C.R.E.A.M.


(A woman steps off a bus and approaches her apartment building. A drunken homeless man speaks to her.)

MAN: Hey, doll! Got milk? I had a sister looked like you. Died in the Tallahassee food riots.

(Suddenly some men grab the woman and put a bag over her head. She shrieks.)

MAN: Hey! Hey! Let go of her!

(The men haul her into a van and drive away. When they arrive at their destination, they remove the bag and leave her alone in a room. She sits down in front of a video camera and a computer monitor. Eyes Only appears on the monitor.)

EYES ONLY: Are you all right, Alina?

ALINA: In my neighborhood, this is a date.

EYES ONLY: Iím sorry it has to be this way. I hope you understand the need to take precautions.

ALINA: You know, after I reached out to your people and--and didnít hear back, I wasnít sure youíd see me. Thank you.

EYES ONLY: How can I help you?

ALINA: In one of your cable hacks, you mentioned my father, Nathan Herrero.

EYES ONLY: We were colleagues, back in the days of the Pacific Free Press.

ALINA: I want you to help me find out what happened to him.

EYES ONLY: My understanding is that your father was...disappeared. In all probability, murdered.

ALINA: Thatís the assumption, but nobody knows for sure.

EYES ONLY: Itís been over two years. Maybe itís time for you to let him go.

ALINA: I canít. Not until I find out what happened to him and who was responsible.

EYES ONLY: You should understand, Alina, I am not in the investigation business.

(Our view of Alina changes; now we see her on a television screen. Logan is watching her on tape the next day in his apartment.)

ALINA: But you are in the truth business and so was my father. And all Iím asking for is the truth. Will you help me?

(Max enters behind Logan as he rewinds the tape.)

ALINA: Will you help me?

MAX: Still churning over how to handle the daughter of that famous crusading disappeared journalist guy?

(Logan stops the tape, turns around, and hands Max some photos.)

LOGAN: She sent me these. I looked into it back when he first disappeared. Itís all coming back to me. Everybody wanted Herrero dead--cops, mob, political bosses. Basically, he gave anyone who was dirty a reason to kill him...and they did.

MAX: Sounds like a story right up your alley. Itís so depressing.

(Max looks through the photos; they are all pictures of Nathan and Alina Herrero when she was younger. One was taken at a birthday party; in it, Alina is holding a red balloon. Max stops on this photo and flashes back to Manticore. In the flashback, she and some other X5ís are on a training mission in the woods. They spot a red balloon caught high in a tree. Zack retrieves the balloon, which says ďHappy birthdayĒ on it, and they all touch it. A man in uniform interrupts them.)

MAN (in flashback): Section leader! You will give me that contraband and return back to the training area--

(Zack kicks the man to the ground. Max, who is now the one holding the balloon, looks over and sees Lydecker watching them. She releases the balloon and watches it float away. Loganís voice returns Max to the present.)

LOGAN: I really feel for this girl.

MAX: Huh?

LOGAN: I really feel for this girl. Thereís a big hole in her life and nothingís ever gonna fill it. Finding out whether her father was murdered execution-style by the government or buried in cement by gangsters isnít gonna bring him back.

MAX: No...but at least itíll get rid of the question marks. Not to be a pest, but anything on my stuff?

LOGAN: About your birth mother...Iíve been searching medical records of females approximately twenty years old admitted to psychiatric facilities around the time you were born. When is your birthday, by the way?

MAX: I have no clue.

LOGAN: What do you mean?

MAX: Manticore wasnít big on that kind of thing. Whatís yours?

LOGAN: November eleventh.

MAX (smiling): I got you an early present.

(She hands Logan a paper bag, which he opens.)

LOGAN (smiling): A grapefruit! Wow. Havenít seen one of these in a while.

MAX: Got íem over at the market on Fremont. They had chickens, too.

LOGAN: We must be in a recovery.

MAX: I gotta jet.

LOGAN: Max--if I need you to look into the Herrero thing for me...

MAX: One hand washes the other.

LOGAN: You should pick one. A birthday.

MAX: What for?

LOGAN: In this short, brutal life, you gotta seize every opportunity you can to celebrate.

(At Jam Pony)

HERBAL: Hey, Dru, may it be in your heart to slip Herbal a Benjamin ítil Friday? Come on, I am broke like a potato chip.

DRUID: Sorry, bro, I am tapped out myself.

HERBAL: All right, man.

SKETCHY: I got your back. (Hands Herbal some cash)

HERBAL: Love. (They bump fists and Sketchy walks away)

DRUID: Hey, what up with that? He gets paid dirt, same as us. Heís always totiní the note.

HERBAL: Well, Jah give every man him time to be flush in the sun.

DRUID: Not in Seattle, dude.

(Sketchy rides his bike down an alley and pulls up to a door. He glances around and then knocks on the door, in code. A window in the door with ďO.S.C.Ē painted on it slides open to reveal a manís face. Sketchy nods at him and the man passes an envelope through the window. Sketchy puts the envelope in his bag and rides away.)

(At a bar, Logan throws a dart and hits the bullseye. There is another dart already in the bullseye and one dart in the triple-score ring.)

VOICE BEHIND LOGAN: Youíve been practicing.

(Logan turns around to see Matt Sung, and they shake hands.)

MATT: Hey.

LOGAN: Hey. Well, the last time we played cost me three beers.

(Logan hands Matt two bottles of beer and they sit at a table.)

LOGAN: What have you got for me, Detective?

MATT: Squat. Nathan Herrero exposed a lot of wrong cops in his day. His disappearance was investigated, but not with much enthusiasm.

LOGAN: Any way I can take a look at the case file?

MATT: Itís sealed. (Logan looks surprised) How come? I donít know.

LOGAN: So whose pockets need lining?

MATT: I start sniffing after Nathan Herrero, I buy myself a brown thunderstorm, especially with Allan Lans about to become police commissioner.

LOGAN: Mmm. Thatís a grim thought.

MATT: Well, get used to the idea. All I can tell you is the case files are locked up in Muni. Iím sorry I let your guy down.

LOGAN: He knows you do what you can, Matt.

MATT: You ever met him? Eyes Only?

LOGAN (shaking his head): Just a fan, doing my part.

(He reaches into his bag and pulls out a Game Boy.)

LOGAN: I got this for your kid. Hard to find nowadays.

MATT: Hey, you donít need to do this, man. I--Iím giving you nothing here.

LOGAN: Itís not for you.

MATT: Look, Iím--Iím sure my boy would love it, but I--I--I canít...

LOGAN: It doesnít make you a guy on the take.

(Matt takes the Game Boy.)

MATT: Boy, I guess everybody is. At least helping you folks I can, uh, look myself in the eye when I wake up in the morning. Hey, thanks. (Leaves.)

(At a skate park, someone spray-paints graffiti over an ďElect Allan LansĒ poster. The gang from Jam Pony watches as a guy does tricks on the bike ramps. Original Cindy spots a girl in the crowd.)

ORIGINAL CINDY: Now thereís a heifer I could get explicit with.

HERBAL: The Most High tell us not to speak of wicked things.

ORIGINAL CINDY: Then itís all good, ícause Original Cindyís about deeds, not words.

SKETCHY (about to perform and smiling at the girl Original Cindy is watching): Well, hereís a 20th-century classic--the Slinky Chick. A front-wheel 180 into a nose manual...hold the last pose for five seconds. I shall demonstrate.

(Max rides in and stands next to Original Cindy and Herbal.)

MAX: Whatís up?

ORIGINAL CINDY: Sketchyís showing off for the lickety-chick, only she belongs to me.

(Sketchy does the trick and winks at the girl.)

MAX: Sketchyís got some mad skills.

ORIGINAL CINDY: He aiight.

GIRL (to Sketchy): Okay, Pony boy, how íbout a jump? No-foot can-can, cross up to a nose manual.

SKETCHY: Cake.

(Sketchy attempts the trick but falls. The envelope falls from his pocket during the landing and floats into a sewer. No one notices.)

SKETCHY: Uh, that was practice. Real thing now.

(Maxís pager beeps.)

MAX: Oh. Gotta blaze.

(At a pay phone)

MAX: Logan, me hitting you back. (Listens) What kind of help?

(Max sneaks into the Municipal Building and enters the menís room. She plugs the sink and lets the water run. She applies cherry lip balm and leaves when the sink begins to overflow. She approaches a door with a keypad next to it and tries the knob, but hears a guard coming. The guard passes by, opening doors and checking rooms with a flashlight. He enters a code on the keypad, opens the door, and checks inside. He moves on, unaware that Max is watching him from the ceiling of the hallway, holding herself up between two beams. The guard sees the water flowing from the menís room.)

GUARD (into radio): Hey, Cap, are you there?

VOICE ON RADIO: Yeah, what do you got?

GUARD: Yeah, I got a moisture situation. Fourth floor, menís room.

(As the guard goes to investigate the overflow, Max enters the code on the keypad and ducks in the door. A short while later, the guard talks to a janitor, who is mopping the menís room.)

GUARD: Well, no floating pieces of corn, which is good news.

(He notices a console in the guardís station beeping for room 412, draws a gun, and goes to investigate. Max opens a file box and sees Herreroís name on one of the CD cases inside. She removes the CD, tucks it into her vest, and puts the case back in the file box. The guard enters, gun pointed at Max.)

GUARD: Hold it right there.

MAX: What if I want to hold it over here? (Jumps on top of a file cabinet)

GUARD: Donít make this any worse than itís gotta be.

MAX: Youíre the one holding the gun.

(She jumps out of his sight. He looks for her and she peeks out from behind a column.)

MAX: I dated a guy like you once. (Ducks out of sight again) Everything had to be his way. Know what I told him? (Lands on the guardís shoulders and kicks him to the ground) ďI want to see other people.Ē

(She goes to leave but hears someone punching in the code on the keypad outside. Max pushes over some shelves, just as guards open the door, and she jumps through the window. Some guards turn to look at her as she lands outside. Moments later, she gets on her motorcycle.)

GUARDS: Get off the bike!

(They shoot at her but she drives straight at them, forcing them to jump out of the way, and she rides off.)

GUARD: What the hell was that?

OTHER GUARD: Iím not sure. It looked like a girl.

(The next day at Jam Pony, Sketchy is banging his head on his locker.)

HERBAL: Easy. Chill.

SKETCHY: Donít give me any of your ďirieĒ crap, Herbal! Everything is not all ďcook and curry,Ē okay? My hours are numbered. (Continues banging head on locker)

NORMAL: Hey, hey! Company equipment! Be careful! Bip bip bip!

ORIGINAL CINDY: Why were you working as a mule for a bunch of Russian gangsters, if may I ask?

SKETCHY: I am a young capitalist in a failing economy. I saw opportunity and went for it.

(They sit down at the break table.)

ORIGINAL CINDY: Only you lost the cheese.

SKETCHY: I got to the drop and the envelope was gone.

ORIGINAL CINDY: Probably lost it drumminí for my lickety-boo. Serves you right.

SKETCHY: Iím roadkill here, guys.

ORIGINAL CINDY: How much are we talkiní about?

SKETCHY: More than I got.

HERBAL: Listen to me, my brother. This is just the book fulfilling itself.

SKETCHY: Thank you for your kind words, Herbal, but what do I do?

HERBAL: Jah know.

SKETCHY: Jah come if I donít give these guys cash money! Maybe I should just go talk to these guys...explain what happened.

ORIGINAL CINDY: Followed by some very fast running.

SKETCHY: No, no, these are businessmen. I mean, the Odessa Social Club? Itís a fairly sizable gambling operation. These guys should be open to an equitable arrangement to make things right.

HERBAL: But, Sketch, donít forget the part about the very fast running.

SKETCHY: No, this is gonna be okay. Iím confident. (Leaves.)

HERBAL (to Original Cindy): When him ass dead, who gets to keep his bike?

(At Loganís computer)

LOGAN: According to this, the police were investigating a possible contract hit on Herrero, paid for by the Beltran administration as payback for taking down one of the Mayorís lieutenants.

MAX: What happens when you fight city hall.

LOGAN: Only Herrero was grabbed three days before the whack was supposed to go down and never heard from again.

MAX: Think another player got to him first?

LOGAN: Looks like it. Clean grab, no forced entry. Housekeeper showed up the next morning, saw signs of a struggle, reported him missing.

MAX: Where was the daughter?

LOGAN: She and the old man were estranged at the time. She was hitting the bong, had an older boyfriend, usual teenage thing. Nathan didnít approve, so she ran away.

MAX: Now all she wants is her daddy.

LOGAN: How it goes, I guess.

(He plays a video of a woman being questioned.)

MANíS VOICE: State your name for the record, please.

WOMAN: Rebecca Cuthrell.

MANíS VOICE: And on the morning in question, you arrived for work at...?

REBECCA: Nine A.M. Same as always.

MANíS VOICE: What did you find?

REBECCA: Mr. Herrero wasnít there. It looked like there had been some sort of fight.

(Logan stops the video.)

LOGAN: Herreroís housekeeper.

MAX: The one who reported him missing.

LOGAN: Disappeared herself two weeks after the murder.

MAX: Scared, probably.

LOGAN: Or involved. (Removes the CD from his computer) Thanks for getting a hold of this, by the way.

MAX: No big dealio.

LOGAN: I do seem to be putting you in harmís way quite a bit lately.

MAX: Yeah, and?

LOGAN: So I got you a little something. (Gestures at a wooden box)

MAX: Whatís this?

LOGAN: A present.

(Max opens the box to find a gun. She closes the box and hands it to him.)

MAX: Not to sound ungrateful, but I donít do guns.

LOGAN: That would make you the only person walking around this city not packing.

MAX: And thatís how itís gonna stay.

LOGAN: A genetically-engineered killing machine...squeamish about guns.

(Max remembers Eva being shot by Lydecker.)

MAX: Just a rule.

LOGAN: Okay. If you change your mind...

MAX: I wonít. Gotta say Iím a little surprised. A high-minded, idealistic, lefty humanist like yourself advocating greasing the bad guys?

LOGAN: Itís a kick-or-be-kicked-in-the-ass world out there.

MAX: Now kicking ass, I got no issues with.

(Sketchy rides his bike up to the same door as before and knocks in code. The window slides open and the same man as before speaks.)

MAN: Cash didnít get there. Why?

SKETCHY: Let me explain the situation.

(Sketchy is thrown onto a pile of boxes in the alley. The man picks him up by the shirt as a larger man stands by with a crowbar.)

SKETCHY: Now listen, Rafe...I understand youíre upset...

(Rafe slaps him and Sketchy falls back to the ground.)

RAFE: I donít get upset, ícause of my ulcers. He gets upset.

(The larger man bangs the crowbar on a nearby dumpster.)

SKETCHY: Okay. No, just--just hear me out on this, Rafe, all right? The--the envelope in question, you said had 15,000 dollars in it? Iím gonna take your word on that particular figure. So letís see, now. You pay me twenty bucks a run, two runs a week. Thatís, uh, 2080 a year. Divide the fifteen Gís. So, to make things right, I will work for you for free for 375 weeks, which works out to be the, uh, next seven and one-fifth years, approximately.

(Rafe and the other man look at each other.)

SKETCHY: Uh...make me a counteroffer, guys?

(Later, Max and Original Cindy ride their bikes into the alley. They see Sketchy hanging upside-down from a hook, naked and gagged, covering his privates with his hands. They laugh.)

ORIGINAL CINDY: Now that is my idea of the perfect man.

(Original Cindy rolls her eyes and takes the gag out of Sketchyís mouth.)

SKETCHY: Come on, guys. I got 36 hours to come up with the money, or Iím gonna end up like my clothes. (Nods toward his clothes, which are lying in a pile and burned black.) Please...get me down.

(Maxís pager beeps.)

MAX: Well, I gotta bounce. Can you handle this?

ORIGINAL CINDY: Got it covered.

(Max rides away and Original Cindy puts the gag back in Sketchyís mouth.)

ORIGINAL CINDY: Whatever you do, keep your hands where they are. Original Cindy just ate.

(In Loganís kitchen, Logan is making a sandwich at the counter while talking to Max.)

LOGAN: Did some digging on the housekeeper. Sheís been unemployed since Herrero died, but eighteen months ago she bought a place on Alexander. So where'd she get the cash?

(He takes the sandwich and moves to the table. Max follows.)

MAX: Alexanderís not exactly Park Avenue.

LOGAN: Still. She bought an apartment.

MAX: So Rebecca Cuthrell helped kill Herrero, waited a safe amount of time, then used the blood money to move into a new crib.

LOGAN: Thatís how I figure it. Problem is the trailís cold. Unlikely we could ever prove anything. But if we knew who her friends are, who she talks to, maybe we could shake something loose, give Alina the last chapter of her fatherís life. To that end, I was wondering if I could impose on you to install this.

(He hands Max a small plastic case, which she opens.)

MAX: Voice-activated parabolic mic with a high-gain noise filter. Lithium-powered RF transmitter, broadcasting at, what, 400 meg? (Logan looks at her, surprised, and they both smile.) I excelled in telecommunications as a child.

LOGAN: 450 meg, actually.

MAX: Really? I stand corrected.

(That night, Max scales an apartment building and plants the microphones on the outside of several windows. She sees Rebecca Cuthrell inside, brushing her hair. A man embraces Rebecca. As they turn, Max sees that the man is Nathan Herrero.)

(At the library, Logan is writing something at a table and notices a hoverdrone passing by outside the window. A man starts speaking, and Logan looks up to see Nathan Herrero standing nearby.)

HERRERO: This place used to be a haven for writers, artists, those of us who took the time to think about what it means to be human. Now it feels like weíre in an armed camp.

LOGAN: For the time being.

HERRERO: Hello, my friend.

(Herrero sits at the table, across from Logan.)

HERRERO: I have to say I was surprised to hear your voice on the phone, and a little concerned. I went to a lot of trouble to disappear. But, after much hesitation, here I am.

LOGAN: I appreciate your coming.

HERRERO: What made you come looking?

LOGAN: Alina.

HERRERO: I used to play chess at this table with Hunter Dillon...murdered by a police death squad for speaking out against the Beltran Administration.

LOGAN: And you didnít want the same thing to happen to you, so you staged your own abduction and went into hiding?

HERRERO: Same as you. Only you kept working and filing your stories from underground, and I didnít.

LOGAN: Thatís the part I donít understand.

HERRERO: I fell in love. Found myself wanting...comfort, a life.

LOGAN: You walked away.

NATHAN (standing up and pacing): They were trying to kill me, Logan. If anyone should understand, itís you. Look at you. Youíre lucky youíre still alive.

LOGAN: What about your daughter?

NATHAN HERRERO: I wasnít a very good father. My fault. I left her with what money I could. Didnít think sheíd miss me all that much.

LOGAN: What do you want me to tell her?

NATHAN HERRERO: It would be easier for all concerned to leave me dead, I suppose. But I would like to see her, if sheís open to it.

(In Loganís apartment, Logan is sitting on the couch with his laptop while Max talks to him.)

MAX: So the bad news is what? He wasnít murdered? He fought the good fight and got a life. Makes sense to me.

LOGAN: Figures youíd relate to someone turning their back on responsibility.

MAX: Listen to yourself. Alina got her father back and youíre all, ďWho cares?Ē

LOGAN: I didnít say that.

MAX: Donít make this about yourself, Logan. It isnít. You donít know what itís like to be alone in this world. I do.

LOGAN: Now whoís making this about themselves?

MAX: You know, some guys are willing to rearrange their priorities when they find a girl who moves their furniture. In fact, some guys are even looking for it.

(Logan looks at her and she swallows.)

MAX: Or so Iíve heard.

(She puts on her jacket.)

MAX: Iím gonna go tell Alina about her father ícause I think I may do a better job of making it sound like a good thing. Bye.

(In Alinaís apartment, Max and Alina are sitting at the kitchen table, which is covered with photos of Alina and her father.)

ALINA: Wow. You know...Iíd done such a good job preparing myself for the worst...but all this time, heís been out there and I didnít know. Itís like some kind of miracle.

MAX: Excited?

ALINA: I donít know what I am. I mean, of course Iím glad heís alive. But itís hard to believe that he couldíve just abandoned me.

MAX: Look, itís pointless to try to figure out who left who and why...whoís more right or less wrong. Doesnít matter. The both of you get a second chance. Donít overthink it.

ALINA: If you were me, would--would you see him?

(Max glimpses the photo of Alina and her father with the red balloon and remembers letting go of the balloon back at Manticore.)

MAX: In a heartbeat.

(At Crash, Original Cindy is dressed in a slutty outfit and sipping a drink while Sketchy stands by nervously.)

SKETCHY: Where is Max?

ORIGINAL CINDY: Sheíll be here.

SKETCHY: Itís almost seven. I got ítil ten oíclock. Thatís less than three hours.

ORIGINAL CINDY: Who knew you were such a math whiz?

SKETCHY: My life is at stake here, Cindy.

ORIGINAL CINDY: That femaleís word is like stone.

(Max enters Crash.)

ORIGINAL CINDY: Whatíd I tell you? Party over here, girl!

(Max joins them, also dressed in a slutty outfit.)

ORIGINAL CINDY: Damn. Look at you flossiní. (Gestures for Max to twirl around. Max complies.)Mmm, mmm, mmm.

MAX: What are you drinkiní?

ORIGINAL CINDY: Apple martini. The mens just gonna give us their money, we so hot.

(Max takes a sip of Original Cindyís drink and makes a face.)

SKETCHY: We should get going.

MAX: Okay, okay. You got the bankroll?

SKETCHY: A hundred from Natalie on the QT. Thatís all I could get.

(He hands Max a roll of bills. She gives it to Original Cindy, who tucks it in her cleavage.)

MAX: And you know where to meet us?

SKETCHY: Yeah.

MAX: Vamos.

(She and Original Cindy leave. Sketchy checks his watch.)

SKETCHY: Two hours and fifty-six minutes.

(Max and Original Cindy walk down the alley and knock on the door, in code. The window slides open to reveal Rafeís face. Max and Original Cindy smile widely and adopt ditzy voices.)

ORIGINAL CINDY: Hi there. We just got off work.

MAX: Dancing over at the Cherry Bomb.

ORIGINAL CINDY: Big tip night.

MAX: And this guy told us this would be a really great place to have some fun.

ORIGINAL CINDY: Get our drink on.

MAX: And make a little money playing that game with the ball that spins. I forgot what itís called.

(Rafe smiles and nods for the man next to him to let them in. Inside, Rafe leads them to the roulette table.)

RAFE: You girls gamble much?

ORIGINAL CINDY: Last week this one bet she could shoot her thong the farthest and won fifty bucks.

RAFE: Have fun, ladies. (Leaves.)

ORIGINAL CINDY (in a low voice to Max): So whatís the dealio with this bitch?

MAX (also in a low voice): The dealio is... (watches the wheel spin)...the wheel is turning at 3.2 revolutions per sec.

ORIGINAL CINDY: How do you know that?

MAX: I just do. And the ball is rolling at a velocity of 4.4 meters per sec. The rest is physics.

(Original Cindy removes the money from her top and places it on the table. Max watches the ball roll.)

MAX: Bet eleven.

ORIGINAL CINDY: Are you sure?

MAX: Just do it.

ORIGINAL CINDY (in louder, ditzy voice): Eleven.

(She moves some of their chips onto number eleven. The ball stops on eleven but bounces out.)

CROUPIER: Nine red.

MAX: I can tell you where itís gonna land, but I canít call the bounce.

(The croupier spins the wheel again.)

MAX: Thirteen black.

(The ball lands on thirteen black. Max and Original Cindy slap hands and smile. As time goes on, they win more and more money.)

ORIGINAL CINDY: Seventeen black, like me.

(Finally, Rafe and the bigger guy look on from a distance with frowns on their faces as Max and Original Cindy cash in their chips.)

ORIGINAL CINDY: We have three large.

MAX: Another twelve to go and only an hour before Sketchyís toast.

(Original Cindy tucks the money into her top as Rafe approaches them.)

RAFE: You ladies are doing pretty good. How much you up?

ORIGINAL CINDY (in ditzy voice): About a cup size.

MAX (in ditzy voice): But this wheel thingís a yawn.

ORIGINAL CINDY: Weíre looking for some action.

RAFE: You girls like poker?

MAX: Is that the game where you take your clothes off when you lose?

RAFE: Uh, here we play for money. Thereís a game going on in the back.

ORIGINAL CINDY: Wanna try?

(Max shrugs.)

RAFE: Come on, give it a shot. High stakes. You can win a lot of dough in a hurry back there.

MAX: What have we got to lose?

(Sketchy is standing at a street corner, nervously checking his watch.)

(In the back room, Original Cindy and Max are sitting at a poker table with Rafe, the larger man, and one other man. Rafe cuts the deck and shuffles.)

RAFE: We like to take turns with the shuffle. Keeps the game honest. (Everybody laughs and he begins to deal.) So, a little five-card stud.

ORIGINAL CINDY: Sounds like my kind of game.

(She removes the money from her top and places it on the table. Rafe finishes dealing and Max looks at Original Cindyís hand.)

MAX (in ditzy voice): You should throw one of your tens. Youíve got too many.

(Rafe sighs and looks at her.)

MAX: Oh, sorry. Is it all right if we help each other? Iím just remembering now--this is that really confusing game with all those different cards...which is probably why I always end up with no clothes on.

(Original Cindy giggles and Rafe exchanges a look with the man sitting next to him.)

RAFE: No problem.

(As time goes by, Original Cindy and Max lose most of their money. Eventually Rafe hands Max the deck.)

RAFE: Your deal.

MAX (cutting the deck): You know, somebodyís been eating French fries, ícause these cards are greasy--kind of like my ex, but we wonít get into that. Original Cindy, baby, can you hand me a new setup?

ORIGINAL CINDY: Mm-hmm.

(Max hands her the deck and Original Cindy gives her a new one.)

MAX: Okay with you?

(Rafe nods.)

MAX: How íbout we get rid of these bet limits and open this motha up?

(Rafe exchanges a glance with the guy next to him and nods. Max observes each card as it flips by when she shuffles, and then she deals. We see that Rafe has a full house, kings over jacks. The big man next to Rafe folds.)

MAX: You gonna fold?

ORIGINAL CINDY: No. (Max gives her a look.) On second thought, Iím out.

(The third man folds. Max looks at the pile of cash in the middle of the table.)

MAX: Lot of money there.

RAFE: Itíll be about twelve--

MAX: $14,234.

ORIGINAL CINDY: Plus Pufferís watch and Henryís St. Anthony medal. (Henry, the larger man, scratches his throat.)

(We see Max has the queen of clubs, the queen of spades, and the eight, nine, and jack of hearts. She throws away the queens.)

ORIGINAL CINDY: Hello?

MAX: Believe.

(She draws the seven and ten of hearts.)

MAX: Well, Iím all out of cash, but how íbout a lap dance?

RAFE: And what would be the value on that?

(Max and Original Cindy snuggle close.)

MAX: Well, at the Cherry Bomb, for the two of us together all night...a G. You only live once.

ORIGINAL CINDY: If that.

RAFE: Okay. Iíll see that bet. (Adds some cash to the pile and lays down his cards.) Hate making girls cry, but...

MAX (revealing her hand): More hearts than an organ bank, baby.

ORIGINAL CINDY (reaching for the cash): Dolla, dolla.

MAX: We had lots of fun and we got to keep our clothes on.

RAFE: Uh, donít rush off.

MAX: We live with our parents.

ORIGINAL CINDY: They worry.

(As they leave the back room and step into the main casino room, Rafe grabs Maxís arm.)

RAFE: Itís a little rude, you know, leaving a game like this so suddenly.

ORIGINAL CINDY (in her normal voice): You guys really wanna throw down with all these nice, money-losiní folks watching?

RAFE: You know what? You donít play so well with others.

(Max throws Rafe's hand off her arm.)

MAX (in her normal voice): I was home-schooled.

(Max and Original Cindy leave and walk through the alley.)

ORIGINAL CINDY: You threw two queens to pick up a straight flush. That takes more than intuition, girl.

MAX: Lady Luckís a friend.

(They stop and see that Rafe and his two men are blocking their way.)

RAFE: Give it up, girls.

ORIGINAL CINDY: Okay, so I guess weíre gonna throw down out here. (Rafe reaches for the money in her top and she pushes him away.) Nobody touches the ta-tas!

MAX (to the other two men, approaching her): Come on, Sasquatch. Bring it on, big boy. (Mockingly) Ohh, there's two of you!

ORIGINAL CINDY (grabbing a nearby metal pipe and waving it at Rafe): Donít make me get ghetto with you.

(Max shoves the two guys to the ground. When one gets up, she slams him in the face with a garbage can lid. The other one gets up and pulls out a gun. She grabs him by the neck with one hand and by the wrist with the other. Rafe tries to grab Original Cindyís pipe and she kicks him in the crotch. Max kicks the man into a pile of boxes and unloads the gun. One of the guys rushes at Max and she throws him across the alley while Original Cindy keeps an eye on Rafe. He hobbles away.)

ORIGINAL CINDY: Yeah, you better step out, ícause Original Cindy just stepped straight outta Compton!

MAX: Damn, girl! You the man!

ORIGINAL CINDY: You did aiight yourself, boo.

MAX: Letís go.

(They meet Sketchy and Original Cindy hands him the money.)

SKETCHY: Your parents must have been terrorists, ícause you guys are the bomb.

(Max grabs his face.)

MAX: Next time you need a favor and call a friend, remember one thing--youíre out of lifelines, sweetheart. (She releases his face with a little slap) Letís go.

(Max and Original Cindy bump fists and walk away.)

(A taxi drives down a residential street and pulls over. Alina gets out and pays the driver, who then leaves. She looks up to see Nathan Herrero lighting candles in his apartment. Taking a deep breath, she lights a cigarette. Moments later Nathanís apartment explodes into flame. Alina tosses her cigarette and walks away.)

(The next day, at Loganís apartment, he and Max are watching a news broadcast.)

NEWS ANCHOR: A fiery explosion tore through this apartment building on Alexander Drive late last night, killing two people. Emergency workers removed the bodies of 32-year-old Rebecca Cuthrell and an unidentified male companion. The cause is still under investigation, but informed sources are calling the blast suspicious.

(Logan turns off the TV.)

MAX: Who do you like for this...the cops? Mob? Beltranís people?

LOGAN: Me.

(She looks at him, surprised.)

LOGAN: Iím the one who got this guy killed. We put Alina in touch with her father, and an hour later the place is torched? It's not an accident.

MAX: But she was so...I donít know...emotional, I guess. You shouldíve seen her face when I told her her father was alive.

LOGAN: Somebody recruited her. Probably Allan Lans.

MAX: Damn. We got played.

LOGAN: Not that we can prove any of this.

MAX: Herrero ended up dying for what he believed in, after all.

LOGAN: Even if he didnít believe in it anymore.

MAX: Looks like you got your martyr.

LOGAN: Thatís not how I wanted it.

(Max knocks on the door of Alinaís apartment.)

MAX: Alina?

(There is no answer and she steps inside. Nobody is home. The table is still strewn with photos, among which is a train schedule.)

(At the train station, Alina unlocks a locker and pulls out a briefcase. Max follows her. Alina boards a train and sits alone. Max drops into the empty seat next to her and starts talking.)

MAX: Wow. What a coincidence. Headed to Portland, too?

ALINA: Uh...my boyfriend lives there.

MAX: Probably need to get away. It's gotta be pretty traumatic, losing your father all over again. You have my condolences. (Hands her the photo of the red balloon.) Thought you might want this for kindling or something.

(Alina gets up and starts walking down the aisle. Max follows.)

MAX: Youíre good, you know. Had me completely fooled.

ALINA: You know what? I donít know what youíre talking about.

MAX: Whyíd you do it, Alina?

ALINA: Leave me alone.

MAX: How much did Lans pay you to give up your father?

(Alina passes an open door. Max touches her shoulder to get her to answer.)

MAX: Hey!

ALINA (turning to face Max): Youíll never prove anything.

MAX: Did you hate him that much or was it just the money?

ALINA: It was both, all right? It was both.

(Alina turns to walk away and Max grabs her. Alina gives her a shove. Max grabs the briefcase, which flies open and lands on the floor. The money blows around in the wind, and most of it flies out the door.)

ALINA: Hey!

MAX: Say goodbye to one of them.

ALINA: No! Money! (She grabs what money she can.)

MAX: That should just about cover a one-way ticket to Portland. And youíll always have your hate.

(In Loganís apartment, he is lifting weights. Tears are in his eyes. He touches his thigh briefly. Bling enters and Logan puts on his glasses. Bling hands him a padded envelope.)

BLING: This just came for you, Logan.

LOGAN: Thank you, Bling.

BLING: No problem. (Walks away.)

(Logan opens the envelope and withdraws a disk. Attached to the disk is a Post-It note. We hear Herreroís voice speak the entire contents of the note, and Logan finishes the phrase aloud.)

HERREROíS VOICE: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil..."

LOGAN: "...is for good men to do nothing."

(Herreroís voice continues as we see Logan watching him on video.)

HERRERO: Thank you, my friend. I spoke to my daughter this afternoon. Sheís coming over for a late supper tonight. Now I have a chance to start again with her. Well, I owe you one, so Iím giving you this disk. On it, youíll find information that proves that Lans was responsible for the death of a Seattle D.A. Iíve been sitting on this all this time out of concern for Alinaís safety. Iím going to ask Alina to go away with me so sheíll be out of harmís way. Tengas cuidado, mi gran' amigo.

(At Jam Pony)

SKETCHY: Max, I see a huge ladder out of this hellhole called Jam Pony.

MAX: I am not gonna start ripping off casinos with you, Sketchy.

SKETCHY: What you do is not ripping off. Itís simply maximizing your God-given talents. So come on. Letís maximize.

MAX: Maximize this! (She gives him a shove and walks away to join Original Cindy.) Can you believe this guy? We bail out his ass, next thing you know heís looking for another payday.

ORIGINAL CINDY: C.R.E.A.M., baby, C.R.E.A.M.

(Max turns to look at her, puzzled, and she finger-spells the acronym.)

ORIGINAL CINDY: Cash Rules Everything Around Me. C.R.E.A.M. Itís just the world we live in.

(A political commercial comes on the TV.)

VOICE IN AD: With leadership and vision, Allan Lans for police commissioner...

(The ad is interrupted by an Eyes Only broadcast.)

EYES ONLY: Do not attempt to adjust your set. This is a Streaming Freedom Video Bulletin. This cable hack cannot be traced, it cannot be stopped, and it is the only free voice left in this city. Yesterday a great man died. But Nathan Herrero left behind graphic evidence proving that Allan Lans is a cold-blooded murderer. What you are about to see is difficult to watch. But when you do, you will not let Allan Lans steal this election. He will be hunted down. He will pay for his crimes. And Nathan Herreroís death will not have been in vain. He was my friend. He was a hero of the people. Here is his final testament.

(Later, Max stands on top of the Space Needle.)

MAX (voiceover): So Logan finally restored his mentor to sainthood...albeit posthumously. Funny guy, Logan. Lot of rules. But maybe heís right about one thing--maybe I should pick a birthday, just to have something to celebrate in this short, brutal life. How íbout April Foolís Day? Well, maybe not. My lifeís enough of a joke. Yesterday. Yeah. Born yesterday. And the best part is, I have a whole year not to think about it.