NEW YORK CITY - AERIAL VIEW OF DOWNTOWN MANHATTAN - DAY
MULTIPLE STREET SCENES - DAY
The sidewalks crowded as usual. A sea of humanity. People
come and go -- always in a hurry. Oblivious of one another.
A TRAFFIC JAM -- A STREET being torn up by construction
workers; A SANITATION TRUCK loading up refuse; VENDORS
PEDDLING nuts and salted pretzels; PANHANDLERS blocking a
passerby. Intimidating. Demanding. Almost mocking.
We're surrounded by the teeming life of the city as we've
come to expect it -- complete with a cacophony of sound.
MULTIPLE CUTS -- Phone kiosks and phone booths on the East
Side and West Side -- uptown and down.
One frustrated caller has lost his money in the slot and he
takes it out on the equipment -- smashing the receiver
violently against the coin box until the instrument splinters
into a dozen pieces.
There are 237,911 pay telephones in
the five burroughs of the city of
New York. Many of them are still
in working order.
DOZENS OF QUICK CUTS --
NEW YORKERS on the phone in extreme close up. We don't hear
the words. Only the facial expressions inform us that these
are human beings under tremendous pressure. Life in the city
is wearing them down.
MULTIPLE SHOTS - JUST MOUTHS
Lips jabbering into receivers. Cross-cut against one
Despite increased usage of cellular
devices, an estimated four and a
half million New Yorkers and two
million visitors still utilize pay
telephones on a regular basis. At
thirty-five cents a pop... for the
first three minutes.
ANGLE ON CORNER IN MID-MANHATTAN - DAY
There's a phone booth situated on the southeast side of the
You're looking at the telephone
booth at the corner of 45th Street
and 8th Avenue in the heart of the
Manhattan theatrical district. It
has been scheduled to be removed
and replaced by a kiosk. It's one
of the few remaining phone booths
left in the city.
CAMERA MOVES IN on the irate caller in the booth -- a very
well-dressed gray-haired lady -- totally conservative in
WOMAN IN BOOTH
You have lied to me for the last
time, you lowlife prick bastard! I
don't ever want to hear the sound
of your fucking voice again.
Yes, well fuck you, too!
She slams down the receiver and exits. The booth remains
vacant for a brief interval.
At least three hundred calls daily
originate from this booth. The
coins are collected twice a day.
This booth has been burglarized
forty-one times in the last six
Someone is approaching the booth, fishing in his pocket for
coins. This is STUART SHEPARD, snappily dressed, his hair
styled and his nails manicured. Here is a man who clearly
takes excellent care of himself. He sports a Donna Karen
suit and silk Armani tie.
He's about to step into the booth when he's accosted by a
middle-aged man in a soiled apron who's run out of a nearby
restaurant and has finally caught up with him.
Stu, we got to talk.
Wish I could accommodate you,
Mario, but this is my busy time of
How come you cross the street every
time you go past the restaurant?
Why don't I stop in later for some
There's no more drinks or free
meals until the restaurant starts
showing up in the columns like you
I'm doing my level best for you
One lousy mention in the Post and
you expect to eat for six months!
I got the food critic from the
Village Voice all lined up to give
you a review.
That's what you tell me last July.
And he never shows.
I was allowing you time to expand
the menu. Wallpaper the bathrooms,
for God sakes. You get only one
shot with these fucking critics and
I don't want you to blow a rare
You the one blowing it. How long
you think you can fuck everybody?
Hold on right there. I've got a
very excellent reputation around
So how come you take two nice suits
of clothes from Harry and never get
his daughter on David Letterman?
Hell, I'm not an agent. I'm a
Mister, you're nothing!
Believe me, Valerie's on the
waiting list to audition. Harry's
got no complaints. He just let me
pick out this tie the other day.
That Harry's a damn fool!
Mario, please let me make this up
to you. How about I arrange for
the opening night party for this
new off-Broadway show I'm handling
-- to be held at your place with
local TV coverage on nine and
eleven? I mean I had it promised
to another client -- who actually
pays me money. But it isn't firmed
up yet. And I could throw it your
What is involved?
You'd toss in the buffet for say
seventy or eighty. The producers
would supply their own vino, of
course. I'd deliver you a
truckload of celebrities. And if
they like the food, they'll all
come back, naturally.
You want Liza Minelli? An Oscar
winner. Or Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.?
Is he still alive?
I saw him last night going into the
Four Seasons. I'll bring you over
a whole VIP list when we come by
How come everybody wants to eat but
nobody wants to pay?
You can't think small like that.
Hey, you still feature musicians
Fridays and Saturdays?
At least they work for their meals.
What about Harry's daughter as an
extra added attraction? She'll
belt out five or six showtunes --
two sets a night -- and it won't
cost you a fucking nickel.
Star Showcase! Let me handle
setting that up. And when she
eventually goes on Letterman,
she'll announce I'm currently
appearing over at Mario's fine
supper club. Right over CBS she'll
say that, Mario.
You're full of shit. You know
that? All bullshit!
That's just a vulgar word for PR.
(placing an arm around
Mario, you can't hurt my feelings.
Even when I was a kid and they
hurled certain invectives my way,
it never bothered me. Other kids
would fall apart if anybody called
them a fucking name. Me, I just
loved the attention! 'Shit-for-
brains' -- that's what the bigger
kids named me. And I answered to
it. Hey, 'shit-for brains'
reporting for duty. Everybody
loved me for that. I could take
abuse. After a while, I kind of
wore them down. There was nothing
more they could say to me. So they
stopped. I kind of missed it.
I'm sorry I even talked to you.
I'll bet your loving wife put you
up to this. She saw me pass by and
she sent you out in the street.
But I don't hold it against you
personally -- you still serve up
superior veal chop.
(entering phone booth)
Now I got urgent business to
He slides the booth closed in Mario's face.
The frustrated restaurateur glares at him through the glass
before giving up and walking off -- talking to himself as he
goes up the block.
INSIDE THE BOOTH, Stu inserts his thirty-five cents and
Hello, Mavis, sweet creature.
Where have you been? Do you think
I have nothing to do but wait
around for you to call?
I'm only a few minutes late,
loveliest individual on earth.
Stu, I'm so lonely. When can I see
Good news in that arena. Kelly
goes into rehearsal as of Monday.
You know how dedicated she is. By
the time she gets back from dancing
her ass off, she goes right to
sleep. We'll have both our days
and certain nights. Not to mention
when they take the show on the
How long is that for?
Four to five weeks -- minimum.
Maybe I should quit my job so we
can be together full time.
I wouldn't do that.
Sometimes I think if I have to give
one more fucking manicure...
That's how you met me.
I never saw a worse set of nails.
Bit right down to the quick.
I'm much better groomed since
you've been looking after me.
I'm glad you admit it.
Even Kelly remarked on it when I
first met her.
She could care less how you look.
She's only interested in pushing
her own career. Some wife you're
The marriage is not without its
compensations. Do you imagine I
could afford that apartment on what
I'm earning? Not with everybody
cutting back on the publicity. Not
to mention a million college
graduates coming into the
profession trying to cut me out.
And one thing you can't expect from
your clients is loyalty. They get
a couple of bad notices, they dump
I wasn't saying goodbye to you. I
was saying how the clients try to
give you the wave off without even
a month's notice.
A conservative businessman now stands outside the booth
waiting to use it. He deliberately glances at his watch a
few times to demonstrate his impatience. This bothers Stu
who slides the booth open a crack.
What? Is your watch busted? It's
twenty after eleven and I'm gonna
be occupied indefinitely with my
transaction. So get out of my
He closes the booth up again and turns his back to the
gentleman who gives up and departs.
Sorry, honey. There will be no
Why must you always be calling me
from some booth?
On account of that phone records
are regularly subpoenaed in divorce
proceedings. And I don't want some
entry showing up on my cellular
bill either. She gets the mail.
She looks these items over.
Sometimes she even dials up a
strange number to see who it is.
Then she suspects something.
It's only because her last husband,
the choreographer, ran around on
her. She can't get that out of her
head. That's how she caught onto
him. The phone bills.
She hasn't developed much skill at
holding a man.
You know what a self-fulfilling
prophecy is? She was so sure I was
going to find me a woman that she
finally drove me back to you. I
thought I'd feel all guilty about
it -- but I guess it hasn't kicked
Still, I wouldn't do anything to
hurt her. Basically, Kelly's a
What about hurting me? Like last
Hurt? You were glad to be rid of
For a while I was, 'til I took
stock of what was around. You're
the lesser of many evils.
That's about the nicest thing you
I'll have it engraved.
We've been up front with each other
from the beginning. Let's keep it
that way. How about a drink? Say
seven o'clock? The Monkey Bar?
Meet me in front. I don't like
walking in there unescorted.
Yeah, you're great enough looking
to be mistaken for one of those
thousand dollar a night girls.
It happens all the time lately.
And wear that short black number I
bought you from Bendel's.
Again? I don't know if it's me or
that dress you like.
Have a good day. Make plenty of
tips. And leave the whole evening
open. She thinks I've got Knicks
He hangs up. Then whips a tiny cellular phone out of his
jacket pocket, flips it open and dials. Someone answers on
the first ring.
It's your boy Stuart. When was the
last time I called you for a favor?
The column is already full.
I just need one line. Anybody you
wanna say was seen dining out at
Mario's Stromboli restaurant.
Maybe you don't hear so good? I
got no space for you.
Who's asking any favors? I'm
offering reciprocal information.
Since when were you ever a reliable
Check it out. Tony award-winning
producer Willie Beagle tossed his
wife back into rehab again
following her third attempt at
diving off the terrace at their
plush eighteen room residence at
the San Remo. I got it from the
I got it from their maid yesterday.
It's in the paper today. Or don't
you bother to read my shit?
Louis, my intentions were entirely
I'll drop your item in sometime
next week. If you promise not to
call me for a month.
He hangs up. Stu looks pleased as he folds the cell phone
and tucks it away.
Then he starts to vacate the booth. The phone rings. And
rings. Curious, he picks up the receiver. There's a voice
on the other end of the line. A DISTINCTIVE MALE VOICE.
Don't even think about leaving that
Stay exactly where you are and
I've got a heavy day, mister.
You know better than to disobey me.
I don't know you at all.
Are you absolutely sure?
Who is this?
Someone who's watching you.
Love the gray suit. That red and
black tie makes a nice combination.
Stu is taken back by the accurate description of his apparel.
He looks around nervously.
Where? Where are you?
Closer than you think.
I don't see you.
There are any number of windows.
Check them out.
Indeed that street corner is surrounded by high rise
buildings and hotels.
Okay, you had your little joke.
I'm not sufficiently amused. Not
yet. We have more to talk about.
Stu knows he should simply hang up but something tells him
not to. Perhaps it's the strange tone of the man's voice.
Do me a favor. Call up somebody
But it's you I'm interested in.
You know how many people use that
booth every day?
Why don't you tell me?
Better than two-hundred people on
Is that what you do? Count them?
What else do I have to do? It's
interesting watching people.
Trying to guess who they are. And
what they're up to.
What are you -- a shut-in of some
You might say that. I can't go
out. I might be seen.
Somebody's looking for you?
The ex-wife. What'd you do -- run
out on child support?
What kind of man do you think I am?
Frankly, I could care less. You
had your fun. Now goodbye.
It's not in your best interests to
hang up on me. That would make me
Isn't that just too bad?
There's ten million names in the
phonebook. Pester somebody else.
I never talk to people I can't see.
I need to study their reactions.
Alright, bullshit artist, what am
I doing right now?
Scratching your forehead with your
left hand. Now you're brushing
your hair back.
Okay, okay, you got me in your
scrutiny. So what?
So let's talk.
Only I got nothing to say.
Oh, you will. You'll do a lot of
talking before this conversation is
over. And it'll only end when I
want it to.
Is that a fact? Well if you watch
closely, you will see me hang up.
I don't think you will.
I interest you.
Why should I be interested in some
creep who gets his jollies spying
on strangers in phone booths?
But you're not a stranger, Stu.
The sound of his own name sends a chill through him.
Who put you up to this?
You were my very own selection.
Why me in particular?
Because you're so afraid.
Ha! What've I got to be afraid of?
Just about everything. You have so
much to hide.
How do you figure that?
Why else would a man with a
perfectly good cellular bother to
make calls from a pay booth?
That's my business.
I've made it mine.
All of a sudden I'm required to
give explanations to you?
In explicit detail.
What is this? Some kind of candid
camera gag? Or like that thing on
HBO where the cab driver is taping
what goes on in the back seat?
This is not showbusiness, my
friend. This is reality.
Your reality. Not mine, you
Stu, you'll be made to suffer for
your attitude, so let's dispense
with the vulgarities.
Now you're threatening me! Fuck
you. Could that be any clearer?
You're only making it easier for me
to do you harm.
Oh yeah. Right. Can you see how
You will be.
Shit, this is a new one. Fucking
threatening calls in a goddam phone
booth. When are you going to start
with the heavy breathing.
I'm not the degenerate. You are,
You don't know anything about me.
Infinitely more than you know about
Like the number you dialed when you
first entered the booth.
How would you know that?
I'm watching through a scope and I
could clearly read the buttons you
pushed. I have another extension
here by the window. Shall I dial
that same number back for you?
Would that convince you?
Stu nervously cranes his neck, looking around at all the tall
buildings that surround the street corner.
PANNING up at thousands of windows. The Voice could be
coming from anywhere.
BACK TO STU IN THE BOOTH
Let's see who's on the other end of
It's already ringing. I'll hold
the receiver up so you can listen
Stu can hear the beeping as the other line rings.
Then Mavis' voice can be heard answering. Stu listens
Who is this?
Someone who's really tight with
your boyfriend -- who just called
you from his favorite phone booth.
You know Stu?
Stu? Oh, I know him better than
anyone. What he does -- how he
thinks. How he lies.
Who the hell is this?
Stu is listening in. He knows what
we're both saying.
Stu? Is that true? Are you there?
He doesn't feel like talking.
Mavis! Just hang up the goddam
She can't hear you, Stu. Only me.
Mavis, I'm afraid Stu hasn't been
totally honest with you. But then
he can't be honest with anyone, can
What's your name? To whom am I
You've never heard of me, Mavis.
He doesn't want you to know I
exist. He wishes I didn't exist.
But there isn't anything he can do
Still there, Stu? All you can do
Mavis -- the guy is a fucking
nutcase! Hang the fuck up.
She doesn't want to. She wants to
know all about us. Don't you,
Did his wife put you up to this?
That bitch, Kelly?
Oh yes, the bitch wife, Kelly. My
very next call.
He doesn't know my wife! Don't
tell him anything else.
Outside the booth, a huge, heavy-set black woman in a too
tight dress, now appears with the clear desire to use the
phone. Her name is FELICIA. She taps on the glass.
Could you hurry it along?
Stu ignores her and Felicia glares at him through the glass
Stu has no inclination to deal with anybody else. He's too
distracted by the madness happening over the telephone.
Can you hear me, Mavis? Keep your
big mouth shut.
Is that any way to talk to a woman
Mavis, is he always that abusive to
You're getting me all upset. I
don't know who you are or how you
know all this --
I find out things -- from watching
people and listening to them.
Just what is your relationship to
Stu? That's all I want to know.
Well, what do you think?
Answer me, goddam it!
Well alright. Stu and I are --
longtime companions. A pair. Two
of a kind. Closer than close.
Peas in a pod. Spoons in a drawer.
Don't believe a word of it. It's
Too late, Stu. She already
You can tell that scumbag never to
bother me again.
He won't care. He'll still have
It's not true. I do care.
From outside the booth, there's a louder rapping on the
glass. Felicia really wants in.
Get done in there, mister. I got
me an important call.
Shit I will! Finish up!
She continues to rap on the glass as Stu tries to focus on
the two-way phone call.
Why don't you tell me what you
think of us?
You're both disgusting.
That's what he said about you.
Well, if Stu didn't have the balls
to come out and tell you the truth,
I felt it was my responsibility to
clear the air. Goodbye now, Mavis.
Thanks for your time.
(the phone clicks off; we
hear only a dial tone)
Back to you again, Stu.
You total asshole! How could you
Speaking of females, that woman
hovering outside the booth -- may
as well tell her that you'll be on
the line forever.
Like hell I will.
I'm ready for you to take out your
cellular and phone home. And this
time, I'll listen in.
There's no chance of that.
Or should I call Kelly and make up
something totally outrageous? You
must realize by now I have a vivid
You don't know our phone number!
Are you absolutely sure? I may
have been watching you on a regular
basis. Keeping track of all the
numbers I see you dial.
And I'm supposed to believe that?
I've put a great deal of
preparation into this -- prior to
actually saying hello. Now do you
want to dial 832-7165 -- or should
The sound of the actual number being spoken shocks him even
more than the earlier mention of his name.
What are you going to tell her?
You'll do the talking.
What am I supposed to say?
Try telling her the truth.
Look, I don't want to hurt Kelly.
She's always there for me. It's
just my nature to have a little
'strange' on the side. It doesn't
But you still find it necessary?
Kind of like having a beautiful
home. With everything you ever
dreamed of. But you still need
that vacation now and then. Some
nice hotel room with a great view.
Maybe a pool. Only you wouldn't
want to spend more than a few days
in any hotel. Eventually, you want
to go back to your home and all
your stuff. You're real glad to
Kelly is home and Mavis is a hotel?
I'm sure they'll both appreciate
You're ruining my fucking life, you
Didn't I warn you about calling me
names? It makes me vindictive.
What else can you do to me?
We haven't even begun.
She's not home. She went out.
I'll bet she's back. Now hold the
cellular up where I can see it --
so I can be certain you don't
misdial on me.
A little higher and to your left.
Now I have it in perfect view.
More violent rapping on the glass from the persistent black
If you got you a cell phone, how
come you taking up the whole
fucking booth! This here's an
There's another booth on the next
It's busted. Every damn phone on
Eighth Avenue is busted but this
Well, I'm not through! Go in a
restaurant or someplace, but get
away from me!
I'm gonna pull you out of that
booth and snatch you ballheaded!
She tries to pull open the sliding door to the booth but Stu
jams it shut, right on her hand.
You assaulted my person.
Let me hear from your lawyer!
You're hear alright. I'm coming
back. And your ass better not be
She stalks off obviously in search of assistance.
Good work, Stu. Now let me see you
dial. Tuck the receiver under your
chin and dial your remote.
I'm doing it.
He punches in the digits. The phone rings -- and rings.
I told you she was out.
Let it ring.
Then a girl's voice is heard.
Hold it close to the receiver so I
Honey, it's me.
What's taking you so long? I
thought we were having some lunch
Change of plan. We're not eating
in that dump any more.
The Health Department gave them a
'C' rating -- that's how come.
Here I'm trying to put the place on
the map and he fucks it all up with
a major roach problem.
That's disgusting. Okay, I'll fix
us a sandwich. Where are you now?
Just in a phone booth.
How come? The caller ID says
you're on your cellular.
Oh yeah, I am.
But you're also in some phone
Explain that one, Stu.
I only stepped in because the
traffic was so loud outside.
Well just hurry on back.
Tell her you can't.
Not for a few minutes.
Are you sure you're alone? I hear
somebody in the background.
The guy in the next booth. He's
got a bad connection and he's
hollering his fool head off.
You've got an answer for
I love you, baby.
You know that.
Stu -- who was that man?
Some person who phoned fifteen
minutes ago -- just after you went
I don't understand...
This total stranger rang up and
told me to wait by the phone --
because you'd be calling me in a
few minutes -- from a booth. And I
said what would he be doing in any
And what did this guy say?
He said you'd be making phone
calls. What else?
Making calls is part of my
Clients. People. Planting items
like I do.
Once in a while one of them could
be a woman. I just called
"Elaine's" and talked to her to see
who was in there last night.
You know exactly what I mean.
You're not going to start that shit
I just feel something is wrong.
What could be wrong?
The way you sound. You don't sound
Yeah? Who do I sound like?
Someone who's scared. There's fear
in your voice like I've never heard
See, Stu? Kelly agrees with me.
I want you to come back home. Now!
I told you. In a while.
No. I want you here now. In case
he calls back, I don't want to
Why should he call back?
I feel like he's going to.
You're the one that sounds
frightened. And of nobody.
He's not a nobody. He knows about
You're not telling me all he said.
What are you holding back?
I can't discuss it on the phone.
Just get over here!
CLICK! She hangs up.
(into pay phone)
Why did you do that to her? She
never did you any harm.
How would you know? Everybody does
harm to somebody. And then they
try their best to forget it.
Maybe me -- but not her. Whatever
I've done, there's no reason to
take it out on her.
Suppose that's the only way I can
get to you? You claim you love
Yeah, I do.
You don't even love yourself.
But Kelly... I would never hurt.
Still you have to uphold your
status as an honorary asshole.
Listen, I've treated all my women
decent. I never laid a hand on any
of them, even when provoked. And I
always let them down easy.
I'm not ready to let Kelly go.
Maybe I never will be.
What if she dumps you first?
What's the odds she's already taken
up with somebody? One day soon
you'll come home and find her gone
along with the CD player and the
I'm not gonna let you mind-fuck me
all day! That's it. This call is
Not until I say it is.
What happens if I hang up?
You don't really want to find out.
I'm dying to hear this!!! What the
fuck can you do about it -- up in
your fucking high window with your
I never indicated I had binoculars.
I said I had a highly magnified
telescopic image of you that
brought you up so close I could see
where you nicked yourself under the
chin shaving this morning.
Oh -- while you're at it, have a
look up my ass.
I may very well do that, Stu. In
the meantime, think about what kind
of device has a telescopic sight
mounted on it.
What? You mean... like a rifle?
A high-powered .30 calibre bolt
action Remington 700 with a carbon
one modification and a state of the
art Henzholdt tactical sniperscope.
And you're in the cross hairs, Stu.
I'm supposed to believe that?
There's only one way I can prove it
to you. Hang up the receiver and
find out. At this range, the exit
wound ought to be about the size of
a small tangerine.
And you're just going to kill me
for no reason?
For plenty of reasons! Because you
hung up. For years I hated people
hanging up on me. Ex-girlfriends.
Women I didn't even know.
I get hung up on all the time. You
get used to it.
Or else you don't. I worked for
months getting people to switch to
MCI -- being insulted at and being
hung up on hundreds of times a day.
The ones that cursed me out for
invading their privacy never
bothered me as much as those that
clicked off without even bothering
Then why didn't you go after one of
Maybe you are one of them.
Hey, I have worked in a boiler room
myself peddling "Term Life." I
Would never be rude to a fellow
Can you feel it on you now? The
heat of it. I'm moving the strike
zone down to your stomach area.
Now I'm raising it up again.
Directly above the chest cavity --
sliding up to the forehead just
above the left ear.
Shit -- I do feel it.
Tell me where I'm going with it
Across my forehead -- now back
where it was before.
I'm amazed how you can do that.
You're amazingly accurate.
Now I know what you're thinking.
If I drop down on the floor of the
booth and flatten myself out...
No, I'm not thinking that.
Oh yes you are. Can I crawl out
using the booth as a shield? Can I
crawl to that Chrysler illegally
parked only three or four feet
away? The shattering glass may cut
me, but it'll only be superficial.
Otherwise, this lunatic will never
let me out alive.
No. You will. I know you will.
If I just cooperate.
Where is it now? Think and feel
for the warm spot.
Below the shoulder?
The right shoulder.
Remarkable how we're in tune.
You're doing far better than the
What others? What do you mean?
You said 'others!'
I'm sure you read about the Italian
tourist shot dead ten days ago at
the corner of Forty-fifth and
I saw it on the news.
And where are we now?
Oh, God. Forty-fifth and Eighth.
What else do you remember about
I don't know.
He was gunned down. And nobody was
caught. And they didn't even
bother to take his wallet or his
watch... or anything.
Now you know why. It wasn't a
What did he do?
He hung up -- so I disconnected him
Please -- don't do it to me. You
got no reason to do it to me.
Don't give me reason.
I'm not looking to. Tell me what
Tell me about your job.
What's to tell? I'm in Public
Relations. They used to call us
"flacks." Now we're media
What do you do, exactly?
Plant items in the paper and on the
tube. More important sometimes,
keep stuff out.
What've you kept out?
One of my people got nailed for
indecent exposure. I managed for
the cops to use his real name
instead of his stage name so nobody
picked up on it.
You saved the little deviate's ass,
He's in major therapy now. I swear
You must hang with some major
newscasters -- those types.
I'm real close with Larry King.
And the "Hard Copy" people.
Could you get him down here? Larry
Why would he want to come here?
Because you asked him to.
He comes from Atlanta.
Well, who could you get?
I don't know.
Definitely no chance.
You'd be offering them an exclusive
newsbreak. I'm talking about more
than one homicide.
I don't answer questions. I ask
I gotta have the facts. They might
not believe me. My record isn't
too good when it comes to hard
You're not considered a reliable
On a divorce or separation, maybe.
Or who's gay, or who isn't gay any
more. I kind of specialize in that
kind of material. I mean I could
probably get you Joe Franklin.
How about Cindy Adams?
I might have a shot. Are you
familiar with Liz Smith?
Do you know her number?
Want I should call her? How much
can I say?
Tell her you're in direct touch
with a killer who's willing to
speak honestly if she shows up here
alone and without notifying the
She usually likes to have a
celebrity involved. If you had an
actor or a sports figure held
prisoner instead of me, there'd be
better odds she's come.
Then lie. Pick a celebrity and put
them in the booth.
Let's see. Who does she like? Who
couldn't be reached to deny it?
I'm anxious to see you in action.
Don't keep me waiting.
Stu uses his cellular again.
Sometimes you only get her service.
Hi -- Stu Shepard. Put me through.
I've got hard news for her. I can
only talk to her directly. But say
it regards -- Liza.
Liza? That was imaginative.
No, I can't call back. I'll have
to lay in on somebody else.
Alright, but I can't hang on long.
(to pay phone)
She's coming on.
Liz, hello. Sure I'll make it
brief. Killing two weeks ago in
the theatre district? Turn out a
sniper did the job. Yeah, a sniper
with a rifle. Now he's got another
victim lined up. Not just your
anonymous New Yorker, but Liza.
Now you can't call anybody or Ms.
Minelli's dead meat and so am I.
She's hostage in a phone booth
right in the sniper's sights. But
he says he'll talk to you and let
her walk. I know it'll take balls
to do this, but you're a fine and
courageous newspaper woman...
There's a click. Silence.
(to pay phone)
Either she's on her way over or she
doesn't believe me.
You weren't particularly
I didn't really believe in what I
Because you don't really believe my
Remington is pointed at you?
You're ninety percent sure.
At least ninety-five percent, easy.
Let me erase all doubt.
No. Don't shoot.
Control yourself, Stu. Glance down
at your chest. What do you see.
Oh, my God. A dot. A fucking red
A tiny red dot now moves across Stu's chest.
Like you've seen in the movies?
The laser dot. Just before some
poor bastard always gets blown
Usually a supporting player. That
lovely but by now generic special
effect of the bullet piercing the
The tiny red laser dot dances around Stu's chest and stomach
-- the jumps up and remains between his eyes.
This takes all the guesswork out of
it. You know exactly where to
expect it before I even tighten my
finger on the trigger.
Don't tighten. Don't even tickle
that fucking finger.
How about Geraldo? He's run his
ass off to get in on this.
You're talking about the old
Geraldo. Look, I can try and reach
cable NBC. They're hungry.
I'm disappointed. I wanted to go
They do a great job. They'll haul
a whole crew over to cover your
I never expressed interest in
giving myself up. There are so
many other phone booths in the
city. I'm just getting warmed up.
That's entirely up to you. Your
choice. I'm just trying to set you
up with the proper communicator.
I suppose Liza wasn't strong
enough. I should've said Madonna.
Now you're being creative.
Outside the booth, the angry black woman has returned,
bringing with her a gaudily dressed pimp named LEON who looks
like he means business. He slams his fist against the glass,
nearly shattering it.
Drag your baggy butt out of that
booth. We got business to conduct
out of there.
He been in there all day.
I'm not through.
Hang up that receiver or I'll make
you eat the fucking thing!
Fuck off or I'll call a cop.
Do you see one around here? What
you think I'm gonna be doing while
you're waiting for a prowl car to
get assigned? I'm about to cut you
a second asshole if you don't
vacate those premises.
He's got him a fucking cellular.
What's he need to be on our booth
I can't explain it.
I'm not interested in your
explanations even if you had any.
He withdraws a switchblade knife from his pocket but doesn't
open it -- yet.
If I flick this, I use it.
I'll make it worth your while to go
away. How much do you want?
Make me an offer.
Thirty dollars. It's all I've got
in cash. Take it and go.
You're offering to rent my phone
booth? For how long?
I don't know. For as long as it
What's so special in there?
Do you want the money?
Is that a genuine Rolex you've got
Come on, man. That's my good
That's what it's gonna take.
Then here. Take the damn thing.
And the thirty!
Take it all.
The pimp pockets the watch and the money. But doesn't go
Now I'm satisfied. But you still
got to deal with Felicia here. I
believe you spoke harshly to her.
And did her some injury.
An accident. I'm sorry about that,
The man don't sound like he means
Why don't you hang up a minute so
we can discuss this matter at
It's long distance. I can't lose
the call -- I might not get them
Do I have to rip that fucking phone
out of there?
That wouldn't be a good idea.
(into pay phone)
Not at all.
I gave you everything I've got.
That pinky ring looks attractive.
Felicia might like that.
It might fit.
You want the ring, you've got the
ring. If I can get it off.
I can get it off you.
Leon reaches in and grabs Stu's ring hand.
Let go of me! It's coming loose.
(he tosses it)
Okay, Felicia, with my deepest
apologies. Goodbye now.
What's really going on in that
booth -- that escapes the naked
Nothing. Talk. That's all.
That your connection on the end of
the line? Or are you dealing?
This has nothing to do with drugs.
You gotta be high on something to
willingly divest yourself of your
valuables -- just to maintain
occupancy of a fucking phone booth
that the local bums piss in every
I knew it smelled for some reason.
You look like you're ready to piss
Because I am.
Maybe if the city provided decent
public toilets, folks wouldn't
relieve themselves in the subway
stations and phone booths!
I'll take it up with the mayor.
Next thing you know you're gonna
claim we mugged you -- took your
billfold and watch.
No, you didn't. It was a fair and
equitable deal. You had
territorial rights to this booth
and I paid a license fee. Fair is
fair. Now leave me in peace.
You sure you're alright?
He don't look well.
Kind of pale. Even for a white
Jaundice they calls it. Probably
advanced liver trouble.
If it's cirrhosis, you better find
yourself a twelve step program and
Thanks for your interest but I'm in
So how come his hand is shaking?
The man is cracking up.
Lookit the sweat pouring off the
sonofabitch. That's one sick
mother you started up with, Leon!
Me? You're the one that brought me
over and exposed me to all his
I'm terminal, okay? Now can I
close the booth and continue my
I'm worried now it might be
catching. All that money out of
your sweaty pocket is probably
crawling with some rare and
Fine. Give it back.
What good's that? We done touched
Well go wash your hands.
Come on now. Own up to what you're
carrying. Is it some of that
sexually transmitted shit? Cause
in that case, we can relax.
I'm sick of you. Now get out of my
Here we's being solicitous as to
your health and you respond by
Whip his arrogant ass.
Leon reaches into the booth and grabs Stu's jacket.
Touch me and I'll throw up on you.
At the suggestion, Leon lets go quickly.
It looks like a stalemate. Stu isn't vacating the booth and
Leon and his lady are reluctant to touch him further. He
does indeed look sick.
(into pay phone)
You can see what I'm up against
Want me to get rid of him for you?
What do you have in mind?
I'll think of something.
Suddenly the red dot reappears on the forehead of the pimp.
Leon doesn't realize it's there. The hooker behind him has
no way of seeing it. But to Stu, there's no way to miss it.
God -- no.
(into pay phone)
Don't. It's not necessary.
You asked for my help.
I'll handle it myself.
You're not doing too well. I can
settle it in a fraction of a
second. Shall I demonstrate?
For your own safety, mister, just
Now the man is turning
aggressive... issuing threats upon
You're making this happen.
If you don't hang up and step out,
I'm about to topple this booth into
the gutter with you inside it.
Reluctant to touch Stu again, Leon assaults the booth itself.
He begins shaking it violently -- trying to rip it from its
foundation. And the rickety booth is not too sturdy. It
starts rocking back and forth.
Stu is thrown around inside it, barely keeping his footing.
(into pay phone)
This isn't my fault.
But Leon continues rocking the booth. It won't come loose --
so in frustration, he punches in a side pane of glass.
The glass shatters all around Stu, who does his best to
shield himself from the slivers.
(into pay phone)
The guy's insane!
Only one way to stop a mad dog.
Give me permission.
If he forces you out of that booth,
I've told you what to expect. You
or him, Stu.
Leon is smashing other panes of glass now -- one after
another -- as Stu cowers inside.
Don't cut yourself, honey.
A crowd of derelicts and street people are now gathering to
watch the out of control pimp take out his wrath on the booth
and its occupant.
Looks like the fucker is comin'
Shove it out into the oncoming
What'll you bet the bus could knock
that fifty feet?
The booth is being decimated but Stu hangs onto the phone.
(into pay phone)
(with heavy static)
You're breaking up. We're about to
be cut off.
I can't help it!
That counts as a hang-up.
No. It can't. That's not fair.
I can still make him stop. Say the
word. Can you hear me?
Stu sees the red dot reappear on Leon's chest as he continues
to barrage the booth with punches and kicks.
Then Leon recoils, staggers a step backward. He doesn't
realize he's been shot.
There's been no sound of gunfire. Perhaps a silencer was
used -- or the downtown traffic drowned out the solitary
Leon looks confused at first. His ladyfriend has no idea
he's wounded -- neither do the derelicts and street people
who've assembled on the corner.
Even Stu isn't sure -- until the blood starts oozing from the
wound on the pimp's chest -- staining his yellow vest.
He isn't assaulting the booth anymore. He's trying to keep
his balance. He slumps forward, hanging onto the booth for
support -- only a few inches from Stu's face. The blood runs
down the side of the booth.
(into pay phone)
You did it!
You said 'yes.'
I said 'Yes, I can hear you.' Not
'Yes -- kill the motherfucker!'
Don't try to renege on it. I was
You're twisting it all around. I
didn't do this!
Meanwhile, Leon leans upright against the booth. Then his
legs cave in and he begins to slide to his knees.
Felicia runs up beside him. She sees the blood.
I warned you not to cut yourself.
Look at all that blood. He must've
hit an artery.
She screams as Leon topples backwards onto the pavement. Now
his chest wound is evident.
Oh, Jesus. What is that? Talk to
me! What happened?
The crowd tightens around the fallen body. Street people who
are fascinated but not shocked.
Yeah. Sucking chest wound right
over the heart.
Somebody call an ambulance.
Call the meatwagon. He's fucked
You shut the fuck up!
Her focus turns to Stu in the battered phone booth.
Why did you do that to him?
You all saw it! He shot my man
without no provocation!
Yeah. Pumped one right into him at
How could I? I don't even have a
Everybody get the fuck back! They
shoot one -- then they shoot
everybody in sight! Kill all the
The crowd disperses to doorways and around the corner -- out
of immediate range.
Come back. You've got to see --
I'm not armed.
Only Felicia remains, leaning over the pimp's body, staring
Hang up and dial 911. Get a
I can't hang up. That's what this
is all about.
You're gonna stand there and let
(takes out cellular)
I can use this.
Emergency. Yes. There's been a
shooting at Forty-fifth and Eighth
-- on the corner. A man is down.
What's the difference who I am? I
don't want to be involved.
That's bullshit. He's the shooter.
You're talking to the shooter.
Stu quickly disconnects the cellular.
That wasn't nice.
Go ahead -- make a fucking run for
it. I hope they gun you down --
like you did him!
I'm not going anyplace. I'm
staying right here in this booth.
(into pay phone)
Unless you give me permission.
You're attracting a lot of
attention. I suppose when the
police get there, you'll accuse me.
What do you expect me to say?
That's up to you. But any mention
of me will not be appreciated.
You won't even get to finish your
sentence. Oh look, that little red
dot is dancing around all over you
again. You saw how quickly it can
happen. And how accurate I can be.
They can't blame me -- I'm not
Who's going to believe that? With
all those witnesses to the
They can see with their own eyes.
Not far away, we hear the BLAST of POLICE SIRENS drawing
Remember to leave me out of it.
How can I?
You'll put the proper spin on it.
Isn't that your specialty? Feeding
the public a story that may not
have a shred of truth -- and making
it totally believable?
This isn't a story. This is real.
This is murder.
If you'd only dealt with the man
reasonably, shown him some respect,
this might not have been necessary.
I gave him my money, my watch...
But not your respect. Which is
what he required of you.
He was a fucking thief.
And now he's a fucking dead thief.
Do you feel better about that?
I don't feel a bit guilty. This is
all your doing!
Now you're being disrespectful of
me. You never learn. Your job is
to deal with people -- but you're
not good at it.
Hey, I'm not taking any more
criticism from some lunatic sniper
who gets his kicks killing
You keep insisting I'm a stranger.
Probably because you don't
recognize the voice. But there are
cheap electronic devices available
that disguise the voice. I might
not even be a man. I might be one
of those many women you've almost
totally forgotten. One who doesn't
forgive easily. One who wants to
watch you squirm.
You're a man. I know you're a man.
Women don't kill with telescopic
rifles. They stab you.
You sound so sure of that. But
you've never provoked any man as
much as have the women in your
life. And so many of them, Stu.
Do you even remember their names?
I've got no time to rehash my whole
life. Oh my God! The cops are
Police cars are pulling up on all sides of Eighth Avenue.
Traffic has suddenly been shut down. Prowl cars have now
blocked the streets.
PRODUCTION NOTE: Everything is seen from Stu's perspective
Half a dozen cops now emerge and approach with drawn guns.
That's him -- in the booth. He's
got a gun!
As she hurls accusations, she's lugging Leon's lifeless body
out into the gutter into the center of Eighth Avenue.
It's a bright afternoon. In the distance, we hear the
maddening HONKING of uptown traffic that is now being
rerouted, creating a huge bottleneck and raising the anger of
irate motorists and bus drivers whose horns provide their
simplest form of protest. It's a discordant concert that
echoes the confusion and frustration which Stu now feels...
As the cops surround the booth -- at a distance.
Throw down your weapon and come out
with your hands raised.
They're ordering me to come out.
I can see that. Ignore them.
What if they open fire?
They probably won't. Look across
on the east side of the street. Do
you see the tourist with the home
A distant crowd gathering on the opposite west side corner
behind the police cars. Some tourist is capturing the event
BACK TO STU
What about him?
He's going to keep the police on
their best behavior. So long as
you don't take what could be
interpreted as hostile action,
you'll be safe.
You call this safe? Six cops with
guns pointed my way?
You want me to reduce them to three
-- or two?
Absolutely no more shooting. Now
is that clear?
You can always change your mind.
You know the drill. Hands clasped
behind the back of your neck --
moving slowly -- step out of the
booth. If we see any sign of a
weapon, we will respond.
You won't, because there isn't any.
I repeat. Raise your hands.
I can't. I'm on a phone call.
Now a black POLICE CAPTAIN arrives and takes full command of
You have thirty seconds to comply.
I told you. I'm busy. Come back
Very good, Stu.
The cops take cover behind parked cars, keeping Stu clearly
in their sights. He has no place to hide. He's in the
battered phone booth in plain view from all sides.
You've been given an order.
The Sergeant slides up beside the Captain to confer.
PRODUCTION NOTE: We remain in LONG SHOT of the cops -- always
from Stu's POV. But we can hear their voices and all that is
said as if they were in close up. It has an odd, unreal and
We're dealing with a mental case.
He's looking for us to kill him.
Well he's not getting his wish.
In the center of the street, an ambulance pulls up and a team
of medics jump out. They rush to Leon's body. (Again we
hear their voices close, even though visually they are far
Tell me he's gonna be alright.
Step aside. Let us look at him.
The medics push her aside -- then examine the victim. He's
Nothing we can do. Don't touch the
body. They'll need it to mark the
Far across the street, the Captain confers with his
subordinates. They are small figures on the screen but we
hear them sharply.
Same corner as two weeks ago.
Maybe it's more than a coincidence.
Cover me. I need to talk to him.
You've got your vest on?
What do you think?
The Captain steps out of cover and boldly approaches the
phone booth. He stops cautiously about fifteen feet away.
I'm not armed.
Neither am I.
Yeah, sure. I need to know what
Can't talk about it.
Sure you can. My name's Ramey.
Captain Ed Ramey. What's yours?
Look, I don't want to be friends.
You look like you need a friend.
Tell him you've already got a
I've got a friend, okay.
Is that who you're talking to on
None of your business.
When somebody gets shot, it becomes
my business. Let's not have
anybody else killed. I want to
hear your side of it.
I've got no side of it.
Don't worry, Stu. I've got him
fixed right in my sights. I won't
let him hurt you.
Has this happened to you before?
The need to hurt someone? To put a
bullet in them?
You won't believe anything I say.
I couldn't shoot anybody. I'm not
You're right. I don't believe you.
What's that bulge in your pants
That? That's my cellular.
A cellular? Then what are you
doing in a phone booth making
Do you want to see it?
Don't reach for it, mister.
Then how can I show it to you?
I don't need to see it. I know
what's there. All these witnesses
saw you use it on him.
From behind a parked car, a HOMELESS PERSON calls out.
Another DERELICT, crouched in a doorway, joins in.
Yeah! Shot him down like a dog!
They're all lying. Nobody saw it
because it didn't happen.
A man is dead but it didn't happen.
Not on account of me! This is like
some bad dream.
You're walking through a bad dream
and you can't wake up. Do you want
to wake up?
And in this dream, you killed that
man. He was bothering you so you
Then who did?
Don't tell him, Stu. Or it'll be
the last thing he ever hears. His
blood will be on your hands.
I don't know.
But you saw it happen?
You were the closest one to him.
You must've seen who did it.
We're trying to be honest with each
other, aren't we?
I'm losing patience with this cop.
I'm handling this.
Who do you keep talking to on the
Nobody. My psychiatrist.
Excellent, Stu. You're getting
good at this.
What's this doctor's name? It's
important we know.
He says not to tell you. It's
Damn good reply. Now you're having
fun. Admit it.
Whatever you say.
Playing it so close to the edge.
I'll bet you've never felt so
alive. That's how I feel when I
look through the sight and select
The Captain begins advancing a few steps closer.
I respect your right to privacy.
I've been to therapy myself. The
department provides it. I know
it's not good form for a cop to be
admitting that, but...
Tell him not to come any closer.
Stop right there. Back up a few
steps. Back where you were.
If it makes you more comfortable.
Tell him to read you your rights.
I want you to read me my rights and
stop asking questions.
Al least tell me your first name.
It's my right not to have any name.
No gun and no name. You're a
highly underprivileged person.
Demand a lawyer.
And get me a lawyer, too. I want a
lawyer brought down here to
negotiate my surrender.
Brilliant, Stu. Keep winging it.
It'll be hard to find a lawyer
willing to risk his life. But if
you hand over the gun...
How can I when you won't let me
take it out?
We'll take it out for you -- as
soon as you exit the booth with
your hands raised and...
Now we're back to that again. It's
always "Get out of the booth.'
'You can't stay in the booth.'
Well, I like it in the fucking
booth. It's my whole world now.
It's my booth and I'm never coming
We're not about to force you
because there could be a
miscalculation and then we'd never
find out why this happened.
Why is it so important to know?
The guy is dead. Isn't that
enough? Knowing isn't going to
make him alive again. So who gives
It's what makes the job
interesting. Finding out why.
Something drove you to do this.
You didn't go out today expecting
this to happen. It was a nice day.
You were out for a walk. And then
suddenly it all changed.
All I wanted was to make a phone
call. One lousy phone call for
thirty-five fucking cents.
Careful, Stu. Don't volunteer too
You got some bad news on that call.
Something that pushed you over the
And I've been falling ever since.
Time to land.
When you hit bottom, you die.
I'm your safety net.
If I tell you what you want to know
-- you'll die, too.
Something about the implied threat sends a chill through
The Captain's head as seen through a telescopic sight.
Ramey could be dead in an instant.
PRODUCTION NOTE: The only time we deviate from Stu's
perspective is when we see the sniper's POV through his
ANGLE BACK ON STU IN THE BOOTH,
the detective fifteen feet away.
Ramey decides to back off momentarily.
I'll go see about that lawyer.
Now that's a good idea.
The Captain withdraws back across the street.
He's lucky. I had him centered in
my cross hairs. I really had to
We hear the approach of a helicopter.
Stu peers up ward as not one but two choppers appear above
the tall buildings.
It's not the police. It's the
media. You're news, Stuart.
The helicopters circle above.
You've never gotten this much press
for any of your clients. I'm
making you a famous person.
They're just hoping for coverage of
me dying in the gutter.
Their presence is putting the
police on their continued best
Those cops are just looking for any
Then don't give them one.
Then, as if on cue, Stu's cellular phone in his pocket starts
But he can't allows himself to reach for it. To do so might
cause the police to believe he was trying to draw his gun.
It rings quietly -- virtually inaudible outside the booth.
Drowned out by the traffic horns, the static from the police
radios and the newly introduced sound of television
helicopters circling over Eighth Avenue taking video coverage
of the event below.
Who could it be?
Kelly. She was worried about me.
Stu is afraid to reach in his pocket lest the cops think he's
going for a gun.
Maybe she's seen this on
television. It must be on every
channel by now. Breaking news.
She doesn't watch daytime TV.
One of the neighbors could've
The cell phone keeps ringing, almost drowned out by the sound
of helicopters circling overhead.
Why are you saying this? You want
me to reach in my pocket so you can
see them open fire?
That's an unwarranted accusation
and very unbecoming in light of the
good advice I've given in the past.
Have I ever steered you wrong?
God -- how I'd love to hear her
It might even be worth it. She's
insistent, isn't she?
The cellular won't stop ringing.
If she knows I'm in trouble, she
won't give up.
Probably glued to the TV by now.
I'm watching coverage on two
stations now. Channel surfing.
Well, there you are on two and four
and five. Not any decent angles on
you, though, stuck inside there.
The cell phone continues beeping until the sound of it is
maddening. Stu is still afraid to reach for it and provide
the cops with an excuse to open fire.
But if you'd take one or two steps
outside and look up, I think they
could get a clear picture of you.
You said I'm not allowed to leave
Finally the cell phone stops ringing.
I might be willing to bend the
rules and let you enjoy your moment
of fame. Set the phone down
without hanging up... and take a
step or two outside. Just for a
minute. Then come straight back in
or I'll be forced to provide 'live'
coverage that should rival the
historic Zapruder footage.
Nothing like an exploding head to
excite viewer interest.
No, thanks. I'll stay where I am.
It was only a suggestion. Since
you're convinced I'm going to plug
you anyway, it can't matter much.
If you shoot me, you give yourself
Even without a muffler, they'd
never hear the report with all this
noise. Afterwards, it'd take them
a good ten minutes to realize you
weren't plugged by some overzealous
officer. Then they'll blame the
media for inciting a crackpot
vigilante to come down here and do
the SWAT team's job for them.
You expected them to come. You had
this all worked out.
I write the scenario and you all
play your parts -- as directed.
The damned cell phone starts beeping again. Stu fights the
temptation to grab for it and hear Kelly's voice for one last
Poor Kelly. What she must be going
Why don't you tell her how you feel
I'd never get the words out. Not
with fifteen or twenty rounds in
You can't be certain they'd fire.
They'd see it was only a phone.
They wouldn't wait to see.
The cellular ringing continues jangling Stu's nerves.
Why doesn't she hang up?
Then Stu notices something in the crowd gathering far across
the street behind the police barricades. Countless faces
rubbernecking, probably hoping to see some display of
violence that would end with him face down dead on the
And in the midst of them -- one face familiar to him. A
female, quite pretty... even in tears. It's Kelly. (We see
her only in LONG SHOT -- a distant figure in bright green
jacket that makes her stand out from the crowd.)
It's her! She's not calling me.
She's over there.
The blonde girl in the green
Can't miss her. Very attractive,
She must've heard all the commotion
and come downstairs.
The cellular is still ringing.
It's somebody else who knows my
You continue to impress.
Why is it so important that they
Because that's how I win.
This time you won't. If you want
me dead, you'll have to do it
Either way I can't lose.
It's all a game to you -- because
you're incapable of feelings.
You're not even human.
I pride myself on that. What's so
great about being human? It's the
lowest form of life on this planet
and I've taken it upon myself to
thin the herd.
I quit. I'm not answering back any
more. I won't hang up but I'm not
There's silence now between them.
Stu? Stu, don't be that way.
You're taking the pleasure out of
Stu doesn't take the bait. He remains absolutely silent.
A stalemate has been reached.
WE RACK FOCUS ACROSS THE STREET TO THE POLICE
clustered behind an emergency vehicle. The Sergeant brings a
civilian to meet Captain Ramey of the SWAT unit. The
newcomer wears coveralls stenciled "AT&T." (Although they
are very far away, we hear their voices close up as they come
into sharper focus.)
This here's Helfand, of New York
Glad to help out.
Have you got the number of that
Can you tap into that call?
It can be done.
But not without a warrant. You
could be violating this psycho's
civil rights. Especially if he's
on the line with his fucking
Shit. I don't want to blow this on
a technicality. Tracing the call
isn't any violation, is it?
As long as we don't listen in.
We remain in LONG SHOT of the POLICE as they continue in
Okay, we've got to know who he's
talking to and their current
That I can handle. As long as they
keep the circuit open.
I need the number and an address to
go with it.
Helfand rushes off. At the corner, we can glimpse him
entering a phone company utility truck parked on Forty-Fifth
RACK FOCUS BACK TO PHONE BOOTH
Stu remains tight lipped and silent, refusing to give his
tormentor the conversation he so craves.
Stuart, my friend. Do you want to
see how close I can come without
actually hitting you?
Stu resists pleading because he knows his silence is more
There's no glass in the left side of the booth since the late
Leon smashed it all out.
Nothing to shatter when the sniper squeezes off his shot.
May I call attention to the yellow
The frayed yellow phonebook dangling from a chain under the
telephone shudders under the impact of a direct hit.
There's been no sound of a gunshot, but the damage is there
Stu reaches for the phonebook.
There's a bullet hole straight through it. Pieces of the .30
calibre slug have shattered into many tiny fragments and are
imbedded between the pages, half-way through the thick
Stu pries pieces out of the pages of the directory. He looks
at them in the palm of his hand.
Hollow points are designed to break
up on impact. It would've behaved
differently if it had pierced your
soft flesh. The pieces would've
bounced around looking for a way
out. That's where the real damage
occurs -- finding an exit --
deflecting off all that bone...
Stu wants to shout "STOP," but restrains himself. Not
talking gives him some degree of power.
Still the silent treatment? My
father used to dish that out when
he chose to punish me. Not a word
spoken -- one time for over a
month. I'd try and goad him to
acknowledge I existed, but he
stared right through me. You're
bringing back unhappy childhood,
Stu. That's not wise.
Stu still declines to answer. His silence seems his only
weapon. He tosses the bullet fragments out of the booth onto
Since you're ignoring me, I'll
focus on someone else.
There she is -- nice and sharp. I
can see the two little punctures in
each earlobe and my God, what kind
of a girl would have her nostril
Stu realizes the sniper now has Kelly in his sights.
What was that? Louder, Stu. We
must have a bad connection.
Leave her out of it.
I didn't expect her to show up
here. But since she has -- I'll
Don't. Please don't. I'm sorry.
I'm talking to you again. I'll
talk all you want!
It's a bad dye job. The black
roots are growing in and it makes
her look cheap.
I've screwed up her life enough
already. Please don't hurt her.
I don't necessarily have to kill
her. I could be persuaded to
settle for a reasonable mutilation.
Which part of her displeases you
most? If she turns a bit more in
profile, I'm accurate enough to
remove the tip of her unpleasantly
protruding nose. It's just
cartilage. Any decent cosmetic
surgeon will have her looking
better than ever.
STU'S POV - FOCUS SHIFTS TO KELLY
in the crowd. Distant yet distinct amongst the curious
CLOSER ON KELLY -- OBLIVIOUS TO HER DANGER.
AS SEEN THROUGH CROSS HAIRS OF TELESCOPIC SIGHT
following her as she forces her way through the crowd toward
the police officers.
Her face virtually fills the screen.
PRODUCTION NOTE: The only time we deviate from Stu and his
POV is when we see the sniper's own POV through his
You can see her talking to the
police now. She's identifying
herself as your wife. They're very
interested in who you are. They're
taking her over to see the officer
in charge. What was his name?
Through the cross hairs of the sniperscope, we can see Kelly
conversing with Captain Ramey. She's in a state of complete
ANGLE ON STU
half leaning out of the booth, staring at his wife and the
cops in the distance.
RACK FOCUS TO THEM --
and suddenly we can hear them clearly in spite of the
What do you mean psychiatrist? He
doesn't see any psychiatrist.
Then who'd your husband be talking
There was some guy that called the
house this morning and said weird
stuff to me.
Stu seems to be checking things out
with this person.
He hasn't got many friends -- I can
tell you that.
Remain here, please. We may need
You won't hurt him?
We'll do our best not to.
Kelly is left alone as the Captain returns to their command
Kelly is once again a solitary target. She could be picked
off without attracting undue attention.
She won't even feel it when it
BACK TO PHONE BOOTH
Take me instead.
Don't distract me. Now's the time
to be absolutely still. I have to
hold my breath as I squeeze
No! I'm hanging up. That's it.
Stu hangs up the receiver. He disconnects.
RACK FOCUS TO LONG SHOT --
The police as they react. We see a flurry of activity across
the street. Voices become clear as focus shifts.
Shit. He hung up.
Maybe they already traced it.
Anyhow, it doesn't matter. Looks
like he's coming out.
RACK FOCUS BACK TO STU --
slowly stepping out of the booth. His hands are raised.
I've giving myself up. Take me!
First the gun. We want to see you
toss away your weapon!
Shit. I can't.
Freeze where you are! Turn around
and keep those hands clasped.
(signals the others)
The SWAT OFFICERS in protective gear now step out of cover
and fan out as they approach the booth.
TIGHTER ON STU
He's just outside the booth -- expecting to feel the sniper's
bullet go through him at any moment.
Then the pay phone starts ringing.
The sniper is calling back.
RACK FOCUS AGAIN
to the police.
All the cops react. Particularly the Captain and the
Sergeant. Their voices seem close up when they sharpen in
What is going on with these fucking
Hold your fire. Let him answer it.
The SWAT team backs up but maintain their aim.
Are you nuts?
Let them talk. He's not going
He's going back inside the booth.
Indeed we see Stu re-enter the battered phone booth and pick
up the receiver.
FOCUS RETURNS TO STU
(into pay phone)
A strange voice begins chattering away in Spanish. Totally
unintelligible to Stu.
(into pay phone)
You got the wrong number. Hang up.
The voice, probably a Puerto Rican gentleman, rattles on in
Wrong number. Wrong number.
Then the voice on the phone suddenly alters the Hispanic
accent. It is the now familiar tone of his tormentor.
Aw, relax, Stu. Only yanking your
chain. Now can we start over?
Those cops won't wait much longer.
What else can they do? They can't
afford to just shoot you like I
can. Not with so much media
coverage. Not unless you make some
stupid aggressive move.
The ABC Mobile Unit just rolled up.
Across the street, Stu can see various TV units from local
stations setting up cameras on roofs of trucks.
Will you look at that? I must be
going out over the network. Bet
they're pre-empting usual
And just think -- if you survive
this, your trial will be televised.
And you can try and make the world
believe I ever existed. I'd be
your only defense.
How are they gonna prove that I
killed anybody when there's no gun?
They'll plant one. The police
aren't above that -- when they're
desperate to convict.
No, sir. No gun and I walk.
Don't you think I took that into
account? Am I a fool?
What do you mean?
Haven't I considered every
eventuality? I knew they'd come
and cordon off the block.
And that there'd have to be a gun
It's a small booth, Stu. Have you
checked every inch of it?
(looking up and down)
It's not on the floor.
Then what's left?
Could be. Why don't you reach up
there and lift the plastic sheet --
and feel around.
If they see me reach for something,
they could open fire.
They could. But you have to know
if it's there. Don't you?
I totally don't give a shit.
In a narrow space, tucked just to
the left of the fluorescent bulb.
You can almost see it outlined if
you look closely.
Stu peers upward at the clouded plastic, now stained and
dirty. There are shadows of objects above in the shallows
area around the light fixture that automatically goes on when
the door to the phone booth is tightly closed.
Stu opens and closes the door a few times, watching the light
click on -- watching the shadows around the light.
Could that be an accumulation of dirt, dust, or dead insects?
Or could something be stashed up there?
It doesn't matter. I know about
ballistics. The slug in that dead
guy came from your rifle, not any
You saw how hollow points splinter
on impact. There's nothing much
for ballistics to match to. The
same make .30 calibre bullets are
in that handgun. The prosecution
There's no gun up there. I don't
see a damn thing.
Slide your finger up under the
plastic and you'll feel the cold
metal surface. There are four
rounds left in it. Should you
decide to shoot your way out.
I could never shoot anybody.
You could shoot me, Stu. You'd do
that in a minute if you could.
And I'd fucking love it!
Now you're speaking from the heart.
Come on, just lift the partition a
few inches and feel what's there
I'm not getting my fingerprints on
your fucking weapon. What about
powder residue? How are they going
to explain that to a jury?
Do you think that'll matter with so
many eye witnesses?
Do it... or should I re-focus my
attention on Kelly?
You carefully distracted me from
her before and I let you get away
with it. But if you're not going
to play fairly --
There she is again. So close I
feel like I could touch her.
Get off her!
Then mind me when I speak.
Look! I'm reaching up with my left
hand. I'm pushing against the
partition. It's giving. I'm
feeling around with my fingertips.
It's filthy up there.
TIGHT SHOT - STU'S FINGERS
feel about inside the shallow space. The shriveled remains
of dead flies -- a layer of dust -- and then a .30 handgun.
I'm -- touching something.
One of the finest handguns
Remington makes. Lightweight,
efficient and highly accurate.
I'm not picking it up.
Not right now. But eventually...
Stu lowers his hand, still empty.
I wouldn't have a chance.
I never said you would.
I'm not insane.
But you're getting there. It
wouldn't take much.
That won't happen.
You could pull the gun down, shove
it in your own mouth and jerk the
trigger. That's another option.
Why would I do that?
To please me. And ensure that
nothing happens to Kelly. I don't
necessarily have to deal with her
today in the midst of a crowd of
cops. I can take her out any time
I like. When she goes to pull down
her blinds at night or when she
walks the dog first thing in the
morning. What is it -- a Jack
Okay. I know you can do it. But
don't talk about that. Please.
I'd rather see you remembered as
the gallant gunman who tried to
shoot his way past an army of
police -- than as a coward who
sucked the barrel. I'm doing your
PR for you. Creating a final image
that'll endure. The outraged New
Yorker who was pushed too far.
When some lowlife street person
tries to invade his territory, he
retaliated. And when the forces of
the law closed in, he was
defiant... to the end.
Like that nerdy sonofabitch who
blew those three wiseass kids away
on the subway?
Exactly. Nobody minded that he was
a sicko. He was living out a New
Yorker's pet fantasy. Can you
remember that movie where Peter
Finch started screaming 'I'm not
taking it anymore!' And everybody
picked up on it.
'I'm mad as hell and I'm not taking
That was it. Poor Finch got
himself an Oscar for that. But he
was dead by then. I mean he really
died. Maybe playing that part took
too much out of him.
(softly to himself)
'I'm not taking it anymore.' 'I'm
not taking it anymore.'
That's the way! Psyche yourself
up. Everybody respects a man who
fights back, even if he goes a
little berserk in the process.
Fighting back. That's what it's
Exactly! We all understand the
poor schmuck that gets laid off and
comes back and shoots all his
bosses. We all thought of doing
that. But only he had the balls.
The terminally ill husband who gets
his policy canceled and machine
guns the insurance company offices.
Maybe somebody will finally get the
message. You can fuck human beings
over only for so long before they
come back at you. I'm still
holding on Kelly and she looks very
concerned. I could relieve all
that anguish in a fraction of a
second. Shall I?
Stu is hearing these words but thinking only of what the man
on the line has done to him. His turn has come to fight
back. He has an idea.
If the sniper is focused on Kelly, he can't be watching Stu.
Turning his back to the police, Stu slowly sinks to his
I'm on my knees begging you.
Stand up, Stu. You're embarrassing
TIGHT ANGLE --
Stu now down on his knees in the booth. He's curled up
almost into a fetal position.
By doing so, he hopes to hide the fact that he's reaching
into his pants pocket and pulling out his cellular phone.
He half expects to hear a shot ring out either from the
sniper or the cops. But nothing happens.
Stu -- I want you back on your feet
facing me. So you can see what I'm
going to do to her.
Stu ignores the command. He's quickly dialing.
He's calling police emergency.
Stu seen through the cross hairs of the sniperscope,
crouched, doubled up at the foot of the booth. But the cell
phone is hidden in front of him.
Be a man, Stuart. Don't let them
see you like this. You're an
embarrassment to me.
WIDER SHOT - THE BOOTH
with Stu still kneeling.
to police across the street as their voices become clear --
Officer on east side of the street
reports subject removed a dark
metallic object from his pocket.
We better move.
Hold all fire until you actually
identify a weapon. We're doing
this on fucking TV!
RACK FOCUS BACK TO -- STU IN THE BOOTH
crouched forward. The pay phone receiver dangles just above
his head. The cellular remains cupped in his hand.
Stu never lifts the cell phone. He keeps the palm of his
hand over the speaker of the phone to muffle any sound from
the other end.
It rings and finally someone answers.
Police. Is this an emergency?
Hello? Is someone on the line?
But Stu addresses himself loudly to the pay phone which he
now grips in his other hand. Hoping that his words will be
picked up by the emergency operator listening via the
cellular. To help in this regard, he reaches back and slides
the door to the booth tightly closed.
He pretends to be talking to the sniper but his words are
meant for the 911 operator to hear.
You've made your point. Who's
going to believe I've got a sniper
with a telescopic sight holding me
in a fucking phone booth at 45th
It took you a while to believe it
If you'd put a bullet in that
Captain Ramey, it would've been a
different story -- but you were too
wise to do that.
Why don't you do it for me? Wave
the old captain back over and get
him nice and close and then use the
handgun on him.
Why me? You could pick off any of
those cops from your window up
there. Like you did that pimp.
And that tourist last week. But
this time you want me to do your
killing for you.
And you will! To save Kelly.
EXTREME TIGHT SHOT - CELL PHONE
cupped in Stu's hand and held low. Can they hear him on the
Can you speak up, sir? What is
Stu is concerned that the sniper might hear the voice of the
emergency operator. He sets the cell phone down flat on the
floor of the booth facing upward. He puts his foot over the
receiving end to muffle the incoming voice. Then he stands
That's better, Stu. Now turn
around so I can see you.
Stu talks close into the pay phone receiver now. But keeps
his voice raised.
This booth. It's my whole world --
shrunk down to four feet by three
feet. Not much bigger than the
size of a coffin.
They can put handles on the booth
and bury you in it.
(loudly into pay phone)
When I saw you put that bullet into
that black dude, I knew you'd never
let me out of this phone booth
You're wasting my time. Reach up
and take the gun.
Let me see you first. What harm
can that do you? You're in one of
those windows. I've got to know
No need for that.
Being so far, I could never
identify you. I don't even want
What is it then?
Don't worry that I'd try to point
you out. You'd shut me up with one
of your .30 calibre hollow points
before I could even raise a finger.
Why does it matter so much?
I want to see that you exist. Like
God exists. It's not enough to
believe. You want to see him --
just once -- even at a distance.
And then you'd take the gun down.
And use it. We have a deal on
Show yourself to me and I'll take
the gun down. I swear.
There's a pause as the sniper mulls it over.
I don't have to make deals. And
you're irritating me by trying to
negotiate. God doesn't have to
prove anything. He just strikes
you down when he gets in the mood.
Stop! I won't ask to see you
I'm glad that's settled. But look
who else has showed up?
I guess she saw the coverage on TV
and just couldn't keep away.
What are you talking about?
The 'hotel' just arrived. And a
very beautiful little hotel she is.
Actually, I'd classify her as more
of a motel.
Mavis? I don't see her.
She's too far back behind the
police line. But I've got a fine
shot at her from up here.
You don't even know what she looks
You're in an enviable position now,
Stu. You get to choose between
them. Tell me which one.
Which will it be? Kelly or Mavis?
Or should I simply select one?
INSERT SHOT - THE CELL PHONE
lying face up on the floor of the booth. Is anybody
BACK TO STU
Stu looks down at the cellular. He has no way of knowing if
the police operator can hear any of his words.
I need time to think...
You've got to be more in touch with
your feelings. You said you love
Then I'm doing you a favor putting
you out of the way of temptation.
It wasn't Mavis' fault. It was all
Then take the third option. Reach
above you and pick up the gun.
You'll leave them both alone?
There won't be much point in
harming them without you around to
I'll do it.
Let me see you do it.
I need one minute. One last
minute, please. Can you give me
Don't tell me you're going to say
Something like that.
WE RACK FOCUS AWAY TO LONG SHOT - THE POLICE
assembled on the opposite side of the street.
They should've traced the fucking
call by now.
(listening on transmitter)
There's something else coming in.
A 911 operator says your name was
mentioned by somebody that's still
on the line. Somebody talking
about a phone booth. And a sniper.
Patch me through. Hello, this is
Captain Edward Ramey. What about
The line is still open. It's
originating from a booth at 45th
We're there! Can you play me back
your recording of the entire call?
I can't replay the tape while it's
Then switch to another machine and
play back what you've got.
It's awful faint. He's not talking
directly into the receiver.
Ramey begins to listen. We hear snatches of Stu's call
picking up words which are at times incomprehensible.
'Who's going to believe I've got a
sniper with a telescopic sight
holding me in some fucking phone
The uniformed TELEPHONE TECHNICIAN now joins Ramey and the
Got what you wanted. The call's
coming from up the street. The
Have you got the room?
It's not that easy. Electronic
Move your SWAT units to the hotel.
No... wait. Any movement will
alert the sniper. If he sees any
of us withdraw, he may panic.
There's another SWAT unit on the
Intercept them. Divert them to the
Send them in from the Forty-third
Street side. I don't want any
activity the sniper might catch
sight of. He's probably high up
and facing that booth. He's got to
continue to believe our full
attention is focused on the man
inside -- whoever the hell that
poor bastard is.
(to emergency operator)
Hello 911 operator, I missed some
of that. Run it halfway back and
STU'S VOICE (REPLAY)
'... Like you did that pimp. And
that tourist last week. But this
time you want me to do the killing
Jesus... he's a dead man.
BACK INSIDE PHONE BOOTH
The police seem all excited about
Are they? I wasn't looking.
I can't wait any longer. Say amen,
then reach up for the gun. When
your hand comes down, I want to see
I'm too afraid.
For once, be brave. Surprise
I'm shaking all over.
Guys in combat situations even shit
their pants. But they follow
As soon as the cops see a gun,
they'll open fire.
Then I'd advise you to fire first.
Stu's arm goes up in a supreme act of willpower.
His fingers run along the two clouded plastic sheets that
cover the roof of the booth. It raises up easily at the
middle where two sheets join.
TIGHT INSERT SHOT
The space between the roof of the booth and the sheets of
clouded plastic. We see the fluorescent lighting fixture
covered with dust. The solitary object -- a cruel-looking
Now Stu's fingertips protrude into the small space. He
touches the gun, brushes back and forth, feeling the
roughness of the grip.
TIGHT SHOT - STU'S FACE
as below he continues to hesitate -- it's agony --
The sweat pours down his forehead and his eyes are squeezed
tightly shut. He can already imagine the police bullets
tearing into him.
A POLICE SNIPER IS MOVING INTO POSITION.
Give me the word.
RACK BACK TO STU - IN THE BOOTH
His arm still raised. He hasn't brought it down with the gun
in it. Not yet. He holds the pay phone receiver jammed up
against his mouth.
Hard part's over. Drop your arm
and point it like you'd point your
finger and squeeze.
No. You do it. If you want me
dead, then fucking murder me!
Why must I keep invoking some poor
girl's name every time we come to
an impasse? I'm focused back on
Kelly again. You're obviously not
willing to trade your life for
I am! I'm doing it!
He pulls the handgun down into full view. Curiously, the
police do not open fire.
There! You see it? They all see
He waves the gun so nobody can miss it.
Where are you? Damn you!!
He drops the receiver and steps halfway out of the booth.
Still the cops do not open fire.
Then Stu starts shooting.
Not at the police, but at the high rise buildings across the
At the thousands of windows that look down upon him.
He gets off two shots before a solitary rifle shot rings out
RACK FOCUS TO THE POLICE SNIPER
He has fired.
ANGLE ON STU
The remaining glass on the south side of the booth shatters.
Stu tumbles forward, sprawling out of the booth onto the
RACK FOCUS TO KELLY
She screams, tries to break through but cops restrain her.
INT. PHONE BOOTH
ANGLE ON DANGLING RECEIVER
as it sways back and forth. From it, we hear the voice.
Thanks for such an interesting
THEN THERE ARE OTHER SOUNDS EMANATING FROM THE DANGLING
A wooden door being battered open. A few incomprehensible
shouts as a SWAT TEAM dashes in. Stu's stalling for time has
THE SOUND OF A BARRAGE OF GUNFIRE.
THE SOUND OF A MUFFLED SCREAM.
The police have broken in on Stu's tormentor and there has
been a rapid exchange of shots.
A HAND reaches into the booth and grabs the receiver.
ANGLE WIDENS as Ramey places it to his ear.
Hello? This is Captain Ramey.
Somebody talk to me.
SWAT OFFICER'S VOICE
Yeah. We took him out, Captain.
Nobody else got hurt.
What's his condition?
SWAT OFFICER'S VOICE
Critical. The sonofabitch took
two. Probably won't survive the
Get a statement from him. I'll be
He drops the receiver so that it dangles again.
CAMERA FOLLOWS RAMEY to where Stu lies surrounded by cops and
medics. He's stunned, but very much alive.
Don't try to sit up.
What was that?
You'll have one hell of a nasty
welt. Busted rib. Maybe a
permanent scar there.
It couldn't hurt much more if you
really shot me.
Somebody was going to and we
thought it may as well be us.
Did you get him?
Sure as hell did. Thanks to you.
We'll be giving him a hypo for the
pain. It'll put him out for a
Kelly is now brought over by a female cop. She drops to her
knees beside Stu and tries to embrace him. The medics
It's okay. I'm not really shot.
I was so afraid. I thought...
I thought so, too. But we're going
to be alright. Both of us.
Remember how you swore up and down
you'd get me on TV? Well, you did.
I already got interviewed on Fox
and Channel Eleven and they even
want me on A.M. America tomorrow
Bet you didn't think I could
deliver on that.
Will you please let go of him,
A gurney is wheeled over from a police ambulance. The medic
is about to administer the hypo but Stu pushes him away.
No. No hypo. I want to see him
The medics are now ready to lift Stu onto the gurney and cart
him off. But Stu struggles against them.
Relax. The guy's dying.
That's why I've gotta talk to him.
You can ride with him in the
The woman cop escorts Kelly to the waiting ambulance.
Ramey meanwhile tries to resume contact with the SWAT team
inside the hotel.
This is Ramey. Over. This is
There's nothing but static, mixed up feedback and multiple
garbled voices on the other end of the line.
Shit. Get everybody off this
He crosses back to the phone booth -- picks up the dangling
Hello. Hello! Pick up! Yeah,
it's Ramey again. Can you hold the
phone close enough so the perp can
He's not saying a word, Captain.
He's not about to talk to us.
Maybe to him.
Ramey looks back to where the medics are still trying to lift
Stu onto the gurney.
Forget that. Stand him up.
Can you stand?
I can try.
Help him over here.
The medics support Stu and inch him back to the booth. It's
painful, but Stu ignores it.
Ramey holds the phone up so Stu can both listen and speak.
Here. Speak up.
(into pay phone)
It's me. Do you hear me? Answer
Had to have the last word, Stu.
I finally beat your ass. Admit it,
But you'll never forget me. I gave
you the most thrilling day of your
life. Say thanks.
Now you're gonna die, you bastard.
I lost a lot of blood. Don't you
want to donate some for me? Then
we'd really be part of each other.
Hang on. I can't wait to see you
at the hospital. So I can yank
your fucking air tube out.
Wish I could give you that
pleasure. You deserve it.
... Only I'm out of time.
What's your name? At least tell me
who you are.
There's more violent coughing, then silence. Then a cop's
voice is heard.
Stu stares at the receiver.
Don't worry. We'll find out who he
is. And why he picked you.
No. You won't.
What do you want to bet you won't?
Stu reaches over and hangs up the receiver. CLICK.
I'll spend my whole life trying to
figure that out.
Then he sinks into the arms of the medics who lower him onto
the waiting gurney.
The hypo is finally administered. It kicks in immediately,
relieving the pain.
He's wheeled away from the booth to the waiting ambulance.
Kelly is already inside waiting to accompany Stu to the
STU'S POV - BEING WHEELED AWAY FROM THE EMPTY BOOTH
pulling away in LOW ANGLE.
CAMERA SLIDES BACK inside the ambulance with Stu. The doors
shut, obliterating our view of the phone booth that was his
entire world until moments ago.
Gotta sleep now. No phone calls...
Kelly smiles down at him as the image blurs. Stu passes out
-- into a deep sleep he much deserves.
A SIREN BLARES.
CUT TO BLACK.
Writers : Larry Cohen
Genres : Thriller