1 INT. CHAMPION AIRCRAFT - BENNY GIACOMO'S OFFICE 1
A battered wooden desk drawer groans open and light brown
skinned hands with dirty fingernails twist the cap off a
pint of rye whiskey and pour liquor into a coffee cup.
You know, when you fire somebody
you have to stick to your guns.
They screw the cap back on and lay the bottle in the drawer.
The men might get to thinkin' that
I'm weak if I take you back.
The cup rises to the face of BENNY GIACOMO, late forties,
with salt and pepper hair that was once jet black. Skin
darker than a Louisiana Creole.
He takes a sip and bares his teeth in a grimace from the
whiskey. As he talks we gradually see more of him -- feet
kicked up on the desk, fully in charge.
A Betty Grable like pin-up girl is giving us background in
more ways than one in a swimsuit and high heels on a
calendar tacked to the wall: May, 1948.
And I didn't tell Dupree that I'd
give you your job back... All I
said was that I'd be glad to talk
to you if you said the right
thing... Do you have something to
A stream of cigarette smoke snakes through as the back of a
man's head and shoulder nudges in and shifts nervously.
Mr. Giacomo, when one of the white
guys has come off a double shift
and says he's too tired to work
overtime, you don't fire him.
Fella, what'd I tell ya? If you're
not willing to give a little extra,
Champion can't use you.
EASY RAWLINS, thirty, handsome and a much darker brown than
Giacomo, takes a drag off a Chesterfield cigarette.
Through the window behind him, a team of men pour over a
partly assembled airplane, their voices echoing in the
hangar that surrounds the office.
Benny measures out his words one at a time.
Now... Do... you... have...
something... to say?
Easy swallows his frustration in silence and thinks about
swallowing his pride as well. And then:
I want my job back, Mr. Giacomo. I
need to work and I need a good job.
Is that all?
Easy looks down into the smoke and sits up straight to keep
from bowing his head.
No, that's not all... I need money
so that I can pay my mortgage and
eat... I need a house to live in
and a place to raise children... I
need to buy clothes so I can--
I'm sorry, fella, but I gotta get
back to work...
And he swings his feet down and stands up to go. But Easy
is up too, blocking his way out the door.
Ezekiel, Mr. Giacomo.
My name is Ezekiel... Ezekiel
Benny clinches his fists and focuses on Easy's chest like a
fighter. And Easy rocks back on one foot ready to score a
field goal with his right knee.
Slowly, Giacomo's face creases into a plastic grin and he
S'cuse me, Ezekiel.
And he walks around Easy, shaking his head as if amused.
Easy watches him go as the low moan of the baritone sax from
Duke Ellington's "Absinthe" snakes up like sin and we
2 FADE TO BLACK 2
And watch the titles, the last one reading "Two Weeks
3 EXT. JOPPY'S BAR - DAY 3
Black and grey cars, Packards and Buicks from 1928 to 1948,
come and go on Central Avenue. Two-storied storefronts with
canvas awnings, above black men and women in hats... all in
The Red Car rumbles through and then a white Cadillac
convertible pulls to the curb in front of a butcher shop.
Above the shop on the next floor are large partly open
windows with JOPPY'S BAR in boldface letters. Inside sits
Easy, back to the window reading the classified ads.
4 INT. JOPPY'S BAR 4
T-Bone Walker's "Westside Baby" plays on the jukebox as Easy
takes a final drag off his cigarette and stubs it out.
THE FRONT PAGE of the LOS ANGELES TIMES lies face up on the
table beneath the ashtray displaying A PHOTOGRAPH of a
middle-aged white man and his pretty young woman companion
smiling and waving.
Above the happy couple is a headline "CARTER DROPS OUT OF
RACE"... The caption under the photo reads "Wealthy civic
leader, Todd Carter, shown here with his lovely bride-to-be,
Daphne Monet, at a fundraiser last month was unavailable for
comment on his surprising withdrawal from the Mayor's race."
Catch ya later, Joppy.
BACK TO SCENE:
SPLACK! An older black man hitching up his pants underneath
a bloodstained butcher's apron has slapped his empty beer
glass down hard on the counter on his way out.