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The Black Dahlia Movie Script

Writer(s) : Josh Friedman, James Ellroy

Genres : Crime, Drama, Mystery, Thriller

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                            The Black Dahlia




                               Written by

                             Josh Friedman



                         Based on the novel by

                             James Ellroy






     CREDITS ROLL OVER

     Black and white newsreel footage from the 1930s. Clips from
     prize fights featuring two different boxers against various
     opponents. One a light heavyweight--pure finesse, a
     counterpunches; the other, stouter and stronger, a
     headhunting puncher.

     The intercutting of the two fighters suggests a possible
     showdown at the end of the newsreel. No such luck.

     END CREDITS

     CLOSE UP ON:

     A TRIPLE CARBON LAPD "INCIDENT REPORT" FORM trapped in an old
     Corona typewriter. The keys pound letters into the blank
     spaces.

     INCIDENT: THE ZOOT SUIT RIOTS...JUNE 10, 1943...
     REPORTING OFFICER...DWIGHT "BUCKY" BLEICHERT

     EXT. BOYLE HEIGHTS - EVERGREEN AND WABASH - DUSK

     A WORLD WAR II ERA PERSONNEL CARRIER transports twenty silent
     LAPD officers into the heart of downtown Los Angeles. The
     sounds of glass breaking and men screaming serves as backdrop
     for their arrival.

     We focus in on BUCKY BLEICHERT, 26, (The counterpuncher from
     the newsreels) as he jumps from the carrier.

     Bucky's minus his gun but plus a WWI tin helmet and a three
     pound truncheon.

     BUCKY'S POV:

     Hundreds of in-uniform GI's use baseball bats and two-by-
     fours to beat the shit out of Zoot Suit-wearing Mexicans.

     Most of the cops wander to the edge of the race riot and
     hobnob with the pockets of MPs and Shore Patrol who've chosen
     to "restore order" by cheering on their countrymen against
     the outnumbered but equally fierce zooters.

     Sailors shatter streetlights and shop windows. Darkness falls
     quickly on what Bucky rightly realizes is chaos.

     Suddenly Bucky's RUNNING--

     away from the action...

     down a side street and onto a

     QUIET RESIDENTIAL BLOCK.

     He slows to a jog, trying to gather his thoughts. And then a
     voice:

                          VOICE
               Bleichert! Bleichert!

     EXT. A BUNGALOW COURTYARD - SAME

     A POLICE OFFICER has THREE MARINES IN DRESS BLUES and ONE
     ZOOT SUITER cornered in a center walkway.

     The marines swipe clumsily at the officer with their two-by-
     fours as he bobs back and forth on the balls of his feet,
     dodging the blows like the ex-fighter he is.

                          VOICE OVER
               I already knew him by reputation, had our
               respective records down pat: Lee
               Blanchard, 43-4-2 as a heavyweight,
               formerly a regular attraction at the
               Hollywood Legion Stadium.

     The terrified Mexican stands frozen on one side of Blanchard,
     trying to avoid the entire mess as the policeman parries the
     marines' blows with his own truncheon.

                          LEE BLANCHARD
               Code three, Bleichert!

     Bucky runs into the courtyard and immediately wades in,
     fending off the marines' blows to jab at them with his stick.

                          VOICE OVER
               And he knew me, Bucky Bleichert, light-
               heavy, 36-0-0, ranked tenth by Ring
               magazine in 1937 fighting no-name
               opponents in no-man's-land division.

     On instinct, Bucky drops his baton and begins wailing on the
     marines with his fists, connecting hard punches with soft
     midsections.

                          VOICE OVER (cont'd)
               In our first year at Central we'd never
               spoke--but people spoke of us. Opinions
               about a fantasy Bleichert-Blanchard
               fight, and who would win.

     And now Blanchard moves in, lashing vicious truncheon blows
     to the shoulders of the marines, sending them one by one into
     a heap.

                          VOICE OVER (cont'd)
               I'd heard almost all of 'em: Blanchard by
               early KO; Bleichert by decision;
               Blanchard stopped on cuts--everything but
               Bleichert by knockout.

     The marines reduced to rubble, Lee Blanchard turns his
     attention to the Zooter: he slaps handcuffs on him and leads
     him away. He motions for Bucky to follow.

     Lee turns back to the marines:

                          LEE
               To the halls of Tripoli, shitbirds.

     One of them flips Lee off. The Zooter kicks him in the chest
     as Lee pulls him away from them, laughing.

     The three men start back toward the riots. Gunshots can be
     heard. Palm trees blaze up into the night.

                          LEE (cont'd)
                   (re the Zooter)
               Bucky Bleichert, meet Senor Tomas Dos
               Santos, subject of an all-points fugitive
               warrant for manslaughter committed during
               the commission of a Class B Felony.
               Snatched a purse off a hairbag and she
               keeled of a heart attack.

                          BUCKY
               You come all the way down here to roust--

                          LEE
                   (smiling)
               I came all the way down here same as you
               did.
                   (jerks a finger to the riots)
               Keep from gettin' killed. Happened to see
               those jarheads beatin' on a good collar--
                   (nudging Dos Santos)
               Habla Ingles, Tomas?

     The man shakes his head "no".

                          LEE (cont'd)
               He's dead meat. Manslaughter Two's a gas
               chamber jolt for spics. Hepcat here's
               about six weeks away from the Big Adios.
               Been better off getting a couple cracked
               ribs from our Privates First Class back
               there.

     Blanchard spies a home with newspapers stacked on the front
     porch.

                          LEE (cont'd)
               We'll never get him booked tonight.

                                                            CUT TO:

     LEE JIMMYING THE FRONT DOOR...

     INT. THE KITCHEN - LATER

     Tomas Dos Santos cuffed by his ankles to a radiator. The
     three men are on their second fifth of Cutty Sark swiped from
     the kitchen cupboard.

     Dos Santos sings a drunken Spanish version of "The
     Chattanooga Choo Choo" before slumping to his side and
     passing out.

     Bucky covers him with a blanket.

                          LEE
               Tom here's my ninth hard felon of the
               month. Six weeks he'll be sucking gas. In
               three years I'll be working Central
               Warrants. Jewboy Deputy D.A. over there
               wets his pants for fighters. Promised me
               the next spot he can wangle.

                          BUCKY
                   (not impressed)
               Impressive.

                          LEE
                   (not impressed either)
               Wanna hear something more impressive? My
               first twenty fights were stumblebums
               handpicked by my manager. My girlfriend
               saw you fight a couple times over at the
               Olympic. Says maybe you could take me.

     Lee gets up and wanders into the living room. From the
     kitchen Bucky watches Lee stare out at the flames.

                          BUCKY
               Whatta we do about the Mex?

                          LEE
               We'll take 'em in the morning.

                          BUCKY
               You'll take him.

                          LEE
               He's half yours, partner.

                          BUCKY
               He's all yours. And I'm not your partner.

                          LEE
                   (without turning)
               Someday.

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

     A CLOSE UP OF TOMAS DOS SANTOS' FACE

     screaming in silence.

     AS WE PULL BACK TO REVEAL

     Tomas Dos Santos dying in a large Plexiglas GAS CHAMBER.
     Bucky stands in the back of the room, forcing himself to
     watch. He can't stand it and leaves.

     IN THE FRONT ROW

     Lee also watches, elbows on knees and chin in hands. He can't
     stand it, either. He stays.

     IN THE HALLWAY AFTERWARDS

     Bucky watches from afar as men in suits shake Lee's hand and
     brush imaginary lint off of his BRAND NEW SERGEANT'S STRIPES.
     Their eyes meet briefly as Bucky retreats to daylight.

     Another TRIPLE CARBON FORM FILLED OUT ON THE CORONA...

     Transfer and Promotion...Sergeant Lee Blanchard...
     Highland Park Vice to Central Warrants...Effective
     10/14/46

     EXT. 2ND AND BEAUDRY - DAY

     An extremely bored Bucky Bleichert gives a man a speeding
     ticket and sends him on his way.

     EXT./INT. RADIO PATROL CAR - MOVING

     Bucky drives as a ROOKIE COP chatters in the seat next to
     him.

                          ROOKIE
               Yep, three years in the Canal Zone.
               Nothin' but skeeter bites and drunk
               fights over three-dollar skank tail...

     INT. THE CENTRAL MUSTER ROOM - DAY

     Bucky sits at his desk filling out a form as the rookie cop
     prattles on in the background.

                          ROOKIE
               ...fights over three-dollar skank tail...

     AN OLDER OFFICER

     walks by the rookie and rolls his eyes. Catching Bucky's
     look, the cop throws him a shadow punching one-two. Bucky
     smiles thinly. Returns to his paperwork. Then another cop
     passes by and breaks into a bob-and-weave. Bucky looks
     puzzled and annoyed.

     He grabs a third cop walking by (TOM JOSLIN).

                          BUCKY
               Somethin' up, Tommy?

                          TOM
               You, that's what.
                   (off Bucky's look)
               You know Lee Blanchard over at Central
               Warrants?

     Bucky nods.

                          TOM
               His partner's toppin' his twenty and
               goin' for early retirement. Word is the
               felony D.A.'s lookin' for a bright boy to
               fill the spot. Christ knows why but it's
               down to you and Johnny Vogel for the
               spot.

     Bucky takes a surreptitious peek across the room at JOHNNY
     VOGEL, fat, slick-hair and bad skin.

                          BUCKY
               His old man Fritzie's a Central Dick.

                          TOM
                   (chucking Bucky on the chin)
               But who'd look better when they bring back
               the boxing team, eh Buckaroo?

     Bucky shakes his head, dismissing the whole thing.

     INT. THE RADIO PATROL CAR - ANOTHER DAY

     Bucky drives on as the rookie talks and talks...

                          VOICE OVER
               Warrants was local celebrity as a cop.
               Warrants was plainclothes without a coat
               and tie, romance and a mileage per diem
               on your civilian car. Warrants was going
               after the real bad guys and not rousting
               winos and wienie waggers in front of the
               Midnight Mission.

     INT. BUCKY'S GARAGE - NIGHT

     Bucky hits a speed-bag, building up a sweat.

                          VOICE OVER
               I told myself I didn't care.

     He hits the bag faster and faster.

     INT. THE CENTRAL MUSTER ROOM - DAY

     A desk officer hands Bucky a note.

                                                            CUT TO:

     INT. CITY HALL - CHIEF OF DETECTIVES OFFICE - LATER

     A secretary leads Bucky into an office with CHIEF OF
     DETECTIVES THAD GREEN etched on the pebble glass door.

     Inside the office: Lee Blanchard, ASST. D.A. ELLIS LOEW, and
     CHIEF THAD GREEN. They all sit in matched leather chairs.

                          SECRETARY
               Officer Bleichert.

     She exits. An awkward silence.

                          LEE
                   (getting to his feet)
               Gentlemen, Bucky Bleichert. Bucky, Chief
               Thad Green, Deputy DA Ellis Loew.

     Bucky shakes their hands, nodding to each.  Chief Green
     gestures for him to sit.

                          CHIEF GREEN
               Read this aloud, Officer. It's running in
               Sunday's Times.

                          BUCKY
               "Before the war, the City of the Angels
               was graced with two local fighters, born
               and raised a scant five miles apart,
               pugilists with styles as different as
               fire and ice. Lee Blanchard was a
               bowlegged windmill of a leather slinger--

                          CHIEF GREEN
               Skip down to the fire and ice part.

                          BUCKY
                   (searching, finding)
               "Mr. Fire and Mr. Ice never fought each
               other, but a sense of duty brought them
               together in spirit, and both joined the
               Los Angeles Police Department." Blanchard
               cracked the baffling Boulevard-Citizens
               bank robbery case in 1939 and captured
               thrill-killer Tomas Dos Santos; Bleichert
               served with distinction during the '43
               Zoot Suit Wars--"

     A glance to Lee...

                          CHIEF GREEN
               Skip to the end.

                          BUCKY
               "Both men made great sacrifices to serve
               their city, and on Election Day, voters
               are going to be asked to do the same
               thing--vote on a five million dollar bond
               proposal to upgrade the LAPD's equipment
               and provide for an eight percent pay
               raise for all personnel. Keep in mind the
               examples of Mr. Fire and Mr. Ice. Vote
               "Yes" on Proposition B."

                          CHIEF GREEN
               Whattya think?

                          BUCKY
               Subtle.

     Blanchard and Green smile; Loew frowns.

                          ELLIS LOEW
               Prop. B's looking like a loser right now.
               But if we can drum up some publicity we
               may he able to get it passed in the '47
               Special. We need to build up morale in
               the department.
               Impress voters with the quality of our
               men. Wholesome white boxers are a big
               draw, Bleichert. You know that.

     Bucky looks to Lee.

                          LEE
               Fire and Ice.

                          LOEW
               Ten rounds. The Academy Gym. Three weeks
               from now. Right before the election. All
               the gate to charity. After that, we bring
               back the interdivisional boxing team.
               Wholesome fighters.

                          LEE
               Wholesome.

                          CHIEF GREEN
               Are you in, Bucky?

                          LEE
               It's not like you'll last the ten rounds
               anyway.

     Bucky eyes Lee quickly, assessing his larger but slightly
     softer physique.

     All the remaining eyes are on him.

                          BUCKY
               I'm in.

     Back slaps and congratulations all around.

                          LOEW
               I'm betting on great things from you,
               Bleichert. And if I don't miss my bet we
               may be colleagues soon.

                          BUCKY
               Uh, yes sir.

     EXT. THE CITY HALL PARKING LOT - MINUTES LATEER

     Bucky exits and sees Lee leaning against an unmarked car
     talking with a striking woman in an auburn pageboy cut.

     Lee waves Bucky over.

                          LEE
               Bucky I'd like you to meet Kay Lake.

                          BUCKY
               Hello.

                          FAY
               I saw you fight a couple times. You won.

                          BUCKY
               I always won. You a fight fan?

                          KAY
               Lee used to drag me. I was taking somme
               art classes so I'd sketch the boxers.

     Lee puts his arm around her.

                          LEE
               Made me quit fighting the smokers. Didn't
               want me doin' the "vegetable shuffle."

     He staggers around like a punch-drunk fighter.

                          BUCKY
               I'll try not to hurt you.

     A flicker of anger in her eyes.

                          LEE
               Sure make Loew happy.

                          BUCKY
               He's got money on me, I gather?

                          LEE
               Seems that way.

                          BUCKY
               And if I win I get Warrants?

                          LEE
               Seems that way.

     Bucky shakes his head. Turns to Kay.

                          BUCKY
               What do you think of all this, Miss Lake?

                          KAY
               For moral reasons I hope the LAPD gets
               ridiculed for perpetrating this farce.
               For financial reasons I hope Lee wins.
               And for aesthetic reasons I hope you both
               look good with your shirts off.

     Bucky and Lee break into laughter. Bucky sticks out his hand.
     Lee takes it.

                          BUCKY
               Luck short of winning.

                          LEE
               You, too.

     Bucky tips his hat to Kay and turns to go.

                          KAY
               Luck, Dwight.

     He stops at hearing his real name. But he knows she's waiting
     to see his reaction so he keeps walking...

     BUCKY'S BOXING MONTAGE

     --Bucky hits the heavy bag in the police gym while Lee spars
     in the background

                          VOICE OVER
               The 77th Street lieutenant tapped as
               official LAPD bookmaker had Lee as an
               early 3 to 1 favorite...

     --Bucky runs through Elysian Park with two pound weights on
     his ankles.

                          VOICE OVER (cont'd)
               ...while the real bookie line had Mr.
               Fire favored by knockout at 2 1/2 to 1,
               and decision by 5 to 3.

     --Bucky spars with a fighter, peppering him with jab after
     jab.

                          VOICE OVER (cont'd)
               Even the dicks in Ad Vice had suspended
               bookie shakedowns because Mickey Cohen
               was raking ten grand a day and kickin'
               back five percent to the advertising
               agency promoting the bond issue.

     --Cops exchange betting markers during roll call...

                          VOICE OVER (cont'd)
               I was a local celebrity again.

     EXT./INT. BUCKY'S CAR - LINCOLN HEIGHTS - DAY

     Bucky pulls up in front of a small ugly house in a tired
     neighborhood. He exits the car carrying a cardboard box full
     of canned goods and old girlie magazines.

     ON THE PORCH OF THE HOUSE

     a bony old man sits in a broken chair, aiming a BB pistol at
     some balsa wood airplanes scattered in the yard.

     ON BUCKY'S FACE

     disgust and sadness.

     This is DOLPH BLEICHERT, Bucky's father. Bucky approaches,
     pulling a chair up next to his father. Up close it's even
     worse: white skin stretched tight over blue veins, yellow
     rimming his rheumy eyes. Flecks of dirt and vomit on a filthy
     shirt.

                          BUCKY
               Papa?

                          DOLPH
               Guten tag, Dwight.

                          BUCKY
               Speak English, papa.

                          DOLPH
               Englisch Schiesser! Amerikan Schiesser!

     He aims the BB gun and fires at an airplane: the gun's empty.

     Bucky enters the house. Half-eaten cans of beans on the
     dining room table, an entire legion of broken balsa wood
     airplane kits. Alley cats wander in and out of the kitchen,
     nosing their faces into open tuna fish cans...

     BACK ON THE PORCH

     Dolph leans on the porch rail. Bucky returns.

                          BUCKY
               Say something, Papa. Get me mad. Tell me
               how you can fuck this place up so bad in
               one month.

                          DOLPH
               Du, Dwight? Du?

                          BUCKY
               Speak...English. Papa, please.

     He searches his father's eyes for a response and gets none.

     He surveys the house again. Somewhere in the corner of his
     eye we see the glint of an idea...

     INSIDE THE HOUSE

     Bucky on the phone.

                          BUCKY
               ...He's had another stroke. If you could
               just come by and clean the place up and
               keep an eye on him for week or so...a
               hundred dollars is fine. No more than ten
               days. I promise. I do. Thank you.

     INT. THE POLICE BOXING GYM

     Bucky leans against a wall watching Lee spar. Studying him.
     Mentally fighting the sparring partner's fight.

                          VOICE OVER
               He was better than I thought. It made
               what came next easier.

     INT. A BANK - DAY

     Bucky sits at a desk with an assistant manager and fills out
     forms. The manager counts out approximately $4,500 in cash.
     Bucky slides him the forms. The manager slides him the cash.

     INT. THE GOOD LUCK BAR - NIGHT

     Bucky slides into a booth across from PETE LUKINS.

                          PETE
               So...I'm surprised but I'm not so
               surprised. I hear you been lookin' good.
               Better'n people think.

     Bucky pushes an envelope across to Pete. He looks in it.

                          PETE (cont'd)
               I guess what I hear is correct. Then
               you'll be wantin' to place this with
               Mickey Cohen's indie. He's got Blanchard
               2 to 1--

                          BUCKY
               I'm not bettin' on me, Pete.

                          PETE
                   (a beat)
               Oh.
                   (another beat)
               Then as a friend I feel it's my duty to
               tell you this: you better make it look
               good.

                          BUCKY
               Knockout between rounds eight and ten.

     Pete nods his head, thinking.

                          PETE
               Dragna's got a guy really sold on you.
               Even money. Best you're gonna get.

                          BUCKY
               Thanks, Pete.

     Pete sticks out his hand.

                          PETE
               Luck.

                          BUCKY
               Short of winning?

                          PETE
               Luck.

     Bucky takes his hand.

     INT. THE BOXING GYM - DAY

     Bucky takes apart his sparring partner with a series of
     lightning quick counterpunches.

                          VOICE OVER
               I'd almost finished the Police Academy
               when the background check turned up my
               father's German-American Bund membership.
               Pressured by the FBI goons to confirm my
               patriotism, I gave the Alien Squad Sam
               Murakawa, a guy I'd grown up with, in
               order to secure my LAPD appointment.

     EXT. DOLPH BLEICHERT'S HOUSE - NIGHT

     Bucky watches from across the street as AN OFF-DUTY NURSE
     tries to get Papa Bleichert to eat a sandwich.

                          VOICE OVER
               The old fuck never knew any better. Never
               knew what he cost me. Or Sammy, who'd
               died at Manzanar. I was a good fit in the
               snitch's jacket and with a little
               alteration I slipped easily into the
               whole suit.

     INT. THE BOXING GYM - DAY

     Bucky watches Lee spar. His quick eyes spying:

     --scar tissue over Lee's right eye

     --Lee dropping his left when throwing the right hook

     --Lee tucking his elbows too tight and opening up his ribcage

                          VOICE OVER (cont'd)
               I had traded Warrants for a close-out on
               bad old debts, the eight grand I was
               gonna clear enough to maintain the old
               man in a good clean rest home for three
               years; the late round tank job enough to
               convince myself I wasn't a complete
               coward.

     INT. THE BOXING GYM - DAY

     Kay approaches Bucky as he studies Lee.

                          KAY
               At least he looks good with his shirt
               off.

     She waves to Lee between rounds. He blows a kiss back.

                          BUCKY
               Where's your sketch pad?

                          KAY
               I was never very good. Ended up with a
               degree in History. Masters. Lee's fight
               money paid for it.

                          BUCKY
               Education's an expensive habit to kick.
                   (beat)
               He shouldn't have quit fighting.

                          KAY
               I asked him to. Besides, catching
               animals gave him a sense of order. You
               have a girlfriend, Dwight?

                          BUCKY
               Saving myself for Rita Hayworth.

     A roar from the gym onlookers. Lee's sparring partner hits
     the deck, blood spraying from his mouth.

                          BUCKY (cont'd)
               Quits fighting for you. Puts you through
               school. Quite a guy. Quite a pair.

                          KAY
                   (flirting)
               We're not getting married if that's what
               you're wondering.

                          BUCKY
               Why not? Shacking's against the regs.
               Probably cost him a stripe.

                          KAY
               I have to go, Dwight. Good luck tomorrow
               night.

                          BUCKY
               You didn't answer my question--

                          KAY
                   (a throwaway)
               Lee and I don't sleep together, Dwight.

     She keeps walking. He just stares...

     INT. BUCKY'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

     A half-eaten steak and two beers gone. It's six hours later
     and Bucky's still thinking about Kay's exit line. Restless.
     He grabs his jacket.

     INT. HEARST BUILDING - HERALD-EXAMINER MORGUE - NIGHT

     Bucky flashes his badge to a late-night clerk who escorts him
     into the newspaper's morgue. Pulls a bound stack of newspaper 
     clippings and gives them to Bucky. He begins poring through
     them...

     A newspaper photo of a BANK shifts into live action:

     A GRAINY NEWSREEL-TYPE FLASHBACK (SLO-MO)

     An armored truck idles in front of the Boulevard-Citizens
     Bank. Three men dressed in guard uniforms run out of the
     front of the bank, an alarm keening in the background.

     Three police cars converge on the scene and a gun battle
     ensues... Two of the bank robbers are shot as the third man
     (the one carrying the money) jumps into the truck. The truck
     takes off, able to escape when someone from inside the truck
     throws open the doors and pushes the naked and bound
     legitimate guards out the back and into the line of
     pursuit...

                          VOICE OVER
               With no lead on the two escaped men, the
               heist quickly went from page one to page
               five. Two weeks later...

     A newspaper clipping headline: "Tip from Ex-boxer cop
     breaks B-C Bank Job"

     A still photo of Lee which becomes live action as...

     INT. A SMALL VENICE BEACH APARTMENT - DAY (FLASHBACK)

     A younger Lee and four other cops tear apart a small flat. In
     a closet they find BANK GUARD UNIFORMS, BANK BAGS, and a
     small stash of MARIJUANA.

                          VOICE OVER
               One of Lee's snitches fingered Bobby
               DeWitt, a greasy little pimp with a yard
               long rap, as the brains behind the bank
               job.

                                                            CUT TO:

     FLASHBACK: A HATCHET FACED MAN (DEWITT) LED BY HANDCUFFS
     THROUGH A GIANT CROWD...

                          VOICE OVER (cont'd)
               DeWitt howled frame-up the entire trial,
               never ID'ing the driver or coughing up
               the dough, even after damning character
               testimony from some of his employees,
               including one Katherine Lake, formerly of
               Sioux Falls, South Dakota and looking to
               go straight.

     FLASHBACK: LEE LEADING KAY FROM THE COURTROOM, HAND ON HER
     ELBOW...

                          VOICE OVER (cont'd)
               DeWitt got ten to life at San Quentin;
               Lee got Kay, or maybe the other way
               around.

     BACK TO PRESENT: Bucky walks through downtown L.A., hands
     stuffed in his pockets like James Dean...

                          VOICE OVER (cont'd)
               They both got a few weeks in the gossip
               pages before Kay dove into her college
               education and Lee down the hero's road
               ending in Warrants and a shack job with a
               woman he loved but wouldn't touch...

     Bucky passes A WHORE on the corner, their eyes meet for a
     moment and he walks on.

                          VOICE OVER (cont'd)
               You come off a winning fight. Sweat-
               drenched, tasting blood, still wanting to
               go. The handbooks who made money on you
               bring you a girl. A pro, a semi-pro. You
               do it in the dressing room, or a hallway.
               The eleventh round of a ten round fight.
               And when you go back to an ordinary life,
               it's just weakness, a loss.

     Bucky turns back to give the whore a second look but she's gone.

                          VOICE OVER (cont'd)
               To a fighter, sex tastes like blood and
               resin and suture scrub. I wondered if
               some day that would ever be different.

                                                            CUT TO:

     A HAMMER HITTING A BELL

     and the fight is on.

     INSIDE THE PACKED ACADEMY GYM

     Cops and mobsters sit shoulder to shoulder, cigar smoke like
     L.A. haze as

     LEE CHARGES BUCKY, the big man trying to cut of the ring.
     Bucky engages, dodging Lee's thundering blows and peppering
     back with counterpunches...

     **The general fight storyline is this: a very even and brutal
     match see-sawing back and forth, Bucky doing all he can to
     make it into the middle rounds. Somewhere around the fourth
     or fifth round his competitive juices take over and he begins
     trying to win at all costs. The two men hurt each other
     badly, and in the eighth round it's anybody's fight.
     Bucky punches toe-to-toe with Lee, abandoning his strategy.
     Lee knocks Bucky out.

     INT. BUCKY'S BEDROOM - DAY

     Bucky lies in bed, radio playing jazz. He looks horrible--
     face swollen, lip split, stitches across his nose. He sips
     whiskey from a bottle through a straw.

     The phone rings and rings. He refuses to answer it...

     INT. A REST HOME - ANOTHER DAY

     Bucky, bruised but somewhat better, stands in the hallway of
     a very nice rest home. He surreptitiously watches his father
     as the old man tries to grab at a nurse.

     EXT. THE REST HOME - MINUTES LATER

     Pete Lukins waits outside on the porch for Bucky.

                          PETE
               Well?

                          BUCKY
               He'll catch on soon enough.

     The scene widens behind the two men and we see the sign on
     the facility:

     KING DAVID VILLA

     Jewish stars adorn the sign.

     INT. BUCKY'S APARTMENT - DAY

     Bucky stands in front of his mirror clipping at his stitches
     with scissors. He hears a voice outside his window.

                          VOICE OVER
               Hey. Canvasback!

     Bucky recognizes the voice and goes to the window.

     EXT. THE COURTYARD - SAME

     Lee Blanchard, his own bruises fading, stands in the yard.

                          LEE
               You gonna hide in there another week?
               Ain't you bored yet?

                          BUCKY
               Gettin' there.

                          LEE
               Wanna work Warrants with me?

                          BUCKY
               What?

                          LEE
               Harrell's been callin' to tell you. You
               been hibernating--

                          BUCKY
               But I lost. Loew's deal--

                          LEE
               Don't you read the papers? The bond issue
               passed yesterday. Want the job, partner?

     Off Lee's devilish grin:

                          VOICE OVER
               Mister Fire. Mister Ice. The hero and the
               snitch.

                                                            CUT TO:

     INT. CENTRAL WARRANTS - MORNING

     A door marked "DETECTIVE'S MUSTER ROOM". Bucky, wearing his
     best SPORTS COAT AND SLACKS, pushes through the door.

     INSIDE THE MUSTER ROOM

     Full of the LAPD's plainclothes hotshots. All stand and give
     Bucky a standing ovation. Lee's there, too, playing to the
     crowd.

     On the blackboard at the front of the room: 8%!!!

     CAPTAIN JACK TIERNEY is at the podium.

                          TIERNEY
                   (as introduction)
               Officer Bleichert, the men of Central
               Dicks, Homicide, Ad Vice, Bunco, et
               cetera. I'm Captain Jack Tierney. You and
               Lee are the white men of the hour, so I
               hope you enjoyed your ovation. You won't
               get another one until you retire.

     Everyone laughs. Tierney raps the podium and speaks again.

                          TIERNEY (cont'd)
               Enough horseshit. This is the felony
               summary for the week ending November 14,
               1946. First, three liquor store
               stickups...

     Tierney begins the summary as Bucky's eyes wander around the
     room, taking in his new surroundings... Older men, coats and
     ties... He tunes back in...

                          TIERNEY (cont'd)
               And here's a collar'd please Cap'n Jack
               to no end. Sergeants Vogel, Koenig, have
               you read the SID memos on the Bunker Hill
               burglaries?

     FRITZ VOGEL AND BILL KOENIG, both hulking and unpleasant-
     looking (Fritzie being the elder version of his son Johnny).
     The two men shake their heads "no". Tierney disapproves.

                          TIERNEY (cont'd)
               Set of latents at the last break-in ID's
               one Maynard Coleman, two sodomy priors. A
               surefire baby raper. Highland Park's got
               four child sodomy unsolveds. Maybe he's
               our boy, maybe not. But between that and
               the B&E's I'd put Maynard as a high
               priority lamster right now. There's a
               list of his known associates on the
               bulletin board. Let's all take a look...

     INT. THE MUSTER ROOM - LATER

     The meeting's breaking up. A tall, elegant man (RUSS MILLARD)
     and a squat disheveled man (HARRY SEARS) approach Bucky.

                          RUSS MILLARD
                   (introducing himself)
               Russ Millard, homicides. Wife and kids
               thank you for the raise, Officer.

     Bucky smiles a dumb smile, not knowing what to say.

                          RUSS MILLARD (cont'd)
                   (re the other man)
               My partner, Harry Sears.

                          HARRY
                   (stuttering)
               Y-y-y-yes.  Th-th-thanks Officer B-B-
               Bleichert.

     Before Bucky can answer ELLIS LOEW grabs him by the elbow and
     leads him away.

                          ELLIS LOEW
               Officer Bleichert. Welcome to Central
               Warrants--

     When he gets him out of ear shot:

                          ELLIS LOEW (cont'd)
               You shouldn't have slugged with him. You
               were ahead on all three cards.

                          BUCKY
               The proposition passed, sir.

                          ELLIS LOEW
               Yes but some of your patron's lost money.
               Play things smarter here. Don't blow this
               like you blew the fight.

     Bucky's about to respond when Lee saves him--

                          LEE
               Ready to roll, canvasback?

     He grabs Bucky and they head out the door.

     INT. LEE'S CAR - LATER

     Lee cruises them through downtown, rambling about the job
     description.

                          BUCKY
               Why'd you really quit fighting?

     He pulls the car into a parking lot of a Mexican restaurant.

                          LEE
                   (matter of fact)
               Benny Siegel bought out my contract,
               scared off my manager. Said he'd get me a
               shot at Joe Louis if I'd take two dives
               for him. I said no, joined the Department
               'cuz Jew syndicate boys won't kill cops.
               Anything else?

                          BUCKY
                   (as they exit the car)
               One more. What are we doin' here?

                          LEE
               While you were dancing with Ellis at
               muster I checked Maynard Coleman's KA's
               on the bulletin and recognized the name
               of a fence. Think he tends bar here...

     INSIDE THE RESTAURANT

     Lee and Bucky slide into a booth on either side of BRUNO
     ALBANESE, halfway through plate of huevos rancheros.

                          LEE
               Bruno Albanese?

                          BRUNO
               Who wants to know?

                          LEE
               Police officers, Bruno. Let's make this
               fast so I don't have to watch you eat.

     Lee slides the Maynard Coleman mug shot to Albanese.

                          LEE (cont'd)
               We know he sells to you and we don't
               care. Where is he?

     Albanese burps.

                          BRUNO
               Never seen 'em before.

     Lee sighs. And then grabs Bruno by the back of the neck and
     jams his face into the hot cheese and goo of his food.
     Bruno's arms flap back and forth as Lee drowns him in his
     food.

     Finally Lee shrugs and pulls Bruno's face out of his food,
     blood from his nose mixing with the grease of the enchiladas.

                          BRUNO
               Versailles apartments. Sixth and St.
               Andrews.

     EXT. THE VERSAILLES APARTMENTS - MINUTES LATER

     Lee and Bucky pull up and look for a parking spot just as
     MAYNARD COLEMAN trots down the front stairs and gets into a
     car.

                          BUCKY
               Right there!

     They ease the car back into traffic and follow Coleman's car
     from a safe distance. Bucky picks up the two-way radio. Lee
     gestures for him to put it back:

     Coleman's pulling into the parking lot of THE POLAR PALACE,
     an ICE SKATING RINK. They follow.

     Coleman exits his car, eyeing a group of kids carrying ice
     skates and heading into the Polar Palace. He follows them
     inside...

     The two men follow...

     INSIDE THE POLAR PALACE

     Children skate around on the ice with a giant polar bear
     suit. Lee and Bucky scan the area--not an adult in sight. Lee
     spots some stairs leading to the restrooms and gestures to
     Bucky, who hustles down them.

     ON THE STAIRCASE

     Maynard Coleman, carrying a stuffed bunny rabbit, walks up
     the stairs toward Bucky. Just as the two men pass Bucky PULLS
     HIS GUN and puts it to Coleman's head.

                          BUCKY
               Police officer. You're under arrest.

     Coleman throws his hands in the air; the bunny drops to the
     ground. Bucky cuffs Coleman and leads him up the stairs as
     Lee comes down from above.

     A small voice from below Bucky:

                          VOICE OVER
               Let go of him! Let go of him!

     Bucky looks down to see A SMALL BOY pounding on his leg. The
     kid's hysterical.

                          BOY
               Let go a my daddy! Daddy!

     The resemblance is unmistakable. Two generations of Okie
     white trash. Bucky continues marching Coleman the elder up
     the stairs as Lee snags the kid, both the father and the son
     crying like babies.

     INT. THE HALL OF JUSTICE JAIL - LATER

     Lee and Bucky fill out a release form for the desk officer.

     Bucky looks up to see BILL KOENIG and FRITZ VOGEL march by
     with barely a nod.

                          LEE
               They got here fast.
                   (off Bucky's look)
               The confession.

     INT. CENTRAL WARRANTS - LATER

     Lee finishes typing up a report on a manual typewriter while
     Bucky talks on the phone. He hangs up as Fritz Vogel and Bill
     Koenig return.

                          LEE (cont'd)
                   (re the two meatheads)
               Play nice. They've got juice with Loew.

                          KOENIG
                   (stupid and proud)
               He confessed. Kiddie porks and the
               burglaries. Fritzie says we're all
               getting commendations.

     Bucky's POV: both Koenig and Vogel have small bits of
     blood spattered on their white dress shirts.

                          VOGEL
               Ellis loves the kid angle.

                          LEE
               You talk to Ellis?

                          VOGEL
               He's only "Ellis" to lieutenants on up,
               Blanchard.

                          LEE
               Least I don't call him "kike".

                          VOGEL
                   (flushing)
               C'mon, Billy.

     The two men push by with barely a nod in Bucky's direction.
                          BUCKY
               Play nice. Hm.

                          LEE
               Shitbirds.

     HARRY SEARS approaches their cubicle. He looks a little
     drunk. (And when you get to know him you'll realize that when
     he's drunk he doesn't stutter.)

                          HARRY
               Russ says good collar today.

     The men nod thanks. Bucky notes the lack of stutter and the
     presence of a liquor smell.

                          HARRY (cont'd)
               And Lee--I heard something you oughta
               know--I was over at County Parole--Bobby
               DeWitt got an "A" number. He'll be
               released to LA around mid-January.

     Lee bobs his head slightly as Harry moves off. He's disturbed
     but covers quickly--

                          LEE
               You like pot roast?

     EXT. A BEAUTIFUL DECO HOME - NIGHT

     Lee leads Bucky up the walk. Bucky's impressed with the house.

                          LEE
               Don't say anything to Kay about DeWitt.
               It'll upset her.

     INT. LEE AND KAY'S HOUSE - CONTINUOUS

     A doll's house of Danish Modern furniture, fresh flowers and
     polished mahogany wainscoting.

                          BUCKY
               You takin' bribes, partner?

                          LEE
               Fight stash.

     Kay arrives from the kitchen, smiling broadly at Bucky. She
     takes his hand.

                          KAY
               Hello, Dwight. Glad you could make it.

     And holds his hand about two beats than usual...

     INT. THE DINING ROOM - LATER

     Kay brings in the food. Bucky walks around the room, checking
     things out.

                          FAY
               Fairy tale come true, isn't it?

                          BUCKY
               Hm?

                          FAY
               The house. You and Lee partners. Fairy
               tale.

                          BUCKY
               Can't say I believe in fairy tales.

                          KAY
               Then you've never really had to. Lucky
               man. (beat) Lee! Dinner!

     INT. THE DINING ROOM - LATER

     The food is finished. So is a bottle of champagne. Kay pops
     another one, hitting Lee in the chest with the cork. Everyone
     laughs hysterically. They fill the glasses again.

                          LEE
               A toast...To Proposition B!

                          BUCKY
               To the Bleichert/Blanchard rematch!
               Bigger than Louis/Schmeling!

                          KAY
               To fairy tales!

                          BUCKY
                   (abruptly, drunk)
               To...us!

     He's referring to all three of them--something which doesn't
     escape or displease anyone. They clink glasses and drink.

     ANOTHER LAPD TRIPLE CARBON INCIDENT REPORT:

     JANUARY 10, 1947...Raymond "Junior" Nash...

     INT. ELLIS LOEW'S OFFICE - MORNING

     Lee and Bucky enter the Loew's inner sanctum where they are
     joined by Russ Millard and Harry Sears. A stack of L.A.

     Heralds sit on the desk, the top one folded to the headline:
     "Criminal Division's DA to try for Boss's Job in '48
     Primary?"

     Bucky's look of disgust says it all just as Loew walks into
     the room--

                          LEE
               Goin' into politics, Ellis? Give us a
               quote. (as FDR) "The only thing to fear
               is fear itself."

     Loew smiles thinly and hands over a photo and a rap sheet.

                          ELLIS LOEW
               Here's the man to fear.

     ANGLE ON THE MUG SHOT AND RAP SHEET:

     RAYMOND "JUNIOR" NASH:  Statutory raps, armed robbery,
     felony mayhem...Texas State Prison...Alcatraz...

     The cops are impressed.

                          BUCKY
               Give us the good news. He's in LA and
               actin' uppity?

                          ELLIS LOEW
               Witnesses made him at a stickup near
               Leimert Park over the weekend. Pistol-
               whipped an old lady. She died about an
               hour ago.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Anything common in the sex beefs?

                          ELLIS LOEW
               Negro girls. Young ones. All the
               complainants have been colored.

                          LEE
               Seeya in Leimert Park.

     As they walk out...

                          ELLIS LOEW
               Sergeant Blanchard? Try not to kill the
               man. I'd like to do it in court.

     Lee flashes a demon smile.

     EXT. CRENSHAW BOULEVARD - DAY - LATER

     A montage of shots as Lee and Bucky cruise south on Crenshaw 
     Boulevard. The beginning of the post-war boom.

                          VOICE OVER
               From November through the New Year, Lee
               and I captured a total of eleven hard
               felons, eighteen traffic warrantees and
               three parole and probation absconders...

     On Crenshaw's northern end, once grand and now dilapidated
     houses in the process of demolition, their faces replaced by
     giant billboards advertising department stores, jumbo
     shopping centers and movie theaters.

                          VOICE OVER
               After tours of duty, Lee and I would go
               to the house and find Kay. Sometimes she
               made dinner for us, other times the three
               of us would go dancing, or see a flick.

     Southbound, older wooden structures looking more and more
     unkempt. Empty lots...

                          VOICE OVER (cont'd)
               Always she'd be there, never in between
               us, but always in the middle. It was the
               best time of my life.

     EXT./INT. THE CAR - A FILLING STATION - CONTINUOUS

     Lee pulls the car into the parking lot. Jumping out of the
     car--

                          LEE
               This grand tour stuff's for shit. I'm
               callin' in some favors.

     He heads to a payphone and beings pumping coins into it.

     BACK IN THE CAR - MINUTES LATER

     Lee gets back in the car. He's pale, sweating.

                          LEE
               Got a tip. Snitch a mine says he's
               shacking with some poon in a crib near
               Slauson and Hoover.

                          BUCKY
               It's all colored down there--

                          LEE
               We fuckin' roll.

     He pulls out.

                                                            CUT TO:

     EXT./INT. THE CAR - HOOVER AVE - MINUTES LATER

     Lee and Bucky roll up on four men loitering on a corner.
     Three are black and one is white.

                          LEE
               Hopheads. Let's shake 'em for an address
               or a name.

     As Lee and Bucky exit the car, the four men immediately start
     the slow walk to the wall, arms over their heads. The white
     guy glances at Lee:

                          WHITE HOPHEAD
               What the---Blanchard?

                          LEE
               Shut up, shitbird.

     Lee pushes him closer to the wall and starts frisking him.
     Bucky starts with one of the other men, pulling out some
     marijuana cigarettes.

     Out of the corner of his eye, Bucky sees the black man
     closest to Lee reaches for something shiny in his belt--

                          BUCKY
               Partner!

     Bucky pulls his .38...

     THE WHITE GUY swings around and LEE SHOOTS HIM twice in the
     face--

     THE FIRST BLACK MAN pulls a SHIV free and BUCKY SHOOTS HIM in
     the neck--

     ANOTHER OF THE MEN goes for his trousers, fumbling for
     something as BUCKY SHOOTS HIM THREE TIMES.

                          LEE
               Bucky duck!

     Bucky hits the cement and gets an upside down view of Lee and
     the last man drawing guns on each other--Lee's three shots
     cutting down the man before he can fire his tiny derringer.

     Bucky pulls himself to his feet, stumbling past the blood-
     covered sidewalk and vomits in the gutter.

     FROM THE DISTANCE: THE SOUND OF SIRENS.

     Bucky pulls out his badge and pins it to his jacket pocket.
     Behind him, Lee is busy turning the dead men's pockets inside
     out--scattering shivs and reefers onto the sidewalk away from
     the blood.

     All the while Lee cries like a baby.

     INT. THE 77TH ST. DETECTIVES' STATION - LATER

     Bucky and a Detective exit a de-briefing room. Bucky looks
     worn but composed.

                          DETECTIVE
               Thank you for your time, Officer. And
               your police work, as well.

     They pass another de-briefing area where Lee sits with
     another Detective. Lee looks terrible, muttering and
     shivering.

                          DETECTIVE (cont'd)
               Your partner's taking this hard.

                          BUCKY
               He knew one of the guys. Baxter Fitch.
               Busted him once for loitering. Sort of
               liked the guy.

     The detective nods sympathetically.

     EXT. LEE AND KAY'S HOUSE - NIGHT

     Lee and Bucky walk up the front steps where they're met by
     Kay. She runs to Lee and embraces him.

                          KAY
               Oh baby. Oh babe.

     She escorts him into the house. Bucky sees a newspaper on the
     front porch railing. The evening edition of The Mirror.

     "Boxer Cops in Gun Battle. Four Crooks Dead."

     Publicity boxing photos accompany a full-page article. Bucky
     begins to read it when he hears from inside:

                          LEE
               Leave me alone! You'll never fucking
               understand--

     A door slam. Soon after the sound of Lee's motorcycle roaring
     off... After a beat Kay comes outside and sits down next to
     Bucky.

                          BUCKY
               He knew one of the guys.

     She nods.

                          BUCKY (cont'd)
               It was them or us.

     She nods again.

                          BUCKY (cont'd)
               Tomorrow's off-duty so treat him nice--

                          KAY
               Bobby DeWitt gets out in a week, Dwight.
               We're on edge. He swore at the trial he
               was going to kill Lee.

                          BUCKY
               We can take care of Bobby DeWitt.

                          KAY
               Lee's scared. You don't know Bobby.

                          BUCKY
               I know as much as I need to know.

     Kay gives him a look: that's what you think. She gets up and
     goes inside. Not knowing what to do, Bucky continues reading
     the paper.

     INT. LEE AND KAY'S HOUSE - LATER

     Bucky wanders inside, obviously fidgety and not wanting to go
     home. He putters around their living room. From the back of
     the house Bucky hears the sound of A SHOWER RUNNING.

     Bucky walks back to the bathroom, drawn there by the sound of
     the drumming water. The bathroom door is open, an invitation.

     He stops at the threshold of the bathroom. His POV:

     Kay stands in the shower, curtain open for Bucky's benefit.
     She faces him and he takes in the view of her nakedness.

     Her attitude is not one of seduction, however, her expression
     passive and fixed even when their eyes meet. She pirouettes
     for him, showing:

     A SERIES OF OLD KNIFE SCARS CRISS-CROSSING HER BACK FROM
     THIGH TO SPINE.

     The history of Bobby DeWitt.

     Bucky backs away, retreating as he chokes back tears.

     INT. BUCKY'S APARTMENT - MORNING

     Bucky's awakened by the phone ringing. He pulls the receiver
     off the cradle but leaves it on the nightstand. From the
     receiver he barely hears:

                          LEE
               Rise and shine partner!

     Bucky grabs the phone.

                          BUCKY
               Lee? You okay?

                          LEE
               Sure. Ran Mulholland at a hundred and
               ten. Played house with Kay all day
               yesterday. Feel like doing some police
               work?

                          BUCKY
               Keep going.

                          LEE
               Junior Nash's got a fuck pad on Norton
               and Coliseum.

     EXT. THE CORNER OF COLISEUM AND NORTON - SOON AFTER

     Bucky and Lee pull up to a mangy apartment building.

     INT. RAYMOND NASH'S ROOM - SOON AFTER

     They push the door open to reveal a filthy little flop
     littered with muscatel short dogs and used rubbers.

                          LEE
               Okie trash.

     They poke around for a minute, finding nothing. The smell is
     awful. Bucky goes to a window and pulls it open.

     HIS POV OUT THE WINDOW:

     IN A VACANT LOT ACROSS THE WAY

     A cluster of uniformed cops and men in civilian clothes stare
     at something in the weeds. A CORONER'S VAN parks next to
     three black and whites and two detectives' sedans.

                          BUCKY
               Lee.

     Lee goes to the window.

                          LEE
               Is that Millard and Sears?

     An LAPD PHOTO VAN pulls up next.

     Lee and Bucky sprint out of the room.

     EXT. THE VACANT LOT - 39TH AND NORTON - SECONDS LATER

     Photo men have already begun fanning out and taking photos.
     Bucky sees Harry Sears take a shot from a hip flask in full
     view of other officers. Lee and Bucky elbow their way to the
     front and see:

     The nude, mutilated body of a young woman, cut in half at the
     waist. Another wide cut down her center reveal an empty
     cavity--her organs have been removed.

     Her face has been bashed in and her mouth cut ear to ear in a
     leering smile.

     Even the experienced cops are rattled by the scene. They
     point and whisper and generally begin to fall into disbelief
     and disorder when

     RUSS MILLARD

     whistles harshly with his fingers in his mouth.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Before this gets out of hand let's put
               the kibosh on something. If this gets a
               lot of publicity we're going to get a lot
               of confessions. So we keep some things
               quiet. This girl was disemboweled. You
               keep this information to yourselves. Not
               your wives, not your girlfriends, no
               other officers.

     The men all nod, coming together as Millard takes control.

                          RUSS MILLARD (cont'd)
               No reporters view the body. You photo
               men, take your pictures now. Coroner's
               men, you put a sheet on the body as soon
               as they're done. Set up a perimeter six
               feet back. Any reporter crosses it,
               arrest him.
                   (noticing Bucky)
               Bleichert. What are you doing here?
               Where's Blanchard?

     Bucky indicates Lee, crouched down by the body taking notes.

                          BUCKY
               Nash is renting a room in that building
               over there.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Blood on the premises?

                          BUCKY
               No. This isn't him.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               The lab'll be the judge of that.

     Millard and Bucky look dawn the street to see cars swinging
     onto Norton, beelining for the commotion. Reporters and
     photographers begin pouring out of their cars, quickly coming
     up against a line of cops keeping them from the body.

     Bucky makes his way over to Lee, unable to stop staring at
     the body.

                          BUCKY
               Hey. Junior Nash, remember?

                          LEE
               He didn't do this.

                          BUCKY
               No. He beat an old woman to death. That's
               why he's our priority warrantee.

                          LEE
               Not anymore.

                          BUCKY
               This ain't ours, partner--

                          LEE
                   (on edge)
               It is now, partner.

     EXT. THE CRIME SCENE - LATER

     Too sheet-covered stretchers are shoved into the coroner's
     wagon. The doors slam shut and the car pulls away.

                                                            CUT TO:

     RUSS MILLARD DIVIDING A STREET ATLAS INTO FOOTBEATS

     as fifteen officers (including Lee and Bucky) wait for their 
     assignment.

     A MONTAGE OF QUESTIONING

     Cops ring doorbells throughout Leimert Park:

                          OFFICER
                   (to an old woman)
               Have you heard female screams...

                          BUCKY
                   (to an off-duty serviceman)
               ...anyone discarding women's clothing?

                          LEE
                   (to a little kid)
               ...seen anyone in the lot on 39th...

                          BUCKY
                   (to a housewife)
               ...and what about this man?
                   (holds out a photo of Junior
                    Nash)

     To all of these questions a big fat "no".

     INT. THE OLYMPIC BOXING ARENA - NIGHHT

     Bucky watches two Mexican bantamweights beat each other
     bloody. An EMPTY SEAT next to him. Irritated, he gets up and
     leaves.

     ENT. 39TH AND NORTON - NIGHT - LATER

     Bucky gets out of his car and finds Lee standing inside the
     crime scene rope watching lab techs poke around in the weeds.
     The entire area is lit up by arclights, illuminating the two
     quicklime outlines of the body parts.

                          BUCKY
               You were supposed to meet me at the
               fights tonight, remember?

                          LEE
               Priority. Remember.

                          BUCKY
               Priority for the Bureau. Not for us.

                          LEE
               Nice white girl gets snuffed. Gotta show
               the voters they did the right thing
               passing the bond issue. It's a showcase.
               It's A-plus, Buck. We don't miss this.

                          BUCKY
               We've had enough headlines for the week.

     Lee points to the body outline. His hand shakes a bit and
     maybe for the first time we sense he's wired on something.

                          LEE
               With or without you, partner.

     Bucky shakes his head and begins walking away.

                          LEE (cont'd)
               With or without you.

                          BUCKY
               I heard you.

     INT. THE SQUAD ROOM - NEXT DAY

     Bucky enters a mob scene. One cop holds up a front page
     headline: "Hunt Werewolf's Den in Torture Slaying"

     Along a bench, five derelict-looking men are manacled to a
     bench. A cop walks by, notes Bucky's confusion:

                          OFFICER
               Confessors.

     Just then the interrogation room door opens and Bill Koenig
     leads a doubled-over fat man out of the door.

                          KOENIG
               He didn't do it.

     A couple officers clap satirically at their desks.

                          BUCKY
                   (to another cop)
               Blanchard?

                          OFFICER
               In with Loew.(beat) And reporters.

     Off Bucky's concerned look we

                                                            CUT TO:

     INT. ELLIS LOEW'S OFFICE - MORNING

     Bucky walks in to see Loew holding a press conference, Lee
     dressed in a suit and sitting at his side.

                          ELLIS LOEW
               ...and the heinous nature of this killing
               makes it imperative to catch this fiend
               as soon as possible. A number of
               specially trained officers, including Mr.
               Fire and his partner Mr. Ice...

     ON BUCKY'S FACE

     Disbelief. Disgust.

     BACK IN THE WARRANTS CUBICLE - LATER

     Lee catches up with a pissed off Bucky.

                          BUCKY
               You got us detached?

                          LEE
               Slow and easy, Bucky. First I gave Loew a
               memo saying Nash blew our jurisdiction--

                          BUCKY
               You did what?

                          LEE
               It's all right. The APB still stands.
               We've got the pad staked. He's covered.

     Bucky's face says he's not sold on Lee's reasoning.

                          LEE (cont'd)
               One week. Just one week. After that, it's
               back to Junior. I promise.

     Bucky studies Lee's resolve; he relents.

                          LEE (cont'd)
               Copacetic.

                                                            CUT TO:

     INT. PATHOLOGY ROOM - LATER

     Antiseptic white with metallic slab tables. Two objects
     covered in sheets lay on the table.

     Bucky, Lee, Russ Millard and Harry Sears sit on benches
     facing the table. THE CORONER and a STENOGRAPHER NUN stand
     over the body. The coroner pulls the sheets off.

                          LEE
               Jesus, Bucky.

                          CORONER
               On gross pathology, we have a female
               Caucasian between sixteen and thirty.
               Cadaver is presented in two halves with
               bisection level with the umbilicus.

     The nun scribbles furiously to keep up. The officers are torn
     between staring at their shoes and at the body.

                          CORONER (cont'd)
               ...Through-and through laceration from
               both mouth corners...no visible signs of
               neck bruises...massive depressed skull
               fractures...Inspection of upper half
               abdominal cavity reveals no free-flowing
               blood. Intestines, stomach, liver and
               spleen removed.

     The doctor stops to allow the nun time to catch up. Russ
     Millard clears his throat.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Is it...all right to smoke, doctor?

                          CORONER
               She's not going to mind.

     Both Russ and Harry light up.

                          CORONER (cont'd)
               Lower half of the cadaver reveals removal
               of reproductive organs...Both legs broken
               at the knee, and healing, light lash
               marks on the upper back and shoulders...

     The door opens and a police officer enters, handing a sheet
     of paper to Millard and speaking to him briefly. Millard
     reads the sheet and hands it to Harry, who then hands it to
     Lee.

                          LEE
                   (reading)
               Bingo.

     He hands it to Bucky.

     The note: "Girl ID'd as Elizabeth Ann Short, DOB
     7/29/24, Medford, Mass."

     The coroner steps back from the table.

                          CORONER
               Questions?

                          RUSS MILLARD
               What's your best guess?

                          CORONER
               Here's what she wasn't. She wasn't raped,
               she wasn't pregnant, dried semen
               indicates voluntary intercourse within
               the last week...She took what I'd call a
               gentle whipping in the last ten days...In
               terms of the nitty-gritty...She was
               probably tortured with a knife for thirty-
               six to forty-eight hours before death.
               The cause of which is either the mouth
               wound or more likely she was beaten to
               death with something like a baseball bat.

                          LEE
               What about her insides?

                          CORONER
               They came out after death. Then I'd say
               he drained the blood from the body and
               washed it clean, probably in a bathtub.

                          LEE
               Did the guy know anything about medicine
               or anatomy?

                          CORONER
               Maybe. Probably not a surgeon type--but
               that doesn't rule out veterinary
               training, biological training, or my
               Pathology for Beginners class at UCLA.
               Has she got a name yet?

     The cops look to each other, hesitant to speak her name.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Elizabeth Short.

                          CORONER
                   (saluting heaven)
               God love you, Elizabeth.
                   (to Millard)
               Russell, when you get the son of a bitch
               who did this to her, give him a kick in
               the balls and tell him it's from
               Frederick D. Newbarr, M.D. Now all of you
               get out of here, I've got a date with a
               jumper suicide in ten minutes.

     INT. CENTRAL DIVISION BULLPEN - LATER

     Jack Tierney posts mug shots of Elizabeth Short as Russ,
     Harry, Lee and Bucky look over his shoulder. (In the
     background we can hear the by-now constant droning of Ellis
     Loew to reporters, both in person and over the phone)

                          CAPTAIN JACK
               Cops popped her in '43. Santa Barbara.
               Underage drinking. Other than that she's
               clean. Four sisters. Parents divorced.
               Father's here in LA. Hear he sold some
               old portrait photos of her to the Herald.

     Russ makes a noise of disgust.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               How many confessions so far?

                          CAPTAIN JACK
               Eighteen.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Double that by morning. More if Loew got
               the press excited with his purple prose.

                          LOEW
                   (he's been eavesdropping)
               I'd say my prose fits the crime,
               Lieutenant.

     Reveal Loew with Koenig and Fritz Vogel behind him.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Too much publicity is a hindrance, Ellis.
               If you were a policeman you'd know that.

     Loew flushes and gives Millard a dark look.

                          ELLIS LOEW
                   (to Tierney)
               Captain have you sent men to talk to the
               victim's father?

                          CAPTAIN JACK
               Not yet, Ellis.

                          ELLIS LOEW
               How about Vogel and Koenig?

     Tierney looks to Millard. The second in command shakes his
     head ever so slightly. We understand that even though he's
     second in command to Jack he's in charge.

                          CAPTAIN JACK
               Aaah, Russ, who do you think we should
               send?

                                                            CUT TO:

     EXT. WILSHIRE DISTRICT - DUSK

     A garage apartment at the rear of a big Victorian house. Lee
     and Bucky amble up and ring the buzzer.

     A skinny man (CLEO SHORT) in his fifties opens the door,
     eyeing them narrowly.

                          CLEO SHORT
               Cops, huh?

     He leads them inside. The apartment resembles its resident,
     soiled, worn and ugly.

                          CLEO SHORT (cont'd)
               I've got an alibi, just in case you think
               I did it. Tighter than a crab's ass, and
               that is air tight.

     The two cops sit down, sizing up his hostility.

                          BUCKY
               I'm Detective Bleichert, Mr. Short. This
               is Sergeant Blanchard. We'd like to
               express our condolences for the loss of
               your daughter.

                          CLEO SHORT
               I know who you are. Neither of you'da
               lasted a round with Gentleman Jim
               Jeffries.
               (beat) As for Betty, c'est la vie. She
               called the tune, she paid the piper.
               (beat) You wanna hear my alibi?

                          LEE
               Since you're so anxious to tell it.

                          CLEO SHORT
               Johnny on the spot at my job. Twenty-
               seven straight hours. Refrigerator
               repairman. Twenty-seven straight and the
               last seventeen overtime. Call my boss.
               He'll alibi me up tighter than a popcorn
               fart, and that's air tight.

                          BUCKY
               When was the last time you saw your
               daughter?

                          CLEO SHORT
               Betty came west in '43 with stars in her
               eyes. I promised her three squares and a
               five-spot if she kept the house tidy.

     The cops look around at the squalor.

                          CLEO SHORT (cont'd)
               Gave her the boot in July. She moved to
               Santa Barbara. Sent me a postcard couple
               weeks later. Some soldier beat her up
               bad. Last I heard from her.

                          BUCKY
               Was that soldier her boyfriend?

     The old man lets out a hoot.

                          CLEO SHORT
               They were all her boyfriends! Not so ugly
               and wearing a uniform, can't go wrong
               there. Betty believed in quantity before
               quality.

                          LEE
               You calling your own daughter a tramp?

                          CLEO SHORT
               Got five daughters. One bad apple ain't
               so bad.

     Lee's about to burst. Bucky motions for him to take a walk.
     Lee goes through the den into the bathroom. From his view
     Bucky can see Lee chase a couple pills with a glass of
     water...

                          BUCKY
               Any names, Mr. Short?

                          CLEO SHORT
               Tom, Dick, Harry. Don't matter.
                   (he drifts for a moment)
               Said she was looking for movie work
               but...just paraded the Boulevard in those
               black get-ups of hers.

     Lee returns to the room.

                          CLEO SHORT (cont'd)
               Who wouldn't get herself killed doin'
               that? Who? Who wouldn't?

     EXT. CLEO SHORT'S APARTMENT - MINUTES LATER

     The two men walk out, disgusted.

                          LEE
               Jesus fuck. We just got handed the entire
               U.S. Armed forces as suspects.

                          BUCKY
               Flip to see who writes it up?

                          LEE
               I'm staking Nash's pad for the night. See
               if we get any strange drive-bys at the
               murder sight. Do me a favor and drop in
               on Kay. She's worried about me.

                          BUCKY
               She's a smart woman.

     INT. LEE AND KAY'S HOUSE - NIGHT

     Bucky opens the front door to find Kay reading a book on the
     couch. She doesn't even look up.

                          KAY
               Hi, Dwight.

                          BUCKY
               How'd you know it was me?

                          KAY
               Lee stomps, you tread lightly.

     Bucky appreciates her subtext.

                          BUCKY
               Lee's--

                          KAY
               Let me guess...Lee's up all night--
               probably on Benzedrine again--working
               that poor girl's murder--

     She says this as fact, not judgement. She knows him.

                          KAY
               You're worried about him. And he's
               worried about me.
                   (beat)
               But who's worried about you? Is that left
               for me?

                          BUCKY
               No need for that.

                          KAY
               For such a cautious man you're quite a
               hardcase.

                          BUCKY
               It's just...He's done a lot for me.

     Kay smiles, sweeps her arms around the perfect living room as
     if to reinforce to Bucky all Lee's done for her.

     The point is not lost on him.

     She crosses to him and kisses him softly on the cheek.

                          KAY (cont'd)
               Good night.

     INT. LEE AND KAY'S HOUSE - CONTINUOUS

     Bucky sits at their kitchen table, eating a ham sandwich with
     a glass of milk and filling out the police reports.

     INT. THE HOMICIDE BULLPEN - MORNING

     Bucky walks in reading the Herald front page: A picture of
     Elizabeth Short in a striking black dress. Underneath:"The
     Black Dahlia".

     He stops at a room where two detectives are sorting through
     a steamer trunk full of letters and assorted personal effects.

                          RUSS MILLARD (O.S.)
                   (re trunk)
               Found it in storage down at the railway.
               Carbons of mash notes to sailors.
               Hundreds of 'em.

     Bucky shows him the newspaper.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Thank our friend Bevo Means at the
               Herald. Bevo's painting Betty and her
               black dress like some actress in that
               Alan Ladd movie, The Blue Dahlia. Should
               triple our confessions.

                          BUCKY
               Great.

                          RUSS MILLARD (cont'd)
               Hollywood will fuck you when no else
               will. What do you think?

                          BUCKY
               I think I want to go back to Warrants.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               No dice. You're a bright penny and I want
               you here.
                   (hands him a piece of paper)
               Betty's last known residences and KA's.
               Go to University Station and pick up Bill
               Koenig. Fritzie's sick. Keep Bill on a
               tight leash, and you write the report
               because Billy's practically illiterate.

                          BUCKY
               Lieutenant--

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Call me Russ and get out of here.

     Millard gestures for him to leave.

     EXT. AN APARTMENT HOUSE - LATER

     Bucky and Koenig walk up to the steps of an apartment house.

                          BUCKY
               How do you want to play this, Sarge?

                          KOENIG
               Fritzie usually does the talking and I
               stand back up.
                   (re a leather sap in his belt)
               Muscle job?

                          BUCKY
               Let's try talk job.

     Bucky checks names on the doorbells against a couple names on
     his piece of paper. He stops at "S. Saddon".

     INT. THE HALLWAY UPSTAIRS - LATER

     Bucky knocks on the door.

                          BUCKY
               Miss Saddon?

     A young woman dressed in a metallic Egyptian costume opens
     the door.

                          SHERYL
               You the driver from RKO?

                          BUCKY
               Police.

     The woman shuts the door. Seconds later the TOILET FLUSHES.
     She returns and opens it again.

                          SHERYL
               If this is about those jaywalking--

                          BUCKY
               It's about Elizabeth Short.

                          SHERYL
               I did all this on the phone this morning.
               Nine thousand questions about Betty's
               nine thousand boyfriends and I don't
               remember any of the names. Can I go now?
               The extras truck is due any minute.

                          BUCKY
               How about you sit dawn and answer my
               questions or I bust you for the reefer
               you flushed.

     She lets him in and sits defiantly.

                          BUCKY (cont'd)
               First question. Does a...
                   (re to his paper)
               Linda Martin or a Marjorie Graham live
               here?

                          SHERYL
               That's Betty's other place. DeLongpre and
               Orange.

                          BUCKY
               She moved around quite a bit. You know
               why? Was somebody threatening her?

                          SHERYL
               Betty's problem wasn't enemies. It was
               too many friends.

                          BUCKY
               I've gathered that. Let's change the
               subject.

                          SHERYL
               How 'bout "the world of high finance"?

                          BUCKY (cont'd)
               How about movies? You girls are all
               tryin' to break in, right?

                          SHERYL
                   (re her extras costume)
               I'm in mister.

                          BUCKY
               Congratulations. What about Betty?

                          SHERYL
               Maybe once. Maybe not. 'Round
               Thanksgiving she showed up bragging about
               gettin' her big break...Had one of those
               viewfinders around her neck? But who
               knows where she really got it. Betty had
               a tendency to--

                          BUCKY
               ...stretch the truth?

                          SHERYL
               Lie.

     A CAR HORN HONKS. Bucky walks to the window and looks
     outside: A FLATBED TRUCK FULL OF CLEOPATRAS waits.

                          BUCKY
               Your ride's here--

     But she's already gone.

     INT. THE CAR - MOVING - HOLLYWOOD - CONTINUOUS

     They cruise to the next address.

                          KOENIG
               What'd the cooze say 'bout me?

     Bucky just stares at him; the guy's an idiot.

     EXT./INT. DELONGPRE APARTMENT BUILDING - LATER

     Two men lounge on the stoop. Koenig gives them the eye as he
     passes.

     Bucky checks his piece of paper against the doorbells again.
     Finds "M. Graham" but no Linda Martin.

                          KOENIG
               I'm bored.

                          BUCKY
               This'll just take a minute.

                          KOENIG
               I'm gonna take those two guys outside.
               Maybe they knew the cooze--

                          BUCKY
               I'll handle 'em Sarge--

                          KOENIG
               No! I'm gonna do it! (beat) Now what do I
               roust 'em about?

                          BUCKY
               I dunno. Ask 'em anything. Alibis. See if
               Betty ever engaged in prostitution...

     Koenig goes running outside. Bucky shakes his head.

     INT. A COMMUNAL SITTING ROOM - LATER

     Marjorie Graham sits on a couch with a dog-eared back issue
     of Photoplay in her hands. She's mild but well-traveled.

                          MARJORIE
               ...Betty had this gift, you see. She was
               so sweet and eager to please...a bit
               dumb, maybe. But she'd do anything to be
               liked, become whatever you wanted her to
               be. She'd walk like you, or talk like
               you...but she wasn't...she was still her.

                          BUCKY
               Did she ever tell you she was in a movie?
               Sometime around November?

                          MARJORIE
               Sure. She had this viewfinder and showed
               it around to all the guys. Said it was
               from the director. A co-starring role.

                          BUCKY
               Did she say what it was?

                          MARJORIE
               Once she said it was for Fox. Another
               time Paramount. I think she was just
               fibbing. You know, for the boys.

                          BUCKY
               Do you remember the names of any of the
               guys?

                          MARJORIE
               Don and Harold--sitting outside. She
               dated both of 'em once or twice. Other
               than that...I just...didn't really pay
               attention to who she was with.

     Marjorie looks down, fidgeting.

                          BUCKY
               What is it? You can tell me.

                          MARJORIE
               Well...Right before she moved out...l saw
               her and Linda...

                          BUCKY
               Linda Martin?

                          MARJORIE
               Yeah. Her and Linda Martin--talking to
               this older woman up on the Boulevard. She
               had a man's suit and short hair like a
               man...Only that one time...

                          BUCKY
               Are you saying the woman was a lesbian?

     Marjorie nods yes.

     Bucky's about to press her for more when Bill Koenig barges
     in, all sweaty.

                          KOENIG
               Them guys talked. Said the stiff peddled
               her twat when she got strapped bad. I
               called it in. Mr. Loew said to keep it
               zipped cuz it don't look as good.

     Bucky looks at Marjorie. Back to Koenig.

                          BUCKY
               Take their statements, Bill. I've got a
               little more here.

     Bill disappears back to the porch.

                          BUCKY (cont'd)
               Linda Martin's room?

     INT. LINDA MARTIN'S ROOM - LATER

     Bucky pushes open the room and finds it empty. He checks the
     closet. Empty.

     Bucky runs his hand under the bed. Finds something and pulls
     it out. A small red vinyl purse. He opens the purse. Inside
     is an ID. He shows it to Marjorie.

                          MARJORIE
               That's her. God...She's only fifteen.

                          BUCKY
                   (re card)
               Lorna Martikova. Omaha, Nebraska.
               Runaway. When'd you see her last?

                          MARJORIE
               This morning. I told her I'd called the
               police to come talk to us about Betty.
               Was that the wrong thing to do?

                          BUCKY
               You couldn't have known.

     EXT. THE APARTMENT COMPLEX - LATER

     Bucky emerges. Koenig stands on the stoop with the two men,
     both of whom look like they might have seen the wrong end of
     Koenig's less-than-subtle interrogation style.

                          KOENIG
                   (re the men)
               They didn't do it.

                          BUCKY
               No shit Sherlock.

     INT. AN ANONYMOUS CASTING OFFICE - DAY

     Clapsticks come down in front of the camera: "Elizabeth
     Short...Screen Test #1."

     Elizabeth Short sits on a tiny chair in a cheap office. She's
     dressed for an audition, overly made up and nervous.

                          MAN (O.S.)
               Your name please?

                          ELIZABETH SHORT
               Elizabeth Short. Betty. Beth...Elizabeth.

                          MAN (O.S)
               Relax, Elizabeth.

     She nods, can't relax.

                          ELIZABETH SHORT
               Sorry. Can we try it again?

                          MAN (O.S.)
               We haven't even started yet.

                          ELIZABETH SHORT
               Oh.

     FADE OUT.

     INT. HOLLYWOOD STATION - LATER

     Bucky fills out forms.

                          VOICE OVER
               I used a Warrant cops special prerogative
               and issued an APB on Lorna Martikova aka
               Linda Martin. I wrote up my day's report,
               omitting Marjorie Graham's lead on the
               old dyke. I didn't need Ellis Loew
               quashing it along with the skinny on
               Betty as the part-time prostie.

     EXT. LEE AND KAY'S HOUSE - CONTINUOUS

     Bucky pulls up in front of the house. Heads inside...

                          VOICE OVER (cont'd)
               To be honest, I'd pretty much overdosed
               on Betty Short's low-rent last months on
               earth and decided to kiss off the rest of
               the day and head to Lee and Kay's for a
               sandwich.

                                                            CUT TO:

     CLOSE-UPS OF BLACK DAHLIA CRIME SCENE PHOTOS

     spread out on Lee and Kay's dining room table.

     Bucky stands just inside the door watching Lee study the
     photos, Kay a pace or two back, smoking nervously. Neither of
     them seem to notice him. Finally Kay sees him:

                          KAY
               Hi, Dwight.

                          LEE
                   (wired)
               It ain't a random job. Horseshit. Guy who
               did this...hated her. Bad. Wanted the
               whole goddamn world to know. Babe, you
               took pre-Med, whattya think? Mad doctor?

                          KAY
               Lee, Dwight's here.

                          LEE
               Oh, hey partner. Bucky listen to Kay.
               Babe's got ideas. Good stuff--

                          KAY
               This kind of theorizing's nonsense, but
               I'll give you a theory if you'll eat
               something to calm yourself down.

                          LEE
               Theory on, teach.

                          KAY
               Well. Just a guess. But maybe there were
               two killers. Because the torture cuts are
               crude, while the bisection and the cut on
               the abdomen are neat and clean...

     CLOSE ON: Lee's face, somehow both intense and unfocused...

                          VOICE OVER
               Three days 'til Bobby De Witt hit LA.
               Three days since we killed four men.

     BACK ON: BUCKY, who turns on his heels and exits, catching
     Kay's eye as he goes.

                          VOICE OVER (cont'd)
               Maybe nobody cared. Maybe they cared too
               much.

     EXT. 39TH AND NORTON - DUSK - LATER

     Bucky cruises by the crime scene. Rubberneckers gawk around
     the vacant lot while vendors peddle greasy food and cheap
     portrait glossies of the Dahlia in a black dress.

     INT. CENTRAL DIVISION BULLPEN - BUCKY'S DESK - NIGHT

     Bucky sits at his desk staring at RAYMOND NASH'S MUGSHOT.

     HIS EYES DRIFT TO:

     A WAGER POOL SIGN-UP LIST POSTED ON THE WALL: a crude felt
     craps table with various betting spaces: "Solved--2 to 1",
     "Random Sex Job--4 to 1", "Uhsolved--Even Money",
     "Boyfriend(s)--l to 4"...

     Next to it are TWO HALVES OF A BLACK DRESS on separate
     hangers...a crude joke.

     Bucky opens up his desk drawer and drops the Nash mugshot
     inside. He dials the phone:

                          BUCKY
               Administrative Vice Squad?

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

     EXT. THE SWANK SPOT LOUNGE - THE VALLEY - NIGHT

     Bucky pulls his car up to a low-slung building with a log-
     cabin facade and swinging Western doors. He enters.

     INT. THE SWANK SPOT LOUNGE - CONTINUOUS

     A dimly lit LESBIAN BAR. Butch women in GI khakis mix with
     soft girls in cashmere skirt suits.

     Bucky approaches a bartender. The woman sizes him up and
     slides him a whiskey.

                          BARTENDER
               Beverage Control?

                          BUCKY
                   (downing the whiskey)
               LAPD Homicide.

                          BARTENDER
               Who got snuffed?

     Bucky slides her a photo of the Dahlia and Linda Martin's ID.

                          BUCKY
               Seen either of 'em?

                          BARTENDER
               Huh. The Dahlia's a sister?

                          BUCKY
               You tell me.

                          BARTENDER
               Never seen her 'cept in the papers. And
               the little schoolgirl twist I've never
               seen. We don't truck with underaged
               stuff. Capice?

                          BUCKY
               Capice when your girls tell me that.

                                                            CUT TO:

     INT. THE BAR - SOON AFTER

     as the photos are passed from patron to patron. Aside from a
     few raised eyebrows over the Dahlia, nothing to indicate
     anyone knows anything.

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

     INT. A DIFFERENT LESBIAN BAR - LATER

     This time an Olde English motif. Bucky sips another free
     whiskey as a dozen more women pass the photos around. Bucky
     watches their reactions closely but doesn't see anything out
     of the ordinary.

     He takes another shot of whiskey and heads out the door.

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

     INT. LAVERNE'S HIDEWAY - LATER

     A tropical motif. Faux bamboo wrap-around booths shield women
     snuggled deep into the dark corners.

     A bit buzzed and embarrassed to have to go booth to booth and
     break up couples, Bucky slowly makes his way around the bar
     with the two photos. More of the same...

     He approaches a woman polishing glasses at the bar. Slides
     over the photos.

                          BUCKY
               Black Dahlia.

                          BARTENDER
               No shit.

     He taps a finger onto Linda Martin's ID.

                          BUCKY
               What about this girl?

     The bartender picks up the card and squints at it. Bucky sees
     a flicker of recognition in her eyes. She hesitates--

                          BARTENDER
               Never seen her.

     He leans over the counter.

                          BUCKY
               Don't you fuckin' lie to me. She's
               fifteen fucking years old. So you come
               clean or I slap a contributing beef on
               you, and you spend the next five years
               servin' raisinjack to bulldykes in
               Tehachapi.

     The bartender looks again at the ID card.

                          BARTENDER
               A couple times. Two, three months ago.
               Just to cadge drinks off the sisters,
               though. She liked boys, I'm sure. And not
               the Dahlia. Never.

     Out of his peripheral vision Bucky sees another woman just
     starting to sit down on a bar stool but at the last minute,
     change her mind and make for the door.

     A baby spotlight catches her face; a fleeting resemblance to 
     Elizabeth Short.

     Bucky takes a deep breath, counts to ten and then goes out
     after the woman.

     EXT. THE PARKING LOT - CONTINUOUS

     The woman gets into a beautiful snow-white Packard.

                                                            CUT TO:

     SHOTS OF VARIOUS STREETS - NIGHT - CONTINUOUS

     as Bucky tails the white Packard from three car-lengths back.
     He follows her all the way from the Valley to Hancock Park.

                                                            CUT TO:

     EXT. MUIRFIELD ROAD - HANCOCK PARK - NIGHT

     As the woman parks her car in front of A HUGE TUDOR MANSION,

     Bucky cruises by, catching her license plate and writing it
     on a pack of matches from LaVerne's.

     In his rear view mirror he sees her exit the car, a striking
     figure in a sharkskin suit. He watches her walk up the
     enormous lawn and into the home.

     EXT. A PAY PHONE - MINUTES LATER

     Bucky reads the license plate into the phone. He receives
     information back and writes it onto the matchbook, as well.

     INT. BUCKY'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

     Bucky lies in his bed, staring at the ceiling. His bedside
     light reveals a still life: Elizabeth Short's mug shot photo
     tucked underneath the matchbook. The cover is flipped open
     and we can see written: "Madeleine Cathcart Sprague".

     INT. BUCKY'S CAR - MORNING

     Bucky's listening to The Dexter Gordon quartet on the radio
     when the tune is interrupted by a feverish voice:

                          ANNOUNCER
               We interrupt our regular broadcast to
               bring you a bulletin. A major suspect in
               the investigation of Elizabeth Short, the
               raven-haired beauty known as the Black
               Dahlia, has been captured! Red Manley, a
               Huntington Park hardware salesman and one
               of the last men to be seen with the
               Dahlia, was captured early this morning.
               Currently being held at Hollenback
               Station--

     Bucky takes a quick left down another street.

                                                            CUT TO:

     INT. HOLLENBACK STATION JAIL - LATER

     Bucky runs into Lee as he enters the station.

                          LEE
               Dahlia left San Diego six days before we
               found her. Dago cops got a witness puts
               her in a tan Dodge with a partial plate
               ident. Finally got a cross-check that
               matched on Red here.

     INT. OUTSIDE THE INTERROGATION ROOM - CONT.

     Seems like every cop in town has jammed themselves into a
     small corridor, watching Russ Millard interrogate RED MANLEY
     through a one way mirror. Manley is carrot-topped, 25, and
     scared shitless.

     Millard's soothing voice can be heard through speakers.

                          MILLARD
               Like I said, Robert. We're doing this
               because you didn't come forward.

                          RED MANLEY
               I've told it three times now. I didn't
               want my wife to know I was chipping her.

                          MILLARD
               But you said you didn't chip on her.
               Betty wouldn't put out. That's no reason
               to hide from the police.

                          RED MANLEY
               I dated her down in Dago. I slow-danced
               with her. It's the same thing as
               chipping.

                          MILLARD
               And you wanted to fuck her, didn't you?

                          RED MANLEY
               I wanted...to test my loyalty to my wife.

                          MILLARD
               Come on, son!

                          RED MANLEY
               I wanted to fuck her. Yes.

                          MILLARD
               But she cock-teased you.

                          RED MANLEY
               She said she had her period--

     All of the cops outside laugh.

                          RED MANLEY
               Said the father of her child would be a
               combat veteran--

                          MILLARD
               And you were in the Army band. You get
               angry?

                          RED MANLEY
               I told you. I didn't kill her.

                          MILLARD
               You drove her back to LA with you
               on...December tenth? And dropped her at
               the Biltmore Hotel?

                          RED MANLEY
               I've told it how many ways? How many more
               ways do you went to hear it?

     Millard straightens up and turns to the one-way mirror. He
     tugs at the knot of his tie. Soon after he slips out of the
     room and Harry Sears slips in.

     Bucky turns to Lee.

                          BUCKY
               Welcome back to earth, partner.

                          LEE
               Your fault, really. After you left Kay
               slipped me a Mickey. Slept for seventeen
               hours.

                          BUCKY
               Your fault for buying her all those
               chemistry classes.

                          LEE
               Learn anything interesting?

                          BUCKY
               No.

                          LEE
                   (re the interrogation)
               Now you'll see why Russ keeps Harry
               around.

     INT. THE INTERROGATION ROOM - SAME

     Harry circles Red Manley, lightly tapping a metal-studded sap
     in his hand.

                          LEE
                   (re the sap)
               Russ's only rule. No actual hitting.

     BACK INSIDE THE INTERROGATION ROOM - SAME

     Harry leans close to Red, tapping the sap on the table. His
     stutter completely gone.

                          HARRY SEARS
               You wanted some fresh gash, and you
               thought Betty was easy. You came on
               strong and that didn't work. You offered
               her money. She told you she was on the
               rag, and that was the final straw. You
               wanted to make her bleed for real--

                          RED MANLEY
               No no no. Not Betty--

     Harry SMASHES the sap onto a glass ashtray, shattering it.
     Red bites down on his lip, cutting it.

                          HARRY SEARS
               You plied Betty with drinks, got her to
               talk about her old boyfriends and came on
               like a pal, like the nice little corporal
               willing to leave Betty to the real men,
               the men who saw combat--

                          RED MANLEY
               No--

     Harry SMASHES the table again.

                          HARRY SEARS
               You took her to a toolshed, maybe one of
               those abandoned warehouses out by the old
               Ford plant in Pico-Rivera. There was some
               twine and lots of cutting tools lying
               around, and you got a hard-on...

                          RED MANLEY
               No no no--

     Again Harry smashes the table. Red almost topples his chair
     backwards out of fear, only Harry's hand an the back slats
     keeping it from going over...

                          HARRY SEARS
               Yes, Reddy, yes. You thought of every
               girl who said "I don't suck", every time
               your mommy spanked you, every evil eye
               you got from real soldiers when you
               played your trombone in the army band.

                          RED MANLEY
               No--

                          HARRY SEARS (cont'd)
               Goldbrick, needle-nick, pussy-whipped--

                          RED MANLEY
               No--

                          HARRY SEARS
               That's what Betty had to pay for wasn't
               it?

                          RED MANLEY
               No, please! God as my witness!

                          HARRY SEARS
               God hates liars!

     Smash!

                          HARRY SEARS (cont'd)
               Tell me, Red! Tell Betty! Tell God!

                          RED MANLEY
               I didn't hurt her--

                          HARRY SEARS
               Tell God!

     Harry smashes the sap down the table once more and then hurls
     the whole thing over onto its side.

     Red fumbles out of the chair onto his knees. He clasps his
     hands together--

                          RED MANLEY
               The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not
               want...

     He begins to weep. Completely broken.

     Harry turns to the one way mirror, looking straight out at
     his audience: self-loathing etched into his flabby,
     juicehound face.

     He gives the thumbs-down sign and walks out of the room.

     OUTSIDE IN THE HALLWAY

     Russ Millard meets him at the door and leads him away from
     the general crowd of officers.

     BACK IN THE INTERROGATION ROOM

     Bucky watches as Lee and another officer handcuff Red and
     take him outside. Lee has his hand on Red's shoulder like a
     kindly uncle.

     OUTSIDE THE STATION

     Bucky stands on the steps, taking fresh air. Russ steps out.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Good report yesterday, Bleichert.

                          BUCKY
               Thanks.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               What next?

                          BUCKY
               You send me back to Warrants?

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Wrong again. But keep going.

                          BUCKY
               Canvass around the Biltmore. If Red
               dropped her off there on the tenth maybe
               we can start reconstructing the last days
               before she got snatched.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Bright penny. You're doing well, Bucky.
               Run with the ball.

                          BUCKY
               All I know is you should keep an eye on
               Loew and his boys.
               I didn't put it in my report, but Betty
               sold it outright when she needed money
               bad enough, and Loew's been trying to
               keep it kiboshed so it'll look better if
               he ever takes it to trial.

                          RUSS MILLARD
                   (smiles)
               You calling your boss an evidence
               suppressor?

                          BUCKY
               And a grandstanding son of a bitch.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               You're a brighter penny than I thought.
                   (hands him a sheet of paper)
               Betty sightings. Wilshire Division. I
               need smart pennies to eliminate the
               phonies from the tip sheet.

                          BUCKY
               What are you gonna do?

                          MILLARD
               Keep an eye on the evidence suppressor
               son of a bitch and his minions to make
               sure they don't try to coerce a
               confession out of that innocent man in
               the holding tank.

     He pats Bucky on the shoulder and walks inside.

                                                            CUT TO:

     BUCKY CANVASSING THE WILSHIRE DISTRICT

     Restaurants, bars, juke joints. Bucky interviews every drunk
     on Western and Normandie...

                          VOICE OVER
               Barflies. Daytime juicers...The longer I
               listened the more they talked about
               themselves, interweaving their sad tales
               with the Black Dahlia, who they actually
               believed to be a glamorous siren headed
               for Hollywood stardom...

     Bucky cruises in his car into Lee and Kay's neighborhood.

                          VOICE OVER (cont'd)
               It was as if they would have traded their
               own lives for a juicy front-page death.
               I decided my report would consist of two
               words: "All bullshit".

     IN FRONT OF LEE AND KAY'S HOUSE - NIGHT

     Bucky pulls up just as Kay storms out the door and down the
     steps, hurling an armful of paper onto the lawn. Lee storms
     beside her, shouting and waving his arms as they go back
     inside.

     Bucky walks over and kneels down besides the papers: carbons
     of LAPD report forms, tip sheets, evidence tickets, the
     autopsy...all with "E. Short" typed at the top.

                          BUCKY
               Oh Jesus.

     Kay and Lee come back out again, Kay tossing out more files.

                          KAY
               It's sick and it's insane! After
               everything...And all that might happen--

                          LEE
               I need this, babe. You know it. I'll rent
               a room for the stuff but--
                   (noticing Bucky)
               You tell her Bucky. Reason with her.

                          BUCKY
               She's right, Lee. You've pulled at least
               three misdemeanors here. It's out of
               control--

     Bucky stops himself short, studying Lee's strained face.

                          BUCKY (cont'd)
                   (to Kay)
               I promised him a week on it. Four more
               days and it's over.

                          KAY
               Dwight, you can be so gutless sometimes.

     She turns on them both and goes back inside. Before Lee can
     make a wisecrack Bucky kicks his way through the LAPD papers
     back to his car...

     INT. LAVERNE'S HIDEAWAY - NIGHT

     Bucky sits low in his car, watching THE WHITE PACKARD parked
     near the front of LaVerne's. He's been there awhile...

     Finally the woman from the night before exits and heads for
     her car. He jumps out and walks quickly to intercept her
     while she's fumbling for her keys.

                          BUCKY
               Slumming, Miss Sprague?

     She sighs, exasperated.

                          MADELEINE
               I am now. Daddy spying on me again?

     She pulls a wad of cash out of her purse. Switching to a very
     deft imitation of a Scotchman's burr:

                          MADELEINE (cont'd)
               Maddy, girl, ye shouldn't be congregatin'
               in such unsuitable places--

                          BUCKY
               I'm a policeman.

                          MADELEINE
               Well that's a new one--

     She peels off another bill. Hands it to Bucky. He counts it
     out. Over a hundred dollars.

                          BUCKY
               Homicide.

     He hands the money back.

                          BUCKY (cont'd)
               Let's try Elizabeth Short. Linda Martin.

     All of her bravado drops. Bucky sees it immediately. He grabs
     her purse and keys and tosses them on the hood of her car.

                          BUCKY (cont'd)
               Here or downtown? I know you knew her so
               don't jerk me off on that or it's
               downtown and a whole lot of publicity.

     She opens the door to her car and slides in. Bucky gets in
     next to her. By the roof light he can see that her similarity
     to the Dahlia is more in her clothes and hair, but the
     resemblance is still there nonetheless.

                          MADELEINE
                   (gathering herself)
               This is all a fluke. I met them at
               LaVerne's last fall.
               Betty maybe one time. Linda a couple.
               She'd come in to cadge a drink or a meal
               off a sister.

                          BUCKY
               You sleep with either of them?

                          MADELEINE
               No. Just cocktail lounge chitchat.

                          BUCKY
               Are you lez?

                          MADELEINE
                   (Scotchman's burr)
               Ye might say I take it where I can find
               it, laddie.

     Bucky's charmed by her, but stays focused.

                          BUCKY
               Why'd you rabbit last night?

                          MADELEINE
                   (exasperated)
               Mister, my father is Emmett Sprague. The
               Emmett Sprague. He built half of
               Hollywood and Long Beach, and what he
               didn't build he bought. Imagine the
               headlines. "Tycoon's Daughter Questioned
               in Black Dahlia Case--Played Footsie with
               Dead Girl at Lesbian Nightclub". Get the
               picture?

                          BUCKY
               In Technicolor. (beat) What did you talk
               about?

                          MADELEINE
               Linda talked about her boring boy back in
               Hicktown, Nebraska, or wherever. Betty
               talked about the latest issue of Screen
               World. Hollywood dreams, the sad nine
               yards.

                          BUCKY
               Betty ever tell you about a movie she
               did? Show you a viewfinder? Anything
               specific?

                          MADELEINE
               On a conversational level they were right
               down there with you, only they were
               better looking.

                          BUCKY
               You're cute.

                          MADELEINE
               You're not. Look, I'm tired. You want to
               hear my alibi so I can end this farce and
               go home?

                          BUCKY
               That's all anyone ever wants to
               volunteer: the alibi. Go ahead.

                          MADELEINE
               My family and I were at our house in
               Laguna from Sunday through Thursday along
               with our live-in servants. If you want
               verification, call Daddy. But be discreet
               about where we met.

     She turns in the seat to face him directly.

                          MADELEINE (cont'd)
               Don't suppose I can convince you to keep
               my name out of the papers?

                          BUCKY
               I don't need your cash if that's what
               you're saying.

     She touches his leg.

                          MADELEINE
               Ah, Laddie...'S not what I'm saying...

     He knows exactly what she's saying.

                          BUCKY
               Convince me.

                          MADELEINE
               Tomorrow night. Eight o'clock. My address
               is 482 So. Muirfield.

                          BUCKY
               I know the address.

                          MADELEINE
               Not surprised. Pick me up. Like a
               gentleman.

     He starts to get out of the car.

                          MADELEINE (cont'd)
               One more thing--What's your name?

                          BUCKY
               Bucky Bleichert.

                          MADELEINE
               I'll try to remember.

     He pulls the purse off the hood and tosses her the keys. As
     he walks away he lets out a deep breath, as if he'd been
     holding it the whole time...

     INT. THE SQUAD ROOM - NEXT DAY

     Bucky enters and finds Lee at a desk, manning the tip phones.

                          LEE
               Yes, ma'am. I understand. A werewolf and
               Red Manley. Oh no. The werewolf is Red
               Manley. Yes that would be more
               efficient...

     Lee dutifully writes down the crank on a routing slip. Bucky
     slides into a chair across from him, brushing imaginary dust
     off of the phone in front of him.

     Lee rings off. Smiles at Bucky.

                          LEE (cont'd)
               I love tip duty.

                          BUCKY
               So...You smooth things with Kay?

                          LEE
               Yeah. I rented a room for the stuff at
               the El Nido Motel. Nine scoots a week.
               Chump change if it makes her feel good.

                          BUCKY
               De Witt gets out tomorrow, Lee. I was
               thinking maybe I should lean on him. Get
               Fritz Vogel and Koenig to do it--

     Lee swings away in his rotating chair, knocking over a
     wastepaper basket.

                          BUCKY (cont'd)
               Lee--

     The phone in front of Lee rings. He snatches it--

                          LEE
               Blanchard. Homicide.

     Lee listens to the call, not saying anything. It goes on for
     some time. Finally Bucky catches Lee's eye. Lee makes the
     "looney" sign with his finger.

     Bucky's phone rings. He picks it up.

                          BUCKY
               Bleichert. Homicide.

     The person on the other line starts rambling on. Bucky takes
     notes diligently as we

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

     INT. THE SQUAD ROOM - LATER

     Bucky's on another call. His pile of tip sheets and routing
     slips have grown. Behind him Lee pulls on his jacket and
     gives Bucky a two-fingered salute as he saunters out.

                          VOICE OVER
               I logged forty-six phone tips, about half
               of which were reasonably coherent. Lee
               left early, dodging any talk about De
               Witt. Ellis Loew stuck me with writing up
               the summary report, most of which
               concerned the numerous dead end leads,
               bogus confessions and three hundred new
               Dahlia sightings per day. It left me gut
               certain of one thing:

                                                            CUT TO:

     A CLOSE UP OF THE BETTING POOL TABLE

     as Bucky drops twenty dollars on "Unsolved - pay 2 to 1".

     INT. ANOTHER CASTING OFFICE - DAY

     Elizabeth Short in another dress, her hair fixed differently.
     Clapsticks come in again: "Elizabeth Short...Screen Test
     #2"

                          MAN #2 (O.S.)
               Where are you from?

                          ELIZABETH SHORT
               Boston. Massachusetts.

                          MAN #2
               How long have you lived here?

                          ELIZABETH SHORT
               Two years.

                          MAN #2
               You've lost your accent.

                          ELIZABETH SHORT
               Well, you know, when in Rome...
                   (looks nervously into camera)
               Why? Do you want a girl with an accent?

     FADE OUT

     EXT. THE SPRAGUE MANSION - NIGHT

     Bucky rings the bell dressed in his Sunday best blazer.
     Madeleine answers, a knockout in a skirt and cashmere sweater.

                          MADELEINE
               Look. I hate to pull this, but Daddy has
               heard about you. He insisted you stay for
               dinner. I told him we met at that art
               exhibit at Stanley Rose's Bookshop, so if
               you have to pump everybody for my alibi,
               be subtle. All right?

                          BUCKY
               Sure.

     She leads him inside.

     INT. THE SPRAGUE MANSION - CONTINUOUS

     Thick Persian carpets, tapestries, giant rooms with a men's
     club atmosphere.

     Next to the fireplace Bucky notices A STUFFED SPANIEL with a
     yellowed newspaper rolled into its mouth.

                          MADELEINE
                   (re the dog)
               That's Balto. The paper is the LA Times
               for August 1, 1926. Balto was bringing in
               the paper when Daddy's accountant told
               him he'd made his first million. Daddy
               wanted to consecrate the moment so he
               shot him. Here we go--

     INT. A SMALL SITTING ROOM - CONTINUOUS

     The Sprague family sits in matching easy chairs. No one
     stands up.

                          MADELEINE
               Bucky Bleichert. May I present my family.
               My mother, Ramona Cathcart Sprague. My
               father, Emmett Sprague. My sister, Martha
               McConville Sprague.

     Emmett Sprague jumps to his feet, pumping Bucky's hand.

                          BUCKY
               A pleasure, Mr. Sprague.

                          EMMETT SPRAGUE
               Saw you fight Mondo Sanchez. Boxed the
               pants off him. Another Billy Conn you
               were.

                          BUCKY
               Thanks.

                          EMMETT SPRAGUE
               Mondo gave a good show. What ever
               happened to him?

                          BUCKY
               Died of a heroin overdose.

                          EMMETT SPRAGUE
               Too bad. Shamed his family. (beat)
               Speaking of families--

     Both Martha and Ramona stand up. Martha is 19, plain and
     serious, with a tenacious resemblance to Emmett. (Neither of
     whom look much like Madeleine.)

     Ramona, on the other hand, possesses a pushing-fifty
     resemblance to Madeleine combined with the flaccid face and
     unfocused features of a booze or drug addict.

                          RAMONA
                   (trace of a slur)
               Madeleine says nice things about you.

                          MADELEINE
               Daddy can we eat? Bucky and I want to
               catch a nine-thirty show.

     INT. THE DINING ROOOM - LATER

     A black maid serves large portions of corned beef and cabbage.

                          EMMETT SPRAGUE
               Dig in, lad. Hearty fare breeds hearty
               people. Haute cuisine breeds degenerates.

     Bucky smiles politely and begins eating.

                          MARTHA
               I want to draw Mr. Bleichert, Daddy.

     On Emmett's nod Martha pulls out a small sketch pad.

                          EMMETT SPRAGUE
               You're in for a cruel caricaturing,
               Bucky. Maddy's my pretty one, but
               Martha's my certified genius.

     A wince from Martha.

                          EMMETT SPRAGUE (cont'd)
               What kind of name is Bleichert? Dutch?

                          BUCKY
               German.

                          EMMETT SPRAGUE
               A great people, the Germans. Hitler was a
               bit excessive, but mark my words that
               someday we'll regret not joining forces
               with him to fight the Reds. I killed a
               lot of your countrymen during the war.

                          MARTHA
               Did you meet Balto out in the hallway?

                          BUCKY
               Very realistic.

                          EMMETT SPRAGUE
               An old friend stuffed him. We were in the
               Scots regiment together. Georgie Tilden.
               He wanted to work in the flickers.

                          BUCKY
               So when did you come here?

                          EMMETT SPRAGUE
               1920. Hollywood was a cow pasture, but
               the silent flickers was booming. Georgie
               got work as a lighting man, and me
               building houses.
               Georgie got me introduced to Mack Sennett
               and I helped him build that housing
               project he was putting up--Hollywoodland--
               underneath that godawful sign.

                          BUCKY
               I always loved the Keystone Kops.

                          EMMETT SPRAGUE
               Old Mack knew how to squeeze a dollar
               dry, he did. He had extras moonlighting
               as laborers and vice versa. I used to
               drive 'em over to Hollywoodland after
               twelve hours on a Keystone Cops flicker
               and put in another six hours by
               torchlight. Even gave me as assistant
               director credit a couple times, so
               grateful he was for the way I squeezed
               his slaves--

     A SCREECH interrupts Emmett's monologue. Bucky looks across
     the table to see Ramona trying to corral a potato with her
     fork (the source of the sound).

                          EMMETT SPRAGUE (cont'd)
               Mother? Are you feeling well? Would you
               like to contribute to the conversation?

     Ramona forks a small bit of food and chews it daintily.

                          RAMONA
               Did you know, Mr. Bleichert, that Ramona
               Boulevard was named after me?

                          BUCKY
               No Mrs. Sprague, I didn't.

                          RAMONA
               When Emmett married me for my father's
               money he promised my family that he would
               use his influence with the City Zoning
               Board to have a street named after me.
               But all he could manage was a dead-end
               block in a red light district in Lincoln
               Heights. Are you familiar with the
               neighborhood, Mr. Bleichert?

                          BUCKY
               I grew up there.

                          RAMONA
               Then you know that the Mexican
               prostitutes expose themselves out of
               windows to attract customers. I hear many
               of them know Mr. Sprague by name--

     Emmett Sprague SLAMS the table. Plates rattle. Silence. Bucky
     stares into his lap as Madeleine grabs his knee tightly.

                          RAMONA (cont'd)
               I'll sing for my supper when Mayor Bowron
               comes to dinner, but not for Madeleine's
               male whores. A common policeman. My God,
               Emmett. How little you think of me.

     She struggles to her feet and leaves the room. Her husband
     follows.

                          MADELEINE
               I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.

                          MARTHA
                   (cheery)
               Mr. Bleichert?

     Martha tears a piece of paper out of her sketch pad. Bucky
     takes it as she walks away.

     ANGLE ON THE SKETCH:

     A caricature of a naked Bucky having sex with Madeleine.

                                                            CUT TO:

     EXT. THE RED ARROW INN - LATER

     A cinderblock auto court filled with pre-war jalopies. The
     camera closes on a dingy door. Room 11.

     INT. THE RED ARROW INN - ROOM 11 - SAME

     A single yellow light illuminates the dreary flop as Bucky
     and Madeleine fuck on the bed.

                          MADELEINE
               I'm so...sorry. Don't hate my family--
               don't--they're not so bad--

     Bucky grabs her hair--

                          BUCKY
               Not them, me. Do me. Be with me.

     Focusing, Madeleine pins Bucky with her knees and pulls him
     deep into her until they're no longer common policeman and
     rich girl slut. They're one.

     INT. THE RED ARROW INN - ROOM 11 - SAME

     They hold each other, sweaty and spent.

                          BUCKY
               Well. I think you kept your name out of
               the papers.

                          MADELEINE
               Until we announce the wedding?

                          BUCKY
               Your mother would love that.

                          MADELEINE
               She's a hypocrite. She takes pills the
               doctor gives her, so she's not a hophead.
               You know how Daddy really made his money?

                          BUCKY
               How?

                          MADELEINE
               He bought rotten lumber and abandoned
               movie facades from Mack Sennett and built
               houses out of them. He's got firetraps
               all over LA registered to phony
               corporations...His "good friend" George?
               Disfigured in a car crash while running
               Daddy some errands. Daddy throws him
               scraps now--odd jobs tending some rental
               property--

                          BUCKY
               You don't have to tell me this--

                          MADELEINE
               I want to. I like you Bucky.

                          BUCKY
               I like you, too.

     She looks at him earnestly.

                          MADELEINE
               Bucky, I didn't tell you all about Betty
               Short.

                          BUCKY
               Jesus--

                          MADELEINE
               Don't be mad at me. It's nothing. I just
               don't want to lie to you.

                          BUCKY
               What is it?

                          MADELEINE
               Last summer I was bar-hopping a lot.
               Straight bars. I heard about a girl who
               looked like me. I got curious and left
               notes at a couple places: "Your lookalike
               wants to meet you", things like that. I
               left my number. She called. That's how I
               met her at LaVerne's with Linda.

                          BUCKY
               And that's all of it?

                          MADELEINE
               Yes. That's all of it.

                          BUCKY
               Then be prepared, babe. There's fifty
               cops out there combing every bar in town
               looking for Dahlia info. You could be
               headed for the papers no matter what.

                          MADELEINE
               Serve my family right.

                          BUCKY
               You don't mean that.

                          MADELEINE
               No. I don't.

     He strokes her dark hair.

                          BUCKY
               Tell me something. Why'd you want to meet
               Betty Short?

                          MADELEINE
               I've worked pretty hard to be loose and
               free. But the way people described Betty.
               It sounded like she was a natural.

                          BUCKY
               How do you mean?

                          MADELEINE
               Hmmm...She was this poor girl...Came from
               nothing...But then she carried nothing
               with her, either. I don't know...when
               you're rich sometimes you romanticize the
               poor...

                          BUCKY
               I wouldn't know.

     An awkward silence as she considers her foot in her mouth. He
     studies her for a moment. Pulls her close, kisses her
     mouth...the arch of her neck...They begin to move together
     again...

     Another LAPD FORM: "Witness Report: Lorna
     Martikova...aka Linda Martin..."

     EXT./INT. BUCKY'S CAR - MOVING

     Bucky weaves fast through traffic. He whips a right turn...

     EXT. THE CALEDONIA LOUNGE - CONTINUOUS

     Bucky's car screeches into the parking lot just as LINDA
     MARTIN bursts through the doors and takes off running.

     Bucky jumps from the car and sprints after her, the girl
     clutching an oversized purse to her chest as she dashes in
     and out of busy traffic.

     The girl runs like a fucking antelope as Bucky barely misses
     being hit by a large BEER TRUCK and gets to the other side of
     the street just as Linda stumbles over a curb--sending her
     sprawling on the sidewalk.

     Bucky jumps on her, grabbing her tiny fists as she kicks and
     screams like a hell cat.

     He cuffs her and pulls her up, dragging her to where she
     spilled her purse.

                          LINDA MARTIN
               I'm an emancipated minor and if you touch
               me without a matron present I'll sue you!

     He picks it up her purse. Surprised by the heft, he opens it
     and pulls out A METAL FILM CAN.

     Her demeanor changes instantly to fear:

                          LINDA MARTIN
                   (near tears)
               Please, mister...My...my parents.

     INT. JUVENILE DETENTION HALL - INTERROGATION ROOM - LATER

     Russ, Harry and Bucky sit opposite Linda Martin. She's pretty
     and small, and about to get smaller...

                          RUSS MILLARD
               ...and you don't recall any of the names
               Betty went out with last fall?

                          LINDA MARTIN
               They were just pickups.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               No one who would do her harm?

     The girl thinks hard, shakes her head "no".

                          BUCKY
               You made the casting rounds together.
               Ever get any movie work?

                          LINDA MARTIN
               No.

                          BUCKY
               So what about the film can?

     Her eyes go to the floor, tears begin to drop.

                          LINDA MARTIN
               It's...a movie.

                          BUCKY
               A dirty movie?

     She nods her head silently.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               You have to tell us the whole thing,
               sweetheart. So think it through.

     Harry pours her a paper cup of water. She takes a sip.

                          LINDA MARTIN
               I was...cadging at a bar in Gardena. This
               Mexican man - Raoul or Jorge or something
               - starting talking to me.
               I thought I was pregnant, and I was
               desperate wicked bad for money. He said
               he'd give me two hundred dollars to act
               in a nudie film.

     She takes a large gulp of water.

                          LINDA MARTIN (cont'd)
               He said he needed another girl so I asked
               Betty. The three of us drove down to
               Tijuana and we made the movie at this big
               house outside of town. (beat) Then he
               drove us back to LA.

     Her head bowed. Russ and Harry stare at her impassively.

                          BUCKY
               Was this around Thanksgiving?

     She nods yes.

                          BUCKY (cont'd)
               Did the Mex give Betty a viewfinder?

     She raises her head in recognition and nods yes.

                          BUCKY (cont'd)
               Did he seem particularly interested in
               Betty? Did she see him again?

     She shakes her head "no".

                          BUCKY (cont'd)
               But you saw him again, didn't you? How
               else could you have gotten a copy?

     Linda looks sadly at Bucky.

                          LINDA MARTIN
               After Betty...After I read about
               Betty...I went looking for him in
               Gardena. He was about to go back to
               Mexico and I conned him out of a print.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Where was that?

                          LINDA MARTIN
               I don't remember. On Aviation somewhere.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Why would you do that?

                          LINDA MARTIN
               A Black Dahlia stag film? I thought...I
               could sell it if I had to. (ashamed) It
               was...a collector's item.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               And he willingly gave you a copy of the
               film? For nothing?

                          LINDA MARTIN
               No. Not for nothing.

     She looks down again. The cops look at each other. Linda's
     harder and more desperate than they imagined.

                          LINDA MARTIN (cont'd)
               You'll let me have it back, won't you?
               You won't let people look at it?

     Now its the cops turn to look away.

     EXT. THE HALLWAY - AFTER

     Russ and Bucky.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Whattya think?

                          BUCKY
               I think she's covering on the Mex angle.
               Maybe she knows him and doesn't want him
               taking a smut rap. Maybe he's white. The
               TJ stuff is sound, though. I'd detach Meg
               Caulfield from Wilshire Clerical to play
               cellmate for a day.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Bleichert you are a very bright penny
               today. (beat) Well. Looks like it's blue
               movie night at City Hall.

     INT. THE MUSTER ROOM - LATER

     A projector and screen has been set up. All the big-wigs are
     present: Ellis Loew, Jack Tierney, Thad Green and Chief of
     Police C.B. Horrall. Millard, Harry and Lee.

     A clerical assistant threads the projector as Bucky settles
     into a seat next to Lee. On Lee's lap is a newspaper with the 
     headline: "Boulevard-Citizen's Mastermind to be Released
     --LA Bound after 8 years of Custody"

                          LEE
                   (raggedy)
               Gettin' any?

     Bucky's about to respond when the lights dim and a blurred
     image hits the screen. It begins to focus.

     A title: "Slave Girls From Hell"

     The movie: A big high-ceiling room with Egyptian
     hieroglyphics on the walls. Pillars shaped like coiled
     serpents are stationed throughout the room; the camera zooms
     in for a close-up of two inset plaster snakes swallowing each
     other's tails. The snakes dissolve into Betty Short, wearing
     only stockings and doing an inept hoochie koochie dance...

     An audible breath in the muster room.

     A hand reaches into frame, passing Betty a large cylindrical
     object: a dildo, scales covering the shaft, fangs extending
     from the circumcised head. Betty puts it in her mouth, sucks
     it, eyes wide open and glassy.

     An abrupt cut: Linda Martin, naked, lying on a divan. Betty
     enters the frame with the dildo; she puts it between Linda's
     legs, pushing it inside her. Linda rotates her hips, trying
     her best to fake ecstasy instead of pain and sadness.

     Another cut: Betty mouthing the words "No, please" to the
     camera. A hand pushing her head down towards Linda's crotch.
     Betty tonguing next to the dildo...

     BACK ON THE MUSTER ROOM

     The atmosphere is somber, but calm. The film continues...

                          CHIEF HORRALL
               Whattya think, Russ? This got anything to
               do with the girl's murder--

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Long shot, Chief. Harry and I are headed
               down to TJ tonight. The Mex doesn't play
               as the killer. But maybe he showed it to
               someone--

     Suddenly Lee jumps up, standing in front of the screen.

                          LEE
               Who gives a fuck if he didn't kill her!
               I've sent Boy Scouts to the green room
               for less than this!

     He yanks down the screen with a crash and storms out of the
     room. The movie continues on the chalked up blackboard.

     INT. THE LOCKER ROOM - LATER

     Lee sits on the ground, head in his hands. Bucky enters and
     sits on a bench next to him.

                          LEE
               Did you see her face, Bucky? Did you see?

                          BUCKY
               Yeah. I did, partner. I did.

     Bucky notices Lee's still clutching the De Witt article in
     his fist. He pries it loose.

     Ellis Loew and Russ Millard enter.

                          ELLIS LOEW
               Goddammit, Blanchard! I got you Warrants.
               You're my man, and you made me look like
               a fool in front of the two most powerful
               men in the Department. If you weren't
               Mr. Fire you'd be suspended from duty
               already. You've gotten personally
               involved in the Short case--

                          BUCKY
                   (holding up the newspaper)
               Mr. Loew, it's not just Betty Short--

                          ELLIS LOEW
               Shut up, Bleichert.
                   (back to Lee)
               You're back on Warrants as of tomorrow.
               Report to me at 0800 with letters of
               apology for Green and Horrall. For the
               sake of your pension I'd suggest you
               grovel.

                          LEE
               I want to go to TJ--

                          ELLIS LOEW
               Blanchard!

     Poison hangs in the air. Ellis turns on his heels.

     INT. THE SQUADRON - DAY

     Bucky sits in his cubicle searching the Dahlia files. The
     clock behind him reads "12:30". Loew approaches.

                          ELLIS LOEW
               You've been skating around all morning,
               Bleichert. Vogel and Koenig went to
               Tijuana an hour ago so I need you to
               check out a radio car and get out there.

                          BUCKY
               Yes, sir.

                          ELLIS LOEW
               And if you see that phantom partner of
               yours, tell him this no-show's gonna cost
               him three days pay.

     Loew walks off. Bucky dials the phone.

                          MADELEINE (VO)
               Hello.

                          BUCKY
               It's me. You want to get together?

                          MADELEINE (VO)
               When?

                          BUCKY
               I'll pick you up in forty-five minutes.

                          MADELEINE (VO)
               Not at the house. Daddy's having a
               business soiree. The Red Arrow.

                          BUCKY
               I have an apartment, you know.

                          MADELEINE (VO)
               Room 11. Forty-five minutes.

     She hangs up.

     INT. RED ARROW MOTEL - ROOM 11 - LATER

     They lie naked in the bed. Bucky's lost in thought.

                          MADELEINE
               Smile at me. Look soft and sweet.

     He looks anything but.

                          BUCK
               They picked up Linda Martin yesterday.
               She had a stag film of her and Betty
               Short playing lez. Spooky stuff.

     Madeleine sits up.

                          MADELEINE
               Did she mention me?

                          BUCKY
               No. And I checked through the case file.
               There's no mention of that note-leaving
               number you pulled. (beat) Babe, I'm
               withholding evidence for you. It's a fair
               trade for what I'm getting, but it still
               shakes me. Is there anything you haven't
               told me about Betty and Linda?

     She runs her fingers down his ribcage, teasing his boxing
     scars.

                          MADELEINE
               Sugar, Betty and I made love once, that
               one time we met last summer. I just did
               it to see what it would be like to do it
               with someone who looked like me and--

                          BUCKY
               Jesus Christ.

     He jumps from the bed and pulls on his pants.

                          MADELEINE
               Bucky that's it, I swear. Please stay--

     He pulls on his shirt, his handcuffs and his .38. Grabs his
     jacket--

                          MADELEINE (cont'd)
               Stay sugar stay--

     --and slams the door on the way out.

     INT. THE POLICE CRUISER - LATER

     Bucky steamed in the car. He flips on the police radio,
     looking for distraction. Instead he gets:

                          RADIO DISPATCHER
               Code four all units at Crenshaw and
               Stocker. Two dead, suspect dead, Raymond
               Douglas Nash, warrant number--

     EXT. A KOREAN GROCERY - MINUTES LATER

     RAYMOND NASH lies dead on the sidewalk. Off to one side, a
     short and wiry cop is describing for detectives how it all
     went down, pantomiming how he shot an escaping Raymond Nash.

     Bucky stands over Nash, staring at his dead features. He
     walks inside.

     INT. A KOREAN GROCERY - CONTINUOUS

     Bucky's POV:

     A robbery gone bad. A sixty-year old Korean shopowner lies
     dead behind the counter and his teenaged son lies dead in an
     aisle. Blood and green linoleum.

     INT. THE SQUAD ROOM - SOON AFTER

     Bucky bursts into the squad room, seeing red.

                          BUCKY
               Blanchard!

     A cop walking through the bullpen points to the bathroom.

     INT. THE BATHROOM - CONTINUOUS

     Bucky kicks in the door, finding Lee washing his hands in the
     sink. He holds his hands up to Bucky, blood oozes from Lee's
     knuckles.

                          LEE
               I beat up a wall. Penance for Nash.

                          BUCKY
               Not good enough.

     Bucky steps into Lee with fists flying, a mad demon. He
     smashes him again and again, beating his only friend until
     Lee slides senseless to the floor...

     INT. BUCKY'S APARTMENT - NIGHT

     Bucky drinks bourbon straight, his wrist heavily bandaged.

                          VOICE OVER
               Losing the first Bleichert-Blanchard
               fight got me local celebrity, Warrants,
               and close to nine grand in cash;
               winning the rematch got me a sprained
               wrist, two dislocated knuckles and the
               rest of the day off. Whoever said winning
               isn't everything got that part right.

     EXT. LEE AND KAY'S HOUSE - NEXT DAY

     Bucky walks into the house and finds Kay there. She holds up
     a newspaper: The front page includes The Black Dahlia, Junior
     Nash, and Bobby De Witt.

                          KAY
                   (eyes red from crying)
               We're famous, Dwight.

                          BUCKY
               Notorious, maybe. Where's Lee?

                          KAY
               I haven't seen him since you beat him up.

     Bucky looks ashamed.

                          KAY (cont'd)
               I don't blame you.

     He walks to her and she holds him.

                          BUCKY
               He's in trouble, you know.

     She nods. He strokes her hair.

                          BUCKY (cont'd)
               De Witt's probably in LA by now. If Lee
               doesn't show up by tonight I'll come over
               to stay with you.

                          KAY
               I don't want you coming over here just to
               sleep an the couch again.

                          BUCKY
               Kay. Lee--

     She holds up a hand, waving him off. She knows all this.

                          KAY
               You know Dwight? Fighting, cops, guns. To
               most people--that's the scary stuff. Not
               everything else.

     She knows him to the core. She steps back, holding his hands.

                          KAY (cont'd)
               Luck.

                          BUCKY
               Short of winning?

                          KAY
               Luck.

     INT. POLICE STATION - BUCKY'S CUBICLE - LATER

     Bucky's on the phone.

                          BUCKY
               Thank you very much.

     He rings off looking very disturbed as Russ and Harry arrive.

                          BUCKY (cont'd)
               What happened in TJ?

                          HARRY SEARS
               Checked for the smut pad. Goose egg.
               Peddlers--double goose egg--

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Bucky. Blanchard's in Tijuana. A border
               cop spotted him hobnobbing with a bunch
               of rough-looking Rurales last night.

     Bucky exhales hard.

                          RUSS MILLARD (cont'd)
               What is it?

                          BUCKY
                   (re his phone call)
               That was County Parole. Bobby DeWitt
               bought a bus ticket at the Santa Rosa
               depot this morning. San Diego. Transfer
               Tijuana.

     EXT. TIJUANA - VARIOUS SHOTS - DAWN

     Bucky cruises the Tijuana streets: child beggars dig for 
     breakfast in trash cans, taco venders stir pots of dog-meat
     stew, sailors and marines stumble out of whorehouses. Rurales
     drive prewar Chevys wearing black uniforms...

                          VOICE OVER
               Back in LA, Linda Short let slip that her
               "Mex" was actually a local named Walter
               Wellington, who copped to making the film
               but quickly provided the cops his alibi
               for the Dahlia's missing days.

     Bucky parks at a big pink Art Deco hotel (The Divisidero).

     INT. THE DIVISIDERO - CONTINUOUS

     Bucky badges the desk clerk and gets a room number. He heads
     upstairs.

                          VOICE OVER
               Not that this stopped Loew and his boys
               from rousting spics all over town for a
               possible Dahlia frame-up. The circus was
               becoming a farce.

     INT. A DIVISIDERO HOTEL ROOM - CONTINUOUS

     Ellis Loew, Fritz Vogel, and Bill Koenig arguing.

                          ELLIS LOEW
               We can't do that! Wellington told Tierney
               he made the pic--

     Bucky opens the door and the room falls quiet.

                          ELLIS LOEW (cont'd)
               Bleichert.

                          BUCKY
               Lee's down here and so is Bobby De Witt.

                          ELLIS LOEW
               Fuck Blanchard. He's suspended.

     Bucky charges the DA but Vogel and Koenig intercept him,
     pushing him roughly back out in the hall. Loew retreats to
     the other side of the room.

                          VOGEL
               You know what, kid? I got a soft spot in
               my heart for light heavyweights.
                   (chucks his chin)
               You promise not to hit Billy and I'll
               help you look for your partner.
                   (re Bucky's ragged appearance)
               I'll drive. You look like shit.

     EXT. THE TIJUANA STREETS - VARIOUS SHOTS

     Bucky and Fritz Vogel drive past beggars swarming tourists,
     hookers dispensing front seat blow jobs, zoot suit youths
     prowling for drunks to roll...

     EXT. THE TIJUANA STREETS - VARIOUS SHOTS

     The two men park the car in the middle of a car-choked street
     and decide to try walking. They're immediately swallowed up
     by kid beggars shoving crucifixes in their faces.

     Bucky tosses handfuls of coins into the gutters and the
     children scatter, squabbling over the coins.

     IN THE BACKGROUND

     Fritz Vogel approaches a Rurale and talks to him. The Rurale
     nods yes, gesturing down an alley to a squat cinderblock
     building.

                                                            CUT TO:

     INT. A FILTHY MEXICAN JAIL - SOON AFTER

     Vogel and Bucky walk quickly down a corridor lined with empty
     cells. A Mexican jailer unlocks the last cell and the two
     cops walk in to face

     BOBBY DEWITT

     the hatchet-faced tough of 1939 now a grizzled and bloated
     well-used piece of work. He stands up, full of con bravado.

                          DEWITT
               Cops, huh? Well at least you're American.
               Never thought I'l be glad to see you
               guys.

                          VOGEL
               Why start now?

     Vogel kicks in the balls, dropping him to his knees. Vogel
     smashes him with a thick backhand across the face.

                                                            CUT TO:

     BUCKY HANDCUFFING BOBBY DEWITT TO A CHAIR

     Vogel stands over him.

                          VOGEL
               Lee Blanchard's here in TJ, and you came
               here flush out of Big Q. That's a
               goddamned strange coincidence and I don't
               like it. I don't like you and I don't
               like being down in this rat-infested
               country when I could be home with my
               family.

     DeWitt pisses his pants.

                          VOGEL (cont'd)
               Did you know Blanchard was in TJ?

                          DEWITT
               Ain't seen Blanchard since my fuckin'
               trial.

     Vogel smashes him across the face.

                          VOGEL
               Do not use profanity with me, and address
               me as sir.

     DeWitt's head bobs up and down.

                          VOGEL (cont'd)
               Now Blanchard's scared of you. Why?

                          DEWITT
               Man o Manieschewitz, what a laugh. Lee
               beauty gotta be scared of me 'cause of
               how I flapped my trap at trial, but all I
               know is what I read in the papers. Maybe
               I was thinkin' revenge, maybe talkin'
               trash to my cellies, but when Lee beauty
               killed them niggers--

     Vogel topples DeWitt with a right hook and then picks him
     back up by the neck, squeezing the life out of him.

                          VOGEL
               Bobby boy I do not like Sergeant
               Blanchard but he is a fellow officer and
               I will not have syphilitic scum like you
               defaming him. Now you risked a parole
               violation for a trip down here.

     He lets go of his neck, the color returning to DeWitt's face.

                          VOGEL (cont'd)
               Why are you here, Bobby. You tell me.

                          DEWITT
                   (a beaten dog)
               I came down to cop some heroin and move
               it back to LA. I'm meeting a guy, Felix
               Casco, at the Gardena Motel. Please.
               Don't hurt me no more. Please.

     Vogel claps his hands together, gleeful with this bonus bust.

                          VOGEL
                   (heading out of the cell)
               I'm gonna call Ellis.

     Bucky turns back to De Witt, who's much more relaxed now that
     Vogel's left the cell.

                          BUCKY
               Finish up with you and Blanchard.

                          DEWITT
               Sir, all that's between me and Blanchard
               is that I fucked this cunt Kay Lake--

     IN SLOW MOTION--

     Bucky leaps on De Witt, grabbing him around the neck and
     choking him. De Witt turns blue, his eyes bulging out--

     BEHIND BUCKY, VOICES IN SPANISH

     and then hands on his shoulders as Ducky is hurled backwards
     into the cell bars. And then

     BLACKNESS

     which slowly becomes grey, and then back to normal as Bucky
     finds himself awakening on the floor of the cell.

     Refocusing on the scene:

     Two Rurales in jodhpur boots pick their teeth with
     matchsticks as Fritz Vogel pulls Bucky to his feet.

                          BUCKY
               How long--

                          VOGEL
               I let Bobby boy go so we could tail him
               to his pal. But he blew his tail while
               you were catching up on your beauty
               sleep, which is too bad for him.

                                                            CUT TO:

     A STUDEBAKER PATROL CAR WITH LIGHTS FLASHING

     INSIDE THE STUDEBAKER

     Vogel, Koenig, a Rurale, and Bucky (holding a piece of ice to
     the back of his head).

     The car arrives at a horseshoe-shaped auto court. Two Mexican 
     policeman stand guard outside one of its rooms.

     INT. THE MOTEL ROOM - SECONDS LATER

     As the American cops walk in on a cordite-reeking
     slaughterhouse. Bobby De Witt and a Mexican man lay dead on
     the floor, bullet holes oozing blood all over them.

     Bucky notes the bruises on De Witt's neck from where he
     choked him. Bucky squints at the men, still a little
     disoriented...

                          VOGEL
               The spic's Felix Casco, a known dope
               trafficker. Maybe it was other dope scum,
               maybe Lee, maybe it was God. I say let
               our Mexican colleagues handle their own
               dirty laundry and we go back to LA and
               find the son of a bitch who sliced the
               Dahlia.

     INT. KAY AND LEE'S HOUSE - DAY

     Kay sits curled into a corner of the couch, defensively.
     Bucky sits on a small chair next to Lee's large easy chair.

                          KAY
               I spent the morning with Internal
               Affairs. I told them...everything I knew.
               I gave them so much...and in the end it
               didn't seem like anything at all.

                          BUCKY
               He'll came back, Kay. I'm sure of it.

                          KAY
               You don't know anything, Dwight. But
               that's what I like about you.

                          BUCKY
               Kay--

                          KAY
               I've been offered a job. Teaching sixth
               grade at Fairfax Primary. With Lee gone
               now--

                          BUCKY
               He's coming back.

     She nods, mollifying him.

                                                            CUT TO:

     A NEON SIGN: THE EL NIDO MOTEL

     CLOSE ON: ROOM 204

     as Bucky jimmies the lock and pushes open the door.

     INSIDE ROOM 204

     Boxes of police falls scattered on the bed and desk. Photos
     of Elizabeth Short pinned up all over the walls: glamour
     glossies, newspaper photos, enlarged crime scene
     grotesquerie.

     The amount of manpower represented here is staggering; so
     much work over one girl.

     Bucky sits down at the desk and buries his head in his hands.

                          BUCKY
               Lee.

     CLOSE ON: A PORTRAIT PHOTO OF ELIZABETH SHORT

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

     FRITZ VOGEL AND BUCKY

     interviewing a fortysomething TALENT AGENT in a slick suit.
     He sits at a desk with yellowed starlets' headshots behind
     him. Vogel leans on the desk, intimidating the man.

                          AGENT
               ...okay, yeah. So I got her name from a
               producer friend of mine. Met her in a
               bar...

     ROOM 204 -- THE EL NIDO

     Russ Millard and Harry Sears stand goggle-eyed as Bucky shows
     them Lee's back-up files...

                          VOICE OVER
               I wanted to believe it was all about Lee.
               Tracking Lee through her...through the
               files he had collected.

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

     RUSS MILLARD

     meticulously sifting through the material along with Bucky.

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

     A PHOTO OF ELIZABETH SHORT DRESSED IN BLACK
                          VOICE OVER
               Strangers' recollections of a girl's last
               days leading me to a partner...

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

     FRITZ VOGEL AND BUCKY interviewing a HOOKER in a hotel
     lobby...

                          HOOKER
               ...the other girls and me, we helped her
               out once in a while. Throw her a trick if
               she needed dough...But she was no pro.

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

     KAY AND LEE'S LIVING ROOM

     where Bucky watches Kay grade papers, a gulf between them.

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

     AN AUTOPSY PHOTO OF ELIZABETH SHORT

                          VOICE OVER
               But the deeper into her I got, the more I
               understood the detective's old saw: any
               dick worth his suit always takes a side:
               the perp or the vic.

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

     39TH ANMD NORTON - THE MURDER SCENE

     where Bucky stands in the empty lot, alone.

                          VOICE OVER
               Most cops'll tell ya...one day you wake
               up and you're in the head of the
               killer...Angry. Powerful. In control.
               You're the perp.

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

     FOOTAGE FROM BETTY AND LINDA'S PORN FILM

     as the camera dances across Betty Short's naked body. WE
     CLOSE IN on her, the 16mm film becoming finer and finer as
     the sex scene transforms into

     A LIVE SHOT OF BETTY SHORT, writhing in ecstasy underneath a
     man. She and the man fuck harder and harder, faster and
     faster.

                          BETTY SHORT
               No...Please...

                                                            CUT TO:

     BUCKY'S FACE

     groaning with the ecstasy of ejaculation--

     BACK ON BETTY SHORT BENEATH HIM-

     but it's not Betty Short. It's Madeleine Sprague, staring up
     at Bucky as the two of them come simultaneously.

     As soon as it's over, she looks for his eyes. He won't look
     at her. She grabs his chin and turns him face to face.

                          VOICE OVER
               Few cops'll admit to walking the harder
               path...fear...pain...loss...Few will
               admit to waking up in the head of the
               vic.

     He lower his face to the pillow...

     INT. ANOTHER CASTING SESSION - DAY

     Another clapstick: "Elizabeth Short...Screen test #3"

     Elizabeth Short, looking a bit more worn down, holds a script
     up to her face.

                          ELIZABETH SHORT
                   (reading stiffly)
               Don't just walk out on me, Richard. Say
               something. Say you care say you--

                          MAN #3 (O.S.)
               I'm sorry. There's a pause there.

     She stops, frustrated.

                          MAN #3 (cont'd)
               Maybe with a little more sadness. Can you
               give me a little more sadness?

     FADE OUT

     CLOSE ON:

     the "UNSOLVED" sheet at the LAPD betting pool. Handwritten
     on the sheet are the constantly dropping odds: "2 to 1"
     replaced by "3 to 2" which has been replaced by "Even
     Money".

     THE CAMERA PANS UP FROM THE BETTING SHEETS:

     "TRANSFER NOTICE...As of 2/6/47 these officers
     currently assigned to the Elizabeth Short
     investigation will return to their regular duties...

     WIDE ON THE SCENE

     as Bucky reads the list. Unfortunately his name is not on it.

     He beelines straight to

     RUSS MILLARD'S OFFICE

     the quiet man looks up from his desk.

                          BUCKY
               I wasn't on the transfer list.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               I asked Jack to keep you on.

                          BUCKY
               Why?

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Because you're getting to be a damn good
               Detective, Bleichert. And Harry's
               retiring in two years. Need I spell it
               out?

                          BUCKY
               No.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               You been working this case pretty hard.
               Or is it the other way around?

     Bucky smiles weakly; Russ knows him.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               It's not as much fun once it moves to the
               back pages, is it? (changing subjects) I
               hear they arrested two Mexicans in Juarez
               for the Bobby De Witt murder.

                          BUCKY
               I heard that, too.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               You must be relieved.

                          BUCKY
               They've rescinded the APB on Lee. If he
               doesn't show up in thirty days he's out.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               He'll be found if he wants to be found.

                          BUCKY
               Like the guy who killed the Dahlia?

     Russ smiles grimly.

     EXT. FRITZ VOGEL'S HOUSE - EVENING

     Bucky rings the doorbell. Fritz Vogel answers.

                          VOGEL
               Boyo! Glad you could make it.

     He claps Bucky on the shoulder and leads him into the house.

     INT. FRITZ VOGEL'S LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS

     The interior decorating equivalent of highballs and pretzels,
     which is exactly what Vogel, Bucky and Ellis Loew are
     consuming. Bucky drinks with the trepidation of the King's
     food taster.

                          ELLIS LOEW
               I called this little meeting for a couple
               reasons, Bucky.
               We'd both like to see the Short case
               closed out and get back to normal
               business.

     Bucky looks impatient and Ellis senses this.

                          ELLIS LOEW (cont'd)
               We're both comers, Bucky. Fritzie wants
               you for his partner when he gets his
               lieutenancy, and--

                          BUCKY
               Russ Millard wants me when Harry retires.

                          VOGEL
               You're too raw for him, boyo. Old Russ is
               a sob sister, and I'm much more your type.

     Bucky considers the truth in this. To Loew:

                          BUCKY
               What do you want, Ellis?

                          ELLIS LOEW
               Very well, Dwight. I'll tell you. There
               are four confessors still being held at
               City Jail. They've got no alibis, weren't
               coherent when they were first questioned,
               and they're all violent, frothing-at-the-
               mouth lunatics. I want them reintegrated.
               It's a muscle job.

                          VOGEL
               I wanted Bill Koenig--

                          ELLIS LOEW
               But Bill's a bit too enamored with
               violence. So it's you, Dwight. Yes or no?
               Because if it's yes, I'll make sure
               you're back on Warrants tomorrow with an
               inside track to some stripes. If not,
               it's Homicide shitwork until Russ Millard
               gets tired of you. We both know that Russ
               is a patient, forbearing man, Dwight.
               That could be a long time. Yes or no?

                                                            CUT TO:

     EXT. THE CITY JAIL PARKING LOT - NIGHT

     as four manacled men are being loaded into a drunk wagon
     while Bucky flips through their rap sheets and mug shots.

     INSIDE THE DRUNK WAGON

     the four men sit in the back as Bucky drives the truck. The
     camera pans their faces. The first, LOREN BIDWELL, pale, old
     and palsied.

                          VOICE OVER
               On my way over I played out their rap
               sheets in my head, trying to work up a
               head of hate...Loren Bidwell, three time
               Atascadero loser, falls for aggravated
               sexual assault on minors. Between prison
               jolts he confessed to all the big sex
               crimes.

     EXT. AN OLD WAREHOUSE BUILDING

     Bucky pulls the drunk wagon up to a building, its street
     facade illuminated: "KOUNTY KING LUNCH MEAT--SERVING L.A.
     COUNTY WITH INSTITUTIONAL FOOD SINCE 1923"...

     THE CAMERA finds the second man, CECIL DURKIN.

                          VOICE OVER (cont'd)
               Cecil Durkin--hophead, knife fighter and
               a jailhouse rape-o who played jazz drums
               with some good combos. He took two
               Quentin jolts for Arson and was caught
               masturbating at the scene of his last
               torch.

     AT THE FRONT OF THE WAREHOUSE BUILDING

     Fritz Vogel opens the door and leads the men inside.

     INT. THE WAREHOUSE BUILDING - CONTINUOUS

     A huge sawdust-covered roam, meathooks dangling from the
     ceiling. Beef dangles over half the hooks. The four men look 
     terrified.

     The camera finds the third man, CHARLIE ISSLER:

                          VOICE OVER
               Charlie Issler was a pimp and a career
               confessor specializing in copping to
               hooker homicides. His three procuring
               beefs had netted him a year county jail
               time, his phony confessions two ninety
               day observation stints at the Camarillo
               nut farm.

     And the fourth man, PAUL ORCHARD:

                          VOICE OVER (cont'd)
               And finally Paul Orchard. Jack roller,
               male prostitute, and a former San
               Bernardino County deputy sheriff.

     The group reaches a back wall of the warehouse where FOUR
     UNUSED MEATHOOKS DANGLE OVER FOUR CHAIRS.

     Bucky studies the men's apprehensive faces as Vogel stands
     each one on a chair with their manacled hands hooked over
     their respective meathooks.

     Bucky's gaze drifts back behind a large box where he sees A
     SHEET-COVERED TABLE sticking out. Before his curiosity draws
     him over Vogel addresses the prisoners.

                          VOGEL
               You all confessed to killing the Dahlia.
               We can't prove you did, so you're gonna
               have to convince us... Query on, Bucko.

     Bucky takes a deep breath and heads first to old man Bidwell.
     The man's palsy has him shaking and Bucky grabs the meathook
     above him to steady him.

                          BUCKY
               Tell me about Betty Short, pops. Why'd
               you kill her?

     Bidwell looks at him with beseeching eyes.

                          VOGEL
               Don't be timid, boyo. That bird made
               little boys suck his hog.

     Bucky's hand twitches on the meathook.

                          BUCKY
               Come clean, pop.

                          BIDWELL
               I didn't kill her mister. I just wanted a
               ticket to the honor farm. Three hots and
               a cot, that's all. Please, mister.

     The man's weakened state makes his argument for him. Bucky
     moves on to Cecil Durkin.

                          BUCKY
               Tell me about it, Cecil.

                          DURKIN
                   (laughing)
               You get that line from Dick Tracy or
               Gangbusters?

     Bucky catches Vogel out of the corner of his eye. Measuring...

                          BUCKY
               One more time, shitbird. Tell me about
               you and Betty Short.

                          DURKIN
               I fucked Betty Short and I fucked your
               mama! I'm your fucking daddy!

     Bucky one-two's him in the solar plexus. His legs buckle, but
     he keeps his feet on the chair.

                          DURKIN (cont'd)
               You think you clever, don't you. You the
               bad guy, your buddy the nice guy. Older
               than vaudeville.

                          BUCKY
               I'm the nice guy, Cecil. Keep that in
               mind.

     This shuts Durkin up. Bucky moves to Charlie Issler.

                          ISSLER
                   (sincere)
               Please. I didn't kill Liz. I don't know
               why I do these things, and I apologize.
               So please don't let that man hurt me.

                          BUCKY
               Convince me.

                          ISSLER
               I...can't. I just can't.

                          BUCKY
               You're a pimp. You know Betty Short?

                          ISSLER
               No.

                          BUCKY
               Why'd you confess to her murder?

                          ISSLER
               She looked so...sweet and pretty and I
               felt so bad. I always confess to the
               pretty ones.

                          BUCKY
               You feel guilty Charlie? You hit your
               girls, get 'em high on hop?

                          ISSLER
               I do such nasty things I don't know why--

     Vogel struts over, putting on brass knuckles.

                          VOGEL
               This kid glove routine's gettin' old--

     He kicks Issler's chair out from under him, the pimp
     screaming as his wrists snap. Vogel kicks the remaining three
     chairs out, punctuating each with a declaration:

                          VOGEL (cont'd)
               Jack roller! Nigger! Baby fucker!

     The men scream like dying animals as Fritzie zeroes in on
     Charlie Issler. He begins punching him in the gut with the
     brass knuckles.

                          VOGEL (cont'd)
               Tell me about the Dahlia's missing days
               you whoremonger! Tell me!

                          ISSLER
               I...don't...know...anything!

                          VOGEL
               Tell me what you know!

     He punches him in the crotch.

                          ISSLER
               I knew you at Ad Vice!

     Vogel ignores him, rabbit punching him, cracking one rib and
     then another--

     ON BUCKY'S FACE

     knowing this is getting out of control. He's mesmerized by A
     FIRE ALARM on the wall behind the men...

                          VOGEL
               Tell me what your girls tell you!

     Issler retches, coughing up blood. Bucky stares at the fire
     alarm as Fritz runs through his field of vision, cackling.

     Bucky refocuses on the scene as Fritzie returns, wheeling the
     sheet-covered table Bucky'd seen before. He whips off the
     sheet revealing:

     A NAKED FEMALE CORPSE, CUT IN TWO AND MADE UP TO LOOK LIKE
     THE DAHLIA.

     Vogel grabs Issler by the scruff of the neck and jerks him
     down off of the meathook.

                          VOGEL (cont'd)
               For your cutting pleasure, Jane Doe
               number forty-three. You're all going to
               slice her, and the best slicer buys the
               ticket!

     Issler bites through his lip as Fritzie pulls out a
     switchblade and pops it open.

     Bucky takes in the nightmare scene all in slow-motion, the
     men with their broken wrists, the pudgy naked corpse, Fritzie
     with the knife...

     He runs for the fire alarm and pulls the lever, a piercing
     bell ringing out as Bucky runs out of the warehouse and jumps
     into the drunk wagon, tearing off into the night.

     INT. KAY AND LEE'S HOUSE - NIGHT

     Kay answers the door and finds Bucky sitting on the front
     porch, sobbing.

     She moves to him, touching him on the back of the neck, the
     stroke of her finger enough to make him stand and face her.

     INT. THE BEDROOM - LATER

     Bucky tries to talk but she puts fingers to his mouth. Mouth
     to his fingers. She undresses him. Slowly she touches him,
     easing him, bringing him back to earth, back to humanity. To
     her.

     And finally they are joined.

                                                            CUT TO:

     ANOTHER TYPEWRITTEN SHEET: "LAPD Transfer orders: Officer
     Dwight Bleichert...From: Central Warrants...To: Foot
     Patrol, Swingwatch. Central Station..."

     EXT. SKID ROW - EVENING

     Bucky picks his way through passed-out drunks and bums. He's
     back in uniform.

                          VOICE OVER
               East 5th Street from Main to Stanford.
               Blood banks, liquor stores selling half
               pints and short dogs exclusively, fifty-
               cent-a-night flophouses and derelict
               missions...

     DOWN THE STREET

     two officers brutally herd winos into a drunk wagon. Bucky
     turns and walks the other direction, refusing to help. They
     see him and sneer.

                          VOICE OVER
               Banished by Ellis Loew, who dared me to
               try my word against a twenty-two year man
               and the city's future District Attorney.
               I confined the truth to Russ and Kay, and
               determined to spend my shifts trying to
               be the worst foot hack in history.

     He hands a quarter to a drunk as he passes, urging him with
     his nightstick to crawl back into a bar.

     INT. EL NIDO - ROOM 204 - NIGHT

     Russ Millard pores over a file in their private collection.
     Bucky sits with his feet up on the bed, flipping through a
     folder...

                          VOICE OVER
               A month passed. The Dahlia leads dwindled
               to zero and every officer except Russ and
               Harry were returned to their regular
               assignments. As for me, I'd been able to
               contain my Dahlia interests within the
               walls of the El Nido.

     Bucky eyes a Dahlia photo pinned to the wall.

                          VOICE OVER (cont'd)
               Still, I remembered what Madeleine said
               when I told her we were through...

     INT. THE RED ARROW MOTEL - NIGHT

     Madeleine sits on the bed fully dressed. Bucky stands in the
     doorway.

                          MADELEINE
               You'll be back. (beat) I look like her.

     Bucky turns and leaves as we

                                                            CUT TO:

     INT. KAY'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

     where Kay and Bucky sleep in bed, locked as spoons. Safe.

                          VOICE OVER
               But sometimes Betty came to me...

     INT. THE MEAT WAREHOUSE - NIGHT - A DREAM

     Bucky watches Fritz Vogel beats the hell out of Charles
     Issler as he hangs off the meathook. In the background, Betty
     Short stands and screams:

                          BETTY SHORT
               Bucky! No! Stop him!
                   (crying)
               I'll do whatever you want...

                          ISSLER
               I'll be okay....Liz...

     Bucky turns and stares at her.

     CLOSE ON BUCKY'S BLAZING EYES

                          MILLARD (VO)
               Bucky. What is it?

     INT. THE EL NIDO - SAME

     as Bucky stares across the room at a picture of the Dahlia.
     Millard sits at the small desk, waiting for him to come back.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Bucky.

     Bucky finally sees Russ again.

                          BUCKY
               You ever hear anyone refer to Betty as
               Liz? Anyone at all?

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Nope.

                          BUCKY
               Issler did.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               The pimp? I thought he said he'd never
               heard of her.

                          BUCKY
               You know what else he said?

     A FLASHBACK - THE WAREHOUSE

     As Vogel cracks Issler's ribs.

                          VOGEL
               What did you know about the Dahlia's
               missing days?

                          ISSLER
               I knew you at Ad Vice--

     INT. THE POLICE STATION - NIGHT

     Harry Sears cradles the phone in his ear as he flips through
     a large metal file cabinet. Behind him the glass door reads
     in reverse: "ADMINISTRATIVE VICE'.

                          HARRY SEARS (INTO PHONE)
               N-n-no, Russ. No file on Issler. Gone.

     BACK AT THE EL NIDO - SAME

     Bucky and Russ sit in silence, thinking. They know they're
     onto something...

                          BUCKY
               Fritzie didn't give a damn about those
               other three. It was all about Issler.
               Never occurred to me before.

     Bucky gets to his feet.

                          BUCKY (cont'd)
               Meet me back here. Late.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Bright penny--

     But Bucky's already out the door.

     EXT. FRITZ VOGEL'S HOUSE - NIGHT

     Bucky stakes out the dark house.

     EXT. VOGEL'S SERVICE PORCH - LATER

     Bucky slips an oil dipstick into the narrow crack of the back
     door and flips the simple hook and eyehole lock. He slides
     into the house...

     INT. FRITZ VOGEL'S HOUSE - CONTINUOUS

     as Bucky creeps through the house until he gets to a closed
     door. He opens it, entering

     FRITZIE'S STUDY

     He stumbles along the wall until he finds a standing
     gooseneck lamp and turns it on. The walls are covered with
     pictures of Fritzie in uniform, dating back twenty-five
     years.

     Bucky bends down in front of the small mahogany desk and
     begins rifling through its file drawers. What he finds
     surprises him:

     --carbons of official LAPD intelligence reports, lists of
     account balances, financial dealings, payments made--all 
     cross-referenced to each individual being investigated.

     A veritable how-to primer on how to extort from criminals..

     Bucky digs deeper into the files and pulls out:

     ISSLER'S AD VICE FILE complete with mug shots.

                          BUCKY
               Hello, Charlie. Get lost?

     Bucky scans the file, running his finger down the list of
     names, looking for something familiar. He stops at one:
     "SALLY STINSON". Beside her name a handwritten note:
     "Biltmore Hotel".

     He writes it down and moves to another list of names: "Known 
     Associates, no Prostitution Record".

     And there it is: "Betty Short".

     INT. BUCKY'S CAR - LATER

     Bucky bops to jazz on his radio, pumped with adrenaline.

     INT. THE EL NIDO - NIGHT

     Bucky tears through a file as Russ watches.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               So good ol' Fritzie's shaking down
               crooks, maybe sellin' 'em tip-offs before
               a roust.

                          BUCKY
               I want him nailed.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Easy, penny. They'd have to testify
               against him first. And that's not likely
               after he burns those carbons. But this
               Issler business--why hide the Issler-
               Betty connection?

                          BUCKY
                   (finding a file)
               Maybe Charlie pimped her out...to
               somebody Fritzie doesn't want us to know
               about...

     A FLASHBACK - THE WAREHOUSE

     as Fritz beats on Charlie--

                          FRITZIE
               Tell me what you know about the Dahlia's
               missing days--

     BACK TO THE EL NIDO

     Bucky reads through a letter.

                          BUCKY
               I knew it. Here. Betty writes to one of
               her phantom servicemen boyfriends:
                   (reading aloud)
               "...had drinks with a great girl, Sally
               Stinson, who thinks she way be able to
               help me get a job cocktailing..."

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Cocktailing.

                          BUCKY
               Yeah, I know. That's what made it stick
               with me...What next, padre?

                          RUSS MILLARD
               You sit tight. Go hack to swingwatch. Me
               and Harry'll poke around.

                          BUCKY
                   (displeased)
               I want him.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               You'll get him, too. But you've got to
               cool your temper. It's all patience with
               the big fish or they wriggle off.

     INT. KAY'S BEDROOM - LATE NIGHT

     Bucky lies awake while Kay sleeps.

                          VOICE OVER
               What kept me up that night wasn't the
               idea of Fritz Vogel extorting criminals,
               or Fritz Vogel bracing Charlie the pimp
               to see if Betty had told him something
               about one of her johns...maybe even
               Vogel, himself...No...

     A FLASHBACK - FRITZ VOGEL'S HOUSE

     Ellis Loew, Fritz Vogel and Bucky drink cocktails and eat
     pretzels...

                          VOICE OVER
               ...what kept me up was this thought: if
               Issler blabbed about Liz and her tricks I
               would have overheard. Fritz was confident
               he could keep me quiet.

     Ellis and Fritz clink glasses...Smile at Bucky.

                          VOICE OVER (cont'd)
               And that was an underestimation I would
               bleed him for.

     BACK IN KAY'S BED

     Her hand brushes against his cheek. He reaches for it.

     OVER THIS SCENE WE HEAR A PHONE RING AND THE FOLLOWING
     EXCHANGE.

                          BUCKY (VO)
               Hello?

                          RUSS MILLARD
               We've found her. Meet me at 1546 North
               Havenhurst in half an hour.

     INT. THE POLICE STATION - SAME

     As Bucky hangs up the phone. Trying to look casual he sidles
     over to a desk with FRITZ VOGEL on the name plate and snags a
     photo of Fritz and Johnny off the desk...

     INT. SALLY STINSON'S APARTMENT - DAY

     A worn woman in her early thirties (SALLY STINSON) sits on a
     stack of luggage, Russ and Bucky in chairs. She wears a cheap
     kimono and too much makeup for the middle of the day.

     She holds the photo of the Vogels. Shakes out her hair and
     closes her kimono a little.

                          SALLY
               I do a lot a cops, you know. Comes with
               the territory. Charlie used to say it was
               my union dues. Keep my operator's license.

     She laughs a little, trying to loosen herself up.

                          BUCK
               Ma'am. Please get to it.

                          SALLY
               Anyway. It was a full-day job. C-Note and
               a half. Kept talkin' about givin' me "The
               Big Schnitzel"...more like a cocktail
               frank once we got down to it...Well, we
               screw the whole afternoon...Go down to
               the lobby for some dinner and there's
               Liz, sittin' by herself.

                          BUCKY
               You'd hooked with her before?

                          SALLY
               Three or four times. Conventioneers. And
               lemme tell you something, I'm pretty good
               at faking it. But Liz, she was good. A
               virtuoso, Academy Award kind of stuff--

                          BUCKY
               --She do dyke?

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Bucky--

                          SALLY
               No. Nothing like that.

                          BUCKY
               Any porn?

                          SALLY
               No. But I bet she'd be gooood...

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Ma'am.

                          SALLY (cont'd)
               Anyway, we all get to talking...Schnitzel
               takes a liking to her and Liz tells me
               she needs the dough. So I set up a trick
               within a trick...I take a breather and
               they go at it in the bedroom. A couple
               hours later Liz left.

                          BUCKY
               Did anything unusual happen?

     Sally thinks...

                          SALLY
               I think it got a little kinky. He'd
               brought a couple toys...He may
               have...whipped her a bit.

     Russ and Bucky glance at each other, remembering lashmarks at
     the autopsy.

                          BUCKY
               Did Vogel say anything about Liz? Was he
               gonna see her again? Anything?

                          SALLY
               He said...she liked the Big Schnitzel.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Anything else, Miss Stinson?

     Her face clouds over.

                          SALLY
               Two days...after...Liz got in all the
               papers...

     She has a hard time going on.

                          BUCKY
                   (helping her out)
               Is this when your pimp Charlie confesses?

                          SALLY
                   (composing herself)
               Yeah. Bad habit. Anyways, Fritzie V.
               shows up and shakes me hard about
               Charlie, whether he'd say anything about
               Liz to the caps. Beat me bad. Real bad.

     She lifts her head. Taps her nails on the suitcases
     underneath her.

                          BUCKY
               One last time to be sure.
                   (pointing to Fritzie's picture)
               You are sure this is the man that you
               tricked with? And tricked with Liz Short?

     A puzzled look covers her face.

                          SALLY
               No mister you got it all wrong.

                          BUCKY
               But you said--

                          SALLY
               Fritz just beat me. It was Sonny me and
               Liz did. Sonny.

     She taps her finger on John Vogel's face.

                          SALLY (cont'd)
               I'd recognize that lousy fuck anywhere.

     Off Bucky and Russ' shock we

                                                            CUT TO:

     EXT./INT. RUSS MILLARD'S CAR - LATER

     as they cruise the streets of skid row. While Russ talks
     Bucky fills a HYPODERMIC NEEDLE with an amber liquid...

                          RUSS MILLARD
               I'll be a chimp's priest, Buck. A chimp's
               priest--watch the air bubbles--I shoulda
               known that Johnny I d need a pro to lose
               his cherry...Never had 'em for a kink and
               a cherry, though...

     Bucky points out the window.

                          BUCKY
               There.

     OUTSIDE ON THE SIDEWALK

     Johnny Vogel wrestles with two drunks, kicking at them as
     they scamper into some trash.

                          BUCKY
                   (exiting the car)
               Johnny--

     Johnny ambles over to Bucky.

                          JOHNNY VOGEL
               Whatcha doin' in civvies, Bleichert?

     Bucky drills him in the solar plexus, doubling him over. He
     grabs Vogel by the hair and slams his head into the roof of
     the car as Johnny's lights dIm...

                                                            CUT TO:

     THE BACKSEAT OF THE CAR - SECONDS LATER

     as Russ Millard injects the needle into Johnny's arm.

                                                            CUT TO:

     INT. THE EL NIDO - DAY

     Johnny Vogel handcuffed to a radiator, his head bobbing back
     and forth. His eyes trying to focus on Russ and Bucky.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Pentothal's good for another couple
               hours. No way he can lie.

     Johnny's eyes drift to the pictures on the walls.

                          BUCKY
               Elizabeth Short, shitbird. Elizabeth
               fucking Short!

     Russ touches Bucky's arm, urging him to sit back.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               There's a method to this, Bucky.
                   (focusing on Johnny)
               What's your name, son?

                          JOHNNY
                   (slurring)
               You know me, loot.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Answer me anyway.

                          JOHNNY
               Vogel, John G.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               What's sixteen and fifty-two?

                          JOHNNY
               Uhmmm. Sixty-eight. Why'd you hit me
               Bleichert? I didn't do you no dirt.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Focus on January, Johnny. Your father--

                          JOHNNY
               Friedrich Vogel. Fritzie.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Yes. Fritzie. He wanted you to lose your
               cherry. He bought you a woman for two
               days. Is that right?

                          JOHNNY
               Not a woman. Not a real one. A hoooer.

     Johnny turns the syllable into a long laugh.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               This was at the Biltmore?

                          JOHNNY
               Daddy got a good rate on the room. He
               knew the house dick...This ain't right...

                          RUSS MILLARD
               We'll be done soon, Johnny. You met Liz
               Short at the Biltmore, too?

                          JOHNNY
               What's her name introduced me...the
               hooer.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               And what did you and Liz do?

                          JOHNNY
               We...played horse and rider. Gave her the
               Big Schnitz.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Did you whip her?

     Johnny thinks back, his head lolling to and fro...

                          JOHNNY
               Softly. So so softly. Horse and Rider.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Johnny. Did you kill Liz Short?

     Johnny jerks back spasmodically.

                          JOHNNY
               No no no no! I didn't kill her!

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Easy son--

                          JOHNNY
               I didn't slice her!

                          RUSS MILLARD
               It's all right...Do you know who did?
                          JOHNNY
               No! No!

     Johnny's starting to sweat. Russ and Bucky lean in...

                          RUSS MILLARD
               When your Daddy found out you'd been with
               her, he tried to fix things didn't he?

     Johnny nods yes.

                          RUSS MILLARD (cont'd)
               He found out Charlie Issler had been
               picked up and he knew Charlie had this
               confessing problem, right?

                          JOHNNY
               Daddy...went to Ellis...to the Jewboy.
               Wanted to get Charlie released...but the
               Jewboy said no...Daddy had a morgue
               friend owed him a favor and got this DOA
               cooze...Daddy wanted Uncle Bill but Ellis
               Jewboy said take Bleichert.
                   (looking right at Bucky)
               Daddy said you'd do it cuz without
               Blanchard you were jelly. Said you were a
               sob sister, weak sister...

     Johnny starts laughing hysterically, shaking his chained hands
     like a zoo animal trying to get loose. Russ steps in front of
     a red-hot Bucky--

                          RUSS MILLARD
                   (to Bucky)
               I think you should go outside.

     EXT. THE FIRE ESCAPE - LATER

     Bucky sits out on the fire escape watching cars drive by.
     Russ leans out the window and hands Bucky the statement.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               His statement. Signed.

     Bucky reads it and slips it into his pocket.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               We should sit on this for a little bit.
               Until I can talk to a legal officer.

     Bucky shakes his head no, climbs back inside the window.

     INT. THE HOTEL ROOM - DAY

     Bucky handcuffs Johnny's hands behind his back as the big man
     cries...

                          JOHNNY
               Daddy...

                          RUSS MILLARD
                   (to Bucky)
               It's the shithouse until you retire, you
               know that.

                          BUCKY
               I owe her this one.

     He squeezes Johnny's handcuffs tighter.

     INT. HOLLYWOOD STATION - BOOKING - NIGHT

     Reporters follow Bucky and Johnny inside, piqued by the sight
     of a plainclothes officer escorting a cuffed uniform inside.

                          BUCKY
               No comment...No comment...
                   (whispering in Johnny's ear)
               Tell your Daddy I know everything.
               Including his extortion deal. Tell him
               I'm goin' to the papers tomorrow.

     He approaches the desk sergeant.

                          DESK SERGEANT
               What the hell is this?

     A flashbulb goes off in their faces. Johnny sobs.

                          BUCKY
               I'm Officer Dwight Bleichert and this is
               Officer John Vogel.

     He hands over Johnny's signed statement.

                          BUCKY (cont'd)
               Book him.

     Another flashbulb.

     EXT. CENTRAL STATION - LATER

     Bucky jogs up the steps inside.

     INT. THE LOCKER ROOM - LATER

     He dresses in his blue uniform, preparing to go back to work.

                          INTERCOM
               Officer Bleichert, go to the watch
               commander's office immediately.

     Bucky brushes imaginary dust off his shirt and grabs his hat.

     INT. LIEUTENANT JASTROW'S OFFICE - SOON AFTER

     Bucky walks in, saluting like an idealistic rookie. Jastrow
     stands, ignoring the salute.

                          JASTROW
               You're on two weeks vacation leave as of
               now. When you return to duty, report to
               Chief Green. He'll reassign you to
               another division.

                          BUCKY
               Why?

                          JASTROW
               Fritz Vogel just blew his brains out.
               That's why.

     All Bucky can think to do is salute again, rock firm. He
     walks outside and crosses into

     INT. THE MUSTER ROOM - CONTINUOUS

     Crammed with blues awaiting roll call. They all stare at
     Bucky; he meets the eyes that seek his, making them look
     down. Defiant.

     As he passes he can hear the hisses: "Traitor". "Bolshevik".
     He continues towards the door, almost out when suddenly he
     hears applause.

     Bucky turns to see,Russ Millard, Harry Sears and Thad Green
     clapping good-bye...

     INT. THE CASTING OFFICE - DAY

     Clapstick: "Elizabeth Short Screen Test #4"

     She sits on an ugly brown sofa, sides in her hands. Silence.

                          MAN #4 (O.S.)
               Are you all right, Miss Short?

     She looks up, seeing the camera as if for the first time.

                          MAN #4 (cont'd)
               Why don't you just...talk.

                          ELIZABETH SHORT
               What do you mean?

                          MAN #4
               Put the sides down. Just...talk to me.

                          ELIZABETH SHORT
               What would you like to talk about?

                          MAN #4
               I don't know...Anything...Do you have a
               boyfriend?

     FADE OUT

     EXT. THE SANTA MONICA PIER - NIGHT

     Kay and Bucky sit on a bench, looking out at the water.

                          KAY
               I could take sick days. Maybe a trip to
               Santa Barbara, or even a drive to San
               Francisco...

                          BUCKY
               Kay.

                          FAY
               You don't owe him a thing, Bucky. I know
               you won't believe me. But you've more
               than repaid him already.

     He looks at her and she knows it's useless.

                          KAY (cont'd)
               When?

                          BUCKY
               First thing.

     She takes his hand.

                          KAY
               You're a fool, Dwight.

     EXT. THE SAN DIEGO FREEWAY - LATE MORNING

     as Bucky crosses the border into Mexico.

                          VOICE OVER
               I closed out my glory days the only way I
               knew how--I chased the gone man.

     EXT. TIJUANA STREETS - VARIOUS SHOTS - DAY

     Bucky hands out pennies and nickels to locals, flashing both
     his badge and snapshots of Lee.

                                                            CUT TO:

     BUCKY AND AN ENTOURAGE OF TRAILING LOCALS

     as Bucky tries to shake them, pulling out his pockets to show
     them he has no more coins.

                                                            CUT TO:

     BUCKY QUESTIONING TIJUANA COPS

     graduating from small change to one dollar bills. Same of
     them seem to have stories to tell.

                          VOICE OVER
               I got headshakes, bullshit broadsides and
               a strange series of tales that rang true.
               One had "el blanco explosivo" beating the
               shit out of three jack rollers, then
               buying off the cops with double-saws
               peeled from a large roll.
               Another had Lee donating 200 scoots to a
               leper ministry priest and then driving to
               Ensenada.

     EXT - THE COASTAL ROAD - LATE AFTERNOON

     as Bucky drives South, passing a sign which says "ENSENADA
     60 MI."

     He passes a cluster of families walking on the side of the
     road. They carry suitcases and head North.

     EXT. THE COAST ROAD - NEAR ENSENADA

     Bucky approaches Ensenada. The trickle of families headed
     north has now becoming a roadside migration march. Every
     fifth of sixth marcher carries a torch or lantern.

     EXT. THE CITY LIMITS OF ENSENADA - NIGHT

     Bucky cruises slowly into town and the most blatant shakedown
     he's ever seen:

     Rurales in brownshirts walk from peasant to peasant in the
     northbound migration line, taking money and attaching tags to
     their shoulders with staple guns; plainclothes cops sell bags
     of beef jerky and dried fruit, putting coins into dispensers
     attached to their belts.

     Two Rurales pull a man out of line and beat him senseless
     with the butts of their sawed-off shotguns.

                          VOICE OVER
               I decided it would be wise to check in
               with the law before going out to question
               the Ensenada citizenry.

     EXT. THE ENSENADA POLICE STATION - NIGHT

     Bucky stands outside a converted church with the word POLICIA
     painted in black over religious scenes.

     INT. THE POLICE STATION - NIGHT

     Velvet wall hangings depicting Jesus decorate the entrance
     hall. Blackshirts lounge on converted pews, a huge carved
     cross on the front desk betrays its altar origins.

     Bucky slides the Rurale at the desk his badge and a dollar.
     The man saunters off down the hall.

     INT. THE POLICE CHIEF'S OFFICE - MINUTES LATER

     as Bucky is escorted in. The man sitting behind the desk
     looks up. In flawless English:

                          CAPTAIN VASQUEZ
               Officer Bleichert. Come in, please. I'm
               Captain Vasquez. How can I help you?

     Bucky exchanges his badge for a photo of Lee.

                          BUCKY
               This man's LAPD. He's been missing in
               Mexico since January. He was last seen
               headed here.

     Vasquez studies the photo. Bucky senses a twitch...

                          CAPTAIN VASQUEZ
               No. I'm afraid not. I'll ask my men,
               however. Staying the night?

                          BUCKY
               At least.

                          VASQUEZ
               Are you here alone?

                          BUCKY
               I have two partners waiting for me in
               Tijuana.

     Vasquez nods, hard to know if he believes Bucky any more than
     Bucky believes him.

                          BUCKY (cont'd)
               If you don't mind I'll check back in the
               morning.

                          CAPTAIN VASQUEZ
               Please.

                                                            CUT TO:

     INT. A FLEABAG MOTEL ROOM - LATER

     Bucky squeezes a bit of brown water onto a handkerchief and
     wipes his brow off. He kicks his travel bag underneath the
     bed and heads out.

     EXT. THE HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

     as Bucky pulls two hairs from his head and spit-glues them to
     the door jamb.

     EXT. THE ENSENADA STREETS - NIGHT

     Garish neon, military personnel. Brownshirts packing serious
     weapons keeping the mostly white street crowd in order.

     HIS POV: An adobe streetfront with a neon sign: "CLUB BOXEO".
     Bucky goes inside.

     INT. THE CLUB BOXEO - CONTINUOUS

     Bucky finds a brightly lit room filled with sailors and half-
     dressed Mexican strippers. He stands on his tip-toes trying
     to see over the crowd to find somebody with the air of
     proprietor.

     Cn a far wall: boxing publicity stills. He wanders over.

     CLOSE ON THE WALL OF STILLS:

     A row of light-heavies: Gus Lesnevich, Billy Conn, and Bucky. 
     Three stills over, next to Joe Louis, is Lee's photo. They
     all look so young...So good...

     An old voice in English breaks his reverie:

                          OLD MAN
               Bleichert? Jesus. First Blanchard, then
               you. Who's next? Willie Pep?

     Bucky wheels and finds himself face to face with an old man.

                          BUCKY
               Blanchard? You've seen him? When?

                          OLD MAN
               Couple months ago. Heavy rains in
               February. Musta talked fights for ten
               hours straight. You know Blanchard thinks
               the feathers are the best division? me,
               it's the middies for sure. La Motta,
               Graziano--

                          BUCKY
               Is he still in town?

                          OLD MAN
               Don't think so. I own this place. He
               ain't been back. You lookin' for a
               rematch?

                          BUCKY
               I'm looking to get him out of a shitload
               of trouble.

     The old pug looks him up and down.

                          OLD MAN
               Well. I'll tell ya the little I know.
               Heard he caused a ruckus over at the Club
               Satan, had to bribe his way out big with
               Captain Vasquez. Talk to Ernie the cook.
               Tell him I said to be kosher with you.

                          BUCKY
               Thank you.

                          OLD MAN
               You ain't been in there.

     INT. CLUB SATAN - LATER

     Bucky walks into the biggest sewer you have ever seen. The
     bar is a urinal trough where marines and sailors masturbate
     while going down on nude women squatting on the bartop. Blow
     jobs are being dispensed underneath tables facing the
     bandstand.

     Up on the stage a man in a Satan costume is fucking a woman
     on a mattress. Next to him, a donkey with red velvet horns
     pinned to his head eats hay out of a bowl while drunken
     servicemen shout "Donkey! Donkey!"

     Bucky is accosted by a disgusting old woman.

                          OLD WOMAN
               You wan' the bar, handsome? Breakfast of
               champions, one dollar. Round the world,
               two dollars.

                          BUCKY
               Ernie. I need to see Ernie.

                          OLD WOMAN
               Vamanos!

     And grabs him by the arm...

     INT. THE KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

     ERNIE, a half-Mexican half-Chinese man, stands next to a huge
     vat of stew. Bucky flashes Lee's photo.

                          BUCKY
               I heard this man gave you some trouble a
               while back.

                          ERNIE
               Who wants to know?

     Bucky flashes his badge, giving him a glimpse of his gun.

                          ERNIE
               You his friend?

                          BUCKY
               He's my best friend.

     The chef tucks his hands into his aprons, fidgeting.

                          ERNIE
               Your friend drink fourteen shots of my
               best Mescal, a house record. That I like.
               He make toasts to dead women. That I don't
               mind. But he try to fuck with my donkey
               show, and that I don't take.

                          BUCKY
               What happened?

                          ERNIE
               Four of my guys he take, the fifth he
               don't. Rurales take him home to sleep it
               off.

                          BUCKY
               That's it?

     Ernie casually pulls a switchblade out of his apron and
     scratches the back of his neck with it.

                          ERNIE
               Finito.

     EXT. THE CLUB SATAN - LATER

     Bucky walks outside and begins weaving his way back through
     the crowds. Out of the corner of his eye he catches a couple
     Rurales who seem to have taken an interest in him.

     He dodges down an alley and cuts down another street,
     breaking into a slow jog.

     EXT. ANOTHER STREET - SECONDS LATER

     Bucky walks backwards, checking the crowd. He's lost them.

     INT. THE FLEABAG MOTEL - LATER

     Bucky stands in front of his door. He runs his finger up and
     down the door jamb. The hairs are gone.

     With one swift kick he breaks down the door.

     INT. THE MOTEL ROOM - SECONDS LATER

     A white man stands with his hands raised.

                          MAN
               Whoa, Bleichert. I'm a friend--

     Bucky gestures with his gun for the man to hit the wall. He
     frisks him, pulling out a wallet and tossing on the bed.

                          MAN (cont'd)
               Milton Dolphine, citizen of San Diego and
               a licensed private dick. I got seventy
               bucks in there but that money's jackshit
               compared to what Blanchard was holding.
               You go partners with me and it's easy
               street--

     Bucky kicks the man's legs out and pushes his to the floor.

                          BUCKY
               You tell me all of it and you watch what
               you say about my partner, or it's a B&E
               roust and the Ensenada jail.

     Dolphine pulls himself up.

                          DOLPHINE
               You mean Vasquez? How do you think I knew
               to follow you? He's got a vested interest
               in you not finding out about Blanchard.

     Bucky eyes the door.

                          BUCKY
               Does he know I'm staying here?

                          DOLPHINE
               No.

     Bucky steps back from Dolphine.

                          BUCKY
               So. Let's hear it.

                          DOLPHINE
               About a month ago this Mexican woman
               shows up at my office in Dago. Chubby,
               ten tons a makeup, but dressed to the
               nines. Offers me five hundred to find
               Blanchard. Just like you I track him here
               where he's playing the rich gringo--

     A FLASHBACK - LEE TEARING UP AN ENSENADA BAR

                          DOLPHINE
               I even see him beat up two spics who
               insult this Senorita--Rurales stand by
               and do nothing. So I know he's paying
               protection dough. A lot of it. Then  I
               hear he paid off two plainclothes Rurale
               to snuff a coupla guys in TJ--

     A FLASHBACK - BOBBY DE WITT AND FELIX CASCO BLOWN AWAY...

                          DOLPHINE
               I leave a message in Dago for the woman
               tellin' her what I know...

                          BUCKY
               What's her name?

                          DOLPHINE
               Delores Garcia. But it was obviously a
               phony. Casco ran with some rich bimbos
               and I'm betting she's one of his. Revenge
               on Blanchard for offin' Felix.

     Bucky tightens his grip on the slats of a wooden chair. This
     is hitting him hard.

                          BUCKY
               Go on.

                          DOLPHINE
               I come back to Ensenada on my own,
               thinking about all that cash he was
               flashing.

     Bucky's jaw clenches.

                          DOLPHINE (cont'd)
               You wanna hear this?

                          BUCKY
               Go on.

                          DOLPHINE
               Blanchard's dead. Bullet in the cabeza.
               (beat) Rumor is they never found any
               money.

     Bucky's head begins to reel...

                          DOLPHINE (cont'd)
               Maybe the Rurales. Maybe that woman or
               friends of hers. Who knows? I figured
               Blanchard was rogue, figured someone like
               you'd come lookin' for him. Maybe have a
               line on where the cash was. You knew
               Blanchard, maybe we can--

     Bucky backhands Dolphine hard, knocking him off the chair.

                          DOLPHINE (cont'd)
               Look I didn't know it was personal! Don't
               hit me again--

     Bucky has his gun out, leveled at Dolphine.

                          BUCKY
               Prove it to me. Prove it!

     EXT. THE BACKROADS OF ENSENADA - NIGHT

     Dolphine drives his car while Bucky trains his gun on him.

     They come over a ridge and find themselves on a big bluff
     overlooking the ocean. A HUGE WOODEN BURNING CROSS marks the
     spot.

                          DOLPHINE
               The locals keep the damn thing lit up.
               They got a lotta missing relatives.

                          BUCKY
               You got a shovel?

                          DOLPHINE
               Gardening tools--

                          BUCKY
               Good enough.

     EXT. THE BLUFF - LATER

     Bucky scavenges a spare piece of picket fence, wraps it in a
     rag and lights a torch off of the cross. Dolphine kicks at a
     filthy American flag in the sand.

                          DOLPHINE
               Here. Supposed to be near el bannero.

                                                            CUT TO:

     A SMALL SHOVEL PUSHING INTO THE GROUND

     as Dolphine digs at gun point. After a few strokes the crunch
     of the shovel hitting bone.

     Bucky terrified to look but has to know--

     --a white jumper--

                          DOLPHINE
               Sailor's uniform. It's a sailor...

     Bucky breathes out hard. Unbearable. Dolphine digs on,
     pushing the corpse out of the way and digging further into he
     sand.

     Bucky can't stand the suspense. He tucks his gun into his
     waistband and grabs the shovel. After a few more strokes the
     thump of something solid.

     And suddenly it's there--sunburned pink skin, blond hair and
     stitch scars on the eyebrows.

     Lee Blanchard. Lee Blanchard. Lee Blanchard.

     And Bucky's in Dolphine's truck while Dolphine's screaming
     for him to wait and Bucky slams the truck in reverse,
     knocking the burning cross to the ground and grinding out out
     of the sand onto the road, heading north and leaving Dolphine
     and Lee alone at the grave...Heading north like a refugee...

     EXT. KAY'S HOUSE - DAWN

     Bucky's car rolls up slowly as he kills the engine, trying
     not to make any noise.

     The sun comes up, illuminating Bucky's filthy face as he
     watches the picture-perfect house, wishing time would stand
     still. Or better yet, wishing it would go back...

     Finally he gets out of the car and begins a long walk into
     the house.

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

     A LAPD CHAPLAIN READING SOLEMNLY FROM A BIBLE

     But as the camera PULLS BACK we see Bucky in his dress blues
     standing next to Kay in a wedding dress.

     EXT. THE BACKYARD OF KAY'S HOUSE

     Russ Millard and Harry Sears stand by as the only two guests.

                          VOICE OVER
               Lee and Kay had lived in sin; not because
               their shack job was against department
               regs, but because the ghosts of their
               past had forced them to choose between
               love and passion, the veneer of a "fairy
               tale" only a band-aid for a fractured
               life.

                                                       DISSOLVE TO:

     LEE AND KAY DANCING TOGETHER

     as Harry and Russ drink from a punch bowl...

                          VOICE OVER
               Our true vows were made in private; bury
               the past, bury our ghosts, and as Kay
               said, "bury that fucking girl"...

     ANOTHER LAPD TRANSFER FORM: "Officer Dwight
     Bleichert...Reassigned to: Scientific investigation
     Detail"

     INT. THE LAPD SCIENCE LAB - DAY

     Bucky with plastic gloves on typing blood with an eye dropper
     and a test tube. Meticulous and boring.

     News radio plays in the background...

     A Detective pokes his head in:

                          DETECTIVE
               Bleichert? You got those prints for me?

     Bucky pulls a file out of a stack and gives it to him. The
     nonchalance of a man whose job has become routine.

                          DETECTIVE (cont'd)
               Thanks. We gotta hot one I think.

     Bucky smiles politely and returns to his desk. The radio:

                          ANNOUNCER
               ...results in the 1948 Republican primary
               are final...John Dougdale trouncing D.A.
               Ellis Loew 64% to 36%...In county
               primaries...

     This gets a smile from Bucky as he returns to his test tubes
     and beakers.

     INT. AN APARTMENT - CRIME SCENE - DAY

     Detectives comb through a murder scene as Bucky collects
     latent fingerprints off doorknobs. No one pays him any
     attention. He's been relegated to the worst kind of
     purgatory.

     INT. THE KITCHEN - MORNING

     Bucky and Kay drink coffee and read the morning paper. She
     absently strokes his free hand.

     Bucky intently reads the front page.

     The headline reads: "CITY COUNCIL INVESTIGATES '20s BOOM
     BARONS FOR SHODDY HOME CONSTRUCTION".

     Underneath, a picture of Sprague and Mack Sennett posing in
     front of the HOLLYWOODLAND sign.

     He's startled by Kay tapping her finger on the photo.

                          KAY
               That reminds me of something, Dwight.

     Bucky tries to hide his panic.

                          BUCKY
               What?

                          KAY
               Floorboard's loose near the closet. Think
               you could fix it?

                          BUCKY
                   (relieved)
               Sure, babe.

     The phone rings. Bucky answers it.

                          BUCKY (cont'd)
               Hello...Hey Vic...

     Bucky writes something on a piece of paper. Hangs up.

                          BUCKY (cont'd)
               Gotta go. Work-up on a probable gunshot
               suicide.

                          KAY
               Sounds lovely. Where is it?

                          BUCKY
               Hancock Park.

     EXT. A COLONIAL MANSION - JUNE STREET - MORNING

     Bucky rings the bell. He's dressed plainclothes and carries a 
     technician's canvas bag.

     An attractive woman in her early fifties opens the door.

                          WOMAN
               Yes?

                          BUCKY
               I'm Officer Bleichert. LAPD. My I express
               my condolences, Mrs.--

                          WOMAN
               Jane Chambers. Condolences accepted.
               You're the lab man?

     He nods yes. She lets him in and he follows.

                          JANE CHAMBERS
               It's the study in back of the dining
               room. You'll see the police rope. If
               you'll excuse me, I'll be in my garden.

     He notices for the first time she's dressed for gardening.

     INT. THE STUDY - MORNING

     Bucky steps over the police rope and into the study. A large
     desk chair lies overturned an the ground next to A TAPE
     OUTLINE OF A BODY. Three feet away lies A SHOTGUN.

     Behind the chair the brown spattering of blood and brains
     decorates the white wall and crown mouldings.

                                                            CUT TO:

     A SERIES OF SHOTS

     as Bucky measures the splatter marks on the walls, scrapes
     tissue from the muzzle of the gun, dusts it for latent
     prints, etc. At the end he wraps the gun in a plastic bag.

     INT. THE HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

     as Bucky steps over the police rope and walks back towards
     the main foyer. He stops short.

     ON THE OPPOSING WALL

     hangs a disturbing PAINTING: the portrait of a clown, a young
     boy done up in court jester's garb. His body is gnarled and 
     hunched. He wears a stuporous ear-to-ear smile that looks
     like one continuous deep scar.

     It is eerily reminiscent of Elizabeth Short's death wound.

     Spooked, Bucky pulls his eyes away and settles them on nearby
     family photos--two young women linked arm in arm.

                          JANE CHAMBERS
               The other survivors. Pretty aren't they?

     She arrives next to him, dusty with soil.

                          BUCKY
               Like their mother. How old are they?

                          JANE CHAMBERS
               Twenty-one and twenty-three. Are you
               finished in the study?

                          BUCKY
               Yes. Tell whoever cleans it up to use
               pure ammonia...
                   (looking at the two girls)
               Mrs. Chambers--

                          JANE CHAMBERS
               Jane.

                          BUCKY
               Jane, do you know Madeleine and Martha
               Sprague? The next block over?

                          JANE CHAMBERS
                   (snorts)
               Those girls and that family. How do you
               know them?

                          BUCKY
               I did a little work for them once.

                          JANE CHAMBERS
               Consider it lucky if it was a brief
               encounter.

                          BUCKY
               How do you mean?

     The hallway phone rings. Jane moves to answer it.

                          JANE CHAMBERS
               Back to condolences. Thank you for being
               so nice, Mr.--

                          BUCKY
               Bucky. Good-bye, Jane.

                          JANE CHAMBERS
               Good-bye.

     INT. THE CRIME LAB - LATER

     Bucky writes up a report. VIC pokes his head in.

                          VIC
               You finish working up the suicide, Bucky?

                          BUCKY
               Yeah. Pretty routine. Whattya know about
               the husband?

                          VIC
               Eldridge Chambers? Widow said he was
               depressed, failing health. The terrible
               burden of all that money'll get you every
               time.

                          BUCKY
               Wonder how he made it?

                          VIC
               No mystery there. Real estate.

                          BUCKY
               Oh really?

     INT. THE GARAGE - EVENING

     The garage door is open to the evening air. Bucky's heavy bag
     and speed bag hang on hooks. Bucky leans against a stool, a
     large box open on the work bench.

     INSIDE THE BOX

     Bucky brushes aside a clutter of junk and pulls out A PHOTO
     ALBUM. He opens it and begins flipping through: articles and
     photos concerning Elizabeth Short. MOSTLY PHOTOS.

     It's like a man in a mid-life crisis fantasizing about his
     high school sweetheart.

     OFF ONE OF THE PHOTOS WE DISSOLVE TO:

     ANOTHER ELIZABETH SHORT CASTING SESSION

     "Elizabeth Short...Screen Test #5"

     She rambles on, almost oblivious of the camera.

                          ELIZABETH SHORT
               ...I had a fiance, Captain Matt Durand.
               He was in a tank battalion. A Commander.
               He had...the fiercest blue eyes. Like the
               deep water you see from a fishing boat...

     She's lost in thought...we're not sure whether this is a
     scene, her real life, or just a sad lie...

     THE NOISE OF A CAR APPROACHING

     BACK TO SCENE

     Bucky drops the album back in the box as Kay's car pulls into
     the driveway. He covers it back up.

                          KAY
                   (getting out)
               What're you doing?

                          BUCKY
               I'm...looking for the hammer.

     She points over his shoulder to the hammer hanging in plain
     view.

     INT. THE BEDROOM - LATER

     Bucky kneels on the ground near the closet, toolbox next to
     him. He pulls on the floorboard, it flexes and squeaks.

     He uses the hammer to pull the board completely off. He
     squeezes wood glue around the edges and is about to replace
     the board when something under the floor catches his eye.

     He reaches into the hole, pulling out STACKS OF HUNDRED
     DOLLAR BILLS BOUND WITH RUBBER BANDS.

     He spies another scrap of paper in the hole...

     INT. THE KITCHEN - SAME

     Kay pours two scotches.

                          KAY
               Dwight?

     She carries the scotches into the bedroom and finds Dwight
     sitting on the floor, staring at thousands of dollars in
     cash.

     He holds a paper money band inscribed: "$100...Boulevard-
     Citizens Bank..."

                          KAY (cont'd)
               Oh. I...always wondered where he kept it.

     THE BOULEVARD-CITIZENS BANK HEIST - A FLASHBACK

     A SHOTGUN BLAST shatters the back window of the armored
     truck. In the front seat, LEE BLANCHARD ducks down as the
     driver hits the gas...

     BACK ON THE SCENE

     as Bucky leans back against the bed.

                          BUCKY
               Were you ever going to tell me?

                          KAY
               He'd given all his money to Ben Siegel.
               (beat) He wanted to give me a home.

     A FLASHBACK - LEE'S CAR

     Lee and Bucky, their first day as partners...

                          LEE
               ...said I'd get a shot at Joe Louis if
               I'd take two dives for him. I said no...

     BACK ON THE SCENE

     as Bucky looks straight up into the ceiling light...

                          BUCKY
               Were you ever going to tell me?

                          KAY
               He knew what Bobby was doing to me...How
               he'd used a razor on me...pimped me to
               his friends...

     INT. DEWITT'S APARTMENT - A FLASHBACK

     as Lee plants the incriminating bank bags in DeWitt's closet...

     BACK ON THE SCENE

     Bucky staring back into the hole in the floor...

                          KAY
               ...Bobby know nothing about the bank job.
               He and Lee, they never even met. After
               Lee and his driver got away, Lee figured
               framing Bobby'd give me a way out...

     EXT. DEWITT'S TRIAL - FLASHBACK

     Lee leads Kay out of the courtroom.

     BACK ON THE SCENE

     as Kay leans down next to Bucky, gently putting her hand on
     his shoulder...

                          KAY
               Then last year...the fourth man--the
               driver--he heard Bobby was getting
               paroled. He threatened to tell DeWitt
               that Lee framed him. He wanted money we
               didn't have. Ten thousand dollars.

                          BUCKY
               Ever. Were you ever...?

                          KAY
               Promise me this: Forgive him for DeWitt.
               Forgive him for the bank. It doesn't
               matter anymore. Not to us.

                          BUCKY
               Who was the driver, Kay? Tell me. Tell
               me!

     He's in her face now. Okay, pal, you asked for it.

                          KAY
               Baxter Fitch.

     EXT. THE STREET - A FLASHBACK

     Three black man and a white man get rousted by Lee and Bucky.

                          BAXTER FITCH
               Blanchard?

     Chaos erupts as Lee executes Baxter Fitch and Bucky kills two
     others...

     BACK TO THE SCENE

     on Bucky's anguished face:

                          KAY (cont'd)
               He used you, Dwight. He did. Forgive him
               everything else. But don't forgive him
               for that. Ever.

     She reaches for his face and he pulls away.

     SLO-MO CLOSE-UP...

     as the crumpled money drops down into the hole in the floor,
     into the blackness...

     WE FADE UP TO:

     INT. THE GARAGE - NIGHT

     Bucky, stripped to bare chest, attacks the heavy beg.

                          VOICE OVER
               Fire and Ice. The hero and the snitch.
               Bank robber and his best friend the
               bumfuck detective. Triggerman. Stooge.
               Weak point in a fairy tale triangle.

     He lashes into the heavy bag with a series of brutal left
     hooks. Kay stands in the door, watching him. Her eyes red
     from crying.

                          VOICE OVER (cont'd)
               I would forgive Lee the bank job. And I
               thought I'd forgive Kay her role in
               keeping it from me. But the basic rule of
               Homicide applied: Nothing stays buried
               forever. Corpses. Ghosts. Nothing stays
               buried forever. Nothing.

     Kay turns around and shuts the door behind her.

     EXT. JANE CHAMBER'S GARDEN - DAY

     Bucky and Jane drink iced tea. A glorious garden behind them.

                          JANE CHAMBERS
               So. What brings you around again?
               Considering a courtin' the old rich
               widow?

                          BUCKY
               You're not that old. And you're not very
               widowed.

                          JANE CHAMBERS
               You either are or you aren't.

                          BUCKY
               You seem to be doing all right.

                          JANE CHAMBERS
               Eldridge had cancer. I half expected it.
               We weren't that close anymore...You married?

                          BUCKY
               Little over a year.

                          JANE CHAMBERS
               God. Newlyweds. Nothing better, is there?

     Bucky's face betrays his difficulties.

                          JANE CHAMBERS (cont'd)
               Sorry.

                          BUCKY
               So how well do you know the Spragues?

                          JANE CHAMBERS
               Eldridge and Emmett went way back. They
               served on the California real estate
               board together. But Emmett was a bit of a
               crook. My husband got him kicked off the
               board for building dangerous buildings
               under phony corporations.

                          BUCKY
               Your husband sounds like a good man.

                          JANE CHAMBERS
               He had his moments. Most of it was out of
               guilt. He owned slum blocks in San Pedro.
               When he learned he had cancer, he really
               started feeling guilty. He voted
               Democratic last year. Even went in and
               had meetings with the City Council. I'm
               sure he gave them dirt on Emmett.

                          BUCKY
               I read an article in the paper.

                          JANE CHAMBERS
               Same day Eldridge killed himself.
               Apropos, I guess.

                          BUCKY
               Maybe your husband--

                          JANE CHAMBERS
               My husband was rich and did a mean
               Charleston. I loved him until I found out
               he was cheating on me. Now I'm starting
               to love him again. How strange.

                          BUCKY
               It's not so strange.

     They watch each other, enjoying each other's company. A
     strange emotional peace.

                          JANE CHAMBERS
               You're very accepting of other people's
               frailties. You're young. You should have
               illusions.

                          BUCKY
               I'm a cop. Illusions aren't standard
               issue.

                          JANE CHAMBERS
               So how'd a cop get mixed up with
               Madeleine Sprague? It was Madeleine, I
               assume?

     Bucky's gut clenches.

                          BUCKY
               I stopped her at a red light. One thing
               led to another. Why do you assume it was
               Madeleine?

                          JANE CHAMBERS
               Don't play dumb, Bucky. The girl's a
               roundheels. Always has been.

                          BUCKY
               Jane. Don't be catty.

                          JANE CHAMBERS
               I'm sorry. She can't help it I'm sure.
               She probably inherited it from her
               mother.

     Before Bucky can press Jane stands up with the tray of iced
     tea. The visit is over.

                          JANE CHAMBERS
               You figure out the rest, officer.

     He follows her back inside.

     INT. THE HALLWAY - SAME

     As they stop momentarily in front of the scary clown painting.

                          BUCKY
               God that is spooky.

                          JANE CHAMBERS
               Valuable, too. Eldridge bought it for my
               birthday a couple years ago. I hate it.
               Want to take it with you?

                          BUCKY
               No thanks.

                          JANE CHAMBERS
               Thank you, then. You were my best
               condoler.

                          BUCKY
               And you mine.

     Jane gives Bucky a warm handshake.

     EXT. THE STREET - HANCOCK PARK - SOON AFTER

     Bucky pulls out of June Street, and passes Muirfield. He
     slows for a moment, squinting down the street, trying to
     discern the Sprague mansion. He drives on.

     We hang on the sign for Muirfield Avenue as the day turns to
     night...

     And down Muirfield Road, we see Bucky's car parked in the
     shadows. Watching the Sprague house. A voyeur.

     INT. KAY AND BUCKY'S BEDROOM - MORNING

     Bucky sleeps soundly as Kay readies herself for work. She
     watches him for a moment, considering whether to wake him.
     She decides not to and leaves.

     The minute she goes, Bucky opens his eyes...

     EXT. MUIRFIELD ROAD - HANCOCK PARK - EVENING

     Bucky spies on the Spragues. He digs back into his seat as
     Madeleine comes down the walk and puts mail in the mail box.
     Just for a second it looks like she sees him...maybe not...

     INT. CRIME LAB - DAY

     Bucky dozes, his tie almost catching on fire in a Bunsen
     burner.

     EXT. THE MUIRFIELD ROAD STAKEOUT - EVENING

     Bucky leans against the window, propping himself up.

     ACROSS THE STREET

     Madeleine's Packard pulls out and roars up the street. Bucky
     guns his car to follow...

     EXT. THE ZIMBA ROOM - NIGHT

     Bucky follows the Packard into a crowded GI bar parking lot.
     He parks a distance away. But as he watches Madeleine get out
     of her car he is staggered:

     It's ELIZABETH SHORT.

     Or, more accurately, it's Madeleine dressed up exactly like
     the Dahlia in one of her famous portrait photos. Slinky black
     dress, upswept hair, down to the yellow barrette. She strides
     into the bar...

     INT. THE ZIMBA ROOM - NIGHT

     Bucky ducks into a smoke-filled GI bar where a commotion is
     already taking place.

     Madeleine is surrounded by soldiers fawning all over her.
     Other men simply point and whisper--her Dahlia act isn't lost
     on anybody.
     Bucky slides into a booth in the corner to watch. He signals
     for a drink.

     INT. THE ZIMBA ROOM - NIGHT - LATER

     Four bourbons later. Bucky watches as Madeleine settles into
     a more intimate conversation with one soldier. Bucky downs
     his drink as Madeleine grabs the GI's elbow and escorts him
     out of the bar.

     EXT. THE RED ARROW INN - LATER

     Bucky sits in his car in the parking lot watching the soldier
     loiter outside of A motel room. Madeleine returns from the
     office with the key and lets the two of them in.

     He watches as the light goes on; and then off.

     INT. KAY AND BUCKY'S BEDROOM - LATER

     Bucky comes into the bedroom to find Kay waiting up for him.

                          KAY
               Dwight--

     He moves to her, pulling off his clothes as quickly as he
     can.

                          KAY (cont'd)
               Dwight--

     He's on top of her, his bourbon stained kisses go and down
     her neck and her breasts.

     She responds, but not quickly enough for him. He rushes into
     her before she's ready. Still, she tries to be there for him,
     hoping to catch up with his lust.

     She doesn't. And they both know it. They embrace, trying to
     cover up the hollow awkwardness with familiar affection.

     It doesn't work...

     INT. THAD GREEN'S OFFICE - DAY

     Bucky sits at Thad Green's desk, penitent.

                          THAD GREEN
               SID's not a bad beat, Bucky. At the time
               it was better than you deserved.

     Bucky nods.

                          THAD GREEN (cont'd)
               The blues hate you, Bucky. Vogel was
               their pal. I do this for you, you better
               be fucking supercop.

     Bucky just sits silent.

     ANOTHER LAPD TRANSFER ORDER: "Transfer order...Officer
     Bleichert...From SID...to Newton Street Division,
     Nightwatch.

     EXT. NEWTON STREET - MIDNIGHT

     Bucky back in uniform again. This time, the black slums.
     Heroin hookers, hard-core dealers, gangs.

                          VOICE OVER
               Newton Street Division. Footbeat hacks
               carried metal-studded saps; squadroom
               dicks packed .45 automatics loaded with
               unregulation dum-dums.

     INT. A LIQUOR STORE DOORWAY - NIGHT

     Bucky and a large black man come tumbling out of the liquor
     store throwing vicious punches at each other.

     Bucky takes three to land six, eventually knocking the guy
     out. He looks across the street to see to cops watching him,
     measuring him.

     INT. AN ALLEY - NIGHT

     As Bucky chases two men towards a chain link fence at the end
     of the alley. One of them gets to the fence and scrambles up
     it. Bucky yanks the other one off the fence, slamming him to
     the ground.

                          VOICE OVER
               Kay. Lee. Madeleine. Betty Short. For one
               month I escaped them all.

     INT. KAY AND BUCKY'S HOUSE - NIGHT

     As Kay sleeps alone in the bed.

                          VOICE OVER
               A fucking supercop.

     INT. A JAZZ BAR - EARLY MORNING

     Bucky sits in his uniform listening to a jazz quartet.

     INT. KAY AND BUCKY'S LIVING ROOM - MORNING

     Bucky sleeps on the couch as Kay leaves for work.

                          VOICE OVER
               I escaped them all. Almost.

     EXT. A STREET CORNER - NIGHT

     Bucky in his patrol car. The night a hot sweat. He listens to
     music on his radio and watches two hookers dance on the
     corner, waving at cars.

     A SCRAGGLY OLD WINO staggers up to the women, stumbling
     around them, dancing with them. They sneer at him, tell him
     to beat it.

     INSIDE THE PATROL CAR

     Bucky flashes his headlights at the bum. The bum ignores him.
     Bucky flashes them again, annoyed.

     The bum looks into the glare and flips Bucky off.

     And suddenly Bucky snaps, jumping from his car. In three big
     strides he's on the bum, clobbering him with roundhouse lefts
     and rights.

     The women are screaming. The drunk is screaming.

                          OLD DRUNK
               Pleease!

     Bucky drops him, staggering into a phone booth. He drops a
     nickel in the phone. Dials a number. Ring. Ring. Ring...

     He hangs up. Dials another. A woman's voice answers.

                          BUCKY
               It's me.

     EXT. THE SPRAGUE MANSION - NIGHT

     Bucky's just onto the porch steps when Madeleine answers the
     door. She's dressed like the Dahlia.

     He pushes her inside.

                          VOICE OVER
               It was a reunion of avowed tramps, old
               rutters who knew they'd never have it as
               good with anyone else...
               Afterwards we'd talk through the night.
               The Spragues...Crazy Papa Bleichert...

     INT. AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CLASSROOM - DAY

     Sixth graders write in silence. Kay sits at her desk, sadness
     in her eyes as she watches the children.

                          VOICE OVER
               Mostly, though we'd talk about Betty. Her
               utter malleability, a chameleon eager to
               please anybody...and the disrupter of
               every life close to me...It would last a
               month.

     INT. THE SPRAGUE MANSION - MORNING

     Bucky stands in the living room, examining family photos. A
     photo of two young, proud WWI vets: George Tilden and Emmett 
     Sprague...A photo of the dark-haired Ramona and the ruddy and
     fair-haired Emmett...Photos of Madeleine and Martha, the
     brunette and the ruddy blond...Back to the first photo:
     George Tilden's dark hair.

     Madeleine wanders in, Bucky smiles at her.

                          MADELEINE
               What?

                          BUCKY
               Nothing.

     She runs her hands over his shoulders.

                          BUCKY (cont'd)
               I thought the family came back from
               Laguna this week.

                          MADELEINE
                   (her Scottish brogue)
               You miss 'em, laddie? Mother's insults?
               Martha's pornography...

                          BUCKY
               Your father's Georgie Tilden war stories?

     He scans her for a reaction. If she has one it ripples
     through her almost undetectable. Almost.

     EXT. JANE CHAMBER'S HOUSE - LATER

     As Bucky cruises by, grinning. He salutes the house.

                          VOICE OVER
               In the scheme of things it wasn't much.
               Rich old lady gossip, as Jane put it.

                                                            CUT TO:

     EXT. BUCKY'S NEIGHBORHOOD - DAY

     as he drives onto his own modest street.

                          VOICE OVER (cont'd)
               But combine it with banging Madeleine in
               all twenty-two rooms of their mansion, it
               was good enough for me.

     EXT. KAY AND BUCKY'S HOUSE - DAY

     A moving van in the driveway and Kay's Plymouth stuffed with
     boxes. Bucky double-parks and bolts up the steps.

     The van pulls away behind him.

                          BUCKY
                   (to the van driver)
               Hey! Goddammit! Get back here!

     The van driver ignores him; Bucky turns as Kay walks out onto
     the porch.

                          KAY
               I didn't touch your things. You can have
               the furniture.

                          BUCKY
               Babe--

                          KAY
               Did you think I'd let my husband
               disappear for three weeks and do nothing
               about it? I've had detectives following
               you, Dwight. Detectives. She looks like
               that fucking dead girl, so you can have
               her--not me.

                          BUCKY
               Babe. Goddammit.

     He reaches for her and she backs out of grabbing range.

                          KAY
               Whoremonger. Coward. Necrophile.

     She spins out of his grasp and makes for her car. She guns
     the engine and disappears.

     INT. THE HOUSE - SECONDS LATER

     Bucky stands in the middle of the living room, cataloguing
     the little things. No periodicals on the coffee table, half
     the record collection gone, no candlesticks.

     He picks up the largest chair (Lee's favorite) and throws it
     at the wall. Next, Kay's rocking chair shatters the glass
     cabinets. The coffee table goes through the front window.

     IN THE BEDROOM

     Bucky yanks out all the drawers, turns over the bed.

     IN THE BATHROOM

     he takes a pipe wrench to the sink, crushes the mirror with
     one blow...

     In a terrible ten rounder with the ghosts of his past Bucky
     demolishes the dream house, pulls his uniforms out of the
     closet and bolts out of the house, leaving the door open so
     scavengers can pick the place clean...

     INT. THE EL NIDO - NIGHT

     Bucky sits on the bed, his back pushed up against the wall.
     Eyeball to eyeball with Elizabeth Short, Betty, Liz, the
     Black Dahlia.

     A collage of photos and file folders...

                          VOICE OVER
               It came on then, big and ugly: bye-bye
               Bleichert at the bus stop, adios
               shitbird, has-been, never-was, stool
               pigeon harness bull.

     EXT. THE SLUMS - LATE NIGHT

     Bucky stands in the worst of slums, his blue uniform a beacon
     to anyone who would do him harm.

                          VOICE OVER (cont'd)
               You traded a good woman for skunk pussy,
               you've turned everything that's been
               handed you to pure, undiluted shit, your
               "I will's" amount to the eighth round at
               the Academy gym when you stepped into a
               Blanchard right hand--pratfalling into
               clover that you turned into horse dung.

     ANOTHER ELIZABETH SHORT CASTING SESSION

     No clapsticks this time. Just Betty Short sitting an the
     couch. She reaches down and pulls off her pumps. Now she
     reaches under her dress and begins unrolling her stockings.
     Not sexy. Empty and resigned.

                          VOICE OVER (cont'd)
               Bye-bye Betty, Beth, Betsy, Liz, we were
               a couple of tramps, too bad we didn't
               meet before 39th and Norton, it just
               might have worked. Maybe us would've been
               the one thing we wouldn't have fucked up
               past redemption...

     EXT. 39TH AND NORTON - NIGHT - LATER

     An apartment complex has been erected at the murder site.

     EXT. AN AERIAL VIEW OF LOS ANGELES - DAY

     ANGLE ON: THE HOLLYWOODLAND SIGN. As we watch the sign
     changes, the "D" dropping off the end. It now reads
     "HOLLYWOODLAN".

     EXT. WILSHIRE DISTRICT - DAY

     Bucky, unshaven and out of uniform, leans against his car on
     a working class residential street. He stares across at a
     modest Victorian house and the garage behind it. We recognize
     it hopefully; we've been here before.

     EXT. A GARAGE APARTMENT - CONTINUOUS

     It's Cleo Short's apartment. Or at least it used to be. Bucky
     peers in a window and sees it's filled with junk.

     He walks back towards the street, intent on heading back to
     his car. on a hunch, he walks up onto the porch of the
     Victorian house and rings the bell.

     EXT. THE PORCH - SAME

     Footsteps at the door. It opens to reveal another identical
     twin to Elizabeth Short.

     Bucky is stunned and can't find his tongue.

                          GIRL
                   (Boston accent)
               Can I help you? (no response). Great.
               Take a hike you big sicko--

                          BUCKY
               Wait--

     She begins to shut the door but someone behind her pulls it
     back open.

     Cleo Short, Elizabeth's father.

                          CLEO SHORT
               It's all right, dear. I know this pug.

     INT. THE SITTING ROOM - LATER

     The two men arrange themselves in chairs while the Betty look-
     a-alike makes herself busy in the kitchen behind Cleo.

     Bucky tries not to stare. He forces himself to focus on Cleo,
     who, while five years older, looks much better than last time
     Bucky saw him.

                          CLEO SHORT
               Came into a little change a while back,
               managed to trade in that shit shack out
               back for these digs. (beat) And I don't
               give a fuck what you think, you and your
               partner ain't much to look at now. I read
               the papers.

     Bucky can't deny that.

     The young woman brings in two beers for Bucky and Cleo. Bucky
     checks her out again. Cleo knows why.

                          CLEO SHORT (cont'd)
               My youngest, Christine.

     He squeezes her hand affectionately.

                          CLEO SHORT (cont'd)
               Best housekeeper of the bunch. Can't cook
               a damn, though.
               Got her sister's star-eyes for the
               pictures, damn straight. Thinks she's
               gonna be another goddamn Jayne Mansfield.
               Get out of here, Chrissie...

     She rolls her eyes, picks up a newspaper and heads out on the
     porch.

                          CLEO SHORT (cont'd)
               Used to be dozens'd stop by, you know.
               Drive up from Dago or San Berdoo just to
               snap a shot of the goddamn garage back
               there. Thought maybe they'd find one of
               Betty's dresses in the garbage. Jackals.

                          BUCKY
               You didn't move far.

                          CLEO SHORT
               Wouldn't a mattered if I did. (beat)
               Whatcha here for, mug? I know you ain't
               smart enough to solve the case, and you
               ain't dumb enough to still think I did
               it...I had an alibi.

                          BUCKY
               Tighter'n a popcorn fart.

                          CLEO SHORT
               And that's air tight, mug. Air tight.

     Bucky takes a swig of his beer. Cleo's eyes scour Bucky.

                          CLEO SHORT (cont'd)
               You're hooked on her still, ain't ya? Ha.
               That's a plug nickel you can't spend,
               ain't it, mug? Ha. Yea. Betty'll do that
               to a fella. Especially someone like you.
                   (off Bucky's look)
               Like I said, I know you mug.

                          BUCKY
               I just thought...Maybe after all this
               time...There's something you might have
               forgot...Anything she might have said...

     Cleo studies him, knows Bucky's a lost soul. He softens for
     the first time. Leans forward, elbows on knees. Almost
     looking like a father who'd lost a daughter.

                          CLEO SHORT
               She was a terrible actress. I'm sure
               folks've told you that. She'd practice in
               front of the john mirror.
               Once or twice she got me in on
               it...Reading parts with her for some
               audition. She stunk. Even a parent could
               tell. What Beth was good at was writing.
               All her teachers used to say that. Not
               that a grease like me'd know the
               difference. Maybe she coulda written for
               the pictures. But she wanted to be an
               actress like every other silly girl.

     His gaze drifts outside to his youngest daughter.

                          CLEO SHORT (cont'd)
               Your folks still alive?

                          BUCKY
               My father.

                          CLEO SHORT
                   (poking)
               He proud of his son, the ace copper? Or
               maybe he thought you'd end up champ?

     Bucky shrugs off any talk of his father. Cleo gets it.

                          CLEO SHORT
               Your momma?

                          BUCKY
               She killed herself a long time ago.

     Cleo takes a swig of his beer.

                          CLEO SHORT
               Probably better off then.

     INT./EXT. THE LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS

     Cleo follows Bucky out onto the porch. Christine reads a copy
     of Photoplay. The cover touts the current Mack Sennett
     Revival in honor of the revised Hollywoodland sign...

                          BUCKY
               Thank you for your time, Mr. Short. if--

                          CLEO SHORT
               Get a life, Bleichert. Don't dream it all
               away. Dreamin'll kill ya.
                   (to Christine)
               You, too. Get me a sandwich.

     He snatches away the Photoplay and slaps it into Bucky's
     hands.

                          CLEO SHORT (cont'd)
               Clean up some dog shit with this for me,
               willya?

     The man winks. Bucky takes the magazine and salutes him with
     it. He heads back down the walk. Behind him Cleo Short
     watches him go.

     EXT./INT. BUCKY'S CAR - HOLLYWOOD - DUSK

     Bucky sits at a light, staring north. Scaffolding drapes the 
     Hollywoodland sign. Movie lights have been set up, capturing
     the event on film.

     His attention turns to Christine's Photoplay on the seat next 
     to him; the weekly rag is open to an ad for the Mack Sennett
     revival:

     A reproduction of the Hollywoodland sign across the top of
     the page, and below it the words "Keystone Kops at the
     Admiral Theater--Air conditioned!"

     Below that a still from a Keystone Kops movie, registering
     huge and loud and wrong: Three Keystone Kops standing between 
     pillars shaped like snakes swallowing their own tails; a wall
     inset with Egyptian hieroglyphics was behind them.

     Unmistakably the background that appeared in the Linda
     Martin/Betty Short porn film.

     Cars honking behind him. Bucky's transfixed by the image. The
     light is green.

     He jerks upright and squeals out of the intersection.

                                                            CUT TO:

     EXT. THE ADMIRAL THEATER - SOON AFTER

     Bucky buys a ticket underneath a marquee which reads MACK
     SENNETT REVIVAL".

     INT. THE THEATER - CONTINUOUS

     A Keystone Kop short in progress. Bucky can barely sit down
     to watch...

                          VOICE OVER
               I tried to keep calm. I told myself that
               just because Emmett Sprague helped Mack
               Sennett build sets in the twenties didn't
               mean he had anything to do with a smut
               film twenty-five years later.

     And there's a shot of the porn set--the Keystone Kops running
     around in it like they're solving at crime back in ancient
     Egypt.

                          VOICE OVER (cont'd)
               Duke Wellington had admitted making it.
               Linda Martin had said it was shot in
               Mexico.

     The short ends with a large pie throwing scene on the porn
     set. The credits begin to roll: "Director--Mack Sennett.
     Scenarist--Mack Sennett. Assistant Director--Emmett
     Sprague"

     On Bucky's face as one last piece of information hits him:
     "Filmed in Hollywood, USA."

     EXT. THE MOVIE THEATER

     as Bucky bursts out into the evening, the lights on the
     Hollywood hill catching his attention.

     INT. A FLASHBACK - THE SPRAGUE HOUSE

     Bucky at dinner with the Spragues.

                          EMMETT SPRAGUE
               Mack Sennett? Helped him build that
               housing project he was putting up--
               Hollywoodland--

     BACK TO THE SCENE

     as Bucky stares up at the sign.

     INT. EL NIDO - ROOM 204 - NIGHT

     Bucky tears through it, pulling out files. The door opens -
     it's Russ Millard.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               I got your message, Bucky.

                          BUCKY
               Look, Russ...I think...I may have it. I--

                          RUSS MILLARD
               It?

     Bucky whirls around, gesturing to the room--

                          BUCKY
               Her! Her! I've got a hot one, padre. It's
               just...

     Bucky flops onto the bed, almost frantic.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Calm down, son. Tell me.

     Bucky meets his eyes: forgive me my sins.

     INT. BUCKY'S CAR - NIGHT

     Bucky drives with Russ in the car next to him.

                          VOICE OVER
               I told him everything. Me and Madeleine,
               the Spragues. Withholding evidence for
               her. Everything. Even Lee. After all of
               it he only had one thing to say:

     INT. THE EL NIDO - NIGHT - FLASHBACK

     On Russ:

                          RUSS MILLARD
               All right, then. It's your ball. What do
               you wanna do?

                          BUCKY
               I want to search every fucking inch of
               every goddamn acre of Emmett Sprague
               property if it takes the rest of my
               shitty career. And I know exactly where
               we start.

     INT. BUCKY'S CAR - BEACHWOOD CANYON - NIGHT

     as they inch their way up into a huge traffic snarl in
     Beachwood Canyon. The sign looms high above them as the "A"
     is taken dawn.

                          VOICE OVER
               Between my time with Madeleine and the
               local boom baron expose in the papers, I
               was practically an expert on Emmett
               Sprague's land deals...

     EXT. A PARK AREA AT THE NORTH END OF BEACHWOOD DRIVE

     A huge area is cordoned off as people watch the sign being
     torn down.

     Bucky and Russ leave the car there, badge the local blue
     doing crowd control, and split off down a dirt side road into
     the woods.

                          VOICE OVER (cont'd)
               For the first time since the beginning of
               the whole fiasco, I stopped trying to
               figure out who killed Elizabeth Short.
               Instead, I focused on where.

     EXT. A WOODED AREA - NIGHT

     Bucky and Russ play a flashlight over a piece of paper, like
     two men consulting a treasure map in the woods.

     In the background is a tiny bungalow with the windows blown
     out and the door hanging off its hinges.

                          VOICE OVER
               And if my hunch was right, we wouldn't
               have to look any further than one of
               Emmett Sprague's condemned bungalows. One
               that was isolated...abandoned...

     They walk on, leaving this particular bungalow behind.

     EXT. A STREAM - WOODS - LATER

     Bucky shines the light in a running stream as they follow it
     deeper into the night...

                          VOICE OVER
               ...and most importantly, close to a water
               source...where one could drain a body of
               its blood.

     Bucky and Russ round a bend in the stream and see

     THE SKELETON OF A BUNGALOW

     teetering on the edge of the stream. Empty window and doors
     hover over a rotting porch like skull sockets over a death
     leer.

     Bucky and Russ feel it, tensing up as they approach. They
     pick their footsteps carefully through the broken porch and
     step into the abandoned house.

     INT. THE BUNGALOW - SAME

     A scattering of trash in the front room, animal shit, a
     bicycle tire, rags.

     They move through the house, each roam, each closet and
     corner creeps with potential violence. Still, nothing.

     From the kitchen:

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Bucky.

     Bucky joins Russ at the back door, the screen rotted off.
     Through the empty window they see:

     AN ALUMINUM GARDENING SHED, the door wide open.

     You know it before they even get there. But as soon as they
     step inside...

     INT. THE GARDENING SHED - CONTINUOUS

     They know something bad happened here...

     Half the room is taken up by a mattress, its blue ticking
     stained dark brown with blood. A gas lantern sits in the
     corner, leaning against a stack of blood-spattered books,
     including a copy of Gray's Anatomy and Victor Hugo's The Man 
     Who Laughs along with a clutch of pornographic pictures.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               God help her.

     Bucky's already pulling on a pair of rubber gloves from his
     SID days. For the first time we notice he's carrying his
     forensic kit.

     He opens it, revealing the test tubes, fingerprint powder,
     tweezers, etc.

                          BUCKY
                   (throwing Russ gloves)
               Box up the books and papers. Maybe light
               that lantern.

     Russ grants Bucky his take-charge attitude. He snaps on a
     pair of gloves.

     A GRUESOME MONTAGE

     1. Bucky scrapes blood off a wall and into a test tube.

     2. Russ flips through the pornographic material--some of it
     very intense.

     3. Bucky fills up another test tube with dark hair tweezed
     from the caked blood on the mattress.

     4. Underneath the mattress, Bucky finds small pieces of
     rope...

     5. Bucky measures a bloody sole print and traces it onto a
     piece of paper.

     6. Bucky finger prints the whole fucking place, pulling good
     prints from the door jamb, the door, and the wall near the
     head of the mattress.

     OUTSIDE THE GARDENING SHED

     Russ fiddles with the books, making himself busy. Finally he
     walks back inside.

     INT. THE GARDENING SHED - CONTINUOUS

     Bucky sits on the floor, his hands shaking as he holds a
     fingerprint plate in one hand and a piece of paper in the
     other.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               You all right?

     Bucky hands him the fresh plate. Russ studies it. Bucky hands
     him the piece of paper with a blown-up set of prints on it.
     The two sets of prints are identical. Russ sees the name at
     the top of the paper: ELIZABETH SHORT.

     He exhales deeply.

                          BUCKY
               Thing is, Russ. Thing is...There's
               another set of latents up there on the
               doorjamb...And my hands're shaking so bad
               I can't transfer 'em.

                                                            CUT TO:

     RUSS MILLARD HACKING A FOUR INCH SECTION OF THE DOOR JAMB OFF
     WITH HIS KNIFE AND SLIPPING IT INTO A PLASTIC BAG.

     Bucky sits on the ground outside.

     EXT. UNDERNEATH THE HOLLYWOODLAND SIGN - LATER

     The last of the "LAND" letters has come down and a party has
     ensued. A marching band plays "There's No Business Like Show 
     Business".

     Bucky and Russ stumble out of the woods, carrying the
     evidence of Betty Short's death in their hands.

     INT. THE EL NIDO - NIGHT

     Bucky sits on the bed, the evidence spread out around him.
     Russ stands in the doorway.

                          BUCKY
               We finally have it, Russ. All of it. All
               of her.
                   (gesturing around the room)
               All right here.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               Are you sure you don't want to came home?
               Mrs. Millard'll fix up the couch.

                          BUCKY
               No. Thanks. I'll stay here.
                   (re the doorjamb piece)
               I want to get up early and confirm these
               prints.

     Russ nods.

                          RUSS MILLARD
               You're a very very bright penny, Officer.

     He closes the door, leaving Bucky alone with Elizabeth.

     INT. EL NIDO - ROOM 204 - NIGHT

     Bucky lies on the bed, staring at the ceiling.

                          BUCKY (cont'd)
               That night I pictured myself the way I
               wanted Elizabeth to picture me--her
               knight in shining armor, a reborn two-bit
               harness bull who cracked the biggest
               unsolved homicide in California history.
               A war hero, a heavyweight champion.

     INT. EL NIDO - ROOM 204 - DAWN

     Bucky flips through Gray's Anatomy, killing time.

                          BUCKY (cont'd)
               I stayed with her that night and dreamed
               of all the bullshit that would never
               happen. Not if I wanted to keep my job at
               all. Because there was no way for me to
               make the arrest without admitting that
               I'd suppressed evidence years ago. The
               case would always be open.
               And so while it killed me to wait 'til
               morning, in some ways...this was our last
               night together.

     INT. THE CRIME LAB - MORNING

     Bucky transfers the killer's prints from the doorjamb to a
     plate.

     INT. A LARGE ROOM WITH FILE CABINETS

     Bucky pulls a fingerprint card from a cabinet. He shuts the
     cabinet. The tab on the outside reads: "City Employees".

     EXT. THE SPRAGUE MANSION - MORNING

     Bucky edges his way along the side of the house. A side
     window is open and he pulls himself inside.

     INT. THE MANSION - CONTINUOUS

     Moving boxes fill the front hallway. Bucky hears voices
     coming from the main hall. Madeleine and Emmett.

     Bucky unholsters his gun; from his pocket he pulls out a
     SILENCER and screws it on the muzzle.

                          EMMETT SPRAGUE (O.S.)
               ...besides, one of my foremen said the
               goddamn pipes are spewing gas...There'll
               be hell to pay. It's about time I showed
               the three of you good ol' Scotland.

                          MADELEINE
               I don't wanna go to Europe, Daddy. You're
               always talking about how dreadful and
               provincial it is.

                          EMMETT SPRAGUE
               ...they've got what you need, lassie.

     Bucky steps into the main room, gun prominent at his side.

                          BUCKY
               And what is that, Emmett? Saps like me?
               Direct line to the straight dope? Or is
               that what you needed?

                          EMMETT SPRAGUE
               Aaah, laddie.

     He eyes the gun.

                          BUCKY
               George Tilden killed Elizabeth Short and
               the two of you covered it up.

     On the Spragues, trying to maintain their upper-class cool.

                          BUCKY (cont'd)
                   (to Madeleine)
               You helped Linda Martin and Betty make
               that stag film. Where was the set? In one
               of Daddy's old buildings?

     He levels the gun at Madeleine. Rock steady. Madeleine sits
     on a divan.

                          MADELEINE
               Georgie was always...sneaking around
               Daddy's properties. He saw them make
               it...He...got crazy about Betty.

                          BUCKY
               Of course. She looked like his daughter.

     Off Emmett's shocked look:

                          BUCKY (cont'd)
               He fucked your wife. But I don't think
               you cared about that. But he's her daddy.
               And that must have made you crazy. He was
               a handsome bastard, too. Somehow I don't
               think he was disfigured in a car wreck.

                          EMMETT SPRAGUE
               In the Argonne, Georgie used to bayonet
               the dead Gerries. I saw it. Thrilled him,
               it did. He was...hmm...disturbed. I think
               Ramona found him...a good way to strike
               back at me.

     Bucky points the gun at Madeleine again.

                          BUCKY
               How'd it all go down?

     She hesitates. He shoots a MING VASE next to her. She jumps.

                          BUCKY (cont'd)
               So many pretty things here...

                          MADELEINE
               It was Sunday I remember...Betty
               called...short of cash as usual.
               I put Daddy on, and he offered Betty
               money to date a nice man he knew.
               Georgie'd been driving Daddy crazy,
               wanting to get with Betty ever since the
               movie. Threatening to tell people he was
               my father. But we thought Georgie just
               wanted her for sex.

     Bucky blows away another objet d'art. The two Spragues huddle
     on the couch.

                          BUCKY
               He was a sick fuck and you knew it!

     Emmett gestures vainly towards the stuffed dog Balto.

                          EMMETT SPRAGUE
               He was passive. He liked to touch dead
               things. His father was a surgeon, did you
               know that? Famous in Scotland.

                          BUCKY
               What did you tell Betty? What did you
               tell her?

                          MADELEINE
               We said he was a war hero. Because we
               didn't want her to feel like a whore.

                          BUCKY
               Then?

                          MADELEINE
               You know the rest.

                          BUCKY
               Pretend I'm stupid. For old time's sake.

     Madeleine exhales hate.

                          MADELEINE
               I went looking for Linda Martin, and I
               found her at a motel in the Valley. I
               gave her money and told her to say the
               stag was filmed in Tijuana with a Mexican
               crew.

                          BUCKY
               And then what? I come along? Daddy tell
               you to fuck me or was that your idea?

                          MADELEINE
               Bucky--

     Two more shots from the gun destroy another fifty grand worth
     of art. Bucky reloads.

                          BUCKY (cont'd)
               The whole family have a good laugh at
               dinner that night? Pumping me for info
               about the case? Throwing me Georgie
               stories to see if I'd bite? A little
               hospitality and some cunt so I wouldn't
               check out your alibi--

                          MADELEINE
               Bucky--

                          EMMETT SPRAGUE
               Ramona didn't know a thing. Martha--

                          BUCKY
               What about sweet little Martha?

                          MADELEINE
               Martha knew I'd been with Betty. But that
               was all. But she's a demon, you know. She
               even called the cops with a tip on La
               Verne's--just hoping I'd get smeared in
               the papers. I scratched her good for
               that.

                          BUCKY
               Martha tell you this?

     She nods yes.

                          BUCKY
               Then she lied to get your goat, 'cuz no
               one ever called in a tip on LaVerne's.

                          MADELEINE
               Figures.

     Emmett clears his throat.

                          EMMETT SPRAGUE
               What are you gonna do?

                          BUCKY
               Passports. All four.

     Emmett walks to a small desk. He reaches into the drawer--
     Bucky puts his gun to Emmett's head--

                          EMMETT SPRAGUE
               Don't insult me, lad.

     He pulls out the four passports (not a gun). Bucky takes
     them.

                          MADELEINE
               We'll ruin you in court, you know. If you
               go after us, we'll ruin you. Over what?
               Some little slut--

     Bucky blows a hole in a vase some six inches from her. He
     cocks his head at her, as if to say: the next one will be
     closer.

                          EMMETT SPRAGUE
               You know, laddie. The rich don't
               necessarily own art just for themselves;
               we safekeep it for future generations.

     The dig crosses through Bucky's mind for a moment before he
     shooes it away. To Emmett:

                          BUCKY
               I need to see it.
                          EMMETT SPRAGUE
               It?

                          BUCKY
               Just to be sure. I need to see it.

                          EMMETT SPRAGUE
               I'm not sure I know...

     Bucky puts the silenced muzzled half an inch from Sprague's
     brain.

                          BUCKY
               I need to see his grave, you tightass
               kiltwearing motherfucker. Where'd you
               bury George Tilden?

     EXT. A PAUPER'S CEMETERY - DAY

     Bucky stands in front of a plain grave marker: "George
     Tilden. 1906 - 1948.  War Hero and Loyal Friend"

                          VOICE OVER
               When I'd pulled George's print card that
               morning, I'd already laid fifty down with
               Russ that he was our guy. Amateur
               taxidermist, transient. If he was a cop
               39th and Norton woulda been right in the
               middle of his beat...

     INT. THE ROOM WITH THE FILE CABINETS - FLASHBACK

     Bucky pulls Tilden's card and we see the close-up: "George
     Tilden". Added by hand: "Deceased"

                          VOICE OVER
               But I'd be lying if I said I hadn't
               wanted to nail the sicko myself, giving
               him ten rounds of Bleichert rage.

     EXT./INT. THE ALUMINUM GARDEN SHED - DAY

     Bucky watches as Russ tips the gas lantern over on its side,
     the gas leaking out into the tin shed.

                          VOICE OVER
               Maybe he'd have gone for a gun or
               probably a knife, and the Bleichert fists
               would've given way to a full load of .45
               in the chest.

     Bucky and Russ step outside. Russ lights a match and tosses
     it inside. Flames begin to eat away the bloody mattress...

                          VOICE OVER (cont'd)
               Sprague said they found him croaked in a
               parking lot downtown, just twelve blocks
               from where he'd dumped Betty Short. Just
               croaked. Natural causes, if anything
               about crazy Georgie was natural. I hoped
               the evil ate him from the inside out,
               filling him with blackness like the
               sawdust in Sprague's goddamn dog. (beat)

     Bucky kicks the tin door shut, sealing the fire inside
     Elizabeth Short's private hell.

     INT. JANE CHAMBERS HOUSE - ANOTHER DAY

     Bucky and Jane Chambers drink some iced tea.

                          JANE CHAMBERS
               ...and then Eldridge said: I'm sure
               that's the case Mr. Mayor, but that's not
               my dog and those sure as hell aren't my
               shoes!

     They laugh, Jane a bit more than Bucky. She narrows in on him.

                          JANE CHAMBERS (cont'd)
               It's so nice of you to stop by again. Of
               course you've been staking out the
               Sprague house. Four nights in a row.
                   (off his surprise)
               I walk my dog every night. And I'm almost
               as nosy as you.

                          BUCKY
                   (covering)
               Yeah, well. Old habits die hard.

     He gets up from the table.

     INT. JANE CHAMBER'S HOUSE - CONTINUOUS

     Bucky wanders over and stares at the slash-mouthed clown
     painting, always transfixed by it.

                          JANE CHAMBERS
                   (re the painting)
               I'd been thinking about giving it to
               charity, but it's too valuable. I found
               Eldridge's receipt...

     She wanders into the study and fishes out some papers from
     her late husbands desk while Bucky continues to stare at the
     clown. She returns, reading from the sale slip.

                          JANE CHAMBERS (cont'd)
               It's a Frederick Yannantuono original,
               inspired by an old classic novel--The
               Man Who Laughs by Victor Hugo.

     A FLASHBACK - THE GARDENING SHED

     A blood-spattered copy of The Man Who Laughs on the pile of 
     pornography--

     BACK TO SCENE

     As the slash-mouthed clown towers over Bucky, his head
     buzzing...

                          JANE CHAMBERS (cont'd)
               The clown in the painting is the book's
               main character, Gwynplain. When he was a
               child he had his mouth slashed ear to ear
               and then sold to the 16th century Spanish
               aristocracy to be used as a court jester.

     Bucky steps back.

                          JANE CHAMBERS (cont'd)
               Are you all right, Bucky?

                          BUCKY
               Yes, I'm fine.

     He focuses on her.

                          BUCKY (cont'd)
               Where'd Eldridge get the painting?

                          JANE CHAMBERS
               You'll appreciate the coincidence--

     She hands him the receipt.

     ANGLE ON THE RECEIPT:

     "Received from Eldridge Chambers, $3500 for the sale
     of the F. Yannantuono painting. Ramona Cathcart
     Sprague, January 15, 1947."

     Speechless.

                          JANE CHAMBERS
               What is it--

     He's out the door.

     EXT. JANE CHAMBER'S HOUSE - SAME

     Bucky runs to his car, pulls out his gun. He sprints off down
     the street...

     EXT. THE SPRAGUE MANSION - SAME

     Bucky waits outside, watching from behind a tree. He watches
     as the last of the cars, Madeleine's, pulls out of the
     driveway.

     He crosses the street. He tries the front door, surprised to
     find it unlocked. He goes inside.

     INT. THE SPRAGUE MANSION - CONTINUOUS

     Gun drawn, Bucky cases the downstairs. He hears a noise.

                          RAMONA
               I'm in here, officer.

     A red wave of sweat washes over him. He walks carefully into

     RAMONA'S SITTING ROOM

     where the matriarch sits on a tiny sofa, her arms lost in a
     silk dressing gown. Her face puffy and her eyes dark, her
     gray hair frizzy.

     Bucky trains a gun on her.

                          BUCKY
               I know what you did, Ramona. You and
               Georgia. I've seen the painting. You sold
               it the day of the murder. You know I've
               got the book. And now I've got you.

     She smiles. Very slowly she withdraws one of her hands from
     the folds of her dressing gown. She holds a tiny ladylike
     revolver in her fingers and drops it at her feet. When she
     speaks, it's with complete control.

                          RAMONA
               We see you out there, you know. Every
               night. We see you. You don't fool us. You
               didn't hurt Georgie. You didn't hurt
               Madeleine. And as much as I wish you
               would, you didn't hurt Emmett. You're a
               voyeur. That's all the lesser classes
               have. Pressing their nose up against the
               glass.

                          BUCKY
               So tell me. Let me see.

     She smiles at him again, loving his need.

                          RAMONA
               Emmett slashed his face, I'm sure you
               know. Madeleine was eleven and she looked
               just like Georgie. When he got out of the
               hospital I gave him the Hugo book as a
               present. My Gwynplain. But he was afraid
               of Emmett's rage...After that...we rarely
               spoke.

     Bucky eases himself into a chair opposite her.

                          BUCKY
               Tell me about Betty Short.

     Her face hardens.

                          RAMONA (cont'd)
                   (with venom)
               It was the cruelest of jokes. He'd become
               obsessed with her...That filthy film.

                          BUCKY
               Your husband bought her for George.

                          RAMONA
               Emmett never stopped hating me.

                          BUCKY
               For George--

                          RAMONA
               For being richer than he was.

     She looks over her nose at him.

                          RAMONA (cont'd)
               I followed them to the bungalow. There
               was a baseball bat under...under a
               tree...She tried to run from me...but she
               was drunk. The first swing knocked her
               out. I made Georgie tie her to the
               mattress....The second swing woke her up.

                          BUCKY
               You tortured her.

     She seems to drift.

                          RAMONA (cont'd)
               She looked so much like my Maddy. It
               was...the cruelest of jokes.

     Her thousand yard stare gradually returns to Bucky.

                          RAMONA (cont'd)
               Martha mustn't know. She's all that's
               left of this family that isn't dying. You
               consider her when you decide whether
               we're worth it.

     Bucky's not sure what to say next. She fills the space quite
     well.

                          RAMONA (cont'd)
               Honestly, though. Sometimes I thought
               Martha was going to bring the whole
               family down around her by chance. Her
               little stunt about tipping the police to
               LaVerne's--

                          BUCKY
               She lied about that. To get Madeleine's
               goat.

     Ramona's eyes brighten up.

                          RAMONA
               Oh is that so? You poor boy. Your life is
               worse than mine. Maybe the cruel joke is
               on you.

     She speaks with such an insanity and calm it frightens him.
     And on Bucky's hungry eyes we

                                                            CUT TO:

     BUCKY'S CAR peeling out of Hancock Park.

                                                            CUT TO:

     INT. THE FAIRFAX PRIMARY SCHOOL CLASSROOM - DAY

     Kay sits at her desk, grading papers. Bucky bursts in.

                          KAY
               Dwight?

                          BUCKY
               How much of the hundred grand did Lee let
               you keep?

     INT. THE TIP DESK - POLICE DEPARTMENT - FLASHBACK

     Bucky and Lee sit at the tip desk while Lee listens to a very
     long call, saying nothing...

     BACK TO SCENE

     Kay and Bucky stare each other down.

                          BUCKY
               He knew about Madeleine Sprague. He knew
               about Laverne's Hideaway.

     INT. THE SPRAGUE MANSION - NIGHT - A FLASHBACK

     Lee Blanchard beats the hell out of Emmett Sprague while
     Madeleine's looks on.

                          BUCKY (VO)
               He blackmailed Sprague--

                          MADELEINE (VO)
               --Don't come over. Daddy's having a
               business soiree--

     INT. THE BATHROOM OF THE POLICE STATION - A FLASHBACK

     Bucky bursts in on Lee washing his bloody fists.

                          LEE
               --Penance for Junior Nash--

     BACK TO SCENE

     Bucky's leaning on the desk...

                          BUCKY
               And you knew it, Kay! You knew it all! He
               took that hundred thousand and split to
               Mexico and you let him go!

     Kay fingers the edges of an exam. She looks him in the eye.

                          KAY
               You are so, so good at some things.

     He absorbs the blow and waits for her to continue.

                          KAY
               He was going to leave no matter what. I
               didn't know if I was ever going to see
               him again, and I wanted him to be
               comfortable if such a thing was possible.
               Dwight, he knew I was in love with you,
               and he wanted us to be together.

                          BUCKY
               He didn't leave, he ran. He ran from the
               bank job, ran from the frame on DeWitt.
               He knew who killed Elizabeth Short and
               fucking ran away! This whole time. You
               both knew everything--

     Kay slams down a book.

                          KAY
               Goddammit, Dwight! That girl--that girl!
               I don't give a damn about that girl. She
               ruined our lives!

     The room grinds to a halt.

                          KAY (cont'd)
               He loved us. Don't take that away from
               him. And I love you. And if you hadn't
               seen so much of yourself in her you'd
               realize how much you loved me. (beat) So
               if you're aware of something more
               important than that...I'd like to hear
               what it is.

     Bucky looks like he's about to burst. He wants to go to her,
     lock her in his arms and forgive. instead, he just backs up
     three steps, slowly turns on his heels, and walks out.

     INT. A BAR - NIGHT

     Bucky sits in the back of the bar, shrouded in smoke and loud
     music. He drinks bourbon and watches Madeleine over at the
     bar. She's got her hand on a soldier's knee.

     EXT. THE RED ARROW INN - NIGHT

     Madeleine Sprague and the soldier boy walk from the office
     over to the now familiar Room 11. They enter, shutting the
     door and flicking on the light to reveal

     BUCKY

     sitting on the back of a chair with his feet on the seat. He
     trains his silenced pistol on them. Flashing his badge, he
     points the soldier to the door:

                          BUCKY
                   (quoting Lee)
               Adios yourself back to the Halls of
               Tripoli, shitbird. I've got business
               with the lady.

     You don't have to tell the soldier twice. He backs out and
     shuts the door.

                          BUCKY
               I've been pointing my gun at a lot of
               people this week. But I haven't had much
               of a chance to shoot anybody. Whattya
               think?

                          MADELEINE
               I think you'd rather fuck me than kill
               me. But you don't have the guts to do
               either. You're a boxer. Not a puncher.

     Bucky smiles.

                          BUCKY
                   (Scotchman's burr)
               Aaaah, lassie. You wanna sell me short
               to the very end, eh?

     Now she's curious.

                          BUCKY (cont'd)
               It's not as good as yours, I'll admit.
               But then again you've got an ear for
               accents. Accents, dressing up in
               costumes...

     Maybe a trace of fear in her eyes...

                          BUCKY (cont'd)
               Do another one for me. Play someone else.
               Rich little slut...Lez...Daddy's
               girl...Dahlia...Play someone else. Do
               another.

                          MADELEINE
               I don't know what you're talking about--

     He cocks the gun.

                          BUCKY
               How 'bout the Mexican accent you used
               when you hired the private dick to track
               down Lee. Let's see the make-up job.
               Let's see the fucking dress, mamacita,
               that you wore when you chased after poor
               daddy's money. Tell me something--you
               shoot Lee yourself?

     She steps back against the door as he advances.

                          BUCKY (cont'd)
               Did you at least have the guts to shoot
               him yourself?

     He puts the gun to her forehead.

                          MADELEINE
               You'll never do it. Never. Remember...I
               look like her.

     She grins wickedly.

     He pulls the gun from her head and shoots her in the kneecap.

     EXT. THE RED ARROW INN - LATER

     Cap cars, flashing lights, an ambulance.

                          VOICE OVER
               We took the fall together.

     INT. A HOSPITAL ROOM - LATER

     Madeleine is interrogated by Homicide dicks.

                          VOICE OVER
               Ever the consummate actor, Madeleine
               Sprague confessed to killing Lee by
               concocting a love triangle from the three
               of us...The Bleichert/Blanchard rematch
               fought over her hand, with Lee beating
               Emmett and demanding he "hand over" his
               daughter when she preferred me.

     EXT. THE ENSENADA STREETS - NIGHT - FLASHBACK

     As Madeleine, dressed as a Mexican woman in heavy makeup and
     a large hat, tails Lee back to his motel...

                          VOICE OVER (cont'd)
               Madeleine stalking Lee...Revenge-killing
               him in Ensenada to avenge the Sprague
               honor...No mention of the Black Dahlia
               murder case at all.

     EXT. THE COURTHOUSE - DAY

     Madeleine led away amongst a flock of photographers. Her
     family linked arm-and-arm in the background, crying, only
     Martha looking like she might survive...

                          VOICE OVER (cont'd)
               Her story's enough to get her a psych tag
               as a delusional schizophrenic and ten
               years at Atascadero State Hospital.

     INT. THE POLICE INTERROGATION ROOM - DAY

     Bucky sits at a table, staring into the one-way mirror.

                          VOICE OVER
               So the brass girl took the fall for the
               whole family. And I took the fall for me.
               IAD cleared me on the motel shooting--a
               cop's code make-good for Blanchard's
               snuff.
     WE PULL OUT and see Bucky's cuffs, badge and gun sitting on
     the table in front of him.

                          VOICE OVER (cont'd)
               Afterwards I was fired from the Los
               Angeles Police Department on grounds of
               moral turpitude and conduct unbecoming an
               officer. I thought of turning over Ramona
               in hopes of pulling a grandstander's
               turnabout...

     THE CAMERA DRIFTS THROUGH THE ONE-WAY MIRROR revealing RUSS
     MILLARD standing on the other side.

                          VOICE OVER
               ...but I had people to protect...People
               who already knew that, for the briefest
               of times, and in the darkest of places, I
               had been so, so, good at some things.

     INT. THE EL NIDO - NIGHT

     Bucky standing amongst the Dahlia files. He begins pulling
     photos off the walls...

     INT. BUCKY AND KAY'S HOUSE - NIGHT

     The destroyed fairy tale house is in mid-repair. Kay is in
     work clothes, painting a new trim in the living room.

     The front door opens. Bucky stands in the doorway, carrying a
     box of Dahlia files. Kay watches as he crosses the room
     without a word and dumps the box of files into the fireplace.
     He tosses on a match and the box goes up in flames.

     She moves to him.

     INT. A CASTING OFFICE - DAY

     We arrive just as she exits, the outline of her body quickly 
     disappearing into the blackness beyond the office door...

                          VOICE OVER
               Thank you Elizabeth.

     FADE TO BLACK