Synopsis: The richest, meanest man in a little West Texas town brings home his third wife, who tries to seduce the youngest son into the murder of his dad.
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EXT CONSTRUCTION SITE – DAY
A half finished house, the wind BLOWING dust through it’s skeleton frame, which stands alone in the endless emptiness of the great brown prairie. HOLD for a moment…
Fresh cement pours down and around rubber soled boots – creating an odd sense of entrapment.
Camera RISES on a handsome young man, COLIN, stripped to the waist, spreading the wet goo with a rake. It’s back breaking work beneath a hot sun. The young man is joined in the work by his older brother, CLAY. They are both tan, muscular, in the prime of their youth — and at the moment deeply unhappy with their lot in life.
Ain’t nothing can kill a man like pouring a hundred yards
of this shit.
I hope the old man is having fun. What do you bet he’s
chasing some old gal around them crap tables, while we’re
out here busting a gut.
Bet you’re right. But I bet she ain’t old.
Humph. Got that straight.
They stop to wipe the sweat from their faces and gaze up at the high hot sun.
Hey, stop that goldbricking and bend those backs!
The brothers are pouring a basement foundation, and so look up at UNCLE LUKE – fat and unfriendly – who stands above them at ground level.
I don’t know who’s worse. Daddy, or Uncle Luke.
They start back to work.
CONSTRUCTION SITE – LATER
The brothers approach Uncle Luke’s truck to get their pay. When Clay opens his envelope, he immediately sets up a howl.
What’s this two hundred dollar deduction?
Paint job on that truck you wrecked.
I didn’t wreck it. That’s just a scratch! Look! Look!
Clay crosses to truck that has Freed Construction stenciled on the door, as well as a small dent. He SLAPS the dent.
That look like two hundred dollars worth of damage to
you? This ain’t coming outa my pay!
Take it up with your daddy, boy. I’m just the help.
(spits stream of tobacco)
Just like you.
Uncle Luke walks away from the seething Clay.
EXT HIGHWAY – AFTERNOON
A dusty piece of asphalt. On either side miles of rock and mesquite. In the distance a small town. A battered pickup powers by, HEAVY METAL MUSIC pounding out the open window. Camera PICKS UP a beat up road sign
Texas Highway – 115
EXT MAIN STREET – LATE AFTERNOON – ESTABLISHING
The heart of the West Texas town of Pomeroy. It ain’t much. A couple of blocks of low slung buildings, weather beaten by years of wind and dust, hunkered down in the vast emptiness.
The brothers drive down Main Street in their worn out truck and park in front of the Café. Mercifully, the HEAVY METAL MUSIC stops.
INT CAFE – AFTERNOON
A spare and dusty place. Colin is hunched over jukebox trying to decide. Something about this decision makes him nervous. He works up his courage and selects. An Emmy Lou Harris love song, sweetly melodious, fills the room.
He joins his brother at booth in front window. Clay has all his money, coins and bills. spread on the table, counting them. It’s a measly pile.
I’ll have to work twenty years for that bastard fore
I ever get me a stake.
One of these days it’ll all come to us.
You don’t know that. Why do you always stick up for
I ain’t sticking up for…
You don’t even know how to stick up for yourself.
Yes, I do.
Now me…I got plans. I got better things to do than
get treated like trash while I wait around for him to
Clay smirks. In the pause that follows, the sweetly melodious music can be more distinctly heard.
And why you play this candy assed music?
(again, quietly stubborn)
I like it.
Jesus, boy. You’re gonna turn out pussy for sure.
Colin SLUGS his brother’s shoulder. Clay just smiles.
Okay. My turn.
This is a ritual between them. Colin turns, exposing his shoulder.
Through the window Colin sees the Sheriff’s car pull up. From passenger side steps DELORES HUNGERFORT – in her 40’s, blonde, blowsy, full of brass. She charges out of the car and by the window as…
Clay punches his brother’s shoulder.
Behind them the door BANGS open and Delores advances under a full head of steam.
You tell that sonofabitch father you got he’s two
months behind in his alimony.
What’s the matter, Delores? You need more nail polish?
Shut up you snot nosed brat. Least you could do is
call me mother.
You ain’t our mother.
Close as you’ll ever get.
Something catches Colin’s eye out the window.
SHERIFF FRANK – tall, thin, rawboned tough – is writing out on ticket for the boys’ pickup.
What are you doing in here anyway, Delores? They
don’t serve gin in here. You lose your way?
Clay. Clay! Look!
EXT CAFE – LATE AFTERNOON
The brothers emerge from the cafe, Clay in the lead.
What the hell you think you’re doing?
These meters ain’t been used in twenty years.
Wordlessly, Sheriff Frank tears out ticket, stuffs it in Clay’s shirt pocket.
For a first cousin, you’re a first class asshole, Frank.
Clay rips up ticket, throws pieces to the ground. Calmly, the Sheriff takes out ticket book and resumes writing.
Whattaya doing now?
Looks like littering to me.
Clay starts for the Sheriff, but Colin grabs him in a bear hug and dances him away.
C’mon, Clay! C’mon!
He still has his arms around his brother as Delores emerges from cafe and passes, licking an ice cream cone.
Lookee here, Frank. Got us a couple of queers,
right here in Pomeroy.
Clay again tries to break the grip of his brother, this time to go after Delores. But Colin holds fast.
EXT BIG HOUSE – DUSK – ESTABLISHING
The pickup ROARS down a long dirt drive and parks in front of a big white house. The house, once proud, is now in a state of disrepair. Overgrown weeds and abandoned farm/ranching equipment dot the front yard. A second beat to hell pickup is on the cement part of the drive.
Clay SLAMS out of the truck, heads through “breezeway” to the back yard, ranting.
I can’t take it anymore! I can’t fucking take this!
INT BOYS’ ROOM – EVENING
The phone is RINGING as Colin comes up the stairs. Through open window Clay is seen below on a half finished patio that surrounds an empty swimming pool. There are piles of dirt about and the empty pool is filthy.
This room is over a detached garage or pool house. In far b.g. is a broken down barn with board fence corral.
HIS POV – THROUGH WINDOW
Clay picks up a shovel on the half-finished patio and starts throwing dirt into the air and into the empty, filthy pool. Dogs start BARKING.
No more! No more! No fucking more!
Oh no, everything’s fine.
Clay BEATS the shovel against the kennel fence near the pool and patio. The two hunting dogs inside are GOING CRAZY.
Shut up! Shut up, you fucking dogs!
EXT POOL, PATIO – NIGHT
The two brothers, slightly drunk, sit on a pile of dirt by the empty swimming pool, each sipping a beer. After a few moments…
He even tell you her name?
Heh. Wife number three. Can hardly fucking wait.
You’re supposed to get him at the airport. Something
about the Caddy acting up.
Let him fucking walk. Tomorrow morning I am gone,
What’s up there?
Ain’t no Jesse Freed up there. That’s good enough
Clay finishes beer, throws the bottle far into the night. It CRASHES with a distant TINKLE of glass.
(an after thought)
You wanna come along?
Colin considers, shrugs.
I knew you wouldn’t.
You ask him something for me someday, will ya?
Cause I ain’t ever had the guts.
(Colin doesn’t respond)
You promise to ask?
You ask him how our real mother really died. I wanna
hear what he’s got to say to that.
A drunk Clay stumbles off into the dark.
REACTION Colin – surprised, confused, uncertain.
INT BOYS’ ROOM – EARLY MORNING
Outside the sun is barely up. Inside, Clay is packing. The phone starts RINGING. Colin starts for it.
Let it ring!
Colin stops. The phone keeps RINGING. Clay continues packing.
EXT BIG HOUSE – MORNING
Colin watches Clay throw his stuff into the back of the pickup.
Why don’t you just go away for a coupla weeks, like
you did last spring?
Nope. Going for good.
Let me give you one last piece of advice, little brother:
don’t ever trust a single damn one of our relatives. Got me?
In far b.g. a Yellow Cab turns into the dirt drive. Colin catches sight of the cab.
Bet that’s him.
(leaps into truck, fires it up)
Good luck! And remember, you promised to ask!
Clay PEELS OUT just as the Yellow Cab SCREECHES to a halt and out hops JESSE FREED – an enormously vital man in his 50’s, imposing, a legendary conniver, a man so hungrily alive it’s hard not to be fascinated, even if you are repelled.
Where the hell is he going?
(doesn’t know how to lie)
That’s what he said.
Well he ain’t going in my truck he ain’t. He can’t steal
that truck. I’ll have him arrested!
He bought that truck from you, daddy.
I probably didn’t charge him enough.
The CAB DRIVER – a sorrowful string bean of a fellow – has opened trunk and taken out several packages and boxes, booty from a department store somewhere. Vaguely seen in the back seat, packages on her lap, is the new bride.
That will be ninety-seven dollars and fifteen cents, sir.
Why in San Fucking Hell weren’t you at the airport?
Clay took the truck, sir.
Bad luck to him anyway.
What’s it say when I’m related to half this county and
can’t get a ride home from the airport?
Probably says you don’t have many friends.
Jesse gives the man a withering look. This is one Cab Driver who’s going to have a hard time collecting his fare.
Pay the man.
You were supposed to be there. I ain’t gonna make
good your mistakes.
I don’t have that kind of money.
Wanna flip me for it? Double or nothing on your wages?
I think one of you had better shut up and help me outa
of this here car!
Suddenly cavalier, Jesse hustles over to help out his new bride. ENID PICKNEY is a smoldering blonde, juicy as ripe fruit. She’s got a few miles on her but is only hard around the edges, not hard through and through. Not yet.
Son…this is Enid. She’s your new step mom.
She crinkles up her nose at him – almost a conspiratorial wink and sashays by headed for her new house – hungry anticipation in her eyes.
Jesse watches her pass with pride, Colin and the Cab Driver with open mouthed appreciation. It’s the Driver who snaps out of it first.
Pay the man.
But Jesse has already loped away after his new bride.
INT BIG HOUSE – DAY
If the outside of the house is in disrepair, the inside matches and exceeds that condition. The rooms are large but horribly dirty. The furniture is decrepit junk. Enid’s lips curl into a practiced pout as she inspects the premises. A nervous Jesse hovers nearby.
Got 18 rooms in this house. Course, only use the
kitchen and bedroom mostly. And my office. Hell,
rest of the house hain’t hardly been lived in. Good
How dare you insult me like this, Jesse Freed.
This is not going to do.
Colin enters with a double armload of suitcases and packages, which he drops to the floor with a CLATTER. The Cab Driver is right behind him with another double armload.
I will not live in a pig sty!
She picks up the dusty cushions from the broken down couch and begins throwing them.
This stuff goes out. Out! It’s garbage, you hear me?
Trash! I won’t have trash in my house!
Jesse is at a loss for words, as is Colin. He has never seen anybody speak like this to his dad, and looks worriedly from him to her and then back again. A moment of tense silence passes.
I hate to interrupt the happy couple. But I need ninety-seven
dollars and fifteen cents. Then I’ll be right on my way.
Pay the man.
I didn’t ride in no dang cab.
(to Driver, meaning Colin)
Keep after this dead beat. He’ll be good for it.
Oh pay him, you old tightwad. And give him a big tip, too.
Brought us all the way from that damn airport.
All right, honey. Don’t get your drawers in a bunch.
Can I borrow fifty bucks?
I don’t have fifty bucks!
And Colin leaves the room, casting a nervous but much interested look at this new woman. Jesse, knowing he’s whipped for the moment, finally takes out his wallet, fingers up some bills, smiles at the Driver and can’t help but ask…
Now are you sure instead of this here fare, you
wouldn’t be interested in a good deal on a couch?
Jesse smiles at the worried Driver. In b.g. through the dirty windows, Colin is seen staring into the house, staring at Enid.