Actor Point >> Movie Scripts >> Croupier Film Script

Croupier Movie Script

Writer(s) : Paul Mayersberg

Genres : Crime, Drama

Search IMDb : Croupier



                                         CROUPIER

                                      A screenplay by

                                      Paul Mayersberg



                                                            Shooting Script


               FADE IN:

               INT. CASINO - NIGHT

               A roulette table. The PUNTERS place their bets. TWELVE 
               PLAYERS, nine men, three women. The FACES of the men, all 
               ages, intense, hopeful, fearful. Which of them is JACK?

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Now he had become the still centre 
                         of that spinning wheel of 
                         misfortune.

               A MAN'S hand spins the wheel. The ball is thrown against 
               the spin. Hands, faces, chips...

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         The world turned round him... 
                         leaving him miraculously untouched 
                         The little white ball circles the 
                         spinning wheel.

               The PUNTERS'S faces as the ball starts to bounce. All eyes 
               are on the bouncing ball.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         The croupier had reached his goal. 
                         He no longer heard the sound of 
                         the ball.

               The back of the CROUPIER'S hand, his slicked-back short 
               hair, razor cut. The CAMERA moves around to his face...

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         To begin with he was Jack Manfred...

               whistling sound takes Jack back in time.

               INT. PUBLISHER'S OFFICE - DAY

               JACK is walking through a maze of open-plan partitioned 
               offices. He ls casually but fashionably dressed, hair dyed 
               blond long, a nervous elegance about him, almost 
               unrecognisable from the croupier's face.

               He searches for the right office. He finds it. The name on 
               the open is GILES CREMORNE.

               INT. GILES' OFFICE - DAY

               GILES CREMORNE, a public schoolboy in his late twenties 
               comes forward and vigorously shakes JACK'S hand. Jacketless, 
               he wears yellow braces. Next to his tidy desk is a slot 
               machine.

                                     GILES
                         Take a pew, Jack. You look well. 
                         What's it been, two years since we 
                         broke bread?

               GILES has an upper-class accent, but an acquired street 
               manner.

                                     JACK
                         Three years, two months. March 
                         '93.

                                     GILES
                         What a memory you've got. Maths 
                         always was your strong suit. What 
                         happened to the moaning Lisa?

                                     JACK
                         She went back to South Africa.                                        

                                     GILES
                              (digging)
                         Did she?
                              (smiles)
                         You were pretty thick at one time.

                                     JACK
                         We all played the field.

               GILES frowns at a memory, an implication. GILES'S mobile 
               phone buzzes. He picks up.

                                     GILES
                         Hi-ya... I'll call you back.
                              (to Jack)
                         Now then...

                                     JACK
                              (suddenly)
                         I want a job, Giles.

                                     GILES
                              (cautiously)
                         All right. As what?

                                     JACK
                         I was thinking perhaps I could be 
                         a reader. You employ readers, don't 
                         you?

                                     GILES
                         We do. For unsolicited manuscripts. 
                         We pay twenty pounds a manuscript. 
                         You might get two, maybe three in 
                         a week. Can you live on sixty 
                         pounds?

               JACK opens a pack of Gitanes.

                                     GILES
                         Sorry. This is a no-smoking office, 
                         Jack. You've written a book, haven't 
                         you? I didn't read it myself, but --

               A WOMAN SECRETARY puts her head into the office.

                                     GILES
                         Give me ten minutes, Fiona.

               FIONA puts a fax on GILES'S desk, smiles at JACK, and goes.  

                                     GILES
                         Fiona used to read for me.

               He winks at JACK.

                                     GILES
                         Let me tell you about our operation. 
                         We like personality authors. People 
                         the public recognises. Celebrity's 
                         what sells books. We can always 
                         find someone to do the writing. 
                         First, we need the face. Then the 
                         concept.
                              (he is reading the 
                              fax)
                         Right now I'm looking for a soccer 
                         novel. Something where a tycoon 
                         buys a lousy team and takes it to 
                         the top. Seven figure transfer 
                         fees. Corruption all down the line. 
                         Violence on and off the pitch. 
                         Steroids. Got any concepts? It 
                         could be a thug story. I tell you 
                         what. Why don't you think about 
                         it. A couple of pages.  The pitch. 
                         Steroids. Got any concepts? It 
                         could be a thug story. I tell you 
                         what. Why don't you think about 
                         it. A couple of pages.
                              (smiles)
                         With plenty of sex, of course.

               GILES pops a coin into the slot machine, pulls the handle, 
               waits.

                                     JACK
                         Interesting, Giles. I will think 
                         about it.

               The machine spits out several coins. GILES takes them.

                                     GILES
                         Let me give you three words of 
                         advice, Jack. Don't give up. Stick 
                         with it. Who persists wins. That's 
                         my motto. Write, write, write.

               JACK nods, extends his hand. A firm handshake.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Jack had three words for, Giles. 
                         Go fuck yourself.

               Meeting over. GILES smiles goodbye, pockets his slot machine 
               winnings.

               INT. JACK'S BASEMENT FLAT - SITTING ROOM -  DAY 

               The untidy evidence. To the accompaniment of the music, a 
               discordant version, three dog-eared copies of 'The Invention 
               Of The Wheel', A Novel by JACK MANFRED. Worn furniture. A 
               pile of literary magazines. Two elegantly arranged vases 
               of flowers.  Women's fashion magazines. Books everywhere, 
               including 'Scarne on Gambling', 'The Education of A Poker 
               Player', 'Delta of Venus' and other books by Anais Nin. A 
               woman's dress, back from the cleaners. A framed etching of 
               Cape Town, South Africa, in the eighteenth century. 
               Finally...

               Beneath the iron barred window, with a view of the iron 
               steps down from the street, JACK sits at the dining table. 
               In front of him is a word processor. He toys with a glass 
               of vodka, smoking a Gitane, and leafing through a soccer 
               fan magazine. He starts to touch-type, looking at the 
               screen, not the keyboard. Words appear, letter by letter... 
               THE BALL... A NOVEL... BY JACK MANFRED. He pauses to drink.

               EXT. PHONE BOOTH - DAY

               A MAN, face unseen, steps into a phone booth. CLOSE ON: 
               his hands.  It is impossible to tell where he is.

               He opens his pocket book, addresses, diary etc., and 
               searches through for something. 

               EXT. PHONE BOOTH - DAY

               He finds what he's looking for: a small photograph, among 
               others of girls, of a ten year-old boy in school uniform. 
               On the back are three phone numbers, two of them crossed 
               out. The MAN lifts the receiver, inserts coins. He starts 
               to press the numbers. There are CLOSE-UPS of his finger 
               pressing the sequence of digits, each one CLOSER, longer 
               than the one before, until...

               INT. JACK'S SITTING ROOM - DAY

               The phone rings. JACK looks to the answering machine, waits 
               for the voice.

                                     MAN'S VOICE
                         Jacko, if you're there, pick up. I 
                         want to talk to you. It's important.

               JACK hesitates, then picks up.

                                     JACK
                         Dad, I'm here.

               EXT. PHONE BOOTH - DAY

               The MAN is handsome, tanned, 50ish, white shirt, dark tie. 
               He is JACK'S father.

                                     JACK SR.
                         How's it going?

               The subsequent conversation is INTERCUT between SITTING 
               ROOM and PHONE BOOTH.

                                     JACK
                         Great.

                                     JACK SR.
                         Found a job?

                                     JACK
                         No. 

                                     JACK SR.
                         Well I've got something for you. 
                         In London, I mean. I've been 
                         chatting to some friends. Do you 
                         know the Golden Lion casino? It's 
                         in Bayswater, I believe... They're 
                         looking for a dealer, a croupier.

               JACK SR pulls out a cigarette - a Gitanes.

                                     JACK
                         That's not what I want to do, dad.

               JACK stubs his cigarette out.

                                     JACK SR.
                              (lighting his 
                              cigarette)
                         Don't be stubborn. The pay won't 
                         be grand, but it's regular. That's 
                         what you need, isn't it? I know 
                         you don't like taking my advice...

                                     JACK
                              (drinks)
                         It's not that.

                                     JACK SR.
                         I've set this up for you. Call the 
                         Golden Lion and ask for Mr Reynolds, 
                         he's the Manager. I don't know him 
                         personally, but I've spoken to his 
                         boss. Don't say no, Jacko. Give 
                         yourself a break.

               JACK reaches for a cigarette.

                                     JACK
                         All right, I'll think about it.

                 I won't. Goodbye, dad.

                                     JACK SR.
                         Just do it. You've got the knack, 
                         you've got the personality, you 
                         got that from me.

               JACK lights up.

                                     JACK SR.
                         You understand the punters. Think 
                         about it, you can write during the 
                         day and sleep knowing the bills 
                         are paid.

               As he speaks, he watches passing WOMEN.

                                     JACK SR.
                         For Christ's sake, Jacko, don't 
                         look a gift horse in the mouth. 
                         Have you written that name down? 
                         Reynolds, at the Golden Lion.
                              (exhales)

                                     JACK
                              (exhales)
                         All right, dad. Yes, I'll call 
                         him.

               JACK is not enthusiastic, but he scribbles the name down 
               on a pad.

                                     JACK
                         So how are you doing, dad?

                                     JACK SR.
                         Great. I've just started a new 
                         company. Solid financing. It's 
                         good.
                              (pause)
                         I love you Jacko, you know that

                                     JACK
                         Yes, I know that.

                                     JACK SR.
                         Don't let yourself down.

                                     JACK
                         I won't.  Goodbye, dad. 

               JACK hangs up.

               INT. PHONE BOOTH - DAY

               Stubbing out his cigarette, JACK SR. leaves the booth. We 
               now see where he is. A beach bar in South Africa. He walks 
               to the bar and....goes behind it, slipping on his barman's 
               jacket. A WOMAN in dark mirror glasses and a bathing suit 
               is waiting.

                                     JACK SR.
                              (smiles)
                         Sorry to keep you. What'll you 
                         have?

               INT. JACK'S SITTING ROOM - DAY

               JACK, disturbed by the call, pours himself a vodka. He 
               looks at what he's written: 'THE BALL... A NOVEL BY... 
               JACK MANFRED.'

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Jack knew something was wrong. 
                         He'd forgotten Giles' advice. Giles 
                         said three words.

               JACK inserts a word in the title. It now reads: 'ON THE 
               BALL'. JACK drinks. After a moment...

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         JACK'S VOICE No. Jack knew it still 
                         wasn't quite right...

               He types: 'IN THE BALLS'. Then, on reflection, deletes 'IN 
               THE'.  Through the iron bars JACK watches feet pass on the 
               street above. A drunk drops a beer can over. The can falls 
               in SLOW MOTION but the clatter is loud.

                                     DRUNK'S VOICE
                         I want to fuck the whole world 
                         over.

               INT. CASINO - DAY

               Reception area. The CAMERA turns around the fake glitz of 
               the interior: brass, drapes, polished wood, mirrors, and 
               moves towards the front door.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Welcome back Jack... to the house 
                         of addiction.

               The door opens. Against a blaze of street daylight, JACK'S 
               silhouette appears. The CAMERA moves forward to greet him. 
               JACK removes his wristwatch.

               INT. CASINO - MANAGER'S OFFICE - DAY

               JACK shakes hands with DAVID REYNOLDS, a cold man in his 
               late forties, dead behind the eyes.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         David Reynolds, I'm the Manager 
                         here. Sit down, John.

                                     JACK
                         Jack.

               REYNOLDS examines a file in front of him.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         You've been recommended by the 
                         management here. They know your 
                         father. He has a bit of a 
                         reputation, hasn't he?

                                     JACK
                              (frowns)
                         Has he?

                                     REYNOLDS
                         In any case, I understand you've 
                         had some previous experience... in 
                         South Africa.
                              (Jack nods)
                         You'll find the rules a little 
                         different here. Before we start, 
                         you haven't got a police record, 
                         have you?

                                     JACK
                         No.

               REYNOLDS opens the door. He lets JACK go on ahead.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         Where did you go to school?

                                     JACK
                              (surpised)
                         I was at Beadles.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         I don't think I know that one.  
                         Private, I suppose.

               INT. CASINO - HALL - DAY

               The full overhead lights give the casino an exposed, tacky 
               appearance, devoid of mystery or glamour. The place has 
               roulette tables and blackjack counters. It is deserted 
               except for several CLEANING LADIES, vacuuming, emptying 
               ashtrays. REYNOLDS walks with JACK, talking.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         There are three types of casino in 
                         the U.K. High volume. Small faction. 
                         And MOTR. That's middle of the 
                         road. Us.

                                     JACK
                         Do you have a Salon Prive?

                                     REYNOLDS
                         We tried. But there wasn't enough 
                         business. The punters like company.

               REYNOLDS goes to one of the tables with JACK.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         Let's see you handle the chips.

               He slides open a box and tips 200 chips of varying 
               denominations onto the table.

                                     JACK
                         I have to assume the serial numbers 
                         on the bowl and cylinder correspond.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         We check every four days.

                                     JACK
                         Why four? And not three or five?

                                     REYNOLDS
                              (shrugs)
                         It's the procedure here. Now sort 
                         the chips.

               JACK starts to stack the chips in piles from a hundred 
               pounds to five. REYNOLDS watches. JACK'S fingers work fast. 
               In a matter of moments he has the lot stacked.

                                     JACK
                         Stacks of 20. Rows of 5.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         Any exceptions?

                                     JACK
                         25 pounds or 25 pence in fours.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         Give me 365.

               He presses a stopwatch in his hand. JACK quickly sets out 
               four neat piles, three of 100, one of 65. All four piles 
               are in denominations of ten and five.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         Very good. Now take these colours...

               He throws a pile of blue and white chips on the table.  
               The blue are 10, the white are 5.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         I want 780, but I want 500 in 
                         denominations of 25.

               JACK nods and gets to work. His fingers make Reynolds's 
               ticking watch seem slow.

                                     REYNOLDS
                              (impressed)
                         Very good.

               INT. CASINO - DAY

               Now at a roulette table, REYNOLDS has prepared the bets 
               for fifteen punters. It's a set-up to test Jack's style 
               and concentration. REYNOLDS gives JACK the white ball.

                                     JACK
                         You use two alternating, don't 
                         you?

                                     REYNOLDS
                         We do.
                              (hands him a second 
                              ball)

                                     JACK
                              (hesitates)
                         Where's the magnet?

                                     REYNOLDS
                         They've been tested.

               JACK spins the wheel, throws the ball against the turn.

                                     JACK
                         No more bets.

               As the ball begins to bounce, but before it stops, REYNOLDS 
               turns to a CLEANING LADY who's emptying some ashtrays 
               nearby.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         Could you stop that for a minute?

               The WOMAN looks up, surprised. JACK watches, then catches 
               sight of REYNOLDS surreptitiously moving a chip onto the 
               third line.

                                     JACK
                         I'm sorry, sir, I've called no 
                         more bets.

               JACK reaches across, takes the chip and puts it on the 
               wood Grounding the wheel. REYNOLDS nods approvingly. The 
               ball stops.

                                     JACK
                         23 Red. Odd.

               He now rakes away the losers' chips and pays out the 
               smallest first, before getting to the major pay-out on 23. 
               It's all very efficient and speedy.

               REYNOLDS is increasingly impressed.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         Haven't you forgotten something?

                                     JACK
                              (thinks)
                         I don't think so.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         Wipe your hands.

               JACK takes out a handkerchief.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         Not with your own cloth. Besides, 
                         your pockets will be stitched.

                                     JACK
                         What happens if I want to sneeze?

                                     REYNOLDS
                         You won't. Not without permission.

               JACK laughs. REYNOLDS smiles. They like each other.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         Fine. Now let's move on.

               INT. CASINO - DAY

               A blackjack table. JACK is turning cards over for five 
               punters in an arc. REYNOLDS is moving from one chair to 
               the next playing each of the five hands.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         How many aces are left?

                                     JACK
                         Five.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         I make it six.

                                     JACK
                         Five.

               REYNOLDS looks down at the table.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         What makes you so sure?

                                     JACK
                         It's a rule. Always stand by your 
                         first count. The odds are you're 
                         right.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         Good call.

               JACK pulls out the shoe.

                                     JACK
                         You want me to check?

                                     REYNOLDS
                              (irritably)
                         I said good call.

               REYNOLDS walks away. JACK puts the shoe back. He takes his 
               watch out of his pocket, glances at it.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         It had taken him 45 minutes, but 
                         Jack now had Mr Reynolds's number. 
                         The man couldn't count.

               INT. CASINO - OFFICE - DAY

               Back in the office REYNOLDS is talking to JACK. On 
               REYNOLDS'S desk is a framed photograph of his suburban 
               wife and two kids.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         Let me just run through a few 
                         things. As a dealer you never 
                         gamble, not anywhere. We'll need 
                         your picture.

                                     JACK
                         What for?

                                     REYNOLDS
                         For the database. It can be accessed 
                         by every casino in the country. We 
                         have the same system for punters.

                                     JACK
                         I don't gamble.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         Ever?

                                     JACK
                         I don't gamble, Mr Reynolds.

               REYNOLDS doesn't pursue it.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         Next point. Friendships between 
                         croupiers inside or outside the 
                         casino are discouraged. 
                         Relationships with females working 
                         here are expressly forbidden.

                                     JACK
                         We had the same rule at Sun City, 
                         but it was impossible to check.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         This isn't South Africa. We'd know, 
                         because someone would report it. 
                         Believe me, someone always does.

                                     JACK
                         Does know? Or does report? What 
                         would happen if I knew something 
                         like that and didn't report it?

                                     REYNOLDS
                         We'd know. There are no secrets in 
                         this casino. You'd be punished.

                                     JACK
                         How?

                                     REYNOLDS
                         First offence: verbal warning. 
                         Second offence: written warning.  
                         That one's filed and sometimes 
                         copied to the Gaming Board. My 
                         discretion. Third offence: you're 
                         sacked on the spot. You'd never 
                         work in a casino in this country 
                         again.  There's another rule: you're 
                         forbidden to talk to or recognise 
                         a punter outside the casino. If 
                         you see someone who's gambled here, 
                         even if it's just casually on the 
                         street, you must ignore him. Or 
                         her. You're not married, are you?

               JACK shakes his head

                                     REYNOLDS
                         Girlfriend?

                                     JACK
                         Yes.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         She's not in the gaming business 
                         is she?

                                     JACK
                         No.

               INT. CASINO - "CROW'S NEST" - DAY

               A CCTV Centre over the casino. JACK crosses the room, 
               looking down through a glass floor at the empty casino 
               below. REYNOLDS walks over to a series of twenty or more 
               banked TV monitors with many Video 8 tape decks.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         This is our Crow's Nest. I'm showing 
                         it to you now, but you'll never 
                         see it again.

                                     JACK
                         Very impressive.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         We have tapes in here that go back 
                         six months. Let me show you 
                         something.

               REYNOLDS presses a button. Together they look at a TV 
               monitor which shows an overlook of a roulette table where 
               a WOMAN is cheating. REYNOLDS freezes the frame.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         See that?  That was six weeks ago. 
                         The dealer missed it. The guy up 
                         here missed it, but I watch these 
                         tapes after hours. Nothing gets by 
                         me. Now the lady's in jail. It's 
                         easier to take ten million pounds 
                         from a bank than take one penny 
                         from this casino.

               INT. CASINO - MANAGER'S OFFICE - DAY

               Again in the office. REYNOLDS extends his hand. JACK shakes 
               it.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         You can start Monday week.

                                     JACK
                         Fine.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         That hair will have to go.

                                     JACK
                         Fine.

               Pause.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         Are you planning to make a career 
                         in casino work?

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         And end up like you?

                                     JACK
                         I just want the job.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         Jack, you're not the usual type we 
                         get here.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Mr Reynolds was right. It was true. 
                         Jack was up above the world. An 
                         artist, living in the clouds. 
                         Looking down.

               A HIGH ANGLED SHOT of the office, JACK and REYNOLDS. The 
               phone rings.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         Excuse me...

               REYNOLDS picks up and listens. The CAMERA descends.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         I can't talk about this now... no, 
                         I'm with somebody. They can wait!  
                         I'll be home at the usual time... 
                         all right, I'll call you back in 
                         an hour...
                              (hangs up)
                         Don't ever get married, Jack. Casino 
                         work doesn't mix with house and 
                         garden. Any questions?

               The CAMERA reaches a LOW ANGLE on JACK, looking up.

                                     JACK
                         Yes. What's the salary?

               EXT. CAR - STREETS - TWILIGHT

               The street lamps have come on. JACK is at the wheel of a 
               Sixties Austin-Healey.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         The casino paid its staff monthly 
                         in arrears. He would have to wait 
                         six weeks for his first cheque. He 
                         needed money now.

               EXT. USED CAR LOT - TWILIGHT

               Under a canopy of coloured lights A CAR DEALER is walking 
               round jack's car, examining it.

                                     DEALER
                              (fake American accent)
                         What kind of deal you looking to?

                                     JACK
                         What's the Blue Book price?

                                     DEALER
                         That's not relevant. An old car 
                         like this, it depends on the 
                         condition.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         The car was a gift from Jack's 
                         father. That's to say, Jack Senior 
                         had given it to him before the 
                         bailiffs arrived.

               The DEALER picks at the cracked leather seats, the 
               protruding stuffing, the chipped dashboard, the rust.

                                     DEALER
                         This ain't exactly what you'd call 
                         mint.

               He bends down and looks underneath the car.

                                     JACK
                         How about fifteen hundred?

                                     DEALER
                         How about five hundred.

                                     JACK
                         What?!

                                     DEALER
                         How about we split the diff... 
                         Seven-fifty.

                                     JACK
                         Is that your idea of arithmetic?

                                     DEALER
                         I'm not a mathematician. I'm in 
                         business.

                                     JACK
                         Eight-fifty.

                                     DEALER
                         Seven-fifty.

               The DEALER looks at JACK. JACK stares back. It's as if one 
               is waiting for the other to blink first. Neither blinks.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         He suddenly wanted to be rid of 
                         it. 'Hang on tightly, let go 
                         lightly'. It was a saying Jack 
                         remembered.

               JACK leans into the open car and takes out his hat and 
               cigarettes. He has accepted the offer. The music begins...

               INT. UNDERGROUND - NIGHT

               ... And continues. JACK stands, with an unlit cigarette, 
               in a crowded moving train. He looks at the faces, MEN and 
               WOMEN. He sees PEOPLE reading books. He looks at the TITLES: 
               Romantic fiction, Classics, Business Management, Thrillers, 
               Self-Help, Cooking....

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Jack imagined people reading his 
                         book. One day he would enter their 
                         heads, play with their imaginations, 
                         test their feelings...

               EXT. STREET - NIGHT

               JACK crosses the road. He turns down a side street where 
               Victorian houses have been converted into flats. There are 
               scores of 'For Sale' and 'To Let' signs down the street.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         He would tell them you have to 
                         make a choice in life. Be a gambler 
                         or a croupier. And then live with 
                         your decision come what may.

               He goes down into a basement, closing the iron gate behind 
               him.

               INT. JACK'S BASEMENT FLAT - NIGHT

               JACK unlocks the door, goes in, to the accompaniment of 
               street sounds and a dog barking.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Marion saw life differently. She 
                         was a romantic. And thought he was 
                         too.

               INT. JACK'S FLAT - NIGHT

               Radio music is playing from another room. An orchestral 
               version of 'Try a Little Tenderness'. JACK comes in, hangs 
               his hat up, looks around. He sees a neatly arranged vase 
               of flowers that wasn't there before. He goes to the bedroom.

               INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT

               JACK sees on the bed, an open box and a carrier bag from a 
               designer department store. Among the white tissue paper is 
               a simple black silk dress and lace-decorated black 
               underwear. He smiles and picks up the knickers. He goes to 
               the open bathroom door, from which comes the music.

               INT. BATHROOM - NIGHT

               A radio plays beside the bath. The water is draining away.

               MARION NEIL, a red-haired woman in her mid-thirties, wearing 
               a bathrobe with the name MARION on it is examining the 
               lines on her neck in the half-steamed bathroom mirror. She 
               sees JACK, turns with a smile. JACK holds up the black 
               knickers.

                                     MARION
                         I couldn't resist them.

                                     JACK
                         You mean I won't resist them.

               JACK goes to her.

                                     MARION
                         No, no. I'm not ready for you. 
                         There's some vodka in the freezer.

                                     JACK
                         You want me drunk?

                                     MARION
                              (laughs)
                         I won't be that long.

               She pushes him gently with the flat of her palms towards 
               the door.

               INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT

               JACK comes back into the bedroom. MARION pushes the bathroom 
               door, not quite closed. JACK tosses the knickers onto the 
               bed.

               INT. KITCHEN - NIGHT

               JACK takes the vodka bottle out of the freezer, pours 
               himself a glass. He sees two bottles of wine opened, food 
               neatly prepared, ready to cook, an open cook book. He pours 
               a glass of wine.

               INT. SITTING ROOM - NIGHT

               JACK sits drinking his vodka. Looking up through the barred 
               window he sees women's legs passing on the street above. 
               On the desk beside the computer is the glass of wine.

               MARION materialises in the door to the bedroom. She is 
               made up, wearing the black dress and high-heeled black 
               shoes, a black scarf around her neck.

               JACK takes the glass of wine and gives it to her.

                                     JACK
                         You really are a beautiful woman.

                                     MARION
                              (pleased)
                         It's not just inner beauty, is it?

                                     JACK
                         Turn around.

               MARION whirls to show off her dress.

                                     JACK
                         You're all I desire.

               He reaches for an envelope on the desk. He gives it to 
               her. MARION opens it. There are several fifty pound notes 
               inside.

                                     MARION
                         Where did you get it?

                                     JACK
                         I. sold the car.

                                     MARION
                         You shouldn't have done that. I 
                         know what it meant to you.

                                     JACK
                         I owe you for the rent. It's only 
                         a car. I can get another.

                                     MARION
                         Take it back. Till you sell your 
                         book.

                                     JACK
                         Come on, Marion. Let's face the 
                         truth. Nobody's going to publish 
                         it.

                                     MARION
                         Of course they will. You just have 
                         to be patient. I'm betting on you.

               She raises the glass of wine, drinks.

                                     JACK
                         I'm not much of a bet.

               He drains his glass.

                                     MARION
                         You are to me.

               She takes her scarf, puts it round his neck, pulls him 
               seductively towards the bedroom door.

                                     MARION
                         Come into my world.

               She winds the black scarf across his face, covering his 
               eyes.

                                     MARION
                              (whispering)
                         You're my prisoner.

                                     JACK
                         I've got something to tell you.

                                     MARION
                         I want to hear it.

                                     JACK
                         I've got a job.

                                     MARION
                              (startled)
                         What job?

               MARION pulls the scarf from his eyes. She wants to look at 
               him.

                                     JACK
                         In a casino. As a croupier. A 
                         dealer.

                                     MARION
                         How did you land that?

                                     JACK
                         It came my way. 450 a week.

                                     MARION
                              (sits up)
                         450? What did you do, just walked 
                         in and said I want to be a croupier? 
                         Don't you need training?

                                     JACK
                         I had training. In the Republic.

                                     MARION
                         You were a croupier there? You 
                         never told me that. I thought you 
                         just knew some gamblers.

                                     JACK
                         I start Monday week.

               From the street comes the whining sound of a car alarm.

                                     MARION
                         450 a week. I've never earned that 
                         in my life. You're an enigma, you 
                         are. A fucking enigma.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Not an enigma, just a contradiction.

               MARION looks deeply into his eyes.

                                     MARION
                         You sold the car. You got a job. 
                         What's the third thing? Tell me.

                                     JACK
                         There's no third thing. Don't be 
                         superstitious.

                                     MARION
                         I love you Jack, you know that.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         And he half-loved Marion. And she 
                         knew that too.

               Outside, the car alarm stops. JACK takes MARION'S head in 
               his hands. She reaches for one of them, examines it.

                                     JACK
                         Are you trying to read my palm?

                                     MARION
                         You've got such beautiful hands.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         The hands of a conjuror, a woman 
                         had told him once. Or a card sharp.

               Their hands interlock. She leads him into the bedroom.

               INT. NAIL STUDIO - DAY

               JACK'S hands are being worked on by a woman MANICURIST.

                                     MANICURIST
                         What line of work are you in?

                                     JACK
                         I'm an undertaker.

                                     MANICURIST
                         Really?

               The MANICURIST stops for a moment, looks at him with 
               curiosity.

               INT. BARBER SHOP - DAY

               A BARBER is cutting JACK'S hair. He goes up JACK'S neck 
               with electric clippers. Jack's hair is now black.

                                     BARBER
                         Do you work round here?

                                     JACK
                         My office is in Shanghai.

                                     BARBER
                              (surprised)
                         What do you do?

                                     JACK
                         I'm an arms dealer.

               The BARBER stops for a moment, nonplussed.

               INT. CASINO - CHANGING ROOM - DAY

               In front of the mirror JACK buttons a white shirt and 
               skillfully ties a black bow tie. His short hair is lacquered 
               back. He reaches down for his black jacket... puts it on. 
               The transformation is complete.

               As he scrubs his nails, JACK sees a WOMAN in the mirror. 
               She is changing her clothes. She pulls off her Indian cotton 
               dress. She's wearing pants but no bra. Quite 
               unselfconsciously, not looking Jack's way, she dresses in 
               her casino clothes.

               JACK dries his hands. He turns. The WOMAN smiles at him.

                                     BELLA
                         I'm Bella.

                                     JACK
                         Jack Manfred.

                                     BELLA
                         Hi, Jack.
                              (fits herself into 
                              the uplift bra)
                         Welcome to the cesspit.

                                     JACK
                         Is it that bad?

                                     BELLA
                              (starts to do up 
                              her top)
                         How do I look?

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Like trouble, Bella. You look fine.

                                     BELLA
                         The punters love it. Tits in 
                         uniform.

               She laughs.

               INT. CASINO - ROULETTE TABLE - NIGHT

               JACK appears at the head of the table. The PUNTERS look at 
               him, not recognising him.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         The usual bunch. They didn't know 
                         Jack, but he knew them.

                                     JACK
                         Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.

               A fat INDIAN PUNTER addresses JACK.

                                     INDIAN
                         Where's the other fellow? Where's 
                         Geoff?

                                     JACK
                         He doesn't work here any more.

                                     INDIAN
                         Well, let's hope you know your 
                         job.

               A MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN trying to look as young as possible 
               throws 100 pounds in cash to JACK.

                                     WOMAN
                         Tens, please.

               She turns to the WOMAN next to her, who looks very similar.

                                     WOMAN 2
                         Perhaps this man will bring us 
                         luck.

               The WOMAN has sensed her friend's interest in JACK. She's 
               jealous.

                                     WOMAN
                              (to Jack)
                         What's that aftershave you're 
                         wearing?

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Never converse with the punters. 
                         It slows things down. Speed is 
                         volume, and volume is profit for 
                         the casino. Aim at twenty spins an 
                         hour.

               JACK pretends he hasn't heard the question. In the 
               background REYNOLDS is watching as JACK spins the wheel.

                                     JACK
                         Last bets, please.

               INT. CASINO - ROULETTE TABLE - NIGHT

               Later. A plastic-looking BLONDE WOMAN, heavily made-up, 
               sits at the table. She nods to JACK. PUNTERS are placing 
               their bets. She has 50 casino chips of �100 denominations 
               in front of her. JACK notes the large sum.

               The BLONDE puts �2,500 on red and �2,500 on black. PUNTERS 
               round the table are astonished at the size of the bet and 
               the strangeness of betting both red and black.

               JACK spins the wheel. Black 10 comes up. JACK takes the 
               red loss and moves it across the table to the black win. 
               The BLONDE picks up the �5,000 without a reaction and leaves 
               the table.

               JACK notices that she goes straight to the cashier's desk. 
               JACK clears the chips away, starts to pay out.

               A WHITE-HAIRED MAN on JACK's right speaks to him:

                                     MAN
                         You're new here. You'll get used 
                         to Madame Claude. She comes in 
                         once or twice a week and does that.

               JACK nods.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         He knew the scam. Come in with 
                         five grand cash. No questions asked. 
                         Launder it by getting a casino 
                         cheque when you cash in. Jack 
                         wondered why Mr Reynolds permitted 
                         it? After all there's was no profit 
                         in it for the casino. Or was there?

               INT. CASINO - ROULETTE TABLE - NIGHT

               Later. A different set of PUNTERS. The wheel spins. A GREEK 
               MAN sits at the table. He doesn't attempt to bet. He looks 
               around to see a CROUPIER in his late 20's waiting to replace 
               JACK at the wheel. This is MATT. He gives JACK a curious 
               complicitous smile. JACK collects the chips and pays out.

                                     JACK
                         Thank you very much, ladies and 
                         gentlemen. I'm going to hand you 
                         over now to my colleague. Goodnight.

               MATT takes over.

                                     MATT
                         Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.

               REYNOLDS appears and takes JACK'S arm.

                                     REYNOLDS
                              (quietly)
                         Good work, Jack. You handled 
                         yourself well.

               At the table, MATT glances at the GREEK man.

               INT. CASINO - BLACKJACK TABLE - NIGHT

               JACK is now dealing to FIVE PUNTERS. He has a 10 and a 5 
               exposed for the house. TWO PLAYERS go bust. ONE PLAYER 
               sticks on 19, the next on 20. The LAST PLAYER buys a card 
               for 21. JACK turns over an ace for the house. He twists 
               again. It's a 5 - making 21. The two losing PLAYERS groan. 
               The LAST PLAYER is paid evens for equalling the house. One 
               of the PLAYERS who's gone bust gets up, having lost all 
               his chips, and leaves.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Suddenly a delayed wave of elation 
                         came over him.

               INT. CASINO - NIGHT

               Across the casino an Oriental man, MR TCHAI, is walking 
               towards the table with REYNOLDS. Behind him is a 6 foot 5 
               bulging BODYGUARD. REYNOLDS comes up to JACK's table.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         Why don't you take a break, Jack.

                                     JACK
                              (puzzled)
                         All right, Mr Reynolds.

               He moves his chair back, nods at the remaining PLAYERS. MR 
               TCHAI sits down, watched by the BODYGUARD.

               BELLA comes up, smiles sweetly, and takes over from JACK.

                                     BELLA
                         Good evening, Mr Tchai.

                                     MR TCHAI
                         Good evening.

               TCHAI pulls out a sealed bank packet of �5,000.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         Enjoy yourself, Mr Tchai.

               REYNOLDS waves to a WAITRESS who comes over.

                                     WAITRESS
                              (to Mr Tchai)
                         Your usual, sir?

               TCHAI nods. He hands her a �50 note.

                                     WAITRESS
                         Thank you, sir. Enjoy your game.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         �50 for a diet Coke. Waitresses 
                         were the true winners in the casino. 
                         They were the only members of staff 
                         allowed to accept tips. On a good 
                         night they could get between �200 
                         and �300.

               The WAITRESS goes. The other PLAYERS at the table look at 
               MR TCHAI, wondering who he is.

               INT. CASINO - NIGHT

               REYNOLDS walks with JACK across the casino.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         Mr Tchai always likes to play at 
                         that table, and only with Bella.

                                     JACK
                         Does he win?

                                     REYNOLDS
                              (smiles)
                         He's a good customer.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         A good customer is a consistent 
                         loser. Was that what Mr Reynolds 
                         meant?

               INT. CASINO - CHANGING ROOM - NIGHT

               JACK is changing into his street clothes. The young croupier 
               MATT comes up to him.

                                     MATT
                         Where do you live, Jack?

                                     JACK
                         Over the river.

                                     MATT
                         Have you got transport?

               JACK shakes his head.

                                     MATT
                         I'm going over the river. I'll 
                         give you a lift if you like.

                                     JACK
                         Thanks.

               INT. BMW - NIGHT

               MATT puts the car into gear, drives off, JACK sitting beside 
               him.

                                     MATT
                         So how do you feel, your first 
                         night? I'll bet you're on a high.

                                     JACK
                         Nice car.

                                     MATT
                         She's my baby.

                                     JACK
                         How long have you worked at the 
                         casino?

                                     MATT
                         Coming up to two years now.
                              (mysteriously)
                         But I was away for six months.

                                     JACK
                         You've done pretty well.

                                     MATT
                              (smugly)
                         Not bad. I have other interests, 
                         of course.

               MATT spins the car round a corner.

                                     MATT
                         I'm off to a little watering hole. 
                         Why don't you join me? Relax.

                                     JACK
                         No thanks, Matt. I need my eight 
                         hours.

                                     MATT
                         I'll lay you five to one you won't 
                         sleep. In this job you have to 
                         unwind. Otherwise it'll kill you. 
                         I mean that.

                                     JACK
                         Some other time.

               INT. FLAT - KITCHEN - NIGHT

               JACK pours himself a vodka, smoking a cigarette.

               INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT

               JACK starts to take his clothes off. MARION is asleep in 
               bed. She wakes.

                                     MARION
                         What's the time?

                                     JACK
                         I don't know.

               Clock beside the bed reads 4.30.

                                     MARION
                         How did it go?

                                     JACK
                         Fine.

               He gets into bed beside her. She takes him in her arms.

                                     MARION
                         You're shaking. What is it?

                                     JACK
                         Tension. It'll go.

                                     MARION
                         Poor baby.  This'll relax you.

               She starts to massage his neck, his hair.

                                     MARION
                         I loved it blond.

                                     JACK
                         It's only hair. I haven't changed.

               INT. BEDROOM - DAY

               MARION is dressed in a suit, preparing to leave. She throws 
               her nightgown into a laundry basket. JACK is asleep. She 
               bends to kiss him. He wakes.

                                     MARION
                         When you get home, I'm asleep. 
                         When I leave home, you're asleep.

                                     JACK
                              (dreamily)
                         I'll see you in my dreams.

               INT. SITTING ROOM - DAY

               MARION drops a set of keys into her bag, glances at JACK'S 
               covered computer. She draws the curtain back. Daylight 
               illuminates the old etching of Cape Town.

               INT. CASINO - NIGHT

               JANI DE VILLIERS is 30-something, blonde, tanned, 
               expensively dressed in designer clothes. She gives JACK 
               ten �50 notes.

                                     JANI
                         In 20s, please...

               He slots the cash into the "bank" beneath the table, then 
               counts out �500 in �20 chips. He slides the chips towards 
               her, looks at her. She smiles.

               There are ten other PEOPLE at the roulette table. An ARABIC-
               LOOKING MAN with a moustache behind JANI is looking down 
               the front of her dress.

                                     JACK
                              (frowns)
                         Place your bets.

               Around the table the PUNTERS move their chips onto numbers, 
               lines, colours. JANI throws three chips to JACK and calls 
               the numbers:

                                     JANI
                         5...8...11. 

               JACK places them for her.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Jack could see this woman was an 
                         experienced gambler. Professionals 
                         always place their bets through 
                         the croupier. That way there are 
                         no comebacks.

               The wheel spins, 11 is the number. JACK calls the number 
               and puts the 'dolly' on 11. JANI smiles faintly. JACK pays 
               out across the table. JANI leaves two chips on 11 The MAN 
               behind JANI puts his chips on 11.  JANI glances up at him. 
               She sees the MAN is betting with her. JACK spins the wheel 
               again. 33 comes up.

               INT. CASINO - ROULETTE TABLE - NIGHT

               JANI bets again on number 11. The MAN follows suit. The 
               wheel spins. JACK watches the table. JANI glances at him. 
               The MAN moves closer to the table to one side of JANI. 
               Concealed in his hand is a chip. As the ball bounces round 
               and lands again on number 11, the MAN deftly adds the chip 
               to the square. JACK clocks it.

                                     JACK
                         I'm sorry, sir, that's a late bet.

                                     MAN
                              (in Arabic accent)
                         What are you talking about? It's 
                         11, I've won. With this lady.

                                     JACK
                              (carefully)
                         You've won with the two chips you 
                         placed earlier, but the third chip 
                         was a late bet.

                                     MAN
                         I put them on together.

                                     JACK
                         I'm afraid that's not so, sir.

               REYNOLDS, who has been watching the tables, sees the 
               beginning of an incident. He comes over. The MAN is getting 
               angry. JANI watches.

                                     MAN
                         Now look here, you...

                                     REYNOLDS
                         Is there a problem, sir?

                                     MAN
                         Yes. This croupier is accusing me 
                         of cheating.

                                     JACK
                         It was a late bet. This gentleman 
                         has been following the lady's 
                         numbers and...

               The MAN interrupts JACK and touches JANI's arm.

                                     MAN
                              (to Jani)
                         Do you think I cheated?

               JACK and REYNOLDS wait. JACK glances at JANI.

                                     JANI
                         In my opinion... it was a late 
                         bet.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         I think we should talk about this, 
                         sir. Away from the table.

                                     MAN
                              (angrily)
                         No. I won. I want to be paid.

               He bangs his fist on the felt. JACK waits for REYNOLDS'S 
               decision. REYNOLDS looks at JACK.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         Pay the gentleman. In full.

               REYNOLDS steps back, JACK pays out JANI and the MAN. The 
               MAN takes his winnings. He looks at JACK with hatred, then 
               leaves the table.

               REYNOLDS watches him, looks to JACK and nods. JANI collects 
               her winnings and throws two chips to JACK. She stands up 
               to leave.

                                     JACK
                         I'm sorry, madam, we don't accept 
                         gratuities in the UK. It's different 
                         in South Africa.

                                     JANI
                              (surprised)
                         You know where I'm from?

               JACK nods and gives her back the two chips.

                                     JACK
                         I've lived there.

                                     JANI
                              (sweetly)
                         Well, thank you anyway.

               JACK watches her leave.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Bright woman, he thought. She knew 
                         the rule of gold. Quit when you're 
                         ahead.

               JANI heads towards the cashier. JACK sees REYNOLDS arguing 
               with the irate ARABIC MAN near the entrance.

               He looks back to the table.

                                     JACK
                         Place your bets.

               On his way out the ARABIC MAN looks towards JACK and makes 
               an occult sign with his hand.

               INT. CASINO - NIGHT

               It is late. There are few PUNTERS left at the tables. JACK 
               tidies up his table, which is next to MATT's. He looks 
               across at MATT and sees the GREEK MAN who was at the table 
               the first night when MATT took over. The GREEK wins on a 
               number. MATT clears the table and counts out the GREEK'S 
               winnings, quickly and efficiently.

               JACK stiffens. He sees that something is wrong. MATT moves 
               piles of chips across to the GREEK, who doesn't look up. 
               JACK glances in the direction of the hidden video cameras 
               and the crows' nest. REYNOLDS is in the back-ground, has 
               seen nothing untoward. JACK watches the GREEK pick up his 
               winnings and leave.

               INT. BMW - NIGHT

               Again MATT is driving JACK home.

                                     JACK
                              (hesitantly)
                         Look Matt, there's something I 
                         have to say to you. I saw you 
                         cheating.

                                     MATT
                              (violently)
                         What the fuck are you talking about?

                                     JACK
                         That Greek guy who won at the end. 
                         You paid him out in 25s not 20s.

                                     MATT
                              (angry)
                         I don't cheat, Jack. You've got it 
                         wrong.

                                     JACK
                         I'm not going to report it.

               MATT slams on the brakes. The car comes to an abrupt stop. 
               MATT turns to JACK, furious.

                                     MATT
                         What are you, a cop?

                                     JACK
                         If I see you do it again, I'll 
                         report it.

                                     MATT
                         I don't get you. Even if it was 
                         true, which it isn't, what the 
                         fuck difference would it make to 
                         you?

                                     JACK
                         Because if a supervisor knew I'd 
                         seen you and I hadn't reported it, 
                         I'd lose my job as well. And I 
                         can't afford that.

                                     MATT
                         So it's Mr Clean. Wise up, Jack, 
                         this whole business is bent. The 
                         casino is nothing but legal theft. 
                         And that's OK. It's the system. 
                         Half the punters who come in are 
                         using stolen money, drug money, 
                         they haven't earned it. We earn 
                         our money.
                              (softens)
                         I'm on your side, Jack. I don't 
                         need an enemy.

                                     JACK
                         You're talking about complicity.

                                     MATT
                         I don't know what that means. I'm 
                         talking about not rocking the boat.

               MATT holds out his hand for JACK. JACK shakes it. MATT 
               grins.

                                     MATT
                         OK, now let's unwind.

               He puts the car into gear and drives off.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Matt was an escape artist. Like 
                         Jack's father.

               EXT. GREEK RESTAURANT - NIGHT

               MATT's car pulls up in the parking lot at the back of the 
               restaurant.  He and JACK get out of the car and go through 
               the open kitchen door.

               INT. GREEK RESTAURANT - KITCHEN - NIGHT

               The kitchen is full of people, some involved in cooking, 
               some standing around smoking and drinking, mostly Greek.

                                     MATT
                         Hey, Andros!

               He shakes hands with a GUY who looks like the owner.

                                     MATT
                         This is Jack.

               JACK shakes hands too. They cross the kitchen and go through 
               a bead curtain. Piped Greek music is playing.

               INT. RESTAURANT - DINING ROOM - NIGHT

               A smoke-filled private dining room. There is a poker game 
               in Progress. FIVE MEN are playing, a DOZEN GIRLS are dotted 
               about watching. There is a trestle table laden with Greek 
               food, from stews to salad, buffet-style. An improvised bar 
               with ouzo, vodka and wine. It's help-yourself.

                                     JACK
                         Who are these guys?

                                     MATT
                         Mostly people in the casino 
                         business. A few drug dealers.

                                     JACK
                         And the girls?

                                     MATT
                         Just girls. What are you drinking?

                                     JACK
                         Vodka. Straight. On the rocks.

                                     MATT
                         Good call. Help yourself.

               JACK pours himself a vodka, scoops up some ice with his 
               hand from a bucket. Clouds of smoke envelop him. The noise 
               is close to deafening.

                                     JACK
                         Does Bella come here?

                                     MATT
                         That bitch? No.

               INT. RESTAURANT - DINING ROOM - NIGHT

               The poker game. A MAN with fair hair gets up, kisses a 
               GIRL whose dress is a bathing suit, puts his arm round her 
               and they wander off. MATT is at the table. JACK is 
               replenishing his vodka.

                                     MATT
                         Hey Jack, join us.

                                     JACK
                         No thanks.

                                     MATT
                              (laughs)
                         Don't worry, I won't report you!

                                     JACK
                         I don't gamble.

               GIRL appears behind JACK's shoulder.

                                     GIRL
                         You don't gamble, but do you smoke?

               The GIRL has a joint in her over-ringed hand. She is dressed 
               in purple Indian cotton.

                                     JACK
                         Sometimes.

                                     GIRL
                              (hands him the 
                              smoking joint)
                         How about now?

               She blows smoke in his face. JACK drains his vodka, pours 
               himself another.

               INT. RESTAURANT - LAVATORY - NIGHT

               JACK comes into the Gents, another smoke-filled room. Three 
               or four MEN are arguing over a drug deal, standing in front 
               of the urinal. One of them has an envelope full of cash, 
               another a packet of drugs.

               JACK goes to a lavatory stall, opens the door. In the stall 
               the fair-haired MAN who was at Matt's table is sitting on 
               the lavatory, his trousers round his ankles. The GIRL in 
               the bathing suit is sitting on his thighs, bobbing up and 
               down. JACK sees a butterfly tattoo on her left cheek, the 
               Queen of Spades.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Marion. I'm on my way...

               INT. RESTAURANT - DINING ROOM - NIGHT

               JACK puts his arm on MATT's shoulder at the poker table.

                                     JACK
                         I'm off. I need to sleep.

                                     MATT
                         Loosen up, Jack. If you don't, 
                         this job'll get to you. The 
                         pressure's too much, believe me, 
                         it'll break you.

                                     JACK
                         "The world breaks everyone, and 
                         afterwards many are strong in the 
                         broken places." Ernest Hemingway.

               JACK turns and leaves, helping himself to another drink.

                                     MATT
                         Wasn't he the one who shot himself?

               INT. JACK'S LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

               JACK comes to the flat. He is drunk. He starts across the 
               dark room. Suddenly the light comes on. JACK turns to see 
               MARION, sitting in a chair in her night-dress.

                                     MARION
                         Where've you been? I've got to 
                         give evidence in court at nine.

                                     JACK
                         Don't play the cop with me, Marion.

                                     MARION
                         Take that back!
                              (furious)
                         Fucking take that back. I'm not a 
                         cop any more.

                                     JACK
                         I take it back. You're not a cop 
                         any more. You're a store detective.

                                     MARION
                         Are you drunk?

                                     JACK
                         Probably.

                                     MARION
                         This fucking job's getting to you. 
                         You haven't written a fucking word 
                         since you started.

                                     JACK
                         Do you have to swear all the time?

                                     MARION
                              (hurt)
                         Well, that's my poor upbringing. I 
                         didn't go to no private school. I 
                         haven't got no class. I want to 
                         live with a writer. Not a fucking 
                         croupier. I don't even know what 
                         the word means. Croupier.

                                     JACK
                         Marion, stop this.

                                     MARION
                              (near to tears)
                         What do I mean to you? I want to 
                         know. Tell me.

               There is a pause.

                                     JACK
                         You're my conscience.

                                     MARION
                         Haven't you got a conscience of 
                         your own?

               JACK has no answer. He goes into the bathroom.

               INT. JACK'S FLAT - DAY

               The computer is still covered. JACK is standing at the 
               table dealing cards, practising. One card slips. He swears 
               silently. He flexes his fingers, cracks his knuckle joints. 
               He looks at a skirt, legs, high heels, Passing above the 
               barred window.

               EXT. PICCADILLY - EVENING

               JACK emerges from the Underground, one of the CROWD.

               EXT. PICCADILLY - STORE - EVENING

               JACK goes into a large Department Store.

               INT. DEPARTMENT STORE - EVENING

               MARION is store-walking in the women's underwear department. 
               It is Sale time. Baskets of tights and knickers on display. 
               CUSTOMERS are rummaging. She is on the look-out for thieves. 
               She jumps as JACK places his hand on her hip.

                                     MARION
                         What are you doing here?
                              (looks round 
                              nervously)
                         You know the rules.

                                     JACK
                         What about a drink on the way home?

                                     MARION
                         I don't finish till eight. Make it 
                         nine and you're on.

                                     JACK
                         I'm on at nine.

                                     MARION
                         Well, that's our life now, isn't 
                         it?

               EXT. PICCADILLY - EVENING

               JACK pauses in front of an airline office. There is a large 
               picture of Cape Town, and a special ticket offer.

               JANI comes out of the office. Her hair, tied back earlier 
               in the casino, is now glamorously fluffed out. She sees 
               JACK. He doesn't see her.

                                     JANI
                         Thinking of going back?                                         

               JACK is startled. He doesn't recognise her for a moment. 
               Then...

                                     JACK
                         Oh hello.

                                     JANI
                              (smiling)
                         You know what? I'd like to buy you 
                         a drink.

                                     JACK
                         It's against the rules. Dealers 
                         are forbidden to talk to punters.

                                     JANI
                         That's stupid. What are the odds 
                         of you being seen with me?

                                     JACK
                         Impossible to calculate.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Jack knew that, in reality, all 
                         odds are calculable.

               INT. RITZ HOTEL - NIGHT

               The Art Deco bar. Expensive PEOPLE around. JANI and JACK 
               are installed on a sofa. A WAITER puts down two Martinis.

                                     JANI
                              (raises her glass)
                         To coincidence.

                                     JACK
                              (drinks)
                         There's a casino in this hotel.

                                     JANI
                         I'm not much of a gambler really. 
                         I just like this bar.

                                     JACK
                         So why did you come to my casino?

                                     JANI
                         I was at a loose end. A friend of 
                         a friend gave me a courtesy 
                         membership.

                                     JACK
                         First visit to London?

                                     JANI
                         No, no. I come every couple of 
                         years. I always think I'm going to 
                         stay. I'm from Cape Town originally

                                     JACK
                         I was born in the Transkei, on the 
                         Wild Coast.

                                     JANI
                         Near the casino.

                                     JACK
                         In the casino.

                                     JANI
                         Now there's a coincidence. My father 
                         used to gamble there.

                                     JACK
                         Your father?

                                     JANI
                         I loved the atmosphere. But it 
                         destroyed my poor mother.

                                     JACK
                         The debts.

                                     JANI
                         And the lies. Gamblers are born 
                         liars.

                                     JACK
                              (nods)
                         And superstitious too. It's like 
                         witchcraft.

                                     JANI
                         That's Africa. There's an African 
                         in all of us, isn't there?

                                     JACK
                         We all came from Africa, supposedly.

                                     JANI
                         Do you believe in astrology?

                                     JACK
                         Absolutely not. But then, I'm a 
                         Gemini and Geminis don't believe 
                         in astrology.

               JANI laughs out loud.

                                     JANI
                         You know, you don't strike me as a 
                         typical croupier.

               JANI drinks. JACK notices her wedding ring. JANI catches 
               the look.

                                     JANI
                         I'm not married. I wear it to keep 
                         the flies off.
                              (looks at her watch)
                         I must go. Let me pay for this.

                                     JACK
                         Absolutely not.

                                     JANI
                         Toss you for it.

                                     JACK
                         I don't gamble.

               JANI nods, stands up, takes out a notepad and pen. She 
               looks round feigning conspiracy.

                                     JANI
                              (low voice)
                         I know this is verboten, but if 
                         you feel like a chat or maybe 
                         dinner, give me a call.

               She scribbles her name and phone number on the pad, tears 
               off the page, gives it to him.

                                     JANI
                         I'll understand if you don't.
                              (smiles)
                         But I hope you do.

               She leaves. JACK watches her go, looks at the page she's 
               given him.

               INT. JACK'S FLAT - NIGHT

               In front of a mirror JACK trims his hair with nail scissors. 
               He is dressed in his croupier's uniform. He straightens 
               his bow tie.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         He didn't know why, but he'd started 
                         to dress for the casino at home...

               INT. UNDERGROUND COMPARTMENT - NIGHT

               JACK sits in the compartment.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         ... like a musician in his tuxedo, 
                         going to the concert hall on public 
                         transport...

               INT. CASINO - ROULETTE TABLE - NIGHT

               An ARAB at the end of the table kisses all his �50 chips 
               and sets them out on the table. The wheel spins. JACK looks 
               round at the PUNTERS.

               The ball bounces, falls on zero. Everybody loses. Many 
               groans.

               A MEDITERRANEAN-LOOKING MAN with a gold bracelet coughs. A 
               gob of phlegm from his mouth lands on a pile of chips that 
               JACK is raking away. A WOMAN in her mid-thirties is 
               appalled.

                                     WOMAN
                         Animal!

                                     JACK
                         Would you mind being more careful, 
                         sir.

                                     MAN
                         I've got 'flu.

               He coughs again, but into a handkerchief.

                                     WOMAN
                         Then go back home. To the zoo!

               JACK clears the piles of chips to one side. He signals to 
               a SUPERVISOR. The SUPERVISOR hurries over.

                                     JACK
                         This gentleman accidentally coughed 
                         onto these chips. I don't think it 
                         would be hygienic to stack them...

               The SUPERVISOR signals a WAITRESS over.

                                     SUPERVISOR
                         Agnes. These chips have to be 
                         counted and put into the steamer.

                                     AGNES
                         Yuck.

               She looks at JACK, grimaces, and takes the chips away.

               INT. CASINO - NIGHT

               The last PUNTERS are leaving. The overhead lights come on. 
               A CROUPIER is wheeling away a trolley with thousands of 
               chips. TWO MEN are covering the tables with shrouds.

               INT. CASINO - STRONG ROOM - NIGHT

               REYNOLDS watches as JACK and MATT count the thousands of 
               pounds, putting them in piles. Behind them is a large open 
               safe.

                                     MATT
                         I can't give you a lift back 
                         tonight.

                                     JACK
                         Don't worry.

               REYNOLDS places the notes in steel boxes.

               EXT. CASINO - NIGHT

               JACK, comes out. BELLA hurries after him, following him 
               round the corner.

                                     BELLA
                              (calling)
                         Jack. Do you need a ride?

                                     JACK
                         No. Thanks.

                                     BELLA
                         My car's in the garage.

                                     JACK
                         Maybe another time.

                                     BELLA
                         I'll take you up on that.

                                     JACK
                              (pleasantly)
                         Goodnight.

               He straightens his hat and walks off. BELLA walks the other 
               way.

               EXT. STREET. NIGHT

               A MAN lurks in the shadows ahead of JACK. JACK doesn't see 
               him. But as he comes past, the MAN steps out blocking JACK'S 
               way. He is the Arabic-looking MAN JACK earlier caught 
               cheating at the casino with JANI.

                                     MAN
                         You don't recognise me? You had me 
                         barred. You fucking little worm.

                                     JACK
                         Wait a minute. You got yourself 
                         barred.

                                     MAN
                         It was you, you shit.

               The MAN reaches forward and grabs JACK'S tie. He yanks it 
               with farce. JACK gasps. He rams his elbow into the MAN'S 
               chest.

               The MAN kicks JACK on the shins. JACK topples. The MAN 
               leaps at him. JACK, knees him in the groin.

               The fight is untidy and vicious. Both men collapse 
               struggling onto the pavement.

               A car appears, a Mini-Cooper. BELLA is driving. She sees 
               the fight.

               JACK'S nose is bleeding. The MAN kicks him in the back. 
               JACK yells with pain, gets to his feet.

                                     JACK
                         Now I'm going to kill you.

               He boots the MAN in the head. BELLA gets out of her car 
               and runs over to them.

                                     BELLA
                         Jack!

               The MAN is screening under JACK'S repeated blows. BELLA 
               pulls JACK away.

                                     BELLA
                         Jack. Leave him! Come on!

               JACK'S face is masked with blood and fury. BELLA is 
               frightened by JACK'S violence.

                                     BELLA
                         Let's go. We don't want the cops 
                         here.

               Before she can get JACK into her car, he goes back to the 
               MAN groaning on the floor. He stamps on the MAN's hand. 
               BELLA is shocked.

                                     JACK
                              (coldly)
                         He won't cheat again.

               BELLA pulls him away, bundles JACK into her car, gets in, 
               drives away.

               INT. BELLA'S FLAT - BATHROOM - NIGHT

               Water is running in the basin. BELLA puts JACK'S jacket on 
               the lavatory seat. She starts to undo his tie. JACK wipes 
               his blood-stained nose with a wet flannel.

                                     BELLA
                         You're shaking.

                                     JACK
                         It's the tension.

               She undoes his shirt and takes it off. He winces. She washes 
               his torso, cleans him up.

               JACK looks at his shaking hands. BELLA takes him by the 
               hand, leads him into the bedroom.

               INT. BELLA'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

               She sits him on the bed. The room is lit with coloured 
               lamps.

                                     BELLA
                         Excuse the mess.

               JACK pulls her suddenly into his arms, pulls her onto the 
               bed. She is startled.

                                     BELLA
                         Careful.

               JACK'S hands open her blouse. He reaches for her breast. 
               BELLA'S surprise becomes excitement. He kisses her hungrily, 
               his hands rummaging in her clothes. She reaches for a side 
               zip in her skirt.

                                     BELLA
                         Don't tear anything.

               BELLA kicks off her shoes. There is a burst of passion 
               between them. For JACK, a continuation of the violence 
               with the MAN on the street.

               For BELLA, it's a sudden release. Her naked foot knocks 
               over the bedside lamp.

               JACK spreads BELLA on the bed. She tugs his trousers down. 
               He rips her black underwear away.

               INT. BELLA'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

               Later. JACK is lying sprawled on the bed with BELLA. She 
               reaches across him and retrieves the fallen lamp.

                                     BELLA
                         It's funny, isn't it? If that guy 
                         hadn't come up to you, you wouldn't 
                         be here now.

               JACK strokes her bottom.

                                     JACK
                         I hate cheats.

                                     BELLA
                         All men are cheats.

               BELLA picks up a joint from the bedside and lights it.

                                     BELLA
                         I spent two years on the game. I 
                         don't mind telling you that.

               JACK looks at her.

                                     BELLA
                         But don't worry, I'm clean as a 
                         whistle. I only did S & M.
                              (she hands the joint 
                              to JACK,)
                         No blow jobs. No screwing.

                                     JACK
                         Why did you quit?

                                     BELLA
                         I got scared.

                                     JACK
                              (inhales)
                         I can imagine.

                                     BELLA
                         Can you? I'm happy being a dealer. 
                         At least the punters keep their 
                         hands to themselves.

                                     JACK
                         You called the casino a cesspit.

                                     BELLA
                         Well it is. But I know where I am.

               JACK hands the joint back to BELLA.

                                     BELLA
                         I've been watching you work. You're 
                         the best in the place. But you 
                         know that.

                                     JACK
                         I despise the job.

                                     BELLA
                         Ah, we all say that. But if we 
                         hate it, why do we do it?

               JACK doesn't answer.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Jack wanted to say we do it for 
                         the money. But that wasn't really 
                         true.

               BELLA leans over JACK and begins gently to massage his 
               flesh.

                                     BELLA
                         What do you really want to do?

               She puts the joint in an ashtray.

                                     JACK
                         The Indian rope-trick.

                                     BELLA
                         Look, now I'm pumping you. I'm 
                         sorry. It's none of my business.  
                         It's just that you're not like the 
                         others.

                                     JACK
                         Not like Matt, you mean.

                                     BELLA
                         Now he's a real shit. Don't get 
                         friendly with him. I'm sure he's 
                         got his hand in the till. You know 
                         what he said to me once? "I want 
                         to fuck the whole world over. That's 
                         my mission." The shit!

               BELLA touches a bruise on JACK'S body.

                                     JACK
                         Ouch.

                                     BELLA
                         Sorry.

               She kisses the bruised skin, pulls him to her. BELLA simply 
               wants to be held.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Jack could hear Matt saying it...

               INT. JACK'S FLAT - DAY

               JACK is at his desk typing intently. There is a pile of 
               new pages in the sunlight.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         "I want to fuck the whole world 
                         over. It's my mission."

               MARION passes in the foreground. She kisses him on the 
               back of his head and leaves. JACK'S fingers move across 
               the keyboard, dancing.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         At last he had found what he'd 
                         been looking for. A clear and simple 
                         theme. And a hero to act it out. 
                         Little Matt...
                              (Pause)
                         ...Chapter One.

               INT. CASINO - WASHROOM - NIGHT

               MATT is shaving.

                                     MATT
                         I look like shit.

               JACK is scrubbing his nails at a basin.

                                     JACK
                         Rough day?

                                     MATT
                         Rough life, Jack.

               A YOUNG WOMAN appears in the mirror behind the two MEN. 
               Her name is PAT. She is dressed like BELLA.

                                     PAT
                         Hi. I'm Pat.

               MATT and JACK say 'Hello'. MATT appraises PAT'S appearance, 
               winks approval at JACK.

                                     JACK
                              (to Matt)
                         What happened to Bella?

                                     MATT
                         I'll tell you later.

               JACK is mystified.

               INT. CASINO - BLACKJACK TABLE - NIGHT

               JACK is dealing to MR TCHAI and three OTHER MEN. One chair 
               at the table is empty.

                                     MR TCHAI
                         What happened to Bella?

                                     JACK
                         She was re-assigned.

               JACK shows 13. He turns over his third card, a King. The 
               bank busts. JACK pays out.

               JANI sits down in the vacant chair. JACK conceals his 
               surprise, a hint of nervousness.

                                     JACK
                              (formally)
                         Good evening.

               JANI nods impassively.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Jack knew this was no coincidence. 
                         Why had she come?

               The MEN look at the glamorous woman. MR TCHAI doesn't 
               register her presence. He is as inscrutable as his BODYGUARD 
               who hands him an envelope. JANI takes out money from her 
               purse. JACK counts it.

                                     JANI
                         One thousand even. In fifties.

               JACK slots the money down, counts out 20 �50 chips. JACK 
               deals. Bets are placed. 100 from JANI. The cards turn. MR 
               TCHAI splits two aces. JANI has a 6 and 7. MR TCHAI receives 
               two los and wins big. JANI gets a 10 and busts.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         He wondered if she believed he 
                         would bring her luck...

               JANI'S face is impassive. She receives her cards...

               INT. CASINO - NIGHT

               JANI busts again. JACK sweeps away the chips, the cards. 
               JANI reaches into her bag, takes out another thousand 
               pounds.

                                     JANI
                         In fifties.

               The MEN at the table look at JANI.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Or did she think he would help her 
                         win?

               INT. CASINO - BLACKJACK TABLE - NIGHT

               JANI loses again. She is down to 4 chips. She looks up at 
               JACK. Their eyes meet, hers desperate, his helpless. MR 
               TCHAI picks up on the look.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         He knew how to fix it for her. His 
                         father had taught him the trick. 
                         Switch the sequence. Bust the bank. 
                         The casino wouldn't spot it. But 
                         Jack was wary of the punters...

               JACK glances at the MEN at the table.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         He could see Mr Tchai was counting. 
                         He couldn't risk it.

               JANI places her last bet, glances at the mountain of chips 
               in front of MR TCHAI. JACK catches her look. He deals. 
               JANI reaches for her next card. JACK observes her left 
               hand.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         He noticed she wasn't wearing her 
                         ring. Why not? Odds on she'd sold 
                         it.

               JACK plays out the hand. JANI loses. She immediately gets 
               up. She is crushed.

                                     JANI
                         Good night. Thank you.

               She walks away from the table.

                                     JACK
                         Good night.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Thank you, she said. For what, 
                         Jack thought. Jani de Villiers 
                         knew the odds.

               TCHAI looks at JACK.

                                     MR TCHAI
                         Pretty woman.

               INT. JACK'S BEDROOM/SITTING ROOM - NIGHT

               JACK is sitting on the bed fully clothed. He is carefully 
               sewing a button on his croupier's jacket. Through the open 
               bedroom door MARION can be seen sitting on the sofa, legs 
               tucked under her, reading the new typescript.

               The phone rings. In the bedroom JACK picks up.

                                     JACK
                         Hello...

               EXT. SOUTH AFRICA CASINO - NIGHT

               JACK SR. is in a public phone. Coloured lanterns hang round 
               in the night. Distant laughter.

                                     JACK SR
                         How's it going, Jacko?

               INTERCUT between JACK and JACK SR.

                                     JACK
                         Fine. I took the job.

                                     JACKSR
                         Good for you. I was wondering what 
                         happened.

                                     JACK
                         I tried to call you, dad, but they 
                         said your line was disconnected.

                                     JACK SR
                              (jovially)
                         Ah yes, I moved house. Needed a 
                         bigger place. How's that book of 
                         yours coming along?

               In the sitting room MARION looks towards JACK in the 
               bedroom.

                                     JACK
                         I'm getting there.

                                     JACK SR
                         It's good to have the job to fall 
                         back on, isn't it?
                              (pause)
                         There goes my other phone.

                                     JACK
                         Goodbye dad.

               He hangs up. MARION turns the last page of the typescript. 
               She's finished.

               INT. SITTING ROOM - NIGHT

               JACK comes in from the bedroom. MARION says nothing. She 
               puts the typescript down. JACK waits.

               MARION gets off the sofa.

                                     MARION
                         I don't like it.

                                     JACK
                         Why not?

                                     MARION
                         I don't like it at all. You had a 
                         wonderful character before, the 
                         Gambler. He was so romantic.

                                     JACK
                         He was a loser. This guy's a 
                         croupier. He can't lose. People 
                         have shat on him all his life. Now 
                         he's in control. He's a winner.

                                     MARION
                         Is that your idea of a winner? He 
                         doesn't give a shit about anyone. 
                         He uses people and --

                                     JACK
                              (interrupting)
                         -- It's because of the sex, isn't 
                         it? You don't like the sex in it.

                                     MARION
                         I don't give a fuck about the sex. 
                         Most men'll fuck a lamppost. He's 
                         just a miserable zombie. Is that 
                         the way you feel now? Is that what's 
                         happened to you?

                                     JACK
                         Marion. It's a book.

                                     MARION
                         Oh really. Then why is he called 
                         Jake. Why don't you come clean and 
                         call him Jack.
                              (softens)
                         There's no hope in it.

                                     JACK
                         It's the truth.

                                     MARION
                         Without hope there's no point to 
                         anything.

                                     JACK
                         Now wait a minute. What's so hopeful 
                         about your job? Spending the day 
                         catching poor people stealing. You 
                         said yourself the organised gangs 
                         get away with it. At least in the 
                         casino everybody gets caught. Rich 
                         or poor, the odds are the same. 
                         It's all relative.

                                     MARION
                         Crap. It's not relative. It's 
                         unfair. Like your casino. It's 
                         designed unfair. And your croupier's 
                         a little shit because he goes along 
                         with it.

               JACK sees MARION is getting really angry. He crosses the 
               room, Pointedly takes MARION'S handbag, opens it, takes 
               out a National Lottery card and receipt. The doorbell rings.

                                     JACK
                              (coldly)
                         You're just like all those other 
                         dummies out there. Fourteen and a 
                         half million to one! Is that your 
                         idea of hope?

               The doorbell rings again.

                                     MARION
                         The door, Jack.

                                     JACK
                         Leave it.

                                     MARION
                         No. Answer it!

               JACK hands her the lottery card and goes to the door, opens 
               it.  BELLA stands there.

                                     BELLA
                         You fucking little shit! You shopped 
                         me.

                                     JACK
                         What are you talking about?

               MARION watches, numb.

                                     BELLA
                         Reynolds got a doctor in. They 
                         forced me to take a dope test. It 
                         was positive. As you knew.

                                     JACK
                         I don't know anything about it.

               BELLA looks over to MARION.

                                     BELLA
                         Your boyfriend fucked me, smoked 
                         my dope, then shopped me. What do 
                         you think of that? I can't get a 
                         job now.
                              (to Jack)
                         You bastard. You're no different 
                         from Matt. A pair of vicious little 
                         shits, that's what you are.

                                     JACK
                              (firmly)
                         Look Bella, I don't know anything 
                         about this. You should talk to 
                         Matt.

                                     BELLA
                         You're all scumbags.

                                     MARION
                         I agree.

               Without looking at MARION, BELLA suddenly kisses JACK on 
               the lips. BELLA looks hard at JACK, then leaves. JACK 
               pursues her.

               EXT. BASEMENT - NIGHT

               BELLA runs up the iron stairs to the gate at the top.

                                     JACK
                         Bella!

               Without looking back she flings the gate shut, goes off 
               down the street. JACK turns.

                                     MARION
                         Go on. Go after her!

               MARION slams the door to the flat. JACK is half-way up the 
               stairs, alone.

               EXT. PICCADILLY DEPARTMENT STORE - EVENING

               The rush hour. 6 in the evening. JACK watches MEN and WOMEN 
               coming out the store.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Jack had no idea where Marion was 
                         staying, or with whom. He realised 
                         he knew little about her life. But 
                         then, he had never asked about it.

               JACK now sees MARION. He is about to go up to her, moving 
               through the flow of the crowd, then he stops.

               A MAN in his 30s, tall with a moustache, greets MARION. 
               He's been waiting for her. JACK watches the two of them, 
               unseen.

               The MAN and MARION exchange a few words. She smiles, takes 
               his arm. He leans forward to kiss her.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         For the first time in a long while 
                         Jack thought about his mother. 
                         She'd left when she couldn't take 
                         it any more.  His father had said 
                         'Don't worry, Jacko, she'll come 
                         back.' She didn't.

               JACK turns and walks away.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         But Marion wasn't his mother...

               INT. CASINO - CROWS NEST - NIGHT

               JACK stands behind REYNOLDS who is playing back a video of 
               the earlier incident in which MATT cheated with the GREEK.

                                     JACK
                         He's paying out in stacks of 25.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         I can see.

               He freezes the frame, presses a button, zooms in on the 
               detail of MATT's hand covering the chips.

               On another video monitor MATT is dealing blackjack. REYNOLDS 
               looks at the screen.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         Little shit.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Chapter Three. His existence was 
                         forming an interesting pattern of 
                         betrayals. Sometimes he was unsure 
                         whether he was the betrayer or the 
                         betrayed.

               REYNOLDS looks up from the screen.

                                     REYNOLDS
                              (grudgingly)
                         Thanks for the information.

                                     JACK
                         A pleasure. Pity about Bella.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         She was a real asset. But what 
                         could I do?

               JACK lights a cigarette.

                                     REYNOLDS
                              (shakes his head)
                         Sorry. No smoking in the Nest, 
                         Jack.

               INT. JACK'S FLAT - DAY

               Working at his computer, JACK lights one cigarette from 
               another. He pauses from his typing. On the desk beside him 
               is the note with JANI's phone number. He picks up the phone, 
               starts to dial, then stops, replaces the receiver. He looks 
               distracted, lost. On the table MARION'S flowers are dead 
               in the vase.

               INT. BOOKSTORE - DAY

               JACK comes downstairs from the upper floor. He is looking 
               at a book he has selected: 'SCARNE ON CARDS'.

               Across from the cash desk near the entrance a book signing 
               is in progress. A small crowd surrounds a Middle Eastern 
               author called HABIB dressed in a kaftan. GILES is with 
               him. A PHOTOGRAPHER is there. A few camera flashes.

               GILES sees JACK at the cash desk. He is uncertain for a 
               moment, then smiles.

                                     GILES
                              (calling)
                         Jack!

               Hearing his name, JACK turns. GILES comes over.

                                     GILES
                         I thought it was you. It's the 
                         hair!

                                     JACK
                              (touching the back 
                              of his neck)
                         I'm working on that soccer story.

                                     GILES
                              (vaguely)
                         Right.
                              (suddenly)
                         Look, I must get back to Habib.

                                     JACK
                         Habib?

                                     GILES
                         My author. He's a Terrorist. He's 
                         written a kill-and-tell book.
                              (puts his hand on 
                              Jack's shoulder)
                         Take care.

               GILES heads back to the signing. The CASHIER puts JACK'S 
               book in a bag. GILES stops, thinking of something. He comes 
               back to JACK.

                                     GILES
                         Jack, look, next weekend I'm having 
                         a house party. Here...
                              (removes a card 
                              from his pocket 
                              book)
                         It's near Oxford. Why don't you 
                         come? It'll just be social. No 
                         business.
                              (conspiratorially)
                         Bring a friend. I've plenty of 
                         room.

                                     JACK
                              (looks at the card)
                         I'll try and make it.

                                     GILES
                         Looking forward!

               GILES goes back to his group. JACK looks round the 
               bookstore, sees thousands of books in piles.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Books piled like chips. Stack 'em 
                         high. Sell 'em fast. Make a killing. 
                         You think you're a gambler, Giles, 
                         but you're not. You're a dealer.

               A camera flash.

               EXT. COUNTRY ROAD - NIGHT

               JANI'S white Honda winds its way through the wintry 
               Oxfordshire countryside. The moon is bright.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Chapter Four...

               INT. HONDA - NIGHT

               JANI, wearing dark glasses, is driving. JACK, beside her, 
               reads a map with a torch.

                                     JACK
                         I don't know how you can drive at 
                         night with those glasses.

               She turns and smiles at him. Her left hand is bandaged.

                                     JACK
                         How did you hurt your hand?

                                     JANI
                         Just an accident. Nothing.

                                     JACK
                         Turn left ahead.

               The car turns into a lane.

                                     JACK
                         Jani, there's something I want to 
                         say. Before we get there. I don't 
                         know what the sleeping arrangements 
                         are. Giles probably expects us to 
                         share a room.

                                     JANI
                         That's fine.

               EXT. COUNTRY HOUSE - NIGHT

               The Honda's tyres crackle on the gravel drive which leads 
               to a floodlit yellow stone country house. There are three 
               cars parked outside the entrance. The Honda stops next to 
               them.

               INT. HONDA - NIGHT

               JACK prepares to get out. JANI catches his arm. She takes 
               off her dark glasses. Her right eye is bruised.

                                     JANI
                         There's no point pretending it was 
                         an accident. I had a fight with 
                         someone, that's all.

               In the distance there is the sound of a tennis ball being 
               struck.

               EXT. COUNTRY HOUSE - TENNIS COURT - NIGHT

               A floodlit tennis court. A racquet smacks a tennis ball. 
               JACK sits with GILES drinking Bloody Marys watching a game 
               of mixed doubles.

               Everybody's wearing sweaters. JANI is playing with one of 
               GILES'S friends, GORDON. On the other side, two girls, 
               FIONA from Giles' office, and CHLOE, Gordon's girlfriend.

               JACK follows JANI'S game. She is far and away the best of 
               the four.

               GILES is also studying JANI's movements, her knickers when 
               she serves.

                                     GILES
                         She's a dab hand With a racquet, 
                         your friend.

                                     JACK
                         South African women are very sporty.

               JACK watches JANI'S strong leg muscles as she moves about 
               the court.

                                     GILES
                         I can see. How did she get that 
                         shiner?

               JACK has been waiting for this.

                                     JACK
                         I found her in bed with someone.

                                     GILES
                              (surprised)
                         Who was he?

                                     JACK
                         She.

                                     GIEES
                         I say. You're a dark horse, Jack.

               On court, Jani delivers a winning overhead smash. The four 
               PLAYERS shake hands across the net. They come off the court. 
               GORDON puts his arm around JANI. His girlfriend CHLOE 
               notices. JACK is irritated. GILES catches the moment.

                                     GORDON
                              (to Jack)
                         You don't play tennis?

                                     JACK
                         I don't play anything.

                                     GORDON
                         How boring for you.

               JANI moves deliberately away from GORDON, who clearly 
               fancies her, and sits down beside JACK. She pointedly kisses 
               him on the cheek. GILES glances at GORDON, who shrugs. 
               FIONA comes up to GILES.

                                     FIONA
                         Where's our drinks?

                                     CHLOE
                         They're so bloody selfish.

                                     JANI
                              (to Jack)
                         I'm so glad you brought me.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Jack wouldn't have come without 
                         her.

               INT. COUNTRY HOUSE - DRAWING ROOM - NIGHT

               JACK and JANI, GILES, GORDON and their two GIRLFRIENDS are 
               sitting down with drinks at a card table. GORDON opens a 
               fresh deck of cards.

                                     JACK
                         I don't gamble.

                                     GILES
                         Don't be a spoilsport. It's only a 
                         few quid.

                                     JACK
                         It's nothing to do with money. I 
                         don't gamble.

               GILES looks to JANI to persuade him.

                                     JANI
                         He doesn't gamble.

                                     JACK
                         I'll watch.

                                     GORDON
                              (insinuatingly)
                         Jack likes to watch.
                              (to Jani)
                         Does he like to watch?

               JACK is getting angry. JANI is calm.

                                     JANI
                              (to Gordon)
                         One more remark like that and I'll 
                         break your balls.

               There is silence. GORDON is embarrassed. FIONA looks at 
               CHLOE, they're shocked and impressed. JACK smiles.

                                     GILES
                              (laughs)
                         I'll bet she could, too.

               JACK defuses the atmosphere.

                                     JACK
                         I'll deal, but I won't play.

               He sits down, picks up the cards.

                                     GORDON
                         You sure you know how?

               JACK takes the pack of cards, splits it expertly into two, 
               shuffles by pressing the two halves together open-palmed. 
               There is a rattling noise as the cards fold mechanically 
               into one another, leaving the pack as if it hadn't been 
               shuffled. FIONA and CHLOE are fascinated.

                                     FIONA
                         Do that again.

               JACK gives the cards to his right, GORDON cuts them. Another 
               immaculate professional shuffle, and out come the cards 
               from JACK'S right hand, flicking across the table.

               As the cards land, they fall exactly next to one another 
               in front of each player.

                                     CHLOE
                         That's sexy.

               At the end of the deal, five players are looking at a neat 
               fan of five cards before them.

                                     FIONA
                         Don't they look pretty.

               They all pick up their cards.

                                     GILES
                              (frowns)
                         There's nothing pretty about this 
                         hand.

                                     CHLOE
                         You're not supposed to talk, Giles.

                                     FIONA
                         He's probably lying. He does that.

               JACK catches JANI's eye. She winks.

               INT. COUNTRY HOUSE - DRAWING ROOM - NIGHT

               Later. JACK deals the cards.

                                     JACK
                         Last hand.

                                     GILES
                         Hey. I've got an idea. Why don't 
                         we...

                                     FIONA
                              (sharply)
                         No! No stripping.

                                     CHLOE
                         Right. We're not having that again!
                              (glances at Jack)
                         Although...

                                     GORDON
                         I'll stick to bluffing. That's 
                         what I'm best at.

               JANI smiles, says nothing. JACK slides the pack to JANI. 
               She looks up at him and cuts the cards. JACK deals the 
               cards deftly. The FIVE PLAYERS pick up their cards.

               Before each player calls we hear Jack's voice. In the end 
               he correctly predicts their call. Is it telepathy? Or 
               something else?

                                     GORDON
                         I'll stick.

                                     FIONA
                         Two cards.

                                     GILES
                         One card.

                                     CHLOE
                         Oh I don't know...Er...two cards.

                                     JANI
                         Three cards.

               The PLAYERS examine their hands. The WOMEN are pleased. 
               The MEN say nothing. JANI puts her cards together.

               The betting begins. No one drops out. The raising goes 
               round three times.

                                     FIONA
                         That's it. I haven't got any more 
                         cash.

               The betting comes to an end. JACK watches as they turn 
               their hands over. GORDON turns over a Straight.

                                     GORDON
                         Beat that.

               CHLOE turns over a Flush.

                                     CHLOE
                         Ha. Ha. Ha.

                                     GORDON
                         Shit.

               FIONA turns over a Full House.

                                     FIONA
                         Not so fast, darling.

                                     GORDON
                              (disbelieving)
                         Hang on, chaps. That's impossible!

               GILES turns over four of a kind.

                                     GILES
                         How's about that for impossible.

               Laughter, cries of amazement.

                                     GORDON
                         What's going on?

               JACK is impassive. They all look to JANI, who turns over, 
               one card at a time, a Straight Flush.

                                     CHLOE
                         Wow. What are the odds for this 
                         happening?

               More laughter, cries of amazement.

                                     FIONA
                         Thousands to one.

                                     JACK
                         42,300,000 to 1.

                                     JANI
                         Approximately.

                                     GORDON
                         I could've won if I'd been able to 
                         bluff.

               JANI leans forward and takes the pot. GILES looks at JACK, 
               then at JANI.

                                     GILES
                         I get it.

                                     JACK
                         Get what?
                              (smiles)
                         Are you accusing me of cheating?

                                     GILES
                         Good God, no. But with skill like 
                         that, what do you want a job for? 
                         You don't need to work.

               INT. COUNTRY HOUSE - BEDROOM - NIGHT

               JACK sits on the side of a four-poster bed and takes off 
               his shoes. On the other side of the bed JANI unzips her 
               skirt. She looks round the room.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Here was an interesting question. 
                         Was writing work... or play?

               JANI puts her skirt over a chair and goes into the bathroom. 
               She doesn't close the door. JACK continues undressing. 
               From a hold-all he removes a pair of pajamas. He glances 
               at the open bathroom door, then climbs into his pajamas. 
               He has two ugly bruises on his chest from the fight with 
               the ARABIC MAN.

               JANI comes out of the bathroom naked. She sees his body.

                                     JANI
                         What happened?

                                     JACK
                         Remember the guy who cheated at 
                         the table?

                                     JANI
                         You don't like cheats, do you.

               She walks across to her case, opens it, rummages around 
               and takes out a nightie. This, without the slightest hint 
               of embarrassment. JACK goes into the bathroom to brush his 
               teeth. JANI climbs into bed.

                                     JANI
                         Which side do you like?

                                     JACK
                              (calling)
                         You choose.

               They get into bed.

                                     JANI
                         That trick tonight, I don't think 
                         I've ever seen that before.

                                     JACK
                         It can only work with amateurs, A 
                         pro would have spotted it.

                                     JANI
                         I didn't.

                                     JACK
                         Then you're not a pro.

               JANI leans over and turns off the lamp. Her hair brushes 
               JACK'S face.

                                     JANI
                         Goodnight.

               INT. COUNTRY HOUSE - NIGHT

               In the deserted hall is a nineteenth century painting, a 
               copy of Gericault's 'Raft of the Medusa'. The picture light 
               illuminates the group of men and women, clinging to the 
               raft and to each other.

               INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT

                                     JANI'S VOICE
                         Jack...? I need your help...

               JACK wakes drowsily.

                                     JANI
                         I'm in trouble.

                                     JACK
                         What kind of trouble?

                                     JANI
                         I owe a lot of money.

                                     JACK
                         Was that why you did the two grand? 
                         I couldn't help you.

                                     JANI
                         I know that. But you can now.

                                     JACK
                         I don't have any money.  switches 
                         on the light. JANI is looking 
                         distressed.

                                     JANI
                         Some people I know, they're planning 
                         to rob The Golden Lion.

               JACK sits up, turns on the lamp.

                                     JACK
                         You don't mean that.

               JANI pulls up the bedcover around her body.

                                     JANI
                         They mean it.

                                     JACK
                         Who's they?

                                     JANI
                         My creditors. One night, around 
                         three in the morning, they'll come 
                         into the casino -

                                     JACK
                              (interrupting)
                         Forget it, Jani. It'll never work.

                                     JANI
                         The point is, they want a man 
                         inside.

                                     JACK
                              (laughs)
                         And I thought you were a bright 
                         woman.

                                     JANI
                         Just listen. You don't have to do 
                         anything criminal.

                                     JACK
                              (smiles)
                         Robbery's not criminal?

               JACK gets out of bed, tours the room.

                                     JANI
                         You don't have to be criminal. A 
                         man will come up to your table and 
                         deliberately cheat. You'll see 
                         him, stop him, and the guy will 
                         make a big scene. There'll be chaos. 
                         And that's when it'll happen.

                                     JACK
                         You're serious.

                                     JANI
                         You won't be committing a crime. 
                         The man will cheat, you'll just be 
                         doing your job, that's all.

               JACK comes right up close to JANI in bed.

                                     JACK
                         And I thought you were only after 
                         my body.

                                     JANI
                         I've come to know you. You're 
                         honest.
                              (takes his hand)
                         I trust you.

                                     JACK
                         What'll you do when it all goes 
                         wrong?

                                     JANI
                         It won't.

                                     JACK
                         But if it does.

                                     JANI
                         You keep the ten thousand pounds.

                                     JACK
                         What ten thousand pounds?

               JANI gets out of bed.

                                     JANI
                         These people will pay you ten 
                         thousand before and ten thousand 
                         after. They want someone they can 
                         be sure of, an honest dealer. That's 
                         the point. Not all dealers are 
                         honest. Mr Reynolds will never 
                         suspect you.

                                     JACK
                         Reynolds? You've done your research.

               She puts her hand on his.

                                     JANI
                         I didn't know what else to do. 
                         You're my last chance.

               She takes his hand and puts it on her bruised eye.

                                     JANI
                         Next time it'll be my neck.

                                     JACK
                         What about my neck?

               JANI is close to breaking down. Her toughness evaporates.

                                     JANI
                         I want to go back to Cape Town, I 
                         want to start again, clean.

                                     JACK
                         I can't do it, Jani.

                                     JANI
                         I'm asking you, as a...friend. 
                         You'd be saving the life of a 
                         friend.

               JANI goes back to bed. She turns out the light. JACK stands 
               in the middle of the dark room.

               INT. COUNTRY HOUSE - PASSAGE - STAIRS - NIGHT

               JACK comes out of the bedroom in his pajamas, wearing his 
               hat. He walks slowly down the passage. He hears the sounds 
               of love-making coming from one of the rooms. He passes 
               'The Raft of the Medusa' as he goes down the stairs.

               INT. COUNTRY HOUSE - KITCHEN - NIGHT

               JACK comes into the kitchen, switches on the light. He 
               goes to the refrigerator, takes out a bottle of vodka. He 
               washes a dirty glass and pours himself a drink.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Jack wondered why he was even 
                         considering it. Ten grand. In cash. 
                         That was why. But Jack didn't need 
                         the money. His father would have 
                         taken it, like a shot. But his 
                         father was a gambler.

               He downs his drink, and leaves the kitchen.

               INT. COUNTRY HOUSE - PASSAGE - NIGHT

               JACK walks back to his room. There is silence now, no sounds 
               of sex.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         He was always broke. Jake suddenly 
                         realised... it was Jake who was 
                         considering it.

               INT. COUNTRY HOUSE - BEDROOM - NIGHT

               JACK comes in, tosses his hat on the bed. JANI isn't in 
               the bed. The bathroom door is afar. He hears the sounds of 
               gasping. He rushes to the bathroom.

               INT. BATHROOM - NIGHT

               JANI is holding her head over the lavatory bowl. JACK runs 
               some water in the basin. He helps her to her feet and gives 
               her a glass of water.

               She washes out her mouth. She looks at him, tears running 
               down her face.

                                     JANI
                         I want you to forget what I said.

                                     JACK
                         Wait a minute...

                                     JANI
                         No, forget it. The bet's off.

               She reaches forward for a toothbrush and starts to clean 
               her teeth.

                                     JACK
                         What about your father? Can he 
                         help?

               She spits the water out of her mouth, kisses him on the 
               forehead and goes back into the bedroom. JACK looks at his 
               reflection in the bathroom mirror. He strokes his hair 
               down.

                                     JACK
                         Why don't you just go back to South 
                         Africa?

               He leaves the bathroom.

               INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT

               JACK gets back in bed with JANI. They turn away from each 
               other and prepare to sleep.

                                     JACK
                         How much do you owe?

                                     JANI
                         Let it go.

                                     JACK
                         Did they tell you to sleep with 
                         me?

                                     JANI
                         I told you, all bets are off.

               INT. COUNTRY HOUSE - BEDROOM - DAWN

               JACK wakes as JANI is dressed getting ready to leave. She 
               bends and kisses him.

                                     JANI
                         I'm sorry.

                                     JACK
                         What for?

                                     JANI
                         I have to take the car.

               She looks at him then leaves the room

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Hang on tightly... let go lightly.

               INT. COUNTRY HOUSE - KITCHEN - DAY

               JACK comes into the kitchen. GILES is making coffee. CHLOE 
               is sitting at the table, half-asleep in her nightgown.

                                     GILES
                         Good night?

                                     JACK
                         Not particularly.

                                     GILES
                         And your lady?

                                     JACK
                         She had to leave early. She asked 
                         me to thank you.

                                     GILES
                         A bit unexpected, wasn't it?

                                     JACK
                         Not entirely.

                                     GILES
                         How's that football story corning 
                         along?

                                     JACK
                         You said it was going to be social, 
                         Giles. No business.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         He was overcome with a sense of 
                         urgency. He had to get it down... 
                         Chapter Five.

               INT. JACK'S FLAT - NIGHT

               JACK comes in, puts down his overnight bag. He yawns, heads 
               for the bedroom. Suddenly, he sees that the vase of dead 
               flowers is now full of fresh blooms. Underneath is a small 
               box, gift-wrapped. JACK opens it. Inside the tissue paper 
               is a tiny gold charm on a chain. He examines it.

               CLOSE-UP: The charm is a book, no title engraved.

               JACK is touched.

               INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT

               JACK comes into the room. MARION is in bed asleep. He looks 
               at her, smiles.

               He starts to get undressed. MARION stirs. JACK puts the 
               book charm around his neck. She moves from the middle to 
               one side of the bed, making room for him. He holds the 
               charm.

                                     JACK
                         It's beautiful. Thank you.

                                     MARION
                         I hope it brings you luck.

                                     JACK
                         It will.

               MARION I haven't brought you much luck, have I? Perhaps we 
               shouldn't be together.

                                     JACK
                         That girl, she works at the casino --

                                     MARION
                         -- I don't care about her. Of 
                         course, I was angry. But not with 
                         you. The book is yours not mine. I 
                         was wrong, what I said about it. I 
                         hurt you, didn't I?

                                     JACK
                         You're entitled to your opinion.

                                     MARION
                         It's none of my business what you 
                         write. And your job, that's none 
                         of my business either. I love you. 
                         And I've done everything wrong.

               JACK takes her in his arms.

                                     JACK
                         I'll leave the casino soon.
                              (he strokes her 
                              hair)
                         I promise.

                                     MARION
                         You will?

                                     JACK
                         Within a month. Believe me, I'm 
                         going to quit!

               They begin to make love. She holds the back of his head.

                                     MARION
                         Then you can dye your hair blond 
                         again.

               INT. JACK'S FLAT - NIGHT

               JACK is asleep in bed with MARION. He is murmuring 
               indistinguishable words. It wakes her. She gently touches 
               his shoulder. He opens his eyes.

                                     JACK
                         What?

                                     MARION
                         You were talking in your sleep.

                                     JACK
                         Not talking. Writing.

               INT. JACK'S FLAT - DAY

               JACK is at work alone. The phone rings. He leaves it and 
               continues I working. Then he hears JANI'S VOICE.

                                     JANI'S VOICE
                         I need to see you. I've moved. I 
                         have a new number. It's 468-3275. 
                         Please call me.

               There is a click. JACK scribbles the number down and resumes 
               work.

               INT. UNDERGROUND - NIGHT

               JACK gets off a train. He is dressed as a croupier. He 
               walks to a public telephone on the platform, taking JANI'S 
               note from his pocket. He dials the number. The noise of 
               the train and PASSENGERS makes it difficult to hear. The 
               phone at the end rings and rings. JACK waits.

                                     JACK
                         I want to speak to Jani de 
                         Villiers...
                              (waits)
                         Jani... it's Jack... I'll come 
                         over now...

               He takes out a notepad and writes down the address.

               EXT. STREET - NIGHT

               JACK walks down a street of rough, transient's hotels. The 
               street lamps are on.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Chapter Seven... Jack had decided 
                         to see her. The challenge was 
                         essential.

               He comes up to a hotel called 'Journey's End'. He goes in.

               INT. HOTEL. STAIRS - NIGHT

               JACK climbs the creaking stairs under the fluorescent 
               lights. He knocks on a door. JANI opens it. She wears men's 
               pajamas. She looks unslept.

                                     JANI
                         Come in.

               She glances up and down the passage. JACK goes in.

               INT. HOTEL ROOM - NIGHT

               JANI carefully closes the door. JACK looks round the dingy 
               room.

                                     JANI
                         It's not the Ritz this time.

               She switches on a standard lamp, looks at him.

                                     JANI
                         Is it yes?

                                     JACK
                         Yes.

                                     JANI
                         Thank you.

               Reflected in a mirror, she opens her bag and takes out an 
               envelope, gives it to JACK. He looks inside. Four bank 
               packets of �2500.

                                     JACK
                         It doesn't seem fair. You're 
                         offering me ten grand in cash but 
                         you can't afford a decent place.

                                     JANI
                         Well, life's not fair. We know 
                         that.

                                     JACK
                         It's all relative.  I need the 
                         money too.

                                     JANI
                         Do you?

                                     JACK
                         Yes.

                                     JANI
                         The date's not set yet. I'll call 
                         you. One last thing: the man you're 
                         going to catch cheating, he may 
                         get violent. But you know how to 
                         deal with cheats.

                                     JACK
                              (looks at her face)
                         That bruise has cleared up nicely.

                                     JANI
                         Bruise?
                              (touches her eye)
                         Oh, yes. It's better.

                                     JACK
                              (touches his chest)
                         I've still got mine.

               JACK looks at her hand.

                                     JACK
                         And your hand too.

                                     JANI
                              (coolly)
                         I took the bandage off yesterday.

               She crosses to pick up a bottle of Scotch.

                                     JANI
                         Would you like a drink?

                                     JACK
                         No thank you.

               JACK puts the envelope in his pocket. They look at each 
               other.

                                     JACK
                         I don't think we should meet again.

                                     JANI
                              (nods)
                         It's a shame there aren't more men 
                         in the world like you.

               JACK goes up to JANI and kisses her on the mouth. She puts 
               an arm around him.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         There was a part of Jani he really 
                         liked.

               He turns and leaves the room.

               EXT. HOTEL - STREET - NIGHT

               JACK comes out of the hotel, walks up the street.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Question: Was he gambling, taking 
                         Jani's money? Answer: No. Because 
                         he wasn't betting with his own 
                         money. He was being paid in advance 
                         for a service...

               INT. CASINO - NIGHT

               At the roulette table JACK spins the wheel, throws the 
               ball.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         In reality there were two clear 
                         elements of risk in this exchange. 
                         One: the possibility the cash was 
                         counterfeit. Two: the possibility 
                         Jani or her creditors would want 
                         the money back if the plan failed.

               A MIDDLE-AGED MAN is sweating. He fingers his last 2 chips. 
               He reaches for a number, hesitates. JACK sees that the 
               MAN's hand is shaking.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         To begin with he put the odds at 2 
                         against. 7 for. He checked a random 
                         selection of bills at a bank. They 
                         were all good.

               Across the table a well-dressed JEWISH WOMAN in her fifties 
               is sitting next to a YOUNG MAN, a gigolo type, the top 
               three buttons of his shirt undone. She too hesitates with 
               her bet, looks down at her card, marked with the last thirty 
               turns.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         So now his odds were decidedly 
                         better. He put them at 8 to 1. The 
                         fact that the notes were good gave 
                         him one less negative. 2 minus 1. 
                         At the same time mathematically he 
                         had one more positive. 7 plus 1.

               The WOMAN looks up at the YOUNG MAN. She hands him the 
               chip.

                                     WOMAN
                         Bring me some luck.

               The YOUNG MAN smiles. Takes the chip and puts it on 21.

               The MIDDLE-AGED MAN puts his chips on 8 and 11. He prays 
               silently.

               INT. CASINO - NIGHT

               The roulette table. The ball is bouncing in and out of 
               numbers.

                                     JACK
                         No more bets.

               The MIDDLE-AGED MAN closes his eyes. The WOMAN puts her 
               hand on the YOUNG MAN'S arm.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Next stage. He had to be secure at 
                         8 to 1 against having to give the 
                         money back, so he wouldn't spend 
                         it. If after one month no one had 
                         approached him, he calculated the 
                         odds of keeping it at 20 to 1. 
                         After three months he figured 100 
                         to 1 no one would turn up.

               The ball bounces into 21. The WOMAN gives a cry of joy. 
               She grips the YOUNG MAN's hand. He leans over to her, eyeing 
               her diamond necklace, and whispers something seductive in 
               her ear. She stiffens with apprehensive pleasure.

               The MIDDLE-AGED MAN opens his eyes, there is a look of 
               misery on his face.

               JACK sweeps away the lost chips, pays out five minor 
               winners. He calmly counts a small pile of chips and slides 
               them to the MIDDLE-AGED MAN by sleight of hand. Then he 
               prepares to pay out the WOMAN.

               No one has noticed the pay-out to the MIDDLE-AGED MAN. The 
               MAN looks at JACK incredulously. JACK smiles mechanically. 
               The MAN mouths the words 'Thank you' to JACK.

               The WOMAN looks up at the YOUNG MAN. She gives him a pile 
               of chips. He gives them back. He kisses her neck.

                                     YOUNG MAN
                         How about a drink to celebrate?

               The MIDDLE-AGED MAN stands up, his face creased in emotion, 
               relief.

                                     MAN
                              (to Jack)
                         Cash me in.

               JACK converts the green coloured chips to �35 in house 
               chips. The MAN nods at JACK, who smiles formally.

               The MAN leaves the table. PUNTERS place their bets for the 
               next spin. JACK sees the MAN stop by the next roulette 
               table.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Jake's experiment with the man 
                         would prove the point.

               The MAN hesitates. He can't resist.

               In CLOSE-UP: the MAN puts two of the chips down.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         People don't change.

               INT. JACK'S KITCHEN - NIGHT

               MARION drops a plate as she's drying the dishes. She swears 
               and bends to pick up the pieces.

               INT. JACK'S FLAT - BEDROOM - NIGHT

               MARION, undressed, pulls the old nightgown from the laundry 
               basket. She lets it fall back, goes to look in the chest 
               of drawers for another. She can't find one among the 
               underwear.

               She goes on to JACK'S drawer and pulls out a shirt. She 
               unfolds it. Out drop the four packets of �2500.

               She bends to pick them up. She looks at them incredulously.

               INT. CASINO - BLACKJACK TABLE - NIGHT

               JACK pushes several �50 notes into the slot and counts out 
               two piles of chips for a PUNTER in front of him.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         He watched their faces as they 
                         lost hour after hour, night after 
                         night, relentlessly.

               JACK'S FACE as he deals.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         He questioned the conventional 
                         wisdom that gamblers are self-
                         destructive...

               INT. CASINO - ROULETTE TABLE - NIGHT

               The FACES of PUNTERS around the table: concentration, 
               grimness, apprehension...

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         He had come to believe that in 
                         reality, they want to destroy 
                         everyone else - their families and 
                         loved ones, everyone. Fuck over 
                         the whole world...

               The white balls lands. The FACES of the LOSERS, resigned, 
               desperate, angry....

               The PUNTERS who are cleaned out get off their chairs, tear 
               up their sequence cards, turn and walk away, quickly, 
               slowly.

               ON JACK'S FACE:

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Without emotion he watched them 
                         go. Jake stayed.

               INT. JACK'S FLAT - NIGHT

               MARION is lying awake alone in bed. The phone rings. She 
               leans over to pick it up, then doesn't. From the sitting 
               room comes the message:

                                     JANI'S VOICE
                         It's set. The day after tomorrow. 
                         The twenty-fourth. Good luck.

               Click. MARION gets out of bed. She goes into the sitting 
               room.

               INT. SITTING ROOM - NIGHT

               MARION replays the message. She stares at the phone. Then 
               carefully she presses the ERASE button, wiping the message. 
               She goes back into the bedroom.

               INT. JACK'S FLAT - DAY

               JACK is at work. MARION'S hands are massaging his shoulders. 
               The little book charm dangles round his neck.

                                     MARION
                         Aren't you ever tempted to gamble?

                                     JACK
                              (looks up)
                         Never. Why do you ask?

                                     MARION
                         I can just imagine, being around 
                         so much money all the time...

                                     JACK
                         Gambling's not about money.

                                     MARION
                         Really?

                                     JACK
                         Gambling's about not facing reality. 
                         Ignoring the odds.

               She takes her hands away from his neck.

                                     MARION
                         I must be a fool. I never think 
                         about the odds.

               The sound of an underground train.

               INT. UNDERGROUND - NIGHT

               JACK sits impassively among noisy Christmas TRAVELLERS. 
               The train stops. SOMEONE pops a balloon. JACK gets up and 
               alights, followed by a streamer. He disappears into the 
               crowd.

               INT. CASINO - CHANGING ROOM - NIGHT

               JACK hangs up his hat and coat, examines himself in the 
               mirror. He picks up a small roll of paper. He unfurls it. 
               A Christmas party hat.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Chapter Twelve...

               INT. CASINO - NIGHT

               A Christmas festive atmosphere. The casino interior is 
               decorated with red and green balloons, silver and gold 
               streamers, a large tree hung with �1000 chips.

               JACK is dealing at a blackjack table. Like the other 
               croupiers and dealers, he is dressed in a fancy red coat 
               with green trim. He wears a silly paper hat.

               The PUNTERS at Jack's table include MR TCHAI and four 
               expensively dressed CHINESE MEN. The BODYGUARD stands behind 
               them. They are gambling big money. Wads of �50 notes are 
               changed into �100 chips.

               JACK is coolly winning for the house. REYNOLDS looks on 
               impassively in his Santa Claus suit. Three or four PUNTERS 
               are watching the CHINESE lose heavily. MR TCHAI and his 
               friends occasionally exchange a phrase in Chinese but they 
               show no emotion as they lose. With each hand they prepare 
               to lose even more. JACK pushes hundreds of pounds into the 
               box beneath the table.

               REYNOLDS signals a SECURITY MAN to collect the cash which 
               is building up. He comes over with a safety cart. During a 
               short break the money is taken from under the table in a 
               box, loaded into the cart and wheeled away.

               INT. CASINO - BAR - NIGHT

               TWO COLD-LOOKING MEN in suits are drinking mineral water 
               at the bar. They watch the SECURITY MAN with the cart pass 
               by and disappear through a green baize door marked PRIVATE.  
               One of the SUITS looks at his watch: five minutes to 
               midnight.

               INT. CASINO - NIGHT

               JACK is now at a roulette table. He sees a PUNTER's watch: 
               2.45. The atmosphere around the crowded table is noisy, 
               laughter, loud voices. 1 One of the two MEN in suits from 
               the bar eases himself into a chair. JACK sees him. The 
               SUIT throws him �500.

                                     SUIT
                         Fifties. Ten of them.

                                     JACK
                         What colour chips?

                                     SUIT
                         Whatever.

               JACK gives him ten pale blue chips and puts another pale 
               blue chip into the rack alongside the rainbow of colours 
               used by the other punters. The SUIT looks at his watch.

               INT. CASINO - NIGHT

               Two men in raincoats, DETECTIVES, approach REYNOLDS and 
               talk to him. REYNOLDS becomes nervous, looks around the 
               casino. The table at the bar where the SUITS sat is empty. 
               The PRIVATE green baize door slowly closes.

               INT. CASINO - NIGHT

               The ball bounces into number 5. There are cheers of delight 
               from the winners, 5 is heavily covered.

               The SUIT casually slides a pale blue chip onto the number 
               at the side.

               JACK Sees the obvious cheat. So do other PUNTERS.

                                     JACK
                              (stiffens)
                         Sir, I can't accept that bet.

               The SUIT gets up and comes around the table to JACK.

                                     SUIT
                         Are you calling me a cheat?

                                     PUNTER
                         You are a cheat. I saw you.

                                     SUIT
                              (grabbing Jack's 
                              lapel)
                         I'm talking to you.

               JACK pushes him away. The SUIT hits JACK'S face with his 
               fist. Uproar around the table. JACK hits the man. The SUIT 
               grabs JACK and pushes him backwards across the table, 
               knocking all the chips over. The PUNTERS start shouting. 
               They grab their chips, especially the losers. One PUNTER 
               tries to restrain the SUIT. JACK kicks the SUIT hard. They 
               fight, trading blows.

               At the blackjack table MR TCHAI and the other CHINESE see 
               the fight. MR TCHAI barks at the BODYGUARD in Chinese. The 
               BODYGUARD heads for the fight at the roulette table.

               TWO DEALERS rush over to stop the fight. Somewhere in the 
               distance there is the sound of a gunshot. PEOPLE start 
               screaming. The SUIT punches JACK in the stomach. JACK 
               doubles up. The SUIT breaks away, rushes across the casino, 
               pushing screaming WOMEN aside, heads for the door. MR 
               TCHAI's BODYGUARD blocks his way and fells the SUIT with a 
               hammer blow to the head.

               The TWO DETECTIVES come up. One of them handcuffs the SUIT, 
               who is lying on the floor. The casino is in uproar. A 
               strange, violent Christmas party.

               INT. CASINO - NIGHT

               JACK lies groaning on the floor. MR TCHAI is standing, 
               watching JACK. REYNOLDS'S VOICE comes over the tannoy 
               system:

                                     REYNOLDS
                         Ladies and gentlemen, please be 
                         calm. There's no cause for alarm. 
                         Enjoy yourselves. It's Christmas.

               REYNOLDS'S VOICE is replaced by a breezy version of 'Rudolph 
               the Red-Nosed Reindeer'. JACK struggles to his feet, amid 
               the chaos. He falls back in pain. MR TCHAI and the other 
               CHINESE leave the casino with the BODYGUARD.

               INT. HOSPITAL - CASUALTY - NIGHT

               JACK is sitting in a Christmas-decorated cubicle, a curtain 
               drawn round. An INDIAN NURSE is bandaging his arm. He has 
               two large plasters on his chest.

               The NURSE finishes the job, smiles.

                                     NURSE
                         There you go.

               She hands him two pills and a glass of water. In the 
               background there are party sounds. The NURSE leaves. JACK 
               fingers the charm around his neck.

               There is a pause. Then the curtain is pulled back. MARION 
               enters. She carries a bottle of wine and two cartons of 
               Chinese take-away. JACK is surprised.

                                     JACK
                         How did you know I was here?

                                     MARION
                         I thought you wouldn't want to 
                         spend Christmas Day alone in here.

               She starts to pour wine. JACK is still puzzled.

                                     JACK
                         Did you go to the casino?

               MARION hands him a glass of wine.

                                     MARION
                         Happy Christmas.

               They touch glasses and drink.

                                     MARION
                         Now...noodles or rice?

               As she opens the cartons, JACK watches her, still uneasy.

                                     MARION
                              (quietly)
                         I don't want a criminal for a 
                         boyfriend.

                                     JACK
                              (suddenly)
                         There was a message, wasn't there?

                                     MARION
                         It's probably easier for you to 
                         eat the rice.

                                     JACK
                         Marion!  What did you tell the 
                         police?

                                     MARION
                         Nothing about you.

                                     JACK
                         Then what?

                                     MARION
                         Give up being a croupier, Jack. Or 
                         I'll shop you. All you have to do 
                         is keep your word. It's that simple.

               JACK sinks back on the bed. She hands him the rice dish.

                                     MARION
                         Here...use a spoon.

                                     JACK
                         Leave me alone, Marion.

                                     MARION
                         You're already alone.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         He had always been alone. He had 
                         always believed it would make the 
                         decisions easier.

                                     JACK
                         All right. I don't want to lose 
                         you. I'll quit. I swear to you.

               MARION kisses him.

                                     MARION
                         Why did you take the money?

                                     JACK
                         I hate public transport.

                                     MARION
                         What?

                                     JACK
                         I want to buy a car.

                                     MARION
                              (laughs)
                         How can anyone be that naive?

               INT. CASINO - REYNOLDS'S OFFICE - DAY

               JACK sits in front of REYNOLDS.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         How do you feel, Jack?

                                     JACK
                         Bruised.

                                     REYNOLDS
                         Take your time. Two weeks. Three 
                         if you need it. We'll pay you sick 
                         leave. I don't want to lose you. 
                         You're a good man. Here...

               He hands JACK an envelope.

                                     JACK
                         What's this?

               He opens the envelope. Inside is a casino cheque for �500.

                                     REYNOLDS
                              (smiles)
                         Happy New Year. Have a drink on 
                         the company. You've earned it.

               INT. JACK'S FLAT - NIGHT

               JACK is sitting at his computer, drinking vodka, dressed 
               in his CROUPIER'S suit.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Chapter Thirteen...

               He types... On the SOUNDTRACK we hear the CASINO noise.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         It's all numbers, the croupier 
                         thought. A spin of the wheel. A 
                         turn of a card. The time of your 
                         life. The date of your birth. The 
                         year of your death. In the Book of 
                         Numbers the Lord said: 'thou shalt 
                         count thy steps'.

               There's a ring at the doorbell. He looks at his watch: 
               2.15a.m. The I ring comes again.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Jack thought, this is it. The famous 
                         two in the morning knock at the 
                         door.  It wad pay-back time.

               JACK goes to the door.

               At the door. It was pay-back time. JACK goes to the door.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         But he wasn't afraid. He hadn't 
                         spent one penny of the ten grand. 
                         He'd covered himself. He knew the 
                         odds.

               JACK calmly opens the door. A UNIFORMED POLICEMAN stands 
               there. JACK hadn't expected this.

                                     POLICEMAN
                         Mr Manfred?

                                     JACK
                         Yes...

               The sound of the roulette ball bouncing against the numbers.

               INT. MORGUE - NIGHT

               A POLICE DOCTOR uncovers a body on a gurney. The sound of 
               the ball find-ing a number. JACK can hardly bear to look. 
               It is MARION. With emotion...

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         What were the odds of being killed 
                         by a car... on New Year's Eve?

                                     MAN'S VOICE
                         She was on her way home... to you.

                                     JACK
                         No. She wasn't.

               JACK looks away from MARION'S face. He sees the MAN with 
               the moustache, standing on the other side of the gurney, 
               the MAN he saw with MARION on the street. He is DETECTIVE 
               INSPECTOR ROSS. JACK is disorientated.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Marion had been visiting his 
                         mother...no, no, not his mother - 
                         her mother.

                                     JACK
                              (to Ross)
                         She was visiting her mother. Her 
                         mother.
                              (suddenly)
                         Who are you?

                                     ROSS
                         Detective Inspector Ross.

                                     JACK
                         Who...

                                     ROSS
                         Ross.

                                     JACK
                         Who did it? Tell me!

               He grabs ROSS'S lapels. ROSS carefully removes JACK'S hands.

                                     ROSS
                         We think it's a hit-and-run. A 
                         drunk driver, probably, But there 
                         is a possibility of a revenge 
                         killing.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                              (distraught)
                         Revenge? For what? Whose revenge?

                                     ROSS
                         As you know, she was a WPC with 
                         the Met. up until two years ago.

               JACK fumbles in his pocket for a cigarette. There is a No 
               Smoking sign on the wall. ROSS produces a Zippo and lights 
               JACK'S Gitane.

                                     ROSS
                         She called me last week. She'd got 
                         wind of a planned robbery at your 
                         casino.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         What had that got to do with her 
                         death?

                                     ROSS
                         You didn't recognise the man who 
                         attacked you, did you?

                                     JACK
                              (loudly)
                         Of course I recognised him!

                                     ROSS
                              (surprised)
                         You did?

                                     JACK
                         I know a cheat when I see one. The 
                         man was a cheat.

               ROSS sighs, looks at MARION.

               JACK suddenly reaches down and pulls the white sheet back 
               over MARION'S face.

                                     JACK
                              (to Ross)
                         Do you gamble?

               ROSS is puzzled. JACK drops his cigarette on the floor, 
               grinds it with his shoe. ROSS gives JACK his card.

                                     ROSS
                         If anything occurs to you, call 
                         me.

               JACK walks away from ROSS without a word. The DOCTOR is 
               now filling out a form.

               From the door JACK looks back. ROSS waits for him to say 
               something. JACK doesn't speak.

                                     ROSS
                         I was in love with her, you know.

               There is a REPRISE of JACK covering MARION'S face with the 
               sheet.

               EXT. STREETS - NIGHT

               In his croupier's suit JACK walks the night streets.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                              (quoting)
                         'The world breaks everyone, and 
                         afterward many are strong at the 
                         broken places. But those that will 
                         not break, it kills. It kills the 
                         very good and the very gentle and 
                         the very brave impartially. If you 
                         are none of these, you can be sure 
                         it will kill you too but there 
                         will be no special hurry'.

               He passes a poster for the National Lottery bearing the 
               legend: 'IT COULD BE YOU'. JACK doesn't see it.

               INT. GREEK RESTAURANT - NIGHT

               A WOMAN smashes a plate over a MAN'S head. It's plate-
               smashing party time, Greek-style. TWENTY drunk PEOPLE having 
               fun. Zorba music. Plates are thrown, stamped on, smashed.

               JACK sits alone at a corner table, drinking, watching the 
               fun, unsmiling. One plate cracks into a wall behind him. A 
               MAN stumbles backwards into JACK's table. JACK swiftly 
               moves his drink out of the way. The MAN apologises, turns 
               to JACK. It is MATT.

                                     MATT
                         Jacko! How're you doing?
                              (shakes Jack's hand 
                              vigorously)
                         I heard about the raid. Pity they 
                         didn't pull it off. I wish I'd 
                         been there.

               MATT has to shout above the noise and music. JACK smiles.

                                     JACK
                              (quietly)
                         But you were there Matt.

               MATT doesn't hear.

                                     MATT
                         What? You know what happened to 
                         me, don't you? That bitch Bella 
                         shopped me. I'd like to beat the 
                         shit out of her.

                                     JACK
                         I'd like to buy you a drink.

                                     MATT
                         Cheers. Happy New Year. I really 
                         like you, Jacko, you're so fucking 
                         straight.
                              (suddenly)
                         Hey, you haven't changed your 
                         clothes!

               INT. GREEK RESTAURANT - NIGHT

               There are four or five PEOPLE left among the debris. MATT 
               has gone.

               JACK is still there, drunk now.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         The music stopped, Jack was drunk... 
                         hallucinating. He was back, as a 
                         child, in the Wild Coast Casino.

               A BLACK WOMAN comes over to him. Her name is LUCY.

                                     LUCY
                         You've been avoiding me.

                                     JACK
                              (blearily)
                         Have I?

                                     LUCY
                         I'm Lucy.

                                     JACK
                         And what do you do, Lucy?

                                     LUCY
                         I'm a witch. A white witch. Why 
                         don't we move on?

                                     JACK
                         Are you going to put a spell on 
                         me?

                                     LUCY
                         I might.

               EXT. GREEK RESTAURANT - DAWN

               LUCY guides JACK to a parked car. He is drunker than she. 
               When he sees the car he starts to laugh. It is his Austin 
               Healey.

                                     JACK
                         Nice car. How much did you pay for 
                         it?

                                     LUCY
                         Too much. Eighteen hundred.

               She opens the door for him. They climb in. LUCY starts the 
               car.

                                     LUCY
                         Where to?

                                     JACK
                         Turn left at the lights.

               They drive off.

               EXT. STREET - DAWN

               A deserted intersection. The Austin Healey swings around a 
               corner.  A WOMAN steps out from the kerb.

               INT. CAR - DAWN

               JACK reacts. He swings the wheel. LUCY shouts. The car 
               swerves, missing the WOMAN.

                                     LUCY
                         Hey! I saw her!

               JACK looks back. The WOMAN is shouting after the car.

                                     LUCY
                         You don't trust women drivers, do 
                         you?

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Jack didn't trust anyone. Except 
                         himself.

               INT. JACK'S FLAT - DAWN

               JACK sits at his computer. He is watching the printer 
               unloading page after page. JACK assembles the typescript.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         It was finally finished. He thought 
                         of sending it to Giles. But that 
                         wouldn't be right. He would select 
                         a publisher at random, like a 
                         number.

               CLOSE UP: The dedication: 'To Marion'.

               The sound of the ball bouncing against the wheel.

               INT. CASINO - NIGHT

               The ball falls into 10. JACK puts the doll on 10.

               No one at the table has the winning number. JACK sweeps 
               away the losing bets.

               INT. CASINO - NIGHT

               A Blackjack table. The bets are placed. JACK turns over 
               the bank's cards: a KING and an ACE. He takes all the chips 
               from the five PUNTERS.

                                     PUNTER
                              (to Jack)
                         You're wasting yourself. With your 
                         luck you ought to come over to our 
                         side.

               EXT. STREET. BOOKSTORE - NIGHT

               JACK comes up to a bookstore window. A sticker reads: 'IT'S 
               A WINNER'. There are quotes blown up from the reviews: "AN 
               INCREDIBLE INSIDE JOB...IT'S ALL HERE, THE SYSTEMS, THE 
               SCAMS, THE SLEAZE...A TALE OF TRIUMPHANT DISGUST...OF 
               EXHILARATING CONTEMPT..." The display is just one book: 
               'I, CROUPIER'. Number 1 Bestseller.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Even his publisher had no idea who 
                         the author was. He had done the 
                         deal through a lawyer. It gave him 
                         a good feeling, no one knowing...

               INT. REYNOLDS'S OFFICE - NIGHT

               REYNOLDS is reading the book. He laughs out loud at 
               something.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         ...It never occurred to anyone at 
                         the Casino that the Golden Lion 
                         had been his model. Why should it? 
                         Weren't all casinos the same....

               INT. UNDERGROUND - NIGHT

               JACK is sitting in his croupier's suit on the crowded tube. 
               He sees a WOMAN reading 'I, CROUPIER'. For the first time 
               we see the back cover...'by ANONYMOUS'.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         ...It gave him an exquisite 
                         pleasure, being an underground 
                         man. With all his money, he hadn't 
                         even bought a car. Jack knew the 
                         truth about himself, he was a one-
                         book writer. A one time winner who 
                         had quit while he was ahead...

               INT. JACK'S FLAT - DAWN

               Five in the morning.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         He changed nothing in the flat, 
                         bought nothing, spent nothing. The 
                         only thing he did was to remove 
                         the bars outside the window...

               JACK comes in. The phone rings.

               INT. SUN CITY. CASINO - NIGHT

               JANI is holding a mobile phone. In the background is the 
               casino room, the lights, colours, rattling sounds. She 
               waits.

               INT. JACK'S FLAT - NIGHT

               JACK hesitates, then picks up.

                                     JACK
                         Hello...

                                     JANI
                         Jack! It's Jani.

               The following conversation is INTERCUT.

                                     JACK
                         Jani! Where are you?

                                     JANI
                         Sun City. I've been meaning to 
                         call you for months.

                                     JACK
                              (smiles)
                         How are you?

                                     JANI
                         Great. I'm getting married. At 
                         least, I think I am.

                                     JACK
                         Did you solve your problems?

                                     JANI
                         Yes. I'm all over that now. Jack, 
                         hold on a minute. There's someone 
                         here who wants to talk to you...

               JACK waits.

               INT. CASINO - NIGHT

               A MAN'S hand takes the phone from JANI.

               INT. JACK'S FLAT - NIGHT

                                     JACK SR'S VOICE
                         Jacko - how're you doing?

                                     JACK
                         Dad!

               INT. CASINO - NIGHT

               JACK SR. his arm round JANI, talks into the phone.

                                     JACK SR
                         I never thanked you properly for 
                         your help. Jani told me you behaved 
                         like a perfect gentleman throughout. 
                         I knew you would. I know my son.

               INT. JACK'S FLAT - NIGHT

               JACK'S face is a mask, tight, fixed.

                                     JACK SR'S VOICE
                         The woman thinks I'm going to marry 
                         her. But you know me. It's a shame 
                         things didn't work out. But we saw 
                         you all right. You didn't gamble 
                         the ten grand, did you?

                                     JACK
                              (huskily)
                         As a matter of fact I did. But I 
                         won.

                                     JACK SR'S VOICE
                         That's my boy. How's that novel of 
                         yours coming along?

               JACK slowly puts the phone down. He takes a deep breath. 
               Then smiles.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         So that was it. The final card. 
                         Blackjack. His father, eight 
                         thousand miles and twenty seven 
                         years away, was still dealing to 
                         his son Jack from the bottom of 
                         the deck...

               CLOSE-UP: A copy of the book: 'I CROUPIER'.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         ...But Jake the croupier had a 
                         sense of humour.

               INT. JACK'S KITCHEN - NIGHT

               Laughing, JACK pours himself a vodka, raises his glass.

                                     JACK
                         To you. To both of you.

               He drinks at a gulp. He turns. Standing in the doorway is 
               BELLA, wearing a nightdress. She is sleepy.

                                     BELLA
                         What are you laughing at? Who was 
                         that on the phone?

                                     JACK
                         A couple I know are getting married.

               BELLA puts her arms around him lovingly.

                                     BELLA
                         Fools.

               A whistling sound...

               INT. CASINO - NIGHT

               We are back in the FIRST SCENE. The ball bounces around 
               the spinning wheel. The FACES of the PUNTERS. Frozen 
               expressions. They are almost still. We do not see the 
               croupier. Then...

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         Now he had reached the point where 
                         he no longer heard the sound of 
                         the ball...

               Nothing moves except the little white ball in the spinning 
               wheel. The ball slows...

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         ...the spin of the wheel had brought 
                         him home to the place where he was 
                         born.

               JACK'S face. A hint of a smile.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         The croupier's mission was 
                         accomplished.

               The ball falls into green Zero. JACK rakes all the chips 
               off the table. There are no winners. The film ends on a 

               CLOSE-UP of JACK'S face. A look of calm satisfaction.

                                     JACK'S VOICE
                         At last he was Master of the Game. 
                         He had aquired the power... to 
                         make you lose.

                                                               FADE OUT:

               THE END