Easy Money (3)
Peter E Zuehlke

 



on this dump isnít going to make either of us rich.  
Iíve talked to direct lenders.  Iíve talked to sharks.  
Now, I am talking to you.  I want to make you a lot of
money.  Easy money.

		(ZACKY takes out a pen and quickly 
	marks out a line here and there in 
	the documents. He signs the last 
	page with a  flourish then hands a 
	couple of pages back to MUNNY.)

ZACKY
Iím not going to blanket this deal with my Vegas land.
Iím not going to subordinate the first on this one.  
I need the cash out now.  And I want to keep my kneecaps.

		(ZACKY throws the rest of the papers on 
		the ground and picks up the shotgun.)

ZACKY
Get me my money.

MUNNY
I donít know if we can structure (word catches in his
throat) a deal like that.

ZACKY
(raising his voice)  
Donít play me boy.  Iíve been in this game a lot longer
than you have.  The cash is flying around out there, you
just gotta grab it.

		



		(DE RANGER raises herself still out of 
		view of the two men.  Sheís alarmed and 
		angry.  ZACKYís eye starts closing up, 
		he cocks his head a little, and what 
		looked like stroke before turns out to 
		be an intimidating shooting stance as 
		he brings the shotgun to eye level and 
		points it at MUNNY.)

ZACKY
I need the cash now.  Get me that deal.

MUNNY
Yes.  Sir. Calm down please.  Weíll get your deal.

		(MUNNY stands up overturning the chair.  
		He steps backwards a pace or two then 
		turns and runs.  ZACKY moves towards him, 
		and laughs. ZACKY hears something and 
		stops laughing.  He ďbreaksĒ open the 
		shotgun, and sees it has no shell in it.  
		He checks his pockets, but theyíre empty 
		too. DE RANGER isnít happy, as she slaps 
		the pipe against the palm of her free 
		hand, and begins to creep forward.  
		Lights fade out.  We hear a dull thud.)


					Scene nine
					Health club.  Same set up as scene 1

		(THRUSTER is jogging absentmindedly on treadmill.  The other one is not in use.  
		MUNNY enters, upset.)

THRUSTER
Hey big guy.  Where have you been?  I havenít seen you for
days.  Lisa been keeping you busy?  I think Iím in love
with Lisa.  I donít know how I let you take her away from
me.

MUNNY
Lisa.  She was sending me E-mails.  Five or ten a day at
the beginning.  Iíve been trying to cool it the last
couple of days.  She sent me seventeen E-mails yesterday.
Three days ago my answering machine broke down, wore out.
Iím afraid to pick up the phone.

THRUSTER
Seventeen E-mails.  (dead pans) Iím shocked.  
Does she ever attach any JPEG photos to those?

MUNNY
No JPEGs.  Chuck, listen to me.  You didnít hear about
what happened to Zacky?

THRUSTER
Did you get him signed up?

MUNNY
Yeah.  The papers are all signed.  Everything is signed
off.

THRUSTER
Hallelujah kid.  Congratulations are in order.  Thatís a
hell of a commission.  I got to take you out to the strip
club.
MUNNY
But Zacky.

THRUSTER
Donít worry about Zacky.  He can take care of himself.  
He is one of the greatest.

MUNNY
No.  He canít.  Not anymore anyway.  He was killed.
Bludgeoned to death.

		(THRUSTER switches off the treadmill 
		and gets off.  He looks concerned 
		standing by MUNNY.)

THRUSTER
Oh.  Man!  When did that happen?

MUNNY
Ah.  Must have been the night, right after I got the loan
docs signed off.


THRUSTER
You got the docs signed off though?.  What are you worried
about.  Weíll get our points.(smiling) You did good.
Bludgeoned eh?
			
			(GIOVANNI enters.  He is looking 
			around the health club.  He is 
			wearing a sweat shirt and overly 
			long sweat pants that pile on 
			top of his running shoes.)

THRUSTER
Thereís Giovanni.  Is he okay.  Seems like heís gotten
attached to you.

MUNNY
Not me heís after.  Heís been obsessing over. . .

GIOVANNI 
Hey guys.  Have you seen Lisa around?

			(GIOVANNI is trying to act casual 
			as he switches the treadmill on 
			and hops onto it, jogging.)

GIOVANNI 
Havenít seen her in a while.

THRUSTER
(teasing) 
Think she said she was going to Bermuda or something with
her old boyfriend.

GIOVANNI
Old boyfriend.  Ohhhh(becomes an exclamation)

		(GIOVANNI grabs the handrails to support himself.  He runs with one foot while 
		the other is drawn to the motor at the 
		front of the machine.)

GIOVANNI 
My leg.  My pants.  Itís caught in the motor.

		(His leg is driven against the 
		front of the machine as he holds 
		on for dear life to one of the 
		rails.  His other arm flails as
		he tries to reach the off switch.)

MUNNY
Hang on.  Iíll turn it off.

		(MUNNY lunges for the speed control 
		knob.  For a moment we hear the machine 
		speed up.  GIOVANNI screams.  His pants 
		are torn completely off from him as he 
		falls on to the belt then rolls to the 
		side on the floor in his underwear.  
		HEALTH CLUB WOMAN walks by.	GIOVANNI 
		gets up and stumbles out in a daze.)

Lights fade out.


					Scene ten
					Lisa DE RANGERís Apartment

					GIOVANNI is stalking outside.  He can be seen through some of the framing.  He comes in squeezing through the framing and tar paper at the back of the stage.  He is carrying a big sack, a roll of duct tape and handcuffs.  She is working on the weight machine, listening to a Walkman.  GIOVANNI creeps up behind her with the sack.  She doesnít see him.  

					As heís about to put the bag over her head, he gets tangled in the machine. Somewhere near his belt buckle.   He canít free himself.  He struggles with the machine moving weights or elastic bands.  He just gets more tangled up..  

GIOVANNI
(stifled) 
Help me.

		(DE RANGER gets off the machine and 
		turns slowly toward GIOVANNI.)

DE RANGER
Ah.  We caught another one, didnít we.  (Looking up)  
This should appease Mr. Bobo.

		(Lights go down.  We hear GIOVANNIís 
	familiar scream.)

					Scene eleven
					Health Club

				(THRUSTER is standing next to 
			the treadmill carefully adjusting 
			his clothing and sweat band.  
			PEPPER enters.)

THRUSTER
Hey Officer Pepper, what are you doing here?  This place
is about as far away, spiritually speaking, from a donut
shop as you can get.

PEPPER
You know Thruster, those old police stereotypes are not
only typically inaccurate, but rarely funny.

THRUSTER
Well, maybe youíre not the typical cop.  So when are you
going to complete that thesis?  Are they going to promote
you from sergeant when you get your Ph.D.?

PEPPER
Yeah.  A sergeant for 17 years.

THRUSTER
Going to be funny calling you doctor.

PEPPER
Gonna be awhile yet.  Havenít had any time to work on it.
Theyíve been bouncing me all around.  Jails to
recruitment.  Now Iím supposed to be back in a car, but
Iím working homicide.  The detectives got me running down
every bogus tip.  For some reason when the neighborhood
boys whack somebody over a turf dispute the witnesses
donít want to talk about it.

THRUSTER
They donít explain that in those criminology courses
youíre taking?  Well, the degree should impress the brass.

PEPPER
Yeah, right.  They hate all those young guys that have
been coming in to the department recently with advanced
degrees.


THRUSTER
Well you canít really blame those new guys.  What else are
they going to do with those degrees.  Teach.  Itís safer
to be a cop.

PEPPER
These days itís hard to find people who understand the
importance of the group dynamic vis-a-vis the individual
imperative.  At least Iím an old timer.  
The Lieutenant and the Captain donít give me any crap.
They know me.  They trust me with the sensitive
confidential stuff.  Iím working on this Zacky Ringer
murder.

THRUSTER
Yeah. I heard.  Bludgeoned.

PEPPER
You and that partner of yours.  You were working on a loan
for him?

THRUSTER
Yeah.  I saw Zacky a couple of days before he got it.
Picture in the paper was ugly.  He was one of the
greatest.

PEPPER
They found some of your papers on him.  They were dated
about the time Zacky got whacked.  The day before, or was
it the day after?  Did you see him that day?

THRUSTER
No.  My boy Munny signed him.

PEPPER
Probably be a good idea for you to check your calendar and
reconstruct where you were that day.

THRUSTER
Iím cool.  And Joey, I think he was going to spend the
rest of the day bicycling with his friend Giovanni.

PEPPER
Giovanni?

THRUSTER
Giovanni Panettone.  Owns Il Duce Sports out in Venice.
He says Del Rey.  Heíd be a great alibi for Joe.

PEPPER
Giovanni Panettone.  Weíll check that out.  Well Thruster,
keep your ass close to the ground for awhile man.

THRUSTER
Semper Fi buddy.


					Scene twelve
					Palisades construction site.

					MUNNY and THRUSTER enter from stage right.

MUNNY
Man, I have a bad feeling about this.  This place gives me the creeps.

THRUSTER
Zacky was doing deals with those Vegas boys.  You take
your chances.  Relax. Probably better heís not here.
Our investor will come up and see the property. Everything
will work out.  You canít expect an investor to put up
that kind of money without seeing the property.

MUNNY
What if he wants to meet the owner.  The dead guy.

			(They stop dead in their tracks.  
		Someone is reclining in the chaise 
		lounge coca cola can in hand and 
		cycle news magazine open laying 
		against his face covering it.)  

MUNNY
That looks like Giovanni.

THRUSTER 
Whatís he doing here.

MUNNY
Lately it seems everywhere I go heís there.


THRUSTER
Get him up and outta here.  I think I just heard the investorís car pull up.

MUNNY
Wake up Giovanni.  Rise and shine.  

	(He lifts the magazine from 
	GIOVANNIís face.)
 Chuck.

		(THRUSTER comes over.)

THRUSTER
What is it?

MUNNY

He doesnít look so good.

		(MUNNY puts his fingers against 
		GIOVANNIís neck as if to check 
		for a pulse.)

THRUSTER
He looks dead.

			(We hear a car pull up offstage.  
		They both look stage right.  
		They look around trying to figure 
		out what to do with the body.  
		As a team they lift GIOVANNI one 
		at the legs, the other his shoulders.  
		They carry him over to the trash can 
		and try to stuff him in. MUNNY folds 
		GIOVANNIís arms in, but he is still 
		hanging out.  THRUSTER 	stands with 
		his back to the trash can, looking 
		out towards stage right and 	smiling 
		broadly.  MUNNY runs to the	side and 
		grabs a piece of plasterboard and 
		some crumpled newspaper. He forms the 
		newspaper over GIOVANNIís head and 
		then puts a piece of plasterboard on, 
		then balances the lid on top.) 

THRUSTER
Letís get out of here, and try to intercept Moneybags.

		(THRUSTER and MUNNY exit.  
		After a beat, Pepper and YOUNG COP 
		enter, and start looking around.)
YOUNG COP
I donít know what the detectives were thinking, sending us
up here after that serial murderer.

PEPPER
	(Carefully eating a donut 
	wrapped in paper.) 
This dump looks like itís been deserted for years.

YOUNG COP
Kind-of spooky.  I sure wouldnít want to be up here after
dark.

PEPPER
	(Having trouble licking the jelly 
	off his fingers.)
This is trouble.  Keep getting freebie donuts pushed on
us.  Come on.  Weíre certainly not going to find anything
up here.

	(Pepper wraps up the rest of the donut, 
	still a large gooey mess, in the paper 
	and walks over to the trash can.  
	He drops it in the can.  He replaces 
	the lid on the can.  Then freezes and 
	reopens the can and looks in.)

PEPPER
Another damn report to write up.








					Scene thirteen
					DE RANGERís Apartment

						DE RANGER is using the weight machine.  MUNNY knocks on her door.  He is out of view offstage behind the door.

MUNNY
Lisa, are you there.  We have to talk.

			(DE RANGER looks over to the door 
		with rapt attention.  She gets off 
		the machine and beams a smile, but 
		doesnít say anything.  MUNNY opens 
		the door and enters tentatively.)

DE RANGER
		(She runs over and embraces him.)
Joey.

MUNNY
Lisa we have to talk.  There is a lot of weird stuff going on.

DE RANGER
Joey.  Joey.  I am so glad to see you.  I am glad you finally came to visit.

MUNNY
		(He pushes her away.) 

There have been a lot of people dying, around me.

DE RANGER
Iím sorry Iíve been coming on too strong.  I understand.

DE RANGER
	(She steps back to him and puts her 
	hand in his hair.)  

Youíre not dying are you Joey?

MUNNY
No.  Not me.  All the people around me are dying.

DE RANGER
There arenít any people.  Just you.  I would never let anyone hurt you.

			(MUNNY steps back and gets the 
			weight machine between him 
			and DE RANGER.)

MUNNY
You could get counseling.



DE RANGER
I donít want counseling.  I want you.

				(She lunges at him and they fall 
			together to the floor behind the 
			machine.  MUNNY makes an stifled 
			scream.  DE RANGER is on top of him.  
			Loud forceful knocks are heard at 
			the front door.)

PEPPER
(Off stage) 
Open up.  Los Angeles Police Department. Open the door now!

				(DE RANGER gets off MUNNY and walks 
			over as Pepper opens the door.  
			She smiles at the cops.)

PEPPER
Weíre looking for Joe Munny?  We have a warrant for him.  Is he here?

		(MUNNY crawls into the shower stall.) 

DE RANGER
Joe Munny, what a nice name! (dreamy)

YOUNG COP
You mind if we come in and look around, Mam?

				(The two cops push in past her 
			before she has a chance to answer.  
			They snoop, walking slowly, 
			looking around the room.)  

PEPPER
Sorry to bother you Mam.  (He hands her a card)  
Heís dangerous, if you see him, call us.

			(They open the door and are about 
		to step out when the shower starts 
		running by itself.  A healthy spray.  
		The police think for a moment, then 
		run back in and grab MUNNY.  They pull 
		him out of the shower and throw him on 
		the floor.  He is like a limp bag 
		of potatoes.)

PEPPER
Donít resist MUNNY.  Donít make this any harder than itís going to be.

		(YOUNG COP gets MUNNY in a choke hold, 
		his arm around MUNNYís neck.)

			(The CHAIRMAN and FANNIE & FREDDIE enter.  
		The CHAIRMAN pulls out a cigar. 
		No one on stage reacts to them.)

PEPPER
Youíre under arrest for the murder of Zacky Ringer,
Giovanni Panettone, Dr. Samuel Condyle, David Brown and
Henry Gonzalez.  

            (MUNNY does a double take on the two 
	names he has never heard before.)  

Special circumstances MUNNY. (gleefully)  You have the
right to an attorney and to stay silent blah, blah, blah.

		(The YOUNG COP notices that MUNNY 
		is not really choking.)

DE RANGER
I am sorry Joey.

YOUNG COP 
Am I doing this right.

PEPPER
Youíre elbow is a little high and your weak hand should
come around more.  Here let me show you.

				(PEPPER takes MUNNY from YOUNG COP and 
			chokes him.  MUNNY goes unconcious, 
			and then they drag him out.)

YOUNG COP
Oh yeah.  I see now.

CHAIRMAN
(musing to himself) 
Sworn officers are opted out of  the social security system. 20 years to full vesting. That CPI adjustment. Could renegotiate their plan. Wouldnít even effect Pension Guarantee Trust.

DE RANGER
(to the unconscious MUNNY).  
Iím sorry Joey.  Iíll write to you everyday. Everyday.  Iím sorry.
		(PEPPER, YOUNG COP and MUNNY exit.)


CHAIRMAN
Well even those guys will figure it out, eventually.
T.V. will love that girl and all those murders.  Theyíll probably televise her trial.  Docs not going to get his price.  On this or any of his other L.A. properties.  
Itís not much.  Thatís the beauty of a chaotic system.  
A butterfly flaps it wings over Chile and a hurricane starts to form in the Carribean. By our calculations, this should be just enough to prick the bubble.  It was as easy as saying irrational exuberance.

F & F
Thatís your plan? Let a bubble grow out of control then have some random event pop it? That will be dangerous for our industry.  We will need massive derivative positions to hedge. . .

CHAIRMAN
As the housing prices inflated, most large (even non- conforming) mortgages were financed with Adjustable Rate Mortgages.  Iíve said that A.R.M.s were a good thing.  No threat to the institutions or the carry trade, like the problems caused by a steep hike in interest rates.  
In California 60% of the loans are interest only.

The West Coast, the East Coast, Florida, those assistant managers working in Walmart buying second homes as income property in Iowa, all of it. 
It will all be ours. Everything.

DE RANGER
Something crazy is going on here.



 

 

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Copyright © 2005 Peter E Zuehlke
Published on the World Wide Web by "www.storymania.com"