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[incomplete: unfixed/messed]

Written by Tom Shadyac & Mike Binder





                                        Rough draft, April 1996



         INT. FULGHAM KINDERGARTEN -- WEDNESDAY MORNING


         Two dozen KINDGERGARTNERS listen to their teacher, MS.
         BERRY. The word "Work" is on the blackboard.
                               MS. BERRY
                   "Work." Today we're going to
                   share what our parents do for
                   work.
         QUICK CUTS of a series of five-year olds standing beside
         their desks, addressing the class:
                             JEFF
                   My dad is a truck driver.
                             MELINDA
                   My mommy is a doctor.
                               CAROLYN
                   My dad is a librarian and my
                   mom is a vegetarian.
                             THEODORE
                         (with difficulty)
                   My father is a struck-sher-al-
                   engine-ear.
                               CRAIG     -
                   My mother is an actress. She
                   works at Denny's.
                               KELLY
                   My daddy works at a place
                   where they make stuff, and my
                   mommy is a mommy.
                               ELLIOT
                         (looking a little
                          CRAZED)
                   My father is a postal worker.
         The QUICK CUTS end with MAX:
                             MAX
                   My mom's a teacher.
         As Max starts to sit:
                             MS. BERRY
                   And your dad?
                               MAX
                         (HESITANT)
                   My dad? He's . . . a liar.


                                 MS. BERRY
                            (taken aback)
                       A liar? I don't think you
                       mean "a liar."
                                 MAX
                       Well... he wears a suit and
                       goes to court and talks to the
                       judge and--
                                 MS. BERRY
                            (RELIEVED)
                       Oh! I see-- you mean he's a
                       lawyer.
             Max shrugs.
             INT. COURTROOM .-- DAY


             FLETCHER REID, early 30's, stands before the JUDGE. His
             manner is utterly genuine and convincing.
                                 FLETCHER
                       A dark street. . . a stormy
                       night... two desperate men
                       struggle... one man is taken
                       to the hospital, the other to
                       ja il. The prosecutor wants
                       you to believe this is an
                       open-and-shut case of a poor
                       man, brutally victimized.
             He nods at the victim - - a fragile OLD MAN in his 70's.
                                 FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                       Well, for once I agree with
                       t he prosecutor. This is an
                       open-and shut case -- but the
                       true victim is my client.
             Fletcher's CLIENT is a 250 pound brute in a suit.
                                 FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                       Put yourself in his shoes for
                       a moment--walking home from
                       church, alone, in a
                       frightening part of the
                       suburbs.
             As he describes his client's movements, Fletcher ACTS THEM
             OUT:


                              FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                   You're nervous, timid, looking
                   over your shoulder -- when
                   suddenly, you encounter him--
                         (pointing at the
                          old man)
                   pouncing from the shadows.
                   You quiver in fear. The
                   streetlight flashes on
                   something shiny in his hand--
                   a knife?
         Suddenly Fletcher becomes the attacker, brandishing a
         weapon. The jurors RECOIL.
                                FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                   And in that terrifying instant
                   you do what any respectable
                   citizen would -- you defend
                   y ou rse lf. Only after you
                   shatter his arm and collarbone
                   do you realize it's all a
                   mistake... the man was merely
                   walking away from an ATM
                   machine, the apparent flash of
                   metal caused by his bank card.
         He reveals the weapon in his hand is only a credit card.
                               FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                          (CONCERNED)
                   As you stand over his
                   crumpled, though potentially
                   still-dangerous form, your
                   he art goes out to him. You
                   want to help. First, you
                   gather up the many bills he
                   dropped, to stop them from
                   bl owi ng away. Second, in an
                   effort to get the name and
                   number of someone to notify,
                   you take his wallet. Finally,
                   you leap into the man's Lexus
                   to head for assistance, when
                   suddenly a police car speeds
                   up. You breathe a sigh of
                   relief: "Someone to look -after
                   the injured man! Oh joy!"
                   But do the police applaud your
                   initiative? Do they hail your
                   heroism? No-- they arrest you
                   and throw you in the slammer!
         He walks along the jury box:


                             FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                 · And why? Why does the State
                  turn its massive power against
                  this individual?
                        (takes an
                         IMPRESSIVE
                         moment, then
                         answers his own
                         QUESTION:)
                  Discrimination,
                        (to a black
                         JUROR)
                  But this time it's not based
                  on race.
                        (to a female
                         JUROR)
                  Not based on gender.
                        (to a man wearing
                         a crucifix)
                  Not based on religion,
                        (to a heavy set
                         JUROR)
                  No--this time it's
                  discrimination based on size!
                . I know what the prosecution
                  wants you to think - - i t ' s
                  always the big guy's fault.
                  Is that what we've come to as
                  a society -- persecuting
                  people because they're large?
         Fletcher points accusingly at the opposition.
                              FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                  Shame on you, Mister
                  Prosecutor! Shame on you!
                         (turning back to
                          JURY)
                  The state is trying to
                  barbeque my client on the spit
                  of Justice. Only you can douse
                  the flames. The decision is
                  your s. And please...don't let
                  your emotions run away with
                  y ou . The fact that my client
                  is a family man, raising his
                  sons alone after the tragic
                  death of their mother, has
                  absolutely no bearing on this
                  case.
         In the front row we see two sad-faced YOUNG CHILDREN.


                             FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                   Instead, let cold reason be
                   your guide as you decide the
                   fate of this church-going,
                   orphan-rasing widower!
         Fletcher returns to his seat. Jurors, dab their eyes.
         EXT. COURTHOUSE -- AFTERNOON
         Fletcher bounds down the stairs, passing a fellow LAWYER,
                             LAWYER
                   How's it going, Fletcher?
                              FLETCHER
                         (he' s won)
                   Another gratifying day serving
                   Justice.
         Fletcher's huge client catches up to him.
                             CLIENT
                   Hey great job, Mr. Reid. I
                   wish there was some way I
                   could show my appreciation.
                             FLETCHER
                   Stay out of my neighborhood
                   after dark.
         A PUBLICIST carrying, a clipboard approaches Fletcher.
                             PUBLICIST
                   Mr. Reid, do you have a ·
                   moment-?
                             FLETCHER
                   No, I'm late picking up my
                   son.
                             PUBLICIST
                   -Because a couple of reporters
                   want to interview you about
                   your big win today.
         Fletcher instantly shifts directions.
                             FLETCHER    ..
                   How's my hair?
         And he's off to woo a GANG OF REPORTERS.


         EXT. SUBURBAN PORCH - AFTERNOON


         A sad Max and his mother, AUDREY, wait silently on the
         steps.
                             MAX
                   What time is it?
                              AUDREY
                          (checks her
                           WATCH)
                   I ' m sure he just got tied up
                   in court again.
         Finally, Fletcher's BMW pulls up. Max races to him,
         delighted.
                              MAX
                   Dad!
                              FLETCHER
                   Maximillian!
                         (calls out a
                          COMMAND)
                   TRANSFORMERS!! .
         Fletcher instantly becomes a human version of the
         TRANSFORMER TOY making ROBOTIC MOVEMENTS and SOUNDS. Max
         knows the routine well, moves in perfect sine with dad. . ...
         Until --                       .
                              FLETCHER
                   Malfunction in vector 3 ! !
                   Malfunction in vector 3!!
                         (pretends to lose
                          control of a
                          'robotic' arm)
                   Look out! It's on tickle
                   mode!!
         Fletcher's "mechanical arm" becomes CLAW-LIKE, TICKLING MAX
         like crazy! Max loves it.
         Audrey watches these two kids, smiles.
                             FLETCHER
                        (re: Audrey)
                   And who is this lovely lady?
                   Max, could you introduce me?
                             MAX
                   That's no lady, that's mom!
                             AUDREY. ·
                   Thanks, Max.


                            ·   FLETCHER
                   Mom? !
                         (under his
                          BREATH)
                   Himnm. . . I don't remember her
                   looking that good,
                         (becomes the
                          robot again)
                   Malfunction in Vector 4!
                   Malfunction in Vector 4!
         Fletcher's other robotic arm becomes a "pincher", comes
         after Audrey.
                             AUDREY
                        (PLAYFULLY)
                   Keep Vector 4 away from me.
                   Unless you want Vector 4
                   chopped off.
                                FLETCHER
                   You know, you were much easier
                   when we were married...
                        (re: her luggage)
                   So where are you off too?
                                AUDREY
                   Stanford. I'm delivering a
                   paper.
                                FLETCHER
                   O h really? Where I live, we
                   use a boy on a bike.
                              MAX
                   Hey mom, dad's taking me to
                   see wrestling!
                              AUD REY
                         (MILDLY
                          PROTESTING)
                   Oh, Fletcher!
                              FLETCHER
                         (PLAYFULLY
                          mimicking her)
                   Oh, Audrey!
                                AUDREY
                   Do you have to take him to
                   tho se things? They're so
                   violent.



         Fleccher IMITATES the familiar wise, old INDIAN CHIEF DAN
         GEORGE.


                              FLETCHER/DAN GEORGE
                   The boy must learn the way of
                   the war rior . An d wh o be tter
                   to teach him than Rowdy Rod- .
                   Piper and Big John Stud?
         Audrey can't help but LAUGH.
                             FLETCHER/DAN GEORGE
                   He must be schooled in the way
                   of the face-claw, the sleeper-
                   hold, and the purple nuxple.
                   For only then--
                              AUDREY
                         (PLAYFULLY)
                   Shut up!!
                             FLETCHER/DAN GEORGE
                        (to Max)
                   The squaw will never
                   understand us.
         A HORN HONKS. It's the good-natured, affable JERRY. Max
         runs up to him.
                            JERRY
                  Max, my man!
         Jerry gives Max "five", then kisses Audrey on the lips.
                             JERRY
                   Fletcher, good to see you?
                            FLETCHER
                  What? No kiss for me?
                             JERRY
                       (re: luggage)
                  What do you say, Max? Give me
                  a hand?
         Fletcher grits his teeth as Jerry gives Max a piggyback
         ride to get the luggage.
                             FLETCHER
                        (to Audrey)
                  I didn't know the boyfriend
                  was going.


                                 AUDREY
                       Jerry. His name is Jerry and
                       yes, he's going.
         Audrey heads inside.
         INT. HOUSE - DAY                           ·.
         Audrey enters, shuts the blinds.
                                 FLETCHER
                       T o Stanford? Overnight? Does
                       this mean you two are...
                             (cringes, can't
                              say the words)
                                 AUDREY
                       I've been seeing him seven
                       months, what do you think?
                                 FLETGHER
                       I was hoping that after being
                       married to me, you'd have no
                       more strength left.
                                 AUDREY
                 . Well you have to remember when
                   we were married, I wasn't
                   having sex nearly as often as
                   you were.
                                 FLETCHER
                       MEDIC!! I've been hit.
                  /-
         EXT. HOUSE - DAY           '           ·   '
         Audrey locks up.
                                 FLETCHER
                       Well, great... I'm so happy
                       for you two. I am just Mister
                       H appy man. Happy, happy,
                       happy.
                                 AUDREY
                       Relax, Fletcher. It looks
                       like Jerry's taking that job
                       offer in Boston.
         Fletcher turns sincere.
                                 FLETCHER
                       Aud, I am so sorry...



         Behind her back, he FLAILS in celebration.    She glances
         back... He stops, whistles innocently.
                             JERRY
                         (calling to
                          AUDREY)
                   Ready?
         Audrey and Jerry say goodbye to Max.    They get in his
         Explorer.
                              FLETCHER
                         (to Audrey)
                   Yo u gonna be okay? Because if
                   not, we could leave Max with
                   your sister and I could go out
                   with you two, does that appeal
                   to you at all?
         They drive off.
                             FLETCHER
                   Wave to the soon-to-be ex-
                   boyfriend, Max.
                         (flipping Max the
                          KEYS)
                   You drive.
         INT. BMW - AFTERNOON'- MOVING
         Fletcher is driving, Max beside him.
                             MAX
                   Dad, are we really going to go
                   to wrestling?
                             FLETCHER
                   Absolutely, Maxattacker. We
                   just have to stop by the
                   office for one minute.
         Max SIGHS. He's heard this before.
         EXT. SKYSCRAPER - AFTERNOON
         Establishing the headquarters of ALLAN, STEWART &
         KONIGSBERG.
         As they head inside, Fletcher and Max pass a BEGGAR.
                             BEGGAR
                   'Scuse me, sir. Do you have
                   any change?


                             FLETCHER
                        (patting his
                         POCKETS)
                   'Fraid not. Sorry.
         INT. SKYSCRAPER LOBBY - AFTERNOON


         Fletcher grabs The Daily Journal, paying for it with a
         HANDFUL OF CHANGE. His son takes this in.
         On their way to the elevators Fletcher and Max pass PHILIP,
         a dweebish bore.
                               PHILIP
                   Fletcher!
                               FLETCHER
                   Philip!
                             PHILIP
                   And this must be Max!
                            FLETCHER
                       (trying to brush
                        him off)
                . Yes. Yes it is. Well, it was
                  good seeing you--
         Fletcher starts off with Max, when Philip calls after him.
                               PHILIP
                   You know, Ethel and I had a
                   blast at our last little get-
                   together.
                               FLETCHER
                   Oh, me too. I can never get
                   enough of charades. We'll
                   have to do it again sometime.
         Fletcher heads into an open elevator... only to find the
         door's closing impededby Philip's foot.
                               PHILIP
                   When?
                               FLETCHER
                   Soon.
         The door again begins to close... when Philip stops it.
                            PHILIP
                  How 'bout tonight?


                              FLETCHER
                   Not that soon. I'm taking Max
                   to see wrestling--
                             PHILIP
                   We love wrestling.     We could--
                             FLETCHER
                   I don't think so. See, Max is
                   really shy around strangers.
         Max looks up at Fletcher.    He isn't.
                               FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                   Tell you what -- give me your
                   card as a reminder. I'll call
                   y o u . Soon. Promise.
                             PHILIP
                   Great!
         Philip hands him his card just as the door closes.
         INT. ELEVATOR - AFTERNOON
         Max watches as his father TEARS PHILIP'S CARD IN TWO.
         INT. RECEPTION AREA OF LAW OFFICES - AFTERNOON
         The receptionist, JANE, greets them. Jane has an ODD,
         UNATTRACTIVE HAIRDO. A large GIFT BASKET is on her desk.
                             JANE
                   Hi, Mr. Reid.
                        (indicates, her
                         HAIR)
                   What do you think?
                             FLETCHER
                   Fabulous! I love it.
                        (indicates the                     ·
                         BASKET)
                   What's this?
                             JANE
                   I don't know who sent it. But
                   it's for Mr. Allan. It's his
                   anniversary.
                             FLETCHER
                   Ah... The Partnership
                   Committee meeting still
                   scheduled for Friday?


                             JANE
                         (as she goes)
                   Yep...
         Fletcher quickly removes a gift card from his pocket,
         scribbles on it, puts it in place of the one already there
                             MAX
                   What are you doing?
                             FLETCHER
                   Oh, I'm... fixing the card,
                         (shows him the
                          old card)
                   Look, they spelled Mr. Allan's
                   name wrong. Have an apple.
         INT. MIRANDA'S OFFICE - AFTERNOON


         ...Where a troubled FRED RAND is talking to MIRANDA, a
         beautiful, steely partner.
                             FRED
                   I can't do it.
                             M IRANDA
                   Fred, it's your duty to
                   present the strongest case
                   possible.
                             FRED
                   The strongest case possible,
                   consistent with the truth.
                             MIRANDA
                  Let the Judge decide what's
                  true. That's what he gets
                  paid for. You get paid to
                  win.
                             FRED
                  If you insist on my taking it
                  to trial, I'll represent Mrs.
                  Cole aggressively and
                  ethically. But, Miranda -- I
                  won't lie.
         Miranda looks out her window, calculating.
                             MIRANDA
                  Then we'll just have to find
                  someone who'will.


         INT. HALLWAY OF LAW OFFICES -- AFTERNOON


         Fletcher strides through the hallway with Max, calling out
         GREETINGS to his colleagues.
                             FLETCHER
                   Hey, Pete! Great tie!        ·.
         Max looks at PETE, -whose fashion-disaster tie startles him.
                             FLETCHER
                   Thomas--looks like you're
                   losin' weight.
         THOMAS glances up from a file. Max notes that he's
         corpulent.
                             THOMAS
                   Gained three pounds.
                              FLETCHER
                        (wedging past
                         HIM)
                   On you, it works.
                                                                   ·
         Fletcher arrives at his office. WE MEET his secretary, the
         fiftyish, .worldly-wise and world-weary GRETA.
                              GRETA '
                   M ax ! What's new?
                             .MAX
                   Well. . . it's my birthday
                   tomo rrow. We're having a
                   party and everything.
         Flet cher's EYES WIDEN. He has clearly forgotten.
                             GRE TA
                   I'm sure your dad'11 give you
                   something wonderful.
         Fletcher tries to wave her off, awkwardly stopping when Max
         turns to him.     .
                             MAX
                   Yeah?
                             FLETCHER
                   Oh, yeah. You're going to
                   love it. Uh, why don't you
                   play in my office for a
                   minute? Fax something, sue
                   someone, have a good time.
                   We'll be leaving in a second.



         Max heads into the office. Fletcher closes the door behind
         him turning it into a silly, two-handed wave.
                               FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                   Damn!   I completely forgot.
                             GRETA
                   Oh, there's a surprise.
         Greta produces a wrapped GIFT.
                              FLETCHER
                   You're a saint. I should get
                   you something.
                              GRETA
                   You did.
         She holds up another, smaller package.
                              FLETCHER
                   Ah. Well, I always do the
                   classy thing. Any calls?
                                                                      ·
         She hands him a stack of mail.
                              GRETA
                  . Let's see.. .   ·
                         (CHECKING
                          MESSAGES)
                   Judge Patterson's clerk. He
                   needs your filing.
                              FLETCHER
                   Tell him it's in the mail.
                              GRETA
                         (jotting down a
                          NOTE)
                   Right. You'll do it next
                   week. Mr. McKinley phoned,
                   questioning that fourteen
                   hours you billed on Christinas
                   Eve.
                              FLETCHER
                   Write him a long, explanatory
                   letter. Then bill him for the
                   letter.
                              GRETA
                        (jotting down a
                       . note).    ..
                   Done. Your mother called.


                              FLETCHER
                   I ' m on vacation.
                             GRETA
                   This is your fifth week.      .   ·   .
                             FLETCHER
                   It's a long vacation.
                             GRETA
                        (jotting down a
                         NOTE)
                   "Break mother's heart." Done.
                   And that's it, except
                   Miranda's looking for you.
                              FLETCHER
                         (checking watch)
                   As if I don't have anything
                   better to do than bow and
                   scrape at her royal perfumed
                   p artner feet. Tell her I'm in
                   court.
                             GRETA
                   Court's closed.
                             FLETCHER
                   Tell her I broke my leg and
                   had to be shot.
                             GRETA
                        (WHISPERS)
                   Why don't you tell her
                   yourself?
         As Miranda approaches, Fletcher switches gears in an
         INSTANT:
                             FLETCHER
                   --And then send out a notice
                   of judgement on my win today!
                              GRETA
                        (DRY)
                   I'll get right on it.
         Fletcher turns -- and pretends to be surprised.
                             FLETCHER
                   Miranda! I didn't see you.
                   Hey, you look lovely, today.
                   Here, I bought you a gift.



         He grabs Greta's gift and hands it to Miranda.
                             MIRANDA
                   Thanks. I heard about your
                   victory today. You're making
                   quite an impression on the
                   partnership committee.
                             FLETCHER
                        (FEIGNING
                         PUZZLEMENT;
                         THEN)
                   Oh, that's right. You folks
                   are meeting again soon.
                   "Allan, Stewart, Konigsberg,
                   and Ried." There's something
                   about the rhythm of fours.
                   It's like a full measure.
                   Well, anyway, I've got a
                   client waiting in my office--
                             MIRANDA .
                   Actually, something important
                   h as come up. You're not busy
                   tonight, are you?
         Before Fletcher answers, we:
                                                    CUT TO:
         INT. FLETCHER'S OFFICE - EVENING
         A sad Max sits on Fletcher's big sofa. His heart sinks
         further when Fletcher enters. . . carrying two boxes of
         documents.
                             MAX
                   We're not going, are we?
                             FLETCHER
                   Of course we are. A promise
                   i s a promise. We are gonna
                   see wrestling or my name isn't
                   Fletcher T. Reid.


                               FLETCHER
                         (to wrestler)
                   Could you hand me that?
                         (the wrestler
                          DOES)
                   Thank you.
                           (without looking
                          UP)
                   We are having some fun, eh
                   Maxer?
         PUSH IN on Max; he isn't.
         ·INT. HOTEL ROOM - NIGHT
         Jerry paces. Audrey is on the phone, waiting.   She notices
         Jerry pacing.
                             AUDREY
                   Are you alright?
                                 JERRY
                   Uh, yeah, just, uh... how long
                   are you gonna be on the phone?
                                 AUDREY
                   I just wanted to say good-
                   night to Max, but he must
                   still be out with Fletcher,
                        (hangs up)
                             JERRY
                        (SUDDENLY)
                   Will you marry me?
         She's SHOCKED.
                             I


                                 AUDREY
                   Uh...would I . . . ? What did you
                   say?
                               JERRY
                          (NERVOUS)
                   I proposed, I . . . Look, I know
                   this Boston thing is a great
                   opportunity, good job,
                   mo ney .. . everything. But I
                   started to think about being
                   three thousand miles away from
                   you and Max. And I didn't
                   like it. I-- Look, I know
                   it's a lot to ask, to move and
                   everything, but I . . . . I love



                   you. I love your son.   Will
                   you marry me?
         She stares at him, excited, but nervous.
         EXT. HIGH RISE APARTMENT BUILDING - MORNING
         Early morning outside Fletcher's building.
         INT. FLETCHER'S STUDY - MORNING
         Fletcher types on his computer.   He's been up all night.
         He leans back, rubs his eyes. When he opens them he sees
         Max standing there in pajamas. Fletcher SMILES.
                             FLETCHER
                   Max Factor... Happy birthday.
                   How old are you today?
                   T h ir t y ? Forty?
                             MAX
                   Five.
                             FLETCHER
                  Well, you've held up well. I
                  only wish there was some way
                  to commemorate such an
                  occasion, some small symbol to
                  mark this day, like....
         Fletcher produces --
                              FLETCHER
                   . . . A present! .



         Max eyes it with wonder.
                            MAX
                  What is it?
                             FLETCHER
                        (no idea)
                  It's... it's.
                        (it hits him)
                  a surprise.
         Max knows his father doesn't have a clue but he rips the
         box open, revealing, a BASEBALL, GLOVE, DODGER'S CAP, and
         FULL MAJOR LEAGUE STYLE UNIFORM.
                            MAX
                  Baseball stuff!




                                                                      _J




                                 FLETCHER
                      Baseball stuff.
                                MAX
                           (hugging his dad)
                      Will you play catch with me?
                                FLETCHER            '·
            :



                      Absorootentootenlutely.
         Max beams.
                                FLETCHER
                      Tonight. After your party,
                      you have my word on it.
         Max nods sadly as Fletcher turns back to his work.
         EXT. JERRY'S CAR - MORNING
         Jerry and Audrey are driving. Audrey's holding a couple of
         airline tickets.
                                AUDR EY
                           (re: tickets)
                      Jerry, these are for tomorrow.
                                JERRY
                      The company wants me to get
                      started right away.
                                AUDREY
                  I can't just pick up and move
                  to Boston with two days
                  notice.
                             JERRY
                  Ju st come check it out. You
                  a nd Max, see the town. Let's
                . pick out a place together.
                  Then, if you want to turn me
                  down and scar me for life,
                  fine.
                                AUDREY
                  It's just not that simple...
                  What about my job? I've been
                  at UCLA three years.
                                JERRY
                  It's New England. They're
                  lousy with colleges. You
                  can't swing a bat back there
                  without hitting a college.



                   You'd get a job there in a
                   second.
                             AUDREY
                   There are other factors
                   involved.
                         (POINTS)
                   T here they are now.       ·.
         They pull up in front of Fletcher's building where Fletcher
         and Max are waiting. Fletcher's still reviewing a file.
         As Audrey gets out of Jerry's car, Max runs over.
                             AUDREY
                   Did you have fun? How were
                   the wrestling matches?
                             FLETCHER
                   Big fun. Manly fun. Am I
                   right, Maxie?
                             MAX
                         (HALF-HEARTEDLY)
                   It was fun..
                                                                   ·
                             FLETCHER
                        (re: Audrey)
                   So how were the wrestling
                   matches ? Did you have fun?
                             JERRY
                   Max , my man! My happy
                   birthday man!
         Max and Jerry exchange "fives" and'a hug.   Jerry gives Max
         a light punch on the arm.
                             JERRY
                   One-two-three-four-five... and
                   one for good luck.
                             FLETCHER
                   Did you see that? He struck
                   the child!
                             MAX
                   Look what dad got me!
                        (shows the glove)
                             JERRY
                  Whoa! Great! I have my glove
                  in the car. We'll stop in the
                  park on the way home and play
                  c atch. Then tonight we'll oil



                   it, wrap a rubber band around
                   it. . . It'll be great.
                         (to Fletcher)
                   Great birthday present, dad!
         Fletcher hates him.    Jerry and Max go to Jerry's car.
                             FLETCHER          ·.
                        (makes a fist)
                   When is it his birthday?
                               AUDREY
                   Some thing's come up. We need
                   to talk.
                               MAX
                   Mom, let's go. I want to
                   play.
                              AUDREY
                         (to Fletcher)
                   We'll talk tonight.
                                           ·
                               FLETCHER
                   Tonight?
                             AUDREY
                   Max's birthday?
                               FLETCHER'
                   Oh , yeah, right. Seven. I
                   knew that. I did. I blocked
                   it out weeks ago. The
                   se ven tee nt h of May. Max's
                   birthday.
                             AUDREY
                   It's the eighteenth.
                               FLETCHER
                   The seventeenth of May is the
                   day I .remind myself that the
                   eighteenth is Max's birthday.
                   See you tonight.
         They drive away.
         INT. MIRANDA'S OFFICE - NIGHT
         Miranda, and Fletcher's new client, VIRGINIA COLE, an
         alluring woman in her early thirties/ review the document
         he spent the previous·night putting together.


                               VIRGINIA
                   This is good. This is really
                   smart.
                               FLETCHER
                  Thank you.
                               VIRGINIA
                  Only i t ' s . . . Like not true.
                  Every word of it is a lie.
         Fletcher and Miranda exchange glances.
                            VIRGINIA (CONT'D)
                  I mean... isn't that a
                  problem?
                               FLETCHER
                  Mrs. Cole, the only problem
                  here is that after you've
                  provided years of faithful
                  service and loving support, of
                  raising his children -- They
                  are his?
                             VIRGINIA
                  H m ? Oh yeah. One for sure.
                              FLETCHER
                  After all that, your husband
                  wants to deny you a fair share
                  of the marital assets based on
                  one single act of
                                           ]
                  INDISCRETION--
                             VIRGINIA
                  Seven.
                              FLETCHER
                  Hm?


                             VIRGINIA
                  Seven single acts of
                  indiscretion.
                              FLETCHER
                  --Seven acts of indiscretion,
                  only one of which he has any
                  evidence of, and all of which
                  he himself is responsible, for.
                             VIRGINIA
                  He is?


                    FLETCHER
         Mrs. Cole, I stayed up all
         night last night studying your
         c ase. Not just your case...
         b ut you. And, by now, I feel
         I know you. You are the
         victim here. The wife of a
         cold, distant businessman.
         Starved for affection, driven
         into the arms of another man--
                    VIRGINIA
         Seven.
                    FLETCHER
               (not missing a
                BEAT)
         --Seven .other men. You're not
         trying to deny him what is
         r ig htf ull y his. All you're
         insisting on is what is
         r ig htf ull y yours. And maybe
         an idgy-smidgy bit more. I
         think you're bending over
         backwards.
                    VIRGINIA
         Well, I did agree to give him
         j oint custody of the kids...
               (to Miranda)
         He's always been a good
         father.
                    FLETCHER
         And you've always been a good
         wife.
                      VIRGINIA
                 (getting worked
                  UP)
         Yeah. . .
                    FLETCHER
         There's such a thing as being
         t oo nice. That's why you need
         aggr essive representation. To
         show the court that there is
         more than one side to this
         st ory. All I'm asking is the
         opportunity to see that
         justice is done on your
         behalf.
               (takes her hand)
         Will you give me that
         opportunity?



         He stares into her eyes. A moment, then...
                                VIRGINIA
                   Yes! I ' m tired of getting
                   kicked around.
                             FLETCHER
                   Good for you!
                                VIRGINIA
                   Thank you, Mr. Reid. I ' m so
                   grateful I have an attorney I
                   can trust.
         S he gives him a HUG and momentarily grabs his ass. With a
         farewell nod to Miranda, she leaves.
         Miranda turns, smiles at Fletcher, then shuts the door.
         She moves in on him.
                                MIRANDA
                   You're good. You're really
                   good.
                                FLETCHER
                   Oh, pshaw.
                        (pronounces it
                         with the "p")
         She picks a piece of lint off.his jacket.
                                MIRANDA
                  N o, I mean it. The Cole case
                  is worth a truckload of money
                  to this firm, not to mention
                  the press it's going to
                  g en er at e . You win this case
                  and I guarantee you'll make
                  partner.
                          (STRAIGHTENING
                           his tie)
                  Actually, how would you like
                  to make a partner right now?
                                FLETCHER
                   Excuse me?
         She grabs his lapels and pulls him in for a deep KISS.
         INT, AUDREY AND MAX'S LIVING ROOM - NIGHT



         A PARTY in progress, KINDERGARTNERS being entertained by a
         MAN in a clown suit and clown make-up.


                              CLOWN
                         (SINGING)
                   Captain Fuzzy is my name,
                   Making children happy is my
                   game,
                   With a shake and a juggle,
                   And a big belt buckle,
                   You'll all be glad I came. '
         He flops down on his back causing something in his pants to
         HONK. Audrey and Jerry watch.
                               AUDREY
                        (indicating the
                         CLOWN)
                   What do you think?
                               JERRY
                   Well, if you don't hire your
                   brother, who will?


                                          .
         She heads into...
         INT. KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS


                                                                  ·
                               JERRY
                   They called me again from
                   B oston. They really want me
                   there tomorrow.
                             AUDREY
                   . . . I can't go to Boston.
                               JERRY
                   How come?
                               AUDREY
                  Max.
                            JERRY
                  He'll love it there.
                             AUDREY
                   It's Fletcher.
                               JERRY
                  Fletcher?
                            AUDREY
                  I can't move Max three
                  thousand miles away from his
                  father.


                               JERRY
                    Audrey, I have never said a
                    bad word about your ex --
                               AUDREY
                    I know.


                               JERRY
                   But how much responsibility
                   does Fletcher take for Max,
                   now? He'd never come over if
                   you didn't remind him.
                              AUDREY
                   I know. But if they're three
                   thousand miles apart they'll
                   never see each other.
                   Fletcher will never come to
                   Boston and how can I send Max
                   cross-country to him?
                              .JERRY
                   So because your ex-husband is
                   unreliable, we can't-'-
                              AUDREY
                   I know, it's not logical, it's
                   emotional. I'm sorry.
         Pause.
                             JERRY
                   I still want to marry you.
                             AUDREY
                   Are you sure?
         Jerry picks up the PHONE, pulls out a piece of paper,
         dials.
                              JERRY
                         (into phone)
                  Mr. Crisitelli, Jerry
                  She!ton... I hope I'm not
                  calling too late... Mr.
                  Crisitelli, I'm afraid I have
                  to turn down your offer..'. So
                  am I . . . Well, I've fallen in
                  love with this beautiful woman
                  in L.A. and she doesn't want
                  to leave and I won't leave
                  without her... Well, thank you
                  very much... Yes, good-bye.



                           (hangs up)
                     He wasn't there, but that's
                 1   the speech I would've made.
         She smiles and KISSES him.             The PHONE RINGS.   Audrey
         answers.
                                  AUDREY
                     Hello...
         INTERCUT WITH:
         INT. MIRANDA'S OFFICE - NIGHT



                                  A UDREY
                     Fletcher, where are you?
                     We're getting ready to cut the
                     cake.
                                  FLETCHER
                     Urn, actually, something has
                     come up. A problem on a new
                     caaa--                .
         Miranda bites one of Fletcher's nipples.
                                  F LET CHE R
                     A-h-h-h-!


                               AUDREY
                     What happened?
                                  FLETCHER
                     Nothing. I just nailed my
                     ·knee into the desk... Listen,
                     I'm really sorry I can't 'make
                     it.
                               AUDREY
                     Max is going to be so
                     disappointed.
                                  FLETCHER
                     I'll make it up to him, I
                     promise. I'll pick him up
                     from school tomorrow, okay?
                                AUDREY
                     Do you want me to put him on
                     the phone?
         Miranda starts "reeling in" the phone cord.
                                  FLETCHER
                     Ah, no.     I have to go.


                                AUDREY
                   Right.
         ANGRILY, she hangs up. Fletcher stares UNHAPPILY at the
         phone, before Miranda THROWS HIM BACK ONTO THE COUCH.
         INT. AUDREY AND MAX'S DINING ROOM - NIGHT
         WE PAN DOWN from banners reading HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MAX!. . . to
         a room full of guests... to a desultory five-year-old.
         Audrey finishes lighting the candles on the homemade cake.
                             AUDREY
                   All right, birthday boy, make
                   a wish.
         Max doesn't respond.
                             AUDREY (CONT'D)
                   C'mon, honey. It can be
                   anything-- whatever you want
                   most in the world.
         When he .doesn't respond, she leans down to him..
                             AUDREY (CONT'D)
                   Max, your dad is sorry. He
                   had to work.
                              MAX
                   He said he was coming. He
                   promised.
                              AUDREY
                   Yes, well, he... promises
                   he'll see you tomorrow.
         Max doesn't believe it.     <
         He turns his full attention to the candles on the cake.   In
         VOICE OVER we hear what she does not.
                              MAX (V.O.)
                   I wish, for just one day, Dad
                   couldn't tell a lie.
         He takes a breath --and blows out all the candles. A
         strange WIND blows the drapes and the wisp of smoke up, up,
         up... to the clock on the wall. It's 9:15.
                                                   CUT TO:
         A clock on a wall.   It's 9:15'. We are--


         INT. MIRANDA'S OFFICE - NIGHT


         PAN around Miranda's office, where the displaced sofa is
         adorned with Fletcher's shoes...
         To the credenza, where Fletcher's pants hang...
         To the lamp, where Fletcher's shorts swing...
         To the desk, where a ravished Miranda lies next to
         Fletcher. Superbly confident of the answer, she asks--
                               MIRANDA
                   S o . . . was it good for you?
         Without thinking, Fletcher responds in the most astonishing
         way possible-- he TELLS THE TRUTH.
                             FLETCHER
                   I've had better.
         Miranda turns to him in disbelief -- but it's nothing
         compared to the LOOK OF SHOCK on Fletcher's face.
         INT. HALLWAY OUTSIDE MIRANDA'S OFFICE - NIGHT


         The door opens -- and the naked Fletcher is forcefully
         kicked out. He goes TUMBLING over a desk as a RAIN OF
         CLOTHES follow.
         The door SLAMS SHUT again, leaving him without his pants.
         A CLEANING LADY stares at him in shock, then takes her
         broom, aims for his crotch, SWINGS.and. . .
         INT. BEDROOM - FRIDAY MORNING


         An alarm CLOCK RINGS. Fletcher BOLTS UP in bed. With
         regret and wonder he remembers:
                             FLETCHER
                   "I've had better?"
         INT. FLETCHER'S BATHROOM - MORNING


         Fletcher brushes his teeth, looks up at his reflection in
         the mirror, mouth foaming.
                             FLETCHER
                   "I've had better?!"
         INT. HALLWAY OF FLETCHER'S APARTMENT BUILDING - MORNING
         Dressed for work, Fletcher waits for the elevator.


                              FLETCHER
                        (laughing it off)
                   "I've had better?"
         I t arrives. He steps in.
         INT. APARTMENT ELEVATOR - MORNING
         The elevator is empty, except for Fletcher... and a
         beautiful young WOMAN.
                             FLETCHER
                   New in the building?
                             MODEL
                   I just moved in Monday.
                             FLETCHER
                   Ah. Well, you must allow me
                   to give you the grand tour.
                              MODEL
                         (SHE'S
                          INTERESTED)
                   O h? Do you do that for all
                   the new tenants?
                             FLETCHER
                   No. Just the ones I want to
                   bang like a drum.
         Fletcher's face REGISTERS extreme SHOCK and...
         INT. LOBBY OF APARTMENT BUILDING - MORNING
         We HEAR a SMACK off camera and a PING as the elevator door
         opens. The model storms off and A STUNNED Fletcher steps
         out, rubbing his freshly slapped face.
         EXT. COURTROOM -, MORNING
         A SHAKY Fletcher strides toward the courthouse... when he
         is accosted by a BEGGAR.
                             BEGGAR
                   Any change, Mister?
                             .FLETCHER
                   Absolutely.
         But he continues walking.
                             BEGGAR
                   Could you spare some?


                              FLETCHER
                   Unquestionably.
         Fletcher walks faster, PUZZLED that he has answered
         truthfully. The beggar is even more puzzled.
                               BEGGAR
                   Will you?
                               FLETCHER
                   No.
                               BEGGAR
                   How come?
                               FLETCHER
                  Because I resent your
                  p re sen ce. You fill me with an
                  unpleasant mixture of disgust
                  and guilt. Further, I don't
                  believe you'll use the money
                  for food, but I believe you'll
                  use it for, at worst, drugs,
                  or, at best, whiskey, or
                . cigarettes. Also, I'm cheap.
         As Fletcher heads up the stairs...
                               BEGGAR
                  Jerkoff.
         INT. COURTROOM - MORNING


         A winded Fletcher joins Virginia at the respondent's table,
                            VIRGINIA
                  You look like you're having a
                  rough morning.
                             FLETCHER
                   I've had better.
         He WINCES as he recognizes the words. Then, an extremely
         wealthy, respectable industrialist, RICHARD COLE enters
         with his attorney, DANA APPLETON, young, brisk, confident.
                             DANA
                  Good morning, Fletcher.
                               FLETCHER
                  Dana.         "


                               RICHARD
                   All right, Virginia, how much
                   will it take to put an end to
                   this?
                             FLETCHER
                   Fifty per cent of your estate.
         Richard is SHOCKED.
                               DANA
                   Fifty per cent? With a pre-
                   nup and proof of adultery?
                   What's your case?
                              FLETCHER
                   Our case is simply this. . .
         Fletcher opens his mouth to enlighten her -- but he CAN'T
         GET THE WORDS OUT. He tries to FORCE OUT SOUNDS, but
         succeeds only in looking like a fish gasping on dry land.
                               DANA        .
                   Interesting, though based on
                   your track record, I expected
                   a little more.
         Nearing panic, Fletcher whirls to his BRIEFCASE and grabs
         the brief.
                               FLETCHER   ..
                  Wa it! Wait!    I've got it in
                  writing!
         But when Dana tries to take the document, the astonished
         Fletcher finds himself PHYSICALLY UNABLE TO RELEASE IT.
                               DANA
                   Let go!
                             FLETCHER
                   I'm trying!



         He INVOLUNTARILY snatches the document away and IT PULLS
         HIM to a nearby TRASH CAN where he throws it out.
         At this moment the BAILIFF calls.
                               BAILIFF
                  All rise for the Honorable
                  Judge William Stevens.


                             DANA
                   Very funny, Fletcher. You
                   want to play hardball, I'm
                   game.
         JUDGE STEVENS takes the bench.


                             JUDGE STEVENS
                   Calling case BA 09395, Richard
                   Cole versus Virginia Cole.
                   How're we doing this morning,
                   counsel?
                             DANA
                   Fine, thank you.
                            JUDGE STEVENS
                  And you, Mr. Reid?
                             FLETCHER
                   Well, I'm a little upset about
                   a bad sexual episode I had
                   last night--
         Fletcher screeches to a standstill, suddenly aware of what
         he just said. After an awkward silence--
                             JUDGE STEVENS
                        (DRYLY)
                  Well, you're still young.
                  It'll happen more and more.
                  In the meantime, what do you
                  say we get. down to business?
                  First, Mr. Reid, I see that
                  your client was previously
                  represented by Mr. Rand of
                  your office.
                            FLETCHER
                  Yes, Your Honor.
                             JUDGE STEVENS
                   I take it you're seeking to
                   substitute in as counsel?
                            FLETCHER
                  Yes, Your Honor.
                             JUDGE STEVENS
                  Fine , fine. And for the
                  record, the reason is?


                                FLETCHER
                   Mr. Rand had severe ethical
                   objections to my client's
                   case.
         Fletcher is incredulous. Somehow his greatest asset in the
         world, his mouth, has become his worst enemy.
                               JUDGE STEVENS
                   I take it you don't share the
                   same ethical objections, Mr.
                   Reid?
                                FLETCHER
                   I have lower standards, Your
                   Honor.
                               JUDGE STEVENS
                   I see. Well, if Mrs. Cole
                   wants the substitution of
                   counsel, I'll allow it. Is
                   that what you want, Mrs. Cole?
         Virginia looks to the judge, then to Fletcher, whose
         unorthodox syle seemed so brilliant earlier.
                                VIRGINIA
                           (UNSURE)
                   Yes?
                               JUDGE STEVENS
                   Fine.
                            VIRGINIA
                       (aside, to
                        FLETCHER)
                  What are you doing?
                                FLETCHER
                           (WORRIED)
                                                                      .
                  I don't know.
                        (to judge, with
                         SOME
                         DESPERATION)
                  Your Honor, I ' d like a
                  continuance!
                            JUDGE STEVENS "
                  This case has already been
                  delayed several times, Mr.
                  Reid.


                                FLETCHER
                   I realize that, Your Honor,
                   but I ' d really, really, really
                   like a continuance.
                                JUDGE STEVENS
                   I'll have to hear good cause,
                   counselor. What's the
                   problem?
         FLETCHER'S P.O.V.



         The ROOM begins to SPIN slowly -- then faster -- then
         faster -- until we wind up squarely on --
         FLETCHER'S FACE
                             FLETCHER
                   I can't lie!
                                JUDGE STEVENS
                           (IMPATIENT)
                  Commendable, Mr. Reid, but I'm
                  still waiting for the good
                  caus e. Now, do you have it or
                . not?
                   '            FLETCHER
                           (TRUTHFUL)
                   Not.
                             JUDGE STEVENS
                   Motion for a continuance
                   denied. Is there any chance
                   of a settlement in this case?
                               DANA
                   I don't think so, Your Honor.
                   Mr. Reid made it abundantly
                   clear that the last thing in
                   the world he wanted was to --
                              FLETCHER
                         (DESPERATE)
                   SETTLE! SETTLE! SETTLE!
         Dana and Mr. Cole look at Fletcher with surprise.
                               JUDGE STEVENS
                   There appears to have been a
                   change in strategy. Let's go
                   to my chambers and negotiate.
         He BANGS the gavel.


         INT. JUDGE STEVENS'S CHAMBERS - MORNING
         Dana and an apprehensive Fletcher sit before the judge
                            DANA
                  Your Honor, under the terms of
                  the prenuptual agreement, if
                  Mrs. Cole commits adultery,
                  she is entitled to nothing.
                  We have in our possession an
                  audiotape made by a licensed
                  private investigator of an
                  explicit act of sexual
                  congress with a man who is not
                  her husband.
                            JUDGE STEVENS
                  Sounds pretty damning, Mr.
                  Reid.
                            FLETCHER
                  It certainly does.
                            DANA
                  However, my client has no
                  desire to see his ex-wife
                  destitute. Against my advice,
                  he's willing to offer her a
                  cash settlement of.two point
                  four million dollars.
                            JUDGE STEVENS
                  Two four seems like a pretty
                  fair offer, Mr. Reid.
                            FLETCHER
                  Fantastically fair.
                  Phenominally fair. In fact,
                  I'd say beyond fair, bordering
                  on stupid.
         Dana fumes. The judge finds Fletcher's boldness
         refreshing.
                            JUDGE STEVENS
                  What are you suggesting, Mr.
                  Rei d? That Ms. Appleton's
                  willingness to proffer such an
                  offer betrays a lack of faith
                  in her position?
                            FLETCHER
                       (utterly sincere)
                  No, not at all. She's got my
                  client dead to rights. When



                   attorneys go to sleep at
                   night, they dream of having a
                   case as strong as hers.
                             DANA
                   Can the sarcasm, Reid. All
                   right, I admit it -- I've seen
                   you make even the lamest case
                   fly. But this time I have
                   you. Even Clarence Darrow
                   couldn't explain this away.
         She brandishes the audiotape.
                             JUDGE SAMIOAN
                   Wel l, Mr. Reid? without a
                   dynamite explanation, I'd say
                   you're dead in the water.
                   How's you client's story?
                             FLETCHER
                   The best that money can buy,
                   Y o u r Honor.       ·
                             JUDGE STEVENS
                   Strong corroborating evidence?
                             FLETCHER
                   We have evidence that you are
                   not going to-believe.
         Despite herself, Dana is beginning to look worried.
                             JUDGE STEVENS
                   You're pretty confident how
                   this trial is going to come
                   out, eh, Mr. Reid?
                             FLETCHER
                        (hopeless) .
                   "Confident" is too weak a
                   word, Your Honor. I am
                   certain what will happen if I
                   take this puppy to trial. The
                   verdict will be a stunning,
                   humiliating defeat that will
                   cut a spectacularly promising
                   legal career off at the knees.
         Fletcher is referring to himself, of course, but Dana
         thinks he's speaking about her. She buckles.


                               DANA
                     All right! Double the offer!
                     Four point eight! And not a
                     penny more.
                           (venomous, to
                            FLETCHER)
                     Bastard!
         She storms out, leaving an astounded Fletcher behind.
                               JUDGE STEVENS
                     You are some negotiator, Mr.
                     Reid. If your client has half
                     a brain, she'll jump at the
                     offer.
                                                    CUT TO:
                               VIRGINIA
                     No!



         We are --
         INT. COURTROOM - MORNING


         Fletcher has joined Virginia at the respondent's table
                               FLETCHER
                     No? ! Mrs. Cole, this offer
                     was a miracle. I'm talking
                     about a walking-on-water,
                     Lazarus-rising-from-the-dead,
                     FIND-NO-LINE-AT-THE-FRIGGIN'-
                     DMV miracle! You've gone from
                     two point four to four point
                     eight million in...
                            (checks his
                             WATCH)
                     four minutes. Think of it
                     this way -- now you're getting
                     paid seven hundred thou per
                     schtupp!
                          ·            ·      ·
                               VIRGINIA
                     Mr. Reid, you convinced me
                     yesterday -- I'm the victim
                     here, starved for affection,
                     driven into the arms of
                     another man--
                               FLETCHER
                     Seven!     ·


                             VIRGINIA
                   -- Seven other men. With the
                   story you came up with, I
                   don't think I can lose. I
                   want to proceed.
                             FLETCHER
                   Mrs. Cole, you don't        ·.
                   understand, I--
         But before Fletcher can finish, the judge enters.
                             JUDGE STEVENS
                   Well , Mr. Reid. Do we have a
                   settlement?
         Fletcher looks pleadingly at his client, but she is firm.
         He shakes his head unhappily. The judge is irritated.
                              JUDGE STEVENS (CONT'D)
                  Th ere' s no settlement. Trial
                  to start at one-thirty sharp.
         He BANGS the gavel. Fletcher emits an involuntary whimper.
         INT. HALLWWAY OF LAW OFFICES - MORNING
         DA ZED, Fletcher makes his way down the hall. Jane comes
         toward him wearing a hairstyle that resembles a nest. He
         tries to avoid her, but...
                            JANE
                  What do you think?
                            FLETCHER .
                  I think you need help.
         HORRIFI ED, Fletcher hurries on. The heavyset Thomas
         ambulates in his way.                        ·   -      ·
                            THOMAS
                  What's shakin', Fletcher?
                            FLETCHER
                  Your cellulite, Tubster.
         The now panicked Fletcher breaks into a run, passing Fred.
                             FRED
                  Hiy a, Fletcher. How's the
                  Cole case going?


                               FLETCHER
                          (not stopping)
                   'Straight into the crapper, you
                   wuss, with my career right
                   behind it.
           P
         Fletcher is RUNNING NOW, COVERING HIS EARS and SINGING
         LOUDLY so as not to hear OTHER EMPLOYEE 'GREETINGS...
                             FLETC HER
                   LA-LA-LA-LA-LA-LA!!



         Fletcher speeds past--
                              · GRETA
                   Hi, boss. What's happening
                   WITH--
                             FLETCHER
                   DON'T ASK! FOR GOD'S SAKE,
                   PLEASE DON'T ASK!
         -- And races into his office.
         I NT . FLETCHER'S OFFICE - MORNING



         He leans against the door, trying to catch his breath.
                                            ·


                               FLETCHER,
                          (PACING)
                   Do n't panic. You can beat
                   this -- it's all a matter of
                   willpower.
         He dives for his desk and rifles through it.
                              FL ET CH ER
                   A test. . . Something small...
                   Aha!
         He holds up a BLUE PEN.
                              FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                   Red.   Red. All right. Focus,
                         (with great
                          DELIBERATION)
                   The color of this pen is · r--.
                   R--. R--! The color of this
                   pen is--blue! AAAAHH!
                         (burying his
                          HEAD)
                   Ahhhh! One' tiny lie and I
                   can't say it!!



                         (suddenly sitting
                          UP)
                 ' I'll write.it!
         He takes a sheet of PAPER, his pen and writes "This pen
         i s . . . " He tries to write an "R" but can't. He STRAINS.
         S TR AIN S HARDER. He's out of his chair, on the desk. His
         feet KICK OVER OBJECTS on the shelves'behind him. He
         finally forces pen to paper. He looks down where he wrote
         INADVERTENTLY:
                          "This pen is blue."
                               F LE TC HE R
                   NO, NO, NO, NO, NO! ! ! !
         Greta enters to find--
         FLETCHER running around the office, shaking the blue pen in
         the air.
                             GRETA
                   Boss, what's wrong?
                               FLETCHER
                 . The pen is blue!! The pen is     .
                   b l u e ! ! The GODDAMN PEN IS
                   BLUE !!!
         Almost weeping, he collapses into a chair. A moment --
         then Greta tentatively offers him a red pen.
                               GRETA
                   Red?


                              FLETCHER
                         (BITTER)
                   Oh, that's easy for you to
                   say?!
                            GRETA
                  Are you all right?
                             FLETCHER
                        (getting up)
                   I have to go home.
                            GRETA
                  Home? Was the case settled?
                              FLETCHER
                  No. I have to be in court at
                  one-thirty.


                               GRETA
                   Well, then how can you.go
                   home?
                             FLETCHER
                   I don't know, I don't know!!!
                               GRETA
                   Okay.
                         (walking on
                          EGGSHELLS)
                   Before I forget -- Rubin and
                   Dun n called. They want to
                   know where the Darvis
                   settlement offer stands.
                               FLETCHER
                   I only proposed a settlement
                   t o dick with them. I never
                   had any intention of going
                   th ro ug h with it.  .
         Not certain why her boss would .shoot himself in the foot,
         Greta nonetheless jots down his remarks.
                               GRETA
                   '·...dick with them." Okay.
                   Your accountant, Philip,
                   called to remind you about
                   getting together. .
                               FLETCHER
                   I'd rather shave my ass and
                   sit in vinegar..
                               GRETA
                        (jotting down a
                         NOTE)
                   Got it. And your mother
                   called again. Are you still
                   on vacation?
                                FLETCHER
                           (EMPHATICALLY
                            nodding "yes")
                   No.
                             GRETA
                   So then you're here?
                                FLETCHER
                           (EMPHATICALLY
                            shaking his head
                            "NO")
                   Yes.


                              GRETA
                   I ' m having a little trouble
                   following you. what do I say
                   to your mom?
                              FLETCHER
                         (RESIGNED)
                   Tell her I'm a thoughtless son
                   who'd rather spend ten hours
                   clogging the wheels of justice
                   than five minutes talking to
                   her-- but only if she asks.
                   You.might also add that she
                   deserves better, though I hope
                   to God you don't.
                              GRETA
                   Thanks for clearing that up.
                   And that's it, except your ex
                   called and asked when you were
                   cowing over to see your son.
                              FLETCHER
                         (REMEMBERS)
                   OHH! I'M SUCH A SHIT!!
         He reacts, particularly stunned by this truth.
         INT. VOLVO - MOVING / FLETCHER'S OFFICE - MORNING
         Audrey is driving Max, who wears his new baseball uniform
         when her cellular PHONE RINGS. She picks it up.
         We INTERCUT between car and office.
                              FLETCHER
                   AUDREY--
                             AUDREY'
                   Hey, Fletcher. T was
                   wondering if you were going to
                   still pick up Max after school
                   today.
                              FLETCHER
                  I don't think I can. I had a
                  case I was certain would
                  settle and it didn't. I have
                  to go to trial this afternoon,
                  God help me.


                             AUDREY
                        (not believing
                         HIM)
                  Right.
                             FLETCHER
                  It's true... I really do want
                  to see Max, today.
         Fletcher considers what he just said, realizes it is true.
                            FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                  How about that. I really do.
                            AUDREY
                       (CYNICALLY)
                  But things keep coming up at
                  the last minute.
                             FLETCHER
                  Yes, but-this time it's
                  different.
                           AUDREY
                  I see. And how is that?
                                        .                         ·
                              FLETCHER
                        ( he walked into
                         IT)
                  This time I'm telling the
                  truth.
                            AUDREY
                  But last night you weren't?
                            FLETCHER
                  No.
                            AUDREY
                  What were you doing?
                            FLETCHER
                  Having sex.
                            AUDREY
                        (barely holding
                         her temper),
                  It must have been with someone
                  very "special."
                            FLETCHER
                  No. It was with someone I
                  don't even like. But I
                  thought it would help my
                  career and at the moment that



                  seemed more important than
                  attending my son's birthday!
                                A U D R EY
                  M y God!!
         She SLAMS DOWN the phone.
         INT. FLETCHER'S OFFICE
         Fletcher BANGS THE PHONE against his head in frustration! '.
                                       FLETCHER
                    A H H H H H H ! ! I WHAT IS WRONG WITH
                    ME I ! I
         E X T . FULGHAM KINDERGARTEN - MORNING



          The Volvo parks.
          Audrey gets out. She leans over to say good-bye to her
           son.             ,                 .
                               MAX
                     Is dad picking me up?
                                    AUDREY
                      No, I'm sorry, Max. He can't
                      make it. I will. I'll work
                      it out.
           Max is disappointed.
                                  MAX
                        I guess my wish didn't come ·
                        true.
                                   AUDREY
                        What wish?
                                       MAX
                       I wished that, for just one
                       day, Dad couldn't tell a lie.
             Max heads toward his teacher. Audrey is deeply moved.
             INT. FLETCHER'S OFFICE
             He's dialing the phone.
                                 FLETCHER
                       Answer, answer, answer...


              INTERCUT WITH AUDREY'S CAR


                   AUDREY
         Hello.
                   FLETCHER
         Audrey, let me explain.
         Something has happened to me--
                   AUDREY
         Fletcher, something else is
         about to happen to you.
                   FLETCHER.
         What do you mean?
                   AUDREY
         Max and I are moving to
         Boston.
                   FLETCHER
         What?!
                   AUDREY
         Jerry asked me to marry him.
         He wants Max and I to fly with
         him this weekend to pick out a
         house. And I'm going to go.
         God knows I don't have any
         reason to stay here.
                   FLETCHER
              (panicking)    .
         Wait, you can't move! If you
         take Max away... I'll
         practically never see him.
                   AUDREY
         Well then you'll have pretty
         much the same relationship you
         have with him now.
                   FLETCHER
         Audrey, please.... Is this
         because of what I just said on
         the phone?
                   AUDREY
         That was the straw and this is
         the camel's back saying
         goodbye.
                   FLETCHER
         Where are you?
                   AUDREY
         Heading home.


                                FLETCHER
                   When you gee there, stay
                   there. I'll be right over.
                   We have to talk.
                              AUDREY
                   FLETCHER--
                              FLETCHER
                   I'll be right- there!



         He hangs up and heads for the door.      It opens and Miranda
         enters.
                              FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                   Aaaah!
                              MIRANDA
                  Flet cher. Fletcher, Fletcher,
                  Fletcher. I must confess--
                  after last night's incident, I
                  was. . . hurt. So hurt. I was
                  tempted to do whatever little
                  things lie in my power to
                  scuttle your chances of making
                  partner.
         Fletcher is FRIGHTENED.
                             MIRANDA (CONT'D)
                  But then I thought, "No,
                  that 's not fair. Fletcher
                  didn't mean to insult me."
                        (STRAIGHTENING
                         his tie)
                  "It was just some massive,
                  boneheaded misunderstanding,
                  and Fletcher is very, very
                  sorry."
         Fletcher smiles.   It looks like he's off the hook, until--
                             MIRANDA (CONT'D)
                   Isn't that right, Fletcher?
                            FLETCHER
                       (in agony)
                  Uh -- not really, no.
                             MIRANDA
                         (stunned, angry)
                  N o ? No?! What are you
                  sayi ng? Have you no respect
                  for me?!


                              FLETCHER
                   None, whatsoever. I mean, I ' d
                   like to respect you, and if it
                   weren't for your mistreatment
                   of the associates, your
                   rudeness to the staff, and the
                   fact that your work sucks, I
                   would.
                             M IRANDA
                   But -- what about last night?
                              FLETCHER
                   I was afraid you wouldn't
                   support my partnership if I
                   turned you down. Plus, I have
                   an immature need for sexual
                   conquests.
         INT. HALLWAY OF LAW OFFICES - MORNING
         W e HEAR A SMACK! The door flies opens -- and a furious
         Miranda stalks off.
                                 ·
         INT. FLETCHER'S OFFICE - MORNING
         Fletcher rubs his freshly SLAPPED FACi..
         INT. BMW - MOVING / EXT, STREET - MORNING
         Fletcher speeds away. He pulls the blue pen from his
         pocket.
                              FLETCHER
                   Gotta focus. . . gotta focus.
         He's so preoccupied that he speeds through a crosswalk and
         almost hits an OLD MAN.
                             FLETCHER
                   The color of the pen is --
                   re d !      .
         But he hasn't regained the ability to lie -- he's referring
         to the RED LIGHT he just ran, nearly colliding with a
         truck. The DRIVER screams:
                             DRIVER
                   What's your problem, schmuck?!
                               FLETCHER
                          (the truth)
                   I ' m an inconsiderate prick!



           Fletcher once again focuses on the blue pen.
                               FLETCHER (CON "ID)
                     C'mon, you can do this! The
                     color of the pen is -- RED!
          This time he's referring to the flashing red light of a
          POLICE CAR in his rearview mirror.
                                 FLETC HER
                    S hi t !!



          Fletcher pulls over. A POLICE OFFICER strolls up.
                              POLICE OFFICER
                    Do you know why I stopped you?
                                 FLETCHER
                    Depends on how long you were
                    following me.
                                 POLICE OFFICER
                    Why don't we take it from the
                    top.
                               FLETCHER
                   ·     (in agony)
                    Here goes -- I didn't fasten
                    my seatbelt, I didn't glance
                    in my rearview mirror, I
                    didn't signal when I pulled
                    away from the curb, I sped, I
                    followed too closely, I ran a
                    stop sign, I almost hit :a
                   Chevy Camaro, I almost hit a
                   ge ezer, I sped some more, I
                   failed to yield at a
                   crosswalk, I changed lanes in
                   the intersection, I changed
                   lanes without signalling, and
                   I changed lanes in the
                   INTERSECTION-WITHOUT
                   signalling while running a red
                   light and speeding.
         A long moment.
                            POLICE OFFICER
                  May I see your driver's
                  license?
                                FLETCHER
                  No.


                             POLICE OFFICER
                   And why is that?
                             FLETCHER
                   It's in my other pants.
                             POLICE OFFICER
                   I see. And where are your ·
                   other pants?
                             FLETCHER
                   Hanging from my boss's
                   credenza.
                             POLICE OFFICER
                   Do you expect me to believe
                   that?
                             FLETCHER
                   No.


                             POLICE OFFICER
                   Do you think I'm an idiot?
                             FLETCHER
                   Yes -- but that's beside the
                   point! My license actually is
                   in my other pants, and they
                   actually were hanging from a
                   credenzaJ I wouldn't lie to
                   you! I mean, I would if I
                   could, but I can't!
                             POLICE OFFICER
                   I see. So you ..have no reason
                   to try and hide your license
                   from me?
                             FLETCHER
                  I didn't say that. I have
                  other reasons. Seventeen
                  reasons, to be precise.
                        (begrudgingly,
                         off the
                         officer's look)
                  Unpaid parking tickets.
                        (BESEECHINGLY)
                  Be gentle.
         EXT. AUDREY'S HOUSE - MORNING


         A cab speeds up to the house. Fletcher runs out. Audrey is
         headed to her car.


                             FLETCHER
                   Audrey, wait!
                             AUDREY
                   Wait? You know, I just had an
                   insight into myself. I ' m
                   crazy. You call me up and .
                   tell me to wait here because
                   you'll be right over and --
                   here's the crazy part -- I
                   actually wait.
                             FLETCHER
                   I can explain--
                             AUDREY
                   I missed a department meeting.
                   I. . . Did you come in a cab?
                             FLETCHER
                   Yes.
                             AUDREY
                   Where's your car?
         EXT, POLICE IMPOUND YARD - MORNING



         Audrey finishes paying the impound-yard CASHIER and joins
         Fletcher, who is waiting alongside hundreds of towed cars.
                             FLETCHER
                   Thank you. . I can't tell you
                   how much this means to me.
                             AUDREY
                   I can. One thousand, six
                   hundred, and fifty-four
                   dollars and eleven cents.
                             FLETCHER
                   Ow.



         At this moment WE HEAR a hideous scraping noise -- and a
         TOW-YARD EMPLOYEE whips Fletcher's BMW into view and.
         parks... revealing a prominent new scrape on the door.
                             FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                   You scratched my car!
                             TOW-YARD EMPLOYEE
                   Where?     .
                             FLETCHER
                  Right there!


                             TOW-YARD EMPLOYEE
                   Oh that? That was already
                   there.
                                FLETCHER
                           (OUTRAGED)
                   Why, you -- you liar! Do you
                   know what I ' m going to do
                   about this?
                               TOW-YARD EMPLOYEE
                   What?
                             FLETCHER
                        (angrier and
                         ANGRIER)
                   ...Nothing! Because if I take
                  you to small-claims court, it
                  will just drain eight hours
                  out of my life, and you
                  probably won't show up, and if
                  I finally got the judgment
                  you'd just stiff me anyway, so
                  what I'm gonna do is piss and
                  moan like an impotent jerk and
                . then bend over and take it up
                  the tail pipe!
                             TOW-YARD EMPLOYEE
                   You've been here before,
                   haven't you?
         He flips Fletcher the keys and goes.
                               AUDREY
                   Well I can't remember when
                   I've had more fun, now if
                   you'll excuse me, I have a
                   class.
         She starts out.
                               FLETCHER
                   Audrey, wait. I want to talk
                   to you about this Boston
                   situation.
                            . AUDREY
                   What do you want to say?
                               FLETCHER
                  You can't go. It's not fair.
                  Taking Max three thousand
                  miles away is not fair.


                             AUDREY
                   Let' s define "fair." Last
                 · night a five-year old boy was
                   crushed because his father
                   lied to him about coming to
                   his birthday party. Fair?
                             FLETCHER
                   Last night--
                            AUDREY
                  -- Was none of my business.
                  When it happened two years ago
                  it was my business, but now I
                  don't have to care anymore.
                  See, that's the magic of
                  div orce . But it does matter
                  to Max. Everything you do
                  matters to him... and
                  everything you don't do.
                             FLETCHER
                  All right-- now let me tell
                  you something...you're
                  absolutely right. I'm guilty
                  of all charges. I'm throwing
                  myself on the mercy of your
                  -court.
         Audrey doesn't know what to say. Fletcher seems very
         sincere, but she can't trust him.
                             FLETCHER {CONT'D)
                  I have an idea. I'll come
                  over tonight, right after
                  court lets out and play with
                  M ax. Have him invite some
                  fri ends over. We'll have a
                  game and everything. Then,
                  you and I can sit down and
                  talk.
                            AUDREY
                  We're suppose to be on a plane
                  TONIGHT--
                            FLETCHER
                  No, Audrey. Just talk to me
                  abou t this first. Please.
                  Au drey, I've lost you. Don't
                  make me lose Max, too.
                            AUDREY
                  You're really coming?


                             FLETCHER
                   This is iron-clad. This is
                   the mother of all promises.
                   What time?
                             AUDREY
                   ...Six?
                             FLETCHER
                   Ten-to-six.
                              AU DR EY
                         (UNSURE)
                   All right... only if I tell
                   Max you're coming and you
                   don't show up and I have to
                   see that look on Max's face --
                   that heartbreaking look-- it's
                   Boston, Fletcher.
                             FLETCHER.
                   I will be there.



         As Audrey gets in her car -- .
                             AUDREY
                  I hope so. Do you know what
                  your son was doing at nine-
                  fif teen las t ni ght? He was
                  making a wish on his birthday
                  c ake. He was wishing that,
                  for just one day, his dad
                  couldn't tell a lie.
         She drives away. Fletcher starts for his car, pensive,
         when a new thought strikes him.
                             FLETCHER
                  Oh my God! That-'s it! An
                  innocent kid - - a heartfelt
                  plea-- a birthday wish! Sure,
                  it' s impossible --but it
                  'makes sense!..! If he can wish
                  it, he can unwish it!
         INT. ELEMENTARY SCHOOL HALLWAY


         Fletcher marches quickly down the hall, cake box under his
         arm.
         INT. MAX'S KINDERGARTEN CLASS
         Ms. Berry's reading a story when Fletcher enters.   Max
         brightens.


                              MAX
                   Dad!


                              MS . BERRY
                   Are you Max's dad? I ' m Ms.
                   Berry, Max's teacher!
                              FLETCHER
                   Hi. Listen, I need to talk to
                   MAX--
                              MS. BERRY
                   Mr. Reid, we were just talking
                   ab ou t careers. You're a
                   lawyer, aren't you?
                               FLETCHER
                          (WARY)
                   Yes.
                             MAX
                   Mr. Reid it'would be wonderful
                   for the children to hear
                   something positive about
                   lawyers!
                             FLETCHER
                   Well, actually-- ·
                              MS. BERRY
                   Children! .Mr. Reid is going
                   to tell us what it's like to
                   be a lawyer.
         She leads the kids in APPLAUSE. Fletcher takes center
         s tage. The children stare, rapt with attenion.
                              FLETCHER
                   Uh, hi. Uh, I'm a lawyer and
                   I work at a big law firm with
                   a lot of other lawyers and I
                   do stuff in a law court.
                   Thank you.
         He starts out.
                              MS. BERRY
                   One moment, Mr. Reid. Maybe
                   some of the children have
                   QUESTIONS
                        (hands shoot up)
                   Jeffrey?


                             JEFF
                   What kind of lawyer are you?
                               FLETCHER
                   Mostly, I ' m a divorce lawyer.
                             BILLY
                   What's that?
                             FLETCHER
                   It means if you're daddy left
                   your mommy, he'd call me.
                             CRAIG
                   So what do you do?
                              FLETCHER
                        (growing more and
                         more impatient)
                   I help people fight over their
                   money and their children.
                             THEODORE
                   Can't they fight without you?
                             FLETCHER ' "
                   They could but then J wouldn't
                   make a living.
                             JILL
                   Why would my daddy leave my
                   mommy?
                             FLETCHER
                   To marry a younger woman. To
                   escape a loveless marriage and
                   have cheap meaningless sex.
                   To cling to an illusion of
                   youth as his body gives way to
                   sore backs, flat feet, spare
                   tires, gum disease, hair loss,
                   liver spots, kidney stones,
                   clogged arteries, diabetes,
                   goiter and eventual death.
         The kids EYES GO WIDE. A moment, then:
                              MS. BERRY
                         (BRIGHTLY)
                   Well, I think it's time for
                   fingerpainting.
         EXT. PLAYGROUND - DAY
         They're in the playground just outside the classroom.


                             FLETCHER
                   Monster-Max.


                             MAX
                   Dadzilla. You came to play
                   catch?
                             FLETCHER
                   No. I ' d like to, but I can't
                   right now.
         Max is disappointed again.
                              FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                   I ' m sorry I missed your party
                   la st night. How was your
                   Uncle Glen?
                             MAX
                   Stupid. His big nose and
                   stupid orange hair...
                             FLETCHER
                   That's why he should have worn
                   make-up.
         Fletcher elbows Max, playfully, trying to induce a laugh.
         Max doesn't laugh.
                     '       MAX .
                   I want to play kickball with
                   my friends.-
                             FLETCHER
                   Yeah, okay, urn... Your mother
                   told me about... the wish you
                   made last night. It came
                   true.
         Max is amazed.
                             MAX
                   Really? You mean you have to
                   tell the truth?
                             FLETCHER
                   Yes.


                            MAX
                  No matter what?
                            FLETCHER
                  No matter what.



         Max grins -- then suddenly asks, in rapid succession.
                             MAX
                   Is wrestling real?
                             FLETCHER
                   In the Olympics, yes.      On    .
                   Channel 23, no.
                             MAX
                   Will sitting close to the TV
                   set make me go blind?
                              FLETCHER
                   Not in a million years.
                              MAX
                   If I keep making this face--
                        (makes a horrible
                         FACE)
                   will it get stuck that way?
                              FLETCHER
                   Uh-uh.
                              MAX
                  .If I go in the water right
                  after lunch, will I drown?
                              FLETCHER
                   Only if you can't 'swim.
                             MAX
                   Why do I have to eat squash?
                              FLETCHER
                   Because your mom buys it.
                            MAX
                  How come you're always too
                  busy to play with me?
         The sudden shift in tone startles Fletcher. He feels
         awful.
                              FLETCHER
                  I . . . I don't know. I ' m . . . Hey,
                  you know I'm coming over
                  to nig ht. We're gonna play
                  together.
                              MAX
                  Baseball?


                               FLETCHER
                 . Yes! This is absolutely an
                   A-number one promise. You and
                   I -- tonight -- baseball.
         Fletcher and Max do their ritual "five" slap.
                               FLETCHER
                     Now, listen, Max, I need a
                     favor from you. I ' m in a
                     little trouble today. I need
                     you to take that wish back.
                               MAX
                     So you can lie?
                               FLETCHER
                     Not to you.
                               MAX
                     To who?
                               FLETCHER
                     Max, sometimes grownups...
                     need to lie. It's hard to
                     explain, but i f . . . Look,
                     here's an example. When Mommy
                     was pregnant with you, she
                     gained a little weight.
                     Se venty pounds. I thought she
                     was gonna give birth to a car.
                     But she'd say to me "How do I
                     lo ok?" So I'd say, "Oh,
                     honey, you're beautiful,
                     you're glowing.11 Otherwise, I
                     would've hurt Mommy's
                     fee ling s. Understand?
         Max nods.
                               MAX
                     You didn't think she was
                     beautiful.
                               FLETCHER
                     Right. No... Max, I don't
                     know how to get along in the
                     grown-up world if I have to
                     stick to the truth. I could
                     lose my case, I could lose my
                     promotion, I could even lose,
                     my job... Do you understand?
         Max shakes his head "no."


                               FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                     Will you help me anyway?
         A moment -- then Max reluctantly nods.
                                FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                     That's my boy!
         Fletcher opens the box, revealing a cake and candles.... He
         takes out two birthday hats. He puts one on Max and one on
         himself.
                               FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                     Now, do whatever you did last
                     night... only this time, make
                     an un-wish.
         Not really happy, Max turns to the candles on the cake. He
         takes a breath-- and blows them out.
                               MAX
                     I did it. ^
                               FLETCHER
                     Great! Great! Now to test --
                                                                  ·



         Fletcher spots an attractive FEMALE teacher. Fletcher
         hurries to her and says something. A moment. Then she
         SLAPS HIM.
         Fletcher returns to his son.
                               MAX
                     Did it work?
                                  FLETCHER            .       .
                          (rubbing his sore
                           CHEEK)
                     Not like I ' d hoped. Did you
                     really unwish it?
         Max nods.
                                  MAX
                     Only...
                                  FLETCHER
                     Only what?
                                  MAX
                     Yesterday, when I wished it, I
                     r ea lly meant it. This time
                     when I unwished it I only did
                     it 'cause you told me to.


                               FLETCHER
                        (losing patience)
                   Well, then do it again.        Only
                   this time, mean it.
                               MAX
                   I can't.
                               FLETCHER
                   Why not?!
                               MAX
                   Because I don't want you to
                   lie.
                               FLETCHER
                   I explained this to you! I
                   have to lie. Everybody lies!
                   Mommy lies, even the wonderful
                   Jerry lies--
                                       '
                               MAX
                   But you're the only one who
                   makes me feel bad.
                                     .    '   .                ·    ·
         Fletcher is stunned by how much this hurts.
                              MS. BERRY
                         (CALLING)
                   Max, recess 'is over, come on
                   in.
                             MAX
                   I have to go.
                               FLETCHER
                   I am coming over, tonight,
                   Max. You believe me, don't
                   you?
         Max hesitates, then nods.
                             FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                   I'll see you tonight, buddy...
                   That's a promise.
         Max heads back to class. Fletcher picks up the cake, looks
         at it, then dumps it in a trash barrel.
         EXT. SKYSCRAPER - DAY


         A worried and preoccupied Fletcher is heading toward his
         office building when a MACHO ATTORNEY passes by.


                             MACHO ATTORNEY
                   Yo, Fletcher! How's it
                   hanging?
                              FLETCHER
                   Short and shrivelled.
         Fletcher hurries up the steps when he spots Philip. He
         shields his face with his briefcase. Philip recognizes him
         anyway.
                              PHILIP
                   Fletcher! I'm still waiting
                   for your call. I guess you
                   must've lost my card --
                              FLETCHER
                   No --
                             PHILIP
                   Or my phone was busy --
                              FLETCHER
                   No --
                                                                  ·


                             PHILIP
                   Or you just forgot --
                             FLETCHER
                   No --
                              PHILIP
                         (cannot be
                          DISCOURAGED)
                   Or something. So anyway,' why
                   don't you swing by my place
                   around seven-thirty!
         Philip starts off, when Fletcher calls after him
         resolutely.
                             FLETCHER
                   Philip... I don't want to come
                   over to your house!
         A long moment, then --
                              PHILIP
                  Fi n e ! We'll go out! There's
                  this new karaoke bar I've been
                  dying to try. I'll pick you
                  up at your office! Seven-
                  thirty! !
         And he runs off.   Frustrated, Fletcher hurries on.


         INT. OFFICE'S - DAY


         Fletcher drags himself past Greta's desk. Miranda gives
         him the stink-eye. Fletcher doesn't see her.
                            GRETA
                  Do you want your messages?
                               FLETCHER
                  No.
         He goes into his office. Greta is concerned.   She follows
         him in, leaving his door open.
         INT. FLETCHER'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS


         Fletcher collapses onto his couch. Greta enters.
                            GRETA
                  Are you okay?
                            FLETCHER
                  My son hates me.
                               GRETA
                  No! He loves you. I've seen
                  y ou together. You're his
                  hero.
                               FLETCHER
                  O h yeah? Last night at his
                  birthday party, he made a
                  ·wish. That I wouldn't be able
                  to tell a lie for one whole
                  day.
                               GRETA
                  Kids...
                            FLETCHER
                  It came true.
                               GRETA
                  What?
                               FLETCHER
                  It's true. Didn't it seem odd
                  to you that I kept telling the
                  truth all morning?
                            GRETA
                  Well, yeah, but...


                        (INCREDULOUS)
                   You're telling me that you
                   can't lie.
                             FLETCHER
                   That's right!     I am incapable
                   of lying.
         INT. OUTER OFFICE
         Miranda is 'eavesdropping.    A wicked gleam in her eye,
         INT. FLETCHER'S OFFICE


                             GRETA
                   Just today?
                             FLETCHER
                   Apparently until 9:15 tonight.
                   It's a twenty-four hour curse.
                             GRETA
                   Yes, those are going around.
                             FLETCHER
                   You don't believe me.
                             GRETA
                   Of course not.
                             FLETCHER
                   Go ahead. Ask me something
                   I ' d normally lie about.
         She thinks.
                             GRETA
                  A ll right. Remember a few
                  months ago, I wanted a raise--
                             FLETCHER
                        (QUICKLY)
                   Forget it. Let's not do this.
                             GRETA
                  -- and the firm wouldn't.give
                  me one. And I asked you if
                  you would give it to me out of
                  your own pocket and you said
                  the company wouldn't permit it
                  because it creates jealousy
                  among the other secretaries?
                  Was that true or did you just
                  not want to pony up the dough?


         INT. OUTER OFFICE


         Greta is emptying all her personal effects into boxes.
         She's leaving. Fletcher is on the phone and looks very
         harras,sed.
                              FLETCHER
                   Greta, please...
                         (into phone)
                   Yes Judge Stevens, hi!..
                   Fletcher Reid. I ' m scheduled
                   to be in your court in half-
                   an-hour... Judge Stevens, I
                   badly, badly need a
                   continuance. . . so I can go
                   home and stay there the rest
                   of the day...111? Am I ill?
         He wants to say "yes", but he can't.
                               FLETCHER
                   In a way.
                        (covers the
                         MOUTHPIECE)
                   Please, lie to him for me.
         Greta holds up a framed photograph.
                               GRETA
                   I remember when you. bought me
                   t hi s silver frame. From
                   Tiffany's.
                          (QUESTIONING)
                   . . . Tiffany's?
                             FLETCHER
                   Jumbo's House of Junk.
         She thrpws it in the trash and keeps packing.
                             FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                   I'll give you the raise!
                               GRETA
                        (gives him the
                         FINGER)
                   Here's your raise.
                              FLETCHER
                         (into phone)
                   Hi, Judge Stevens?... Yes, I
                   know I haven't given you a
                   reason.
         The PHONE RINGS.


                                FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                           (into phone)
                   But if you could just do this
                   for me, I--
         The phone won't stop ringing.       .·'
                              FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                   Hold on, please,
                         (pushes two
                          BUTTONS)
                   Hello... Mom!!
         The phone flies into the air. He catches it.
                             FLETCHER {CONT'D)
                   Mom... Well, I wasn't actually
                   on vacation... Because I
                   didn't want to talk to you...
                   Because you insist on talking
                   to me about Dad's bowel
                   movements -- size, color,
                   frequency... I'll call you
                   later... No, not really.
         He pushes -two more buttons. Then SCREAMS.
                             FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                   Oh dammit! I cut him off! I
                   cut off the Judge! Greta...
         He falls to his knees.
                             FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                   I'm on my knees in a nine
                   hundred dollar suit. Don't
                   leave.
         Greta stops.     She seems to consider.
                                GRETA
                   A few years ago a friend of
                   mine had a burglar up on her
                   roof.
                                FLETCHER
                   Yes?
                               GRETA            ..
                  A burglar. -He fell through
                  the kitchen skylight and
                  landed on a cutting board on a
                  butcher's knife, cutting his
                  l e g. He sued my friend. The



                   burglar sued my friend.
                   Thanks to guys like you-- he
                   won. My friend had to pay him
                   six thousand dollars. Is that
                   justice?
                              FLETCHER
                   No. . . but what' s your poijit!
                              GRETA
                   My point is, it's hard to get
                   justice. But this is justice,
                         (pinches his
                          CHEEK)
                   Have a nice day in court,
                   bubbie.
         She leaves.   Fletcher starts to give chase...
                                FLETCHER
                   GRETA--
         He runs directly into Miranda.
                                FLETCHER
                   Aaaah!
         Miranda smiles like a cat that's trapped a mouse.
                                MIRANDA
                   Ah, Fletcher, so nice to bump
                   i nto you. Are you busy?
                                FLETCHER
                   Extremely.
                                MIRANDA
                   Good. Would you follow me,
                   please?
         Highly nervous, Fletcher follows Miranda down the hall.
                              MIRANDA (CONT'D)
                  Fletcher, did you know that
                  the partnership committee is
                  being headed up by Mr. Allan
                  himself?
                        (off his wary
                         NOD)
                  Say, you used to work directly
                  for Mr. Allan, didn't you?
                       (off his waried
                         NOD)
                  Tell me, what do you think of
                  him?


                             FLETCHER
                        (HELPLESS)
                   He's a pedantic,
                   pontificating, pretentious
                   bastard, a belligerent old
                   fart, a worthless, steaming
                   pile of cow dung.
                             MIRANDA
                        (GRINNING)
                   How delightful!
         She swings open a door, ushering Fletcher into --
         INT. CONFERENCE ROOM - DAY
         The room is filled with ATTORNEYS, including MR. ALLAN,
         the founder himself. Fletcher freezes.
                             MIRANDA
                   Pardon me for interrupting
                   your, meeting. Mr. Allan, you
                   remember Fletcher Reid.
                                                                      ·


                             MR. ALLAN
                  ·It's good to see you again,
                  Fletcher. '.
         An involuntary WHIMPER from Fletcher.
                             MIRANDA
                   Oh, that's right. You used to
                   work together. .Tell me, what
                   do you think of Mr. Allah?
         Fl etc he r gulps. This is it. His career is history. He's
         trying to hold it back, but--
                             MIRANDA
                   I said... What do you think of
                   Mr. Allan?
                             FLETCHER     .
                   He's a pedantic,
                   pontificating, pretentious
                   bastard, a belligerent old
                   fart, a worthless, steaming
                   pile of cow dung.
         DE AN SILENCE. Then --Mr. Allan bursts into raucous
         LAUGHTER. He is joined by everyone except Miranda, who
         looks on, STUNNED. Everyone pounds the table in hysterics.


                                MR. ALLAN
                   Marvelous! Marvelous! That's
                   what I love most about this
                   firm-- the collegial
                   atmosphere, the hearty good-
                   fellowship!
         Miranda is incensed.
                             MR. ALLAN (CONT'D)
                   And thanks for those flowers
                   for my anniversary. My wife
                   loved them.
                                FLETCHER
                   Well, I'm due in court... bye-
                   bye.
         INT. HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS
         Fletcher exits the conference, closes the door, breathes a
         sigh of relief, then FAINTS.   .
         INT. COURTROOM


         CLOSE UP of Fletcher, seated alone at a table. His hands
         are on his-face. He looks totally dazed. At the other
         table, sit Dana Appleton and Mr. Cole.
                               BAILIFF
                   All rise.
         They do. Judge Stevens enters. He sits. Everyone sits.
                               JUDGE STEVENS
                  Counselors, are we ready to
                  begin?
                              FLETCHER
                         (eagerly and a
                          little too
                          LOUDLY)
                  N o sir! We are not ready to
                  b eg in. My client has not
                  arrived.
         The doors OPEN and Virginia Cole enters with her CHILDREN
         and a NANNY.
                              FLETCHER      ·   .
                   --   until now.



         He collapses into his chair.



                         (to Falk, with
                          DETERMINATION)
                   Did you and Mrs. Cole ever
                   make lo-- forni-- roll in the
                   h-- make the beast with two
                   ba -- Did you two ever fu--
                   fu-- Fu!
         He begins to hyperventilate.     Virginia turns to Falk.
                              VIRGINIA
                   Wate r! Get him water!
         Falk hurries into the building as Fletcher hacks on.
                               FLETCHER
                   Fu-- fu--
                                                             /
                              VIRGINIA
                   S it down! Get some air!
                         (slaps him on the
                         BACK)
                   Try to relax! Breathe deeply!
         Falk hurries out with a cup, hands it to Fletcher, who
         downs it in one gulp -- then spews it out again, SCREAMING
         in PAIN. -
                              VIRGINIA (CONT'D)
                  W hat?!   What?!


                               FALK
                   I couldn't find any water, so
                   I got him coffee!
         Fletcher runs up and down the steps, frantically fanning
         h is scalded mouth. The bailiff appears.
                            BAILIFF
                  Judge is taking the bench.
         Fletcher's expression turns to terror.
         INT. COURTROOM - DAY
         The judge settles in. Mr. Allan and a smug Miranda look on
         from the gallery.
                            JUDGE STEVENS
                  You may proceed, Mr. Reid. .
         Everyone turns to Fletcher in anticipation.    In a voice
         quaking with fear...


                             VIRGINIA
                   Sorry. One of the kids threw
                   up in the car.
         Virginia takes her seat, leaving her two young children
         sitting dejectedly in the gallery with their nanny.
                              FLETCHER
                         (INCREDULOUS
                          WHISPER)
                   You brought your kids. . . to
                   your divorce?
                             VIRGINIA
                        (by way of
                         EXPLANATION)
                   Sympathy.
                             FLETCHER
                   Well, it's working. I feel
                   sorry for them already.
         The judge BANGS the gavel.
                              JUDGE STEVENS
                   Ms. Appleton, you may begin.
                                                    CUT TO:
         Dana Appleton questions BRYSON, a private investigator.
         Fletcher watches with mounting anxiety, NERVOUSLY DRINKS
         from a GLASS OF WATER at his table.
                             BRYSON
                        (referring to his
                         NOTES)
                   -- From March six through June
                   twelve, I surveilled Mrs. Cole
                   at the behest of Mr. Cole.
                   During that period, I noted
                   that Mr. Cole left each day
                   between seven-forty and seven-
                   fifty. Thereafter, Mrs. Cole
                   would frequently have a male
                   visitor arrive and stay for
                   one to four hours. I was able
                   to take several photographs of
                   the male visitor.
         He shows a photo - - o f a strapping hunk. Fletcher TAKES A
         HUGE DRINK.           .
                             DANA
                   I see. And do you .know what
                   Mrs. Cole and her male visitor



                   did during their frequent...
                   visits?
                             BRYSON
                   Well, they were pretty good
                   about keeping the shades drawn
                   -- but I sure was able to
                   hear. I made an audiotape of
                   one such., "session."
         H e hands her the tape. Fletcher refills his glass.
                             DANA
                   With the Court's permission, I
                   would like to play the tape.
                             FLETCHER
                   Your Honor, I object!
                             JUDGE STEVENS
                   And why is that, Mr. Reid?
                              FLETCHER
                         (can't help
                          HIMSELF)
                   Because it's devastating to my
                  ·case.
         The judge is startled by his candor.
                              JUDGE STEVENS
                   Overruled..
         As Dana pops the tape into a player, Fletcher anxiously
         DOWNS THE GLASS.
         Periodically CUTTING to Virginia, Mr. Cole, Dan and the
         thirsty Fletcher, we hear Virginia and her visitor engaged
         in intense physical activity.
                             MALE VISITOR (O.S.)
                   So , what did you say? You
                   ready?
                             VIRGINIA (O.S.)
                   Oh boy am I ready.
                            MALE VISITOR (O.S.)
                  Good. Let me help you off
                  with that. Come on, lie down.
                             VIRGINIA (O.S.)
                  Wai t a minute. Do you have
                  protection?


                              MALE VISITOR ( O . S . )
                   Right here. Okay, now I ' m
                   gonna show you something new.
                              VIRGINIA ( O . S . )
                   Oh, I've never done it like
                   this before.                    .·.
                             MALE VISITOR (O.S.)
                   Don't worry, you can take it.
                   Oh yeah. That's it. There
                   you go. Yes! Yes!
         WE HEAR labored rhythmic breathing.
                             MALE VISITOR (O.S) (CONT'D)
                   Yes, yes, yes --
         As Dana fast-forwards again, then resumes... with still
         more labored breathing, building intensity and --
                              MALE VISITOR (O.S.) (CONT'D)
                   Oh yeah, bring it on .home --
                   yes! Yes! Yes!
                             VIRGINIA (O.S.)
                   Yes! YES! YES!
         The groans reach their incredible climax. There's a still
         moment. . .
         As the shy COURT REPORTER, the macho BAILIFFS and the no-
         nonsense judge all mop their brows, Dana shuts off the
         tape. She turns to Fletcher with a satisfied smile.
                             DANA
                   Your witness.
                              FLETCHER
                   No questions.
                             JUDGE STEVENS
                   No questions? .
                             VIRGINIA
                   No questions?
                               FLETCHER
                         (afraid to ask
                          ANY)
                   No questions.
                               DANA
                         (TRIUMPHANT)
                   Petitioner rests.


                                JUDGE STEVENS
                   All right, Mr. Reid. You may
                   proceed.
                                FLETCHER
                           (to himself)
                   How?!
         Gathering his courage, he stands, downs the last of his
         water, and moves to the lecturn. He's about to speak...
         when a WONDERFUL FEELING sweeps through him.
         After a momement, he grins.
                             FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                   Would the Court be willing to
                   grant me a short bathroom
                   break?
                             JUDGE STEVENS
                   It can't wait?
                             FLETCHER
                   Not unless you want to mop up.
                                JUDGE STEVENS
                           (FRUSTRATED)
                   All right, but get back in
                   here immediately so .we can
                   finish this.
         Fletcher beams. Then necessity compels him to race out.
         INT. REST ROOM - DAY
         Fletcher stands before the urinal, taking the longest leak
         i n legal history. Relief. Then, he looks at his watch.
         It's only 4:15. '
                               FLETCHER
                   What did I think? That I
                   could piss for forty-five
                   minutes?!
         He HITS HIS FOREHEAD in frustration... and gets an idea.
         He HITS HIMSELF AGAIN and AGAIN, SMASHES HIS HEAD INTO THE
         WALL, POKES HIMSELF IN THE EYES, YANKS ON HIS EARS, finally
         KNOCKS HIMSELF IN THE STALL, where he continues his attack.
         A MAN enters, hears a commotion from behind the stall door.
                             MAN
                   What's going on in-there?


                               FLETCHER (O . S . )
                   I ' m abusing myself! Do you
                   mind?!
         The man looks disgusted. He carefully leaves the room.
         INT. COURTROOM - DAY
         The judge is PISSED. Suddenly the bailiff helps in the
         severly beaten Fletcher. The entire courtroom is SHOCKED.
                             BAILIFF
                   I found him like this in the
                   bathroom. Somebody beat the
                   hell out of him.
                             JUDGE STEVENS
                   Who did this?
                              FLETCHER
                         (TRUTHFULLY)
                   A madman, Your Honor.. A
                   desperate fool at the end of
                   his pitiful.rope.
                             JUDGE STEVENS
                  -What did he look like?
                             FLETCHER
                        (DESCRIBING
                         HIMSELF)
                   About five eleven, hundred
                   eighty-five pounds, crazed
                   look in his eye.
                                JUDGE STEVENS
                   Bailiff, have the deputies
                   search the building.
         A HUBBUB rises. He bangs the gavel.
                            JUDGE STEVENS (CONT'D)
                  Under the circumstances, I
                  have no choice but to recess
                  this case until tomorrow
                  morning at nine.
         Fletcher smiles serenly -- until --
                             JUDGE STEVENS (CONT'D)
                   -- Unless, of course, you
                   think you can still proceed?
         Fletcher covers his mouth in a desperate attempt to avoid
         answering, but he can't repress the truth.


                                JUDGE STEVENS (CONT'D)
                   Can you?
                              FLETCHER
                   Yes, I can.
                             JUDGE STEVENS
                   Splendid. I admire your
                   courage, Mr. Reid. I'll give
                   you a few minutes to compose
                   yourself, and then we'll get
                   started.
         Fletcher looks as if he has just been sentenced to death.
         EXT. COURTHOUSE STEPS - DAY
         Fletcher sits on the courthouse steps, miserable. PHONE
         RINGS.
                                FLETCHER
                   Hello.
         INTERCUT WITH MAX AT HOME. AUDREY IS THERE.
                                MAX
                   Dad...
                             FLETCHER
                        (summoning up
                         ENTHUSIASM)
                   Maxi-pad. How's it going?
                                MAX
                   Great. You know Paul and
                   Emanuel from across the
                   street?
                                FLETCHER
                   The twins.
                               MAX .
                          (EXCITEDLY)
                  Well, they never want to play
                  baseball with me, but I told
                  them I was gonna play tonight
                  with my Dad, so now they want
                  to play with us. Is it okay?
                                FLETCHER
                  Sure.


                              MAX
                   Oh boy. We're setting up a
                   whole field in the yard.
                   Where we buried Petey the
                   hamster is second base.
                        (Fletcher sighs)
                   You're still coming right?'
                              FLETCHER
                         (sees Virginia
                          APPROACHING)
                   I'11 be there. I gotta go
                   now, Max. I'll see you in two
                   hours.
         Max hangs up.
                              MAX
                        (to Audrey)
                   He's really coming.
         She smiles, but she's worried. .
         COURTHOUSE STEPS
                                                                   ·



         Virginia approaches with her handsome lover, LAURENCE FALK.
                              VIRGINIA
                   Mr. Reid, you remember
                   Laurence Falk, the man from
                   the tape.
                             FALK
                   How are you?
                              FLETCHER
                   I've slipped into the seventh
                   circle of Hell, thank you, and
                   you?
         Virginia exchanges an anxious look with Falk.
                              VIRGINIA
                   Shouldn't we go over our
                   testimony?
                              FLETCHER
                   Well, basically the plan is I
                   walk you through the tape step
                   by step, I ask you questions--
                              VIRGINIA
                   And we give the explanation
                   you came up with.


                                FLETCHER
                   Exactly.


                               FALK
                   So all we have to do is lie.
                   Sounds simple enough.
                               FLETCHER
                   Do esn't it? And I'll finish
                   up with a dramatic series of
                   questions, something like...
                   "Mr. Falk, isn't it true that
                   you and Mrs. Cole have never
                   made lo--"
         But Fletcher GAGS. He CAN'T GET THE QUESTION OUT.   The
         others look concerned, but he waves them off.
                             FLETHCER (CONT'D)
                   Sorry. I'm fine. "Mr. Falk,
                   isn't it true that you and
                   Mrs. Cole have never made lo--
                   IO-.H



         To his horror, he GAGS AGAIN, .unable to form the word.
                                FLETCHER
                           (to himself)
                   Oh my God! I can't do it! I
                   can't finish the question if I
                   know the answer is a lie!
         At this moment Miranda and Mr. Allan come up the steps.
                               MR. ALLAN
                   Don't let me interrupt,
                   Fletcher. I just want you to
                   know I'll be observing this
                   a fternoon. Miranda insisted I
                   see you in action.
         Fletcher shoots a hateful look at Miranda. She smiles.
                             MR. ALLAN (CONT'D)
                   I'm looking forward to it. Go
                   get 'em!



         Mr. Allan and Miranda head into the building, leaving
         Fletcher more desperate than before.
                               FLETCHER
                  C'mon! Gotta rephrase the
                  question!


                                     FLETCHER
                        Respondent calls... Lawrence
                        Falk.
              Fletcher's clears his throat.       Here goes...
                                     FLETCHER
                        Mr. Falk, do you know my
                        client, Virginia Cole?
                                     FALK
                        Yes.
                                     FLETCHER
                        Isn't it true that your
                        relationship with my client is
                        entirely platonic, not?
              The "not" was INVOLUNTARY.       It takes everyone by surprise.
                                     FALK
                        Excuse me?
                                    FLETCHER
                       If I might rephrase your
                       Honor.
                             (trying again)
                       Is your relationship with my
                       client entirely patonic, not?
         X\
                       Is your relationship with my
                       client not entirely platonic?
                       Is not your relationship with
                       my client entirely platonic?
                            (thinks he's got
                              it, beams with
                              CONFIDENCE)
                       Mr. Falk, is not your
                       relationship with my client
                       entirely platonic?
                                    FALK
                               (CONFUSED)
                       No.     I mean, yes.     I think.
                                    FLETCHER
                       Yes, is your relationship with
                       my client not entirely
                       platonic, or yes, is not your
                       relationship with my client
                       entirely platonic?
                                   FALK
                       What?


                              FLETCHER
                   How 'bout just answering the
                   question you think I'm asking?              '
                              DANA
                   Your Honor, he's badgering the
                   wintness!
                              JUDGE STEVENS
                   It's hig witness!
                              FLETCHER
                   Did you ever not make lo--
                   Did you not ever make lo--
                         (losing it)
                   YOU HAD SEX WITH HER EVERYTIME
                   YOU MET, DIDN'T YOU? DIDN'T
                   YOU?!!
         Falk looks shaken as Fletcher barrels on, unable to stop
                               FLETCHER
                         (screaming at
                          HIM)
                   ADMIT IT! YOU .SLAMMED HER!!
                   YOU STOKED THE FUR FIRE! YOU
                   -DID THE YAM DANCE! !
                              FALK
                         (breaking down)
                   YES, YES,-- IT'S TRUE! I
                   HUMPED HER. BRAINS OUT! !
         A GASP from the audience. All eyes are on Fletcher.
                              FLETCHER
                         (WEAKLY)
                   No further questions.
                              DANA
                   Uh...no questions.
                              JUDGE STEVENS
                         (to Fletcher)
                   Call your next witness.
                              FLETCHER
                   I have no further witnesses,
                   your Honor.
         A MURMUR erupts from the crowd.
                              JUDGE STEVENS
                   You have no further
                   witnesses?!



         Fletcher meekly shakes his head, no.
                             VIRGINIA
                        (whispers, to
                         FLETCHER)
                   What are you doing? Call me.
                             FLETCHER
                        (to Virginia)
                   I can't.
                              JUDGE STEVENS
                  Mr. Reid?
                             VIRGINIA
                   Call me, damn it!
                              FLETCHER
                  You don't understand. I can't
                  lie . Until nine-sixteen
                  tonight, I can't even.ask a
                  question that calls for a lie!
         Virginia GRABS HIM BY THE TIE, pulls him CLOSE to her face.
                              VIRG INIA
                  L is ten , you bastard. I want
                  m y money. I am not gonna wind
                  up a 31 year old divorce on
                  welfare because my scum bag
                  attorney had a sudden attack
                  of conscience!
         Fletcher suddenly stops -- focused on something Virginia
         said.
                            FLETCHER
                       (to himself)
                  Thirty-one?
                              JUDGE STEVENS
                  Mr. Reid, we're not getting
                  any younger...
         Fletcher quickly looks at the blowup of Virginia's prenup
         and her passport.
                             JUDGE STEVENS
                        (he's had it)
                  Mr. Reid you have presented
                  virtually nothing in the way
                  of evidence and as such I have
                  no choice but to rule in favor
                  of --


                                 FLETCHER
                    WAIT!



         Silence.
                                 FLETCHER      ·.
                            (DRAMATICALLY)
                    Your Honor, I call Virginia
                    Cole to the stand.
         Stunned, Virginia nervously makes her way up,
                              MR. ALLAN
                         (in the gallery)
                    What the hell is he doing?
                              MIRANDA
                    Kissing his career goodbye.
         The Baliff stands before the witness.
                                BALIFP
                    Do you swear to tell the
                     truth, the whole truth and
                    nothing but the truth, so help
                    -you God?
                                VIRGINIA
                    I do.
         Fletcher approaches,. CONFIDENT NOW, COCKY.
                                FLETCHER
                    Mrs. Cole -- may I call you
                    Virginia?
                                VIRGINIA
                    Yes.
                                FLETCHER
                    But that would be a lie,
                    wouldn't it?
                              VIRGINIA
                    What do you mean?
                                FLETCHER
                    Isn't your true name...
                         (BRANDISHING
                          PASSPORT)
                    Carlotta?!


                              VIRGINIA
                   Well, yes. But it wasn't me
                   so I started using Virginia.
                   Is there anything wrong with
                   that?
                            FLETCHER         ·.
                  Not really. It's just the
                  first and smallest in the
                  tissue of lies that is the
                  Kleenex of your life. Let's
                  take one simple document as a
                  sample of your veracity, shall
                  we, Carlotta?
         He grabs her purse from the desk, rifles through it,
                              F LETCHER
                  Your driver's license. What
                  color are your eyes?
                              VIRGINIA
                  Blue.
                              FLETCHER
                  Tru e blue? What if I asked
                  you to remove your contact
                  l enses? What color would they
                  be then?
                             VIRGINIA
                        (RELUCTANTLY)
                  Brown.
                              FLETCHER
                  And here it says you're a
                  b l on de . Are you?
                          (off her silence)
                  C'mon, Carlotta, there's a
                  very easy way for us to check.
                  If you don't remember, perhaps
                  Mr. Falk will.
                              VIRGINIA
                  Brunette.
                              FLETCH ER
                  More like a dirty brown, isn't
                  it?
                        (she nods)
                  Let's see - . - " Weight: one-o-
                  five"? Please...
                            VIRGINIA .
                  One-eighteen.



              (off his look)
         One-twenty-six. I swear!
                   FLETCHER
         So on this single document,
         you basically lied at every
         opportunity. I'm sure a woman
         as vain as you would also lie
         about her age. It says you
         were born in 1964. What's the
         truth? 1962? '60? How young
         did you try to make yourself?
                    VIRGINIA
               (JOYFULLY)
         Wrong! I didn't lie to make
         myself younger. I made myself
         older. I was born in 1965!"
                   FLETCHER
              (FEIGNING
               SURPRISE)
         What? You're trying to tell
         us you lied to make yourself
         older?
                   VIRGINIA
         Yes! "  lied so I could get
         married! So .there Mister 'I
         GOT-ALL-THE-ANSWERS-BECAUSE-I-
         went-to-law-school'!
                   JUDGE STEVENS
         Mr. Reid, does this have a
         point?
                   FLETCHER
         Oh, you bet it does, your
         Honor!
              (on a roll)
         My client lied about her age
         because she was only 17 when
         s he got married. Which makes
         h er a minor. And in the great
         state of California, NO MINOR
         CAN ENTER INTO A LEGAL
         CONTRACT WITHOUT PARENTAL
         CONSENT INCLUDING--
                   DANA
              (defeated, to
               HERSELF)
         Prenuptual agreements.


                                 FLETCHER
                         (knows he has
                          THEM)
                   PRENUPTUAL AGREEMENTS! THANK
                   YOU VERY LITTLE! This
                   contract is void!!! The fact
                   that my client gets nailed ·
                   more often than a two-by-four
                   is irrelevant. Standard
                   community property applies and
                   this woman is entitled to half
                   of the marital assets or
                   thirty-seven point three-nine-
                   five million dollars!!
                           (to Dana)
                   Yo . . . . a e . . . . T A T T T ! !
                     u         r           OSTT!
                         (DRAMATICALLY)
                   Nothing further, your Honor!
         A MURMUR OVERTAKES THE ROOM!
                                 /
                             JUDGE STEVENS
                        (banging his
                         GAVEL)
                   Q uie t! Let me see-the license
                   and birth certificate.
         All is quiet while the Judge reviews the documents. Then:
                                 JUDGE STEVENS
                   In light of this new evidence,
                   the court must rule in favor
                   o f the defense. Mrs. Cole is
                   hereby awarded half of the
                   marital assets -or thirtyrseven
                   million three hundred and
                   ninety-five thousand dollars.
         The courtroom ERUPTS.       FLETCHER'S WON!      Dana, Mr. Cole are
         devastated.                    '
                                 MR. ALLAN
                   That son of bitch pulled it
                   off!
         Mr. Allan gives Fletcher a thumbs-up; simultaneously,
         Miranda gives him the finger.
                                 JUDGE STEVENS
                   O r d e r ! Order!! Now i
                   understand both parties have
                   agreed to joint custody. Is
                   that correct?


                              FLETCHER AND DANA
                   YES--
                              VIRGINIA
                   No!   I'm contesting custody.



         Fletcher freezes.
                              FLETCHER
                   What?
                              VIRGINIA
                        (re: her husband)
                   Payback. For him trying to
                   prevent me from collecting my
                   thirty-seven million.
                              FLETCHER
                   He was entitled to prevent
                   you. You committed adultery.'
                   You only won because you're a
                   liar, remember? .
                              VIRGINIA
                  No. You pointed out that my
                  husband took advantage of a
                  poor underage girl. I was the
                  vic tim here. And now I'm
                  going to hit him where it
                  hurts.
                              FLETCHER
                   But -- but -- you said he was
                   a good father.
                             JUDGE STEVENS
                  M r. Reid? Do we have an
                  agreement on custody or not?
         Fletcher takes a distressed look at the children.
                              FLETCHER
                  No.                                            .
                              JUDGE STEVENS
                  In that case, there will be a
                  custody hearing tomorrow
                  mor ning at nine. Court is
                  adj ourned!
         He BANGS THE GAVEL. Everyone gets up, but Fletcher's
         attention is drawn to a commotion between Virginia and her
         kids.


                                   VIRGINIA
                         Stop that! We're leaving now!
                                   CHILD
                         I want to go with Daddy.
         V,'
         ,-
          .-
               Fletcher watches, horrified, as she drags the kids away
               from their tearful father.
                                   MR. COLE
                         Don't worry. I'll see you no
                         matter what. I promise.
               Mr. Allan has made his way up to Fletcher.
                                    MR. ALLAN
                               (re: the
                                COMMOTION)
                         I love kids. They give you so
                         much leverage in a case like
                         this.
                              (pats Fletcher on
                               BACK)
                         Congratulations, partner. how
                         does it feel?
               And with that question asked, as he watches poor Mr. Cole
               and his kids, the truth dawns on Fletcher like a
               sledgehammer!
                                    FLETCHER '
                         Excuse me. Just a second.
                               (to the Judge)
                         Y our Honor? Your Honor?
                         Wait!
                                    JUDGE STEVENS
                         We',re adjourned, Mr. Reid.
                                   FLETCHER
                         Screw that!! She lies and she
                         wins ?! What are we, nuts?
               Everyone stops, watches Fletcher.
                                    FLETCHER (CONT'D)
                         T his woman --my client --
                         goes down with the frequency
                         of a nuclear submarine and we
                         just gave her thirty seven
                         million dollars because she's
                         a liar! And now as an extra
                         added little bonus, we're
                         going to let her steal, the
                         kids, too?


                            JUDGE STEVENS
                  Mr. Reid, you are out of
                  order!
                                FLETCHER
                           (SCREAMING)
                · SO'S THE HAND DRYER IN THE
                  MEN'S ROOM!! Do you ever stop
                  to ask yourself, why do people
                  hate us? Could it be because
                  what we did here today sucks?!
                  We don't care about the truth!
                  We don't want to find the
                  t r u th ! We want to win! We
                  want to win at all costs...and
                  you know what the worst thing
                  about wanting to win so badly
                  i s ? WINNING! Winning and
                  finding out you're left with
                  nothing!
                            JUDGE STEVENS
                  That's enough, Mr. Reid --
                            FLETCHER
                  -Let' s see what I' ve done
                  today. I've helped a gold
                  digging slut get richer. I'm
                  taking this guy's kids away.
                         (to Mr. Allan)
                  I don't like you in the least,
                  now I'm one of your partners!
                  YOU WANNA KNOW WHAT IT FEELS
                  LIKE MR. ALLAN? IT FEELS LIKE
                  SHIT! BUT TO TELL YOU IT
                  FEELS LIKE SHIT, FEELS FUCKING
                  GREAT 1 I
         Fletcher does feel strangely fantastic. Free,
                            JUDGE STEVENS
                  That's it, Mr..Reid.    I find
                  you in contempt!
                            FLETCHER
                  GOOD! I'M CONTEMPTIBLE! MY
                  WHOLE GODDAMN LIFE IS JUST ONE
                  BIG FAT FIB! YOU LIKE MY
                  HAIR? --
                        (mussing hair)
                  MOUSSED! SHOULDERS --
                        (ripping out
                         PADS)
                  PADDED! SHOES --



                         (kicking them
                          OFF)
                   LIFTED! TEETH --
                        (pulling out
                          CAPS)
                   CAP PED! FIV E-NIN ETY A
                   CHICKLET!!



         COMMOTION in the court.   The judge BANGS HIS GAVEL!!!


                             JUDGE STEVENS
                   Bailiff! Remove Mr. Reid from
                   the courtroom!
                              FLETCHER
                   Yo u wanna know the truth? Oh
                   yeah, let's let it rain... The
                   truth is is that I've traded
                   my life...a beautiful wife, an
                   incredible son for THIS PISS
                   POT OF BIG DOUBLE O'S!
         The bailiff grabs Fletcher, forces him out...
                             FLETCHER
                   GO AHEAD, YOUR HONOR, BANG
                   YOUR GAVEL .-- KEEP TELLING
                   YOURSELF YOU'RE A BIG SHOT! DO
                   I SENSE A CASE OF GAVEL ENVY!!
                   WHAT'S THAT UNDER YOUR ROBE --
                   INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE?!!
                        (the judge is
                         turning beet
                         RED)
                 . I TOUCHED A NERVE DIDN'T I?
                   WE'RE ALL A BUNCH OF BULLSHIT
                   ARTISTS!! IS THAT THE TRUTH
                   IN YOUR PANTS OR ARE YOU JUST
                   HAPPY TO SEE ME??
         Fletcher is pushed passed Mr. Allan.
                             MR. ALLAN
                   You just killed your career.
                   I hope you're happy.
                             FLETCHER
                   I'M BEYOND HAPPY MY BUTT FACED
                   FRIEND--- I'M EUPHORIC!
         EXT. AUDREY'S PORCH -'DAY


         A sad Max is seated on the steps. TWO other BOYS are there
         with baseball equipment.


                              PAUL
                   We're going home.
                             EMMANUEL
                   Yeah, thanks for the great
                   game, Max.
         Emanuel knocks Max's hat off. Audrey's been watching from
         the door. She goes and sits by her son.
                             AUDREY
                   Max, honey. Your dad had a
                   very big case today. It
                   probably just--
                             MAX
                   I don't want to talk about it.
                             AUDREY
                   Okay.
                             MAX
                        (SUDDENLY)
                   I hate dad! I hate him!
                             AUDREY
                   Honey, don^t say that.
         Max is really upset. It's "that look" and then some. The
         look Audrey never wanted to see again. She makes a
         decision.
                             AUDREY
                   Max, there's something I-want
                   to talk to you about. . .
         INT. JAIL AREA


         Fletcher's handcuffed and is led to jail by TWO OFFICERS-.
         There's a happy/crazedness to him now. The truth is
         pouring forth, but he looks way, way off the deep end.



                           (desperately,
                            p as si ng a phone)
                     Pho ne call!! Phone call!! I
                     g et to make a phone call!!
         INT. AUDREY'S KITCHEN -- DAY
         Max and Audrey at the table. The airline tickets Jerry
         gave her are in front of them.
                               MAX
                     When would we move?
                                AUDREY
                     Soon. My semester's almost
                     over. You only have a week
                     left of school... You like
                     Jerry don't you?
                           (he nods)
                     So what do you say, should we
                     check it out? Jerry wants us
                     to come with him tonight. He
                     has to pick out a place to
                     live and he really wants our
                     help?
                                MAX
                     Could I get a sled for when it
                     snows?
                               AUDREY
                     Of course you can.
         Max thinks, then:
                                MAX
                     Okay.
         INT. JAIL
         F l e t c h e r ' s holding a phone. He's frantic, now.
                                 F L E TC H E R
                           ( re: ringing
                            PHONE)
                     Answer! Answer!! Answer!! !
                                      %



         The phone RINGS, Audrey answers it.
                               AUDREY
                     Hello.     .
         INTERCUT FLETCHER/AUDREY


                              FLETCHER
                   Audrey!   It's Fletcher--
                             AUDREY
                        (PISSED)
                   I can't talk now, Fletcher.
                   We have to pack.
                               FLETCHER
                   Wait, the most amazing thing's
                   happened to me! I am feeling
                   so good...
                        (REALIZING)
                   Pack?! Did you say pack?!
                               AUDREY
                   Max was sitting on the porch
                   again, waiting for his dad. I
                   won't let you do this to him
                   anymore. I won't let you do
                   this to me.
                               FLETCHER
                   A ud rey , wait. Please, I need
                   to talk to you. I .swear, I'm
                   a changed man. Just come to
                   the courthouse with a thousand
                   dollars and bail me out...
                   Hello?
                          (to a cop)
                   O ne more call!! I need
                   another call!!
         INT. JAIL CELL - DAY


         Fletcher is pacing back and forth. A GROUP OF TOUGH
         PRISONERS are on the far side of the cell, trying to stay
         as far away from Fletcher as they can.
                               FLETCHER
                   And what about our water
                   su pply ? You don't think "the
                   man's" dumped enough toxins to
                   render every dick in this cell
                   as lifeless as a beached
                   minn ow? You're damn rightJ
                   "The man" does anything he
                   w an ts. We're nothing but
                   pu ppets... Little game pieces
                   they move back and forth.
         A DEPUTY appears.     '


                               DEPUTY
                   Mr. Reid.     ^


                             FLETCHER
                   That's me. Fletcher T. Reid.
                   Pawn no. 332-154-9867.
                             DEPUTY
                   You made bail. Some woman.
         INT. OUTER AREA
         Fletcher rushes in.
                               FLETCHER
                  Audrey?
                        (he spots)
                  Greta?!
                              GRETA
                  Am I too late? Have you been
                  se xu al ly molested yet? I
                  could circle the block.
                               FLETCHER
                  Greta! Greta!! . . . . Look at
                  you, you well preserved,
                  underpaid, overworked,
                  underappreciated thing you.
                  G iv e me a hug! You came and
                  got me out!! Hug me!!
                               GRETA
                       (totally wierded
                        OUT)
                  Yes, well, I heard you went
                  all noble in front of Mr.
                  Allan so--
                               FLETCHER
                  Y ou know what?! I love you.
                  I loveyouloveyouloveyou. I
                  wa nt to hug you. Come here..,
                               GRETA
                  Mr. Reid, what has gotten intc
                  to you?!
                               FLETCHER
                  Just the truth, Greta.
                  Fifteen years of being stuck
                  in a lie is nowhere near as
                  powerful as one day of being
                  stuck in the truth.



                        (checks his
                         WATCH)
                   Oh, my God!! I have to go!
                   Thanks again, Greta!
                        (as he runs off
                         he calls back to
                         HER)
                   By the way, the truth is that
                   I need you and I couldn't file
                   a paperclip without you!
         Greta smiles, then catches herself, and quickly regains her
         "composure".
                                                    CUT TO:
         EXT.STREETS/INT. BMW
         Fletcher's driving like a madman...
                              FLETCHER
                         (on his phone)
                   Answeransweransweranswer...
         We HEAR a RECORDED VOICE:
                                                                       ·


                                VOICE
                   The subscriber you called is
                   either unavailable or outside
                   the calling area.
                                FLE TCHER
                   Shit!!
         INT. LAX UNITED TERMINAL - DAY


         A udrey and Max meet Jerry by the ticket counter. Max is
         wearing the Dodger cap his dad gave him. Jerry surprises
         him with a Boston Red Sox hat.
                                JERRY
                   A little going away present.
                   I was gonna get you a bowl of
                   clam chowder but they only had
                   Manhattan.
                             A UDREY
                   Say thank you, Max.
                             MAX
                   Thanks.                     ·.
         Max takes off the hat his dad gave him and replaces it with
         the Boston hat.


         INT. BMW - DAY


         Fletcher's on the phone.   He sails passed a parked POLICE
         CAR.
                               FLETCHER
                         (into phone)
                   Shelton, Jerry Shelton.
                   What time's that flight leave?
                   7:50. Thank you.
                         (checks his
                          WATCH)
                   Oh, shit! Shit!! Shit!
         Fletcher spots the FLASHING LIGHTS.
                             FLETCHER
                   Shiiiiit!!!
         He pulls over -- so quick he jumps the curb.
                             POLICE OFFICER
                   Would you step out of the car,
                   please?
         Fletcher obeys.
                             FLETCHER
                   Listen; I know I'm driving a
                   little crazy but i have an
                   emergency to attend to...
         The cop's just getting off his walkie talkie.
                             POLICE OFFICER
                   I'm impounding this vehicle.
                             FLETCHER
                  W h y ? What for? For changing
                  lanes?
                             POLICE OFFICER
                  I just ran your tags through
                  the computer. You've got.
                  seventeen unpaid parking
                  tickets.
                             FLETCHER
                  No ! I paid them! This
                  morning! That's the truth!      I
                  swear!!
                            POLICE OFFICER
                  Not according to the computer.


                                 FLETCHER
                    The computer is wrong! It
                  ' hasn't been updated. The
                    computer's a liar!
                                POLICE OFFICER
                      You can straighten it out at
                      the impound yard.
                                 FLETCHER
                            (checks his
                             watch, firmly)
                      NO!
                                POLICE OFFICER
                      No?
                                FLETCHER
                   That's right, no! I'm not
                   gonna lose my son because some
                   stupid clerk was too lazy to
                   update the computer.
                         (getting cockier.
                          as he goes)
                   Now if you want to follow me,
                 . you can follow me and take the
                   car after I get where I'm
                   going. I'm a lawyer and I
                   k now my rights! Understand?!
                                                         CUT TO:
         A TOW TRUCK drives away with Fletcher's car, leaving
         Fletcher stranded.
         EXT. STREETS - DAY                      '


         Fletcher frantically tries to hail a...
                                FLE TCHER
                   T axi!    Taxi!!
         No luck. He spots
         A PAYPHONE
         digs through the Yellow Pages. Finds "Ten Minute Taxi".
         Yes ! He fishes for change. Shit! He doesn't have any!!
                                FLETCHER
                         (looking                    .
                          HEAVENWARD)
                   Noooo!!!
         He spots a man walking by.


                                 FLETCHER
                     'Scuse me, sir. Do you have
                     any - -
         The man turns. It's the same BEGGAR Fletcher was rude to
         outside the courthouse.
                               BEGGAR
                     Change? Absolutely.
         He continues walking.
                               FLETCHER
                     Could you spare some?
                               BEGGAR
                     Unquestionably.
         The beggar continues on.
                 '               FLETCHER
                     Alright, I get your point.
                     But this is a crisis! Look,
                     I'll give you ten bucks.
         The beggar pulls out a quarter and holds it up.
                               BEGGAR
                          (ADMIRING
                           QUARTER)
                     It's so shiny and new.
                                 FLETCHER
                     Tw ent y.       .
                                 BEGGAR
                     Minted in Denver.      Imagine
                     that.
                                 FLETCHER
                     Thirty-four. That's all I
                     have.
         A moment as the beggar thinks, then:
                                 BEGGAR
                     It's worth twice that to screw
                     you.
         He walks off, grinning.
                                 FLETCHER
                     JERKOFF!


                               BEGGAR
                   LAWYER!
         Fletcher turns, spots a familiar building in the distance.
                               FLE TCH ER
                   M y office!!
         INT. LOBBY FLETCHER'S OFFICE BUILDING - DAY
         He starts in the front door, when a SECURITY GUARD stops
         him.
                            SECURITY GUARD
                  Whoa, where do you think
                  you're going?
                               FLETCHER
                   I just need to use the phone
                   to call a cab. I work here.
                            MR. ALLAN (O.S.)
                  Used to work here.
         Mr. Allan has just exited the elevator.
                                            ...                       ·


                             MR. ALLAN
                        (to security
                         GUARD)
                   Son, that man is tresspassing.
         The guard starts toward Fletcher threateningly.
                               FLETCHER
                  Hold it!
                       (to Mr. Allan)
                  I've got ten years worth of
                  dirt on you and this firm, and
                  I'm in the kind of mood today
                  to get a lot off my chest.
                  You let me use the phone or I
                  start talking!!
                                                    CUT TO:
         Fletcher's is THROWN ON HIS ASS in the street. Mr. Allan
         has watched from atop the stairs of the building.
                            MR. ALLAN
                  Still euphoric, Reid?
         He goes back inside.· Fletcher starts to get up when a CAR
         SCREECHES to a HALT, inches away.


                              MAN'S VOICE ( O . S . )
                   Fletcher! ·
         It's PHILIP.
                              PHILIP
                   Seven-thirty... It's Karaoke
                   time!
         Fletcher runs up and HUGS the astonished man,
                               FLETCHER
                   PHILIP!!   LOOK AT YOU!!! MY
                   PHILIP!!



         Fletcher KISSES HIM ON THE LIPS.
         INT. PHILIP'S CAR - DAY
         Philip's driving Fletcher.
                             FLETCHER
                   You're saving my life, Philip.
                             PHILIP
                   You know, it's funny, but for
                   some reason I was beginning to
                   think you didn't like me.
                   Isn't that silly?
                              FLETCHER .
                   No. It's not silly.       I don't
                   like you.
                              PHILIP
                   What?
                              FLETCHER
                  I don't like you. I'm sorry.
                  I find you boring. I hate
                  ch ara des . And you wouldn't
                  know a good time if it sat on
                  your face.
                         (feels bad)
                  I'm sorry. It was easier than
                  telling you how I really felt.
                  Are you upset?
         A moment, then:
                              PHILIP
                  No. To be honest, I don't
                  like you either. You treat
                  people like obstacles and you
                  cheat at charades. .


                               FLETCHER
                    Then why are you always trying
                    to socialize with me?
                               PHILIP
                    You're a client. I figured if
                    I didn't try to be your
                    friend, you'd get a new
                    accountant.
                               FLETCHER
                    Philip, I don't like you as a
                    person, but I'm crazy about
                    you as my accountant. I ' d
                    never hire a new accountant.
                    Never!
                              PHILIP
                    So we don't have to like each
                    other anymore?
                              FLETCHER    -
                    Not at all.
                .              PHILIP
                    All right. Sooner I get you
                    ·to the airport, sooner I can
                    dump your sorry ass off.
         EXT. AIRPORT -- DAY
         Philip's car skids to a stop.    Fletcher jumps out.
         INT. LAX TERMINAL - DAY .


         Fletcher races in.
                               FLETCHER
                    Bedelayed. Bedelayed. Fog,
                    rain, something, anything...
         He sees the DEPARTURE BOARD
               " F li g ht 69. Departs 7:50. On Time. Gate 17."
         Fletcher looks at the clock -- It's 7:46!!   Holy Shit!!
         INT. LAX ESCALATOR
         Fletcher pushes his way HE a crowded escalator. Past
         people standing on the left despite the SIGN that says
         STAND ON RIGHT.


                                FLETCHER
                   Excuse me. . . excuse me. . . Come
                   on folks, let's let the
                   frantic man pass... Sorry...
                   Thank... you... Standing on
                   the right, passing on the
                   left. They can't make this-
                   deal any easier than it is...
                   Come on... coming through...
         At the top,- a WOMAN in a NURSES UNIFORM asks for money...
                             WOMAN
                   Help the poor?...
                                FLETCHER
                        (speeding past)
                  I don't trust you. I don't
                  know what the hell that
                  uniform is. Sorry.
                       (a Hare Krishna
                         tries to stop
                        HIM)
                  NOT NOW, TOGA BOY!
         INT. LAX - SECURITY AREA
         Fortunately, there's no line at the metal detector.
         Fletcher races right by but SETS OFF THE ALARM.
                             INSPECTOR
                   Please step through again.
                               FLETCHER
                  Ahhh!! !    Damn..;
         Fletcher frantically tosses his keys, cufflinks, his Rolex
         into a tray.
         He tries again.     It BUZZES again!
                             FLETCHER
                  What? I'tii practically naked!
         A guy in a TURBAN passes over him with a DETECTOR WAND.


                             FLETCHER
                   It's called a ZIPPER, Hodgy...



         The wand BEEPS over Fletchers front pocket. He reaches in
         and pulls out the now familiar BLUE PEN...


         INT. LAX - DEPARTURE CONCOURSE


         Fletcher races by Gate 15, 16, gets to 1 7 . . . but sees the
         PLANE Slowly TAXIING AWAY.
                                 FL E TC H ER
                   N ooo!!!
         Fletcher spots a door marked "NOT AN EXIT".    Goes for it
         when a FLIGHT ATTENDANT interrupts.
                             FLIGHT ATTENDANT
                   Can I help you?
                              FLETCHER
                   Look out!! ! --
                         (TRUTHFUL)
                   -NOTHING'S COMING!!
         The woman raises her eyebrows and looks anyway. And
         Fletcher BOLTS THROUGH THE EXIT!
         EXT. TARMAC - DAY
         He scurries down a flight of stairs calling after the plane
         which is moving away.
         No way he'll catch it.
         Then, he sees a MECHANIC working on a MOBILE STAIRS UNIT
         (These are the steps they pull up to planes) Fletcher gets
         an insane idea. . .
         The worker hears an ENGINE START, looks up to SEE FLETCHER
         in the truck, driving off, TOWING THE STAIRS.
                                 WORKER
                   Hey!!      Hey!!!!
         But Fletcher's gone.
         EXT. AIRPLANE - DAY


         Fletcher's DRIVING THE STAIRS trying to catch up with the
         plane. GROUND WORKERS react.
         Soon, the "stairs" are racing alongside the plane.
         Fletcher looks for signs of Audrey and Max but he's too low
         to see in the plane.
         He grabs the TOOL BOX'on the passenger's seat,-puts it on
         the accelerator, pinning it to the floor. Then, he CLIMBS
         THE STEPS!



         The "stairs" sway back and forth as he reaches the top.
         INT. AIRPLANE - DAY - MOVING


         PASSENGERS calmly read while outside FLETCHER speeds along,
         WAVING HIS ARMS like a maniac. The ENGINE NOISE drowns out
         his call for...


                                  F LET CH ER
                   MA X ? !!   AUDREYY?!!



         A STEWARDESS stands in the aisle, giving the safety
         lecture.
                                  STEWARDESS
                   In case of a water landing,
                   please use your seat cushion
                   AS--
         ·Her MOUTH DROPS as she notices Fletcher.
         EXT. TARMAC - DAY
         Fletcher is BANGING on the windows. People on the plane
         POINT, STARE in amazement.
         Fletcher looks ahead, SEES the stairs about to CRASH INTO
         THE WING! Fletcher desperately fiddles with some controls.
         At the last second, finds the one that LOWERS THE STAIRS.
         He surfs under the wing...
         ...    and RAISES UP THE STAIRS at the other side.
         Fletcher's at the front of the plane, where he finally
         spots. . .
         MAX, AUDREY AND JERRY SEATED IN THE BULKHEAD
         Max has the window seat, Audrey arid Jerry are next to him.
         Audrey has on her headset and Jerry is looking for his
         seatbelt. NEITHER SEES FLETCHER.
         Fletcher SCREAMS to get their attention. But it's TOO
         NOISY.
         Then, Fletcher looks ahead and his EYES GO WIDE!
         FLETCHER'S POV
         The RUNWAY is ENDING!.



         Just then, Max looks up...SEES HIS DAD. Audrey is now
         trying to help Jerry find his seat belt.


                                   AUDREY
                         (checks under his
                          SEAT)
                    It's right here, honey.
                                   M AX
                    Mom!   Mom!!               '
                              AUDREY
                    Just a second, Max.
                              MAX
                    Mom, it's dad!
                              AU DREY
                    W hat? What about dad?
         Audrey turns. Then she sees Fletcher WAVING weakly...
                                 AUDREY
                    Fletcher?!
         AT THAT INSTANT -- THE PLANE MAKES A SHARP TURN!
         BUT THE STAIRS DON'T! They keeps going straight, heading ·
         right for the END OF THE RUNWAY and a parked LOADED LUGGAGE
         CART. . -
         And BAM!   FLETCHER, THE STAIRS, THE LUGGAGE ALL GO FLYING!



         Audrey strains to watch as FLETCHER lands hard ONTO A
         MOUNTAIN OF BAGGAGE!
         CLOSE ON FLETCHER



         With all the strength he has he lifts his head, sees he's
         in one piece, and then COLLAPSES IN DEFEAT.
                                                     CUT TO:
         INT. JAIL CELL - NIGHT


         Fletcher's BANGED UP pretty good. His head is BANDAGED.
         He.puts a COLD COMPRESS to his BRUISED FOREHEAD and WINCES.
                               FLETCHER
                          (mumbles to
                           HIMSELF)
                    Oh boy, the truth hurts.   Yes
                    indeed.
                               DEPUTY
                    Mr. Reid. Someone made bail
                    for you.


         EXT. POLICE STATION - NIGHT


         Fletcher comes out LIMPING, totally dishevelled, missing a
         shoe, and still holding the compress.
                              FLETCHER
                         (WEAKLY)
                   Greta? Is that you?
         He looks up and is surprised to see AUDREY and JERRY
         waiting for him just outside the door.
         Max is sitting at the bottom of the stairs, still ANGRY.
         He sees his dad, then quickly turns away.
                             FLETCHER
                        (to Audrey and
                         Jerry, trying to
                         seem chipper)
                  Sorry I made you miss your
                  flight, not really.
                        (no response)
                  You're obviously a little
                . upset, not that I blame you...
                  although I'll bet you'll still
                  get the bonus miles. . .
                             AUDREY
                   Fletcher, are you crazy?
                   What were you doing?
                             FLETC HER
                   That's two questions. A; Yes,
                   but I think the legal term is
                   temporarily insane. And B; I
                   was trying to finally have
                   that talk with you about
                   Boston.
         Audrey's patience are growing thin...
                             FLETCHER
                  Okay, okay... The whole truth
                  and nothing but the truth,
                       (with difficulty,
                        SINCERELY)
                  I tried to stop the plane
                  because it was taking off with
                  my life... you and Max.
         This comes as a surprise to Audrey. Not just what Fletcher
         said, but the way he said it.


                              FLETCHER
                   I know you've met somebody...
                   somebody pretty great... and
                   the truth is I wish you didn't
                   but you did and... All I ' m
                   asking i s . . . Please don't move
                   to Boston. Please don't take
                   Max away.
         She's definitely moved by Fletcher, but not convinced.
                              AUDREY
                   You can come visit anytime.
                   It's only a four hour flight.
                              FLETCHER
                   I don't want to visit him.
                   That's what I've been doing--
                   visiting him, dropping by,
                   stopping in. I want to be in
                   his life. I don't want to be
                   some jerk that sees him at
                   Easter. I want to be his
                   father.
         Fletcher turns to Jerry.
                              FLETCHER
                  I know I have no right to ask,
                  but can I talk you out of
                  taki ng that job? I can get
                  you a better job here in L.A.
                  I've got all kinds of
                  connect ions... what do you do
                  again?
                             JERRY
                   I design security systems.
                              FLETCHER
                   How symbolic. Okay great.
                   You know Pac-Tec?
                            JERRY
                  The biggest.
                              FLETCHER
                  One of their systems shorted
                  out and burned down a
                  supermarket. I got them off.
                  Another proud day for justice.
                  If I ask them they'll beat
                  your Boston offer in two
                  s ec on ds .    ..


                              AUDREY
                   Don't put Jerry in the middle.
                              JERRY
                   It's okay.
                         (to Fletcher)
                   Boston means this
                         (snaps his
                          FINGERS)
                   to me. All I want is for this
                   lady and Max to be happy.
                   Preferably, with me. Whatever
                   they want, I'll go along with.
         They both look to Audrey.
                             AUDREY
                   All I want is for Max to be
                   happy.
         Audrey looks over to Max seated at the bottom of the
         stairs. He's still upset.
                             AUDREY
                   You better know your jury.
                   You're hot exactly Max's hero
                   today.
                             FLETCHER
                   Just let me present my case.
         Fletcher walks over,, tries to be playful, starts WALKING,
         TALKING LIKE THE TERMINATOR.
                               FLETCHER/TERMINATOR
                   I have been sent from the
                   future to destroy you. . .
                   Argghhh!
                        (no response, a
                         BEAT)
                   You mad at me?
         Max nods. Fletcher's at a loss for how to begin. Then:
                              FLETCHER
                   You wanted me to stop lying.
                   But lying isn't the problem. ..
                   Why we lie ~ that's the
                   problem. Sometimes we lie to
                   make someone else feel better.
                   But sometimes we lie because
                   the truth gets in our way...
                         (touches him)
                   But being an adult means you
                   sacrifice some things for more



                   important things. Much more
                   important things. I was so
                   stupid, Max.
                         (pointing to his
                          own head)
                   Malfunction in vector one.
                   All this time you've been here
                   and I could see you anytime I
                   felt like it. And I...
                   didn't. Please don't go to
                   Boston. Max, I love you more
                   than anything else in the
                   world and you know it's true.
                   I couldn't say it if it
                   weren't true. Not today.
         A moment as Max studies his father, then:
                             MAX
                         (to Audrey)
                   He's telling the truth, Mom.
                   He's not allowed to lie. I
                   made a wish and anything Dad
                   says has to be the truth.
                         (to Fletcher) ..
                   Right?
         But Fletcher's looking at his watch...
                              FLETCHER
                   Max. .. it's 9:22.
                             AUDREY
                   What?
                             FLETCHER
                   Max, you made the wish at
                   9:15. I've been able to lie
                   for the last seven minutes.
         Max steps away from Fletcher.
                             MAX
                   So then, you were...
                             FLETCHER
                   No! It wasn't a lie. I just
                   wanted to be honest with you
                   and tell you -- there was no
                   wish to guarantee it anymore.
                   You just have to believe me.
         Max looks at Audrey, who is letting Max decide for himself
         Max looks at Fletcher and tries to decide.


                                      MAX
                         (to Audrey)
                    Mommy... do we have to go to
                    Boston?
         Audrey looks at Jerry, then back at Max.
                                  AUDR EY
                    No.      We don't have to.
         Fletcher hugs his son -- the kind of hug that says "I'll
         never let you go."
                                      MAX
                         (to Fletcher)
                    Can we play catch tomorrow?
         Fletcher smiles. . .
         EXT. PARK - DAY
         A beautiful park with a basball diamond. Fletcher is
         seated on a bench, waiting. He's dressed in sweats, with a
         baseball glove. Soon, Jerry, Audrey, and Max pull up...
                                      M AX
                    Dad! !
                                      FLETCH ER
                    Ma x i mu m ! !
         Fletcher picks Max up.
                                      MAX
                   Transformer!!! .
         Fletcher and Max do the TRANSFORMER ROUTINE again...
                                      FLETCHER
                    Malfunction in vector seven.
                    I have lost control of my
                    affection reflex...
         Fletcher starts KISSING MAX on the head over and over. He
         sees Audrey.
                                      FLETCHER
                    Procreate!          Procreate!
                                  AUDREY
                             (PLAYFULLY)
                    Fletcher... You're gonna lose
                    a limb--


                             MAX
                   Come on, dad, let's play
                   catch!!
                             FLETCHER
                   Sr. . .
                   UE
                         (starts to toss
                          MAX)
                   Here you go, mom.
                         (Max screams)
                   Oh, you mean with a ball...
         He puts Max down. Max runs into position. Fletcher stops
         for a second and turns to Jerry, man to man.
                             FLETCHER
                   I take back every dirty,
                   dishonest thing I ever said
                   about you, wrote about you,
                   faxed about you, E-mailed
                   about you.
                             JERRY
                   Appreciated.
         Fletcher tosses the baseball up and down.
                             FLETCHER
                   So, you up for a little
                   friendly competition?
                            JERRY
                  No, you go play with your son.
                             FLETCHER
                  I wasn't talking about
                  basesball.
         A slow smile from Jerry. Fletcher winks and tosses the
         ball to Max.
                             FLETCHER
                        (to Max)
                  Alright, it's time to show you
                  the old Fletcher Reid change up.



         Fletcher winds up in an EXAGERATED SUPER FAST MOTION, then
         instantly shifts to SUPER SLOW MOTION. Max CRACKS UP.
         Audrey LAUGHS. Jerry can't help but smile, too.
         There may be better things in life... but at this moment,
         it's hard to think of a single one. Honestly.


                             THE END