EXT. ROADSIDE PARK/LATER - NIGHT

Virgil's still up, smoking and reading "The Lost Lady" by Willa Cather.  Bud starts to moan and move around -- he's having a nightmare.

                                                                 BUD
                                No!  Get out!  Swim for it!  Ya gotta get out!
                                We're goin' down!

                                Virgil reaches over and shakes Bud's shoulder, waking him.

                                                                 BUD
                                                           (groggy)
                                Huh?

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                Go back to sleep.

Bud sits up and lights a smoke.

                                                                 BUD
                                Thanks.  In a while.

Soon Stan starts to moan from a nightmare. He talks in his sleep and doesn't stutter.

                                                                 STAN
                                Jesus Christ, they're everywhere!  They're
                                behind us, too!  We gotta get outta here!

Bud reaches over and shakes Stan's shoulder waking him up, too.  Bud hands him the lit cigarette and Stan takes it.

                                                                 STAN
                                T-t-t-thanks.

The three men sit up smoking, not very interested in going back to sleep.  Suddenly, Dewey springs up, looking all around blankly.

                                                                 DEWEY
                                                           (panicked)
                                Where the fuck am I?

Stan hands Dewey the cigarette.  As Dewey takes the smoke it all comes back to him.

                                                                 DEWEY
                                Oh, yeah.

Virgil glances over at Jason, dead asleep and snoring.  Virgil looks back at the other guys and they all grin.

                                                                 BUD
                                Man, I used to sleep like that, too.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                We all did.

Suddenly, bright lights hit them in the face.  They all hold up their hands to shield their eyes and see what's going on.  Two Ohio State TROOPERS come walking up wearing Smokey the Bear hats.

                                                                 TROOPER #1
                                What're you fellas doin' out here?

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                We're camping.

                                                                 TROOPER #2
                                I don't see no tents.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                What have tents got to do with it?

                                                                 TROOPER #2
                                You can't camp without tents.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                Who says?

                                                                 TROOPER #1
                                We say.

                                                                 BUD
                                You guys got any other camping tips for us?  Like
                                what kinda plants we shouldn't eat?

                                                                 TROOPER #1
                                Don't get smart with us, friend.

                                                                 BUD
                                I can't get any smarter'n I already am and I ain't your
                                friend.

Stan puts his hand on Bud's shoulder.

                                                                 STAN
                                C-c-can it, B-B-Bud.

                                                                 TROOPER #1
                                That fella has sense.  You listen to him.

                                                                 TROOPER #2
                                Just pack it up and move it out.  This is a day park,
                                no camping.  Try readin' the signs next time.

The Tropper aims the beam of his flashlight at a sign nailed to a tree, "No camping."  The guys wearily get to their feet and begin rolling up their sleeping bags.  The Troopers stroll back toward their car.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

EXT. SHAMROCK, TEXAS - DAWN

The sun is just starting to rise over the small town of Shamrock in the panhandle of Texas on Route 83, about a mile south of Route 66.  It's a dust-blown little town with a few shops, The Panhandle Saloon, an outrageously art deco Fina gas station with the Drop Inn Cafe attached to it.  The entire town exists on about a half a mile of road with most of the houses right behind the businesses.  About a half a mile south of town are a few oil wells and a small refinery.

EXT. McMILLAN HOUSE - DAWN

The black Chevy with "Shamrock, Texas, Sheriff" written on the door is parked in front of a little, windblown wooden houses.  Sheriff McMillan steps out the front door of the house.  He takes a deep, hearty breath of morning air, starts to violently cough and hocks up a big goober.  He then unwraps a fat cigar, tosses the wrapper on the ground, bites off the end and spits it, then plugs the stogie in his mouth.  He gets in the car and drives away.

A moment later LuAnne comes out the front door.  She nervously looks in both directions, then hurries up the street.

EXT. DROP INN CAFE - MORNING

LuAnne arrives at the Drop Inn Cafe, goes around back and knocks on the screen door.  It is opened by a worn-out, middle-aged woman with unruly black hair named RUTH.  She looks surprised to see LuAnne.

                                                                 RUTH
                                Why, LuAnne, I didn't thank you'd atchually come.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                                           (determined)
                                I said I would an here I am.

                                                                 RUTH
                                You shore this is all right with your Daddy?

                                                                 LUANNE
                                What's my daddy got t' do with it?  'Sides, there ain't
                                no other jobs to git here in Shamrock and I jus' gotta
                                make some money of my own.

                                                                 RUTH
                                Whata'ya need money for, LuAnne?

LuAnne's eyes blaze for a second.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                To git the hell outa this town, that's why.

                                                                 RUTH
                                                           (nods)
                                I kin un'erstand that.  I been wantin' t' get outa this
                                town for twenty years an' I never made it.

Ruth takes LuAnne's shoulder and leads her inside.

INT. DROP INN CAFE/KITCHEN - DAY

Ruth hands LuAnne a white waitress uniform.


                                                                 RUTH
                                You'll have t' wear as it is today.  Y'all kin bring it
                                home with ya tonight and take it in and let it out
                                where ya need t'.  Just 'member, the tighter it fits
                                the better the tips you'll get.  An I thank you'll
                                get some good ones.

Ruth and LuAnne exchange a smile.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

INT. DROP INN CAFE - DAY

The Drop Inn Cafe is open and doing brisk breakfast business.  Ruth and LuAnne are taking the orders and bringing the plates of eggs to a crowd of all men wearing cowboy hats and boots.  Most of them are at least fifty, just a few are in their twenties or thirties.  All of them, however, are extremely amused to see LuAnne working there.

A lean, fifty year old, grey mustached, intense-looking man wearing expensive cowboy gear, MR. BUFORD, grabs hold of LuAnne and pulls her down on his lap.

                                                                 MR. BUFORD
                                Damn, LuAnne, I 'member when you was born.  Seems
                                like it was 'bout three years ago.  Now you'se all growed
                                up, an' lookin' real good, too.

LuAnne tolerantly peels his hands away and stands up.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                Now, Mr. Buford, don't be grabbin' me like that.  I ain't
                                even eightteen yet.

                                                                 MR. BUFORD
                                                           (grins)
                                Shit!  I married my first wife when she was fifteen.  I
                                was seventeen.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                Yeah, but that was back in the last century when things
                                was different.

This gets a big laugh from everyone in the vicinity.  At first Mr. Buford looks angry, but he decides to go with it.  As LuAnne starts to walk away he grabs her hand.

                                                                 MR. BUFORD
                                Now jus' hold on a minute there, girl.  Don' go rushin'
                                off, I ain't done.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                                           (tolerantly)
                                What?

                                                                 MR. BUFORD
                                Why didn't ch'all come t' me if you was lookin' for a job?
                                I'da made ya my secretary down t' the refinery.  Make a
                                helluva lot more money'n here.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                I ain't got enough iron in my blood t'put up with ya chasin'
                                me around the desk all day.  I'd get plumb wore out.

This gets another laugh.  Mr. Buford pulls LuAnne back down on his lap.

                                                                 MR. BUFORD
                                Honey, I'd catch ya in no time an' you'd get wore out
                                for other reasons than me chasin' ya.

LuAnne tries to stand, but he's not letting go.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                Leggo.
                                                           (he doesn't)
                                Come on, Mr. Buford, leggo.

                                                                 MR. BUFORD
                                                           (grinning)
                                Uh-uh.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                I'll tell my Daddy an' he'll make ya.

                                                                 MR. BUFORD
                                                           (laughs)
                                Your Daddy?  Make me?  Your Daddy can't make me
                                do nothin', or anyone else for that matter, prob'ly not
                                even you.
                                                           (he pushes LuAnne away)
                                Now go get my food afore it gets cold.

Mr. Buford smacks LuAnne on the ass.  LuAnne straightens her dress and heads back toward the kitchen.  She and Ruth exchange a look saying, "Men, Jesus!"

That's when Sheriff McMillan comes walking in.  He sees LuAnne and blows a gasket.

                                                                 SHERIFF
                                                           (furious)
                                What the hell's wrong with you, girl!?  I didn't say
                                you could get no job!

LuAnne turns around balancing four plates.  Everyone in the cafe goes silent, tensely watching the scene.


                                                                 LUANNE
                                Y'all don't say I kin do nothin'.  An' ya won't gimme
                                no damn money, ya cheapskate, so what'm I s'posed
                                t' do?

The Sheriff turns red and looks around, totally embarrassed.

                                                                 SHERIFF
                                Your s'posed t' do what I tell ya t' do, that's what!  Now
                                git your butt home!  Ya wanna job?  Clean the goddamn
                                house!  It's a pig-sty!

LuAnne is on the verge of tears.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                                           (begging)
                                But Daddy, please . . .

The Sheriff grabs LuAnne's arm causing her to drop all the plates and drags her out the door.

                                                                 SHERIFF
                                Goddamn you, girl!  I'm gettin' sick and tired of your
                                gum!  Now git home!

EXT. DROP INN CAFE - DAY

The Sheriff drags LuAnne outside, then goes back in.  LuAnne stands there in her ill-fitting white uniform, tears streaming down her cheeks.  She feels utterly helpless and finally turns and runs away.

INT. DROP INN CAFE - DAY

The Sheriff addresses the attentive crowd.

                                                                 SHERIFF
                                I apologize for the disturbance ever'one.  Go on with
                                your bidness.
                                                           (to Ruth)
                                I'll pay for them dishes, Ruth.

                                                                 RUTH
                                Damn right ya will.

Ruth bends down to clean up the mess.  The Sheriff sits down at the counter and re-lights his cigar.  Mr. Buford calls out.

                                                                 MR. BUFORD
                                That gal a yer's is lookin' good, Alex.  Spunky's all
                                git out.

The Sheriff doesn't turn around.

                                                                 SHERIFF
                                She's got a bad attitude, just like her ma.  I'll tell ya
                                this much, mouthy women're a curse.

All of the men in the restaurant grunt and nod in agreement.  Ruth, on her knees with her hands full of dirty food and broken dishes, rolls her eyes in wonderment.

                                                                 MR. BUFORD
                                Ya know, Alex, that little girl a yours embarrassed me
                                in front of ever'one.

The Sheriff turns around, his cigar halfway to his mouth.

                                                                 SHERIFF
                                What she say?

                                                                 MR. BUFORD
                                                           (enjoying himself)
                                She said that you were gonna make me do somethin'.

The tension has returned.

                                                                 SHERIFF
                                What?

                                                                 MR. BUFORD
                                I don't thank it matters what.  Are you gonna make me
                                do somethin', Sheriff?  Anything?

                                                                 SHERIFF
                                                           (carefully)
                                Let's just say I'm not of a mind t' try t' make you do
                                anything.

                                                                 MR. BUFORD
                                                           (pushing)
                                What if you were of a mind?  What then?

                                                                 SHERIFF
                                                           (quietly)
                                I wouldn't be.

                                                                 MR. BUFORD
                                                           (nods)
                                That's right.  Now why don't you bring me one of them
                                cigars a yours, would ya please?  Sheriff.

The Sheriff hesitates, then finally stands, walks over and hands Mr. Buford one of his cigars.  Buford takes it and peels off the wrapper.  The Sheriff sits back down at the counter.


                                                                 MR. BUFORD
                                You're a good man, Alex.  A fine law officer.  Got a light?

A look of distress afixes itself on the Sheriff's face.  He sighs deeply, takes out some matches, goes over and lights Mr. Buford's cigar.  Ruth watches from the kitchen and disgustedly looks away.  Everyone in the cafe looks ashamed.  Mr. Buford looks up at the Sheriff through the cloud of smoke and winks.

                                                                 MR. BUFORD
                                Thanks.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

EXT. SPRINGFIELD, OHIO - DAY

The guys on their motorcycles drive south of U.S. 68, Jason's radio is playing "East Of The Sun (West Of The Moon)" with Frank Sinatra singing.  Just as they're nearing the city of Springfield they encounter a crown-topped, black and white road sign that states, "Route 66, Ohio."  They all look at each other and grin.

                                                                 BUD
                                California here we come.

They turn right, heading west.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

EXT. THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER - DAY

The motorcycles cruise over a huge, old suspension bridge spanning the mighty Mississippi River.  Jason tunes his radio and picks up black men playing the blues on both stations.  Jason shrugs and leaves it.

                                                                 JASON
                                Hey, dig these crazy tunes.

When they get to the western end of the bridge they pass two MOTORCYCLE COPS with "St. Louis Police" on their gas tanks, parked on both sides of the road.  The Cops both do double-takes, look at each other, shake their heads and start their bikes.

Our guys glance over their shoulders and see the two motorcycles approaching fast.  They all look at each other, now what?  The Cops pull up on either side of them.

                                                                 MOTORCYCLE COP #1
                                Where you fellas goin'?

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                California.

                                                                 MOTORCYCLE COP #1
                                                           (amazed)
                                California?  On motorcycles?
                                                           (to the other Cop)
                                You hear that, Bill?


                                                                 MOTORCYCLE COP #2
                                                           (nods)
                                Yeah, sounds great.  Wanna go?

                                                                 MOTORCYCLE COP #1
                                Shit!  We should.

                                                                 MOTORCYCLE COP #2
                                You fellas vets?
                                                           (they all nod except Jason)
                                Me, too.  Patton's Fifth.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                                           (impressed)
                                Rugged.  2nd Marine Division.

Both Cops look impressed.

                                                                 STAN
                                                           (pokes his chest)
                                M-m-me, t-t-too.

                                                                 BUD
                                Navy, 7th Fleet.

                                                                 DEWEY
                                Army.  Staff Sergeant 87th Battalion.

Cop #2 looks at Dewey in disbelief.

                                                                 MOTORCYCLE COP #2
                                You were a Staff Sergeant?

                                                                 DEWEY
                                Motor-pool.

The Cop nods and Dewey looks bugged.

Cop #1 turns to Jason.

                                                                 MOTORCYCLE COP #1
                                What about you?

Jason points at Virgil's back.

                                                                 JASON
                                I'm his brother.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                So, what's a good, cheap place to eat in St. Louis?

                                                                 MOTORCYCLE COP #1
                                Brown's is good.

                                                                 MOTORCYCLE COP #2
                                It sure is, but doesn't really make a difference since you
                                guys ain't stoppin'.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                                           (tightens)
                                We're not?  How come?

                                                                 MOTORCYCLE COP #1
                                'Cause we're ridin' you out to the city limits.

                                                                 BUD
                                                           (tense)
                                And why's that?

Both Cops shrug.

                                                                 MOTORCYCLE COP #1
                                Why not?

                                                                 MOTORCYCLE COP #2
                                Right.  I mean, we gotta do something, don't we?  But don't
                                sweat it, we don't mean anything by it.  It's our job.

Our guys all nod.  They all ride up the road.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

EXT. ROADSIDE - DAY

Dewey and Bud work on Stan's motorcycle on the side of the road.  They have the engine in pieces.  Dewey is busily cutting out a piece of a coffee can to use as an engine part.  Bud shakes his head in disbelief.

                                                                 BUD
                                You really think that's gonna work?

                                                                 DEWEY
                                                           (shrugs)
                                For a while.  It worked on tank engines.

                                                                 BUD
                                You sure?


                                                                 DEWEY
                                Hey!  Did the tanks get t' Berlin?  Did we win the war?
                                All right then.

The other guys are hanging out smoking cigarettes.

A fellow in dirty overalls holding a lunch pail comes limping up the road.  His name is HORACE BERGER.  His right leg is stiff, the right side of his face is scarred and burned and his head is cocked to the left.  As he gets near and sees all the motorcycles a look of amusement and interest crosses his face.

                                                                 HORACE
                                What're you fellers up to?

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                                           (defensive)
                                What's it to you?

                                                                 HORACE
                                It ain't nothin' t' me.  I jus' like motorcycles s'all.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                                           (nods)
                                We're heading out to California to visit some of our
                                service buddies.

                                                                 HORACE
                                I got service buddies in California.

                                                                 JASON
                                You in the service yourself?

                                                                 HORACE
                                                           (nods)
                                Shoot . . . I was a captain in the damn Air Force, pilot
                                of a B-17.  I flew twenty-seven missions 'til I got shot
                                down over Germany.

                                                                 JASON
                                                           (interested)
                                What happened?

Virgil taps Jason on the arm and whispers.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                Nix.

                                                                 HORACE
                                                           (waves his hand)
                                S'okay.  Spent the rest of the war in a hospital in France.
                                They put me back together pretty good, too.  Didn't have
                                all that much t' work with, that's a fact.  The name's Horace Berger.

Dewey looks up from the motorcycle engine.

                                                                 DEWEY
                                What'cha doin' now, Horace?

                                                                 HORACE
                                I'm a janitor over t' the high school.  It ain't very
                                hard an' the pay's all right.
                                                           (nobody says anything;
                                                           Horace coughs)
                                Ya know, I gotta motorcycle.  Triumph.  Ain't touched
                                it in years.  Not since before the war, anyway.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                If you wanna come along, you're more than welcome.

                                                                 HORACE
                                                           (chuckles)
                                Shoot . . . Ride t' California on a motorcycle?  I dunno
                                about that . . . I don't even walk too good no more . . .
                                But thanks.

Horace hobbles away, throwing a number of glances over his shoulder.  Dewey finishes working on the engine.  Stan kicks the starter and it fires right up.  Dewey turns to Bud and nods, see?  They all hop aboard their machines, kick them to life and head up the road.

EXT. OLD FARM - DAY

As they pass a dilapidated farm house about a mile up the road, they see Horace out in front of a barn sitting on a dusty Triumph kicking it and kicking it.  He's now wearing a brown, leather bomber jacket.

                                                                 HORACE
                                                           (calling out)
                                Hey!  Hold up!

The guys all slow down and watch.

Horace is in a sweat as he keeps kicking the starter and turning the throttle.

                                                                 HORACE
                                                           (aggravated)
                                Shoot!

As he comes down on the starter with all his weight, one of the bolts holding the front wheel on drops of into the grass.  Horace doesn't see this.  The engine hesitantly catches, sputters, then revs.  Horace grins as he puts it in gear, guns it, sprays dirt and grass out behind him and rides up to the others.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                What changed your mind?

                                                                 HORACE
                                You ever cleaned a urinal?

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                Yeah, during basic.  I didn't like it much.

                                                                 HORACE
                                                           (nods)
                                Me, neither.  'Sides, ridin' sure as hell beats walkin'.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                Well, Horace, you're the ranking officer in the bunch.
                                In fact, you're the only officer in the bunch.

                                                                 HORACE
                                I hope ya don't hold my bein' an officer against me,
                                fellas.  These days I see myself more as a janitor
                                than a Captain.

                                                                 BUD
                                You're still a Captain.

                                                                 HORACE
                                If you say so, but I thought the war was over.

                                                                 DEWEY
                                If you say so.

                                                                 HORACE
                                                           (pauses)
                                I don't know that I do.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

EXT. ROUTE 66/MISSOURI - DAY

Lightning flashes in the sky over Route 66.  Rain is pouring down in buckets and no one is on the road.  At the side of the road, under a stand of evergreen trees, the bikes are all parked in a line.  The guys are sitting under picnic tables waiting out the storm.  Jason looks nervous.

                                                                 JASON
                                Ya know, being under trees is about the worst
                                place to be in a lightning storm.

Everybody shrugs.  Big deal.  Bud points at Stan.

                                                                 BUD
                                It ain't the trees I'm worried about, it's Stan's head.
                                I hear those steel plates're like lightning rods.

                                                                 DEWEY
                                                           (grins)
                                Yeah, I heard that, too.  I think I'll jus' slide away
                                here.

Dewey and Bud both slide over an inch.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                Yeah, maybe if you get hit in the head with lightning
                                you'll get super-powers like in the comic books.

                                                                 STAN
                                L-l-like S-S-Superman.  T-t-then I'll j-just f-fly t'
                                C-California and l-l-leave you a-a-assholes here.

A big bolt of lightning flashes and comes down very near, followed by an Earth-shaking crash of thunder.  Everybody looks at Stan, then they all slide away from him and start to laugh.

                                                                 STAN
                                                           (smiling)
                                F-f-fuck all of y-y-you.

Dewey crawls over to his motorcycle, reaches into one of his saddlebags and pulls out a red can of Prince Albert tobacco.  He crawls back to the others.  Dewey gets back to his spot under the table and opens the tobacco can.

                                                                 DEWEY
                                Any a you white boys ever smoke any hooch?

                                They all look at him blankly.

                                                                 DEWEY
                                Ya know, Jive?  Marijuana?

Bud grins and nods his head.

                                                                 BUD
                                Oh, sure.  In Bangkok once.  I woke up back on
                                the ship and it was the next day.

Dewey pulls out a cigar-sized bomber, puts it in his mouth and lights up.

                                                                 DEWEY
                                Let's see if you wake up back on the ship again.

Dewey takes a big hit and passes it to Horace.  He takes it and holds like an alien object.

                                                                 HORACE
                                Now, what do I do with this thing?

                                                                 DEWEY
                                Smoke it.  Hold it in.

Horace takes a puff like a cigarette.  He smacks his lips.

                                                                 HORACE
                                Shoot . . . That's nice an' sweet.  If cigarettes tasted
                                like this I think I'd take 'em up.

He hands it to Bud.  Bud takes a hit, starts to cough and passes it to Jason.

                                                                 JASON
                                I heard about this at school.  Some of my friends
                                smoked some down at a jazz show.  Duke Ellington.
                                I was supposed to go, but my Dad wouldn't let me.

Jason takes a hit, immediately starts to cough and hands it to Virgil.  Virgil eyes it suspiciously.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                And what's it supposed to do?

Dewey is already lighting another one.

                                                                 DEWEY
                                It's gonna make you not give a damn for a little
                                while.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                I already don't give a damn.

                                                                 DEWEY
                                Then it'll make ya not give a damn that you don't
                                give a damn.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                                           (grins)
                                Gung ho!

Virgil takes a hit.  The joints go around and around.  Everybody's eyes get red and drop to half-mast.  They're all quiet, each one totally absorbed in something: the dripping water from between the table slats, the veins of a leaf, a caterpillar, a knife into the table leg.  Dewey watches all of them with great amusement and reaches into his coat pocket.

                                                                 DEWEY
                                I don' suppose any of you guys wanna share these
                                with me.

Everyone looks up from what they're doing.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                Share what?

Dewey's hand slowly comes out of his pocket with . . . Two Baby Ruth bars.  Everybody screams and attacks him.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

EXT. MOTEL - DUSK

The motorcycles are parked in a line in front of a little, roadside motel, The Missourian Motel.  Jason comes out the door of one of the rooms, hops on his bike and rides away.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

INT. MOTEL ROOM - NIGHT

All the guys are crammed into one room.  They are sitting on the floor in their skivvies playing poker and drinking beer.

Jason comes walking in with a white bandage on his forearm.  Everyone, particularly Virgil, looks up and notices the bandage.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                                           (concerned)
                                Hey!  What happened?

Jason grins and peels back the bandage.  He shows them a tattoo of a three-headed dragon.

                                                                 JASON
                                It's a Chinese dragon.  It means good luck.

Everybody's impressed -- it's a nice tattoo-- except Virgil, that is, who looks baffled.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                Why'd you go and do that?

                                                                 JASON
                                                           (shrugs)
                                Why not?  All you guys got tattoos.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                                           (shakes his head)
                                But we were in the service.

                                                                 JASON
                                Who cares?  There's no rules, Virg.  Jesus, gimme
                                a beer.

Jason sits down and joins the game.  Horace gets dreamy.

                                                                 HORACE
                                I got a tattoo.  A beautiful, redheaded gal give it t' me in
                                England.  She really thought I was somethin'.  Sybil Shears
                                was her name.  Reddest hair you ever saw.  Freckles, too.
                                But she weren't one of them ugly redheads that looks like they
                                got a rash all over 'em.  She was the prettiest gal I ever
                                seen.  Sybil . . .

Horace drifts off into a nostalgic dream.  Everyone else is just looking at him.

                                                                 BUD
                                So, let's see the tattoo.

Horace returns to reality.

                                                                 HORACE
                                                           (embarrassed)
                                Huh?  Oh, no.

They all look at each other.

                                                                 DEWEY
                                Why not?

                                                                 HORACE
                                                           (serious)
                                I just can't, that's all.

                                                                 JASON
                                Was Sybil a bad tattoo artist?  Is it really crappy
                                looking?

                                                                 HORACE
                                Aw, no.  It's beautiful.  Sybil was top-notch.  Prob'ly
                                still is.

                                                                 VIRGIL
                                                           (impatient)
                                So let's see it.

Horace looks embarrassed, then finally stands and lowers his his boxer shorts.  He reveals a colorful, complicated tattoo of a naked woman with bright red hair and a banner that says, "Sybil" nearly covering one whole cheek of his ass.  Everybody bursts out laughing.  Horace pulls up his pants and sits down, blushing red.

                                                                 JASON
                                Wow!  It looks like it took a month to do.

                                                                 HORACE
                                                           (grins)
                                Two months.  Ever'day.

                                                                 BUD
                                                           (laughing)
                                That gal made sure you'd never forget her.

                                                                 HORACE
                                Damn straight, and the tattoo had nothin' to do with
                                it.
                                                           (grabs a beer)
                                Shoot ... I'm poppin' a mean woody jus' thinkin'
                                about it.

Horace puts the cold beer bottle between his legs.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

EXT. MOTEL - MORNING

All of the guys mount their bikes preparing to leave.  Bud takes a knife from his Army boot and cuts off the sleeves of his jacket.  Now it's a vest.  The multitude of tattoos on his arms are clearly visible.  Jason does the same thing, peels off the bandage and tosses it.  With their beards and hair growing out, Horace's leather bomber jacket, the vests and the visible tattoos, they're really beginning to look like a motorcycle gang.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

EXT. SALT CREEK ROAD - DAY

A rusty, bent street sign riddled with bullet holes reads "Salt Creek Road."  It stands out sharply against the deep blue sky; the town of Shamrock is in the distance across Route 66.  Salt Creek Road is a thin little dirt road in the desert.  At the point where it intersects a wider dirt road there is a wooden road-block.

LuAnne comes riding up on her bicycle and stops.  She has a crumpled brown paper bag in her basket.  She looks all the way around, then quickly pedals past the road-block, up Salt Creek Road.

LuAnne rides up to a winding groove in the sand that was once a stream.  She gets off her bike, reaches into the bag and removes a green, U.S. Army surplus entrenching tool.  She wanders slowly along the edge of the creek.

LuAnne arrives at an unusually large mound of dirt.  She unscrews the head of the tool, pulls the shovel halfway out and tightens it into a hoe.  LuAnne swings the blade of the tool into the dirt and starts digging.  Three scoops down the blade clangs against something hard.  LuAnne pushes the dirt away to reveal the rusted handlebar of a motorcycle.  It pokes out from the dirt like a twisted root.

LuAnne scans the vicinity, shading her eyes from the sun.  Right nearby is another mound, this one covered with colorful wildflowers.

EXT. LONE STAR REFINERY - DAY

The Lone Star Petroleum refinery is about a quarter of a mile east of Shamrock, just off Route 66.  It's a small business with just a few oil derricks, some dusty machinery and a wooden shack housing the office.  A corrugated tin fence surrounds the whole thing.  Mr. Buford comes out the door of the office and gets into a pick-up truck with "Lone Star Petroleum" on the door.  He drives away from the refinery up a bumpy dirt road toward Route 66.

EXT. ROUTE 66 - DAY

Mr. Buford makes a left on Route 66, grinds the gears and heads west.  Way in the distance, shimmering in the heat haze, Mr. Buford sees someone on a bicycle crossing Route 66 riding into town.

From Mr. Buford's expression we can see that he finds this an odd, unsettling sight.

When he arrives at the turn-off into town, he looks to his left, toward Shamrock, and can see the person on the bicycle in the distance riding up Main Street.

Mr. Buford looks to his right.  The sign on the dirt road north of Route 66, where the bicycle just came from, says, "Salt Creek Road."

Mr. Buford's eyes go wide with panic.  He slams the truck in gear, kicks up a cloud of dust and barrels into town.

EXT. MAIN STREET - DAY

Mr. Buford drives along Main Street, apprehensively looking in both directions.  No bicycle, no people, no nothing.  The old farts in front of the drugstore all wave, but Mr. Buford pays no attention.  The old farts all appear a bit hurt at being ignored.

EXT. McMILLAN HOUSE - DAY

As Mr. Buford slowly cruises past the McMillan house, LuAnne comes out the front door, a paperback book in one hand ("The Postman Always Rings Twice" by James M. Cain), a brown paper bag in the other.  Mr. Buford stops the truck, gets out and steps up to the porch.

                                                                 MR. BUFORD
                                What'cha got there, LuAnne?

LuAnne sits down on the porch swing.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                A book.

Mr. Buford comes up the steps.

                                                                 MR. BUFORD
                                I mean, in the bag?

                                                                 LUANNE
                                What bidness is it of yours?

                                                                 MR. BUFORD
                                It's my bidness 'cause I say it is!

He grabs the bag, opens it and takes out a bottle of Coca-Cola.  Mr. Buford looks confused.

                                                                 MR. BUFORD
                                What were ya jus' doin' over t' Salt Crick?

                                                                 LUANNE
                                                           (innocently)
                                I wasn't at Salt Crick.

                                                                 MR. BUFORD
                                                           (flatly)
                                But I saw ya.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                Ya saw me?  Ya shore?

                                                                 MR. BUFORD
                                                           (confused)
                                Well, I saw someone on a bicycle.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                T'weren't me.

Mr. Buford looks befuddled.  He starts looking up and down Main Street.

                                                                 MR. BUFORD
                                I ain't s'shore I believe ya, LuAnne.

INT. McMILLAN HOUSE - DAY

We can see Mr. Buford through the screen door standing on the porch.  Through the front window we can see LuAnne on the porch swing.

In the foreground, sitting on the kitchen table, is a rusty, cracked motorcycle headlight.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                Ya know what, Mr. Buford, I don't give a good
                                goddamn what'cha believe.

                                                                 MR. BUFORD
                                                           (offended)
                                How dare ya talk t' me like that!  I'm twice your age-

                                                                 LUANNE
                                -At least.  More like three times.

Mr Buford looks inside through the screen door.  LuAnne stiffens.

                                                                 MR. BUFORD
                                Is your Daddy home?

                                                                 LUANNE
                                Nope.

EXT. McMILLAN HOUSE - DAY

Mr. Buford turns to LuAnne.

                                                                 MR. BUFORD
                                Well, I'm gonna speak t' him about you.  You got
                                no respect for your elders.

LuAnne places the edge of the Coke cap on the porch rail.  She smacks it and the cap pops off the bottle.

                                                                 LUANNE
                                Damn tootin'.  I got a theory 'bout respect, Mr.
                                Buford, ever'body gets jus' as much as they
                                deserve, an' not a speck more.

Mr. Buford furiously stomps back to his truck.

                                                                 MR. BUFORD
                                Why don' ya jus' shut your big bazoo, li'l girl!
                                                           (muttering)
                                Kids these days!

He gets in his truck and drives away.

LuAnne glances inside through the window, sighs and takes a big slug of Coke.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

 

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