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Liar Liar Movie Script

Writer(s) : Tom Shadyac, Mike Binder

Genres : Comedy, Fantasy

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                               LIAR LIAR
          

          
                               Written by
          
                       Tom Shadyac & Mike Binder

          

          

          
                                         Rough draft, April 1996

          



          INT. FULGHAM KINDERGARTEN -- WEDNESDAY MORNING


          
          Two dozen KINDGERGARTNERS listen to their teacher, MS.
          BERRY. The word "Work" is on the blackboard.

                                MS. BERRY
                    "Work." Today we're going to
                    share what our parents do for
                    work.
          QUICK CUTS of a series of five-year olds standing beside
          their desks, addressing the class:

                              JEFF
                    My dad is a truck driver.

                              MELINDA
                    My mommy is a doctor.

                                CAROLYN
                    My dad is a librarian and my
                    mom is a vegetarian.

                              THEODORE
                          (with difficulty)
                    My father is a struck-sher-al-
                    engine-ear.

                                CRAIG     -
                    My mother is an actress. She
                    works at Denny's.

                                KELLY
                    My daddy works at a place
                    where they make stuff, and my
                    mommy is a mommy.

                                ELLIOT
                          (looking a little

                           CRAZED)
                    My father is a postal worker.
          The QUICK CUTS end with MAX:

                              MAX
                    My mom's a teacher.
          As Max starts to sit:

                              MS. BERRY
                    And your dad?

                                MAX

                          (HESITANT)
                    My dad? He's . . . a liar.

          

                                  MS. BERRY
                             (taken aback)

                        A liar? I don't think you
                        mean "a liar."

                                  MAX
                        Well... he wears a suit and
                        goes to court and talks to the
                        judge and--

                                  MS. BERRY

                             (RELIEVED)
                        Oh! I see-- you mean he's a
                        lawyer.

              Max shrugs.

              INT. COURTROOM .-- DAY


          
              FLETCHER REID, early 30's, stands before the JUDGE. His
              manner is utterly genuine and convincing.

                                  FLETCHER
                        A dark street. . . a stormy
                        night... two desperate men
                        struggle... one man is taken
                        to the hospital, the other to
                        ja il. The prosecutor wants
                        you to believe this is an
                        open-and-shut case of a poor
                        man, brutally victimized.
              He nods at the victim - - a fragile OLD MAN in his 70's.

                                  FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                        Well, for once I agree with
                        t he prosecutor. This is an
                        open-and shut case -- but the
                        true victim is my client.
              Fletcher's CLIENT is a 250 pound brute in a suit.

                                  FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                        Put yourself in his shoes for
                        a moment--walking home from
                        church, alone, in a
                        frightening part of the
                        suburbs.
              As he describes his client's movements, Fletcher ACTS THEM

              OUT:

          

                               FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                    You're nervous, timid, looking
                    over your shoulder -- when
                    suddenly, you encounter him--
                          (pointing at the
                           old man)
                    pouncing from the shadows.
                    You quiver in fear. The
                    streetlight flashes on
                    something shiny in his hand--
                    a knife?

          Suddenly Fletcher becomes the attacker, brandishing a
          weapon. The jurors RECOIL.

                                 FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                    And in that terrifying instant
                    you do what any respectable
                    citizen would -- you defend
                    y ou rse lf. Only after you
                    shatter his arm and collarbone
                    do you realize it's all a
                    mistake... the man was merely
                    walking away from an ATM
                    machine, the apparent flash of
                    metal caused by his bank card.
          He reveals the weapon in his hand is only a credit card.

                                FLETCHER (CONT'D)

                           (CONCERNED)
                    As you stand over his
                    crumpled, though potentially
                    still-dangerous form, your
                    he art goes out to him. You
                    want to help. First, you
                    gather up the many bills he
                    dropped, to stop them from
                    bl owi ng away. Second, in an
                    effort to get the name and
                    number of someone to notify,
                    you take his wallet. Finally,
                    you leap into the man's Lexus
                    to head for assistance, when
                    suddenly a police car speeds
                    up. You breathe a sigh of
                    relief: "Someone to look -after
                    the injured man! Oh joy!"
                    But do the police applaud your
                    initiative? Do they hail your
                    heroism? No-- they arrest you
                    and throw you in the slammer!
          He walks along the jury box:

          

                              FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                  � And why? Why does the State
                   turn its massive power against
                   this individual?
                         (takes an

                          IMPRESSIVE
                          moment, then
                          answers his own

                          QUESTION:)
                   Discrimination,
                         (to a black

                          JUROR)
                   But this time it's not based
                   on race.
                         (to a female

                          JUROR)
                   Not based on gender.
                         (to a man wearing
                          a crucifix)
                   Not based on religion,
                         (to a heavy set

                          JUROR)
                   No--this time it's
                   discrimination based on size!
                 . I know what the prosecution
                   wants you to think - - i t ' s
                   always the big guy's fault.
                   Is that what we've come to as
                   a society -- persecuting
                   people because they're large?
          Fletcher points accusingly at the opposition.

                               FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                   Shame on you, Mister
                   Prosecutor! Shame on you!
                          (turning back to

                           JURY)
                   The state is trying to
                   barbeque my client on the spit
                   of Justice. Only you can douse
                   the flames. The decision is
                   your s. And please...don't let
                   your emotions run away with
                   y ou . The fact that my client
                   is a family man, raising his
                   sons alone after the tragic
                   death of their mother, has
                   absolutely no bearing on this
                   case.
          In the front row we see two sad-faced YOUNG CHILDREN.

          

                              FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                    Instead, let cold reason be
                    your guide as you decide the
                    fate of this church-going,
                    orphan-rasing widower!
          Fletcher returns to his seat. Jurors, dab their eyes.

          EXT. COURTHOUSE -- AFTERNOON

          Fletcher bounds down the stairs, passing a fellow LAWYER,

                              LAWYER
                    How's it going, Fletcher?

                               FLETCHER
                          (he' s won)
                    Another gratifying day serving
                    Justice.
          Fletcher's huge client catches up to him.

                              CLIENT
                    Hey great job, Mr. Reid. I
                    wish there was some way I
                    could show my appreciation.

                              FLETCHER
                    Stay out of my neighborhood
                    after dark.
          A PUBLICIST carrying, a clipboard approaches Fletcher.

                              PUBLICIST
                    Mr. Reid, do you have a �
                    moment-?

                              FLETCHER
                    No, I'm late picking up my
                    son.

                              PUBLICIST
                    -Because a couple of reporters
                    want to interview you about
                    your big win today.
          Fletcher instantly shifts directions.

                              FLETCHER    ..
                    How's my hair?
          And he's off to woo a GANG OF REPORTERS.

          

          EXT. SUBURBAN PORCH - AFTERNOON


          
          A sad Max and his mother, AUDREY, wait silently on the
          steps.

                              MAX
                    What time is it?

                               AUDREY
                           (checks her

                            WATCH)
                    I ' m sure he just got tied up
                    in court again.
          Finally, Fletcher's BMW pulls up. Max races to him,
          delighted.

                               MAX
                    Dad!

                               FLETCHER
                    Maximillian!
                          (calls out a

                           COMMAND)

                    TRANSFORMERS!! .
          Fletcher instantly becomes a human version of the
          TRANSFORMER TOY making ROBOTIC MOVEMENTS and SOUNDS. Max
          knows the routine well, moves in perfect sine with dad. . ...
          Until --                       .

                               FLETCHER
                    Malfunction in vector 3 ! !
                    Malfunction in vector 3!!
                          (pretends to lose
                           control of a
                           'robotic' arm)
                    Look out! It's on tickle
                    mode!!
          Fletcher's "mechanical arm" becomes CLAW-LIKE, TICKLING MAX
          like crazy! Max loves it.
          Audrey watches these two kids, smiles.

                              FLETCHER
                         (re: Audrey)
                    And who is this lovely lady?
                    Max, could you introduce me?

                              MAX
                    That's no lady, that's mom!

                              AUDREY. �
                    Thanks, Max.

          

                             �   FLETCHER
                    Mom? !
                          (under his

                           BREATH)
                    Himnm. . . I don't remember her
                    looking that good,
                          (becomes the
                           robot again)
                    Malfunction in Vector 4!
                    Malfunction in Vector 4!
          Fletcher's other robotic arm becomes a "pincher", comes
          after Audrey.

                              AUDREY

                         (PLAYFULLY)
                    Keep Vector 4 away from me.
                    Unless you want Vector 4
                    chopped off.

                                 FLETCHER
                    You know, you were much easier
                    when we were married...
                         (re: her luggage)
                    So where are you off too?

                                 AUDREY
                    Stanford. I'm delivering a
                    paper.

                                 FLETCHER
                    O h really? Where I live, we
                    use a boy on a bike.

                               MAX
                    Hey mom, dad's taking me to
                    see wrestling!

                               AUD REY

                          (MILDLY

                           PROTESTING)
                    Oh, Fletcher!

                               FLETCHER

                          (PLAYFULLY
                           mimicking her)
                    Oh, Audrey!

                                 AUDREY
                    Do you have to take him to
                    tho se things? They're so
                    violent.

          
          Fleccher IMITATES the familiar wise, old INDIAN CHIEF DAN

          GEORGE.

          

                               FLETCHER/DAN GEORGE
                    The boy must learn the way of
                    the war rior . An d wh o be tter
                    to teach him than Rowdy Rod- .
                    Piper and Big John Stud?
          Audrey can't help but LAUGH.

                              FLETCHER/DAN GEORGE
                    He must be schooled in the way
                    of the face-claw, the sleeper-
                    hold, and the purple nuxple.
                    For only then--

                               AUDREY

                          (PLAYFULLY)
                    Shut up!!

                              FLETCHER/DAN GEORGE
                         (to Max)
                    The squaw will never
                    understand us.
          A HORN HONKS. It's the good-natured, affable JERRY. Max
          runs up to him.

                             JERRY
                   Max, my man!
          Jerry gives Max "five", then kisses Audrey on the lips.

                              JERRY
                    Fletcher, good to see you?

                             FLETCHER
                   What? No kiss for me?

                              JERRY
                        (re: luggage)
                   What do you say, Max? Give me
                   a hand?
          Fletcher grits his teeth as Jerry gives Max a piggyback
          ride to get the luggage.

                              FLETCHER
                         (to Audrey)
                   I didn't know the boyfriend
                   was going.

          

                                  AUDREY
                        Jerry. His name is Jerry and
                        yes, he's going.
          Audrey heads inside.

          INT. HOUSE - DAY                           �.

          Audrey enters, shuts the blinds.

                                  FLETCHER
                        T o Stanford? Overnight? Does
                        this mean you two are...
                              (cringes, can't
                               say the words)

                                  AUDREY
                        I've been seeing him seven
                        months, what do you think?

                                  FLETGHER
                        I was hoping that after being
                        married to me, you'd have no
                        more strength left.

                                  AUDREY
                  . Well you have to remember when
                    we were married, I wasn't
                    having sex nearly as often as
                    you were.

                                  FLETCHER
                        MEDIC!! I've been hit.

                   /-

          EXT. HOUSE - DAY           '           �   '

          Audrey locks up.

                                  FLETCHER
                        Well, great... I'm so happy
                        for you two. I am just Mister
                        H appy man. Happy, happy,
                        happy.

                                  AUDREY
                        Relax, Fletcher. It looks
                        like Jerry's taking that job
                        offer in Boston.
          Fletcher turns sincere.

                                  FLETCHER
                        Aud, I am so sorry...

          
          Behind her back, he FLAILS in celebration.    She glances
          back... He stops, whistles innocently.

                              JERRY
                          (calling to

                           AUDREY)
                    Ready?
          Audrey and Jerry say goodbye to Max.    They get in his
          Explorer.

                               FLETCHER
                          (to Audrey)
                    Yo u gonna be okay? Because if
                    not, we could leave Max with
                    your sister and I could go out
                    with you two, does that appeal
                    to you at all?
          They drive off.

                              FLETCHER
                    Wave to the soon-to-be ex-
                    boyfriend, Max.
                          (flipping Max the

                           KEYS)
                    You drive.

          INT. BMW - AFTERNOON'- MOVING

          Fletcher is driving, Max beside him.

                              MAX
                    Dad, are we really going to go
                    to wrestling?

                              FLETCHER
                    Absolutely, Maxattacker. We
                    just have to stop by the
                    office for one minute.
          Max SIGHS. He's heard this before.

          EXT. SKYSCRAPER - AFTERNOON

          Establishing the headquarters of ALLAN, STEWART &

          KONIGSBERG.
          As they head inside, Fletcher and Max pass a BEGGAR.

                              BEGGAR
                    'Scuse me, sir. Do you have
                    any change?

          

                              FLETCHER
                         (patting his

                          POCKETS)
                    'Fraid not. Sorry.

          INT. SKYSCRAPER LOBBY - AFTERNOON


          
          Fletcher grabs The Daily Journal, paying for it with a
          HANDFUL OF CHANGE. His son takes this in.
          On their way to the elevators Fletcher and Max pass PHILIP,
          a dweebish bore.

                                PHILIP
                    Fletcher!

                                FLETCHER
                    Philip!

                              PHILIP
                    And this must be Max!

                             FLETCHER
                        (trying to brush
                         him off)
                 . Yes. Yes it is. Well, it was
                   good seeing you--
          Fletcher starts off with Max, when Philip calls after him.

                                PHILIP
                    You know, Ethel and I had a
                    blast at our last little get-
                    together.

                                FLETCHER
                    Oh, me too. I can never get
                    enough of charades. We'll
                    have to do it again sometime.
          Fletcher heads into an open elevator... only to find the
          door's closing impededby Philip's foot.

                                PHILIP
                    When?

                                FLETCHER
                    Soon.
          The door again begins to close... when Philip stops it.

                             PHILIP
                   How 'bout tonight?

          

                               FLETCHER
                    Not that soon. I'm taking Max
                    to see wrestling--

                              PHILIP
                    We love wrestling.     We could--

                              FLETCHER
                    I don't think so. See, Max is
                    really shy around strangers.
          Max looks up at Fletcher.    He isn't.

                                FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                    Tell you what -- give me your
                    card as a reminder. I'll call
                    y o u . Soon. Promise.

                              PHILIP
                    Great!
          Philip hands him his card just as the door closes.

          INT. ELEVATOR - AFTERNOON

          Max watches as his father TEARS PHILIP'S CARD IN TWO.

          INT. RECEPTION AREA OF LAW OFFICES - AFTERNOON

          The receptionist, JANE, greets them. Jane has an ODD,
          UNATTRACTIVE HAIRDO. A large GIFT BASKET is on her desk.

                              JANE
                    Hi, Mr. Reid.
                         (indicates, her

                          HAIR)
                    What do you think?

                              FLETCHER
                    Fabulous! I love it.
                         (indicates the                     �

                          BASKET)
                    What's this?

                              JANE
                    I don't know who sent it. But
                    it's for Mr. Allan. It's his
                    anniversary.

                              FLETCHER
                    Ah... The Partnership
                    Committee meeting still
                    scheduled for Friday?

          

                              JANE
                          (as she goes)
                    Yep...
          Fletcher quickly removes a gift card from his pocket,
          scribbles on it, puts it in place of the one already there

                              MAX
                    What are you doing?

                              FLETCHER
                    Oh, I'm... fixing the card,
                          (shows him the
                           old card)
                    Look, they spelled Mr. Allan's
                    name wrong. Have an apple.

          INT. MIRANDA'S OFFICE - AFTERNOON


          
          ...Where a troubled FRED RAND is talking to MIRANDA, a
          beautiful, steely partner.

                              FRED
                    I can't do it.

                              M IRANDA
                    Fred, it's your duty to
                    present the strongest case
                    possible.

                              FRED
                    The strongest case possible,
                    consistent with the truth.

                              MIRANDA
                   Let the Judge decide what's
                   true. That's what he gets
                   paid for. You get paid to
                   win.

                              FRED
                   If you insist on my taking it
                   to trial, I'll represent Mrs.
                   Cole aggressively and
                   ethically. But, Miranda -- I
                   won't lie.
          Miranda looks out her window, calculating.

                              MIRANDA
                   Then we'll just have to find
                   someone who'will.

          

          INT. HALLWAY OF LAW OFFICES -- AFTERNOON


          
          Fletcher strides through the hallway with Max, calling out
          GREETINGS to his colleagues.

                              FLETCHER
                    Hey, Pete! Great tie!        �.
          Max looks at PETE, -whose fashion-disaster tie startles him.

                              FLETCHER
                    Thomas--looks like you're
                    losin' weight.
          THOMAS glances up from a file. Max notes that he's
          corpulent.

                              THOMAS
                    Gained three pounds.

                               FLETCHER
                         (wedging past

                          HIM)
                    On you, it works.

          Fletcher arrives at his office. WE MEET his secretary, the
          fiftyish, .worldly-wise and world-weary GRETA.

                               GRETA '
                    M ax ! What's new?

                              .MAX
                    Well. . . it's my birthday
                    tomo rrow. We're having a
                    party and everything.
          Flet cher's EYES WIDEN. He has clearly forgotten.

                              GRE TA
                    I'm sure your dad'11 give you
                    something wonderful.
          Fletcher tries to wave her off, awkwardly stopping when Max
          turns to him.     .

                              MAX
                    Yeah?

                              FLETCHER
                    Oh, yeah. You're going to
                    love it. Uh, why don't you
                    play in my office for a
                    minute? Fax something, sue
                    someone, have a good time.
                    We'll be leaving in a second.

          
          Max heads into the office. Fletcher closes the door behind
          him turning it into a silly, two-handed wave.

                                FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                    Damn!   I completely forgot.

                              GRETA
                    Oh, there's a surprise.
          Greta produces a wrapped GIFT.

                               FLETCHER
                    You're a saint. I should get
                    you something.

                               GRETA
                    You did.
          She holds up another, smaller package.

                               FLETCHER
                    Ah. Well, I always do the
                    classy thing. Any calls?

          She hands him a stack of mail.

                               GRETA
                   . Let's see.. .   �

                          (CHECKING

                           MESSAGES)
                    Judge Patterson's clerk. He
                    needs your filing.

                               FLETCHER
                    Tell him it's in the mail.

                               GRETA
                          (jotting down a

                           NOTE)
                    Right. You'll do it next
                    week. Mr. McKinley phoned,
                    questioning that fourteen
                    hours you billed on Christinas
                    Eve.

                               FLETCHER
                    Write him a long, explanatory
                    letter. Then bill him for the
                    letter.

                               GRETA
                         (jotting down a
                        . note).    ..
                    Done. Your mother called.

          

                               FLETCHER
                    I ' m on vacation.

                              GRETA
                    This is your fifth week.      .   �   .

                              FLETCHER
                    It's a long vacation.

                              GRETA
                         (jotting down a

                          NOTE)
                    "Break mother's heart." Done.
                    And that's it, except
                    Miranda's looking for you.

                               FLETCHER
                          (checking watch)
                    As if I don't have anything
                    better to do than bow and
                    scrape at her royal perfumed
                    p artner feet. Tell her I'm in
                    court.

                              GRETA
                    Court's closed.

                              FLETCHER
                    Tell her I broke my leg and
                    had to be shot.

                              GRETA

                         (WHISPERS)
                    Why don't you tell her
                    yourself?
          As Miranda approaches, Fletcher switches gears in an

          INSTANT:

                              FLETCHER
                    --And then send out a notice
                    of judgement on my win today!

                               GRETA

                         (DRY)
                    I'll get right on it.
          Fletcher turns -- and pretends to be surprised.

                              FLETCHER
                    Miranda! I didn't see you.
                    Hey, you look lovely, today.
                    Here, I bought you a gift.

          
          He grabs Greta's gift and hands it to Miranda.

                              MIRANDA
                    Thanks. I heard about your
                    victory today. You're making
                    quite an impression on the
                    partnership committee.

                              FLETCHER

                         (FEIGNING

                          PUZZLEMENT;

                          THEN)
                    Oh, that's right. You folks
                    are meeting again soon.
                    "Allan, Stewart, Konigsberg,
                    and Ried." There's something
                    about the rhythm of fours.
                    It's like a full measure.
                    Well, anyway, I've got a
                    client waiting in my office--

                              MIRANDA .
                    Actually, something important
                    h as come up. You're not busy
                    tonight, are you?
          Before Fletcher answers, we:

                                                     CUT TO:

          INT. FLETCHER'S OFFICE - EVENING

          A sad Max sits on Fletcher's big sofa. His heart sinks
          further when Fletcher enters. . . carrying two boxes of
          documents.

                              MAX
                    We're not going, are we?

                              FLETCHER
                    Of course we are. A promise
                    i s a promise. We are gonna
                    see wrestling or my name isn't
                    Fletcher T. Reid.

          

                                FLETCHER
                          (to wrestler)
                    Could you hand me that?
                          (the wrestler

                           DOES)
                    Thank you.
                            (without looking

                           UP)
                    We are having some fun, eh
                    Maxer?
          PUSH IN on Max; he isn't.

          �INT. HOTEL ROOM - NIGHT

          Jerry paces. Audrey is on the phone, waiting.   She notices
          Jerry pacing.

                              AUDREY
                    Are you alright?

                                  JERRY
                    Uh, yeah, just, uh... how long
                    are you gonna be on the phone?

                                  AUDREY
                    I just wanted to say good-
                    night to Max, but he must
                    still be out with Fletcher,
                         (hangs up)

                              JERRY

                         (SUDDENLY)
                    Will you marry me?
          She's SHOCKED.

                              I

          

                                  AUDREY
                    Uh...would I . . . ? What did you
                    say?

                                JERRY

                           (NERVOUS)
                    I proposed, I . . . Look, I know
                    this Boston thing is a great
                    opportunity, good job,
                    mo ney .. . everything. But I
                    started to think about being
                    three thousand miles away from
                    you and Max. And I didn't
                    like it. I-- Look, I know
                    it's a lot to ask, to move and
                    everything, but I . . . . I love

          
                    you. I love your son.   Will
                    you marry me?
          She stares at him, excited, but nervous.

          EXT. HIGH RISE APARTMENT BUILDING - MORNING

          Early morning outside Fletcher's building.

          INT. FLETCHER'S STUDY - MORNING

          Fletcher types on his computer.   He's been up all night.
          He leans back, rubs his eyes. When he opens them he sees
          Max standing there in pajamas. Fletcher SMILES.

                              FLETCHER
                    Max Factor... Happy birthday.
                    How old are you today?
                    T h ir t y ? Forty?

                              MAX
                    Five.

                              FLETCHER
                   Well, you've held up well. I
                   only wish there was some way
                   to commemorate such an
                   occasion, some small symbol to
                   mark this day, like....
          Fletcher produces --

                               FLETCHER
                    . . . A present! .

          
          Max eyes it with wonder.

                             MAX
                   What is it?

                              FLETCHER
                         (no idea)
                   It's... it's.
                         (it hits him)
                   a surprise.
          Max knows his father doesn't have a clue but he rips the
          box open, revealing, a BASEBALL, GLOVE, DODGER'S CAP, and

          FULL MAJOR LEAGUE STYLE UNIFORM.

                             MAX
                   Baseball stuff!

          

          

                                                                       _J

          

          

                                  FLETCHER
                       Baseball stuff.

                                 MAX
                            (hugging his dad)
                       Will you play catch with me?

                                 FLETCHER            '�

             :

          
                       Absorootentootenlutely.
          Max beams.

                                 FLETCHER
                       Tonight. After your party,
                       you have my word on it.
          Max nods sadly as Fletcher turns back to his work.

          EXT. JERRY'S CAR - MORNING

          Jerry and Audrey are driving. Audrey's holding a couple of
          airline tickets.

                                 AUDR EY
                            (re: tickets)
                       Jerry, these are for tomorrow.

                                 JERRY
                       The company wants me to get
                       started right away.

                                 AUDREY
                   I can't just pick up and move
                   to Boston with two days
                   notice.

                              JERRY
                   Ju st come check it out. You
                   a nd Max, see the town. Let's
                 . pick out a place together.
                   Then, if you want to turn me
                   down and scar me for life,
                   fine.

                                 AUDREY
                   It's just not that simple...
                   What about my job? I've been
                   at UCLA three years.

                                 JERRY
                   It's New England. They're
                   lousy with colleges. You
                   can't swing a bat back there
                   without hitting a college.

          
                    You'd get a job there in a
                    second.

                              AUDREY
                    There are other factors
                    involved.

                          (POINTS)
                    T here they are now.       �.
          They pull up in front of Fletcher's building where Fletcher
          and Max are waiting. Fletcher's still reviewing a file.
          As Audrey gets out of Jerry's car, Max runs over.

                              AUDREY
                    Did you have fun? How were
                    the wrestling matches?

                              FLETCHER
                    Big fun. Manly fun. Am I
                    right, Maxie?

                              MAX

                          (HALF-HEARTEDLY)
                    It was fun..


                              FLETCHER
                         (re: Audrey)
                    So how were the wrestling
                    matches ? Did you have fun?

                              JERRY
                    Max , my man! My happy
                    birthday man!
          Max and Jerry exchange "fives" and'a hug.   Jerry gives Max
          a light punch on the arm.

                              JERRY
                    One-two-three-four-five... and
                    one for good luck.

                              FLETCHER
                    Did you see that? He struck
                    the child!

                              MAX
                    Look what dad got me!
                         (shows the glove)

                              JERRY
                   Whoa! Great! I have my glove
                   in the car. We'll stop in the
                   park on the way home and play
                   c atch. Then tonight we'll oil

          
                    it, wrap a rubber band around
                    it. . . It'll be great.
                          (to Fletcher)
                    Great birthday present, dad!
          Fletcher hates him.    Jerry and Max go to Jerry's car.

                              FLETCHER          �.
                         (makes a fist)
                    When is it his birthday?

                                AUDREY
                    Some thing's come up. We need
                    to talk.

                                MAX
                    Mom, let's go. I want to
                    play.

                               AUDREY
                          (to Fletcher)
                    We'll talk tonight.


                                FLETCHER
                    Tonight?

                              AUDREY
                    Max's birthday?

                                FLETCHER'
                    Oh , yeah, right. Seven. I
                    knew that. I did. I blocked
                    it out weeks ago. The
                    se ven tee nt h of May. Max's
                    birthday.

                              AUDREY
                    It's the eighteenth.

                                FLETCHER
                    The seventeenth of May is the
                    day I .remind myself that the
                    eighteenth is Max's birthday.
                    See you tonight.
          They drive away.

          INT. MIRANDA'S OFFICE - NIGHT

          Miranda, and Fletcher's new client, VIRGINIA COLE, an
          alluring woman in her early thirties/ review the document
          he spent the previous�night putting together.

          

                                VIRGINIA
                    This is good. This is really
                    smart.

                                FLETCHER
                   Thank you.

                                VIRGINIA
                   Only i t ' s . . . Like not true.
                   Every word of it is a lie.
          Fletcher and Miranda exchange glances.

                             VIRGINIA (CONT'D)
                   I mean... isn't that a
                   problem?

                                FLETCHER
                   Mrs. Cole, the only problem
                   here is that after you've
                   provided years of faithful
                   service and loving support, of
                   raising his children -- They
                   are his?

                              VIRGINIA
                   H m ? Oh yeah. One for sure.

                               FLETCHER
                   After all that, your husband
                   wants to deny you a fair share
                   of the marital assets based on
                   one single act of

                                            ]

                   INDISCRETION--

                              VIRGINIA
                   Seven.

                               FLETCHER
                   Hm?

          

                              VIRGINIA
                   Seven single acts of
                   indiscretion.

                               FLETCHER
                   --Seven acts of indiscretion,
                   only one of which he has any
                   evidence of, and all of which
                   he himself is responsible, for.

                              VIRGINIA
                   He is?

          

                     FLETCHER
          Mrs. Cole, I stayed up all
          night last night studying your
          c ase. Not just your case...
          b ut you. And, by now, I feel
          I know you. You are the
          victim here. The wife of a
          cold, distant businessman.
          Starved for affection, driven
          into the arms of another man--

                     VIRGINIA
          Seven.

                     FLETCHER
                (not missing a

                 BEAT)
          --Seven .other men. You're not
          trying to deny him what is
          r ig htf ull y his. All you're
          insisting on is what is
          r ig htf ull y yours. And maybe
          an idgy-smidgy bit more. I
          think you're bending over
          backwards.

                     VIRGINIA
          Well, I did agree to give him
          j oint custody of the kids...
                (to Miranda)
          He's always been a good
          father.

                     FLETCHER
          And you've always been a good
          wife.

                       VIRGINIA
                  (getting worked

                   UP)
          Yeah. . .

                     FLETCHER
          There's such a thing as being
          t oo nice. That's why you need
          aggr essive representation. To
          show the court that there is
          more than one side to this
          st ory. All I'm asking is the
          opportunity to see that
          justice is done on your
          behalf.
                (takes her hand)
          Will you give me that
          opportunity?

          
          He stares into her eyes. A moment, then...

                                 VIRGINIA
                    Yes! I ' m tired of getting
                    kicked around.

                              FLETCHER
                    Good for you!

                                 VIRGINIA
                    Thank you, Mr. Reid. I ' m so
                    grateful I have an attorney I
                    can trust.
          S he gives him a HUG and momentarily grabs his ass. With a
          farewell nod to Miranda, she leaves.
          Miranda turns, smiles at Fletcher, then shuts the door.
          She moves in on him.

                                 MIRANDA
                    You're good. You're really
                    good.

                                 FLETCHER
                    Oh, pshaw.
                         (pronounces it
                          with the "p")
          She picks a piece of lint off.his jacket.

                                 MIRANDA
                   N o, I mean it. The Cole case
                   is worth a truckload of money
                   to this firm, not to mention
                   the press it's going to
                   g en er at e . You win this case
                   and I guarantee you'll make
                   partner.

                           (STRAIGHTENING
                            his tie)
                   Actually, how would you like
                   to make a partner right now?

                                 FLETCHER
                    Excuse me?
          She grabs his lapels and pulls him in for a deep KISS.

          INT, AUDREY AND MAX'S LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

          
          A PARTY in progress, KINDERGARTNERS being entertained by a
          MAN in a clown suit and clown make-up.

          

                               CLOWN

                          (SINGING)
                    Captain Fuzzy is my name,
                    Making children happy is my
                    game,
                    With a shake and a juggle,
                    And a big belt buckle,
                    You'll all be glad I came. '
          He flops down on his back causing something in his pants to
          HONK. Audrey and Jerry watch.

                                AUDREY
                         (indicating the

                          CLOWN)
                    What do you think?

                                JERRY
                    Well, if you don't hire your
                    brother, who will?

          

                                           .
          She heads into...

          INT. KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS



                                JERRY
                    They called me again from
                    B oston. They really want me
                    there tomorrow.

                              AUDREY
                    . . . I can't go to Boston.

                                JERRY
                    How come?

                                AUDREY
                   Max.

                             JERRY
                   He'll love it there.

                              AUDREY
                    It's Fletcher.

                                JERRY
                   Fletcher?

                             AUDREY
                   I can't move Max three
                   thousand miles away from his
                   father.

          

                                JERRY
                     Audrey, I have never said a
                     bad word about your ex --

                                AUDREY
                     I know.

          

                                JERRY
                    But how much responsibility
                    does Fletcher take for Max,
                    now? He'd never come over if
                    you didn't remind him.

                               AUDREY
                    I know. But if they're three
                    thousand miles apart they'll
                    never see each other.
                    Fletcher will never come to
                    Boston and how can I send Max
                    cross-country to him?

                               .JERRY
                    So because your ex-husband is
                    unreliable, we can't-'-

                               AUDREY
                    I know, it's not logical, it's
                    emotional. I'm sorry.
          Pause.

                              JERRY
                    I still want to marry you.

                              AUDREY
                    Are you sure?
          Jerry picks up the PHONE, pulls out a piece of paper,
          dials.

                               JERRY
                          (into phone)
                   Mr. Crisitelli, Jerry
                   She!ton... I hope I'm not
                   calling too late... Mr.
                   Crisitelli, I'm afraid I have
                   to turn down your offer..'. So
                   am I . . . Well, I've fallen in
                   love with this beautiful woman
                   in L.A. and she doesn't want
                   to leave and I won't leave
                   without her... Well, thank you
                   very much... Yes, good-bye.

          
                            (hangs up)
                      He wasn't there, but that's
                  1   the speech I would've made.
          She smiles and KISSES him.             The PHONE RINGS.   Audrey
          answers.

                                   AUDREY
                      Hello...

          INTERCUT WITH:

          INT. MIRANDA'S OFFICE - NIGHT


          

                                   A UDREY
                      Fletcher, where are you?
                      We're getting ready to cut the
                      cake.

                                   FLETCHER
                      Urn, actually, something has
                      come up. A problem on a new
                      caaa--                .
          Miranda bites one of Fletcher's nipples.

                                   F LET CHE R
                      A-h-h-h-!

          

                                AUDREY
                      What happened?

                                   FLETCHER
                      Nothing. I just nailed my
                      �knee into the desk... Listen,
                      I'm really sorry I can't 'make
                      it.

                                AUDREY
                      Max is going to be so
                      disappointed.

                                   FLETCHER
                      I'll make it up to him, I
                      promise. I'll pick him up
                      from school tomorrow, okay?

                                 AUDREY
                      Do you want me to put him on
                      the phone?
          Miranda starts "reeling in" the phone cord.

                                   FLETCHER
                      Ah, no.     I have to go.

          

                                 AUDREY
                    Right.
          ANGRILY, she hangs up. Fletcher stares UNHAPPILY at the
          phone, before Miranda THROWS HIM BACK ONTO THE COUCH.

          INT. AUDREY AND MAX'S DINING ROOM - NIGHT

          WE PAN DOWN from banners reading HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MAX!. . . to
          a room full of guests... to a desultory five-year-old.
          Audrey finishes lighting the candles on the homemade cake.

                              AUDREY
                    All right, birthday boy, make
                    a wish.
          Max doesn't respond.

                              AUDREY (CONT'D)
                    C'mon, honey. It can be
                    anything-- whatever you want
                    most in the world.
          When he .doesn't respond, she leans down to him..

                              AUDREY (CONT'D)
                    Max, your dad is sorry. He
                    had to work.

                               MAX
                    He said he was coming. He
                    promised.

                               AUDREY
                    Yes, well, he... promises
                    he'll see you tomorrow.
          Max doesn't believe it.     <
          He turns his full attention to the candles on the cake.   In
          VOICE OVER we hear what she does not.

                               MAX (V.O.)
                    I wish, for just one day, Dad
                    couldn't tell a lie.
          He takes a breath --and blows out all the candles. A
          strange WIND blows the drapes and the wisp of smoke up, up,
          up... to the clock on the wall. It's 9:15.

                                                    CUT TO:
          A clock on a wall.   It's 9:15'. We are--

          

          INT. MIRANDA'S OFFICE - NIGHT


          
          PAN around Miranda's office, where the displaced sofa is
          adorned with Fletcher's shoes...
          To the credenza, where Fletcher's pants hang...
          To the lamp, where Fletcher's shorts swing...
          To the desk, where a ravished Miranda lies next to
          Fletcher. Superbly confident of the answer, she asks--

                                MIRANDA
                    S o . . . was it good for you?
          Without thinking, Fletcher responds in the most astonishing
          way possible-- he TELLS THE TRUTH.

                              FLETCHER
                    I've had better.
          Miranda turns to him in disbelief -- but it's nothing
          compared to the LOOK OF SHOCK on Fletcher's face.

          INT. HALLWAY OUTSIDE MIRANDA'S OFFICE - NIGHT


          
          The door opens -- and the naked Fletcher is forcefully
          kicked out. He goes TUMBLING over a desk as a RAIN OF
          CLOTHES follow.
          The door SLAMS SHUT again, leaving him without his pants.
          A CLEANING LADY stares at him in shock, then takes her
          broom, aims for his crotch, SWINGS.and. . .

          INT. BEDROOM - FRIDAY MORNING


          
          An alarm CLOCK RINGS. Fletcher BOLTS UP in bed. With
          regret and wonder he remembers:

                              FLETCHER
                    "I've had better?"

          INT. FLETCHER'S BATHROOM - MORNING


          
          Fletcher brushes his teeth, looks up at his reflection in
          the mirror, mouth foaming.

                              FLETCHER
                    "I've had better?!"

          INT. HALLWAY OF FLETCHER'S APARTMENT BUILDING - MORNING

          Dressed for work, Fletcher waits for the elevator.

          

                               FLETCHER
                         (laughing it off)
                    "I've had better?"
          I t arrives. He steps in.

          INT. APARTMENT ELEVATOR - MORNING

          The elevator is empty, except for Fletcher... and a
          beautiful young WOMAN.

                              FLETCHER
                    New in the building?

                              MODEL
                    I just moved in Monday.

                              FLETCHER
                    Ah. Well, you must allow me
                    to give you the grand tour.

                               MODEL

                          (SHE'S

                           INTERESTED)
                    O h? Do you do that for all
                    the new tenants?

                              FLETCHER
                    No. Just the ones I want to
                    bang like a drum.
          Fletcher's face REGISTERS extreme SHOCK and...

          INT. LOBBY OF APARTMENT BUILDING - MORNING

          We HEAR a SMACK off camera and a PING as the elevator door
          opens. The model storms off and A STUNNED Fletcher steps
          out, rubbing his freshly slapped face.

          EXT. COURTROOM -, MORNING

          A SHAKY Fletcher strides toward the courthouse... when he
          is accosted by a BEGGAR.

                              BEGGAR
                    Any change, Mister?

                              .FLETCHER
                    Absolutely.
          But he continues walking.

                              BEGGAR
                    Could you spare some?

          

                               FLETCHER
                    Unquestionably.
          Fletcher walks faster, PUZZLED that he has answered
          truthfully. The beggar is even more puzzled.

                                BEGGAR
                    Will you?

                                FLETCHER
                    No.

                                BEGGAR
                    How come?

                                FLETCHER
                   Because I resent your
                   p re sen ce. You fill me with an
                   unpleasant mixture of disgust
                   and guilt. Further, I don't
                   believe you'll use the money
                   for food, but I believe you'll
                   use it for, at worst, drugs,
                   or, at best, whiskey, or
                 . cigarettes. Also, I'm cheap.
          As Fletcher heads up the stairs...

                                BEGGAR
                   Jerkoff.

          INT. COURTROOM - MORNING


          
          A winded Fletcher joins Virginia at the respondent's table,

                             VIRGINIA
                   You look like you're having a
                   rough morning.

                              FLETCHER
                    I've had better.
          He WINCES as he recognizes the words. Then, an extremely
          wealthy, respectable industrialist, RICHARD COLE enters
          with his attorney, DANA APPLETON, young, brisk, confident.

                              DANA
                   Good morning, Fletcher.

                                FLETCHER
                   Dana.         "

          

                                RICHARD
                    All right, Virginia, how much
                    will it take to put an end to
                    this?

                              FLETCHER
                    Fifty per cent of your estate.
          Richard is SHOCKED.

                                DANA
                    Fifty per cent? With a pre-
                    nup and proof of adultery?
                    What's your case?

                               FLETCHER
                    Our case is simply this. . .
          Fletcher opens his mouth to enlighten her -- but he CAN'T
          GET THE WORDS OUT. He tries to FORCE OUT SOUNDS, but
          succeeds only in looking like a fish gasping on dry land.

                                DANA        .
                    Interesting, though based on
                    your track record, I expected
                    a little more.
          Nearing panic, Fletcher whirls to his BRIEFCASE and grabs
          the brief.

                                FLETCHER   ..
                   Wa it! Wait!    I've got it in
                   writing!
          But when Dana tries to take the document, the astonished
          Fletcher finds himself PHYSICALLY UNABLE TO RELEASE IT.

                                DANA
                    Let go!

                              FLETCHER
                    I'm trying!

          
          He INVOLUNTARILY snatches the document away and IT PULLS
          HIM to a nearby TRASH CAN where he throws it out.
          At this moment the BAILIFF calls.

                                BAILIFF
                   All rise for the Honorable
                   Judge William Stevens.

          

                              DANA
                    Very funny, Fletcher. You
                    want to play hardball, I'm
                    game.
          JUDGE STEVENS takes the bench.

          

                              JUDGE STEVENS
                    Calling case BA 09395, Richard
                    Cole versus Virginia Cole.
                    How're we doing this morning,
                    counsel?

                              DANA
                    Fine, thank you.

                             JUDGE STEVENS
                   And you, Mr. Reid?

                              FLETCHER
                    Well, I'm a little upset about
                    a bad sexual episode I had
                    last night--
          Fletcher screeches to a standstill, suddenly aware of what
          he just said. After an awkward silence--

                              JUDGE STEVENS

                         (DRYLY)
                   Well, you're still young.
                   It'll happen more and more.
                   In the meantime, what do you
                   say we get. down to business?
                   First, Mr. Reid, I see that
                   your client was previously
                   represented by Mr. Rand of
                   your office.

                             FLETCHER
                   Yes, Your Honor.

                              JUDGE STEVENS
                    I take it you're seeking to
                    substitute in as counsel?

                             FLETCHER
                   Yes, Your Honor.

                              JUDGE STEVENS
                   Fine , fine. And for the
                   record, the reason is?

          

                                 FLETCHER
                    Mr. Rand had severe ethical
                    objections to my client's
                    case.
          Fletcher is incredulous. Somehow his greatest asset in the
          world, his mouth, has become his worst enemy.

                                JUDGE STEVENS
                    I take it you don't share the
                    same ethical objections, Mr.
                    Reid?

                                 FLETCHER
                    I have lower standards, Your
                    Honor.

                                JUDGE STEVENS
                    I see. Well, if Mrs. Cole
                    wants the substitution of
                    counsel, I'll allow it. Is
                    that what you want, Mrs. Cole?
          Virginia looks to the judge, then to Fletcher, whose
          unorthodox syle seemed so brilliant earlier.

                                 VIRGINIA

                            (UNSURE)
                    Yes?

                                JUDGE STEVENS
                    Fine.

                             VIRGINIA
                        (aside, to

                         FLETCHER)
                   What are you doing?

                                 FLETCHER

                            (WORRIED)

                                                                       .
                   I don't know.
                         (to judge, with

                          SOME

                          DESPERATION)
                   Your Honor, I ' d like a
                   continuance!

                             JUDGE STEVENS "
                   This case has already been
                   delayed several times, Mr.
                   Reid.

          

                                 FLETCHER
                    I realize that, Your Honor,
                    but I ' d really, really, really
                    like a continuance.

                                 JUDGE STEVENS
                    I'll have to hear good cause,
                    counselor. What's the
                    problem?

          FLETCHER'S P.O.V.

          
          The ROOM begins to SPIN slowly -- then faster -- then
          faster -- until we wind up squarely on --

          FLETCHER'S FACE

                              FLETCHER
                    I can't lie!

                                 JUDGE STEVENS

                            (IMPATIENT)
                   Commendable, Mr. Reid, but I'm
                   still waiting for the good
                   caus e. Now, do you have it or
                 . not?

                    '            FLETCHER

                            (TRUTHFUL)
                    Not.

                              JUDGE STEVENS
                    Motion for a continuance
                    denied. Is there any chance
                    of a settlement in this case?

                                DANA
                    I don't think so, Your Honor.
                    Mr. Reid made it abundantly
                    clear that the last thing in
                    the world he wanted was to --

                               FLETCHER

                          (DESPERATE)

                    SETTLE! SETTLE! SETTLE!
          Dana and Mr. Cole look at Fletcher with surprise.

                                JUDGE STEVENS
                    There appears to have been a
                    change in strategy. Let's go
                    to my chambers and negotiate.
          He BANGS the gavel.

          

          INT. JUDGE STEVENS'S CHAMBERS - MORNING

          Dana and an apprehensive Fletcher sit before the judge

                             DANA
                   Your Honor, under the terms of
                   the prenuptual agreement, if
                   Mrs. Cole commits adultery,
                   she is entitled to nothing.
                   We have in our possession an
                   audiotape made by a licensed
                   private investigator of an
                   explicit act of sexual
                   congress with a man who is not
                   her husband.

                             JUDGE STEVENS
                   Sounds pretty damning, Mr.
                   Reid.

                             FLETCHER
                   It certainly does.

                             DANA
                   However, my client has no
                   desire to see his ex-wife
                   destitute. Against my advice,
                   he's willing to offer her a
                   cash settlement of.two point
                   four million dollars.

                             JUDGE STEVENS
                   Two four seems like a pretty
                   fair offer, Mr. Reid.

                             FLETCHER
                   Fantastically fair.
                   Phenominally fair. In fact,
                   I'd say beyond fair, bordering
                   on stupid.
          Dana fumes. The judge finds Fletcher's boldness
          refreshing.

                             JUDGE STEVENS
                   What are you suggesting, Mr.
                   Rei d? That Ms. Appleton's
                   willingness to proffer such an
                   offer betrays a lack of faith
                   in her position?

                             FLETCHER
                        (utterly sincere)
                   No, not at all. She's got my
                   client dead to rights. When

          
                    attorneys go to sleep at
                    night, they dream of having a
                    case as strong as hers.

                              DANA
                    Can the sarcasm, Reid. All
                    right, I admit it -- I've seen
                    you make even the lamest case
                    fly. But this time I have
                    you. Even Clarence Darrow
                    couldn't explain this away.
          She brandishes the audiotape.

                              JUDGE SAMIOAN
                    Wel l, Mr. Reid? without a
                    dynamite explanation, I'd say
                    you're dead in the water.
                    How's you client's story?

                              FLETCHER
                    The best that money can buy,
                    Y o u r Honor.       �

                              JUDGE STEVENS
                    Strong corroborating evidence?

                              FLETCHER
                    We have evidence that you are
                    not going to-believe.
          Despite herself, Dana is beginning to look worried.

                              JUDGE STEVENS
                    You're pretty confident how
                    this trial is going to come
                    out, eh, Mr. Reid?

                              FLETCHER
                         (hopeless) .
                    "Confident" is too weak a
                    word, Your Honor. I am
                    certain what will happen if I
                    take this puppy to trial. The
                    verdict will be a stunning,
                    humiliating defeat that will
                    cut a spectacularly promising
                    legal career off at the knees.
          Fletcher is referring to himself, of course, but Dana
          thinks he's speaking about her. She buckles.

          

                                DANA
                      All right! Double the offer!
                      Four point eight! And not a
                      penny more.
                            (venomous, to

                             FLETCHER)
                      Bastard!
          She storms out, leaving an astounded Fletcher behind.

                                JUDGE STEVENS
                      You are some negotiator, Mr.
                      Reid. If your client has half
                      a brain, she'll jump at the
                      offer.

                                                     CUT TO:

                                VIRGINIA
                      No!

          
          We are --

          INT. COURTROOM - MORNING


          
          Fletcher has joined Virginia at the respondent's table

                                FLETCHER
                      No? ! Mrs. Cole, this offer
                      was a miracle. I'm talking
                      about a walking-on-water,
                      Lazarus-rising-from-the-dead,

                      FIND-NO-LINE-AT-THE-FRIGGIN'-
                      DMV miracle! You've gone from
                      two point four to four point
                      eight million in...
                             (checks his

                              WATCH)
                      four minutes. Think of it
                      this way -- now you're getting
                      paid seven hundred thou per
                      schtupp!

                           �            �      �

                                VIRGINIA
                      Mr. Reid, you convinced me
                      yesterday -- I'm the victim
                      here, starved for affection,
                      driven into the arms of
                      another man--

                                FLETCHER
                      Seven!     �

          

                              VIRGINIA
                    -- Seven other men. With the
                    story you came up with, I
                    don't think I can lose. I
                    want to proceed.

                              FLETCHER
                    Mrs. Cole, you don't        �.
                    understand, I--
          But before Fletcher can finish, the judge enters.

                              JUDGE STEVENS
                    Well , Mr. Reid. Do we have a
                    settlement?
          Fletcher looks pleadingly at his client, but she is firm.
          He shakes his head unhappily. The judge is irritated.

                               JUDGE STEVENS (CONT'D)
                   Th ere' s no settlement. Trial
                   to start at one-thirty sharp.
          He BANGS the gavel. Fletcher emits an involuntary whimper.

          INT. HALLWWAY OF LAW OFFICES - MORNING

          DA ZED, Fletcher makes his way down the hall. Jane comes
          toward him wearing a hairstyle that resembles a nest. He
          tries to avoid her, but...

                             JANE
                   What do you think?

                             FLETCHER .
                   I think you need help.
          HORRIFI ED, Fletcher hurries on. The heavyset Thomas
          ambulates in his way.                        �   -      �

                             THOMAS
                   What's shakin', Fletcher?

                             FLETCHER
                   Your cellulite, Tubster.
          The now panicked Fletcher breaks into a run, passing Fred.

                              FRED
                   Hiy a, Fletcher. How's the
                   Cole case going?

          

                                FLETCHER
                           (not stopping)
                    'Straight into the crapper, you
                    wuss, with my career right
                    behind it.

            P
          Fletcher is RUNNING NOW, COVERING HIS EARS and SINGING
          LOUDLY so as not to hear OTHER EMPLOYEE 'GREETINGS...

                              FLETC HER

                    LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA!!

          
          Fletcher speeds past--

                               � GRETA
                    Hi, boss. What's happening

                    WITH--

                              FLETCHER

                    DON'T ASK! FOR GOD'S SAKE,

                    PLEASE DON'T ASK!
          -- And races into his office.

          I NT . FLETCHER'S OFFICE - MORNING

          
          He leans against the door, trying to catch his breath.


          

                                FLETCHER,

                           (PACING)
                    Do n't panic. You can beat
                    this -- it's all a matter of
                    willpower.
          He dives for his desk and rifles through it.

                               FL ET CH ER
                    A test. . . Something small...
                    Aha!
          He holds up a BLUE PEN.

                               FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                    Red.   Red. All right. Focus,
                          (with great

                           DELIBERATION)
                    The color of this pen is � r--.
                    R--. R--! The color of this
                    pen is--blue! AAAAHH!
                          (burying his

                           HEAD)
                    Ahhhh! One' tiny lie and I
                    can't say it!!

          
                          (suddenly sitting

                           UP)
                  ' I'll write.it!
          He takes a sheet of PAPER, his pen and writes "This pen
          i s . . . " He tries to write an "R" but can't. He STRAINS.
          S TR AIN S HARDER. He's out of his chair, on the desk. His
          feet KICK OVER OBJECTS on the shelves'behind him. He
          finally forces pen to paper. He looks down where he wrote

          INADVERTENTLY:
                           "This pen is blue."

                                F LE TC HE R

                    NO, NO, NO, NO, NO! ! ! !
          Greta enters to find--
          FLETCHER running around the office, shaking the blue pen in
          the air.

                              GRETA
                    Boss, what's wrong?

                                FLETCHER
                  . The pen is blue!! The pen is     .
                    b l u e ! ! The GODDAMN PEN IS

                    BLUE !!!
          Almost weeping, he collapses into a chair. A moment --
          then Greta tentatively offers him a red pen.

                                GRETA
                    Red?

          

                               FLETCHER

                          (BITTER)
                    Oh, that's easy for you to
                    say?!

                             GRETA
                   Are you all right?

                              FLETCHER
                         (getting up)
                    I have to go home.

                             GRETA
                   Home? Was the case settled?

                               FLETCHER
                   No. I have to be in court at
                   one-thirty.

          

                                GRETA
                    Well, then how can you.go
                    home?

                              FLETCHER
                    I don't know, I don't know!!!

                                GRETA
                    Okay.
                          (walking on

                           EGGSHELLS)
                    Before I forget -- Rubin and
                    Dun n called. They want to
                    know where the Darvis
                    settlement offer stands.

                                FLETCHER
                    I only proposed a settlement
                    t o dick with them. I never
                    had any intention of going
                    th ro ug h with it.  .
          Not certain why her boss would .shoot himself in the foot,
          Greta nonetheless jots down his remarks.

                                GRETA
                    '�...dick with them." Okay.
                    Your accountant, Philip,
                    called to remind you about
                    getting together. .

                                FLETCHER
                    I'd rather shave my ass and
                    sit in vinegar..

                                GRETA
                         (jotting down a

                          NOTE)
                    Got it. And your mother
                    called again. Are you still
                    on vacation?

                                 FLETCHER

                            (EMPHATICALLY
                             nodding "yes")
                    No.

                              GRETA
                    So then you're here?

                                 FLETCHER

                            (EMPHATICALLY
                             shaking his head

                             "NO")
                    Yes.

          

                               GRETA
                    I ' m having a little trouble
                    following you. what do I say
                    to your mom?

                               FLETCHER

                          (RESIGNED)
                    Tell her I'm a thoughtless son
                    who'd rather spend ten hours
                    clogging the wheels of justice
                    than five minutes talking to
                    her-- but only if she asks.
                    You.might also add that she
                    deserves better, though I hope
                    to God you don't.

                               GRETA
                    Thanks for clearing that up.
                    And that's it, except your ex
                    called and asked when you were
                    cowing over to see your son.

                               FLETCHER

                          (REMEMBERS)

                    OHH! I'M SUCH A SHIT!!
          He reacts, particularly stunned by this truth.

          INT. VOLVO - MOVING / FLETCHER'S OFFICE - MORNING

          Audrey is driving Max, who wears his new baseball uniform
          when her cellular PHONE RINGS. She picks it up.
          We INTERCUT between car and office.

                               FLETCHER

                    AUDREY--

                              AUDREY'
                    Hey, Fletcher. T was
                    wondering if you were going to
                    still pick up Max after school
                    today.

                               FLETCHER
                   I don't think I can. I had a
                   case I was certain would
                   settle and it didn't. I have
                   to go to trial this afternoon,
                   God help me.

          

                              AUDREY
                         (not believing

                          HIM)
                   Right.

                              FLETCHER
                   It's true... I really do want
                   to see Max, today.
          Fletcher considers what he just said, realizes it is true.

                             FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                   How about that. I really do.

                             AUDREY

                        (CYNICALLY)
                   But things keep coming up at
                   the last minute.

                              FLETCHER
                   Yes, but-this time it's
                   different.

                            AUDREY
                   I see. And how is that?

                                         .                         �

                               FLETCHER
                         ( he walked into

                          IT)
                   This time I'm telling the
                   truth.

                             AUDREY
                   But last night you weren't?

                             FLETCHER
                   No.

                             AUDREY
                   What were you doing?

                             FLETCHER
                   Having sex.

                             AUDREY
                         (barely holding
                          her temper),
                   It must have been with someone
                   very "special."

                             FLETCHER
                   No. It was with someone I
                   don't even like. But I
                   thought it would help my
                   career and at the moment that

          
                   seemed more important than
                   attending my son's birthday!

                                 A U D R EY
                   M y God!!
          She SLAMS DOWN the phone.

          INT. FLETCHER'S OFFICE

          Fletcher BANGS THE PHONE against his head in frustration! '.

                                        FLETCHER

                     A H H H H H H ! ! I WHAT IS WRONG WITH

                     ME I ! I

          E X T . FULGHAM KINDERGARTEN - MORNING

          
           The Volvo parks.
           Audrey gets out. She leans over to say good-bye to her
            son.             ,                 .

                                MAX
                      Is dad picking me up?

                                     AUDREY
                       No, I'm sorry, Max. He can't
                       make it. I will. I'll work
                       it out.
            Max is disappointed.

                                   MAX
                         I guess my wish didn't come �
                         true.

                                    AUDREY
                         What wish?

                                        MAX
                        I wished that, for just one
                        day, Dad couldn't tell a lie.
              Max heads toward his teacher. Audrey is deeply moved.

              INT. FLETCHER'S OFFICE

              He's dialing the phone.

                                  FLETCHER
                        Answer, answer, answer...

          

               INTERCUT WITH AUDREY'S CAR

          

                    AUDREY
          Hello.

                    FLETCHER
          Audrey, let me explain.
          Something has happened to me--

                    AUDREY
          Fletcher, something else is
          about to happen to you.

                    FLETCHER.
          What do you mean?

                    AUDREY
          Max and I are moving to
          Boston.

                    FLETCHER
          What?!

                    AUDREY
          Jerry asked me to marry him.
          He wants Max and I to fly with
          him this weekend to pick out a
          house. And I'm going to go.
          God knows I don't have any
          reason to stay here.

                    FLETCHER
               (panicking)    .
          Wait, you can't move! If you
          take Max away... I'll
          practically never see him.

                    AUDREY
          Well then you'll have pretty
          much the same relationship you
          have with him now.

                    FLETCHER
          Audrey, please.... Is this
          because of what I just said on
          the phone?

                    AUDREY
          That was the straw and this is
          the camel's back saying
          goodbye.

                    FLETCHER
          Where are you?

                    AUDREY
          Heading home.

          

                                 FLETCHER
                    When you gee there, stay
                    there. I'll be right over.
                    We have to talk.

                               AUDREY

                    FLETCHER--

                               FLETCHER
                    I'll be right- there!

          
          He hangs up and heads for the door.      It opens and Miranda
          enters.

                               FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                    Aaaah!

                               MIRANDA
                   Flet cher. Fletcher, Fletcher,
                   Fletcher. I must confess--
                   after last night's incident, I
                   was. . . hurt. So hurt. I was
                   tempted to do whatever little
                   things lie in my power to
                   scuttle your chances of making
                   partner.
          Fletcher is FRIGHTENED.

                              MIRANDA (CONT'D)
                   But then I thought, "No,
                   that 's not fair. Fletcher
                   didn't mean to insult me."

                         (STRAIGHTENING
                          his tie)
                   "It was just some massive,
                   boneheaded misunderstanding,
                   and Fletcher is very, very
                   sorry."
          Fletcher smiles.   It looks like he's off the hook, until--

                              MIRANDA (CONT'D)
                    Isn't that right, Fletcher?

                             FLETCHER
                        (in agony)
                   Uh -- not really, no.

                              MIRANDA
                          (stunned, angry)
                   N o ? No?! What are you
                   sayi ng? Have you no respect
                   for me?!

          

                               FLETCHER
                    None, whatsoever. I mean, I ' d
                    like to respect you, and if it
                    weren't for your mistreatment
                    of the associates, your
                    rudeness to the staff, and the
                    fact that your work sucks, I
                    would.

                              M IRANDA
                    But -- what about last night?

                               FLETCHER
                    I was afraid you wouldn't
                    support my partnership if I
                    turned you down. Plus, I have
                    an immature need for sexual
                    conquests.

          INT. HALLWAY OF LAW OFFICES - MORNING

          W e HEAR A SMACK! The door flies opens -- and a furious
          Miranda stalks off.


          INT. FLETCHER'S OFFICE - MORNING

          Fletcher rubs his freshly SLAPPED FACi..

          INT. BMW - MOVING / EXT, STREET - MORNING

          Fletcher speeds away. He pulls the blue pen from his
          pocket.

                               FLETCHER
                    Gotta focus. . . gotta focus.
          He's so preoccupied that he speeds through a crosswalk and
          almost hits an OLD MAN.

                              FLETCHER
                    The color of the pen is --
                    re d !      .
          But he hasn't regained the ability to lie -- he's referring
          to the RED LIGHT he just ran, nearly colliding with a
          truck. The DRIVER screams:

                              DRIVER
                    What's your problem, schmuck?!

                                FLETCHER
                           (the truth)
                    I ' m an inconsiderate prick!

          
            Fletcher once again focuses on the blue pen.

                                FLETCHER (CON "ID)
                      C'mon, you can do this! The
                      color of the pen is -- RED!
           This time he's referring to the flashing red light of a
           POLICE CAR in his rearview mirror.

                                  FLETC HER
                     S hi t !!

          
           Fletcher pulls over. A POLICE OFFICER strolls up.

                               POLICE OFFICER
                     Do you know why I stopped you?

                                  FLETCHER
                     Depends on how long you were
                     following me.

                                  POLICE OFFICER
                     Why don't we take it from the
                     top.

                                FLETCHER
                    �     (in agony)
                     Here goes -- I didn't fasten
                     my seatbelt, I didn't glance
                     in my rearview mirror, I
                     didn't signal when I pulled
                     away from the curb, I sped, I
                     followed too closely, I ran a
                     stop sign, I almost hit :a
                    Chevy Camaro, I almost hit a
                    ge ezer, I sped some more, I
                    failed to yield at a
                    crosswalk, I changed lanes in
                    the intersection, I changed
                    lanes without signalling, and
                    I changed lanes in the

                    INTERSECTION-WITHOUT
                    signalling while running a red
                    light and speeding.
          A long moment.

                             POLICE OFFICER
                   May I see your driver's
                   license?

                                 FLETCHER
                   No.

          

                              POLICE OFFICER
                    And why is that?

                              FLETCHER
                    It's in my other pants.

                              POLICE OFFICER
                    I see. And where are your �
                    other pants?

                              FLETCHER
                    Hanging from my boss's
                    credenza.

                              POLICE OFFICER
                    Do you expect me to believe
                    that?

                              FLETCHER
                    No.

          

                              POLICE OFFICER
                    Do you think I'm an idiot?

                              FLETCHER
                    Yes -- but that's beside the
                    point! My license actually is
                    in my other pants, and they
                    actually were hanging from a
                    credenzaJ I wouldn't lie to
                    you! I mean, I would if I
                    could, but I can't!

                              POLICE OFFICER
                    I see. So you ..have no reason
                    to try and hide your license
                    from me?

                              FLETCHER
                   I didn't say that. I have
                   other reasons. Seventeen
                   reasons, to be precise.
                         (begrudgingly,
                          off the
                          officer's look)
                   Unpaid parking tickets.

                         (BESEECHINGLY)
                   Be gentle.

          EXT. AUDREY'S HOUSE - MORNING


          
          A cab speeds up to the house. Fletcher runs out. Audrey is
          headed to her car.

          

                              FLETCHER
                    Audrey, wait!

                              AUDREY
                    Wait? You know, I just had an
                    insight into myself. I ' m
                    crazy. You call me up and .
                    tell me to wait here because
                    you'll be right over and --
                    here's the crazy part -- I
                    actually wait.

                              FLETCHER
                    I can explain--

                              AUDREY
                    I missed a department meeting.
                    I. . . Did you come in a cab?

                              FLETCHER
                    Yes.

                              AUDREY
                    Where's your car?

          EXT, POLICE IMPOUND YARD - MORNING

          
          Audrey finishes paying the impound-yard CASHIER and joins
          Fletcher, who is waiting alongside hundreds of towed cars.

                              FLETCHER
                    Thank you. . I can't tell you
                    how much this means to me.

                              AUDREY
                    I can. One thousand, six
                    hundred, and fifty-four
                    dollars and eleven cents.

                              FLETCHER
                    Ow.

          
          At this moment WE HEAR a hideous scraping noise -- and a
          TOW-YARD EMPLOYEE whips Fletcher's BMW into view and.
          parks... revealing a prominent new scrape on the door.

                              FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                    You scratched my car!

                              TOW-YARD EMPLOYEE
                    Where?     .

                              FLETCHER
                   Right there!

          

                              TOW-YARD EMPLOYEE
                    Oh that? That was already
                    there.

                                 FLETCHER

                            (OUTRAGED)
                    Why, you -- you liar! Do you
                    know what I ' m going to do
                    about this?

                                TOW-YARD EMPLOYEE
                    What?

                              FLETCHER
                         (angrier and

                          ANGRIER)
                    ...Nothing! Because if I take
                   you to small-claims court, it
                   will just drain eight hours
                   out of my life, and you
                   probably won't show up, and if
                   I finally got the judgment
                   you'd just stiff me anyway, so
                   what I'm gonna do is piss and
                   moan like an impotent jerk and
                 . then bend over and take it up
                   the tail pipe!

                              TOW-YARD EMPLOYEE
                    You've been here before,
                    haven't you?
          He flips Fletcher the keys and goes.

                                AUDREY
                    Well I can't remember when
                    I've had more fun, now if
                    you'll excuse me, I have a
                    class.
          She starts out.

                                FLETCHER
                    Audrey, wait. I want to talk
                    to you about this Boston
                    situation.

                             . AUDREY
                    What do you want to say?

                                FLETCHER
                   You can't go. It's not fair.
                   Taking Max three thousand
                   miles away is not fair.

          

                              AUDREY
                    Let' s define "fair." Last
                  � night a five-year old boy was
                    crushed because his father
                    lied to him about coming to
                    his birthday party. Fair?

                              FLETCHER
                    Last night--

                             AUDREY
                   -- Was none of my business.
                   When it happened two years ago
                   it was my business, but now I
                   don't have to care anymore.
                   See, that's the magic of
                   div orce . But it does matter
                   to Max. Everything you do
                   matters to him... and
                   everything you don't do.

                              FLETCHER
                   All right-- now let me tell
                   you something...you're
                   absolutely right. I'm guilty
                   of all charges. I'm throwing
                   myself on the mercy of your
                   -court.
          Audrey doesn't know what to say. Fletcher seems very
          sincere, but she can't trust him.

                              FLETCHER {CONT'D)
                   I have an idea. I'll come
                   over tonight, right after
                   court lets out and play with
                   M ax. Have him invite some
                   fri ends over. We'll have a
                   game and everything. Then,
                   you and I can sit down and
                   talk.

                             AUDREY
                   We're suppose to be on a plane

                   TONIGHT--

                             FLETCHER
                   No, Audrey. Just talk to me
                   abou t this first. Please.
                   Au drey, I've lost you. Don't
                   make me lose Max, too.

                             AUDREY
                   You're really coming?

          

                              FLETCHER
                    This is iron-clad. This is
                    the mother of all promises.
                    What time?

                              AUDREY
                    ...Six?

                              FLETCHER
                    Ten-to-six.

                               AU DR EY

                          (UNSURE)
                    All right... only if I tell
                    Max you're coming and you
                    don't show up and I have to
                    see that look on Max's face --
                    that heartbreaking look-- it's
                    Boston, Fletcher.

                              FLETCHER.
                    I will be there.

          
          As Audrey gets in her car -- .

                              AUDREY
                   I hope so. Do you know what
                   your son was doing at nine-
                   fif teen las t ni ght? He was
                   making a wish on his birthday
                   c ake. He was wishing that,
                   for just one day, his dad
                   couldn't tell a lie.
          She drives away. Fletcher starts for his car, pensive,
          when a new thought strikes him.

                              FLETCHER
                   Oh my God! That-'s it! An
                   innocent kid - - a heartfelt
                   plea-- a birthday wish! Sure,
                   it' s impossible --but it
                   'makes sense!..! If he can wish
                   it, he can unwish it!

          INT. ELEMENTARY SCHOOL HALLWAY


          
          Fletcher marches quickly down the hall, cake box under his
          arm.

          INT. MAX'S KINDERGARTEN CLASS

          Ms. Berry's reading a story when Fletcher enters.   Max
          brightens.

          

                               MAX
                    Dad!

          

                               MS . BERRY
                    Are you Max's dad? I ' m Ms.
                    Berry, Max's teacher!

                               FLETCHER
                    Hi. Listen, I need to talk to

                    MAX--

                               MS. BERRY
                    Mr. Reid, we were just talking
                    ab ou t careers. You're a
                    lawyer, aren't you?

                                FLETCHER

                           (WARY)
                    Yes.

                              MAX
                    Mr. Reid it'would be wonderful
                    for the children to hear
                    something positive about
                    lawyers!

                              FLETCHER
                    Well, actually-- �

                               MS. BERRY
                    Children! .Mr. Reid is going
                    to tell us what it's like to
                    be a lawyer.
          She leads the kids in APPLAUSE. Fletcher takes center
          s tage. The children stare, rapt with attenion.

                               FLETCHER
                    Uh, hi. Uh, I'm a lawyer and
                    I work at a big law firm with
                    a lot of other lawyers and I
                    do stuff in a law court.
                    Thank you.
          He starts out.

                               MS. BERRY
                    One moment, Mr. Reid. Maybe
                    some of the children have

                    QUESTIONS
                         (hands shoot up)
                    Jeffrey?

          

                              JEFF
                    What kind of lawyer are you?

                                FLETCHER
                    Mostly, I ' m a divorce lawyer.

                              BILLY
                    What's that?

                              FLETCHER
                    It means if you're daddy left
                    your mommy, he'd call me.

                              CRAIG
                    So what do you do?

                               FLETCHER
                         (growing more and
                          more impatient)
                    I help people fight over their
                    money and their children.

                              THEODORE
                    Can't they fight without you?

                              FLETCHER ' "
                    They could but then J wouldn't
                    make a living.

                              JILL
                    Why would my daddy leave my
                    mommy?

                              FLETCHER
                    To marry a younger woman. To
                    escape a loveless marriage and
                    have cheap meaningless sex.
                    To cling to an illusion of
                    youth as his body gives way to
                    sore backs, flat feet, spare
                    tires, gum disease, hair loss,
                    liver spots, kidney stones,
                    clogged arteries, diabetes,
                    goiter and eventual death.
          The kids EYES GO WIDE. A moment, then:

                               MS. BERRY

                          (BRIGHTLY)
                    Well, I think it's time for
                    fingerpainting.

          EXT. PLAYGROUND - DAY

          They're in the playground just outside the classroom.

          

                              FLETCHER
                    Monster-Max.

          

                              MAX
                    Dadzilla. You came to play
                    catch?

                              FLETCHER
                    No. I ' d like to, but I can't
                    right now.
          Max is disappointed again.

                               FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                    I ' m sorry I missed your party
                    la st night. How was your
                    Uncle Glen?

                              MAX
                    Stupid. His big nose and
                    stupid orange hair...

                              FLETCHER
                    That's why he should have worn
                    make-up.
          Fletcher elbows Max, playfully, trying to induce a laugh.
          Max doesn't laugh.

                      '       MAX .
                    I want to play kickball with
                    my friends.-

                              FLETCHER
                    Yeah, okay, urn... Your mother
                    told me about... the wish you
                    made last night. It came
                    true.
          Max is amazed.

                              MAX
                    Really? You mean you have to
                    tell the truth?

                              FLETCHER
                    Yes.

          

                             MAX
                   No matter what?

                             FLETCHER
                   No matter what.

          
          Max grins -- then suddenly asks, in rapid succession.

                              MAX
                    Is wrestling real?

                              FLETCHER
                    In the Olympics, yes.      On    .
                    Channel 23, no.

                              MAX
                    Will sitting close to the TV
                    set make me go blind?

                               FLETCHER
                    Not in a million years.

                               MAX
                    If I keep making this face--
                         (makes a horrible

                          FACE)
                    will it get stuck that way?

                               FLETCHER
                    Uh-uh.

                               MAX
                   .If I go in the water right
                   after lunch, will I drown?

                               FLETCHER
                    Only if you can't 'swim.

                              MAX
                    Why do I have to eat squash?

                               FLETCHER
                    Because your mom buys it.

                             MAX
                   How come you're always too
                   busy to play with me?
          The sudden shift in tone startles Fletcher. He feels
          awful.

                               FLETCHER
                   I . . . I don't know. I ' m . . . Hey,
                   you know I'm coming over
                   to nig ht. We're gonna play
                   together.

                               MAX
                   Baseball?

          

                                FLETCHER
                  . Yes! This is absolutely an
                    A-number one promise. You and
                    I -- tonight -- baseball.
          Fletcher and Max do their ritual "five" slap.

                                FLETCHER
                      Now, listen, Max, I need a
                      favor from you. I ' m in a
                      little trouble today. I need
                      you to take that wish back.

                                MAX
                      So you can lie?

                                FLETCHER
                      Not to you.

                                MAX
                      To who?

                                FLETCHER
                      Max, sometimes grownups...
                      need to lie. It's hard to
                      explain, but i f . . . Look,
                      here's an example. When Mommy
                      was pregnant with you, she
                      gained a little weight.
                      Se venty pounds. I thought she
                      was gonna give birth to a car.
                      But she'd say to me "How do I
                      lo ok?" So I'd say, "Oh,
                      honey, you're beautiful,
                      you're glowing.11 Otherwise, I
                      would've hurt Mommy's
                      fee ling s. Understand?
          Max nods.

                                MAX
                      You didn't think she was
                      beautiful.

                                FLETCHER
                      Right. No... Max, I don't
                      know how to get along in the
                      grown-up world if I have to
                      stick to the truth. I could
                      lose my case, I could lose my
                      promotion, I could even lose,
                      my job... Do you understand?
          Max shakes his head "no."

          

                                FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                      Will you help me anyway?
          A moment -- then Max reluctantly nods.

                                 FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                      That's my boy!
          Fletcher opens the box, revealing a cake and candles.... He
          takes out two birthday hats. He puts one on Max and one on
          himself.

                                FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                      Now, do whatever you did last
                      night... only this time, make
                      an un-wish.
          Not really happy, Max turns to the candles on the cake. He
          takes a breath-- and blows them out.

                                MAX
                      I did it. ^

                                FLETCHER
                      Great! Great! Now to test --


          
          Fletcher spots an attractive FEMALE teacher. Fletcher
          hurries to her and says something. A moment. Then she

          SLAPS HIM.
          Fletcher returns to his son.

                                MAX
                      Did it work?

                                   FLETCHER            .       .
                           (rubbing his sore

                            CHEEK)
                      Not like I ' d hoped. Did you
                      really unwish it?
          Max nods.

                                   MAX
                      Only...

                                   FLETCHER
                      Only what?

                                   MAX
                      Yesterday, when I wished it, I
                      r ea lly meant it. This time
                      when I unwished it I only did
                      it 'cause you told me to.

          

                                FLETCHER
                         (losing patience)
                    Well, then do it again.        Only
                    this time, mean it.

                                MAX
                    I can't.

                                FLETCHER
                    Why not?!

                                MAX
                    Because I don't want you to
                    lie.

                                FLETCHER
                    I explained this to you! I
                    have to lie. Everybody lies!
                    Mommy lies, even the wonderful
                    Jerry lies--

                                        '

                                MAX
                    But you're the only one who
                    makes me feel bad.

                                      .    '   .                �    �
          Fletcher is stunned by how much this hurts.

                               MS. BERRY

                          (CALLING)
                    Max, recess 'is over, come on
                    in.

                              MAX
                    I have to go.

                                FLETCHER
                    I am coming over, tonight,
                    Max. You believe me, don't
                    you?
          Max hesitates, then nods.

                              FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                    I'll see you tonight, buddy...
                    That's a promise.
          Max heads back to class. Fletcher picks up the cake, looks
          at it, then dumps it in a trash barrel.

          EXT. SKYSCRAPER - DAY


          
          A worried and preoccupied Fletcher is heading toward his
          office building when a MACHO ATTORNEY passes by.

          

                              MACHO ATTORNEY
                    Yo, Fletcher! How's it
                    hanging?

                               FLETCHER
                    Short and shrivelled.
          Fletcher hurries up the steps when he spots Philip. He
          shields his face with his briefcase. Philip recognizes him
          anyway.

                               PHILIP
                    Fletcher! I'm still waiting
                    for your call. I guess you
                    must've lost my card --

                               FLETCHER
                    No --

                              PHILIP
                    Or my phone was busy --

                               FLETCHER
                    No --


          

                              PHILIP
                    Or you just forgot --

                              FLETCHER
                    No --

                               PHILIP
                          (cannot be

                           DISCOURAGED)
                    Or something. So anyway,' why
                    don't you swing by my place
                    around seven-thirty!
          Philip starts off, when Fletcher calls after him
          resolutely.

                              FLETCHER
                    Philip... I don't want to come
                    over to your house!
          A long moment, then --

                               PHILIP
                   Fi n e ! We'll go out! There's
                   this new karaoke bar I've been
                   dying to try. I'll pick you
                   up at your office! Seven-
                   thirty! !
          And he runs off.   Frustrated, Fletcher hurries on.

          

          INT. OFFICE'S - DAY


          
          Fletcher drags himself past Greta's desk. Miranda gives
          him the stink-eye. Fletcher doesn't see her.

                             GRETA
                   Do you want your messages?

                                FLETCHER
                   No.
          He goes into his office. Greta is concerned.   She follows
          him in, leaving his door open.

          INT. FLETCHER'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS


          
          Fletcher collapses onto his couch. Greta enters.

                             GRETA
                   Are you okay?

                             FLETCHER
                   My son hates me.

                                GRETA
                   No! He loves you. I've seen
                   y ou together. You're his
                   hero.

                                FLETCHER
                   O h yeah? Last night at his
                   birthday party, he made a
                   �wish. That I wouldn't be able
                   to tell a lie for one whole
                   day.

                                GRETA
                   Kids...

                             FLETCHER
                   It came true.

                                GRETA
                   What?

                                FLETCHER
                   It's true. Didn't it seem odd
                   to you that I kept telling the
                   truth all morning?

                             GRETA
                   Well, yeah, but...

          

                         (INCREDULOUS)
                    You're telling me that you
                    can't lie.

                              FLETCHER
                    That's right!     I am incapable
                    of lying.

          INT. OUTER OFFICE

          Miranda is 'eavesdropping.    A wicked gleam in her eye,

          INT. FLETCHER'S OFFICE


                              GRETA
                    Just today?

                              FLETCHER
                    Apparently until 9:15 tonight.
                    It's a twenty-four hour curse.

                              GRETA
                    Yes, those are going around.

                              FLETCHER
                    You don't believe me.

                              GRETA
                    Of course not.

                              FLETCHER
                    Go ahead. Ask me something
                    I ' d normally lie about.
          She thinks.

                              GRETA
                   A ll right. Remember a few
                   months ago, I wanted a raise--

                              FLETCHER

                         (QUICKLY)
                    Forget it. Let's not do this.

                              GRETA
                   -- and the firm wouldn't.give
                   me one. And I asked you if
                   you would give it to me out of
                   your own pocket and you said
                   the company wouldn't permit it
                   because it creates jealousy
                   among the other secretaries?
                   Was that true or did you just
                   not want to pony up the dough?

          

          INT. OUTER OFFICE


          
          Greta is emptying all her personal effects into boxes.
          She's leaving. Fletcher is on the phone and looks very
          harras,sed.

                               FLETCHER
                    Greta, please...
                          (into phone)
                    Yes Judge Stevens, hi!..
                    Fletcher Reid. I ' m scheduled
                    to be in your court in half-
                    an-hour... Judge Stevens, I
                    badly, badly need a
                    continuance. . . so I can go
                    home and stay there the rest
                    of the day...111? Am I ill?
          He wants to say "yes", but he can't.

                                FLETCHER
                    In a way.
                         (covers the

                          MOUTHPIECE)
                    Please, lie to him for me.
          Greta holds up a framed photograph.

                                GRETA
                    I remember when you. bought me
                    t hi s silver frame. From
                    Tiffany's.

                           (QUESTIONING)
                    . . . Tiffany's?

                              FLETCHER
                    Jumbo's House of Junk.
          She thrpws it in the trash and keeps packing.

                              FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                    I'll give you the raise!

                                GRETA
                         (gives him the

                          FINGER)
                    Here's your raise.

                               FLETCHER
                          (into phone)
                    Hi, Judge Stevens?... Yes, I
                    know I haven't given you a
                    reason.
          The PHONE RINGS.

          

                                 FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                            (into phone)
                    But if you could just do this
                    for me, I--
          The phone won't stop ringing.       .�'

                               FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                    Hold on, please,
                          (pushes two

                           BUTTONS)
                    Hello... Mom!!
          The phone flies into the air. He catches it.

                              FLETCHER {CONT'D)
                    Mom... Well, I wasn't actually
                    on vacation... Because I
                    didn't want to talk to you...
                    Because you insist on talking
                    to me about Dad's bowel
                    movements -- size, color,
                    frequency... I'll call you
                    later... No, not really.
          He pushes -two more buttons. Then SCREAMS.

                              FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                    Oh dammit! I cut him off! I
                    cut off the Judge! Greta...
          He falls to his knees.

                              FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                    I'm on my knees in a nine
                    hundred dollar suit. Don't
                    leave.
          Greta stops.     She seems to consider.

                                 GRETA
                    A few years ago a friend of
                    mine had a burglar up on her
                    roof.

                                 FLETCHER
                    Yes?

                                GRETA            ..
                   A burglar. -He fell through
                   the kitchen skylight and
                   landed on a cutting board on a
                   butcher's knife, cutting his
                   l e g. He sued my friend. The

          
                    burglar sued my friend.
                    Thanks to guys like you-- he
                    won. My friend had to pay him
                    six thousand dollars. Is that
                    justice?

                               FLETCHER
                    No. . . but what' s your poijit!

                               GRETA
                    My point is, it's hard to get
                    justice. But this is justice,
                          (pinches his

                           CHEEK)
                    Have a nice day in court,
                    bubbie.
          She leaves.   Fletcher starts to give chase...

                                 FLETCHER

                    GRETA--
          He runs directly into Miranda.

                                 FLETCHER
                    Aaaah!
          Miranda smiles like a cat that's trapped a mouse.

                                 MIRANDA
                    Ah, Fletcher, so nice to bump
                    i nto you. Are you busy?

                                 FLETCHER
                    Extremely.

                                 MIRANDA
                    Good. Would you follow me,
                    please?
          Highly nervous, Fletcher follows Miranda down the hall.

                               MIRANDA (CONT'D)
                   Fletcher, did you know that
                   the partnership committee is
                   being headed up by Mr. Allan
                   himself?
                         (off his wary

                          NOD)
                   Say, you used to work directly
                   for Mr. Allan, didn't you?
                        (off his waried

                          NOD)
                   Tell me, what do you think of
                   him?

          

                              FLETCHER

                         (HELPLESS)
                    He's a pedantic,
                    pontificating, pretentious
                    bastard, a belligerent old
                    fart, a worthless, steaming
                    pile of cow dung.

                              MIRANDA

                         (GRINNING)
                    How delightful!
          She swings open a door, ushering Fletcher into --

          INT. CONFERENCE ROOM - DAY

          The room is filled with ATTORNEYS, including MR. ALLAN,
          the founder himself. Fletcher freezes.

                              MIRANDA
                    Pardon me for interrupting
                    your, meeting. Mr. Allan, you
                    remember Fletcher Reid.


          

                              MR. ALLAN
                   �It's good to see you again,
                   Fletcher. '.
          An involuntary WHIMPER from Fletcher.

                              MIRANDA
                    Oh, that's right. You used to
                    work together. .Tell me, what
                    do you think of Mr. Allah?
          Fl etc he r gulps. This is it. His career is history. He's
          trying to hold it back, but--

                              MIRANDA
                    I said... What do you think of
                    Mr. Allan?

                              FLETCHER     .
                    He's a pedantic,
                    pontificating, pretentious
                    bastard, a belligerent old
                    fart, a worthless, steaming
                    pile of cow dung.
          DE AN SILENCE. Then --Mr. Allan bursts into raucous
          LAUGHTER. He is joined by everyone except Miranda, who
          looks on, STUNNED. Everyone pounds the table in hysterics.

          

                                 MR. ALLAN
                    Marvelous! Marvelous! That's
                    what I love most about this
                    firm-- the collegial
                    atmosphere, the hearty good-
                    fellowship!
          Miranda is incensed.

                              MR. ALLAN (CONT'D)
                    And thanks for those flowers
                    for my anniversary. My wife
                    loved them.

                                 FLETCHER
                    Well, I'm due in court... bye-
                    bye.

          INT. HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

          Fletcher exits the conference, closes the door, breathes a
          sigh of relief, then FAINTS.   .

          INT. COURTROOM


          
          CLOSE UP of Fletcher, seated alone at a table. His hands
          are on his-face. He looks totally dazed. At the other
          table, sit Dana Appleton and Mr. Cole.

                                BAILIFF
                    All rise.
          They do. Judge Stevens enters. He sits. Everyone sits.

                                JUDGE STEVENS
                   Counselors, are we ready to
                   begin?

                               FLETCHER
                          (eagerly and a
                           little too

                           LOUDLY)
                   N o sir! We are not ready to
                   b eg in. My client has not
                   arrived.
          The doors OPEN and Virginia Cole enters with her CHILDREN
          and a NANNY.

                               FLETCHER      �   .
                    --   until now.

          
          He collapses into his chair.

          
                          (to Falk, with

                           DETERMINATION)
                    Did you and Mrs. Cole ever
                    make lo-- forni-- roll in the
                    h-- make the beast with two
                    ba -- Did you two ever fu--
                    fu-- Fu!
          He begins to hyperventilate.     Virginia turns to Falk.

                               VIRGINIA
                    Wate r! Get him water!
          Falk hurries into the building as Fletcher hacks on.

                                FLETCHER
                    Fu-- fu--

                                                              /

                               VIRGINIA
                    S it down! Get some air!
                          (slaps him on the

                          BACK)
                    Try to relax! Breathe deeply!
          Falk hurries out with a cup, hands it to Fletcher, who
          downs it in one gulp -- then spews it out again, SCREAMING
          in PAIN. -

                               VIRGINIA (CONT'D)
                   W hat?!   What?!

          

                                FALK
                    I couldn't find any water, so
                    I got him coffee!
          Fletcher runs up and down the steps, frantically fanning
          h is scalded mouth. The bailiff appears.

                             BAILIFF
                   Judge is taking the bench.
          Fletcher's expression turns to terror.

          INT. COURTROOM - DAY

          The judge settles in. Mr. Allan and a smug Miranda look on
          from the gallery.

                             JUDGE STEVENS
                   You may proceed, Mr. Reid. .
          Everyone turns to Fletcher in anticipation.    In a voice
          quaking with fear...

          

                              VIRGINIA
                    Sorry. One of the kids threw
                    up in the car.
          Virginia takes her seat, leaving her two young children
          sitting dejectedly in the gallery with their nanny.

                               FLETCHER

                          (INCREDULOUS

                           WHISPER)
                    You brought your kids. . . to
                    your divorce?

                              VIRGINIA
                         (by way of

                          EXPLANATION)
                    Sympathy.

                              FLETCHER
                    Well, it's working. I feel
                    sorry for them already.
          The judge BANGS the gavel.

                               JUDGE STEVENS
                    Ms. Appleton, you may begin.

                                                     CUT TO:
          Dana Appleton questions BRYSON, a private investigator.
          Fletcher watches with mounting anxiety, NERVOUSLY DRINKS
          from a GLASS OF WATER at his table.

                              BRYSON
                         (referring to his

                          NOTES)
                    -- From March six through June
                    twelve, I surveilled Mrs. Cole
                    at the behest of Mr. Cole.
                    During that period, I noted
                    that Mr. Cole left each day
                    between seven-forty and seven-
                    fifty. Thereafter, Mrs. Cole
                    would frequently have a male
                    visitor arrive and stay for
                    one to four hours. I was able
                    to take several photographs of
                    the male visitor.
          He shows a photo - - o f a strapping hunk. Fletcher TAKES A

          HUGE DRINK.           .

                              DANA
                    I see. And do you .know what
                    Mrs. Cole and her male visitor

          
                    did during their frequent...
                    visits?

                              BRYSON
                    Well, they were pretty good
                    about keeping the shades drawn
                    -- but I sure was able to
                    hear. I made an audiotape of
                    one such., "session."
          H e hands her the tape. Fletcher refills his glass.

                              DANA
                    With the Court's permission, I
                    would like to play the tape.

                              FLETCHER
                    Your Honor, I object!

                              JUDGE STEVENS
                    And why is that, Mr. Reid?

                               FLETCHER
                          (can't help

                           HIMSELF)
                    Because it's devastating to my
                   �case.
          The judge is startled by his candor.

                               JUDGE STEVENS
                    Overruled..
          As Dana pops the tape into a player, Fletcher anxiously

          DOWNS THE GLASS.
          Periodically CUTTING to Virginia, Mr. Cole, Dan and the
          thirsty Fletcher, we hear Virginia and her visitor engaged
          in intense physical activity.

                              MALE VISITOR (O.S.)
                    So , what did you say? You
                    ready?

                              VIRGINIA (O.S.)
                    Oh boy am I ready.

                             MALE VISITOR (O.S.)
                   Good. Let me help you off
                   with that. Come on, lie down.

                              VIRGINIA (O.S.)
                   Wai t a minute. Do you have
                   protection?

          

                               MALE VISITOR ( O . S . )
                    Right here. Okay, now I ' m
                    gonna show you something new.

                               VIRGINIA ( O . S . )
                    Oh, I've never done it like
                    this before.                    .�.

                              MALE VISITOR (O.S.)
                    Don't worry, you can take it.
                    Oh yeah. That's it. There
                    you go. Yes! Yes!
          WE HEAR labored rhythmic breathing.

                              MALE VISITOR (O.S) (CONT'D)
                    Yes, yes, yes --
          As Dana fast-forwards again, then resumes... with still
          more labored breathing, building intensity and --

                               MALE VISITOR (O.S.) (CONT'D)
                    Oh yeah, bring it on .home --
                    yes! Yes! Yes!

                              VIRGINIA (O.S.)
                    Yes! YES! YES!
          The groans reach their incredible climax. There's a still
          moment. . .
          As the shy COURT REPORTER, the macho BAILIFFS and the no-
          nonsense judge all mop their brows, Dana shuts off the
          tape. She turns to Fletcher with a satisfied smile.

                              DANA
                    Your witness.

                               FLETCHER
                    No questions.

                              JUDGE STEVENS
                    No questions? .

                              VIRGINIA
                    No questions?

                                FLETCHER
                          (afraid to ask

                           ANY)
                    No questions.

                                DANA

                          (TRIUMPHANT)
                    Petitioner rests.

          

                                 JUDGE STEVENS
                    All right, Mr. Reid. You may
                    proceed.

                                 FLETCHER
                            (to himself)
                    How?!
          Gathering his courage, he stands, downs the last of his
          water, and moves to the lecturn. He's about to speak...
          when a WONDERFUL FEELING sweeps through him.
          After a momement, he grins.

                              FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                    Would the Court be willing to
                    grant me a short bathroom
                    break?

                              JUDGE STEVENS
                    It can't wait?

                              FLETCHER
                    Not unless you want to mop up.

                                 JUDGE STEVENS

                            (FRUSTRATED)
                    All right, but get back in
                    here immediately so .we can
                    finish this.
          Fletcher beams. Then necessity compels him to race out.

          INT. REST ROOM - DAY

          Fletcher stands before the urinal, taking the longest leak
          i n legal history. Relief. Then, he looks at his watch.
          It's only 4:15. '

                                FLETCHER
                    What did I think? That I
                    could piss for forty-five
                    minutes?!
          He HITS HIS FOREHEAD in frustration... and gets an idea.
          He HITS HIMSELF AGAIN and AGAIN, SMASHES HIS HEAD INTO THE
          WALL, POKES HIMSELF IN THE EYES, YANKS ON HIS EARS, finally
          KNOCKS HIMSELF IN THE STALL, where he continues his attack.
          A MAN enters, hears a commotion from behind the stall door.

                              MAN
                    What's going on in-there?

          

                                FLETCHER (O . S . )
                    I ' m abusing myself! Do you
                    mind?!
          The man looks disgusted. He carefully leaves the room.

          INT. COURTROOM - DAY

          The judge is PISSED. Suddenly the bailiff helps in the
          severly beaten Fletcher. The entire courtroom is SHOCKED.

                              BAILIFF
                    I found him like this in the
                    bathroom. Somebody beat the
                    hell out of him.

                              JUDGE STEVENS
                    Who did this?

                               FLETCHER

                          (TRUTHFULLY)
                    A madman, Your Honor.. A
                    desperate fool at the end of
                    his pitiful.rope.

                              JUDGE STEVENS
                   -What did he look like?

                              FLETCHER

                         (DESCRIBING

                          HIMSELF)
                    About five eleven, hundred
                    eighty-five pounds, crazed
                    look in his eye.

                                 JUDGE STEVENS
                    Bailiff, have the deputies
                    search the building.
          A HUBBUB rises. He bangs the gavel.

                             JUDGE STEVENS (CONT'D)
                   Under the circumstances, I
                   have no choice but to recess
                   this case until tomorrow
                   morning at nine.
          Fletcher smiles serenly -- until --

                              JUDGE STEVENS (CONT'D)
                    -- Unless, of course, you
                    think you can still proceed?
          Fletcher covers his mouth in a desperate attempt to avoid
          answering, but he can't repress the truth.

          

                                 JUDGE STEVENS (CONT'D)
                    Can you?

                               FLETCHER
                    Yes, I can.

                              JUDGE STEVENS
                    Splendid. I admire your
                    courage, Mr. Reid. I'll give
                    you a few minutes to compose
                    yourself, and then we'll get
                    started.
          Fletcher looks as if he has just been sentenced to death.

          EXT. COURTHOUSE STEPS - DAY

          Fletcher sits on the courthouse steps, miserable. PHONE

          RINGS.

                                 FLETCHER
                    Hello.

          INTERCUT WITH MAX AT HOME. AUDREY IS THERE.

                                 MAX
                    Dad...

                              FLETCHER
                         (summoning up

                          ENTHUSIASM)
                    Maxi-pad. How's it going?

                                 MAX
                    Great. You know Paul and
                    Emanuel from across the
                    street?

                                 FLETCHER
                    The twins.

                                MAX .

                           (EXCITEDLY)
                   Well, they never want to play
                   baseball with me, but I told
                   them I was gonna play tonight
                   with my Dad, so now they want
                   to play with us. Is it okay?

                                 FLETCHER
                   Sure.

          

                               MAX
                    Oh boy. We're setting up a
                    whole field in the yard.
                    Where we buried Petey the
                    hamster is second base.
                         (Fletcher sighs)
                    You're still coming right?'

                               FLETCHER
                          (sees Virginia

                           APPROACHING)
                    I'11 be there. I gotta go
                    now, Max. I'll see you in two
                    hours.
          Max hangs up.

                               MAX
                         (to Audrey)
                    He's really coming.
          She smiles, but she's worried. .

          COURTHOUSE STEPS


          
          Virginia approaches with her handsome lover, LAURENCE FALK.

                               VIRGINIA
                    Mr. Reid, you remember
                    Laurence Falk, the man from
                    the tape.

                              FALK
                    How are you?

                               FLETCHER
                    I've slipped into the seventh
                    circle of Hell, thank you, and
                    you?
          Virginia exchanges an anxious look with Falk.

                               VIRGINIA
                    Shouldn't we go over our
                    testimony?

                               FLETCHER
                    Well, basically the plan is I
                    walk you through the tape step
                    by step, I ask you questions--

                               VIRGINIA
                    And we give the explanation
                    you came up with.

          

                                 FLETCHER
                    Exactly.

          

                                FALK
                    So all we have to do is lie.
                    Sounds simple enough.

                                FLETCHER
                    Do esn't it? And I'll finish
                    up with a dramatic series of
                    questions, something like...
                    "Mr. Falk, isn't it true that
                    you and Mrs. Cole have never
                    made lo--"
          But Fletcher GAGS. He CAN'T GET THE QUESTION OUT.   The
          others look concerned, but he waves them off.

                              FLETHCER (CONT'D)
                    Sorry. I'm fine. "Mr. Falk,
                    isn't it true that you and
                    Mrs. Cole have never made lo--

                    IO-.H

          
          To his horror, he GAGS AGAIN, .unable to form the word.

                                 FLETCHER
                            (to himself)
                    Oh my God! I can't do it! I
                    can't finish the question if I
                    know the answer is a lie!
          At this moment Miranda and Mr. Allan come up the steps.

                                MR. ALLAN
                    Don't let me interrupt,
                    Fletcher. I just want you to
                    know I'll be observing this
                    a fternoon. Miranda insisted I
                    see you in action.
          Fletcher shoots a hateful look at Miranda. She smiles.

                              MR. ALLAN (CONT'D)
                    I'm looking forward to it. Go
                    get 'em!

          
          Mr. Allan and Miranda head into the building, leaving
          Fletcher more desperate than before.

                                FLETCHER
                   C'mon! Gotta rephrase the
                   question!

          

                                      FLETCHER
                         Respondent calls... Lawrence
                         Falk.
               Fletcher's clears his throat.       Here goes...

                                      FLETCHER
                         Mr. Falk, do you know my
                         client, Virginia Cole?

                                      FALK
                         Yes.

                                      FLETCHER
                         Isn't it true that your
                         relationship with my client is
                         entirely platonic, not?
               The "not" was INVOLUNTARY.       It takes everyone by surprise.

                                      FALK
                         Excuse me?

                                     FLETCHER
                        If I might rephrase your
                        Honor.
                              (trying again)
                        Is your relationship with my
                        client entirely patonic, not?

          X\
                        Is your relationship with my
                        client not entirely platonic?
                        Is not your relationship with
                        my client entirely platonic?
                             (thinks he's got
                               it, beams with

                               CONFIDENCE)
                        Mr. Falk, is not your
                        relationship with my client
                        entirely platonic?

                                     FALK

                                (CONFUSED)
                        No.     I mean, yes.     I think.

                                     FLETCHER
                        Yes, is your relationship with
                        my client not entirely
                        platonic, or yes, is not your
                        relationship with my client
                        entirely platonic?

                                    FALK
                        What?

          

                               FLETCHER
                    How 'bout just answering the
                    question you think I'm asking?              '

                               DANA
                    Your Honor, he's badgering the
                    wintness!

                               JUDGE STEVENS
                    It's hig witness!

                               FLETCHER
                    Did you ever not make lo--
                    Did you not ever make lo--
                          (losing it)

                    YOU HAD SEX WITH HER EVERYTIME

                    YOU MET, DIDN'T YOU? DIDN'T

                    YOU?!!
          Falk looks shaken as Fletcher barrels on, unable to stop

                                FLETCHER
                          (screaming at

                           HIM)

                    ADMIT IT! YOU .SLAMMED HER!!

                    YOU STOKED THE FUR FIRE! YOU

                    -DID THE YAM DANCE! !

                               FALK
                          (breaking down)

                    YES, YES,-- IT'S TRUE! I

                    HUMPED HER. BRAINS OUT! !
          A GASP from the audience. All eyes are on Fletcher.

                               FLETCHER

                          (WEAKLY)
                    No further questions.

                               DANA
                    Uh...no questions.

                               JUDGE STEVENS
                          (to Fletcher)
                    Call your next witness.

                               FLETCHER
                    I have no further witnesses,
                    your Honor.
          A MURMUR erupts from the crowd.

                               JUDGE STEVENS
                    You have no further
                    witnesses?!

          
          Fletcher meekly shakes his head, no.

                              VIRGINIA
                         (whispers, to

                          FLETCHER)
                    What are you doing? Call me.

                              FLETCHER
                         (to Virginia)
                    I can't.

                               JUDGE STEVENS
                   Mr. Reid?

                              VIRGINIA
                    Call me, damn it!

                               FLETCHER
                   You don't understand. I can't
                   lie . Until nine-sixteen
                   tonight, I can't even.ask a
                   question that calls for a lie!
          Virginia GRABS HIM BY THE TIE, pulls him CLOSE to her face.

                               VIRG INIA
                   L is ten , you bastard. I want
                   m y money. I am not gonna wind
                   up a 31 year old divorce on
                   welfare because my scum bag
                   attorney had a sudden attack
                   of conscience!
          Fletcher suddenly stops -- focused on something Virginia
          said.

                             FLETCHER
                        (to himself)
                   Thirty-one?

                               JUDGE STEVENS
                   Mr. Reid, we're not getting
                   any younger...
          Fletcher quickly looks at the blowup of Virginia's prenup
          and her passport.

                              JUDGE STEVENS
                         (he's had it)
                   Mr. Reid you have presented
                   virtually nothing in the way
                   of evidence and as such I have
                   no choice but to rule in favor
                   of --

          

                                  FLETCHER

                     WAIT!

          
          Silence.

                                  FLETCHER      �.

                             (DRAMATICALLY)
                     Your Honor, I call Virginia
                     Cole to the stand.
          Stunned, Virginia nervously makes her way up,

                               MR. ALLAN
                          (in the gallery)
                     What the hell is he doing?

                               MIRANDA
                     Kissing his career goodbye.
          The Baliff stands before the witness.

                                 BALIFP
                     Do you swear to tell the
                      truth, the whole truth and
                     nothing but the truth, so help
                     -you God?

                                 VIRGINIA
                     I do.
          Fletcher approaches,. CONFIDENT NOW, COCKY.

                                 FLETCHER
                     Mrs. Cole -- may I call you
                     Virginia?

                                 VIRGINIA
                     Yes.

                                 FLETCHER
                     But that would be a lie,
                     wouldn't it?

                               VIRGINIA
                     What do you mean?

                                 FLETCHER
                     Isn't your true name...

                          (BRANDISHING

                           PASSPORT)
                     Carlotta?!

          

                               VIRGINIA
                    Well, yes. But it wasn't me
                    so I started using Virginia.
                    Is there anything wrong with
                    that?

                             FLETCHER         �.
                   Not really. It's just the
                   first and smallest in the
                   tissue of lies that is the
                   Kleenex of your life. Let's
                   take one simple document as a
                   sample of your veracity, shall
                   we, Carlotta?
          He grabs her purse from the desk, rifles through it,

                               F LETCHER
                   Your driver's license. What
                   color are your eyes?

                               VIRGINIA
                   Blue.

                               FLETCHER
                   Tru e blue? What if I asked
                   you to remove your contact
                   l enses? What color would they
                   be then?

                              VIRGINIA

                         (RELUCTANTLY)
                   Brown.

                               FLETCHER
                   And here it says you're a
                   b l on de . Are you?
                           (off her silence)
                   C'mon, Carlotta, there's a
                   very easy way for us to check.
                   If you don't remember, perhaps
                   Mr. Falk will.

                               VIRGINIA
                   Brunette.

                               FLETCH ER
                   More like a dirty brown, isn't
                   it?
                         (she nods)
                   Let's see - . - " Weight: one-o-
                   five"? Please...

                             VIRGINIA .
                   One-eighteen.

          
               (off his look)
          One-twenty-six. I swear!

                    FLETCHER
          So on this single document,
          you basically lied at every
          opportunity. I'm sure a woman
          as vain as you would also lie
          about her age. It says you
          were born in 1964. What's the
          truth? 1962? '60? How young
          did you try to make yourself?

                     VIRGINIA

                (JOYFULLY)
          Wrong! I didn't lie to make
          myself younger. I made myself
          older. I was born in 1965!"

                    FLETCHER

               (FEIGNING

                SURPRISE)
          What? You're trying to tell
          us you lied to make yourself
          older?

                    VIRGINIA
          Yes! "  lied so I could get
          married! So .there Mister 'I

          GOT-ALL-THE-ANSWERS-BECAUSE-I-
          went-to-law-school'!

                    JUDGE STEVENS
          Mr. Reid, does this have a
          point?

                    FLETCHER
          Oh, you bet it does, your
          Honor!
               (on a roll)
          My client lied about her age
          because she was only 17 when
          s he got married. Which makes
          h er a minor. And in the great
          state of California, NO MINOR

          CAN ENTER INTO A LEGAL

          CONTRACT WITHOUT PARENTAL

          CONSENT INCLUDING--

                    DANA
               (defeated, to

                HERSELF)
          Prenuptual agreements.

          

                                  FLETCHER
                          (knows he has

                           THEM)

                    PRENUPTUAL AGREEMENTS! THANK
                    YOU VERY LITTLE! This
                    contract is void!!! The fact
                    that my client gets nailed �
                    more often than a two-by-four
                    is irrelevant. Standard
                    community property applies and
                    this woman is entitled to half
                    of the marital assets or
                    thirty-seven point three-nine-
                    five million dollars!!
                            (to Dana)
                    Yo . . . . a e . . . . T A T T T ! !
                      u         r           OSTT!

                          (DRAMATICALLY)
                    Nothing further, your Honor!

          A MURMUR OVERTAKES THE ROOM!

                                  /

                              JUDGE STEVENS
                         (banging his

                          GAVEL)
                    Q uie t! Let me see-the license
                    and birth certificate.
          All is quiet while the Judge reviews the documents. Then:

                                  JUDGE STEVENS
                    In light of this new evidence,
                    the court must rule in favor
                    o f the defense. Mrs. Cole is
                    hereby awarded half of the
                    marital assets -or thirtyrseven
                    million three hundred and
                    ninety-five thousand dollars.
          The courtroom ERUPTS.       FLETCHER'S WON!      Dana, Mr. Cole are
          devastated.                    '

                                  MR. ALLAN
                    That son of bitch pulled it
                    off!
          Mr. Allan gives Fletcher a thumbs-up; simultaneously,
          Miranda gives him the finger.

                                  JUDGE STEVENS
                    O r d e r ! Order!! Now i
                    understand both parties have
                    agreed to joint custody. Is
                    that correct?

          

                               FLETCHER AND DANA

                    YES--

                               VIRGINIA
                    No!   I'm contesting custody.

          
          Fletcher freezes.

                               FLETCHER
                    What?

                               VIRGINIA
                         (re: her husband)
                    Payback. For him trying to
                    prevent me from collecting my
                    thirty-seven million.

                               FLETCHER
                    He was entitled to prevent
                    you. You committed adultery.'
                    You only won because you're a
                    liar, remember? .

                               VIRGINIA
                   No. You pointed out that my
                   husband took advantage of a
                   poor underage girl. I was the
                   vic tim here. And now I'm
                   going to hit him where it
                   hurts.

                               FLETCHER
                    But -- but -- you said he was
                    a good father.

                              JUDGE STEVENS
                   M r. Reid? Do we have an
                   agreement on custody or not?
          Fletcher takes a distressed look at the children.

                               FLETCHER
                   No.                                            .

                               JUDGE STEVENS
                   In that case, there will be a
                   custody hearing tomorrow
                   mor ning at nine. Court is
                   adj ourned!
          He BANGS THE GAVEL. Everyone gets up, but Fletcher's
          attention is drawn to a commotion between Virginia and her
          kids.

          

                                    VIRGINIA
                          Stop that! We're leaving now!

                                    CHILD
                          I want to go with Daddy.

          V,'

          ,-

           .-
                Fletcher watches, horrified, as she drags the kids away
                from their tearful father.

                                    MR. COLE
                          Don't worry. I'll see you no
                          matter what. I promise.
                Mr. Allan has made his way up to Fletcher.

                                     MR. ALLAN
                                (re: the

                                 COMMOTION)
                          I love kids. They give you so
                          much leverage in a case like
                          this.
                               (pats Fletcher on

                                BACK)
                          Congratulations, partner. how
                          does it feel?
                And with that question asked, as he watches poor Mr. Cole
                and his kids, the truth dawns on Fletcher like a
                sledgehammer!

                                     FLETCHER '
                          Excuse me. Just a second.
                                (to the Judge)
                          Y our Honor? Your Honor?
                          Wait!

                                     JUDGE STEVENS
                          We',re adjourned, Mr. Reid.

                                    FLETCHER
                          Screw that!! She lies and she
                          wins ?! What are we, nuts?
                Everyone stops, watches Fletcher.

                                     FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                          T his woman --my client --
                          goes down with the frequency
                          of a nuclear submarine and we
                          just gave her thirty seven
                          million dollars because she's
                          a liar! And now as an extra
                          added little bonus, we're
                          going to let her steal, the
                          kids, too?

          

                             JUDGE STEVENS
                   Mr. Reid, you are out of
                   order!

                                 FLETCHER

                            (SCREAMING)

                 � SO'S THE HAND DRYER IN THE
                   MEN'S ROOM!! Do you ever stop
                   to ask yourself, why do people
                   hate us? Could it be because
                   what we did here today sucks?!
                   We don't care about the truth!
                   We don't want to find the
                   t r u th ! We want to win! We
                   want to win at all costs...and
                   you know what the worst thing
                   about wanting to win so badly
                   i s ? WINNING! Winning and
                   finding out you're left with
                   nothing!

                             JUDGE STEVENS
                   That's enough, Mr. Reid --

                             FLETCHER
                   -Let' s see what I' ve done
                   today. I've helped a gold
                   digging slut get richer. I'm
                   taking this guy's kids away.
                          (to Mr. Allan)
                   I don't like you in the least,
                   now I'm one of your partners!

                   YOU WANNA KNOW WHAT IT FEELS

                   LIKE MR. ALLAN? IT FEELS LIKE

                   SHIT! BUT TO TELL YOU IT

                   FEELS LIKE SHIT, FEELS FUCKING

                   GREAT 1 I
          Fletcher does feel strangely fantastic. Free,

                             JUDGE STEVENS
                   That's it, Mr..Reid.    I find
                   you in contempt!

                             FLETCHER

                   GOOD! I'M CONTEMPTIBLE! MY

                   WHOLE GODDAMN LIFE IS JUST ONE

                   BIG FAT FIB! YOU LIKE MY

                   HAIR? --
                         (mussing hair)

                   MOUSSED! SHOULDERS --
                         (ripping out

                          PADS)

                   PADDED! SHOES --

          
                          (kicking them

                           OFF)

                    LIFTED! TEETH --
                         (pulling out

                           CAPS)

                    CAP PED! FIV E-NIN ETY A

                    CHICKLET!!

          
          COMMOTION in the court.   The judge BANGS HIS GAVEL!!!

          

                              JUDGE STEVENS
                    Bailiff! Remove Mr. Reid from
                    the courtroom!

                               FLETCHER
                    Yo u wanna know the truth? Oh
                    yeah, let's let it rain... The
                    truth is is that I've traded
                    my life...a beautiful wife, an
                    incredible son for THIS PISS

                    POT OF BIG DOUBLE O'S!
          The bailiff grabs Fletcher, forces him out...

                              FLETCHER

                    GO AHEAD, YOUR HONOR, BANG

                    YOUR GAVEL .-- KEEP TELLING

                    YOURSELF YOU'RE A BIG SHOT! DO

                    I SENSE A CASE OF GAVEL ENVY!!

                    WHAT'S THAT UNDER YOUR ROBE --

                    INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE?!!
                         (the judge is
                          turning beet

                          RED)

                  . I TOUCHED A NERVE DIDN'T I?

                    WE'RE ALL A BUNCH OF BULLSHIT

                    ARTISTS!! IS THAT THE TRUTH

                    IN YOUR PANTS OR ARE YOU JUST

                    HAPPY TO SEE ME??
          Fletcher is pushed passed Mr. Allan.

                              MR. ALLAN
                    You just killed your career.
                    I hope you're happy.

                              FLETCHER

                    I'M BEYOND HAPPY MY BUTT FACED

                    FRIEND--- I'M EUPHORIC!

          EXT. AUDREY'S PORCH -'DAY


          
          A sad Max is seated on the steps. TWO other BOYS are there
          with baseball equipment.

          

                               PAUL
                    We're going home.

                              EMMANUEL
                    Yeah, thanks for the great
                    game, Max.
          Emanuel knocks Max's hat off. Audrey's been watching from
          the door. She goes and sits by her son.

                              AUDREY
                    Max, honey. Your dad had a
                    very big case today. It
                    probably just--

                              MAX
                    I don't want to talk about it.

                              AUDREY
                    Okay.

                              MAX

                         (SUDDENLY)
                    I hate dad! I hate him!

                              AUDREY
                    Honey, don^t say that.
          Max is really upset. It's "that look" and then some. The
          look Audrey never wanted to see again. She makes a
          decision.

                              AUDREY
                    Max, there's something I-want
                    to talk to you about. . .

          INT. JAIL AREA


          
          Fletcher's handcuffed and is led to jail by TWO OFFICERS-.
          There's a happy/crazedness to him now. The truth is
          pouring forth, but he looks way, way off the deep end.

          
                            (desperately,
                             p as si ng a phone)
                      Pho ne call!! Phone call!! I
                      g et to make a phone call!!

          INT. AUDREY'S KITCHEN -- DAY

          Max and Audrey at the table. The airline tickets Jerry
          gave her are in front of them.

                                MAX
                      When would we move?

                                 AUDREY
                      Soon. My semester's almost
                      over. You only have a week
                      left of school... You like
                      Jerry don't you?
                            (he nods)
                      So what do you say, should we
                      check it out? Jerry wants us
                      to come with him tonight. He
                      has to pick out a place to
                      live and he really wants our
                      help?

                                 MAX
                      Could I get a sled for when it
                      snows?

                                AUDREY
                      Of course you can.
          Max thinks, then:

                                 MAX
                      Okay.

          INT. JAIL

          F l e t c h e r ' s holding a phone. He's frantic, now.

                                  F L E TC H E R
                            ( re: ringing

                             PHONE)
                      Answer! Answer!! Answer!! !

                                       %

          
          The phone RINGS, Audrey answers it.

                                AUDREY
                      Hello.     .

          INTERCUT FLETCHER/AUDREY

          

                               FLETCHER
                    Audrey!   It's Fletcher--

                              AUDREY

                         (PISSED)
                    I can't talk now, Fletcher.
                    We have to pack.

                                FLETCHER
                    Wait, the most amazing thing's
                    happened to me! I am feeling
                    so good...

                         (REALIZING)
                    Pack?! Did you say pack?!

                                AUDREY
                    Max was sitting on the porch
                    again, waiting for his dad. I
                    won't let you do this to him
                    anymore. I won't let you do
                    this to me.

                                FLETCHER
                    A ud rey , wait. Please, I need
                    to talk to you. I .swear, I'm
                    a changed man. Just come to
                    the courthouse with a thousand
                    dollars and bail me out...
                    Hello?
                           (to a cop)
                    O ne more call!! I need
                    another call!!

          INT. JAIL CELL - DAY


          
          Fletcher is pacing back and forth. A GROUP OF TOUGH
          PRISONERS are on the far side of the cell, trying to stay
          as far away from Fletcher as they can.

                                FLETCHER
                    And what about our water
                    su pply ? You don't think "the
                    man's" dumped enough toxins to
                    render every dick in this cell
                    as lifeless as a beached
                    minn ow? You're damn rightJ
                    "The man" does anything he
                    w an ts. We're nothing but
                    pu ppets... Little game pieces
                    they move back and forth.
          A DEPUTY appears.     '

          

                                DEPUTY
                    Mr. Reid.     ^

          

                              FLETCHER
                    That's me. Fletcher T. Reid.
                    Pawn no. 332-154-9867.

                              DEPUTY
                    You made bail. Some woman.

          INT. OUTER AREA

          Fletcher rushes in.

                                FLETCHER
                   Audrey?
                         (he spots)
                   Greta?!

                               GRETA
                   Am I too late? Have you been
                   se xu al ly molested yet? I
                   could circle the block.

                                FLETCHER
                   Greta! Greta!! . . . . Look at
                   you, you well preserved,
                   underpaid, overworked,
                   underappreciated thing you.
                   G iv e me a hug! You came and
                   got me out!! Hug me!!

                                GRETA
                        (totally wierded

                         OUT)
                   Yes, well, I heard you went
                   all noble in front of Mr.
                   Allan so--

                                FLETCHER
                   Y ou know what?! I love you.
                   I loveyouloveyouloveyou. I
                   wa nt to hug you. Come here..,

                                GRETA
                   Mr. Reid, what has gotten intc
                   to you?!

                                FLETCHER
                   Just the truth, Greta.
                   Fifteen years of being stuck
                   in a lie is nowhere near as
                   powerful as one day of being
                   stuck in the truth.

          
                         (checks his

                          WATCH)
                    Oh, my God!! I have to go!
                    Thanks again, Greta!
                         (as he runs off
                          he calls back to

                          HER)
                    By the way, the truth is that
                    I need you and I couldn't file
                    a paperclip without you!
          Greta smiles, then catches herself, and quickly regains her
          "composure".

                                                     CUT TO:

          EXT.STREETS/INT. BMW

          Fletcher's driving like a madman...

                               FLETCHER
                          (on his phone)
                    Answeransweransweranswer...
          We HEAR a RECORDED VOICE:


          

                                 VOICE
                    The subscriber you called is
                    either unavailable or outside
                    the calling area.

                                 FLE TCHER
                    Shit!!

          INT. LAX UNITED TERMINAL - DAY


          
          A udrey and Max meet Jerry by the ticket counter. Max is
          wearing the Dodger cap his dad gave him. Jerry surprises
          him with a Boston Red Sox hat.

                                 JERRY
                    A little going away present.
                    I was gonna get you a bowl of
                    clam chowder but they only had
                    Manhattan.

                              A UDREY
                    Say thank you, Max.

                              MAX
                    Thanks.                     �.
          Max takes off the hat his dad gave him and replaces it with
          the Boston hat.

          

          INT. BMW - DAY


          
          Fletcher's on the phone.   He sails passed a parked POLICE

          CAR.

                                FLETCHER
                          (into phone)
                    Shelton, Jerry Shelton.
                    What time's that flight leave?
                    7:50. Thank you.
                          (checks his

                           WATCH)
                    Oh, shit! Shit!! Shit!
          Fletcher spots the FLASHING LIGHTS.

                              FLETCHER
                    Shiiiiit!!!
          He pulls over -- so quick he jumps the curb.

                              POLICE OFFICER
                    Would you step out of the car,
                    please?
          Fletcher obeys.

                              FLETCHER
                    Listen; I know I'm driving a
                    little crazy but i have an
                    emergency to attend to...
          The cop's just getting off his walkie talkie.

                              POLICE OFFICER
                    I'm impounding this vehicle.

                              FLETCHER
                   W h y ? What for? For changing
                   lanes?

                              POLICE OFFICER
                   I just ran your tags through
                   the computer. You've got.
                   seventeen unpaid parking
                   tickets.

                              FLETCHER
                   No ! I paid them! This
                   morning! That's the truth!      I
                   swear!!

                             POLICE OFFICER
                   Not according to the computer.

          

                                  FLETCHER
                     The computer is wrong! It
                   ' hasn't been updated. The
                     computer's a liar!

                                 POLICE OFFICER
                       You can straighten it out at
                       the impound yard.

                                  FLETCHER
                             (checks his
                              watch, firmly)

                       NO!

                                 POLICE OFFICER
                       No?

                                 FLETCHER
                    That's right, no! I'm not
                    gonna lose my son because some
                    stupid clerk was too lazy to
                    update the computer.
                          (getting cockier.
                           as he goes)
                    Now if you want to follow me,
                  . you can follow me and take the
                    car after I get where I'm
                    going. I'm a lawyer and I
                    k now my rights! Understand?!

                                                          CUT TO:
          A TOW TRUCK drives away with Fletcher's car, leaving
          Fletcher stranded.

          EXT. STREETS - DAY                      '


          
          Fletcher frantically tries to hail a...

                                 FLE TCHER
                    T axi!    Taxi!!
          No luck. He spots

          A PAYPHONE
          digs through the Yellow Pages. Finds "Ten Minute Taxi".
          Yes ! He fishes for change. Shit! He doesn't have any!!

                                 FLETCHER
                          (looking                    .

                           HEAVENWARD)
                    Noooo!!!
          He spots a man walking by.

          

                                  FLETCHER
                      'Scuse me, sir. Do you have
                      any - -
          The man turns. It's the same BEGGAR Fletcher was rude to
          outside the courthouse.

                                BEGGAR
                      Change? Absolutely.
          He continues walking.

                                FLETCHER
                      Could you spare some?

                                BEGGAR
                      Unquestionably.
          The beggar continues on.

                  '               FLETCHER
                      Alright, I get your point.
                      But this is a crisis! Look,
                      I'll give you ten bucks.
          The beggar pulls out a quarter and holds it up.

                                BEGGAR

                           (ADMIRING

                            QUARTER)
                      It's so shiny and new.

                                  FLETCHER
                      Tw ent y.       .

                                  BEGGAR
                      Minted in Denver.      Imagine
                      that.

                                  FLETCHER
                      Thirty-four. That's all I
                      have.
          A moment as the beggar thinks, then:

                                  BEGGAR
                      It's worth twice that to screw
                      you.
          He walks off, grinning.

                                  FLETCHER

                      JERKOFF!

          

                                BEGGAR

                    LAWYER!
          Fletcher turns, spots a familiar building in the distance.

                                FLE TCH ER
                    M y office!!

          INT. LOBBY FLETCHER'S OFFICE BUILDING - DAY

          He starts in the front door, when a SECURITY GUARD stops
          him.

                             SECURITY GUARD
                   Whoa, where do you think
                   you're going?

                                FLETCHER
                    I just need to use the phone
                    to call a cab. I work here.

                             MR. ALLAN (O.S.)
                   Used to work here.
          Mr. Allan has just exited the elevator.

                                             ...                       �

          

                              MR. ALLAN
                         (to security

                          GUARD)
                    Son, that man is tresspassing.
          The guard starts toward Fletcher threateningly.

                                FLETCHER
                   Hold it!
                        (to Mr. Allan)
                   I've got ten years worth of
                   dirt on you and this firm, and
                   I'm in the kind of mood today
                   to get a lot off my chest.
                   You let me use the phone or I
                   start talking!!

                                                     CUT TO:
          Fletcher's is THROWN ON HIS ASS in the street. Mr. Allan
          has watched from atop the stairs of the building.

                             MR. ALLAN
                   Still euphoric, Reid?
          He goes back inside.� Fletcher starts to get up when a CAR
          SCREECHES to a HALT, inches away.

          

                               MAN'S VOICE ( O . S . )
                    Fletcher! �
          It's PHILIP.

                               PHILIP
                    Seven-thirty... It's Karaoke
                    time!
          Fletcher runs up and HUGS the astonished man,

                                FLETCHER

                    PHILIP!!   LOOK AT YOU!!! MY

                    PHILIP!!

          
          Fletcher KISSES HIM ON THE LIPS.

          INT. PHILIP'S CAR - DAY

          Philip's driving Fletcher.

                              FLETCHER
                    You're saving my life, Philip.

                              PHILIP
                    You know, it's funny, but for
                    some reason I was beginning to
                    think you didn't like me.
                    Isn't that silly?

                               FLETCHER .
                    No. It's not silly.       I don't
                    like you.

                               PHILIP
                    What?

                               FLETCHER
                   I don't like you. I'm sorry.
                   I find you boring. I hate
                   ch ara des . And you wouldn't
                   know a good time if it sat on
                   your face.
                          (feels bad)
                   I'm sorry. It was easier than
                   telling you how I really felt.
                   Are you upset?
          A moment, then:

                               PHILIP
                   No. To be honest, I don't
                   like you either. You treat
                   people like obstacles and you
                   cheat at charades. .

          

                                FLETCHER
                     Then why are you always trying
                     to socialize with me?

                                PHILIP
                     You're a client. I figured if
                     I didn't try to be your
                     friend, you'd get a new
                     accountant.

                                FLETCHER
                     Philip, I don't like you as a
                     person, but I'm crazy about
                     you as my accountant. I ' d
                     never hire a new accountant.
                     Never!

                               PHILIP
                     So we don't have to like each
                     other anymore?

                               FLETCHER    -
                     Not at all.

                 .              PHILIP
                     All right. Sooner I get you
                     �to the airport, sooner I can
                     dump your sorry ass off.

          EXT. AIRPORT -- DAY

          Philip's car skids to a stop.    Fletcher jumps out.

          INT. LAX TERMINAL - DAY .


          
          Fletcher races in.

                                FLETCHER
                     Bedelayed. Bedelayed. Fog,
                     rain, something, anything...
          He sees the DEPARTURE BOARD
                " F li g ht 69. Departs 7:50. On Time. Gate 17."
          Fletcher looks at the clock -- It's 7:46!!   Holy Shit!!

          INT. LAX ESCALATOR

          Fletcher pushes his way HE a crowded escalator. Past
          people standing on the left despite the SIGN that says

          STAND ON RIGHT.

          

                                 FLETCHER
                    Excuse me. . . excuse me. . . Come
                    on folks, let's let the
                    frantic man pass... Sorry...
                    Thank... you... Standing on
                    the right, passing on the
                    left. They can't make this-
                    deal any easier than it is...
                    Come on... coming through...
          At the top,- a WOMAN in a NURSES UNIFORM asks for money...

                              WOMAN
                    Help the poor?...

                                 FLETCHER
                         (speeding past)
                   I don't trust you. I don't
                   know what the hell that
                   uniform is. Sorry.
                        (a Hare Krishna
                          tries to stop

                         HIM)

                   NOT NOW, TOGA BOY!

          INT. LAX - SECURITY AREA

          Fortunately, there's no line at the metal detector.
          Fletcher races right by but SETS OFF THE ALARM.

                              INSPECTOR
                    Please step through again.

                                FLETCHER
                   Ahhh!! !    Damn..;
          Fletcher frantically tosses his keys, cufflinks, his Rolex
          into a tray.
          He tries again.     It BUZZES again!

                              FLETCHER
                   What? I'tii practically naked!
          A guy in a TURBAN passes over him with a DETECTOR WAND.

          

                              FLETCHER
                    It's called a ZIPPER, Hodgy...

          
          The wand BEEPS over Fletchers front pocket. He reaches in
          and pulls out the now familiar BLUE PEN...

          

          INT. LAX - DEPARTURE CONCOURSE


          
          Fletcher races by Gate 15, 16, gets to 1 7 . . . but sees the
          PLANE Slowly TAXIING AWAY.

                                  FL E TC H ER
                    N ooo!!!
          Fletcher spots a door marked "NOT AN EXIT".    Goes for it
          when a FLIGHT ATTENDANT interrupts.

                              FLIGHT ATTENDANT
                    Can I help you?

                               FLETCHER
                    Look out!! ! --

                          (TRUTHFUL)

                    -NOTHING'S COMING!!
          The woman raises her eyebrows and looks anyway. And
          Fletcher BOLTS THROUGH THE EXIT!

          EXT. TARMAC - DAY

          He scurries down a flight of stairs calling after the plane
          which is moving away.
          No way he'll catch it.
          Then, he sees a MECHANIC working on a MOBILE STAIRS UNIT
          (These are the steps they pull up to planes) Fletcher gets
          an insane idea. . .
          The worker hears an ENGINE START, looks up to SEE FLETCHER
          in the truck, driving off, TOWING THE STAIRS.

                                  WORKER
                    Hey!!      Hey!!!!
          But Fletcher's gone.

          EXT. AIRPLANE - DAY


          
          Fletcher's DRIVING THE STAIRS trying to catch up with the
          plane. GROUND WORKERS react.
          Soon, the "stairs" are racing alongside the plane.
          Fletcher looks for signs of Audrey and Max but he's too low
          to see in the plane.
          He grabs the TOOL BOX'on the passenger's seat,-puts it on
          the accelerator, pinning it to the floor. Then, he CLIMBS

          THE STEPS!

          
          The "stairs" sway back and forth as he reaches the top.

          INT. AIRPLANE - DAY - MOVING


          
          PASSENGERS calmly read while outside FLETCHER speeds along,
          WAVING HIS ARMS like a maniac. The ENGINE NOISE drowns out
          his call for...

          

                                   F LET CH ER

                    MA X ? !!   AUDREYY?!!

          
          A STEWARDESS stands in the aisle, giving the safety
          lecture.

                                   STEWARDESS
                    In case of a water landing,
                    please use your seat cushion

                    AS--
          �Her MOUTH DROPS as she notices Fletcher.

          EXT. TARMAC - DAY

          Fletcher is BANGING on the windows. People on the plane
          POINT, STARE in amazement.
          Fletcher looks ahead, SEES the stairs about to CRASH INTO
          THE WING! Fletcher desperately fiddles with some controls.
          At the last second, finds the one that LOWERS THE STAIRS.
          He surfs under the wing...
          ...    and RAISES UP THE STAIRS at the other side.
          Fletcher's at the front of the plane, where he finally
          spots. . .

          MAX, AUDREY AND JERRY SEATED IN THE BULKHEAD
          Max has the window seat, Audrey arid Jerry are next to him.
          Audrey has on her headset and Jerry is looking for his
          seatbelt. NEITHER SEES FLETCHER.
          Fletcher SCREAMS to get their attention. But it's TOO

          NOISY.
          Then, Fletcher looks ahead and his EYES GO WIDE!

          FLETCHER'S POV
          The RUNWAY is ENDING!.

          
          Just then, Max looks up...SEES HIS DAD. Audrey is now
          trying to help Jerry find his seat belt.

          

                                    AUDREY
                          (checks under his

                           SEAT)
                     It's right here, honey.

                                    M AX
                     Mom!   Mom!!               '

                               AUDREY
                     Just a second, Max.

                               MAX
                     Mom, it's dad!

                               AU DREY
                     W hat? What about dad?
          Audrey turns. Then she sees Fletcher WAVING weakly...

                                  AUDREY
                     Fletcher?!

          AT THAT INSTANT -- THE PLANE MAKES A SHARP TURN!
          BUT THE STAIRS DON'T! They keeps going straight, heading �
          right for the END OF THE RUNWAY and a parked LOADED LUGGAGE

          CART. . -
          And BAM!   FLETCHER, THE STAIRS, THE LUGGAGE ALL GO FLYING!

          
          Audrey strains to watch as FLETCHER lands hard ONTO A

          MOUNTAIN OF BAGGAGE!

          CLOSE ON FLETCHER

          
          With all the strength he has he lifts his head, sees he's
          in one piece, and then COLLAPSES IN DEFEAT.

                                                      CUT TO:

          INT. JAIL CELL - NIGHT


          
          Fletcher's BANGED UP pretty good. His head is BANDAGED.
          He.puts a COLD COMPRESS to his BRUISED FOREHEAD and WINCES.

                                FLETCHER
                           (mumbles to

                            HIMSELF)
                     Oh boy, the truth hurts.   Yes
                     indeed.

                                DEPUTY
                     Mr. Reid. Someone made bail
                     for you.

          

          EXT. POLICE STATION - NIGHT


          
          Fletcher comes out LIMPING, totally dishevelled, missing a
          shoe, and still holding the compress.

                               FLETCHER

                          (WEAKLY)
                    Greta? Is that you?
          He looks up and is surprised to see AUDREY and JERRY
          waiting for him just outside the door.
          Max is sitting at the bottom of the stairs, still ANGRY.
          He sees his dad, then quickly turns away.

                              FLETCHER
                         (to Audrey and
                          Jerry, trying to
                          seem chipper)
                   Sorry I made you miss your
                   flight, not really.
                         (no response)
                   You're obviously a little
                 . upset, not that I blame you...
                   although I'll bet you'll still
                   get the bonus miles. . .

                              AUDREY
                    Fletcher, are you crazy?
                    What were you doing?

                              FLETC HER
                    That's two questions. A; Yes,
                    but I think the legal term is
                    temporarily insane. And B; I
                    was trying to finally have
                    that talk with you about
                    Boston.
          Audrey's patience are growing thin...

                              FLETCHER
                   Okay, okay... The whole truth
                   and nothing but the truth,
                        (with difficulty,

                         SINCERELY)
                   I tried to stop the plane
                   because it was taking off with
                   my life... you and Max.
          This comes as a surprise to Audrey. Not just what Fletcher
          said, but the way he said it.

          

                               FLETCHER
                    I know you've met somebody...
                    somebody pretty great... and
                    the truth is I wish you didn't
                    but you did and... All I ' m
                    asking i s . . . Please don't move
                    to Boston. Please don't take
                    Max away.
          She's definitely moved by Fletcher, but not convinced.

                               AUDREY
                    You can come visit anytime.
                    It's only a four hour flight.

                               FLETCHER
                    I don't want to visit him.
                    That's what I've been doing--
                    visiting him, dropping by,
                    stopping in. I want to be in
                    his life. I don't want to be
                    some jerk that sees him at
                    Easter. I want to be his
                    father.
          Fletcher turns to Jerry.

                               FLETCHER
                   I know I have no right to ask,
                   but can I talk you out of
                   taki ng that job? I can get
                   you a better job here in L.A.
                   I've got all kinds of
                   connect ions... what do you do
                   again?

                              JERRY
                    I design security systems.

                               FLETCHER
                    How symbolic. Okay great.
                    You know Pac-Tec?

                             JERRY
                   The biggest.

                               FLETCHER
                   One of their systems shorted
                   out and burned down a
                   supermarket. I got them off.
                   Another proud day for justice.
                   If I ask them they'll beat
                   your Boston offer in two
                   s ec on ds .    ..

          

                               AUDREY
                    Don't put Jerry in the middle.

                               JERRY
                    It's okay.
                          (to Fletcher)
                    Boston means this
                          (snaps his

                           FINGERS)
                    to me. All I want is for this
                    lady and Max to be happy.
                    Preferably, with me. Whatever
                    they want, I'll go along with.
          They both look to Audrey.

                              AUDREY
                    All I want is for Max to be
                    happy.
          Audrey looks over to Max seated at the bottom of the
          stairs. He's still upset.

                              AUDREY
                    You better know your jury.
                    You're hot exactly Max's hero
                    today.

                              FLETCHER
                    Just let me present my case.
          Fletcher walks over,, tries to be playful, starts WALKING,

          TALKING LIKE THE TERMINATOR.

                                FLETCHER/TERMINATOR
                    I have been sent from the
                    future to destroy you. . .
                    Argghhh!
                         (no response, a

                          BEAT)
                    You mad at me?
          Max nods. Fletcher's at a loss for how to begin. Then:

                               FLETCHER
                    You wanted me to stop lying.
                    But lying isn't the problem. ..
                    Why we lie ~ that's the
                    problem. Sometimes we lie to
                    make someone else feel better.
                    But sometimes we lie because
                    the truth gets in our way...
                          (touches him)
                    But being an adult means you
                    sacrifice some things for more

          
                    important things. Much more
                    important things. I was so
                    stupid, Max.
                          (pointing to his
                           own head)
                    Malfunction in vector one.
                    All this time you've been here
                    and I could see you anytime I
                    felt like it. And I...
                    didn't. Please don't go to
                    Boston. Max, I love you more
                    than anything else in the
                    world and you know it's true.
                    I couldn't say it if it
                    weren't true. Not today.
          A moment as Max studies his father, then:

                              MAX
                          (to Audrey)
                    He's telling the truth, Mom.
                    He's not allowed to lie. I
                    made a wish and anything Dad
                    says has to be the truth.
                          (to Fletcher) ..
                    Right?
          But Fletcher's looking at his watch...

                               FLETCHER
                    Max. .. it's 9:22.

                              AUDREY
                    What?

                              FLETCHER
                    Max, you made the wish at
                    9:15. I've been able to lie
                    for the last seven minutes.
          Max steps away from Fletcher.

                              MAX
                    So then, you were...

                              FLETCHER
                    No! It wasn't a lie. I just
                    wanted to be honest with you
                    and tell you -- there was no
                    wish to guarantee it anymore.
                    You just have to believe me.
          Max looks at Audrey, who is letting Max decide for himself
          Max looks at Fletcher and tries to decide.

          

                                       MAX
                          (to Audrey)
                     Mommy... do we have to go to
                     Boston?
          Audrey looks at Jerry, then back at Max.

                                   AUDR EY
                     No.      We don't have to.
          Fletcher hugs his son -- the kind of hug that says "I'll
          never let you go."

                                       MAX
                          (to Fletcher)
                     Can we play catch tomorrow?
          Fletcher smiles. . .

          EXT. PARK - DAY

          A beautiful park with a basball diamond. Fletcher is
          seated on a bench, waiting. He's dressed in sweats, with a
          baseball glove. Soon, Jerry, Audrey, and Max pull up...

                                       M AX
                     Dad! !

                                       FLETCH ER
                     Ma x i mu m ! !
          Fletcher picks Max up.

                                       MAX
                    Transformer!!! .
          Fletcher and Max do the TRANSFORMER ROUTINE again...

                                       FLETCHER
                     Malfunction in vector seven.
                     I have lost control of my
                     affection reflex...
          Fletcher starts KISSING MAX on the head over and over. He
          sees Audrey.

                                       FLETCHER
                     Procreate!          Procreate!

                                   AUDREY

                              (PLAYFULLY)
                     Fletcher... You're gonna lose
                     a limb--

          

                              MAX
                    Come on, dad, let's play
                    catch!!

                              FLETCHER
                    Sr. . .

                    UE
                          (starts to toss

                           MAX)
                    Here you go, mom.
                          (Max screams)
                    Oh, you mean with a ball...
          He puts Max down. Max runs into position. Fletcher stops
          for a second and turns to Jerry, man to man.

                              FLETCHER
                    I take back every dirty,
                    dishonest thing I ever said
                    about you, wrote about you,
                    faxed about you, E-mailed
                    about you.

                              JERRY
                    Appreciated.
          Fletcher tosses the baseball up and down.

                              FLETCHER
                    So, you up for a little
                    friendly competition?

                             JERRY
                   No, you go play with your son.

                              FLETCHER
                   I wasn't talking about
                   basesball.
          A slow smile from Jerry. Fletcher winks and tosses the
          ball to Max.

                              FLETCHER
                         (to Max)
                   Alright, it's time to show you
                   the old Fletcher Reid change up.

          
          Fletcher winds up in an EXAGERATED SUPER FAST MOTION, then
          instantly shifts to SUPER SLOW MOTION. Max CRACKS UP.
          Audrey LAUGHS. Jerry can't help but smile, too.
          There may be better things in life... but at this moment,
          it's hard to think of a single one. Honestly.
          

          

                              THE END