Among Thieves

Fiction – Screenplay
By the way, if any film students are interested in making this thing, let’s talk!

FADE IN:
EXT. BUSTLING CITY – DAY
BRUCE HUDSON, 35, skirts the edges of a gaggle of people crowded around someone or something. Bruce is impeccably groomed, and wears a high-end business suit. As he skirts the crowd, he keeps looking over their shoulders into the center.
His partner TOJI NAGAHISA, 68, is lying on the sidewalk in the midst of the crowd. Toji has white hair and speaks with a heavy Japanese accent. After a couple of laps around the crowd, Bruce shoves his way through to his partner. 
BRUCE
Let me through! Please!  I’m from Sunset Meadows Retirement Community! Come on, Mr. Nagahisa, your excitement’s over. (Aside, to an onlooker) He does this every once in a while – calls these little outings his “mini-vacations.”  
Bruce pulls Toji up gently and helps him out of the crowd.
ONLOOKER
You mean he’s not even hurt?
BRUCE
No, no.  He just likes the attention.  
(Whispers) 
He’s not quite all there.
Bruce scuttles Toji toward a white van parked at the end of the block, and the crowd begins to disband.  Close up on one of the onlookers, a woman, who seems to be looking for something.
In an alleyway a few blocks away, the white van pulls in from the street.  Bruce removes his “Sunset Meadows” shirt, and opens a black bag.  He begins pulling out wallets, purses, watches, and other jewelry.
BRUCE
Not a bad haul today.  
TOJI
You wait too long. You getting foolish! Bakarashi desu! 
BRUCE
Oh calm down, it worked out fine.  Besides, there’s over five hundred in cash and at least fourteen cards. Last time we only got half that.
TOJI
Last time safer.  No chance get caught.  You too greedy.
Bruce is startled by a tap on the driver’s side window. SERENA CARTER, 32, beautiful and eclectically dressed, is standing with her arms folded, expecting Bruce to roll down his window.
Bruce rolls the window down.
BRUCE
Now what is a damned fine woman like yourself doing in this disgusting alleyway?
SERENA
Cut the shit, Romeo.  I want my wallet back.
BRUCE
I’m sorry ma’am, but I know I’d remember it if I had met someone like you before.  I can’t possibly have your wallet.
Serena reaches in through the open window and holds her hand down on the horn.
BRUCE AND TOJI
Stop!
Serena releases the horn and looks expectantly at Bruce.
BRUCE 
(Sighs.)
Fine.  Which one’s yours?
SERENA
Well, gee, I don’t know. Can I look through all of them? 
BRUCE
Don’t push it, sweetheart.
SERENA
Oh what’s the matter, don’t want anyone else getting in on the fun?  It’s the black and gold one with the rose for a clasp.
BRUCE
What? This?
Bruce holds up a black feminine wallet.  He notices Serena’s driver’s license inside of a clear plastic pocket on the front.  Before he can study it, Serena snatches it from his hand.
SERENA
There. Now that wasn’t so bad, was it?  Never try to con a con, boys.  Pleasure doing business with you.
Serena holds her hand out as if she expects Bruce to take it and kiss it, which he does.  She winks at him before slowly removing her hand from his lips. As she turns to walk away, Bruce leans his head out the window and watches her go.
BRUCE 
(to TOJI)
God DAMN! 
TOJI
(Mutters in Japanese) 
Where you watch?  
Bruce rolls up his sleeve to find that his watch is missing.
BRUCE
Son of a bitch!  Well, you know what this means, don’t you?
TOJI
It mean time for new watch. 
BRUCE
You would think that.  No, my friend, it means that I just have to go to 391 Miller Street, apartment 733 and have a chat with Ms. Serena Jane Carter so I can get my old watch back.
TOJI
How you know all that?
BRUCE
Her ID was on the outside of her wallet. I mean, did you see that girl?  Of course I’m going to look at her address! 
TOJI 
(Shakes his head)
That girl bad news.  She already con you.  She gonna do it again.
Bruce shrugs and starts the van.
EXT. CITY SIDEWALK – DAY
Bruce and Toji meet up in front of Bruce’s white van, parked in front of his apartment.
BRUCE
Alright!  Ready or not, Serena Jane Carter, here we come.  
TOJI
No! “We” jya nai! No “we.” You want get mixed up with girl, fine. I go make money by myself today! 
(Under his breath) 
Bakara America-Jin Desyo!
Toji walks away, and Bruce watches, confused.
BRUCE
(calls after Toji)
Hey, you don’t need to be all pissy about it.  I’ll go get my watch back and I’ll meet up with you when I’m done.
TOJI (calls back)
Girl nothing but trouble! You crazy. 
Toji continues walking away.  Bruce walks around to the driver’s side of the van and gets in.
INT. APARTMENT HALLWAY – DAY
Bruce is standing outside apartment 733.  He goes to a mirror in the hallway and adjusts his suit and hair.  Then he goes back and knocks on the door.  He waits for a few moments and knocks again.
BRUCE
Serena Carter?  I have a special delivery for Serena Carter!
After more time with no answer, Bruce puts his ear to the door.  He then tries looking through the peephole, but pulls away, frustrated.  An elderly woman with grocery bags approaches the apartment next to Serena’s. She attempts to find her keys and hold onto the bags, but she is having trouble.  Bruce steps over and reaches for one of her bags.
BRUCE
Here, ma’am.  Let me hold that for you.
ELDERLY WOMAN
Oh thank you, dear! That’s so sweet of you.  Are you looking for someone?
Bruce takes one of the full grocery bags and holds it while the Elderly Woman gets her keys from her purse.
BRUCE
As a matter of fact, I was hoping that I could find Serena here, but she doesn’t seem to be at home.  Do you happen to know where she might be?
ELDERLY WOMAN
Serena?  Oh, heavens yes.  She left for work at 7:30 this morning like she always does.  She’s a big time banker, you know.
BRUCE
I did know that.  She must have forgotten about our brunch date.  She told me she was going to take the day off.  I guess I’ll have to go see her at work.  Thank you so much for your help.  Can I carry anything in for you?
ELDERLY WOMAN
Oh you are too sweet, dear, but I couldn’t trouble you like that.  
BRUCE
Oh it’s no trouble.  I’ll hang onto this while you set that one down.  
Bruce holds the grocery bag as the Elderly Woman enters her apartment with the other bag.  After a moment, she returns and takes the other bag from Bruce.  
ELDERLY WOMAN
Thank you so much! It’s so nice to see honest, kind young men still around these days.
Bruce kisses the back of her hand, then turns and walks back down the hall the way he came.  When he hears the Elderly Woman’s door close, he holds up a diamond ring and smiles.
EXT. BUSTLING STREET CORNER – DAY
Toji walks down the street toward the intersection.  He bumps into a passerby and looks to apologize before moving on with a wry grin.  As he approaches the intersection, he is surprised to see Serena talking to a NERDY-LOOKING MAN on the sidewalk. She is wearing revealing clothing and using flirty body language. Toji moves as close as he dares in order to avoid being seen and watches the exchange.
SERENA
Thank you so much; you have no idea how much of a life-saver you are!
The nerdy man hands her his cell phone and she makes a call.  Toji is watching from a distance.  When she is done with them man’s phone, she drops it on the sidewalk while trying to hand it back.  
SERENA
Oh my god I am SO sorry! Is it broken?
The nerdy man picks up the phone to reveal a severely cracked screen.  
SERENA
Oh no! God I’m such a clutz.  I will TOTALLY get you a new phone! I’m so sorry! 
NERDY MAN
Oh, no, that’s okay.  You’re having a bad enough day already, and I have insurance on it.  It’s really no big deal.
SERENA
Oh no, I have to pay you back somehow, at least let me pay for your deductible.  I work at the Finley Bank on 57th and Powell.  My name is Shirley Chadwell and I work on the twenty first floor.  If you come by my office later, I’ll write you a check.
NERDY MAN
You really don’t have to do that… Shirley. I’m just glad I could help out.  It’s really no big deal about the phone.  I’m sure my deductible’s not that big.  Anyway, um, I have to get back to my office now. Thanks for offering to replace the phone.  It was nice meeting you.
SERENA
Oh… Okay, well I’m so sorry again.  Please come by and see me later if you change your mind.  I just feel awful.
The Nerdy Man puts the cracked phone in his pocket and walks away.  Serena turns the opposite direction and begins walking toward Toji.  When she walks by, Toji grabs her by the upper arm and pulls her into an alleyway.
SERENA
Hey! What the hell!  Watch it, asshole!
Toji raises his finger to his lips
TOJI
You quiet!  Shizukane Shite!  You took my partner watch!  He love that watch! It was given to him by his Oba- his grandfather! You give back!  You no good!  
SERENA 
(Scoffs)
Ha!  Oh that’s good.  You’re gonna lecture me on being good?  The irony abounds.
TOJI
You catch us.  Okay.  We give back wallet.  Everything even.  Then you take my partner’s watch.  It very special to him.  Now uneven again.  Give me my partner’s watch, now!
 
SERENA
Well what if I don’t have the watch?
 
TOJI
You have watch!  You no have time to fence it yet!  You give back!
 
Serena thinks for a moment.
SERENA
Tell you what… I’ll give him the watch back myself.  He’s kind of cute, and you guys look like you do pretty well.  Maybe I could use a couple of partners.
 
Toji shakes his head emphatically.
TOJI
No! Da-me! Da-me! No partner. No you. You not even that good.
 
Serena holds up a brand new smartphone that matches the one that belonged to the Nerdy Man.  The Nerdy Man’s picture is on the home screen.
 
SERENA
Oh, yes yes yes yes yes!  Either I come back with you and we work together, or I don’t know if I can remember where the watch is.
 
TOJI
I don’t trust you.  No honor.
 
SERENA
I don’t trust you either.  Trust is no use to me.  And as for honor…  Let’s go.
 
Serena turns and walks out of the alley.  As she goes, Toji gives her an ambiguous look.
EXT. STREET – DAY
Bruce and Toji stand in front of Bruce’s van, waiting for Serena.
BRUCE
So she wants to give the watch back to me personally, huh.  I knew it.  I knew she couldn’t resist.  She’s totally into me.
 
TOJI
She no into you.  She into taking our money.  That what she into.  Girl bad news!
BRUCE
Hey what’s your deal, man!  You’ve been pissing all over my parade for the past two days.  I like this girl, okay.  I’m a professional.  I think I can handle someone like her.  You know, you’re not my dad.
 
TOJI
No.  I not you father, but I am you partner, and I don’t trust this girl.
 
BRUCE
Relax, Toj.  It’s just one woman.  How much harm can she do?
 
TOJI
Baka Gaijin! She do plenty of harm!  She could take everything, she could turn us in, she could be a…
 
Toji is interrupted as Bruce gestures over his shoulder at Serena, who is walking toward them.
BRUCE
(To himself) Ah, now the fun begins!
 
SERENA
Well hello, boys.
 
TOJI
Okay, you here.  Partner here.  Give back watch now.
 
BRUCE
Whoa, whoa, whoa!  Where are your manners, Toji?  
(To SERENA) 
I’m sorry, miss.  He’s usually more housebroken than this.  What he means to say is that we have a little situation, that’s all.  You see, yesterday, I boosted your wallet.  You caught me, and I gave it back.  No harm, no foul.  But then, you took my watch.  I caught you, and now, well… it’s sort of your turn.
 
SERENA
Oh, is that how we’re gonna play it?  Okay, well then here’s how I saw things: I stupidly slowed down to see what the crowd was all about, then I was pick-pocketed by a couple of small-time amateurs.
 
BRUCE
Small-time amateurs?  I don’t think so, lady!  First of all, if we’re so small-time and amateur, how were we able to trick an obvious pro like you into stopping with the rest of the morons we fleeced? 
 
SERENA
Like I said, simple oversight on my part.  Anyway, I told Mr. Miagi over here that I wanted to give the watch back in person because I have a job on the line and unfortunately, I can’t pull it off on my own; I need a couple of blunt instruments – Like you two.
 
BRUCE
Well when you make it sound so appealing, how could we possibly refuse?
 
TOJI
My name is Nagahisa Toji!  We don’t need you, we just fine without you!
 
BRUCE
Toji, seriously, I can handle this.
 
Toji gives Bruce a glaring look. 
 
BRUCE 
(To SERENA)
What kind of job are you talking about?
 
SERENA
It’s big.  What do you guys normally pull, maybe a couple hundred bucks a job?
 
Bruce and Toji glance at each other uncertainly, then nod affirmatively. 
 
SERENA
Well what if I told you I’ve got a sure thing that could get us tens if not hundreds of thousands?
 
Toji’s eyes bulge at the mention of the money. 
 
BRUCE
That kind of money is WAY too risky.  There’s no way you’ve got a sure thing that big. And even if… 
 
TOJI 
(Interrupting)
Mate, Mate. 
(To BRUCE)
She come all the way here to talk to us. We should at least listen.
 
Serena gives Toji a questioning look, but grins. 
 
BRUCE
Oh so now that she mentions a bunch of money you’re interested?  Nice.
 
SERENA 
(Glancing at Toji)
Look, I don’t know about you two, but I’d rather not have to feel obligated to work every day, or even every few days for small potatoes, when I could pull one big, safe, job and live well for quite a while.
 
BRUCE
Well who wouldn’t? Sorry, but if it were that easy then we’d all be living that way, wouldn’t we?
 
SERENA
Yeah, I didn’t say it would be easy.  I said it was a sure thing. Okay, I’ve been planning this for a while.  I got a job at the Finley Bank on 57th and Powell so that I could make the plan as fool proof as possible. I work as a teller.  There’s a window of time every afternoon when the manager goes into the vault for a count.
 
BRUCE
Wait a minute.  If you want us to be some kind of muscle to get rid of the manager…
 
SERENA
No.  I have this thing about using the right tools for the job.  I wouldn’t trust either one of you to knock anyone out.  I want you to do exactly what you two do best.
 
INT. BRUCE’S VAN – DAY
Bruce sits at the driver’s seat and Serena sits in the passenger seat.  Bruce is playing with his recently returned watch.  Toji is in the back.
SERENA
So let’s go through this one more time.  I’ll be watching the manager when she goes to open the vault.  As soon as she’s pulled the door open, I’ll give you the signal. You go down and fake a seizure. 
 
BRUCE 
(To Toji)
I still say you’re more likely to have a seizure than I am.
 
TOJI 
(Glances at Serena, then back to Bruce)
No. Just listen.
 
BRUCE
Fine.  So you I go down, the crowd gathers, then what?
 
SERENA
As soon as that happens, if the manager hasn’t already raced over to see what’s happening, I’ll go in hysterically and get her.  Once she’s there, Toji will tie her up by trying to explain what’s wrong with you in Japanese. If it’s just you having a seizure they’ll get the 911 call out too soon.  We need Toji to start yammering all moshi-moshi to them so that we can delay that call as long as possible.
 
Serena glances at Toji and he nods.
 
BRUCE
And you loot the vault.  
 
SERENA
Right.  The diamonds in that safe deposit box have got to be worth two or three hundred thousand dollars.  I’ve got a guy.
 
Bruce chuckles nervously.
BRUCE
And you’re sure you can beat the cameras?
 
SERENA
I beat you didn’t I?  Trust me.  They won’t even know they’re missing.  The account holders haven’t accessed that box in fifteen years.
 
INT. BANK LOBBY – DAY
Serena is standing behind the counter as Bruce and Toji enter the bank.  While waiting in line, Bruce suddenly collapses and a crowd of onlookers gathers around him.  Serena alerts the manager.  While Bruce is on the ground convulsing, Toji stops the manager and begins pointing and speaking in Japanese.  After a few moments Bruce begins to stop, realizing that Serena has waited too long.  He slowly opens his eyes and realizes that neither she nor Toji are anywhere to be found.  He gets up with a stunned and confused crowd looking on.  He walks back toward where he left the van, but it is gone.
EXT. NEW BUSTLING CITY – DAY
TITLE OVER:
Six Months Later…
Bruce walks down the street in an obviously different bustling city.  He walks down the busy street and notices an unusual amount of congestion a couple of blocks ahead.  He cautiously approaches to find that it’s a crowd gathered around what looks to be an injured person.  He studies for a moment and then sees Serena skirting the crowd.
BRUCE
Son of a bitch!
Bruce begins to speed up toward the crowd.  He stops short when he sees Serena push her way through the crowd and emerge with Toji.  Bruce watches for a moment, then turns around and walks into the distance.
FADE OUT.
THE END

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