EXT. THE JUNGLES OF INDONESIA - DAY
A NATIVE slashes through thick foliage, leading a patrol of
INDONESIAN MILITARY -- shouted commands and radio chatter.
The tribesmen hack through the perimeter of the brush and the
party emerges onto the wide silt bank of a muddy river.
Suddenly WILD BOAR let out a chorus of squeals and scatter
into the brush, and there, splayed on the river bank, we find-
One of the soldiers approaches -- the stench is palpable --
the body already decomposing.
The soldier finds a wallet, checks the ID -- we don’t see the
identity. The Soldier speaks into his radio.
We have the body...
While from the jungle the eyes of a wild pig can be seen
peering out, waiting to resume its meal.
INT. DIMLY LIT ROOM - DAY
A hand tosses ice into a low ball. Realizes there’s no booze.
Into the cabinet, finds a stashed bottle. The MAN pours a
healthy measure of whiskey. KENNY WELLS (40’s), unshaven,
takes a long drink, masking his nerves. He is a about an inch
from total collapse.
Sure I can’t pour you one?
No, thanks. I’m working.
The VOICE is calm, in control, authoritarian.
All the more reason.
Wells, sit. We’ve got a lot to cover.
Here I am. Fire away.
Wells raises his glass in a mock toast. He will not be rushed.
He’s got an easy smile and sparkling eyes -- but his face
tells the story of a man acquainted with his whiskey.
How did you meet Michael Acosta?
The first time or the second time?
How did you meet him, Wells?
You sure you don’t want a drink?
You’re making me nervous.
Wells sits and faces us. Off the silence --
April of ‘88 -- I had three properties
crap out on me in six week period.
SIERRA NEVADA RANGE... TILT DOWN to find Reno against it...
EXT. RENO, NEVADA - DAY
Reno, Nevada... April, 1988
-- ROULETTE WHEEL SPINNING, reveal it’s in a grocery store.
-- COWS GRAZING scrubland on the edge of town.
-- OLD CASINOS. Dusty ranches. Tourists. Migrant workers.
-- A ONE-ARMED BANDIT, with a gun “arm,” pays out nickels.
...SLOWLY TIGHTENING as if a dry wind carries us to...
EXT. THE THREE GREENHORNS BAR - MORNING
A faded watering hole from the boomtown days.
I was on the balls of my ass,
scrambling. Not exactly uncharted
waters, but I was in pretty deep...
A beat up ‘79 Caddy Eldorado, covered in a layer of road
grime, it’s bumper held on with wire, pulls into a spot and
dies. For this hour there are already many cars in the lot.
Through a smoky haze, Wells stares out, eyes like a Bukowski
poem. He’s got one lit cigarette as he lights another. Flicks
ashes at the ashtray, misses -- a constellation of burn marks.
Ten AM. And I knew the board of
directors had already convened.
INT. THE THREE GREENHORNS BAR - CONTINUOUS
Wells enters like the cock of the walk, back slapping and
waving hellos, a well-liked regular. His suit looks like it
might have been slept in... more than once.
Middle-age men in bad suits with bad hair fill the tables,
working phone lines and yellow pads. These are modern-day
“prospectors,” promoting bottom-feeder mining stocks. Pass a
couple regulars -- CONRAD “CONNIE” WRIGHT (40’s) and SCOTTIE
NEVINS (50’s) -- doing more drinking than working.
A BARMAID concentrates on scratching a lotto ticket that looks
like the slots:
Cherry... Cherry... Cherry! The winning
Wells approaches one of the traders, clamping down on his
shoulders with both hands, working out the knots. This is
BOBBY BURNS (50’s), balding, pouring a shot into his coffee.