movie script: Roxanne’s Game
1. Roxanne’s Game Movie Script
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2. Jack Cooney Pool’s greatest hustler
The pool hustling world has never seen anyone like Roxanne. She blossoms from a naive, oversexed Jewish-American-Princess-Valley-Brat to become slicker than a roomful of high-stakes gamblers. For 20 years, she craftily navigates her supremely talented pool player/ lover through dangerous murky waters filled with eat-’em-alive pool sharks and merciless parasites.
ROXANNE’S GAME dramatizes the true story of two decades of her survival in an exotic, often hilarious, sub-culture inhabited by a carnival of shrewd, rowdy, and deceitful players who feed, but often dupe, their high-rolling backers. All of them loving the only lifestyle they’d ever want. It’s also the story of a maturing teenage girl who learns that affection and love sometimes grow in places where there is no sunlight.
As father and daughter writing partners, we drew upon Fred’s action-filled years as one of the most colorful pool hustlers who ever played, and our mutual years of education and experience in dramatic writing.
Catherine Adami & Fred Bentivegna
Original script by Fred Bentivegna and his daughter, Catherine Bentivegna Adami:
Overhead view of a pool table — a missed shot.
INT. POOL ROOM
SUPER: GRAND POOLROOM, ST. LOUIS MISSOURI
A bad situation is developing. Some tough-looking SWEATORS
are forming up near the pool table. They begin arguing.
I gave Sonny six hundred on that
cue-stick. That cue is mine!
Yeah, well I loaned Sonny four-fifty
on it. What about me?
That stick is only worth about nine
hundred, and he got seven hundred
from me. If anybody winds up with
it, it’s gonna be me!
I don’t care about any of you
motherfuckers, I’m leaving here
with that cue — Sonny’s ass — or
ST. LOUIE SONNY is at the table shooting. His eyes blink
rapidly as he listens to the commotion behind him.
What’s going on, Houseman?
St. Louie Sonny hocked his cue to
four different killers and they’ve
all showed up at the same time.
Sonny is sweating. Keeps stroking and stroking. Then his
face lights up.
He shoots, misses the ball badly, curses profusely, and
smashes the stick to smithereens over the table.
The Sweators all look at each other, stunned, and then they
suddenly start laughing.
That Sonny’s really crazy, ain’t
Ain’t no crazier than we are for
loaning that goofy sumbitch any
Everybody roars with laughter.
THE BACK OF THE POOL ROOM
A stream of long blonde hair flails back and forth on
ROXANNE; thirty-eight, expensively dressed, bejeweled and
beautiful, even when she is fighting mad.
And she is fighting mad right now.
That’s just fucking great, Mick!
All your experience — you still
get the “High Speed Wobbles!”
… Somebody gimme a cigarette!
A large group of spectators surround the pool table. One of
them lifts a pack of cigarettes out of his shirt pocket.
MICK — bespectacled, sportily dressed, forties, with a
strong resemblance to Clark Kent — wrings his hands and sips
coffee on a high wooden player’s chair. His legs are crossed
as he lifts and drops his pool cue softly onto the floor.
Roxanne paces back and forth.
You got a cigarette? Anybody got a
Why do I do this? Why? Why?
Roxanne speed walks up to Mick.
He looks defeated, slumping in the chair. He scratches his
head and looks down and away, staring at the floor.
Roxanne wags her fingers at Mick.
You’ve lost it, Mick, you’ve
fucking lost it!
A man offers her a cigarette and lights it for her.
I could have married a doctor…
With that, Mick smirks.
(to the crowd)
He can’t play anymore. I don’t
know why we bother. He should just
go back home to Pasadena and get a
fuckin’ day job.
Roxanne tries to make eye contact with the various Sweators
in the crowd while she rants.
Wasted my whole life on this one.
He plays like dog shit.
Mick chalks his cue, laboriously gets out of the chair and
walks over to the pool table to take his shot. Takes a look
at the crowd and leans over the table.
Roxanne shakes her head and tosses her hair. She rolls her
pretty blue eyes like only she can.
… Wasted my life.
The poolroom clock shows six a.m. There is a sound of BALLS BREAKING.
EXT. UPPER MIDDLE-CLASS SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA HOME – DAY
SUPER: “THE VALLEY, TWENTY YEARS EARLIER”
A sports car parked outside the house.
INT. KITCHEN – SAME
Birds chirping outside. Inside the house coffee is poured
into a cup.
EXT. SPORTS CAR (PARKED) – DAY
The car is rocking, long blonde swishes back and forth.
Roxanne, age seventeen, is atop and kissing HIPPIE BOY.
INSERT – THE DASHBOARD CLOCK
Turns to 6:00 a.m.
A half-smoked joint in the ashtray.
DISK JOCKEY (V.O. CAR RADIO)
G-OO-D Morning to ya, Valley Folk.
In Saigon it’s nearly dinner
Rock song of 1970 plays.
INT. SCHWARTZ HOUSE – SAME
HERMAN SCHWARTZ, late fifties, short, blank, expressionless
man in a cheap suit and briefcase, approaches the front door
to leave for work where…
MAURA SCHWARTZ, early fifties, in a fluffy pink robe, hair in
curlers, holds coffee and a cigarette.
Maura, hearing the loud music, looks outside and spots
Roxanne in the car.
Roxanne… is that you out there?
My God… is that you!
Herman Schwartz, like a computerized robot, kisses his wife
on the cheek, walks to driveway, gets in car, and pulls out
into the street.
Maura Schwartz, furious, starts to scream and runs across the
lawn to the Hippie Boy’s car.
Roxanne hears her mother and suddenly climbs on top of the
hippie boy, who is startled, turned on, and stoned.
Roxanne starts humping him and moaning, looking straight into
her mother’s face and then to the driveway toward her father,
who looks as if he were a horse with blinders.
Herman drives away.
Herman! Help me!
Maura, in her slippers and still holding the coffee, walks to
the driver door of the car.
Roxanne is feigning ecstasy.
Maura stops for a moment and stares at the couple, then opens
the car door and throws the hot coffee into the boy’s face,
causing Roxanne to fall out onto the street.
Laura drags a screaming Roxanne by her long blonde hair,
across the lawn and toward the house.
Ma, Ma! Leave me alone!
Sound of a car door slamming shut. The Hippie Boy burns
rubber and drives off.
Other suburban couples are out on their lawns.
What’re you all looking at? You’ve
never had a teenager? Look at me,
I’m nearly sixty! You think I
planned this one?
The neighbors look away.
Maura pushes Roxanne into the house and slams the door.
INT. SCHWARTZ HOUSE
Roxanne runs upstairs into her messy room, full of Star
magazines, posters and flower-child stuff, and locks the
So, I guess you’re going to miss
school again, smart ass! Go right
A current rock tune begins to play loudly. Roxanne pulls her
dress over her head and flops down on the messy bed in her
white bra and underwear.
She opens a Hollywood magazine, smiles and giggles to
herself, and slowly falls asleep.
EXT./INT. SUBURBAN ETHNIC RESTAURANT – NIGHT
Maura and Roxanne in dresses and jewelry walk up the ramp.
Maura keeps fidgeting with Roxanne’s clothes, long hair and
Oy! I wish you would keep your
Maura tries to keep her daughter’s hair up with a barrette.
MANNY LOWE, sixtyish, also with a Brooklyn accent, greets
them at the door. He has a shoe salesman air about him.
Hello, hello! You two gorgeous
Maura looks delighted to see Manny. Manny hugs and kisses
both Maura and Roxanne. Roxanne gives Manny a big hug.
It’s not every day my only niece
turns eighteen! Where’s Herman?
Big surprise. What else does that
Roxanne and Maura follow Manny, who leads them to a booth in
the busy restaurant.
There’s someone here I’d like you
two to meet… Barry Stone’s kid,
Adam — from the neighborhood in
Brooklyn… Kid’s got an internship
at Paramount this summer… Missed
the draft due to his jaw disease
The three approach the booth. There is a young man sitting
ADAM STONE, an extremely geeky boy around twenty-one, turns
and smiles, to reveal a mouth full of braces.
Maura, acting like she is in on it, pushes a stunned Roxanne
Adam stands to shake their hands.
Roxanne gives her mother a sinister look.
… So you work at Paramount?
Roxanne just loves movies. Who is
that you like now, dear? Oh,
what’s her name? I think she’s
Oh, yeah, Goldie Hawn. So skinny,
that Goldie Hawn! Don’t you think
she’s too skinny, Adam? Why can’t
she be nice and healthy… like our
She means fat.
Adam has food stuck in his braces.
Roxanne looks horrified, then laughs.
Roxanne leans her head back and notices a DARK OLDER MAN. He
is standing and drinking a cocktail at the bar, winking at
She takes her long hair out of her barrette and waves it
around. Seductively makes eye contact. Licks her lips.
Dark older man is kind of cool and laughs.
Adam the Geek watches, jaw dropped, and is entranced.
Maura notices what Roxanne is doing from the corner of her
eye and smacks the back of Roxanne’s head.
— and God has chosen to punish me
with this one.
Adam the Geek snaps out of the trance.
EXT. RESTAURANT – MOMENTS LATER
Roxanne, Maura, Manny, and Adam wait for the valet to bring
Thank you for dinner and
introducing Roxanne to your nice
friend Adam. Adam, you must tell
your father Maura Schwartz says hi.
Yeah, thanks for remembering, Uncle
Gimmee a hug!
Manny and Roxanne embrace. He pretends to do the Tango with
You know what would make me so
happy? If you would have lunch
with Adam at the studio tomorrow.
Come on, do it for your mother…
Manny leans over to Roxanne.
(whispers in Roxanne’s ear)
My nagging sister, your mother,
she’s so worried about you, thinks
a nice boy is the answer… you get
married… buy a house…
Look at him.
Both Roxanne and Uncle Manny take a look at Adam.
Okay, he’s no Dean Martin, but he’s
got money and a future.
Uncle Manny’s eyes light up to close the sale.
I don’t want to live off of his
I want to make my own money. And I
will one day, doing something
(a little pissed)
I can’t say your grades are good
enough to get you there.
Roxanne looks upset.
Uncle Manny pulls out a mezuzah (Jewish religious necklace)
and puts it around Roxanne’s neck, then reaches into his coat
pocket and hands her a twenty dollar bill.
Oh, thank you, Uncle!
Forget school. Strength and beauty
will take you far. That’s your
talent. Use it. Happy Birthday.
Manny then goes in for the kill.
Will you go to lunch with Adam
tomorrow? You can take the day off
EXT. MOVIE STUDIO – DAY
Roxanne drives through the studio gates on a bright sunny
day. She meets Adam in the parking lot.
Adam is dressed in white shorts with knee socks. Roxanne has
on a sexy hippie dress and sunglasses.
… So, if you’re lucky I could
introduce you to somebody famous.
Adam smiles his geeky smile.
I figure if I work my way up here,
I’ll be running the studio someday.
I just love movies! Do you love movies?
I love all kinds: action, adventure, comedy,
Adam winks at her and gets shy.
God, Roxanne… you are so-o-o
Adam leans in closer to Roxanne, his mouth open, literally
drooling a bit.
Roxanne backs away.
PRODUCER, early thirties, muscular, tanned, in a golf cart,
stops to yell at Adam.
Hey kid! We need that mud on the
set for the pig sty scene. Now!
Roxanne giggles, eyes Producer…
Adam turns to Roxanne smiling.
Producer, while driving the golf cart, turns around and
smiles at Roxanne, who smiles back.
Could you wait here for me? I’ll
be back in a jiffy and we’ll go to
the commissary to eat. Lots of
stars there. I think they have
Yeah, it’s meatloaf Thursday.
Sure, just leave me some money for
Well, I don’t have any change.
Adam takes out his wallet and Roxanne, spotting a twenty
dollar bill, takes it from his hand.
Don’t worry. I’ll bring you back
Roxanne smiles at Adam, who is running away, changing his
frown into a big, closed-eye smile.
I’ll be back ASAP. Don’t leave!
Adam, still smiling at Roxanne, accidentally runs into
someone, falls and gets up. Roxanne starts to walk backward
while Adam runs around the corner and disappears.
Roxanne smiles till he leaves, then shakes her head and
starts to walk around the studio, checking everybody out.
She lights a cigarette awkwardly — a novice smoker.
Notices a woman in sunglasses and long blonde hair — a lookalike
for Goldie Hawn — and begins to follow her.
She continues to follow her onto the street outside the
INT. STUDIO SET – DAY
Adam is supervising the moving of loads of mud into the sty
with a bunch of pigs around.
He is trying to finish as quickly as possible.
BACK TO STREET
Roxanne follows Goldie Hawn look-alike to the doorway.
Goldie Hawn look-alike walks through the door.
Roxanne takes a deep breath and follows her in.
INT. STUDIO BAR
A jukebox plays loudly.
The place is very dark, with various colored lights. Has a
Rat Pack feel to it. Old movie star types intermingle with
young, good-looking movie star types. There is an old-fashioned
bartender. Sounds of glasses clinking… the sound
of pool balls clicking on a table in the back.
We hear the shouting of FREDDY — twenty-eight years old,
bearded, glasses, long-haired, tall, thin, and dressed in
Hippie threads — a very loud Italian-American with an
ethnic, South Side of Chicago accent.
He keeps moaning and groaning, as he appears to be losing at
Eight-Ball, and biting his fist.
Freddy is playing OLDER ACTOR, late forties, tan, nice hair,
wearing a white leisure suit.
Roxanne becomes focused on Freddy’s table as the Goldie Hawn
look-alike sits down to watch as well.
Freddy kind of bows to the Goldie Hawn look-alike,
acknowledging her, but not going “ga ga,” and she nods back
to him, shaking her hand at Freddy in a “just stop it”
Freddy notices Roxanne who almost gets knocked over by
people walking in the aisle.
The game ends. Roxanne, sitting at the bar, sees everyone
being paid a few dollars or so.
(to Older Actor)
You robbed me again!
Don’t sweat it, kid.
That’s three in a row. You beach
boys sure can stroke a cue. Nice
and steady … not me … too
nervous! My mother made me a
neurotic mess, I tell you!
Okay, Freddy, how about a few more
games? I’m sure there’s some hope
With that Freddy starts to rack the balls again.
Sure! Beast, get it going for a
coupla more games…
ANSEL, or the “FILTHY BEAST,” a tall “Outside Man” (someone
who handles the action other than the player) in his late
thirties, in an out-of-style three-piece suit.
He walks around the room collecting bets on a little scratch
pad. Roxanne can see that everyone is betting on Old Actor.
The Beast passes Roxanne, but she grabs him by the arm as he
tries to go to the next person…
Hey yourself, Angel. You in?
Yeah, give me Freddy for twenty.
Listen, child, I wouldn’t go in on
this game. I wouldn’t want to see
you lose all that money…
especially if you’re a struggling
actress or something.
Ansel looks around guiltily. He doesn’t seem to want her to
make the bet.
I said, Freddy for twenty.
A big, beefy BARTENDER with a straw in his mouth and arms
crossed, intervenes, intimidating Ansel.
You heard the lady, she wants
Freddy for twenty.
Yeah, Freddy for twenty.
Ansel gives the bartender a dirty look, moves onto the next
Sweator and the game begins.
EXT. STUDIO LOT – SAME
Adam returns to the corner where he left Roxanne.
Adam stands alone, disappointed.
Passerby, walking past the dirty Adam, turns his nose up at
INT. STUDIO HANGOUT BAR – SAME
MONTAGE OF POOL ACTION
— Freddy starts winning, but the crowd still bets on OldActor.
— Roxanne stares devotedly at the cash floating around the room, and the charismatic Freddy.
INT. STUDIO HANGOUT BAR – NIGHT
INSERT – THE BAR’S CLOCK TURNS TO EIGHT P.M.
BACK TO SCENE
Ansel gives Freddy a look, makes a closed fist and places it in the middle of his chest.
Freddy, surreptitiously responds with an open palm, fingers extended, and places his hand palm down in the middle of his chest.
Freddy then scratches on the eight ball, losing the game. Ansel secretly nods his head in approval.
Freddy unscrews his cue-stick, packs his cue case, and starts to walk out with Ansel. There is a look of elation from the Old Actor.
Roxanne has a look of shock on her face, leaves two dollars on the bar, follows Freddy and Ansel out, and tries to catch up.
Roxanne intercepts Freddy outside.
Why’d you lose the last game?
I think you lost on purpose!
I bet everything I was winning on you!
Everybody was betting on you!
— Everybody but the Beast! Sorry
darlin’, but I wasn’t gonna let you
get away with the lion’s share of
my hustle. You had to go down,
just like everybody else.
Freddy takes out a cigarette and offers Roxanne one.
She refuses. He lights the cigarette.
… Plus, I have to be able to play
in there again… Leave my opponent
with a good taste in his mouth…Got
a few more nights left here,you dig?
(starting to cry)
But that was my birthday money!
Freddy starts to walk away to catch up with Ansel. He turns and says…
You stuck your nose where it didn’t
belong. You were out of your league
in there, kid.
Freddy walks away, with his pool cue over his back.
My birthday money!
Freddy stops in his tracks.
Beast! Wait in Jesse’s car for me.
An uncomfortable Freddy attempts to mollify Roxanne.
Please, please — stop crying. I can’t
stand it! Here’s a twenty to shut you up.
“Hippie” Jesse’s gonna beat me for this.
That’s his coupe were using, and I still owe
him from Vegas.
Roxanne is calming down and even smiling a little.
Freddy keeps looking over at Ansel honking the horn.
Roxanne and Freddy start walking to the coupe.
Listen. You hungry? I sure do get hungry playing pool.
If I were home, I could get my mother to fix me something to eat.
Freddy pats his skinny stomach.
You don’t cook, do you? We don’t have a stove
at the motel…
Then you don’t ever have to worry about me
falling for you. I need me a woman who can
cook. Can’t bring any other kind home to my
Freddy pulls out a crucifix under his “Indian Style” Hippie threads and shows it to her.
Then you have to worry about me falling for you.
I’m not looking to make my parents happy — There’s
a stove at my house.
Roxanne and Freddy, standing beside the car, both laugh.
I’m Freddy, but you can call me “The Beard.”
No, I like Freddy better.
Freddy and Roxanne both smile. Freddy opens the door.
That there’s Ansel, but we all call him
The Filthy Beast, but I’m sure you don’t
like him too much right now… and your
Roxanne climbs in the back of the coupe.
INT. CAR (MOVING) – NIGHT
Ansel points out the window at a group of factory workers leaving a plant.
Take a look at those working stiffs out there
in the “real world,” will ya. That’s where you’re
gonna windup, Beard, if you don’t start shootin
Roxanne notices that the mere thought of a normal job has sent a cold chill through Freddy.
INT. SCHWARTZ HOUSE – KITCHEN
Freddy closes the kitchen cupboard.
He is wearing a “Kosher Only” apron with a joint in his mouth.
Freddy picks up a bag of dust-covered egg noodles.
He blows the dust off the bag and it covers his glasses with dust so he can’t see.
The two of them laugh.
Roxanne sits on a stool laughing, waiting for him to pass her the joint.
Roxanne lights candles and incense while Freddy cooks.
Your mother’s not much of a cook, either, I take it.
Not if she can help it.
You sure your mother can’t hear us?
I told you already. My mother takes a pill at nine
and doesn’t wake up till six. She’s been doing
it as far back as I can remember, and my dad
is out of town for work…(quietly) He’s always working.
You got money?
Roxanne stops lighting the candle for a moment. No one has ever asked her this before.
It’s a simple question. You just look like you got
a nice thing going on here.
Freddy stirs the noodles in the boiling water.
Looks can be deceiving. What little they do have
is locked up so tight, I’ll never see any of it
…how ‘bout you?
Freddy dumps the noodles into a colander.
I’m flattered that you ask. I can tell that you
haven’t seen too much outside these walls
have you? How do I know that? Living on the
road has given me a very sharp perspective.
Roxanne focuses in, and gets closer to the bowl of noodles to hear what he is saying.
Whereas you’ve this nice house –with a pool
— which you might think is just so-so… My
parents live in a one-bedroom apartment above
my Uncle’s bar on the South Side of Chicago…
Freddy feeds her some noodles, and she smiles like a little child.
Well, lucky for you I’m a Sicilian man and
know how to cook for myself. Egg noodles,
butter and garlic! Mangia! Mangia!
Roxanne and Freddy dive into the bowl.
So, why do you do it?
Play pool and travel around the country.
Easy to answer, child… See the world, meet
different types of people… A lunch pail and
a thermos ain’t my kinda thing. In my vocation,
us socially unfortunates can thrive. What about
Quit school and make money like you.
Like me? You’re crazy! Your mother must
not beat you enough.
They leave the kitchen. Suddenly, Roxanne lunges in for a
kiss, expecting that’s what men want. Looking at those pretty
eyes, he strokes her cheek, bends toward her lips — then
You’re too young for me, honey.
Freddy pauses, and looks up. He points his pool stick up the
stairs, to her mother’s bedroom.
… And I got that thing about
EXT./INT. SCHWARTZ GARAGE – MOMENTS LATER
The two walk in and start playing on a cheap pool table with
the garage door open, looking out onto the street.
EXT. SCHWARTZ HOUSE – STREET – SAME
Ansel’s coupe pulls up and Jesse, late thirties, looking
exactly like the Dark Older Man that Roxanne had flirted with
in the restaurant, slams the door and starts to yell, until
he walks up to the garage and sees Roxanne.
Where the fuck you been, Beard? I
had to have The Beast take me here
to get you. We’re leaving here!
There’s action in ‘Frisco… Big
game with a “Great Man,” if we
leave now we can get in on it
‘Frisco, already? But I didn’t get
to go to Disneyland yet.
Get in the car, kid.
Freddy gets the nod from Jesse and grabs his coat and cue.
(to Roxanne lasciviously)
How you doing, Cher’?
Jesse pulls out a pack of cigarettes from his dark suit and
Roxanne spots a gun. Her eyes open wide.
Freddy returns with his coat and pool cue.
Jesse and Roxanne stand there sizing each other up. Freddy
sees what is going on and tries to hurry Jesse toward the
Come on Jesse, I’m ready.
Jesse does not answer, just keeps staring at Roxanne in the
You ever been to ‘Frisco…
When Jesse pronounces her name he lets it roll slowly off his
You ever been to ‘Frisco —
No, I haven’t.
That’s a real shame. Real shame,
Yeah, real shame.
Freddy gives Jesse another look. Ansel honks the horn.
Alright, I’ll see you later
Jesse saunters across the lawn toward the car, while Freddy
hurries ahead of him, throws his stuff in the trunk and gets
in. Roxanne just stares at Jesse from the front door stoop.
Jesse slowly opens the car door, puts out a cigarette, smiles
at Roxanne and eases his way in. Suddenly…
Wait! Wait! I wanna go with you!
Can I go with you?
INT. CAR (PARKED) – SAME
Freddy frowns and bangs his head against the back seat.
We got Little Bo Peep on deck here.
Jesse, looking back to Ansel and Freddy in victory, hee-haws.
Well, looky here… Alright Cher’,
you got about two minutes.
Jesse looks at his gold watch, very seriously.
No, No, No!
INT. SCHWARTZ HOUSE – SAME
Roxanne runs frantically up the stairs,ripping through the
clothes in her messy room. A driving rock song plays on the
Maura rustles in her bed with an eye shade on.
Roxanne grabs her backpack and throws a couple of things
inside: clothing, brush, makeup, a Star magazine, and a
birthday card from her father.
INT. CAR (PARKED) – SAME
You tell her to bring a rope?
(yelling out the window)
Bring a long rope, Cher’!
Roxanne walks to window and yells out.
A rope? Why a rope?
Lights from a few windows on the block of suburban houses
start to flicker on.
Don’t ask Cher’, just do… You got
about thirty seconds left!
Roxanne runs down the stairs, knocking stuff over, grabs a
rope from the closet, and starts to head out the door when…
MAURA SCHWARTZ (O.S.)
Roxanne, Roxanne? Is that you,
honey? Are you okay?
HIPPIE JESSE (V.O.)
… nineteen, eighteen…
Roxanne thinks for a second, grabs chalk from the kitchen
chalkboard and writes:
“Mom. Will call. Love R.”
Roxanne runs across the lawn, almost tripping in her bell
… three, two…
Roxanne just makes it to the coupe. Jesse pulls his seat
forward and pushes Roxanne’s butt in, shoving her face
forward, into the back seat with Freddy.
Jesse slams the door and Ansel screeches off.
INT. CAR (MOVING) – SAME
Roxanne laughs hysterically, breathing heavily from running,
her face in Freddy’s lap.
I’m getting you on a bus back to
the Valley first thing tomorrow
morning. This ain’t right.
Roxanne sits up and puts her fingers over his mouth to shut
him up, shakes her head no, and smiles.
One more thing, Cher’, I don’t like
smart broads. Every night before
we go to bed I’m going to put a
Florida orange and the five-ball on
top of the dresser. If you ever
get to where you can tell the
difference, I’m going to boot you
in the ass and ship you back home
to mommy. Okay, now let’s go take
care of this Great Man.
What’s a Great Man?
A Great Man has nothing to do with
accomplishment. A Great Man is how
we affectionately refer to somebody
who is a tremendous absorber of
punishment… someone who can take
brutal pool beatings and keep
paying off like a slot machine…
an exceptional sucker in other
EXT. POOL CLUB IN SAN FRAN TENDERLOIN AREA – DAY
Ansel’s car pulls up in front of club.
You ain’t eating nothin’ ‘til you
That’s the problem with you
hillbillies… not the most
epicurean of sorts.
Epicure your ass right into that
pool room, you owing-me-big-time from-
See the love?
Go get us some coffee.
Jesse hands her two dollars and walks away.
Why do they call him Hippie Jesse?
He’s a red-neck!
He beat up three Hippies with a
pool cue once.
INT. BAR ROOM POOL TABLE – FLASHBACK
A DOPEY HIPPIE puts his hands up in surrender and giggles to
Jesse that he doesn’t have money to pay for the game he just
I’m gonna have to owe you for that
game. Better’n cheating ya’.
Jesse’s fille, (pronounced philly, like the city) or the
player he is staking, is a young black man who just stands
calmly next to Jesse with his pool cue over his shoulder,
ready to leave.
Two additional DROOPY EYED, STONED HIPPIES come to their
friends aid and admonish Jesse.
What’s the big deal about money,
man? It’s only good for two things
anyway, buying drugs and beer!
Blow, man, because your kind don’t
belong here anyway!
With that, Jesse turns violent and bashes the first Hippie
with a house cue-stick, then finishes off the other two the
same way, drops the broken cue on the floor, pulls his gun
and backs out, remarking:
Money is always a big deal with me,
you fucking freaks!
The three Hippies are shown unconscious, clumped in a pile.
BACK TO PRESENT DAY
MONTAGE OF THE ACTION
— Lots of games played by the tired and hungry Freddy.
— Roxanne is tired but enjoying the action.
— Men eye her hungrily.
— Jesse gives them a warning nod and a flash of his gun,
indicating to leave her alone.
BACK TO SCENE
That there is One-Pocket, the
world’s hardest pool game.
How do you play that?
Each player gets an opposite corner
pocket. The first guy to make
eight balls in his own pocket wins.
You don’t have to call your shot,
any way they go in is okay.
How is it different from Nine-Ball?
Well, it’s like this. If you were
gonna be in a foxhole in war time,
you’d want to be with a Nine-Ball
player. But if you were a
guerilla, operating behind the
lines, you’d want to be with a One-
MONTAGE OF THE POOL ACTION
— Freddy – Plays and wins.
— Roxanne – Watching, has high energy, seeing they’ve won a
lot of money.
— Jesse – Stops his card game and goes into a corner to
count Freddy’s winnings.
— Freddy – Exhausted and starving, crams two hot dogs
that Ansel gives him into his mouth.
— Enter BUGS – A black man with a voice like Barry White.
BACK TO SCENE
You is just a slave to that man.
(choking on dogs)
I know it! I know it!
(after Bugs moves on)
That’s Bugs, one of the all-timegreats…
from Chicago… one of
the guys who turned me out when I
was a kid.
Jesse approaches Roxanne, flashing her his fat bankroll.
How you feeling, Cher’?
INT. HOTEL ROOM – NIGHT
A seductive song plays. Roxanne and Jesse make love — it
only lasts a few moments…
Jesse then rolls over and soon starts snoring.
Roxanne sits up, a frustrated questioning look adorns her
Ansel is sacked out on the couch
Freddy sleeps in the bathroom. Towels are his pillow and
blanket, a copy of Machiavelli’s “THE PRINCE” is at his side
INT. NEW POOL ROOM – NIGHT
I’ve only got about two dollars
left, and I’m getting tired of this
waitress shit. When am I going to
get a chance to make my own money?
Jesse’s rolling in it. Can’t you
Jesse is cheap. He’s a cheap,
stubborn hillbilly and that’s
probably why he’s rolling in it.
Don’t forget, I warned you about
him, didn’t I? Ain’t no lover boy
either — I guess you found that
… Only redeeming quality is he
can find high rollers, and spot
thoroughbred players like no other.
Eventually he leads you somewhere
good… but he could care less
about feeding ya.
Freddy lifts up his shirt to point to a skinny belly.
Look at the bones jutting out!
Your bones? Look at mine!
Roxanne grabs Freddy’s hands and places them around her waist
— his hands tremble slightly at her touch. They linger
maybe longer than they should.
My mother wouldn’t recognize me if
she saw me now!
Freddy, suddenly, and awkwardly, pulls his hands away.
Girlfriends and wives of other pool players who look more put
together and confident, make fun of Roxanne while she
stumbles around the room trying to be functional.
She brings drinks to Jesse’s various charges, who are playing
at different tables.
Jesse puts his arm around Roxanne when he notices the women
knocking her in a lame attempt at reassurance. She pulls
Roxanne goes to Freddy who is standing next to a wall phone.
Freddy surveys the room and begins pontificating to Roxanne.
Here we are: A jail-bait, flower
child, Jewish princess, an Italian
philosopher from the great South
Side of Chicago, an illiterate
backer from Louisiana, and a
scruffy New York gypsy bookmaker.
— Hustling pool — you got all
colors, races, ages, genders. You
get it? Hustling don’t
Freddy grabs a passerby with a pool cue and money in his
hand. Stops him, takes the money, counts it, sees it is a
pittance, frowns, and then gives it back.
No special requirements to be a
hustler. Only thing anybody cares
about in a pool room, is how much
money a guy’s got in his pocket,
and how fast you can beat him out
(picking up the phone)
I gotta call home, let my mom know
INSERT – ROXANNE ON THE PHONE
INTERCUT CONVERSATION – ROXANNE AND HER MOTHER (MUTE)
Both mother and daughter are yelling hysterically.
(still lecturing Roxanne, who
is trying to listen to her
mother and Freddy at the same
— Take a stockbroker. Makes big
money, right? But what did he
really have to do to make money? —
Dick! — a few stinking phone
Roxanne nods her head at Freddy while getting blasted by her
mom at full volume.
Know what I have to do to make
money? Go for days without sleep
sometimes, with good old boys with
guns standing around… knowing if
I don’t make the shot I do my
sleeping on a bus station bench.
(talking into phone)
I’m not leaving till these guys pay
me what they owe me!
(paying no attention to
Yeah babe, this road is a hard
road. It’s hard but it’s fair.
It’s all about winning. Keep the
same head playing for two dollars
or two thousand. The importance of
just winning is the same. That’s hustlin’.
Freddy points his finger at Roxanne to imbed the lesson.
(continues to wax
… And don’t ever think we all
wouldn’t rob you blind if we got
half a chance.
Roxanne hangs up the phone violently.
EXT. A NEW SOUTHERN POOL ROOM – NIGHT
Jesse, Roxanne, and Freddy enter pool room.
Now this smells like money!
Freddy flips for the first break with his new-found opponent.
SUPER: TWO DAYS LATER
Freddy’s opponent, looking disheveled, is paying him off,
throwing big money on the table.
Roxanne is mesmerized by a shaving kit that is being filled
EXT. MOTEL – DAY
Dirty and exhausted, Ansel, Freddy, Jesse, and Roxanne head
into the motel.
They walk past the swimming pool where the wives of other
hustlers she had seen in the pool room are sunbathing.
The ladies are painting their toe nails, drinking iced tea
and smoking cigarettes.
Sequential images of them as they snicker and stare at the
tired, unkempt Roxanne.
INT. MOTEL ROOM
The four pool musketeers enter the motel room. Roxanne
immediately lies on the bed, exhausted.
I’m starving. Let’s go get
Girl, you better get off that bed
and head down to the store —
you’re making us breakfast.
Jesse starts to undress and move toward the shower. He
throws a ten dollar bill on the bed and closes the door.
He’s kidding, right?
No, he ain’t You’d better just do
what he says… or else. Jesse
hasn’t slept in two days… you’re
just lucky Freddy won.
— And who stayed up with him?
Go, before he gets out of the
Weak, in disarray, and pissed off, Roxanne leaves the hotel
LATER – IN THE KITCHENETTE
Roxanne does not know how to cook and fumbles in the
kitchenette. She is crying.
Freddy enters and sees what’s going on. While Jesse is on
the bed, Freddy starts making the eggs for her.
Roxanne stops crying. Freddy strokes her hair.
Jesse shakes out of bed and sees that Freddy is helping her.
He goes into the kitchen and slaps her disdainfully, in the
Freddy glares at Jesse, but does nothing and stays out of it.
Where’s my cut of the money?
Oh, your cut of the money?
Jesse, snickering, throws a dollar on the bed.
Roxanne stares at the dollar, wide-eyed and disbelieving,
then she erupts. She lunges at Jesse, and tries to take his
eyes out. He fends her off easily, then he pulls his gun on
her and motions her away — laughing the whole time.
Freddy and Ansel look on, ashamed to be witnessing this.
EXT. MOTEL ROOM DOORWAY – DAY
Jesse, dressed to the nines, with a suitcase, peeks in.
… Leaving for a couple of days.
Got to pay some people.
Jesse lights a cigarette.
… Few ex-wives. Tell Freddy
we’re even. The broad is yours.
Lose her though, by the next time I
I hear ya.
Oh yeah, you’ll have to take them
in your own car. I got somebody
hauling the Beastmobile down here
for you tomorrow.
Jesse laughs hysterically and exits.
INT. MOTEL ROOM – NIGHT
Freddy and Roxanne are eating snack foods on the bed.
Thank God he’s gone!
It’s time you left, too, honey.
I can’t take care of you. You need
someone to do that for you.
I’m going to find a way to make my
own money… and I’m not going to
depend on someone like Jesse to do
Are you really committed to being a
Freddy pauses and looks her over. He’s considering the
awesome responsibility of being the one to send her on a
Maybe I should induct you into our
“Society” and show you some
of the hustler’s secret signs and
Roxanne’s face lights up and she becomes immediately
Okay. Lesson One, you got to learn
about “Tom” and “George” “Tom” is
a spoken code, and it always means
something is bad, and “George”
always means something is good.
When you use either of those words
in a sentence it tips off your
fellow hustler if a situation is
either good or bad.
Clear? Tom, bad, George, good.
You said if I’d drive you to the
spot, I could bet on you, right?FREDDY
— Let’s get out of here. Now that
Jesse’s gone maybe I can make both
of us some money. You just keep
the men preoccupied like you do.
What… Who me?
Yeah, yeah, princess, get your
hustle on. No more kid stuff.
Pool baby, pool. That’ the name
of the game.
They walk downstairs, and then climb into the motel van and
INT./EXT. CAR (MOVING) – DAY
The valet drives them into town.
Hey, where’s The Beast?
Oh, probably blacked out somewhere
on liquor. He doesn’t use money
for anything good. He stays broke
square gambling: horses, dogs,
INT. SMALL BAR – NIGHT
Freddy and Roxanne enter.
Don’t talk to me unless I speak to
you first, and never talk to
anybody about anything personal.
Capisce. Learn how to keep people
cool with just a look.
So we don’t have to talk, we’re
gonna use hustler hand signals to
tip each other off.
A closed fist in the middle of your
chest means “Tom” or something’s
An open hand, fingers extended,
palm down in the middle of your
chest means “George” or that
everything is okay.
Roxanne nods understandingly.
There’s more that I could show you,
but this should be enough to keep
us out of trouble.
Does Jesse know the signals and
You kidding!? He’s a backer. A
backer to us is only a small step
removed from normal society. We
never wake up backers or square
johns! You gotta stay loyal to the
players. Got me?
Yeah, I gotcha.
I shouldn’t be showing you all
this, but I’m trying to give you a
fighting chance in this racket.
MONTAGE OF FREDDY PLAYING AND WINNING.
— Roxanne flirts with the men in the room.
— Freddy even lets her hold the money and pick it up from
the table which makes her feel good.
— Roxanne and Freddy leave the bar hand in hand, like
— They approach a dead-end looking town street.
BACK TO SCENE
Suddenly, a pick-up truck pulls up. The guy Freddy just beat
jumps out with a gun, runs up to Freddy, and sticks him up.
Roxanne starts screaming and jumping up and down.
Just shut her up and give me your
Pretty low, Bubba.
Give it up. Now!
… Stealing the money I stole from
you. It’s real easy to rob with a
gun. A lot harder with a pool cue.
Freddy starts to laugh at the portly guy in a Budweiser Tshirt
and hands over a wad of cash from his pocket.
Shut the fuck up, moron! I said
all the money!
What are you talking about?
All the money!
Freddy puts his hand in his shirt and gives him another wad
of cash. Roxanne looks confused.
Yeah, that’s right.
Freddy acts pissed, defeated. Stick-up guy shoots the gun
off up into the air and drives off excited.
Freddy, are you okay?
Yeah, I’m okay.
Freddy laughs loudly, takes off his shoe and reveals a third
wad of cash.
These are all the big bills! We’re
still ahead! Let’s just get back
to the motel.
The two start walking up a quiet country road when suddenly,
Roxanne hails down a passing squad car.
An excited Roxanne tells the police they were robbed.
Freddy and Roxanne get in the police car with the patrolmen
and drive away.
INT. POLICE STATION – NIGHT
We picked that guy up. Sheriff
questioned him. Got a different
story. Said he stuck you up with a
cue stick! Said he beat you in
pool fair and square, and you’re
just a sore loser.
(to the Sergeant; angry)
I don’t care so much that the guy
robbed me — because he didn’t get
all the money — but when he says
he could beat me playing pool,
that’s too much! I shot that guys
nuts off. I murdered him… blood
all over the floor. That guy is a
certified pool sucker!
Well now, I don’t know who to
believe… two different stories…
Freddy stands up and indignantly declares…
Okay then, this’ll settle it. What
we can dooo…
is all of us will go to that bar,
and him and I will play a match —
eleven out of twenty-one Nine-Ball –
– and the loser goes to the shithouse!
Let it go, Freddy, there’s no
justice here. We’re from the pool
world, not the “square” world. Let’s
just scoot before they arrest us!
INT. MOTEL ROOM – DAY
Ansel appears in a three-piece suit. He is the perfect look
of decorum. The phone rings, and Ansel answers it.
Roxanne and Freddy are laughing on the bed. Freddy is
tutoring her on odds combinations.
If somebody spots you the eight and
nine in Nine-Ball, that’s the same
as giving you six to five on the
money. Or a hundred and twenty to
Ansel hangs up phone and starts packing his bag.
Gotta go down to Georgia to meet a
new fille of Jesse’s. Room tab is
Wait, we’ll catch a ride with you.
Let me get my stuff. I bet Cleo is
down there. He’ll stake me.
I can take you, Beard, but you
gotta lose the broad.
She goes where I go. It’s karma.
We gotta make sure this kid’s okay.
— You remember how much I won when
I was down there? The hillbillies
love me! Blacks and Catholics,
we’re their favorites. Whatta you
I don’t know. Jesse don’t want to
see this chick no more.
You talk about me like I’m not even
See. She’s hysterical. Didn’t
anyone ever teach you to just stand
back and shut up?
Shut up? Why you…
Roxanne lunges toward Ansel. Freddy stops her.
She’ll be quiet, I swear. And I’ll
put her up so Jesse won’t beef.
You know I don’t ask for much, and
I always pay out.
Ansel casts a questioning look at Freddy.
(to Freddy; softly)
Are you hot for this broad?
Freddy glares back menacingly.
Dammit — Fine — Sure!
Roxanne sticks her tongue out behind Ansel’s back.
I saw that. You’re sitting in the
backseat! If I hear one sound out
of you, I’m leaving you on the side
of the road. I have a job to do.
I’m a hustler, not a baby sitter!
EXT. OUTSIDE THE MOTEL – SAME
Freddy, Roxanne and Ansel stand outside with their luggage.
Freddy looks around for the car.
Where’s the coupe?
Jesse’s got the coupe.
Just then a pickup truck pulls in front. The DRIVER undoes
the hitch and leaves a car in front of the three. The
driver gets back into the truck and waves to Ansel.
Jesse took care of the bill. Woo
Wee! Am I glad to get rid of this!
The three stand staring at a dilapidated car.
The Beastmobile. Jesse must be
Why is it called the Beastmobile?
Ansel walks over and gets into front seat.
Are you gonna get in or just stand
there? I’m on a schedule.
Freddy puts his arm around Roxanne.
… and the broad gets in the back.
Ansel smiles wickedly, as he pushes forward the passenger
seat for her to get in. It’s not a seat at all. The seat
has been removed. It’s more like a wooden platform. Flies
Wherever she puts her hand down she lifts it to reveal goo on
it — gum or a melted chocolate bar.
There is ladies underwear, beer bottles, fast food
containers, Spam, tennis shoes, etc.
(holding her nose)
Freddy hands her some newspaper to put down. Roxanne has to
sit on her haunches.
INT. BEASTMOBILE (MOVING) – NIGHT
INSERT – SIGN ON A LONELY DIRT ROAD: “ATLANTA 45 MILES”
BACK TO SCENE
A live jumping rock song blares out of the radio. Freddy and
Roxanne sing along. When Ansel chimes in, all three start to
Freddy pops some amphetamines and offers the pills to the
Beast and Roxanne. Only the Beast accepts.
EXT. THE HIGHWAY – NIGHT
Lights from underpasses occasionally shine on the Beastmobile
as they drive.
STATE TROOPER PATROL CAR HIDING IN UNDERPASS
Two troopers drinking coffee, one old, one young.
INSIDE PATROL CAR (PARKED)
Some more of those Hippie freaks,
looks like… Bringing in drugs
probably. — Pull ‘em over, let’s
check ‘em out.
Patrol Car lights flash up suddenly.
Freddy! Lose them pills!
Freddy throws them into the back seat behind Roxanne. One
sticks in her hair but she doesn’t know it.
They pull over.
(shines light into car)
How y’all doing?
Older Trooper shines the light in Roxanne’s face.
What about you, young lady,
everything okay here?
You — your eyes are funny. Get
out. I’m tired of you people and
your drug shit…
Freddy gets out. Roxanne and Ansel follow.
(to young trooper)
You — search the back. I saw him
throw something back there.
What kind of stuff you been doing?
Older trooper searches Freddy.
You got any heroin?
(pronounced hare-oine, as in
(to younger trooper)
I told you to check that backseat.
I saw this one throw something —
probably pills. Find those pills,
Roxanne leans over the car to try to seduce the younger
trooper, but he is closing his eyes as he sticks his hand
into the backseat.
Ansel elbows Roxanne, then eyes upward, indicating to touch
her hair. She does so, and removes the pill that is stuck in
it and throws it behind her into the woods.
Younger trooper shines flashlight on the backseat. He winces
as he sticks his hand down feeling for pills. He lifts his
arm up to find a dead mouse on his sleeve.
What the? I told you to find those
I know, sir.
He keeps searching.
(not very convincingly,)
Older trooper rolls up his sleeves.
I’ll find them myself.
Older trooper shines his flashlight in the back, starts to
put his hand in, and stops before he touches a pile of
Okay kid, no pills.
EXT. RURAL AREA – DUMPY HOTEL – DAY
Filthy Beast pulls up in the Beastmobile. Roxanne and Freddy
jump out and head to the hotel door.
INT. HOTEL ROOM – BATHROOM – MOMENTS LATER
So this is the “Deep South.” I
can’t wait to get out of these
filthy clothes and take a shower.
Roxanne, nude, leans into the shower to turn it on and brown,
brackish water spurts in her face.
Freddy knocks on door.
Hey babe, Ansel and I are going to
the poolroom to meet Jesse’s new
fille. Jesse fronted him big money
to drive here from Pasadena.
Supposed to be an up and coming
player. Let me know if my mother
calls. I just left her a message
with this number. My sister is
about to have her baby. Okay?
The shower water finally turns clear and she starts to soap
up her head.
Roxanne comes out of the shower in bra and underwear. Her
hair is up in a towel. She circles the room impatiently.
What am I supposed to do? Take a
She enters the main room, falls back on the bed. The frame
breaks and Roxanne, on top of the mattress, falls to the
floor. Laugh or cry? She begins laughing.
The phone rings. A hand reaches up from the floor to answer
INT. FREDDY’S MOTHER’S KITCHEN – DAY
INTERCUT PHONE CONVERSATION – ROXANNE AND FREDDY’S MOTHER
FREDDY’S MOTHER, a heavy, older Italian woman speaks on an
old-fashioned wall phone, phone cord extended, so she can
stir her spaghetti sauce.
Hello honey, is my son there?
He just left for the pool room.
Roxanne, chewing gum, blows a bubble.
Yeah! Tell him to get his ass home
Roxanne sits up straight on bed.
His sister’s in labor and he’s
gonna be the godfather. I don’t
wanna hear no shit. He’s got
twenty-four hours or I kick his ass
— hear me? And I got neck-bone
sauce on the stove, so I expect him
to come with some bread for dinner
tomorrow. Tell him to go to
Angelo’s for the bread — No, —
Rudy’s — Angelo’s wife beat me out
of a hundred last night playing
poker — Go to Rudy’s — You
remember all that?
… Rudy’s for bread — Neck-bones
— twenty-four hours — got it.
Oh, and tell me honey, is my Freddy
getting enough to eat?
EXT. WOODS – DAY
Roxanne is holding a makeshift map trying to find the pool
(mumbling sarcastically, to
Turn left at the haystack, right at
the goat carcass…
Roxanne sees what looks like a bar in the woods. She is
sweating and swatting flies. She walks to the front door,
opens it, and TWO BIG GUYS IN OVERALLS AND SHOT GUNS stand on
either side of her.
BIG GUY #1
Help you, ma’am?
Here to see The Beast and Freddy.
Important message for Freddy.
The Two Big Guys In Overalls step aside and point to Freddy.
Roxanne walks in and makes a lot of noise walking over moist
planks, with palmetto bugs crossing her path. The place is a
huge wooden shack. Ansel shakes his head. Freddy is
practicing on the table.
Freddy grabs Roxanne and drags her into a corner.
What are you doing here?
Your mother called. She said you
have twenty-four hours to get back
to Chicago to bring neck-bones for
Rudy’s bread because she can’t beat
him playing poker. Or something
What? What the hell are you
Oh… and your sister is in labor.
I thought you might like to know.
Madonna! Angela’s in labor? Shit!
Jesse just called to say he isn’t
getting in ‘til tomorrow morning.
Meanwhile, we got a young Pasadena
hot-shot comin’ here tonight.
Ansel and me supposed to coach this
kid through his game… kid ain’t
even here yet and I’ve got to get
to the airport.
(loud, to bartender)
Hey, where’ the nearest airport?
Atlanta — ‘ thirty miles west
(to the Beast)
Shit! Listen man, I need you to
drive me to the airport. Gotta go,
my mother called.
Who’s gonna meet the new fille? He
don’t know nothing yet, ‘far as I
heard, but Jesse got a lot of plans
So this kid’s name is Mick and he
don’t know “dick” Quite a pickle
we’re in, my dear. I need your
I’ll stay. I mean, I’ll meet Mick.
We can’t get into too much trouble.
You’re kidding, right?
What do I need to know? I stayed
up enough nights with Freddy and
Jesse to have some idea.
Fine. But I’m not leaving you with
Jesse’s money. Your job is to keep
everything holding ‘til I get back
— a couple hours. Do not let Mick
start playing. Keep everybody
occupied while I’m gone. I don’t
care if you gotta dance on top of
the bar. Hear me?
Jesse’s got a big investment in
this kid. Have him just practice
‘til I get back. — That’s all —
practice. No betting!
Roxanne nods her head affirmatively.
FREDDY AND ANSEL
Ansel walks away. Freddy and Roxanne are left standing
outside the door of the bar. Freddy gives her a big hug and
slides a twenty bill in her pocket.
Remember all I told you and you’ll
be okay. When Ansel gets back I
want you to get on a bus and go
back home. Give up on this. You
might learn about human nature
hanging with us freaks, but it’s
not worth it. You deserve better.
Your life is just starting… you
can do anything you want.
Okay, I’m ready to go home. I’ll
save your butt and then I’m going
back to Maura and Herman. I swear.
I’ve had enough of this life, and
this place stinks!
You got ’til tomorrow morning when
Jesse shows up here. He doesn’t
want to see you, and I won’t be
here to protect you.
Freddy gathers up his cue-stick and starts for the door.
Ask someone from the hotel to give
you a ride to the bus station —
not one of these guys… Okay?
For what? For letting you slum
with us? You are a princess, baby!
— Straight from the Valley!
You’re giving me the chance to feel
smart for once.
You are smart, honey. It’s been
three months, and I thought you
wouldn’t last a week.
Roxanne gives him a big kiss.
Freddy sputters self-consciously.
I’ll see you around — on the road,
that is. Look me up in Chicago if
you ever need anything. “JoJo’s”
is my uncle’s place. Just find
“JoJo’s Bar” and you can find me.
Good luck, kid.
Freddy casts a long lingering glance at Roxanne. Their hands
stay together until the situation becomes uncomfortable.
Finally, Roxanne blinks, breaks the spell and awkwardly pulls
(her voice breaking slightly)
Freddy leaves. She notices she is the only girl. She sits
at the bar and waits. A song plays on the jukebox. She
drinks an orange pop in a bottle and shrugs her shoulders
constantly as an expression of boredom. She sits up to
reveal a sweaty seat, her pants are stuck to her bottom.
A few minutes pass and a bespectacled Mick enters — as green
as grass — saying hello to everyone and shaking hands as he
walks in. Roxanne walks right up to him.
Yeah, that’s my name. Just in from
With a bored look on her face, Roxanne takes a stab at
feigning experience to gain control of the situation.
First of all, don’t ever use your
real name when you’re hustling —
second, you ever hear about
intimidating your players —
psyching them out? You do need
Jesse isn’t coming back until
tomorrow… and Ansel’s out
somewhere. He’ll be back in an
hour or so. In the meantime, just
go ahead and practice.
Mick goes into a corner and starts practicing, smiling the
whole time. Roxanne scowls at him and he reacts by trying to
look mean and intimidating.
EXT. HIGHWAY – NIGHT
Ansel is on his way back. He pulls over on the side of the
road to get out and take a leak — does not put the brakes
on, and the Beastmobile rolls into a ditch.
BACK IN THE POOLROOM
RED the player, and his backer RICKY, are running out of
patience. They want to play.
Hey honeychile’ it’s been over two
hours and The Beast ain’t back yet.
My boy, Red is ready to play. We
didn’t come all the way down here
Ricky reveals a wad of cash.
I’m looking to double or triple
this. Are we gonna play? It’ now
(whispering to Mick)
Are you ready?
Heck yeah! But Ansel’s not here.
Well, I forgot to tell you he said
I should take charge while he was
gone… You feel good, Mick?
Yeah, I just…
— Then get out there. The Beast
will show up soon. Even if he’s
not here — every hour — and every
— So what you say? You playin’ or
Well, let’s play. Beast or Jesse
will make the money good when they
Jesse’s word is good in these parts
— lucky for you.
Just in case, though… We’ll hold
you two hostage till they get back.
Roxanne and Mick look at one another.
BACK ON THE HIGHWAY
Ansel is walking to get help. He hears the sound of a bugle
blowing “Post Time,” the theme song of a racetrack. Ansel
has stumbled upon the local DOG TRACK. When he spots the
entrance, a smile crosses his face and he heads inside.
INSIDE THE TRACK – LATER
TRACK ANNOUNCER (V.O. LOUDSPEAKER)
… That ends our racing program
for tonight. Be careful going
home. Good night.
EXT. THE STREET IN FRONT OF THE TRACK
Ansel crosses the street to a gas station.
(to station attendant)
Hey buddy. When could I get a tow?
I broke down a few blocks back.
Nothing until five in the morning,
mister. There’s an all-night cafe
a few blocks over, where you can
wait it out.
Ansel shrugs, hands-in-pockets, and starts down the street.
BACK IN THE POOLROOM – SAME
It is apparent Mick is down a few games. He has low energy
and is having trouble staying awake.
Roxanne is wide-eyed and anxious. Squirming in her chair.
You want to quit, boy? You’re down
four games. This is way too easy.
You owe me eight hundred.
Roxanne leaps out of her chair.
— Wait! Let me have a talk with
him in the bathroom.
Roxanne walks into a filthy bathroom — she paces inside.
Mick, apprehensive about facing her, finally walks in.
(scratching his head and
looking down and away)
I’m sorry, but I drove down here
all by myself — straight from…
Pasadena, over two days…
Don’t lose it now, Mick. We’re
doing good. We’re doing good. I
know you’ve been playing with no
sleep. — Look at me, look at me.
Roxanne grabs Mick by the shoulders and shakes him.
Jesse isn’t here, he’ll probably
kill us anyway for losing his
money. Those guys will, for
sure kill us if we don’t pay off.
Mick, bleary-eyed, starts nodding his head in agreement.
You’re going to have to get your
shit together and produce. Produce
like your life depended on it —
It might. I’m going to help you.
Mick’s eyes light up, and he seems to be responding.
Okay? You can beat this guy.
Yeah, it’s hot here — and Red is a
hillbilly who can handle it.
You’re going to have to handle it
too. Get us even and we can quit.
We don’t have to win… Just get
that eight hundred back…
Alright, alright. Let’s give it
Roxanne pushes Mick’s head over the sink and splashes water
on his face.
How does that feel? Red’s a
legend, but Red is not as good as
you are. I wouldn’t be standing in
this out-house, ankle deep in pisswater,
trying to keep you awake if
I didn’t believe that.
Mick wipes his face, and a look of renewed determination
comes over him.
Roxanne finishes patting his face dry.
Just a few more games, and then you
can sleep for a week if you like.
I’ll drive the whole way to
wherever we head to next. Okay,
Mick nods his head in approval.
How about a fresh cup of coffee?
She grabs his shoulders again.
Look at me. We’re going to do
this. Without Jesse or the Beast.
Just you and me.
Roxanne shoves him out the bathroom door.
Get back out there and finish the
job. Get the “cheese” and get us
out of here… alive.
Roxanne has psyched Mick up. Mick is ready to play. He goes
back to the table.
Double the bet? Four hundred a
‘My kinna music. Put a rack on
them balls, son, it’s my break.
Mick racks the balls. Red breaks, and the game starts.
— Mick starts to play good again. He makes several gamewinning,
One-Pocket trick shots.
— Roxanne force-feeds him coffee. She appears to be
talking soothingly and encouragingly between shots.
— He appears to have regained his confidence.
EXT. GAS STATION – NIGHT
Jesse is near, stopping to get cigarettes.
BACK IN POOLROOM
Mick shoots in a game-winning bank. He gets up from the
table looking exhausted.
That’s it, Red. We’re even. I
have to quit. Haven’t slept in a
Mick takes his cue apart and he and Roxanne start to head
out, but the Two Big Guys In Overalls And Shotguns stop them
before they reach the door.
BIG GUY #1
Let ‘em go. They’re with Hippie
Jesse. He can quit even.
Two Big Guys let them pass.
EXT. POOLROOM – DAY
Dawn is breaking. Roxanne and Mick get in Mick’s car. It’s
an old “beater” She puts her hand out and Mick gives her
his car keys.
INT. CAR (MOVING)
Roxanne is driving.
I just have to pick up my stuff at
EXT. HIGHWAY – MOMENTS LATER
On the way down the road, they pass Jesse’s car heading to
Roxanne spots the car, is startled, but says nothing to Mick.
I’m exhausted. Can’t believe we
broke even and escaped from that
deathtrap. Whatta night!
Mick falls asleep. Roxanne keeps driving.
INT. POOLROOM – LATER
Jesse confronts the nervous Beast.
Well, where is he?
Apparently Mick left with the broad
in his car. Called the hotel.
That bitch! You know what I got
invested in this guy? I had to pay
his mother’s hospital bill and two
months rent before he’d agree to
come here. That’s about eighty-five
hundred bucks I fronted for
that kid, and that Valley, Jap cunt
has snatched him and run off. God
help those two when I find ‘em.
INT. CAR (MOVING) – NIGHT
Roxanne is still driving. Mick wakes up. A road sign shows
they are in a different state.
Jesse said he was gonna pay for my
room and all expenses… that I’d
be working for him. Where we
going? When’re we gonna meet him?
No answer. Roxanne pulls into a hotel lot.
Well, we’ll stay here for now.
We’ll see him soon enough. How
long you been on the road, Mick?
My second trip. They call me
green. I have a lot to learn. If
Jesse’s not around at least you’re
here. I need to be in the hands of
INT. HOTEL ROOM – NIGHT
Mick lies on the bed, drinking a gallon of milk, and watching
TV. Meanwhile, Roxanne has removed all of her clothing in
I’ll just lay down here on the
couch or get a cot. I know this is
just a professional relationship.
You always bunk with the boys,
Roxanne walks out completely naked in front of TV.
Mick turns around and gasps, he puts the pillow over his
Ma’am… I mean… where’re your
clothes?… I mean… what’re you
I thought we would… celebrate?
I’m.. I’m sorry Roxanne. I work
for you. We just met. This is no
good. Please, please, cover
Roxanne puts her clothes on in the bathroom and starts to
What was I supposed to do?
Each bed down separately, Roxanne on the bed and Mick on the
couch, watching TV.
I feel much better. You?
INT. HOTEL ROOM – NIGHT
Roxanne is dreaming that Jesse has found them and has taken
his gun out and is coming towards her.
INT. BEDROOM – NIGHT
A frightened Roxanne wakes up. She freaks out and wakes
Mick, Mick, we have to leave.
Okay, okay. What’s the matter?
Need to get out of here… go to
another spot… Problem is, I have
no money for the room bill. I’m
busted like a rat. We only broke
even yesterday. Lucky we didn’t
How much money do you have?
Not much. Jesse was gonna take
care of me. I can pay the room
tab, but then no gas or food money.
They pack quickly. Roxanne is filling her bag and the last
thing she packs is a rope.
I’m sick of carrying this rope
A rope? You got a rope?
Mick hugs a surprised Roxanne.
You are a professional. I forgot
mine on this trip.
Roxanne fakes her knowledge of what to do with the rope.
Yeah, yeah. I always have one on
Mick takes the rope and starts to unravel it.
Sheesh, you think of everything.
INT. HOTEL STAIRWAY – MORNING
Roxanne and Mick walk down the stairs and past the room
clerk. They wave as they walk by. Outside, Roxanne drives
to the side of the hotel. Mick gets out. The luggage is
hanging by a rope outside their fourth-story window. Mick
grabs the luggage and jumps in the car.
They drive off, laughing.
So, where to next?
Roxanne sees next city mileage sign — picks one: Nashville
To meet Jesse and get straightened
Yeah, to meet Jesse.
MONTAGE OF ROXANNE AND MICK AT DIFFERENT POOL ROOMS
— Roxanne acts like a professional, puts Mick’s cue
— Roxanne tries to seduce Mick in various, funny ways.
— She teasingly polishes the shaft of his cue with a
leather buffer, sexually chalks the tip, etc.
— Mick ignores all her advances.
— Mick, the perfect gentleman, helps drunk prostitutes get
into cabs, puts money in Salvation Army cans.
Roxanne becomes so engrossed in making games for Mick that
she unconsciously follows a player into the men’s toilet.
Hey babe, you come in to take a
INT. ROOMING HOUSE – DAY
Roxanne pays the landlady. She appears ready to fold.
That’s it. That’s the last of it.
We’re broke. I haven’t been
entirely clean with you.
We’re not meeting up with Jesse.
No, we’re not. And I’m not much of
a backer, either. All we’ve done
is break even, enough to eat and
sleep… not make any real money…
If we did I’d give half to you and
just get on a bus home. I think
it’s time for me to call it quits.
What’re you talking about? You’re
the best. You can’t give up on me.
I was born to play pool — that’s
all I can do… and I know I can
start to win big money. I’m not
cut out for nine-to-five work.
This is it for me.
Well, maybe… take one more shot.
Roxanne searches her purse for anything of value. Stumped,
Roxanne looks down at her chest at the gold mezuzah she got
for her birthday and walks out the door.
INT. PAWNSHOP – DAY
Roxanne walks up to the counter, removes her necklace and
hands it to PAWNBROKER to examine. He is an older Hasidic
man. He looks up at her and frowns.
My dollink, what are you, a yentl,
doing wearing such a ting? It
should be worn only by a Jewish
My uncle gave it to me for my
birthday. Said I was blessed with
a woman’s beauty and a man’s
The pawnbroker scrutinizes the mezuzah with his reading
A shame to pawn such a beautiful
I know. It’s supposed to protect
me. How much can I get?
I could only give you a hundred
dollars on it.
Okay, I’m not going to argue.
Pawnbroker hands her $100 and then pushes the necklace back
What’s this? What are you doing?
Pawnbroker pats his hand over her hand and the necklace.
You look like somebody could use a
mitzvah. You’ll pay me later.
But I don’t live here. I’m probably
going to leave in a day or two.
Pawnbroker hands her his card with the address on it.
So you’ll send it. Zeit gesunt,
bubbala, and good luck…
(red-faced, mumbles her
appreciation in Yiddish)
She takes the money and walks out, curiously observed by a
PAWNBOY who is sweeping the floor.
EXT. CAR – DAY
She drives back to coffee shop.
INT./EXT. COFFEE SHOP – DAY
She shows Mick the money and hustles him up and out the door.
Where the hell did you get money?
Does it make any difference? All
you got to do is make a game, play
INT. BOWLING ALLEY POOL ROOM – NIGHT
It’s now or never. If this really
is your life, then I want to see
you play like it is.
The two start to walk to the back when Mick spots an old man
operating on some potential suckers.
(quietly, to Roxanne)
Well, look who’s here.
Tommy the Greek, and Duke. He’s
from Pasadena too. You’re gonna
get to see something wonderful.
Mick points to an old man and a little dog.
REAR OF POOLROOM
TOMMY THE GREEK, with an audience around him, is entertaining
them with his dog, DUKE. Duke is a small mongrel doing
simple little tricks under Tommy’s direction, while Tommy
takes little swipes out of a liquor flask in his back pocket.
The crowd is ribbing Tommy a little because the tricks are
really mediocre. Finally, Tommy replies.
Listen, all you wise guys, Duke is
the smartest dog in the world! He
does a trick no other dog in the
world can do. He can get up on the
table and pick out any ball you
Tommy looks over the crowd for reactions.
Just call the ball you want, and
he’ll pick it up and put it in his
mouth. What do youse want to do
A SPORT in the crowd fires back.
I believe whatever somebody bets he
can do — he can do. But in your
case I’m gonna make an exception.
How much do you want to bet, old
Make it easy on yourself, partner.
I’ll risk twenty bucks just to see
Okay, you cheap nit-shits. I’m
gonna show you what Duke can do.
Duke is on the floor totally inattentive, scratching, and
wandering around, while the $20 bet is being put up with the
houseman. Tommy goes to Duke and nudges him to get his
C’mon Duke, wake up! We’re
Dogs are color blind. Have him get
the four ball.
Tommy picks Duke up, puts him on the table, and holds him
while Duke is looking around and acting nervous. Tommy
Okay, Duke, go get me the four
Duke dashes over to a fully racked set of pool balls and
frantically scatters them all over the table. Duke is
jumping up and kicking balls and biting them, all the while
Tommy is screaming.
Stop it Duke! Stop it! Get the
By this time the spectators are on the floor rolling in
laughter. Tommy picks up Duke and starts scolding him. Then
he turns embarrassed to the crowd.
You fucking creeps! You “sharked”
him. You got him too nervous.
One of the Sweators in the crowd fires back.
That mutt couldn’ pick up a T-Bone
steak, let alone a pool ball.
Don’t you talk about my dog like
that, you shit-heel. If you woulda
been quiet he coulda done it.
Well, if we promise to be quiet,
how much do you want to bet this
(acting very excited and
You guys have really got me hot!
You can bet all I got in my pocket.
That’s how much! My whole bankroll —
(he counts his money)
— six hundred and forty-nine
dollars. Everybody’s got to be
quiet, though. Now we’ll see who’s got gamble.
Tommy spreads his bankroll on the table.
There is a hesitation from the crowd for a moment.
Finally, one guy speaks up.
You ain’t bluffing nobody off, old
man. A sumbitch dumb as you don’t
deserve to have no money! I’ll
cover three hundred of it! Have
him get the five ball!
With the spell broken there is a rush to cover the whole $649
and the money is put up with the houseman.
Tommy turns his back on the crowd and seemingly confides to
Duke. He puts his right palm over his chest, indicating the
(deliciously, to himself and
… And in the window flew a dove.
Roxanne spots the move and turns excitedly to Mick.
Am I going crazy, or did I just see
that guy give the “George” sign to
Mick just smiles wickedly.
Duke responds to the “George” signal by jumping up on the
pool table and sitting on his haunches. He is alert with his
ears straight up and not moving a muscle. No longer is he
nervous, scratching, or looking around.
A few in the crowd start to get a bad feeling about their
Tommy, very composed and confident, says very gently to Duke:
Duke, go get me the five ball,
Duke trots slowly over to a fully racked set of pool balls,
stirs them slightly, picks up the five ball in his mouth,
walks calmly over to Tommy, drops the ball in the pocket,
sits back on his haunches and awaits the next command.
The crowd is dumbfounded. Tommy smiles at Duke, winks and
gives him the “George” sign again, then walks over to the
houseman and takes down the money.
How ya doin’ Mick? I ain’t seen
you since you were a kid at the
Pool Palace in Pasadena. How ya
I’m playing pretty good. I
improved a lot since you last saw
That’s some dog you’ve got there.
Yeah, Duke and me have been
together a long time. Wherever I
go he goes. Twenty-four hours a
day. Listen — there’s money to be
made here and you don’t have to
play too good to make it. See that
old man there, in the back?
Tommy nods to an old man in filthy white bib overalls with
long white hair and a white beard in the back of the pool
That there is “Del the Iron Man.”
World’s champion “stay up” guy.
Takes pills and can play for two
weeks straight. Been up for five
days playing pool.
Wore out one opponent already, and
it looks like this other guy is
ready to throw in the towel.
Nobody can stay with him. He’ll be
spotting you five days no-sleep,
you should be okay. He’ll play
you. He’ll play anybody when he’s
on those pills. Might make
yourself a little score here.
Roxanne and Mick mosey on to the back to observe the action.
DEL’S opponent looks like he’s almost out on his feet.
Can’t go no further, Del. Seventy two
hours. I’m starting to
hallucinate. I can’t last like
you. Nobody can.
Sheet. You’re just a pissy-assed
weakling. You wouldn’t a been
worth a fuck when we was fighting
on the Anzio beach head.
Del waves disgustedly at his opponent.
Go ahead and quit. I gotta take
care of this tooth that’s been
bothering me anyway. Hey! You
with the tool belt… Lemme borry
them pliers for a minute.
CONSTRUCTION GUY with a tool belt and construction hat hands
Del the pliers. Del inserts the pliers in his mouth and
performs an extraction of one of his back teeth.
Del rips out the tooth, looks at it for a moment, and then
spits out a mouthful of blood into an open garbage can. He
wipes his mouth with the back of his hand, picks up his cuestick
and goes back to the table.
Horrified, Roxanne gags and almost throws up.
Well, who’s next, goddamn it!
Mick meekly raises his hand and offers to play.
I’ll try you a few games of One-
Pocket, mister. But I couldn’t
play for more than a day or two.
Yeah, I guess that figures too.
None a you young punks got any kind
of stamina. Only good to smoke
that loco weed. By the way, what
the hell does that shit do fer ya
Del is referring to two young men near the table that are
sharing a joint, a POT SMOKER and a YOUNG COKE DEALER.
It relaxes you, slows you down and
makes everything all mellow.
Sheet! I take pills to keep from
feeling like that.
YOUNG COKE DEALER
(produces a vial of cocaine)
This is what you’re looking for,
Del. A few snorts of this will
straighten you right out. This
stuff picks you up.
Yeah, I heared about that stuff.
How much you want for it?
YOUNG COKE DEALER
This is one gram, but I’m only
gonna charge you a hundred dollars.
Goddamn! It better be good. I
heared it was pretty pricey though.
How in hell do you do the goddamn
YOUNG COKE DEALER
Pour some out on the table, make
two lines, and snort it up in each
nostril with this straw.
Del pours out the whole gram on the table, divides it in two,
and honks up the whole gram in two monster snorts before the
young coke dealer can stop him.
YOUNG COKE DEALER
Wait! Hold it! You don’t do the
whole goddamn gram at once.
Del looks up sheepishly and his beard is loaded with at least
a 1/2 gram of droppings that fell out of his nose.
Hey Del, let me snort up your
beard, man. I got my own straw —
Can’t be wasting that shit.
Inventive coke-head proceeds to try and snort the leftover
coke out of Del’s beard with a long straw.
Boy, you better get up off me,
‘fore I crack your head with this
MONTAGE OF THE GAME BETWEEN DEL AND MICK
— Due to the overdose of cocaine, Del becomes addled out of
his mind and begins shooting wild shots, missing often.
— With eyes bulging, and a wild man look, Del attempts a
shot and hits it so hard the cue ball jumps the table.
— The side-line Sweators put their hands over their mouths
and giggle under their breath.
— Mick, methodically and professionally continues to pocket
— Mick displays an arsenal of One-Pocket trick shots.
— Del falls easy prey to Mick, and goes broke.
— After the last game, an elated Roxanne gives Mick his
Going to the bathroom. Out in a
The Pawnboy who was sweeping up at the pawnshop slips over
next to Mick.
That your girl?
Must believe in you. She pawned
her necklace down where I work
today. Left the store in tears.
EXT. CAR – NIGHT
Roxanne drives to the pawnshop.
EXT. PAWNSHOP – NIGHT
Roxanne gets out of the car.
Something I gotta do.
She goes up to the door of the now closed pawnshop. Slips
money into an envelope, writes “Thanks” and “Zeit gesunt,”
and drops the envelope through the mail slot in the door.
INT. CAR (MOVING) – DAY
They drive to a rooming house.
INT. ROOMING HOUSE – SAME
THE DOOR TO THEIR ROOM
Roxanne is so groggy, she drops the key on the ground. They
both reach down for it. Mick looks at her lovingly.
She looks confused. His hand touches her face, he kisses her,
and carries her in his arms into the room.
INSIDE THEIR ROOM
Mick drops her on the bed and begins caressing her.
You pawned your necklace so I could
play pool? Nobody has ever
believed in me like that.
I didn’t really trust you before,
now I think you’re the most
wonderful thing in my life.
I’ll be with you all the way.
They proceed to make mad, passionate love.
Mick awakens, nudges Roxanne.
Well, babe, shall we go back to the
It’s pretty late but I got a line
on an after hours “Bottle Club”
where there’s supposed to be good
INT. AN AFTER HOURS “BOTTLE CLUB” – NIGHT
Roxanne and Mick enter.
The houseman in the poolroom told
me about this place. A dump,
filled with coke-heads, but it’s
got bar pool tables, plenty of
gambling and we can play all night.
A waitress comes over to take their order.
Give us a Seven-up and ice set-up.
You’re supposed to bring your own
bottle. That’s how they skirt the
liquor laws. Challenge the table
and let’s get some action started.
MONTAGE OF THE ACTION
— Roxanne’s edgy but relaxes once Mick starts playing.
— Mick beats everyone mercilessly, with Roxanne making
side bets with a COKED-UP ON-LOOKER.
— Many other people are snorting cocaine.
— Roxanne sings along to the sounds of the jukebox.
BACK TO SCENE
Suddenly, the Coked-Up On-Looker, who has been betting with
Roxanne and losing, pulls out a gun and starts
You two think you’re so good? I’ll
show you something! Give me back
Roxanne is shocked, but still refuses to give up the money.
Infuriated, she swings her purse at him and tries to knock
the gun away.
He staggers, but still maintains the gun.
She dives on him and tries to wrestle the gun away, in the
tussle the gun goes off, shooting her in the ass.
Mick alerts to the situation, screams like a banshee and
fearlessly charges the coke-head, who runs out of the bar.
EXT. AFTER HOURS BOTTLE CLUB – STREET – NIGHT
The coke-head is running from Mick and wildly shooting back
With the coke-head too far in front of him, Mick stops, turns
and runs back to the bar and Roxanne.
INT. HOSPITAL ROOM – DAY
Roxanne is looking at herself and her wound, crying.
EXT. HOSPITAL ENTRANCE – DAY
Mick is alone, smoking a cigarette, reflecting.
INT. HOSPITAL ROOM – DAY
SUPER ON SCREEN – SEVERAL DAYS LATER
Roxanne, in a hospital bed, is just waking up. Mick walks in
How you feeling, Angel?
She nods her head and Mick strokes her forehead.
I’ll never forgive myself for what
happened. Why didn’t you just give
him the money?
It’s not your fault. It’s my job
to make sure the place is secure,
yours to just play. I couldn’t
just let that creep take our money.
No, No, No. Never do that again
baby, the money is never that
The money is always important. I
learned that from Jesse and Freddy.
Those people were so wasted. I
hate that coke crap. Doesn’t
anyone just smoke pot anymore?
Roxanne tries to make the last line a joke.
So what’s next. Back on the road?
What? — Are you kidding? I almost
got us fucking killed, remember? I
should have spotted that trouble
before it happened. I’m no help to
you. I’m no backer. Just an
attention-starved “Jap” from the
Don’t say you almost got us killed.
I’m your man — I should be
watching out for you, protecting
you. I only want what we both
want, and that’s to start winning
big! I’m ready to jump forward if
Roxanne has a look of understanding in her eyes. She puts
her hand out to his and they squeeze.
So you still want to be a top
Heck yes. And I want you to be my
backer. You gotta be the prettiest
backer out there — probably the
I am the only girl.
And I’d much rather share a hotel
room with you.
Roxanne hits Mick over the head with a pillow.
You already know a lot from hanging
with Jesse and his crew. What we
don’t know we can learn together.
Just keep putting me in games. I
have faith in you. I don’t know
why you chose this life, but I’m
sure glad you did.
Thanks hon’. Let’s get out of the
South first. I’ve got a friend in
Chicago who’ll steer us — find us
the right action.
(shakes her head)
He’ll never believe what has
happened to me since he left.
EXT. MICK’S CAR (MOVING) – NIGHT
Car enters an Italian- American neighborhood in Chicago.
Car pulls up to a corner restaurant/bar.
EXT./INT. JOJO’S RESTAURANT – NIGHT
The couple enter.
There is a table of old Italian men. They turn around when
the door opens — their card game has been interrupted.
Roxanne and Mick timidly walk up to the bar.
Hi. I’m a friend of The Beard’s
He told me I could find him here.
Freddy? My nephew. He’s upstairs
by my sister, eating dinner.
Barman points to TEENAGE BOY reading the paper.
Pino! Take these two upstairs.
PINO takes them up the back stairs.
Smells like braciole. Aunt Kate!
Ummm. Aunt Kate!
Pino opens the door to —
INT. SMALL APARTMENT
There’s a large table filled with people eating. Many
generations. Steam hits their faces when they walk through
the door. Freddy’s mother, KATE, is in an apron stirring
sauce over the stove, smoking a cigarette.
You gonna eat or what, Pino? Who
are these two?
Friends of Freddy.
Well, he’s over there next to your
uncle. I got about three braciole
left — you’re lucky.
Pino finds a plate and moves to fill it. Freddy is eating,
dressed in a Captain America T-shirt and purple bell bottom
Frederick — your friends are here.
Freddy looks up.
Find ‘em a chair!
You told me I could stop by any
time. Mick — Freddy.
Sorry to interrupt your dinner.
Roxanne and Mick sit at the small kiddie table and start to
eat with Freddy.
You got to be married to sit at the
Later, coffee and cake is served.
Well, if you are up for some
action… I’ve got a spot to go to
tonight. Chance to get you guys
some side action if you want it.
We better get out of here.
Freddy, Roxanne and Mick bring their plates into the kitchen
and Freddy’s mother stops them.
Where do you think you’re going?
What about your aunts? Who’s
gonna take them home?
Three innocent-looking old ladies — RORO, CARM and ANNIE —
are sitting on the couch by the window.
EXT. JOJO’S RESTAURANT – NIGHT
Freddy begins to load up the backseat of Mick’s car. Each
old lady slides through one door and then slides out the
other until all three are standing on the sidewalk again.
Aunts — what’s the problem? I
gotta be somewhere in thirty
Oh, I’m not going with her.
RoRo points to one of her sisters.
You can take her home and just come
back and get me.
What? No, no!
Freddy is carrying food for them to take home. Carm slaps
Freddy’s hand with the tupperware in it.
Don’t mix the macaroni with the
Freddy’s other aunt, Annie, chimes in.
You’re not going with me? I won’t
go with her! She’s gonna smoke in
I’ll smoke all I want. Your fat
ass ain’t gonna fit in the back
anyway. You’re too cheap to smoke.
I’m cheap? What about the twenty
you’ve owed me for three months
from Elsie’s poker game?
What’re you worrying about? You
got about fifty thousand in cash
under your mattress.
At least I didn’t have to get
married to my husband.
— My glasses! I left my glasses
Freddy is exasperated. Roxanne and Mick just kind of laugh.
Men standing in the street in front of JoJo’s watching, are
Shut up! Shut up! Get in the F’n
car! I have to be in the pool room
in less than a half hour. I’ll
give you each a fin if you just get
in the car.
A moment of silence. The sisters look to one another for a
Make it ten and you got a deal.
Drop us off at Bingo.
The old ladies all crawl in. Roxanne sits on Mick’s lap up
front. RoRo slaps Carm’s hand.
Works every time.
Roxanne and Mick park on the side of pool room and start
walking toward it. The sign above the door reads “North
Shore Billiard Academy, The Home of Champions.” Roxanne and
Mick momentarily stare up in awe at the sign above the
legendary room, and pause, hesitantly, before they enter.
So this is North Shore Billiards?
This is where you got turned out,
Yes, ma’am. This is where the
little mullets swim in to get eaten
by the sharks. You need a hustler
union card to operate in here.
Don’t worry though, I’m the
president of this union.
Freddy waves at Roxanne and Mick, urging them into a quick
Okay, so here’s the deal. Like
most hustles, you got about five
minutes to prepare, but with you,
our born actress, this should be no
Roxanne and Mick laugh.
We’re about to “Lemon Hustle” one
of the Great Men of all time. He’s
taken more abuse than the Three
Stooges. This ain’t the way I
normally make money — with a con
hustle. But I always make an
exception for this guy, because
he’s “mobbed up.” He’s an “Outfit”
bookmaker. I love doing it to him.
So, are you ready, Roxanne?
My student! You’ve far exceeded my
expectations. Now get your cool
on. After I score here I’m heading
down to Florida for awhile.
Yeah, I got a girl down there.
(slightly taken aback)
You got a girl?
INT. POOLROOM – NIGHT
A large, old-fashioned poolroom with many tables.
He here yet?
Bugs shakes Freddy’s hand, shakes his head, “no” and blows a
bubble. Roxanne walks around the pool room with Freddy
getting introduced to everybody.
Nice look about your fille. Looks
like he came out of the funny
Mick is smiling.
Like Clark Kent.
I’m happy for you, kid. You’ll go
far with him if he’s got half the
game Jesse told me he has. I don’t
No, goyim all the way. He’s the
Oh, Jesus. Be careful, you might
have to learn how to cook and clean
Not if I can help it.
Here comes Boston Stubby. Ain’t he
Don’t argue, and do what I do.
Enter BOSTON STUBBY, a balding, bespectacled middle-aged man,
no taller than five-foot two inches.
Look who’s here! The man of the
hour. How you doing, boy?
Freddy slaps Stubby on the back. Stubby doesn’t answer.
Freddy starts a animated, phony sign language. He introduces
Roxanne, who follows Freddy’s lead and replies in her own
version of phony sign language.
Games are being played while Freddy brags to Roxanne.
This is gonna be my greatest
hustle. We’re trapping this mark
with Stubby. I flew him in.
Stubby’s a top player, but few
people know what he looks like,
‘cause he never leaves Boston.
Freddy’s eyes light up and he rubs his hands together in
I can’t let Stubby talk, ‘cause
once he opens his mouth, his Boston
accent will tip the guy off. He’s
paranoid already ‘cause plenty of
champions have been sent in to rob
him. He’s a pretty good player
himself. Except for a few guys
like Stubby, he knows all the
people that can beat him. That’s
why I came up with this scam to
pass Stubby off as a deaf mute.
Stubby begins playing THE MARK (a sucker). All exchanges
between Freddy and Stubby are done in sign language.
The other hustlers in the room all have a sudden need to go
to the bathroom at the same time.
The bathroom is filled with guys “in the know,” falling all
over the place laughing.
BACK INSIDE POOLROOM
— Stubby is beating up on The Mark.
— Stubby cuts a comical figure. As he stands waiting for
his shot, holding his cue stick, the stick is taller than
— Stubby is conversing in sign language with Freddy, and
makes an obscene finger gesture toward the mark.
I seen that! I seen that! You
little cock-sucker! I don’t need
to know sign language to know what
The Mark barks at Freddy.
You tell him I don’t let nobody
curse at me in any kind of
language! I’ll stuff the little
shrimp in a spittoon!
Roxanne covers her face with her hand, but her torso is
vibrating with suppressed laughter
BACK INSIDE BATHROOM
The bathroom is almost entirely full of hustlers rolling in
BACK TO THE GAME
The Mark is looking over the table and he absentmindedly
remarks to Stubby…
I know. I’m taking a long time,
but do you want to try shooting
(in a thick Boston Southie
Naw, you gah ahead and shoot it
Stubby puts his hand over his mouth.
The Mark opens and closes his eyes, looks up and starts
talking to the sky to his dead mother.
Ma! They’re killing me down here!
They did it to me again, Ma! I’m
comin’ to you soon, Ma, and I’m
gonna take a bunch of these
motherfuckers with me.
EXT. CHICAGO’S FAMOUS MAXWELL STREET – NIGHT
A busy street. It’s the home of Chicago Blues. An old Urban
blues number like Jimmy Reed’ ” Any Way You Want Me to Go”
plays from inside a record store with the door open.
Roxanne, Mick, and Freddy stand outside a busy Jim’s Hot Dog
Three pork chop sandwiches.
Server doles out three pork chop sandwiches in take-out
wrapping. African-American man walks past them and opens his
coat to reveal a bevy of gold chains.
MAXWELL STREET HUSTLER
Wanna buy a necklace? Necklace for
Freddy gives the street hustler the “get lost” sign.
They eat their sandwiches leaning against an old tailor shop
That was great, Freddy. I’ve never
laughed so hard.
Freddy hands Roxanne a few bills.
Did you do any good back there?
Yeah, I won a few hundred on the
We need a little more to stretch us
on the road for awhile. Any ideas?
Alright, let’s put Mick to work
Freddy starts to walk back up to the hot dog stand.
Onlookers leer at them driving by.
Mick pulls up onto an empty lot. They exit the car and head
toward a three-flat tenement building.
Freddy hands a young Hispanic boy a bill and points to their
Here to see Manuel.
Hispanic boy nods.
Watch the car, amigo.
They walk up a short stoop into an apartment building.
INT. APARTMENT BUILDING – NIGHT
People in work clothes give the three of them very strange
looks. Freddy leads them down a hallway to a door.
INT. SMALL ROOM
They enter a room with no windows.
Freddy taps his foot on the rug on the floor. Roxanne and
Mick look around the room befuddled.
The floor baseboard opens up to the cellar and a ladder comes
sticking up out of the floor. A small, Hispanic LADDER GUY
with a wrench in his hand, climbs up the ladder and peeks his
(pointing to himself)
Amigo of Manuel.
The ladder guy waves his hand “come on down” and climbs down
the ladder into the cellar.
(whispers to Freddy)
Why does he have a wrench in his
Because if you don’t pay up before
you leave, he can crack your head
open with it.
Mick, Roxanne and Freddy climb down the ladder into the
There are no windows, a dirt floor, a stack of hubcaps on the
back wall, and two pool tables.
Do you speak Spanish?
About three words. Don’t need it.
Freddy flashes a bankroll over to MANUEL who is a middle-aged
businessman type, sitting in the corner behind an old desk.
Ladder guy removes the ladder from the kitchen floor, closes
the baseboard, and sets the ladder against the wall.
Do they have any money?
Sure they got money.
Manuel begins counting large bills.
Freddy points to the back of the basement which is an
underground garage filled with hubcaps.
A “customer” gives Manuel several hundred dollar bills and
Manuel hands him a set of hub caps.
Five hundred for a set of used hub
Well those caps as they say, are
“built for speed.”
The customer opens a hubcap and inspects a bag of pills. He
pops several in his mouth, closes the bag, puts it back
inside the hubcap and leaves.
EXT. STREET IN FRONT OF “GARAGE” – NIGHT
The customer goes to his car puts the hubcaps on the wheels
and drives off.
At the pool table a YOUNG HISPANIC MAN constantly shouts
“Cocksucker” over and over in between bouts of Spanish. He
speaks “C.S.” in good and bad emphasis. He makes a pool shot
and takes a large wad of cash from the table.
I’m not sure about this.
You’ll be fine, Mick. You just got
a case of the “High Speed Wobbles.”
There is a loud scratching noise coming from above. It can
be heard even over the radio that is playing Spanish music.
What’s that noise?
Noise overhead gets even louder. Dirt falls on their
Freddy, what the fuck is that
— Rats. Think of that ceiling as
the Autobahn of the rodent world.
Roxanne and Mick cringe, and look up and see big ceiling
water pipes that the rats run across.
Come on, it’s time you guys met the
Manuel gets out of his chair and meets them halfway.
Freddy, why you bring a broad down
here? What are you, crazy?
Manny, she’s not any broad, she’s a
backer from California. Ran with
Hippie Jesse. They just got in
town today and I promised I’d show
her fille some action. How about
(look of incomprehension)
Manuel nods an okay, and motions for the Hispanic player to
Roxanne, Freddy, and Manuel watch as a session begins.
Roxanne looks hesitant.
Mick is sweating.
MONTAGE OF MICK BEING POUNDED ON
— Mick misses frequently and appears to be struggling.
— Ca’Sucker has a few big runs and Mick racks the
balls over and over again.
BACK TO SCENE
He’s getting murdered. Why did you
Now tell Manuel you want to play
Roxanne gets up and signals to Manuel.
Manuel, this kid is too good for
us. If he’ll play Mick some One-
Pocket, we’ll keep playing;
otherwise we’re going to quit.
Manuel nods to Ca’Sucker slightly smirking. He will play
Mick anything because he is shooting good and winning.
Roxanne walks over to Mick.
Why’d you make me play Nine-Ball?
This guy owns that game.
It’s okay. We’re going to play him
One-Pocket and we’re going to raise
the stakes. Freddy’s plan all
along. Now just get in there and
get the cheese.
Roxanne and Mick smile. She holds his hand for a second in
MONTAGE OF THE TIDE TURNING FOR MICK
— Ca’Sucker keeps drinking the coffee and chain smoking
— Mick wins over and over again.
— In between, a giant rat falls off a pipe from above,
messing the setting of the balls.
— Ca’Sucker is grumpy and angry.
— Roxanne and Mick win a few thousand.
— Roxanne is paid off by Manuel. Manuel’s crony with the
wrench looks to Manuel as to whether or not to let them
leave. Manuel nods them a pass and they climb up the
ladder and out.
INT. CAR (MOVING) – MOMENTS LATER
Freddy, you want to tell me what
actually happened in there?
Sure. We let Ca’Sucker feel good
about beating Mick at Nine-Ball.
Meantime, he downed about five
Cuban coffees and a handful of
speed pills. Nine-Ball’s a game of
pep and energy, but it’s not the
way to win at One-Pocket. One-
Pocket’s precision, strategy and
patience — like the difference
between checkers and chess. I knew
Mick would torture Ca’Sucker
Well, here’s where we part company
again. We’re going to head back
South to work off this bankroll…
maybe pump it up and head to Vegas
for the big Stardust Tournament.
There is an almost imperceptible pause as Roxanne gazes at
Just be careful on the road. Jesse
thinks you two made him look
foolish. You know how dangerous he
We’ll be careful… It really has
been great seeing you again.
Roxanne plants a sisterly kiss on Freddy’s cheek.
‘Til we meet again.
Don’t forget — get paid after
every game, don’t sleep any
scratches, and may you never need
to use the rope.
Don’t worry, the next time you see
us, we’ll be living high and
driving brand new wheels.
Roxanne and Mick drive into a small town and stop at the
INT. SMALL TOWN POOLROOM – SAME
They walk in looking for action. They spot a FAT DRUNK
“hooting and bellering,” daring everyone to play for big
Ain’t nobody got any gamble in this
shit-water town? I got a big
bankroll and I’m looking to fire it
at the first sumbitch that shows he
Fat drunk has two big dogs with him. Mick finally
I’ll try you some One-Pocket,
mister. How much you wanna play
Looking to play high, son. Four or
five hunert a game… Can you
handle it?… Whassa matter sonny,
you afraid to play a drunk?
No, I’m not scared of a drunk. You
got action, mister, five “hunert” a
Roxanne pulls Mick off to the side.
All we got is enough for three
games, about sixteen hundred.
There’s no room for error..
THE GAME IS ON
— Soon, Mick realizes the guy is not very drunk.
BACK TO SCENE
(confiding to Roxanne)
I don’t think this guy is all that
drunk… looks like he can really
play. We’re in a trap. You wanna
I don’t know. We’re not losing.
We’re dead even in games and you’re
playing great. Fire two more
“barrels” at him and see what
happens. I hate to quit — good as
MONTAGE OF THE DEMISE OF THE FAT DRUNK
— Mick continues to play fantastically and winds up breaking
the fat drunk.
— The session over, the fat drunk is broke.
— The fat drunk goes to the bathroom.
BACK TO SCENE
An OLD SWEATOR eases up to Mick and whispers to him.
Do you know who you just beat, kid?
No. He’s a good player, but I
don’t care who he is. I’ve already
shot his nuts out.
Well, that’s Rat Poison Ronnie,
pal. Best One-Pocket player in the
country. Has been, for years.
Hell, and you beat him like a barn
That’s Rat Poison Ronnie?
The guy who sold one of his kids to
get money so he could play another
That’s him all right — by the way –
– he lost the session. What’s your
Mick. Pasadena Mick. Remember
that name, Pops, it might mean
something one day. I intend to be
RONNIE emerges from the bathroom. Mick rushes over to shake
his hand and Roxanne gives him some money.
Here’s some breakfast money to walk
with, old man. You play a great
game. The toughest Mick ever
played. He had to get lucky to
RAT POISON RONNIE
Save all that flattery stuff, girl.
It’s somebody on the way up and
somebody on the way down. You two
got a great future ahead of you.
Maybe we’ll run into each other
again at one of the big
tournaments. I like your style,
girl. Remind me of Fat’s old girl
friend, “Double-Smart” Lucy.
What’s your name?
Roxanne, and this is Pasadena Mick.
RAT POISON RONNIE
“Double-Smart” Roxanne. That’s
your new name, kid… If Rat Poison
Ronnie can ever do you guys a turn
on the road…
The trio silently look at each other in a moment of mutual
SUPER: ONE YEAR LATER
EXT./INT. POOL ROOM – DAY
The Filthy Beast stands in front of the pool room door as
Hey, Jesse. Brooklyn Charlie, the
player you sent to Alabama, is
waiting for you inside. Bad news —
he got broke there.
Broke! How could he get broke? He
shoulda robbed everybody in town.
Ansel shrugs and they walk inside.
BROOKLYN CHARLIE, leaning on the front counter, spots Jesse
and rushes over to him.
What happened, Charlie? Nobody
around there coulda beat you. You
get drunk or doped up?
No, no! I was straight! I ran
into some young guy and a broad.
Honest to God, Jesse, the guy never
missed a ball.
A comprehending scowl comes over Jesse’s face.
What’d they look like? Like
Superman and Lois Lane?
Yeah, yeah! How’d you know? Only
the broad was a blonde. Real goodlooking,
smart too. I’m sorry,
man, but the guy was just too good
Jesse’s eyes narrow and he begins nodding his head slowly,
INT. STARDUST HOTEL IN LAS VEGAS – DAY
Pool tournament signs everywhere announcing: “STARDUST WORLD
CHAMPIONSHIP POOL TOURNAMENT.”
Roxanne and Mick are in the lobby checking in.
Hope I can hold my own with all the
big boys here.
You’re going to do just fine.
Plus, we caught a break, I heard
Jesse’s not showing up for this
one. Remember, we’re here to play
pool. Double nix on the square
C’mon Rox, I’ve got a great craps
system I want to try. I’ll only
invest forty or fifty dollars.
Okay. Forty or fifty bucks — but
that’s it. I’m going up to enter
you in the tournament. You can
fool around with a few bucks. Soon
as I get back, your gambling spree
is over. We’ll go to a nice place
Sure, sure. By the time you get
back, I’ll have won enough for ten
Roxanne heads for the stairs and Mick drifts to the craps
TOURNAMENT REGISTRATION TABLE
There’s a line in front of Roxanne — registering may take a
CASINO CRAP TABLE
Roxanne’s registered and returns to the casino to find Mick
at the crap table. He has a wild look and it’s obvious that
Oh, I’m glad you’re back. What the
hell took so long? Let me have
some money. I don’t have enough
for the next system bet. It’s
alright — The system is just
stalled right now. One winner and
everything will be okay.
Are you crazy? I left you with
over five hundred. Five hundred!
I’m not giving you any more money.
We’re not here to gamble on crap
games. I never knew you were such
a dumb son-of-a-bitch!
Give me the money. Soon as these
dice turn, I’ll quit and I’ll treat
you to a lobster dinner, with
Mick is scratching his head, looking down, avoiding Roxanne’s
… It’s half mine anyway.
I’m not giving you anything. I run
the finances. I’m not going off on
some casino trap. This bankroll is
for gambling on pool — the game
you win at.
I know this game too! Honest.
Just let me make the next system
bet. It’s big, but I’m going to
win it. — Give me the money,
He reaches for her purse but she pulls away, bolts to the
women’s bathroom and runs inside.
(talking to bathroom door)
C’mon Rox, don’t embarrass me like
this. You have to come out
Mick has drawn a crowd.
If you don’t come out I’m going to
auction off my watch and the car!
INSIDE THE BATHROOM
Roxanne is inside crying.
BACK ON THE CASINO FLOOR
Okay, people. I’ve got a 1969
Chevy, and a Rolex Oyster. Do I
hear any bids?
Both items go quickly for bargain prices.
Mick takes the money to the crap table.
Five hundred on the Field!
One thousand on the Field!
BACK AT THE CASINO BATHROOM DOOR MINUTES LATER
Mick yells inside.
You can come out now! You got
what you wanted. I lost all the
money. Your curse worked. I hope
being right all the time makes you
Roxanne flies out of the bathroom with blood in her eye and
attacks him. It’s a full-fledged brawl. Fists are flying
from both parties.
Both get in some great licks before the fight is broken up by
the Casino security people.
Onlookers, many of them pool players and some who know the
two, critique the fight.
I don’t know. It was close. I
make it a draw.
Naw, Double-Smart bloodied his
nose. I give her the split
decision. Whatta gal! Mick better
sleep with one eye open.
EXT. FRONT OF THE HOTEL – NIGHT
Bloody and disheveled, the two start to regroup.
So there’re two people I have to
look out for — you, and the sucker
that’s inside you fighting to get
out. I’ve gotta watch you much
I’m sorry, hon’. I just couldn’t
stop myself. Something came over
me. I’ll never do anything like
We’ll see. Meantime, we’ve been
thrown out of the hotel and
disqualified from the tournament.
Where do we go from here?
How about a doctor’s office? My
head is still ringing from that
shot you gave me.
You son-of-bitch, the next time
I’ll cut your balls off. From now
on, I handle all the money. Let’s
just take a bus to California.
I haven’t seen my parents in a long
time. We can pick up another car
They show up at her parent’s door. Roxanne fidgets as she
tries to open the front door, but it’s locked, so she rings
Mick has flowers in his hand. Maura opens the door and sees
Roxanne — Roxanne smiles — Maura slams door in her face —
then reopens the door, kisses them both and cries.
INT. SCHWARTZ HOUSE – KITCHEN – DAY
The next morning Roxanne and Mick are having coffee.
Well, I’ve paid my respects.
Introduced you to your future inlaws.
Slept in my old bed, and
made dopey conversation with my
parents. One night back in this
life and I’m ready to jump out of
my skin. Get on the phone and find
us a game somewhere.
Mick gets on the phone.
I’m calling The Palace Pool Hall.
They might know where we could go.
INT. PALACE POOL HALL – DAY
The houseman answers the phone.
Palace, home of champions. If you
can’t play, stay away. What can I
do for you?
INTERCUT PHONE CONVERSATION – MICK AND HOUSEMAN
Bobby, this is Mick and Roxanne.
How you been doin’ Have you heard
of any big action anywhere?
(covers the phone and calls to
You know of any action, Jesse?
I got Mick and Double-Smart Roxanne
on the phone, and he sounds hungry.
Jesse lights up a cigarette. Ansel stands around as well.
Johnston City — by Fat’s place in
southern Illinois. It’s gonna be a
— Johnston City, Illinois, by
Fat’s place. A pool jamboree.
The “Band of Brothers” will all be
Got that kid? Johnston City.
Southern Illinois. Everybody
there, big action. Okay, okay,
Mick scratches the info down on a piece of paper.
INT. MAURA’S LIVING ROOM
Mick returns from phone call.
I know it’s hard here in
Valleyland, but I appreciate your
patience. I love you, you know?
I love you too, babe. And your
parents are fine. Real great,
putting us up and all.
Mick starts fumbling.
It’s just that, this past year…
the two of us… I’m just not used
to being in any one place for too
long. I love seeing new places,
new people… playing pool.
Mick grabs Roxanne’s shoulders and looks her in the eyes.
I’m never going to be able to
settle down. I need to keep
moving. That’s what makes me feel
good. That, and you with me.
Roxanne’s eyes light up, and she dreamily replies:
I signed on for life, Mick.
Mick takes stock for a moment, then nods his head in
There’s big action down near Fat’s
farm. Johnston City, Illinois.
Everybody we know is gonna be
there. It’ll be like the Olympics
of Pool. Let’s blow this popstand!
Roxanne washes up, pretties herself, goes into her bedroom to
pack alone while Mick is lying on the bed.
Maura knocks on door.
We’re driving you away again,
You never drove me away, I was
always ready to leave. Ever since
I was little…
all those movies, magazines… I
always wanted to travel and walk
into smoky bars, bat my eyes like
Lauren Bacall and walk off into the
We can’t get you to stay a little
longer? Uncle Manny wanted to take
us all to dinner.
Roxanne shakes her head. Maura embraces her.
Always send me postcards and call.
I love you my daughter, my gorgeous
Roxanne smiles as they hug.
— Shot by drug addicts, gone for a
year, she finally comes back to her
Roxanne starts to laugh.
— Tear your mother’s heart out…
Maura reflects a second, seems to make up her mind and
Okay. Well, I never told you this,
but your grandfather used to run
numbers in the neighborhood, back
in Brooklyn. So I guess you always
had some gambling in your blood…
And you make a living playing pool?
Not that simple, but yes.
And this makes you happy?
Yes. Tell the neighbors I’m a
flight attendant — the first
Roxanne and Maura both laugh
INT. CAR – DAY
Roxanne and Mick get back on the road and head to Johnston
EXT. THEIR CAR
They turn off into the exit for Johnston City.
ROAD SIGN: JOHNSTON CITY, IL., POPULATION 3500
EXT. ” LOUNGE” PARKING LOT – DAY
As the car pulls in, they see the marquee advertising:
“WORLDS ALL-AROUND POOL CHAMPIONSHIP,” with the event dates.
INT. “SHOW LOUNGE”
Roxanne and Mick enter the lounge and run into The Filthy
Jesse’s here and you’d better make
peace with him, if you know what’s
good for you. He’s in the back of
As they walk past the bar they are treated to a rogue’s
gallery of the greatest hustlers in the country, FATS, DAPPER
DANNY, RAT POISON RONNIE, CHICAGO BUGS, THREE-FINGERED
FRANKIE, BROOKLYN JIMMY, SOAP AND WATER ARTIE, etc. (This
info could be displayed at bottom of screen like a series of
Well, well, look what the ill-wind
blew in. Pasadena Mick, the guy
who promised me one year on the
road — provided I paid his mommy’s
bills — and Double-Smart or
rather, Double-Cross Roxanne, his
I’m really sorry about that, Jesse.
We only have a six thousand dollar
bankroll, I can give you five.
We’ll pay you the rest, I promise.
Too late. Your promise is no good
any more. I got another idea.
Roxanne and Mick cringe and steel themselves in anxious
You owe me one year on the road and
about ten dimes — with the
interest. I could have some
friends of mine wring you like a
rag for the money and force you to
come, but you might not play good —
with the broken bones and all.
Roxanne, in horror, digs her fingers in Mick’s arm.
I want you to come on the road with
me of your own free will, so I’ll
gonna give you a chance to settle
our disagreement with a gamble.
A drizzle of hope passes through Roxanne and Mick.
I want you to put up that six grand
and play my guy some One-Pocket.
You’re supposed to be one of the
best, so that shouldn’t be a
problem. If you lose, you go on
the road with me for a year. Win?
We’re even. I’ll even put up two
thousand so you’ll only be laying
me three to one — there has to be
some penalties for your crime. The
alternative? You can negotiate a
better deal with my two friends
over there, Sluggo and Boppo.
Jesse points to two menacing characters leaning against the
Alright, we’ll go for it. But not
because of the threats. I pay my
Yeah, yeah, whatever. Just show up
in the back room at nine o’clock
Jesse walks away and Mick is confronted by Grady “The
Professor” Mathews, a tall, thin, totally bald, bespectacled
man in his thirties who resembles Dr. Silvana of Captain
What do you say, hot-shot? I been
hearing good things about your
game. Everybody says you’re a big
gun. Maybe you’re even ready to do
some serious gambling with me. How
‘bout it? Even up, of course. No
Don’t worry, Grady, I’ll get to
your ass. First, I’ve got to
settle up with Hippie Jesse. I’m
tired of ducking him. I’m gonna
play a match that’s been brewing
for a long time. It’s some player
of his. It’s not you by any
No it’s not me.
But while you’re looking for
whoever the hell it is, maybe I
could keep an eye on your girl
friend for you.
No chance. I know all about you.
If I catch you anywhere near her
when I’m not around, I’ll have your
Okay, okay. Take it easy. Rumors
regarding my reputation have been
Grady walks away.
Exaggerated, hell. That’s one of
the kinkiest pool players of all
time. You know what the title of
his autobiography is? Bet High and
Roxanne cracks up laughing.
INT. THE GAMBLING ROOM FOR THE TOURNAMENT – NIGHT
Here comes Hippie Jesse and his
player. Holy shit, it’s Freddy,
pregnant wife and all.
Freddy and his pregnant wife approach Roxanne and Mick.
Mick is nattily attired with a flashy, golf cap.
Roxanne stares at Freddy’s wife’s swollen belly.
You’re gonna play Mick?
I’m a little surprised myself, that
this is the game Jesse set up. But
like I told you when I was turning
you out, “friends is friends, but
gambling is gambling,” and gambling
comes first. If anybody chooses to
play me, I’m going to try to shoot
his balls off.
Okay, people. This match is a
“freeze-out” for all the marbles.
No one can quit without forfeiting.
You gotta keep playing until
somebody wins all the money.
Jesse walks over to Mick and whispers.
Oh yeah, there’s a couple more
minor stipulations I forgot to
mention. One, you got to spot
Freddy a ball, eight to seven. I
wanna see how you play under real
pressure. Two, I don’t travel with no broad.
So when we go on the road — you
and I — you’ll get to visit
Roxanne only on the High Holidays
and Christmas. Good luck, pal.
The session starts. Freddy breaks the balls “safe” and they
jockey shots back and forth until Freddy accidentally leaves
Mick a long shot.
Mick tries to focus in on the shot but the balls seem to be
moving around. He finally lunges at the shot and misses it
Jesse eases up to Freddy.
(innocently, to Freddy)
Well, how do you like that? How do
you feel, kid?
Real good. I’ll be sharp tonight.
Let’s hope so. The two grand we’re
putting up is coming out of your
pocket — just to make sure this
game is played on the square.
I only play on the square! You
That’s all wonderful, but don’t
worry, I took out some insurance
What’d you do?
I “jarred” him. I paid the
waitress to put a few drops of
Scopolamine on his hamburger. In a
few minutes every ball will look
like three. Just hope he can stay
on his feet long enough to finish
You jarred him? — You put CIA
truth-juice on him?
— In a match with me in it? You
shit-heel, cocksucker! You know I
ain’t no “jar hustler.” I play
hard, but I play on the square.
This is brutal. If any of the
other players find out, I’ll be
marked a rat — just like you.
Yeah, well I always knew you were a
sucker at heart. It’s too late,
just get your ass in there and get
Freddy returns to the table and with his back to Jesse gives
Roxanne the “Tom” sign — a closed right fist in the middle
of the chest.
Roxanne’s eyes go wide but she acknowledges the “office” with
a slight nod.
(whispering to Mick)
What happened on that last shot?
Freddy just “officed” me that
something is very wrong. How do
I kinda feel like my eyes are
wandering around in my head. I
feel good but the balls look upside
Freddy is trying to tip us off.
Somehow Jesse must have jarred you.
You got to try to shake it, ‘cause
the money is up and you have to
either play or forfeit. Let’s get
you to the bathroom.
Roxanne calls a time out with a wave.
Mick goes in with Roxanne and tries to vomit as much as he
Drink this. Milk. It’s the only
Roxanne force feeds him multiple glasses of milk.
BACK AT THE TABLE
Freddy appears to be stalling and taking an extraordinary
amount of time on his shot. He gets up, he gets back down,
he gets up again…
C’mon speed it up! You’re playing
like you’re going to the electric
Roxanne walks Mick back to his chair.
Rat Poison Ronnie cuts into Roxanne.
RAT POISON RONNIE
Hey, Double-Smart, what is it with
your guy? Is he laying down my
No, that fuckin’ Jesse jarred him.
If we had some time, maybe he could
could come out of it. I fed him
about two quarts of milk.
Ronnie thinks for a minute.
RAT POISON RONNIE
You guys were alright with me after
you broke me. Maybe I can help.
I’d love to fuck-up that jag-off
Jesse’s scam. Just watch this.
Ronnie staggers over to Mick’s table and fakes a heart
attack. He grabs hold of Jesse and drops to the floor
gasping and moaning, dragging Jesse down with him.
RAT POISON RONNIE
Arrgh! My heart! Help me. This
MONTAGE OF THE EVENTS FOLLOWING RONNIE’ FAKE HEART ATTACK
— The game stops.
— An ambulance is called.
— Paramedics examine Ronnie and carry him out on a
— In between writhing, he winks at Roxanne.
— The game begins again.
Do you feel any better?
Still shaky, but I think I can
Roxanne smiles and looks over to Freddy and gives him the
“George” hand signal. Open palm across chest, fingers
Mick is okay. Freddy eases over to him.
Well, I guess the game is back on.
So as they say in marbles, “shoot
your hardies” — And from here on
out I wish you luck, Mick — all
MONTAGE OF GAME PLAY
— Flashes of shots
— Payoffs on the side bets
BACK TO SESSION CLIMAX
A spectator joins a friend in the bleacher seats, squeezes in
and sits down. His friend has his elbows on his knees and
his hands under his chin, watching the game. Both men are
kind of nerdy and middle aged.
So what’s going on?
It’s a real big match. You see
that guy over there? That’s
Double-Smart Roxanne’s boy friend?
Images of Mick at the table.
SPECTATOR #2 (V.O.)
Yeah, he’s famous for inventing
impossible shots. Needs one right
now. Freddy’s pocket’s loaded with balls
and the cue ball is buried behind a
wall in front of the Beard’s
pocket. Mick’s got no way to play
INSERT POOL TABLE LAYOUT
SPECTATOR #2 (V.O.)
The session’s tied. This is the
deciding game for all the cheese.
If Mick doesn’t come up with a
miracle shot, this match is gonna
Roxanne eases over to Mick and takes him by the arm.
Everything we got is on the line.
Our whole stake. If you don’t want
us stuck in the Valley living with
my parents you’ve got to come up
with something here.
I’m gonna give it my best shot,
babe. No sense stalling.
BACK TO MICK AT THE TABLE
With his cue ball hemmed in behind a wall of balls in front
of Freddy’s pocket, he gets down on the shot and aims and
aims, and strokes and strokes with agonizing concentration.
Suddenly, he jumps upright, turns his hat around backwards,
gets back down, takes one stroke, and whacks the shot home.
The cue ball is about six inches away from the object ball,
straight-in and pointed down table. He hits the object ball
tremendously hard and banks the ball toward his pocket.
The cue ball goes up in the air and flies over the wall of
balls that were blocking it and lands and stops perfectly
behind those balls.
He makes the bank and gets position to run the game out. We
see the shot in full speed first, then a replay in slow
All the players in the room stop what they are doing and look
over. There is tumult in the room.
What happened! What happened!
He banked it in his pocket, and
jumped over the stack, he’s behind
the balls and ready to run the game
Mick proceeds to quickly run out the remaining balls on a
dejected Freddy, who is looking up at the sky. On the game
and session ball, Mick announces to Roxanne:
I’m coming home, baby!
Mick fires at a cross-corner bank shot at about a hundred
miles an hour, and it goes in.
Everyone applauds. Roxanne jumps up and kisses Mick.
That, my friend, is One-Pocket!
Jesse, with two hands, throws the money loosely up on the
table, snarls at Freddy, and walks away.
(to Freddy, derisively)
You fuckin’ sucker!
Jesse grabs his stuff and walks out while the money is
transferred over to Roxanne. Freddy smiles grimly and shakes
That was a game! You might have to
back me a couple of games the rest
of the week. Jesse made me put up
the two thousand you won.
Freddy signals his pregnant wife over. They all meet and
You know, even when that shit was
in full force, you didn’t play all
that bad. How’d you do it?
Well, I was seeing three balls at
once, but I just tried aiming at
the one in the middle!
Laughter from all.
SUPER: TWENTY YEARS LATER – HIGHWAY TO ST. LOUIS
INT. SHINING NEW LINCOLN TOWN CAR (MOVING)
Digital clock turns from 6:59 to 7:00 am. Roxanne opens
glove compartment, moves a gun aside to grab a sunglasses
case. Empty coffee cups, fast food bags and maps adorn the
otherwise empty front seat.
Mick is sleeping in the back seat under a short, tattered
flannel blanket. He is in the fetal position.
INT. TRUCK STOP – DAY
WAITRESS #1, an older blonde, late forties, turns on an old
radio with a scratchy dial.
RADIO ANNOUNCER (V.O.)
Happy Monday morning to ya. Time
to go to work.
A COUNTRY & WESTERN TUNE begins to play
EXT. LINCOLN TOWN CAR (MOVING)
The car pulls into the lot and parks right in front of the
truck stop window.
Roxanne, in sunglasses, gets out. It’s cold enough that you
can see her breath. Slams her door shut, walks around to the
trunk, and takes out a leather pool case, a 50’s style beauty
case, and a hanger wrapped in plastic with items of dry
She opens the rear door and gives Mick the cue case, which he
sticks between his legs and goes back to sleep.
She runs her hand lovingly over the Lincoln, then impulsively
plants a wet kiss on the windshield, leaving a very sexy
lipstick mark. Smiling, she stares contentedly at Mick for a
minute, and a beautiful ray of sparkling white light forms a
halo around her head.
We’ve all come a long way since the
INT. TRUCK STOP – SAME
Roxanne enters, dry cleaning and beauty case in hand. The
place is about half full with truckers. A typical, starting-to-
get-busy, Monday morning. The counter seems almost a mile
long. Front of the building is covered in glass and the cold
dew of the morning.
(nodding to waitress)
Two black coffees to go. Ladies
Straight back to your left.
Waitress moves her head to the side to get a better look at
Roxanne, recognizing her. Roxanne starts walking toward the
bathroom before the waitress is half-done giving the
I know that woman… Under the
sunglasses that is. Carl? How do
I know that woman?
Carl, the GRILL GUY, shrugs again, with no answer.
Oh, yeah. Her husband is the pool
player. They been here ten times
or so since I started here in
’75… figures… Pool room is only
a mile away. Plenty action there.
Did make fifty dollars some years
back betting on her husband. Eats
like a horse. He once bet he could
eat a whole tray of chocolate cake.
Agnes, pauses to relive the episode.
… Took a whole gallon of milk to
get it all down, too.
Oh, now I remember. That’s Double-
Sure you remember, cause you bet
her husband couldn’t do it, you
dumb shit! Took you two months to
pay it off too…
My lord, she has hardly aged a bit.
I reckon she hasn’t seen more than
an hour of daylight in the past
twenty years, ‘cept behind a
Roxanne yanks on the ladies bathroom door. It’s occupied, so
she enters the men’s She locks the door and moves a garbage
can under the knob to secure it further. She’s done this
She undresses quickly. A holstered gun on her ankle, money
taped to her thigh, and a big scar on her butt from her
She dresses just as quickly. Brushes her teeth and puts on a
layer of make-up.
INSERT – HER BEAUTY CASE
The bottom of the case contains some gold and diamond
jewelry, a switchblade, and an open letter addressed from an
INSERT – THE LETTER
Roxanne reads the letter.
“You are asked to appear on
Tuesday, the 12th of February for
the reading of the will of Maura
Schwartz. Please respond…”
Roxanne stifles a tear, puts the letter away, looks at the
mirror, brushes her hair with her hand, forces a smile, and
She sizes up the whole room, walks up to counter, and puts a
couple of singles down.
(kind of excited)
How ya been doin’ sugar?
(points to herself)
Remember me? Agnes? —
Roxanne, right? You’ve been in
here quite a few times — not
lately — You and that nice husband
of yours… can’t think of his name
I won fifty bucks when he ate that
pan of chocolate cake.
Roxanne looks irritated that Agnes recognizes her, but pushes
the dollars toward her.
Here you go then.
Agnes, realizes that Roxanne did not want to be recognized,
and pushes the money back.
On the house.
Roxanne smiles at her and Agnes smiles back. Agnes tries to
force herself not to speak as Roxanne walks out but does so
anyway like a giddy schoolgirl.
I guess ya’all been doin’ okay.
That there’s a dandy new Lincoln
you got parked in front.
Roxanne stops in her tracks, turns around, and just smiles a
powerful smile that lights up the room. It is her trademark.
INT. THE GRAND POOLROOM, ST. LOUIS MISSOURI – NIGHT
Roxanne and Mick take a look around and notice a YOUNG PLAYER
(the player from the opening scene). Cue case in hand, he
walks into the pool room with an entourage.
MONTAGE OF THE POOL ACTION
— Light is coming into pool room as time passes.
— Mick is losing games and paying off.
— Mick and Roxanne look tired, sweaty and worn out.
— It’s very late and only a few hangers on are watching the
— Roxanne and Mick act agitated with one another and Roxanne
walks around the room, maniacally asking for cigarettes.
— The entourage of the other player keep congratulating him
and needling Mick.
— Mick sits on his pool chair, looking grief-stricken.
— He’s scratching his head and looking down and away — the
BACK TO AN ENRAGED ROXANNE
You’ve lost it, Mick. Look at
this! Look at this! You’ve got a
Great Man to play, and you’re going
off like a rocket. We’re quitting.
You couldn’t beat Ray Charles.
Roxanne is making a scene in front of the quiet crowd. The
Sweators and entourage feel uncomfortable and embarrassed for
No! Just give me the money then.
Leave if you want. I don’t care.
I’m going to keep playing anyway.
Roxanne takes out her purse, empties out all of the money on
the pool table.
Here — you son-of-a-bitch, you may
as well take the cheese and bet it
all. Every cent we have left.
Just blow it all. I’m gone… Palm
Springs to live with my dad. And
— that’s it for you! I knew all
along that I could never control
the loser inside you!
Roxanne hits him in the arm. She then walks up to the young
player and hands him a wad of cash. The young player
reluctantly takes it.
The young player, who’s very cocky, hands it to his own
backer, the leader of the young showy entourage, and he
YOUNG GUY’S BACKER
This is a lot of money lady —
But, you got action.
Roxanne throws her hands up in the air, gives Mick the
finger, and storms out.
The young player nervously misses his next shot and Mick
takes a deep breath and stands up to take his turn.
EXT. THE POOL ROOM – DAY
Dawn is breaking. A very tired-looking Mick exits the pool
room. His cue case drags on the sidewalk. Shades his eyes
with his hand to ward off the early morning sunlight.
Head down, he walks down the street and turns the corner —
there is Roxanne, standing there leaning against the car.
When he gets closer, she opens her arms.
Mick, from a back view, opens his arms.
We see Mick frontally, with his arms and jacket open,
revealing the inside of his black leather jacket and the wads
of cash stuffed in the inner pockets.
He reveals his first smile.
They climb into the car and hold hands, kiss and giggle like
little kids and drive into the bright happy sunrise.
INT. LINCOLN TOWN CAR (MOVING) – DAY
(in a female voice, mocking
Oh, you’ve lost it this time Mick!
I’m going to marry a doctor! You
can’t play for shit! Take all the
Both laugh hysterically.
Next time don’t hit me on my right
arm. Coulda screwed up my stroke!
Hope everyone enjoyed the story as much as my daughter Catherine
Who’s Jack Cooney?
Jack Cooney was probably the greatest pool hustler ever. He traveled with his wife Barbara. He was a great “lemon” man; that is a player who can disguise his true pool talent in order to lure an opponent into big action. He avoided tournaments because he didn’t want his face or speed to be circulated around. He was very personable and easy to like. Even after they lost big money to Jack, his opponents still spoke well of him.