The Hustler


1       EXT. SMALL TOWN MAIN STREET - AFTERNOON
 
        An old Packard coupé pulls up to a roadside gas pump. Two men get out 
        and stretch their legs. The older man, Charlie Burns, a balding, 
        desiccated man in his mid-forties, shambles toward the bar across the 
        street. Eddie Felson remains behind to speak to the attendant.
 
                                ATTENDANT 
                Yes sir?
 
                                EDDIE 
                I think I got a little grease in this lining 
                here. 

                                ATTENDANT 
                Oh yeah. Well, it will take me about thirty 
                minutes to check it. You want me to fill her up 
                too? 

                                EDDIE 
                Yeah. You better check the oil too.

                                ATTENDANT 
                Yes sir.
 
        Eddie leaves the car parked at the gas station and heads for the bar.

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
2       INT. ARMSTEAD'S BAR - AFTERNOON
 
        Armstead's is a typical small town pool hall. It has a bar, a short 
        order counter, a skee-ball machine, and pool tables for small, friendly 
        games. The few people in Armstead's this day are not playing; they sit 
        and read the papers. Charlie and Eddie are at the bar, drinking 
        straight bourbon.
 
                                BARTENDER 
                Boys just passing through? 

                                EDDIE 
                Yep.
 
                                BARTENDER 
                Pittsburgh? 

                                EDDIE 
                Mm hmm.
 
                                BARTENDER 
                Comin' in or goin' out?

                                EDDIE 
                Goin' in. We got a sales convention. Gotta be 
                there tomorrow.
 
                                BARTENDER 
                What do you guys sell?
 
                                CHARLIE 
                Druggist supplies. Buster here is gonna get an 
                award. 
                        (Eddie scoffs, as if embarrassed) 
                No, he sold seventeen thousand bucks' worth of 
                stuff last month. Fastest boy in the territory.

                                EDDIE 
                Yep. Fastest and the bestest ... Hey, give us 
                another round, will ya? One for him, one 
                for yourself.
 
                                BARTENDER 
                Thanks. Sure is a hot day for driving. Late 
                afternoon is better. You guys have plenty of 
                time. Make Pittsburgh in two, maybe three 
                hours.
 
                                EDDIE 
                        (to Charlie)
                Hey, he's right! 
                        (eyes the unused pool table)
                Whaddya say, Charlie, huh? Play a little pool? 
                Wait out the heat?
 
                                CHARLIE 
                        (laughs)
                It's gonna cost ya money. It always does. 

                                EDDIE 
                Oh, come on, stop stalling.  Grab yourself a 
                cue.

        Charlie rises from his barstool.

                                CHARLIE 
                        (to the bartender)
                Good thing he can afford it.

        Eddie is already at the table.
        
                                EDDIE 
                        (to the bartender)
                Keep 'em coming, will ya, friend?  J. T. S. 
                Brown.

        Charlie joins Eddie.

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
3       INT. ARMSTEAD'S BAR - TIME LAPSE
 
        The game is in mid-progress. It's Eddie's shot. He downs his bourbon, 
        weaves a bit, bends over the table, and awkwardly pokes at the white 
        cue ball with his stick, missing an easy shot. Several more townspeople 
        have come in from the street and are following the play. The bartender 
        refills the glasses as soon as they are emptied.
 
                                CHARLIE 
                You miss again, you lose again.

                                OLD MAN 
                        (at the bar)
                What's the kid in hock for so far?
 
                                BARTENDER 
                About sixty, seventy bucks.

                                EDDIE 
                        (racking the balls, to Charlie)
                Next game, ten bucks.

                                OLD MAN 
                        (to the bartender)
                Nice lookin' boy. Clean-cut. Too bad he can't 
                hold his liquor. 

                                                                CUT TO:
 
4       INT. ARMSTEAD'S BAR - TIME LAPSE
 
        Two balls lay side by side on the table. Eddie peers at them, trying to 
        figure his shot, blinking his eyes to focus better. Some of the 
        onlookers seem skeptical. But Eddie pats the corner pocket confidently, 
        leans over, and raps out his shot. The ball banks in.
 
                                EDDIE 
                I made it, boy! I finally made it! C'mon, pay 
                up. Pay up, sucker.
 
        He pounds his pal Charlie on the shoulder and collapses into a nearby 
        chair.
 
                                CHARLIE 
                You ought to take up crap shooting. Talk about 
                luck!
 
                                EDDIE 
                Luck! Whaddya mean, luck?
 
                                CHARLIE 
                You know what I mean. You couldn't make that 
                shot again in a million years.
 
                                EDDIE 
                I couldn't, huh? Okay. Go ahead. Set 'em up 
                the way they were before.
 
                                CHARLIE 
                Why?
 
                                EDDIE 
                Go ahead. Set 'em up the way they were before. 
                Bet ya twenty bucks. Make that shot just the 
                way I made it before.
 
                                CHARLIE 
                Nobody can make that shot and you know it. Not
                even a lucky lush.
 
        Stung, Eddie lies across the table and sets them up himself.
 
                                EDDIE 
                How's that? 
                        (to the bystanders) 
                Hm? Is that the way they were before?
 
                                MAN
                Yeah, that's right. 

                                EDDIE 
                        (to Charlie)
                C'mon, put it up.
 
        They toss their money on the table, and Eddie shoots, but his shot is 
        too hard and his ball leaps over the side of the table. The bartender 
        cannot contain his staccato laughter.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Set 'em up again ... C'mon, set 'em up again. 

                                CHARLIE 
                        (putting up his cue)
                You're drunk, boy. I'm not gonna bet ya any 
                more. 

                                EDDIE 
                Whaddya mean?
 
                                CHARLIE 
                Let's get back on the road. You gotta be at 
                that convention in the morning.

                                EDDIE 
                Up the flagpole with the convention. C'mon, 
                Charlie. You're into me now. I got my money on 
                the table. 

                                CHARLIE 
                I don't want it. 

                                BARTENDER 
                I'll try you.
 
        Eddie pauses, smiling.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Well... well, now.

                                CHARLIE 
                Don't be a chump. Don't bet any more money on 
                that damn fool shot.
 
                                EDDIE 
                        (to the bartender)
                Well, now ... I mean, you figure I'm a little 
                drunk, and I'm loaded on the hip, and you just 
                want in, real friendly, while the money's still 
                floating, huh? Okay ... Go ahead. Set 'em up.

        Sheepishly, the bartender replaces the balls in their original 
        positions.
 
                                EDDIE 
                All right, you want some easy money, huh? 
                Here's a hundred and five dollars. That's one 
                week's commission. Now you want to take the 
                whole thing, and then you get a crack at your 
                easy money.
 
                                BYSTANDER
                I'll take a piece of that action. 

                                ANOTHER
                Me too.
 
                                EDDIE 
                        (viciously)
                No. I want him. 

                                BARTENDER 
                I'll take it out of the till. 

                                CHARLIE 
                        (to Eddie)
                I'll meet you in the car, chump.
 
        Eddie chalks up his cue, waiting impatiently for the bartender to 
        return with the money from the cash register. Then he downs his drink 
        and quickly strokes out his shot, the ball banking crisply and directly 
        into the corner pocket. There is a cocky leer on his face as he reaches 
        for the dollar bills.

                                                                CUT TO:
 
5       EXT. GAS STATION - AFTERNOON
 
        The door of the Packard coupé slams shut. Eddie Felson holds up his 
        stuffed billfold for his pal, Charlie Burns, to see. He tosses it on 
        the seat beside him and turns on the ignition. 

                                                                QUICK FADE

        MAIN TITLE SEQUENCE
  
6       INT. AMES POOL HALL - MORNING
 
        FADE IN

        Henry, the elderly Negro janitor, draws up the Venetian blinds to let 
        the early morning light flood into AMES POOL HALL. Henry is the janitor 
        of Ames, the sexton of this immense, shabby cathedral of pool, in which 
        the pews are pool tables covered with oilcloth slipcovers and the great 
        vault of a room is lit by brass-and-globe chandeliers. Henry ambles 
        through Ames righting overturned ashtrays and replacing yesterday's 
        abandoned cue sticks. The cashier enters. He looks at his watch, then 
        checks his time against that of the clock on the wall.
 
                                CASHIER 
                Morning, Henry.
 
        Henry nods, then steps up on a stool to fix the minute hand of the 
        clock. It now stands at ten o'clock.
 
                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
7       INT. AMES POOL HALL - DAY 

        It is twelve-thirty when Eddie Felson and Charlie Burns first enter 
        into Ames. Only one table is in use; the hall is empty. In Eddie's hand 
        is his leather cue case. They stand before the swinging doors and look 
        around.
 
                                CHARLIE 
                It's quiet.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Yeah, like a church. Church of the Good Hustler.
 
                                CHARLIE 
                Looks more like a morgue to me. Those pool 
                tables are the slabs they lay the stiffs on.
 
                                EDDIE 
                I'll be alive when I get out, Charlie.
 
        They saunter over to the cashier's cage. A sign on the brass bar reads 
        NO GAMBLING ALLOWED ...
 
                                EDDIE 
                Any table? 

                                CASHIER 
                Any table. 

        Eddie's arrival is noted by Big John and Preacher, a gambler and an 
        addict, who hang out at Ames at all hours, waiting for action. 

                                EDDIE 
                        (to the cashier)
                No bar?
 
                                CASHIER 
                        (with some annoyance)
                No bar, no pinball machines, no bowling alleys. 
                Just pool. Nothing else. This is Ames, mister.
 
        Eddie takes his cue ball from the cashier's cage and heads for a table. 
        As he passes Charlie, he mimics the cashier wickedly:

                                EDDIE 
                This is Ames, mister.
 
        The two go to a table. Eddie selects a house cue, then rolls it over 
        the table top to test the roll. He seems pleased. He runs his hand over 
        the green felt as if he were caressing it.  His last test is to sweep 
        the cue ball into the corner pocket.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Nice clean pocket drop.

        Eddie takes some balls out of the return box and throws them on the 
        table.
 
                                EDDIE 
                        (chalks his cue)
                How much am I gonna win tonight? Hm?

        Charlie doesn't reply. But Big John and Preacher lean forward in their 
        chairs to listen in.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Ten grand. I'm gonna win ten grand in one night.
                        (Charlie stares at him)
                ... Well, who's gonna beat me? C'mon, Charlie, 
                who's gonna beat me?
 
                                CHARLIE 
                Okay ... Okay. Nobody can beat you. 

                                EDDIE 
                Ten grand! I mean, what other poolroom is there 
                in the country where a guy can walk out with 
                ten grand in one night? Jeez, you know, I can 
                remember hustling an old man for a dime a game.

        Big John, stubbly cigar between his fingers, drifts over to their table.

                                CHARLIE 
                        (to Eddie, off Big John)
                You got company. 

                                BIG JOHN 
                        (approaching Eddie)
                You looking for action? 

                                EDDIE 
                Maybe. You want to play? 

                                BIG JOHN 
                No. Hell, no! You Eddie Felson? 

                                EDDIE 
                Who's he? 

                                BIG JOHN 
                What's your game? What do you shoot? 

                                EDDIE 
                You name it, we shoot it.
 
                                BIG JOHN 
                Look, friend, I'm not trying to hustle. I don't 
                never hustle people that walk into poolrooms 
                with leather satchels. Don't try to hustle me.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Okay, I'm Eddie Felson. I shoot straight pool. 
                You got any straight pool shooters in this here 
                poolroom? 

                                BIG JOHN 
                What kind of straight pool game you like? 

                                EDDIE 
                The expensive kind.
 
                                BIG JOHN 
                Come up here to play straight pool with 
                Minnesota Fats?
 
                                EDDIE 
                Yeah, that's right.
 
                                BIG JOHN 
                Want some free advice? 

                                CHARLIE 
                        (interrupts, sourly)
                How much'll it cost?
 
                                BIG JOHN 
                        (turns to Charlie)
                Who are you -- his manager, his friend, his 
                stooge?
 
                                EDDIE 
                He's my partner.
 
                                BIG JOHN 
                        (to Charlie)
                You well-heeled, partner? 

                                CHARLIE 
                We got enough.
 
                                BIG JOHN 
                Go home. Take your boy and go home. Fats don't 
                need your money, there's no way you can beat 
                him. Nobody's beat him in fifteen years. He's 
                the best in the country.

                                EDDIE 
                You got that wrong, mister. I am.

                                BIG JOHN 
                Okay, I told you what I wanted about Minnesota 
                Fats. You just go ahead and play him, friend. 

                                EDDIE 
                Just tell me where I can find him, friend. 

                                BIG JOHN 
                Comes right in this poolroom every night, eight 
                o'clock on the nose. Just stay where you are. 
                He'll find you. 

        As Big John walks off, Eddie smiles at Charlie. 

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
8       INT. AMES POOL HALL - NIGHT
 
        Eight sharp.  A departing customer holds the door for an incoming one:
        Minnesota Fats. Heads turn when he makes his punctual appearance. 
        Fats' clothes reflect his high station at Ames Pool Hall: a gray felt 
        bowler hat, and an expensive, tailored overcoat, with a carnation in 
        its lapel and two silk handkerchiefs peeking up from its breast pocket. 
        He moves like a sultan through the room, past Big John, whose eyes dip 
        significantly, and over to the coat rack, where Henry respectfully 
        takes his coat and hat. The buzzard-like eyes of the cashier direct his 
        gaze toward Eddie's table. Fats withdraws a cigarette from his gold
        case, then casually strolls toward Eddie's table standing apart and 
        quietly observing the sharp, precise movements of his prospective 
        opponent. Even though Ames is filled with players, there is little 
        noise other than the clicking of pool balls.
 
                                MINNESOTA FATS 
                You shoot a good stick.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Thank you. Gee, you shoot straight pool, 
                mister?
 
                                FATS 
                Now and then. You know how it is.

                                EDDIE 
                        (grinning)
                You're, uh, you're Minnesota Fats, aren't you? 
                You know, uh, they say Minnesota Fats is the best 
                in the country out where I come from. 

                                FATS 
                Is that a fact? 

                                EDDIE 
                Yes sir, boy, they, heh, they say that old 
                Fats just shoots the eyes right off them balls.

                                FATS
                Where do you come from? 

                                EDDIE 
                California. Oakland.
 
                                FATS 
                California? Is your name Felson? Eddie Felson? 

                                EDDIE 
                That's right.
 
                                FATS 
                I hear you've been looking for me. 

                                EDDIE 
                Yeah. That's right, too.
 
                                FATS 
                Big John! You think this boy is a hustler? 

        Fats and Eddie regard each other with amusement, sharing the private 
        joke of pool hustlers. 

                                FATS 
                Do you like to gamble, Eddie? Gamble money on 
                pool games?

                                EDDIE 
                Fats, let's you and I shoot a game of straight 
                pool. 

                                FATS 
                Hundred dollars?
 
                                EDDIE 
                Well, you shoot big-time pool, Fats. I mean, 
                that's what everybody says, you shoot big-time 
                pool. Let's make it two hundred dollars a game.

                                FATS 
                Now I know why they call you Fast Eddie. Eddie, 
                you talk my kind of talk ... 
                        (moving to the main table)
                Sausage! Rack 'em up! 

        At his command, Ames comes to life. Players drag their chairs across 
        the floor and position them around the main table. Eddie, hand to his 
        mouth, realizes that the big moment has arrived and beckons to Charlie 
        for his leather cue case. The uniformed maids withdraw the cover off 
        the green felt top, and Sausage, the racker, begins to bang the balls 
        into the wooden racking triangle. 

        Fats is in the washroom, scrubbing his hands and nails. Eddie stands 
        and screws together his inlaid, ivory-pointed cue as Fats dries his 
        hands. He and Fats eye one another.
 
                                CHARLIE 
                How do you feel? 

                                EDDIE 
                Fast and loose, man. 

                                CHARLIE 
                In the gut, I mean. 

                                EDDIE 
                I feel tight -- but good.
 
        Henry helps Fats on with his coat. Sausage finishes racking. Fats 
        carefully extends his palms so that Henry may sprinkle on some talcum 
        powder. They are ready to start. Fats, immaculate in jacket and tie,
        tosses a wad of bills -- his stake money -- onto the table. Charlie 
        does the same, counting the bills out one by one.
 
                                FATS 
                        (off the cash)
                Willie, hang onto that.
 
        Willie takes the money. Two balls are rolled to the end of the table, 
        and Fats and Eddie, like two duelers, prepare to shoot for the break. 
        In the silence of the room, they bend over their cues and softly stroke 
        out their shots. The balls roll down the table, bank off the far 
        shoulder, and slowly return toward the two players. Fats' ball hits 
        the closer shoulder.
 
                                FATS 
                You break.

        The balls are returned and Eddie makes his break shot, a glancing blow 
        that leaves the pack of balls nearly intact and the white cue ball 
        lying far away at the end of the table. Eddie looks up, with a smile.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Didn't leave you much.

        Fats walks around the table and peers at the balls.
 
                                FATS 
                        (after a pause)
                You left enough ... six in the corner.

        Placing his cigarette on the wooden rim of the table, Fats rams the cue 
        ball into the pack, dropping the six ball into the pocket. The table is 
        now his. Eddie sits down unhappily. Fats plays quickly, moving from 
        shot to shot with studied authority, his eyes and hands working
        fluidly together.
 
                                FATS 
                Fifteen in the corner ... 
                        (shot goes in)
                Ace in the side. 

        The shot goes in. As Eddie watches, the prancing, elegant Fats 
        maneuvers around the table.

                                FATS 
                Eight.
                        (shot goes in)
                Ten ...
                        (shot goes in)
                Eleven.

        The shot goes in.

                                EDDIE 
                        (whispers, to Charlie)
                Boy, he is great! Jeez, that old fat man. Look 
                at the way he moves. Like a dancer.

                                FATS 
                Twelve.  Cross side.

        We see Fats' bejeweled fingers curl around the cue stick, the stick 
        then darting out to send a ball caroming off a far bank and into a side 
        pocket.
 
                                EDDIE (o.s.)
                And them fingers, them chubby fingers. And that 
                stroke. It's like he's, uh, like he's playing a 
                violin or something. 

                                FATS 
                Nine ball.
                        (shot goes in)
                Three ball.

        Fats keeps sinking shots.
 
                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
9       INT. THE GAME AT AMES - TIME LAPSE
 
        It is eleven o'clock. Eddie is up. The crowd at Ames sits stolidly in 
        their seats, watching each player, each move.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Four ball.

        The shot goes in and he lines up another.

                                EDDIE 
                Cross-corner.
 
        The shot is a difficult one involving a combination of balls. As it 
        rolls in, the crowd breaks into applause, and Fats bangs the butt of 
        his cue stick on the floor to show his appreciation.
 
                                SAUSAGE 
                Game. 

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
10      INT. THE GAME AT AMES - TIME LAPSE
 
        A high angle of the table. Fats plays defensively, playing a safety, 
        leaving Eddie with little to shoot at. 

                                FATS 
                Safe.

        So Eddie does the same. 
        
                                EDDIE
                Safe.

        Fats peers at the pack of balls huddled together, then points to one 
        that lies in the middle of the pack.
 
                                FATS 
                Seven ball in the corner.

        Big John looks around -- the shot seems impossible.  Fats slams the cue 
        ball into the pack. The balls carom outward in all directions. Only the 
        seven rolls slowly into the corner pocket. Eddie slumps back in his 
        seat as the crowd applauds.
 
                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
11      INT. THE GAME AT AMES - TIME LAPSE
 
        It is twelve o'clock, and Fats dominates the play. As he calls out the 
        litany of his shots, we see, superimposed over his hands and his face 
        and the sound of socking pool balls, the spectators, stupefied by the 
        action; Charlie, swallowing hard; Eddie, looking on, waiting to play; 
        and the bills endlessly unfolding out of Charlie's hands and floating 
        onto the table.
 
                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
12      INT. THE GAME AT AMES - TIME LAPSE 

        One-thirty and Fats is still shooting.
 
                                FATS 
                Ace in the corner. 

        The shot rolls in.
 
                                CHARLIE 
                        (darkly, to Eddie)
                Quit. He's too good. 

                                EDDIE 
                Charlie, I'm gonna take him. 

                                FATS (o.s.)
                Your shot.

                                EDDIE 
                You miss? 
                        (goes to the table 
                         and chalks his cue) 
                Well, you don't leave much when you miss, do you, 
                fat man?
 
                                FATS 
                        (from his seat)
                That's what the game's all about.
 
                                EDDIE
                Mm hm ... Two ball, side pocket.
 
        The shot goes in. Fats pounds his stick on the floor. No one else makes 
        a noise.
 
                                FATS 
                Very good shot.
 
                                EDDIE 
                You know I gotta hunch, fat man. I gotta hunch 
                it's me from here on in ... One ball, corner 
                pocket. 
                        (shot goes in)
                I mean, that ever happen to you? When all of a 
                sudden you feel like you can't miss? I dreamed 
                about this game, fat man. I dreamed about this 
                game every night on the road ... five ball ... 
                        (shot goes in) 
                You know, this is my table, man. I own it. 

        Fats allows a perfunctory bow of his head, a courtly gesture, to 
        Eddie's manager. Charlie looks away, avoiding his eyes.
 
                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
13      INT. THE GAME AT AMES - TIME LAPSE
 
        It is two-thirty. Now it's Eddie's voice we hear calling out the shots. 
        He circles the table, a proud, cocky smile on his face, and 
        superimposed over his movements we see the spectators, hunched up in 
        their chairs, and Fats' face, glowering, hostile.
 
                                SAUSAGE 
                Rack.
 
        The applause grows louder as the balls keep spinning toward the pockets.

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
14      INT. THE GAME AT AMES - TIME LAPSE
 
                                SAUSAGE 
                Game! 

        Eddie beams with pride and excitement as he accepts the acclamation of 
        the sharks at Ames. He slaps down the chalk and returns to his seat. It 
        is almost four o'clock.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Pay the man again, Fats.
 
        Fats draws himself slowly out of his chair and hands the money to 
        Charlie.
 
                                EDDIE 
                        (to Charlie)
                Hey, how much are we ahead?
 
                                CHARLIE 
                Approximately? One thousand bucks.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Fats, let's you and I shoot a game of pool for 
                a thousand dollars a game.

        Fats hesitates for a moment, then reaches in his pocket for some bills.
 
                                FATS 
                Preach! Go down and get me some White Tavern 
                whisky, a glass, and some ice.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Preacher! Go on down and get me some bourbon. 
                J. T. S. Brown. No ice, no glass.
 
                                FATS 
                Preach ... get it at Johnny's. 
                        (to Eddie) 
                You got a bet.
 
        They stand up, remove their jackets, and prepare to play again.

                                                                CUT TO:
 
15      INT. JOHNNY'S BAR, THE BACK ROOM - NIGHT
 
        As Preacher opens the door to the back room, clutching a paper bag 
        filled with bottles to his chest, we see six men seated around a table, 
        playing poker. Preacher approaches one of them and whispers something 
        hurriedly in his ear. The man is Bert Gordon. Except for his dark 
        glasses, he might pass for a conservative businessman out for an 
        evening with the boys, sipping milk instead of alcohol to soothe an 
        ulcer. He nods to Preacher who then leaves.  Bert appears thoughtful 
        for a moment. He rises. 

                                BERT GORDON 
                Cash me in.

        Bert sips his milk.

                                                                CUT TO:
 
16      INT. THE GAME AT AMES - EARLY MORNING
 
        A floor full of cigarette butts surround Charlie's chair. Charlie 
        crushes out another on the floor and immediately reaches for more.
 
                                FATS (o.s.)
                Two in the corner.
                        (shot goes in)
                Seven.
 
        The shot gos in. Eddie drains the last drips from his bottle of 
        bourbon, then looks jauntily at Bert, who now sits quietly in a chair, 
        watching them both.
 
                                FATS 
                Ace in the corner. 

        He misses. Eddie squirms out of his seat, eager to play, eager to go on 
        winning. Bert sighs. 

                                EDDIE 
                Two ball, side pocket. 

        The shot goes in. Fats opens a fresh bottle of whisky.

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
17      INT. THE GAME AT AMES - TIME LAPSE
 
        The game goes on. The hands of the clock on the wall spin around toward 
        eight in the morning. Ames is empty now, except for the players and the 
        employees. Only the voice of Sausage is heard, signaling the end of a 
        game.
 
                                                                DISSOLVE TO:

18      INT. THE GAME AT AMES - TIME LAPSE
 
        As Fats bends over to shoot, Henry draws the Venetian blinds.
 
                                FATS 
                Will you cut that sunshine out?

        Bert holds a hand to his temple, unnerved by Fats' discomposure.
 
                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
19      INT. THE GAME AT AMES - TIME LAPSE
 
        There is a break in the action. Fats and Eddie eye each other coldly, 
        Fats with his glass in his hand, Eddie with his bottle. Eddie takes a 
        swig and returns to the game. 

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
20      INT. THE GAME AT AMES - TIME LAPSE
 
        Bert reaches forward to hand Charlie more money. Bert replaces the 
        billfold in his coat pocket.

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
21      INT. THE GAME AT AMES - TIME LAPSE 

        Eddie, weary now, his hands resting on the table, looks up at the cool, 
        impassive face of Bert Gordon. 

                                EDDIE 
                Hey, mister.
 
                                BERT 
                The name's Gordon. Bert Gordon.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Mister. You been sittin' in that spot for 
                hours. Would you mind moving? It bothers me.

        Bert rises, moves his chair about six inches, and sits down again.

                                EDDIE 
                Five ball. 

        It sinks.

                                SAUSAGE 
                That's game.
 
        Eddie goes over to the water cooler for a drink while Fats doles out 
        his losings on the table. 

                                EDDIE 
                        (to Charlie)
                How much we got? 

                                CHARLIE 
                Eleven thousand four hundred, cash. Here in my 
                pocket.

                                EDDIE 
                Preacher, go on down and get me some breakfast, 
                will ya? Egg sandwich and a cup of coffee. You 
                want something, Charlie?
 
                                CHARLIE 
                Now wait a minute. You're coming with me. You're 
                gonna eat breakfast at the hotel. Pool game 
                is over. 

                                EDDIE 
                No, it isn't, Charlie. 

                                CHARLIE 
                Eddie ...
 
                                EDDIE 
                The pool game is over when Fats says it's over. 

                                CHARLIE 
                You wanted ten thousand? You got ten thousand. 

                                EDDIE 
                Ah, get with it, will ya, Charlie?

                                CHARLIE 
                Get with what?
 
                                EDDIE 
                You can't see it, can you, Charlie? I mean, 
                you've never been able to see it. I came after 
                him. And I'm gonna get him. I'm goin' with him 
                all the way. The pool game is not over until 
                Minnesota Fats says it's over. Is it over, 
                Fats? 

        He stands before Fats and Bert Gordon, waiting for an answer. Fats and 
        Bert exchange glances but nothing is said.
 
                                EDDIE 
                        (to Bert)
                I'm gonna beat him, mister. I beat him all 
                night and I'm gonna beat him all day.

        Still no reply, no sign of giving in. Eddie starts to go back to his 
        chair, suddenly turns, a weary, clowning smile on his face.
 
                                EDDIE 
                I'm the best you ever seen, Fats. I'm the best 
                there is. Now even if you beat me, I'm still 
                the best.

        Eddie walks over to the water cooler.
 
                                BERT 
                        (quietly, to Fats)
                Stay with this kid. He's a loser.
 
                                EDDIE 
                        (turns to Charlie, off Bert)
                What did he say?

        Charlie doesn't know and shakes his head.

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
22      INT. THE GAME AT AMES - TIME LAPSE - NIGHT
 
        Eddie's face buried in his lap as Charlie massages his back. Behind 
        him, in the washroom, is Fats, washing his face and hands.

                                CHARLIE 
                Twenty-five hours, Eddie. Twenty-five hours you 
                been playin' straight.

                                EDDIE 
                Give me a drink, will ya? 

                                CHARLIE 
                You don't need a drink.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Will you shut up ... Just give me a drink.
 
        Charlie gets Eddie a bottle.  Bert and Henry watch Eddie coldly.

                                CHARLIE 
                Eighteen thousand, Eddie. We're ahead eighteen 
                thousand.

        A drunken, exhausted Eddie nods, looks up at Bert, grins maliciously, 
        and takes a drink. Charlie starts to put away Eddie's cue stick.
 
                                BERT 
                I thought you said this game was over when 
                Minnesota Fats said it was.
 
                                CHARLIE 
                Now, it's over now.

        Fats emerges from the washroom, dries his hands, looks at Eddie and 
        then at Bert who nods.  Henry helps Fats into the jacket with the 
        carnation still in the lapel. Eddie grins at this.  So does Bert. Fats 
        opens his palms for the sprinkling of the talcum powder. Fats rubs his 
        hands together, then takes out his cigarette case.

                                FATS 
                Fast Eddie, let's play some pool. 

        Bert smiles in appreciation.

                                CHARLIE 
                Let's go, Eddie.
 
        Eddie grabs the leather case out of Charlie's hands. Eddie rises and 
        confronts Fats almost scornfully.
 
                                EDDIE 
                You look beautiful, Fats. Just like a baby ... 
                all pink, and powdered up.

        Eddie looks down at his own dirty, disheveled shirt.  He and a smiling 
        Bert exchange glances.  Eddie moves to put on his jacket. Charlie
        confronts him.

                                CHARLIE 
                What are you trying to do, Eddie? You beat him. 
                You beat him bad. You wanna kill yourself? 

                                EDDIE 
                What are ya, chicken, Charlie? 

                                CHARLIE 
                Well, maybe that's it. I'm chicken. 

                                EDDIE 
                Go on home. Just leave me the money. 

                                CHARLIE
                Go to hell.
 
                                EDDIE 
                        (enraged)
                Charlie, boy, you better give me that money. 
                C'mon now, give it to me. It's mine.
 
                                CHARLIE 
                Okay, here ... 
                        (slaps money into Eddie's hand)
                Be a damn fool.

        Eddie puts a bottle into the pocket of his jacket and returns to the 
        table to screw together his cue stick. The sight of Fats makes him 
        laugh again.
 
                                EDDIE 
                You know, you really look beautiful, Fats.

        Everyone stares at Eddie as he scratches his head, alone with his 
        private joke.  Eddie abruptly tosses his cue case away.
 
                                EDDIE 
                        (casually)
                I'll break.

        A worried Charlie picks up the case and stands by mutely, watching 
        Eddie disintegrate. Eddie leans over to shoot, then turns away, 
        laughing loudly to himself. Fats watches him, soberly, patiently.
 
                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
23      INT. THE GAME AT AMES - TIME LAPSE 

        A high angle. Fats is shooting. No one is really watching any more. 
        Eddie is asleep on a stool against a wall. Even Bert is dozing. 

                                FATS 
                Nine ball ... fifteen. 

        The shots go in.
 
                                SAUSAGE 
                That's one twenty-five.
 
                                CHARLIE 
                Eddie. Wake up, Eddie ... 
                        (Eddie awakens slowly)
                We lose again. 

        Eddie bangs his head against the wall.  He knocks over a bottle as he 
        tries to get up off the stool. The noise startles him.  Charlie watches 
        sadly. Eddie gropes through his pockets and comes up with a few 
        crumpled bills. 

                                EDDIE 
                Is this all we got left? 

                                CHARLIE 
                If that's all you got, that's all we got left. 

        Fats rises and tosses his cue on the table.

                                FATS 
                Willie, give me the stake money. 

        Willie gives him the stake money. Fats confronts Eddie.

                                EDDIE 
                Fats, I got about two hundred dollars here. 

                                FATS 
                Game's over, Eddie.

                                EDDIE 
                Fats, look, I got about two hundred dollars 
                here. You can't run out on me.
 
                                FATS 
                You watch me.

        Fats steps by Eddie and heads for the coat rack, slapping the stake 
        money into Bert's hand as he goes by. Bert returns the money to his 
        billfold, wordlessly. The blinds are drawn and the light strikes Eddie 
        in the eyes, but still he stumbles after Fats, holding his money out 
        before him, pleading.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Fats, c'mon. C'mon. Hey, Fats? 

        He bangs against the corner of the table and falls onto the floor. Fats 
        hears him go down and pauses, turning to see Charlie rush to Eddie's 
        side. After a moment, Fats continues on toward the door. Charlie slaps 
        Eddie's cheeks.
 
                                CHARLIE 
                Eddie ... Eddie... Eddie ... Eddie...

        Bert, Sausage, Willie, Preach step around the body on their way out. 

                                                                        FADE OUT
 
24      INT. HOTEL ROOM - NIGHT 

        FADE IN
 
        Eddie is lying on his bed staring at the ceiling, the crashing of pool 
        balls sounding in his head. He looks over at Charlie, asleep in the 
        next bed. He rolls out of bed and goes to the window. We see a neon 
        sign flashing across the street. It reads AMES BILLIARDS. Then Eddie 
        returns to his bed, leaves the keys to the Packard and some money on 
        the night table next to Charlie. He picks up his valise, his hanging 
        bag, and his leather cue case.
 
                                EDDIE 
                        (softly)
                I'm sorry, Charlie. 

         Eddie goes toward the door.

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
25      INT. BUS STATION - EARLY MORNING
 
        As Eddie enters, carrying his bags, a few early morning travelers -- 
        some soldiers and a man in a Stetson hat -- pass him by. He has been up 
        all night. He rubs his grimy face, then heads for the door marked 
        "Gentlemen."
 
                                                                CUT TO:

26      INT. WASHROOM - EARLY MORNING
 
        It is a typical bus station washroom at that time of the morning. The 
        residue of a full day's traveling is in evidence: crumpled paper 
        towels, cigarette butts, etc. Part of the residue is a drunk who sits 
        on the shoeshine seat, fast asleep. Eddie looks at him, shaking his 
        head. A wizened old attendant sits nearby. A sign on the wall reads IS 
        THIS YOUR LUCKY DAY?  Eddie laughs to himself, puts his hanging bag and 
        cue case on a chair, then turns to face his image in the mirror.
 
                                EDDIE 
                        (to the attendant)
                Give me a towel, will ya? 

        The attendant, whose every move seems to require a tremendous effort, 
        shuffles over and grabs a towel as Eddie removes his jacket.

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
27      INT. BUS STATION - EARLY MORNING
 
        Near the row of coin lockers in the waiting room is a small lunch 
        counter and several tables. At one table, facing the lockers, is a 
        young woman, Sarah: a book is open before her, and a cup of coffee, and 
        an ashtray filled with cigarette butts. She looks up for an instant as 
        Eddie appears. He now has on a clean shirt and is clean and freshly 
        shaven. He locks his bags in a locker. Her eyes return to the printed 
        page. Moving toward the counter, Eddie notices Sarah. He goes to the 
        lunch counter, still looking at her.  He sniffs some wrapped sandwiches.
 
                                WAITRESS 
                Can I get you something?
 
                                EDDIE 
                Later.

        Eddie wanders over to a table next to Sarah's and sits down.  She 
        ignores him.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Long wait for a bus?
 
                                SARAH 
                        (looks up)
                Yes.
 
        She returns to her reading. Eddie keeps looking at her. Her hair is 
        brown, cut short, practically straight. Her lips are pale and thin, and 
        the bone structure of her face, although delicate, is much in evidence. 
        There is a suggestion of tired wakefulness, of self-sufficiency, about 
        her. And a frank, open regard which has nothing in it to imply 
        flirtation -- or the lack of it.
 
                                EDDIE 
                How long you been waiting?
 
                                SARAH 
                        (looking up)
                What?
 
                                EDDIE 
                How long have you been waiting? 

                                SARAH 
                Since four.

        Sarah goes back to reading.  The waitress arrives to take Eddie's order.
 
                                EDDIE 
                        (to the waitress)
                Just a cup of black coffee, please ... 
                        (the waitress starts to go)
                Hey, ma'am! Wait a minute! 
                        (to Sarah) 
                Would you, uh, like another cup? 

                                SARAH 
                        (shrugs)
                Fine, thanks.

        Eddie holds up two fingers to the waitress, who departs.
 
                                EDDIE 
                What time does the bus leave?
 
                                SARAH 
                What bus?
 
                                EDDIE 
                Yours.
 
                                SARAH 
                Eight o'clock.
    
        Eddie sighs.
 
                                SARAH 
                That wouldn't give us much time, would it? 

                                EDDIE 
                        (amused)
                Well, you're right. I guess it wouldn't. 

        The coffee comes.
 
                                EDDIE 
                        (making a toast)
                Hello and goodbye ... 

        Eddie leans back against the wall and shuts his eyes.
                
                                EDDIE 
                        (after a long pause)
                Have a nice trip. 

                                SARAH 
                Thanks. I will.
    
        He slips off to sleep. The waitress brings a check.
 
                                SARAH 
                Give it to me.
 
        She looks at Eddie anxiously as she digs in her purse for the coins. 
        She pays, collects her purse and book, and rises to leave. Eddie 
        doesn't stir.

                                                                CUT TO:
 
28      INT. BUS STATION LUNCH COUNTER - MORNING
 
        The public address system bleats over the noise of the crowded 
        luncheonette. The waitress leans over and slaps Eddie on the shoulder. 
        He wakes up with a cramped neck.
 
                                EDDIE 
                How much do I owe you? 

                                WAITRESS 
                It was paid for ... by the lady. 

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
29      INT. BAR AND GRILL - NOON

        The bar is nearly empty when Eddie comes in.

                                EDDIE 
                        (to the bartender)
                Give me some bourbon. J. T. S. Brown. 

                                BARTENDER 
                You want a chaser?
 
                                EDDIE 
                No.

        As he looks around the bar he sees Sarah, alone at a back booth, 
        sipping a highball. She seems amused by their encounter. So does he. He 
        takes his drink and joins her at the booth.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Have a nice trip? 

                                SARAH 
                Fair.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Can I sit down?
 
                                SARAH 
                Why not? We already know each other's secrets. 

                                EDDIE 
                        (after he sits)
                Thanks for the, uh, for the breakfast.
 
                                SARAH 
                Two ships that pass in the night should always 
                buy each other breakfast.

                                EDDIE 
                Can I buy you another drink? 

        Sarah nods.

                                EDDIE 
                        (calls to the bartender)
                Hey, another one for me and another one for 
                the lady. 

                                BARTENDER 
                Check!
 
                                EDDIE 
                You look different ... More relaxed. 

                                SARAH 
                It's the lights. And the scotch. 

                                EDDIE 
                How come you didn't catch your bus? 

                                SARAH 
                I wasn't waiting for a bus. 

                                EDDIE 
                Then why go to the bus station?

                                SARAH 
                Same reason you went: at that hour of the 
                morning you haven't much choice. Besides, I 
                only live three blocks from there. Where do you 
                live? 

                                EDDIE 
                Around.
 
                                SARAH 
                I know where you live: in a locker, in a bus 
                station. What's it like living in a locker? 

                                EDDIE 
                Cramped.  
                        (she smiles)  
                You always drink like this, so early in the 
                morning?
 
                                SARAH 
                Do you always ask so many questions?

                                EDDIE 
                No, not always.
 
                                SARAH 
                Sometimes I wake up and I can't sleep, not 
                without a drink. The bars don't open until 
                eight. Mack over there has faith in me. When 
                I'm broke, he trusts me. Don't you trust me, 
                Mack?
 
                                BARTENDER 
                Check!
 
                                SARAH 
                When I'm not broke, I usually have a bottle in 
                my room, in which case I sleep very well indeed. 

                                EDDIE 
                You talk kind of funny, but I like it. 

                                SARAH 
                I used to be an actress.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Yeah? What do you do now?
 
                                SARAH 
                I'm a college girl. Two days a week, Tuesdays 
                and Thursdays, I go to college.

                                EDDIE 
                You don't look like a college girl. 

                                SARAH 
                I'm the emancipated type. Real emancipated. 

                                EDDIE 
                No, I didn't mean that -- whatever that means.
                I mean, you just don't look young enough.
 
                                SARAH 
                I'm not.
 
                                EDDIE 
                So why go to college?

                                SARAH 
                I've got nothing else to do on Tuesdays and 
                Thursdays. 

                                EDDIE 
                What do you do on the other days? 

                                SARAH 
                I drink.

                                EDDIE 
                        (to the bartender)
                Hey!
 
                                SARAH 
                No. No more. I'm getting sleepy. 
                        (puts a scarf around her head)
                Thank you very much, Mr... ?
 
                                EDDIE 
                Eddie. The name is Eddie.
 
                                SARAH 
                        (studies his face)
                The name should be Eddie. What should my name 
                be?

                                EDDIE 
                I don't know. Whatever you like it to be. 

                                SARAH 
                I like it to be what it is. It's Sarah. That's 
                a biblical name. You want to know its meaning? 

                                EDDIE 
                I could always get us a bottle. 

                                SARAH 
                        (a little alarmed)
                No.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Fifth of scotch?
 
                                SARAH 
                What do you want me to do, just step out in the
                alley? Is that it?
 
                                EDDIE 
                No. I'll take you home.

        There is a long pause as she tries to read his face.
 
                                SARAH 
                All right.

        Eddie finishes his drink, rises, crosses to the bar, pays the bill, and
        returns to the booth. As they go out, Sarah stumbles, and he catches 
        her by the arm.
 
                                SARAH 
                It's all right. 
                        (smiling)
                I'm not drunk ... 
                        (serious)
                I'm lame. 

        Eddie pauses a moment to register this as she limps off, then follows.

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
30      EXT. CITY STREET - MIDDAY
 
        Eddie goes into the liquor store. Sarah waits outside, stiff and uneasy.
        Then he comes out with the scotch and they walk off down the street 
        together. They walk slowly, with their eyes pointed straight ahead. He 
        tries to ignore her halting gait. They pass under the awning of the 
        neighborhood's elegant Parisien restaurant.
 
                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
31      INT. HALLWAY OF APARTMENT HOUSE - MIDDAY
 
        As she searches through her purse for her keys, he reaches out and puts 
        his hand on her shoulder. She closes her eyes, then draws back against 
        the door, fearful, like a threatened animal.
 
                                SARAH 
                Why me?
 
        He takes her head in his hands and kisses her. She responds but, as he 
        holds her tighter, she starts to struggle.
 
                                SARAH 
                Please ... please ... please. 

        She pushes him away and shakes her head.

                                SARAH 
                You're too hungry.

        They stand there for a long moment: she looks away; he looks down at 
        the floor. Then Eddie takes the bag of scotch and places it underneath 
        her arm.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Take it. It's yours.

        He leaves her there in the hall and walks off.

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
32      INT. FLOPHOUSE - AFTERNOON
 
        A door opens. A hotel manager shows Eddie into a dingy, barely 
        furnished room.
 
                                MANAGER
                You can have this one for a buck and a half a 
                night, or seven bucks by the week. 

                                EDDIE 
                By the night. 

                                MANAGER
                In advance.

        He reaches in his pocket and pulls out some bills. 

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
33      INT. BUS DEPOT - NIGHT
 
        Eddie removes his bags from the locker. The sight of the lunch counter 
        reminds him of Sarah. But the lunchroom is empty; only the janitor is 
        there, mopping up. Eddie picks up his bags and goes out.

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
34      EXT. LIQUOR STORE - NIGHT 

        Eddie, on his way back to the hotel, stops at the same liquor store for 
        a bottle. 

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
35      INT. HOTEL ROOM - NIGHT
 
        He enters his room, puts down his bags and the liquor, and sits on his 
        rusted brass bed. From his pocket he pulls out the few crumpled bills 
        he has left. He looks at the money, shakes his head disgustedly, and 
        closes his eyes.

                                                                CUT TO:
 
36      INT. BAR WITH POOL TABLE - NIGHT
 
        It is a friendly, neighborhood bar for business people and cocktail 
        drinkers. Eddie walks casually by the pool table and over to the bar.

                                EDDIE 
                Bottle of beer.
   
        He turns on his stool to watch the game. 

                                EDDIE 
                Hey, uh, mister? Hey, okay if I grab a cue? 

                                PLAYER
                Hey, you're Eddie Felson, aren't you? 

                                EDDIE 
                Who's he?

                                PLAYER
                Now, look, fella, I saw you playing at Ames the
                other night.

                                EDDIE 
                Hey, I'll tell you what -- I'll play you 
                jack-up pool -- just keep one hand in my 
                pocket.

                                PLAYER 
                        (returning to his game)
                Oh man, you're way out of our league.

        Eddie goes back to his bottle of beer. 

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
37      INT. ANOTHER BAR - NIGHT
 
        Some bills drop on a ragged, beat-up pool table. Two men, dressed in 
        work clothes, stand around looking disgruntled.
 
                                FIRST MAN 
                What are you stuck for? 

                                SECOND MAN 
                Three. That's enough for me. 

                                EDDIE 
                        (picks up the cash)
                Thanks ... Can I, uh, buy you fellas a drink? 

                                MEN
                Okay... Okay.

        They go to the bar.
        
                                FIRST MAN 
                You know, you shoot good. But you also shoot 
                lucky.
 
                                EDDIE 
                        (nodding his head)
                Yeah. I shoot lucky. 

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
38      INT. BUS DEPOT - EARLY MORNING
 
        Eddie sits at a table, smoking, waiting. The paper bag with the whisky 
        is on the table. Sarah, dressed in a dark suit, limps toward him. He 
        mashes out his cigarette in the ashtray. When he looks up, he sees 
        Sarah standing nearby. She seems cold and suspicious as she limps 
        toward the table. She pauses and looks at him. They stare at one 
        another for a long moment. He gets up, puts his arm around her shoulder,
        and walks away with her.  As they walk, she hesitantly puts an arm 
        around his waist.
 
                                                                CUT TO:

39      INT. SARAH'S APARTMENT - MORNING 

        A hand reaches up to open the wooden shutters. As they open, we see 
        Eddie, in his underclothes, on the bed.  Sarah, in a robe, walks up
        and joins him in bed as they both peer out the window. 

                                SARAH 
                Why did you do that?

                                EDDIE 
                I wanted to see what kind of a day it is. 

                                SARAH 
                A day like any other. People come, people go. 

                                EDDIE 
                Give me a drag. 

        She hands him her cigarette. He starts to put on his wristwatch.

                                SARAH 
                What time is it?
 
                                EDDIE 
                Eleven o'clock ... I'll be back later. 

                                SARAH 
                Why?

                                EDDIE 
                Come here. 

        He kisses her on the cheek.
 
                                SARAH 
                Oh, you need a shave. You mustn't go looking 
                like that. There's a razor and shaving cream in 
                the bathroom. Compliments of the house.

                                EDDIE 
                What did you say that for, Sarah? 

                                SARAH 
                How did you know my name was Sarah? 

                                EDDIE 
                You told me.
 
                                SARAH 
                I lied. When I'm drunk I lie. 

                                EDDIE 
                Okay. So what's your name today?

                                SARAH 
                Sarah. 
                        (pause) 
                Eddie, look. I've got troubles, and I think 
                maybe you've got troubles. Maybe it'd be better 
                if we just leave each other alone. 

        He kisses her again, this time on the lips.
 
                                EDDIE 
                I got my things over at the hotel. I'll bring 
                them over later ... 
                        (shifts position, pulls her close)
                Come here.
 
                                SARAH 
                        (in his arms)
                I'm not sure ... I don't know. 

                                EDDIE 
                Well, what do you want to know? And why? 

        He reaches out and closes the shutters.

                                                                CUT TO:
 
40      EXT. CITY STREET - DAY
 
        Sarah emerges from a neighborhood grocery store loaded down with a
        Cheese Doodles carton full of food. A woman runs out of the store to 
        give her a parcel she left behind.
 
                                SARAH 
                        (warmly)
                Thank you. 

                                WOMAN
                Prego.
 
        She carries the carton across the street to her apartment house, 
        quietly saying hello to a couple of neighbors along the way.

                                                                CUT TO:
 
41      INT. SARAH'S APARTMENT - DAY 

        Sarah's apartment is a typical city studio apartment: one cluttered 
        room for sleeping and eating, and a small kitchenette. As Sarah knocks, 
        Eddie is perched on the window sill. He goes to open the door. Sarah 
        enters.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Where you been all day? 

                                SARAH 
                At school. It's Thursday. 

                                EDDIE 
                Oh, I forgot.

        He pulls her schoolbooks out of the carton and takes her purse.
 
                                SARAH 
                You were asleep when I left. I didn't want to 
                wake you. Did you go out?

                                EDDIE 
                Yeah, I went out for a couple of hours. 

        She unloads liquor and canned goods from the carton, then goes to join 
        Eddie by the window. Sarah takes a cigarette lighter out of her purse 
        and hands it to Eddie. 

                                SARAH 
                        (off the lighter)
                Present ... 

        He takes it.

                                SARAH 
                You know, I've been living here for almost three 
                years. Now in three days it seems as if I know 
                everybody. When I pass people on the street 
                I want to stop and say, "Listen, I got a 
                fella." 

                                EDDIE 
                        (strokes her hand)
                Thanks.
 
                                SARAH 
                Eddie, where do you go when you go out?
 
                                EDDIE 
                Museums ... art galleries ... concerts. 

        She smiles, then she gets up and returns to the kitchenette.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Well, I believe you when you say you go to 
                school. 

                                SARAH 
                You want to go with me? 

                                EDDIE 
                What, are you kidding? See that book? 
                        (holds up a book)
                I've been trying to get through that book ever 
                since I first got here. I haven't finished the 
                first chapter. 
                        (off her bookcase)
                Did you read all them books? 

                                SARAH 
                Mm hmm.
 
                                EDDIE 
                You got it all in your head?
 
                                SARAH 
                When I'm sober. They get a little mixed up 
                when I'm drunk. Most of the time they're mixed 
                up.

                                EDDIE 
                        (angrily)
                Oh, stop talking about yourself like you're a 
                lush or something. I don't like it. 
                        (genuinely concerned)
                Maybe you ought to go to a clinic, get some 
                treatments.

                                SARAH 
                I'm getting treatments right here.

        He comes up behind her and puts his arms around her. 

                                EDDIE 
                I'm hungry.
 
                                SARAH 
                Take your choice. I've got enough so we won't 
                have to go out of the house till Tuesday. 

                                EDDIE 
                What did all this stuff cost you? 

                                SARAH 
                When you've got money, you'll pay. 

                                EDDIE 
                No, c'mon, I wanna know. I wanna keep score. 

                                SARAH 
                The bills are right here. You didn't say what 
                you wanted.
 
                                EDDIE 
                        (off the canned goods)
                Don't you ever cook anything? 

                                SARAH 
                Eggs. How do you like them? 

                                EDDIE 
                Raw.
    
        She cuts her hand opening a can. 

                                SARAH 
                Oh, cut my finger.

                                EDDIE 
                I've got something in my bag. 

                                SARAH 
                Oh, it's not bad.
 
        As he rummages through the closet for his bag he pulls out his leather 
        cue case.
 
                                SARAH 
                Eddie, what's in that case? 

                                EDDIE 
                Haven't you opened it? 

                                SARAH 
                No, why should I? It's yours.

                                EDDIE 
                It's a machine gun. This guy told me when I 
                came to the big city I'd have to have a machine 
                gun, so I bought one. 
                        (bandages her finger) 
                Where do you get the money? To pay for all 
                this? I mean the liquor, and the groceries, and 
                the rent?
 
                                SARAH 
                From a rich old man who used to be my lover. 

        They kiss. Someone knocks on the door. Sarah goes to open it. We stay 
        on Eddie, who examines the lighter in his hand.  

                                CHARLIE (o.s.)
                Hello, Eddie.
 
        He enters the room, awkwardly, toying with the rim of his hat.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Hello, Charlie ... 
                        (turns)
                C'mon in ... 
                        (off Sarah)
                That's my girl. 

                                CHARLIE 
                        (to Sarah)
                Hello, Eddie's girl ... 
                        (to Eddie)
                I looked all over for you. 

                                EDDIE 
                Oh yeah? How'd you find me? 

                                CHARLIE 
                I asked around. 

        There is a long silence. 

                                SARAH 
                        (to Eddie)
                Do you want me to go? 

                                EDDIE 
                No, stick around. 
                        (to Charlie) 
                Can I get you something? Drink? Coffee?
 
                                CHARLIE 
                Oh, I don't want to be no bother to nobody.

                                EDDIE 
                Oh, don't play it small, Charlie. It don't look 
                good on you.

                                CHARLIE 
                How do you want me to play it? I'm broke. 

                                EDDIE 
                So am I ... Sit down. 
                        (to Sarah) 
                Would you get us a couple of drinks? 

        She starts to make the drinks.  Charlie sits.
 
                                CHARLIE 
                You walked out on me like that. No goodbye, 
                no nothing. Like a thief in the dark. We were 
                partners. We were more than partners. 
                        (to Sarah) 
                He was like a ... like--
 
                                EDDIE 
                A son.
 
                                CHARLIE 
                Yeah, yeah, like a son. 
                        (to Sarah who brings drinks) 
                I've known this boy since he was sixteen. The 
                first time I saw him, back in Oakland, I said, 
                "This is a talented boy. This is a smart boy." 

                                EDDIE 
                Talk to me, Charlie.

                                CHARLIE 
                I want you to come back on the road with me. 

                                EDDIE 
                Aah! I've got no stomach for that any more. 
                I've had that kind of life.
 
                                CHARLIE 
                What kind of life have you got here? Scufflin' 
                around the small rooms, picking up eight, ten 
                bucks a day?
 
                                EDDIE 
                I'll connect. I'll get you your money back.
 
                                CHARLIE 
                Are you figuring on going back to Ames to play
                Minnesota Fats again? Is that what's on your 
                mind?
 
                                EDDIE 
                Never been out of it. I'm gonna beat that fat 
                man ... with that curly hair, and those diamond 
                rings, and that carnation.
 
                                CHARLIE 
                        (to Sarah)
                This boy's crazy. They wiped the floor with 
                him. They beat his brains out and he wants to 
                go back. 
                        (to Eddie) 
                What for? To take another beating?
 
                                EDDIE 
                I told you you'd get your money back.
 
                                CHARLIE 
                        (to Sarah)
                He thinks I care about the money. 
                        (to Eddie)
                I care about you. Do you care about me, Eddie? 
                We're together a long time, night and day. So 
                how do you say goodbye? 
                        (rises)
                You gimme the car and a hundred bucks. You 
                think I care about the dough, the car? I care 
                about you. 
                        (to Sarah) 
                This boy is the greatest pool hustler you ever 
                saw.  A real high-class con man. He can charm 
                anybody into anything. Did he ever tell you 
                how well we were doing on the road? We had  
                everything: we ate good, we slept late, we had 
                money to burn. Whisky, dames ... 
                        (apologetic, to Sarah)
                Excuse me ...
                        (to Eddie, off Sarah)
                I'll tell you what -- take her along.

        Eddie leans up against the wall, listening. Sarah watches them both, 
        curious, confused.
 
                                CHARLIE 
                I'll tell you what else: you don't want to 
                start right away, we won't start right away. 
                We'll get in the car and drive down to Miami, 
                get all this crud out of your system, have a 
                few laughs, lie in the sun for a couple of 
                weeks. 

        Suddenly Eddie becomes tense. 

                                EDDIE 
                With what?
 
                                CHARLIE 
                Don't worry about it. I'll raise the money. 

                                EDDIE 
                Oh yeah? Where?
 
                                CHARLIE 
                What's the difference where? I'll raise it. 
                        (to Sarah) 
                Is it all right if I have another drink?
 
        Sarah turns to fix the drink. Eddie signals her to stay where she is. 
        He moves forward, confronting Charlie.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Did you hold out on me, Charlie? ... How much? 

        Charlie doesn't answer, so Eddie snatches hold of his jacket and shoves 
        him back into a chair.

                                EDDIE 
                HOW MUCH?! 

                                CHARLIE 
                My twenty-five per cent. Approximately fifteen 
                hundred bucks.

                                EDDIE 
                Oh, you crumb. With that fifteen hundred I 
                coulda beat him. That's all I needed, Charlie. 

                                CHARLIE 
                Aw, Eddie.

                                EDDIE 
                C'mon, c'mon, just give me the money. 

                                CHARLIE 
                What for? To play Fats again? 

                                EDDIE 
                Yeah, to play Fats again.
 
                                CHARLIE 
                You wanna come back on the road with me, okay, 
                the money's yours. But if you wanna give it to 
                Minnesota Fats ... nothing doing. What do you 
                say? 

                                EDDIE 
                        (viciously)
                You still don't see it, do you, Charlie? You 
                are nothing but a small-time Charlie. You'd 
                love to keep me hustling for you, huh? Wouldn't 
                ya? I mean, a couple more years with me, scuffling 
                around them little towns and those back alleys. 
                You might make yourself enough to get a little 
                poolroom back in Oakland.  Six tables and a 
                handbook on the side. Is that when you say 
                goodbye to me, Charlie? 
 
                                CHARLIE 
                Is that what you think? 

                                EDDIE 
                Yeah, that's what I think.
 
                                CHARLIE 
                All right. That's what I want. Poolroom with 
                a little handbook on the side. Getting old.

                                EDDIE 
                Lay down and die by yourself. Don't take 
                me with you.

        Eddie walks off.  A pause.
 
                                CHARLIE 
                Just like that?
 
                                EDDIE 
                Yeah. Just like that.

        A tear rolls down Sarah's cheek as she hears this. She stands near the 
        door, with her back to both of them. Charlie gets up and moves toward 
        the door.
 
                                CHARLIE 
                Thanks for the drink, Eddie's girl.

        Sarah, her cheek wet, says nothing. Charlie puts on his hat and leaves. 
        Eddie empties his glass and slaps it on the shelf next to Sarah.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Give me another drink. 

        She pours it out, saying nothing.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Boy! Everybody, everybody wants a piece of me!

        Sarah hands Eddie his drink without looking him in the eye.

                                EDDIE 
                Aren't you gonna have one?
 
        She pours herself a very stiff drink as Eddie moves about restlessly.
 
                                EDDIE
                What did he have to come back here for anyway? 

        Sarah drinks her drink.

                                EDDIE
                C'mere. 

        She keeps drinking.

                                EDDIE
                Come here! 

        Still drinking, she turns to him.  They embrace and kiss one another 
        without putting down their glasses.
 
                                                                FADE OUT
 
42      INT. SARAH'S APARTMENT - NIGHT
 
        FADE IN
 
        The room is a mess and Sarah is drunk. She sits on her knees on the 
        floor, pecking at the keys of her typewriter with one finger. Her 
        bottle and her glass are beside her. A bare-chested Eddie is in the 
        kitchen behind her, tossing empty cans and bottles from the sink into a 
        garbage bag. He carelessly wipes the sink, then throws down the dishrag 
        and goes to the closet, pulling out his leather case.
 
                                SARAH 
                You going out?
 
                                EDDIE 
                Yeah. For a little while.
 
        Reaching for the bottle, Sarah abruptly lurches forward over her 
        typewriter, and knocks the bottle over. 

                                SARAH 
                        (atop the typewriter)
                Ohhhhh ...

        Eddie quickly moves to help her.

                                EDDIE 
                Hey!

        He helps her up.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Okay?
 
        She doesn't answer. Eddie stares at Sarah as she sways limply on her 
        knees, unmindful of her open robe. Eddie picks up the bottle and sets 
        it before her. Taking her ashtray, Eddie rises, runs his hand through 
        her hair for a moment, and then carries off the ashtray and empties it 
        in the garbage bag.
 
                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
43      INT. SARAH'S APARTMENT - TIME LAPSE
 
        Sarah, still hopelessly drunk, is sprawled out on her bed, futilely
        attempting to dial a telephone. Eddie, in a clean shirt and pants, 
        watches her. He sets the bottle down near the typewriter and notices 
        the sheet of paper stuck in the typewriter's carriage. He bends down to 
        read it.
 
                                EDDIE 
                What are you writing? 

                                SARAH 
                        (looks up from the phone)
                Oh, it's a story. A story I'm making up. 

        She falls back on the bed.  Eddie pulls the paper out of the carriage 
        and reads it. 

                                SARAH 
                Give it to me.

                                EDDIE 
                What's this supposed to mean? 

                                SARAH 
                Give it back to me.
 
                                EDDIE 
                What's this supposed to mean: "We have a 
                contract of depravity. All we have to do is 
                pull the blinds down." 

        She doesn't answer. He thinks for a moment, then angrily crumples the 
        paper in his hands and throws it at her.

                                EDDIE 
                Write yourself another story.

        Eddie walks off.
 
                                SARAH 
                        (with a sardonic laugh)
                Well, what else have we got? We never talk 
                about anything. We stay here in this room, and 
                we drink, and we make love. 
                        (sits up in bed)
                We're strangers. What happens when the liquor 
                and the money run out, Eddie? 

        Eddie gives her a look, then lowers his eyes.

                                SARAH 
                You told Charlie to lay down and die. Will you 
                say that to me too? 
                        (rises and stumbles over to him) 
                What happens, Eddie? 

                                EDDIE 
                You'll find yourself another rich old lover. 

                                SARAH 
                That's right! And I'm sure you'll help me. 

        Eddie turns and slaps her on the cheek.

                                SARAH 
                You waiting for me to cry? 
                        (stares at him coldly) 
                You bum ... You poolroom bum. 

        He reaches for his jacket.

                                                                CUT TO:
 
44      INT. JOHNNY'S BAR - NIGHT
 
        As Eddie pushes through the glass doors to the front room of Johnny's 
        bar. He looks around at the unused pool tables, then goes to the bar. 

                                EDDIE 
                Give me a bottle of beer.
 
                                BARTENDER 
                Right.
 
        A man in a business suit comes out of the back room and joins him at 
        the bar.
 
                                BARTENDER 
                How did you make out? 

                                MAN 
                I made a couple of bucks. 

                                EDDIE 
                Poker game? 

                                MAN 
                Yeah.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Is it open?

        The man looks to the bartender for his answer. 

                                EDDIE 
                        (to the bartender)
                Huh?

                                BARTENDER 
                It's open ... 
                        (to the man)
                What'll you have? 

                                MAN 
                Gimme a beer.
    
        Eddie takes his beer to the back room.

                                                                CUT TO:
 
45      INT. JOHNNY'S BACK ROOM - NIGHT
 
        The poker game is in progress. Four men are playing. One of them is 
        Bert Gordon. His glass of milk is beside him on the table. He takes 
        note of Eddie's presence with a quick dart of his eyes.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Okay?

                                BERT 
                Sit down. 

        He takes a seat next to Bert.
 
                                EDDIE 
                What's the limit? 

                                PLAYER
                Half and a dollar.

                                EDDIE 
                Gimme ten bucks. 

                                PLAYER
                Ten dollars.
 
        He takes the chips, then throws out another bill.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Make it twenty. 

                                BERT 
                        (to Eddie)
                Cut. 

                                EDDIE 
                Deal.
 
        As the cards are dealt Eddie steals a glance at the man he has come to 
        see.
 
                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
46      INT. JOHNNY'S FRONT ROOM - TIME LAPSE 

        The game is over. Bert is already in the front room. He sits at a table 
        with a drink, and watches Eddie pass him by on the way to the bar. 

                                EDDIE 
                Bourbon. J. T. S. Brown.

                                BERT 
                        (to the bartender)
                Two. 

        Eddie looks at Bert.

                                BERT 
                        (pleasantly, to Eddie)
                I'm buyin'. 

                                EDDIE 
                Thought you only drank milk.

                                BERT 
                Only when I work. 

                                EDDIE 
                Yeah? Why?
 
                                BERT 
                I like it. It's good for you. Besides, you 
                start drinking whisky gambling and it gives you 
                an excuse for losing. That's something you 
                don't need -- an excuse for losing. How did 
                you make out in the poker game?
 
                                EDDIE 
                I lost twenty bucks. 

                                BERT 
                Poker's not your game. 

                                EDDIE 
                What is? 

                                BERT 
                Pool.
 
                                EDDIE 
                You being cute?
 
                                BERT 
                I don't think there's a pool player alive 
                shoots better pool than I saw you shoot the 
                other night at Ames. You got talent.
 
                                EDDIE 
                So I got talent. So what beat me? 

                                BERT 
                Character.
 
                                EDDIE 
                        (laughs)
                Yeah. Sure, sure.
 
                                BERT 
                You're damned right I'm sure. Everybody's got 
                talent. I got talent. You think you can play 
                big-money straight pool, or poker, for forty 
                straight hours on nothing but talent? You think 
                they call Minnesota Fats the best in the 
                country just 'cause he's got talent? Nah. 
                Minnesota Fats's got more character in one finger 
                than you got in your whole skinny body.
 
                                EDDIE 
                I got drunk.
 
                                BERT 
                He drank as much whisky as you did.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Maybe he knows how to drink.
 
                                BERT 
                You bet he knows how. 
                        (sips his drink) 
                You think that's a talent too, huh? Knowin' how 
                to drink whisky? You think Minnesota Fats was 
                born knowin' how to drink?
 
                                EDDIE 
                Okay, okay ... What do I do now, lie down on 
                the floor and, uh, bow from the ankles? What 
                do I do, go home?
 
                                BERT 
                That's your problem.
 
                                EDDIE
                So I stay. Stay until I hustle up enough to play 
                Fats again. Maybe by that time I'll develop 
                myself some character.

        Amused, Bert gets up and joins Eddie at the bar.
 
                                BERT 
                Maybe by that time you'll die of old age. How 
                much do you think you'll, uh, need?
 
                                EDDIE 
                A thousand.
 
                                BERT 
                No, three thousand at least. He'll start you 
                off at five hundred a game -- he'll beat the 
                pants off you. That's the way he plays when he 
                comes up against a man who knows the way the 
                game is. He'll beat you flat four or five 
                games -- maybe more, depending on how, uh ... 
                steady your nerves are. But he might -- he just 
                might be a little scared of you, and that could 
                change things. But I wouldn't count on it.
 
                                EDDIE 
                How do you know? Huh? When nobody knows that 
                much?
 
                                BERT 
                See that big car parked out by the fireplug on 
                the way in? Well, that's mine. I like that car. 
                But I get a new one every year because I make 
                it my business to know what guys like you and 
                Minnesota Fats are gonna do. I made enough off 
                of you the other night to pay for it twice over. 

                                EDDIE 
                In that case, you owe me another drink. 

        Bert laughs and signals the bartender for another round. 

                                BERT 
                Eddie, is it all right if I get personal? 

                                EDDIE 
                Whaddya been so far? 

                                BERT 
                Eddie, you're a born loser.
 
                                EDDIE 
                What's that supposed to mean?
 
                                BERT 
                First time in ten years I ever saw Minnesota 
                Fats hooked, really hooked. But you let him 
                off.
  
                                EDDIE 
                I told you. I got drunk.
 
                                BERT 
                Sure, you got drunk. That's the best excuse in 
                the world for losing. No trouble losing when 
                you got a good excuse. And winning! That can be 
                heavy on your back too. Like a monkey. You 
                drop that load too when you got an excuse. All 
                you gotta do is learn to feel sorry for 
                yourself. It's one of the best indoor sports: 
                feeling sorry for yourself -- a sport enjoyed 
                by all, especially the born losers. 

                                EDDIE 
                        (slaps down his glass and rises)
                Thanks for the drink. 

                                BERT 
                Wait a minute. Maybe I can help you. 

                                EDDIE 
                To do what?

                                BERT 
                Get the three thousand. Play Minnesota Fats 
                again. 

                                EDDIE 
                Why?
 
                                BERT 
                Ten reasons. Maybe fifteen. And also there's 
                something in it for me.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Oh yeah, I figured that. How much?
 
                                BERT 
                Seventy-five per cent. 

                                EDDIE 
                For who? 

                                BERT 
                For me.
 
                                EDDIE 
                That's a -- that's a pretty big slice. Who do 
                you think you are, General Motors?

                                BERT 
                How much you think you're worth these days? 
                I'm puttin' up the money, I'm puttin' up the 
                time. For that I get seventy-five per cent 
                return on my money -- if you win. 

                                EDDIE 
                You think I can lose?

                                BERT 
                I never saw you do anything else.

                                EDDIE 
                You saw me beat Minnesota Fats for eighteen 
                thousand dollars.

                                BERT 
                Look, you wanna hustle pool, don't you? This 
                game isn't like football. Nobody pays you for 
                yardage. When you hustle you keep score real 
                simple. The end of the game you count up your 
                money. That's how you find out who's best.  
                That's the only way.

                                EDDIE 
                Why back me then? Why not back yourself? Go 
                find yourself a big fat poker game and get rich 
                You know all the angles.

                                BERT 
                I'm already rich. But I like action. That's 
                one thing I think you're good for is action. 
                Besides, like I say ... you got talent.

                                EDDIE 
                        (pleased)
                Yeah, you already told me that. You cut that 
                slice down to bite-size and maybe we can talk. 

                                BERT 
                No, we don't talk. I don't make bad bets. 
                Seventy-five, twenty-five. That's it. 

                                EDDIE 
                Kiss off.

        He starts to go.

                                BERT 
                Hey, wait. 
                        (beat)
                What are you gonna do about the money? 

                                EDDIE 
                There are places. I'll scuffle around.

                                BERT 
                Word's out on you, Eddie. You walk in the 
                wrong kind of place and they'll eat you alive. 

                                EDDIE 
                Now, when did you adopt me?

                                BERT 
                        (with a friendly grin)
                I don't know when it was.

        Eddie exits.

                                                                CUT TO:
 
47      EXT. WATERFRONT - NIGHT
 
        Sound of ship's horn. Eddie walks past the piers and warehouses toward 
        a small waterfront bar called Arthur's Pool Hall.
 
                                                                CUT TO:

48      INT. ARTHUR'S POOL HALL - NIGHT 

        The atmosphere at Arthur's is stifling, oppressive. A few lonely 
        drinkers, dock workers, sit stooped over their beer bottles at the bar. 
        In the back is a pool table. As Eddie enters, we see two burly men, cue 
        sticks in hand, watching as a pale, skinny young man lines up his shot.
 
                                EDDIE
                        (to young man)
                Hi. 

                                YOUNG MAN 
                Hi.
 
        They exchange glances, sizing each other up. Then the young man puts in 
        his shot.
 
                                PLAYER 
                        (throwing money on the table)
                You lucky punk. I quit ya.

                                YOUNG MAN 
                        (to Eddie)
                You want in, friend? 

                                EDDIE 
                How much you playin' for? 

                                YOUNG MAN 
                A dollar on the five, two on the nine. 

                                EDDIE 
                Yeah, I'll play you a couple. Just for kicks. 

                                YOUNG MAN 
                Okay, friend.
 
        Eddie goes over to the rack and takes a cue. 

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
49      INT. ARTHUR'S POOL HALL - TIME LAPSE 

        One of the other players is putting away his cue. 

                                PLAYER
                That's it for me.
 
                                ANOTHER PLAYER
                Well, I guess that does it for me too. 

                                YOUNG MAN 
                        (brashly, to Eddie)
                You quittin' too? 

                                EDDIE 
                You're a pretty good player. 

                                YOUNG MAN 
                How much are you ahead? 

                                EDDIE 
                Couple of bucks.

                                YOUNG MAN 
                I guess it's just you and me, huh? 

                                EDDIE 
                Yeah, I guess it is, boy. Just you and me.

                                YOUNG MAN 
                You wanna raise the bet? Two on the five, five 
                on the nine?
 
                                EDDIE 
                You know what, kid? I think maybe you're a 
                hustler. 

                                YOUNG MAN 
                Try me. 

                                EDDIE 
                Shoot.
 
                                YOUNG MAN 
                Okay.

        The young man makes his break shot, slamming the nine into the pocket. 
        He looks up at Eddie, grinning snidely. The other two men, the losers, 
        stand around, mutely following the play.
 
                                YOUNG MAN 
                You sure you don't want to quit, friend?
 
                                EDDIE 
                        (suddenly irked)
                Let's cut out the small stuff, huh? Hundred 
                dollar freeze-out. Ten games, ten bucks a 
                game, winner take all. And then we'll see who 
                quits.
 
                                YOUNG MAN 
                Okay, friend. You're on.
 
                                EDDIE 
                        (pulls out a coin)
                Call it.
 
                                YOUNG MAN 
                Heads. 

        Eddie tosses the coin on the table.

                                YOUNG MAN 
                You win. 

        Eddie collects his coin while the young man racks up the balls.  
        Preparing to break, Eddie chalks his cue.
 
                                YOUNG MAN 
                You better not miss, friend.
 
                                EDDIE 
                        (savagely)
                I don't rattle, kid. But just for that I'm 
                gonna beat you flat.

        He rams the cue ball into the pack. The nine drops in. Everyone is 
        stunned, particularly the young man.
 
                                EDDIE 
                That's one. 

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
50      INT. THE GAME AT ARTHUR'S - TIME LAPSE
 
        Eddie has lost control of himself. He is shooting as he did at Ames, 
        rapping in his shots with perfect control. He is completely oblivious 
        to the glowering faces of the group of men who have gathered around the 
        table to watch.
 
                                EDDIE 
                That's five.

        Eddie makes a tough shot.  The men exchange uneasy glances.

                                EDDIE 
                That's six. 

        More tough shots: tricky combinations, etc.

                                                                CUT TO:
 
51      INT. THE GAME AT ARTHUR'S - TIME LAPSE

        Eddie finishes up with yet another combination shot.
 
                                EDDIE 
                That's ten. You punk, you two-bit punk. C'mon, 
                pay up. A hundred bucks.

        The young man digs nervously into his jacket for the money. All eyes 
        are on Eddie. The young man sets down his cue.
 
                                EDDIE 
                You quittin', friend? 

                                YOUNG MAN 
                Yeah, I'm quittin'.

        Sensing what is about to happen, the young man pays up. He drops the 
        cash on the table and leaves quickly. Then one of the other men steps 
        forward, a thick-fleshed, obscene-looking man named Turk. His mouth 
        twists into a mock smile. As Eddie looks about him at the circle of 
        silent men, each one glaring at him, his fury gives way to fear. 

                                TURK
                Why, you're a pool shark, boy. A real pool 
                shark.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Well, so's he.

                                TURK
                But you're better than he was. Much better. 
                        (points to bills on the table) 
                There's your money, boy. 

        Eddie wipes his mouth with his sleeve and nervously backs away.

                                TURK
                There's your money, boy.

        Eddie tries to back off but there is nowhere to go, so he makes a 
        casual movement toward the table. 

                                EDDIE 
                Okay.

        Suddenly, the men grab Eddie and pin his arms. One man grabs him around 
        the throat.
 
                                TURK
                        (sardonically, to the men)
                Wait a minute! Let's give this boy his money. 
                        (to Eddie)
                We always pay what we lose, boy.

        Turk takes the bills from the table and stuffs them into Eddie's breast 
        pocket.

                                TURK
                        (to Eddie)
                We got no use for pool sharks around here.

        They drag Eddie into the men's room and shove him up against the 
        ground-glass partition. We see his cheek pressed against the glass, and 
        the foggy silhouettes of the others behind him. Eddie, his mouth open,
        screams horribly. There is a pause. He screams again. They let go of 
        his arms and he slumps to the floor. The bartender turns and goes back 
        to the bar in the front room. The ship's horn is heard again.
 
                                                                CUT TO:

52      INT. SARAH'S APARTMENT - NIGHT 

        Sarah sits alone in the darkened room, dressed in her robe and slip, 
        lost in a drunken half-sleep. There is a knock at the door.
 
                                SARAH 
                Who is it?
 
                                EDDIE 
                Me. It's Eddie.

        She goes to the door and opens it. Her eyes are puffy, her face is 
        covered with perspiration. She opens the door, then looks up to see him 
        leaning against the wall, his arms tucked into his chest, with one hand 
        covering the other.
 
                                SARAH 
                What happened?
 
                                EDDIE 
                I got beat up. They ...
                        (beat)
                They broke my thumbs. 

        Sarah is stunned and moves to him.

                                SARAH 
                Oh, God!

        She takes him in her arms. He starts to cry.

                                EDDIE 
                Oh, they broke my thumbs. Broke my thumbs.

        She holds him.

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
53      INT. SARAH'S APARTMENT - NIGHT
 
        Sarah watches as Eddie, both hands now encased in plaster casts, tries
        to sleep. He tries to move his arms, as if trying to defend himself. 
        Sarah rises, joins him, and strokes his head.
 
                                SARAH 
                It's all right. I'm here. 

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
54      INT. SARAH'S APARTMENT - MORNING
 
        They are seated at the breakfast table. Sarah pours him some coffee and 
        he tries to bring the cup to his lips, but he cannot manage it. 
        Disgusted, he drops the cup on the floor and gets up from the table. 
        Sarah bends down and patiently wipes up the spilled coffee.
 
                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
55      INT. SARAH'S APARTMENT - NIGHT 

        The apartment is now clean and neat. And Sarah is sober. She is at her 
        table, typing, while Eddie stands at the window, trying to reach over 
        his shoulder to scratch his back. He comes over to the table and, with 
        his mouth, picks a cigarette out of the pack. He looks quickly at her, 
        without asking directly for the match. She lights it and, as she does, 
        he glances at the sheet in the typewriter.
 
                                SARAH 
                You can read it, if you want to. 
                        (Eddie shrugs) 
                You want to go out for a while? To a movie?
 
                                EDDIE 
                        (pacing restlessly)
                You wanna drink?
 
                                SARAH 
                No.  You?
 
                                EDDIE 
                        (suddenly opening the door)
                What's it so hot in here for?

        He starts to unbutton his shirt and Sarah immediately gets up to help. 
        But he holds her off.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Please!
 
        She watches him struggle with the button for a while then spread his 
        arms in a gesture of helplessness. As she unbuttons his shirt for him, 
        he takes her face in his hands and kisses her.
 
                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
56      EXT. SARAH'S APARTMENT HOUSE - MORNING
 
        Sarah and Eddie emerges from the doorway. It is a warm, beautiful day, 
        and Sarah has a basket with her. Eddie seems happy to be out with her, 
        almost as if he has forgotten the casts on his hands. 

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
57      EXT. RIVERSIDE PARK - DAY
 
        They stop at a spot that overlooks the river and spread out a blanket.
 
                                                                CUT TO:

58      EXT. PARK - DAY 

        Eddie leans back on the grass and looks at Sarah. They both seem easy 
        and relaxed in the sunshine together. 

                                EDDIE 
                Sarah, do you think I'm a loser? 

                                SARAH 
                A loser?
 
                                EDDIE 
                Yeah. I met this guy -- Gordon, Bert Gordon. He 
                said I was. Born loser.
 
                                SARAH 
                Would he know? 

                                EDDIE 
                He knows. A lot.
 
                                SARAH 
                Why did he tell you?
 
                                EDDIE 
                I don't know. I'm not sure. He said there are 
                people who want to lose, who are always looking 
                for an excuse to lose. 

                                SARAH 
                What does he do, this Bert Gordon? 

                                EDDIE 
                He's a gambler. 

                                SARAH 
                Is he a winner?
 
                                EDDIE 
                Well, he owns things.
 
                                SARAH 
                Is that what makes a winner?
 
                                EDDIE 
                Well, what else does?
 
                                SARAH 
                Does it bother you? What he said?
 
                                EDDIE 
                Yeah.
                        (after a pause)
                Yeah. It bothers me a lot. 
                        (pause) 
                'Cause, you see, twice, Sarah -- once at Ames 
                with Minnesota Fats and then again at 
                Arthur's ...
                        (sits up)
                ... in that cheap, crummy poolroom ... Now, 
                why'd I do it, Sarah? Why'd I do it? I coulda 
                beat that guy, I coulda beat him cold. He 
                never woulda known. But I just had to show 'em, 
                I just had to show those creeps and those punks 
                what the game is like when it's great, when 
                it's really great. You know, like anything can 
                be great -- anything can be great ... I don't 
                care, bricklaying can be great. If a guy 
                knows. If he knows what he's doing and why, and 
                if he can make it come off. I mean, when I'm 
                goin' -- when I'm really goin' -- I feel 
                like...
                        (beat)
                ... like a jockey must feel. He's sittin' 
                on his horse, he's got all that speed and that 
                power underneath him, he's comin' into the 
                stretch, the pressure's on him -- and he 
                knows -- just feels -- when to let it go, and 
                how much. 'Cause he's got everything workin' 
                for him -- timing, touch. It's a great feeling, 
                boy, it's a real great feeling when you're 
                right, and you know you're right. It's like all 
                of a sudden I got oil in my arm. Pool cue's 
                part of me. You know, it's a -- pool cue's got 
                nerves in it. It's a piece of wood -- it's got 
                nerves in it. You feel the roll of those balls. 
                You don't have to look. You just know. Ya make 
                shots that nobody's ever made before. And you 
                play that game the way nobody's ever played it 
                before.
 
                                SARAH 
                You're not a loser, Eddie. You're a winner. 
                Some men never get to feel that way about 
                anything. I love you, Eddie.

        Eddie lowers his eyes and leans back.
 
                                EDDIE 
                You know, someday, Sarah, you're gonna settle 
                down. You're gonna marry a college professor, 
                and you're gonna write a great book. Maybe 
                about me, huh? Fast Eddie Felson, hustler.
 
                                SARAH 
                        (after a pause)
                I love you.
 
                                EDDIE 
                You need the words?
 
                                SARAH 
                Yes, I need them very much. And if you ever say 
                them I'll never let you take them back. 

        Eddie just stares at her.

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
59      INT. SARAH'S APARTMENT - DAY
 
        Eddie is about to knock on the door to Sarah's apartment. He stops for 
        a moment to look at his hands. The casts are off. He knocks on the door 
        with his wrist, as he would if he still had them on. When she opens the 
        door he holds them up boyishly before her face.
 
                                EDDIE 
                You glad? 

                                SARAH 
                Yes, I'm glad. 

        She kisses his hands.

                                                                CUT TO:
 
60      INT. JOHNNY'S PLACE - DAY
 
        Eddie flexes his fingers, then tries out a shot on one of Johnny's pool 
        tables. He uses the simpler, open hand bridge to support his cue. Bert 
        Gordon enters, and watches him play.
 
                                BERT 
                Hello, Eddie.

                                EDDIE
                Hi.  How's business?
 
                                BERT 
                Ahh, slow ... Why the open hand bridge? 
                Something wrong with your hand?

                                EDDIE 
                        (continues to shoot)
                Yeah. Had a little accident. A place called 
                Arthur's. 

                                BERT 
                Oh. You seem to do all right that way. 

                                EDDIE 
                I'd say my game is about twenty per cent off. 
                Maybe more. 

                                BERT 
                What happened? Somebody step on your hands? 

                                EDDIE 
                Yeah. Big creep. Broke my thumbs. 

                                BERT 
                Man named Turk Baker? 

                                EDDIE 
                You know everybody, don't you?

                                BERT 
                Everybody who can hurt me, everybody who can 
                help me. It pays.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Maybe you oughta give me lessons. 

                                BERT 
                Sign up.
 
                                EDDIE
                Where do I sign?
 
                                BERT 
                The first match I got in mind for you is in 
                Louisville, Kentucky.

                                EDDIE 
                You name the place, boss. I'll be there. 

                                BERT 
                What happened to you anyway? 

                                EDDIE 
                Like I told ya. My thumbs.

                                BERT 
                No, I don't mean the thumbs. You already told 
                me about the thumbs. 

                                EDDIE 
                I been thinking. 

                                BERT 
                Thinking about what?

                                EDDIE 
                Maybe I'm not such a high-class piece of 
                property right now. And a twenty-five per cent 
                slice of something big is better than a hundred 
                per cent slice of nothin'. 

                                BERT 
                        (to the bartender)
                Hey, get us a couple of drinks here, will ya? 
                J. T. S. Brown. 

        Bert smiles at Eddie.

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
61      INT. RESTAURANT - NIGHT
 
        It is a quiet, elegant restaurant, one with soft piano music and 
        subdued lighting. Eddie and Sarah had walked past it the first day they 
        met. Eddie and Sarah enter. She has on new dress and Eddie, looking a 
        little ill at ease, has on a suit and tie.
 
                                HEADWAITER 
                Good evening, sir.

                                EDDIE 
                Good evening.
                        (digs into pocket and 
                         hands him a bill)
                Give use a nice, quiet table. 

                                HEADWAITER 
                Yes, sir. Right this way.
 
        The headwaiter seats them at a table. Eddie and Sarah exchange smiles. 
        A waiter approaches. 

                                WAITER
                Would you like a drink before dinner, sir?
 
                                EDDIE 
                        (to Sarah)
                Hey?
 
                                SARAH 
                Sherry. 
                        (to the waiter)
                Very old, very dry.
 
                                EDDIE
                        (to the waiter)
                Two. 
                        (the waiter leaves) 
                Sherry? ... Nice joint. You look very pretty. 

                                SARAH 
                I feel pretty.

        Suddenly she breaks into laughter. 

                                EDDIE 
                Well, what's so funny?
 
                                SARAH 
                Your tie. I never saw you wear one before. 

                                EDDIE 
                        (touches the knot self-consciously)
                First time for everything. 

        The waiter returns with the bottle of sherry and holds it out to Eddie 
        for his approval. There is a long pause as Eddie looks from the bottle 
        to the waiter. Finally, Eddie realizes he must respond.

                                EDDIE 
                Oh. Yeah. That's great.
 
        The waiter pours out the sherry as Eddie and Sarah stare at each other 
        over their glasses. Then Eddie looks away. Sarah proposes a toast.

                                SARAH 
                To you, Eddie. 

        They touch glasses. 

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
62      INT. RESTAURANT - TIME LAPSE
 
        The waiter brings the check.

                                WAITER
                Thank you, sir.

        Eddie nods and drinks down the last of his brandy as the waiter leaves. 
        Sarah sees that Eddie seems somber, preoccupied.
 
                                SARAH 
                What is it, Eddie? 

                                EDDIE 
                Nothin'.
                        (looks at the check)
                Want another drink?
 
                                SARAH 
                What do you want to tell me? 

                                EDDIE 
                Well, I, uh, I'll be leaving town for a little 
                while. 

                                SARAH 
                        (stunned)
                For how long? 

                                EDDIE 
                Oh, I don't know.

                                SARAH 
                A week? A year? 

                                EDDIE 
                More like a week. Look, I'll be back. 

                                SARAH 
                Sure. Let's go home.
 
        She picks up her purse and gloves and leaves. 

                                                                CUT TO:
 
63      EXT. RESTAURANT - NIGHT
 
        It is raining heavily. Sarah emerges from the building and leans 
        wearily against the awning. Eddie, having hurriedly paid the bill, 
        follows after her. He catches up with Sarah, taking her by the 
        arm, and stepping out into the street to hail a cab.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Taxi.

        She angrily breaks away from him and walks out into the rain. 

                                SARAH 
                No, I want to walk.
 
                                EDDIE 
                        (running after her)
                Come here. Come on, now.

        Eddie grabs Sarah and starts to pull her back under the awning.

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
64      INT. SARAH'S APARTMENT - NIGHT
 
        The door opens and the two of them enter, thoroughly drenched.
 
                                EDDIE 
                You better get some dry things on. 

        She walks to a chair, limping noticeably. 

                                EDDIE 
                Don't you want to know where I'm going? 

                                SARAH 
                No.
                        (collapses into a chair)
                Yes, I want to know what for. But I don't want 
                to ask.
 
                                EDDIE 
                        (sits)
                I'm going to Kentucky. To Louisville. With a 
                friend. Try to make some money. I need it, the 
                money. I'll be leaving early in the morning.
 
                                SARAH 
                Leave now.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Oh, grow up.
 
                                SARAH 
                Why should I?
 
                                EDDIE 
                Sarah, I'm going to Kentucky to play pool, with 
                a guy by the name of Findley. Now, I need the 
                action and I need the money. I told you I'd be 
                back.
 
                                SARAH 
                If you were going to come back you wouldn't 
                have taken me out tonight. You wouldn't have 
                bought this dress. You're hustling me, Eddie. 
                You've never stopped hustling me.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Now, I never hustled you. Even when I thought I 
                was. You know it.
 
                                SARAH 
                What do you want me to do? Just sit here and 
                wait? Faithful little Sarah. Pull the shades 
                down and sit. When you feel like coming back, 
                you'll come back. And you'll love me. And then 
                you'll go away again. Is that your idea of 
                love?
 
                                EDDIE 
                I got no idea of love. And neither have you. I 
                mean, neither one of us would know what it was 
                if we saw it coming down the street.
 
                                SARAH 
                I'd know it, Eddie. I'd know. For God's sakes, 
                what are you trying to do to me? I love you.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Well, what's your idea of love? Chains?
 
                                SARAH 
                No. 
                        (long pause) 
                I made you up, didn't I, Eddie? You weren't 
                real. I made you up, like everything else. 
                There was no car crash, Eddie. When I was five, 
                I had polio. I was never an actress. The rich 
                old man is my father. He walked out on us when 
                I was seven. He sends me a check every month. 
                That's how he buys his way out of my life. The 
                men I've known ... after they left, I'd say
                they weren't real, I made them up. But you, 
                Eddie. I wanted you to be real. 

        He reaches across and pulls her to him, burying his face in her head.

                                SARAH 
                I'm so scared, Eddie ... I'm scared. 

                                                                CUT TO:
  
65      EXT. STREET - MORNING
 
        Bert Gordon leans on the hood of a cab. His face drops when he sees 
        Eddie and Sarah walking toward him. Eddie cares two suitcases and his 
        leather cue case. He sets the suitcases on the curb and the cab driver 
        moves to take them. Courteously, Bert opens the door of the taxi for 
        Eddie and Sarah.

                                EDDIE 
                Sarah Packard ... Bert Gordon. 

                                BERT 
                Miss Packard. How do you do?

        Sarah eyes Bert distrustfully and starts to get in the cab.

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:

66      INT. TRAIN COMPARTMENT - DAY
 
         Eddie, Sarah, and Bert squeeze through the door of the train 
        compartment.

                                BERT 
                        (to a redcap, off luggage)
                That brown one's mine. It goes in drawing room 
                A, huh?  Thanks.

        The redcap exits, carrying the luggage.

                                EDDIE
                        (to redcap, off compartment door)
                I got it, I got it.

        Eddie shuts the door. Bert and Sarah sit across from each other. 

                                BERT 
                You sure you going to be comfortable enough 
                there, Miss ... ah ... ?

                                SARAH 
                        (loudly)
                Packard. Sarah Packard.

                                BERT 
                It always takes me a little while to get a name 
                fixed in my mind. Are you sure you don't want 
                anything? 

                                SARAH 
                No, I'm fine.

                                BERT
                You, uh, you ever been to Louisville during 
                Derby week, Miss, ah, Packard?

                                SARAH 
                I've never been to Louisville.

                                BERT 
                Lots of action. Lots of money. 
                        (to Eddie, seated beside him) 
                Lots of class. You'll see some of the 
                best-dressed and most beautiful women in the 
                world at the races. Knock your eye out.

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
67      INT. TRAIN DINING ROOM - MORNING
 
        The Kentucky-bound train rolls down the track. Bert and Eddie finish 
        their breakfast coffee in the dining room. Sarah is in the washroom.
 
                                BERT 
                James Findley is a very rich man. Grandfather 
                left him twenty per cent of a tobacco company.
 
                                EDDIE 
                What? And he -- he hustles pool?
 
                                BERT 
                        (chuckles)
                He's a gentleman. Gentleman gambler. He gets 
                his kicks playing with hustlers. He's got an 
                old Southern mansion with a pool table in the 
                basement, drinks eight-year-old bourbon, smokes 
                cork-tipped cigarettes. 

                                EDDIE 
                How good is he?
 
                                BERT 
                I don't know. Never saw him play. They say 
                he's one of the best.
   
        Sarah makes her way down the aisle and joins them at the table.
 
                                SARAH 
                        (brightly)
                I'm ready. 

                                BERT 
                Soon as I finish my coffee.
    
        She stands there, lips pursed, absorbing the insult.
 
                                EDDIE 
                        (to Bert)
                You must have a lot of confidence in me.
 
                                BERT 
                I don't. But I got confidence in Findley. 

                                EDDIE 
                What's that supposed to mean?
 
                                BERT 
                Means I got confidence that he's a loser. All 
                the way a loser. You happen to be about only 
                one-half loser -- the other half, winner.  
                        (off his coffee)
                I'm finished.

        Bert gets up and reaches in his pocket for his billfold. 

                                EDDIE 
                Here, I got it.
 
                                BERT 
                No, no. When you play for me, I pick up all the 
                tabs.

        Eddie and Sarah just stare at him. 

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
68      INT. TRAIN CLUB CAR - NIGHT
 
        They are at a table, sipping drinks. Bert shuffles a deck of cards as 
        he talks. Eddie, like a schoolboy, listens intently. Sarah sits apart, 
        watching them both.  
 
                                BERT 
                Fats knew the game was in the clutch, knew 
                he had to do something to stop ya.  He played 
                it smart.
 
                                EDDIE 
                I played that game, Bert. In my head I played 
                it a thousand times.
 
                                BERT 
                Play it again. Learn something. 
                        (laughs, to Sarah)
                Fats went in the john, see? Washed his face, 
                cleaned his fingernails, made his mind a blank, 
                combed his hair, came back all ready to go.
                        (to Eddie)
                You were through. You saw him, you saw how he 
                looked. Clean, all set to start all over again. 
                Hold tight and push hard. You know what you 
                were doing? You were waitin' to get beat. 
                Flattened out on your butt, swimmin' around in 
                glory. And whisky. Probably deciding how you 
                could lose.
 
                                SARAH 
                What makes you know so much? How do you know 
                what Eddie was thinking?
 
                                BERT 
                I know. Been there myself. We've all been there, 
                haven't we, Miss Packard? 

        Eddie glances at Sarah who stares mutely at Bert.

                                BERT 
                        (takes a cigarette) 
                Got a match, Eddie?
 
        Eddie reaches across to light Bert's cigarette with the lighter Sarah 
        gave him. Bert's own lighter is on the table, before him. Sarah sees 
        it, picks it up, and sparks it into flame.
 
                                SARAH 
                Doesn't your lighter work, Mr. Gordon?
 
                                BERT 
                        (smiling politely)
                Oh, I forgot all about it. 
                        (to Eddie, who still holds the flame) 
                How's the hands?
 
                                EDDIE 
                Fine.
 
                                BERT 
                Good. I'd hate to think I was putting my 
                money on a cripple.

                                EDDIE 
                        (angrily)
                Hey, whaddya say something like that for?

                                SARAH 
                It's all right, Eddie. I'm sure Mr. Gordon 
                meant no offense. It was a figure of speech. 

                                BERT 
                That's right, Miss Packard.  

                                SARAH 
                And a fact is a fact.
 
                                BERT 
                She's a smart girl, Eddie. 

        Bert goes back to shuffling his deck of cards.

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
69      INT. LOUISVILLE HOTEL LOBBY - NIGHT
 
        The lobby is thronged with gamblers and their women, sportsmen, 
        tourists, all there for the Derby. A jazz combo can be heard over the 
        din of their voices. Eddie, looking excited, leads Sarah through the 
        crowd. Behind them is Bert, his face now shaded by dark glasses, 
        following a bellhop to the main desk.
 
                                BELLHOP
                Right this way, Mr. Gordon.
    
        He forces his way through some people to get to the desk.
 
                                BELLHOP
                Here you are, Mr. Gordon. 

                                CONCIERGE 
                Suite fifty-six.
 
                                BERT 
                Look, I-I wired ahead for two suites adjoining.
 
                                CONCIERGE 
                I don't recall.
 
                                BERT 
                Well, I do. I want two suites.
 
                                CONCIERGE 
                Well, I'm sorry, Mr. Gordon. We're filled up. 
                This is Derby week.

        Bert displays a neatly folded wad of money in his hand.
 
                                BERT 
                Look, son, you've got it all wrong. You must 
                have gotten my wire. Look through your 
                reservations, huh?
 
                                CONCIERGE 
                        (artfully accepts cash bribe)
                I'll see what I can do ... You were right, Mr. 
                Gordon. I mislaid your wire. Uh, two adjoining 
                suites? 

        Eddie laughs and moves toward the open door leading to the billiard 
        rooms. His face glows as he watches the flow of men moving in and out 
        of the crowded room, and hears the sound of clicking pool balls. He 
        tucks his cue case under his arm and turns to Bert and Sarah who join 
        him.

                                EDDIE 
                        (to Bert)
                You know, that's real sweet music in there. 
                You can almost smell the action and the money. 
                You know, I can feel it right down in the 
                bottom of my shoes. 

                                BERT 
                        (laughs)
                Come on, let's go...

        Before they can head to their rooms, a small, neatly groomed man 
        approaches Eddie.
 
                                BILLY
                Eddie!
 
                                EDDIE 
                        (shaking his hand warmly)
                Hey, Billy, how are ya? 

                                BILLY
                Fast Eddie. I didn't know you were here. 
                Everybody's here. It's like a hustler's 
                convention. The Whetstone Kid, Johnny Jumbo. 
                C'mon in. The guys'll be glad to see you. 
                C'mon.

                                EDDIE 
                        (to Sarah)
                What room are you in? 

                                SARAH 
                Fifty-seven. 

                                EDDIE 
                I'll be up later.

        Sarah turns toward the elevators, with Bert behind her, jiggling his 
        keys. 

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
70      INT. HOTEL SUITE - NIGHT
 
        The bellboy unlocks the door and Sarah enters. The doors to the other 
        suite are open. As she catches sight of Bert arranging things with the 
        bellboy she closes one door.  The bellboy leaves as she moves to close 
        the other.
 
                                BERT 
                Oh, wait a minute, Miss Packard.

                                SARAH 
                We're neighbors now. You can call me Sarah. 

        He comes to the door, holding it open. 

                                BERT 
                I want to talk to you. 

                                SARAH 
                Do we need words?
 
                                BERT 
                Yeah, I think we do. We could try to cut each 
                other up. But that would be bad for everybody. 
                Bad for me, bad for you. And worst of all, be
                bad for Eddie. 

                                SARAH 
                You know what's good for him? 

                                BERT 
                To win.
 
                                SARAH 
                For whom and for what?
 
                                BERT
                For what makes the world go round. For money, 
                and for glory.

                                SARAH 
                You didn't answer my first question. For whom? 

                                BERT 
                All right. Today for me, tomorrow for himself.

                                SARAH 
                No, there's no tomorrow. Not with you. You own 
                all the tomorrows because you buy them today, 
                and you buy cheap.

                                BERT 
                        (nods)
                Well, nobody has to sell. 

        He turns away.

                                SARAH 
                You bastard.
 
                                BERT 
                        (turns back to her, savagely)
                Listen, Miss Ladybird, you're here on a 
                rain check and I know it. You're hanging on by 
                your nails. You let that glory whistle blow 
                loud and clear for Eddie and you're a wreck on 
                a railroad track. You're a horse that finished 
                last. So don't make trouble, Miss Ladybird. 
                Live and let live. While you can.

        There is a long pause as he glares at her.
 
                                BERT 
                I'll make it up to you.
 
                                SARAH 
                        (weakly)
                How?
 
                                BERT 
                You tell me.
 
        He goes back into his room. She closes the door and leans against it.

                                                                CUT TO:
 
71      EXT. RACETRACK - DAY
 
        Screams are heard as the horses jerk out of the starting gate to begin 
        their runs.
 
                                                                CUT TO:

72      INT. RACETRACK BAR - DAY
 
        Eddie cashes in a winning ticket

                                EDDIE 
                        (to the cashier)
                Thanks.

        Eddie moves through the ornate racetrack bar to join Sarah at a table.
        Sarah has been drinking.
 
                                EDDIE 
                        (excited)
                Where's Bert?
 
                                SARAH 
                He went off someplace.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Well, that old lovin' horse paid twenty-two 
                forty. 
                        (counts his money) 
                Let's see ... two hundred I won from the jockey 
                last night. And today at the track ... I got 
                five hundred and forty bucks. 
                        (folds it up) 
                Here, you hold it.
 
                                SARAH 
                        (takes it)
                Why? 

                                EDDIE 
                Just for luck.
 
        As she puts the money in her purse, Bert sits down.
 
                                BERT 
                Hey, Findley's here.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Where?
 
                                BERT 
                Over there by the bar.
 
        We see Findley, studying his program and holding a drink in his hand.
        He is tall and refined, with a pale, debauched, yet oddly youthful face 
        that some men of forty or more sometimes have. A cork-tipped cigarette 
        dangles from his fingers.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Aren't you gonna go over and talk to him?
 
                                BERT 
                Nah. Sit tight. He'll be over here.
 
        Findley spots Bert, takes a long drag on his cigarette, and saunters 
        toward them.
 
                                BERT 
                        (to Sarah)
                Are you ready for another? 

                                SARAH 
                Thank you.

        Bert points to Eddie.

                                EDDIE 
                No, no more for me.
 
                                FINDLEY 
                        (joins them, speaks in a soft 
                         Southern drawl, to Bert)
                Well, hello. Haven't seen you in a long time. 

                                BERT 
                Well, hello. Haven't been here for a long time. 
                        (makes introductions)
                Ah, Miss Packard, Eddie Felson ... James ... 

        Bert snaps his fingers, pretending to forget Findley's name. 

                                FINDLEY 
                Findley.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Glad to meet you.

                                FINDLEY 
                And I you. 
                        (shakes Eddie's hand) 
                I think I've heard about you, Mr. Felson. You 
                play pocket billiards, don't you?

                                EDDIE 
                        (playing along)
                Now and then. Why, do you? 

                                FINDLEY 
                A little, although I'm afraid I generally lose. 

                                BERT 
                So does Eddie.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Well, I win sometimes.
 
                                FINDLEY 
                        (smugly)
                I'll bet you do, Mr. Felson. I'll just bet you 
                do.
 
                                EDDIE 
                How much?
 
                                FINDLEY 
                Bert, I believe Mr. Felson's making a 
                proposition.

                                BERT 
                Could be.
 
                                FINDLEY 
                Well, Mr. Felson, maybe you could come out to 
                my place some evening. We could play a few 
                games of billiards.
 
                                EDDIE 
                When? 

                                FINDLEY 
                You're very direct, Mr. Felson. 

                                EDDIE
                That's right. When? 

                                FINDLEY 
                Would you like to come out tonight?

                                EDDIE
                What time?

                                FINDLEY 
                I'm having some people over for drinks right 
                after the races. Why don't you all come over? 
                Then about nine, ten o'clock we can play. 

                                BERT 
                We'll be there.
 
                                FINDLEY 
                Good, good.

        He nods to them all, and leaves.
 
                                SARAH 
                If you don't mind I think I'll stay at the 
                hotel.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Well, what's the matter?
 
                                SARAH 
                        (her voice slurred)
                I'm a little tired.
 
                                BERT 
                C'mon, there'll be a lot of laughs. Findley's 
                parties are famous. He invites everybody from 
                top to bottom, from high society to every tout,
                hustler, and tramp in town. That's another way 
                he has of gettin' his kicks. It excites him to 
                be around what he calls the criminal type. Some 
                men are like that. 
                        (beat)
                Some women too.

        Sarah gives Bert a look.
 
                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
73      INT. FINDLEY'S PARTY - NIGHT
 
        The camera tilts upward from a Dixieland combo blaring out a bouncy 
        tune to find Sarah, descending the stairs, looking on at the party 
        below. Holding the rail with one hand, and a champagne glass in the 
        other, she maneuvers her way down the steps. She stops a waitress on 
        the way upstairs and exchanges her glass for a new one. We follow her 
        unsteady, doll-like descent. She moves slowly, dreamily past the combo; 
        past Eddie, who is cornered by a chic blonde in a low-cut dress; 
        past Findley, alone with his drink, observing his guests; past the 
        bleary-eyed couples on the dance floor, until she comes to the bar. 
        Bert is there too, his head bobbing to the Dixie beat, his eyes running 
        over her body so plainly covered by a cotton print dress. Spinning away 
        from him, she takes her glass and goes to a corner of the room. Bert 
        walks casually to her side. He leans over and whispers something in her 
        ear. Her face hardens. Angrily she turns and throws her champagne in 
        his face and smashes her glass on the floor. Then she starts to cry and 
        starts to fall, but Bert holds her up by the shoulders. The music 
        stops. The dance couples strain to get a look at what has happened. 
        Eddie shoves through the gawking crowd.
 
                                EDDIE 
                What's the matter? What happened?
 
                                BERT 
                It's all right. She had a little too much to 
                drink, that's all. Forget it. 
                        (to Sarah)
                Go upstairs and sleep it off.
 
        Eddie tries to take her in his arms, but she beats on his chest, 
        sobbing, unable to make words. 

                                EDDIE 
                Hey, c'mon. Cut it out!  Do what he says. Come 
                on upstairs.

        Eddie drags her limp, trembling body across the dance floor to the 
        stairs. Bert watches them go, wiping the champagne off his coat lapels.
        The music starts up again. 
 
                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
74      INT. AN UPSTAIRS COAT ROOM - TIME LAPSE
 
        A Negro maid sits patiently in the room, watching over Sarah and the 
        coats that Sarah is lying on. A woman enters and, disgusted, pushes 
        Sarah off her fur coat. Eddie appears in the doorway. The woman takes 
        her coat and leaves. Eddie looks at Sarah for a moment, then turns and 
        walks out.
 
                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
75      INT. BILLIARD ROOM AT FINDLEY'S - NIGHT
 
        Findley, drink and cork-tipped cigarette in hand, escorts Bert and 
        Eddie down the stairs to his game room. It is a beautifully appointed 
        salon, wood-paneled, filled with plush divans and decorated with terra-
        cotta Roman statuary. In the center of the room is the billiard table,
        now covered by a cloth. Findley goes to the bar.
 
                                FINDLEY 
                You gentlemen care for a drink?
 
                                EDDIE 
                        (steps briskly into the room)
                No, none for me. Come on, let's play.

                                FINDLEY 
                By all means.

        Eddie eagerly pulls back the cloth that covers the table.  But it's not 
        a pool table -- it's a billiard table.

                                EDDIE 
                I thought we came here to play pool.
 
                                FINDLEY 
                I don't play pool, Mr. Felson. I play billiards. 
                My house, my game. You don't have to play if 
                you don't want to.
 
                                BERT 
                Well, we won't.

                                EDDIE 
                C'mon, Bert. Let me play him. 
 
                                BERT 
                        (to Findley) 
                How much? 

                                FINDLEY 
                Oh, we'll start small ... a hundred dollars a 
                game. 

                                BERT 
                        (to Eddie)
                You ever played billiards before? 

                                EDDIE 
                Sure.
 
                                BERT 
                You hustlin' me?
 
                                FINDLEY 
                I'm sure Mr. Felson knows what he's doing. 
                Certainly you can afford a hundred dollars to 
                find out.
 
                                BERT 
                Deal the cards.
 
        Eddie finishes uncovering the table.  Bert takes a seat. Findley has a 
        mischievous look on his face as he brings out a cloth bag and pours out 
        the three billiard balls on the table.
 
                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
76      INT. BILLIARD GAME - TIME LAPSE
 
        Eddie shoots. His red ball ricochets off the shoulder and returns to 
        kiss the third ball.

                                FINDLEY 
                Beautiful shot, Felson. Beautiful. You've 
                played billiards before, Mr. Felson. Ah, you 
                gentlemen sure you don't care for a drink? 

                                EDDIE 
                Oh no, nothing for me. 

        Findley steps up to the bar, leaving Bert and Eddie alone. 

                                EDDIE 
                        (to Bert)
                How do we stand? 

                                BERT 
                'Bout even.
 
                                EDDIE 
                When do I raise the bet? 

                                BERT 
                I don't know.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Bert, if that's his best game, I can beat him. 

                                BERT 
                Level with me, Eddie. You ever play billiards 
                before? 

                                EDDIE 
                What's the difference? You got a pool cue, 
                balls on the table. All you gotta do is get the 
                feel of it. 
 
                                FINDLEY 
                        (returns with a fresh drink)
                Like to raise the stakes, Mr. Felson?
 
                                EDDIE 
                        (to Bert)
                Okay? 

                                BERT 
                How much?
 
                                FINDLEY 
                Oh, about five hundred.

                                BERT 
                        (to Eddie)
                Do you really think you can beat him?
 
                                FINDLEY 
                Of course he thinks he can beat me, Bert. He 
                wouldn't be playing me if he didn't. Right, 
                Felson?
 
                                BERT 
                I didn't ask him can he beat you. I already 
                know he can beat you. I asked him will he? With 
                Eddie, that's two different things.
 
                                EDDIE 
                I can beat him.
 
                                BERT 
                All right. Five hundred.
 
        Findley points to a statue on a table behind the couch. It is a figure 
        of Pan, with horns sticking up through his curly head, and the legs of 
        a goat extending down below his waist.
 
                                FINDLEY 
                Have you noticed, Bert? This fellow here bears 
                a striking resemblance to you. It seems as 
                though you might have modeled for the artist.
 
                                BERT 
                        (nods)
                It's possible. 

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
77      INT. BILLIARD GAME - TIME LAPSE
 
        Findley completes a shot, then lays his cue gently on the table and 
        goes to the bar. 

                                FINDLEY 
                Mark that one up too, Bert. 

        Eddie, his coat off, rubs his hand nervously.
 
                                EDDIE 
                I'll beat him the next game.
 
                                BERT 
                        (toying with his billfold)
                How're the hands?
 
                                EDDIE 
                They're fine.

                                BERT 
                Well, rack up your cue. We're leavin'. 

                                FINDLEY 
                That seems a shame. The night is young. 

                                BERT 
                The night is two thousand dollars old. 

                                EDDIE 
                Hey, Bert. Wait a minute! 

                                BERT 
                I said we're leavin'.

        Bert turns his back on Eddie and joins Findley at the bar. Eddie stands 
        helplessly for a moment. Findley pours a drink as Eddie approaches.
 
                                EDDIE 
                I can beat him, Bert. Now he suckered me 'cause 
                he knows how to hustle. I didn't think he did. 
                But I can outplay him. I can beat him.
 
                                BERT 
                I don't believe you, Eddie. I think you're 
                still a loser.
 
                                EDDIE 
                All right, then. I'll play him with my own 
                money. 

        He reaches in his pocket, then remembers that he gave his money to 
        Sarah.
 
                                EDDIE 
                I'll be right back. 

        He bounds up the stairs.

                                                                CUT TO:
 
78      INT. UPSTAIRS COAT ROOM - NIGHT
 
        He bursts into the room, goes past Sarah, stretched out on the bed, and 
        takes the money out of her purse. She is facing away from him but her 
        eyes are open. She listens to him as he shuts the door loudly on his 
        way out.
 
                                                                CUT TO:

79      INT. THE BILLIARD ROOM - NIGHT
 
        Eddie leaps down the stairs, two at a time. 

                                EDDIE 
                Okay, c'mon. Let's play.

        Bert eyes Eddie with controlled rage as the two get ready to play again.
 
                                                                DISSOLVE TO:  

80      INT. BILLIARD ROOM - TIME LAPSE
 
        A game has just ended as Sarah quietly descends the stairs. She stands 
        at the rail, listening.

                                EDDIE (o.s.)
                There it is. I'm broke. 

                                FINDLEY (o.s.)
                Ah, that's unfortunate, Mr. Felson. 

                                EDDIE (o.s.)
                For who, Mr. Findley? ... Bert, he only beat me 
                by one point. Now, you can't get off me now. 

                                BERT (o.s.)
                The bank is closed.

        Bert sits with his shoes up on the couch. 

                                EDDIE 
                Please don't get off me now.

                                BERT 
                I know when to quit. You don't. Win or lose, 
                you don't know when to quit.

                                EDDIE 
                        (down on one knee)
                What do you want me to do, huh? What do you 
                want me to do? Just say it and you got it but 
                PLEASE don't get off me now. 

                                SARAH 
                        (from the stairs)
                Don't beg him, Eddie.
 
        Eddie turns and sees her.  

                                EDDIE 
                Go on back to the hotel. 

                                SARAH 
                Please, Eddie, don't beg him.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Would you go on back to the hotel? Take a cab, 
                go on back to the hotel.

                                SARAH 
                Doesn't all of this come through to you, Eddie? 
                Doesn't any of this mean anything to you? That 
                man, this place, the people. They wear masks, 
                Eddie. And underneath the masks they're 
                perverted, twisted, crippled.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Shut up. 

        His eyes are shut tight; his balled-up fists rub against his temples.

                                SARAH 
                        (moving to him)
                Don't wear a mask, Eddie. You don't have to. 
                        (points to Bert) 
                That's Turk, Eddie, the man who broke your 
                thumbs. Only he's not going to break your 
                thumbs. He'll break your heart, your guts. And 
                for the same reason -- 'cause he hates you, 
                'cause of what you are. 'Cause of what you have 
                and he hasn't.
 
                                EDDIE 
                        (rises)
                Would you get off my back, Sarah? Once and for 
                all, will you get out, will you GET OFF MY 
                BACK?! 

        There is a long pause.
 
                                BERT 
                Go ahead and play him, Eddie. Play him for a 
                thousand dollars a game.

        A stunned Eddie moves to the billiard table.  Defeated, Sarah turns and 
        goes up the stairs. The men return to the table to continue their game. 
        Bert, deeply satisfied, puts on his coat and sits to watch the action.
 
                                                                DISSOLVE TO:

81      INT. FINDLEY'S DEN - TIME LAPSE
 
        A shaken Findley flops into a leather swivel chair. A bucket of iced 
        champagne sits on the desk, ready to be emptied. Findley puffs on his 
        cigarette as he looks at the impatient face of Bert, slouching in the 
        chair across from him. Eddie leans against a wall nearby. He is quiet, 
        morose. 

                                FINDLEY 
                Will you take a check, Bert? 

                                BERT 
                        (pause)
                Cash.
 
                                FINDLEY 
                How much do I owe you? 

                                BERT 
                Twelve thousand.
 
        Findley reaches nervously for the bottle, gulps at his drink. Then he 
        unlocks his desk drawer and takes out the money. Eddie looks on as
        Findley gives the money to Bert.

                                FINDLEY 
                Here.
                        (to Eddie)
                Been an interestin' evening. 

                                EDDIE 
                Yeah, sure has.
 
                                FINDLEY 
                        (to a valet)
                Charles, will you call a cab for these 
                gentlemen, please. 
                        (to Eddie)
                I'd show you to the door, but I ... 

                                EDDIE 
                Oh yeah, yeah. You're tired. 
                        (to Bert) 
                And beat. 

                                FINDLEY 
                Yeah. You must come again.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Yeah. Sure. 

        Eddie moves to leave.  Findley and Bert watch him go.

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
82      INT. FINDLEY'S FOYER - NIGHT 

        Eddie waits for Bert to come down the stairs. 

                                BERT 
                There's your share. Three thousand. 

                                CHARLES
                The cab's waiting.
 
                                BERT 
                        (tips him)
                Oh, yeah. Here. Thanks ... C'mon, Eddie, let's 
                go.

                                EDDIE 
                I wanna walk. 

                                BERT 
                It's a long walk. 

                                EDDIE 
                I got time, Bert.
 
                                BERT 
                You want me to tell her for you? 

                                EDDIE 
                Tell her what?
 
                                BERT 
                You gotta be hard, Eddie.

        Eddie abruptly turns and walks out of the house.  Bert watches him for 
        a moment then follows.
 
                                                                CUT TO:

83      INT. BERT'S HOTEL SUITE - LATE NIGHT 
 
        Bert enters his suite, removes his overcoat, then looks at the door 
        that divides his room from Sarah's. He seems hesitant, unsure of 
        himself. He pours himself a drink and downs it in one gulp, walks to 
        the door, listens, and opens it himself without knocking. Sarah is 
        there, seated primly on the bed. There is a drink in her hand, and a 
        suitcase beside her on the bed.  Bert enters her suite and confronts 
        her.
 
                                BERT 
                When are you leaving?

        Sarah's voice is subdued, controlled.
 
                                SARAH 
                In a little while. That's what you want, isn't 
                it?
 
                                BERT 
                It's what Eddie wants. He, uh, told me to give 
                you some money.

        He stands over her, pulling a wad of bills from his pocket.
 
                                SARAH 
                Put it on the bed. That's the way it's done, 
                isn't it?
 
                                BERT 
                        (tossing it there)
                That's the way it's done.
 
                                SARAH 
                And the way you're looking at me, is that the 
                way you look at a man you've just beaten? As if 
                you'd just taken his money, and now all you 
                want is ... his pride?
 
                                BERT
                All I want's the money.
 
                                SARAH 
                Sure, sure, just the money, and the 
                aristocratic pleasure of seeing him fall apart. 
                You're a Roman, Bert. You have to win them all.

        He picks her up and tries to kiss her but she is cold and limp in his 
        arms, so he lets go and she drops back on the bed. Then he turns and 
        walks back into his room. She waits for a moment. Then she takes a 
        cigarette out of a pack, gets up, and goes into his room.
 
                                SARAH 
                        (at the door)
                You got a drink?
 
                                                                DISSOLVE TO:

84      INT. BERT'S HOTEL SUITE - TIME LAPSE
 
        In the bathroom mirror we see Bert asleep on his bed. The sheets are 
        rumpled and tossed about. Then we see Sarah, in her slip, enter the 
        bathroom and shut the door. She takes out her lipstick and scrawls 
        across the image of herself in the glass "Perverted, twisted, 
        crippled." She underlines the word "crippled."
 
                                                                DISSOLVE TO:

85      INT. HOTEL LOBBY - EARLY MORNING
 
        Eddie is just getting back. He walks through the lobby, ignoring the 
        uniformed policeman standing nearby, and stops at the desk. 

                                EDDIE 
                Give me my key, please. Room fifty-seven. 

        The concierge stares dumbly. 

                                EDDIE 
                Well, c'mon, give me my key.  
 
        The concierge hands it to him. Eddie walks quickly toward the elevators.
 
                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
86      INT. HOTEL SUITE - TIME LAPSE
 
        He enters, sees the money on Sarah's bed, puts down his cue case, and 
        turns to see a crowd in the adjoining room. Bert, laying in bed, talks 
        to a plainclothesman who stands over him, taking notes. A photographer 
        with a flash camera stands by the bathroom.

                                PLAINCLOTHESMAN
                Now, let's go over this again.  You say you 
                were in the other room...

                                BERT 
                No, she closed the door.  I told you she closed 
                the door. I was in the other room.  She closed 
                the door, went in there, maybe, I don't know, 
                ten minutes, five minutes...

        Bert stops when he sees Eddie through the open door. A uniformed 
        policeman bars Eddie's entrance.

                                BERT 
                        (to the policeman)
                Hey. Let him come in, huh? 

        Eddie comes in. He looks at the detectives around Bert's bed.
 
                                BERT 
                Eddie? 

        The photographer's bulb flashes as he takes a picture of the bathroom. 
        Eddie pushes by the photographer, then stops as he sees Sarah's body 
        laid out on the tiled floor. He drops to his knees beside her.

                                BERT 
                Eddie?

        Eddie reaches out to touch her, then pulls back his hand. Bert appears 
        at the bathroom door behind him.
 
                                BERT 
                Eddie? She come in here, Eddie. She asked me 
                for a drink. I give her one. We had a few more. 

        Eyes closed, he writhes as he listens to Bert.
 
                                BERT 
                Eddie, she came in here.

        Suddenly he uncoils and lunges at Bert, grasping him by the throat and 
        pushing him back. A policeman untangles them, but Eddie breaks free. We 
        hear Bert scream as he squirms along the floor trying to avoid Eddie's 
        fists.
 
                                                                FADE OUT 
 
87      INT. AMES POOL HALL - LATE AFTERNOON

        FADE IN
 
        Minnesota Fats sits in his chair, engrossed in the afternoon paper. Big 
        John is at a pool table, trying out a few shots. Bert, in dark glasses, 
        stands near the cashier's cage, chucking dice into a leather shaker. 
        The noise of the dice echoes in the slow, late afternoon gloom of Ames. 
        When Bert sees Eddie push open the glass doors, he draws himself up 
        fearfully like a turtle, and motions with his eyes to his men for 
        protection. Eddie, his cue case tucked under his arm, walks straight 
        toward him. He stops, stares at him for a moment, then turns and walks 
        over to Minnesota Fats.
 
                                EDDIE 
                I came to play pool, Fats.
 
                                FATS 
                        (after a glance at Bert)
                That's good, Eddie. For how much?

                                EDDIE 
                You name it.
 
                                FATS 
                Thousand dollars a game.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Let's make it three thousand dollars a game, 
                Fats. C'mon, three thousand dollars. That's my 
                bankroll, my life's savings. 
                        (beat)
                What's the matter, Fats? All you gotta do is 
                beat me the first game and I'm on my way back 
                to Oakland.
 
                                FATS 
                Let's go.

        Fats rises, ready to play. Eddie starts to screw his cue together.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Get on me, Bert. I can't lose.

        He turns to join Fats at the table. The balls are already racked and 
        ready. 

                                FATS
                Willie.

        Willie collects their stake money and prepares to toss the coin. 
        Preacher, Big John draw up their chairs around the table. Bert also 
        takes a seat, but far away, near the coat rack.
 
                                WILLIE
                Call it.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Heads.
 
        Willie taps Fats on the lapel. It's his break. Sausage sends the cue 
        ball down the table and the game begins at once. Fats makes a good 
        break, leaving the cue ball teetering over the far corner pocket. He 
        looks up at Eddie, and steps back. Eddie looks at the lineup of the 
        balls. Then he sets down his cue and walks over to the washroom. He 
        glances at Bert as he sprinkles the powder on his hands.
 
                                EDDIE 
                How shall I play that one, Bert? Play it safe? 
                That's the way you always told me to play it, 
                safe, play the percentage. Well, here we 
                go ... fast and loose. 

        He turns and snatches up his cue.
 
                                EDDIE 
                One ball, corner pocket. 
                        (chalks his cue, lines up his shot) 
                Yeah, percentage players die broke too, don't 
                they, Bert? 

        He rams a bank shot into the pack. The one ball rolls in, while others 
        scatter about the table. The crowd applauds. Eddie moves swiftly to his 
        next shot. As he plays, he talks to Bert.
 
                                EDDIE 
                How can I lose? Twelve ball. 
                        (shot goes in) 
                I mean, how can I lose? Because you were right, 
                Bert. I mean, it's not enough that you just 
                have talent. You gotta have character too. Four 
                ball. 
                        (shot goes in, a pause) 
                Yeah and I sure got character now. I picked it 
                up in a hotel room in Louisville.
 
        Bert and Fats exchange glances.

                                FATS 
                        (from his seat)
                Shoot pool, Fast Eddie.
 
                                EDDIE 
                I'm shootin' pool, Fats. When I miss you can 
                shoot. 

        Eddie returns to his game and Fats waits for his turn, puffing steadily 
        on his cigarette. Bert shifts uneasily in his chair and we hear the 
        pool balls knock together, then slowly roll down the track through the 
        belly of the table.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Five ball. 
                        (shot goes in) 
                ... Fourteen ball. 
                        (shot goes in) 
                ... Four ball. 

        The shot goes in. Eddie looks significantly at Fats who lowers his eyes 
        and puffs on his cigarette.

                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
88      INT. THE GAME - TIME LAPSE

                                A VOICE
                That's game.

        The balls are racked. Eddie sinks shots right and left -- some tricky, 
        some not. Bert and Fats exchange uneasy looks.  Eddie circles the table 
        like a hawk.  Then, Fats is up; his jacket is off, his tie is pulled 
        loose. He makes a shot, chalks his cue.
 
                                FATS 
                Eight ball.

        It's a hard shot and he misses. Eddie moves to take his shot, ignoring 
        Fats altogether.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Thirteen ball.

        Bert looks on. But Eddie is shooting pool now, making all his shots 
        quickly and accurately. A depressed Fats watches him shoot.
 
                                                                DISSOLVE TO:
 
89      INT. THE GAME - TIME LAPSE 

        The clock over the door reads six o'clock. Fats is still in his seat. 
        He has a drink in his hand.
 
                                FATS 
                I quit, Eddie. I can't beat you. Willie, give 
                him the stakes. 
                        (rises, to Bert) 
                You got yourself a pool player. 

                                EDDIE 
                        (softly, as he counts his money)
                Preacher, gimme my coat, will ya?

                                BERT 
                Where do you think you're going? 

        Eddie slips into the jacket, helped by Preacher. 

                                BERT 
                Eddie? ... 
                        (loses it)
                YOU OWE ME MONEY!
 
                                EDDIE 
                        (calmly)
                And just how do you figure that, Bert? What do 
                you figure I owe you? 

                                BERT 
                Half.
 
                                EDDIE 
                In Louisville it was seventy-five per cent. 

                                BERT 
                Well, here it's half.
 
                                EDDIE 
                What if I don't pay ya, Bert?

                                BERT 
                        (chuckling)
                You don't pay me? You gonna get your thumbs 
                broken. 
                        (stands up and paces) 
                And your fingers. And if I want them to, your 
                right arm in three or four places. 

                                FATS 
                Better pay him, Eddie.
 
        Eddie unscrews his cue, thinking it over. Bert's bodyguards stand
        around, waiting for the word. 

                                EDDIE 
                So you figure you're still my manager, huh? 
 
                                BERT 
                I'm a businessman, kid.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Well, you got a lot of games lined up for me? 

                                BERT 
                Yeah, we're gonna make a lotta money together, 
                from now on.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Fifty per cent?

                                BERT 
                No, it don't have to be fifty. It can be 
                thirty ... twenty-five.
 
                                EDDIE 
                We really stuck the knife in her, didn't we, 
                Bert? 

                                BERT 
                        (disgustedly)
                Aaaahhhh!
 
                                EDDIE 
                Boy, we really gave it to her good.

                                BERT 
                If it didn't happen in Louisville, it'd 
                happened someplace else. If it didn't happen 
                now, it'd happen six months from now. That's 
                the kinda dame she was.
 
                                EDDIE 
                And we twisted it, didn't we, Bert? Course, 
                maybe that doesn't stick in your throat cause 
                you spit it out just like you spit out 
                everything else. But it sticks in mine. I loved 
                her, Bert. I traded her in on a pool game. But 
                that wouldn't mean anything to you. Because who 
                did you ever care about? Just win, win, you 
                said, win, that's the important thing. You don't 
                know what winnin' is, Bert. You're a loser.
                'Cause you're dead inside, and you can't live 
                unless you make everything else dead around ya. 

        Fats listens, his head bowed.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Too high, Bert. Price is too high. Because 
                if I take it, she never lived, she never died. 
                And we both know that's not true, Bert, don't 
                we, huh? She lived, she died. Boy, you better 
                ... You tell your boys they better kill me, 
                Bert. They better go all the way with me. 
                Because if they just bust me up, I'll put all 
                those pieces back together again, and so help 
                me, so help me God, Bert ... I'm gonna come 
                back here and I'm gonna kill you.

        Bert's men start to move forward but he stops them with a gesture of 
        his hand. He tries to smile. A friendly smile.
 
                                BERT 
                All right ... All right. 

        Eddie puts away his cue.

                                BERT 
                Only, uh, don't ever walk into a big-time pool 
                hall again.

        Eddie just stares at Bert, then looks over at the downcast face of 
        Minnesota Fats.
 
                                EDDIE 
                Fat man ...

        Fats looks up at Eddie.

                                EDDIE 
                ... you shoot a great game of pool. 

                                FATS 
                        (saluting him with 
                         his glass of whisky)
                So do you, Fast Eddie.

        Eddie takes his cue case and heads for the door. He stops for a moment, 
        looks around at the rows of empty tables, and goes out. Then Ames 
        returns to normal. Fats puts on his coat; Henry sweeps up. And Bert 
        takes his seat again on his throne overlooking Ames, sipping his glass 
        of milk.
 
                                                                FADE OUT


1