EXT. ARIZONA DESERT, DAY, TWENTY YEARS AGO.
The sound of a crow and the outline of its flight.
Car tires halting. Booted feet of two men hitting the ground. A flash of a young man with long, dark hair, jumping behind a cactus.
INT. BACKSTAGE OF A BURLESQUE HOUSE, NIGHT, TWENTY YEARS AGO.
Women in feathers and sequins, men carrying props and lights. A woman in a g-string and bra pounding on the Woman’s Room door.
Bonita? Chickie? Come on! Nobody’s going to hurt you. Just walk around a little bit and they’ll all be happy and give you money.
(from the bathroom)
I don’t think I can do this.
Of course you can, Honey! I taught you. You are a beautiful girl. Just do this one show and then you can go back to your College and dedicate that book to Juanita.
JUANITA’S POV Bathroom door revealing Bonnie, a stunningly beautiful woman of twenty-two years, dressed in a tight, red, low cut dress. Her eyes open wide in terror.
INT. A BOY’S LOCKER ROOM, TWENTY YEARS AGO.
A half-clothed track team is fighting over a book. A teenage blond boy in a towel grabs it away as the guys crowd around.
Gentlemen Gentlemen. You’ll get your turn! This is a serious, scholarly opus about an ancient Art form. Let’s start by studying the photography. Oh, My God! I think I am in love.
YOUNG BOY #1
And she writes stuff, too?
YOUNG BOY #2
She must keep her brains in those bazongas!
Shut up, you Pigs! You’re talking about my future wife.
EXT. ARIZONA DESERT, DAY, TWENTY YEARS AGO.
The young man with long hair suddenly takes off running with the two men in boots in hot pursuit.
EXT. BRAZIL, DAY. TODAY.
A group of workers in the tropical rain forest chasing something. A flash of his boots, and he is gone.
The workers stop, lowering their machetes, and head glumly back to their bulldozers and hop on board.
The bulldozers refuse to start. Much cursing.
EXT. NEW JERSEY, DAYTIME TODAY.
A pair of woman’s legs, wearing high-heeled boots. Camera goes up her body to the forty-two-old Bonnie Fieldstone, walking across the campus of a college. She is still beautiful.
She gets into her car and drives down into the town. She pulls up in front of a store. The store is called Native Cultures. Shot of its window full of pots and beads and colorful cloth.
INT. OF STORE
Bonnie opening the door and entering. A young Asian man and a young woman wearing a Muslim scarf are behind the counter. Bonnie stands at the counter, trying on earrings.
MALE CLERK, TO BONNIE
Hey, Miss Bonnie! How have you been?
Fine, Dat. Busy. Hello, Layla. You know what I’m going to say.
I freely choose to wear the scarf, Professor. Mr. Malone’s still not back.
We were kind of hoping you’d know
where he is as we kind of have to get paid tomorrow.
Bonnie turns to a colorful array of cloths and beads on the wall and chooses a long scarf.
He always gets back for pay day. Right on cue!
SOUND: The roar of a 4 wheel drive engine outside the store.
Bonnie goes to the window.
EXTERIOR OF STORE, DAYTIME.
Charlie hops out of the Land Rover in parking space in front of store. He is tall, dark-haired with a bit of silver, sunburned, with a broad-brimmed hat low over his eyes.
Bonnie in the window, smiling and waving.
Back to Charlie, smiling and moving faster toward the store.
Charlie throws open the door and scoops Bonnie into air and swings her. She is a little embarrassed.
He’s smiling. He never smiles. Why is he smiling?
Her, of course. I just wish those two would stop fighting it and do the nasty already. What? I’m Muslim. They’re not.
Charlie lowers Bonnie and turns to the counter.
Give me the metal box, Son.
Charlie sits at the table in the center of the room. Bonnie sits across from him. He unlocks box and takes out his checkbook.
Why don’t we shut down a little early and you two go on home so me and Miss Fieldstone here can have a little private talk?
Does “private talk” mean what I think?
I don’t want to know. Come on!
Dat gets his backpack from under the desk and Layla grabs her purse. They come to Charlie and get their checks and exit quickly.
Charlie and Bonnie sit at the table.
So, were you someplace where the ladies were ready to “love you long, long time?”
Brazil. And I don’t have time for “ladies”.
Bonnie stands and walks to the window.
You know, I gave you that cell phone for a reason. You didn’t answer it once.
Damned thing fell in the River. Piranhas probably choked on it.
Charlie coughing again and again.
Bonnie turns and returns to the table, where Charlie waves her away.
Why didn’t you tell me it was back?
You wouldn’t have let me go if you knew. I had important business down South.
Tell me you’re going to fight it.
Unnatural Hell. Needles and poisons.
You have to fight. So many people around the world need you. I’ve seen Villages explode in song at your arrival.
I’m paying them money for their wares. It’s not me they’re celebrating. It’s their first good meal in months. Here I go, making you cry.
Not the first time, Trickster.
Bonnie moves away. She walks to the window.
Tent in a jungle full of amazing birds and flowers.
Bonnie comes out of the tent, dressed in Khakis and strolls down to the River, where their canoe is anchored. She hears the splashing of water. Bonnie is a little deeper in the jungle.
Charlie’s bare back. He has his face into the water of a small waterfall.
Bonnie’s amazed face.
Back to his oblivious joy.
Back to a moment of Bonnie’s yearning, then to her turning away.
INT. OF STORE
Bonnie and Charlie are standing at a distance from each other.
A brave man wouldn’t take the easy road. That’s all I’m going to say.
No, it’s not.
All right, then! Come on! Pick up the sword! Fight! Put on your armor! Feel the blood in your veins. Fight! Fight! Fight!
She suddenly buries her face against his chest and sobs.
Charlie touches her hair. Leans his cheek against it. She pulls him closer. His hands almost raise to touch her face. Slowly, painfully, he forces himself to put her at arm’s length.
Didn’t know my dying would upset you so much, Bonita Rae. Maybe I do have a couple of things I’m obliged to get done before I die. O.K. Let’s do it.
Bonnie claps her hands and does a little dance of joy.
All right! Battle plan! How are you paying for it?
I guess I’d have to sell the store.
No, not the store! Wait! I have Health Care at the College. Think! The family plan?
Us? Married? No! I can’t marry anybody!
You don’t have to be a “husband”! We’ll have separate bedrooms and divorce when you’re cured.
I don’t know. You got a new book coming out and I don’t want to be in the Press.
I can keep that all away from you. I promise. Come on! Marry me tomorrow. We’ll get you on my plan and then have your doctor “discover” the cancer.
What do you get out of this?
My best friend alive. Deal?
Charlie goes to the jewelry case.
Deal. Guess you’re going to need a wedding ring. See anything you like?
Oh, God! I never thought about it. It’s really such a symbol of... Is that real Jade?
Everything is real in my world.
Charlie picks up the ring and slides it onto Bonnie’s hand. He holds it a beat too long, savoring his ring on Bonnie’s hand.
What about you?
Going to be climbing and diving. Don’t want a ring getting caught up.
Right. Charlie Malone wouldn’t want to get caught up in any damned ring. All right, then, meet me at City Hall at ten o’clock. You don’t own any ties, do you?
Hate them. But I’ll wear a nice jacket if you like. So, see you then.
Bonnie goes to the door.
I can’t wait to see your definition of “Nice.” See you then.
EXT. The store.
Through window. Charlie stands looking after her. He lowers the curtain on the display window.
INT. Rob’s apartment, DAYTIME
Rob’s POV of his closet, as he opens the door.
Rob looks into his closet. Rob tries various ties against his shirt, miming shaking hands with someone, rejecting the tie.
Cell phone ringing.
Rob’s pants, across the room on the bed. Cell phone in pocket.
Rob dives over the bed and grabs the cell phone, flips it open with the ease of a Gunslinger.
Yo, Rockford! Talk to me, my man. Seven. I don’t care, it’s not worth it to go lower. No. No. No. Six five billion is a bogus hedge...hang on a second.
Rob pulls up his pants and returns to the call from a standing position.
Yeah, well, that’s coming out of your pocket, Buddy.
Rob goes over to the mirror to smooth his hair.
Rob’s POV, one of the pictures of Bonnie in her stripper outfit, cut out of her book, pasted to the mirror.
Rob kisses his fingers, then places them on the picture. He spins around and looks for his jacket.
Look. Talk to Saul, I have to get out of here. Right. Right. Wrong. Goodbye.
Rob pats various pockets.
Wallet. Blackberry. Kissed my girl. Tie!
Rob returns to the closet and grabbing a tie.
He stops in front of Bonnie’s picture.
Stay hot, Sweetheart. I WILL find you one day.
Whistles softly and spins out of the door, turning off the lights.
INT. of a hospital corridor, DAY.
There is a giggling gaggle of nurses and candy stripers hanging around one certain door.
Bonnie approaches and stops, her way blocked.
Excuse me, I would like to get into my husband’s room? Thank you.
Nurses make little disappointed sounds as they move down the hall.
Bonnie enters Charlie’s room.
Charlie, without his shirt on is on the bed. A nurse is disconnecting from the chemo machine. The nurse leaves as Bonnie enters carrying a paper bag and approaches the bed.
Charlie? I brought tea. Sweet orange spice Can you handle it?
Charlie shakes his head, waves her away, buries his face in the pillow. Bonnie, opens the cup and gets a plastic spoon from the bag. She leans over to him.
Would you like me to leave?
Nice smell. The tea.
Bonnie helps him sit up a little. She sits on the bed and takes the cup of tea and puts it to his mouth. He sips.
Just a taste.
I won’t do this again.
You won’t have to, because you’ll be cured. Tell me where you’ll go when you’re all better? Africa? China?
Wars and famine. Tearing down the trees. Killing people for diamonds. I don’t belong there anymore. I’m not the right man to fight them any more. I need somebody smarter than me.
Bonnie kisses his head and draws him close. He allows himself to lay his head low on her shoulder. His arm circles her waist.
Bonnie. Bonita Rae. I’m so tired.
You need to sleep, Darling. Close your eyes. Feel the waterfall. Listen to the water. Listen to the beautiful green birds.
The beat of my woman’s heart.
Tears pour from Bonnie’s eyes. She kisses his head and he sleeps.
TWO WEEKS LATER. INT. Hospital. DAY.
Bonnie and Charlie at the front desk. checking out. An orderly comes up with a wheelchair. Charlie simply looks at him from under the brim of his hat, sending him scurrying. Bonnie is signing papers.