where the writers are
Movies You Will Never See/Empires of Crime/Part 5/Partners

*For Introduction with submission guidelines Parts 1, 2, 3, &4  visit   heywoodgould.com

Heywood Gould is the author of 9 screenplays including "Rolling Thunder," Fort Apache, The Bronx," Boys From Brazil," and "Cocktail."

Due to the formatting limitations of Red Room the classic script form of this entry can only be found on  heywoodgould.com

EMPIRES OF CRIME/Part 5

By Heywood Gould

ACT TWO

EXT. BOWERY. NIGHT.

A few weeks later. The Bowery is the Broadway of downtown New York, featuring VAUDEVILLE THEATERS, SALOONS, crowds of ROWDIES out for a night on the town. Maier and Benny stand outside a saloon gaping at the painted WHORES and their flashy PIMPS. Maier has a cigarette dangling out of the corner of his mouth. Benny ogles the women.

                                           BENNY

                          Salvatore gettin’ us

                          broads?

                                           MAIER

                          Nah. Business before

                          pleasure.

They peek into saloon thick with smoke and honky tonk music

SALVATORE

is talking to a FIDGETY MAN at the bar.  A YOUNG WHORE pushes through the swinging doors, dragging a giggly, staggering DRUNK.

                                           YOUNG WHORE

                          C’mon honey, let’s get some

                           air.

TWO YOUNG MEN jump out and drag the drunk into an alley. They blackjack him to the ground, then “roll” him, taking his pocket watch and billfold. IN THE BAR a buxom singer is drawing cheers with her song.

                                           BUXOM SINGER

                           The wealthy Four Hundred in

                           mansions reside/ With fronts

                           of brown stone and stoops

                           high and wide/While the poor

                           working people in poverty

                           deep/ In cellars and shanties

                           are huddled like sheep.

INT. OSWOSSO LUTHERAN. NIGHT

A church social. YOUNG TOM DEWEY is singing as MARY SIMMONS, a young girl accompanies him on the piano. COUPLES take their last dance and wander out hand in hand as the song ends.

                                           YOUNG TOM

                           Good night Irene, Irene/Good

                           night Irene/ Good night Irene,

                           Good night Irene/ I’ll see you

                           in my dreams.

EXT.SALOON. NIGHT.

Salvatore returns with a bottle of gin and a small package.

                                           SALVATORE

                          Keep chickie for the cops...

He draws a VIAL OF COLORLESS LIQUID out of his pocket. Reaches into his pants pocket for several small GLASS JARS.

                                           SALVATORE

                          Used to buy opium in a drug

                           store like cough syrup. Then

                           the law said it wasn’t legal

                           no more. But people still want

                           it so I give it to ‘em.

                                           MAIER

                           How you make money?

Salvatore pours a small amount of opium into the jars, then fills them up with gin.

                                           SALVATORE

                           I buy the dope off that junkie

                           in the saloon. Five bucks a

                           bottle. Cut it with gin and

                           sell it for three bucks a jar

                           to the girls on Essex Street.

                                           MAIER

                           You could get guys on the

                           street to sell it for you so

                           you don’t gotta worry about

                           cops.

                                           BENNY

                            The broads like this stuff?

                                           SALVATORE

                            They love it. You should see

                            ‘em jump when I come around.

INT. ROSIE SOLOMON'S. DAY

A brothel in the back room of a saloon. Through a beaded curtain, we can see MEN drinking and hear a PIANO playing. Under red lights, YOUNG GIRLS in camisoles, giggle and gossip with CLIENTS, WORKING MEN of all ages. Salvatore, Maier and Benny enter and are immediately surrounded by GIRLS flirting, entreating “Sal, you bring me a present?”..”Got any of that nose candy, Sal..?” Salvatore brushes them off with a laugh "I don’t see you givin’ nothin’ away.” MOTCHIE, the pimp steps out with a desperate grin. He is young and full of bluster, but wary of Salvatore.

                                           MOTCHIE

                             I supply the girls around

                             here.

                                           SALVATORE

                             They like my product better.

                                               (menacing)

                              That okay with you, Motchie?

Motchie is about to defy him, but Benny moves in with a crazy look and he backs off with an ingratiating smile.

                                           MOTCHIE

                             Sure as long as they’re happy.

                                           SALVATORE

                             These are my friends, Benny

                              and Maier. Take good care of

                              ‘em.

Benny goes for a CURVY BRUNETTE.

                                           BENNY

                              I’ll take that zaftig one...

He thrusts a few crumpled bills at Motchie, but Salvatore slaps his hand away.

                                           SALVATORE

                              Put your money away. Only

                              crums pay for it, right

                              Motchie? It’s my friend

                              Maier’s birthday. Get

                              somethin’ nice for him.

                                           MOTCHIE

                               Sure Sal...Hey Pearl, where

                               ya hidin’? 

PEARL

a consumptive redhead in a black shift steps out of a room.

                                           PEARL

                               Where ya think?

                                           SALVATORE

                                  (gives Maier a shove)

                               What are you waitin’ for?

                               Go, have a good time...

Maier walks timidly down the hall, turning to protest:

                                           MAIER

                               But it ain’t my birthday.

INT. PEARL'S ROOM. DAY.

An old iron bedstead, rumpled sheets. Maier watches shyly as Pearl lights an oil lamp. A reddish glow spreads through the room.

                                           PEARL

                               So how old are you?

                                           MEYER

                               I told ya. It ain’t

                               my birthday.

All business, Pearl pulls her shift over her head.

                                           PEARL

                              You gotta get a little closer,

                               or it don’t work so good...

Meyer sits next  to her. She tousles his hair.

                                           PEARL (CONT'D)

                              This your first time?

                                           MEYER

                              Yeah...

                                           PEARL

                             Don't be scared honey,

                              it's easy...

                              (pushes him down onto

                               the bed)

                              Mama’ll do all the work...

INT. SALVATORE’S ROOM.NIGHT.

A basement room. A bed and a rickety table. JARS and BOTTLES. Salvatore and the boys enter in the darkness.

                                           SALVATORE

                              This here’s my office.

                                           BENNY

                              You live here too?

                                           SALVATORE

                                        (lights a candle)

                              Yeah. My old man threw me

                              out. I slip money to my

                              brother to give to my mother...

                                           BENNY

                               I had to leave Brooklyn. Too

                              many guys lookin’ for me. But

                              I’ll go back there one day

                              flippin’ gold pieces, broads

                              hangin’ offa me...

                                           SALVATORE

                              You still livin’ at home,

                               Maier?

                                           MAIER

                               Yeah.

                                           SALVATORE

                               Your mother know what you’re

                               doin’?

                                            MAIER

                               She gets mad. But I’m goin’

                               to school for mechanic work.

                                           BENNY

                              You ain’t gonna get a job

                              are you?

                                           MAIER

                              Why not? A lotta guys do it.

                                           SALVATORE

                              That’s ‘cause they can’t

                              scheme like you. You think

                              those crums would work for

                              a dollar a day if they could

                              make thirty bucks hustlin’

                              crap games?

                                           BENNY

                              Everybody wants to be like

                              us... 

                                           MAIER

                              Like us, huh. Freezin’ in a

                              basement with rats runnin’

                              around...

                                           SALVATORE

                              At least we’re on our own

                              and no crum is makin’ money

                              off our backs...My old man’s

                              gonna die poor.

                                           MAIER

                              Mine, too.

                                           SALVATORE

                              See what I mean? At least

                              we got a chance to get rich.

EXT. COUNTRY ROAD. NIGHT.

A peaceful world. Quiet, starry, leaves rustling, crickets chirping. Tom and Mary walk up to a farmhouse..

                                           YOUNG TOM

                              I’m goin’ out for football.

                                        (makes a muscle)

                              That farm work’s makin’ me

                               real strong for the tryout.

                                            MARY

                                     (feels his bicep)

                              You’ll make the team for

                               sure.

                                           YOUNG TOM

                              I’m joinin’ Debating Club.

                              I’m gonna need public speaking

                              when I go into politics...

                                           MARY

                              You gonna make those long

                              boring speech es at the July

                              Fourth picnic?

                                            YOUNG TOM

                              Maybe I’ll just sing a song...

                                           MARY

                                         (laughs)

                              Tom Dewey, the singing

                              Senator.

                                           YOUNG TOM

                                           (a mock song)

                              And if elected I will uphold

                              our cherished Republican

                              values.

                                           MARY

                              You’re a sketch, Tom. I

                              almost think you could do

                              it.

                                      (offers her hand )

                              Well, thanks for walkin’ me

                              home.

Tom moves in and “steals” a kiss. Mary laughs and pushes him away.

                                           MARY

                             Why Tom Dewey. I thought

                              you were such a good boy...

                                            YOUNG TOM

                                (puts his arms around her)

                              Only when I have to be.

This time the kiss is mutual

EXT. LOWER EAST SIDE STREET. NIGHT.

Only a year has passed. The boys are seventeen, but look older, more sure of themselves. Salvatore and Benny and are keeping“lookout” as Meyer jumps in the front seat of a Model T.

                                           SALVATORE

                             How you gonna start it,

                             you don’t got the key?

                                           MAIER

                           (fiddling with the wires)

                              Just watch the guy don't

                              come out.

Sparks fly under the wheel as he makes a connection. He jumps out and turns the crank. The Model T sputters into action.

                                           BENNY

                             How’d you do that?

                                           MAIER

                             Get in.

But as they move away, the OWNER runs out, followed by THREE MEN. “Hey, where ya goin’” Maier tries to speed away, but the car bucks and stalls. Benny jumps out wielding a wrench and rushes them, swinging wildly knocking three men down. Salvatore pulls a knife and holds the other man at bay. Maier runs around and cranks the car until it starts again. Salvatore jumps in.

                                           MAIER

                             Benny!

Benny runs back and jumps into the car and it clatters away, leaving the three men lying in the street.

EXT. LIVERY STABLE. DAY’

Early morning. The place is half stable, half garage, horses on one side, MODEL T’s and STUTZ BEARCATS on the other. Benny, clothing torn, nose bloody, watches as Maier and Salvatore negotiate with a BURLY BLACKSMITH.

                                           BLACKSMITH

                              Where’d you get the car?

                                           MAIER

                              My father gave it to me

                              for my Bar Mitzvah, what

                              do you care? Fifty bucks

                              is a fair price.

                                           BLACKSMITH

                                I’ll give you twenty.

                                           SALVATORE

                                C’mon you’ll get two hundred...

                                            BLACKSMITH

                                You stole this heap. I could

                                call a cop friend and get

                                it for nothin’.

Benny looks around with a casual smile; he has developed a new technique for intimidating people

                                           BENNY

                               Better call a fireman friend,

                               too.

                                           BLACKSMITH

                              What for?

                                           BENNY

                              To put out the fire when I

                               burn this joint down with

                               you in it.

The Blacksmith is about to answer. Benny just shrugs.

                                           BENNY

                               Nice place you got here.

                                           BLACKSMITH

                              Okay. Fifty bucks.

                                           MAIER

                                    (smells his fear)

                               Make it a hundred for hollerin’

                               copper

Salvatore laughs and puts his arm around the Blacksmith’s shoulders.

                                           SALVATORE

                               Make it a hundred fifty and

                               throw in your horse...Partner.

                  EAST SIDE 1917

EXT. RAPPAPORT’S RESTAURANT.DAY

A few years later. Meyer and Benny have grown up and found their personal styles. Meyer is understated in a gray topcoat, hat pulled low. Benny is brash in a cashmere coat with a fur collar. He stops to tilt it at a rakish angle.

                                           MEYER

                               C’mon, I’m hungry...

INT. DAIRY RESTAURANT. DAY.

Noisy, crowded with ORTHODOX JEWS,GARMENT WORKERS,etc. MOTCHIE the pimp is at a table with his GIRLS. The girls wave and call “Hiya Benny...” At a round table in the back, gorging themselves on bagels and lox, are LEPKE BUCHALTER, squat and fierce and his partner GURRAH SHAPIRO, gross, thick lipped, with an uncaring stare.

                                           SHAPIRO

                              The toughest boys on the

                              East Side.

                                           BENNY

                              Toughest boys in the world.

                                           LEPKE

                              Wanna make some easy money?

                                           MEYER

                              Nah, I wanna sew buttons

                              twelve hours a day.

                                           LEPKE

                              There’s a strike at the

                              Weinberg Bakery. Mr.

                              Weinberg is a good friend...

                                           MEYER

                               Yeah and you’re a silent

                               partner.

                                           SHAPIRO

                              We want you to break up

                              the strike, send the boys

                              back to work...Fifty bucks.

                                           MEYER

                              Hundred’s the goin’ rate,

                              Lepke.

                                           LEPKE

                              A hundred? It’s ten

                              minutes work.

Benny takes a bite out of Lepke’s bagel.

                                           MEYER

                              For us. Anybody else you’ll

                              need a mob and it’ll cost

                              a G note.

                                            BENNY

                             We’re savin’ you money,

                             Lepke.

EXT. WEINBERG’S DAIRY. DAY.

 

A blustery winter day. STRIKERS shiver on a picket line, Exhorting PASSERSBY to "Pass'em by..."

A TAXI

pulls up. Meyer and Benny get out..

                                           BENNY

                              Keep the meter runnin',

                              we’ll be back...

                                           RABINOWITZ

Meyer’s childhood friend, is shouting instructions.

                                           MAIER

                               Rabinowitz. You the boss

                               here?

                                           RABINOWITZ

                              You one of Lepke's shlammers,

                              Maier?

                                           MAIER

                              If I have to be. You gotta

                              go back to work, kid.

                                           RABINOWITZ

                              Weinberg’s profit has doubled,

                              but he won’t pay us a living

                              wage, Maier. Whaddya think

                              of that?

                                           LANSKY

                               I think it’s smart business

                               if he can get away with it

                               and we’re here to see that

                               he does...

                                          BENNY

                              Back to work baker, your

                              bagels are gettin’ cold...

                                           RABINOWITZ

                               You guys don't scare me...

Benny punches the Rabinowitz flush in the face. Grabs him as he falls forward and gut punches him. The other STRIKERS run to their leader’s defense. A TOUGH STRIKER advances on Maier.

                                           TOUGH STRIKER

                               Think you can fight thirty-five

                               guys?

Benny leaps at the Tough Striker, knocking him to the ground, beating him with the wooden handle of his placard.

                                          BENNY

                               Now it's thirty-four...Who

                               wants to try for thirty-three?

                                           MAIER

                               Hold it Benny...

                              (and faces the Strikers)

                               You know the Golden Rule?

                               The guy with the gold rules.

                               Weinberg’s gonna win in the

                               end so go back to work, you

                               got mouths to feed.

                                           BENNY

leans over the bleeding semi-conscious Rabinowitz and shoves a few bills in his pocket.

                                           BENNY

                              Here, take your girlfriend out

                              dancin' on Ben Siegel...

INT. HAT STORE. DAY

Salvatore is loading JARS OF MORPHINE and “raviolis” of COCAINE in a hat box, then concealing them under DERBY HATS.

                                           OWNER

                                              (o.s.)

                             Ready for the deliveries,

                             Salvatore?

                                            SALVATORE

                             Ready, Mr. Gordon.

EXT. ESSEX STREET. DAY

Salvatore struts happily, three hatboxes in each hand.

                                           MOTCHIE

is standing on the corner with two cops. He steps into the shadows as the cops block Charley’s way.

                                           RED FACED COP

                             What’s in the boxes, Tony?

                                           SALVATORE

                             Hats from the Gordon Hat

                             Company.

The red faced cop opens a box and comes up with a “ravioli.”

                                          RED FACED COP

                             Hats, huh?

Salvatore tries to run, but the red faced cop flicks his nightstick between his feet and he goes down. The fat cop kneels on his back, pushing his face into the ground.

                                           FAT COP

                             Who told you could sell

                              hop around here?

                                           SALVATORE

                            Who I gotta ask?

                                            FAT COP

                            Who you think, you dumb wop?

                                           SALVATORE

                            That pimp Motchie’s sellin’

                             it, too.

                                           RED FACED COP

                                     (snapping on the cuffs)

                            Motchie’s with us. You’re

                            not.

                                            SALVATORE

                             Take my load. I got eight

                             bucks in my sock. Take it

                             for lettin’ me go.

                                           FAT COP

                             We’ll takin’ it for not

                             bustin’ your head. You’re

                             gonna go cool off up the

                            river. When you come back

                            maybe you’ll know how things

                            work.

They jerk Salvatore to his feet and start to march him away.  He turns with a cold, vengeful look toward Motchie.

                                           SALVATORE

                             Yeah. I’ll know how things

                              work.

END ACT TWO

Next: Part 6/Act Three: Getting Some Class

In a new department the Daily Event will reoffer some of these scripts. Read them and decide: would you like to have seen this movie? Our first script is EMPIRES OF CRIME. Seven years in development it is a six part mini-series commissioned by a broadcast network and later reacquired by a cable station.

The story is about the founders of Organized Crime, Meyer Lansky, and "Lucky" Luciano, their fifty year partnership and the empire they created. Their friendships and families, lives and loves. It is also about their implacable enemy Thomas Dewey, a young Republican attorney who built a political career prosecuting the Mob that propelled him to the NY Governor's Mansion and almost to the White House.

*For Introduction with submission guidelines, Part 1, 2, 3, &4 visit  heywoodgould.com