A screenplay written by Mr. Steve Levy, bridge teacher and author.
Nothing has been changed to the original manuscript, and is
reproduced here with the specific permission of Mr. Stephen Levy.

CARDS ON THE TABLE

FADE TO BLACK AND WHITE:

EXT. FONTAINEBLEAU HOTEL-MIAMI BEACH, 1954 -- EVENING


A 1954 Cadillac limousine drives to the hotel entrance. Below the "Fontainebleau Hotel" marquis, hangs a banner: "Welcome to the 1954 Mixed Pairs Bridge Championships."

The limousine stops in front of the main entrance. The DRIVER gets out to open the back right door. A fawning REPORTER and a male PHOTOGRAPHER meet the scene.

CHARLES BENNETT, a tall dashing man, 50's, rises from the limousine in evening wear. Photographer's light bulb FLASHES.

Reporter fawns.

REPORTER

What's it like to be a popular household name Mr. Bennett?


CHARLES BENNETT

Am I that common?


The driver places his hand through the open right back door. MYRTLE SOBEL, early 30's, razor-sharp chin with a wit to match, drunkenly mutters to Charles.

MYRTLE SOBEL

Common you are Charles.


Myrtle gets up from the car. She wears the "Queen of Diamonds" around her neck. The 50 carat diamond is in the shape of a diamond from the standard playing card. She adjusts it.

REPORTER:

I understand NBC has a television show planned for you Mr. Bennett. And "Time" is considering you for "Man of the Year." Any comment?


CHARLES BENNETT

Yes to the television show and you'll have to ask Henry Luce about "Man of the Year."


REPORTER

Mrs. Bennett, are you Mr. Bennett's bridge partner?


MYRTLE SOBEL

My name is Myrtle Sobel and Charles is my partner.


REPORTER

Miss Sobel, what's it like playing bridge with the greatest player in the world?


MYRTLE SOBEL

Why don't you ask him!


Reporter is lost in the sarcasm, still obsequious to Bennett.

REPORTER:

You have won the past 10 annual mixed pairs championships--


MYRTLE SOBEL

Oh it's no longer a partnership game?


CHARLES BENNETT

Behave Myrtle.


Myrtle's eyes open wide as if that would render sobriety.

CHARLES BENNETT (CONT'D)

Yes we have won the past 10 mixed championships. And if I could get my partner some coffee we have a good chance in the finals this evening for an eleventh win.


Bennett waves to the reporter. Photographer takes another picture of just Bennett. Myrtle seems annoyed. Charles takes her arm and walks toward the main door.

CHARLES BENNETT (CONT'D)

Stop embarrassing me.


MYRTLE SOBEL

Behave, Myrtle.


Bennett grabs her arm tighter, hurting her. A BELLMAN stands in front of the revolving door entrance.

CHARLES BENNETT (to bellman)

Coffee!


Bellman points and gestures.

MYRTLE SOBEL

You're hurting me Charles.


Bennett tightens his grasp as they walk through the revolving doors. Myrtle gives a faint sob.

INT. HOTEL BALLROOM -- MOMENTS LATER


The ballroom is set with 26 bridge tables. The tables are aligned in four rows. Tables 1-6 are in one row. Tables 7-13 are aligned in a second row. A flag reads "Section A."

Further down two rows of 13 bridge tables are set in the same manner. A flag reads "Section B."

On each table are two aluminum boards. Each contains four separate bridge hands of 13 cards each. On each table are 2 ashtrays and 4 pencils.

A banner on the wall reads "Be happy go LUCKY." There is a picture of Charles Bennett smoking a Lucky cigarette at the bridge table. In his other hand he holds his bridge hand.

There are 52 FINALISTS, men partner with women, all attired in evening wear. They look for their table assignments which are posted on the flag.

The finalists point and look at Charles Bennett with respect as Bennett and Myrtle enter.

Myrtle and Bennett sit down a table 1-A. Myrtle sits south and Bennett sits north. Six KIBITZERS dragging chairs, crowd around Bennett.

Myrtle winces at the sight. Kibitzers sit and huddle in to watch the master. EAST-WEST OPPONENTS #1, husband and wife, sit down sheepishly.

DOLLI MADISON, 30, poorly dressed, garrulous, and a Southern accent to heighten the annoyance of speech drags a chair to watch Bennett. She can't squeeze in. She looks at Myrtle. Her eyes widen at the sight of the "Queen of Diamonds." She drags the chair next to Myrtle and sits down.

DOLLI MADISON

Hi, I'm Dolli. That's Dolli with an "i."


MYRTLE SOBEL

But of course you are.


Myrtle opens her purse. She glances at the small pistol. Then glances at Dolli in her drunken stupor.

DOLLI MADISON

I drove all the way here from Huntsville to watch Mr. Bennett. I read all his books.


MYRTLE SOBEL

You read? How impressive.


DOLLI MADISON

Yes, I get "Reader's Digest" monthly. And read all Mr. Bennett's books.


MYRTLE SOBEL

How nice, Molly.


DOLLI MADISON

No, I'm Dolli, Dolli with an "i."


Myrtle continues to rifle through her purse. Myrtle yawns, loudly.

MYRTLE SOBEL

Out of cigarettes.


DOLLI MADISON

Oh, I will get them for you. I bet you smoke Lucky like Mr. Bennett.


MYRTLE SOBEL

That's sweet dear. Yes get me any brand other than Lucky.


Dolli gets up from her seat.

DOLLI MADISON

Don't let anyone take my chair Miss Sobel.


MYRTLE SOBEL

Guard it with my life Molly, Dolli.


DOLLI MADISON

Thanks, be right back.


Dolli beelines for the door.

An officious DIRECTOR walks between the aisles of tables clapping his hands to get everyone's attention.

DIRECTOR

Game time. Everyone in their assigned seats. Places everyone, this is a timed event. 15 minutes for two hands. East-west will move to the higher table after completion of each round. North-south are stationary for the evening. Boards will go down, players will go up. Places. Places. Penalties will be assessed for tardiness and/or slow play. The clock begins now. Good luck in the finals of the eleventh National Mixed Pairs Championship!


Dolli returns with a pack of L&Ms. She takes her seat next to Myrtle. Hands her the pack. Myrtle refuses it.

MYRTLE SOBEL

Open it, Dolli/Molly.


DOLLI MADISON

Yes, Miss Sobel.


The four contestants remove their respective hands from the aluminum board. They count their cards. They fan cards. Sort their cards. Bennett is the dealer and bids first.

CHARLES BENNETT

1 no trump.


The kibitzers look on with awe. The east-west opponents tremble as they feel the pressure of playing against the best player in the world.

Myrtle surveys the scene of admiration and fear. She yawns and gives a look of nauseous disgust.

EAST OPPONENT #1

Pass.


MYRTLE SOBEL

2 clubs.


WEST OPPONENT #1

Pass.


CHARLES BENNETT

2 hearts.


EAST OPPONENT #1

Pass.


MYRTLE SOBEL

4 hearts.


WEST OPPONENT #1

Pass.


CHARLES BENNETT

Pass.


EAST OPPONENT #1

Pass.


The opening lead is made and Myrtle (dummy) spreads her hand on the table. Bennett declares (plays) the contract.

CHARLES BENNETT

Thank you partner.


DOLLI MADISON (too Myrtle)

He's so suave.


MYRTLE SOBEL

Isn't that a shampoo?


DOLLI MADISON

No, suave was in last month's "Reader's Digest" vocabulary section. It means smoothness in manner...you know classy."


MYRTLE SOBEL

Superficially smooth.


DOLLI MADISON

Yes, and that too. I knew I would find a way to use it in a sentence correctly...


Director comes over and puts his finger to his lips.

DIRECTOR

Shhhh!


MYRTLE SOBEL

...More than you might realize.


Myrtle picks up a cigarette from the opened pack. She takes a lighter from her purse. Inhales deeply. Her lighter is placed on top of the cigarette pack on the table.

INT. HOTEL BALLROOM -- LATER

Myrtle declares. Charles Bennett handles the dummy as per Myrtle's command. Dolli looks on intensely.

The speed of Myrtle's play sets an astonishing tempo that Charles can never command. EAST OPPONENT 8 AND WEST OPPONENT 8 follow hopelessly to Myrtle's speed. SNAP. SNAP. SNAP.

MYRTLE SOBEL

Making five?


EAST OPPONENT 8

Agreed.


Players pick up their hands and return them to the board. Charles scores the result.

All pull out the next hand. "South:Myrtle, Spades:A1063,Hearts:1085,Diamonds:4,Clubs:A9842."
"West:Opponent 8, Spades:4,Hearts:Q94,Diamonds:KJ763,Clubs:Q753."
"North:Bennett,Spades:KJ985,Hearts:K762,Diamonds:85,Clubs:K10."
"East:Opponent 8, Spades:Q72,Hearts:AJ3,Diamonds:AQ1092,Clubs:J6."
The bidding commences.

CHARLES BENNETT

1 spade.


EAST OPPONENT 8

2 diamonds.


MYRTLE SOBEL

4 spades.


WEST OPPONENT 8

Pass.


CHARLES BENNETT

Pass.


EAST OPPONENT 8

Pass.


East places the diamond ace face up. Others follow suit. East places the club jack on table. Cards play.

CHARLES BENNETT

Down 2.


MYRTLE SOBEL

You could have made it Charles.


Kibitzers look shocked.

CHARLES BENNETT

Next case.


MYRTLE SOBEL

Set up clubs...you could have trumped a diamond at trick 3 and led a trump to the king and played clubs.


CHARLES BENNETT

Enough Myrtle.


Kibitzers whisper to one another.

DIRECTOR

Next round. All east-west players move for the next round.


Opponents rise from the table and move to table 2. Myrtle continues while new OPPONENTS 9 arrive.

MYRTLE SOBEL

My God you opened a 10 count!


Bennett, softly yet firmly moves across the table and grabs Myrtle's wrist.

CHARLES BENNETT

I said quiet.


Myrtle pulls her wrist away. Rubs it. Lights a cigarette. All players take cards out of the board. Count cards, fan and sort. Dolli takes a deep breath. Dolli shakes her head.

EAST OPPONENT #9

1 spade.


LATER

OPPONENTS 12 get up from the table.

WEST OPPONENT #12

It was a pleasure to play against you Mr. Bennett. Will you autograph my book?


West opponent grabs book for Bennett to sign.

CHARLES BENNETT

I would be happy to.


Director marches up and down the aisle.

DIRECTOR

All move for the final round. All move please.


Bennett signs book quickly. Bennett hands boards to kibitzer who takes them to table 13.

DIRECTOR (CONT'D)

All move please.


OPPONENTS 13 looking exhausted sit down.

WEST OPPONENT 13 (to East)

The best for the last.


Opponents pull cards out and count, sort and fan nervously.

WEST OPPONENT 13 (CONT'D)

Pass.


CHARLES BENNETT

Pass.


EAST OPPONENT 13

Pass.


MYRTLE SOBEL

Pass.


Bennett and Myrtle return hands to board. West opponent looks again at hand.

WEST OPPONENT 13

Oh sorry dear, I miscounted. I have 17 points.


EAST OPPONENT 13

Don't worry. That's okay.


Opponents put hands back. Bennett scores. Bennett places new board on top of old board. All take hands out. Count, sort and fan.

MYRTLE SOBEL

4 spades.


WEST OPPONENT 13

Pass.


CHARLES BENNETT

Pass.


EAST OPPONENT 13

Pass.


West opponent makes opening lead. Bennett puts his cards on the table.

CHARLES BENNETT

Last hand Myrtle. Play well.


Myrtle plays quickly. The opponents find it difficult to match her tempo.

Bennett gets annoyed with Myrtle's declarer play. He watches intently. Then. Bennett SEETHES. He reaches across the table and GRABS Myrtle's hand firmly. Looks into her face.

CHARLES BENNETT (CONT'D)

You played that hand as poorly as you fuck!


Dolli gasps. Opponents walk away from table mortified. Kibitzers whisper to one another.

Myrtle stands. Tries to break away from his grasp. Bennett stands and walks towards her. Wrist in full clench.

MYRTLE SOBEL

I made the right percentage play, Charles. It may not have been the correct result play, but mathematically it was correct.


CHARLES BENNETT

Grab your purse Myrtle. We lost because of your play.


Myrtle follows his command. Dolli seizes the opportunity.

DOLLI MADISON

Mr. Bennett, I'm Dolli Madison. Dolli with an "i." Could you sign my book please? I drove all the way from Alabama to meet you.


Dolli attempts to hand Bennett the book. He ignores her. Dolli looks down to the floor with rejection. Dolli sits down in defeat. Bennett and Myrtle (wrist still clenched) head for the lobby. Dolli looks at Myrtle's cigarettes and lighter on table. Picks them up. Dolli FLIES after them.

Out the ballroom. Through the lobby. Quickly.

Bennett and Myrtle catch the elevator as others leave it.

Dolli gets there too late. Watches floor numbers of their elevator. It stops at the fifth floor.

Dolli flings to adjacent available elevator. Pushes "5." Doors close. Doors open. Gets out. Floor is empty. Has she lost them? Then. A room door SLAMS.

Dolli slowly follows the sound. Faint SCREAMS are heard. Dolli estimates the room. GUNFIRE. And another.

The door of Bennett and Sobel's room opens. Dolli stands watching...frozen. Myrtle walks out, smoking gun in hand. Myrtle walks to Dolli as she removes the "Queen of Diamonds."

MYRTLE SOBEL

Open your purse.


DOLLI MADISON

Yes, Miss Sobel.


Myrtle puts the necklace in her purse. Then puts the gun in her purse.

MYRTLE SOBEL

A man was in our room. He stole my necklace. Bennett tried to stop him.


Dolli nods her head. Frozen.

MYRTLE SOBEL (CONT'D)

The man shot Bennett. He ran down the corridor to that fire escape.


Dolli looks down the corridor. Walks down and opens door to fire escape. Comes back.

DOLLI MADISON

Yes, he did.


MYRTLE SOBEL

You witnessed it. I never want to see the contents of your purse again.


DOLLI MADISON

Yes.


MYRTLE SOBEL

I must call the police.


DOLLI MADISON
(quickly)

Yes. He was a big man. 6'4". 245 pounds. White, with dark hair and eyes. Tailored suit. Had a moustache. Moved quickly for mid-forties. Gun in one hand and necklace in other. Flew like a gazelle. Brown shoes...just polished...
(pause)
I'll be back in two minutes...got to go to my room and get another purse.


MYRTLE SOBEL

You will come back won't you Dolli?
(tenderly)
Dolli with an "i."


DOLLI MADISON

Always keep my word Miss Sobel.


DOLLI and MYRTLE
look into one another's eyes. The look of the new bond is stronger than any word. Then. Dolli FLIES.

END BLACK AND WHITE

INT. LAS VEGAS RIVIERA COFFEE SHOP -- TODAY


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE, mid-40's, lanky, impeccably dressed, speaks with an English BBC accent. He sits alone at a table for four and sips tea while he reads the "Las Vegas Journal.""

He opens the newspaper to his syndicated bridge column.

INSERT

"Bridge with Sandler St. Claire." (Picture next to byline.)

He is pleased at the sight of his column. He takes the lid of the tea pot off and plays with a tea bag and gives a look of disdain at American tea. His displeasure assuages as he reads his column. He dawns a smile of contentment.

TIRA RUSHGATE, 40's, the quintessence of femininity and sensuousness, enters the coffee shop passing the long line of PEOPLE. She looks for someone amongst the tables of DINERS. Dissatisfied, she spots Sandler and approaches.

TIRA RUSHGATE

Sandler, you look like you're about to hold court.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Always Tira, but subjects are scarce.


Sandler stands.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (CONT'D)

Please sit down. I find quite often that the level of conversation is enhanced when dining alone.

(pause)

Though you are the welcomed exception.


Tira smiles warmly. Sandler opens a chair for her.

TIRA RUSHGATE

I'm supposed to meet Genius and Catcher here.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Yes, I want to meet them. They are your new finds?


TIRA RUSHGATE

Yes, they have a 15 year partnership. Outstanding players.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Off the record Tira...your goals?


TIRA RUSHGATE

Spingold 2002.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

You'll have to beat Ashley in order to accomplish that. Ashley is putting Soloway and Hamman together.


Tira's eyes widen at the news.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (CONT'D)

Tell me Tira. Do you want the trophy or would you just be satisfied beating Ashley?


TIRA RUSHGATE

You sound like my therapist Sandler.


ASHLEY BUCHANAN, 40's, GQ Cover look-alike, swaggers past the line of people. His polished groomed appearance say money.

He looks for a space at the counter, then eyes Tira. And she eyes him. Their attraction permeates the room.

Diners look up as he approaches her. Tira becomes more sensuous now. Adjusts ear ring. Checks nails. Licks lips. Sandler breaks the tension.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Ashley, congratulations on beating my team last night.


ASHLEY BUCHANAN

That's very sporting Sandler. You all played well.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

I will be sure not to write about it in my column.


ASHLEY BUCHANAN

Tira, I hear you've got Genius and Catcher.


TIRA RUSHGATE

Scared Ashley?


ASHLEY BUCHANAN

I look forward to the challenge. Spingold 2002?


TIRA RUSHGATE

We should be ready to win by then.


Sandler is thoroughly enjoying their repartee. Diners strain to hear as they whisper and gesture to one another.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Won't you join us Ashley?


ASHLEY BUCHANAN

Why thank you.


Ashley sits down. Looks into Tira's eyes. The conversation is multilayered.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN (CONT'D)

The problem of being on top, is that there's no place to go.


TIRA RUSHGATE

Then bottom should be good experience for you Ashley.


Sandler gleams.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN

Tell me, is the view looking up a pleasant one?


TIRA RUSHGATE

I'm sure you will be able to answer that in ought two.


ASHLEY BUCHANAN

Well losing has it's merits. Don't you think Tira?


GENIUS, 30's neatly dressed exuding arrogance walks to the table with CATCHER, 30's reserved always in the shadow of Genius. Sandler takes note of only one empty chair.

GENIUS

You've heard about me Sandler, yet you've never written about me in your column. I am the greatest. We've got the Spingold practically in our pocket. Right Tira? And you haven't written a word. "Genius in Action" would be a great title for the article.


Sandler opens eyes wide.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Well it is time for my constitution.


Looks at Genius. Long pause.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (CONT'D)

I find your silence so refreshing. With practice one hopes you'll perfect it. Tira, Ashley, cheers.


Looks at Catcher.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (CONT'D)

And you too. Yes. Ta ta.


Sandler leaves as Genius and Catcher sit. Tira and Ashley stare at one another seductively.

EXT. RIVIERA HOTEL -- MOMENTS LATER


On the Riviera marquis: "Welcome Spring Bridge Regional Championship." Sandler, newspaper in hand, hails a cab at Riviera Hotel entrance. DRIVER pulls up. Sandler gets in.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Somewhere walkable, youthful, and away from the madding tourists.


DRIVER

That would be UNLV.

EXT. UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA, LAS VEGAS -- MOMENTS LATER


Sandler gets out of cab. Pays driver. Looks at sign: "University of Nevada, Las Vegas." Walks towards campus.

MONTAGE - SANDLER AT UNLV

1. Sandler strolls as STUDENTS pass.

2. Sandler eyes the sculpture of a large flashlight. He walks towards it. Mesmerized.

3. A loud bell goes off. Students everywhere. Sandler looks at students.

4. Crowd dissipates. Sandler strolls. He eyes the Student Union. Wets his lips in thirst. Enters Student Union.

INT. STUDENT UNION -- MOMENTS LATER


Sandler leaves the CASHIER with an ice tea in one hand, newspaper in other. He walks to a vacant table for four and sits. Sips iced tea. Opens paper. Reads.

YEVETTE RAINES, 21, strikingly beautiful and speaks English with a French accent carries a lunch tray.

She approaches Sandler. Sandler is in awe. Yevette places tray down on table adjacent to Sandler. There is only one chair at that table. Walks over to Sandler.

YEVETTE RAINES

Sir, may I borrow a chair? I have a friend coming.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE
(French)

Yes, Miss.


Sandler stands. Moves chair.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (CONT'D)
(French)

Allow me.


YEVETTE RAINES

I am that obvious?


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE
(English)

If only we'd all speak English as lovely as you do Miss...It would bring an eloquence to listening.


Yevette smiles warmly. An instant later she eyes her luncheon companion. STEVEN KEELER 22, something out of Greek mythology, waves to Yevette.

Sandler withdraws to his newspaper. Feigns reading. Eavesdrops.

Steven arrives with a disapproving glance toward Sandler.

STEVEN KEELER

I'm sorry about last night. I was all wrong.


YEVETTE RAINES

Where was your mind Steven? It certainly wasn't on bridge.


Sandler perks up. His eyes bulge from his sockets.

STEVEN KEELER

My mind was on you Yevette, it's always on you.


Sandler's eyes bulge from his sockets.

YEVETTE RAINES

You have no passion for the game?


STEVEN KEELER

Only that it means that I can be with you. Yevette...I love ...being with you. Don't you know...I am taking graduate courses so I can be with you.


YEVETTE RAINES

But I thought your perspective employer wanted you to take--


STEVEN KEELER

My employer is my Uncle. I could have started last semester working in Costa Mesa. I just wanted to postpone it until you graduated. And then--


YEVETTE RAINES

I see. Steven we need to have a talk. I must go back to Nice this summer. Family business...family casino. Duty. You Americans don't understand. Understand this duty.


She looks at watch.

STEVEN KEELER

What time is it?


YEVETTE RAINES

You have a class in 5 minutes. I think we are not of the same wave,
(struggling for the word)
uh, mind, uh--


Sandler jumps in from behind the paper.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

--Mind set. Not on the same wave-length.


Steven looks annoyed. Stands.

STEVEN KEELER

I need to run. We need to talk. Call you later.


Steven gives a nasty glance to Sandler. Yevette waves.

Sandler cautiously makes the move.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE
(softly with wisdom)

When passions collide, there is such a strain on relationships.


YEVETTE RAINES

Yes, Professor.


Yevette looks up. Receptive. Willing to be coached.

YEVETTE RAINES (CONT'D)

I am Yevette Raines.


Sandler stands. Walks over to Steven's empty chair.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE
(French)

May I join you Miss Raines?


YEVETTE RAINES
(French)

Yes, Professor, Professor--


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE
(English)

--Sandler St. Claire. Please call me Sandy.


YEVETTE RAINES

Yes, Sandy

(recognition)

Sandler St. Claire?


Sandler nods with pride.

YEVETTE RAINES (CONT'D)
(French)

My God. You are the famous bridge columnist!

(English)

I read you every morning. Every morning!


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

How nice to be read by such passionate eyes.


YEVETTE RAINES

Yes passion. You understand?


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Completely...I'm here for the regional bridge tournament at the Riviera... Will you please be my dinner guest at Kristoffer's... at 6 and then allow me the pleasure of being your. partner in the side game?


Yevette is flustered. She then becomes radiant.

YEVETTE RAINES

It will be my pleasure Sandy. It is like a dream. I am so overwhelmed. Kristoffer's, Riviera Hotel. Six. I am nervous, you see--


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Think of me as an uncle. An uncle who will have a simple dinner with his niece and then play some friendly bridge.


YEVETTE RAINES

Yes,

(looks at watch)

I must go. Class. Oh Sandy, Uncle Sandy. I am so excited.


Yevette leaves. Turns around and waves.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

OOO La-la!

INT. KRISTOFFER'S RESTAURANT-ENTRANCE -- EVENING


Sandler whispers to HOSTESS of restaurant. Yevette whisks in out of breath.

YEVETTE RAINES

I'm late?


Sandler scrutinizes her.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

If you're late Yevette, it was well worth the wait.


HOSTESS

This way Mr. St. Claire.


Hostess ushers them to a table.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

We play bridge at 7:30.


HOSTESS

No problem.


Hostess hands both menus to Sandler.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

That won't be necessary. Kindly arrange for a Sterling Merlot.


HOSTESS

Yes, Mr. St. Claire.


Waitress arrives at table.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

We will have the complete Chateaubriand dinner for two. Medium, please.


WAITRESS

Yes, Mr. St Claire.


YEVETTE RAINES

There is nothing so appealing as having a French dinner ordered in English.


Sandler laughs charmingly.

INT. KRISTOFFER'S RESTAURANT -- LATER


Sandler and Yevette continue their conversation. They eat their chateaubriand. Sip their wine.

YEVETTE RAINES

So my family needed knowledge to protect our business. I was chosen. It is really more a duty than a passion. Gambling and Tourism. UNLV is the best. So I must return, sadly, after finals.


Tira Rushgate walks in with Genius, Catcher, the twin brothers RAYMOND AND GEOFFREY MONTAGUE-BEART, late 20's, English, rotund and her bridge partner and RODNEY HILL, late 20's, also English, very tall and gangly. Tira spots Sandler. Her team follows her to his table.

TIRA RUSHGATE

Not dining alone this evening Sandler. The conversation must be fascinating.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Good evening Tira. This is Yevette Raines, bridge enthusiast. Yevette, this is Tira Rushgate.


YEVETTE RAINES

Oh I have followed you for years Miss Rushgate. And your partner Rodney and the Brothers Montague-Beart. How charming to meet you Miss Rushgate.


TIRA RUSHGATE

Same. Sandler she's divine. My boys are ravenous.


Male team member's hunger diminishes. They look intensely at Yevette.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Seems Ashley got the better of you this afternoon. My condolences.


TIRA RUSHGATE

Well, nothing that a fine cabernet won't cure. Nice to meet you Yevette. You're in capable hands.


Tira's teammates continue their intense look at Yevette. Tira follows the hostess. The others follow with reluctance. Yevette smiles at all.

YEVETTE RAINES

Sandy, I must ask you a direct question.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Anything Yevette.


YEVETTE RAINES

Are you trying to get, uh, uh my panties?


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

No, just your soul Yevette. Someone else can "get your panties."




Yevette laughs. Then ponders the statement.

INT. KRISTOFFER'S RESTAURANT -- LATER


Waitress arrives with Kristoffer's traditional flaming desert.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

So on behalf of the American people, we would like to thank you for Renoir, Monet, Manet, Cezanne and other great French artists...In return we give you Mickey Mouse.


Sandler gets fuel from Yevette's laugh.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (CONT'D)

On behalf of the American people, we would like to thank you for the Statue of Liberty. In return we give you the golden arches of McDonald's.


YEVETTE RAINES

Stop. I can't control myself.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Yevette.

(seriously)

I will make you the best woman bridge player of all time. Greater than Myrtle Sobel. I will sing your praises in my column daily. I will turn you into a successful professional. You will travel the tournament circuit with me. And at the National tournament in 2002. We will go for the Spingold Trophy.


Tira Rushgate's ear picks up the word Spingold. She hushes her team. She strains to hear across the room.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (CONT'D)

You see Yevette. After your final exams, you must make the difficult decision of choosing passion over duty.


YEVETTE RAINES

You forget Sandy. I am French. Passion always wins out.


Sandler sits back. A small tear can be seen.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Protege.


YEVETTE RAINES

It's time for bridge.


Sandler gestures for the check.

INT. HOTEL BALLROOM -- LATER


200 tables of bridge are in play.

Sandler declares a hand. He is watched by several impressionable KIBITZERS in a similar manner as those who watched Charles Bennett.

Sandler's unusually quick tempo to his declarer play is reminiscent of Myrtle Sobel's: SNAP. SNAP. SNAP. Yevette plays the dummy at Sandler's command.

YEVETTE RAINES

A double squeeze Sandy. Well done.


Sandler gleams.

LATER


Yevette plays a hand. Slower. Thoughtful. But unseasoned. Upon completion...

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Exquisite!


Yevette beams.

LATER


Yevette and Sandler walk over to the flag. Director posts print out displaying results. Sandler and Yevette have the highest score. Yevette jumps up and down. Sandler laughs.

EXT. RIVIERA HOTEL-VALET COUNTER -- LATER


Yevette gives valet ticket to VALET. Sandler summarizes:

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

You have a busy few weeks coming up. Finals. Putting belongings in storage. Selling car. Making peace with family and Steven.


YEVETTE RAINES

Sandy, I am walking on clouds.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

The clouds have never been so beautiful.


Yevette's car arrives. Valet gets out. Opens door. Yevette extends a hand. Sandler watches as she drives off.

EXT. YEVETTE'S APARTMENT -- LATER


Yevette walks to apartment. Steven sits in front of Yevette's apartment door. He rises.

YEVETTE RAINES

I'm so glad you stopped by Steven.


STEVEN KEELER

Really? I wanted to make sure you were alright.


Yevette opens door. They walk in.

INT. YEVETTE'S APARTMENT -- CONTINUOUS


Yevette throws keys and purse on table. She leads Steven into the bedroom.

YEVETTE RAINES

Only you can make my day complete.


Yevette begins to unbutton Steven's shirt. He's receptive.

LATER


Steven and Yevette are naked in bed. She kisses his eyes and cheeks tenderly.

YEVETTE RAINES (CONT'D)

You are the only man I sleep with. You are the only one to complete me. I feel overwhelming love from your sex. Poetry. Oneness. If I could help my family, make love with you, and play bridge with Sandler all simultaneously, I would do it.


Yevette rests her face on his chest.

STEVEN KEELER

The bridge world will love you Yevette. All right tell me about it.


YEVETTE RAINES

Really? You're interested?


STEVEN KEELER

Yes. It makes you happy. It puts more enthusiasm on your face than I do...So you and Sandler are partners. Sandler sits across the table from you. Lucky guy! That's the best part. You take your 13 cards out of the plastic boards and sort them. You bid. The highest bidder plays the hand.


Steven begins to snap his fingers and sway to his rhythm of speech as if he is reciting rap.

STEVEN KEELER (CONT'D)

His partner is dummy and exposes his hand. Declarer, highest bidder, is obligated to fulfill his bid...his contract. Opponents, defenders try to make him breach the contract. If declarer makes what he bids, they get points. If opponents set the contract, they get points. That's all I know.


YEVETTE RAINES

That's more than most. We're going for the Spingold trophy.


STEVEN KEELER

What's that?


YEVETTE RAINES

The most prestigious team game.


STEVEN KEELER

You'll win it. You're my girl.


Yevette laughs. Then seriously.

YEVETTE RAINES

Steven, thanks for understanding.


STEVEN KEELER

I'm not sure I do. I only know it makes you radiant.

INT. RIVIERA HOTEL-SANDLER'S ROOM -- CONTINUOUS


Sandler wears a bathrobe. He sits at a table. Lap-top computer in front of him. He sips tea. The radio plays classical music. Returns to his keyboard. The screen displays: "Bridge with Sandler St. Claire." He continues to type:

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (V.O.)

There's a fresh new breeze on the bridge circuit. Her name is Yevette Raines. When asked of her goals, she replied: "...to capture the Spingold in 2002." To give credence to her prophecy, here is how Yevette Raines declared and made a seemingly impossible contract at the Las Vegas Regional tournament.

INT. RIVIERA HOTEL-TIRA'S ROOM -- CONTINUOUS


Tira lies naked on her bed. She reads The "Bridge Bulletin Magazine." There is a picture of Ashley Buchanan. He holds the Spingold Trophy. Caption is entitled: "Buchanan Team captures seventh consecutive Spingold Trophy." His teammates look on. She opens her night table drawer. Pulls out a vibrator.

INT. RIVIERA HOTEL-ASHLEY'S SUITE -- CONTINUOUS


Ashley stands at the head of his conference table. His bridge partner and best friend NICK NICKEL, 50, good-looking, slender man sits to his right. The following teammates also sit: PAUL SOLOWAY, BOB HAMMAN, JEFF MECKSTROTH, and ERIC RODWELL. Each has a 5 page contract in front of them. They review it. Each has a glass of wine in front of them. DICK FREEMAN, lawyer, looks on away from table.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN

I need these contracts signed tonight. The bottom line is that each of you will get a 25% raise beginning 2002. Each year after that there is a 10% escalation for the duration of the five year contract. You are the highest paid bridge team in the world and well worth your pay. There are special bonuses for winning. Especially Spingold 2002. I know your have offers from James Cayne and Tira Rushgate.


Ashley touches crotch at the sound of her name. Others take note.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN (CONT'D)

I want to keep you and show my gratitude.


They all sign the contracts. Dick Freeman gets up from chair. Collects contracts.

NICK NICKELL

Out of curiosity, Ash, why are we excluded from playing with Bill Gates and Warren Buffet?


ASHLEY BUCHANAN

They're making their presence known in the bridge world. Once they get a taste of it--


DICK FREEMAN

They'll want the best. But, as you know, their play is for shit.


All laugh quietly. Freeman takes contracts and puts them in his briefcase.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN

I am not asking much gentleman, I just want to maintain the status quo. To remain on top.


Rodwell picks up his wine glass.

ERIC RODWELL

To Ashley.


Others follow: "To Ashley." Drink.

INT. RIVIERA HOTEL-JAMES CAYNE'S ROOM -- CONTINUOUS


JAMES CAYNE, 60, Wall Street tycoon, lies in bed. Reads "Wall Street Journal." Smokes expensive cigar. Phone rings.

JAMES CAYNE
(to phone)

Jimmie Cayne.


BILL GATES (V.O.)

It's Bill Gates, James. How did the finals go?


JAMES CAYNE

We lost to Ashley Buchanan. I'm thinking of restructuring my team. Want to get rid of some dead weight. Sick of being a bridesmaid. What's up?


BILL GATES (V.O.)

I'm getting into this bridge thing. Want to buy a Spingold team for 2002. Warren Buffet's entering too. I want the best. Need advice, James.


Cayne puts down the "Wall Street Journal." Smiles. Draws deeply from his cigar. Exhales.

JAMES CAYNE

So you want to become a contender?

EXT. VANCOUVER PAN PACIFIC HOTEL -- DAY


Below the "Pan Pacific Hotel" marquis a banner boasts: "200099 Fall Nationals-Welcome Bridge Players."

Sandler and Yevette walk toward the entrance.

INT. VANCOUVER PAN PACIFIC HOTEL-BALLROOM -- LATER


Sandler and Yevette complete a round of bridge against Ashley Buchanan and Nick Nickel. Yevette gives a sad look of defeat. Sandler smiles warmly.

At another table. Tira is declaring. Rodney, her partner and the "dummy" pulls cards at her request. Their opponents are Jeff Meckstroth and Eric Rodwell.

At another table Catcher and Genius defend a hand against Soloway and Hamman.

At another table James Cayne and partner CHUCK BURGER, late 50's defend a hand against the Brother's Montague-Beart.

INT. VANCOUVER PAN PACIFIC HOTEL-SANDLER'S ROOM -- NIGHT


Sandler in bathrobe, types at his laptop. Yevette walks out of the bathroom in her bathrobe. She sobs with a depressed, defeated face.

YEVETTE RAINES

I've failed you.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Oh no Yevette. To experience defeat is to experience life. Victory will taste so much the better.


He stands. Embraces her.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (CONT'D)

Your national title will come. I've a surprise for you. Steven is coming for the weekend.


YEVETTE RAINES
(smiles, clears tears)

Really?


Sandler nods.

INT. VANCOUVER PAN PACIFIC HOTEL-STEVEN'S ROOM -- NIGHT


Yevette and Steven embrace in afterglow.

STEVEN KEELER

How did you like it?


YEVETTE RAINES

Exhilarating.


STEVEN KEELER

I mean the bridge.


YEVETTE RAINES

I know.


They laugh.

INT. VANCOUVER PAN PACIFIC HOTEL-SANDLER'S ROOM -- DAY


Suitcases on bed. Sandler, dressed, types his article.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (V.O.)

Results from Vancouver Fall Nationals: The Ashley Buchanan team takes the Reisinger Trophy again. In the Blue Ribbons, James Cayne and Chuck Burger take the prestigious pair title.


Steven and Yevette walk in.

YEVETTE RAINES
(to Steven)

Well we're off to Acapulco. Then Reno for the final tournament of the year. Then, Monterrey in January, followed by Honolulu--


STEVEN KEELER

Stop, you're making me dizzy.


Steven walks over to Sandler and extends a hand.

STEVEN KEELER (CONT'D)

Thanks for the room Sandy. I really appreciate it.


Sandler shakes hand and smiles.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

My pleasure young man. And Steven.


STEVEN KEELER

Yes, Sandy?


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Feel free to call me Mr. St. Claire.


Yevette smiles.

EXT. CINCINNATI HYATT HOTEL -- DAY


Beneath the "Cincinnati Hyatt Hotel" marquis hangs a banner: Cincinnati Spring National Bridge Championship, 2001.

INT. HOTEL BALLROOM -- DAY


Several hundred bridge tables in play.

LATER


Tira is comparing her scores with teammates: Rodney, Genius, Catcher, and the Brother's Montague-Beart.

GENIUS

+500.


RODNEY

win 6.


GENIUS

+620.


RODNEY

win 10, we win.


GENIUS

Was there any doubt?


Ashley and Nick walk over smiling. Tira wears the winning glow.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN

I can tell by your countenance you survived.


TIRA RUSHGATE

See you in the quarterfinals tomorrow boys. Give us your best Flight A game.


Her teammates laugh.

LATER


Yevette and Sandler "duplicate" (prepare hands) cards for the National Mixed Pair Championship.

Director MAX HARDY 60, in tuxedo, walks up and down the aisle. Walks to microphone.

MAX HARDY

Welcome to the 58th National Mixed Pairs Championship. Luckily for all of you Myrtle Sobel and Charles Bennett have not entered this year.


All laugh as they duplicate.

MAX HARDY (CONT'D)

Hopefully I need not remind you that bridge is a timed event. Severe penalties will be imposed...

LATER


Yevette declares a hand with equal tempo of Myrtle Sobel. Sandler watches every move. SIGHS proudly.

LATER


Yevette and Sandler wear different clothes. Max Hardy walks through a much smaller room indicating the cut for the finals. Max Hardy posts the results. Yevette defends a hand. She sees Max as he posts results on the flag.

SHORTLY LATER


Yevette and Sandler wait patiently by the flag. The event is over. There are few people left in the room. Max Hardy approaches with the final recap.

MAX HARDY (CONT'D)

Congratulations on winning the 58th Mixed Pairs Championship.


Yevette jumps into Sandler's arms.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

There, there my dear. There will be plenty more. But you'll always remember the first one.


Yevette kisses Sandler.

INT. CINCINNATI HYATT HOTEL-ASHLEY'S SUITE -- LATER


Ashley pours himself a drink. He holds the Vanderbilt Trophy. He slides his fingers over it. Caresses it. Drinks from his glass. He touches his crotch.

There is a KNOCK at his door. He takes the trophy with him. Opens the door. Only the face of Tira Rushgate can be seen. She walks in. Total submissiveness. He puts the trophy in view. She caresses it. He pulls it away. Looks at her neck.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN

You wore it for me.


TIRA RUSHGATE

As you requested Ashley.


Tira wears "The Queen of Diamonds." The same one Myrtle Sobel wore 45 years ago. She fondles the large diamond.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN

I enjoy when you lose.


TIRA RUSHGATE

I know, Ashley.


She gets in front of him. She gets on her knees. Unbuckles his belt.

INT. CINCINNATI HYATT HOTEL-SANDLER'S ROOM -- LATER


Suitcases on bed. Yevette packing. Sandler sits at desk with laptop. Typing.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (V.O.)

The Ashley Buchanan team wins Vanderbilt Trophy. Raines-St. Claire capture Mixed Pairs.

INT. CINCINNATI HYATT HOTEL LOBBY -- DAY


Sandler and Yevette walk through the lobby. Tira approaches.

TIRA RUSHGATE

Congratulations on the Mixed. I'm so envious. See you in Pasadena.


YEVETTE RAINES

Thanks, Tira. See you in Pasadena.


Tira walks out the main entrance. James Cayne and Chuck Burger walk though the lobby. Wave. Give thumbs up sign.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

See you in Pasadena.


YEVETTE RAINES

See you in Pasadena.


Ashley and Nick approach them.

NICK NICKEL

Good show you two.


YEVETTE RAINES

Thanks and congrats on the Vanderbilt.


ASHLEY BUCHANAN

See you in Pasadena.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE AND YVETTE RAINES

See you in Pasadena.


Genius and Catcher walk by oblivious to Sandler and Yevette. Genius gestures to Catcher with authority.

INT. SAN FRANCISCO RUSHGATE BLDG.-TIRA'S OFFICE -- DAY


Tira sits at her desk. She writes on a legal pad. Behind her is the Rushgate banner: "Rushgate Chips Connect The World."

In the same office, RICHARD RUSHGATE, late 20's, single, handsome with an annoying high-pitched voice, yet masculine behavior sits at his desk. Tira looks up.

TIRA RUSHGATE

Call the Pasadena Hilton, get the Presidential Suite for us...


RICHARD RUSHGATE

I'm going too, Aunt Tira?


TIRA RUSHGATE

Yes. Drop the Aunt routine, you were Tommy's nephew, not mine... Get three nearby rooms, one for Genius and Catcher, one for the "Brothers" and one for Rodney. You'll bunk with me.


RICHARD RUSHGATE

Okay, Tira.


TIRA RUSHGATE

And Richard.


RICHARD RUSHGATE

Yes?

(picking up phone)


TIRA RUSHGATE

Disguise your voice as a man.


Richard pauses. Tira smiles warmly.

RICHARD RUSHGATE

Don't forget your appointment with your shrink...Aunt Tira.


Tira looks at her watch. Gets up.

DR. RITA SHUGART, 40'S attractive, with a visible twitch in her neck, sits at her desk. Her name is prominently displayed. There is a picture of her husband on the desk. She listens affirmatively to Tira. Tira has shoes off. Feed folded on her chair.

TIRA RUSHGATE

I think most of Tommy during holidays. I miss him, yet his demise has afforded me a new persona.


DR. RITA SHUGART

Which is?


TIRA RUSHGATE

Business woman. I'm good at that. Like it. Bridge competitor. Good at that,too.


DR. RITA SHUGART

You enjoy embracing your masculine side?


TIRA RUSHGATE

Yes. I guess it was always there. But previously, a woman, me, wasn't allowed to be like that.


DR. RITA SHUGART

I understand. What do you want most in life?


TIRA RUSHGATE

To win the Spingold Trophy in Pasadena, next month.


DR. RITA SHUGART

Why?


TIRA RUSHGATE

To beat the men.


DR. RITA SHUGART

Why?


TIRA RUSHGATE

It'll make me wet.

INT. GENIUS' APARTMENT -- NIGHT


Genius finishes dialing phone number.

GENIUS

Catcher, this is Genius. Listen. We must win the Spingold. Every card has a meaning. Every bid tells a story. No room for error. We must win. At all costs.

INT. ASHLEY BUCHANAN HOUSE -- MORNING


Ashley kisses his wife LAURA, 40's attractive. Suitcases are at front door. Picture of his children is prominently displayed.

LAURA

Go get 'em Ash. Bring home the Spingold for me.


ASHLEY BUCHANAN

Just because you asked for it, I will Laura.


Ashley picks up luggage.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN (CONT'D)

See you in 12 days. My love to the kids.

INT. STEVEN KEELER'S APARTMENT -- NIGHT


Steven sits at his keyboard. The monitor shows a blank e-mail to Yevette. He looks out the window at the full moon. He types.

STEVEN KEELER (V.O.)

The moon is full. Totally wasted. I can't see the shadows of my hands making slow love to you. My Yevette. If only you could love me one-half as much as you love the Jack of Hearts. I so much want to be your Jack of Hearts. Any day now. See you in Pasadena. Love Steven.


Steven clicks the "send" button.

EXT. PASADENA -- DAY


Pasadena Hilton Hotel. Pasadena Convention Center. Marquis reads: "Welcome Bridge Players! Spingold 2000."

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL -- CONTINUOUS


Long lines of PEOPLE at reservation check-in.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL SPINGOLD BALLROOM


In a small room, MEN affix a "screen" to several tables. A "screen" is a sheet of wood, about 4 feet high that is attached diagonally atop a table. Partners will not be able to see one another. Though contestants may see one opponent. There is an opening at the bottom of the screen so that bids and boards can be passed to the other side. This will play a crucial role later.

In the same room, HAWK-EYE a middle aged video technician wearing a black patch over one eye, sets up several video cameras. He tests the camera's vision with monitors. There are several VCR's so that he can record.

LARGE BALLROOM


OFFICIALS set up the "vu-graph." PORTERS set up rows of chairs facing the "vu-graph." On the stage the "vu-graph" shows what the camera sees in the other room. A large banner reads: "Spingold Semifinals."

GRAND BALLROOM


CADDIES, teens, place 4 "bidding boxes" on each table. Bidding is no longer spoken in a National Tournament. Bidding is displayed from a "bidding box." A caddy drops a bidding box. All the bids fall on the floor. He picks them up. Looks at them. Perplexed.

SELLING ROOM


Max Hardy and TOM QUINLAN, 50's officious tournament director, hold cash in hand. They sit at a large desk. Behind them is a banner: "Spingold Entries close at 8:00 p.m." There is a very large blackboard. One column is headed by "seed number." The numbers go from 1-128. Next to number is the "captain" column. All remain blank except for Seed #1 which reads "Ashley Buchanan." ENTRANTS line up in front of selling desk. All hold a completed application form and a $100 bill. Near the front of the line is Tira Rushgate.

TOM QUINLAN

Good to see you, Tira.


Max smiles warmly to Tira. Tira hands them application and money.

TIRA RUSHGATE

Thanks, Tom. Any chance of a bye tomorrow?


TOM QUINLAN

Looks good. You'll probably seed around 9th. We'll post tonight at 10:00 p.m.


MAX HARDY

Good luck, Tira.


TIRA RUSHGATE

Thanks.


Tira saunters to the foyer without purpose in direction. She eyes the sign: "Partnership Desk." Hoards of PLAYERS submit their names to ATTENDANTS to be matched up with partners.

Tira looks around. Another sign: "Bridge Registration." More players stand in line to receive a bridge favor. They clutch their favor bags, pull out a coffee cup in admiration. Tira smiles.

Tira strolls to the main lobby. Inhales deeply to capture the electricity of the tournament.

Tira eyes a circle of men. She strains to hear the buzz. James Cayne stands talking to Paul Soloway and Bob Hamman. A fourth man is present. His back is towards Tira. The fourth man is BILL GATES.

BILL GATES
(to Soloway and Hamman)

So please be my guests for dinner tonight gentleman.


Soloway and Hamman nod their heads. At the same instant, Ashley Buchanan walks by and sees the scene. Nods to circle. Soloway and Hamman are taken aback, feel somewhat guilty.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN

Good to see you, Bill.


Shakes hands with Bill Gates. Cayne is amused.

Tira begins to greet Ashley when Richard Rushgate comes to her. Her attention goes to Richard.

TIRA RUSHGATE

...I don't want it in the room. Get a safe deposit box at registration and put it there.


RICHARD RUSHGATE

There's a box in the room.


Tira flinches.

RICHARD RUSHGATE (CONT'D)

Sorry, I understand. Okay, Tira.


Tira looks around. Ashley is gone. The men have left. Richard goes for the elevator. Tira takes a seat in the lobby as if the queen is ready to receive.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-SANDLER'S ROOM -- CONTINUOUS


Sandler quietly unpacks. Yevette lies on made bed fully clothed. Eyes shut.

SANDLER looks longingly at her protruding breasts. He turns away guiltily. Looks back again. Sighs. Turns away.

Yevette awakens.

YEVETTE RAINES

Oh!


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

A well deserved nap. Okay?


YEVETTE RAINES

Yes. Well, uh, no.

(pause)

I think Steven's going to propose. I wrote my parents that I will probably go home after Pasadena. Oh Sandy, help!


Sandler sits on her bed. Takes her hand.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

And you are enjoying the tournament circuit?


Yevette nods.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (CONT'D)

I have found when forced to make a decision, that no matter which choice one selects...it is the correct one. Of course I want you to stay. But I will not influence you. You love bridge, you love Steven, you love your family.


Yevette nods. Ponders. Smiles at Sandler.

YEVETTE RAINES

You are so knowing...knowledgeable.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Perhaps I am. But I seek something else now. I am finished with knowledge.


YEVETTE RAINES

What?


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

I seek wisdom.


YEVETTE RAINES

Oh. I think I understand.

(pause)

What's a bye?


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

It's the honor of entering the tournament on the second round. It's only given to the top seeds.


YEVETTE RAINES

And top seeds are earned on past performances?


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Ashley has the 1 seed. So he enters the tournament on the second round. The round of 64. And he will play the 64 seed.


YEVETTE RAINES

Quite an advantage. There's a new characteristic in my love for the game.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

I think it's called guilt.


Yevette nods.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (CONT'D)

Truly one of life's wasted emotions.


YEVETTE RAINES

Is that wisdom or knowledge?


Sandler smiles.

YEVETTE RAINES (CONT'D)

Who are our teammates in the Spingold?


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE
(Southern accent)

A lil' old lady from the South and her partner.


YEVETTE RAINES

We play four-handed. What is her name?


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Her name is...

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL REGISTRATION COUNTER -- CONTINUOUS


Myrtle Sobel, posing as Dolli Madison, now 75 with a razor- sharp chin that has a hair protruding has taken on vulgarity in place of wit. She gives the male HOTEL CLERK, middle- aged, efficient and polite, Dolli's credit card.

Myrtle completes Sandler's sentence.

MYRTLE SOBEL

...Dolli, Dolli with an "i." Give me the best room.


HOTEL CLERK

I'll see what we got Mrs. Madison.


MYRTLE SOBEL

Miss Madison.


Hotel clerk nods and types on his keyboard.

Richard Rushgate, carrying a jewelry box, wearing tight pants that proudly outline his beautiful buttock approaches the counter and stands next to Myrtle. Myrtle looks at his buttock. GRABS(!!!) a cheek!

RICHARD RUSHGATE

Oh!


Myrtle cackles.

MYRTLE SOBEL

Nice ass!


Richard ignores her uncomfortably. Speaks to Hotel clerk.

RICHARD RUSHGATE

I know you're busy, but could you just tell me if this is where I come for a safety deposit box?


Myrtle takes notice to Richard's high-pitched voice.

MYRTLE SOBEL

Are you one of those California fruits?


HOTEL CLERK
(to Richard)

Yes, and I will be with you in a moment, sir.


RICHARD RUSHGATE
(to Myrtle)

No!


MYRTLE SOBEL

What'ya got in the box Sonny?


RICHARD RUSHGATE

Please Mam, with all respect: Leave me alone.


Tira sits regally in the lobby. She eyes the situation.

MYRTLE SOBEL

I'll show you my box if you show me yours--


HOTEL CLERK

Here's your key Mam. An excellent mini-suite. Anyone joining you?


MYRTLE SOBEL

Yes. Some friend. Tell you later. Where are my bags?


Hotel clerk gestures to bell-captain desk. Myrtle turns to Richard and flicks her tongue at him in a suggestive manner. Tira witnesses this. Amused and curious.

Myrtle turns toward bell desk and sees Tira. Their eyes lock. Myrtle waves enroot to bell desk.

MYRTLE SOBEL (CONT'D)

Hello, Tira!


Tira waves back. Confused.

Paul Soloway walks towards bell desk. Myrtle beckons him.

MYRTLE SOBEL (CONT'D)

Paul, who's available for the week? Need a good male pro.


PAUL SOLOWAY

Lance Colter. He's in the hotel.


MYRTLE SOBEL

Uh..yes, is he hung?


PAUL SOLOWAY

He's available for midnight services.


Myrtle cackles. James Cayne walks by.

MYRTLE SOBEL

Hello James.


JAMES CAYNE
(puzzled)

Why, hello.


Myrtle continues towards bell-desk. From Tira's perspective, after BELL CAPTAIN chats with Myrtle, he laughs hysterically. Richard leaves the counter as Tira motions to him.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-MYRTLE'S SUITE -- LATER


Myrtle arranges toiletries in bathroom. Other personal affects include tit-clamps, a whip, a dildo and wigs.

There is a KNOCK at her door. She sprays on perfume. Walks to door. Opens it.

LANCE COLTER, 60's, handsome, immaculately dressed, with a deep dark tan, fancies himself SUAVE.

Myrtle licks her lips seductively at his presence. She motions for him to sit down.

LANCE COLTER
(proudly)

I'm Lance Colter, Dolli.


MYRTLE SOBEL

But of course you are...Two over one Hardy style. Upside down signals. Ruseneau leads. RKC 1430. Hamilton.


LANCE COLTER

Fine. Let's get the unpleasant subject out of the way.


MYRTLE SOBEL

You are my Spingold partner, dearie. Our teammates are Sandler St. Claire and some French thing. I will pay you $5,000 cash at the end of the week. We start tomorrow Monday and we'll play through Sunday...I will triple it if we--


LANCE COLTER

Win?


MYRTLE SOBEL

No, if you boff me tonight through Thursday night.


LANCE COLTER
(surprised long pause)

Why not Friday and Saturday too?


Myrtle cackles.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-TIRA'S SUITE -- NIGHT


Richard stands next to Tira. Genius, Catcher, Rodney, and the Brothers' Montague-Beart sit at a table.

TIRA RUSHGATE

We've a bye tomorrow. But you must practice all day tomorrow. We have the seven seed and...

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-ASHLEY'S SUITE -- CONTINUOUS


Ashley sits at the head of the conference table. Soloway, Hamman, Rodwell, Meckstroth and Nick Nickel look on.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN

We are top seeded with a bye. Want you guys to use the time well tomorrow. Please be here by...

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-JAMES CAYNE'S ROOM -- CONTINUOUS


Cayne, cigar in hand, sits and faces Chuck Burger.

JAMES CAYNE

Shit we have the 4 seed. See that the guys practice tomorrow, Chuck. So many byes!

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-BILL GATE'S ROOM -- CONTINUOUS


Bill Gates lies in bed. On phone.

BILL GATES

Yeah Warren, we both have byes tomorrow. Got good seeds apparently. Lets make it interesting. Million on the side for fun?

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-SANDLER'S ROOM -- CONTINUOUS


Sandler and Yevette lie ready for sleep in their respective beds.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Any systemic questions before we play tomorrow?


YEVETTE RAINES

I think I got it. Happy to hear Lance Colter is on the team. Great player.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Yes, he's not bad. Neither is she.


YEVETTE RAINES

They're probably going over their systems now.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-MYRTLE'S SUITE -- CONTINUOUS


"The Unsinkable Molly Brown" plays on television. At the point where Debbie Reynolds sings "I'm Going to Learn to Read and Write," Myrtle MARCHES in step to the music from the bathroom. She wears a sexy nightgown. Wears a wig. Carries a whip, like a baton. Lip-syncs to Debbie Reynolds as if they were one. MARCHES to music.

Lance lies seductively posed in bed. Like in the song, it is a "big brass bed." He is amused.

SUPER

"Monday, Spingold Round of 112 Teams."

SUPER

Top eight seeds have byes: #1-Ashley Buchanan, #2-Richard Schwartz, #3-Fred Hamilton, #4-James Cayne, #5-Grant Baze,#6-Bill Gates (non-playing captain), #7-Tira Rushgate, #8-Warren Buffet (non-playing captain).

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-SPINGOLD BALLROOM -- AFTERNOON


Tira, clad in jeans, walking shoes and a sweater wrapped over shoulders with sleeves tied, peers in Spingold ballroom. 104 tables are in play.

She glances over to Sandler's table. Their eyes lock. Sandler smiles and waves. Across from Sandler, Yevette declares a hand. Tira notes the flag next to Sandler: "A." She looks for their teammates.

Her eyes go for flag: "B." She spots Lance Colter. Looks across the table. Sees Myrtle Sobel declaring a hand. Tira laughs to herself as she remembers yesterday's scene with Richard and Myrtle. Shakes her head in wonder.

Tira notes the speed and quickness of Myrtle's tempo: SNAP. SNAP. SNAP. Tira is in awe.

Ashley approaches Tira from behind. He is clad in jeans, walking shoes and a pullover.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN

My boys are practicing, and yours?


Tira nods head. Slightly annoyed with the intrusion.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN (CONT'D)

Wanna go for a ride?


Tira looks at Ashley. Puzzled.

EXT. DISNEYLAND -- AFTERNOON


Tira and Ashley ride the "Matterhorn." Smiling. Hands stretched up in the air. OHHH!

Later, Tira and Ashley stroll through the park. Tira, all girlish smiles, spots MICKEY MOUSE walking in the distance. CHILDREN approach Mickey Mouse. Tira points to the scene.

Ashley looks only at her. He is drawn by her girlishness. Warm smile. Tira turns towards him.

TIRA RUSHGATE

Buy me some cotton candy.


Moments later, Ashley comes with cotton candy. Hands it to Tira. Tira giggles like a school girl. Takes cotton candy.

They continue to stroll. Ashley sees COUPLES walking hand in hand. He eyes Tira's free hand. She is oblivious to his tender mood.

He makes a slow approach for her hand. Touches it. Holds it. Tira PULLS her hand away. Her mood is lost. The girlish smile is gone. They continue to stroll. Ashley's rejection turns to a slow SEETHE.

He glances at her feet as they stroll. The park is crowded. They brush against PEOPLE. He places his foot in front of her(!!!). She TRIPS! He GRABS her free hand to break the fall.

She drops the cotton candy with the other hand to brace her fall against the pavement. She's DOWN with Ashley breaking the fall. She gets up stunned.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN
(grinning)

I finally got to hold your hand.


She brushes her jeans. Slowly looks up to him with realization.

TIRA RUSHGATE

You tripped me!


She turns. Looks for exit. Walks away. Ashley follows.

Moments later, she hails a cab at the park exit. Cab comes over. Ashley runs to cab. At the instant cab stops. Ashley takes the cab handle from Tira. Opens door. PUSHES Tira out of the way. Gets in cab. Shuts door. Tira is stunned. Cab takes off with Ashley. Tira looks on. SEETHES.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-SPINGOLD BALLROOM -- LATER


Yevette, Sandler, Myrtle, and Lance sit at table "A-4." They compare scores at half-time.

MYRTLE SOBEL

+420.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Win 9.


MYRTLE SOBEL

+990.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Win 10, very nice.


MYRTLE SOBEL

-100.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Push. That's 46 from the second quarter and 27 from the first quarter. 73 at half-time. Nice set!


Myrtle cackles. CAPTAIN GEORGE HARRIS limps mockingly to Sandler's table. Harris takes out his handkerchief and places it on top of his pencil. Waves it like a white flag.

GEORGE HARRIS

We surrender. It'll enable all of us to have a relaxing dinner.


MYRTLE SOBEL
(to Lance)

Go report their withdrawal to Max Hardy.


Sandler stands and shakes George's hand. George retreats. Lance leaves to report.

YEVETTE RAINES
(to Myrtle)

Why don't we all have dinner this evening?


MYRTLE SOBEL

Thanks, dearie. Room service for me and Lance. Need to discuss more systems.


Myrtle cackles.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-RESTAURANT -- EVENING


Sandler and Yevette dine at a table for two.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

You played that hand particularly well Yevette. I just wanted to mention about the technique...


Across the room Tira, in evening dress, sits at a large table. Richard, Genius, Catcher, Rodney and the Brother's Montague-Beart enjoy their entrees.

TIRA RUSHGATE

After dinner I expect more practice in the suite.


Ashley (now in evening dress), Nick, Meckstroth, Rodwell, Hamman and Soloway are lead to their table by a HOSTESS. Ashley waves to Tira. Grinning. She ignores him.

TIRA RUSHGATE (CONT'D)

If and when we come up against Ashley, there will be a sizable bonus for all if...when we beat him.


All continue to eat. Except Richard. He looks at Yevette.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-MYRTLE'S SUITE -- CONTINUOUS


Myrtle and Lance dine alone. The radio plays. Doris Day sings "Everybody Loves A Lover."

Myrtle lifts up an asparagus. She takes it in her mouth suggestively as she sways to the music. Lance laughs.

SUPER

Tuesday, Spingold Round of 64.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-SPINGOLD BALLROOM -- AFTERNOON


The ballroom contains 64 tables. Tira is dummy. Richard kibitzes her. Tira's eyes wander. She sees Ashley declaring a hand. Ashley looks up. Sees her watching him. She looks away.

WARREN BUFFET kibitzes Ashley. Upon Ashley's finishing the hand, Buffet says:

WARREN BUFFET

Nicely played.


ASHLEY BUCHANAN

Thanks, Warren. Too bad you can't watch your own team even though you're non-playing captain.


WARREN BUFFET

Crazy rule!


Myrtle declares a hand. SNAP. SNAP. SNAP.

James Cayne is dummy at another table. Bill Gates kibitzes. Cayne turns to Gates.

JAMES CAYNE

I think I have it. Have dinner with me tonight.


BILL GATES

Fine.


Yevette plays a hand. Sandler looks on. At it's conclusion:

YEVETTE RAINES

Down one. Sorry, Sandy. I should have--


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Don't worry about it, dear. Next case.


Richard Rushgate sits next to Tira. Looks across the room at Yevette's distress. He smiles warmly unnoticed.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL RESTAURANT -- EVENING


James Cayne and Bill Gates dine at a table for two.

JAMES CAYNE

One way is to sign up Ashley's team now for the future. Offer them 5 times what they're getting.


BILL GATES

But their contract has 4 more years. I want in now. I want you as my partner and the pros.


Cayne thinks for a moment.

JAMES CAYNE

There may be another way. Buy the contract from Ashley. No offense Bill, but your not seasoned enough for this caliber of play. You need the four years. Non-playing captain.


BILL GATES
(childishly)

I want in now. And I want to play.


JAMES CAYNE

I don't think Ashley will budge.


BILL GATES

Be my manager and teacher. I want it before Buffet makes a move. Everyone has a price Jimmie. Get me that team. Be my bridge partner and manager. I will pay anything for that team. And I mean anything.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-SPINGOLD BALLROOM -- NIGHT


Tira's team compares scores. She reads to Genius:

TIRA RUSHGATE

+450.


GENIUS

Win 1. We win by 4. Whew! That was close Tira. We're in.


At Sandler's table, Myrtle JUMPS up and down with Yevette. Sandler and Lance shake hands.

James Cayne gives a thumbs up to Ashley from a distance. He gives thumbs up back.

Bill Gates stands with his TEAM, six professional players. Buffet walks by.

WARREN BUFFET

We both live to see another day.


Gates nods.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-MYRTLE'S SUITE -- LATER


Lance lies in bed reading. Myrtle walks out of bathroom. She wears a skimpy nightgown.

Lance continues to read. There is no smile on his face tonight.

Myrtle gets into bed. She starts to sing "Tammy."

MYRTLE SOBEL

"...Tammy, Tammy, Tammy's in love..."


She grabs his book. He looks tired and disinterested. Lance turns off the light as Myrtle continues to sing.

SUPER

"Wednesday, Spingold round of 32"

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-SPINGOLD BALLROOM -- AFTERNOON


32 tables of bridge complete the first quarter. Ashley stands next to his team. He nods approvingly. He walks out the ballroom towards the swimming pool.

EXT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL POOL AREA -- MOMENTS LATER


Ashley sits with a book. Cayne saunters over. "Wall Street Journal" in hand. Lights a cigar.

JAMES CAYNE

Mind if I join you?


ASHLEY BUCHANAN

We both have sit-outs. Let them earn their money.


Cayne sits next to Ashley.

JAMES CAYNE

Do you ever get tired of it?


ASHLEY BUCHANAN

Never get tired of winning, Jimmie.


JAMES CAYNE

Let me present a hypothetical offer.


ASHLEY BUCHANAN

Always business.


JAMES CAYNE

Suppose I wanted to buy your team's contract. What would it take?


ASHLEY BUCHANAN

Not selling.


JAMES CAYNE

But just suppose you might--


ASHLEY BUCHANAN

It's not about money. It's my fun. It's my life. The team's not for sale.


JAMES CAYNE

Everyone has their price. Million?


ASHLEY BUCHANAN

You're wasting your time. Besides you have a good team.


JAMES CAYNE

2 million?


ASHLEY BUCHANAN

Not for 10 million.


JAMES CAYNE

I see. What about 12 million?


ASHLEY BUCHANAN

Nope. Not for sale.


Cayne opens the "Wall Street Journal." Inhales deeply from his cigar.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL SPINGOLD BALLROOM -- LATER


Yevette, Sandler, Myrtle and Lance finish comparing scores. From Richard's perspective they seem happy. He walks over to Yevette.

RICHARD RUSHGATE

Hello. I'm Richard Rushgate.


Yevette is somewhat taken aback by his high-pitched voice.

Myrtle recognizes him immediately.

MYRTLE SOBEL

Hello, Sonny.


RICHARD RUSHGATE

Oh it's you.

(to Yevette)

Am I interrupting?


YEVETTE RAINES

No. I'm Yevette Raines.


He positions her away from the others.

RICHARD RUSHGATE

I've seen you the last few days. Didn't have the nerve to come up to you. Thought we could go to the coffee shop ...


Yevette looks at Sandler. Sandler nods.

RICHARD RUSHGATE (CONT'D)

...and grab something to eat.


YEVETTE RAINES

Sounds great.


Myrtle cackles. She turns to Lance.

MYRTLE SOBEL

You're on parole. For dinner only.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE
(to all)

Well I think I'll nap between sessions. See you all at game time.


MYRTLE SOBEL

What room you in, Sandler?

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL COFFEE SHOP -- EVENING


Yevette and Richard sit at a table. They return their menus to the WAITRESS.

YEVETTE RAINES

So your aunt is Tira Rushgate?


RICHARD RUSHGATE

Well actually my uncle, who died 4 years ago, was Tira's husband. She inherited...

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-SANDLER'S ROOM -- CONTINUOUS


Sandler, fully clothed lies on bed. There is a KNOCK at the door. He gets up. Opens door. Myrtle walks in.

MYRTLE SOBEL

We haven't had much time to talk.


Sandler closes door. He becomes submissive. The wit and charm are gone. Myrtle sits in chair. She is authoritative.

MYRTLE SOBEL (CONT'D)

First off, I want to talk about the way you played board 23. Sandler, how many times have I told you that if you have a choice of setting up dummy's long suit or ruffing in dummy, always chose the former.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Yes, mother.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL COFFEE SHOP -- CONTINUOUS


Yevette and Richard continue.

YEVETTE RAINES

...so I write my family weekly. The earnings have increased. They are using updated surveillance equipment like in Las Vegas.


RICHARD RUSHGATE

And you and Sandler?


YEVETTE RAINES

Oh, he is my mentor. But am engaged, uh, almost engaged to a man. Steven is his name.


Richard looks dreamy-eyed at Yevette.

RICHARD RUSHGATE

He is here?


YEVETTE RAINES

No, he comes Friday. I travel a lot and our time together is precious.


RICHARD RUSHGATE

I understand that those are the best type of relationships. When two people make the most of limited time.


Waitress comes with hot plates. Puts them down. Yevette ponders the statement.

RICHARD RUSHGATE (CONT'D)

He is very...

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-SANDLER'S ROOM -- CONTINUOUS


Myrtle and Sandler both seated, continue:

MYRTLE SOBEL

Do you love her?


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Unconditionally.


MYRTLE SOBEL

Separate beds. Are you fucking?


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Mother! Our relationship is avuncular.


Myrtle cackles.

MYRTLE SOBEL

Avuncular! You've been reading Aunt Dolli's "Readers Digest." I found it under your bed when you were 12. Wished it were Playboy. Always deemed yourself above sex. You must be the product of a domineering mother!


Myrtle cackles. Becomes serious.

MYRTLE SOBEL (CONT'D)

I have bad news. Dolli is dying. Not more than a month to live. So the doctors say. She will be here Friday. Wants to say goodbye to you.


Sandler puts his hand over his mouth. Begins to sob.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

She was like a--


MYRTLE SOBEL

a mother to you. It was she that insisted that you go to England for prep school. She approved of your going to Oxford. I voted for military school in the States. Wanted to make a man out of you.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Like Charles Bennett? Dear ole dad.


MYRTLE SOBEL

Well perhaps Dolli new best. You'll spend some time with Aunt Dolli when she comes?


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Of course mother. As a matter of fact, Yevette's boyfriend, Steven, comes in Friday also. They will have their own room. Dear Aunt Dolli.


MYRTLE SOBEL

She, Yevette, calls you Sandy. How quaint! Now wouldn't it be a kick if we won the Spingold?


SUPER

Thursday, Spingold round of 16.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-2 SMALL ADJACENT ROOMS -- MORNING


8 tables are set up in the "open" room. Each table has a diagonal screen affixed. At the bottom center of the screen, there is an opening so that boards and bids can be passed to the other side. Kibitzers are allowed in this room.

In the adjacent room the set-up is identical. It's called the "closed" room. No one may come in to kibitz. No one can leave without a proctor. Teammates, therefore cannot see or hear one another until completion of each quarter. A quarter consists of 16 hands of bridge.

Max Hardy and Tom Quinlan walk around the room and check set-up. They ask porters to do some re-arranging.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL COFFEE SHOP -- MOMENTS LATER


Sandler and Yevette eat breakfast.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Excited?


YEVETTE RAINES

I am thrilled about being in the round of 16!


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

No I meant about Steven's arrival tomorrow.


YEVETTE RAINES

Of course.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Made any decisions?


YEVETTE RAINES

Nope. But I am sure that he will propose. Talked to him this morning. He was all poetry and...bouquets.


Sandler smiles.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Listen, tonight is your last night in the room. I would like to discuss some things with you. Not bridge related.


YEVETTE RAINES

Sure, anytime Sandy. Do you think Dolli will last? It's very grueling for me. It must be hell on her.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Positive. She's more seasoned than I let on.


YEVETTE RAINES

I gather that by the cards they bring back each quarter. She's so feisty and alive.

(French)

Filled with the zest of life.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Yes.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-MYRTLE'S SUITE -- CONTINUOUS


Myrtle and Lance have room service breakfast at the table. Lance reads the daily "Bridge Results."

MYRTLE SOBEL

I gave you a reprieve at dinner and late night activities last evening. I expect brilliant performances at the table and in bed tonight. This is your last night by the way. Have company tomorrow.


Lance continues to read.

LANCE COLTER

Thanks. I'll need the cash tomorrow.


MYRTLE SOBEL

No, we said Sunday.


Lance puts down paper. He looks at her. ANGER.

Myrtle smiles. Restrains from cackling. Picks up coffee pot.

MYRTLE SOBEL (CONT'D)

More coffee, Lance?

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-TIRA'S SUITE -- CONTINUOUS


Tira sits in bathrobe on sofa. Richard, fully dressed takes notes.

TIRA RUSHGATE

...and Richard, call the office and set up an appointment with the "Chronicle" for Monday afternoon.


KNOCK at door.

TIRA RUSHGATE (CONT'D)

Go see who it is Richard. If it's the maids I have first sit-out. Tell them to come back at 3:00 p.m.


Richard goes to the door. Opens it. DELIVERY BOY holding flowers hands them to Richard.

DEILVERY BOY

Flowers for Ms. Rushgate.


Richard hands him a dollar. Closes the door.

RICHARD RUSHGATE

Really quite nice.


TIRA RUSHGATE

If they're from Ashley, throw them away Richard.


Richard looks at sealed card.

RICHARD RUSHGATE

No, they're from Jimmie Cayne.


TIRA RUSHGATE

Really? Bring the card and put the flowers in the vase.


Tira opens the card.

JAMES CAYNE (V.O.)

Dear Tira, Good luck in your match! Kindly be my dinner guest upon completion of your afternoon session. Respectfully your, Jimmie Cayne.


TIRA RUSHGATE

Now I wonder what he wants.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-SPINGOLD OPEN ROOM -- AFTERNOON


8 tables of bridge in play. Tira pulls bidding card from box while holding bridge hand. She puts card in tray. Pushes it under the screen to the other side. SWISH.

At another table, Cayne pulls bidding card. Places it in tray. Writes on a pad of paper meaning of bid: "New minor forcing." Hands pad to his OPPONENT who nods. Pushes tray under screen. SWISH.

At another table, Ashley declares a hand. A portion of the screen is removed so that all can see other's cards.

LATER


Tira approaches Cayne.

TIRA RUSHGATE

Thanks for the invite and the flowers. I'm hungry.


JAMES CAYNE

Me too Tira. Let's go.


Ashley watches the scene. So does Bill Gates. And Bill Gates watches Ashley. Smiles.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL RESTAURANT -- MOMENTS LATER


Tira and Cayne hold their wine glasses up.

JAMES CAYNE

To the Spingold.


TIRA RUSHGATE

Yes, to the Spingold.


They take a sip.

JAMES CAYNE

Is your match going well?


TIRA RUSHGATE

Up 65 at the half. Feels good.


JAMES CAYNE

Yeah, we're up 51. Tira, Bill Gates wants in. I want you to know this in the strictest of confidence.


Tira nods.

JAMES CAYNE (CONT'D)

He wants me to be his partner.


TIRA RUSHGATE

What about Chuck Burger?


JAMES CAYNE

Chuck will continue to be on the payroll. He will be team manager.


TIRA RUSHGATE

I see. But Gates doesn't have the experience.


JAMES CAYNE

I know. We need the very best. We need Ashley's four guys.


TIRA RUSHGATE

Knowing Ashley, that will never happen.


JAMES CAYNE

Yes, I offered him 12 million to sell me his contract. He wasn't interested.


TIRA RUSHGATE

Wow! His passion his greater than I imagined. Wish he'd buy a baseball team.


JAMES CAYNE

How dull. Tira, you know Ashley well. Is there anything that he enjoys greater than bridge?


Tira thinks for awhile. Takes another sip of wine.

TIRA RUSHGATE

Well, if he had to chose between bridge and his wife, I think he would chose bridge. Same choice if he had to chose between his children and bridge.


JAMES CAYNE

What about if he had to chose between his family and bridge?


Tira thinks for a long time.

TIRA RUSHGATE

He'd chose his family.


Silence. Then.

JAMES CAYNE

Is there a way?


TIRA RUSHGATE
(menacingly)

There's always a way, Jimmie.


JAMES CAYNE

Ally with Bill and me. Get us the team. And Bill Gates will owe you a favor.


Tira rubs the empty spot on her neck where the diamond of the "Queen of Diamonds" would rest. Takes another sip of wine. Rubs her arm where she bruised when tripped at Disneyland.

TIRA RUSHGATE
Give me some time. I'll get you Ashley's team.

Cayne smiles.

JAMES CAYNE

Thank you Tira. Thank you.


Dining alone in the corner of the restaurant, Bill Gates looks on. Cayne catches his eye. Cayne nods. Gates picks up his wine glass in a toasting fashion and smiles. Tira takes notice. She lifts her glass towards Gates.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-SPINGOLD CLOSED ROOM -- NIGHT


PLAYERS complete the fourth quarter. PROCTORS stand at the door. Players wait patiently to compare scores. They talk amongst themselves.

A proctor opens the door to the "closed room." Players file out to get to their teammates in "open room."

Teams compare scores in the open room. Groups of four to six players form. Sandler and Yevette compare with Myrtle and Lance.

Tira FLIES in with Rodney to compare with the Brother's Montague-Beart and Genius and Catcher.

Ashley and Nick compare with Soloway, Hamman, Meckstroth and Rodwell.

Bill Gates comes in and joins his TEAM.

Warren Buffet comes in and joins his TEAM.

A LOSING MALE PLAYER begins to cry.

LOSING MALE PLAYER

My God we lost, if only I played for the drop.


Sobs and walks out.

LOSING MALE PLAYER 2 tears up his convention card. Throws the pieces up in the air. Screams profanities.

The look of any player describes a win or a loss. Ecstasy or Agony: Sandler's team wins. Cayne's team wins. Tira's team wins. Ashley's team wins. Gate's team wins. Buffet's team wins. RICHARD SCHWARTZ team wins. GRANT BAZE team wins. And now there are eight.

OTHER LOSERS walk out. Heads down. Depressed. Some cry.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-SANDLER'S ROOM -- MOMENTS LATER


Yevette is in a state of exhilaration. Sandler pours her a drink.

YEVETTE RAINES

My God, Sandy, I never thought we'd get this far. I'm floating.


Sandler hands her a drink.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Me too. It is my painful duty to bring you down, Yevette. You probably should pack tonight. Steven arrives tomorrow. I will need your mind at the table.


Yevette takes a sip.

YEVETTE RAINES

Who, uh, whom do we play tomorrow?


Sandler nods at her usage.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

We've taken over the three seed. So we play the six seed. Bill Gates. Yevette, I need to tell you something. Something about my past.


Yevette comes to earth. Looks at Sandler.

YEVETTE RAINES

Right, you said something before. Sure, Sandy. I'm with you now.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Yevette, before I moved to England, I lived with my mother and my Aunt. I was raised on a farm in the South. Outside Huntsville, Alabama.


YEVETTE RAINES

I know that.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

My mother is Myrtle Sobel.


Yevette's eyes open. She is shocked.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (CONT'D)

My first name, Sandler was Myrtle's father's name. My second name St. Claire was my aunt's mother's maiden name.


YEVETTE RAINES

Why didn't you tell me before?


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Well there are some things from the past that are best kept as secret. My father, Charles Bennett was murdered. And, well, there are other things that I will discuss later that are perhaps nefarious. You see Yevette, my mother is our teammate.


Yevette takes another drink from the glass.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (CONT'D)

She is here under the guise of Dolli Madison. My Aunt Dolli arrives tomorrow. She is very sick. Hasn't much time left. Wants to say goodbye.


Yevette finishes her drink.

YEVETTE RAINES

You mean our teammate is Myrtle Sobel. The great Myrtle Sobel? Sandy pour me another drink.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-MYRTLE'S SUITE -- CONTINUOUS


Lance sits on edge of bed. He wears pajama bottoms only. Myrtle is in the bathroom. Door is open.

LANCE COLTER

Dolli, I need that money tomorrow.


MYRTLE SOBEL (O.S.)

I told you Sunday. A deal's a deal.


Myrtle walks out of the bathroom. She stands in front of him.

MYRTLE SOBEL (CONT'D)

You're going to perform better tonight than you did at the table. Mis-defended two hands and declared a hand poorly. Didn't think I noticed?


Lance pouts.

MYRTLE SOBEL (CONT'D)

Come on, stud. Take me.


LANCE COLTER

I'm not ready.


MYRTLE SOBEL

Take me now! What do you think I'm paying you for?


Myrtle draws her face real close to his.

Lance SLAPS her face. Myrtle raises her hand to retaliate. He CATCHES it before her hand makes contact.

He CLENCHES her wrist. Myrtle sobs in pain.

LANCE COLTER

Don't ever talk to me like that again, you old bag!


MYRTLE SOBEL

You're hurting me asshole. We have a con...


Lance SLAPS her face again. Myrtle sobs. He TIGHTENS his clench around her wrists. Myrtle whines.

SUPER

Friday, Spingold Quarter-finals, Round of 8

SUPER

(#1) Ashley Buchanan vs. (#8) Warren Buffet (non-playing)

(#2) Richard Schwartz vs. (#7) Tira Rushgate

(#3) Sandler St. Claire vs. (#6) Bill Gates (non-playing)

(#4) James Cayne vs. (#5) Grant Baze

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-OPEN ROOM -- AFTERNOON


There are four tables in the "open room." Teams mingle in groups. All contestants are present. Myrtle goes up to Sandler.

MYRTLE SOBEL

I want to play in the open room. Dolli gets here around 3:00 p.m. I want Tira to come to my room at half time. Tell her to bring the "Queen." Dolli wants one last look.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

I'll see if I can arrange it.


Sandler walks over to Tira. He begins to talk.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (CONT'D)

Tira, I need a favor.


TIRA RUSHGATE

Just name it, Sandler.


Ashley walks in. Goes over to RICHARD SCHWARTZ. He is within earshot of Tira. Perhaps intentionally.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN
(to Schwartz)

Just wanted to wish you the best of luck today. I hope you beat that bitch. She doesn't deserve to be in this room.


Schwartz feels embarrassed. He sees Tira half-listening to Ashley's comments.

TIRA RUSHGATE

Of course I will, Sandler. Be there after half-time.


Yevette walks over to Sandler.

YEVETTE RAINES

I'm all checked in. Steven and I will have dinner tonight. He should be here around 6:00.


Lance walks over to Myrtle.

LANCE COLTER

I need the money...


MYRTLE SOBEL

Sunday. Sunday. You have checked out of the room? Give me the key.


Lance nods. Hands her key.

Max Hardy claps hands together.

MAX HARDY

Places everyone. Places.


Players go to their tables.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-LOBBY -- LATER


76-year-old frail DOLLI MADISON leaves the bell desk. She sits down in a comfortable lobby chair. Opens purse. Pulls out "Reader's Digest." Opens to vocabulary section. Reads.

MOMENTS LATER

Myrtle FLIES into the lobby. She holds a room key in hand. Approaches Dolli. Dolli slowly gets up. They kiss and hug. Myrtle gives Dolli room key.

MYRTLE SOBEL

We'll get the bell-hop to take you and your things to the room. See you at half-time. Love you, Dolli.


DOLLI MADISON

Love you, Myrtle.


Dolli notices Myrtle's bruised wrist.

DOLLI MADISON (CONT'D)

You okay? Looks nasty.


MYRTLE SOBEL

Just a battle scar. Not to worry. Must get back.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-SPINGOLD OPEN ROOM -- LATER


Teams compare. Genius totals the scores. Tira, Catcher, Rodney, and the Brothers' Montague-Beart look on.

GENIUS

Up 26! My god Tira, we had back to back 800's. Schwartz got out of line. We punished him. Superb defense. Sandler's got to write this up.


TIRA RUSHGATE

Genius, Sandler is...


Genius takes off after Sandler. Sandler's team compares.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Well we seem to be down 15 at the half.


Myrtle growls. Scowls at Lance. Genius runs to Sandler.

GENIUS

Sandler, got to tell you about my incredible defense on back to back hands.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Write me an e-mail so I that I might digest the full impact of you incredible genius.


GENIUS

Okay, uh, I don't have a computer with me.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

That's even better. Bye now.


Genius is left puzzled. Sandler's team walks out. Strolls with a depressed look.

YEVETTE RAINES

Got to go to the room. Steven!


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Yes, my dear. And don't worry about the marginal deficit. You played well.


MYRTLE SOBEL
(to Lance)

Wish I could say the same for you. Run along, Lance. See you at game time.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-MYRTLE'S SUITE -- MOMENTS LATER


Door opens. Myrtle and Sandler walk in. Dolli goes to Sandler. They embrace.

DOLLI MADISON

Oh, my sweet boy. Are you eating okay? Doing proper exercise? Any women?


MYRTLE SOBEL

Any men?


Myrtle cackles.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Everything's fine Dolli. So good to be with you. I heard the news.


DOLLI MADISON

Yes, it's been a fun ride, Sandler. Myrtle and I raising you till you were 15. Shipped you off to England. You don't know how you have fulfilled me. Sit my boy. As far as the cancer, every time I feel a pain, I take a pill. It's not that bad. Weak sometimes.


KNOCK. Myrtle answers and Tira walks in with a jewelry box.

TIRA RUSHGATE

Hi all.


MYRTLE SOBEL

Glad you could make it. This is my best friend Dolli.


DOLLI MADISON

That's Dolli with an "i."


TIRA RUSHGATE
(to Myrtle)

But I thought you were Dolli.


MYRTLE SOBEL

I don't like to use my real name, dearie. It causes too much commotion.


DOLLI MADISON

Her name is Myrtle Sobel.


Tira looks shocked. Sits down.

TIRA RUSHGATE

Sandler may I have a drink?


Sandler obeys. Tira looks at the closed jewelry box. Myrtle notes her realization. Myrtle looks at the box.

MYRTLE SOBEL
(to Tira)

It sort of tickles around the throat. Gets heavy after an hour.


Tira nods. Opens box. Takes out the "Queen of Diamonds." Makes a gesture to Myrtle to take it. Sandler hands Tira a drink. Myrtle holds it around her neck.

MYRTLE SOBEL (CONT'D)

Charles Bennett gave it to me after our first year together on the tournament circuit. I was infatuated with him. But then, slowly, surely I became the better bridge player. This infuriated him. Men want you in your place. They have to be better. Women aren't allowed to show them up.


TIRA RUSHGATE

Nothing has changed.


MYRTLE SOBEL

I began to like beating men at their own game. It was a statement I made in the name of women bridge players. Charles hated me for it.


TIRA RUSHGATE

When you beat men. Does it, did it make you uh--


MYRTLE SOBEL

--wet. Still does dearie.


Tira nods. Finishes her drink. Motions to Sandler for another. Sandler obeys.

TIRA RUSHGATE

But if I remember the story, this was stolen from you, the night Bennett was murdered.


MYRTLE SOBEL

Sandler get me a drink. Yes and no. Do you want to hear what happened that night?


Tira nods.

MYRTLE SOBEL (CONT'D)

Well it began--


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Here's your drink mother. I think we should--


TIRA RUSHGATE

Mother?


DOLLI MADISON

Well you see Tira, that fatal evening back in '54, Myrtle was a couple months pregnant with Sandler.


TIRA RUSHGATE

Wow! Sandler, you never told me that you were the child of Myrtle and Charles.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

I never told anyone until recently. I never new my father. And mother had become a bridge legend. I had made my own name.


TIRA RUSHGATE

Yes,

(to Myrtle)

Now I understand why you used Dolli's name. It would cause quite a stir. So what happened that night back in '54?


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Mother, I don't think--


MYRTLE SOBEL

Quiet Sandler. Mother has the floor.


LATER

Sandler brings over sandwiches. They each grab one.

DOLLI MADISON

So the royalties ran out on Bennett's books. The insurance money from the 'theft' of the "Queen" was dwindling. Sandler lived all those years at the finest schools in England. We needed to sell the "Queen." My brother had a jewelry store in Huntsville. Some guy named Tommy Rushgate, your husband, came in looking for something special for his wife. He didn't see anything he liked. My brother called me. And we insisted on a cash deal under the table...


LATER

Tira stands. Silence. Then Tira goes to Myrtle.

TIRA RUSHGATE

I feel such a bond.


Takes Myrtle's hand.

TIRA RUSHGATE (CONT'D)

The necklace. Women in bridge. The men. The whole thing connects.


Myrtle starts swinging their clasped hands.

MYRTLE SOBEL

Want to dance dearie?


TIRA RUSHGATE

I feel as if we already are.


Myrtle cackles.

MYRTLE SOBEL

I like you, dearie.


Their eyes lock.

TIRA RUSHGATE

Now I want to ask you a favor. If we both survive the game tonight, we'll be matched to play each other tomorrow. I want to play against you, the same table, not hidden by the screens.


MYRTLE SOBEL

That's a deal, dearie.


DOLLI MADISON

And in the "open room." I want to watch.


Tira walks over to Dolli and kisses her on the cheek. Then over to Myrtle. Kisses her, hugs her. Picks up the "Queen." Looks at Sandler.

TIRA RUSHGATE

You're a lucky guy Sandler.


Sandler walks her to the door.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-SPINGOLD OPEN ROOM -- EVENING


All eight remaining teams compare scores.

GRANT BAZE team walks out arguing with one another.

Richard Schwartz counts scores.

RICHARD SCHWARTZ
(to his team)

She got us by 4. Damn.


Ashley smiles with his team in victory. Tira gives out a victory scream. Ashley's smile turns to disgust upon hearing Tira's scream.

Cayne, unlit cigar in mouth, shakes hands with Chuck Burger.

Gates and Buffet walk out together.

BILL GATES

Well at least it didn't cost me a million.


WARREN BUFFET

I didn't expect to get this far anyway. Now what do we do? Hey, you wanna buy the Knicks?


Yevette hugs Sandler.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Good match. Pulled it out. Now run along to Steven.


LANCE COLTER
(to Myrtle)

Listen I'm in trouble. Have a debt to pay by midnight. Help me out.


MYRTLE SOBEL

No. No. No.


Lance stomps out.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

What was that about?


MYRTLE SOBEL

Walk me to my room Sandler. Don't forget we want the open room tomorrow. I promised Tira.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-STEVEN'S ROOM -- MOMENTS LATER


Yevette opens her door. Steven stands naked with arms outstretched. She jumps into his arms.

YEVETTE RAINES

We won. We won.


He puts her gently on the bed. She gets in to the mood. Takes off her clothes fast and furiously.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL CORRIDOR -- CONTINUOUS


Sandler walks Myrtle to her room. She opens her door.

MYRTLE SOBEL

Dolli's asleep. See you tomorrow.


Sandler takes off. Myrtle walks to the bathroom. Turns on light. KNOCK. KNOCK. Myrtle walks towards entrance. Myrtle looks through the peep-hole.

MYRTLE SOBEL (CONT'D)

Go away, Lance.


LANCE COLTER (O.S.)

Listen, you old hag. If you want to win tomorrow, you'll give me my money now.


MYRTLE SOBEL

Go away Lance or I'll call security.


Dolli stirs. But not awakened.

MYRTLE SOBEL (CONT'D)

And Lance.


LANCE COLTER

Yes?


MYRTLE SOBEL

You have a small cock.


Myrtle walks to her drawer. Takes a gun out. Same gun used in 1954. Loads the gun and puts it in her purse.

Dolli, sound asleep, has a nightmare.

DOLLI MADISON

Oh, no. Not yet. Not yet. Ohhhh.


Myrtle puts an arm around her.

MYRTLE SOBEL

It's okay, Dolli. It's okay. I'm here.


Dolli settles down. Breaths naturally. INHALE. EXHALE. Myrtle kisses her.

MYRTLE SOBEL (CONT'D)

How I love you, Dolli.


Myrtle looks at her purse. Then to Dolli. Goes back to the FATAL NIGHT:

BLACK AND WHITE

INT. FONTAINEBLEAU HOTEL CORRIDOR, 1954--FATAL NIGHT.


Elevator door opens. 5th floor. Charles Bennett holds firmly to Myrtle Sobel's wrist as they walk out of elevator. He DRAGS her through the corridor.

MYRTLE SOBEL

Careful Charles, you're hurting me.


CHARLES BENNETT

I haven't begun to hurt you bitch.


MYRTLE SOBEL

I'm pregnant Charles. Pregnant with your child. Don't hurt me.


CHARLES BENNETT

Bullshit. Always bullshit.


He fumbles for the key. Finds it. Still holding on to Myrtle, he FLINGS her into the room. She falls on the floor. The contents of her purse opens. The gun falls out. Charles picks up the gun.

CHARLES BENNETT (CONT'D)

And just what were you planning to do with this?


Myrtle, still on floor, gives Charles a quick, swift, KICK in the balls. The gun goes off. Charles falls as the gun goes off again.

Myrtle gets up. Takes gun. Opens door. Dolli Madison stands there. Frozen. Myrtle walks out. Removes "Queen of Diamonds."

MYRTLE SOBEL

Open your purse.


DOLLI MADISON

Yes, Miss Sobel.


Myrtle puts the necklace in her purse. Then puts the gun in her purse.

END BLACK AND WHITE

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-MYRTLE'S SUITE -- CONTINUOUS


Dolli stirs. Mumbles in sleep

MYRTLE SOBEL

It's okay Dolli. Myrtle's here.


BLACK AND WHITE

INT. FONTAINEBLEAU HOTEL CORRIDOR -- CONTINUOUS


Myrtle and Dolli stand out in hall.

MYRTLE SOBEL

You will come back won't you Dolli? Dolli with an "i."


DOLLI MADISON

Always keep my word, Miss Sobel.


They look into one another's eyes. The look of the new bond is stronger than any word. Then. Dolli FLIES.

In the next instant. Charles' hand grabs her ankle. THUD! Myrtle is on the floor. He drags her into room.

MYRTLE SOBEL

Help!


Dolli stops in her tracks. Returns. Bennett's hands are around Myrtle's neck.

Dolli opens purse. Takes out gun. Dolli SHOOTS Bennett in the head.

DOLLI MADISON

Always finish what you start out to do Miss Sobel. Be right back.


Myrtle grabs her throat. INHALE. EXHALE. INHALE. EXHALE. Gives Charles a kick in the balls. Sits down. Looks at rotary phone. Looks at Charles. Spits on him. Picks up phone. Dials "0."

MYRTLE SOBEL
(to phone)

Give me the police. Yes. There's been a murder and a robbery. Fontainebleau Hotel. Room 522. My name is Myrtle Sobel. Yes. Yes.


Dolli walks in. Carries new purse. Closes door. Myrtle hangs up phone.

MYRTLE SOBEL (CONT'D)

They're on their way.


Dolli sits down and looks at Charles' body.

DOLLI MADISON

Don't you worry, Miss Sobel, everything will be alright.


MYRTLE SOBEL

I'm pregnant.


Long pause. Dolli closes eyes. Opens them.

DOLLI MADISON

I live in a farm outside of Huntsville. Nice place to raise a child. Neighbors keep to themselves.


Myrtle lightens.

MYRTLE SOBEL

And we'll have the insurance money from the "Queen."


DOLLI MADISON

There's good schools in Alabama.


MYRTLE SOBEL

Vassar or Smith?


DOLLI MADISON

And she can have my "Reader's Digest" each month. After I finish it, of course.


MYRTLE SOBEL

And if it's a boy. He will be a gentleman.


DOLLI MADISON

Right no abusive stuff. A right Southern gentleman. And a great bridge player like you.


They lock eyes. Smile warmly. Myrtle sits next to Dolli. Puts arm around her. Kisses her cheek.

END BLACK AND WHITE

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-MYRTLE'S SUITE -- CONTINUOUS


Dolli breathes heavily. But evenly. INHALE. EXHALE. She is sound asleep. Myrtle looks at purse. Takes off clothes. Gets into bed. Just as she is about to turn off the light, the phone next to bed rings.

MYRTLE SOBEL

Sandler?


LANCE COLTER (V.O.)

I've done some checking Dolli. Or maybe I should say Myrtle Sobel! It seems that Tira Rushgate has the "Queen." A drink with Richard Rushgate divulged it's origin. A jeweler in Huntsville by the name of Madison sold it to Tommy Rushgate.

(accusatory)

You always had the "Queen." It was never stolen the night Charles Bennett was murdered.


MYRTLE SOBEL

What do you want?


LANCE COLTER

I want my money tomorrow night.


MYRTLE SOBEL

You win Lance.


LANCE COLTER

And $100,000.


MYRTLE SOBEL

What?


LANCE COLTER

You heard me old hag. 100 grand!


Myrtle looks at Dolli. Thinks. Then.

MYRTLE SOBEL

Good night Lance, we'll talk tomorrow.


Myrtle hangs up the phone. Switches off light.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-STEVEN'S ROOM -- CONTINUOUS


Yevette lies in Steven's arms. Afterglow.

STEVEN KEELER

You love this life?


YEVETTE RAINES

Oh yes. It is life.


STEVEN KEELER

You know being married to me, doesn't mean you have to give it up?


YEVETTE RAINES

Really? You mean you wouldn't mind if I remain on the circuit?


STEVEN KEELER

Our time together becomes quality time. It's more meaningful.


YEVETTE RAINES

Someone else just said something to me like that. Oh Steven, I love the time with you. I love the time at bridge. Think of it as work. Sandler says that I could make $100,000 a year playing professionally.


STEVEN KEELER

For real?


YEVETTE RAINES

Sandler's mind reaches out to places I didn't even know existed. He forces me to follow.


STEVEN KEELER

A year ago I would have been jealous of a comment like that. Today, it's cool. Now let me see if I got this team thing straight. You and Sandler play a hand. Then Lance and Dolli play the same hand?


YEVETTE RAINES

Yes but in different directions.


She points to Steven.

YEVETTE RAINES (CONT'D)

You and I are partners. Are opponents are on our right and left. You and I win the bid for 4 hearts. We play the hand. Then we pass the hand to our teammate. Our teammate's opponents play 4 hearts and our teammates defend the hand. Now if we made our contract of 4 hearts and our teammates defeated their opponent's contract of 4 hearts, we win a lot of points.


STEVEN KEELER

Cool.


She kisses him tenderly.

SUPER

Saturday, Spingold semifinals.

(#1) Ashley Buchanan vs. (#4) James Cayne

(#2) Tira Rushgate vs. (3) Sandler St. Claire

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-OPEN ROOM -- MORNING


There are two tables in the "open room." Ashley's table is set in the corner of the room near the entrance.

Hawk-eye, the video technician, sets up two video cameras on tripods. Each camera is focused on one side of the screen. It will view two players, but not partners.

Myrtle's table is diagonally across from Ashley's. It is in the opposite corner of the room. No cameras are set up there. Myrtle will be hidden (by her screen) from all people. EXCEPT her right-hand opponent and her left-hand kibitzer.

Hawk-eye walks to the "closed room." There is an identical set-up, including video cameras at Ashley's teammate's table. But none at Sandler's table.

Moments later. Hawk-eye enters the "vu-graph" room.

He sees what the camera sees on large monitors. He hangs up a banner above monitors: "Spingold semifinals: Ashley Buchanan vs. James Cayne."

MOMENTS LATER

In the "open room," Hawk-eye drags two chairs on each side of Ashley's table. He tapes a paper to each chair: "Reserved for vu-graph secretary."

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-SPINGOLD OPEN ROOM -- AFTERNOON


Ashley is going over notes with Nick, Soloway, Meckstroth, Hamman, and Rodwell.

Tira walks in. Ashley leaves the group and approaches her.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN

I have something special planned for us when you lose.


Tira walks away. Affected by the remark. Richard Rushgate walks towards Tira.

TIRA RUSHGATE

I'm changing the line-up. I want the first and third sit-out. Go get Genius and Catcher.


Richard nods. Leaves.

Myrtle, Dolli, Yevette, and Steven (clad in swim wear, carrying sun tan lotion) walk in. Myrtle cackles loudly.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN
(to Nick)

Who is that woman anyway? The one with the cackle?


NICK NICKEL

Dolli, something. She's crazy.


Lance and Sandler walk in. The Cayne team walks in. Cayne holds an unlit cigar.

The Brother's Montague-Beart walk in and go to the "closed room" entrance.

Myrtle drags a chair to the left of her assigned seat. Dolli sits down. Myrtle and Lance sit down without a word.

Steven kisses Yevette at the entrance to the "closed room." Leaves. Yevette and Sandler walk into "closed room."

Myrtle opens the bottom of the screen. Peers across the table where Lance is sitting.

MYRTLE SOBEL

Stop playing with yourself, Lance.


Lance shuts the opening.

Dolli and Myrtle laugh.

Genius runs in and sits on Myrtle's right. They are in full view of each other. The screen blocks their vision from the rest of the room.

Catcher sits down on Lance's right.

GENIUS
(to Myrtle)

I'm Genius. But you probably know that already. I'm the greatest player in the world. Want my autograph for your grandchildren?


MYRTLE SOBEL

Only if you lick my pussy, Sonny.


Dolli can hardly contain herself. Genius looks puzzled. Max Hardy walks in.

MAX HARDY

Places every body. Places.

INT. "VU-GRAPH" ROOM -- MOMENTS LATER


Moderator, Tom Quinlan stands on stage. Hands appear on monitors. SECRETARIES record the bidding on a screen. The room is about two-thirds full with SPECTATORS.

TOM QUINLAN

And here is hand 1 in the open room. Buchanan-Nickel vs. Cayne-Burger...

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-SPINGOLD OPEN ROOM -- LATER


At Myrtle's table, Myrtle, Lance, Yevette and Sandler finish comparing the first quarter. Dolli motions to Myrtle to watch her purse. Dolli leaves the room.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Well it's a push right now.


YEVETTE RAINES

Okay, I might have made a different decision on board six.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Don't worry Yevette, you played great. We're off. Good luck you two.


Yevette and Sandler leave for the "closed room."

Lance walks over to Myrtle who remains seated.

MYRTLE SOBEL

Hey pro, we'd be up 10 if you made that hand. I could'a dragged a fat lady off the street and she'd'av made it.


Lance, completely out of view of others, SLAPS Myrtle across the face.

LANCE COLTER

There'll be more of that every time you open your fat trap.


He walks back to his seat. Myrtle rubs her face. Silence.

Tira and Rodney walk in. All smiles.

Rodney sits on Lance's right. He rocks his chair. Two front legs of chair lift from the table. BACK AND FORTH. ROCK. Lance looks annoyed at the rocking.

Tira looks and Ashley's table. He' not there. She is pleased that he has a sit-out. Dolli walks back in. Smiles to Tira. Sits down. Tira sits down. All smiles from the three women.

TIRA RUSHGATE
(to Myrtle and Dolli)

You two come up to my suite after this match. We'll order room service. On me.


DOLLI MADISON

Thank you, Tira.


MYRTLE SOBEL

Yes that will be delightful.


They pull their hands out of the board. Count. Fan. Sort. The match begins.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-TIRA'S SUITE -- EVENING


Richard is in the living area. He turns off the television set. He crosses over to the closed door of Tira's room.

RICHARD RUSHGATE

Tira, I'm going to the coffee shop...


KNOCK at entrance door.

TIRA RUSHGATE (O.S.)

Okay.


RICHARD RUSHGATE

You're guests are here.


TIRA RUSHGATE (O.S.)

Let them in. Be out in a moment.


Richard opens entrance door. Dolli walks in.

DOLLI MADISON

Well hi young man.


RICHARD RUSHGATE

Hi, I'm Richard Rushgate. Tira will be out in a...


Myrtle walks in. Richard looks shocked. Backs away to protect himself.

MYRTLE SOBEL

Want's some candy little boy?


RICHARD RUSHGATE

It's you. Well I'm off.


Richard walks to the door attempting to avoid potential grabs from Myrtle. He succeeds and leaves.

Tira walks in.

TIRA RUSHGATE

High girls. Let's order. I'm famished.


LATER

The three finish their entrees.

DOLLI MADISON

Okay we've told you all about us. Tell us about you.


MYRTLE SOBEL

Especially that Ashley Buchanan. Spill the beans, Tira.


TIRA RUSHGATE

You want to know about Ashley. We have an agreement for all the National tournaments. The one who is knocked out first must submit to the other's sex scene.


MYRTLE SOBEL

Yummy! Now try to be more specific Tira. Details. Details.


LATER

DOLLI MADISON

The guy sounds like a real asshole.


Tira nods. Silence.

MYRTLE SOBEL

We're up six at the half. If you beat us we're all with you tomorrow.


TIRA RUSHGATE

Ashley is a strong favorite over Cayne. They're up 56 at the half.


MYRTLE SOBEL

Thanks for dinner. Back to the battlefield.


They all rise.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-OPEN ROOM -- EVENING


Genius is on Myrtle's right. Dolli sits on Myrtle's left. Myrtle's bridge hand is Spades: AK32, Hearts: 432, Diamonds: 542, Clubs:654.

Genius picks up the "6NT" bidding card. Places it into tray. Makes a loud BURP.

MYRTLE SOBEL
(to Genius)

One too many Big Macs, Sonny?


He ignores her. Myrtle picks up the red "X" card.

MYRTLE SOBEL (CONT'D)

Don't think even a Genius can make this one.


The drapes are open. Myrtle lays the King of spades on the table.

MYRTLE SOBEL (CONT'D)

Now I wonder what I should play next?


GENIUS

Down one.


Dolli covers her mouth from laughing. Opens her purse. Takes a pill.

LATER

Myrtle's hand is on Dolli's vacant chair. Yevette and Sandler walk into the "closed room." Lance walks over.

LANCE COLTER

You behaved better this round.


MYRTLE SOBEL
(recollecting)

Behave, Myrtle.


Lance raises his hand. Myrtle winces. Lance laughs. Doesn't slap her. Walks back to chair.

Tira walks in to "open room." Ashley comes over.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN

You're down 25 at the three-quarter mark. Against Sandler's girls! Just thought I would tell you the bad news.


He grins. Walks away.

Tira sits to the right of Myrtle.

Rodney walks in. Sits to the right of Lance. Begins to rock. Lance is annoyed.

Dolli walks in. Slowly. Very slowly. Sits.

TIRA RUSHGATE
(to Myrtle)

Let's play bridge.


They pull their cards out. Count. Sort. Fan.

LATER

Myrtle's tempo is fast. Tira and Rodney strain to keep up. SNAP. SNAP. SNAP.

LATER

Rodney declares a hand. Lance exposes hand.

LANCE COLTER

Down two, doubled.


LATER

Myrtle declares a hand. Tira exposes hand.

TIRA RUSHGATE

Down 5 doubled. 1400.


The following series of events follow quickly:

(1) James Cayne yells from Ashley's table:


JAMES CAYNE

Director! Director! Director!


(2) Max Hardy walks towards Cayne.

(3) Lance slams fist down on table. THUD.

(4) Lance GRABS Myrtle's wrist from under the screen.

(5) Myrtle pulls out gun heatedly.

(6) Cayne yells furiously:


JAMES CAYNE (CONT'D)

He called me an asshole!


(7) Myrtle SHOOTS Lance through screen.

(8) Rodney FALLS over on floor from rocking position.

(9) Myrtle says to herself:


MYRTLE SOBEL

Behave, Myrtle.


(10) Lance lunges back, then FALLS forward.

(11) Myrtle's hand is released.

(12) Myrtle looks at Dolli.

(13) Dolli looks at Myrtle.

(14) Tira is frozen.

(15) Myrtle drops gun on table.

(16) Argument at Cayne's table heats up.

(17) Dolli stands up. Grabs purse.

(18) Myrtle stands up. Grabs purse.

(19) Myrtle and Dolli SWITCH places.

(20) Dolli takes out handkerchief. Wipes gun. Returns handkerchief to purse. Holds gun. Places gun back on table.


Those at Ashley's table assume noises and commotion are due to Rodney's fall. From across the room Max yells:

MAX HARDY

Rodney, you okay?


Rodney gets up. Picks chair up.

NICK NICKEL

Sounded like a gun went off.


JAMES CAYNE

Quiet, I'm talking.


Rodney looks at Lance. Sees blood.

RODNEY

Director! Max! He's bleeding.


Max walks over to Rodney. Notices bullet hole through screen. Walks to the other side.

Dolli holds her hands over her face. Feigns crying.

DOLLI MADISON

I shot him.


MAX HARDY

I'll call the police and an ambulance.


TIRA RUSHGATE

I'll be in my room if you need me.


MYRTLE SOBEL
(to Tira)

Come along dear.

(to Dolli)

Take care Dolli. Dolli with an "i."


Myrtle gives Dolli a kiss. Walks out with Tira.

MOMENTS LATER

In elevator. Myrtle gives key to Tira.

MYRTLE SOBEL (CONT'D)

Got to run Tira. Have Sandler collect my things. I'm going to travel light. Tell him to take care of Dolli. She doesn't have much time left. And Tira, good luck tomorrow in the finals. Sorry I won't be here to kibitz. On the lamb.


Elevator door opens. Myrtle walks out. Elevator door begins to close.

MYRTLE SOBEL (CONT'D)

See you in Orlando.


TIRA RUSHGATE
(dazed)

See you in Orlando.


They smile.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-OPEN ROOM -- MOMENTS LATER


Dolli lies on floor. SECURITY GUARDS administer oxygen. Bridge continues at Ashley's table. Players are oblivious of the activities in the other corner. 3 POLICEMEN walk in and a MEDICAL DOCTOR.

Medical doctor checks Lance. Walks over to Dolli. Feels pulse. Looks in purse for drugs. Finds drugs.

MEDICAL DOCTOR
(to security man)

Get this woman to...


PARAMEDICS rush in.

MEDICAL DOCTOR (CONT'D)
(to paramedics)

Get this woman to County Hospital. Take her purse and show the attending physician these drugs.


MAX HARDY
(to policeman)

I have all that information on the computer. His name is, was Lance Colter. Her name is Dolli Madison. Can run you a print out if you like.


POLICEMAN

That would be helpful.


Paramedics take Dolli out on stretcher. Her face is covered with an oxygen mask. Bridge continues at Ashley's table. As well as in the "closed room." All are oblivious to the happenings.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-TIRA'S SUITE -- NIGHT


INSPECTOR PATTY HOLMES speaks to Tira.

INSPECTOR PATTY HOLMES
I'm really not quite sure why I'm here. He grabbed her wrist and she shot him?

Tira nods.

INSPECTOR PATTY HOLMES (CONT'D)

Well this Max Hardy guy says that Dolli shot Lance. You say so. Dolli says so. Our records indicate she was on the team. She is registered in the hotel. You want to offer anything to this?


Tira shakes head.

TIRA RUSHGATE

Bridge is a volatile, heated game.


INSPECTOR PATTY HOLMES

One more thing. Who was the other lady at the table?


TIRA RUSHGATE

A friend of Dolli's I guess.


INSPECTOR PATTY HOLMES

Don't know her name?


Tira shakes head.

INSPECTOR PATTY HOLMES (CONT'D)

Well I guess it doesn't matter. I think it's an open and shut case. Dolli is in intensive care. Not doing well. Apparently has cancer. Her condition is critical.


LATER

Tira issues orders to Rodney.

TIRA RUSHGATE

Get the team up here. And call Ashley with that proposition.


RICHARD RUSHGATE

Okay.


LATER

TIRA RUSHGATE
(to phone)

Yes, Sandler. I have the key. She's not good. County Hospital. But you better call. She said: "on the lamb."


LATER

Richard, Genius, Catcher, Brother's Montague-Beart, and Rodney listen to Tira.

TIRA RUSHGATE (CONT'D)

Rodney and I are playing all the hands tomorrow.


GENIUS

But, that's a terrible idea! You can't expect me to sit out!


TIRA RUSHGATE

It's settled. Ashley will also play all the hands.


Looks at Richard. Richard nods.

TIRA RUSHGATE (CONT'D)
(to team)

In the first half I want his left testicle. In the second half I want his right testicle. And then for a victory celebration. I will cook them, and eat them.


They look on astonished.

SUPER

Sunday, The Spingold finals:

(#1) Ashley Buchanan vs. (#2) Tira Rushgate

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-SPINGOLD OPEN ROOM -- MORNING


There is one bridge table set in the middle of the room. There is a director's desk and a coffee and water station. There is an area for Hawk-eye's video equipment. Two additional seats, one on each side of the screen, are reserved for secretaries.

Hawk-eye sets up two video cameras on each side of screen. There is a third video camera at a distance to view the entire table. All cameras rest on tripods. The cords from the camera lead to VCRs. The VCRs are on his table nearby.

Hawk-eye walks to the "closed room." An identical setup of the "open room." He checks video camera that covers the entire table.

The tripod SLIPS on its legs. The camera views UNDERNEATH the table. He readjusts camera and tripod. He shakes his head.

INT. "VU-GRAPH" ROOM -- AFTERNOON


Standing room only. Buzz everywhere. Stage is unattended. Yevette and Steven sit together in front row. On other side of Yevette sits Warren Buffet. Buffet and Yevette are chatty.

Cayne, chomping on unlit cigar, sits in another row with Chuck Burger and Bill Gates.

Sandler walks up to Steven and hands him a room key. Talks to him for a moment amidst the buzz of the room.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

If you could have it all sent to holding I would appreciate it. Please call County Hospital and check to see if there is anything new.


Tom Quinlan walks on stage. Walks to microphone.

TOM QUINLAN

Shh! Please everyone.


Buzz begins to settle down.

TOM QUINLAN (CONT'D)

The American Contract Bridge League is pleased to have Sandler St. Claire, syndicated bridge columnist, author and professional player comment on the finals of the Spingold. This will be his 15th consecutive year.


All stand and applaud. Sandler walks on stage. Spectators applaud louder. He approaches microphone. Carries headset in one hand. As applauds die down, Sandler speaks slowly.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

You're all to be congratulated on your excellent taste.


Audience chuckles.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (CONT'D)

Yes, this is my 15th consecutive year commenting on the finals of the Spingold. I shall construe this tradition as a token of appreciation by the ACBL, rather than a presumption of my availability for the final match... And not being in the finals myself.


A monitor shows Tira and Rodney taking their positions at the table in the open room.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-OPEN ROOM -- CONTINUOUS


Tira adjusts her bidding box. Takes out pen from purse. Places it on note pad. Ashley walks to table. Big grin. Tira takes no notice.

Max Hardy sits at his desk. Hawk-eye looks at VCR. SECRETARIES take their seats. Each secretary wears a headset with an attached microphone.

Nick Nickel sits down. He is in view of Rodney. Rodney begins to rock. Nickel grimaces.

INT. "VU-GRAPH" ROOM -- CONTINUOUS


Sandler continues to captivate his audience.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Today's final Spingold match pits the unbeaten Ashley Buchanan team against the "Lady," Tira Rushgate team.

(pause)

Ashley goes for his eighth consecutive Spingold. It has been arranged that the "Lady" will play all hands.


Audience gasps.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (CONT'D)

And so will Ashley. At the same table!


Audience gasps. Audience whispers to one another.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (CONT'D)

Meckstroth and Rodwell will play the first and third quarter against the Brothers. And Soloway and Hamman will play the second and fourth quarter against...They're taking their hands out for board one.


Sandler puts on head set.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-SPINGOLD OPEN ROOM -- CONTINUOUS


Tira, Ashley, Rodney and Nickel count, fan and sort. Tira holds cards in left hand. Right hand rests on table next to Ashley. Ashley takes his finger and gently SLIDES it against Tira's free hand. She switches cards to free hand. No response.

Ashley pulls out a "one spade" card from his box. Tira switches cards again, and pulls out a green "pass" card.

Ashley grins.

LATER

Ashley gets up. Walks to coffee station. Brings two coffees to table. Places one on his right. The other on his left, next to Tira.

All pull out hands. Count. Fan. Sort. Tira's free hand reaches for coffee that Ashley brought. She picks it up to take a sip.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN

Director! Director!


Max Hardy walks over.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN (CONT'D)

This woman is drinking my coffee!


MAX HARDY

Is this true?


TIRA RUSHGATE

Well, uh, yes. But I thought--


MAX HARDY

Tira please refrain from these activities. Otherwise, I will have to impose a procedural penalty.


TIRA RUSHGATE

Yes.


Ashley grins.

INT. "VU-GRAPH" ROOM --CONTINUOUS


The room buzzes at the sight of Max Hardy at the table. He is visible on the monitor.

Sandler adjusts his head set.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

There has been a director's call made by Ashley Buchanan against the "Lady."


Listens to headsets. Audience gasps.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (CONT'D)

Wait...It has something to do with the coffee he brought.


Audience laughs.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (CONT'D)

Apparently, one too many lumps of sugar. An insipid drink anyway.


Audience laughs again.

LATER

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (CONT'D)

We have the results of the first quarter before the teams have compared. Ashley is up 16 imps.


Audience buzzes louder.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (CONT'D)

Genius and Catcher come in for the second quarter. My source tells me that Genius is the world's greatest player! If you don't believe me, just ask Genius yourself.


Yevette smiles. Seated next to Buffet. Steven's chair is conspicuously vacant.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-MYRTLE'S SUITE -- CONTINUOUS


Suitcases on bed are packed with clothes, but open. Steven sits on bed talking into phone.

STEVEN KEELER

Dolli's still critical. Any signs of improvement? Okay, call back later.


Walks in bathroom. Starts to pack toiletries. Notices "Elizabeth Taylor" wig and "Doris Day" wig. Packs them. Sees tit-clamps. Picks them up. Looks curiously at them. Lifts up his shirt. Attaches clamp to nipple. OWWWW!

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-OPEN ROOM -- MOMENTS LATER


All have bridge hands out. Ashley has "dealer" sign from board pointed towards him. Takes out red "stop" card. Then pulls out "2 diamonds" card. Writes on pad: "Weak Bid." Pushes it to Tira. Grabs it back and write: "Weak, like you."

Tira seethes. Ashley grins. Tira pulls out green "pass" card.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL RESTAURANT -- EVENING


Tira, Rodney, Genius, Catcher, Brother's Montague-Beart and Richard finish up dinner.

GENIUS

Tira, this is suicide. We're down a total of 19 now. Sit out for the rest of the match and we--


Catcher kicks him under the table.

TIRA RUSHGATE

My decision is final. You and Catcher come in the 4th quarter.


Genius pouts. Rubs his shin and glares at Catcher.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-OPEN ROOM -- EVENING


All are in evening clothes. Tira wears the "Queen."

She sits declaring a hand. Pace is fast. SNAP. SNAP. SNAP. Ashley grins as he plays in tempo. Yawns. Upon completion, from the other side of screen, Rodney, rocking says:

RODNEY

Nicely played.


She plays with diamond. Ashley takes notice. She fondles it.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN

You wore it for me.


Tira scores the result. Ignores Ashley.

LATER

Bidding proceeds quickly. Tension higher. Bidding cards SLAP the table. Tray is pushed heatedly. SWOOSH.

LATER

Secretaries softly announce play by play of cards into speakers.

SECRETARY 1

...South calls for a low spade from dummy, East follows low, South ruffing...


LATER

Ashley is dummy. Under the table, he rubs Tira's thigh. She SCOWLS.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN
(quietly to Tira)

I've planned something very special tonight,loser. I can smell your weakness.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-GENIUS' ROOM -- CONTINUOUS


Genius and Catcher sit across from one another.

GENIUS

She's a Kamikaze pilot. She's going to ruin us. Sitting me, us out. My god what a lunatic...My shin still hurts from where you kicked me.


Long pause. Rubs shin. Then. EPIPHANY!

GENIUS (CONT'D)

Tap my shin!


Catcher obliges.

GENIUS (CONT'D)

Now do it again with three taps.


Catcher taps his shin as directed.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-OPEN ROOM -- LATER


Tira completes comparing with the Brother's Montague-Beart. Rodney stands next to her. Genius and Catcher walk in. They all huddle around Tira.

TIRA RUSHGATE

Okay, we're down a total of 20.

(to Genius)

No swinging or miracle plays at your table. Want a nice solid game. Go get them.


Genius and Catcher walk to "closed room." They sit down at their table. Simultaneously, the legs of the third tripod holding the camera SLIDE down. The camera views UNDERNEATH the table.

Hawk-eye is oblivious to this. As is everyone else.

At Genius' table all pull hands out. Soloway and Hamman Look confident. Count. Fan. Sort.

Catcher looks at his hearts. He has three of them. He gives three taps under the table. Only the camera can see.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-OPEN ROOM -- CONTINUOUS


Tira puts hand face down on the table. Takes off the "Queen." Places it on table near Ashley.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN

Don't forget to bring it later.


TIRA RUSHGATE

Alright. It'll look nice on you.


Ashley grins.

LATER

Bidding is in progress.

Hawk-eye walks to monitor. Monitor shows underneath the table. He's upset that camera has slid. Then, Hawk-eye notices Catcher tapping Genius' leg. He ponders. Stops tape. Ejects tape. Places new tape in. Records. Puts old tape in adjacent VCR. Rewinds. Plays. Sees three taps on first hand. Fast forwards. Sees four taps. Gets up. Walks to Max Hardy.

HAWK-EYE
(whispering)

Let me have all hand records of this quarter.


Max hands him 16 hand records. Hawk-eye goes back to VCR. Makes notes. Max follows. Looks on curiously.

INT. "VU-GRAPH" ROOM -- LATER


Sandler looks at vu-graph screen showing the following hand:

South, Tira, Spades: AKQ10732, Hearts: A, Diamonds: J87, Clubs: AK.

West, Nickel, Spades: 6, Hearts: K10963, Diamonds: Q32, Clubs: QJ96.

North, Rodney, Spades: 4, Hearts: J5, Diamonds: AK965, Clubs: 108732.

East, Ashley, Spades: J985, Hearts: Q8742, Diamonds: 104, Clubs: 54.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

In the closed room, Soloway is declaring their final board in one no trump. He should make two. This puts Ashley with about an 18 imp total lead going in the open room's last board. Soloway and Hamman played this board in six spades, down one. Very unlikely that a 19 imp pickup can come from this board. Even if Tira bids and makes six spades, the "Lady" still loses.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-OPEN ROOM -- CONTINUOUS


Tira holds preceding south hand. She glances at the board. North-south are "vulnerable." East-west are not "vulnerable."

Ashley grins at her. She picks up the "2 clubs" card. She shoves the tray across the table.

Nickel pulls out the "2 hearts" card. Rodney pull out the "3 diamonds card. He shoves the tray across the table.

Tira pulls out a "3 spades" card. Simultaneously, Ashley throws out a red "stop" card. Tira replaces the bidding card back to the box.

Scratches chin. Rubs chest where diamond rested.

Ashley throws the "5 hearts" card on the table. Grins.

Tira ponders. Her fingers go for the red "X." She releases it. She goes for the green "pass." Releases it. Holds the "6 spades" card. Puts it back in box.

Scratches her head. Puts her bridge hand down on table. Folds arms and lays her head on them. Quandary.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN

Tick, tock, tick, tock. Removed all your tools. All you have is women's intuition. No place for that here. No place for you here.


Ashley grins.

Tira looks at him. Looks at the "Queen." Reaches for the bidding box. SLAMS down the "7 spade" card. Vigorously pushes the tray across the table. SWOOSH.

INT. "VU-GRAPH" ROOM -- CONTINUOUS


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

My God. The "Lady" has bid a grand slam in spades! If she succeeds in taking all 13 tricks she picks up 20 imps and wins the Spingold!


Audience gasps.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (CONT'D)

Soloway went down in the other room in 6 spades! Tira must make two crucial plays. One of them totally against the odds. No seasoned player would ever make it.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-OPEN ROOM -- CONTINUOUS


Play of the hand commences with Sandler's voice over.

Nickel leads the heart 3. Rodney tables dummy.

TIRA RUSHGATE

Thanks. 5 please.


Ashley plays the heart 2.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN

Look Tira your 5 wins the trick.


Tira wins with the heart ace. Studies dummy. Long pause.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (V.O.)

She's got to get over the first hurdle. She must pick up Ashley's protected spade jack. If she plays...


Tira throws out the diamond 7.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (V.O.) (CONT'D)

Very good. She's going to enter dummy for the finesse.


TIRA RUSHGATE

Ace please. Spade please.


Ashley plays the spade 5. She pauses for a long time.

INT. "VU-GRAPH" ROOM -- CONTINUOUS


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

10 Tira. 10!


AUDIENCE
(chanting)

10 Tira. 10!

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-SPINGOLD OPEN ROOM -- CONTINUOUS


Tira plays the spade 10 holding her breath. Looks to her left. Nick plays the spade 6. Tira gives a sigh of relief.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN

Very good Tira. And for your next trick...


Tira quickly plays the spade ace.

TIRA RUSHGATE

Club please.


Rodney plays a club. Ashley plays his lowest spade.

Tira plays the spade king.

TIRA RUSHGATE (CONT'D)

Diamond please.


Rodney plays a diamond. Ashley plays his low spade.

Tira plays the spade queen.

TIRA RUSHGATE (CONT'D)

Diamond please.


Rodney plays a low diamond. Ashley play the spade jack.

Tira ponders. Plays the ace and kings of clubs.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (V.O.)

No magic in the clubs suit. She now must play the diamond jack. Anything else and she is down. If she plays the diamond jack, she will smother Ashley's 10 and win the Spingold with the diamond 9 in dummy.

INT. "VU-GRAPH" ROOM -- CONTINUOUS


Yevette starts to chant.

YEVETTE RAINES

Jack of diamonds, jack of diamonds.


She stands.

YEVETTE RAINES (CONT'D)

Jack of Diamonds, jack of diamonds.


Steven and Buffet look surprised.

Women begin to get up and chant with her.

AUDIENCE

Jack of diamonds, jack of diamonds.


Cayne stands up. Chomps unlit cigar. Lights it.

JAMES CAYNE
(yells)

Play the fucking jack of diamonds!


Audience is shocked. Then chants. Everyone stands.

AUDIENCE

Play the fucking jack of diamonds!

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-OPEN ROOM -- CONTINUOUS


Tira fumbles with diamond 8. Then. Tira plays the diamond jack. Nickel plays the queen of diamonds.

TIRA RUSHGATE

King.


Ashley slams the 10 of diamonds on the table.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN

You fucking cunt! It's the wrong play--


Tira picks up the diamond queen (card) and places it on top of the "Queen."

TIRA RUSHGATE

At the right time!


Catcher and genius run in to compare. And then, after a quick comparison. Tira gives out a loud scream of exhilaration.

The team embrace one another. Members of Ashley's team come over from closed room and congratulate the winners. Ashley walks in. Says nothing. Tira walks over to him.

TIRA RUSHGATE (CONT'D)

See you at my suite in thirty.


He nods reluctantly. Tira walks back to table. Collects "Queen." Tira walks out. Hoards of congratulations from the vu-graph audience.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-TIRA'S SUITE -- LATER


Tira applies perfume in her bedroom. KNOCK at door. She walks to the living area. Opens door. Depressed Ashley walks in. She takes his hand. Leads him to bedroom.

TIRA RUSHGATE

Take of your clothes.


He starts to unbutton shirt. Loud KNOCKS at bedroom door. Ashley stops.

RICHARD RUSHGATE (O.S.)

Tira. Tira.


Tira opens door.

RICHARD RUSHGATE (CONT'D)

Conduct and ethics committee wants you and the team now!


She looks at Ashley. Her expression says, "Is this your doing?" He shrugs his shoulders. He realizes that complaint was brought by the director. Then a large grin forms.

TIRA RUSHGATE
(to Richard)

Go round up the team.

INT. CONDUCT AND ETHICS COMMITTEE ROOM -- MOMENTS LATER


There is a long table at front of room. Cayne sits in middle with unlit cigar in mouth. To his right are Fred Hamilton and MARK NOVISOFF. To his left sit Grant Baze and CURTIS CHEEK.

Hawk-eye sets up tape recorder. Pushes record. Adjusts monitor hooked to VCR.

Facing the committee on the left sit Max Hardy and Tom Quinlan. Next to Hardy is Hawk-eye's vacant chair.

Facing the committee on the right sit Tira, Rodney, Brother's Montague-Beart, Genius and Catcher.

In the back sits Sandler St. Claire with pen and pad.

Cayne bangs the gavel.

JAMES CAYNE

You have the right to an attorney. These proceedings will be taped and made public record. You will not speak until you are addressed.


Sandler begins to make notes.

JAMES CAYNE (CONT'D)

The following charges have been brought against the Tira Rushgate team: During the final quarter of the Spingold match, unauthorized information was conveyed in the "closed room."


GENIUS

That's nonsense. Bullshit. We played a clean game--


Cayne bangs gavel.

JAMES CAYNE

Quiet. You'll have your chance to speak. Max, specify the charges.


MAX HARDY

Hawk-eye please run tape. In the final 16 hands in the closed room, we have decoded foot signals. Here is hand one.


Hawk-eye runs tape.

MAX HARDY (CONT'D)

Count the taps of Catcher's foot. Then count the hearts he held on that hand.


LATER

MAX HARDY (CONT'D)

On all 16 hands, the foot taps corresponded to the number of hearts Catcher held. Not once was there a deviation.


JAMES CAYNE

Tira and Rodney, did you have any knowledge of this?


TIRA AND RODNEY

No.


JAMES CAYNE

Brothers, did you?


BROTHERS' MONTAGUE-BEART

No.


JAMES CAYNE

Are there any questions from the committee or the plaintiffs for these four?


All shake heads.

JAMES CAYNE (CONT'D)

You are excused. We will contact you with our decision. Catcher and Genius will remain.


Tira, Rodney and the Brothers leave.

Cayne looks directly at Catcher. Long silence. Catcher begins to squirm. Then.

GENIUS
(to Catcher)

Don't say anything.


Catcher begins to cry. Points to Genius.

CATCHER

He made me do it!


LATER

Tira, Rodney, and the Brothers are in their original seats. Catcher sobs. Genius fumes.

Cayne bangs gavel.

JAMES CAYNE

It is the unanimous finding of this committee that Catcher and Genius shall never be bridge partners again. They are barred from all national and world events in bridge. They are on life-time probation and are suspended from all bridge for 3 months. After that time they may play in regional or lesser events. But never together. Their despicable activities will be made public.


Looks up to them.

JAMES CAYNE (CONT'D)

This in itself will brand you for life. The Tira Rushgate team...


Looks at Tira. Reluctantly.

JAMES CAYNE (CONT'D)

...is hereby disqualified from the Spingold event. The winner is Ashley Buchanan.


He bangs the gavel. Sandler walks over to Tira.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

I'm so sorry, Tira.


Tira leaves the room distressed. Ashley awaits outside. He knows the committee's findings by her look. He walks over to her.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN

I'm here to lend support, Tira. Something special.

INT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL-ASHLEY'S SUITE -- MOMENTS LATER


Tira and Ashley walk in. A tear forms on one eye. She is totally submissive.

Ashley approaches her. He looks understanding, no grin. He puts hands on her shoulders. Looks into her teared eyes. He PUSHES her down. She is on her knees. She is face to face with his belt buckle. She begins to unbuckle it.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN

No, Tira. All the way down. Down on the floor.


She looks up to him. She lies down on the floor.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN (CONT'D)
Now rest your chin on my shoe.

She obeys. Tears flow.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN (CONT'D)

Now lick it!


With great reluctance and humiliation...she LICKS his shoe.

Ashley now grins.

SUPER

Monday, Check-out day.

EXT. PASADENA HILTON HOTEL -- DAY


Yevette and Steven walk out with luggage. Sandler follows.

STEVEN KEELER

Wait here and I'll get the car.


Steven goes off. Sandler walks to Yevette and embraces her.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

It's the right decision because you chose it.


YEVETTE RAINES

Have you heard anything?


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Yes. I must stay on.


YEVETTE RAINES

Is she--


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Yes. Heard this morning. Not to worry.


Steven drives up. Loads car. Yevette kisses him again.

YEVETTE RAINES

You are the one. Mentor.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

See you at the wedding.


YEVETTE RAINES

See you at the wedding.


STEVEN KEELER

See you at the wedding.


Yevette gets into car. Then Steven. They drive off.

Tira and Richard walk out. BELL MAN follows with luggage. Sandler embraces Tira.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

It's just experience. As painful as it may be, you will grow with it.


TIRA RUSHGATE

Thank you, Sandler. See you in Orlando.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

See you in Orlando.


Sandler walks into hotel.

TRIXIE, a 20 something sexpot, seems to be falling out of her bra. She speaks with a deep MASCULINE voice. She carries one too many boxes. A box falls. Richard eyes her and the situation. Rushes over to the rescue. Picks up fallen box.

RICHARD RUSHGATE

Here let me help you.


TRIXIE

I can tell you're not a bridge player.


Richard is shocked by her voice.

RICHARD RUSHGATE

You're right. And you?


TRIXIE

Yes. Anyway they make lousy lovers. Going to Orlando?


Richard nods.

TRIXIE (CONT'D)

Great. You have a sweet voice. Hope we get together in Orlando.


RICHARD RUSHGATE

Yes. I look forward to that. See you in Orlando.


TRIXIE

See you in Orlando.


Tira looks on and smiles. Cayne walks out. Waves to Tira.

JAMES CAYNE

See you in Orlando.


TIRA RUSHGATE

See you in Orlando.


Tira takes in the fresh air. INHALE. Life returns.

INT. FUNERAL PARLOR -- DAY


The body of Dolli Madison is on view. Only Sandler is present. He stands viewing Dolli. He has a "Reader's Digest" in his hand. He opens it to the vocabulary section. He looks around. No one there. He puts the opened magazine into the casket.

He pauses for a moment. He looks at the inscription of Dolli's name. It is spelled "Dolly." Behind him someone is shaking a spray paint bottle. The "Y" in Dolly is painted over to make it an "I." He knows instinctively who it is.

Myrtle puts the spray can in her purse. She wears a wig and sunglasses.

MYRTLE SOBEL

You don't think I would miss this do you?


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

No, mother.


MYRTLE SOBEL

I loved her so. Kindred spirit.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

They've closed the case.


MYRTLE SOBEL

Then what the hell am I wearing this shit for?


She rips off her wig and takes off her sunglasses. Sandler becomes emotional and accusatory.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Aunt Dolli would never shoot anyone.


Myrtle's eyes raise. But she continues to listen.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (CONT'D)

You shot Lance, Mother! Aunt Dolli confessed?


MYRTLE SOBEL

It was her way of thanking me. I gave her family. I gave her you.


Sandler begins to tear. Then angrily.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

How can you be judge, jury, executioner? What gives you the right?


MYRTLE SOBEL

Age, Sandler, age. Too bad we have to wait to the last chapter in life. Age gives us total freedom. To be who we really are, but never have been.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

No remorse? No guilt?


MYRTLE SOBEL

I don't have time left for those emotions. Lance would have ruined us all. He was a despicable human being. The world is a finer place without him.


Sandler settles down. Complacent. Looks at Dolli.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

Yevette's getting married.


MYRTLE SOBEL

Jealous?


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

I told you, she is my protege.


Myrtle opens her arms. Welcomes Sandler into her embrace.

MYRTLE SOBEL

And you are mine.


They hug. Myrtle unlocks the embrace. Holds his face between her hands. Draws him closer. Kisses his cheek.

EXT. WEDDING CHAPEL -- DAY


Marquis outside wedding chapel reads "Yevette Raines and Steven Keeler Wedding."

INT. WEDDING CHAPEL -- CONTINUOUS


Sandler sits on a pew. A small CROWD of irritated people sit also. They look at their watches. Display impatience and frustration.

Steven, dressed in groom's attire walks over to Sandler. Whispers in his ear. Sandler gets up and follows Steven to a private room. Yevette sits in room alone in bride's attire. She has been crying. Wipes her eyes.

YEVETTE RAINES

My two men. Please sit down.


They sit. She looks at them and chokes. Begins to tear.

YEVETTE RAINES (CONT'D)

My passions must wait. I'm so sorry. I must go home. To Nice. To family. Steven please understand. I can't marry you today.


STEVEN KEELER

I do understand.


Sandler is surprised. He is about to speak. Steven continues.

STEVEN KEELER (CONT'D)

And you will marry me. And you will go back to Nice. And I will follow you if you allow it.


Yevette gleans.

STEVEN KEELER (CONT'D)

And if you want to come back and go on the bridge circuit, that's okay too. You see Yevette, you have your freedom to enjoy your passions, to deal with your family's business. That's my love for you Yevette. Your freedom.


Sandler is surprised. He walks over to Yevette.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

He's right you know. My God, the boy's filled with wisdom. Better marry him right away.


Yevette embraces and kisses Steven.

EXT. WEDDING CHAPEL --DAY, LATER


Sandler throws rice at Yevette and Steven. Crowd throws rice. Yevette, hand in hand with Steven, kisses Sandler.

YEVETTE RAINES
(to Sandler)

Might see you in Orlando.


Sandler tears.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE

But of course.


Steven hugs Sandler. Sandler is uncomfortable. Steven won't let go. Sandler draws back.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (CONT'D)

Take good care of her young man.

EXT. ORLANDO PEABODY HOTEL -- DAY


The banner over the Peabody Hotel boasts: "Welcome to Orlando Fall Bridge Nationals."

In the back of hotel, the DUCKMASTER leads ducks, single file to the entrance.

INT. ORLANDO PEABODY HOTEL -- CONTINUOUS


A band plays. Ducks march in. Yevette, Sandler, Tira, Richard, Cayne, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet all watch the ducks jump in pond.

INT. ORLANDO PEABODY HOTEL-SANDLER'S ROOM -- NIGHT


Sandler, in bathrobe, sits at desk. Types on lap-top. Yevette strains tea. Brings cup of tea to Sandler. He looks up and smiles warmly. Resumes typing.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (V.O.)

Bridge with Sandler St. Claire: The bridge world has always been tolerant of misconduct. They have even condoned murder in rare instances. But cheating is unforgivable. We brand them for life. They wear the "red 'C'" on their forehead.

INT. ORLANDO PEABODY HOTEL-BRIDGE ROOM -- DAY


Genius stacks cards underneath the table. Unbeknownst to Genius, Hawk-eye points camera towards the activity.

INT. ORLANDO PEABODY HOTEL-SANDLER'S ROOM -- CONTINUOUS


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (V.O.)

We lose an outstanding Genius in the bridge world. The committee's decision was the harshest.

INT. ORLANDO PEABODY HOTEL-CONDUCT AND ETHICS ROOM -- NIGHT


Cayne, chomping on unlit cigar bangs gavel. Genius listens.

INT. ORLANDO PEABODY HOTEL-SANDLER'S ROOM -- CONTINUOUS


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (V.O.)

Genius has been exiled for life to the real world. May we have mercy on his soul.


LATER

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (V.O.) (CONT'D)

Bridge with Sandler St. Claire: James Cayne and Chuck Burger defend Blue Ribbon Pair's title.

INT. ORLANDO PEABODY HOTEL-BRIDGE ROOM -- NIGHT


Cayne, chomping on unlit cigar shakes hands with Burger. Cayne lights cigar. MARY WHITE, a lil' ole lady waves smoke away. Cayne EXHALES smoke in her face.

INT. ORLANDO PEABODY HOTEL-SANDLER'S ROOM -- CONTINUOUS


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (V.O.)

A few moments after their posted win, a conduct and ethics committee was called against James Cayne. The complaint was filed by Mary White against James Cayne's misconduct. It was alleged that he blew smoke in her face.

INT. ORLANDO PEABODY HOTEL -- NIGHT


Yevette bangs gavel. Cayne sits in defendant chair chomping on unlit cigar. Disgusted. Mary White jumps up and down smiling.

INT. ORLANDO PEABODY HOTEL-SANDLER'S ROOM -- CONTINUOUS


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (V.O.)

The committee's sentencing: James Cayne was found guilty. He was ordered never to light a cigar inside a bridge area. He was further ordered to apologize to Mary White. And to play in the next day's morning side game as her partner. This has been reported to be a harsh sentence since the morning game begins at 9:00 a.m. and Cayne never rises before 11:00 a.m. It was further reported that while playing with Mary White he chomped on his unlit cigar.

INT. ORLANDO PEABODY HOTEL-BRIDGE ROOM -- MORNING


Mary White sits at bridge table. Dangles matches. A KIBITZER laughs. Across the table (no screens) Cayne chomps on unlit cigar. He declares a hand.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (V.O.)

A kibitzer reported that Mary White dangled matches in front of Cayne during the entire session of bridge. To taunt him apparently in to lighting the cigar, so she could play with him again.

INT. ORLANDO PEABODY HOTEL-SANDLER'S ROOM -- CONTINUOUS


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (V.O.)

And now for the main event. The prestigious Reisinger Team event. It's official. Tira Rushgate, playing four-handed...


Sandler's narrative ends.

INT. ORLANDO PEABODY HOTEL-REISINGER BRIDGE ROOM -- NIGHT


11 tables are present with screens. There are screens UNDERNEATH the table as well. To prevent kicking. Tira sits with Rodney and the Brothers' Montague-Beart.

Ashley and his same team huddle. Cayne talks to Burger and teammates. Yevette and Sandler talk to Buffet. Bill Gates walks over to Sandler.

Max Hardy walks with final posting towards flag. All eyes are on him. He gives "thumbs-up" to Tira.

Tira screams orgasmically. She jumps up and down with teammates. All others seem to be happy for her. Except Ashley. He covers his ears. Others begin to applaud.

Tira, radiant, walks to Ashley:

TIRA RUSHGATE

My suite. 1 hour.


Applauds continue.

INT. ORLANDO PEABODY HOTEL-TIRA'S 2 BEDROOM SUITE -- NIGHT


Hawk-eye begins to walk to the door to leave. Tira lounges next to phone. Holds alcoholic beverage.

HAWK-EYE

We're all set. Again congratulations.


Hawk-eye leaves. Tira looks at watch.

TIRA RUSHGATE

Thanks.


Tira picks up phone. Dials room number.

TIRA RUSHGATE (CONT'D)
(to phone)

It's me. I'm going to need your help.


LATER

Ashley knocks at door. Tira opens it. She gestures for him to come in. He does so.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN

Well you finally did it.


TIRA RUSHGATE
(strongly, with conviction)

Yes. Tonight, you'll do as I say.


ASHLEY BUCHANAN

I have made a decision. I will meet you on equal footing.


TIRA RUSHGATE

Not enough. You will do as I say.


ASHLEY BUCHANAN

Equal footing or I leave Tira. I'm firm on that.


TIRA RUSHGATE

I don't think so Ashley. Now take off your clothes.


Ashley starts to unbutton his shirt. Stops.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN

No. Goodbye.


Ashley walks to the door. Pauses. Waits for her acceptance of demands. Opens door to find:

Myrtle Sobel points GUN at Ashley's head. Myrtle's face is freckled. She wears her "Doris Day" wig.

MYRTLE SOBEL

Going somewhere Sonny. Remember me in "Pillow Talk?" Worked for Hitch once.

(sings)

"Que Sera, Sera, whatever will be will be."


Ashley SLAMS door. He turns to Tira. White as a ghost.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN

It's that crazy woman! She's back from the dead.


TIRA RUSHGATE

She won't hurt you Ashley. Now as I said before, take off your clothes.


LATER

Ashley lies on the floor wearing only bra and panties and high-heels. He wears lipstick and rouge. The "Queen" is around his neck.

Tira is naked. Standing, she rests her foot oh his chest.

TIRA RUSHGATE (CONT'D)

Now say it the way we rehearsed it.


ASHLEY BUCHANAN

I love you Tira. I love you more than life itself. Let me lick your feet.


Licks feet. Sucks her toes. He is completely oblivious to the four video cameras that are filming him.

LATER

Ashley gone. Tira, robed, picks up "Queen," panties, bra and high heels. Takes them to her room. KNOCK at door. Tira opens door. Hawk-eye comes in with large bag. Takes 4 hidden video cameras.

HAWK-EYE

How did it go?


TIRA RUSHGATE

Success.


KNOCK at door. Cayne and Bill Gates walk in.

TIRA RUSHGATE (CONT'D)

Help yourselves to a drink. Jimmie be a dear and fix me a scotch and water.


Cayne walks to the bar.

BILL GATES
(to Hawk-eye)

How long will it take?


HAWK-EYE

I should have it for you in an hour.


BILL GATES

Great!


Bill gates opens wallet and pulls out ten $100 bills. Hands them to Hawk-eye.

BILL GATES (CONT'D)

Thanks for the rush job.


Hawk-eye walks out. Tira, Cayne and Bill Gates lift their glasses.

TIRA RUSHGATE

To the Gate's team.


JAMES CAYNE

To the Gate's team.


BILL GATES

This is much more fun than making software.


TIRA RUSHGATE

Bill, remember that favor I was promised?


BILL GATES

Of course, anything Tira.

INT. ORLANDO PEABODY HOTEL-LOBBY -- MORNING


Band plays. Duckmaster escorts ducks in. Ducks jump into pond.

INT. ORLANDO PEABODY HOTEL-COFFEE SHOP -- CONTINUOUS


Yevette, Sandler, and Buffet sit in a booth. Nearby, Meckstroth, Rodwell, Hamman, Soloway and Bill Gates sit in a booth. Tira and Cayne sit in a booth. Richard Rushgate and Trixie sit at a table.

Ashley sits with Nickel at a table. Nickel gets up. Shakes hands with Ashley. Leaves Ashley alone at table.

Nickel walks to cashier. Eyes Sandler's booth. Waves.

NICK NICKEL

See you in New York.


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE AND YVETTE RAINES

See you in New York.


Cayne picks up video camera with LCD. Walks to Ashley's table. Hands Ashley the camera.

JAMES CAYNE

Press "play." I think you'll find it interesting.


Cayne goes back to booth. Ashley presses play. He watches and hears the edited version of last night's activities. He takes special note to the scene where he says he loves Tira.

Ashley closes LCD. Picks up camera. Walks to Tira's table.

JAMES CAYNE (CONT'D)

Won't you join us?


Ashley sits down.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN

What do you want?


JAMES CAYNE

Well, just your team Ashley, just your team. And your signature.


Cayne pulls out a "Recision of Contract" document. Opens it to last page.

JAMES CAYNE (CONT'D)

Just sign here. No fuss, no worry. Gates will compensate you for all your contractual liabilities. He can give you a check today if you want. The boys are signing their agreement with him now.


Cayne hands him pen. Ashley looks at Tira. The jewelry box containing the "Queen" is on the table.

ASHLEY BUCHANAN

Why Tira?


TIRA RUSHGATE

Because, you're rude. To think that a woman has no place in high level competition is simply rude. Our deal is off in the future.


Ashley signs document. Puts pen down. Reaches across the table. Takes her hand. She pulls it away.

TIRA RUSHGATE (CONT'D)

Fuck you!


He walks back to his table. Cayne gets up with signed document. Takes it over to Bill Gates' table. Soloway, Hamman, Meckstroth, Rodwell sign papers.

Richard and Trixie hold hands at table.

RICHARD RUSHGATE

I love you Trixie.


TRIXIE

I love you too.


RICHARD RUSHGATE

Spring wedding at the New York nationals?


TRIXIE

Sounds perfect Richard.


Cayne walks back to Tira's booth. Ashley gets up. Grabs check. Looks at Tira. Walks to Cashier.

At the same instant Myrtle Sobel and OMAR SHARIF walk in hand in hand. Myrtle has a beauty mark on her cheek and wears her "Elizabeth Taylor" wig. They wait in line for HOSTESS to seat them.

Yevette, Sandler and Buffet finish eating. Sandler has left some vegetables on his plate. He sips his tea.

BUFFET

So we're all set for the Vanderbilt. You two will play together in New York. Now all I need is a good partner. Someone truly seasoned. Someone like...Myrtle Sobel.


Myrtle and Omar follow hostess. They pass Sandler's table.

MYRTLE SOBEL
(to Sandler)

Finish your vegetables, Sandler.


Myrtle looks at Buffet.

MYRTLE SOBEL (CONT'D)

I feel like a "cat on a hot tin roof."


Buffet looks shocked. Yevette can't restrain her laughter.

WARREN BUFFET

Who was that?


SANDLER ST. CLAIRE
(quickly)

That was Omar Sharif. Waitress, check please.


Tira waves to Myrtle. Myrtle waves back. Myrtle and Omar are seated at a table.

Bill Gates walks to Tira. He pulls out a check from his pocket. She takes it. Looks at it. Hands the "Queen" to him. She whispers in his ear.

Gates walks behind Myrtle. Opens box. Puts box in front of her. Omar looks on with curiosity. Gates fastens the "Queen" around Myrtle's neck.

BILL GATES
(to Myrtle)

It comes with a message from Tira: The "Queen" is back where she belongs.


Myrtle cackles. And cackles. And cackles some more.

INT. ORLANDO PEABODY HOTEL -- TWILIGHT


The band plays. The Duckmaster escorts the ducks from the pond to the outdoors. Sandler narrates.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (V.O.)

Some of you rifle through your newspapers and ignore my bridge column. You think bridge is a game for lil' ole ladies. You are undoubtedly what I refer to as the illiterate card players. Those that play the lowly card games. Like poker. Or gin rummy. Too bad. For you see, I've always thought that life imitates the bridge world. And if it doesn't it should. Those of you that are loyal readers would know that Yevette is becoming one of the leading woman players in the world. My protege. She is completely devoted to her family's business. But when she's in the states, Steven and I share her about half of the time. She gives me a sense of purpose. A completeness as Yevette would say. My sweet Yevette!

INT. ORLANDO PEABODY HOTEL LOBBY-- DAY


BRIDGE LADIES AND GENTLEMEN point and whisper.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (V.O.)

Rumors abound in the bridge world. Some think that Myrtle Sobel, Mother, is back. Due to these rumors, there is a new sense of civility towards elderly women. Director calls are less frequent against elderly ladies. Rudeness is diminishing. Just in case that elderly lady might be she.


Bridge ladies emulate Myrtle Sobel. Some wear conspicuous wigs and necklaces. They practice their cackle to one another. Some look on approvingly. One disapproves.

SANDLER ST. CLAIRE (V.O.) (CONT'D)

The elderly women players enjoy their new found respect. Myrtle Sobel has become their icon. They wear outrageous wigs, sport conspicuous necklaces, abuse young men, and imitate her cackle.


Myrtle Sobel walks to a young BELL-HOP. Grabs his ass. Cackles. Other bridge ladies notice. They point and whisper. The bell-hop turns around. Smiles at Myrtle.

MYRTLE SOBEL

Get my bags Sonny. Got to get to the next tournament to play with Warren Buffet. Want to come along?

FADE OUT:

THE END

Claus and Raymond

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