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Black Snake Moan Movie Script

Writer(s) : Craig Brewer

Genres : Drama

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                                     BLACK SNAKE MOAN 




                                        Written by
      
                                       Craig Brewer



                

               Only one kind of blues... 
               And that consists between male and female. 
               - Son House

                

               EXT. RONNIE'S TRAILER - EARLY DAWN

               RAE is naked.

               Wrapped around her shoulders is a loose-knit spread that 
               conceals her slender form. She is in her 20's: a strawberry 
               blond, with cinnamon freckles spotted across her pale skin. 
               She is beautiful without trying.

               She stares at the distant trees. This is the South; the small 
               town of FISHERVILLE, TENNESSEE.

               Soon Rae will be alone.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. RONNIE'S TRAILER - EARLY MORNING

               RONNIE is 25 years old. His hair is cropped in a military 
               issue buzz.

               Rae's face is wet with tears as Ronnie gently makes love to 
               her. She touches his face and sobs like a child.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. RONNIE'S TRAILER - LATER THAT MORNING

               RONNIE is dressed in his National Guard fatigues, packing up 
               his gear.

               Rae is now wearing a short jeans skirt and a T-shirt with a 
               gray wolf print ironed on the front. There is a knock at the 
               door. Rae flinches. Ronnie opens the door revealing GILL 
               MORTON, Ronnie's buddy from high school.

                                     GILL
                         Still need a lift?

                                     RONNIE
                         Yeah. Transmission's shot.

               Gill and Rae's eyes meet. Gill sees that Rae is crying.

                                     GILL
                         Gonna have a smoke.

               Ronnie shuts the door and feels a wave of sudden nausea. He 
               rushes past Rae.

                                     RONNIE
                         Shit...

               INT. RONNIE'S TRAILER - BATHROOM - MORNING

               Ronnie is vomiting into the toilet as Rae rubs his head. 
               Each painful dry heave makes Rae comfort him more.

                                     RAE
                         Baby...

               EXT. RONNIE'S TRAILER - MORNING

               Ronnie places his duffle bag in Gill's truck. Rae begins to 
               cough.

                                     GILL
                         You sick?

               Rae doesn't answer.

               Gill backs away, allowing Ronnie and Rae some privacy. The 
               two lovers stare into each others eyes and then embrace.

               Rae peeks over Ronnie's shoulder at Gill with an expression 
               of dread. Anger seizes her.

                                     RAE
                         This ain't gonna work.

                                     RONNIE
                         Rae...

                                     RAE
                         I don't see why we gotta lie 'bout 
                         it when you and I know this ain't 
                         gonna work.

                                     RONNIE
                              (holds her face in 
                              his hands)
                         Rae don't do this now...

                                     RAE
                         It's stupid... It's so fucking stupid!

                                     RONNIE
                         Rae!

               Silence. Rae melts. Tears stream down her face.

                                     RONNIE
                              (reaches in his pocket)
                         Look it. I got somethin' for us. 
                         This is gonna help, okay.

                                     GILL
                         You gonna miss your bus.

               Ronnie removes a small digital watch and fastens it around 
               her wrist.

                                     RONNIE
                         This watch here is gonna beep at 
                         midnight. Every night. That's when 
                         it comes up on you the hardest, right?

               Ronnie holds out his own wrist to show her his identical 
               watch.

                                     RONNIE
                         And wherever I'm at, my watch'll 
                         beep, too. We'll be thinkin' bout 
                         each other at the same time. Wherever 
                         we are.

               Rae is shaking. He grips her by the back of her neck and 
               pushes their faces inches away. Eye to eye.

                                     RONNIE
                         I gotta believe we can do this or I 
                         ain't gonna make it, Rae.

               Rae sees the fear in his eyes. She swallows her own anxiety 
               and nods.

                                     RAE
                         Okay... Okay.

               They kiss passionately.

                                     RONNIE
                         I love you.

               Afraid of his swelling emotion, Ronnie quickly breaks away 
               from her.

               Rae watches as her love leaves in Gill's pick-up. Compelled 
               to follow, she absently walks after the truck, down the gravel 
               drive.

               She stops. Silence. She is alone.

               An intense wave of sorrow hits, like a kick to her gut. She 
               gasps for breath as she struggles to hold back the flood of 
               her tears.

               Rae drops to her knees, right there in the gravel drive. Her 
               hair falls in front of her face, masking her grief.

               Her shoulders shudder.

               Her middle finger begins to scratch at her thigh repeatedly -- 
               a nervous habit that has always accompanied this burning 
               sensation that consumes her.

                                     RAE
                         Shit.

               Tears come to her. She's not going to be able to stop it.

                                     RAE
                         Goddammit, Ronnie...
                              (shouting in 
                              frustration)
                         GODDAMMIT!

               Rae is gripping the watch around her wrist for comfort. Her 
               breathing is already out of her control. The dizziness is 
               already upon her. The familiar burning.

               She inhales in gasps, rocking back and forth on her knees. 
               The late morning cicadas chirp in an undulating frenzy.

                                     RAE
                              (shaking her head)
                         Mm-mm
                              (meaning "no")
                         Mm-mm... Mm-mm...

               The scratching at her leg leaves a red mark. She is dizzy 
               with anxiety. Her teeth are clenched, her face is flush.

                                     RAE
                         MM-MM! MM-MM! MMMMMMMMMMMM!

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. MOTEL ROOM - AFTERNOON

               TEHRONNE is fucking Rae from behind.

               Tehronne is a muscular, dark-skinned, black male in his late 
               twenties.

               Rae's face is crammed up against the mirror in the small 
               bathroom. Tehronne gets faster and pushes harder -- a stark 
               contrast to her lovemaking with Ronnie.

               Rae comes. A severe coughing fit hits her. She pushes him 
               away with her ass.

                                     RAE
                         We're done, right?

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. FISHERVILLE SQUARE - AFTERNOON

               Walking with his hands shoved deep into his pockets, wearing 
               his only suit and tie, is LAZARUS WOODS (LAZ). He is in his 
               late fifties, black, a strong face under his old fedora. He 
               stares across the street into Dunn's Cafe.

               ROSE WOODS, black, early forties, stands in the cafe. She 
               looks confident and resolute in her new green skirt.

               A brown Delta Olds pulls up into a parking space in front of 
               Laz. Stepping out is REVEREND R.L., Laz's longtime friend. 
               He is also black and in his late fifties.

                                     R.L.
                         You ain't gonna make a fuss, are 
                         you?
                              (no answer)
                         Nothing a man can do when a woman 
                         make up her mind.

                                     LAZARUS
                         I never laid a hand on her in anger. 
                         Not a day. Not even when I's drinkin'. 
                         But this business got me wonderin' 
                         what a good shake and slap would do 
                         for her.

                                     R.L.
                         That kind of talk is between us. 
                         Don't you go in there with that shit 
                         on your tongue.

                                     LAZARUS
                         I didn't start this, R.L.

               Laz tries to stop his lip from quivering: the man is hurting.

                                     R.L.
                         You wanna pray with me 'fore you go 
                         in? Laz?
                              (R.L. touches Laz's 
                              arm and bows his 
                              head)
                         Heavenly Father...

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. DUNN'S CAFE - AFTERNOON

               R.L.'s prayer is heard as Laz opens the front door to the 
               cafe. He looks ill. Each step is painful.

                                     R.L. (V.O.)
                         We do not question your divine plan 
                         for us, Oh God. But in these times, 
                         when our spirit lies in shadow. When 
                         we are lost.

               Laz crosses to Rose's booth -- the distance seems to stretch 
               out into eternity.

                                     R.L. (V.O.)
                         We ask that you give us strength. 
                         Give us strength that surpasses all 
                         understanding. In your name we pray. 
                         Amen.

               Laz sits across from his wife.

                                     ROSE
                         Can't remember the last time I saw 
                         you in that suit.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Your mother's funeral. I's a 
                         pallbearer, remember?

               The waitress is kind and twangy as she asks for their order.

                                     WAITRESS
                         Can I start you both off with some 
                         coffee 'fore I take your order?

                                     ROSE
                         We won't be stayin' long. Coffee'll 
                         be fine.

               The waitress leaves. The sounds of the cafe fill the silence.

                                     ROSE
                         We leavin' this weekend. Deke got a 
                         friend in Mobile gonna get him a job 
                         at the water company...

                                     LAZARUS
                              (interrupting)
                         If you come to talk about that 
                         muthafucka, I'm gonna get up and 
                         leave you sittin' pretty in that new 
                         suit he bought'cha.

                                     ROSE
                         Think this about money still, ya old 
                         fool?

                                     LAZARUS
                         Say what you gotta say, but I ain't 
                         gonna hear you speak his name to me. 
                         Not never. You hear?

                                     ROSE
                         How many times we been over this, 
                         Laz? How many times?

               The waitress places the coffee between them and leaves.

                                     ROSE
                         Thought we was gonna be friendly 
                         about this.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Carryin' on behind my back. Make me 
                         out to look like a fool to all our 
                         people. Tell me, what's friendly 
                         about that?

                                     ROSE
                         I'm not ready to grow old, Laz. Livin' 
                         with you. I feel it. Like I'm one 
                         foot in the dirt. Saw it happen to 
                         my momma. And that's not gonna happen 
                         to me. I got living to do.

                                     LAZARUS
                         And you gonna live it with him?

               Rose doesn't answer. Lazarus softens, touching her hand.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Rose. Folks get sick. But you do 
                         what you can to get on the mend. Our 
                         marriage... it just got sick. That's 
                         all.

                                     ROSE
                         Talk to me about sick. Ain't been 
                         right since I moved into that drafty 
                         house.

                                     LAZARUS
                         I keep the heat on.

                                     ROSE
                         That damned, rusty, radiator, bout 
                         burned the skin off my legs each 
                         time I passed.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Kept us warm for twelve years.

               It's over. Laz has lost her for good.

                                     ROSE
                         I deserve better than this.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Better'n me?

                                     ROSE
                         Better than what you give.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Rose... please...

                                     ROSE
                         Laz... You can't say nothin'...

                                     LAZARUS
                         If we get with a counselor. At the 
                         church, maybe they's...

                                     ROSE
                              (the final interruption)
                         I don't love ya no more.

               The words are daggers. Laz is wounded beyond concealment. 
               Rose picks up her purse, preparing to leave.

                                     ROSE
                         I'm sorry you hurtin'. But, like I 
                         say, this the only life I got.
                              (waits for him to 
                              respond)
                         I said my piece.

               She stands and attempts to walk away. Laz grips her tightly 
               by the wrist.

                                     LAZARUS
                         God forgive you, for how you done 
                         me...

                                     ROSE
                         Let go...

                                     LAZARUS
                         My Daddy told me that a younger woman 
                         would bleed me dry. And that's what 
                         you did. Ya bled me.

                                     ROSE
                         Let go of my arm...

                                     LAZARUS
                         Would'a chopped my arm off if you 
                         asked. And this how you do me!

                                     ROSE
                         LAZ, I said let...!

                                     LAZARUS
                         You better pray, gal. You better 
                         pray...

                                     ROSE
                              (yanks free)
                         Don't you lay a CURSE ON ME!

               The whole cafe is silent. All eyes are on Rose.

                                     ROSE
                              (to customers)
                         Yeah, go'on! Look! See if I give a 
                         shit about any of you people!

               And she's gone, right out the front door.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. MOTEL ROOM - AFTERNOON

               Tehronne is taking his time hanging his ice around his neck 
               and wrists as he stands shirtless before the mirror. Rae is 
               lying on the bed.

                                     RAE
                         You got any money?

                                     TEHRONNE
                         Thought you had a man for that.

                                     RAE
                              (a heavy cough)
                         I said we wasn't gonna talk about 
                         him.

                                     TEHRONNE
                         What we just did, you askin' for 
                         money, make a man stop. I ain't 
                         callin' you no ho. But I ain't gonna 
                         be played like no trick, neither. 
                         Remember... you called me.

                                     RAE
                         Save that hustle talk to them field 
                         ballers you sell crack to.

                                     TEHRONNE
                         What'd I tell you?
                              (kicks the bed)
                         I don't do none of that shit no more. 
                         I'm in communications now.

                                     RAE
                         Stolen phone cards and two-ways is 
                         what you sayin'.

               Rae starts coughing.

                                     TEHRONNE
                         Mobile technology is the new fix for 
                         these niggaz, I'm tellin' you. I'm 
                         just lookin' ahead.
                              (takes out his wallet)
                         Anyways, ain't no money in drugs no 
                         more with these rednecks popping 
                         cough pills like they's Skittles. 
                         Hey, that's what you need, girl. Get 
                         you some cough medicine. What, you 
                         sick?

                                     RAE
                         Just a cough. Sugar and a spoonful 
                         of Jack'll do it.

                                     TEHRONNE
                              (takes out money)
                         Alright. How much you need, ho?

                                     RAE
                         The hell you call me?

                                     TEHRONNE
                         Eh, if the bootie fits...

               Tehronne catches Rae's wrist as she goes to slap. He quickly 
               yanks her arm behind her back and bends her backwards, shoving 
               his face close to her own. He grips the money in a fist and 
               cocks it to punch -- all in jest.

                                     TEHRONNE
                         You gonna get rough? Is that what 
                         you doin'?

               Rae's chest begins to heave with deep breaths. Tehronne looks 
               down at her legs as she anxiously rubs them together.

                                     TEHRONNE
                              (shakes his head)
                         I swear, I seen some buck-wild bitches 
                         in my time, but you the illest I 
                         ever seen.

               Rae gets control of the burning. She takes the money.

                                     RAE
                         Just got a cough.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. FISHERVILLE SQUARE - DAY

               Rae is prancing up the walkway on the square. Two young men 
               dressed for construction pass Rae.

                                     MAN
                         It's already noon, Rae. You think 
                         that skirt should still be on?

                                     RAE
                              (flips them off)
                         If it weren't you could kiss my rebel 
                         cootch, ya faggot.

               The men keep walking as Rae coughs. She turns toward the 
               Fisherville Grocery.

                                     SANDY
                         Cough drops or condoms?

               Rae stops in her tracks, looking up at her estranged mother, 
               SANDY, smoking a cigarette outside the grocery store. Sandy 
               has bleached hair with dark roots. She is in her late-forties: 
               once a sexy girl, now she's lost all her tread.

                                     RAE
                              (surprised to see her)
                         Didn't know you was workin' here 
                         now?

                                     SANDY
                         I just like dressin' up in these 
                         goddamn blue vests.
                              (takes a drag)
                         Your money ticket get shipped today?

               Rae walks away -- deeply affected by Sandy's presence.

                                     SANDY
                              (calling after her)
                         You let me know if I can be of any 
                         assistance.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. MELVIN'S FEED STORE - DAY

               Laz drives an old green Ford pick-up. He pulls the truck up 
               to the front of the feed store and kills the engine.

               LINCOLN, a 13-year-old black boy, comes out of the open 
               loading door.

                                     LINCOLN
                         You won't at the square this mornin'.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Get me ten bags of mulch.

                                     LINCOLN
                         Yes'sir.

               Lincoln runs off. Laz yanks off his black tie.

               EXT. MELVIN'S FEED STORE - LATER

               Lincoln slaps the last bag of mulch into the bed of Laz's 
               truck. Laz hands Lincoln a twenty.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Keep the change on that.

                                     LINCOLN
                         Naw... I got it, Mr. Lazarus.
                              (makes change)
                         You wanna tip me, best do it in butter 
                         beans. Momma say she need a bag 'a 
                         yours, none of that store-bought 
                         junk. That's what she said.

               Laz smiles. He takes the change. Climbs in his truck.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Alright, Lincoln. You come on by, 
                         I'll load you up.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. LAZARUS'S BARN - LATE DAY

               Lazarus steers his tractor toward his small home in a sea of 
               lush green kudzu. He kills the engine and looks beyond the 
               nose of his tractor. He lights a cigarette. Below the nose 
               is the head of a rose garden with a painted sign under it: 
               Rose's Roses.

               Laz inhales smoke and exhales hate. The tractor lunges 
               forward, trampling the garden, ripping the flowers to shreds.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. BOJO'S - EARLY EVENING

               MAYELLA is a heavy, forty-year-old black woman. Her blue 
               neon tube top matches her short pants stretched across her 
               healthy ass. She is flipping through the juke box selection.

                                     MAYELLA
                         You gonna put some Luther Vandross 
                         in here? Shit, he black ain't he?

               BOJO is reading a paper behind the bar. He's short and stout, 
               looking like a sad bull dog.

                                     BOJO
                         He black alright, he just ain't blue.

                                     MAYELLA
                         Why you stop havin' dancin' on 
                         Saturday? Used to have bands... all 
                         kind's live shit. Like a wake up in 
                         here, now.

                                     BOJO
                         Folks can dance when they want. Didn't 
                         buy that mirror ball for nothin'.

                                     MAYELLA
                         You seen my snake-skin shoes?

               Mayella lifts up her leg and stretches it over the bar with 
               a provocative flourish. Her shoe is bright blue.

                                     MAYELLA
                         They're from New York. My niece gets 
                         'em on the computer.

                                     LAZARUS
                         They got blue snakes up north?

               Mayella turns to Laz sipping a beer at the end of the bar.

                                     MAYELLA
                         Naw. They got some blue dye, though. 
                         You think them boots you got on come 
                         from a black cow?

                                     BOJO
                         Wanna get on somebody 'bout live 
                         music, get on ol' Laz, there. He the 
                         one got this place shakin' back in 
                         the day.

                                     MAYELLA
                         Don't gotta tell me. Me and my 
                         girlfriends use-ta talk 'bout them 
                         hard fingertips he got pickin' that 
                         guitar.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Got'em pickin' peas, not strings.

               Mayella moves in close, with the tips of her tits touching 
               his arm.

                                     MAYELLA
                         They still hard?

                                     LAZARUS
                         Mayella. It ain't happened yet. Ain't 
                         happenin' tonight.

                                     MAYELLA
                              (retreating with a 
                              glare)
                         I know you hurtin', Laz. I got ears, 
                         you know. But you should know more'n 
                         me... ain't no better cure for them 
                         blues than some good pussy.

               Mayella saunters over to the pool table with the others.

                                     BOJO
                         Whole lotta woman, right there.

                                     LAZARUS
                         She can still spread it around.

               The door opens behind Laz. Bojo sees the man entering.

                                     BOJO
                         Laz. We friends and all but... promise 
                         me you'll keep yo cool in my joint.

               Laz turns to see the door shut behind his brother, DEKE WOODS. 
               He is younger than Laz and a bit smaller. Laz turns to Bojo.

                                     LAZARUS
                         I'm gonna finish my beer.

               Deke slowly approaches Laz at the bar.

                                     DEKE
                         Mind if I sit?
                              (no answer)
                         Rose said... it didn't go too well 
                         this afternoon. See, that's not how 
                         we wanted this to go down. I told 
                         her, I said, Rose, we ain't leavin' 
                         till we make peace with Laz. And 
                         that's God's truth. I laid it down.

                                     LAZARUS
                         You laid it down.

                                     DEKE
                         I did.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Funny. Layin' it down... for my wife.

                                     DEKE
                         We're not gonna get through this 
                         clean. But it don't need to get dirty. 
                         All this... it just come together 
                         unexpected. You think I want to hurt 
                         you? I... I'd take a bullet for you, 
                         Laz.

               The dry look on Laz's face could cool the sun.

                                     LAZARUS
                         You wanna give that a try?
                              (to Bojo)
                         Bo. You still got that .22 behind 
                         the tap? My little brother say he'd 
                         take a bullet for me.
                              (into Deke's eyes)
                         You come here to ease your heart. 
                         Well, I ain't gonna give it to you. 
                         You took her into your bed, now you 
                         gotta lie in it.

               Laz turns back to the bar. Deke begins to turn but stops.

                                     DEKE
                         I'll always love you, Laz. Till the 
                         end of my...

               In one quick movement, Laz grips Deke by the throat and 
               smashes the bottom of his bottle into jagged shards.

                                     BOJO
                         LAZ!

               Laz pushes Deke back through the joint and slams him onto 
               the pool table. He grips Deke's throat and holds the broken 
               bottle up to his face.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Cain slew Able. Slew him out of envy. 
                         And God put his mark on Cain for his 
                         sin. You want that mark, Deke? Give 
                         you that peace you come here for? 
                         I'll give it to you, just say that 
                         shit again. Say you love me. Go'on! 
                         Say YOU LOVE ME, NIGGA!

               Lazarus slams the bottle down on the pool table, shattering 
               it. Laz lifts his hand. His own blood leaks from between his 
               fingers.

               He wipes the blood across Deke's face.

                                     LAZARUS
                         I'm through wit'cha both.

               Laz releases Deke and exits. Deke calls after him.

                                     DEKE
                         What'chu gonna do? Nothin'. YOU AIN'T 
                         GONNA DO NOTHIN'!

               Laz slams the door behind him.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. FISHERVILLE HIGH SCHOOL - FOOTBALL FIELD - NIGHT

               The bleachers are packed with three generations of fans and 
               family cheering their boys on the high school football field.

               Rae is sitting with her two girlfriends, JESSE and KELL -- 
               two girls who graduated five years ago.

                                     JESSE
                              (hands Rae a beer)
                         Ronnie ship out this mornin'?

                                     RAE
                         It's so stupid. Says to me that he 
                         don't want nothin' to do with no 
                         military career. Says he wants to 
                         move. Open up an auto shop with his 
                         uncle up in Knoxville. I said, okay. 
                         How about now? Let's go.

                                     KELL
                         He'd be good for that. Shit, Ronnie 
                         knows cars.

                                     RAE
                         He get stubborn. Starts talkin' 'bout 
                         obligation and duty and all that... 
                         Shit. I just want him to come home... 
                         I swear, if somethin' happens to 
                         him...

                                     KELL
                         He fixed up that Buick for my uncle 
                         Dale. He say it purrs like a kitten 
                         every morning.

                                     JESSE
                         Nothing's gonna happen. Not like 
                         everybody over there is in the line 
                         of fire with them Arabs blowin' 
                         themselves up.

                                     RAE
                         Can't be thinkin' bout him every 
                         second of my day. I'll go outta my 
                         gourd.

                                     JESSE
                         Why should you waste your life waitin' 
                         and wonderin'. Not like you're 
                         married.

                                     RAE
                              (takes a healthy swig)
                         I begged him not to go. And he did.

                                     KELL
                              (screaming at the 
                              field)
                         PUNT YOU FUCKERS!

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. CONNER'S HOUSE - THE KEGGER - NIGHT

               Dirty South rap pounds the ears from a hoopty Olds with a 
               backseat full of bass. Rae, Kell, and Jesse are walking up 
               to the rowdy party through the variety of parked cars.

               A girl rushes past the trio, vomiting on herself as a friend 
               comes to her aid.

                                     JESSE
                         These baby chicks just can't hold 
                         their Jello shots. I'm tellin' ya.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. CONNER'S HOUSE - THE KEGGER - NIGHT

               CONNER is one of the linebackers for the Fisherville Dusters. 
               A wasted girl sits on his lap as Kell rolls a joint.

                                     CONNER
                         Tennessee Vols gotta practice indoors 
                         just so those Florida State sons-a-
                         bitches don't spy on their plays 
                         with satellites and shit.

                                     KELL
                         Satellites... You mean in space?

                                     CONNER
                         Uh-huh.

                                     KELL
                         Good thing you can block, Conner, 
                         cuz you're dumb as a sack of shit.

               Jesse notices Rae coughing. She pulls her aside as Conner 
               rambles.

                                     JESSE
                         You wanna go home?

                                     RAE
                         It gets worse there. Leavin' me to 
                         my own mind. That's just not good.

                                     JESSE
                              (pours a shot of vodka)
                         Here. Pound this and I'll join you.

               Rae and Jesse take a strong shot. It burns.

                                     JESSE
                         One more. Fuck the chaser.

               As they pound one more, Rae notices Gill, Ronnie's friend, 
               staring at her from across the room.

                                     JESSE
                         Better?

                                     RAE
                         Yeah.

               BATSON and MARK approach Jesse and Rae. They are both 
               sophomores, both skinny and harmless.

                                     BATSON
                         Hey, Jess.

                                     JESSE
                         Boys.

                                     BATSON
                         You robotrippin' tonight?

                                     JESSE
                         I'm just gonna smoke.

               Rae peeks at Gill maneuvering through the room.

                                     BATSON
                              (rummages in his 
                              pockets)
                         Got eight packs of DXM. Oxycontin. 
                         Got a shit load of Coricidin if you 
                         want to get out-a-body, n'all.

                                     JESSE
                         You just trying to get me outta my 
                         clothes.

                                     RAE
                         Be right back.

               Rae pushes through the crowd of drunken kids to get to Gill.

                                     RAE
                         It's not like I can't go out and 
                         have fun with my friends.

                                     GILL
                         You think I'm Ronnie's spy or 
                         somethin'? Come tomorrow that dumb-
                         ass gonna be halfway round the world 
                         tryin' to keep his head on his 
                         shoulders. You think he's gonna be 
                         thinkin' about you?

                                     RAE
                         You go to hell.

               Rae pushes through the crowd, back toward the others.

                                     RAE
                              (to Batson)
                         How many to fuck me up?

               QUICK CUTS of: Batson popping out five red cough pills. Rae 
               swallowing all five and chasing them with vodka. Conner's 
               girl falls off his lap. Kell laughs. The laughter echoes and 
               grows as we:

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. CONNER'S HOUSE - THE KEGGER - HIS PARENT'S WATERBED - 
               NIGHT

               CLOSE ANGLES: We never quite see the whole of what is implied. 
               Rae's eyes, Jesse's mouth, a boy's shoulder.

               The room is packed with bodies. Rae laughs with pleasure as 
               her eyes attempt to focus. The kid on top of her finishes 
               and rolls off.

                                     JESSE
                         What's so funny?

               Jesse is straddling a guy in an arm chair, Chinese-eyed and 
               bouncing. Rae tries to respond coherently as another football 
               player rolls her over on all fours and takes her from behind.

                                     RAE
                              (laughing)
                         Oh... I'm just on a water bed... And 
                         it's just... so... Goddamn... funny!

               A few coughs. Rae focuses to see a younger guy sitting at 
               her eye level.

                                     RAE
                         Hi.

                                     BRYAN
                         Hey.

                                     RAE
                         You ain't the kicker, are you?

                                     BRYAN
                         No, ma'am.

                                     RAE
                         Cuz let me tell you, you boys gotta 
                         run the ball more. You get into a 
                         kicking game, ya'll gonna lose.

                                     BRYAN
                         Can I put it in your mouth?

                                     RAE
                         Okay.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. LAZARUS'S HOME - THE BEDROOM - NIGHT

               Laz kills the rest of his whiskey. He squeezes his eyes closed 
               as the liquor burns his throat. He tosses the bottle into a 
               trash bag he is holding.

               Laz continues throwing out all of Rose's make-up and hair 
               products. With one broad sweep, he cleans off her vanity.

               INT. LAZARUS'S HOME - NIGHT

               Laz opens the front door and tosses the two bags outside. 
               Stumbling, he kneels next to the coiled radiator against the 
               wall opposite the door. He talks to it like an old friend.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Seem like you and me... we drove her 
                         away. That's what we did. Now we...
                              (singing softly)
                         Drinkin' muddy water... a'sleep in a 
                         hollow log...

               A thought.

               INT. LAZARUS'S HOME - THE BEDROOM - NIGHT

               Laz pulls out a guitar case from under the bed. He wipes a 
               layer of dust off and opens it.

               INT. LAZARUS'S HOME - KITCHEN - NIGHT

               He gently cradles the guitar in his big hands and sits at 
               his kitchen table. Tunes the strings. He closes his eyes, 
               swimming in drunken sorrow.

                                     LAZARUS
                         You gonna do this?

               Laz plays the blues, Mississippi, Bentonian style: one guitar, 
               one voice, a mess of pain.

                                     LAZARUS
                              (singing, his eyes 
                              closed)
                         Just like a bird without a feather, 
                         you know 
                         I'm lost without your love. 
                         Just like a bird without a feather, 
                         you know 
                         I'm lost without your love. 
                         You know I need your love just like 
                         the angels need heaven above.

               The music continues as we:

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. CONNER'S HOUSE - THE KEGGER - THE WOODS OUT BACK - 
               NIGHT

               Lazarus's blues is all we hear as four guys chase Rae through 
               the woods. She is in her shirt and panties, wearing football 
               shoulder pads.

               She is completely wasted. Lost. The ground rocks back and 
               forth with each step. Trees pass in a slow-motion haze.

                                     LAZARUS
                              (singing)
                         Well I sure did shot my baby, but I 
                         did it because she did me wrong. 
                         Well I sure did shot my baby, but I 
                         did it because she did me wrong. 
                         You know the judge called it murder 
                         now the penitentiary is my home.

               Rae grips a tree to steady herself, but a team member tackles 
               her. The woods spin and distort as someone mounts her with 
               ease.

                                     LAZARUS
                              (singing)
                         I loved that woman, she said she 
                         didn't love no one but me. 
                         I loved that woman, she said she 
                         didn't love no one but me.

               Rae smiles as she lifts her hand up to the stars, passing 
               the writhing back of the guy on top of her. If she could 
               just grab a star she would feel safe again.

               She tries to snatch one. She can't. Her hand drops as the 
               boy stands and takes off after his friends tossing the 
               football.

               Rae lies motionless on the ground.

                                     LAZARUS
                              (singing)
                         Yeah but I caught my baby cheating.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. LAZARUS'S HOME - KITCHEN - NIGHT

               A tear rolls down Laz's cheek.

                                     LAZARUS
                              (singing)
                         Now my home ain't where it used to 
                         be.

               His guitar groans its last for the night.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. CONNER'S HOUSE - THE KEGGER - FRONT YARD - LATER THAT 
               NIGHT

               Rae is wasted. She is still wearing her shirt, panties and 
               shoulder pads as she steps over passed-out teenagers.

                                     RAE
                         Jes? Jesse?
                              (trips over a sprinkler)
                         Oh shit... Wait... Wait... STOP!

                                     GILL
                         Stop what?

               Rae doesn't look up. The Coricidin is tripping her out.

                                     RAE
                              (coughing)
                         The ground is... turnin' upside down. 
                         I'm gonna...
                              (coughing)
                         I'm gonna fall off...

               Gill reaches down and pulls off the shoulder pads. The 
               coughing fit passes.

                                     RAE
                         Oh. That feels so much better.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. ROAD - NIGHT

               Gill's truck flies down the dark road.

               INT. GILL'S TRUCK - NIGHT

               Rae is looking out the window, drifting in and out.

                                     GILL
                         Thought you had a skirt earlier.

                                     RAE
                         I got others.

               Gill pulls to the side of the road and kills the engine. He 
               watches Rae tilt her head from side to side.

                                     GILL
                         This thing you got... I've heard 
                         people say, you'd fuck a tree if it 
                         was handy. I can see that.
                              (shakes his head)
                         But that nigger Tehronne. Thinks 
                         he's some player cuz he hustles dope 
                         and stolen hubcaps. I mean, I can 
                         see a tree. But that piece of shit?

                                     RAE
                              (lost in hazy sorrow)
                         I begged him. Don't see why he had 
                         to go...

                                     GILL
                         I bet you did. Just had to get that 
                         black cock up in you. I swear to 
                         God. What Ronnie sees... you disgust 
                         me.

               Gill grabs her legs and spreads them with no resistance. Her 
               head rolls from side to side on the truck seat as Gill unzips 
               his pants.

               Rae starts giggling.

                                     GILL
                         The fuck you laughin' at?

                                     RAE
                              (giggling)
                         You don't got half what Tehronne 
                         got.

               Gill flinches upright. A rage builds in his eyes.

               EXT. ROAD - NIGHT

               From outside the steamed truck window, we see Gill beat Rae 
               repeatedly.

               Silence.

                                     GILL
                              (muffled from the 
                              inside)
                         Get up! I ain't playin'! OPEN YOUR 
                         GODDAMN EYES!

               Silence.

               He opens the truck door, fear in his eyes. Rae isn't moving. 
               Blood is on her face.

                                     GILL
                         Oh, Jesus...

               A hasty idea. He pushes her out of the truck. She falls to 
               the dark pavement in a tangle of her own limbs.

               The door slams. Gill floors the gas. Rae lies motionless 
               alone under the stars.

               Her watch alarm goes off: Beep-beep. Beep-beep. Beep-beep.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. A BUS - NIGHT

               Ronnie is asleep on the bus, unaware that his watch alarm in 
               beeping at him.

               A Guardsman sitting next to him shakes Ronnie awake.

                                     GUARDSMAN
                         Hey.

               Ronnie silences the alarm. He regards the watch with sadness 
               and affection.

               EXT. FREEWAY - NIGHT

               The bus roars past. The red brake lights fade into night.

                                                             FADE TO BLACK:

               INT. LAZARUS'S HOME - KITCHEN - EARLY MORNING

               Lazarus has fallen asleep sitting at his kitchen table. His 
               eyes open. Standing is difficult. The guitar falls to the 
               floor.

               The phone rings. Dizziness hits, but he manages to pick up 
               the receiver.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Huh?

               INT. CHURCH OF GOD / LAZARUS'S HOME - EARLY MORNING

               R.L. is on his cell phone. He is placing hymnals in the back 
               racks of the church pews.

                                     R.L.
                         Bojo called. Said you got to see 
                         your brother at the long end of a 
                         broken bottle.

                                     LAZARUS
                         You gonna preach 'bout turnin' the 
                         other cheek?

                                     R.L.
                         I think you did alright by God under 
                         the circumstances.
                              (R.L. pauses)
                         Your people are here for you, Laz. 
                         This is your home. No shame in showing 
                         your face.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Don't know if God wanna see me.

                                     R.L.
                         He knows where ya at. Just answer 
                         the door if he come knockin'.

               Laz hangs up the phone.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. LAZARUS'S HOME - LATE MORNING

               Lazarus steps out onto his porch. He picks up the trash bags 
               full of Rose's things and walks down the gravel drive to the 
               road.

               EXT. LAZARUS'S HOME - WHERE THE DRIVE MEETS THE ROAD - LATE 
               MORNING

               Laz tosses the bags inside his trash cans.

               He's really hung over this morning. His eyes squeeze shut, 
               he grips his neck in pain.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Mmmmmmmmmm... Mm!

               His eyes open. They remain fixed beyond us. The pain in his 
               face is replaced with grave confusion.

               Rae lies on the side of the road.

               Her T-shirt and panties are damp from the early morning mist, 
               her face caked with dried blood. Her skin is deathly white, 
               her mouth open, her eyes shut and swollen.

               Lazarus carefully steps toward her. He leans down over her 
               face.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Sweet... Jesus...

               Rae coughs. Laz flinches.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. LAZARUS' HOME - LATE MORNING

               The door slams against the wall as it swings open. Laz is 
               carrying Rae, unconscious and limp, in his arms.

               He lays her down on the couch by the radiator. He pulls a 
               quilt over her cold skin. With a twist of the valve the 
               radiator moans to life.

               Laz takes out his bandana and cleans her face. He tries to 
               wake her.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Little lady? Miss? You need to open 
                         your eyes for me. Could ya do that?

               Her eyes open slightly -- just slits of white.

                                     LAZARUS
                         There we go. There we go. Just like 
                         you doin'. Go'on.

               She whispers as she touches her fingers to his cheek.

                                     RAE
                              (a raspy inhale)
                         Teh... Tehronne?

                                     LAZARUS
                         Tehronne? Tehronne done this?

               A labored breath followed by the most pitiful cough fit. Laz 
               tries to calm her as her lungs fight for oxygen. Laz looks 
               scared as the coughing stops in a desperate wheeze followed 
               by silence.

               INT. LAZARUS'S HOME - KITCHEN - MORNING

               Laz pulls the phone off its cradle on the wall and flips 
               through the phone book.

               His fingers scan down the listings and stops on POLICE 
               DEPARTMENT. He dials and listens.

                                     OPERATOR
                              (a recorded voice)
                         You've reached the Fisherville Police 
                         Department. Your call will be answered 
                         in the order it was received. If 
                         this is an emergency, please, hang 
                         up and dial 9-1-...

               Slam! Fingers hit the phone cradle. Lazarus dials 911.

               As soon as he places the phone to his ear, he looks over at 
               Rae sprawled out on his couch. Her bare legs can be seen 
               peeking out from under the quilt.

               Fear hits him. He slams the phone down again.

               Laz crosses to the couch and gently touches her head.

                                     LAZARUS
                              (softly)
                         I'm'a go into town. Get you some 
                         medicine to fix you up. You just 
                         rest, okay, gal? You just sleep. Get 
                         that chill out'cha.

               Laz touches the radiator. It burns him.

                                     LAZARUS
                         God... damn...

               EXT. ROAD - AFTERNOON

               Laz's Ford roars down the shaded street towards town.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. FISHERVILLE SQUARE - MACON DRUGS - AFTERNOON

               Laz parks his truck in front of MACON DRUGS and heads inside.

               An old black man named RED sits on a bench next to an older 
               white man in his early eighties holding a cane. RED is the 
               paid caretaker of MELVIN.

                                     MELVIN
                         How's the squash this year?

                                     LAZARUS
                         It's good, Mister Melvin. I'll bring 
                         ya some.

               Laz rushes inside.

               INT. MACON DRUGS - AFTERNOON

               The variety of cough medicine confuses Laz as he examines 
               them.

               ANGELA approaches Laz. She is dressed in a floral print dress 
               with a white lab coat. Angela has a few extra pounds on her 
               but she wears it well with her caring face and sweet manner.

                                     ANGELA
                         Lazarus?

                                     LAZARUS
                              (startled)
                         Oh! Gave me a start.

                                     ANGELA
                         I'm sorry. It's these soft shoes I 
                         wear for my back.

                                     LAZARUS
                         You hurt it?

                                     ANGELA
                         I'm standing most of my day. They're 
                         for support.
                              (a smile)
                         Didn't see you in church this mornin'.

                                     LAZARUS
                              (tries to lie)
                         Been on the crop. May need to get 
                         some extra hands if I don't want to 
                         work on Sundays.

                                     ANGELA
                         Well. It's good to see you.

               Angela wants the conversation to continue but Laz remains 
               silent. She smiles awkwardly.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Angela?

                                     ANGELA
                         Yes?

                                     LAZARUS
                         I need to uh...

                                     ANGELA
                         Go on, Laz. You can talk to me.

                                     LAZARUS
                         My little niece... she got this deep 
                         cough.

                                     ANGELA
                         You take her to a doctor?

                                     LAZARUS
                              (struggles to lie)
                         No. No, she can't go. Mean to say... 
                         they's just no money fo'a doctor. 
                         Her daddy left for a job, and uh... 
                         give her to me to look on. I just...
                              (a pitiful pause)
                         I don't know what to do.

               Angela thinks for a moment.

                                     ANGELA
                         You wait right here.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. LAZARUS' HOME - DAY

               Snot and spittle has run down the side of Rae's face -- her 
               eyelids stick together as she tries to open them.

               There is a creak, followed by another. Rae has become aware 
               that someone is slowly walking up the front porch.

               The door opens. Silhouetted in the day's blinding light is a 
               white man in his 40's. His face is indistinguishable to Rae's 
               affected gaze.

               Is this a dream?

               He stands above her and lights a cigarette. The Zippo lighter 
               clasps shut. The man lowers it to his side where Rae can see 
               it clearly. A bald eagle is printed on the side, a sight 
               that makes Rae's eyes open wide in horror.

               Her breath grows deeper -- a girlish plea. This is no dream -- 
               it's a nightmare.

                                     RAE
                         Mm-mm... Mm-mm...

               A massive hand slaps down over her mouth. Her crusted eyes 
               peer above the hairy knuckles. He sucks on the cigarette. A 
               red cherry blazes at the end. The man pushes the blanket off 
               of her and grips her panties.

               Rae's eyes close. She knows what is next. In his clenched 
               fist, the panties are ripped off.

                                     RAE
                         NOOOOO!

               Rae flinches awake from the fever-induced nightmare and falls 
               to the wooden floor, drenched in sweat. Weakened and shaking, 
               she scampers away, finally collapsing in the kitchen. Her 
               hand reaches out and lands on the strings of Laz's guitar on 
               the floor. She grips the steel strings with her trembling 
               fingers.

               A single bass note twangs as she passes out.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. MACON DRUGS - AFTERNOON

               Angela stands between the aisles, motioning Laz to approach, 
               away from the girl at the counter.

                                     ANGELA
                         Is your niece older than 12?

                                     LAZARUS
                         Oh, she older than that.

               She hands him a white box with cough syrup inside.

                                     ANGELA
                         My sister got a bad cough with her 
                         pneumonia. I just copied her 
                         prescription. You don't need to pay 
                         anything... just take it. But if she 
                         gets worse, you give me a call. I 
                         wrote my number on the box.

                                     LAZARUS
                         This gonna get you in trouble?

                                     ANGELA
                         Not if no one finds out.

               Laz doesn't know what to say. He puts the box in his pocket.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Thank you.
                              (suddenly awkward)
                         Oh. My wife. She had a card here for 
                         her migraine pills. She ain't gonna 
                         be around no more... So if you...

                                     ANGELA
                         I already tossed that out.
                              (takes a step closer)
                         Somethin' you should'a done to that 
                         woman long ago... how she treated 
                         you. Of course, that's none of my 
                         business.

                                     LAZARUS
                              (smiles)
                         Don't make it less true.

               Angela returns the smile.

               EXT. MACON DRUGS - AFTERNOON

               Laz opens his truck door and stops. At the pool-hall across 
               the square, Laz sees a green Cutlass with chrome rims.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. POOL HALL - AFTERNOON

               Laz enters the empty pool hall. Tehronne is playing a game 
               with a skinny playa-wanna-be dressed in flea-market Fubu.

               CHARLIE, the owner, approaches Laz from the bar.

                                     CHARLIE
                         Hey, Lazarus. We closed up on Sunday.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Need a word with Tehronne.

                                     CHARLIE
                              (calling to the back)
                         Yo, T! Laz wanna holla at cha.

                                     TEHRONNE
                         Come on back, Cuz.

               Charlie nods Laz on. He crosses to the back pool table as 
               Tehronne sinks the 8. Tehronne looks at his friend.

                                     TEHRONNE
                         Do you call it a game when only one 
                         man win each time? I think you call 
                         it a damn shame.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Word wit'cha. In private.

               Tehronne hands his friend the pool cue. The two take a few 
               steps away to talk.

                                     TEHRONNE
                         You need some weed?

                                     LAZARUS
                         Been years since I fooled with that.
                              (tries to find the 
                              words)
                         You know a white girl? Dirty blond 
                         hair, split down the middle like?

                                     TEHRONNE
                              (smiles)
                         That ain't up to me to hook you up. 
                         Naw what I mean? She her own, you 
                         know?

                                     LAZARUS
                         Huh?

                                     TEHRONNE
                         I don't pimp that.
                              (silence)
                         You talkin' about who I think you 
                         talkin' about, you mean Rae. Rae 
                         Doole. Sexy little split tail, like 
                         you say. I can't hook you up with 
                         that. I got two girls. One ain't in 
                         town, the other one pregnant. So... 
                         you on your own.

                                     LAZARUS
                         This Rae... you get with her?

                                     TEHRONNE
                         Shit. Who hasn't?

                                     LAZARUS
                         Why you say that?

                                     TEHRONNE
                         She got a spare minute she'll snatch 
                         up anyone... but me, I'm different. 
                         Sometimes she need the real deal, so 
                         she call me up. Girl got an itch. 
                         You know... what's a nigga to do?

                                     LAZARUS
                         She like it rough? You like beatin' 
                         on her?

                                     TEHRONNE
                         That ain't my scene. If that's 
                         somethin' you into...

                                     LAZARUS
                         Now, hold up.

                                     TEHRONNE
                         See, that girl is in my favor. You 
                         heard me, nigga? You fuck with her 
                         rough, and you got me to fuck wit.

                                     LAZARUS
                         You collar that dog, boy. I ain't 
                         gonna hurt nobody. Just wanted to 
                         know who she was.

                                     TEHRONNE
                         Like I say, you wanna hook that up... 
                         I ain't in ya way. That switch of 
                         hers been all over this town. Got 
                         that sickness, you know.

                                     LAZARUS
                         What'chu sayin'?

                                     TEHRONNE
                         She a freak. Got what you call a 
                         sexual addiction.

               Lazarus looks at him with a furrowed brow. Confused.

                                     LAZARUS
                         What'chu sayin'?

                                     TEHRONNE
                         What I'm tellin' you. Girl gotta get 
                         dick or she go crazy.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. LAZARUS' HOME - DAY

               Laz opens his own door with caution. He turns to see Rae 
               sprawled in his kitchen in her panties and T-shirt. He rushes 
               to her side.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Gal? Miss Rae? Rae, you hear me?

               Lazarus lifts her sweaty body off the floor and moves her 
               back to the couch.

               Consciousness briefly returns to Rae in her feverish haze.

                                                                  FLASH TO:

               CLOSE UP - FLASHBACK

               The white-knuckled hand clutched around her mouth.

                                                             FLASH BACK TO:

               INT. LAZARUS' HOME - DAY

               Rae flinches and flails. She falls to the floor.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Hold on, now. Hold on!

               Rae's eyes are open and filled with fear. She struggles to 
               flee as Laz holds her in place, trying to reassure her.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Now, I ain't gonna hurt'cha. Calm 
                         down, Miss.
                              (she fights, coughs)
                         Listen... Listen... LISTEN NOW, GAL!
                              (Rae settles in his 
                              grip)
                         I ain't gonna hurt ya, hear? Gotta 
                         get you well. Now, look me... HEY! 
                         Look me in the eye.

               Rae is too weak to talk or move. Laz clutches her small face 
               in his dark hands.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Open your eyes. Go'on, now. You need 
                         to see, ain't no harm here. Ain't no 
                         harm.
                              (Rae calms)
                         My name is Lazarus Woods. And I ain't 
                         gonna let you die.

               Rae's eyes roll back.

               Lazarus looks terrified as she cranes her head back and 
               forward. Her mouth opens.

               In her sickened state, with the force of something evil and 
               deep inside, Rae clasps her open mouth over Laz's. A shriek 
               sounds in his brain as he holds her tighter, allowing the 
               kiss to grow in intensity. Rae falls to her stomach as Laz 
               abruptly stands and stumbles across the room. What he sees 
               chills him to the bone.

               Rae is writhing on the floor as if she is possessed -- a 
               rant of raspy words pour from her mouth.

                                     RAE
                         ...you don't... touch me... s'no... 
                         NO! Mm-mm... Mm-MMMMMMMMMMMMM! N-
                         N'you FUCK!

               Lazarus gets spooked by what he is seeing. He looks to the 
               mantle. His weathered Bible lies in a coat of dust. He picks 
               it up as a wave of the burning hits Rae.

               She clutches her breast and crotch, rolling from side to 
               side.

                                     RAE
                         Mm-mm... mm-mm... Ma-muh... Ma-MUH!
                              (sudden anger, shouting)
                         See... S... See if'I GIVE... GIVE'A... 
                         SHIT...

                                                                  FLASH TO:

               INT. DUNN'S CAFE - MORNING - FLASHBACK

               Rose is shouting at the customers in the cafe. Her eyes are 
               white like Rae's. Her voice is not her own but that of Rae.

                                     ROSE/RAE
                              (screaming)
                         'BOUT ANY OF YOU PEOPLE!

                                                             FLASH BACK TO:

               EXT. LAZARUS' HOME - DAY

               Laz runs out of his own home, not even shutting the door 
               behind him. He gets half way down his drive, the Bible still 
               clutched in his hand. He stops.

               In a panic, Laz opens his Bible, places it down on the drive, 
               face up, creating a barrier to evil. He hears a choking cough 
               inside the house. Rae is fighting for breath beyond the dark 
               door.

               Silence. Laz reaches down and picks up his Bible.

               A passage catches his eye. As he reads, the fear vanishes 
               from his face. His back straightens. His jaw tightens. He 
               looks back at his house, his faith is renewed.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. LAZARUS'S HOME - THE BATHROOM - DAY

               The Bible is slammed down on top of the toilet tank. The 
               bathtub faucet coughs as Laz twists the cold water knob.

               INT. LAZARUS' HOME - KITCHEN - DAY

               The freezer door opens. He snatches four trays of ice.

               INT. LAZARUS' HOME - THE BATHROOM - DAY

               The trays crack. The ice cubes bounce into the tub.

               INT. LAZARUS' HOME - DAY

               Rae's lips are dried and split as she pants, lost in dizzying 
               fever. Laz lifts her.

               INT. LAZARUS' HOME - THE BATHROOM - DAY

               Laz kneels on one knee to put her into the tub.

               A horrible cry from Rae as Laz wrestles with her, keeping 
               her submerged in the ice cold water.

                                     LAZARUS
                         I know, child, I know. Gotta break 
                         that fever now.
                              (Rae sobs, struggles)
                         Don't mean to hurt'chu. But I ain't 
                         lettin' you die.
                              (holding her down)
                         I AIN'T LETTIN' YOU DIE!

               Rae is motionless. Exhausted. Her eyes are open but blind. 
               Her lip trembles. Her body shakes from the freezing water.

               Laz rubs the hair from her face gently. He reaches over to 
               the Bible on the toilet and opens it to read.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Put fear of the Devil in me, gal. 
                         Got me spooked like I's a kid, I 
                         tell you.
                              (flips through the 
                              pages)
                         But the good Lord, He showed me what 
                         to do. He come knockin' like my man 
                         R.L. say... listen here...
                              (Rae sobs like a child)
                         This here Matthew. He talkin' on how 
                         Jesus was healin' the sick. And a 
                         man come up to the disciples and he 
                         say...
                              (reads deliberately)
                         Have mercy on my son, for he is a 
                         lunatic, and sore vexed...
                              (to Rae)
                         He got the devil in his mind and 
                         sores on his skin.
                              (reads)
                         And he brought the boy to the 
                         disciples, but they could NOT cure 
                         him.

               Rae's shivering is abating. Her eyes fight to stay open. Laz 
               touches her forehead to test her temperature.

                                     LAZARUS
                              (reading)
                         Then Jesus answered and said, O 
                         faithless and perverse generation... 
                         how long shall I suffer you? Bring 
                         the boy hither to me. And Jesus 
                         rebuked the devil.
                              (to Rae)
                         You hear that?
                              (reads)
                         Then the disciples say... Why could 
                         not we cast the devil out? And Jesus 
                         said unto them...

               Rae's eyes begin to close. Laz gently touches her head to 
               rile her awake.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Listen now... This what he sayin' to 
                         us. He say...
                              (reads)
                         If ye have faith... if ye have faith 
                         as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall 
                         say unto a mountain, remove hence... 
                         and it... shall... move. And 
                         nothin'... nothin' shall be impossible 
                         to you.
                              (to Rae)
                         You hear that? You just need a bit 
                         of faith. You just gotta believe you 
                         gonna get well, like I do.

               He touches her forehead again. Her eyes close.

                                     LAZARUS
                         That's better. You coolin' down. 
                         Okay. You rest. Okay. You rest.

               Laz leans against the wall, spent.

               EXT. LAZARUS' HOME - SUNSET

               The cicadas sing in a rising chorus as the clouds above fade 
               from copper to crimson.

                                                             FADE TO BLACK.

               INT. LAZARUS' HOME - NIGHT

               The faint echo of Rae's fevered panting.

               She lies on the couch wrapped in a quilt, shivering. Her 
               eyes remain closed, her face drenched with sweat. Laz has 
               cleaned her facial wounds, using a few Band-Aids.

               BOOM!

               An explosion ignites the windows surrounding the cabin. Rae 
               jolts awake, terror pervades her as she gasps at the fire 
               ball outside the window.

               She struggles to her feet and listens. A faint sound can be 
               heard through the roar of the flames. beep beep... beep 
               beep... beep beep... beep beep...

                                     RAE
                              (a whisper)
                         Ronnie...

               Rae stumbles to the door, weak and dizzy. She grips the door 
               knob and pulls the door open.

               EXT. LAZARUS' HOME - NIGHT

               Rae races outside, tripping down the front porch steps. She 
               looks off at the blaze in the squash field. She frantically 
               races toward the fire, the beeping increases.

                                     RAE
                         Ronnie... RONNIE!

               BEEP BEEP... BEEP BEEP... BEEP BEEP... BEEP BEEP...

               At the center of the blaze is an upside down Humvee. To the 
               left of the vehicle, a few soldier's bodies lay scattered. 
               Rae's legs lose all strength, she collapses and crawls across 
               the squash plants.

               A far away voice is heard over the roaring flames.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Gal? Gal?

               Rae crawls across a fallen soldier, following the sound of 
               Ronnie's alarm. She struggles to breathe, she almost faints.

               She finds a soldier face down. With all her strength she 
               turns him over. It is Ronnie, wide-eyed and lifeless.

               An awful groan comes out of Rae -- crippling sorrow. She 
               pulls on his vest trying to wake him.

                                     RAE
                              (sobbing)
                         Nn-nn... Nn-nn... no... N'RONNIE!

                                     LAZARUS
                         GAL! YOU HEARIN' MY VOICE?

               Rae looks up. The flaming humvee is gone. She is not pulling 
               on Ronnie's vest, but the tangled vines of a squash plant.

               Laz stands at a safe distance, silhouetted in moonlight.

                                     LAZARUS
                         You travelin' right now, gal. You 
                         asleep and you don't even know it.
                              (extends his hand)
                         Now... come on inside with me.

               Rae looks like a terrified child. Her eyes well with tears 
               as she shakes her head. Laz takes a step toward her.

                                     RAE
                         Mm-mm... Mm-mm...

                                     LAZARUS
                         Come on, gal...

               She turns and runs away as best she can. Laz chases after 
               her. He's much older than her and a bit slower, but her 
               balance betrays her.

               Laz wraps his arms around her. Rae screams to the sky.

                                     RAE
                         NO! NOOO! NOOOOOOOOOO!

               And then, stillness. Rae lies limp in Laz's arms, unconscious.

               He reaches down and lifts her wrist to his face. The green 
               screen of the digital watch pulsates with the alarm.

               He pushes the side button. The beeping stops. Silence.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. LAZARUS' HOME - KITCHEN - NIGHT

               Laz lays Rae back onto his couch. Her eyes open into slits. 
               She can see Laz's form over her like the man in her nightmare.

               Rae grabs Laz's wrist. He flinches with her force.

                                     RAE
                              (the whisper of a 
                              child)
                         Is'okay... Is'okay...

               Struggling with exhaustion, Rae moves Laz's hand to her bare 
               stomach. She rubs it slowly up and down her form, 
               suggestively.

               Laz slips his hand away and claps it tight over her eyes. 
               Rae holds her breath, waiting to be molested, her lip 
               quivering.

                                     LAZARUS
                              (singing deep and 
                              soft)
                         Goin' over that hill. Goin' over 
                         that hill. Well, I ain't gonna stop 
                         until I reach my God's top. I'm goin' 
                         over the hill. Well I went to the 
                         valley, I didn't go to stay. Soul 
                         got happy, I stayed all day. I'm 
                         goin' over that hill.

               Rae relaxes and falls into a deep sleep.

               Laz backs away from her, a touch of fear in his heart. The 
               voice of Tehronne is heard from earlier in the day.

                                     TEHRONNE (V.O.)
                         She a freak. Got what you call a 
                         sexual addiction.

                                     LAZARUS (V.O.)
                         What'chu sayin'?

                                     TEHRONNE (V.O.)
                         What I'm tellin' you. Girl gotta get 
                         dick or she go crazy.

                                                                  FLASH TO:

               INT. POOL HALL - EARLIER THAT DAY - FLASHBACK

               Lazarus looks at Tehronne with a furrowed brow, confused.

                                     TEHRONNE
                         First hooked up with that bitch when 
                         she was 16. Girl was fuckin' the 
                         principal and two of her teachers. 
                         You know coach Reynolds?

                                     LAZARUS
                         Uh-huh.

                                     TEHRONNE
                         He tapped that.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Naw!

                                     TEHRONNE
                         Go ask him.

                                                             FLASH BACK TO:

               INT. LAZARUS'S BARN - NIGHT

               Lazarus opens his barn, slicing through the darkness with 
               his flashlight.

                                     TEHRONNE (V.O.)
                         She been bumpin' around all her life, 
                         hookin' up with whoever keep her fed 
                         and fucked.

               He crosses to the other side, pulls on a beaded chain turning 
               on the single bulb above his work table.

                                     TEHRONNE (V.O.)
                         I seen her give it up on park benches, 
                         back of trucks, hoopty hoods, you 
                         name it.

               Laz opens an old wooden box on his work table. He looks 
               inside.

                                                                  FLASH TO:

               INT. POOL HALL - MORNING - FLASHBACK

               Laz looks ill. Tehronne checks his pager briefly.

                                     TEHRONNE
                         You ever seen a train run on a woman?

                                     LAZARUS
                         Nuh-uh.

                                     TEHRONNE
                         Meanin' like a team of fellas go to 
                         work on her and she don't even break 
                         a sweat.
                              (puts his pager away)
                         She into football, you know. You got 
                         a letter on your jacket you get that 
                         pussy in ya lap. I ain't playin'.

               Tehronne's friend breaks on the pool table with a sharp crack. 
               Lazarus is genuinely disturbed.

                                     LAZARUS
                         How a girl get like that?

                                     TEHRONNE
                         Like I told you.

                                                             FLASH BACK TO:

               INT. LAZARUS'S BARN - NIGHT

               Lazarus reaches inside the box and pulls out the end of an 
               old chain.

                                     TEHRONNE (V.O.)
                         Girl got a sickness.

               The chain rattles as Laz walks backwards, pulling the long 
               chain from the box. The shouting of his brother can be heard.

                                     DEKE (V.O.)
                         What'chu gonna do? Huh? Nothin'. YOU 
                         AIN'T GONNA DO NOTHIN'! NOTHIN'!

               The end of the chain snags, yanking the box over.

               CRASH!

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. LAZARUS' HOME - THE VEGETABLE GARDEN - LATE MORNING

               Lazarus is bent over, harvesting his tomatoes.

                                     LAZARUS
                              (singing to himself)
                         Tell me who's that writin'? John the 
                         Revelator. Wrote the book of the 
                         seven seals.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. LAZARUS' HOME - AFTERNOON

               Laz enters his home. He crosses to the kitchen and pours 
               himself a glass of water.

               Dripping with sweat, he steps back into the room, downing 
               the last of his water. He lowers the glass, noticing Rae 
               looking at him.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Hey.

               Rae lifts her head off the pillow. Laz comes to her side and 
               helps her sit up.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Take it easy now. Don't rush it.

                                     RAE
                              (a scratchy whisper)
                         How long... how long I been out?

                                     LAZARUS
                         You been in and out goin' on two... 
                         maybe two days.

                                     RAE
                              (can't believe it)
                         Two days?

                                     LAZARUS
                         After your fever broke, you'd wake 
                         up in spells... long enough to get 
                         that medicine in ya.

               Rae sits up on the couch, the quilt wrapped around her waist. 
               She looks at the cough syrup bottle on the side table.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Found you on the side of the road. 
                         Someone took to beatin' on you pretty 
                         bad. You know who done that to you?

               Rae touches the cut over her eye. That evening is still a 
               blur.

                                     RAE
                         Where's Ronnie?

                                     LAZARUS
                         Well I don't...

                                     RAE
                              (remembering)
                         Wait. He left.

               Rae lifts her head, revealing tears in her eyes. She gets 
               mad at herself and wipes them away.

                                     RAE
                         I don't got any money... for fixin' 
                         me up and all.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Don't need none.

                                     RAE
                         Then I better be on my way. Don't 
                         wanna put you out no more.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Think it'd be best if you stayed put 
                         while we talk.

                                     RAE
                         Naw'sir... I gotta be on my way.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Best try gettin' ya wits about you 
                         'fore you try to...

               Rae struggles for balance as she attempts to stand. The quilt 
               falls away as a heavy chain slides off the couch and thuds 
               on the floor by her feet.

               Rae feels a tug.

               She looks down to see a dark chain locked around her thin 
               waist and coiled on the floor. The opposite end is locked 
               around the side coil of the radiator.

               She is chained to the house, a prisoner.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Let me say somethin' first...

                                     RAE
                         Why you got me chained?

                                     LAZARUS
                         Way I see it, it's gonna take a while 
                         for you to get right.

                                     RAE
                         The fuck you been doin' to me?

                                     LAZARUS
                         I ain't laid a hand on ya but to 
                         ease yo fever... Remember like I 
                         say, I found you in the road...

                                     RAE
                              (yanks at the chain 
                              around her waist)
                         Get this Goddamn thing off me!

               Rae stumbles as she moves away from Laz. Laz tries to reassure 
               her.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Now, no harm's come to you... and I 
                         aim to keep it that way. Ain't 
                         gonna... gonna run a train over ya... 
                         or however you call it... see... you 
                         was runnin' wild on me... these fever 
                         dreams you was havin'... these fits. 
                         I'd be chasin' you all night.

                                     RAE
                         Well I'm woke now... you can take 
                         this off.

               Rae waits.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Gal, you ain't right yet.

                                     RAE
                         I'm right enough to stand on my own 
                         two feet. Now take this Goddamn chain 
                         off...

                                     LAZARUS
                         How you let men treat ya like they 
                         do?

                                     RAE
                         What?

                                     LAZARUS
                         These men you up under. How you let 
                         them do ya like that?

                                     RAE
                              (grips the chain)
                         Do me? Do me like this, you mean? 
                         Like chainin' me up?

                                     LAZARUS
                         You know what I'm talkin' about.
                              (beat)
                         All that mess with ya teachers and... 
                         boys in the backs of trucks.

                                     RAE
                              (shocked)
                         The hell you know about me?! You got 
                         no right to talk to me about that 
                         shit! The hell you think you are?

                                     LAZARUS
                              (interrupting)
                         I've saved ya life, gal. I can do 
                         and say whatever the fuck I want.

               Rae begins to feel a pang of panic. She goes to the chain 
               locked around the radiator. She yanks on it a few times.

                                     LAZARUS
                         I give ya enough chain so's you can 
                         get about the house. Get you to the 
                         kitchen. You need the bathroom, it'll 
                         reach.

                                     RAE
                         What do you want?

                                     LAZARUS
                         We got everything we need. Plenty of 
                         food. Ya medicine still got a few 
                         good swallows in it...

                                     RAE
                         WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?!
                              (Laz can't answer)
                         WHATEVER YOU GONNA DO TO ME, JUST DO 
                         IT! AND LET ME GO!

                                     LAZARUS
                         God saw to it to put you in my path. 
                         And I aim to cure ya of your 
                         wickedness.

               This statement terrifies Rae. The fear can be seen in her 
               eyes. She backs away -- the chain scrapes across the floor.

                                     RAE
                         You some kind'a pervert?

                                     LAZARUS
                         No ma'am.

                                     RAE
                         Some crazy Jesus freak, gonna fuck 
                         the spirit into me...

                                     LAZARUS
                         In my house, you watch that lip...

                                     RAE
                              (furious, near tears)
                         Look it, mister... you wanna have 
                         your way, you take it. I'll do 
                         whatever you want. But you gotta let 
                         me go. You can't do this! You can't 
                         KEEP ME HERE!

                                     LAZARUS
                         You sick. You got a sickness... we 
                         broke that fever... we gonna break 
                         that hold the devil got on ya.

               Rae pushes Laz back and bolts for the door. Laz falls back 
               against the side table by the couch, toppling the lamp.

               EXT. LAZARUS' HOME / INT. LAZARUS' HOME - AFTERNOON

               The door slams against the house as Rae rushes out in her 
               wolf shirt and panties -- the chain trailing behind her.

                                     RAE
                              (screaming)
                         HELP!

               Laz watches as the coil unravels and snaps taut, yanking on 
               the old radiator.

               Clank! The chain whips Rae down to the ground. Laz watches 
               as dust flies of the radiator with each tug.

                                     RAE
                         SOMEBODY!

               CLANK!

               The fear in Laz's face is replaced with a grin as he watches 
               his radiator hold firm.

                                     RAE
                         SOMEBODY HELP ME!

               Outside, Rae bucks and screams, yanking on the chain like a 
               wild mustang. Her bare feet and legs are soiled with fresh 
               mud and grass as she claws at the ground.

               Laz crosses to the radiator and pats it like a proud parent -- 
               his wedding ring clicks against the iron.

                                     LAZARUS
                              (to the radiator)
                         Ain't gonna be moved.

               He steps outside with resolve and strength. He picks up the 
               chain and wraps it around his fist.

                                     LAZARUS
                         GAL! I ain't gonna be moved on this!

               Laz yanks her back, dragging her towards him. He grips the 
               taut chain with his other hand and yanks her closer.

                                     RAE
                         LET ME GO!

                                     LAZARUS
                         You can holla y'self hoarse. Ain't 
                         gonna bend my will.
                              (pulls her closer)
                         Right or wrong, you gonna mind me.
                              (Pulls her again)
                         Gonna suffer you like Jesus say, to 
                         the FAITHLESS and the PERVERSE 
                         GENERATION.

               Rae is spent. She turns to look at her captor as he wrangles 
               her back to the porch.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Now you get up! And you get in my 
                         house!

                                     RAE
                         Or what?

               Rae spits at Laz. Bad idea.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. LAZARUS'S HOME - LATER THAT AFTERNOON

               Rae is screaming and grunting as Laz, standing in his kitchen, 
               tugs on the chain around the door-jam like he's drawing water 
               from a well.

               Outside Rae struggles to hold onto the porch post. Laz pulls 
               hard, lifting her lower torso off the ground.

                                     RAE
                         Stop it! Stop it! IT HURTS!

                                     LAZARUS
                         Whose doin' is that?

               Laz yanks. Rae loses her grip and slams onto the porch.

                                     RAE
                         Okay... OKAY! I'M COMIN' IN! NOW 
                         QUIT IT!

               The pulling stops. Rae picks herself up. Her knees and hands 
               are scraped and bleeding. The two stare at each other.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Say we talk. Just take a seat on the 
                         sofa. I'll get us somethin' cool to 
                         drink.

               Laz crosses to the kitchen. Rae sits down on the couch, 
               noticing the fallen lamp on the floor.

                                     LAZARUS
                         You may not remember. But you spent 
                         a whole half day in my tub, tryin' 
                         to cool down. Melted four ice trays.

               He finishes preparing the two waters. He crosses into the 
               front room. Rae is not there.

               CRASH! Rae smashes the lamp on Laz's head. The water glasses 
               shatter as Laz falls to the floor.

               Rae picks up a wooden chair and breaks it over his back. 
               Before she can do any more damage, Laz grabs her by the wrists 
               and throws her to the couch.

               Rae falls to the floor. Laz stumbles on his feet as he 
               clutches his bleeding head. He loses his cool.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Wicked little bitch... gonna cut 
                         me...

                                     RAE
                         You gonna get a lot more a'that, you 
                         keep me locked up like this!

               Rae freezes as she sees Laz undo his belt buckle. Her breath 
               starts to quiver as she deeply inhales and exhales.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Think I'm gonna let you do me like 
                         that...

               Laz whips his belt off and wraps the buckle around his fist.

               He stops in his tracks. Rae is panting and shaking. Her middle 
               finger is scratching at her own thigh.

                                     LAZARUS
                              (regaining his cool)
                         Okay, now... I ain't gonna hit'cha.
                              (the burning is 
                              starting)
                         Just lost my cool there.
                              (he throws the belt 
                              away)
                         Now take that look out'cha eye.

               Her anguished hum can be heard through her clenched teeth as 
               she rocks back and forth. Her hands wander down to her inner 
               thighs.

                                     LAZARUS
                         No, ma'am. You stop that foolishness.

                                     RAE
                              (shaking her head)
                         Hm-mm... Hm-mm...

                                     LAZARUS
                         I said... STOP!

                                     RAE
                              (on the verge of crying)
                         I CAN'T!

               Rae gets dizzy. She rests the top of her head on the floor 
               and sways back and forth. Laz rushes out the front door.

               As the wave hits, Rae twists and turns, wrapping the chain 
               around her. She grips the radiator with both hands and rests 
               her face against the side.

                                     RAE
                         Hmmmmmm... Stop-it!... STOP-IT!

               The wave is about to build in to a powerful climax. Rae gasps 
               for breath.

               The door slams open. Laz drenches her with a gallon of cold 
               well water from a tin bucket. Rae inhales and freezes. Laz 
               waits and watches.

               The burning is gone.

               Laz kneels next to her and gently frees her bare ankle from 
               the tangled chain.

                                     LAZARUS
                         You hungry?

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. LAZARUS' HOME - ON THE PORCH - LATER THAT DAY

               They are both seated on the front porch with paper plates in 
               their laps. Laz watches with amusement as Rae tears into her 
               chicken and gobbles up the vegetables.

                                     LAZARUS
                         I put some back ache into growin' 
                         them greens. You should slow down 
                         and see how they taste.

               Rae remains under Lazarus' intense gaze as the cicadas sing.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. LAZARUS' HOME - THE VEGETABLE GARDEN - SUNSET

               Rae stares off at orange clouds and purple sky. She takes a 
               step to her left, walking through the parallel rows of squash.

               The chain gently rattles behind her. Laz has given her about 
               20 feet of slack. He holds the chain tight around his fist.

               Rae grins, standing proud in her wolf shirt and panties.

                                     RAE
                         You like this? Walkin' me through 
                         this field like I's your mule?

                                     LAZARUS
                         Can't sit all day on that sofa. Need 
                         to get your legs strong.

                                     RAE
                              (sassy)
                         If I break one you gonna shoot me?

               Rae teases Laz by adjusting her panties. She turns back to 
               the sunset and stretches.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. LAZARUS' HOME - NIGHT

               Rae's smoldering eyes don't leave Laz as he chains her to 
               the radiator. Laz nervously preaches, trying to avoid the 
               sight of her bare legs curled up on his couch.

                                     LAZARUS
                         My Daddy was one of the first mens 
                         to organize soil conservation in 
                         these parts. That's a group of 
                         farmers, you know, each season they'd 
                         rotate the crop. Know why it's best 
                         to rotate em like that?

                                     RAE
                         Uh-uh.

               Laz moves in close and starts applying antibacterial cream 
               to the cut above Rae's eye.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Cuz once in a while soil need a 
                         change. Corn take up a lot of nitrate 
                         in the fertilizer. So next crop what 
                         ya do is plant ya some soy beans. 
                         That give off a lot of nitrate. Change 
                         keeps it all growin' and growin' 
                         strong.
                              (regarding the eye)
                         Sting a bit?

                                     RAE
                         Itches.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Means ya healin'.
                              (a nod)
                         So all this farmin' make me think on 
                         Matthew. Matthew 13. The parable of 
                         the sower? Man toss seed on rock, on 
                         the wayside, some fell in thorns... 
                         you know the story?

                                     RAE
                         Uh-uh.

               Laz starts putting the cream on her scabbed knees. He rubs 
               them gently.

                                     LAZARUS
                         The seed that land on good soil is 
                         for them who hear the word of God... 
                         and understand the word of God. Not 
                         enough for you to hear what I'm 
                         sayin', you gotta understand.

                                     RAE
                         I know. I get it. What's Matthew 
                         doin'?

                                     LAZARUS
                         Gal... Matthew ain't doin' shit... 
                         this just a story...
                              (quelling his 
                              frustration)
                         Look it. I've seen it in nature, 
                         I've seen it in men. Ya got to change 
                         up your crop. Cuz that seed ain't 
                         gettin' in.
                              (Rae remains silent)
                         Ya gotta cut this shit out. Got no 
                         cause to be up under these fools, 
                         ruttin' on ya like you a bitch. Like 
                         you somebody's dog. No woman... who 
                         joins in union with Almighty God... 
                         or man... in the sanctity of 
                         marriage... should degrade herself... 
                         and bend to ANOTHER MAN'S WILL!

               Rae is aware that Laz is somewhere else, talking to someone 
               else other than her. There is anger in his tone as he rubs 
               ointment on her bare, scabbed knees.

                                     LAZARUS
                              (shouting)
                         My God, gal, don't you got no SENSE? 
                         I ain't sayin' I ain't weak? Shit. 
                         Playin' guitar in the blood-bucket 
                         jukes all ya life... a nigga learn 
                         how to sin, let me tell you!
                              (grips her by the 
                              legs)
                         I GOT SIN IN ME! I AIN'T GO'N LIE! 
                         BUT I GOT RESPECT! AND ALL YOU GOT 
                         IS BILE, GAL!

                                     RAE
                         Let go of me...

                                     LAZARUS
                         GIVIN' UP THAT SWITCH LIKE A TRAMP! 
                         BEHIND MY BACK AND KILL MY BABY...!

               Rae yanks free of Laz's grip, recoiling on the couch.

                                     RAE
                         GET OFF ME!

               Laz awakens from his rant. He blinks and stands. A sudden 
               shame overtakes him. He crosses into the kitchen to hide by 
               the sink.

               He pours Rae a glass of water and returns to her side.

                                     LAZARUS
                              (offering her the 
                              glass)
                         Didn't mean to go off on a tear like 
                         I did. I just got to thinkin' about 
                         things...

               Rae leans up into his face. The glass of water is touching 
               her chest. Laz remains hypnotized by her eyes.

                                     RAE
                         Why is it you old men gotta talk so 
                         much? Like little boys, gotta talk 
                         yourself into fuckin' me.
                              (his knuckles touch 
                              her skin)
                         We can take our time. I'm grown. I 
                         get it.
                              (she leans even closer)
                         You wanna give me 'nother bath?

               Laz stands and backs away. He quickly leaves the room.

               INT. LAZARUS'S HOME - THE BEDROOM - NIGHT

               Laz looks at himself in the reflection of Rose's vanity 
               mirror, listening to Rae stir in the next room.

               INT. LAZARUS' HOME - NIGHT

               The cicadas are screaming outside. Rae is beginning to breathe 
               deep, the burning is coming on.

                                     RAE
                              (under her breath)
                         Goddammit.

               She folds her arms over her chest, her middle finger 
               scratching her elbow. The anxiety is too much. She rolls 
               over until the chain pulls taut against the radiator.

               Rae has wrapped herself in a tangle of chain. Her breathing 
               relaxes. Her eyes close. She sleeps.

                                                             FADE TO BLACK.

               EXT. FISHERVILLE SQUARE - EARLY DAWN

               A train rumbles past in the blue hue of dawn.

               Laz pulls his truck next to two other fruit and vegetable 
               vendors: ARCHIE and GENE.

               Archie is an old black man in his early seventies. Gene is a 
               short white man closer to Laz's age.

                                     GENE
                         There goes our fortune. We been doin' 
                         good for ourselves since you been 
                         away.

               Laz sets up his folding table and uncovers his produce.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Y'all know when Ella Mae's open up?

                                     ARCHIE
                         You needin' to buy some pantyhose?

                                     LAZARUS
                         Just some dresses.

               Gene looks at Archie and shrugs.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. LAZARUS' HOME - MORNING

               Rae snaps awake. She is wet with sweat from the morning heat.

                                     RAE
                         Hello? Hey!

               Rae drags the chain behind her as she crosses to the front 
               door and looks outside. No truck.

                                     RAE
                         I don't believe this shit.

               She folds her arms and looks into the kitchen. There on the 
               table is a covered plate and a small bottle of milk. Rae 
               reads a note on top of the plate: BE BACK FOR SUPPER.

               She pulls off the top plate and finds sausage links, eggs, 
               biscuits, sliced tomatoes, and sliced peaches.

                                     RAE
                         Enough to choke a Goddamn horse.

               She yanks her chain. It rattles across the floor as she sits.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. ELLA MAE'S WOMEN'S CLOTHING - EARLY AFTERNOON

               Laz looks out of place in his faded overalls surrounded by 
               bright colors of Ella Mae's dress shop.

               ELLA MAE is a wide woman with white hair in her late fifties.

                                     LAZARUS
                         I'm needin' some women's clothes. A 
                         few dresses. Maybe some shoes. But 
                         they gotta be nice. They gotta be 
                         proper. Clothes a woman would want, 
                         where she could feel and look like a 
                         woman without... you know, lookin' 
                         like a tramp or a hussy or somethin'.

               Ella Mae turns to her assistant, Rhonda. Rhonda is a 19-year-
               old black girl. She turns back to Laz, unsure how to proceed.

                                     ELLA MAE
                         And, sir... do you have a size in 
                         mind for what you're lookin' for?

                                     LAZARUS
                              (points to Rhonda)
                         That young lady's size, right'cher.

                                     ELLA MAE
                         Well, that makes it easier.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. LAZARUS' HOME - THE BATHROOM - AFTERNOON

               Rae sits down in the tub, still wearing her T-shirt and 
               panties. Looking up at the shower head above she turns on 
               the cold water and yanks up on the shower knob.

               Cold water sprays down over her. She gasps and then relaxes, 
               laying back in the tub.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. ELLA MAE'S WOMEN'S CLOTHING - AFTERNOON

               Laz is at the counter. Rhonda is putting the shoes and clothes 
               in two shopping bags while Ella Mae rings him up.

                                     ELLA MAE
                         Well... I hope these will work for 
                         your niece. She can always come back 
                         in and swap sizes.

               Lazarus points to a small display of fine lotions.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Mind I ask, what's all this business 
                         here?

                                     ELLA MAE
                         These are whipped body creams. It's 
                         like a lotion.

                                     LAZARUS
                         For your hands?

                                     ELLA MAE
                         Some women prefer not to scent their 
                         bodies with perfume. So now they 
                         have scented creams. They help 
                         moisturize a woman's skin.
                              (unscrewing a jar)
                         This one's my favorite. It's called 
                         Ginger Souffle. I recommend... 
                         applying the cream while the skin is 
                         still damp. So... perhaps just after 
                         a shower.

                                     LAZARUS
                              (likes what he smells)
                         I'll take a jar of that, too.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. LAZARUS' HOME - KITCHEN - AFTERNOON

               Rae rattles into the kitchen, her damp clothes clinging to 
               her form. She picks up Laz's guitar off the table and places 
               it in her lap.

               She plucks a few random strings out of boredom and smiles.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. MACON DRUGS - AFTERNOON

               The same apathetic girl is working the front counter as Laz 
               enters the drug store with a basket of arranged vegetables.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Lookin' for Miss Angela.

                                     GIRL
                         She in the back.

               Laz makes his way to the back of the store. He spies Angela 
               in the back pharmacy, sorting pills for a pick-up. He watches 
               her work for a moment until, finally, she sees him.

                                     ANGELA
                         Wait right there.

               Laz waits as Angela rounds the corner.

                                     LAZARUS
                         I brung you a little basket of 
                         goodies. Fresh squash, tomatoes, 
                         some okra, butter beans.

                                     ANGELA
                              (taking the basket)
                         You didn't have to do this.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Just wanted to say how much I 
                         appreciate you helping me the other 
                         day. My niece, she's cured up, and I 
                         got you to thank.

                                     ANGELA
                         Well that's good. I'm happy to hear 
                         it.

               Angela smiles. There is tension and attraction between the 
               two.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Look here. I got somethin' special 
                         for you.

               Angela is flush as Laz moves closer than he has ever been 
               before. He reaches in the basket for the jar of cream.

                                     LAZARUS
                         This here is a whipped... body cream. 
                         And it's got a smell to it. Tell me 
                         what you think.

               Laz holds the jar up to her nose. Angela closes her eyes and 
               smells. Her expression says enough -- she loves it.

                                     LAZARUS
                         They call this Ginger Souffle. Best 
                         if it... if it go on your skin just 
                         after you been in a hot tub... or 
                         shower.

               Angela takes the lotion from his hand. She is subtle and 
               demure, but the woman is deeply affected. She smiles.

                                     ANGELA
                         This was very sweet of you.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Well. Hope you enjoy it.

               Angela watches Laz as he walks out the door. The apathetic 
               girl moves up behind Angela.

                                     GIRL
                         Oooooo.

                                     ANGELA
                         Hush up.

               EXT. FISHERVILLE SQUARE - MACON DRUGS - AFTERNOON

               Laz opens his truck and waves goodbye to Old Red. Melvin is 
               holding a healthy squash.

                                     RED
                         You gonna be on the square later on?

                                     LAZARUS
                         Got all my honey-do's done with. I'm 
                         headin' home.

                                     RED
                         Stay cool. It's a hot one.

               Laz pulls away in his truck and rounds the corner just as 
               R.L. crosses the street. He steps over to talk to Red.

                                     R.L.
                         Hey, Red. Was that Laz just left?

                                     RED
                         Yes'sir, Rev'rend.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. LAZARUS'S HOME - KITCHEN - AFTERNOON

               Rae occasionally strums an awful chord as she sings playfully.

                                     RAE
                              (trying to sing)
                         You are my sunshine. My only sunshine. 
                         You make me happy when skies are 
                         gray. You'll never know dear how 
                         much I love you. Please don't take 
                         my sunshine away. A voice from outside 
                         spins her around. The guitar barks 
                         as Rae slams it down on the table.

                                     LINCOLN (O.S.)
                         Mister Lazarus?

               Rae stays hidden as she peeks out the front window. Lincoln 
               is standing before the house holding an old picnic basket. 
               Rae's middle finger begins scraping against the wall.

                                     LINCOLN
                         Mister Laz... I come for the butter 
                         beans.

               Rae fights her dizziness. She crawls to the radiator as she 
               hears each creak of Lincoln crossing to the front door.

                                                                   FLASH TO

               QUICK CUTS

               The Zippo with the bald eagle closes. A smoldering cigarette.

                                                             FLASH BACK TO:

               Rae flinches and grits her teeth as Lincoln knocks on the 
               door: Knock, knock.

                                     LINCOLN
                         Ain't seen you on the square. Mister 
                         Laz, can you hear me?

               The burning has started: deep gasps, itching, anxiety.

                                     LINCOLN
                              (worried now)
                         Mister Lazarus?

               Rae watches the shadows of Lincoln's shoes under the door. 
               They wait patiently and walk away.

               EXT. LAZARUS' HOME - AFTERNOON

               Lincoln walks down the porch steps and stops. Thinks.

               INT. LAZARUS' HOME - AFTERNOON

               Rae inches upward, pulling herself up the radiator so she 
               can stand. Her panting has waned.

               Suddenly the front door swings open.

                                     LINCOLN
                         Mister Laz, I'm comin' inside...

               Lincoln can't believe what he sees. Rae is chained around 
               the waist, damp and barely clothed. Her eyes bore into Lincoln 
               like an owl zeroing in on a helpless jackrabbit.

               She rips her shirt off in one tug over her head.

               Lincoln can't move. The picnic basket hits the floor. His 
               mouth hangs open in shock as Rae steps towards him and lays 
               her open mouth on the boy.

               EXT. LAZARUS' HOME - AFTERNOON

               SLAM! Rae shuts the door.

               Laz steers his Ford truck up the drive and parks. He takes 
               his time getting out and removing the shopping bags. He opens 
               the door and goes inside.

               His curses can be heard from outside.

                                     LAZARUS
                         SHIT BOY! WHAT THE HELL YOU...!

               Lincoln is tossed off the porch, clinging to his overalls.

                                     LAZARUS
                         CAN'T LEAVE YOU ALONE FOR ONE...

               Tears and fear come to Lincoln as Laz steps out onto the 
               porch, fuming with rage.

               Lincoln backs away expecting a good beating. He starts running 
               up the drive but stops as R.L.'s Olds rolls up the drive.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Lincoln, come on back.

               Lincoln darts past Laz and runs into the barn, clutching his 
               overalls. R.L. stops the car halfway down the drive and steps 
               out.

                                     R.L.
                         Was that Lincoln James I seen run 
                         off?

                                     LAZARUS
                         He's fine. Just had a bad fall.

                                     R.L.
                         Why's his britches round his knees?

                                     LAZARUS
                         R.L., you gonna have to get on. I 
                         can't have nobody round my place.

               R.L. starts walking up the drive.

                                     R.L.
                         You get a call from Rose?

                                     LAZARUS
                         This ain't got nothin' to do with 
                         that woman. Just don't want nobody 
                         around me now.

                                     R.L.
                         Somethin' wrong with ya phone? Been 
                         callin' the last few days.

               R.L. stops in his tracks as Lazarus pulls out his hunting 
               rifle from the rack behind his seat in his truck.

                                     R.L.
                         Goin' dove huntin'?

                                     LAZARUS
                         You gotta go, R.L.. I ain't foolin' 
                         this time.

                                     R.L.
                         You sayin' that gun's for me if I 
                         don't?

                                     (LAZ CAN'T ANSWER)
                         Spell it out, Laz. Man big enough to 
                         pull a gun best have a tongue in his 
                         mouth if he ain't got a brain in his 
                         head.

               Laz is struggling. The rifle feels suddenly strange to him.

                                     LAZARUS
                         You ain't gonna talk me outta shit 
                         no more. I got my mind made up and I 
                         ain't gonna be moved on this.

                                     R.L.
                              (amused)
                         Ain't gonna be moved?

                                     LAZARUS
                         Got no place for preachin' here. Not 
                         now. So you do as I say...

                                     R.L.
                              (still stepping closer)
                         Or what?

                                     LAZARUS
                         I told you to TURN BACK!

               R.L. pushes his chest up against the rifle and shouts back.

                                     R.L.
                         YOU GO'ON AND SHOOT ME, KILLA!

               Laz's heart is breaking. He is pointing a gun at his only 
               friend.

               R.L. snatches the rifle out of Laz's hands.

                                     R.L.
                         Ought'a stomp yo ass pointing this 
                         at me.
                              (unloads the rifle)
                         Always gotta bring up the preachin'. 
                         Like you just a sheep in my flock 
                         and all I'm good for is poundin' on 
                         a pulpit.
                              (gets in Laz's face)
                         Dammit, Laz... we may not be blood. 
                         But we sucked off the same old nurse 
                         since the day we was slapped on the 
                         ass. And you gonna point a gun at 
                         me?

               A tear rolls down Laz's cheek. The shame is unbearable.

                                     R.L.
                         If you in some trouble, than WE gonna 
                         figure somethin' out. You and me.
                              (hands him a bandana)
                         Wipe your face!

               Laz takes the bandana and wipes the tears away.

                                     R.L.
                         Now... this got anything to do with 
                         Rose?
                              (Laz shakes his head)
                         Then what?

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. LAZARUS' HOME - AFTERNOON

               The door creaks open. R.L. carefully steps inside. Rae is 
               sitting on the couch, looking out the window.

                                     RAE
                              (on the verge of tears)
                         I didn't want to.

               Rae doesn't respond. R.L. quickly steps outside shutting the 
               door behind him.

               EXT. LAZARUS' HOME - AFTERNOON

               R.L. shakes his head as Laz follows him off the porch.

                                     R.L.
                         Are you outta ya GODDAMN MIND?

                                     LAZARUS
                         Man like you ought not take the Lord's 
                         name like you just done.

                                     R.L.
                         A naked woman, chained in ya house?

                                     LAZARUS
                         I'm tellin' you the truth, dammit. I 
                         found her beat. Left for dead. So I 
                         brung her home.

                                     R.L.
                         Laz, I know about that girl.
                              (beat)
                         Good number of this town's sinners 
                         got my ear, you know.
                              (shakes his head)
                         Oh, Laz. She's had a mess of crabs 
                         and them STD's. What'chu thinking?

                                     LAZARUS
                         I haven't laid a hand. On my life, 
                         R.L., my wick is dry on this.

                                     R.L.
                         You say she was beat on. You call 
                         the sheriff on that?

                                     LAZARUS
                         Put yo'self in my shoes. Say you out 
                         here, alone, with a beaten, half 
                         naked, white woman loves to fuck. I 
                         been toe to toe with the law in this 
                         town for no more than being black 
                         and nearby.

                                     R.L.
                         What's that chain around her for?

               Laz briefly looks off at the barn, knowing Lincoln is there.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Why don't you go'on and ask her. She 
                         need to talk wit somebody with sense. 
                         Folks been ruttin' and beatin' on 
                         this gal all her days. And this is 
                         how I'm handling it.

                                     R.L.
                         THIS IS HOW YOU HANDLING IT? THIS IS 
                         HOW YOU HANDLING IT?

               Silence.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Go in and talk to her. Please.

               R.L. nods. Lazarus smiles.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Good. Makin' steaks for supper. I 
                         expect you to come.

                                     R.L.
                         You mean with you and that woman 
                         chained to ya radiator?

                                     LAZARUS
                         You treat folks special when they 
                         company. It's just supper, R.L., 
                         shit.

                                     R.L.
                         One thing at a time, Laz.

               Laz walks toward the barn and turns back to R.L..

                                     LAZARUS
                         Watch y'self in there. That girl'll 
                         jump on ya junk like a grasshopper.

               EXT. LAZARUS' BARN - AFTERNOON

               Laz opens the door to his barn wide, allowing the afternoon 
               light to find Lincoln sitting on an old tire, weeping.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Did I hurt'chu?

               Lincoln shakes his head. Laz carefully sits next to him.

                                     LAZARUS
                         What happened in there... that won't 
                         your fault. Ain't a young man alive 
                         could keep they britches on with 
                         that girl being in heat like she is.

                                     LINCOLN
                         Why she got a chain on her?

                                     LAZARUS
                         That's between her and me. It's 
                         private. And I don't want you goin' 
                         off and tellin' ya daddy.

                                     LINCOLN
                              (in a panic)
                         Please don't tell my daddy.

                                     LAZARUS
                         My mouth is shut, boy. And that's 
                         how we gonna keep it. Don't go 
                         braggin' to ya buddies, ya heard me?

               Lincoln nods. Laz hands him the bandana R.L. gave him.

                                     LAZARUS
                         So...
                              (a bonding smile)
                         That your first time?

                                     LINCOLN
                         Yes'sir.

                                     LAZARUS
                         You struck some gold, didn't ya?

               Lincoln grins as he wipes the snot from his nose.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Shit. My first time was with my second 
                         cousin behind my uncle's barn. She 
                         weighed two tons, if a pound. Could'a 
                         done a lot better for myself. You 
                         sho'nuf did.

               INT. LAZARUS' HOME - AFTERNOON

               R.L. hands Rae a glass of water. She is seated on the sofa, 
               wrapped in a quilt.

                                     RAE
                         Thank you.

                                     R.L.
                              (sits next to her)
                         I gotta ask you. Why do you think 
                         Laz is keepin' you chained like this?

                                     RAE
                              (shrugs at first, 
                              then:)
                         You know how, like they say, you 
                         save someone's life, you responsible 
                         for them. Guess he just don't think 
                         it's safe for me.

                                     R.L.
                         So he got it into his head that the 
                         only thing gonna keep you from endin' 
                         up bleedin' on the side of the road 
                         again, without a stitch of clothing 
                         on is...
                              (R.L. yanks on the 
                              chain)
                         You think he's crazy for thinkin' 
                         that?

               Rae struggles to answer. Something is on her mind.

                                     RAE
                         You a preacher?

                                     R.L.
                         That's right.

                                     RAE
                         Can I ask you a question?
                              (R.L. nods)
                         People always say, you gotta get 
                         good with Jesus, if you want not to 
                         go to hell. That you say sorry for 
                         all you done and... and Jesus would 
                         let you go on to heaven.

                                     R.L.
                         You could put it that way.

                                     RAE
                         But that's so fuckin' stupid.
                              (she catches herself)
                         I'm sorry. Didn't mean to curse.

                                     R.L.
                         What's on your mind?

                                     RAE
                         You can't hurt people... and then 
                         just say, I'm sorry, and then 
                         everything just gets washed away. 
                         Why would heaven want people like 
                         that. People who... do what they 
                         want and then... switch.

                                     R.L.
                         I'm gonna tell you somethin', and 
                         it's just gonna be between you and 
                         me.
                              (Rae anxiously nods)
                         I think folks carry on about heaven 
                         too much. Like it's some all-you-can-
                         eat buffet up in the clouds. And 
                         folks just gonna do as they're told 
                         so they can eat what they want behind 
                         some pearly gates. I can go to 
                         Shoney's for that.

               Rae grins. R.L. leans closer.

                                     R.L.
                         There's sin in my heart. There's 
                         evil in this world. But when I got 
                         no one... I talk to God. I ask for 
                         strength. I ask for forgiveness. Not 
                         for peace at the end of my days when 
                         there's no more life to live and no 
                         more good to do, but today. Right 
                         now.

               Rae has never had anyone talk to her like this. She is 
               listening. She is understanding.

                                     R.L.
                         What's your heaven? What gives you 
                         peace?

               Rae looks at her bare feet. She tries to respond but the 
               pain in her chokes back the words. Tears come to her.

                                     RAE
                              (struggling to speak)
                         Ronnie.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. GREYHOUND BUS STATION - LATE AFTERNOON

               A bus stops at the station. The doors swing open. A few 
               passengers exit the bus followed by Ronnie.

               He is not wearing his uniform.

               EXT. GREYHOUND BUS STATION - PHONE BOOTH - LATE AFTERNOON

               He drops his duffle bag and pops a few quarters in the phone. 
               He waits, allows the phone to ring.

                                     RONNIE
                              (into the phone)
                         This is Ronnie again. Don't know if 
                         you been gettin' my messages but... 
                         I'm down at the bus station and...
                              (struggles)
                         I just need you come get me. You get 
                         this message, I'm on the interstate 
                         headin' downtown toward the square.
                              (sadness hits)
                         Rae. I really need you to... come 
                         find me. Please.

               Ronnie hangs up the phone. He remains motionless, fearful 
               and alone.

               He picks up his duffle and walks down the interstate.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. LAZARUS' HOME - SUNSET

               Lincoln stands over the barbecue spraying lighter fluid over 
               the coals while R.L. peels back the corn husks.

                                     LINCOLN
                         We gonna eat with her?

                                     R.L.
                         That's what I was told.

                                     LINCOLN
                         She still gonna have that chain on?

                                     R.L.
                         Well... I'm working on that.
                              (trying to change the 
                              subject)
                         So... what's goin' on in your life, 
                         Lincoln?

                                     LINCOLN
                         I ain't no virgin no more?

               Lincoln tosses a match on the coals. They ignite with flame.

               INT. LAZARUS' HOME - KITCHEN - SUNSET

               Laz is humming to himself as he finishes chopping up the 
               potatoes. He wipes his hands and catches Rae standing behind 
               him.

               She looks classic in the floral sundress. She folds her arms, 
               feeling awkward under Laz's approving gaze.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Now that's sharp. That is sharp. 
                         Chain give you any trouble?

                                     RAE
                         Uh-uh.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Good. Now I got the steaks on, 
                         potatoes at a boil, and biscuits 
                         ready to pop in the oven. R.L. and 
                         Lincoln out yonder grillin' up the 
                         corn. What do you know how to make?

                                     RAE
                         I don't fuckin' cook.

                                     LAZARUS
                              (a look of 
                              disappointment)
                         Gal, I been around hard-cursin' folk 
                         all my life. And let me tell you...

                                     RAE
                         Look it... I put the Goddamn dress 
                         on, didn't I? I think I'm handlin' 
                         myself with some... fuckin' restraint 
                         here... how you got me locked up 
                         like a dog on a...

                                     LAZARUS
                         If all you got is filth comin' out'cha 
                         mouth... people just gonna tune ya 
                         out.
                              (interrupting her)
                         Rae. RAE! I'm not fightin' with ya. 
                         I just know you got more in you than 
                         junk.
                              (a breath)
                         Now, you sayin' you don't know how 
                         to cook anything at all?
                              (Rae shrugs)
                         You know how to boil water?

                                     RAE
                         I can handle that.

                                     LAZARUS
                              (hands Rae a pot)
                         Well, get to it.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. LAZARUS' HOME - KITCHEN - AT THE TABLE - NIGHT

               The four of them (Rae, Laz, Lincoln, and R.L.) are all seated 
               at the kitchen table, holding hands as R.L. says grace.

               Rae peeks at the others with their eyes closed tight. She 
               follows their example.

               R.L.  We ask that you bless this meal put before us. May the 
               food nourish our bodies and this fellowship nourish our 
               spirit. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

                                     LAZARUS & LINCOLN
                         Amen.

               There is a sudden flurry of activity at the table as the 
               four begin piling up their plates.

                                     R.L.
                         Pass them potatoes, Lincoln.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Y'all let me know if these steaks 
                         are too dry.

                                     R.L.
                         This all looks wonderful.

                                     LINCOLN
                         I skipped lunch.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Well, dig in, son. Got plenty to 
                         eat.

               Rae's eyes are fixed on R.L. as he picks up a devilled egg. 
               She looks over at Laz who is aware of her anxiety. He gives 
               her a wink.

               R.L. bites into the egg and moans with delight.

                                     R.L.
                              (to Laz)
                         Mm. MM. Now these eggs got some kick 
                         to it. What'chu got in this?

                                     LAZARUS
                              (motions to Rae)
                         Ask the chef.

               Everyone looks at Rae, surprised. She feels a sudden rush of 
               fear as she struggles to answer R.L.'s question.

                                     RAE
                         Cayenne pepper.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. LAMPLIGHTER BAR - NIGHT

               Ronnie is walking by the bar along the interstate. He stops 
               when he sees Gill's truck.

               INT. LAMPLIGHTER BAR - NIGHT

               Ronnie adjusts his duffle bag over his shoulder as he enters 
               the mid-sized bar.

               Gill is seated at the bar. He turns to Ronnie along with a 
               few other locals, one being HERMAN, age 40.

                                     GILL
                              (surprised)
                         Holy shit.

                                     RONNIE
                              (understanding)
                         Yeah.

                                     GILL
                         Sit down, man. Need a beer?

                                     RONNIE
                         Sure.

                                     GILL
                              (to the bartender)
                         Marv, let's get Ronnie set up here.

               Ronnie sits next to Gill. Herman leans in wanting to be a 
               part of the conversation.

                                     RONNIE
                         Hey, Herman.

                                     HERMAN
                         They buy you that big chicken dinner?

               Ronnie stiffens. Gill is confused.

                                     GILL
                         What?

                                     HERMAN
                         They got little names for everything 
                         in the corps when they trying to get 
                         rid of ya. Don't know what it's like 
                         in the guard. There's what you call 
                         a bad conduct discharge, a BCD... we 
                         all called it the big chicken dinner. 
                         It ain't the brig but it'll fuck ya 
                         for life if you wantin' to work for 
                         the government.

                                     RONNIE
                         That's not what this is about.

                                     HERMAN
                         They got another little name called 
                         ad-sep. That sound about right?

               Ronnie looks away. He takes a sip of his beer.

                                     HERMAN
                         Ad-sep. Administrative separation.

                                     GILL
                              (to Ronnie)
                         How do you get one of those?

                                     HERMAN
                         Blowin' boys in the head, for one.

               Ronnie loses his cool. He lunges at Herman. Gill holds him 
               back.

                                     HERMAN
                         Whoa, son! I ain't sayin' shit about 
                         you. I'm just talkin'.

                                     RONNIE
                         Well, you don't know what you're 
                         talking about so why don't you shut 
                         the fuck up?

                                     GILL
                         Hey, it's alright, man. It's alright.
                              (to Herman)
                         Herman. Come on. He just got back.

               Herman gets up to leave with his beer.

                                     HERMAN
                         To get back ya had to've gone 
                         somewhere.

               Ronnie glares at Herman as he moves to the other side of the 
               bar. Gill moves closer to Ronnie to get the whole story.

                                     GILL
                         What happened?

                                     RONNIE
                         They been keepin' a folder on me cuz 
                         of my stomach. Like how it was just 
                         before we'd play ball back in school. 
                         Thought it was just some tic I got, 
                         or ulcers like my daddy had.
                              (takes a drink)
                         I can't... shoot. Target practice 
                         I'm a pro. I tag between the numbers 
                         each time but...
                              (feels a stomach cramp)
                         But when there's really loud noises 
                         around me... somethin' happens. I 
                         get shaky and... I lose my breath. 
                         They called it anxiety. Severe 
                         anxiety. It can be fixed and all... 
                         just not in time for....
                              (another drink)
                         It's a long process but... they sent 
                         me home.

                                     GILL
                         I guess it could be worse. You could 
                         be comin' back in a body bag.

               Gill doesn't know what to say next.

                                     RONNIE
                         I can't get Rae on the phone. She's 
                         not at home... none of her friends 
                         seen her anywhere.

                                     GILL
                         She's around. Always is.

                                     RONNIE
                         I don't know. She's gettin' crazy, 
                         like she gets. Begged me not to go. 
                         Got real down. I just think somethin's 
                         happened. Like she run off with 
                         someone. You'd tell me if you knew 
                         somethin', right?

                                     GILL
                         You been home yet?

                                     RONNIE
                         Uh-uh. I's hitchin' up the interstate 
                         when I seen your truck outside.

                                     GILL
                         You need a ride?

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. RONNIE'S TRAILER - NIGHT

               Gill's truck rounds the bend and up the gravel drive leading 
               up to Ronnie's trailer.

               The headlights scan across the porch as Gill parks.

               INT. RONNIE'S TRAILER - NIGHT

               Ronnie is the first through the door, calling out for Rae 
               before he can turn on the lights.

                                     RONNIE
                         Rae?

               Gill enters. He sees that the trailer is the same as it was 
               the day he picked up Ronnie, nothing is different.

                                     RONNIE
                         This don't feel right. Kitchen looks 
                         just like I left it. I know, cuz I 
                         cleaned it.

                                     GILL
                         She ever tell you she was thinkin' 
                         of taking off?

                                     RONNIE
                         I just been so mixed up lately, Gill. 
                         And, you know, with her history, I 
                         can see how she could get scared...
                              (tears)
                         ...and run.

               Gill is disturbed by Ronnie's sudden flood of emotion and 
               tears. He crosses to the pantry, already knowing which 
               cupboard to pull the liquor out of.

               He pours two drinks. He hands one to Ronnie.

                                     GILL
                         Drink. Come on, drink some.

               Ronnie manages a few swallows.

                                     RONNIE
                         Her momma works down at the grocery, 
                         down on the square. Maybe she seen 
                         her.

               Gill stands over Ronnie, looking down on his pitiful face.

                                     GILL
                         Ronnie. You can't see cuz you're too 
                         close to it.
                              (Ronnie waits)
                         These nervous spells you get. You 
                         never had that shit back in school...

                                     RONNIE
                         That's not right, really, cuz I...

                                     GILL
                              (continuing)
                         You joined up in that monkey troop 
                         cuz you had a plan for yourself. 
                         Army'd pay for school. You were gonna 
                         get a degree, maybe somethin' in 
                         business or agriculture and you were 
                         gonna make somethin' of yourself.

               His words are painful to Ronnie. Gill doesn't hold back.

                                     GILL
                         And then you had to fall in love 
                         with the school slut.

                                     RONNIE
                         Now wait...

                                     GILL
                              (continuing)
                         With all she was doin'. With all the 
                         shit she kept doing! You stayed stuck 
                         to that bitch's ass and you wouldn't 
                         let go.

                                     RONNIE
                         I know about how she was like. But 
                         we was different. I's the only person 
                         she talked to about it. How she's 
                         abused. Terrible things, Gill, just 
                         terrible...

               Rage suddenly fills Gill. He grabs Ronnie and throws him 
               against the wall.

                                     GILL
                         YOU HAD A PLAN! YOU HAD A GODDAMN 
                         LIFE! AND SHE JUST FUCKED THE GUTS 
                         OUT OF YOU!

                                     RONNIE
                         It's not her fault, Gill. She's had 
                         to take care of me all this time, 
                         cuz I'd just start throwin' up... 
                         choking. Just losin' my grip. And 
                         she listened. She listened to me.
                              (Gill releases Ronnie 
                              and walks away)
                         And... I got better. I don't get 
                         nervous like I used to. And since we 
                         been together... she been faithful 
                         to me. Put all that junk behind her...

                                     GILL
                         The only thing that cunt's had behind 
                         her is me and half the town fuckin' 
                         her.
                              (Ronnie can't believe 
                              it)
                         Your first night away, I come over 
                         and drop off the spare keys like you 
                         wanted me to. You weren't gone two 
                         hours and she was aching to get me 
                         inside her. Like she was havin' some 
                         kind'a fit.

               Ronnie can't respond. Tears roll down his face. Gill holds 
               up the whiskey bottle.

                                     GILL
                              (pours a drink)
                         Don't you think it's funny how I 
                         know where everything in your house 
                         is?
                              (moves in close)
                         I don't care if that hurts you or 
                         not. Truth is I don't know who you 
                         are anymore. So fuck it.

               Gill turns away. Ronnie grips Gill around the neck from 
               behind. He bends him back painfully and throws his head up 
               against the wall.

               EXT. RONNIE'S TRAILER - NIGHT

               The front door burst open as Gill goes flying down the front 
               porch. Ronnie cocks a .45 and shoves it into his belt.

               Ronnie pins Gill's elbow behind his back and retrieves the 
               keys from his front pocket.

                                     GILL
                         You gonna steal my truck?

                                     RONNIE
                         Make yourself at home. You done it 
                         already.

               Gill watches Ronnie tear down the drive in his own truck.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. LAZARUS' HOME - NEAR THE BARN - NIGHT

               Laz and R.L. are smoking. Laz smiles as he watches Lincoln 
               and Rae through the kitchen window as they wash dishes and 
               talk about football.

                                     R.L.
                         Gotta get that chain off her, Laz. 
                         Somethin' like this gets out, you 
                         could land in a heap of trouble.

                                     LAZARUS
                         I'm dealin' with what God put before 
                         me.

                                     R.L.
                         You believe He wants this? A woman 
                         chained to ya radiator?

                                     LAZARUS
                         Not like that.

                                     R.L.
                         Then what?

                                     LAZARUS
                         She's tied to me, R.L.. We tied to 
                         each other.

               Laz is silent.

                                     R.L.
                         I can't leave unless I get your word.

               Laz looks down at his shoes. He surrenders. He nods.

                                     R.L.
                         Laz. I got some news you need to 
                         hear. It's about Rose and your 
                         brother.
                              (this is not easy for 
                              R.L.)
                         She's pregnant. She gonna have a 
                         baby.
                              (silence)
                         Her sister told my wife. You know 
                         how them sewing circles go. Just a 
                         matter of time till you got word. 
                         Thought that's why you been keepin' 
                         to yourself out here.
                              (Laz conceals his 
                              pain)
                         I don't know how much of this is to 
                         make her happy or to hurt you. But 
                         it is what it is.

               Laz struggles with his emotions. He turns to R.L. stone faced 
               and cold.

                                     LAZARUS
                         I'm through with them both.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. LAZARUS' HOME - THE FRONT DOOR - NIGHT

               Laz and Rae wave to Lincoln as he climbs into R.L.'s car. 
               They pull away, up the drive, and disappear into the night.

               The cicadas sing as the two stand in silence: Rae, at peace, 
               feeling genuine contentment; while Laz looks lost in silent 
               pain.

                                     RAE
                         They sure liked them devilled eggs.

                                     LAZARUS
                         You drink whiskey?

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. LAZARUS' HOME - NIGHT

               A bottle of whiskey is removed from a top cabinet above the 
               refrigerator. Two small glasses each get a healthy swallow.

                                     LAZARUS
                         You take it straight?

                                     RAE
                         Sure.

               He hands her a glass. Laz then looks at his as if he struggles 
               with a decision.

                                     LAZARUS
                              (holding up the glass)
                         To my baby brother. Gonna be a daddy.

               Rae nods and downs the whiskey with Lazarus.

                                     RAE
                         Well, that's good news. So you're 
                         gonna be someone's uncle.

               Laz pours another swig for himself and downs it.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Want another?

                                     RAE
                         We drinkin' buddies now?

                                     LAZARUS
                              (pours two more glass)
                         To freedom.

               Laz pounds back his third shot.

                                     RAE
                         Still makin' jokes?

                                     LAZARUS
                              (pulls out his keys)
                         No joke.

               Laz pulls Rae closer to him by the chain wrapped around her 
               waist. He opens the old lock with a key.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Not my place to change your mind, or 
                         anybody else's. People gonna do how 
                         they please. You only get one life... 
                         should be lived the way you wanna 
                         live it.

               The chain falls to the floor with a hollow thud. Rae looks 
               confused.

                                     LAZARUS
                         If you want... I can take you back 
                         to town now.

                                     RAE
                         I ain't in a hurry.

               The two stare at each other in silence.

                                     RAE
                         Could you do somethin' for me?

                                     LAZARUS
                         Anything.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. LAZARUS' HOME - KITCHEN - NIGHT

               Rae watches with intense curiosity as Laz tunes his guitar, 
               sitting at the table.

                                     LAZARUS
                              (takes another drink)
                         Ain't played 'fore nobody in years.

               Laz slides his calloused fingers across the strings, spurring 
               the old guitar into an impressive wail. Rae grips the chair.

                                     LAZARUS
                              (plays as he remembers)
                         Funny how a sound just speak to ya 
                         heart.

               A haunting slide guitar riff barks. Rae has a physical 
               reaction to the music. She is fascinated and fearful.

                                     LAZARUS
                              (thinks)
                         Wanted me some kids. A whole mess of 
                         'em. But Rose, my wife... chil'ren 
                         was for another time.
                              (takes a drink)
                         They's this one spring... I saw a 
                         change in her. Her breasts start 
                         swellin' up. Come a few mornings I 
                         hear her heavin' in the bathroom. I 
                         seen it with women before. I knew.

               Laz thinks for a moment. Continues playing.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Come a day, Rose say she had to go 
                         visit her folks in Jackson. Didn't 
                         want me to come... so I stayed put.
                              (remembers)
                         When she come back...
                              (hesitates)
                         They talk about a woman havin' that 
                         glow. Couldn't see it no more. She... 
                         took it away. Cut it out.

               The guitar's song turns dark. Laz slides his fingers up the 
               guitar strings, lingering on low growns.

                                     LAZARUS
                         One night... While she sleepin'. 
                         Held a pillow in my hands. I could 
                         see myself killin' her. What evil in 
                         my heart make me wanna kill her, I 
                         don't know? It's that voice in me. 
                         Each time I think it's gone, he come 
                         howlin' back. Devil or no, I don't 
                         know. But I am a haunted man.

               Fear spreads across Rae's face. Laz is talking about something 
               all too familiar.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Calls me when I'm ailing. When I 
                         can't find my home, lost in the pines. 
                         I calls it the Black Snake Moan.
                              (he closes his eyes 
                              and sings)
                         Mm-mm... Got no momma now.Mm-mm... 
                         Got no momma now.It's over late last 
                         night, don't need no momma now.

               Laz stops. He sways back and forth with his eyes closed. Rae 
               hears the swell of the cicadas. Her eyes dart to the front 
               door as the familiar creek of footsteps are heard.

                                     RAE
                         Sing, Lazarus.
                              (kneels next to him 
                              in fear)
                         Please keep singin'.

               The door swings open. A white calloused hand appears around 
               Rae's mouth.

               She gasps in terror, clutching Laz's leg. The white hand is 
               gone. Tears come to her. She trembles as Laz sings.

                                     LAZARUS
                              (singing)
                         Mm-mm... Black snake crawlin' in my 
                         room.Mm-mm... Black snake crawlin' 
                         in my room.Some pretty momma better 
                         come and get this black snake soon.

               Rae rests her head against his knee.

                                     LAZARUS
                              (singing)
                         Black snake is evil, black snake is 
                         all I see.Black snake is evil, black 
                         snake is all I see.Woke up this 
                         mornin', black snake moved in on me.

               Laz concludes the song. Rae raises up to her knees, facing 
               Laz. Tears have run down his dried face. He opens his eyes.

                                     LAZARUS
                         My life is gone. Only life I was 
                         livin'. And I lost it.

                                     RAE
                         I'm here with you.

                                     LAZARUS
                         I had love in my heart. And I gave 
                         it to one woman. And she gone now.
                              (his lip quivers)
                         Where am I gonna put all this love?

               Rae gently touches his cheek. The wind picks up outside.

                                     RAE
                         You can give it to me.

               Rae kisses Laz. He is motionless at first, allowing it to 
               happen. His hand moves from the neck of his guitar to the 
               bend in her neck.

               The passion intensifies as they squeeze the guitar between 
               them.

               Laz pulls his lips away and holds her head in his hands. 
               They are so close, they are breathing into each other's 
               mouths.

                                     RAE
                         You can't start this and not finish. 
                         Not with me.
                              (kisses him)
                         Please...

               The guitar clangs to the floor as Laz lifts Rae in his arms. 
               They kiss, ravenous for each other. He knocks up against the 
               side table, causing his Bible to fall to the floor, face up 
               and open. The wind pushes the front door open, slamming it 
               hard against the wall.

               They turn together, kissing, Laz slowly spinning with Rae in 
               his arms. But Laz is soon distracted by the pages of his 
               Bible fluttering on the floor. The wind is blowing the pages, 
               turning them with an unseen hand.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Wait... I gotta stop...
                              (Rae's kisses get 
                              more aggressive)
                         Rae stop...
                              (she can't hear, the 
                              burning has her)
                         Dammit, Rae... GET OFF!

               It takes a considerable effort to pull Rae away. She falls 
               to the floor, dizzy and sucking in air.

                                     LAZARUS
                         This ain't the way for me. I'm sorry.

               Rae is struggling for breath. She desperately grabs at Laz.

                                     RAE
                         Not gonna lie to you, Laz...
                              (labored breath)
                         This one's a doozy. I don't think... 
                         I don't think I can stop this.

               Her eyes roll back briefly, almost losing consciousness. Laz 
               catches her and holds her tightly.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Tell me what to do.

                                     RAE
                              (Barely able to speak)
                         The... chain helps.

               Laz grips the chain and wraps it around Rae.

               As the burning increases. Laz holds Rae tight across his 
               lap, his back up against the radiator.

                                     RAE
                         I seen a man die. He couldn't 
                         breathe... his heart was... was givin' 
                         out.

                                     LAZARUS
                         You just havin' a fit. You ain't 
                         goin' nowhere.

                                     RAE
                         He told me... get help. I just stood 
                         there and watched him... I watched 
                         him die, Laz. Oh God! GODDAMMIT!

               Her legs itch like they are covered in ants. The wave is 
               hitting her hard. Laz holds her face up to him.

                                     RAE
                              (like a little girl)
                         Oh, Laz... he hurt me. He... hurt me 
                         so many times.

                                     LAZARUS
                         No one's gonna hurt you no more.

                                     RAE
                         You think God forgives people like 
                         that?
                              (crying like a child)
                         You think God forgives people like 
                         me?

               Suddenly aware of the rising burn, Rae grits her teeth.

                                     RAE
                         Hold me. Oh God...

               Rae turns away as Laz holds her head in his lap. She bites 
               down on his middle finger as his hand moves over her mouth.

               She is gasping, screaming into his hand.

               It hits. Laz holds her.

               Rae's open mouth quivers as the sensation peaks. Her shoulders 
               slump, her chest vibrates. She is crying softly.

                                     LAZARUS
                         We'll just stay here. Wait till it 
                         passes.

               The pages of the Bible flip to the final pages in the wind.

                                                             FADE TO BLACK.

               EXT. FISHERVILLE SQUARE - MORNING

               Laz's truck pulls into his usual spot on the square. Rae is 
               riding shotgun.

                                     RAE
                         Where you gonna be?

                                     LAZARUS
                         Right here. Be here all afternoon.
                              (waits)
                         You ready for this?

                                     RAE
                         I'm gonna just get some girl stuff, 
                         like make-up and... stuff.

               Rae looks out the window, a touch of fear.

                                     LAZARUS
                         This town ain't goin' nowhere. You 
                         take the time you need.

               They both step out of the truck. Gene and Archie watch Rae's 
               ass as she walks by. They then look back at Laz, incredulous.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Friend of mine.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. FISHERVILLE GROCERY - MORNING

               Rae enters the modest grocery store holding herself tight. A 
               few harmless shoppers look at her making her feel even more 
               uncomfortable.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. FISHERVILLE SQUARE - AFTERNOON

               Laz is selling vegetables to a young woman. He is unaware 
               that Angela has moved up behind him, grinning, carrying a 
               small basket.

                                     ANGELA
                         I bet you have loyal customers.

                                     LAZARUS
                              (turns and grins)
                         You liked what I brung ya?

                                     ANGELA
                         Been eatin' like a princess all week. 
                         Even got enough for us to take a 
                         picnic under the gazebo.

                                     LAZARUS
                         That'd be nice.

                                     ANGELA
                         I put on the lotion you got me. Can 
                         you smell it?

               Angela steps forward and pulls away her hair from her neck. 
               She cranes, offering her neck for Laz to smell.

                                     LAZARUS
                              (smells)
                         That's nice, too.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. FISHERVILLE GROCERY - AFTERNOON

               Rae is looking at herself in the provided makeup counter 
               mirror. She looks at the compact in her hand and decides 
               against the purchase.

               She rounds the corner and stops. She sees Sandy on her knees 
               in the center of the aisle, building a display of tuna cans.

               Rae thinks to leave, but stops. She makes a decision to talk 
               to her. She walks up the aisle and stands above her mother.

                                     RAE
                         Hey.

               Rae kneels down next to her. She's trying to make a 
               connection.

                                     SANDY
                         What happened to your face?

                                     RAE
                         Got in a little accident.

                                     SANDY
                              (not believing her)
                         Yeah.

               Sandy stands and wipes her brow.

                                     RAE
                         Since you workin' on the square now, 
                         maybe we could get some coffee in 
                         the morning, if you want.

                                     SANDY
                         You need money again?

                                     RAE
                         No. That's not why...
                              (a frustrated breath)
                         Why we always gotta do this? I mean, 
                         you and me been at each other as far 
                         back as I can remember. Wasn't no 
                         love between us. And I'm your 
                         daughter. I'm the only family you 
                         got.

                                     SANDY
                         You never needed nobody. Always made 
                         that clear to me.

                                     RAE
                         Yeah. I know I did. But...
                              (struggles with tears)
                         I'm tryin' to be dif'rent. I'm tryin' 
                         to... get some peace, you know?

                                     SANDY
                         I'm workin' here, Rae. Can you see 
                         that?

                                     RAE
                         I just wanted some make-up.

                                     SANDY
                         All that shit's on aisle 5.

               Rae starts walking away. She quickly turns.

                                     RAE
                         I just think you should'a kept him 
                         off me, that's all.

                                     SANDY
                         The hell are you talkin' about?

                                     RAE
                         Now see? Don't do that. I'll go along 
                         with all you say about me. But that... 
                         you can't pretend no more on that. 
                         Cuz I was just a kid, Momma.
                              (a terrible silence)
                         I didn't know about any of that stuff 
                         he was doin' to me.
                              (tears well up)
                         And you let him do it. Some big nobody 
                         in your life... and you let him do 
                         as he wanted... with the only SOMEBODY 
                         you had.

               It is clear from Sandy's reserved anguish that Rae is telling 
               the truth.

               Sandy firmly grips her by the arm and walks her out. Rae 
               winces in pain like a toddler being led off to a car for a 
               good whipping.

                                     RAE
                         I'm sorry... I didn't mean to shout...

                                     SANDY
                         All my life I been puttin' out your 
                         fires, with you givin' out your snatch 
                         to every waggin' dick in this town. 
                         And you gonna lay the blame at my 
                         feet? Well, I ain't gonna take that.

                                     RAE
                         But... Momma... just tell me... not 
                         gonna be mad... we can just talk 
                         about it... Be eye to eye on this... 
                         You don't even got to say you're 
                         sorry... Just say how you knew...

                                     SANDY
                         Only thing I'm sorry for is listenin' 
                         to my parents and having you instead 
                         of doin' what I should'a done.

               Sandy walks back up the aisle returning to her canned tuna.

               And then the rage hits Rae.

               With each breath Rae grits her teeth tighter. She grabs a 
               mop off the side aisle and turns around. Sandy is pricing 
               cans, down on her knees. She doesn't see Rae coming.

                                     RAE
                         ...tell me you don't know... goddamn 
                         LIAR!

               Rae clocks her over the head, sending Sandy into the display 
               of cans. Rae hits her again with the mop. She is screaming 
               in short anguished breaths.

               Rae grabs everything she can and dumps them onto Sandy: Bags 
               of flour, cans, entire shelves of ketchup.

                                     RAE
                         SAY IT! JUST FUCKING SAY IT!

               Mark comes running to the aisle followed by two other 
               employees. Stunned customers watch in amazement.

                                     MARK
                         Rae! Rae! What are you doin'?

                                     RAE
                              (hysterically screaming 
                              and thrashing the 
                              mop)
                         GET OFF ME! GET OFF ME! GET... 
                         HIM...OFF!

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. FISHERVILLE SQUARE - AFTERNOON

               Laz and Angela are seated next to each other under the gazebo.

                                     ANGELA
                         I's thinkin' about singing in the 
                         choir.

                                     LAZARUS
                         At church?

                                     ANGELA
                         Mm-hm. I don't know if I got a good 
                         voice or not but... practice is only 
                         on Mondays and Wednesdays, so...

                                     LAZARUS
                              (grinning)
                         You gonna sing me somethin'?

                                     ANGELA
                         When? Now? Oh. No.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Come on, just a little somethin'. 
                         Right here. Go'on now, don't be shy.

               Angela blushes. She looks around and then leans in close to 
               Laz. She sings softly, sweetly, with all her soul.

                                     ANGELA
                              (singing)
                         There is a balm in Gilead to make 
                         the wounded whole.

               Laz is falling in love. She is so beautiful to him, he doesn't 
               see the people running to the front of the grocery store.

                                     ANGELA
                              (singing)
                         There is a balm in Gilead to save my 
                         sick, sick soul.
                              (opens her eyes, speaks)
                         So. You think I should be in the 
                         choir?

               Laz is grinning from ear to ear. He is about to speak but 
               the commotion outside the grocery catches his attention. His 
               smile fades.

                                     ANGELA
                         What? What is it?

               Laz bolts toward the grocery as fast as he can.

               INT. FISHERVILLE GROCERY - AFTERNOON

               Laz rushes past the gawking customers at the end of the aisle. 
               A few male workers, including Mark, stand at a distance 
               watching Rae weep on the floor.

               Sandy is being helped up by a co-worker -- her head is 
               bleeding.

               Rae rocks back and forth, her face spotted with flour dust, 
               the mop held tightly in her grip.

               Mark tries to step closer but Rae cries out, thrashing with 
               the mop handle. They retreat.

                                     LAZARUS
                         RAE? GAL? YOU HEARIN' MY VOICE?

               Rae lifts her eyes.

                                                                  FLASH TO:

               QUICK CUTS

               The chain pulling around Rae's waist. The radiator clanking 
               as it is pulled. Laz's hand holding her head to him as she 
               cries.

                                                             FLASH BACK TO:

               INT. FISHERVILLE GROCERY - AFTERNOON

               Laz slowly crosses to Rae. She lifts her tear-soaked eyes to 
               him. He kneels next to her.

                                     LAZARUS
                         I'll take you home now.

               He lifts her up in his arms. She sobs into his chest as he 
               carries her through the onlookers.

               Angela is there. She looks confused and shocked.

                                     ANGELA
                         This your cousin?

               Laz can't lie anymore. His gaze falls to the floor. He leaves 
               the store without saying anything to Angela.

               EXT. FISHERVILLE SQUARE - AFTERNOON

               Ronnie has parked Gill's truck on the square. He starts 
               walking up to the grocery store.

               He sees Laz carrying Rae in his arms. She is sobbing into 
               his chest, blind to all around her. Ronnie freezes in shock 
               as Laz approaches.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Move, son.
                              (Ronnie is unable to 
                              move)
                         Goddammit, kid, get outta my way!

               Laz pushes Ronnie causing him to fall backwards on to the 
               pavement.

               Ronnie watches Laz put Rae in his truck and drive away. A 
               wave of nausea hits. He turns over and heaves.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. LAZARUS' HOME - SUNSET

               The wooden chimes are deathly still above the porch. The 
               evening cicadas have begun their chorus.

               INT. LAZARUS' HOME - THE BATHROOM - SUNSET

               Rae is holding her knees to her chest in the tub. Laz sits 
               next to her, dipping the sponge in the water, gently washing 
               her back and shoulders.

               Laz moves her head back into the palm of his hand to wash 
               her hair. She stares into his eyes as he squeezes the sponge 
               on her forehead.

                                     RAE
                         You took care of your wife, like you 
                         do me?

                                     LAZARUS
                         I tried.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. LAZARUS' HOME - NIGHT

               Rae is wrapped in the quilt, laying on the couch. She is 
               awake and motionless, helpless to her depression.

               INT. LAZARUS' HOME - THE BEDROOM - NIGHT

               Laz sits on the side of his bed. Something is on his mind.

               We CUT TO him on his stomach searching for something under 
               his bed.

               Another old guitar case comes out, followed by another, then 
               another. Finally, Laz stands, an old maroon case in his grip.

               He opens the latches on the side and lifts the thin lid, 
               revealing a gorgeous cream colored electric guitar.

               INT. LAZARUS' HOME - NIGHT

               Rae has not fallen asleep yet. She turns to see Laz entering 
               the dark room with the maroon guitar case.

                                     LAZARUS
                         You and me, we night owls. No use 
                         fightin' this shit.
                              (tosses her a dress)
                         Get up.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. BOJO'S - NIGHT

               Laz's truck groans as it bounces into the crowded parking 
               lot of Bojo's.

               Rae steps out, looking beautiful in her sun dress. Laz slams 
               the door to his truck, guitar case in hand.

               They begin walking inside. Rae's watch goes off. She quickly 
               turns it off. But a faint echo of the alarm can be heard 
               behind her. She stops and turns toward the truck. The sound 
               is gone.

                                     LAZARUS
                         What is it?

                                     RAE
                         Nothin'.

               They go inside.

               Ronnie's hand appears from under the blue tarp in the back 
               of Laz's truck. He pulls himself out and looks around.

               INT. BOJO'S - NIGHT

               Laz and Rae stand like strangers by the door. The place is 
               wall to wall -- people at the bar, people playing pool.

               Laz sees the culprit of this show. R.L. is gabbing with Bojo, 
               a beer in his hand.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Get'chu at that table up yonder.

                                     RAE
                         By myself?

                                     LAZARUS
                         You can handle it.

               As Rae makes her way through the crowd of people, Laz marches 
               over to R.L.

                                     LAZARUS
                         The hell is this shit?

                                     R.L.
                         What? I called Bojo, like you say. 
                         Called up the fellas in the band...

                                     LAZARUS
                         The fuck are all these people doin' 
                         here? Been drinkin' in this shit 
                         hole for years ain't seen this many 
                         people since I don't know...

                                     BOJO
                         Shit hole... Hey kiss my ass, Laz.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Nigga, you go'on kiss my ass. Ya 
                         both called everybody, didn't ya?

               Bojo turns away to another customer. R.L. grins as he removes 
               a flask. He offers it to Laz. Laz snaps it away.

                                     LAZARUS
                         There you go, preacher man. Get me 
                         drunk so I don't stick my foot up yo 
                         ass.

                                     R.L.
                         I just know how you get. Good to 
                         know, them butterflies still in ya 
                         gut.

               Laz and R.L. look over at Rae seated alone at a small table 
               near the stage.

                                     R.L.
                         Heard about this morning.

                                     LAZARUS
                         We ain't here to talk about that 
                         shit.

               Laz surprises R.L. by walking away and up onto the stage.

               Rae watches as Laz, shakes hands with some of the band 
               members. A few whistles from the crowd.

               Laz sits down at a chair off to the right of a short mic 
               stand.

               He plugs in.

               Rae watches curiously as Laz tunes his guitar -- moans of 
               electric distortion.

               R.L. sits next to her.

                                     R.L.
                         You in for it, now. He gonna nail it 
                         to the wall tonight. I done pissed 
                         him off.

               The drummer kicks in. Laz tears into the strings. The entire 
               place begins to undulate and bounce as Laz returns to the 
               blues.

                                     LAZARUS
                              (singing)
                         I don't know, but I been around, 
                         tell me them women shake 'em on down.

               Cheers. Rae watches in awe. She's never seen anything like 
               it. She is surrounded by couples dancing so close they might 
               as well be naked. But there is also a great sense of safety 
               as Laz controls the room with his music.

                                     LAZARUS
                              (singing)
                         Yes, I'm goin' Georgia line. 
                         See if them women sweet like mine.

               HERSHEL, a black man in his 30's, asks Rae to dance.

                                     HERSHEL
                         You wanna cut it up, baby?

                                     RAE
                              (shrugging)
                         Well...

               Rae looks up at Laz. Laz smiles and nods. Rae takes the man's 
               hand and moves out onto the dance floor. R.L. can't be seated 
               anymore. He stands and stomps his foot.

                                     R.L.
                              (shouting at Laz)
                         Yeah, you know you home, old man. 
                         You just walked through the door.

                                     LAZARUS
                              (singing)
                         I don't know, but I been told, them 
                         Georgia women sweet jelly roll.

               Rae allows Laz's voice and guitar to take hold of her. Her 
               face gets wet with sweat as she moves, making love to the 
               current in the air.

               Men are dancing all around her, but now she is in control. 
               She turns to a young man and shakes, then an old man.

               She is free, herself, and above all, safe.

               Laz smiles, unaware of Ronnie watching from the window behind 
               him. There is rage and confusion in his face as he watches 
               Rae surrounded by dancing limbs.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. LAZARUS' HOME - KITCHEN - NIGHT

               Both Laz and Rae are drinking water from the sink in tall 
               glasses like they've been stranded in a desert.

                                     RAE
                         Are you drunk?
                              (Laz shrugs)
                         Keep drinkin' water and you won't 
                         get a headache in the mornin'.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Yeah, gal I been here before.

                                     RAE
                              (smiling)
                         I guess you have.

               INT. LAZARUS' HOME - THE BEDROOM - NIGHT

               Laz is taking off his shoes, getting ready to crash for the 
               night. He sits down on the side of his bed and takes off his 
               shirt, leaving his T-shirt on.

               Rae is standing in his doorway.

                                     RAE
                         Laz? Can I sleep with you tonight?

                                     LAZARUS
                         Don't think that'd be wise.

                                     RAE
                         I didn't mean it nothin' dirty.

                                     LAZARUS
                         I know you didn't. But you a grown 
                         girl. You can handle it. I got to.

               Rae understands. She crosses to Laz and kisses him on the 
               cheek.

               Rae then walks down the hall to her couch in the front room.

               Laz turns off the light.

                                                              CUT TO BLACK:

               INT. BATHROOM - NIGHT - FLASHBACK

               Rae enters the dark bathroom and shuts the door behind her. 
               Her hair is shorter, a shaggy bob, bleached platinum blond.

               ARTY, always behind the door, attempts to enter, but Rae 
               pushes the door closed and locks it.

                                     ARTY
                         Baby, where you goin'?

                                     RAE
                         I'm gonna pee. I gotta take a break 
                         and go pee.

                                     ARTY
                         Now, this isn't fair. You said I 
                         could do it, too.

                                     RAE
                         Eat shit and die, Arty. A girl can 
                         change her fuckin' mind.

               Rae finds the light switch. She yelps upon seeing Ronnie 
               crouched by the tub.

               Suddenly feeling violated Rae yanks down on her shirt to 
               hide the fact that she's not wearing anything else.

                                     RAE
                         Hey.

                                     RONNIE
                         Hey.

                                     RAE
                         You don't gotta get up but... I gotta 
                         go...

               Ronnie attempts to get up but it's too late, Rae has already 
               squatted on the commode, pinning Ronnie between her and the 
               bathtub.

               Rae is breathing heavy, her focus is scattered. She's coming 
               up or coming down from a big burn.

                                     RAE
                              (waiting for pee)
                         I think if I just piss... I'll be 
                         okay.

                                     RONNIE
                         You feelin' sick?

                                     RAE
                         I'm just in one of my moods. You 
                         know how I get.

                                     RONNIE
                         Yeah, I know.

               Ronnie tries to look away, trying to make an awkward moment 
               less awkward. Rae's anxiety is hitting her.

                                     RAE
                         I think it'd be better if you talk 
                         to me.

                                     RONNIE
                         Yeah?

                                     RAE
                         Just about anything, you know. It 
                         can be funny or... not. Just tell me 
                         somethin'.

               Ronnie nervously considers this before agreeing to open his 
               mouth. He points into the tub.

                                     RONNIE
                         Well. That's my vomit. I came in 
                         here to get sick. I thought I'd make 
                         the toilet but... anyway, I got sick.

                                     RAE
                         Are you wasted?

                                     RONNIE
                         No. I just got a messed up stomach.

                                     RAE
                              (remembering)
                         Holy shit!

                                     RONNIE
                         What?

                                     RAE
                         Holy shit, Ronnie!
                              (smacks him on the 
                              arm)
                         You're a fuckin' rock star.

                                     RONNIE
                         I'm a what?

                                     RAE
                         All them people shoutin' your name 
                         like they were doing tonight! Shit! 
                         That arm you got'll get'chu on a box 
                         of cereal...

               Ronnie leans over and dry heaves into the tub. It is painful. 
               Rae leans forward and touches his back, comforting him.

                                     RAE
                         Hey? You okay, Ronnie?

               Ronnie falls back, gripping his stomach, there are tears in 
               his eyes from the dry heaving. Suddenly emotion hits him.

                                     RONNIE
                              (through tears and 
                              clenched teeth)
                         Box of cereal... well, Goddamn...
                              (looks at his trembling 
                              fists)
                         Everybody keeps sayin' things to me 
                         take make me feel great. But I don't 
                         feel great at all. I feel like I'm 
                         comin' outta my skin. Like I'm losin' 
                         control of my mind.
                              (looks into Rae's 
                              eyes)
                         I'm not like this. I'm not usually 
                         so... afraid.
                              (really starts crying)
                         I don't know what's... wrong...

               Rae pulls Ronnie to her. He cries into her shoulder. She 
               gently rubs his wet face and sings her words of comfort.

                                     RAE
                         Is'okay... Is'okay...

               Ronnie begins to calm down. The sobbing abates.

               The metal music from the party outside is muffled through 
               the door. The two hold onto each other in silence.

               Rae pees. They both giggle, a welcome release of tension.

                                     RAE
                         I feel better. Do you?

                                     RONNIE
                         Yeah, I do.

               EXT. LAZARUS' BARN - NIGHT

               Ronnie lifts his head from sleep - his memory of Rae has 
               vanished.

               He is leaning against the corner of the barn, his .45 in his 
               grip. His gaze slowly turns toward Laz's darkened house.

               His hand begins to shake.

                                                             FADE TO BLACK.

               EXT. LAZARUS' HOME - EARLY MORNING

               A crow squawks in the rows of corn. A bright morning is 
               coming.

               INT. LAZARUS' HOME - THE BEDROOM - EARLY MORNING

               Laz is still asleep. The sound of clumsy guitar playing, 
               accompanied by a tiny voice, can be heard.

                                     RAE
                              (plucking, trying to 
                              find the right note)
                         You... are my... sunshine.

               Laz opens his eyes.

               INT. LAZARUS' HOME - EARLY MORNING

               Laz quietly creeps into the doorway to watch Rae struggle 
               with the guitar playing. He could stay there for hours 
               watching this little girl play his guitar.

               Rae looks up and sees Laz. She stops playing.

                                     RAE
                         Sorry.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Looks like you know a song.

                                     RAE
                         Don't know where I learn't it, but... 
                         it's there in my head.

               Laz sits next to her and takes the guitar from her.

                                     LAZARUS
                              (playing a tune)
                         How you feelin' today?

                                     RAE
                         You know how you feel when you come 
                         out of a bad hangover? Like your 
                         eyes can open a little bit more.

                                     LAZARUS
                         I know that.

                                     RAE
                         Woke up real early. Sun was shining. 
                         Just thought I'd mess around, try to 
                         learn a song.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Go'on and sing it, I'll play.

                                     RAE
                         No, you do it. I can't sing.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Stop that foolishness. Just do as I 
                         say and close your eyes.
                              (Rae closes her eyes)
                         Close your eyes. And think about... 
                         well, for a song like this, I'd say 
                         you think about what you love.

                                     RAE
                         What I love.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Get a good picture in your mind.

               Rae's playful smile turns serious. Laz continues playing.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Think on that. And sing wit me.
                              (Laz comes in singing)
                         You are my sunshine. My only sunshine.

                                     RAE & LAZARUS
                         You make me happy when skies are 
                         gray. 
                         You'll never know dear, how much I 
                         love you. 
                         Please don't take my sunshine away.

               Rae opens her eyes with a delightful giggle. Laz continues 
               playing.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Good. I know another. It go like 
                         this.
                              (sings)
                         Last night dear, as I lay sleeping. 
                         I dreamed I held you in my arms. 
                         When I awoke dear, I was mistaken. 
                         So I hung my head and I cried.
                              (to Rae)
                         Close your eyes Rae... sing it.

               Rae doesn't hesitate to obey. With her eyes closed and Laz 
               playing, neither can see Ronnie creeping up from the kitchen 
               with his gun.

                                     RAE
                              (singing)
                         You are my sunshine. My only sunshine. 
                         You make me happy when skies are 
                         gray.

               Ronnie looks sick with pain as he points the barrel at the 
               back of Laz's head.

                                     RAE
                              (singing)
                         You'll never know dear, how much I 
                         love you. 
                         Please don't take your sunshine away.
                              (opens her eyes)
                         RONNIE!

               Laz spins around knocking away Ronnie's arm. BAM! The gun 
               fires into the wall. The guitar cracks on the floor.

               Rae screams.

                                     RAE
                         RONNIE STOP! RONNIE!

               Laz lunges at Ronnie but Ronnie is faster. He spins Laz around 
               and slams him to the floor, pushing his gun into Laz's face.

                                     RAE
                         NO!

               Ronnie looks up at Rae, his eyes red with sorrow and rage. 
               He pushes the gun to the side of Laz's head. Rae cries.

                                     RONNIE
                         Ain't been a week and you already 
                         some nigger's whore? Gill told me. 
                         Told me how you and he... you and 
                         everybody...

                                     RAE
                         Ronnie. Please, baby...

                                     RONNIE
                              (to Laz)
                         Did 'ya have fun with her? Sweet as 
                         a peach, I bet. Huh? Huh?

               Laz glares back, not saying a word.

                                     RONNIE
                         Goddamn it, I ask you a question, 
                         you better answer it, or I'm gonna 
                         blast a hole in ya!

                                     RAE
                         Ronnie...

               Rae moves closer. Ronnie points his gun at her and screams.

                                     RONNIE
                         YOU SHUT UP!

                                     LAZARUS
                         Careful how you point that gun, boy.

                                     RONNIE
                              (points gun back at 
                              Laz)
                         Or what? OR WHAT?

                                     LAZARUS
                         Boy? You here to make a point, or 
                         you here to kill somebody?

                                     RONNIE
                         Ain't gonna be callin' me boy when I 
                         blow your face off.

                                     LAZARUS
                         You sayin' you'll do what?

                                     RONNIE
                         You heard me, mother-fucker. I'll 
                         fuckin' kill..

                                     LAZARUS
                              (cutting him off)
                         BOY! You so green you couldn't stomp 
                         a baby duck.

               Ronnie can't believe what was just said -- mostly, because 
               it's true. The gun begins to shake in his hand.

                                     RONNIE
                         You testing me? Huh? You testin' me, 
                         old man?

                                     LAZARUS
                         Test. Shit. What kind'a test you 
                         thinkin'? You mean like, if you a 
                         man or not? If you a killer? Only 
                         one way to prove that. You just look 
                         me in the eye, boy, and you squeeze 
                         that trigger back.

               Ronnie grips the shaking gun. A severe attack is on the rise 
               as he listens to Laz.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Ain't that easy, is it? I been in 
                         some scraps, son, I know. First 
                         there's that loud crack. Always louder 
                         than you think. Like it just come-up-
                         a-cloud and clapped a mess thunder 
                         right in ya hand. BAM!

               Ronnie flinches. He tries to control his breathing.

                                     LAZARUS
                         White light. Smell of smoke. Taste 
                         of my blood and brains in your mouth, 
                         stingin' ya eyes.

               Ronnie almost vomits, but he holds it back.

                                     RAE
                         Oh, baby... just let me...

               Rae moves closer to him, wanting to comfort him but she stops 
               as Ronnie points the gun at her. His eyes pleading for her 
               to stay back.

                                     RONNIE
                         GODDAMMIT, RAE!

                                     LAZARUS
                         BOY! YOU KEEP THAT GUN POINTED AT 
                         ME!
                              (Ronnie obeys)
                         You need to kill a man, all you gotta 
                         have is a good reason.
                              (watches Ronnie fight 
                              his attack)
                         You know she been here with me, don't 
                         cha? Been all over town, givin' up 
                         that switch you thought was your 
                         own.

                                     RONNIE
                         SHUT UP! SHUT UP!

                                     LAZARUS
                         Put all your love and dreams into 
                         one woman... she turn around and 
                         give it all to another man. That's a 
                         good reason to paint the wall with 
                         me, kid. She'd fear ya then. Cuz 
                         there won't be no more question in 
                         her mind. She with a real man now. A 
                         real KILLER!

               A flood of tears are streaming down Ronnie's face. The gun 
               is shaking furiously in his hand.

                                     RONNIE
                         Don't... don't say that to me...

                                     LAZARUS
                              (getting fed up)
                         Son, I'm grown. Don't got patience 
                         to suffer you children and this monkey 
                         junk. I'm too old to play house...
                              (looks at Rae and 
                              then back at Ronnie)
                         ...and cowboys. So let's have it. 
                         End me or get out of my face!

               Ronnie looks like a scared five year old having an asthma 
               attack. Laz barks at him one last time.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Go'on. Do it.
                              (silence)
                         DO IT!

               The last shout from Laz completely destroys Ronnie. His 
               shoulders slump. The gun lowers in his grasp. A low sob is 
               heard as he falls to his knees.

               Laz snatches the gun from his hand and stands.

                                     RAE
                         Ronnie?

               Rae inches closer to Ronnie as he kneels over and weeps. She 
               gently touches his shoulder. He turns his anguished face to 
               her and tries to speak.

                                     RONNIE
                         I can't stop... I can't stop... being 
                         scared. What am I gonna do...

               Ronnie hides his face in his hands. Rae throws her arms around 
               him and holds him tight.

                                     RAE
                         I got you, baby... I got you...

               Laz removes the clip and crosses to the kitchen. He slams 
               the gun on the sink, opens a drawer and removes the wall 
               phone.

                                     RAE
                              (seeing Laz plug the 
                              phone in)
                         What are you doing?
                              (Laz dials a number)
                         You gonna call the cops? You think 
                         they gonna help this? They ever help 
                         you, Laz? Huh?
                              (Laz listens on the 
                              phone)
                         DAMMIT LAZ PUT THE PHONE DOWN?

               Laz looks at Rae. There is hurt in his eyes.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Thought you knew me better, gal.
                              (into the phone)
                         I need you at my house... right now.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. LAZARUS' HOME - NIGHT

               R.L. crosses from the kitchen. He hands a glass of water to 
               Rae seated on the couch. He hands another to Ronnie seated 
               next to her. R.L. sits before them as Laz lingers in the 
               doorway.

                                     R.L.
                              (to Ronnie)
                         I imagine there's a lot of good 
                         between you two. But I want you to 
                         tell me what's bad. Go'on. And don't 
                         hold back.

               Ronnie is very uncomfortable. He looks at Rae seated next to 
               him and then back at R.L..

                                     RONNIE
                         I hate this town. You can't round 
                         the corner without bumping into 
                         someone who's got your number.
                              (a brief look at Rae)
                         We did a lot of dreamin', me and 
                         Rae. Makin' plans to get out. I'd do 
                         my tour and... we'd move outta here. 
                         Go to Chattanooga. And I'd work for 
                         my uncle.
                              (looks down, tears 
                              come to Ronnie)
                         But... when Rae gets like she does. 
                         And she does the things that she 
                         always done. Makes me feel like she 
                         loves this place more'n me.

               Rae starts shaking her head, tears come to her eyes. R.L. 
               raises a hand to silence her.

                                     R.L.
                         Go on, Ronnie.

                                     RONNIE
                         All my life people called me shit 
                         like, sissy and... nervous and... I 
                         got few things in my life that make 
                         me feel like... like...

                                     LAZARUS
                         Like a man.

                                     RONNIE
                              (surprised)
                         Yes. I mean that's it. I wanna feel 
                         like a man with her. I wanna feel 
                         like the only man with her.

               Ronnie wipes the tears from his eyes with his shirt sleeve. 
               R.L. turns to Rae.

                                     R.L.
                              (looks at Rae)
                         Now, Rae, we're not here to fix you 
                         or judge you. Only you and the 
                         Almighty can do that. But I want you 
                         to tell me about these spells you 
                         get.

               Rae takes a deep breath. She looks up at Laz. He encourages 
               her with a nod.

                                     RAE
                         It starts like this... fire... that 
                         spreads. Starts in my head. Then 
                         moves to my stomach. Then it goes 
                         lower. I can stop it sometimes but 
                         mostly I just jump on and ride it 
                         out... then everything'll go back to 
                         normal, you know. Only thing ever 
                         took that feeling away was... was... 
                         when I met Ronnie.
                              (the emotion really 
                              hits hard)
                         Cuz I love him so much. He's all I 
                         got in my life that's special. And I 
                         like taking care of him and helping 
                         him when he gets nervous. When I can 
                         do that for him... it's like I'm 
                         givin' somethin' of myself that I 
                         haven't givin' nobody else.

                                     R.L.
                         Rae, look at Ronnie. And tell him 
                         how you feel.

               Rae turns to Ronnie. Her nose is running as she wipes away 
               her tears.

                                     RAE
                         I think... I think we're fucked up. 
                         Both of us. I know I am. But... that 
                         don't mean what I feel ain't true. 
                         It don't mean I can't love. And I 
                         know, how I been is... is... REALLY 
                         BAD! So if you want to quit on me... 
                         I understand. But please... please... 
                         don't.

               Ronnie is very moved by Rae's plea. He touches her face and 
               wipes away a tear.

                                     R.L.
                         So. What'chu two gonna do about this?

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. ANGELA'S HOME - DAY

               The door opens. Angela looks surprised to see Laz. She is 
               dressed in jeans, a T-shirt, wearing rubber gloves from 
               cleaning.

                                     ANGELA
                         Hey.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Hey. You wasn't at'cha work but that 
                         nosey gal up at the counter give me 
                         your home address. Hope you don't 
                         mind me comin' over.

                                     ANGELA
                         What do you need?

                                     LAZARUS
                         I need ya help again.

               Angela notices Rae and Ronnie seated in Laz's truck.

                                     ANGELA
                         More cough syrup?

                                     LAZARUS
                         Can I come in?

               Angela takes a breath and opens the door wider.

               INT. ANGELA'S HOME - DAY

               It is a small house, but tidy. Angela motions for Laz to 
               sit.

                                     LAZARUS
                         I lied to you. It was wrong. But at 
                         the time... I didn't know what to 
                         do. Imagine you got an earful from 
                         folks about that gal I's carryin'...

                                     ANGELA
                         Laz... you don't need to explain 
                         yourself to me...

                                     LAZARUS
                         Yes, I do. Cuz I feel for you. Mean 
                         to say...
                              (long pause)
                         I got feelings for you. And I didn't 
                         want you to think... I didn't...
                              (how to say?)
                         I don't want you to go away. There's 
                         better ways to say what I'm trying 
                         to say, but... they it is. Don't go 
                         away.

               Angela thinks on this. She rises out of her seat and crosses 
               to Laz, sitting next to him on the love seat.

                                     ANGELA
                         Laz. I'm gonna put my trust in you. 
                         I'm gonna do it knowin' all too well 
                         I can get hurt like this. And I have 
                         been hurt. Just like you.
                              (beat)
                         Woman like me, I got a lot of livin' 
                         to do. But my days are precious to 
                         me. They all I got left. Don't want 
                         no more fuss. I want love in my life. 
                         You understanding me, Laz?

                                     LAZARUS
                         I do. God's truth. I do.

               They stay locked in each others' sight.

               Then, the slowest, most gentle kiss happens between them. 
               When they separate, Laz is lost in her eyes.

                                     ANGELA
                         Now what'chu need me to do? Cuz I'm 
                         gonna go do it.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. POOL HALL - MORNING

               Laz enters the pool hall and spots Tehronne. Tehronne motions 
               him back. Next to Tehronne is an old black man named PINETOP.

                                     TEHRONNE
                         Yo, this here Pinetop. I think he 
                         got what you lookin' for.

               Pinetop grins and produces a black velvet cloth. He opens it 
               gently and spreads it out, revealing a long, thin, gold chain.

               Laz nods, approvingly.

                                     LAZARUS
                         That'll do.

               EXT. POOL HALL - BACK DOOR - MORNING

               Tehronne leads Laz down the back steps.

               They both round the corner, revealing an old Chevy Caprice. 
               It is light brown except for one door that is gray, however 
               the chrome rims on the car are impressive -- worth more that 
               the entire car by a long shot.

                                     TEHRONNE
                         It got some miles on it, but my boys 
                         say she run good. Got fresh 22's on 
                         her. Ain't my doin'. That's just how 
                         it came to me. Don't worry. Nobody 
                         gonna come lookin' for it. I got the 
                         pinks... got no problem.
                              (hands Laz the keys)
                         Ain't gonna have my girl ridin' no 
                         bus.

                                     LAZARUS
                              (moved, impressed)
                         Don't see generosity much these days. 
                         Everything always got a catch. Guess 
                         I'm tryin' to say... thank you.

                                     TEHRONNE
                         Nobody ever asks me to do shit like 
                         this for people. And you know what? 
                         I'm good at it. Naw what I mean?

               Tehronne walks back into the pool hall, leaving Laz alone.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               INT. ELLA MAE'S WOMEN'S CLOTHING - DAY

               Rhonda has three white dresses over her arm as she hurries 
               past Ronnie, seated next to the back dressing rooms.

               The door doesn't close all the way. He stands and moves in 
               for a peek. Angela pokes her head out and grins.

                                     ANGELA
                         What are you doing?

                                     RONNIE
                              (shrugs)
                         Just wanted to see.

                                     ANGELA
                         You know the rules.
                              (vacant look from 
                              Ronnie)
                         You do know the rules, don't you?

                                     RONNIE
                         Yeah, I know.

                                     ANGELA
                         Then start taking them seriously.

                                     RONNIE
                         Yes, ma'am.

               INT. ELLA MAE'S WOMEN'S CLOTHING - DRESSING ROOM - DAY

               Rae is standing in bra and panties up on a small platform in 
               front of a tri-divided mirror. Ella Mae takes the dresses 
               from Rhonda.

               Angela sees that Rae is nervous.

                                     ANGELA
                         It's okay to breathe, honey.

                                     RAE
                         Yes, ma'am.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. RONNIE'S TRAILER - LATE DAY

               Ronnie is wearing a brown corduroy jacket. He is attempting 
               to tie his neck tie in the side mirror of Laz's truck.

               Lincoln, also wearing his Sunday best, steps up behind him.

                                     LINCOLN
                         You Ronnie?

                                     RONNIE
                         Yeah.

                                     LINCOLN
                         I'm Lincoln. Guess I'm gonna be your 
                         best man.

                                     RONNIE
                              (ultimately accepting)
                         Okay.

                                     LINCOLN
                         You havin' trouble with that tie? 
                         Cuz I'm pretty good at it.

               Ronnie nods. Lincoln steps behind him to tie the tie.

                                     LINCOLN
                         Gotta do it like this or I get all 
                         turned around.

               INT. RONNIE'S TRAILER - LATE DAY

               Laz is wearing the same suit he wore at the cafe with Rose. 
               He is seated in Ronnie's trailer, outside the back bedroom 
               door.

               Angela steps out from the bedroom with a grin.

                                     ANGELA
                         She's ready for you.

               INT. RONNIE'S TRAILER - BACK BEDROOM - LATE DAY

               Laz opens the door, carefully looking around the doorjam. He 
               sees her standing before the dresser mirror. She looks 
               beautiful, simple, and elegant.

               Rae desperately searches Laz's eyes for approval.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Now that's sharp. That's real sharp. 
                         Miss Ella Mae set you up, didn't 
                         she? You like it?

                                     RAE
                         I've had nice things before but I 
                         always ruined 'em somehow.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Well, this one's yours now. You ready 
                         to take care of it?

               Rae bows her head. She fights back tears.

                                     RAE
                         I want to. More'n anything. But I...

               Laz holds her face in his hands. He speaks softly.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Now... let's stop that.
                              (smiles)
                         You and me... we can handle this. 
                         You hear me, gal? We gonna be just 
                         fine. Now live ya life. Pull your 
                         shit together and live your life.

               His words are piercing and true. Rae nods, decides.

                                     RAE
                         Okay.

               R.L.'s words are heard as Rae wraps her arms around Laz and 
               rests her head on his chest.

                                     RAE
                         I don't want you to let go.

                                     LAZARUS
                         Maybe I won't.

                                     R.L. (V.O.)
                         When I was a child, I talked like a 
                         child. I thought like a child, I 
                         reasoned like a child.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. RONNIE'S TRAILER - LATE DAY

               Ronnie turns toward the trailer. He is in his suit, standing 
               in his front yard -- Lincoln at his side. R.L. stands to the 
               side with a Bible in his hands.

                                     R.L. (V.O.)
                         When I became a man, I put childish 
                         ways behind me.

               Ronnie is amazed with what he sees. Laz leads beautiful Rae 
               down the steps as Angela tends to her side.

                                     R.L. (V.O.)
                         Now we see but a poor reflection as 
                         in the mirror; then we shall see 
                         face to face. I know in part; then I 
                         shall know fully, even as I am fully 
                         known.

               Rae holds firm to Laz's arm as they come together on the 
               green grass to witness and perform this union.

                                     R.L. (V.O.)
                         And now these three remain: faith, 
                         hope and love. But the greatest of 
                         these is love.
                              (Looks to Laz)
                         Who gives this girl in marriage?

                                     LAZARUS
                         I do.

               Lazarus takes a few steps with Rae, offering her arm to 
               Ronnie. Ronnie and Laz stay locked in each other's gaze.

                                     LAZARUS
                         You got her now?

               Laz stands next to Angela as Ronnie and Rae face R.L. 
               together.

                                     R.L.
                         Ronnie. Rae. I want you to look at 
                         each other and listen to me carefully. 
                         Do you understand?

                                     RAE & RONNIE
                         Yes. Yes, sir.

               They both obey -- each with a serious expression.

                                     R.L.
                         I require and charge you both as you 
                         stand in the presence of God to 
                         remember that love and loyalty alone 
                         will avail as a foundation of a happy 
                         and enduring home.
                              (to Lincoln)
                         Go on, hand it to him.

               Lincoln steps toward Ronnie and holds up the black velvet. 
               Ronnie takes the gold chain and carefully wraps it around 
               Rae's waist.

                                     R.L.
                         No human ties are more tender. No 
                         vows more sacred than those you now 
                         assume.

               Laz looks on -- a conflicted emotion of joy and loss.

                                     R.L.
                         If these solemn vows be kept 
                         inviolate, the home which you are 
                         establishing will abide in peace and 
                         your life will be filled with joy.

               Angela reaches over and takes Laz's hand in hers.

                                                                    CUT TO:

               EXT. FREEWAY / INT. RONNIE & RAE'S NEW CAR - DAY

               Ronnie is at the wheel of the Chevy Caprice. Rae sits silently 
               next to him.

               Rae looks out the window as a huge 18 wheeler rolls up on 
               her side. She tries to ignore it and the tension it brings.

               She turns to see that Ronnie is sweating. Another truck is 
               on his side sandwiching them in. An attack is coming over 
               Ronnie.

               His breath is short. His chest tightens. Rae reaches over 
               and gently strokes the back of his neck.

                                     RONNIE
                         I gotta pull over.

               He breaks. The two trucks zoom ahead as Ronnie breaks to the 
               side. Dust flies as the Chevy skids to a stop on the side of 
               the road.

               Trucks zip by shaking the car, as Ronnie tries to get control 
               of his breathing.

               Rae tries to stay calm, stroking the back of his neck as he 
               struggles for breath. He puts his forehead against the wheel 
               to stave off the building nausea.

                                     RONNIE
                              (through clenched 
                              teeth)
                         FUCK!

               Fear comes to Rae's face as she notices her middle finger 
               scratching at the back of Ronnie's neck. She pulls it away 
               and shoves her hand between her thighs.

               Her eyes close as the burning builds. She grips the gold 
               chain around her waist.

                                                                   FLASH TO

               QUICK CUTS

               The chain, tight around Rae as she struggles. Rae panting 
               and sweating on Laz's floor. She reaches out. Her hand lands 
               on the strings of his guitar. A single string is plucked.

                                                             FLASH BACK TO:

               EXT. FREEWAY/ INT. RONNIE & RAE'S NEW CAR - DAY

               Rae opens her eyes -- the low note still sounding in her 
               head. She places her hand back on his neck. And then, soft 
               as a prayer:

                                     RAE
                              (singing)
                         You are my sunshine. My only sunshine. 
                         You make me happy, when times are 
                         gray.

               Ronnie slowly turns and looks at Rae, his head still resting 
               on the steering wheel. The panting has slowed. Color starts 
               returning to his cheeks.

                                     RAE
                              (singing)
                         You'll never know dear, how much I 
                         love you. 
                         Please don't take, my sunshine away.

               The anxiety is gone. Ronnie takes a breath and looks at Rae, 
               humbled and thankful of her power to soothe him.

                                     RAE
                         See. We're okay.

               Rae is smiling.

                                                              CUT TO BLACK:



                                         THE END