EXT. DONUT SHOP - DAY

Joe and Luke come out of the donut shop and keep going without looking back. Luke glances at Joe, grinning.

                                                                 LUKE
                                What do they want you for?

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (confused)
                                Who, the cops?

                                                                 LUKE
                                No, the donut authorities. Yes, the cops.

                                                                 JOE
                                They don't want me for anything.

                                                                 LUKE
                                                           (points)
                                Then why are you shaking?

The cup of coffee in Joe's hand is jittering. Joe goes to take a sip, but he's shaking too much.

                                                                 JOE
                                I just don't like cops. How about you?

                                                                 LUKE
                                Me? It's not that I don't like cops, per se, I'm just
                                happier when they're not around.

Joe gets his shaking cup to his mouth, sips and winces.

                                                                 JOE
                                It's too bad we left so fast, I like sugar in my
                                coffee.

Luke reaches into the pocket of his pack and removes a handful of McDonald's sugar, salt and pepper packets, as well as stirrers.

                                                                 LUKE
                                One or two?

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (smiles)
                                Just one.

Luke hands Joe a sugar and a stirrer.

                                                                 LUKE
                                You gotta be prepared in this life, Joe.

Joe dumps the sugar into his coffee, stirs it, then takes a sip and sighs.



EXT. BANK - DAY

Secret Service Chief Dondero drinks a cup of McDonald's coffee while watching two agents dig through the trashcan next to the ATM machine. One of them finds something and calls out:

                                                                 AGENT #1
                                Hey, Chief. Get a load of this.

Chief Dondero steps over and the agent hands him a wallet. The Chief flips it open revealing President Joseph Burton both squinting and smiling on his driver's license photo.

EXT. MARYLAND COUNTRYIDE WITH RAILROAD TRACKS - DAY

A long freight train goes past across the thickly foliated Maryland countryside.

INT. FREIGHT CAR - DAY

Luke and Joe sit in a rumbling freight car. As they catch glimpses of the gorgeous countryside going past, Joe's stomach growls loudly.

                                                                 JOE
                                Excuse me.

Luke reaches into his pack.

                                                                 LUKE
                                When your body talks you gotta listen.

Luke tosses Joe several plastic-wrapped packages of saltine cracks.

                                                                 JOE
                                Thanks. What don't you have in there?

Luke retrieves a plastic bottle of water.

                                                                 LUKE
                                What ain't in here, I don't need.

                                                                 JOE
                                Why're you out on the road, anyway, Luke? What
                                brought you to D.C.?



                                                                 LUKE
                                I travel for fun. It's a big country and I've seen
                                most of it. But I'd never been to D.C., so I came.
                                Check out the Smithsonian, see the White House.
                                I actually went to a political rally with some of
                                my buds -- Republican minorities supporting the
                                President, if you can believe that?

                                                                 JOE
                                Sure I can. Don't you think minorities like the
                                President?

                                                                 LUKE
                                                           (skeptical)
                                Well . . . Some minority of the minorities do,
                                but most don't.

Joe takes off his baseball cap revealing the lump on his forehead.

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (interested)
                                Huh? Why do you think that is?

                                                                 LUKE
                                'Cause he's a Republican, for God's sake, he ain't
                                lookin' out for the minorities. He's lookin' out for
                                rich people. And they're the ones that don't need
                                lookin' out for. They just need to be watched or
                                they'll take everything.

                                                                 JOE
                                What about you? What do you think of the President?

                                                                 LUKE
                                                           (laughs)
                                Me? Well . . . I feel kinda bad for him, if you want
                                to know the truth.

                                                                 JOE
                                Why's that?


                                                                 LUKE
                                'Cause I watched him crack up right in front of
                                everybody. Talkin' about his treehouse and his
                                comic book collection. Suddenly, all these lights
                                just dropped outta nowhere and landed right on
                                his head and --

Luke is looking directly at the lump on Joe's forehead. Luke's eyes narrow.

                                                                 LUKE
                                -- Hey! That was you!
                                                           (his eyes widen)
                                You're the freaking President!

Joe hushes him.

                                                                 JOE
                                For God's sake, quiet down. You don't want
                                everyone to know.

Luke slides away from Joe.

                                                                 LUKE
                                Is this some kind of trick? What're you up to?

Luke shoves his hand into his pack.

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (confiding)
                                I've run away. It was that hit on the head that caused
                                me to see clearly for the very first time in my life.
                                I hate everything I stand for! In fact, I hate me!
                                And I don't like my wife, either. And the best friend
                                I ever had in my life died cause I'm no good at my
                                job. And now I'm going to his funeral.

                                                                 LUKE
                                                           (looks skeptical)
                                Why didn't you just fly there in Air Force One?



                                                                 JOE
                                                           (angry)
                                'Cause they wouldn't let me! I was too busy stealing
                                from the poor to help the rich! I'm Robin Hood's evil
                                brother! And I never had a bad intention. I did every-
                                thing like I really cared about something, except I don't
                                know what!?

                                                                 LUKE
                                And what're you gonna do after this funeral?

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (his eyes light up)
                                Ah-ha! My friend, Kevin -- the one that died -- and
                                I built a secret treehouse in the woods. You heard me
                                talk about it, but I didn't say where it was. Nobody
                                knows where it is. So I'm gonna go live there and no
                                one will ever find me!
                                                           (gets serious; points at Luke)
                                Unless you tell!

Luke throws up his hands.

                                                                 LUKE
                                I won't tell. I swear.

                                Joe calms down.

                                                                 JOE
                                Good. I didn't think you would. You can stay there,
                                too, if you'd like. It's pretty big.

Luke now realizes that Joe isn't playing with a full deck.

                                                                 LUKE
                                Man, you must've really been hit on the head
                                hard.

Joe rubs the lump and nods. They rumble along in silence for a moment. Suddenly, Luke starts to laugh.

                                                                 LUKE
                                Joe Burgundy? You gotta be kidding.

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (grins)
                                You bought it.

                                                                 LUKE
                                Yeah, but I'm a sucker. The one time in my life I
                                ride with a President, I do it in a freight car.

                                                                 JOE
                                Freight car or no, this is the best time I've had in
                                years. Thanks, Luke.

Luke tosses another pack of saltines at Joe.

                                                                 LUKE
                                Have some crackers.

EXT. THE WEST VIRGINIA COUNTRYSIDE - DAY

The hilly, wooded West Virginia countryside goes by.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

EXT. THE OUTSKIRTS OF PITTSBURGH - DAY

Our point of view rolls down the tracks, through the industrial outskirts of Pittsburgh.

INT. FREIGHT CAR - DAY

Joe and Luke stand up. Luke hoists his pack, ready to move.

                                                                 LUKE
                                We've got to change trains here in Pittsburgh.

                                                                 JOE
                                Although those crackers were good, I'd be perfectly
                                happy to spend my twelve dollars on lunch now.

                                                                 LUKE
                                We can both have lunch for two dollars, and still
                                have ten left.



                                                                 JOE
                                However you wanna do it, let's do it. I'm sort of
                                getting a headache, ya know, from not eating.

                                                                 LUKE
                                Want some more crackers?

                                                                 JOE
                                No thanks, I'm cool. What did you do, strip some
                                restaurant of all their crackers?

                                                                 LUKE
                                No, man, they accumulate. All restaurants take the
                                hit evenly; small but regular. All right, let's go.

They move to the doorway of the freight car.

EXT. PITTSBURGH TRAIN YARD - DAY

As the freight train pulls slowly into the yard, Joe and Luke disembark, dashing low across the tracks. Joe keeps glancing over at a YARD BULL, a burly guy with a stick. Luke goes under a low chain fence. Joe is looking back, doesn't see the chain and catches it right across his stomach, causing him to do a flip and land on his ass. The Yard Bull glances over, but can't see anything. Joe and Luke quietly crawl away.

EXT. DESERTED CITY BLOCK - DAY

Joe and Luke come out on a completely deserted city block -- there's not another soul around. They start to feel creepy, throwing glances back over their shoulders, speeding up. Finally, they come upon a single fifteen year old KID trying to steal a hubcap off a car. Joe and Luke chuckle; this is what they were scarred of?

                                                                 JOE
                                Hey, kid. You probably shouldn't be doing that.

                                                                 LUKE
                                You could get into trouble.

Suddenly, two more KIDS pop up from inside the car, then three more from underneath the car-now there's SIX, dirty, filthy, white kids with tire irons and crowbars confronting them.

                                                                 KID #1
                                I could, huh? From who?

                                                                 LUKE
                                                           (backing off)
                                Well, not from us.

                                                                 KID #1
                                Damn right, not from you! Or any other adult!

                                                                 KIDS #2-6
                                Yeah!

                                                                 JOE
                                Hey, isn't this a school day? Why aren't you in school?

                                Luke is nudging Joe to knock it off.

                                                                 KID #1
                                They closed our school down, OK?

                                                                 JOE
                                Why?

The kids all laugh together.

                                                                 KID #1
                                No money, why do you think? Good ol' MoTech.
                                All five of us was gonna open up a mechanics shop
                                together, called Five Guys Named Mo. Not now
                                though. We was forced out of school and onto the
                                streets.

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (sad)
                                I'm truly sorry to hear that. Uh, by the way, there
                                are six of you.

Kid #1 looks back to the others and they all exchange sour expressions.

                                                                 KID #1
                                What are you tryin' to say, man? You think we don't
                                know that? Our other friend, Tim, ain't here.

                                                                 JOE
                                No, there's six of you here now.

                                                                 LUKE
                                                           (rolls his eyes)
                                Oh, for God's sake, Joe, will you shut up!

                                                                 KID #1
                                It don't make no difference how many of us are
                                here now 'cause we can't never have our shop, Five
                                Guys Named Mo, or Six Guys Named Mo. It's No
                                Mo! And unless you wanna be No Mo, too, you're
                                gonna give us all your money. Un'erstand?

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (aghast)
                                You're robbing us?

                                                                 LUKE
                                                           (whispering)
                                Joe, please, will you just shut up!

Kid #1 looks to the others, confers, they all nod, then he looks back to Joe.

                                                                 KID #1
                                Yeah, we're robbing you. The question is, are we
                                mugging you, too?

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (explaining)
                                You see, this is all the money we have left. We were
                                just going to get lunch with it. We haven't eaten
                                today. We need this money for food.

Kid #1 confers with the others, then turns back.

                                                                 KID #1
                                Because you won't shut up, we're now going to
                                mug you, too.

The kids all converge on Joe and Luke in a menacing fashion. Suddenly, Luke pulls his hand out of his pack and brandishes his pistol at them.



                                                                 LUKE
                                                           (calmly)
                                All right, now, let's just back off and no one will
                                get hurt.

Joe is quite surprised by this turn of events. The kids all stop in mid-step. All of a sudden, every kid whips out a pistol of his own, cocks it and aims in on Luke.

                                                                 KID #1
                                Uh-oh, now it's five-to-one.

                                                                 JOE
                                Uh, that's six-to-one.

                                                                 KID #1
                                                           (to Joe)
                                Who asked you?

Luke doesn't like the odds, taking a step backward. Joe looks baffled.

                                                                 JOE
                                Where did all of you kids get guns?

                                                                 KID #1
                                They're a helluva lot easier to get than an education.
                                                           (to Luke)
                                Now drop it, Tonto, the cowboys is comin'.

Luke drops his pistol. The kids swarm in on Luke and Joe, swinging their pistol butts like clubs.

When the kids are finished beating the crud out of our dynamic duo, leaving them bloody and beaten, one kid dumps Luke's pack on the ground: pots, pans, blankets, nothing of any value. Kid #1 goes through Joe's pocket and takes his money. He counts the money.

                                                                 KID #1
                                                           (angry)
                                Fourteen bucks? That's it?

Joe looks up from the ground, blood all over his head and face.

                                                                 JOE
                                Uh, that's twelve bucks.


Kid #1 gets very angry, pointing at Joe.

                                                                 KID #1
                                You think I can't count? Count this!

He kicks Joe in the stomach, doubling him over. One kid picks up Luke's pistol and pops out the cylinder which drops right out and falls to the ground. The kid harumphs, tossing the rest of the pistol to the ground. The kids stroll away splitting up the booty.

                                                                 KID #1
                                All right, five shares into fourteen dollars -- that's
                                four bucks each.

Joe is about to correct him when Luke's hand clamps over his mouth.

                                                                 LUKE
                                                           (whispering)
                                Joe, let it go.

Once the kids are gone, Luke and Joe help each other to their feet. They both look like hell, beaten and battered. Joe begins to pick up Luke's pots and pans, while Luke puts his pistol back together.

                                                                 LUKE
                                It's the only thing I ever got that belonged to my
                                Dad. I'm not sure it ever worked. He got it at
                                Wounded Knee.

                                                                 JOE
                                Did it ever heal?

                                                                 LUKE
                                                           (confused)
                                Did what heal?

                                                                 JOE
                                Your Dad's knee?

                                                                 LUKE
                                                           (exasperated)
                                Oh, for goodness sake!


Luke takes his pack from Joe and shoves the pistol back inside. Joe touches his aching head and sees that he's bleeding.

                                                                 JOE
                                I don't feel so good. Kinda woozy.

Luke grabs Joe to hold him up.

                                                                 LUKE
                                Come on, we've got to find us a hospital.

                                                                 JOE
                                We haven't got any money.

                                                                 LUKE
                                America may seem like a third world country,
                                but actually they can't turn you away at an emergency
                                room, no matter who you are.

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (surprised)
                                Really?

                                                                 LUKE
                                Yeah, really.

INT. EMERGENCY ROOM - EVENING

Luke and Joe stand at the admitting desk of an emergency room. The ADMITTING NURSE points toward the exit.

                                                                 ADMITTING NURSE
                                Get lost!

                                                                 LUKE
                                                           (astounded)
                                But you have to help us. We got mugged and we're
                                bleeding.

                                                                 ADMITTING NURSE
                                You two have health insurance?

                                                                 LUKE
                                Well, no.

                                                                 ADMITTING NURSE
                                Then who's going to pay for your treatment?

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (still woozy)
                                But this is an emergency.

                                                                 ADMITTING NURSE
                                Yeah? Take it outside. And don't get blood all over
                                everything, either.

Joe and Luke turn around and stagger from the hospital.

EXT. PARK - NIGHT

Joe and Luke sit on a park bench cleaning themselves up with old t-shirts of Luke's and drinking the remainder of his peppermint schnapps. Joe chuckles.

                                                                 JOE
                                What the heck did you think you were gonna do
                                with that broken gun? Throw it at them?

                                                                 LUKE
                                                           (shrugs)
                                I wanted to scare 'em, I guess.

                                                                 JOE
                                They looked pretty darn scared while they were
                                beating the crap out of us.

                                                                 LUKE
                                                           (snotty)
                                Oh, excuse me. Maybe I should've joined you in
                                correcting their math. That was helping the situation
                                a lot.

                                                                 JOE
                                Yeah, well, four doesn't go into fourteen five times.

                                                                 LUKE
                                Joe, what's the difference? Sometimes you just gotta
                                keep your mouth shut.


                                                                 JOE
                                You think they wouldn't have beat us up?

                                                                 LUKE
                                For fourteen bucks, it's not worth it.

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (correcting)
                                Twelve bucks.

                                                                 LUKE
                                                           (pointing)
                                Correct me again and I'll beat the crap outta
                                you.

                                                                 JOE
                                Uh-oh, big man. I'm not scared of you.

                                                                 LUKE
                                Don't push me, Joe, you ain't got no Secret Service
                                guys here to protect your scrawny ass. I might hurt
                                you.

                                                                 JOE
                                You talk the talk, but do you walk the walk?

Luke gives Joe a long look, then pushes him.

                                                                 LUKE
                                Don't push me, white man.

Joe rises to his feet.

                                                                 JOE
                                On your feet, red man. Let's see what you got.

Luke stands up -- he's not a little guy.

                                                                 LUKE
                                You don't want to see what I got, rich boy. I'll hit
                                you so hard, when you stop rolling your clothes'll
                                be outta style.


Suddenly, Luke and Joe are in a pushing match. They're not kidding, either. Luke grabs Joe in a headlock.

                                                                 LUKE
                                Give it up, dude, it's all over.

Joe struggles and growls, unable to move his jaw.

Suddenly, the two combatants are bathed in white light. They both look up, squinting. Two Pittsburgh COPS, one white, one black, step up with their batons in their hands. Joe and Luke freeze.

                                                                 COP #1
                                All right, you two, let's just break up.

Joe and Luke allow themselves to be pulled apart.

                                                                 COP #2
                                Look at you two, you're a mess. What's this about?

Luke points at Joe.
                                                                 LUKE
                                He thinks he's the friggin' President.

                                                                 JOE
                                I am the President.

                                                                 COP #1
                                Yeah, and I'm J. Edgar Hoover, head of the CIA.

Joe is about to say something, turns and sees Luke looking him. Joe keeps quiet.

Cop #2 picks up Luke's knapsack.

                                                                 COP#2
                                Whose is this?

                                                                 LUKE
                                Mine.

Cop #2 pulls out the .38 Police Special.



                                                                 COP #2
                                Well, well . . . Yours, too?

                                                                 LUKE
                                It was my Dad's. It's busted. Doesn't work.

Cop #2 pops out the cylinder and it drops to the ground with a clunk.

                                                                 COP #2
                                You tryin' to be funny, Geronimo?

Cop #1 turns to Joe.

                                                                 COP #1
                                You wanna press charges, Mr. President?

                                                                 JOE
                                For what?

                                                                 COP #1
                                You're covered with blood. He beat you up.

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (shakes his head)
                                He didn't beat me up. Some kids beat us both up a
                                few blocks from here. They weren't in school and
                                they all had guns.

                                                                 COP #2
                                And that's when you started thinking you were the
                                President?

                                                                 JOE
                                Right. I mean, no. I am the President.

                                                                 COP #2
                                Right. You said that.

Both Cops turn to Luke.

                                                                 COP #1
                                You're goin' downtown, Chief. Possessing a concealed
                                weapon.

                                                                 LUKE
                                But it doesn't work.

                                                                 COP #1
                                Tell it to the judge.

                                                                 LUKE
                                                           (indignant)
                                Oh, see. I'm a minority and I get taken in, but just
                                because he's the President he gets off?

                                                                 COP #2
                                Diplomatic immunity.

They put Luke in the backseat of their car. Joe and Luke exchange a look through the window. Cop #1 gets in the back with Luke. Cop #2 opens the driver's door, turning to Joe.

                                                                 COP #2
                                You look like hell, Mr. President. Get some rest.
                                Take a bath.

Joe and Cop #2 look directly at each other for a brief second. The Cop gets a strange look on his face as he gets into the car.

                                                                 COP #2
                                                           (in the car; muffled)
                                That guy does sorta look like the President, ya
                                know.

Joe waves to Luke as the car drives away.

                                                                 JOE
                                See ya, pal.

Joe is alone, bloody, battered, and ragged. He sighs, shaking his head.

                                                                 JOE
                                I gotta get to Akron. Fast.

He starts walking quickly.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

EXT. GAS STATION (WASHINGTON, D.C.) - NIGHT

Chief Dondero leans on the hood of his car smoking a cigarette and drinking coffee in a paper cup. Agent #1 steps out of the men's bathroom holding a brown sportcoat, which he hands to the Chief. Dondero opens the jacket revealing a label on the breast pocket: "Joseph K. Burton."

Agent #2 steps up holding a pimply, eighteen year old GAS JOCKEY by the arm.

                                                                 AGENT #2
                                He bought a baseball cap and a windbreaker, Chief.

                                                                 GAS JOCKEY
                                                           (grinning idiotically)
                                That was the President? Really?

Chief Dondero turns to Agent #2 sharply.

                                                                 CHIEF DONDERO
                                Why are you shooting your mouth off?

                                                                 AGENT #2
                                                           (abashed)
                                Sorry, Chief, it just slipped out.

                                                                 GAS JOCKEY
                                He sure didn't look like the President.

                                                                 CHIEF DONDERO
                                That's because he wasn't the President.

                                                                 GAS JOCKEY
                                                           (points at Agent #2)
                                But he said --

                                                                 CHIEF DONDERO
                                                           (flatly)
                                -- He's wrong. He's always wrong. He was born wrong.
                                Understand?

                                                                 GAS JOCKEY
                                                           (disappointed)
                                OK.


                                                                 CHIEF DONDERO
                                Get him outta here. He's losing time; he could be making
                                wrong change for people as we speak.
                                                           (the Chief turns; musing)
                                Are you in D.C., Joe? Or are you on the road?
                                                           (the Chief's eyes light up)
                                I say he's leaving D.C. and heading northwest.

The Agents all nod.

                                                                 AGENT #3
                                Excuse me, Chief, but why northwest?

                                                                 CHIEF DONDERO
                                Ohio is northwest of here.

                                                                 AGENT #3
                                Right. What's in Ohio?

                                                                 AGENT #1
                                The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is in Ohio.

                                                                 AGENT #2
                                They make Jeeps in Ohio, too.

                                                                 CHIEF DONDERO
                                                           (patiently)
                                The President is from Ohio. I think he's gone home.
                                To Akron.
                                                           (all the agents nod,
                                                           good information)
                                Now let's get this show on the road.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

INT. FREIGHT CAR - NIGHT

Joe huddles in the corner of a rocking freight car, dead-out asleep.

EXT. TRAIN YARD - NIGHT

The train pulls into a yard and stops to load.

INT. FREIGHT CAR - NIGHT

Joe continues to sleep. An old, grizzled, BUM climbs into the freight car. When he sees Joe his rheumy eyes light up. Very quietly, with great stealth, the Bum steals Joe's shoes. Joe does not notice a thing; he's too busy having a nightmare.

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (moaning)
                                Kev . . . I'm sorry, buddy. I should've been
                                there for you, but I couldn't 'cause my feet are
                                cold . . . So cold . . .

Joe shivers, pulling his thin windbreaker tightly around him.

EXT. TRAIN YARD - NIGHT

The train finishes loading and pulls out of the yard.

                                                                                                       DISSOLVE:

EXT. TRAIN TRACKS - DAY

Our point of view moves toward the outskirts of a city. We see a sign that says, "Welcome to Akron, Ohio."

EXT. ROAD - DAY

Joe walks up the road, with no shoes, just socks, hitch-hiking whenever a car passes by. He goes to look at his watch, but doesn't have one.

                                                                 JOE
                                They got my watch, too, whoever they were.

Joe encounters a cute, Hawaiian, MAILWOMAN in her truck.

                                                                 JOE
                                Excuse me, do you know what time it is?

The Mailwoman looks at her watch.

                                                                 MAILWOMAN
                                A couple minutes to ten.


                                                                 JOE
                                                           (disappointed)
                                Shoot! I'm gonna miss it.

                                                                 MAILWOMAN
                                Miss what?

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (sighs)
                                My best friend's funeral. It starts at ten and it's at
                                a cemetery on the other side of town.

                                                                 MAILWOMAN
                                Where'd you come from?

                                                                 JOE
                                Washington, D.C. I've been through hell getting
                                here.

                                                                 MAILWOMAN
                                You look it. Jump in, I'll take you.

                                                                 JOE
                                                           (pleased)
                                Really? Are you allowed to?

                                                                 MAILWOMAN
                                No, but what the heck. A few people'll get their
                                piles of junk mail a little later. It'll be OK.

Joe gets in the mail truck. There's no seat on the passenger side, so he sits on a crate.

                                                                 JOE
                                Thanks a lot.

The mail truck starts with a jerk and Joe flips backward off the crate into a pile of mail.

                                                                 MAILWOMAN
                                                           (grins sheepishly)
                                Sorry.

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