yards away from the brownstone. Stephen looks up 
               as Rimgale drops the cigarette, crushes it with his boot, 
               and crosses the street to the building.

               INT. BROWNSTONE - NIGHT

               Charred walls hiss and snap in the steamy darkness. Rimgale 
               is there, gloomy in the beam of his flashlight. He crouches 
               down, plays his flashlight along the ruined baseboard.

                                     SHADOW
                         If you stare any longer Stevie, I'll 
                         start charging you admission.

               Stephen is leaning in the doorway, watching him.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Got a cause?

                                     SHADOW
                         Are the glory boys actually showing 
                         interest in Investigation's work? I 
                         may have a stroke.

                                     STEPHEN
                         The glory boys just want to finish 
                         their report so they can go home.

               Rimgale's flashlight finds a wall socket that he pries loose 
               and holds up to the light. He lowers it, takes in the walls, 
               the room.

                                     SHADOW
                         They're gonna have to wait a few 
                         days on this one.

               EXT. BROWNSTONE - NIGHT

               Tim's talking to his cousin. Brian hangs back, watches the 
               body-bag people load the Porsche driver into a meat wagon. 
               There's a still an audience for this, still stray dogs 
               circling and barking. Brian walks up, looks inside the car, 
               and sees on a seat the ragged remains of a FINGER.

                                     BRIAN
                              (to coroner crew)
                         Hey, you forgot... this.

               They're already climbing into the wagon. The driver smiles 
               creepily.

                                     CORONER DRIVER
                         We always leave something for the 
                         dogs.

               Brian looks across the fireground, sees his brother walking 
               back to the fire engine. They share a brief, edgy glance.

               EXT. HOUSE - DAY

               A modest one. South-side Irish old fashioned. Brian walks 
               up. There's a little kid, about five, playing with a toy 
               fire truck on the drive.

                                     BRIAN
                         Hey, Sean. What's goin' on, man?

               The kid stares at him without a glimmer of recognition.

                                     BRIAN
                         It's Uncle Brian. Y'know.

               He makes his hand into a talking puppet.

                                     BRIAN
                              (bandito accent)
                         "Spinach? We don't need no stinking 
                         spinach". Remember?

               The kid drops his toy truck and flees inside.

                                     KID
                         Mom! Mom!

               INT. HELEN'S HOUSE

               Brian follows, sticks his head in the door.

                                     BRIAN
                         Hellooo...

               A warm looking woman, 30's, HELEN, comes around the corner.

                                     HELEN
                         Brian?

                                     BRIAN
                         Hi, Helen. Man, you look great.

                                     HELEN
                         You look like... Brian.

               She gives him a tentative hug.

                                     HELEN
                         'Bout written you off. How long have 
                         you been in town?

                                     BRIAN
                         Four months.

                                     HELEN
                         Four months?

                                     BRIAN
                         I know, I know, Should'a called. 
                         I've been really busy. I joined the 
                         fire department.

               Helen's expression suddenly saddens.

                                     HELEN
                         Oh Brian...
                              (beat)
                         You guys... you really know how to 
                         put each other through it, don't 
                         you?

               The little kid is peeking fearfully from the kitchen doorway.

                                     BRIAN
                         That's Sean? Jeez, he's a giant.

                                     HELEN
                         Yeah, you'd be surprised what three 
                         years can do to a kid.

                                     BRIAN
                         Sean, come on out, man. What, you 
                         forget your favorite uncle?

                                     HELEN
                         Stephen told him you were killed in 
                         a hot tub accident.

                                     SEAN
                              (intense)
                         Dad was kidding, Mom.

               And the kid runs unexpectedly away, angry.

                                     BRIAN
                         Well that's two things to strangle 
                         Stephen for. Where is he, anyway?

                                     HELEN
                              (beat)
                         Stephen's not staying here now, Brian. 
                         He moved out last April.

               An embarrassed sting.

                                     BRIAN
                         Oh, man, I'm sorry.

                                     HELEN
                         You guys ought to try picking up a 
                         phone once in awhile.

               EXT. STEPHEN'S BOAT - MARINA - DAY

               A small one on the river. Several boats bob peacefully. Except 
               one. Raised high in dry-dock, it's an ancient fishing trawler. 
               Bachman-Turner-Overdrive drifts up from the galley on badly 
               fuzzed speakers as Brian climbs the ladder.

                                     BRIAN
                         Hey.

               Stripped to the waist, Stephen's bent-over cleaning out the 
               guts of the inboard motor. He looks confused to see Brian.

                                     BRIAN
                         I talked to Helen...

               Wrong thing to say. Stephen turns back to his work.

                                     BRIAN
                         ...Man, I thought dad's boat was 
                         finally retired to the family 
                         graveyard. Don't you worry about 
                         falling out of this thing?

               Stephen straightens up, his forearms smudged with grease. 
               Brian admires the unwashed cereal bowls and peeling deck 
               paint.

                                     BRIAN
                         I like what you've done with the 
                         place.

                                     STEPHEN
                         It's comin' along... want a beer?

               Stephen tosses him a beer from the fridge. As Brian pops it, 
               he sees the small pile of city-issue gallon size cans in the 
               corner. Armorall, solvent, extinguisher foam.

                                     BRIAN
                         Been ripping off fire stations?

                                     STEPHEN
                         It's old stuff Adcox gave me that 
                         the department was going to throw 
                         out anyway. Still good enough though 
                         for this tub.

               Brian winces at the music coming out of shot speakers.

                                     BRIAN
                         Bachman Turner Overdrive?
                              (looks through music 
                              rack)
                         ...Buffalo Springfield?... Stephen 
                         Bishop? Oh man...

               Brian lifts one of the tapes -- an 8-track -- and holds it 
               carefully in his palm as if it were a rare and fragile relic.

                                     BRIAN
                         My God, an actual operating 8-track.

                                     STEPHEN
                         What, you've never seen one before?

                                     BRIAN
                         In the Field Museum once.

                                     STEPHEN
                         It works.

                                     BRIAN
                         It worked when you were in sixth 
                         grade.

               INT. STEPHEN'S BOAT - DAY

               Sequence omitted from original script.

               EXT. STEPHEN'S BOAT - DAY

               Brian opens the trunk of his old BMW. It's full of stereo 
               boxes marked BRIAN'S "SOUND SPECTRUM".

               INT. STEPHEN'S BOAT - CABIN - DAY

               Brian's gutted the speakers and is re-wiring them.

                                     STEPHEN
                         People actually used to pay you for 
                         this?

                                     BRIAN
                         Millions, Stephen -- And sexual 
                         favors.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Sheep don't count.

                                     BRIAN
                         Yeah? What about Laura --

                                     STEPHEN
                         That was never proved.

               Brian moves over to another speaker.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Why'd you come here, Brian?

                                     BRIAN
                         I wanted to know why you messed with 
                         my station assignment. I mean, is 
                         this really gonna have to one of 
                         those big brother -- little brother 
                         "you broke my GI Joe and I'm still 
                         pissed" games?

                                     STEPHEN
                              (sighs)
                         What is it with you, man, huh? How 
                         do you manage to keep coming up with 
                         new and amazing ways to screw up? 
                         That scotch bullshit? Am I really 
                         supposed to believe you came crawling 
                         back home because you suddenly felt 
                         heart strings moan for the family 
                         biz? You were bankrupt, man.

                                     BRIAN
                         Hey! You don't know me --

                                     STEPHEN
                         I know you cold, Brian. The scary 
                         thing is, you probably could have 
                         faked it for awhile. But you see, in 
                         this job there's no place to hide. 
                         Isn't like selling log cabins. You 
                         have a bad day here -- someone dies. 
                         And that's not fucking good enough. 
                         Want another beer?

                                     BRIAN
                         So that's it? Big bad brother's gonna 
                         ride my ass till I cough blood?

                                     STEPHEN
                         Big bad brother is going to treat 
                         you like any other probie -- that I 
                         don't think is going to make it.

               Brian staples the last of the audio cord in place and switches 
               on the tape player. The cabin fills with sharp, crystal clear --
               Stephen Bishop.

                                     BRIAN
                         There's only so much technology can 
                         do.
                              (picks up his tool 
                              box)
                         Thanks for the beer.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Thanks for the speakers.

               EXT. STEPHEN'S BOAT - DAY

               Brian climbs down off the boat. Looks up at Stephen.

                                     BRIAN
                         Y'know, I told myself a million times 
                         I didn't want to be a fireman. I 
                         said bullshit to that line about 
                         tradition and family legacy. I know 
                         I split, and I know how you felt...

                                     STEPHEN
                         Yeah, you know. You know what it 
                         felt like.

                                     BRIAN
                         I gotta do this, Stephen. I gotta 
                         know.

                                     STEPHEN
                         I think you're gonna find out, Brian. 
                         Don't be late tomorrow.

               INT. BRIAN'S APARTMENT - MORNING

               A simple one-room walk-up. A stereo blares Chicago blues as 
               Brian buttons up his uniform in the mirror. He steps back, 
               looks at himself, -- and oh man what the hell am I doing...

               EXT. BRIAN'S APARTMENT - STREET - MORNING

               Brian climbs into his car, turns the key -- nothing. He gets 
               out, looks under the hood, then SLAMS it down in frustration.

               INT. ELEVATED TRAIN - MORNING

               A pissed-off Chicago, hauling itself off to work in the 
               morning snap, passes by Brian's window. Tough Midwestern 
               brick. Tough Midwesterners. Heads-down in their 150 year war 
               with a wind committed to pushing the whole damn thing into 
               Lake Michigan.

               EXT. EL STATION - MORNING

               The train clacking away above him, Brian walks down the 
               sidewalk carrying his fire equipment. He turns a corner and 
               comes on.

               EXT. FIRE STATION 17 - MORNING

               Brian stands there. It's his dad's station. Turn of the 
               century abused. Sooty with stone gargoyles and a pair of 
               faded red doors that suddenly CRANK OPEN as Brian comes up 
               the drive. Fire engine 17 and ladder truck 46, lights 
               flashing, pull out onto the apron.

               The fireman sticking his head out of the passenger window is 
               Stephen. One look at the silver trumpet on his collar and we 
               know this isn't Fireman McCaffrey but Fire LT. McCaffrey.

                                     STEPHEN
                         You're too late, probie.

               Tim, in ladder truck 46, waves a small bye-bye as both rigs 
               begin heading down the street.

                                     BRIAN
                              (chasing)
                         Goddamn it, Stephen...

               Brian bolts full-out for the engine. At the last instant 
               before he falls on his face a fireman reaches out and drags 
               him aboard.

               INT./EXT. FIRE ENGINE 17 - DAY

               It's Adcox, the fireman from the first scene, now a veteran.

                                     AXE
                         Why baby McCaffrey, how ya doin'?

               The Pumper driver, SCHMIDT, pops in a howling ROCK TUNE as 
               they zoom off.

                                     SCHMIDT
                              (re Brian to Adcox)
                         You know this rug rat?

                                     AXE
                         Know him? I practically raised him.
                              (Jewish mom)
                         And he never calls, he never writes...

               Brian shouts over the noise to GRINDLE, 35, one more seat 
               down.

                                     BRIAN
                         I'm Brian.

                                     GRINDLE
                         I'm sorry.

               Grindle sticks his nose out the window, sniffs, then begins 
               buckling up his coat.

                                     GRINDLE
                         Boys, I do believe we have a 
                         barbecue...

               As Brian and Adcox fasten up their own equipment --

               EXT. FACTORY - DAY

               Smoke pours with confused indecision from every window of a 
               five story factory as the pumper and ladder company pull up.

                                     GRINDLE
                              (staring at confusing 
                              smoke)
                         I hate it when we gotta fucking go 
                         look for it.

                                     STEPHEN
                              (to Schmidt)
                         Call in another alarm. We're gonna 
                         need some back-up.

               Everyone begins strapping on air tanks and masks. Adcox drags 
               the rig's suction line to the hydrant. A beautiful illegally 
               parked Mercedes is blocking the way.

                                     AXE
                              (to Stephen)
                         Oh these moments do try me...

                                     STEPHEN
                              (admiring car)
                         Be gentle.

               Whistling to himself, Adcox SMASHES the brass coupling through 
               the passenger window, runs the line through and SMASHES it 
               out the other window before connecting up to the hydrant.

               Stephen and Grindle pull hose off the bed and move out. 
               Brian's so jacked up he can't get his air tank on right. 
               Schmidt calmly helps him into his gear.

                                     SCHMIDT
                         It's only rock 'n roll, kid.

               Stephen, Adcox and Grindle are crouched at the door, ready 
               to go. Brian takes a hose roll and runs to catch up when 
               he's cut-off by dazed Latin workers shouting incoherently at 
               him in SPANISH.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Hey, probie! How 'bout it, huh?

               Brian pushes past the workers and takes his position on the 
               hose line. Stephen reaches over and re-adjusts Brian's air 
               tank strap.

                                     STEPHEN
                         You're doing it wrong.

               Stephen eases the door open. Thick smoke rolls sickly out 
               over their heads.

                                     STEPHEN
                              (to Brian)
                         Stay beside me.

               And in they go...

               INT. BURNING FACTORY - DAY

               Inside the smoke is like liquid lead. Going by feel, they 
               hump the hose up one staircase after another, crawling on 
               their hands and knees toward a dull red glow. Turning a 
               corner, they enter

               INT. BURNING FACTORY - A VAST ROOM - DAY

               Totally ablaze. Brian looks up in wonder at the buffeting 
               waves of flame in the ceiling, at the SCREECHING timbers 
               crumbling to the white-hot floor. At the walls HOWLING in 
               bestial agony. It is the most horrifying, and wonderful thing 
               he has ever seen.

                                     AXE
                         Wash it to the windows?

                                     STEPHEN
                         No, we'll hit the son of a bitch 
                         head on.

                                     AXE
                         It's gonna flash, Stevie. We gotta 
                         get behind it.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Nah, listen to it. It's a pussy. 
                         It'll just steam on us. It won't 
                         flash. Go high in the ceiling.

               Adcox and Grindle shrug and pull their helmets down tight, 
               expecting the worst. Adcox opens up the nozzle, turning loose 
               a high pressure BLAST OF WATER into the ceiling. The fire 
               SCREAMS in manic anger and HEAVES a cloud of HOWLING steam 
               that WHIRLS back and BAKES them like lobsters. Brian gasps 
               for air as swirling ash batters his facemask. A window 
               somewhere EXPLODES. Somebody shouts. Christ, you can't see 
               anything. Stephen HOOPS in victory.

                                     STEPHEN
                              (to fire)
                         I knew you were a pussy! C'mon! Steam 
                         us!
                              (to firemen)
                         Let's go!

               The chase is on! Going for the throat while the fire's 
               confused and defensive, the firemen SCRAMBLE through the 
               boiling cloud. They hit it in the ceiling, in the walls, 
               forcing it back and back. It HOWLS and CLAWS in anger, 
               furiously throwing cinders and broken timbers in their faces. 
               The walls ECHO with its SCREAMS as it retreats to a corner.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Ya love it, probie?

                                     BRIAN
                         I'm in heaven, Lt.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Hook us up to a stand-pipe.

               Brian runs back to the wall to hook up his hose roll to the 
               building water system. He goes to unscrew the cap with his 
               hydrant wrench but it keeps slipping off the nut.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Jesus, how 'bout man, huh? We're 
                         gonna loose this!

               Brian finally gets it hooked up and runs back.

               EXT. FACTORY - OTHER SIDE - DAY

               Tim and three guys from his ladder company, come up an 
               extended aerial ladder, CRASH through a window and

               INT. FACTORY - DAY

               begin HACKING their way toward Brian's company as -- BOOM! 
               It's a sudden, shattering vibration that shakes the building 
               to its foundations. Then, a sucking sound: RUSH-RUSH-RUSH... 
               Stephen speaks calmly into his radio handset.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Hey Otis, is it...?

                                     SCHMIDT
                              (into radio)
                         Yeah.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Goddamn it, where's our backup? 
                         Where's the second-in companies?

                                     SCHMIDT'S VOICE
                         Sorry, man. John Wayne time.

                                     STEPHEN
                              (to firemen)
                         Dig in!

               The firemen hesitate. PENGELLY, the Truck Company Lt., looks 
               at Stephen with concern.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Dig in, goddamn it!

               The crews immediately gather in the center of the floor. 
               They turn over tables, chairs, anything to form a barrier. A 
               circling of the wagons. -- BOOM! rush-rush-rush -- BOOM! 
               Each louder than the last. Stephen and Brian are ducked behind 
               an overturned desk. Adcox and Krizminski clutch hoselines 
               like frontiersmen's Winchesters.

                                     STEPHEN
                         You're gonna love this.

               -- rush-rush-rush -- CRAAAASH!! On an instant the world comes 
               apart as all four walls of factory windows EXPLODE in a hail 
               of glass. A wave of HOWLING FLAME POURS IN after it, SHRIEKING 
               and HISSING.

               At the same moment, part of the floor beside a heavy sewing 
               machine GIVES WAY and a ladderman, SANTOS, FALLS THROUGH, 
               grabbing the edges at the last minute as flames BELLOW UP 
               from underneath. He SCREAMS as his grip loosens.

               Grindle leaps to the ladderman's side, grabbing his arms and 
               coat. Brian hesitates just an instant and Stephen SHOVES him 
               out of the way to back up Grindle.

                                     SANTOS
                         Help... Oh God...

               Adcox's taken the hoseline and is opening fire. Water and 
               flame crash and snarl across the floor in a blood curdling 
               ROAR. It's a thrashing, murderous standoff.

               Stephen and Grindle have got Santos but the angle's bad. 
               Blow it now and all three could take a header. Santos is 
               panicking, losing his grip. Grindle bores his eyes into the 
               man's with the calm and conviction of Moses.

                                     GRINDLE
                         You go, we go.

               They may all die, but they won't leave him. He calms a little, 
               hangs on till they PULL him out of harm's way. Adcox continues 
               with the hose as suddenly, everyone HITS the deck as the 
               fire EXPLODES over them, BURSTING their coats into flame. 
               Tim's company opens up their line, WASHING everybody down 
               before CHARGING after the fire. A ladderman, NIGHTENGALE, 
               steps on Brian's back.

                                     BRIAN
                         Hey!

                                     NIGHTENGALE
                         Sorry man, I thought you were dead.

               Brian, stunned, sits up, his coat and helmet smoking. Stephen 
               seems totally unaffected and is already on his feet and over 
               the top of the barricade, the others backing him as he 
               mercilessly drives the fire back, trapping it finally into a 
               corner. The fire hisses, spits, shakes the walls with its 
               furious anger. But it's all bluster now, the fire's dying.

                                     PENGELLY
                              (ladder co. captain)
                         Stephen! BC's on the radio. Says 
                         they think a civilian got left behind 
                         downstairs.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Adcox! Take Tim and do a search.

               Adcox leads Tim downstairs. Brian looks shaken up. Stephen 
               helps him roughly to his feet.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Don't you fold on me now, man.

               Brian burns at that and shakes his brother's arm off.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Clear the hose for me.

               Brian's walking over to clear the hoseline when he hears it. 
               small voice. Faint. "Help me..."

                                     BRIAN
                         Hey, I think it's coming from a 
                         different staircase.

               Nobody hears. -- Brian takes off down the other steps on his 
               own.

               INT. BURNING FACTORY - DOWNSTAIRS

               It's only the fire's ghost here, lazy and slow.

               Off the corridor are rooms full of commercial sewing machines. 
               Brian enters one and drops to his knees.

               Looks under a table, flashes his light behind a work stand. 
               Nothing. He turns to backtrack his way out when A TONGUE OF 
               FLAME suddenly LEAPS up through the floor in front of him, 
               cutting off the door. Brian lands on his ass as it hisses 
               and giggles and dances unreally in front of him.

               I never forget a face, kid. -- That fire from childhood. He 
               could maybe force his way through but Jesus, the way it looks 
               at him --

               -- Brian ROLLS away from it. Looks for another doorway -- 
               And ends up in thick smoke. He drops to a crawl, stays on 
               his belly where the air's clear. When he sees it. Behind 
               some furniture. Something flesh-colored. Shit. It's a body. 
               He crawls up closer. It's a woman. Adrenalin pounding the 
               top of his skull off, he grabs her and stumbles back down 
               the hall, makes a turn --

                                     BRIAN
                         I got one!

               EXT. FACTORY - DAY

               -- And now he's bursting from the building onto a short fire 
               escape, shouting at the top of his lungs.

                                     BRIAN
                         I got somebody! I got somebody!

               A sea of media flashbulbs ERUPTS in his face. The press have 
               arrived in force, crowding the street. Brian pushes through 
               them to a clear spot on the far side of the engine. Two fire 
               paramedics rush over as he lowers the figure.

                                     BRIAN
                         Is she... Is she alive?

               The paramedics suddenly stop their efforts. Turn to Brian.

                                     PARAMEDIC
                         I'm afraid you're a little too late 
                         with this one.

               They step aside. Brian looks down. The woman looks strange. 
               Mostly because she's a heavy store DRESSING DUMMY. The 
               paramedics burst into laughter. Brian, looking pale and 
               shaken, turns and walks away. He passes Grindle and Tim, 
               sitting on the pumper's tailboard helping the REAL woman 
               that was found inside.

                                     GRINDLE
                         Sorry to hear about the mannequin. I 
                         heard you two were close.

               Photographers have appeared and are flashing the woman. Dizzy, 
               Brian wanders off, tries to help out with the choking clog 
               of singed factory employees before finally turning quickly 
               into

               EXT. FACTORY ALLEY - ACROSS THE STREET - DAY

               Where he barfs his guts out in private. Doubled-over, one 
               arm on the brick wall for support, we see the raw terror. 
               The demons rushing out of him.

                                     BRIAN
                         Shit...

               Someone else does too. Jennifer. Dressed now in a long 
               expensive coat, she's standing at the end of the alley with 
               a clipboard. Brian, ashes smeared across an ashen face, 
               spittle on his chin, doesn't notice her.

                                     STEPHEN
                              (appearing beside him)
                         You all right?

               Stephen isn't pale. He's flushed and buoyant. All this hasn't 
               taken anything from him. It's made his day.

                                     BRIAN
                         Yeah. Fine. I'm a little busy right 
                         now.

               Stephen leans against the wall. Folds his arms.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Y'know, you got an awful short memory 
                         for direct orders. I told you to 
                         stay beside me.

                                     BRIAN
                         -- C'mon, Stephen.

                                     STEPHEN
                         -- You split the team, man. And what 
                         was that crap with the standpipe? 
                         You'd think you and a hose were never 
                         introduced before.

               Stephen turns to leave. Brian yells after him.

                                     BRIAN
                         Goddamn it Stephen!

                                     STEPHEN
                         -- I told you to stay next to me!

                                     BRIAN
                         -- I was doin' it! I was up there 
                         fucking doin' it. You don't know, 
                         man, you don't know what I did!

                                     STEPHEN
                         What you did was drop the ball, 
                         Probie. Get that right.

                                     PENGELLY
                              (from end of alley)
                         Hey! Stevie! They're callin' for ya.

               Stephen turns to walk away. Pauses.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Bet 30,000 dollars a year and twenty 
                         two days a month off sounded pretty 
                         good twelve weeks ago, huh?

               As Stephen leaves, we see that Jennifer's been standing at 
               the end of the alley, listening to them. She's turns and 
               walks as Brian looks up. We register his surprise. He watches 
               her head toward a dynamic-looking guy in his 40s, ALDERMAN 
               SWAYZAK, surrounded by reporters.

               EXT. BURNED BUILDING - FRONT - DAY

                                     SWAYZAK
                              (to reporters)
                         Roger, Paul... How's it going, guys?

                                     REPORTER
                         Another fire in this district. Getting 
                         to be Cinder Alley up here.

                                     JENNIFER
                              (walking up)
                         You used that last week.

               She hands Swayzak a clipboard.

                                     AXE
                              (yelling down from 
                              window)
                              (to Brian)
                         Hey! Probie! We're still workin' 
                         here, man.

               INT. BURNED BUILDING

               Brian and the rest of the company rip open the walls and 
               beat the last weak flames in a final flurry of dingy sparks.

               The moment the smoke clears just a fraction, cigarettes appear 
               in everyone's mouth. Was it good for you? The talk is easy 
               and obscene, the intense camaraderie of shared danger. Ash 
               clods are thrown playfully back and forth in the afterglow 
               of having taken on the worst there is and walking away one 
               more time.

                                     GRINDLE
                              (to Adcox)
                         Stephen man, what's going through 
                         that guy's head? Takin' it on in the 
                         first room... this shit's happening 
                         too often. It could've flashed. 
                         Should've flashed.

                                     AXE
                         But it didn't. Guy knows.

                                     GRINDLE
                         Guy's lucky.

               Adcox sees Brian. Smiles.

                                     AXE
                         Hey, baby McCaffrey. First one's the 
                         clincher. You did okay.

                                     BRIAN
                         My Lt. might have something to say 
                         about that.

                                     AXE
                         Ah, everybody screws up some, Brian. 
                         You're working for the toughest Lt. 
                         on the job. Saw him once pick up a 
                         probie he thought was moving too 
                         slow and throw him into a burning 
                         building. It's just bad luck you're 
                         family.

                                     BRIAN
                              (beat)
                         John, when you're in there... in the 
                         fire... do you ever see...

                                     STEPHEN
                              (from across room, 
                              interrupting)
                         C'mon ladies, let's roll some hose...

                                     BRIAN
                              (to Adcox)
                         -- Never mind.

               Brian turns and sees out the window Jennifer and Swayzak 
               standing near Rimgale's red fire dept. sedan.

               EXT. FACTORY - DAY

               Rimgale walks up to his sedan.

                                     SHADOW
                         Alderman Swayzak.

                                     SWAYZAK
                         Investigator Rimgale.

                                     SHADOW
                         I need to get in the trunk.

               Swayzak's leaning on it. We sense the dislike between them. 
               Swayzak steps aside. Rimgale pops the trunk.

                                     SHADOW
                         Awful expensive shoes to be wearing 
                         at a fireground, Alderman. But then 
                         I guess you haven't been to too many 
                         fires.

                                     JENNIFER
                         I wanted to talk to you about Alan 
                         Seagrave's death. We still haven't 
                         gotten a fire report from your office.

                                     SHADOW
                         You'll have an answer as soon as I 
                         do.

                                     SWAYZAK
                         People are asking how a prominent 
                         taxpayer got stuffed through the 
                         windshield of his own car. They're 
                         asking me.

                                     JENNIFER
                         --The point is, Investigator, you 
                         haven't even told us yet if the fire 
                         was accidental. We're starting to 
                         get the feeling your office is 
                         dragging out this case to embarrass 
                         the Alderman because of his fire 
                         dept. reorganization program --

                                     SHADOW
                         -- You mean his firehouse closing 
                         program, -- Don't you?

                                     JENNIFER
                         We'd just be very disappointed if it 
                         turned out your office was playing 
                         politics.

                                     SWAYZAK
                         -- Because I'm not. I care about 
                         this city, and I care about this 
                         department --

               Rimgale cuts him off with the shutting of his trunk lid.

                                     SHADOW
                              (calm of a monk)
                         Alderman, I have a remarkably 
                         uncomplicated job. To decide if a 
                         fire's arson, and if so catch the 
                         pain in the ass doing it. But to be 
                         honest, if my methodical investigative 
                         methods just happen to muck up the 
                         campaign of certain mayor wanna-bees, 
                         well, I guess I can't say I sleep 
                         any less peacefully.

               And he walks back to the burned building.

                                     SWAYZAK
                         I wish I could just fire the son of 
                         a bitch.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Hey! Swayzak!

               Stephen's leaning out of an upstairs window. As the TV cameras 
               turn, he drops down onto a fire engine hose bed and pops 
               right into Swayzak's face with a murderous grin.

                                     STEPHEN
                         We almost lost a whole company up 
                         there, Swayzee buddy. Isn't any back-
                         up since you closed '33. And we really 
                         appreciate it, the guys and me. 
                         Honest. I know you've got my vote 
                         for mayor.

               Grindle and Santos start walking for Stephen. Brian's there, 
               following after them.

                                     SWAYZAK
                         Look Lt., I'm on your side. If there's 
                         a problem, please, work with our 
                         task force to fix it.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Oh yeah, your famous task force... 
                         three guys have already died this 
                         year because of the cuts made by 
                         your "task force"...

                                     GRINDLE
                         Stevie, c'mon man...

               Stephen silences Grindle with an outstretched hand. Swayzak 
               leans close, out of earshot of the cameras.

                                     SWAYZAK
                         You see that funny glow that's 
                         starting to blink in the corner of 
                         your eye, Lt? That's your career 
                         dissipation light -- and it just 
                         went into overtime.

                                     STEPHEN
                         If anybody's light's gonna blink, 
                         it's yours.

               Swayzak holds his ground. It's a tense, out of control moment 
               between them. Rimgale turns from his work, watches Stephen 
               with concern. Adcox suddenly inserts himself face-to-face 
               with Swayzak and we see the raw hatred.

                                     AXE
                         You're in firemanland now, Swayzak. 
                         Do yourself a favor and just walk 
                         away.

               Swayzak holds Adcox's gaze, then turns for his car. Brian 
               watches Jennifer climb in beside her boss.

                                     BRIAN
                         This is your city job?

               Jennifer shrugs as they pull away.

               INT./EXT. FIRE STATION 17 - LATE DAY

               Brian jumps down from the rig as it backs up the driveway. 
               Across the street a middle-aged woman flashes them from the 
               balcony of her apartment.

                                     AXE
                         That's Franny. She likes firemen.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Tim, fill out the alarm card.
                              (to Brian)
                         Clean the pipe poles, wipe down the 
                         ladders and hang some hose.

               Adcox watches Brian and Tim exchange looks. Tim shrugs. Brian 
               sighs and pulls out the pike poles, starts across the floor 
               before freezing suddenly at a murderous GROWL. Brian turns 
               and sees a DOG. Sort of. It has the rib cage of a wild beast, 
               fangs, long greasy hair. It blocks his way, SNARLING with 
               hate.

                                     GRINDLE
                         That's The Thing. You can't stay 
                         unless he likes you.

               Slobber drools out of its mouth as it GROWLS.

                                     BRIAN
                         Have you guys got something against 
                         dalmatians?

               Brian wipes some of the crusted grime from his face, looks 
               back and forth between Franny and The Thing, and sighs.

               INT. FIRE STATION 17 - BUNKROOM

               Sequence omitted from original script.

               INT. FIRE STATION 17 - LOCKER ROOM

               Brian enters, strips down his battered uniform, and opens 
               his locker. The mannequin from the fire SPRINGS OUT, legs 
               spread. A sign taped to its mouth says: "TAKE ME BRIAN, YOU'RE 
               MY SUPERMAN!"

               INT. FIRE STATION 17 - WASHROOM

               Brian and the others scrub the morning's fire off their bodies 
               in the station shower. Tim keeps filling his mouth full of 
               water and launching it upward in a stream.

                                     BRIAN
                         Do you have to do that?

                                     TIM
                              (pumped)
                         Could you believe that fire? Man! 
                         First day! There I was, Adcox and 
                         me, pullin' that lady right out of 
                         the fire's fuckin' throat! I love it 
                         here -- No surround and drown for 
                         this company. Fighting 17th! Goddamn 
                         Stephen's amazing. You see how he 
                         took that fire by the balls? I'm 
                         gonna be that good some day, you 
                         watch.

               Brian compares himself to the praise heaped on Stephen.

                                     TIM
                         Y'know what Stephen said to me, right 
                         when all the shit was coming hard? 
                         "You never know till the moment the 
                         fire stares you down if you're just 
                         gonna do this job or be great at 
                         it".

                                     BRIAN
                         Ah man, is he usin' that line now on 
                         you? What, you think he made that 
                         little gem up? Jesus Christ, I used 
                         to have to listen to my old man use 
                         that every morning.

               Brian shuts off his shower and walks out.

               INT. FIRE STATION 17 - BUNKROOM

               Stephen sits alone at his bunk, slowly stretching a strained 
               and ruined back. He blows out a long, tired breath, and begins 
               working ointment into an anciently scarred and battered knee.

               On the wall is a small glass case full of station memorabilia 
               through the years. There's a two battered fire helmets there, 
               set reverently on velvet. Beside it is a photograph of his 
               father. Grinning. Top of the world. He's wearing a T-shirt 
               proudly stenciled FIGHTING 17th.

               Father and son exchange a long, awkward greeting.

               In the doorway, Brian stands watching his brother, who not 
               even 40, suddenly seems an old and broken man.

               The ALARM KLAXON suddenly sounds. Brian, just in a towel and 
               Tim, in boxers covered with little dinosaurs, dash for the 
               fire pole.

               INT. FIRE STATION 17 - APPARATUS FLOOR

               Tim and Brian slide down and bounce off the floor.

                                     GRINDLE
                         -- C'mon! C'mon! Go! Go!

               Brian and Tim rush for their equipment. Grindle grabs their 
               arms.

                                     GRINDLE
                         No! C'mon! This way!

               He hustles them across the apparatus floor, through a doorway, 
               and into the kitchen.

               INT. FIRE STATION 17 - KITCHEN/DINING AREA

               The makings of a meal are laid out on the counter. Brian and 
               Tim come to a screeching halt. The rest of the station is 
               sitting calmly at the kitchen table, watching.

                                     BRIAN
                         What's going on?

                                     PENGELLY
                         Dinner, Probies. Get started.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. FIRE STATION 17 - KITCHEN

               Tim and Brian, still in their boxers, set down plates of 
               food.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Better be good.

                                     SANTOS
                         Or we feed you to The Thing.

               Everybody digs in. The table is a craze of half a dozen 
               different conversations. On the TV mounted above on the wall 
               are news shots of Seagrave's body sticking out of the 
               windshield.

               Adcox stands and tinks his glass with a spoon for silence.

                                     AXE
                         Gentlemen, please... As 17's official 
                         toastmaster --

                                     SANTOS
                         And bullshitter.

                                     AXE
                         Thank you, Santos. Did I happen to 
                         mention that you were cut out of my 
                         will?
                              (company laughs)
                         I think it appropriate that we 
                         recognize the two asswipes -- I mean 
                         probationary firemen -- among us who 
                         today were baptized officially into 
                         the world of Old Man Fire. First to 
                         Tim, who despite being handicapped 
                         at birth with a rather dull expression 
                         and a really hideous pair of ears, 
                         not only took on the beast but pulled 
                         from its clutches -- assisted by a 
                         more famous and brilliant firefighter -- 
                         me -- a kicking and screaming civilian 
                         that will probably end up suing us 
                         for breaking her fingernail.
                              (laughs)
                         And to Brian, who's own contribution 
                         was both more beautiful and less 
                         likely to sue.

               Adcox puts his arm affectionately around the mannequin, seated 
               with honor at the head of the table. Right beside The Thing.

                                     AXE
                         Y'know, when I heard that both 
                         McCaffrey brothers were going to be 
                         assigned together here, well, my 
                         heart was filled with... a sudden 
                         desire to transfer.
                              (laughs)
                         So raise a glass, lads. To funny-
                         looking Tim, and the McCaffrey 
                         brothers, who despite years of getting 
                         on each other's nerves have managed 
                         with great effort... to still be 
                         pissed off at each other. Gentlemen!

                                     COMPANY
                              (together, a toast)
                         Fuck you!

               The klaxon suddenly rings. Two bells. The ladder guys groan 
               and get up.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Bye, boys.

                                     SCHMIDT
                              (winks)
                         We'll keep it warm for you.

                                                               DISSOLVE TO:

               INT. FIRE STATION 17 - BUNKROOM

               Dawn lightens the room as Brian slowly opens his eyes and 
               sees in extreme, fish-eyes close-up: THE THING GROWLING at 
               him. Brian turns the other direction and sees Stephen, fully 
               dressed, standing over his bunk.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Clean the toilets.

               INT. APPARATUS FLOOR

               Bleary-eyed, the nine firemen line up raggedly in front of 
               their rigs, dressed like shit but for peaked uniform caps 
               they wear only at this moment. Stephen stands before them, 
               does a quick glance up and down the line.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Okay, company dismissed. -- See ya 
                         guys tonight at Fitzgerald's 
                         retirement party.

               They shuffle for the door. As Brian passes,

                                     STEPHEN
                         You want a ride?

               EXT. BRIAN'S APARTMENT BUILDING - MORNING

               Stephen pulls up. Brian opens the door.

                                     BRIAN
                         Thanks.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Brian --
                              (a beat that hangs 
                              there)
                         -- See ya tonight.

               INT. RESTAURANT - RETIREMENT PARTY - NIGHT

               That's been cleared out for a huge PARTY in full swing. An 
               Irish folk band cuts loose a merciless bagpipe beat. City 
               brass--including Alderman Swayzak -- a few reporters, firemen 
               and their families all mix together for this is a RETIREMENT 
               PARTY for the Captain Fitzgerald. Brian enters, seeks out a 
               beer at the bar. Stephen's there, swaying with what is clearly 
               not his first drink of the evening.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Hey.

                                     BRIAN
                         Hey.

               CHEERS as a one joke gift after another is laid on the Chief. 
               Stephen sees his ex-wife, Helen, dancing with another man. 
               He turns away.

                                     STEPHEN
                         I gotta change the view...

               Santos and Grindle walk up.

                                     GRINDLE
                         Heard you didn't make the list for 
                         captain, man. I'm sorry...

               Stephen just shrugs.

               Brian sees Jennifer across the room. She looks great. Refined 
               as she expertly works the room, schmoozing and hugging and 
               calling various politicos by their first name.

               As she speaks to one, a waiter offers a drink. As she accepts, 
               a bottle appears over her shoulder and splashes it with red 
               syrup.

                                     BRIAN
                              (holding bottle, 
                              interrupting)
                         With grenadine, right?

                                     JENNIFER
                         When I was twenty.

                                     BRIAN
                         Oooh, very sophisticated. Having 
                         fun?

               Her attention broken, the politico has slipped away. Annoyed, 
               Jennifer leads Brian aside and speaks low, but angrily at 
               him.

                                     JENNIFER
                         Look, I'm not the same girl who had 
                         nothing better to do than wrap her 
                         legs around you on a Saturday night. 
                         This isn't about fun. I'm working 
                         here.

                                     BRIAN
                         Carrying Swayzak's notebook?

                                     JENNIFER
                         Let me tell you something. Martin 
                         Swayzak is going to be this town's 
                         next mayor.

                                     BRIAN
                         Yeah. Swayzak. Humanity's last hope. 
                         How can you work for that guy?

                                     JENNIFER
                         Why do you think Marty came here 
                         tonight? Because he cares about your 
                         department. You don't know how hard 
                         he works. You don't know about his 
                         programs helping West Side --

                                     BRIAN
                         -- All I know is that his programs 
                         are getting firemen hurt.

                                     JENNIFER
                         Bullshit. Marty's plan is only about 
                         efficiency. I've got two cousins on 
                         the job, you think I'd work for him 
                         if I didn't believe in it?

               Jennifer instantly cuts off as a well-dressed COUPLE passes 
               and switches stunningly into schmmoze-mode.

                                     JENNIFER
                              (to man)
                         -- Tom, how nice to see you. I know 
                         Marty'll be very happy you came. 
                         Thanks so much for the donation.
                              (to woman)
                         Marie... how's little Kevin? Really? 
                         Seen the polls? This is the year...

               They move away. Jennifer turns to Brian and switches just as 
               fast back to their argument.

                                     JENNIFER
                         -- The thing that really makes me 
                         angry is the way your union has --

               Brian can't help it. He cracks up.

                                     BRIAN
                         What was that? Oh man, you have picked 
                         up a few moves since John Paul II 
                         Boulevard.

                                     JENNIFER
                         Yeah, well I like to think I'm just 
                         a little past hanging out on JP II 
                         watching the Irish pick fights and 
                         Litwalks barf in the planters.

                                     BRIAN
                         I seem to remember some pretty good 
                         nights on JP II.

               Brian turns and walks away.

               ACROSS THE ROOM

               Adcox is talking with another knot of firemen. He's brought 
               a date, SALLY, a hot little number that has a habit of 
               standing on her tip-toes when she talks.

                                     SALLY
                              (looking at Swayzak 
                              across room)
                         Yuck, what a scumbag.

                                     AXE
                              (to Santos)
                         Fuckin' city transferred Sally three 
                         months ago out of parking violations 
                         into Swayzak's office. Now I gotta 
                         pay my own goddamn tickets and she's 
                         stuck with an asshole.

                                     SANTOS
                         Pay more?

                                     SALLY
                              (shrugs)
                         No, but there's more exercise -- 
                         being chased around a desk.

               There's a commotion at the other end of the bar. A group of 
               firemen have gathered around a weekly magazine.

                                     GRINDLE
                         Aw, I don't believe this shit.

                                     SCHMIDT
                         Somebody get a shovel! You seen this, 
                         Stephen?

               As they hold it up to Stephen we see a photo spread titled 
               DARING FIRE RESCUE.

               The first photo shows Brian rushing out of the burning 
               building with seemingly a woman in his arms. The second photo 
               shows the backs of Adcox and Tim's helmets as they 
               administered aid to the real woman they saved. The implication 
               is it's the same woman.

                                     BRIAN
                         What?

                                     TIM
                              (reads)
                         "Probationary Fireman Brian McCaffrey, 
                         on his very first fire, showed the 
                         kind of bravery and courage of a 
                         veteran firefighter when he risked 
                         life and limb to double-check a 
                         burning floor alone, emerging 
                         victoriously with Anna Rodriguez, a 
                         seamstress for the North Shore 
                         Clothing Company... McCaffrey first 
                         gained prominence as the subject of 
                         a 1972 Pulitzer Prize winning 
                         photograph taken at the scene of his 
                         father's death..."

               The old photo is there too. Brian and his dad's helmet.

                                     GRINDLE
                         Whadda we gonna do about this?

               Stephen glances over the headlines.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Y'know, I think it's a union bylaw 
                         that if a guy gets in the paper -- 
                         especially if it's bullshit -- he 
                         owes the company a drink. In fact...
                              (motions to waiter)
                         ...I'll have a double. On the hero.

               The other firemen jump in with drink orders. Dozens of them.

                                     BRIAN
                              (confused)
                         What's going on?

               Tim shows him the magazine. Brian reads with horror as 
               Alderman Swayzak appears beside him.

                                     SWAYZAK
                         Brian McCaffrey, right?

                                     JENNIFER
                         Brian, this is my boss, Alderman 
                         Swayzak.
                              (to Swayzak)
                         Brian's a big fan of yours.

                                     BRIAN
                         Yeah. Big fan.

                                     SWAYZAK
                         And I'm a huge fan of what you did 
                         to save that woman, Brian.

                                     BRIAN
                         Uh, I think there's been a mistake. 
                         I didn't save that woman.

                                     SWAYZAK
                         No need to be modest, Brian.

                                     BRIAN
                         No, you don't understand, I saved a 
                         mannequin.

                                     SWAYZAK
                         -- That really was incredibly work 
                         you did. You and your brother, 
                         fighting fires together, helluva 
                         image, isn't it? You must feel lucky 
                         to be assigned under his command.

                                     BRIAN
                         Every little boy's fantasy.

                                     SWAYZAK
                         Brian, let me come to the point. I'd 
                         like to offer you a job.

                                     BRIAN
                         I have a job.

                                     SWAYZAK
                         This one's still with the fire 
                         department. One of our best 
                         investigators, Don Rimgale, is working 
                         on a very difficult, visible case 
                         right now. We think he could use 
                         another pair of hands and you're 
                         exactly the kind of guy I want 
                         representing us: An authentic hero 
                         from a traditional firefighting clan.

                                     BRIAN
                         Yeah, we got all kinds of traditions --
                         like dying young.

                                     SWAYZAK
                         Not every job in the fire department 
                         comes with a tombstone, Brian. This 
                         could be a great opportunity to 
                         move... beyond a fire engine.

               Brian looks at Jennifer, then smiles at Swayzak.

                                     BRIAN
                         Thanks anyway, Mr. Swayzak, but fire 
                         engines sorta run in my family. 
                         Politics don't.

               -- A man suddenly steps between them to pump Swayzak's hand. 
               Brian shakes his head and walks away. Swayzak shoots a 
               concerned glance at Jennifer. She catches up with him at the 
               buffet table.

                                     JENNIFER
                         Boy, took you all of thirty seconds 
                         to blow that.

                                     BRIAN
                         C'mon Jennifer, he's just another 
                         North-Side jag-off with a mouth.

                                     JENNIFER
                         Brian, do you always have to be so 
                         stupid? Think about your future for 
                         once.

                                     BRIAN
                         So now you suddenly care about my 
                         future?

                                     JENNIFER
                         Look, I didn't mean to take a piece 
                         out of you back there, I just thought 
                         you'd call when you came back. You 
                         didn't and...
                              (beat)
                         Don't blow it just because of this 
                         garbage between us.

                                     BRIAN
                         Hey, sorry if I made you look bad in 
                         front of your boss. But I'm not gonna 
                         be a poster boy for him, I'm trying 
                         to do something here. There's five 
                         hundred smoke eaters in this room 
                         that do that stuff for real every 
                         day. Tell Swayzak to talk to one of 
                         them.

               Across the room, Stephen's at the buffet, watching Helen 
               dance with her fireman date, the drinks hammering him hard.

                                     PENGELLY
                         Aw man, how can she dance with that 
                         guy?

                                     SCHMIDT
                         I hate that guy. He's a dispatcher. 
                         I hate his voice.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Whatever...

                                     PENGELLY
                         I mean, I know women have gotta bang 
                         somebody, but why that son of a bitch?

               Stephen gives Pengelly an icy, sideways look.

                                     SCHMIDT
                         Hey Stevie, he's an asshole...

               Stephen smiles and pushes off the bar -- right for Helen as 
               she dances.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Uh, Helen, I wanted to talk to you a 
                         second about Sean...

                                     HELEN
                         Stephen, I'm kinda busy here, can we 
                         talk about this later?

                                     DATE
                         How ya doin', Stephen?

                                     STEPHEN
                         Jackson.

               Jackson steers her away but Stephen isn't done yet. He dogs 
               them.

                                     STEPHEN
                              (to Helen)
                         What's wrong with right now? He's 
                         your son for christ's sake. He's --

                                     JACKSON
                         Hey, Stephen, what about that dumb 
                         ass brother of yours, huh?

                                     STEPHEN
                         ...Yeah?

                                     JACKSON
                         Savin' a mannequin... How fuckin' 
                         stupid can a guy get?

               Stephen suddenly PUNCHES Jackson.

                                     STEPHEN
                         You can't talk about my brother like 
                         that...

                                     HELEN
                              (sighs)
                         Here we go...

               And Stephen PLOWS into Jackson. Another fireman JUMPS to 
               Jackson's aid. And Brian's there, defending his brother, 
               PUNCHING OUT a fireman. The crowd finally pulls the two apart.

                                     JACKSON
                         You're crazy, man!

                                     STEPHEN
                         Leave me alone!

                                     AXE
                         Goddamn it, Stephen, lay off!
                              (Stephen calms a little)
                         You stupid dumbshit, you never know 
                         when to fucking quit, do you? You 
                         ever wonder why your career's in the 
                         fucking toilet? Why you're gonna be 
                         stuck a Lt. for life?

                                     STEPHEN
                         No.
                              (beat)
                         I need a drink.

               Stephen takes a step for the bar -- then suddenly turns and 
               JUMPS Jackson again. Brian pulls him off and drags him for 
               the door.

                                     BRIAN
                         You don't need a drink, man. You 
                         need to get outta here...

               As Jennifer watches Brian lead Stephen out the door.

                                     JENNIFER
                              (to Swayzak)
                         Ah those McCaffreys... just hate 
                         leaving a party with anyone left 
                         standing...

               EXT. RESTAURANT - NIGHT

               Brian leads Stephen toward his car.

                                     STEPHEN
                         I'm okay... leave me alone...

               Stephen pushes Brian away and promptly stumbles to the 
               sidewalk.

                                     BRIAN
                         So you got a 'roid going with Jackson 
                         or what?

                                     STEPHEN
                         Nah, he's nothin'. It's just 
                         sometimes... sometimes you just gotta 
                         punch somebody out, y'know?

               Brian stands there and folds his arms.

                                     STEPHEN
                         I don't think I can get up.

               Brian lends an arm.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Look, Brian, a photographer. Maybe I 
                         can get on the cover of LIFE magazine, 
                         too.

                                     BRIAN
                         C'mon, let's crawl home.

               EXT. STEPHEN'S BOAT - NIGHT

               Stephen throws an arm over Brian's shoulder as he leads him 
               up onto the boat.

                                     STEPHEN
                         ...Adcox, those guys...they don't 
                         get it... it isn't the goddamn 
                         promotion... or dad... I'm not my 
                         old man, y'know? No fire's gonna get 
                         me... I don't give a shit about being 
                         a captain... it's just... it's just 
                         they don't trust me anymore...
                              (blows out painful 
                              breath)
                         ...they don't trust me anymore...

               INT. STEPHEN'S BOAT

               Brian's flops his brother on the bed. Unties his shoes.

                                     STEPHEN
                         If you'd get out of my fuckin' way. 
                         I could take my own goddamn shoes 
                         off...

               He clearly can't. Brian slips them off.

                                     STEPHEN
                         You're such a pain in the ass... 
                         You've always been a pain in the 
                         ass...

               There's just a grim wall lamp above Stephen's face.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Jesus, it's too damn bright in here... 
                         Like a goddamn spotlight... I'm goin' 
                         blind...

                                     BRIAN
                              (touching light)
                         This?

                                     STEPHEN
                         Yeah... too bright...

               Brian turns off the dim light. Stephen's breathing deepens.

                                     STEPHEN
                         They don't know... they don't know 
                         what I hear in there...

               Brian tucks the blanket around him.

                                     STEPHEN
                         ...This boat could be okay, huh?... 
                         Take it out weekends... Sean 'n me...

               Stephen's voice drifts off into sleep. Brian watches a moment, 
               the rare look of peace on his brother's face, then leaves.

               EXT. FIRE ACADEMY - NIGHT

               Dark and still. Brian, carrying a roll of hose, scales the 
               chain link.

               EXT. FIRE ACADEMY - EXERCISE GROUND - NIGHT

               Is a practice stand-pipe. Brian counts down to himself, then 
               rushes the stand-pipe, spinning off the cap with a hydrant 
               wrench and attaching the hose coupling. He does it again, 
               over and over.

               EXT. FIRE ACADEMY - DAWN

               The sky's gone pink and blue as Brian climbs back over the 
               fence. Adcox, coming out of a donut shop across the street, 
               sees him.

                                                               DISSOLVE TO:

               EXT. STREET - CHICKEN ACCIDENT - DAY

               A truck has JACKKNIFED across the avenue and SPILLED its 
               contents -- several THOUSAND baby chicks. They're scurrying 
               everywhere as Brian's company tries to round them up. It's 
               hopeless as the exhausted firemen stuff handfuls of the 
               cheeping cargo into their turn-out coats. There's ghetto 
               kids all around, grabbing at the chicks, grabbing at the 
               fire engine.

                                     STEPHEN
                              (at kids)
                         Hey! Knock it off!

               Brian stops a beat. Rubs his eyes.

                                     AXE
                              (smiles)
                         Maybe you should have gotten more 
                         sleep last night.

               Brian looks at him. Does he mean what he thinks he means? 
               Tim is coming out of a small store across the street. He 
               hands a small bag of groceries to Adcox.

                                     TIM
                         This everything you wanted?

               Everyone grows suddenly silent.

               EXT. WIDOW'S HOUSE - DAY

               A fireman's without even saying so, "Petzold" on the mailbox, 
               Engine 17 parked out front. Brian's alone outside, cleaning 
               the diesel fuel off his arms. Watching a small kid playing 
               with a toy fire truck in the drive.

               INT. WIDOW'S HOUSE

               Tim and Brian are loading the groceries into the fridge. 
               Stephen and Grindle are fixing a loose cabinet door as Adcox 
               sits caulking a faucet fitting at the kitchen table with a 
               young WOMAN.

                                     WOMAN
                              (to Stephen)
                         Can I help you guys at all?

                                     STEPHEN
                         Nah, we just about got it.

                                     WOMAN
                              (noticing Adcox's 
                              shirt)
                         Sally must be finally ironing your 
                         shirts.

                                     AXE
                         It's just new. Couple'a shifts and 
                         it'll be as thrashed as the rest.

               The sight of uniform is too much for her. Her eyes cloud.

                                     WOMAN
                         I'm sorry...

               Adcox reaches out and lets her weep on his shoulder.

                                     AXE
                         It's okay...

                                     WOMAN
                         I miss him... I just miss him, 
                         y'know?...

               EXT. WIDOW'S HOUSE - DAY

               Adcox stands out at the fire engine smoking a cigarette, 
               lost in himself, watching the little boy play with his toy 
               fire truck. Stephen's followed him out.

                                     AXE
                         This job... This fuckin' job 
                         sometimes... To buy it trying to go 
                         the extra yard, man, that's one thing, 
                         but to buy it just because there 
                         wasn't any back-up... it's bullshit...

               Stephen leans down close.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Yeah, it's bullshit. So what? Fuck 
                         Swayzak. Fuck 'em all. We don't go 
                         into fires for them. You know that. 
                         Christ, you taught me that.

               A beat of understanding between them. Stephen looks back at 
               the house.

                                     STEPHEN
                         You know Knowlton pretty well?

                                     AXE
                         Yeah...

                                     STEPHEN
                              (beat)
                         Kind of an asshole, wasn't he?

               Adcox can't help but smile.

                                     AXE
                         Biggest in two battalions.

                                     STEPHEN
                              (beat, smiles)
                         We're gonna be okay, man...

               INT. FIRE STATION 17 - DAY

               As Brian and Tim scrub down the fire engine, the rest of the 
               company lies sprawled in

               THE STATION REC ROOM

               Watching a weepy soap. Schmidt walks through and is snared 
               by the TV's glow. He hesitates. Shares the moment.

                                     SCHMIDT
                         Is she going to get the divorce?

                                     SANTOS
                              (sighs with honest 
                              concern)
                         Hell if I know, man.

               A ladderman, WASHINGTON, walks in with a memo.

                                     WASHINGTON
                         Hey, Pengelly, you made the captain's 
                         list!

               Everybody clasps Pengelly on the shoulder. "Way to go". "All 
               right, man". Brian turns and sees Stephen out on the apparatus 
               floor, watching. Watches. Pengelly's younger than him.

               EXT. FIRE STATION 17 - TRAINING BUILDING/HOSE TOWER - DAY

               An expanse of concrete lying out back of the station. Built 
               in one corner is the concrete shell of a five story training 
               building, just wide enough for a stairway and room on each 
               level. Twenty yards away, Brian, Tim and Adcox stand ready 
               beside a pile of coiled hose rolls.

                                     STEPHEN
                              (looking at watch)
                         Alright... Go!

               Tim picks up a roll of hose, 50 pounds, throws it over his 
               shoulder and runs with Adcox to the foot of the building. 
               There's a fixed standpipe that Adcox ties into as Tim drags 
               the other end inside and up a flight of stairs.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Go!

               Brian lifts another hose roll under his arm and runs for the 
               building.

                                     STEPHEN
                         That isn't a football, probie. Get 
                         it on your shoulder.

               Brian runs up two flights to meet Tim and connect his end. 
               Tim heads down for another roll as Brian drags his up another 
               two flights. It's a bitch.

               Sweating, he barrels back down the stairs, passing Tim coming 
               up with another roll.

                                     BRIAN
                         Having fun, fireman?

               Tim flips him off. Brian laughs and sprints for another roll.

                                     STEPHEN
                         You're not breaking any records, 
                         Brian.

               Brian holds it under his arm and takes off. Stephen grabs a 
               roll himself, hoists it to his shoulder and runs alongside.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Your shoulder. Like this!

               Brian lifts it to his shoulder.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Come on! Pick it up!

               They come to the doorway. Instead of stopping, Stephen follows 
               Brian in and runs alongside up the stairs. Without a word 
               spoken it's become a race between them.

               Brian's face explodes in sweat. His heart pounds as they go 
               up flight after flight. The hose rolls weigh a 100 pounds. A 
               thousand. Neck 'n neck all the way; grunting, their throats 
               burning, only one flight from the roof Stephen STUMBLES and 
               SCRAPES his leg. Brian pauses. Stephen's already back on his 
               feet.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Run, damn you!

               Brian does, Stephen already gaining on him -- getting ready 
               to pass him -- when they burst gasping out onto the roof, 
               Brian the "winner" by a nose. Stephen drops his hose roll, 
               sticks his face into Brian's, -- And laughs. Unsure, Brian 
               starts to join in. Stephen stops suddenly.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Roll the hose.

                                     BRIAN
                         What, are you kidding? By myself?

               Adcox and Tim, down below, have already disappeared back 
               into the station.

                                     STEPHEN
                         You heard me.

               We see now what Stephen apparently doesn't. He was scraped 
               badly, his pant leg torn and leaking dark circles of blood.

                                     BRIAN
                         What, is it the stairs? Christ, I'll 
                         let you win next time.

                                     STEPHEN
                              (in Brian's face)
                         You got a problem with drilling, 
                         probie?

                                     BRIAN
                         No, Lt., I don't have a problem with 
                         drilling. But let's just have one 
                         drill. Not one for the company and 
                         one for me.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Roll the hose.

               Stephen turns and walks away. Brian stands there watching 
               him in blind fury, finally exploding.

                                     BRIAN
                         Goddamn you Stephen, I'm not gonna 
                         quit. You hear me!

               An awkward beat between them that's interrupted suddenly by 
               the station alarm klaxon. Stephen smiles.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Well, thank God for fires...

               EXT. FIRE STATION 17 - HOSE TOWER - BELOW - DAY

               Sequence omitted from original script.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. LAKE SHORE MANSION - NIGHT

               Sequence omitted from original script.

               EXT. LAKE SHORE MANSION - NIGHT

               Sequence omitted from original script.

               INT. LAKE SHORE MANSION - FRONT DOOR

               Sequence omitted from original script.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. TENEMENT BUILDING - DAY

               Smoke and confusion. A MOTHER is screaming hysterically at 
               Stephen as he jumps down from the engine.

                                     MOTHER
                              (grabbing his coat)
                         My baby! My baby's still up there!

                                     BATTALION CHIEF
                         Hang on a sec, Stevie, we got a 
                         hoseline coming.

               Stephen doesn't even pause and enters the building. Brian 
               hesitates a beat, then follows.

               INT. TENEMENT BUILDING - DAY

               Where they bomb up a staircase just as a WALL OF FIRE LASHES 
               DOWN, KNOCKING them on their ass. Stephen jumps to his feet 
               with an axe as Brian struggles to get up.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Don't take that kind of shit from 
                         it! Don't let it know you're scared! 
                         Come on!

               Stephen, with just his axe, CHASES up the stairs at the fire, 
               HAMMERING at the flaming boards. The fire retreats into 
               another room, SLAMMING the door shut behind it.

               Brian struggles up the stairs. The two of them slide up on 
               either side of the closed door, Stephen cradling his axe 
               like a SWAT team shotgun. The door breathes in and out and 
               something animal scratches and snarls on the other side.

               Brian can feel the panic rising in his throat. That thing 
               behind the door, that slobbering, evil thing. It wants out. 
               It wants... him.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Ready?

                                     BRIAN
                         Christ, Stephen, let's wait for the 
                         hose team...

                                     STEPHEN
                         Listen to it, Brian... Jump when I 
                         say... It won't get us.

               Stephen HAMMERS the lock with his axe and KICKS the door 
               open. A WALL OF FLAME ROARS out past their cheeks, then 
               BACKWASHES in.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Now!

               Stephen picks up the door, and using it as a shield CHARGES 
               into the flames. Brian tries to follow but the fire WELLS 
               UP, cutting him off. He hesitates. It's that goddamn flame 
               again, leering at him. Daring him. It BUCKS suddenly, DROPPING 
               Brian to his knee. He GROANS in pain.

               -- And now Adcox and Grindle are coming up the stairs with a 
               hoseline WASHING DOWN the room. Clouds of furious steam bellow 
               out and across the ceiling. Nobody could be alive in there.

               Except Stephen. His entire outfit smoldering, he emerges 
               from the clouds like a fucking god, carrying in one arm a 
               gasping child.

               EXT. TENEMENT BUILDING - AFTERMATH - DAY

               Most of the firemen have gathered together for post-fire 
               coffee and stories. Brian sits off alone on the fire engine 
               bumper, apart from them. Santos walks up.

                                     SANTOS
                         They think she's gonna live...

               Stephen walks up. Sits down beside him.

                                     STEPHEN
                         You okay?

                                     BRIAN
                         I waited... I would have fucking 
                         waited...

                                     STEPHEN
                         That's not what it's about, Brian. 
                         The point is there was a kid in there. 
                         And what if there'd been two? I went 
                         in because that's what I do. It's my 
                         way. It's dad's way. It isn't 
                         everybody's way.

                                     BRIAN
                         Dad's way? Where did he tell you 
                         that? In a fucking seance?

                                     STEPHEN
                         You said you wanted to know something, 
                         Brian. What did you learn today?
                              (Brian doesn't answer)
                         What do you say, Brian, huh? Time to 
                         move on?

               Brian lingers only a moment before standing.

                                     BRIAN
                         You're right, Stephen... You win... 
                         You're the best, man...

               Brian hands Stephen his helmet and walks away.

               INT. SWAYZAK'S OFFICE - DAY

               There's only six like it in city hall, and this one has a 
               view.

                                     SECRETARY'S VOICE
                              (on intercom)
                         Brian McCaffrey on line two for 
                         Jennifer.

                                     JENNIFER
                         I'll take it in my office.

                                     SWAYZAK
                              (turns to her and 
                              smiles)
                         Go get him.

               INT. CORRIDOR/CONFERENCE ROOM - DAY

               Jennifer comes out of Swayzak's office and walks down to her 
               own.

               INT. JENNIFER'S OFFICE/INT. BRIAN'S APARTMENT - DAY

               -- It's a tiny, bleak little rat hole. She picks up the 
               receiver...

                                     JENNIFER
                         Brian?

               We see Brian in his apartment.

                                     BRIAN
                         I've been thinking about what you 
                         said the other night... If the offer's 
                         still on the table, I'd like to talk 
                         about it.

                                     JENNIFER
                              (beat)
                         ...Okay. I'll arrange things with 
                         your assignment captain.
                              (beat)
                         Marty's a good man, Brian.

                                     BRIAN
                         Yeah...

               Brian hangs up. He stares at it a moment, then SLAMS it 
               against the wall.

               Jennifer stares at the phone with something almost like 
               sadness.

                                                               DISSOLVE TO:

               EXT. BROWNSTONE - DAY

               Stephen drives past the burned-out brownstone that fried 
               Alan Seagrave. He parks in the alley behind, walks up the 
               building, and PULLS OFF a plywood sheet covering a blown-out 
               window.

               INT. BROWNSTONE - DAY

               Stephen walks through the creepy, brutalized silence. Back 
               to where Rimgale had focused his investigation that night. 
               He searches the floor, the wall, looking for something...

               EXT. ARSON HQ/FIREHOUSE - DAY

               A crumbling one in Chinatown. Brian checks the address on 
               his slip of paper. He stands there a beat, hating himself.

               INT. FIRE STATION/ARSON HQ

               It's a regular station but for the rear that has been 
               converted into arson squad offices. As Brian approaches the 
               office door he can see Rimgale sitting at his desk. Standing 
               nervously beside it is a fresh-faced, uniformed PROBIE.

                                     SHADOW
                              (to probie)
                         ...So stop me if I get this wrong... 
                         The fire's almost out... You're 
                         upstairs on the unburned floor 
                         checking for heat. You've been told 
                         by your Battalion Chief, your Captain, 
                         by me, not to do anything up there 
                         until ordered. But now the itch 
                         starts, and all of a sudden comes 
                         the Glory Boy Flash: Hey, I'm a hero. 
                         Heroes don't just stand around. So 
                         on your own you decided to punch out 
                         a window for ventilation. Was that 
                         before or after you noticed you were 
                         standing in a lake of gasoline?

               The kid is dying a thousand deaths of humiliation.

                                     SHADOW
                         You could've crispered half your 
                         company with that little stunt, but 
                         more importantly you wrecked the 
                         physical evidence I use to prove 
                         it's arson. You've made my day longer, 
                         Probie. Go home and think about that.

               The kid shuffles off hang-dog. Rimgale's angry gaze falls on 
               Brian.

                                     BRIAN
                         Uh, I'm Brian McCaffrey. Your new 
                         assistant.

                                     SHADOW
                         Your Dennis' kid.
                              (beat)
                         I work alone.

               And Rimgale walks into his office, leaving Brian marooned in 
               the doorway. Stepping behind a small partition, Rimgale 
               changes his shirt. Brian can just glimpse from where he stands 
               a horrible burn that has consumed most of Rimgale's stomach. 
               Rimgale catches the look.

                                     SHADOW
                         Are you still here?

                                     BRIAN
                         Get used to me, Inspector. I'm not 
                         going anywhere.

                                     SHADOW
                         Then go find a corner. I don't want 
                         you in my way.

                                     BRIAN
                         I think we should get something 
                         straight here. I was assigned to 
                         this office by the city.

                                     SHADOW
                         Look, I knew your father, he had a 
                         helluva reputation on this job. But 
                         that don't mean you get any slack. 
                         Swayzak sends you down here, okay, I 
                         gotta eat you, that's the rules and 
                         I got nothing to say about that. But 
                         Swayzak or no, you live with me. 
                         Step out of line, and I don't care 
                         who knows you, I'll swing the hammer.
                              (beat)
                         You think you're the first?

               Rimgale glances at his watch, puts on his coat, and picks up 
               a small paper bag.

                                     BRIAN
                         Where are you going?

                                     SHADOW
                         Pest control.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. MAX SECURITY PRISON - DAY

               And the face of RONALD, an unremarkable man in his 40s. 
               Unremarkable but for laser eyes and two heavily bandaged 
               hands. Go wide and find him sitting in an institutional chair -- 
               handcuffed, actually -- in an institutional hall. A uniformed 
               guard stands nearby as Brian and Rimgale come down the 
               corridor. Ronald smiles upon seeing Rimgale.

                                     RONALD
                         Shadow.

                                     SHADOW
                         How ya doin', Ronald. Staying 
                         comfortable?

                                     RONALD
                         Didn't think you'd make it.

                                     SHADOW
                         Wouldn't miss this for the world, 
                         pal.

                                     RONALD
                              (looking at Brian)
                         Who's this?

                                     SHADOW
                         He works for me.

                                     RONALD
                         Is he a fireman?
                              (smiles)
                         I like firemen.

                                     SHADOW
                         You like everybody, Ronald.

               Ronald's eyes pick up Brian's name on his prison ID badge.

                                     RONALD
                         Brian McCaffrey...
                              (eyes light up happily)
                         Oh this is really a treat. Brian 
                         McCaffrey. Lost a dad to the animal, 
                         huh?

                                     BRIAN
                              (heating up)
                         Hey, do I know you?

                                     SHADOW
                         You don't know him.

                                     RONALD
                         I know you.

                                     BRIAN
                              (to Ronald)
                         What the hell are you talking about 
                         my --

               Rimgale silences Brian with a threatening hand.

                                     SHADOW
                         Knock it off. Now.

                                     RONALD
                         Tell him about me, Shadow?

                                     SHADOW
                         Ronald here likes telephones. Used 
                         to tape wooden matches to the bell 
                         striker and wrap it in cotton. Came 
                         up with a whole little thing there, 
                         didn't you Ronald? When you got bored, 
                         what did you do? You just started 
                         making calls... mostly day care 
                         centers and retirement homes, wasn't 
                         it?

                                     RONALD
                         Did he tell you how we finally met?

                                     SHADOW
                         Nobody cares, Ronald.

                                     RONALD
                         Oh, but it's a good story, Shadow. 
                         You're depriving our famous young 
                         friend here...

                                     VOICE IN CORRIDOR
                         Okay... Ronald Bowland...

               The cop helps Ronald to his feet and all four are marching 
               down the hall.

                                     RONALD
                         It was on State Street, right?... 
                         Just your basic warehouse torch for 
                         the owner. Cakewalk. But the animal... 
                         turned on me... 'Ol Shadow here, he 
                         shows up -- whole place is going 
                         like hell -- my hair, my hands... 
                         could've just let the animal take me -- 
                         but Shadow, he's a good camper, so 
                         he tries to pull 'ol Ronald out. 
                         Guess he didn't notice the tub of 
                         phosphorous next to me...
                              (smiles)
                         Notice you're still a little shy 
                         about rolling your sleeves up, Shadow. 
                         Show him your stomach yet?

               INT. PRISON - INTERVIEW ROOM - DAY

               Ronald in the hot seat before a parole board, Rimgale and 
               Brian on the sidelines.

                                     MAN
                         ...All right, the parole board has 
                         received Mr. Bowland's fitness report, 
                         his ID-44, endorsement from his 
                         section warden... Dr. Norris?

                                     WOMAN PSYCHIATRIST
                         As supervising psychiatrist I would 
                         describe Mr. Bowland's progress as 
                         remarkable. Taking into account his 
                         disability and the six years already 
                         served, I recommend parole.

                                     MAN
                         Mr. Bowland, do you regret your 
                         crimes?

                                     RONALD
                         Yes. I understand now the pain I 
                         caused.

                                     MAN
                         If released, will you commit these 
                         crimes again?

                                     RONALD
                         I won't.

                                     MAN
                         Do you consider yourself ready for 
                         society?

                                     RONALD
                         Yes.

               The parole board shuffles their papers. It's a done deal. 
               Rimgale suddenly stands and approaches Ronald.

                                     SHADOW
                         Sure Ronald? You're ready alright.

                                     RONALD
                         Absolutely.

                                     MAN
                              (surprised)
                         Excuse me, Mr. Rimgale.

                                     SHADOW
                         Excuse me.
                              (to Ronald)
                         What do you do with little girls?

               A tortured look comes over Ronald's face. He's holding back. 
               From the paper bag, Rimgale suddenly tosses a burned baby 
               doll in his lap.

                                     SHADOW
                         What do you do with them, Ronald? 
                         Huh?

               Rimgale then lights a cigarette lighter in Ronald's face.

                                     RONALD
                              (smiles)
                         -- Burn them.

                                     SHADOW
                         And old ladies?

                                     RONALD
                         -- Burn them.

                                     SHADOW
                         And the world -- the whole world.

                                     RONALD
                              (smiles)
                         -- Burn it all.

               The parole board stares, stunned. Rimgale stands.

                                     SHADOW
                         See ya next year, Ronald. Gotta go.

               EXT. THEATRE BUILDING - DAY

               A pre-war theatre closed with a sign: UNDER RENOVATION -- 
               OPENING XMAS 1991. DAVID BENTON, mid-forties, climbs out of 
               his car and walks to the entrance with some rolled-up 
               blueprints.

               INT. THEATRE BUILDING - DAY

               Benton walks through the vast theatre and up to a beautiful 
               Art Noveau office door: DAVID BENTON, PRIVATE. He goes to 
               insert his key. Drops it. As he reaches down, we see a tiny 
               wisp of smoke SUCK back under the door. Benton sniffs, as if 
               he smells something, then shrugs and inserts his key. It'd 
               have been a good story if he'd lived longer.

               The moment he pushes the door open It EXPLODES OUTWARD in a 
               ROARING FIREBALL.

                                                               DISSOLVE TO:

               EXT. THEATRE BUILDING - SUNDOWN

               Later and engine companies have already knocked down the 
               building fire as Brian climbs out of Rimgale's red sedan.

                                     SHADOW
                              (opens trunk)
                         Hey kid, c'mere -- At least make 
                         yourself useful.

               He starts handing Brian handfuls of equipment cases. Loaded 
               down, Brian follows Rimgale into the building.

               INT. THEATRE BUILDING

               Fire crews are at work in here, including Engine 17 at the 
               other end of the theatre. Brian's surprised to see them, his 
               eyes locking briefly with Stephen's. An ENGINE COMPANY LT. 
               walks up to Rimgale.

                                     ENGINE LT
                         We were lucky with this one. Could've 
                         taken out the whole complex, but the 
                         explosion blew out most of the flame. 
                         Good for us.
                              (looks to body)
                         -- Not so good for him.

               "Him" is our previous owner, David Benton, just his hands 
               and a leg showing from under the collapsed door. Rimgale 
               crouches beside it.

                                     SHADOW
                         Turn this over.

               Brian does. The corpse's keys are still in the lock. So's 
               Benton. Blown with such force he seems fused with the door. 
               On the door's edge Rimgale notices a small patch of melted, 
               sticky goo. With his penknife he scrapes a sample and seals 
               it in a glass vial, stands, and walks into the office.

               INT. THEATRE OFFICE

                                     BRIAN
                         What do you want me to do with --

               Rimgale, now inside, silences him with an outstretched arm.

                                     SHADOW
                         -- Shhh.

                                     BRIAN
                              (after a beat)
                         What are you listening to?

               Rimgale doesn't answer. His eyes drift over the scorched 
               walls as he speaks softly to them.

                                     SHADOW
                         You sneaky little son of a bitch... 
                         Hide and seek... Come on, tell me 
                         what I want to know...

               He scratches at some soot. Smiles and lifts a small hand 
               recorder.

                                     SHADOW
                              (business-like into 
                              recorder)
                         Heavy smoke stains observed in entry 
                         room. Demarkation line high. Fire 
                         never got hot enough here to cook 
                         soot off. It started somewhere else...
                              (walks down hall)
                         Less soot here. More heat.
                              (they enter back room)
                         And very little soot here.
                              (to Brian)
                         Get that couch out of the way.

               Brian pulls it aside. The lower third of the wall is 
               completely untouched by soot.

                                     SHADOW
                              (to himself)
                         So you were happy here. Warm and 
                         cozy and in no hurry...
                              (into recorder)
                         Soot high, clean unburned wall low, 
                         indicates slow burn in thermal 
                         balance.
                              (to Brian)
                         Find me some glass.

                                     BRIAN
                         Glass?

                                     SHADOW
                         Do we have a language barrier here? 
                         Glass.

               There's some on the sill of a blown window. Brian hands a 
               shard to Rimgale, who turns it over in his palm.

                                     SHADOW
                              (into recorder)
                         Glass found in ignition room is in 
                         small, thin pieces, indicating 
                         explosion. Lack of discoloration 
                         indicates a long, slow burn. Explosion 
                         must of come after a slow burn.
                              (shuts recorder off)
                         You little tease... What were you up 
                         to you little bastard, huh? What 
                         made you that mad?
                              (then, an idea)
                         Or scared.
                              (switches on recorder)
                         It started in this room. Took its 
                         time, hung out... but the air ran 
                         out. It couldn't breathe. So it was 
                         snuffed. But it wasn't dead... still 
                         all that trapped heat, lying low, 
                         waiting for some sucker to open the 
                         door and give it that one gulp of 
                         air...

                                     BRIAN
                         -- Another backdraft.

               Rimgale turns to the wall, a section where the plaster is 
               severely damaged. He probes with a penknife.

                                     SHADOW
                         Finish coat burned away... Severe 
                         spawling of rough coat...

               Rimgale follows the damaged wall down -- down -- to a melted 
               wall socket.

                                     SHADOW
                         That's our ignition point. Dig it 
                         out. Carefully.

               Brian chops it out from the wall. Rimgale crouches down, 
               peels back the melted faceplate and examines the wires. The 
               copper tip is severely melted. Rimgale sniffs the plug.

                                     SHADOW
                              (into recorder)
                         Temperature in this room was about 
                         2000 degrees, but copper wire in 
                         outlet is melted, which requires 
                         5000 degrees. An accidental short in 
                         the plug could of created a spark of 
                         7000 degrees, hot enough to melt the 
                         wire and start a fire.

                                     BRIAN
                         No it couldn't.

               Rimgale shuts off the recorder. Stares down Brian.

                                     BRIAN
                         I mean you'd be right -- with normal 
                         wire. But that's gauge ten in that 
                         plug -- industrial stuff. Who knows 
                         why they put it in here -- but it 
                         won't melt at less than 12,000 
                         degrees. And no natural spark short 
                         of lightning gets that hot.
                              (Rimgale just stares)
                         In another life I was in high-end 
                         electronics.

               Rimgale opens a plastic bag and puts the plug inside.

                                     SHADOW
                              (into recorder)
                         Have outlet analyzed for any traces 
                         of flammable accelerants.

               Rimgale stands and walks out.

                                     BRIAN
                         Don't mention it.

               INT. THEATRE BUILDING - NIGHT

               Brian follows Rimgale down from the office into the vast 
               theatre. Walls hiss and spit. Brian's surprised to see his 
               former engine mates there, tromping and crunching their way 
               through broken glass, their flashlights like dancing 
               fireflies. Tim passes by.

                                     BRIAN
                         Hey, Tim.

               Everybody turns at the voice and the air suddenly chills.

                                     TIM
                              (distant)
                         Brian.

                                     SHADOW
                              (to Brian)
                         Check the wall for burn patterns.

               And Rimgale's off to another room. Brian turns and looks at 
               the wall. It's endless.

                                     BRIAN
                              (to Tim)
                         So, you surviving without me?

                                     TIM
                         There's no replacement 'cause of 
                         your boss' cuts, if that's what you 
                         mean. If someone else goes out on an 
                         injury we're really screwed.

                                     BRIAN
                         Swayzak's not my boss.

               Silence. Brian looks over the wall. A dirty puddle separates 
               him from it.

                                     GRINDLE
                              (to Brian)
                         Ooooh, like the tie. Love the tie.

                                     BRIAN
                         Grindle, scrape down that wall for 
                         me, huh? I would myself, but the tie 
                         'n all, y'know...

               Grindle stares at him a beat, then wordlessly steps into the 
               muck and pulls free a section of wall, dropping it on the 
               ground in front of Brian. Santos and Grindle look at each 
               other.

                                     SANTOS
                         Uh, Brian, if you're lookin' for 
                         smoke patterns, there's some good 
                         ones over here.

                                     BRIAN
                         Yeah? Where?

                                     GRINDLE
                              (as Brian walks over)
                         Little to the right... further... 
                         further... Right behind there. Hey, 
                         could you hand me that pike pole?

               There's a pike pole leaning against the wall. Brian pulls it 
               aside. SPLASH -- The pole had been supporting a small, sagging 
               piece of ceiling that instantly collapses, dumping twenty 
               gallons of murky, putrid black water all over Brian's civvys. 
               Nobody laughs.

                                     GRINDLE
                         Sorry, maybe that wasn't it after 
                         all.

               Stephen appears around the corner. Sees what's happened.

                                     STEPHEN
                         That's just about enough, guys, okay?

                                     SCHMIDT
                         See ya around, Brian.

               They leave. Brian stands there, humiliated.

                                     AXE
                              (to Brian)
                         What the hell's the matter with you, 
                         huh? You're steppin' in the shit 
                         again. You could've done it. You 
                         don't want this.
                              (the suit 'n tie)
                         Wake up, kid.

               Brian burns with shame and anger as Adcox walks away. Stephen 
               hands Brian a towel.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Here. Dry yourself off.

               Brian snatches it from him. Glares at his brother.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Look, you are sorta making yourself 
                         fair game.

                                     BRIAN
                         Thanks for the insight.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Brian, look --

                                     BRIAN
                         Just leave me alone, okay?

               Brian walks away. Stephen calls after him.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Hey, Bri... Rimgale's okay. I don't 
                         get half the shit he's talking about, 
                         but then everybody says the same 
                         thing about me. Who the hell knows?

               INT. HELEN'S HOUSE - DAY

               Helen, Stephen's ex-wife, is sitting at her kitchen when she 
               looks up suddenly at a strange sound coming from the roof.

               EXT. HELEN'S HOUSE - ROOF - DAY

               On the short, sloping roof, Stephen stands hammering a shingle 
               back into place. Helen sticks her head out the dormer window.

                                     HELEN
                         Stephen, what are you doing here?

                                     STEPHEN
                         Fixing my roof.

                                     HELEN
                         It's not your roof anymore.

               He stops and tosses the hammer aside. Looks at his watch.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Where's Sean?

                                     HELEN
                         He's got piano lessons.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Oh yeah? How's he doing?

                                     HELEN
                         He's going to be a fireman.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Give up, babe. You can't fight it. 
                         Believe me, my mom tried...

                                     HELEN
                              (beat)
                         Stephen, you gotta stop just showing 
                         up on the roof like this.

                                     STEPHEN
                         I just wanted to, I don't know, not 
                         exactly apologize for the other night -- 
                         especially since I don't remember 
                         much of it --

                                     HELEN
                         -- You remember.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Yeah... I just thought I should say, 
                         I don't know, something.

                                     HELEN
                         The great communicator.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Sorry I hit Jackson.

                                     HELEN
                         He deserved it. He was born deserving 
                         it.

                                     STEPHEN
                         He treats you okay?

                                     HELEN
                         Okay.

                                     STEPHEN
                         I treated you better.

                                     HELEN
                         You treated me like shit.

               But she smiles.

                                     HELEN
                         You want some coffee?

                                     STEPHEN
                         Coffee? Nah, I gotta go.

                                     HELEN
                         What's wrong, Stephen?
                              (looks at her)
                         C'mon, you only beat up the roof 
                         when something's on your mind.
                              (beat)
                         How's Brian doing?

                                     STEPHEN
                         He's out.

                                     HELEN
                         I know he's out, but how's he doing?

                                     STEPHEN
                         Y'know, I treated him better than 
                         any other probie I ever had. He 
                         probably hates my guts, but I did 
                         the best thing for him. I made him 
                         finally look in the mirror.

                                     HELEN
                         Ah Stephen, that's what this is really 
                         about, isn't it? You always have to 
                         be right.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Hey, I'm the first one to admit when 
                         I'm wrong.

                                     HELEN
                         Yeah? When was the last time?

                                     STEPHEN
                         In a fire? Never.
                              (beat)
                         Look, I'm his brother. I care about 
                         him, y'know? He was going to get 
                         himself killed. Maybe not today, 
                         maybe not in a year, but it would've 
                         happened. And I couldn't -- I just 
                         couldn't...

                                     HELEN
                         You can't keep being his father...

               Stephen sighs deeply.

                                     STEPHEN
                         You know what I realized today? I 
                         can't remember my dad's face anymore. 
                         There's pictures of him staring at 
                         me everywhere I go, but the guy behind 
                         them... he's gone...

               He sighs and hops down from the roof to the driveway.

                                     STEPHEN
                         I'll see ya around, Helen.

               She watches him as he walks lonely up the street.

               INT. CITY MORGUE - DAY

               A Lab Tech, RICCO, leads Brian and Rimgale through the autopsy 
               area till they come on two corpses lying side by side covered 
               in plastic.

                                     RICCO
                         Okay, Alan Seagrave and Donald 
                         Cosgrove...

               If you say so. Brian's stomach does a half-gainer as he's 
               confronted by two hideously charred bodies.

                                     RICCO
                         ...Both deaths due to close encounters 
                         with stationary objects; office door 
                         for Mr. Cosgrove, '89 Porsche for 
                         Mr. Seagrave. No non-relevant traumas. 
                         No significant blood toxicology. 
                         Attitude of both trajectories 
                         consistent with explosions.

               Brian is discreetly avoiding his gaze, whistling quietly to 
               himself as he looks over specimen jars on a shelf.

                                     RICCO
                         They ran the residue you scraped 
                         from both crispers' front doors. 
                         It's a combination of plumber's putty 
                         and rayophene gum. Burns almost 
                         completely away when you light it.

                                     SHADOW
                         Putty? On both doors?

                                     RICCO
                         There's something else kinda 
                         interesting...

               Ricco lifts Benton's charred shoulder. Underneath we see 
               some of his clothes that have melted and co-mingled with his 
               flesh.

                                     RICCO
                         See this?

               A credit card has been fried right into Cosgrove's skin about 
               where his back pocket should have been.

                                     RICCO
                         Guess he didn't leave home without 
                         it.

               Ricco erupts in a honking laugh, then switches instantly 
               back to a business tone.

                                     RICCO
                         Anyway, down here, take a look...

                                     SHADOW
                         McCaffrey, hold this for us.

                                     BRIAN
                         Uh, I don't think that's in my 
                         contract...

                                     SHADOW
                         I just re-wrote your contract. 
                         C'mere...

               With supreme reluctance Brian pulls the crisper's head and 
               shoulder away from the table.

                                     RICCO
                         Jesus Christ, he isn't gonna try to 
                         sell you insurance, lift him.

               Brian gathers the torso up and hoists him higher.

                                     RICCO
                              (to Rimgale)
                         See that patch of shirt? We wondered 
                         about the discoloration so he ran a 
                         spectro. On a lucky shot we picked 
                         up some traces of Trychticholorate. 
                         Nobody around here had ever heard of 
                         it.

                                     SHADOW
                         Trychticholorate? Alright, it's an 
                         absorption catalyst in toxic waste 
                         accidents. It's pretty rare, they 
                         stopped making it a couple'a years 
                         ago.

                                     RICCO
                         Probably got in Cosgrove's clothes 
                         in a gas state from the fire.

                                     SHADOW
                         What the hell was it doing in the 
                         fire?

                                     RICCO
                         That's your job.

               At that instant, Cosgrove's eyes OPEN and his body SIGHS. 
               Brian DROPS the body in shock and backs away, stunned.

                                     SHADOW
                         I asked you to hold him, not feel 
                         him up...

               INT. RIMGALE'S CAR - DAY

               Rimgale's FD sedan. Brian is still wringing imaginary guts 
               off his hands. Rimgale tosses an open fire chem book in his 
               lap.

                                     SHADOW
                         Read.

                                     BRIAN
                         "Trychtichlorate is a binary 
                         structured --"

                                     SHADOW
                         -- Go to the bottom. Under heat 
                         properties.

                                     BRIAN
                         "During heat episodes of 2000 Kelvin 
                         or higher, Trych breaks down and 
                         dissipates. Will consume magnesium".

                                     SHADOW
                         Ever burned magnesium? It's so hot 
                         it takes water molecules and BAMM!

               Rimgale CLAPS his hands next to Brian's head, STARTLING him.

                                     SHADOW
                         Son of a bitch tears 'em apart just 
                         to eat the oxygen. Wouldn't take 
                         much at all to melt ten gauge wire. 
                         Problem's burnt magnesium leaves a 
                         powder trace -- unless you could 
                         find something that would eat its 
                         residue.

                                     BRIAN
                         Trychticholorate. Then Swayzak can 
                         announce Seagrave was a murder.

               Rimgale looks at Brian. He's getting tired of this.

                                     SHADOW
                         Look, it isn't proof, okay? Someone 
                         may have put the chemical in the 
                         outlet, but we found it as a vapor 
                         in Cosgrove's clothes.

                                     BRIAN
                         And the putty around the door?

                                     SHADOW
                         Even if it was used to seal the air 
                         off, that doesn't explain why someone 
                         would go to the trouble of a 
                         backdraft. A gun's a helluva lot 
                         easier

                                     BRIAN
                         But the right guess on this is arson.

                                     SHADOW
                         I don't guess.

                                     BRIAN
                         Some people say you don't do much of 
                         anything when it comes to this case.

                                     SHADOW
                         I don't work for them, either.

               INT. ARSON HQ - DAY

               Brian's sitting at a desk. He's finishing up a huge paper 
               clip Tyrannosaurus. The phone RINGS.

                                     BRIAN
                         Arson.

                                     JENNIFER
                         Straightest answer your department's 
                         given me all week.

               We see Jennifer's calling from her office, she's busy signing 
               papers brought to her and okaying campaign posters as she 
               talks.

                                     BRIAN
                         Hey.

                                     JENNIFER
                         How's it going?

                                     BRIAN
                         Boss and I are up to about three 
                         words an hour.

                                     JENNIFER
                              (to secretary)
                         Green committed to a thousand.
                              (to Brian)
                         There's another fund-raising party 
                         tonight. Marty'd really like you to 
                         come.

                                     BRIAN
                         I don't know, I'm kinda swamped here.

               He tosses a paper airplane.

                                     JENNIFER
                         I could use a date.

                                     BRIAN
                         Yeah? Well, maybe I can fit it in...

                                     RIMGALE'S VOICE
                         McCaffrey! Come here!

                                     BRIAN
                              (into phone)
                         Call ya back.

               Brian hangs up quickly and walks back into

               INT. ARSON HQ - ANOTHER ROOM - DAY

               Rimgale's there, crouched excitedly beside a trash can that's 
               lid's been sealed closed. He tamps a piece of putty on the 
               rim and backs away.

                                     SHADOW
                         Take the top off. Go ahead. Take it 
                         off.

               Brian walks over and RIPS OFF the lid. -- Instantly a tongue 
               of flame SHOOTS straight up past his head and BLOWS out.

                                     BRIAN
                         Jesus!

               Rimgale's grinning like a little kid.

                                     SHADOW
                         That's it! Oh, that son of a bitch, 
                         he's different, goddamn it! You see 
                         what this tells us, huh? Our killer 
                         doesn't love fire!

                                     BRIAN
                         What?

                                     SHADOW
                              (pulls out file)
                         I got it after we talked to Ronald. 
                         Torches. Want to fry the whole goddamn 
                         world. But the fires that killed 
                         those guys never really burned up 
                         much. -- The burns were all lit in 
                         outlets surrounded by double 
                         firebreaks in the walls. And he made 
                         his burns backdrafts.
                              ([p. 78])

                                     BRIAN
                         But he killed these guys.

                                     SHADOW
                         But he could have killed everybody 
                         there. The firebreaks kept it from 
                         spreading in the wall. The backdraft 
                         blew out the flame. That's it. That's 
                         the reason.

                                     BRIAN
                         What reason?

                                     SHADOW
                         Why backdrafts. Whoever fried Seagrave 
                         and Cosgrove went to a helluva lot 
                         of trouble to make sure they died by 
                         fire, but also made sure the fire 
                         blew itself out.

                                     BRIAN
                         That's why the sealant on the doors... 
                         So what have we got, a torch with a 
                         conscience?

                                     SHADOW
                         No, we have a stone killer trying to 
                         make a point.

                                     BRIAN
                         Are you going public with this?

                                     SHADOW
                         No. Do that and I guarantee you'll 
                         scare him off. I don't want him 
                         running away.

               EXT. PARTY BOAT - NIGHT

               A Latin band cuts loose as beautiful people mill about against 
               a beautiful Chicago skyline. An AIR HORN blows, and suddenly 
               the skyline is MOVING. We're on a huge, private party boat.

               EXT. PARTY BOAT - NIGHT

               Brian's leaning on the boat railing watching the passing 
               parade of rich and beautiful. Across the sea of champagne 
               and brie, he spots Jennifer talking with her boss, Swayzak. 
               He has his hand on her back.

               Jennifer spots Brian. She smile, detaches herself and walks 
               over.

                                     JENNIFER
                         Hi.

                                     BRIAN
                              (eyes on Swayzak)
                         Hey...
                              (beat)
                         So are you dating your boss or what?

                                     JENNIFER
                         If you weren't at least the 300th 
                         person to ask me that, I'd probably 
                         be pissed.
                              (beat, sighs)
                         Boy, you sure know it's a man's world 
                         sometimes...

                                     BRIAN
                         Sorry.
                              (beat)
                         Are you dating anyone?

                                     JENNIFER
                         You think that's really any of your 
                         business?

                                     BRIAN
                         Well, you did invite me here.

                                     JENNIFER
                         Marty did.
                              (beat, smiles)
                         But I wanted you to come to.

               Swayzak suddenly appears with his entourage.

                                     SWAYZAK
                         Mr. McCaffrey...

                                     BRIAN
                         Nice boat.

                                     SWAYZAK
                         It isn't mine.
                              (to photographer)
                         Let's get a picture.

               Swayzak swings around and puts his arm cheesily around Brian's 
               shoulder. Another staffer slaps a SWAYZAK FOR MAYOR sticker 
               to Brian's lapel. Jennifer rolls her eyes to Brian. I'm 
               sorry... Snap.

                                     SWAYZAK
                              (seeing someone else)
                         Larry!
                              (sotto to Jennifer)
                         What does he do again?

               Swayzak leads her off in pursuit. Left alone, Brian turns to 
               the railing, stares off at the passing city. You can hear 
               the wind-up of a siren.

               And there it is now, an engine company zooming along Wacker 
               Drive. Something digs and kicks inside of Brian as he watches 
               it disappear.

                                     JENNIFER
                         How's the job going?

               She's appeared again beside him.

                                     BRIAN
                         Okay.

                                     JENNIFER
                         Boy, Rimgale's as slow as a snail, 
                         isn't he?

                                     BRIAN
                         No, he's more of a dinosaur. Guy's 
                         not a dummy, though. He's juggling 
                         alot of balls on this one.

                                     JENNIFER
                         Yeah, but it doesn't take Albert 
                         Einstein just to figure out if these 
                         guys were killed by accidents or 
                         not.

                                     BRIAN
                         Jesus, give him a break. There isn't 
                         enough proof yet to go public. Sure, 
                         we found some chemical shit we think 
                         somebody dumped in the plugs to torch 
                         'em, and we've maybe figured out why 
                         backdrafts, but you can't rush this 
                         stuff. Not 'till it's locked.

                                     JENNIFER
                         But Rimgale's probably going to come 
                         around to arson.

                                     BRIAN
                         In a dinosaur kinda way, yeah.

               BAMM!

               Both of them look up sharply. A woman drunk out of her mind 
               has tipped over in her chair. She laughs, her fellow 
               tablemates laugh, everybody laughs. Jennifer takes Brian by 
               the arm in the opposite direction and smiles.

                                     JENNIFER
                         Save me.

               EXT. PARTY BOAT - NIGHT

               The band's completely cut loose now. A wild percussion rhythm 
               that has everyone on their feet dancing like madmen. Brian 
               and Jennifer stomp and sweat and shake and giggle through 
               hair crazily askew. The lakeshore is twinkling and wonderful 
               as it slips past. The drums beat faster and harder and the 
               only thing that isn't moving now is their eyes -- eyes locked 
               on each other.

               EXT. ARSON HQ - NIGHT

               Sweaty, flushed with the evening and a few drinks, Brian and 
               Jennifer pull up in her car.

                                     BRIAN
                         Thanks for the invite.

                                     JENNIFER
                         Got anything to drink in there?

                                     BRIAN
                         Oh, there might be something stashed 
                         away for emergencies.

               INT. ARSON HQ/FIRE STATION

               The regular engine company's gone to bed and the arson squad's 
               packed in for the night, leaving the apparatus floor quiet 
               and dim as Brian and Jennifer enter.

               Brian leads her back past the engine and arson sedan to the 
               rear where Rimgale has his offices. As they walk Jennifer's 
               eyes drift up to the old sculpted parapets, the press-tin 
               ceiling.

                                     BRIAN
                         This is one of the oldest fire 
                         stations in the city. Lotta tradition 
                         locked up in here. What do you think?

                                     JENNIFER
                         Homey.

                                     BRIAN
                         See that trap door up there? That 
                         used to lead to the hay loft when 
                         they had horse-drawn engines. It was 
                         pretty different then... but kinda 
                         the same, y'know?

                                     JENNIFER
                         Do you miss it?
                              (he doesn't answer)
                         You seem like you do.

                                     BRIAN
                         When I came back, I knew more than 
                         anything else that I wanted to be a 
                         fireman.

                                     JENNIFER
                         Then why did you quit?

                                     BRIAN
                         I wanted to be a good one.

               INT. ARSON HQ - BACK OFFICES

               They walk into the back arson offices. Brian pokes through a 
               few drawers, one or two shelves. Finally he lifts a squat, 
               specialized fire extinguisher. The bottom has been hollowed 
               out, leaving room for a fifth of bourbon.

                                     BRIAN
                         Old firehouse trick.

               He pours her a glass. Jennifer takes a generous sip of her's, 
               turns, brushes past him and breathes,

                                     JENNIFER
                         So show me your fire truck.

               INT. ARSON HQ - APPARATUS FLOOR

               Brian escorts Jennifer along the side of the behemoth.

                                     BRIAN
                         Well, our specimen here is your basic 
                         standard issue piece of primary 
                         suppression equipment. This area is 
                         the pumping panel, which controls 
                         the rate of liquid insertion into 
                         the hose.

                                     JENNIFER
                         Uh huh.

               Brian lifts a narrow, tapered straight-bore nozzle.

                                     BRIAN
                         This is a six inch playpipe, cast 
                         bronze to keep it firm during hard 
                         flows.
                              (picks up another 
                              item)
                         This is our pipe extender, used in 
                         forward lays...
                              (moves on)
                         This is our hard suction line... Our 
                         adjustable insertion nozzle...
                              (comes around back of 
                              trunk)
                         ...And this is the hose bed.

               Beat. The air cracks between them. And is brushed aside. In 
               an instant they're all over each other. Tangled lips and 
               gulping breaths. Jennifer abruptly breaks it off

               -- And looks mischievously up at the hose bed, with its long 
               curling rolls of soft cotton.

               Brian doesn't remember this precise scenario being discussed 
               at the academy, but he improvises admirably, popping up onto 
               the hose bed and offering a gentlemanly hand to Jennifer. As 
               they tumble into the soft folds

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. HIGH-RISE - NIGHT

               Engine 17 roars up, lights flashing, to a high-rise. As the 
               crew jumps down Tim trips and falls flat on his face.

                                     GRINDLE
                         Jesus Tim, if you're going to kill 
                         yourself at least wait till the fire, 
                         it's better P.R.

               INT. ARSON HQ - HOSE BED - NIGHT

               Jennifer unbuttons Brian's shirt.

                                     JENNIFER
                         Tell me about the playpipe again...

               She pulls the shirt off his shoulder as we

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. HIGH-RISE - LOBBY - NIGHT

               Engine 17 walking up to a frazzled security guard in the 
               lobby.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Where is it?

                                     SECURITY GUARD
                         Don't know. There's alarms going off 
                         on three different floors.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Wonderful.

               They climb into the elevator.

               INT. HIGH RISE - ELEVATOR - NIGHT

               It's cramped on the way up with the bulky coats, helmets, 
               hose rolls, and the tangible nervousness that always goes 
               with this kind of fire. The elevator Musak plays 101 Strings 
               version of "Tie A Yellow Ribbon 'Round The Old Oak Tree".

                                     TIM
                         How do we know if the floor's going 
                         to be on fire?

                                     STEPHEN
                         If the doors open and it's hot, don't 
                         get out.

               INT. ARSON HQ - HOSE BED

               Brian pulls off Jennifer's stockings. As she kicks it away...

               INT. HIGH-RISE - UPPER FLOOR - NIGHT

               The elevator stops. DING. The door opens. No howling blaze, 
               not even any noise, but enough hanging smoke that you can't 
               see your hand in front of your face.

               They fan out gingerly onto the floor, looking for the fire. 
               Hide and seek in a white fog bank. Everybody stops and 
               listens. Slowly, carefully, they feel their way through the 
               haze.

                                     STEPHEN
                         It's here.

               On cue something snakes past behind the walls, whispers and 
               whines and shivers up and over them and then is silent. 
               Grindle attaches a hoseline to the building standpipe.

                                     GRINDLE
                         These high-rise gigs give me the 
                         creeps.

                                     AXE
                         Let's wait for a back-up, Stephen. 
                         We're early on this one, it hasn't 
                         even broke out yet. We're one short 
                         as it is with Brian gone.

               But Stephen's on the hunt now. Obsessed.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Want to learn something?

                                     TIM
                         Yes sir!

               Stephen and Tim take the lead, their axes gripped like 
               shotguns. Grindle backs them up with a charged hoseline.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Adcox, go with Pengelly and check 
                         the other side.

                                     AXE
                         It isn't safe, man. Don't go splittin' 
                         us up. Not with this one.

                                     STEPHEN
                         -- What the hell's the matter with 
                         you? You always check the other side. 
                         I haven't got time for bullshit right 
                         now, okay? We got a job here.

                                     AXE
                         Let me take the lead, Stephen...

                                     STEPHEN
                         Goddamn it Adcox! Just do your fucking 
                         job!

               Adcox folds. With a stricken look on his face he takes his 
               crew down the other way. Stephen and Tim slowly feel their 
               way.

               CRACK

               Everybody SPINS around in terror. Nothing. Something inhuman 
               giggles down ahead of them. Stephen smiles.

                                     STEPHEN
                              (like a mantra)
                         Oh, you're so very sly, but so am 
                         I...
                              (to Tim)
                         ...Listen to it... you can tell when 
                         a wall cracks which way it's gonna 
                         jump... you can hear the doors breathe 
                         if they're hot...

               Tim looks confused. He doesn't get it.

               They come to a side door. Stephen runs his hand down the 
               jam, feels for heat. Then he steps back, takes a deep breath, 
               and CRASHES the door down with one AXE BLOW. Quiet inside.

               INT. ARSON HQ - HOSE BED - NIGHT

               Brian and Jennifer are into the rhythm now, breathing deeply. 
               On the wall above them are framed photos of dead firemen. 
               Watching.

               INT. HIGH-RISE - SECOND DOORWAY - NIGHT

               Stephen concentrates on the sound of the fire above him, --
               then abruptly turns and CRASHES down another door.

               INT. ARSON HQ - ALARM KLAXON GOES OFF - NIGHT

               Brian and Jennifer lie in a tight embrace, enjoying the 
               moment, the lull, as suddenly the lights SNAP ON and an alarm 
               klaxon BELLOWS. Firemen are coming down the pole now.

                                     JENNIFER
                         What's going on?

               They frantically climb into their clothes. The firemen haven't 
               noticed them as they climb aboard. They've STARTED THE ENGINE.

                                     JENNIFER
                         What are they doing?

               EXT. ARSON HQ - STREETS - NIGHT

               And before either of them realizes it, they're suddenly 
               pulling out into the street and WAILING off down the block. 
               The wind's wild in their hair, the siren deafening, the 
               flashing red lights blinding staccato, And Jennifer loves 
               it. She kisses Brian fiercely, he lets out a war whoop lost 
               in the blast of air, and together they hold each other as 
               the night screams past and...

               EXT. HIGH-RISE - NIGHT

               Engine 17 pulls up into the parking lot of the high-rise 
               fire. Firemen leap out of the cab and rush around behind to 
               pull off lengths of hose from the bed. As the folds curl 
               away the fireman is stunned to see a woman's stocking come 
               out with it.

               With equal shock he looks up and watches as a disheveled and 
               grinning Brian and Jennifer climb calmly down out of the 
               bed.

                                     BRIAN
                         Excuse us.

               INT. HIGH-RISE - TIM'S DOOR - NIGHT

               Stephen and Tim creep along the hall.

                                     STEPHEN
                              (to Tim)
                         Lotta smoke, but it isn't rolling... 
                         that means it's hiding... staying 
                         sleepy... one of these doors...

               Tim's come to one.

                                     STEPHEN
                              (to himself)
                         Easy... no hurry... you're not going 
                         anywhere...

               Stephen BANGS down another door. Sticks his head in to check. 
               A little woodpecker toy dips up and down in a glass of water.

               Tim readies his axe before his door, gathers his courage as 
               Stephen comes out of the room he was checking. Sees Tim 
               lifting his axe.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Did you check the door for heat, 
                         Tim?

               Tim doesn't hear. The axe is already up.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Tim?

               Tim's committed now, coming hard at the door. And Stephen 
               sees it for just an instant -- Small tendrils of smoke edging 
               lazily around the door -- then being sucked back in.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Tim!

               He rushes for Tim as Tim's axe SMACKS the door and a whine 
               behind it builds and roars and howls and Tim's all follow-
               through now, hitting the door with his shoulder as 

               The door EXPLODES OUTWARD, HURLING TIM against the opposite 
               wall and for an instant he's okay but he freezes in terror 
               as A SHRIEKING TONGUE OF FLAME SHOOTS OUT THE DOORWAY and 
               Grindle shouts in horror and opens his hose line as the flames 
               wrap Tim like a jealous lover as Adcox hears it and screams,

                                     AXE
                         Oh God! Oh God no!

               And Tim's screaming now too, because his helmet, his mask, 
               his face, it's all melting and Grindle dives suicidally at 
               the monster, BLASTING it with his hose as Stephen ignores 
               the flames and puts his arms around Tim as Grindle DOUSES 
               them both, killing the flames.

               The monster rolls wounded back into the room, into the air 
               shafts as Tim whimpers incoherently, sliding down the wall 
               as Stephen tries to help but oh God you can't tell what's 
               face and what's mask and helmet anymore.

               Grindle looks back where the fire came from. There's a corpse 
               in there, burned and lying between two doors.

               Adcox rushes to Tim's side sobbing and it's the end, the end 
               of the goddamn world...

               EXT. HIGH-RISE - NIGHT

               Brian and Jennifer are having the time of their lives, when 
               suddenly a group of firemen pass by rushing someone on a 
               stretcher to an ambulance and Brian sees -- sweet Jesus -- 
               it's Tim. Jennifer turns away in horror. They load Tim into 
               the van as Adcox and Grindle jump in to ride along. To hold 
               his hand.

               Stephen watches the ambulance disappear out into the street. 
               Frustration and fury tear at him as he takes off his coat 
               and slams it to the ground. He kicks it, kicks it till his 
               strength's gone. He turns, his wounded eyes finding Brian.

               INT. HIGH-RISE - NIGHT

               Rimgale walks down the smokey corridor. The charred civilian 
               is there, sitting in the short stretch of hall between two 
               blown doors. Through the haze Rimgale sees Stephen crouched 
               in the interior room, picking at the debris. Lost in himself.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Hey, Stevie.

               Stephen stands and looks around the room, seemingly unaware 
               of Rimgale. He walks wordlessly straight out past him, his 
               eyes streaming with tears.

               INT. HOSPITAL - EMERGENCY ROOM - NIGHT

               Brian shoulders his way through the emergency room. He passes 
               a small alcove full of vending machines. Adcox is there, 
               sipping a paper cup, leaning against the machine in deep 
               anguish.

                                     BRIAN
                         Is he...

                                     AXE
                         He's alive.

               INT. HOSPITAL ICU - NIGHT

               Further down the hall is ICU. Grindle and Santos are there, 
               sitting outside the room, raw and weary. Grindle nods to 
               Brian. Everyone's still stained and smudged from the fire.

               Everyone but Brian.

               Brian looks through a door window into the room. There, 
               surrounded by doctors and physicians, lies Tim. He's been 
               cut out of his uniform. Gauze bandages everywhere. As a pair 
               of forceps peel some away Brian glimpses what used to be a 
               face, now only reds and browns and leaky whites. He turns 
               away.

                                     BRIAN
                         Do they think he'll pull through?

                                     GRINDLE
                         They're not saying.

                                     BRIAN
                         I should have been there.

                                     NIGHTENGALE
                         None of us should have been there, 
                         Brian.

               Voices rise down the hall. Turn to shouts. It's Adcox and 
               Stephen, tearing heartbreakingly into one another. Brian 
               can't make out the words but it's ugly, emotional. Abruptly 
               it ends and Stephen emerges from the alcove, walking toward 
               them upset.

                                     BRIAN
                         You had to do it, didn't you?

               Stephen's got other things on his mind.

                                     STEPHEN
                         ...Not now, Brian.

                                     BRIAN
                         Had to take on another fire bare-
                         handed, huh? Had to be fucking myth 
                         man in there instead of looking out 
                         for your probie. Is that what 
                         happened? Is it, Stephen?

                                     STEPHEN
                         I had that fire. He didn't listen!

                                     BRIAN
                         He didn't listen? He was a fucking 
                         candidate! He was your responsibility. 
                         He shouldn't have been there in the 
                         first place, Stephen.
                              (beat)
                         You burned him.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Fuck you.

               Brian grabs his arm.

               Stephen SNAPS and roughly PUSHES Brian, knocking him against 
               the wall. Brian comes off it in a flash and is all over 
               Stephen. They go down and it's all thrashing and shouting 
               now. A horrible, endless draw. Grindle and Santos are in it, 
               pulling them apart, holding them up against opposite walls.

               Both brothers glare at one another, tears filling their eyes. 
               Brian shakes Grindle off and walks away.

                                                               DISSOLVE TO:

               INT. ARSON HQ - BRIAN'S DESK - MORNING

               Brian sits staring blankly. A newspaper drops in front of 
               him. FIRE DEPT. SAYS IT'S MURDER. Rimgale stands above him.

                                     SHADOW
                         Goes on about how the break was made 
                         through the discovery of "chemical 
                         traces" and a "behavioral link". Oh, 
                         and Swayzak's quoted saying the chief 
                         investigator is closing in on the 
                         torch and expects an arrest "any 
                         time".

               Brian's eyes wince closed.

                                     SHADOW
                         Get your stuff and get out.

               INT. JENNIFER'S OFFICE - DAY

               She's pouring some coffee as Brian bursts in.

                                     JENNIFER
                              (surprised)
                         Brian. What's wrong?

                                     BRIAN
                         You told Swayzak about our arson 
                         lead. It's all over the fucking news.

                                     JENNIFER
                         I didn't know it was a secret. There 
                         aren't supposed to be secrets between 
                         the city and its investigators --

                                     BRIAN
                         -- Bullshit! You knew what I told 
                         you wasn't ready for the papers --

                                     JENNIFER
                         Will you please keep your voice down, 
                         there's people --

                                     BRIAN
                         -- You could have scared the son of 
                         a bitch off. We may never bust him 
                         now. All for a couple's political 
                         points.

                                     JENNIFER
                         I was doing my job.

                                     BRIAN
                              (grabs her arm)
                         Yeah? And just how much of all this 
                         has been "doing your job"?

                                     JENNIFER
                              (shakes it off)
                         Let me ask you something, do you 
                         really think Marty had you assigned 
                         to arson because of your firefighting 
                         skills? Who the hell are you kidding? 
                         I was there, remember? I saw you and 
                         your brother --

                                     BRIAN
                         Leave Stephen out of this --

                                     JENNIFER
                         Oh yeah, he's the real fireman.
                              (beat)
                         Who are you? Just another probie 
                         working for Swayzak --

                                     BRIAN
                         -- I work for the city.

                                     JENNIFER
                         You knew what we were asking you to 
                         do. Don't suddenly pull out a 
                         conscience now. The fit isn't right.

               Swayzak appears in the doorway. He looks haggard, as if he 
               hasn't slept. There's something haunted in his eyes.

                                     SWAYZAK
                         Mr. McCaffrey... Keeping busy?

                                     BRIAN
                         Yeah. In fact, I just dropped off a 
                         letter to the Times explaining how 
                         yesterday's arson announcement was a 
                         fabrication by your office. They 
                         loved it. And you know what? You 
                         were right, my family background in 
                         firefighting gave it weight.

                                     JENNIFER
                         Oh Brian...

               Brian shoulders his way past Swayzak and walks out.

               INT. HOSPITAL - TIM'S ROOM - NIGHT

               Brian walks up to Tim's room. Stephen's sitting there, ragged 
               looking. Inside the young probie lies wrapped in tubes and 
               gauze and years of wasted promise. An EKG beeps, a respirator 
               hisses, and Brian gulps down something heavy in his throat.

                                     STEPHEN
                         He's gonna live. Maybe not much else, 
                         but he's gonna live...

               Stephen walks away.

               EXT. ARSON HQ - MORNING

               As Rimgale gets out of his car a limousine pulls up. Swayzak 
               opens the rear door from inside.

                                     SWAYZAK
                         Inspector.

                                     SHADOW
                         Alderman.

               INT. SWAYZAK SEDAN - DAY

               Cruising through traffic. Swayzak is disheveled, unshaven, 
               fidgety. A man who hasn't slept and had a few drinks before 
               the one he's pouring now. He offers one to Rimgale.

                                     SHADOW
                         I usually have breakfast first.

               Swayzak apparently doesn't.

                                     SWAYZAK
                         When are you going to catch the prick 
                         that's doing this, Don?

                                     SHADOW
                         "Don?"

                                     SWAYZAK
                         Don't you have any leads at all?

                                     SHADOW
                         No Marty, I don't.

               For the first time, Rimgale sees real fear on Swayzak's face.

                                     SHADOW
                         We still haven't found a connection 
                         between the victims.

                                     SWAYZAK
                         Jesus, open your eyes! Seagrave, 
                         Cosgrove, and now Holcomb -- fried 
                         in a goddamn high-rise!

                                     SHADOW
                         Holcomb? I didn't know the name of 
                         that victim had even been released 
                         yet.

               The sedan stops back at arson HQ. They'd gone around the 
               block.

               EXT. ARSON HQ - SWAYZAK SEDAN - DAY

               Rimgale opens the door, climbs out, lingers.

                                     SHADOW
                         Is there a connection between them, 
                         Alderman?

                                     SWAYZAK
                         Just catch the son of a bitch.

               The door shuts and Swayzak roars away.

               INT. ARSON HQ - BACK OFFICES - DAY

               Rimgale walks back into his offices. He's surprised to see 
               Brian there working at his desk.

                                     SHADOW
                         What the hell are you doing here?

                                     BRIAN
                         I'm finished with Swayzak. I'll do 
                         whatever you want me to do. I just 
                         want to help catch the guy that burned 
                         Tim. You gotta give me another shot.

               Rimgale stares at Brian, appraises him.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. HIGH-RISE

               A CLOSE UP of Rimgale POPPING the molding around the door 
               frame of Holcomb's burned office. Underneath can be seen 
               traces of the same white residue from the other fires.

                                     SHADOW
                         I thought 'ol Marty was acting a 
                         little strange... And he's right.

               Rimgale rubs the white powder between his fingers.

                                     BRIAN
                         Backdraft?

               Rimgale stands at the spot in the short hall where the body 
               lied between two doors.

                                     SHADOW
                         The backdraft was set somewhere in 
                         there. It fried Holcomb when he opened 
                         the inner door. But the outer door 
                         held... and waited for Tim...

               Brian steps into the inner office.

                                     SHADOW
                         So find me the fire.

               Brian begins searching, probing. He finally stands. Defeated.

                                     SHADOW
                         You're thinking too much of the 
                         building and not enough of the ghost.

               Brian's eyes don't understand. From Rimgale's coat comes a 
               plastic flask. He pours out of it a liquid onto the floor 
               and lights a match.

                                     SHADOW
                         In a word, Brian, what is this job 
                         all about?

                                     BRIAN
                         Fire.

               Rimgale drops the match.

               WUMP. A small flame explodes to life.

                                     SHADOW
                         It's a living thing, Brian. It 
                         breathes, it eats, and it hates.

               The fire's climbing a wall, chewing a corner.

                                     SHADOW
                         The only way to beat it is to think 
                         like it. To know that this flame 
                         will spread this way across the floor 
                         not because of the physics of 
                         flammable liquids or heat convection, 
                         but because it wants to.

               FWUMP. It darts west. Licks the ceiling. The fire purrs and 
               hisses. Stretches luxuriously and attacks savagely.

                                     SHADOW
                         Some guys on this job, fire owns 
                         them. It makes them fight on its 
                         level. But the only way to truly 
                         kill it is to love it a little, just 
                         like Ronald.

               Brian stares at the flame. A goblin reaching out for him... --
               Woosh! Rimgale hits it with a fire extinguisher. In an instant 
               the goblin is gone, the genie in the bottle.

                                     VOICE
                         What the hell are you guys doin'?

               A young woman's entered.

                                     SHADOW
                         We're the fire department, lady.

                                     WOMAN
                         Well color me stupid, I always thought 
                         the fire dept. put out fires.

                                     SHADOW
                              (to woman)
                         You work here?

                                     WOMAN
                         Till yesterday. What do you think 
                         the odds are that a non-refundable 
                         ticket to Paris survived this?

                                     BRIAN
                         Somewhere between zero and no way.

                                     WOMAN
                         Shit. What a mess.

                                     SHADOW
                         You seem real broken up about Mr. 
                         Holcomb.

                                     WOMAN
                         Jeff Holcomb? The Darth Vader of tax 
                         accountants? He was a sleezeball. 
                         Hopefully a sleezeball that carried 
                         some insurance.

                                     BRIAN
                         Go talk to the building owner.

                                     WOMAN
                         He was the building owner.

                                     BRIAN
                         Our book lists the owner as Dekom 
                         Trust.

               She looks at him like he's the dumbest human she's met all 
               week.

                                     WOMAN
                         Don't investigators come in adult 
                         size?

               INT. FIRE STATION 17 - OUTSIDE STEPHEN'S OFFICE - DAY

               Sequence omitted from original script.

               INT. FIRE STATION 17 - STEPHEN'S STATION OFFICE - DAY

               Stephen's lying sprawled on his bunk, his hands pressed over 
               his eyes. There's a voice outside the door.

                                     GRINDLE
                         Stevie? Rimgale's here to see you.

                                     STEPHEN
                         I'm busy.

                                     GRINDLE
                         He just wants to --

                                     STEPHEN
                         -- I'm busy goddamn it, okay?

               A beat, then Rimgale himself enters.

                                     STEPHEN
                         What, they don't knock on your planet?

               Rimgale takes in Stephen's room, the half empty bourbon 
               bottle. Without a word, Rimgale walks over and pours it out. 
               He sits down beside Stephen.

                                     SHADOW
                         I still haven't gotten your fire 
                         report, Stevie. On Tim.

               A wave of pain rolls through Stephen.

                                     STEPHEN
                         I'm working on it.

                                     SHADOW
                         I deal with this stuff every day. 
                         But a fireman... you never get used 
                         to it.
                              (beat)
                         What happened up there? He was a 
                         candidate. Did he pay attention? Was 
                         he listening?

                                     STEPHEN
                         ...He wasn't listening to the right 
                         thing...

                                     SHADOW
                         What do you listen to, Stephen?

                                     STEPHEN
                         You don't know... nobody knows...

                                     SHADOW
                         I might.

               Stephen's eyes meet Rimgale's and hold.

                                     STEPHEN
                         It knows us. This one knows us.

                                     SHADOW
                              (beat)
                         I need that report, Lt.

               Stephen takes Rimgale's notebook out of his lap, rips out a 
               page, and writes angrily in huge block letters.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Tim-went-to-the-fire-and-now-he-
                         doesn't-have-a-face.

               Stephen throws the sheet at Rimgale, stands, and walks out.

               INT. HALL OF RECORDS

               An Escher drawing of a place, endlessly vast racks spun around 
               an open central core. High up, lost among its rows, Brian is 
               going through rack after rack of dog-eared record books as 
               Rimgale enters down below.

                                     BRIAN
                              (trying to hold it 
                              together in his mind)
                         Hey boss, Dekom Trust is owned by 
                         Pan Illinois... which is majority 
                         controlled by Lakeside Dynamics... 
                         which is a division of Windy City 
                         Ventures... who's partners are...
                              (beat)
                         Alan Seagrave, Donald Cosgrove, and 
                         Jeffrey Holcomb.

                                     SHADOW
                         Son of a bitch. They knew each other.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. HALL OF RECORDS

               More books. Files. Acres of paper.

                                     BRIAN
                         So Seagrave and Holcomb were 
                         accountants...

                                     SHADOW
                         And Cosgrove. Coppers figured he 
                         laundered money for the mob before 
                         getting into real estate. They weren't 
                         very high on Seagrave, either.

                                     BRIAN
                         Nice bunch of guys.

                                     SHADOW
                         Who all ended up wearing candles for 
                         faces...
                              (beat)
                         Swayzak's up to his ass in this 
                         somehow. Guy can barely hold a drink 
                         in his hand, he's so scared.

               A beat, then he looks directly at Brian.

                                     SHADOW
                         We need to get a look at his files.

               EXT. ROOFTOP RESTAURANT - NIGHT

               Sequence omitted from original script.

               EXT. LAKESHORE - DUSK

               With glowing skyscrapers leaping up in the background, it's 
               an unexpectedly quiet, serene place along the lake. Jennifer 
               sits alone at a bench, watching an ancient fisherman look 
               for dinner, as Brian walks up.

                                     JENNIFER
                         Hi.

                                     BRIAN
                         Hi.

                                     JENNIFER
                         We still talking?
                              (beat)
                         Look, I'm sorry about the other day --

                                     BRIAN
                         Swayzak knows something about the 
                         guys that were murdered. I want to 
                         know why he keeps that hidden.

                                     JENNIFER
                         I don't know anything about it.

                                     BRIAN
                         You could check. It'd be in his files.

                                     JENNIFER
                              (beat)
                         Do you know what you're asking me to 
                         do?

                                     BRIAN
                         Yes.

                                     JENNIFER
                         Y'know, four years ago I was working 
                         in a bakery. Two years ago I was 
                         bringing Marty coffee and he didn't 
                         even know my name. I run that office 
                         now. Marty believed in me and I 
                         believe in him. You want me to just 
                         throw that away?

                                     BRIAN
                         Your boss is lying, Jennifer.

               And it hangs between them, two people lonely on the edge of 
               the lake.

               INT. BRIAN'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

               Sequence omitted from original script.

               INT. HELEN'S GARAGE - NIGHT

               At a workbench, under a single lamp, Stephen stands amongst 
               a confusion of tools, wire, And a wall socket.

               With a pair of pliers, he tugs at something within the socket, 
               puts the face-plate back on and screws it down. He stares at 
               it, and we feel the sudden wave of hopelessness cascading 
               through him.

               He sets the socket back down -- and SCATTERS everything aside 
               in a single, furious move.

               INT. HELEN'S HOUSE - NIGHT

               Sequence omitted from original script.

               EXT. HELEN'S HOUSE - NIGHT

               Stephen's sits quietly against Helen's back door, lost in 
               himself. A light comes on. Helen opens the back door.

                                     HELEN
                         Stephen?

               She sits down beside him.

                                     STEPHEN
                         I'm sorry... I... couldn't sleep...

                                     HELEN
                         What's wrong?

                                     STEPHEN
                         I...
                              (beat)
                         It used to be, when I was a kid, 
                         what meant most to me about this job 
                         was there were no ifs. Life and death, 
                         right and wrong. When someone called 
                         the fire department, we came... Those 
                         guys don't know how much I love 
                         them... You don't leave people 
                         hanging... cause that's what it's 
                         all about. It's loyalty. It's 'till 
                         death do us part. Isn't that what 
                         you heard?... It's you go, we go... 
                         Cause without that, it's the end of 
                         families, it's the end of the fire 
                         department... and when the fire 
                         department stops coming... that's 
                         the end of the fucking world...
                              (beat)
                         I'm sorry I came, Helen, it's just... 
                         it's just there's nobody I can talk 
                         to...
                              (beat)
                         I miss you.

               The moment lingers, grows heavy and grey.

               INT. HELEN'S HOUSE - BEDROOM - NIGHT

               Stephen and Helen in bed, holding each other...

               INT. HELEN'S HOUSE - KITCHEN - MORNING

               Morning, and Stephen dressed, making eggs for three. Sean's 
               there, lending a hand, beaming as Stephen tries to show him 
               how to flip an egg. Helen enters in her robe. He kisses her.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Cook and I are almost finished here. 
                         Have a seat.

                                     HELEN
                         Stephen... I... can I talk to you a 
                         second...

               Stephen musses his son's hair and follows her out into the 
               hall.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Look, I'm sorry I --

                                     HELEN
                         -- No, that's okay. It's just Sean...

                                     STEPHEN
                         -- He's gettin' good on those eggs. 
                         And y'know, he told me he actually 
                         likes the piano.

                                     HELEN
                         I don't want to confuse him, Stephen.

               The blow's so long and hard and deep you don't even see it.

                                     HELEN
                         It's... It's just things have 
                         changed... you're the same, Stephen, 
                         but things are different now... you've 
                         got a son... you're the best at what 
                         you do Stephen, you always were, but 
                         you scare me now...

               Just then, Sean sticks his head into it.

                                     STEPHEN
                              (to Sean)
                         Hey... Sean-man, your dad blew it. I 
                         forgot I had to work this morning...

                                     SEAN
                         Aw dad, c'mon...

                                     STEPHEN
                         Next time, huh? We'll do it up big. 
                         Promise.

               Helen's turned away.

                                     SEAN
                         Okay.
                              (then sotto)
                         Mom's crying, dad.

               INT. SWAYZAK'S OFFICE - CITY HALL - MORNING

               Jennifer enters Swayzak's inner office. His chair's turned 
               away toward the window.

                                     JENNIFER
                              (holding print-out)
                         Latest polls came in, Marty.
                              (he doesn't answer)
                         Marty?

               Finally the chair turns, revealing a haunted man. Polls are 
               far from his mind.

                                     JENNIFER
                         Jesus Christ, Marty, what's going 
                         on?

                                     SWAYZAK
                         Leave me alone.

               She sees a fire department file on the murders open on his 
               desk.

                                     JENNIFER
                         We've come a long way together, Marty. 
                         I've staked my whole career on you. 
                         And now you're sneaking around this 
                         office, leaking things to the papers 
                         behind my back...
                              (beat)
                         Is there something you're not telling 
                         me about these deaths?

               Swayzak's eyes are dead metal.

                                     SWAYZAK
                         No.

               And he turns his chair around again. Jennifer stands there a 
               beat. -- Then turns to the filing cabinets.

               EXT. BRIAN'S APARTMENT BUILDING - NIGHT

               Brian drives up and parks. He's half way to the staircase 
               when he sees someone sitting in the dark in a car.

                                     BRIAN
                         Jennifer?

               She hands him a manila envelope.

                                     BRIAN
                         What is --

                                     JENNIFER
                         Just take it.

               Silence.

                                     BRIAN
                         I'm sorry.

                                     JENNIFER
                         That's a dumb thing to say.

                                     BRIAN
                         You're right.

               She starts her car.

                                     JENNIFER
                         Goodbye, Brian.

               INT. FIRE DEPARTMENT REPAIR DEPOT

               A cavernous hall full of dozens of fire trucks loaded on 
               jacks. Rimgale's sedan's there, the repairman shaking his 
               head in amazement at the undercarriage.

                                     REPAIRMAN
                         What the hell do you do with this 
                         thing?

               Rimgale's looking through the report Brian's handed him.

                                     SHADOW
                         This is the copy of Swayzak's manning 
                         report that was released. Everybody 
                         on this job knows it's bullshit but 
                         we could never argue with the numbers. 
                         They're all airtight.

                                     BRIAN
                         Yeah? Airtight?

               He dumps three more reports on Rimgale.

                                     BRIAN
                         I've got three different drafts of 
                         the same report -- with different 
                         numbers that're all over the place. 
                         Looks like they were just making it 
                         up as they went along.

                                     SHADOW
                         Did a little check on the consulting 
                         firm that wrote the report. They did 
                         exactly one job -- Swayzak's manpower 
                         study. It's not even really a company. 
                         No employees, no directors, just a 
                         PO Box.

                                     BRIAN
                         Then who wrote the report?

                                     SHADOW
                         It had to be someone who knows 
                         numbers. Some kind of fancy 
                         accountant. But what's the connection?

               Brian hands him something else. A photograph. Swayzak and 
               the other three, posing on a fishing boat, 1970. Time of 
               their lives.

                                     SHADOW
                         I think it's time Mr. Swayzak and us 
                         had a little heart to heart talk.

               EXT. SWAYZAK'S HOUSE - NIGHT

               The red arson sedan pulls up to wealthy home. Rimgale and 
               Brian walk up and knock on the door -- it creaks open ajar. 
               They push the door open slowly.

               INT. SWAYZAK'S HOUSE - NIGHT

               It's dark as they enter.

                                     SHADOW
                         Hello? Swayzak?

               Brian and Rimgale split up down different halls. It's the 
               HISS Brian hears first. Then the FLASH of an electrical socket 
               FLARING ice-cold cobalt blue. Suddenly the room's dimensions 
               are there in frantic, strobing shadows. Chairs, a couch --

               -- And a figure that JUMPS Brian. the light from the burning 
               plug is a fierce strobe as the figure, a confused shadow, 
               crashes Brian to the floor. They STRUGGLE.

               The figure GRABS Brian's throat. Brian PUSHES him back

               -- Against the burning wall plug. The figure SHRIEKS in pain, 
               gets his hand on a crowbar and SLAMS Brian -- who crumples, 
               dazed. The figure stands -- just as Rimgale TACKLES him. The 
               figure CRASHES across a gas space heater, SNAPPING the 
               connection off. The figure SLAMS Rimgale HARD with the 
               crowbar, squirms free, and stumbles out the door.

               Hissss... Rimgale climbs to his feet as fire eats at the 
               wall. A baby backdraft wagging its tail. He goes to a dazed 
               Brian's side, lifting him by his armpits and

               EXT. SWAYZAK HOUSE - NIGHT

               helping him outside. Hissss... The ruptured space heater 
               pumps gas furiously. Rimgale sees that. He also sees a bedroom 
               door ajar on the far side of the house. And through the door 
               a couch. And on the couch, A body. Hissss...

               INT. SWAYZAK HOUSE - NIGHT

               Rimgale rushes back inside. It's Swayzak, unconscious.

               EXT. SWAYZAK HOUSE - NIGHT

               Rimgale drags him out on the stoop beside Brian just as the 
               gas WHUMPS and the doors and windows EXPLODE in a HOWLING 
               FIREBALL, the shrapnel BLOWING Rimgale off his feet. Brian 
               slowly shakes his head clear. He looks around, tries to orient 
               himself.

                                     SHADOW
                         Uh... I sorta got a problem here...

               Brian climbs up to his feet and walks over to where Rimgale 
               lies at a weird angle, a piece of wrought iron fence punched 
               through his shoulder.

               INT. HOSPITAL - EMERGENCY ROOM - NIGHT

               Rimgale lies in an emergency room bed.

                                     SHADOW
                         Well Brian, I guess you can say it's 
                         arson now...

                                     BRIAN
                         How ya feeling?

               Rimgale grunts.

                                     BRIAN
                         Did you pull me out?

                                     SHADOW
                         Yeah.

                                     BRIAN
                         Did I say thanks?

                                     SHADOW
                         No.

                                     BRIAN
                         Just wondering.

                                     SHADOW
                         I hate hospitals. You're so... so 
                         goddamn useless...

               Rimgale suddenly kicks the bed frame in anger. He kicks it 
               over and over with frustration till something finally SNAPS 
               off. Brian waits, let's him vent his frustration.

                                     BRIAN
                         So what do you want me to do?

                                     SHADOW
                         I've been lying here hours... just 
                         thinking... We're close...
                              (beat)
                         We're not looking in the right place, 
                         Brian. This one knows us and we're 
                         not looking in the right place...

               INT. PRISON INTERVIEW ROOM - DAY

               Brian's sitting alone in a chair. Finally the opposite door 
               opens and in enters Ronald.

                                     RONALD
                         Well, Mr. Life magazine. Come all 
                         this way just to say hi?

               Brian hands him a stack of murder files.

                                     BRIAN
                         I'm close... but I can't get who it 
                         is...

                                     RONALD
                         So you came to me...
                              (smiles)
                         Well, this is going to be an 
                         interesting afternoon after all...

               As Ronald starts to read the files

                                                               DISSOLVE TO:

               INT. PRISON INTERVIEW ROOM - LATER - DAY

               Brian still sitting there. Watching Ronald devour the 
               statistics. The photos of charred bodies. Ronald finishes, 
               leans back.

                                     RONALD
                         Okay, here's the deal. I'll tell you 
                         a story, you tell me one. Fair?

                                     BRIAN
                         Who's doing this?

                                     RONALD
                         Your first question should be who 
                         isn't. It isn't a spark, Brian. Not 
                         enough damage. And an insurance pro? 
                         Where's the profit margin?

                                     BRIAN
                         Then who --

                                     RONALD
                         -- No no, your turn. Tell me a story.

                                     BRIAN
                         I don't have a story.

                                     RONALD
                         Sure you do.

               Ronald drops on the table a dog-eared copy of that 1972 LIFE 
               magazine with Brian on the cover.

                                     RONALD
                         Famous story even. Straight burn. 
                         Just an engine and truck first on 
                         scene. What did you feel, Brian, 
                         when you first got there?

                                     BRIAN
                         What?

                                     RONALD
                         You gotta tell a story too, Brian. 
                         It's fair. C'mon, don't think too 
                         hard --

                                     BRIAN
                         I... I thought it was great. I loved 
                         it. It was nothing to these guys... 
                         medium deal.

                                     RONALD
                         Right. Light smoke, low roll. Couple'a 
                         civilians hollering -- medium deal. 
                         So young fireman Adcox and Captain 
                         McCaffrey, they head up stairs, get 
                         out on the fire escape -- McCaffrey 
                         does the ballsy jump across... what 
                         were you feeling, Brian?
                              (Brian doesn't answer)
                         C'mon, you promised. Be honest.
                              (Brian just stares)
                         Okay... Guard!

                                     BRIAN
                         -- I wanted to be him. Right then I 
                         wanted to be him more than anything...

                                     RONALD
                              (smiles)
                         Very good, Brian. -- About your report 
                         here. The way to a torch's heart is 
                         through his tools. That's how you 
                         know him. It's the way he talks to 
                         the fire. And to you if you listen.

                                     BRIAN
                         The outlets.

                                     RONALD
                         That's a probie answer. You're smarter 
                         than that, Brian.

                                     BRIAN
                         Trychticholorate.

                                     RONALD
                         Good. -- So our two heroes, Adcox 
                         and McCaffrey, they go back inside. 
                         Only there's another fire in there 
                         nobody sees. And it took your dad, 
                         didn't it Brian? Did you see him 
                         burn?

               In a flash, Brian suddenly reaches across and grabs Ronald 
               by the collar.

                                     BRIAN
                         Who the fuck is doing this?

                                     RONALD
                         After it took your dad... the fire... 
                         did it look at you Brian? Did it 
                         talk to you?...

               And Ronald sees something in Brian's eyes. He smiles.

                                     RONALD
                         You see, our world's aren't so 
                         different...

               Brian releases Ronald.

                                     BRIAN
                              (quiet)
                         Who's doing this?

               The arsonist smiles a creepy, horrible grin.

                                     RONALD
                         Think, Brian. Who doesn't love fire, 
                         but knows it better than anyone else? 
                         Who's around trychticholorate 24 
                         hours a day?

               A cold shock rolls through Brian as he slumps back in his 
               chair.

                                     BRIAN
                         Oh Jesus Christ...

                                     RONALD
                         Not such a far walk after all, is 
                         it, Brian?

               EXT. STEPHEN'S BOAT - MARINA - NIGHT

               Brian climbs up onto Stephen's boat. Nobody home. He opens 
               the cabin door, goes inside and hits the lights.

               INT. STEPHEN'S BOAT - NIGHT

               There's cereal bowls in the sink, beer bottles on the table, 
               And a stack of fire department supplies in the corner.

               His whole body aching with reluctance, Brian begins looking 
               through them. Solvents, Armorall, a small specialty can of 
               fire dept. chemicals. There's a label of ingredients on it. 
               Way down at the bottom, Is trychticholorate. Nausea wracks 
               its way through Brian.

                                     BRIAN
                         Oh goddamn it Stephen...

               Footsteps. Brian spins around in stone shock as Stephen comes 
               into the cabin.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Hey, what are you doing here?

                                     BRIAN
                         Just... Just wanted to say hello...

                                     STEPHEN
                         So hello.

               Brian backs away from the chemicals.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Well, long as you're here you can 
                         help clean up a little. I've got a 
                         guy coming to look at this in a few 
                         minutes.

                                     BRIAN
                         You're selling dad's boat?

                                     STEPHEN
                         Yeah, it's just another memory in my 
                         life right now. And I got way too 
                         many of them...

                                     BRIAN
                         I really should get back. There's... 
                         there's something I'm supposed to 
                         do.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Yeah? What have you got to do?
                              (beat)
                         Look at you. Look at your face. All 
                         the things you must be thinking. 
                         Man, you must really hate my guts. 
                         Well, you know what? It's okay.

                                     BRIAN
                         Look, Stephen, maybe we can talk 
                         about this some other --

                                     STEPHEN
                         -- Okay, so you don't like me. You 
                         don't like everything I've done. 
                         What, because I wasn't such a genius 
                         the way I raised you? Jesus Christ, 
                         dad was gone, what was I supposed to 
                         do? You tell me, what the fuck was I 
                         supposed to do?!

               He KICKS the bulkhead wall.

                                     BRIAN
                         It's okay, Stephen, I --

                                     STEPHEN
                         -- I tried, y'know? Helen's right. I 
                         don't have all the answers, but 
                         goddamn it, I've got some.
                              (beat)
                         Look, you're gonna do what you have 
                         to, and maybe I shouldn't have gotten 
                         in the way. I'm your brother, not 
                         your father. Go on. You gotta go 
                         somewhere? Go...

               Brian turns to leave. Pauses.

                                     BRIAN
                         I saw it.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Saw what?

                                     BRIAN
                         When dad died, I saw another fire...

                                     STEPHEN
                         Everybody did.

                                     BRIAN
                         I saw it before it got them. I tried 
                         to yell, but... He asked me to look 
                         out for him. And I didn't do it. I 
                         let him die.

                                     STEPHEN
                              (stunned)
                         ...Jesus, you been carrying that 
                         around for twenty years? For christ's 
                         sake, you were seven years old! You 
                         think he could have heard you in 
                         there?

                                     BRIAN
                         I hate him so much sometimes, Stephen. 
                         You don't know how hard it was for 
                         me to put that uniform on...

                                     STEPHEN
                         Maybe I do.
                              (sighs)
                         ...What a fuckin' mess, huh?
                              (beat)
                         People can change Brian.

                                     BRIAN
                         Sometimes right when you're looking 
                         at them.

               Brian sees the chemicals in the corner again and something 
               freezes up inside. Stephen catches the look and there's 
               horrible silence between them.

                                     BRIAN
                         Oh God, Stephen, what's going on 
                         with you?

                                     STEPHEN
                         I don't know, Brian... I don't know...

               EXT. FIRE STATION 17 - NIGHT

               Brian stands before the fire station. His brother's and his.

               INT. FIRE STATION 17 - UPSTAIRS LOCKER ROOM

               Brian PRIES the lock off Stephen's locker. Starts looking 
               through it. Adcox comes out of the shower with a towel on, 
               starts shaving in a mirror. He doesn't notice Brian. Adcox 
               turns to head for his own locker and the towel slips a little. 
               And Brian's universe caves in.

               An icy claw tears out his stomach. Gulping breaths, he forces 
               himself to look at Adcox's back.

               On it is a small, rectangular burn. It's fresh and it's the 
               size of a wall socket. At that moment Adcox turns. The two 
               of them stare at one another just a beat, then Adcox walks 
               past him. Just then the alarm bells RING. Brian hesitates a 
               beat, confused, then turns and runs down to

               INT. FIRE STATION 17 - APPARATUS FLOOR

               Where firemen are scurrying around, suiting up. Brian looks 
               frantically for Stephen, sees him out back.

               EXT. FIRE STATION 17 - BACK OF STATION - SUNDOWN

                                     BRIAN
                              (breathless)
                         -- Stephen, wait a minute. I gotta 
                         talk to you. It's Adcox, he's --

                                     STEPHEN
                         -- What are you doing here?

                                     BRIAN
                         I saw Adcox's back! I saw the burn! 
                         I put it there! Jesus Christ, Stephen, 
                         he's been killing people!

                                     STEPHEN
                         I know.

                                     BRIAN
                         How do you know?

                                     STEPHEN
                         I knew when you came looking for the 
                         chemicals. Looking for me.

                                     BRIAN
                         -- What were they doing there?

                                     STEPHEN
                         They were for the fucking boat, Brian.

               Grindles sticks his head out the back door.

                                     GRINDLE
                         We gotta roll, Stevie...

                                     STEPHEN
                         I'll be there.

                                     GRINDLE
                         They're waitin' man.

                                     STEPHEN
                         I'll be there, goddamn it!

               Grindle goes back in.

                                     STEPHEN
                              (to Brian)
                         Anything else?

                                     BRIAN
                         What are we going to do about this?

                                     STEPHEN
                         I'll handle it.

                                     BRIAN
                         We gotta go to Rimgale, Stephen.

                                     STEPHEN
                         I'm his Lt. He's my responsibility. 
                         I'll handle it. Me.

               Stephen turns and walks toward the station.

               Brian's eyes go to a window just above it. There, watching 
               him, watching the whole exchange between brothers, is Adcox.

               Adcox stares at Brian a beat, then finally disappears as 
               Brian hears the cough of diesel engines.

                                     BRIAN
                         Oh, Christ. Stephen...

               He starts running for the station.

               INT./EXT. FIRE STATION 17 - NIGHT

               -- It's too late. Adcox climbs aboard just as the engine 
               company pulls out and whistles down the street.

               The ladder company is just easing onto the drive. Brian 
               hesitates only an instant, then runs to the equipment racks, 
               PULLS off the hooks his helmet, coat, boots -- and jumps 
               onto the truck as it takes off in pursuit.

               INT./EXT. ENGINE COMPANY 17 - NIGHT

               As it howls down the avenue, Stephen turns around and stares 
               at Adcox sitting behind. The glimmer of an understanding...

               INT./EXT. TRUCK COMPANY 46 - NIGHT

               The laddermen look confused seeing Brian sitting among them.

               A CAR Suddenly CUTS the truck company off. The driver SLAMS 
               the brakes, PUSHING the truck company into a HORRIBLE SKID. 
               The back fishtails, the wheels JUMP the curb, BASH a mailbox, 
               and then the whole rig ROLLS onto its side and DRAGS to a 
               stop.

               It's tangled confusion in the rear cab. Firemen, unhurt, 
               piled atop one another. Brian slides his way out from under 
               them and looks down the street where plumes of smoke rise 
               six blocks away.

               He starts running.

               EXT. WAREHOUSE FIRE - NIGHT

               Flames and smoke curl from a huge industrial warehouse along 
               the river as Brian, panting, runs up. He searches frantically 
               through the maze of arriving engine companies, looking for 
               number 17. There it is but nobody's home. Brian stops a 
               passing captain.

                                     BRIAN
                         Where are they? Where's 17?

                                     CAPTAIN
                         On the roof.

               Brian looks up at the smoke and whirling firestorm four 
               stories above him, feels the bile of fear in his throat, the 
               desperation, -- And begins strapping on an air tank.

               EXT. WAREHOUSE - NIGHT

               Brian, now fully suited up, climbs the endless rungs of an 
               extended aerial ladder.

               EXT. WAREHOUSE ROOF - NIGHT

               Tongues of flame ROCKET skyward through ragged holes. Black 
               clouds drift murderously, roofing tars bubble and hiss as 
               the roof itself GROANS like a comatose dinosaur, reminding 
               you the whole thing could go any minute -- and you with it.

               Trudging alone across this alien, spongy surface, Brian looks 
               for his company. It's almost impossible to tell anyone apart, 
               faces hidden behind helmets and masks.

               Suddenly a cloud of smoke clears and there's two firemen 
               near the edge, "17" on their helmets.

                                     BRIAN
                         Stephen --

               The helmets look up. Stephen and Adcox. Facing each other. 
               Adcox cradles an axe.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Brian?

               Brian starts to move beside Stephen but Adcox turns, tightens 
               his grip on the axe, and now all the cards are on the table. 
               A hissing black cloud drifts through. They're the only three 
               people on earth.

               Adcox's eyes are clouded with tears.

                                     AXE
                         Aw man, Stephen, listen to me...

                                     STEPHEN
                         -- What the fuck were you thinking, 
                         huh? Burning people? You're a fireman.

                                     AXE
                         They were killing firemen, man. When 
                         Sally showed me what was in Swayzak's 
                         files... They were my friends, I had 
                         to do it. I had to do it for the 
                         department.

                                     BRIAN
                         Did you do it for Tim?

                                     AXE
                              (pain, to Stephen)
                         That was an accident! Jesus Christ, 
                         why did you have to go in there so 
                         fucking early? Why didn't you listen 
                         to me!

               Brian and Stephen are backed up against the roof edge -- 
               sixty feet up. Far below a fireboat has begun pumping a 
               massive stream at the side of the building.

                                     AXE
                         You gotta let me finish --

                                     BRIAN
                         Just come down, John. Just --

                                     AXE
                         -- Shut up! Your dad would fucking 
                         puke if he saw how you've shit on 
                         his department!

                                     STEPHEN
                         -- Knock it off!

                                     AXE
                              (to Stephen)
                         -- You can't let him turn you against 
                         your friends, man --

                                     BRIAN
                         -- He killed people --

                                     AXE
                         -- You know what Swayzak would do to 
                         the department if this got out? --

                                     BRIAN
                         -- Stephen, this is bullshit --

                                     AXE
                         -- What he would do to your dad's 
                         department? You gotta let me finish 
                         it --

               And there's a horrible glimmer of confusion on Stephen's 
               face.

                                     BRIAN
                         You're his Lt., Stephen...
                              (beat)
                         Are you gonna handle it? Are you 
                         Stephen?

                                     STEPHEN
                         Shut up!

                                     AXE
                         ...What do you want me to do, Stephen? 
                         Talk to me. What am I supposed to 
                         do?

                                     STEPHEN
                              (beat)
                         There's a fire. We've got a job here. 
                         Let's get on with it.

               EXT. WAREHOUSE - ACROSS THE ROOF - NIGHT

               The rest of the crews are totally oblivious to what's 
               happening through the smoke on the other side. Grindle and 
               Santos feel the roof go suddenly spongy beneath them.

                                     GRINDLE
                         Shit... It's going! Clear the roof! 
                         Now!

               Everybody drops their equipment and runs for the edges as

               EXT. WAREHOUSE ROOF - BRIAN ET. AL - NIGHT

               Brian, Stephen and Adcox react as the roof HOWLS and GROANS 
               and huge SPLITS begin racing along it. And then it goes.

               The center section DROPS, and in rolling waves of SCREECHING 
               steel, the hole spreads outward; DEVOURING.

               Adcox shoves them aside and runs for his life as the hole 
               races for them, SWALLOWING roof.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Jesus Christ Brian, run! Run goddamn 
                         it!

               And Brian balls-out dashes for the edge. Stephen's made one 
               corner, Brian desperately heads for another. At the last 
               instant -- as the HOWLING FLAME BELLOWS UP to his ankles -- 
               Brian LEAPS OFF the roof --

               EXT. WAREHOUSE - FIRE ESCAPE - NIGHT

               -- And falls half a story before CRASHING onto an exterior 
               fire escape. Flames have cut off the fire escape two floors 
               below, so Brian climbs down as far as possible, crawls onto 
               a ledge, KICKS out a window, steps through,

               And falls.

               INT. WAREHOUSE - ELEVATOR SHAFT - NIGHT

               Blackness and emptiness, two stories of it, before he CRASHES 
               into a pool of water at the bottom. He's in a freight elevator 
               shaft, thrashing madly, drowning. Great SHEETS of WATER are 
               POURING through an upper doorway and CASCADING down like 
               monsoon rain.

               EXT. WAREHOUSE - FIREBOAT

               We see it's coming from the fireboat's rushing stream.

               INT. WAREHOUSE - ELEVATOR SHAFT

               The weight of his equipment is pulling Brian underwater. 
               Struggling against the insane swirls and the sheets of water 
               still POURING DOWN, Brian unhooks his air tank. He leans 
               back, tries to float on the rising column of water. -- His 
               coat catches on something -- YANKS him underwater. He 
               struggles feverishly -- finally tears the coat off.

               The building GROANS in earnest. Flaming chunks of plaster 
               CRASH down around Brian, forcing him to duck underwater. The 
               place is coming apart.

               Ten feet above, one of the falling chunks SMACKS a gas main, 
               SPLITTING then IGNITING it. A white-hot JET OF FLAME SHOOTS 
               from one side of the shaft to the other.

               Brian's floating okay, he's floating right up into the flames.

               Brian tries to flatten himself out, to keep everything but 
               his nose below water, but he's still moving up -- the heat 
               becoming so intense his face flares and he's ducking under 
               water now, trying to stay alive, trying to decide whether to 
               drown or burn --

               -- When there's a CRASH. And suddenly another door on the 
               shaft is tearing open. There's a glint of an axe. A 
               flashlight.

               It's Stephen.

               Brian has about two seconds left. In that time Stephen sees 
               the shut-off for the gas line mounted on the wall opposite. 
               It's unreachable, a good twelve feet across a horizontal 
               curtain of flame. Before we can even assimilate that, 
               Stephen's already jumped. A crazy leap over the fire. He 
               SMACKS the opposite wall, HITS the shut-off, and FALLS 
               CRASHING into the pool beside Brian.

                                     STEPHEN
                         You crazy son of a bitch, why couldn't 
                         you stay behind a desk where you 
                         belong?

                                     BRIAN
                         "You never know till the fire stares 
                         you down if you're gonna be --"

                                     STEPHEN
                         Oh shut up, huh?
                              (grimaces)
                         I think I broke my goddamn arm...

               Brian helps him stay above water. The level continues to 
               rise, bringing them finally even with an open doorway they 
               scramble through.

               INT. WAREHOUSE - STAIRWAY - NIGHT

               It leads to a stairwell that's become a RAGING TORRENT of 
               water spilling down it. No way. They push through to the 
               next doorway and out onto

               INT. WAREHOUSE - NIGHT

               The place is full of hundreds of chemical drums. The fire 
               has cracked its way into the room as WUMP -- drums begin 
               EXPLODING, SHOOTING UPWARD Roman candle fountains of 
               glittering FLAME. Brian helps Stephen as they snake their 
               way past sweating drums -- pressure valves hissing madly 
               with desperation. They duck low, round a corner,

               INT. WAREHOUSE - CATWALK - NIGHT

               -- And walk right into an axe handle that SMACKS Brian's 
               throat KNOCKING him gasping flat on his back. It's Adcox.

               Stephen JUMPS Adcox and TACKLES him on the edge of a metal 
               platform that extends out from the raised flooring.

                                     STEPHEN
                         You stupid son of a bitch! What the 
                         fuck are you doing!

                                     AXE
                         Stevie... I...

               Adcox struggles against him, heaving and sobbing.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Let it go! Goddamn it let it go!

               And Adcox releases the axe.

                                     AXE
                         I'm sorry... I'm so sorry...

               Brian's on his feet now, coming toward them, when a chemical 
               drum below EXPLODES, the shock wave BUCKLING the platform 
               and DROPPING it several feet before it HOLDS. Brian, cut-
               off, is HIT with a wall of debris.

               Adcox and Stephen are FLUNG across the platform and THROUGH 
               the shattered railing. Stephen grabs a piece of broken, 
               dangling strut and hangs on with one hand.

               In his other hand is Adcox. Hanging below him, his grip 
               loosening.

                                     BRIAN
                         Stephen!

               Brian's struggling to get out from under the debris. The 
               railing Stephen's hanging onto is slick, his hand SLIPPING 
               along it. But he won't let go of Adcox. His eyes bore into 
               his best friend's with absolute conviction.

                                     STEPHEN
                         You go, we go.

               The towering shots of FLAME from below have begun to IGNITE 
               Adcox's pant leg. He's starting to burn. But Stephen won't 
               let go. Won't let go even as the flames crawl up Adcox's 
               back. And Stephen's hand is slipping and slipping and then 
               it isn't slipping anymore because it's come off.

                                     BRIAN
                         NO!

               Adcox and Stephen FALL. There's a narrow catwalk half-way 
               down. Stephen HITS with a sickening CRUNCH.

               Adcox falls past it, down into the flames.

               There's an exposed I-beam running from the ruined platform 
               out over the catwalk. Brian climbs up onto it, balances across 
               over the fire below and jumps down to the catwalk where his 
               brother lies, battered but still alive.

                                     BRIAN
                         You're gonna be all right, man.

               INT. WAREHOUSE - FLOOR - NIGHT

               Brian looks down and across the factory floor. There, coming 
               through the doorway, is Pengelly and Nightengale with a 
               hoseline.

               INT. WAREHOUSE - NIGHT

                                     BRIAN
                         Hey! Over here!

               They start for him when another drum EXPLODES, FLATTENING 
               them and launching their hoseline into a crazy, thrashing 
               arc. The flame has cut them off from the hose. Stephen sees 
               what Brian's thinking.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Wait for another hose team...

               But Brian's already moving for the catwalk ladder.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Wait for the goddamn hose team!

               Brian puts his feet on the outside rungs of the ladder and 
               SLIDES down to the factory floor. He's heading for the 
               hoseline when WHAM! -- The fire cuts him off. Not just any 
               fire. That same one from so many years ago.

               Don't fuck with me, kid. I'm not in the mood.

               Nightengale's lost his helmet and it's lying near the flames 
               spinning slowly upside down -- just like his father's. Brian 
               stands there, paralyzed, as the fire laughs at him. Same old 
               little kid with his finger up his ass. Then something 
               different comes into Brian's eyes.

                                     BRIAN
                         No... No more.

               There's a pathetic little wall extinguisher mounted on the 
               pole. Brian lifts it, approaches the fire. You can practically 
               hear the flames laugh at him. Brian suddenly turns and SLAMS 
               the neck of the extinguisher against the pole, BREAKING it 
               off before HEAVING the cannister HISSING into the flames 
               where it EXPLODES -- a cloud of extinguisher powder that 
               STUNS the flames just long enough for Brian to dash through 
               and TACKLE the hose.

               The fire shakes off the powder, rises up to kill -- Just as 
               Brian spins and HITS it with the STREAM.

               -- And it's like a howling train wreck as the two grapple 
               with each other -- Pengelly and Nightengale have an opening, 
               and they're dashing for the catwalk ladder up to Stephen 
               because the fire doesn't care -- it only has eyes for Brian 
               now --

               -- And Stephen sees Brian tackle the monster, and his eyes 
               fill with tears --

               -- And the fire's pushing Brian -- pushing him with the fury 
               of a frightened street bully -- but Brian won't give -- and 
               now the fire's back's broken -- it's whimpering, dying.

               And Pengelly and Nightengale have climbed up to Stephen now, 
               pulling him away.

                                     STEPHEN
                         That's my brother! That's my brother 
                         goddamn it!

               And the fire's just a little gremlin now, sighing sadly as 
               Brian steps up with the hoseline.

                                     BRIAN
                         Another time, friend.

               And whoosh, it's gone.

               EXT. BURNED BUILDING - NIGHT

               Brian rushes up as paramedics load his brother into an 
               ambulance.

                                     STEPHEN
                              (smiles, weak)
                         You are such a pain in the ass...

               As Brian jumps in with him

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. AMBULANCE - NIGHT

               Paramedics swarm over Stephen as the ambulance screams through 
               the night. Brian's right there, holding his hand.

                                     STEPHEN
                         Don't tell them about Adcox... Don't 
                         let 'em...

                                     BRIAN
                         I'm sorry... I'm sorry I thought... 
                         I won't.

               His brother squeezes Brian's hand, his eyes never leaving 
               him.

                                     PARAMEDIC
                              (reading EKG)
                         Oh shit, give him some lidocaine, 
                         now. Now.

                                     STEPHEN
                              (beat)
                         Who's your brother?

               Stephen's EKG's begun to falter. The other paramedic fires 
               off an injection into his IV.

                                     PARAMEDIC
                         His pressure's fading -- push some 
                         adrenalin.

               The EKG's become erratic. Stephen's eyes never leave Brian's.

                                     BRIAN
                         Oh man, don't you die... Don't you 
                         die...

                                     PARAMEDIC #2
                         He's going south... He's gonna box 
                         damn it...

               They put an ambo bag over Stephen's face. The eyes never 
               leave Brian's.

                                     BRIAN
                         Goddamn it don't you die now... Not 
                         now!

               They're breathing for him now. The EKG begins shrieking.

                                     PARAMEDIC
                         V-fib!

               The paramedics begin scrambling to load the defibrillator 
               pads on Stephen's chest. But the fireman's eyes never waver 
               from Brian. They look into his with complete conviction, 
               complete acceptance, And then they don't.

               FADE TO BLACK:

               Then, FADE UP TO:

               EXT. MICHIGAN AVE - DAWN

               A silent, quiet street absolutely empty of traffic. Then 
               over the crest of Chicago's mightiest thoroughfare, creeps 
               slowly a fire engine. It's emergency lights are on but not 
               the siren. This engine isn't in a hurry today.

               Behind comes another fire engine. And another. Ten, twenty, 
               all of them creeping slowly along. And behind the engines 
               now walk firemen in their dress blues. Hundreds of them. 
               Walking silently in step behind

               TWO COFFINS

               Loaded in the rear of Engine 17. Santos drives as Grindle, 
               Brian, and the men of ladder company 46, walk behind. The 
               silent procession passes under extended aerial ladders crossed 
               like dress swords. Average people stop, take their hats off.

               EXT. LAKE SHORE DRIVE - THE SILENT PROCESSION

               Sequence omitted from original script.

               EXT. CEMETERY - DAY

               Two coffins, lying side by side, draped in the blue and white 
               of the Chicago flag. A single fire helmet rests atop each 
               casket.

               Brian stands at attention beside Helen. He holds the hand of 
               Stephen's son Sean, his eyes clouded with tears as a fire 
               dept. honor guard plays Taps. Jennifer's there, too far away 
               to touch.

               Rimgale, still wearing a head bandage, stands stiffly beside 
               a brass bell and speaks with a voice raw and weary.

                                     SHADOW
                         In the Chicago Fire Department the 
                         alarm code 3-3-5 signifies that the 
                         company has returned home to quarters. 
                         We will now ring out that code to 
                         welcome home John Adcox and Stephen 
                         McCaffrey...

               With a small hammer Rimgale rings out 3-3-5 on the bell.

               The honor guard folds the flag covering Stephen's casket and 
               hands it to Helen, who holds it to her breast as we

                                                               DISSOLVE TO:

               EXT. CEMETERY - DAY

               A sea of blue uniforms drifting across green as the funeral 
               breaks up. Brian hugs Helen and Sean. Lets them go.

               EXT. CEMETERY EDGE - DAY

               Rimgale's there, resting against his dept. sedan as Brian 
               walks by, pauses, and leans on it beside him. A beat.

                                     SHADOW
                         Your brother was a good man.

                                     BRIAN
                         Yeah.

                                     SHADOW
                         Another couple of good men get burned 
                         up for their city? Is that how it's 
                         going to read?
                              (Brian doesn't answer)
                         You're the only one that knows.

                                     BRIAN
                         Like it never happened...

               Rimgale turns to walk back to his sedan. He pauses. Looks 
               back to Brian.

                                     SHADOW
                         Want to help me with something?

               INT. OFFICE - DAY

               An elevator opens as Brian and Rimgale walk quickly out, 
               down a hall, and BURST into Swayzak's office.

               INT. SWAYZAK'S OFFICE - DAY

               The Alderman's there, giving a press conference from his 
               desk.

                                     SHADOW
                         Mr. Swayzak! How ya doin'?

                                     SWAYZAK
                              (confused)
                         Investigator...

               Rimgale sits on Swayzak's desk.

                                     SWAYZAK
                         I'm a little busy right now --

                                     SHADOW
                         This'll only take a minute. There's 
                         two cops outside that want to ask 
                         you about this --

               Rimgale drops the manning report on Swayzak's desk.

                                     SHADOW
                         This is just a guess of course, but 
                         I think they're gonna want to know 
                         why you secretly paid Donald Cosgrove, 
                         Jeffrey Holcomb and Alan Seagrave to 
                         create a phony manpower study.
                              (to cameras)
                         You guys'll wait, right?

               The room explodes with questions. Through the din Brian leans 
               over the desk very close to Swayzak.

                                     BRIAN
                         See that glow flashing in the corner 
                         of your eye? That's your career 
                         dissipation light. And it just went 
                         into high gear.

               Brian turns and pushes his way out. At the door he pauses 
               and looks back at Rimgale. The investigator nods and smiles 
               just a little...

               INT. SWAYZAK'S OFFICE CORRIDOR

               As Brian walks down it, Rimgale appears and calls to him.

                                     SHADOW
                         -- Brian.

               Brian hesitates.

                                     SHADOW
                         Don't keep looking over your shoulder 
                         for the ghost. It's gone now.

               And there's just a beat between the investigator and his 
               probie before Brian nods and walks away.

               EXT. SWAYZAK OFFICE CORRIDOR

               Brian walks down the hall. He passes Jennifer's small office. 
               She's in there, surrounded by packing boxes.

                                     BRIAN
                         I think your boss is going to need 
                         some spin control.

                                     JENNIFER
                         I quit two days ago, Brian.

                                     BRIAN
                              (beat)
                         What'll you do?

                                     JENNIFER
                         I don't have the slightest idea...

                                     BRIAN
                         I'll see ya around, huh?

                                     JENNIFER
                         It's a small town.

                                                               DISSOLVE TO:

               EXT. FIRE STATION 17 - CITY

               And morning breaking across the avenues and up against the 
               tired brick of firehouse 17.

               INT. FIRE STATION 17 - LOCKER ROOM

               Brian sits staring into his locker, lost in thought, his 
               equipment stacked up on the bench beside him. THE ALARM KLAXON 
               SOUNDS

               INT. FIRE STATION 17 - APPARATUS FLOOR

               And firemen scurrying to their equipment on the apparatus 
               floor. They're climbing aboard their rigs now and the pumper's 
               diesel is coughing to life.

               At the last moment, as it begins to pull out, Brian comes 
               sliding down the pole in his turn-out gear, bounces off the 
               floor, and climbs aboard as the engine WHISTLES away.

               INT. ENGINE 17 - CAB

               There's a new fireman beside him on the bench. He can't get 
               his coat buckled right. Brian leans over does it for him.

                                     BRIAN
                         You're doing it wrong.

               EXT. FIRE ENGINE 17 - STREET - DAY

               And the fire engine slips away from us, down the avenue, 
               into the city as we

                                                              FADE TO BLACK

                                         THE END