>>/ Casino

/ Casino

: / Casino.

/ Casino

EXT. RESTAURANT PARKING LOT, LAS VEGAS, 1983 - DAY

SAM 'ACE' ROTHSTEIN, a tall, lean, immaculately dressed man approaches his car, opens the door, and gets inside to turn on the ignition.

ACE (V.O.) When you love someone, you've gotta trust them. There's no other way. You've got to give them the key to everything that's yours. Otherwise, what's the point? And, for a while... I believed that's the kind of love I had.

Suddenly, the car explodes. Flames, smoke and metal rise into the sky covering the view of the Las Vegas casinos and their signs.

Music in: J.S. Bach - 'St Matthew Passion'.

Ace's body comes flying in - extreme slow motion. His body twists and turns through the frame like a soul about to tumble into the flames of damnation.

MAIN TITLE SEQUENCE.

INT. TANGIERS CASINO FLOOR - NIGHT

Vignette of ACE through rippling flames, we move in on ACE ROTHSTEIN overseeing the casino. He lights a cigarette.

ACE (V.O.) Before I ever ran a casino or got myself blown up, Ace Rothstein was a hell of a handicapper, I can tell you that. I was so good, that whenever I bet, I could change the odds for every bookmaker in the country. I'm serious. I had it down so cold that I was given paradise on earth. I was given one of the biggest casinos in Las Vegas to run, the Tangiers...

INT. SAN MARINO ITALIAN GROCERY/BACK ROOM, KANSAS CITY - NIGHT

Vignette of MOB BOSSES sitting at a table surrounded by food and wine like the gods of Olympus.

ACE (V.O.) ...by the only kind of guys that can actually get you that kind of money: sixty-two million, seven-hundred thousand dollars. I don't know all the details.

NICKY (V.O.) Matter of fact...

INT. BAR, LAS VEGAS - NIGHT

Vignette of NICKY SANTORO standing at a bar with DOMINICK SANTORO, his brother, and FRANK MARINO, his right-hand man.

NICKY (V.O.) ...nobody knew all the details, but it should'a been perfect. I mean, he had me, Nicky Santoro, his best friend, watching his ass...

INT. NIGHTCLUB - NIGHT

Vignette of GINGER MCKENNA a dazzling thirty-one-year-old blonde seated by a small fiery pool.

NICKY (V.O.) ...and he had Ginger, the woman he loved, on his arm. But in the end...

INT. TANGIERS SPORTSBOOK/ACE'S OFFICE - NIGHT

ACE looks over the casino he rules.

NICKY (V.O.) ...we fucked it all up. It should'a been so sweet, too. But it turned out to be the last time that street guys like us were ever given anything that fuckin' valuable again.

EXT. LAS VEGAS - NIGHT

Aerial shot coming down out of the clouds over the brightly lit Vegas Strip and off into the blackness of the desert night.

ACE (V.O.) At that time, Vegas was a place where millions of suckers flew in every year on their own nickel, and left behind about a billion dollars. But at night, you couldn't see the desert that surrounds Las Vegas...

EXT. DESERT - DAWN

Aerial shot swooping along the desert floor, then rising above the mist to reveal mountains in the distance.

ACE (V.O.) But it's in the desert where lots of the town's problems are solved.

NICKY (V.O.) Got a lot of holes in the desert, and a lot of problems are buried in those holes. Except you gotta do it right. I mean, you gotta have the hole already dug before you show up with a package in the trunk. Otherwise you're talkin' about a half-hour or forty-five minutes of diggin'. And who knows who's gonna be comin' along in that time? Before you know it, you gotta dig a few more holes. You could be there all fuckin' night.

EXT. LAS VEGAS STRIP, 1973 - NIGHT

TITLE IN: 'THE STRIP', 'LAS VEGAS', 'TEN YEARS EARLIER'

ACE is greeted by a casino exec and walked through the brightly lit entrance to the Tangiers Casino.

ACE (V.O.) Who could resist? Anywhere else in the country, I was a bookie, a gambler, always lookin' over my shoulder, hassled by cops, day and night. But here, I'm 'Mr Sam Rothstein'. I'm not only legitimate, but running a casino. And that's like selling dreams for cash.

INT. TANGIERS CASINO - NIGHT

We see ACE enter alone. He is greeted by BILLY SHERBERT. They are joined by top executives RICHIE and RONNIE in suits and ties. They walk through the casino, past crowded and noisy craps tables, spinning roulette wheels, blackjack tables, poker-faced players at poker tables, and elegant, cordoned-off, black-tie, baccarat tables.

ACE (V.O.) I hired an old casino pal, Billy Sherbert, as my manager and I went to work.

SHERBERT (Introducing the EXECS to ACE) ...And this is Ronnie, who takes care of the card room...

ACE (V.O.) For guys like me, Las Vegas washes away your sins. It's a morality car wash. It does for us what Lourdes does for humpbacks and cripples. And, along with making us legit...

INT. TANGIERS/HARD COUNT ROOM - NIGHT

Dolly back from a wall of money. An employee pours a bucket full of coins into a trough. Camera follows progress as numerous coins move on a conveyor system, through a sorting machine. Camera reveals several rolls of coins on a lower conveyor as they move up a ladder towards an employee's hands, who then places the rolls on a rack.

ACE (V.O.) ...comes cash. Tons of it. I mean, what do you think we're doing out here in the middle of the desert? It's all this money. This is the end result of all the bright lights and the comped trips, of all the champagne and free hotel suites, and all the broads and all the booze. It's all been arranged just for us to get your money. That's the truth about Las Vegas.

INT. TANGIERS/FLOOR/SOFT COUNT ROOM - DAY

Camera follows JOHN NANCE carrying a small suitcase and walking through the casino to a door leading to the cashier's cage. The sign on the door reads 'Authorized Personnel Only'. He walks through the cage, to another door: 'Notice - Keep Out'.

ACE (V.O.) We're the only winners. The players don't stand a chance. And their cash flows from the tables to our boxes ...through the cage and into the most sacred room in the casino ...the place where they add up all the money ...the holy of holies ...the count room.

He opens the door. We see inside the count room from NANCE'S point of view.

It looks like the area behind a teller's cage in a bank. A large room, windowless, decor-free. One side is a mesh cage, opened to reveal stacks of cash boxes. Several COUNTERS in white shirts are gathered around a glass table counting and sorting paper money.)

ACE (V.O.) Now this place was off limits.

COUNTER #1 Verify two thousand.

ACE (V.O.) Even I couldn't get inside, but it was my job to keep it filled with cash. That's for sure.

NICKY (V.O.) They had so much fuckin' money in there, you could build a house out of stacks of $100 bills. And the best part was that upstairs, the board of directors didn't know what the fuck was going on.

At one end of the room the clerks empty the metal boxes and rapidly count the cash at a counting table. The camera follows a cash 'drop box' being lifted from the stack by a clerk. He pours the cash on to the table and shows the empty box to a video camera. COUNTER #2 rapidly counts the cash and announces:

COUNTER #2 Five thousand.

NICKY (V.O.) I mean, to them everything looked on the up and up. Right? Wrong.

The first counter recounts the cash.

COUNTER #1 Verify five thousand.

NICKY (V.O.) The guys inside the counting room...

Stacks of bills lie nearby. The camera pans across the room to another table manned by a COUNT ROOM EXECUTIVE who repeats the figure and writes it down on a master list.

COUNT ROOM EXEC Five thousand.

We move back to NANCE opening a cabinet full of stacks of $100 bills. He opens his suitcase and begins to fill it with cash. As he does this, the workers studiously look in other directions.

NICKY (V.O.) ...were all slipped in there to skim the joint dry. They'd do short counts, they'd lose fill slips. They'd even take cash right out of the drop boxes. And it was up to this guy right here [NANCE], standin' in front of about two million dollars, to skim the cash off the top without anybody gettin' wise ...the IRS or anybody.

COUNTER #1 Verify two hundred.

NANCE closes the case and walks out. One of the counters dumps another container of money on the table.

NICKY (V.O.) Now, notice how in the count room nobody ever seems to see anything. Somehow, somebody's always lookin' the other way. Now, look at these guys [COUNTERS]. They look busy, right? They're countin' money. Who wants to bother them? I mean, God forbid they should make a mistake and forget to steal. Meanwhile, you're in and you're out.

NANCE exits the count room and proceeds through the lobby of the casino, passing ACE and SHERBERT, to a side exit door.

NICKY Past the jag-off guard who gets an extra c-note a week just to watch the door. I mean, it's routine. Business as usual: in, out, hello, goodbye. And that's all there is to it. Just another fat fuck walkin' out of the casino with a suitcase. Now, that suitcase was goin' straight to one place: right to Kansas City ...which was as close to Las Vegas as the Midwest bosses could go without gettin' themselves arrested.

NANCE leaves the casino and gets into a cab parked at the curb.

EXT. KANSAS CITY AIRPORT - DAY

NANCE arrives. He is greeted by ARTIE PISCANO, a gray-haired sixty-year-old underboss.

TITLE IN: 'KANSAS CITY'

NICKY (V.O.) That suitcase was all the bosses ever wanted ...and they wanted it every month.

PISCANO Hey, John, how are you? How was your ride?

EXT. SAN MARINO ITALIAN GROCERY, KANSAS CITY - DAY

NANCE, with suitcase, and PISCANO leave the car and enter the produce market.

NICKY (V.O.) Now this old Mormon fuck here...

CUT TO: NANCE, AS HE GETS OUT OF PISCANO'S CAR

INT. SAN MARINO ITALIAN GROCERY, KANSAS CITY - DAY

NANCE and PISCANO walk through the grocery store, through the warehouse, past various employees to a doorway leading into the back room, where they are greeted by five older men around a large wooden table with bowls of macaroni and old jelly glasses filled with red wine.

NICKY (V.O.) ...he had to fly in with suitcases once a month, nice and easy.

NANCE Somethin' smells good.

PISCANO Yeah, they made us somethin' to eat.

NICKY (V.O.) The bosses would come from all over the place: Detroit, Cleveland, Milwaukee. All over the Midwest. And they would meet in the back of this produce market in Kansas City. I mean, nobody even knew.

NANCE shakes hands with AMERICO CAPELLI, sixty-eight, a bald, affable Milwaukee entrepreneur and ARTHUR CAPP, his thirty- year-old yuppie lawyer son.

Camera continues to pan around the room.

NICKY (V.O.) One of the guys made his mother do all the cooking.

On VINCENT BORELLI, seventy-year-old Kansas City boss.

BORELLI Did you ever see that guy Jerry Steriano?

On VINNIE FORLANO, mid-seventies, an old-timer who once drove for Capone and is now Remo Gaggi's right-hand man.

FORLANO Jerry Steriano?

BORELLI Yeah.

NICKY (V.O.) Now, these old greaseballs might not look it, but believe me, these are the guys who secretly controlled Las Vegas.

PISCANO joins his MOTHER and DAUGHTER by a stove.

PISCANO'S MOTHER That man's here again.

Piscano dips a piece of bread into a pot of tomato sauce.

NICKY (V.O.) Because they controlled the Teamsters' Union, and that's where you had to go if you wanted to borrow money to buy a casino.

BORELLI (O.S.) When you've finished with him, I want him.

PISCANO'S MOTHER (Carrying a plate of food to the table where BORELLI and FORLANO are seated.) Here you are, gentlemen.

NICKY (V.O.) And nobody got a Teamsters' loan, unless the guys in this room knew they were gonna get their little suitcases.

FORLANO gets up from the table and walks toward NANCE.

NICKY (V.O.) Guys like this antique here [FORLANO], out of Detroit. Or especially guys like Remo Gaggi, the outfit's top boss.

NANCE embraces REMO GAGGI who's seated on a couch, and sits across from him.

GAGGI You got a round figure on it?

NICKY (V.O.) Definitely the most important guy in this room.

NANCE (Picking up the suitcase) About twenty pounds.

GAGGI So?

NANCE That's around seven hundred thousand.

GAGGI Uh-huh, good.

NANCE opens the case to reveal the money.

ANDY STONE (Off-screen, from following scene) I know it's a little early for Las Vegas...

INT. TANGIERS EXECUTIVE OFFICE PRESS CONFERENCE/BANQUET ROOM - DAY

Camera tilts down a model of the Tangiers Hotel and Casino, then reveals the cover of Business Week magazine with a drawing of PHILIP GREEN, a young corporate type, smiling out under the headline: 'Philip Green, Vegas Wunderkind'.

STONE (O.S.) ...but I do want to welcome the ladies and gentlemen of the gaming industry.

On ANDY STONE, a middle-aged man at a podium giving a speech while GREEN, seated at a table, looks on. PHOTOGRAPHERS flash their cameras. ACE and SHERBERT, sitting next to GREEN, also watch the photo op ceremony.

ACE (V.O.) As far as the world was concerned Andy Stone, the head of the Teamsters' Pension Fund, was a legitimate guy.

STONE This is a very auspicious occasion.

ACE (V.O.) A powerful man.

STONE Philip, if you would rise.

Green stands up.

ACE (V.O.) He even played golf with the President.

STONE On behalf of the Teamsters' Pension Fund, it is my pleasure to present to you . . .

ACE (V.O.) But Andy also took orders. And when he was told to give a pension fund loan to Philip Green...

STONE (Handing GREEN a large cardboard facsimile 'check') ...this check for $62,700,000 for the new Tangiers.

GREEN Thank you.

ACE (V.O.) ...he did what he was told.

PHILIP GREEN, who is now the head of the Tangiers Hotel and Casino Corporation, is standing at the podium giving a speech.

NICKY (V.O.) Now here was the perfect front man. I mean, what the fuck else could he be? He didn't know too much. He didn't want to know too much, especially that the bosses made the Teamsters lend him the money. He wanted to believe the Teamsters gave him all that fuckin' money 'cause he was smart.

An exploding flash bulb fills the screen.

GREEN ...I say that, knowing full well just how much competition we have in this great city.

EXT. CHEAP MOTEL OFF HIGHWAY - DAY

We see a MAN and a WOMAN swimming underwater. Camera reveals that they are in a motel swimming pool with glass portholes. Expensive cars are parked outside one of the rooms. Hoods stand around outside the door.

NICKY (V.O.) And where they got Green from - who the fuck knows? All I know is that Green was an Arizona real estate hustler, who barely had enough gas money to come and pick up his own fuckin' check...

INT. TANGIERS EXECUTIVE OFFICE PRESS CONFERENCE/BANQUET ROOM - DAY

We return to the press conference. Photographers snap away. In the background are six-foot blow-ups of the Business Week cover. The camera moves past GREEN, CAPP and several other men, past SHERBERT, to ACE.

NICKY (V.O.) Now, all they needed was somebody they could trust to run the casino. And who better than Ace? I mean, he was already in Vegas a couple of years and he had the fuckin' place clocked.

FREEZE FRAME ON ACE.

INT. TANGIERS SWIMMING POOL - DAY

Camera looks straight down from the top of a hotel to a large pool area.

NICKY (V.O.) But typical Ace...

INT. TANGIERS SWIMMING POOL/POOLSIDE - DAY

STONE, in a bathing suit and robe, sits on a lounge chair with a telephone. ACE, in sports clothes, sits on another chair.

NICKY (V.O.) ...give him a shot at runnin' a casino and he tries to talk you out of it.

ACE You know, I don't know if I could do this even if I wanted to. The Gaming Commission would never give me a license. I have at least two dozen gambling and bookmaking pinches on me.

STONE You don't have to have a license to work in a casino. All you gotta do is apply for one. The state law says you can work in a casino while they're processing your application. They got a ten-year backlog.

ACE But what happens when they do find out?

STONE Why would they want to find out? We're puttin' a hundred million into this desert here. Why would they want to lock us out? And besides, they'll never find out. All you gotta do is keep changing your job title. Like, uh, from Casino Executive to Food and Beverage Chairman. And what happens it, they take your application, they put it at the bottom of the pile. I know guys workin' there for thirty years, don't have a license.

ACE (Exhales) It's a tough proposition, Andy. You, you know, if I did it, I'd have to run it my way.

STONE You got it.

ACE I'm serious. No interference.

STONE Nobody's gonna interfere with your running the casino. I guarantee it.

Stone lights a cigarette.

INT. TANGIERS CRAPS PIT - NIGHT

ACE blows on a die.

NICKY (V.O.) And that's how that got Ace to take over.

ACES's hands place the die into a micrometer.

NICKY (V.O.) They wanted him because Ace ate, slept and breathed gambling.

Camera swish tilts up to ACE, then swish pans to boxman, dealers and players watching him, trying to act calm.

NICKY (V.O.) They worked out a real cute job title too.

We see the die in the micrometer.

NICKY (V.O.) Tangiers Public Relations Director.

Satisfied the die is not loaded ACE sets it on the craps table, the camera cranes up to reveal the Tangiers Casino floor.

NICKY (V.O.) But the only thing he ever directed was the casino. He made his first bet when he was fifteen years old, and he always made money. But he didn't bet like you or me.

A DEALER is sliding chips, tossing them on to a craps table.

NICKY (V.O.) You know, havin' some fun with it, shit like that.

ACE (Approaching the DEALER) Where the hell did you learn how to deal? (He reaches down, stacking and arranging the chips.)

NICKY (V.O.) He bet like a fuckin' brain surgeon.

ACE (To the chastised DEALER) Place the checks properly. That's the way you do it.

DEALER Yes, sir.

NICKY (V.O.) He had to know everything, this guy.

Direct overhead tracking shot as ACE walks between two rows of gaming tables.

NICKY (V.O.) He'd find out the kind of inside stuff nobody else knew, and that's what he'd put his money on.

INT. GYM/BOOKIE JOINT, BACK HOME, PRE-SEVENTIES - DAY

ACE walks past two boxers sparring in a ring, through a doorway into a room where several gamblers are seated around a table.

NICKY (V.O.) Even back home, years ago, when we were first hangin' out together...

TITLE IN: 'BACK HOME, YEARS AGO'

NICKY (V.O.) ...he'd know if the quarterback was on coke.

ACE is looking at the odds board for college football games. The bookie, LUCKY LARRY, is waiting for ACE to hand in his picks.

ACE I'll take Columbia for twenty.

NICKY (V.O.) If his girlfriend was knocked up.

LUCKY LARRY Twenty dimes on Columbia . . .

As soon as ACE bets, a man erases a number from the chalkboard and replaces it was a '6', changing the odds. Two GAMBLERS saunter from the room.

NICKY (V.O.) He'd get the wind velocity so he could judge the field goals. He even figured out the different bounce you got off the different kinds of wood they used on college basketball courts, you know?

EXT. GYM/BOOKIE JOINT PUBLIC PHONES - DAY

The two GAMBLERS we saw sauntering out of the bookie joint are racing to the nearest public phones. Another GAMBLER has already beaten them to it.

NICKY (V.O.) He'd be workin' on this shit day and night. There was nothin' about a game he was gonna bet that he didn't know.

GAMBLER #1 (Into phone) Ace got down at six.

GAMBLER #2 (Into phone) Charlie, hey. Rothstein got six.

INT. GYM/BOOKIE JOINT, SEVERAL DAYS LATER - DAY

A bookie hands a stack of money to another bookie, who hands the money to ACE.

ACE removes several bills from the top of the stack of winnings and holds them out to the BOOKIES.

NICKY (V.O.) Season after season, the prick was the only guaranteed winner I ever knew. But he was so serious about it all that I don't think he ever enjoyed himself. But...

ACE exits.

NICKY (V.O.) ...that's just the way he was.

INT. MOB SOCIAL CLUB BACK ROOM - NIGHT

The room has an espresso machine and a saint's day calendar. Assorted hoods are listening to NICKY at the bar. Camera dollies to REMO GAGGI, at the rear table playing gin rummy with OLD MAN CAPO and losing. Every time the CAPO picks up a card, he's able to knock or get gin, sending GAGGI into a fit bemoaning his bad luck.

NICKY (V.O.) But back then the bosses didn't give a fuck about whether he enjoyed himself of not. To them, he was a cash register. All they had to do was ring the bell and take the money. Especially Remo, who was a fuckin' degenerate gambler who always lost.

GAGGI (Slams down his cards and curses at his losing hands) Ma che cazzo!

[Italian-American slang for 'What a prick.'] All those fuckin' sweeps.

NICKY (V.O.) I mean, unless Ace made his bet.

GAGGI That's enough now!

OLD MAN CAPO I can't contest the cards.

GAGGI Va fa 'n culo! [Italian-American slang for 'Fuck off'] (Summoning a young man.) Johnny!

NICKY (V.O.) Ace made more money for them on a weekend than I could do heisting joints for a month.

ACE enters and walks to GAGGI's table.

NICKY (V.O.) Whatever Ace picked up on the street he told Remo.

NICKY (Walks over to ACE and whispers) Hey, did you bring that thing?

NICKY (V.O.) You know, I mean fixed fights, doped horses, crooked fuckin' zebras... locked-in point spreads. He told fuckin' Remo everything. And to tell you the truth. I don't blame him.

GAGGI stands up and shakes ACE's hand.

GAGGI Ace.

NICKY (V.O.) Keepin' Remo happy with money was the greatest insurance policy in the world.

GAGGI beams as ACE takes out an envelope filled with cash and hands it over to him. GAGGI sits back down and ACE, knowing his place, smiles and is about to leave.

GAGGI Son-of-a-bitch. How the hell did you get Oklahoma-Michigan? Nobody ever had Oklahoma-Mi... How the hell'd you do it?

ACE Well, that's why they paid so well.

GAGGI You see? (Chuckles.) Never tells me nothin'. Ace, what do we got on for next week?

ACE Well, it's a little too early. I'd say Thursday would be good. I'll know by then. Is that all right?

GAGGI Okay. You come by the house?

ACE I'll come by.

GAGGI Seven o'clock?

ACE Seven o'clock.

GAGGI gets up and kisses ACE as NICKY and OLD MAN CAPO look on.

GAGGI Good job, my boy. Keep it up. Okay, Ace?

ACE nods in agreement and leaves the room.

GAGGI (To NICKY) Hey, Nick. Vien acca. [Italian- American slang for 'Come here']

NICKY (To ACE) I'll be right out.

GAGGI T'aggia parla. [Italian-American slang for 'I've got to talk to you'] Nicky... See that guy? (pointing to the off- screen ACE)

NICKY Mm.

GAGGI Keep a good eye on him. He's makin' a lot of money for us. And he's gonna continue makin' a lot of money for us, so keep a good eye on him.

NICKY Mm.

GAGGI Not like your fuckin' friends out there, that... without brains. Okay?

NICKY All right.

GAGGI Uh-huh. Mi raccomando. [Italian- American slang for 'I'm counting on you']

NICKY Yeah.

GAGGI Fine.

NICKY (Reaching down to touch GAGGI's money, joking with him.) Want me to take this for you? (He walks out.)

NICKY (V.O.) So, now, on top of everything else, I gotta make sure that nobody fucks around with the Golden Jew.

INT. BACK HOME BAR - NIGHT

We move past JOE, a guy at the bar entertaining a BRUNETTE and a BLONDE, to NICKY and FRANK MARINO at the other end. There are other bar patrons in the background.

JOE (To the BARTENDER) Chase, couple of shooters for the ladies.

BARTENDER (O.S.) All right.

ACE (V.O.) Yeah, we made a great pair. I made book and Nicky made sure we always collected. The old men loved us. And why not? They all made money with us.

NICKY (To MARINO) They payin'?

ACE (V.O.) How did Nicky collect?

MARINO They pay every week, like they're supposed to.

ACE (V.O.) Don't ask.

NICKY Then where the fuck is the money? I don't see the money.

ACE enters, and greets the two girls.

ACE Hi, Melissa. Heidi.

BLONDE Hi, Sam.

JOE (To the GIRLS) Who's this guy?

MARINO (To NICKY) Get the fuck out of here. It was nine. I laid nine.

ACE approaches NICKY and MARINO.

NICKY It was eight. Ace... tell him the line on the Bear's game.

ACE Eight.

NICKY If he don't know, nobody knows. Told you it was eight.

MARINO Well, how come I laid nine?

NICKY 'Cause you're a jag-off. I would have fuckin' made you lay ten...

ACE notices a pen lying on the bar. He taps JOE on the shoulder.

ACE (To JOE) Excuse me.

JOE What?

ACE (He holds up the pen) Is this yours? Your pen?

JOE Yeah, that's my pen. Why?

ACE I ju- Well, it's a nice pen. I just didn't know whose it was. I thought it was yours. I didn't want it to get lost.

JOE Well, thank you. Why don't you take that fuckin' pen and shove it up you ass, you fuckin' jag-off?

NICKY looks over.

ACE Well, I was just offering you the-

NICKY moves towards JOE.

JOE (Turning his back to talk to the girls, referring to ACE) This fuckin' asshole.

NICKY grabs the pen out of ACE's hand.

MAN #1 (To JOE) Look out!

Before ACE can react, NICKY grabs JOE and starts stabbing him in the neck with the pen.

MAN #1 Joe! Look out, Joe! Look out!

NICKY grunts while JOE gasps and groans. The BLONDE screams while NICKY's hand continues to plunge the pen into JOE's throat. JOE tumbles to the floor.

NICKY pounces on him, still stabbing and now kicking. JOE whimpers.

NICKY What's that? You hear? You hear a little girl, Frankie? You hear a little girl, Ace? Is that a little fuckin' girl?! What happened to the fuckin' tough guy? Told my friend stick it up his fuckin' ass?! Huh?! Huh?!

ACE (Over whimpers and pants) Wait a sec, Nicky, Nicky, Nicky. Ta- take it easy.

ACE looks stunned. NICKY's still holding the bloody pen.

ACE (V.O.) While I was tryin' to figure out why the guy was sayin' what he was sayin', Nicky just hit him. No matter how big a guy might be, Nicky would take him on. You beat Nicky with fists, he comes back with a bat. You beat him with a knife, he comes back with a gun. And you beat him with a gun, you better kill him, because he'll keep comin' back and back until one of you is dead.

NICKY (V.O.) Listen...

INT. TANGIERS CASINO FLOOR, 1972 - NIGHT

Camera swoops from a woman cheering as she wins at a slot- machine to a blackjack table, then to a roulette table and over to a craps table.

Montage of very short cuts of chips being picked up, dice thrown, money being poured from a bucket, stacks of money.

NICKY (V.O.) ...with me protecting Ace, he made a fortune for the bosses. I mean that's what got him to Vegas. He was a money machine. A tremendous earner for these guys. As soon as he took over, he doubled the fuckin' drop. With Ace the casino never saw so much money. And the bosses, they couldn't be happier.

INT. TANGIERS CASINO FLOOR - NIGHT

Camera moves in on ACE as he looks out over the casino. Dealers deftly stack chips, scoop up losses and pay off winners. Chips and money are everywhere.

In extreme close-up slow motion a die falls on to a table.

INT. TANGIERS CASINO SLOT-MACHINE AREA - NIGHT

ACE and SHERBERT are walking down a casino aisle by the slot- machines. Dealers immediately snap to attention at their approach.

ACE (V.O.) In Vegas, I had to keep a few juiced- in local cowboys working. They were close to the, you know, good old boys.

ACE (To SHERBERT) Pay him six hundred a week, tell him to walk around and look smart.

ACE (V.O.) I mean, without us, these guys, they'd still be shovellin' mule shit.

ACE points at paper cups, empty glasses and the debris of silver dollar wrappings on the floor. DON WARD, the Slots Manager in Western garb, immediately starts picking up the debris. ACE looks at WARD sternly.

ACE Ward, you gotta keep a cleaner station. If you need 'Mr Clean', page him, all right?

WARD bends down and picks up some trash.

WARD It won't happen again, Sam.

ACE Mr Rothstein.

ACE (To SHERBERT) Is this guy just another dumb fuckin' white man, or what? What's his story?

SHERBERT We need this guy.

ACE We can't get rid of him?

SHERBERT He's juiced in. He's the County Commissioner's cousin.

ACE I wouldn't give the bum a mop job.

They exit.

INT. TANGIERS BACCARAT TABLES - NIGHT

A card shoe slides across the baccarat table. A state SENATOR, a little drunk, tips the dealer, kisses the blonder HOOKER with him, fills his pockets with his winnings and walks over to see ACE.

ACE (V.O.) These yokels ran the state.

DEALER #1 Thank you very much, Senator.

ACE (V.O.) They passed the laws, they owned the courts.

SENATOR Hi, Ace.

ACE Hello, Senator.

They shake hands.

SENATOR (To ACE) Hey, I need a room. Need a room.

ACE Good to see ya. (To SHERBERT) William would you...

The SENATOR shakes hands with SHERBERT as the HOOKER joins them.

ACE (V.O.) I had dozens of politicians and state officials comin' through that place every week.

SHERBERT Nice to see you, Senator.

ACE (To SHERBERT) Help the Senator, give him whatever he wants.

SHERBERT Certainly. (Leads the way.) Senator.

ACE (V.O.) Why not make them happy?

SHERBERT We have some nice penthouses you'll enjoy. Maybe the Presidential Suite.

INT. TANGIERS PRESIDENTIAL SUITE - DAY

The SENATOR unzips the HOOKER's dress, kisses her and walks through the bedroom doorway, looking over his shoulder to her as she takes off her dress and walks out of his sight.

ACE (V.O.) For politicians...

INT. TANGIERS BACCARAT TABLES - DAY

ACE smoking a cigarette by the baccarat tables.

ACE (V.O.) ...like our state senator up there, everything was on the house.

INT. TANGIERS PRESIDENTIAL SUITE - DAY

The SENATOR opens a bureau drawer and takes out a small velvet pouch and pours black $100 into his palm.

ACE (V.O.) These guys won their comped life when they got elected. So, hey, why not take advantage of it? Still, the politicians come cheap. We could handle them.

INT. TANGIERS, ICHIKAWA LUXURY SUITE - DAY

K. K. ICHIKAWA a Japanese businessman, and a male associate pick up towels and soap from about the bedroom of their suite. A blonde woman checks herself in the mirror.

ACE (V.O.) It's a whale like K. K. Ichikawa, who plays thirty thousand dollars a hand in baccarat. That's the one you really gotta watch.

ICHIKAWA and his associate walk into the the suite's living- room and join a Japanese woman seated on a couch.

ACE (V.O.) He plays fast and big and he has the cash and the credit to turn out your lights. About a year ago, he cleaned out a couple of casinos in the Cayman Islands.

They begin to stuff Tangiers soap and towels into their luggage.

ACE (V.O.) Downstairs, he takes us for two million... and upstairs he takes free soap, shampoo and towels. Another billionaire cheapskate who loves his free rooms...

EXT. TANGIERS JET, LAS VEGAS AIRPORT - DAY

The Tangiers jet with the Tangiers logo on its side as ICHIKAWA shakes ACE's hands before boarding. SHERBERT follows him and his associates aboard.

ACE (V.O.) ...free private jets, and two million of our money.

ACE Nice to see you again.

ACE (V.O.) But we got him back. I had our pilot tell him the plane was on the fritz.

DISSOLVE TO:

EXT. TANGIERS JET, STILL IN THE SAME SPOT - NIGHT

SHERBERT apologizes to ICHIKAWA and his entourage as they all get off the jet.

SHERBERT Ken, I don't know what the hell went wrong. I'm awfully sorry.

ICHIKAWA This is a big problem. Big problem.

SHERBERT I can't understand it. These mechanical things, you know, they happen. Hey, be-better here than (gesturing to the sky) up there, you know what I mean?

INT. LAS VEGAS AIRPORT RESERVATION DESK - NIGHT

SHERBERT arguing with TICKET AGENT as ICHIKAWA and entourage look glum.

ACE (V.O.) Then he missed the commercial flights connecting with Japan.

AGENT I'm so sorry. There's a convention in town, and all flights are booked.

SHERBERT A convention? (Turning to ICHIKAWA) I can't believe that there's a convention. It's never... ?

ICHIKAWA What can I do?

EXT. TANGIERS CASINO - NIGHT

A smiling ACE greets ICHIKAWA and his entourage as they drive up and get out of Tangiers limos.

ACE (V.O.) We got him back ...with a whole floor of rooms for himself.

ACE I'm sorry you missed the plane.

ICHIKAWA You want to get my money back, right? (Chuckles)

ACE No, no, no. No gambling. No.

INT. TANGIERS BACCARAT TABLES - NIGHT

ICHIKAWA, with the Japanese woman, picks up some chips and places them on the table. ACE and SHERBERT watch from behind a barrier.

ACE (V.O.) He bet one thousand a hand instead of his usual thirty thousand a hand.

A dealer's hands slide two cards on the table.

DEALER The bank wins a natural eight over a five.

Another dealer's hands place two chips on a table. ICHIKAWA looks on.

ACE (V.O.) But I knew, the trick with whales like Ichikawa was that they can't bet small for long. He didn't think of it as winning ten thousand, he thought of it as losing ninety thousand.

ICHIKAWA places a larger bet.

ACE (V.O.) So, he upped his bets...

A dealer picks up some chips from a rack and places them on the table.

ICHIKAWA is now seated with stacks of chips in front of him.

ACE (V.O.) ...until he dropped his winnings back and gave up a million of his own cash.

DISSOLVE TO:

ICHIKAWA, hours later, his chips depleted. ACE and SHERBERT still watch from behind the barrier as millions in chips are back in the dealer's racks.

ACE (V.O.) In the casino, the cardinal rule is to keep them playing...

Move in on ACE as he smokes a cigarette.

ACE (V.O.) ...and keep them coming back. The longer they play, the more they lose. In the end, we get it all.

INT. TANGIERS CASINO - NIGHT

ACE, with pit bosses next to him, looks out over the huge casino where hundreds of thousands of dollars are being poured into machines.

ACE (V.O.) In Vegas, everybody's gotta watch everybody else.

Camera reveals the DEALER at a craps table.

DEALER Six, an easy way. Six! All right, who's gonna give me...

The DEALER places some chips on the table.

ACE (V.O.) Since the players are looking to beat the casino...

THE CAMERA IS ON THE DEALER.

DEALER ...both dice must hit that back wall each and every roll. All right, make a six!

CAMERA PANS TO A WOMAN AND A MAN AT THE TABLE. THE WOMAN TOSSES SOME DICE.

ACE (V.O.) ...the dealers are watching the players.

WOMAN Gimme a six!

DEALER Come on, baby, make a six!

A BOX MAN, seated mid-table is watching the DEALER.

ACE (V.O.) The box men are watching the dealers.

CAMERA PANS TO THE DEALER.

DEALER (Humming, fielding, every roll.)

CAMERA PANS TO A FLOOR MAN, STANDING DIRECTLY BEHIND THE BOX MAN.

ACE (V.O.) The floor men are watching the box men.

CAMERA SWISH PANS TO REVEAL A PIT BOSS STEPPING IN, SCANNING THE FLOOR.

ACE (V.O.) The pit bosses are watching the floor men.

SWISH PAN TO A SHIFT BOSS SURVEYING THE CASINO.

ACE (V.O.) The shift bosses are watching the pit bosses.

SWISH PAN TO SHERBERT.

ACE (V.O.) The casino manager is watching the shift bosses.

SWISH PAN TO ACE.

ACE (V.O.) I'm watching the casino manager.

CAMERA SWISH PANS AND TILTS UP TO A VIDEO CAMERA MOUNTED INSIDE A GLASS DOME HANGING FROM THE CEILING.

ACE (V.O.) And the eye-in-the-sky is watching us all.

SWISH PAN TO:

INT. TANGIERS-EYE-IN-THE SKY MONITOR ROOM - NIGHT

Video monitors show a dealer fanning a row of bills. Swish pan to ACE and SHERBERT watching the monitor. ACE lights a cigarette.

ACE (V.O.) Plus...

SWISH PAN TO SURVEILLANCE CATWALKERS ADJUSTING CAMERAS AND SPYING ON PLAYERS BELOW WITH BINOCULARS.

ACE (V.O.) ...we had a dozen guys up there, most of them ex-cheats, who knew every trick in the house.

INT. TANGIERS CRAPS TABLE - NIGHT

Ginger squeals as she throws the dice across the table.

HIGH ROLLER Come on, come on.

She rolls a winner.

GINGER Yes!

HIGH ROLLER Thank you. Very nice.

GINGER (Chuckles) I told you I was hot tonight.

INT. TANGIERS EYE-IN-THE-SKY MONITOR ROOM - NIGHT

Sound out: The monitor shows GINGER and the HIGH ROLLER cheering, she throws her arms around him. The crowd goes crazy.

SWISH PAN TO ACE LOOKING ON INTENTLY.

On screen, GINGER's hand sneaks a chip from the rack and subtly moves it towards her purse.

INT. TANGIERS CRAPS TABLE - NIGHT

Sound in: GINGER slips the chip quietly into her bag.

HIGH ROLLER (Off-screen) Let's go. This is for Ginger. Come on. This is for Ginger.

The HIGH ROLLER notices GINGER's hand on her purse. She pretends to have taken out her lipstick.

GAMBLER #1 Let me have a hundred on the hard ten. Thank you.

GAMBLER #2 Hard ten. One hundred.

INT. TANGIERS EYE-IN-THE-SKY MONITOR ROOM - NIGHT

ACE continues to look at the monitor. SHERBERT and a security man seated at a video console also look on.

INT. TANGIERS CRAPS TABLE - NIGHT

A craps stick pushes some dice towards GINGER. She rolls again, only this time she craps out. Gamblers groan, then applaud her. She's made so much money for the table that the winners toss chips in her direction.

HIGH ROLLER I'm sorry.

GINGER Oh, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. (To the table) Thank you very much. Thank you very much.

ACE and two casino execs are now on the floor watching her.

GINGER Thank you, sir, I appreciate that. Everybody, thanks. Gives some chips as tips to the dealer and box man. Thanks. Take care, Steve. Take chances and drive fast.

HIGH ROLLER Ginger, honey.

DEALER Thank you very much, now.

HIGH ROLLER Ginger, honey, this is for you love. Thanks for your time.

She turns to the HIGH ROLLER, who is handing her a thin stack of chips worth about $2,000.

GINGER (Chuckles) Come on.

HIGH ROLLER What's the matter?

GINGER What do you mean, 'What's the matter?' I made a lot of money for you. I want my cut.

HIGH ROLLER What money? I've seen you stealing from me.

GINGER What money? Look at this stack of chips. Don't give me that shit. I want my end.

HIGH ROLLER Ginger, I've been watching you all night. You've been stealing from me.

GINGER Don't give me that shit. I want my money.

HIGH ROLLER That bag's full of fuckin' chips you

GINGER (Interrupts) What do you mean 'stole'? I didn't steal anything from you.

ACE watches the argument heat up.

HIGH ROLLER Get lost, Ginger! Get lost!

GINGER Get lost?

HIGH ROLLER Yes.

GINGER Get lost?

HIGH ROLLER Yes.

GINGER knocks the chip rack out of his hands.

GINGER Well, how 'bout that?

HIGH ROLLER Come on! (He bends down to pick them up.)

Gamblers and dealers shout and yell. She picks up another rack of chips and tosses them into the air, then another, and another. Chips fly all over the casino. Everyone starts diving for chips. Dealers. Players. Security guards. Waitresses. Pit bosses. Bedlam.

ACE and the two execs with him are the only ones not diving for chips. He looks at GINGER. She looks at him.

FREEZE FRAME ON GINGER.

Slow motion: GINGER smiles at ACE and walks off.

ACE (V.O.) What a move. I fell in love right there.

INT. COCKTAIL LOUNGE - NIGHT

GINGER and ACE are seated on a banquette. Close up of his hand attaching a diamond and ruby pin to her dress. Tilt up to GINGER's smiling face beaming at ACE.

ACE (V.O.) But in Vegas, for a girl like Ginger, love costs money.

They kiss.

GINGER I'm going to go powder my nose. (ACE hands GINGER a single $50 bill. She smiles coyly. He hands her another fifty.)

ACE (V.O.) Ginger's mission in life was money.

GINGER I'll be right back.

ACE (O.S.) (from following scene) See you, Ginger.

FLASHBACK - EXT. CASINO ENTRANCE - NIGHT

GINGER waves goodbye to the DOORMAN and walks towards two VALET PARKERS who greet her warmly. She gets a bottle of pills from one of them and slips some cash into his hand in return.

GINGER Okay, thank you for asking.

ACE (V.O.) She was a queen around the casino. She brought in high rollers and helped them spread around a lot of money.

GINGER (To VALET PARKERS) Hello.

VALET PARKER Hey, Ginger, how you doin'?

GINGER Great. (Handing the VALET some money.) And I have something for you. You got me covered?

The VALET PARKER places a vial of pills in her hand.

VALET PARKER Yes. Something for you, there.

GINGER And you do. Thank you very much.

VALET PARKER Take care of yourself.

FLASHBACK - INT. HOTEL SUITE BATHROOM - NIGHT

GINGER hands the pills to HIGH ROLLER #2 in his hotel bathroom, where he is washing his face and trying to energize himself.

GINGER I got some lucky pills for you, honey.

HIGH ROLLER #2 Oh, yeah?

ACE (V.O.) Who didn't want Ginger? She was one of the best-known, best-liked and most respected hustlers in town. Smart hustlers like her could keep a guy awake for two or three days before sending him home broke to the little woman and his bank examiners.

INT. COCKTAIL LOUNGE - NIGHT

GINGER comes back from the ladies room. She kisses ACE.

ACE Any change?

GINGER (Chuckles) I hit a few... uh, games on the way back.

ACE (V.O.) That was all bullshit. She just pocketed the cash.

FLASHBACK - INT. TANGIERS CASHIER'S CAGE - NIGHT

GINGER converts her chips into a pile of $100 bills.

GINGER (To CASHIER) How you doin' tonight?

CASHIER Good. How are you?

GINGER (Sighing) Oh, beat.

ACE (V.O.) Ginger had the hustler's code.

CASHIER Okay.

GINGER Take one for you.

CASHIER (While she counts out the cash) Thank you.

ACE (V.O.) She knew how to take care of people. And that's what Vegas was all about.

CASHIER (As she pushes a stack of $100 bills across the counter) Sixty-eight hundred.

GINGER Thanks

She picks up the cash.

CASHIER You're welcome.

ACE (V.O.) It's Kickback City.

GINGER You have a good night.

CASHIER Thank you. You too.

Close-up of GINGER folding a $100 bill and placing it in her palm. She slips the folded bill deftly into the palm of a floor manager.

ACE (V.O.) She took care of the dealers...

GINGER Hey, Mitch.

ACE (V.O.) ...pit bosses, floor managers.

GINGER Thank you.

ACE (V.O.) But mostly...

EXT. TANGIERS ENTRANCE - NIGHT

GINGER, on her way out of the casino, passes a folded $100 bill to a smiling older SHIFT BOSS.

ACE (V.O.) ...she took care of the valet parkers, the guys who could get you anything and take care of anything.

GINGER Thanks a lot.

SHIFT BOSS Thank you, Ginger.

EXT. TANGIERS ENTRANCE - NIGHT

GINGER exits and gets into her car, slipping a VALET PARKER a $100 bill.

ACE (V.O.) Ginger took care of the parkers because they took care of the security guards, who took care of the metro cops, who let her operate.

VALET PARKER #3 Thank you, Ginger.

GINGER (Getting into her car) I need that stuff tonight.

VALET PARKER #3 No problem.

GINGER You're a doll.

ACE (V.O.) The valet parking job was such a money-maker that they had to pay off the hotel manager just to get the concession.

INT. GINGER'S APARTMENT - DAY

GINGER enters the room with $25,000 in her hands. She taps LESTER DIAMOND's leg with it and he turns to her.

ACE (V.O.) But one thing I could never understand, was that she could have everything under control, except for her old pimp boyfriend, Lester Diamond.

LESTER Look, Gin, you know I got other people in this. I got partners. But I want you to understand that I am lookin' out for you in this thing. Okay? You're going to get yours back... and you're gonna get it back first. Okay?

GINGER All right.

LESTER Okay?

GINGER Yeah.

LESTER Where are you goin'? Where are you? You're in that place. Where are you?

GINGER I'm here.

LESTER No, you're not. Where are you? Where are you?

GINGER I'm always here for you.

LESTER You are.

GINGER I am.

He hastily kisses GINGER and slips out the door.

ACE (V.O.) The Ginger I knew wouldn't even look at this creep.

GINGER Good luck.

LESTER Yeah.

ACE (V.O.) He was a moocher, a card cheat, a country-club golf hustler. A scumbag... chasing dentists for a few bucks.

GINGER Careful.

GINGER looks out of the window and sees LESTER get into a convertible and drive off.

ACE (V.O.) I mean, the guy was always broke, he always had a story. And somehow, she could never turn him down. The way Ginger saw it, I guess, was that Lester was just an unlucky guy. Somebody had to take care of him.

INT. BACK HOME AIRPORT/CUSTOMS - DAY

NICKY, his wife JENNIFER, with a beehive hairdo, and their eight-year-old son LITTLE NICKY, are detained while their luggage is searched by a customs agent.

TITLE IN: 'BACK HOME'

ACE (V.O.) But nobody had to take care of Nicky.

NICKY (To customs agent) You find any cash in there, we'll whack it up with you.

ACE (V.O.) I mean, he took care of himself only too well. And that's why every badge back home wanted to nail him.

JENNIFER (To customs agent) Excuse me, but I folded these things beautifully and I would appreciate a little respect. Jesus Christ!

NICKY Don't look at me, pal. I gotta live with her.

We see MARINO waiting for NICKY outside the customs area. Two COPS push past him.

ACE (V.O.) Even after a little vacation, they hassled him at the airport.

COP #1 (To MARINO) Excuse me.

ACE (V.O.) I mean, Frank Marino was there to meet him, but so were the cops. This time they wanted to pinch him for some diamond burglary in Antwerp.

CAMERA DOLLIES IN ON JENNIFER'S BEEHIVE.

JENNIFER Oh, yes. Will you help me fold these, please?

ACE (V.O.) They were ready to blame him for anything, no matter where it happened.

FLASH FORWARD - INT. NICKY'S HOUSE/BACK HOME - DAY

NICKY, JENNIFER, LITTLE NICKY and MARINO walk in.

JENNIFER (To LITTLE NICKY) You go and put your things away.

ACE (V.O.) And they were usually right.

NICKY, JENNIFER and MARINO are gathered around the kitchen table. JENNIFER leans over and starts to shake her hair.

MARINO Whoa, whoa, whoa.

NICKY Hold it, hold it. Here.

NICKY places a red towel down on the table. JENNIFER leans over again, tugs and shakes her hair until diamonds begin to fall out of her beehive.

ACE (V.O.) Because Nicky enjoyed being a gangster, and he didn't give a damn who knew it.

JENNIFER Come on. There we go. Look at that. Beautiful.

Diamonds fall on the red towel in slow motion.

ACE (V.O.) I mean, that's what worried me, 'cause it turns out Nicky was about to be sent to Vegas.

JENNIFER All right, we're clear.

NICKY There's more!

JENNIFER I think that's it.

NICKY There's more! There's a couple stuck in there. I know there's more.

JENNIFER God, I'm telling you, they're out!

NICKY Come on, damn it. Don't get so defensive. It could be stuck in your hair, you know.

NICKY grasps JENNIFER's hair.

JENNIFER Look, there aren't... (A diamond falls out of her beehive.) There aren't but...

NICKY Oh, there aren't? (Showing her the diamond.) What's that? (Slaps her.) Huh? What's that. (FRANK chuckles.) There's no more. Thanks, hon.

INT. BACK HOME AIRPORT/CUSTOMS - DAY

ON NICKY.

NICKY (V.O.) I couldn't wait to get my hands on Vegas. But the bosses didn't send me out there to have a good time.

INT. SAN MARINO ITALIAN GROCERY/BACK ROOM, KANSAS CITY - NIGHT

Mob bosses FORLANO, CAPELLI, GAGGI, BORELLI and PISCANO seated around the back room table eating and talking as in the opening vignette.

NICKY (V.O.) They sent me out there to make sure that nobody fucked with Ace and...

INT. ACE'S TANGIERS PENTHOUSE, LAS VEGAS - DAY

ACE opens the door to NICKY and JENNIFER.

NICKY (V.O.) ...nobody interfered with the fuckin' skim.

ACE (Opening door) Hey.

JENNIFER Hey, how you doin'? (Kisses ACE.)

NICKY Hey. Hey, Sammy, how are you?

JENNIFER and NICKY take in ACE's spectacular Vegas-style penthouse.

JENNIFER (Whispering) Wow.

NICKY Boy, look at this place, huh?

JENNIFER Incredible.

NICKY All right.

ACE Welcome to Vegas.

CAMERA TILTS UP TO REVEAL A SWEEPING VIEW OF THE LAS VEGAS SKYLINE.

NICKY Okay, Sammy.

ACE Somethin', huh?

NICKY Yeah.

ACE (Calling her over) Ginger.

GINGER emerges from the bedroom. NICKY and JENNIFER are both stunned by her beauty.

NICKY (To ACE) Holy shit, what've you been doin' out here?

ACE Honey, come here.

She walks to them

ACE This is Jennifer and Nick. They're dear friends of mine.

JENNIFER (Shaking hands) Good to meet you.

GINGER Hi, Jennifer.

NICKY Pleasure. (Grasping GINGER's hand and kissing it.) Very nice to meet you.

GINGER Hi, how are you?

NICKY Okay, Sammy.

INT. ACE'S CAR, LAS VEGAS STRIP - NIGHT

ACE and NICKY are driving through town, the neon lights of Vegas reflected in the windshield.

ACE (V.O.) After we ate, we left Jennifer and Ginger alone and we took a ride to talk. And then... he hit me with it.

NICKY What do you think about me movin' out here? (ACE looks away.) What's the matter? You got a problem with that?

ACE No, of course not.

NICKY (Playfully) You mean, I have your permission?

ACE Sure, you have my permission. But I - I just gotta tell you it's no joke out here. It's no joke, you know? You gotta keep a low profile. It's not like back home. Right off the bat, they don't like guys like us. And this sheriff's a real cowboy. Even the coppers aren't afraid to bury people out in the desert here.

NICKY I don't care. I want to get away from back home for a while. I'm tired of that shit back there. (Referring to the Vegas lights.) Look at this place. It's made of money. You know what the best part is? Nobody's gonna know what we're doin'! There's nobody here to see us! Everybody's back home.

ACE Nick, I gotta tell you, I got pinched twice for no reason. You really gotta be careful. I'm running a licensed place. Everything's legit.

NICKY Don't worry about it. I'm not gonna do anything. What am I gonna do? I'm especially not gonna involve you in anything.

ACE gives NICKY a look.

EXT./INT. LAS VEGAS SPORTSBOOK - NIGHT

NICKY and MARINO pull up in their car and get out.

NICKY (V.O.) Ace saw Vegas one way.

NICKY You call this guy and tell him I'm comin'?

MARINO Of course.

They walk into the sportsbook, past numerous bar patrons and gamblers to TONY, the bookie at a betting counter.

NICKY (V.O.) But I saw it another. I saw it as untouched. I mean, they had bookies, pimps and drug dealers I could shake down. Who the fuck were they gonna run to? So, I started getting everybody in line. Best of all, for the first time in my life, I figured out a way not to lose.

ACE (V.O.) Yeah, he had a fool-proof scheme, all right. It wasn't very scientific but it worked. When he won, he collected. When he lost, he told the bookies to go fuck themselves. What were they gonna do? Muscle Nicky? (Chuckles.) Nicky was the muscle.

NICKY grabs TONY by the back of his neck.

NICKY Tony.

TONY Hey.

NICKY How you doin'?

TONY How you doin'?

NICKY All right, yeah. You got that thing for me?

TONY What thing? Oh, Nicky... I thought you was layin'.

NICKY I was layin'? No, no, I'm taking it. I was takin' it.

TONY You sure?

NICKY I'm positive.

TONY Well, I'm a little confused here.

NICKY You're a little confused?

TONY Yeah.

NICKY (Pointing to a window, above a counter with a tiny opening to talk through) Maybe if I stick your fuckin' face through this window over here like, you know, you'll - you'll get unconfused. Give me the fuckin' money!

TONY takes some money out of his coat pocket.

TONY (Groaning) I'm sorry, Nicky. I didn't mean anything by it.

NICKY Yeah, I know, that's why you had it ready. You thought I was fuckin' layin' it?!

He smacks the bookie on the head with the wad of money.

TONY (Gasps) My fuckin' head.

NICKY Your fuckin' head, huh? Don't fuck around, Tony.

MARINO (Pointing to TONY) Smarten up.

NICKY (Walking out) You jag-off.

CLASSROOM NUN (O.S.) (From following scene) And now...

INT. CATHOLIC SCHOOL CLASSROOM - DAY

NICKY and JENNIFER stand in the background with other parents listening to a NUN school teacher. LITTLE NICKY and other youngsters are seated at small children's desks.

CLASSROOM NUN ...Nicholas Santoro will come up and tell us about our first president.

LITTLE NICKY (Stepping up in front of the class to begin a speech) George Washington was born in a...

ACE (V.O.) But still, it was nice and quiet for a while. Ginger and I presented Nicky and Jennifer all over town, like regular Ozzie and Harriets.

LITTLE NICKY ...typical Virginia farmhouse.

EXT. LITTLE LEAGUE FIELD - DAY

NICKY and DETECTIVE BOB JOHNSON are coaching their sons. JOHNSON pats LITTLE NICKY on the back and with encouraging words sends him running on to the field.

DETECTIVE JOHNSON (To LITTLE NICKY) Beautiful. You got a beautiful swing.

NICKY (V.O.) Ace got my son, little Nicky, involved with Little League, and it was great.

DETECTIVE JOHNSON Now, I want you to get out there and get me singles and doubles, okay? 'Cause that's what's gonna win this game.

NICKY (V.O.) Turned out to be one of the other coaches was a fuckin'...

DETECTIVE JOHNSON Now go out there and show your dad what you can do.

NICKY (V.O.) ...metro intelligence cop. But it didn't matter. I mean, it was all about the kids, you know.

DETECTIVE JOHNSON You know, he's gotta realize everything can't be a home run that he does.

NICKY Yeah, well, that's exactly what I keep tellin' him, but that's the kind of kid he is ever since he's born.

DETECTIVE JOHNSON It's instinctive, you know.

NICKY He tries to do everything...

LITTLE NICKY hits the ball, NICKY and DETECTIVE JOHNSON applaud.

NICKY Ohh!

ACE (V.O.) And, Nicky being Nicky, he made his presence known.

INT. TANGIERS CASHIER'S CAGE CREDIT WINDOW - NIGHT

NICKY saunters through the casino and up to EDDY and JERRY, two well-dressed hoods who are signing papers at the cashier's credit window near ACE and SHERBERT.

ACE (V.O.) Especially at the casino, where he definitely did not work, people got the message.

NICKY (V.O.) Me? That's why the bosses sent me out here. They wanted me to make sure none of the other crews robbed the joint. Like these two fuckin' balloon-heads over here [EDDY and JERRY]. They were gonna try and bang us out of two hundred fuckin' grand? (Chuckling.) Yeah, right, I'm sure.

JERRY (Shakes NICKY's hand) Hey, Nicky. How are you?

NICKY Hey, Eddy.

EDDY Hey, Nicky, how are you? What are you doin' here?

NICKY I'm over here now.

JERRY/EDDY (In unison) You're over here?

JERRY You're over here?

NICKY Yeah, I'm over here with him.

SWISH PAN TO ACE WITH SHERBERT OFF TO THE SIDE.

EDDY Oh.

JERRY Oh.

EDDY We're waiting on Carmine.

JERRY Yeah, we're lookin' for Carmine.

NICKY Carmine? He was here before. I saw him. He had a suitcase and everything, and then he left.

EDDY Carmine left?

NICKY Uh-huh.

JERRY Carmine left?

EDDY He's gone?

JERRY He's not here?

EDDY Carmine's gone.

NICKY I think, you know, maybe he went across the street or somewhere else or somethin'. I don't know.

EDDY Well, listen, uh... Good luck with the joint, huh? (Shakes hands with NICKY.)

NICKY Oh, thanks, Eddy.

JERRY (Shakes NICKY's hand) Yeah, lots of luck. Lots of luck.

NICKY Hey, great, Jerry.

They walk away.

NICKY Good luck to you too.

CREDIT CLERK (To NICKY from behind the cage) Hey, they forgot to sign their papers.

NICKY What?

CREDIT CLERK They forgot to sign their papers.

NICKY Yeah, they don't need those anymore.

He looks over to ACE and SHERBERT. NICKY smiles.

ACE (V.O.) Out of respect, guys from other crews got away with a warning.

ACE taking a drag off his cigarette, nods an 'okay'.

ACE (V.O.) Everybody else: watch out.

INT. TANGIERS CASINO/BLACKJACK TABLES - DAY

A blackjack WINNER, who looks like a school teacher, with over $100,000 in chips before him has gathered a crowd.

ACE (V.O.) Like these yokels here who never heard of Nicky or the bosses back home, 'cause they're the morons who give you the most trouble. Even after we'd catch 'em, they'd try sneakin' back with beards and wigs and fake noses.

ACE and SHERBERT walk up to watch the WINNER who is playing all six hands at the blackjack table.

ACE (V.O.) You can spot these assholes by watching the way they bet. Like this guy. He's bettin' lavender chips at five hundred each with only one little problem. He's always guessed right. If he wasn't so fuckin' greedy, he'd have been tougher to spot. But in the end, they're all greedy.

ACE walks around the WINNER's table, past the crowd, to the pit. Behind him are more blackjack tables, dealers and players. ACE bends down and ties his shoelace.

ACE (V.O.) I saw that the dealer was weak, but he wasn't in on it.

The DEALER's hands lift the corner of his hole card a half an inch to determine the casino's hand against the WINNER. The slightly exposed hole card is a six of clubs.

ACE (V.O.) He just wasn't protecting his hand. He was lifting his hole card way to high.

ON ACE'S FACE THEN TO HIS POV OF THE CARD, PAST A PIT BOSS, PANNING TO THE SIGNALER AT THE BLACKJACK TABLE TO THE RIGHT. THE SIGNALER IS SLUMPED DOWN IN HIS SEAT, TOSSING DOWN SOME CARDS AND SNEAKING LOOKS AT THE DEALER'S HAND AT THE WINNER'S TABLE.

ACE (V.O.) Now, here's this guy...

OVERHEAD PAN FROM THE SIGNALER SLUMPED IN HIS SEAT.

ACE (V.O.) ...reading the dealer's hole card...

PAN CONTINUES PAST ACE TO REVEAL THE WINNER'S TABLE.

ACE (V.O.) ...and signaling his buddy [the WINNER] at this table.

OVERHEAD DOLLY IN ON SIGNALER WHO APPEARS TO BE NERVOUSLY TAPPING HIS THIGH.

We see through his trousers, that he is tapping a copper transmitter with a battery pack attached.

Back at the WINNER's table we see inside his pant leg where a device strapped to his leg is receiving the impulse signal - buzz - buzz - buzz - from the SIGNALER.

ACE (V.O.) And that's just what these hustlers look for. They cruise from casino to casino, lookin' for weak dealers the way lions look for weak antelope.

ACE starts to get up.

ACE (O.S.) (From following scene) Operator?

INT. TANGIERS BLACKJACK TABLES/TELEPHONE - DAY

ACE is on the house phone right near the SIGNALER's table.

ACE This is Mr R. Get me Armstrong and Friday over at pit two right away.

He hangs up, and fixes his tie in the mirrored panel above the phone.

OVERHEAD VIEW OF THE SIGNALER'S TABLE. VARIOUS SECURITY GUARDS SLOWLY BEGIN TO GATHER AROUND IT.

ACE, waiting, lights a cigarette. ARMSTRONG joins ACE. They look towards the SIGNALER's table.

ACE (To ARMSTRONG) BJ nineteen, second base, the beard [Blackjack table number 19, second position, man with the beard]

ACE (Picks up the phone again.) Operator... I need Mr Happy, loud.

On ACE's signal, WAITRESSES, one carrying a cake with a sparkling candle, start singing 'Happy Birthday', attracting the crowd's attention.

WAITRESSES (In unison) Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday, dear Jeff. Happy Birthday to you.

Gamblers cheer and applaud.

ACE nods and ARMSTRONG lets a long metal object drop out from under his jacket sleeve and moves in close behind the SIGNALER, as though looking at the game.

He presses the object - a cattle prod - under the SIGNALER's arm near his heart. The SIGNALER instantly goes into convulsions, falling to the floor gasping and groaning. Several SECURITY GUARDS grab the SIGNALER as he falls. ARMSTRONG walks away.

SECURITY GUARD #1 Man down!

The WINNER sees what happened to his partner.

SECURITY GUARD #1 Notify medical! We got a cardiac arrest here!

SECURITY GUARD #2 He's fine, folks. Just give us some room, please!

ACE watches the scene. The guards lift the stunned SIGNALER to his feet and help him away from the table. Play is immediately resumed.

ACE (V.O.) Watch it now.

The WINNER hurriedly places his chips into racks.

SECURITY GUARD #1 (O.S.) Stand back!

ACE (V.O.) They never know what hit them. And if and when...

SECURITY GUARDS drag the SIGNALER out.

ACE (V.O.) ...they do find out they just got zapped by a cattle prod...

SHERBERT follows the WINNER as he rushes away.

ACE (V.O.) ...they wish they really did have a heart attack.

ACE exits behind the GUARDS and the SIGNALER.

INT. BASEMENT MAINTENANCE ROOM - NIGHT

A grim, windowless utility room with tools on racks along the walls, some plain wooden chairs, and a workbench table.

ACE (V.O.) Turns out this guy and his fuckin' pals, they were knockin' this place dead for years.

SECURITY GUARD #1 He's got a wire on him.

The SIGNALER is roughly shoved into the room. A SECURITY GUARD tears his trousers down revealing the signaling device strapped to his leg.

SIGNALER Hey, hey, what are you doin', man?

SECURITY GUARD #2 (Exposing the device) There it is! On the table!

SECURITY GUARD #1 Cheater's justice!

The SIGNALER is slammed down face first on the bench and the two GUARDS spread his arms out on the table.

SIGNALER (In pain) Oh, God! Oh!

Another GUARD starts up a power saw and approaches the SIGNALER who is now pinned to the table. He starts to scream.

SIGNALER Hey, no! No! No!

ACE walks toward the table, gesturing for the GUARD to turn off the saw.

ACE (V.O.) We had to make an example of these pricks that the party was over.

ACE (To relieved SIGNALER) I'm just curious. I saw you shuffling your checks with your right hand. Can you do that with both hands?

SIGNALER No.

ACE Can't do it with both hands?

SIGNALER No, Sir.

ACE Can you do it with your left hand?

SIGNALER Well, I... I never tried.

ACE So, you're a righty?

SIGNALER Ye-yeah.

ACE nods to one of the GUARDS. Instantly a large rubber mallet smashes onto the man's right hand four times to the sound of screams. ACE watches.

ACE Now, you're gonna have to learn with your left hand.

SIGNALER God! (He moans and sits back.)

WINNER (O.S.) (From following scene) It's a hundred...

INT. CASINO CASHIER'S CAGE AREA - NIGHT

The WINNER has been standing outside the cashier's cage waiting for his $110,000 in chips to be cashed. SHERBERT walks up behind him.

WINNER ...a hundred ten.

CASHIER Yes, it is.

WINNER I think.

CASHIER Yes.

WINNER Okay.

SHERBERT Hiya. That's a lot of money to be counting out in public.

WINNER Yeah.

SHERBERT (To CASHIER) Why don't I take him over to the office and verify it, huh?

CASHIER Yes.

SHERBERT A little privacy. And, by the way, send over a... nice bottle of champagne on ice, huh?

CASHIER Sure will.

SHERBERT Real special. Somethin'... (To WINNER.) By the way... I'm Billy Sherbert, your casino manager.

He shakes hands with the WINNER.

WINNER Hi.

SHERBERT Having a good time?

SHERBERT leads him away from the cage.

WINNER Yes, uh...

SHERBERT You'll want to count the money in privacy. You know, you don't need...

WINNER Uh, I have a plane to catch to Cleveland... Can I get my winnings?

INT. BASEMENT MAINTENANCE ROOM - NIGHT

The WINNER is pushed through the door by two GUARDS followed by SHERBERT and sees his pal moaning in pain and holding his broken hand.

SIGNALER Look what they did to my hand, man!

ACE (Walks over to the WINNER) All right, I'm gonna give you a choice. You can either have the money and the hammer or you can walk out of here. You can't have both. What do you want?

SHERBERT stands next to the WINNER

WINNER I just wanna get out of here.

ACE And don't forget to tell your friends what happens if they fuck around in here. You understand?

WINNER I'm sorry. I made a bad mistake.

ACE You're fuckin' right, you made a bad mistake. 'Cause if you come back here - we catch either one of you - we're gonna break your fuckin' heads and you won't walk out of here. You see that fuckin' saw? We're gonna use it. You don't fuck around in this place. You got it?

WINNER Yeah.

ACE Get out of here.

WINNER Thank you.

The GUARDS usher the WINNER out of the room.

ACE (To the GUARDS, referring to the SIGNALER) Throw him out in the alley. And just tell the cops he got hit by a car.

INT. ACE'S TANGIERS PENTHOUSE

ACE and GINGER are alone in the living room. The apartment looks out on the glittering neon signs of the Strip.

ACE (V.O.) Within no time, everything was set in place. We got rid of the freelance scamsters. The per was way up. The gods were happy, or as happy as the gods can ever be. And I, I decided to complicate my life. For a guy who likes sure things, I was about to bet the rest of my life on a real longshot.

ACE We're not getting any younger. Don't you think it's time? Aren't you gettin' tired of all this shit? Bangin' around, hustlin' around?

GINGER What, are you trying to handicap me?

ACE I'm gonna do you one better. I'm trying to marry you. You want to marry me? (GINGER looks doubtful.) I'm serious. I mean, I - I want to settle down. I want a family.

GINGER (Sighs, laughing) You got the wrong girl, Sam.

ACE I know I'd be a good father. I know you'd be a good mother.

GINGER You don't know me. What, you've known me, two, three months. What do you know?

ACE I'm forty-three years old. I don't want to wait. I know you well enough to know that I really love you very much. And I can't think of anybody better to be with. And I don't feel like waiting anymore.

GINGER You know a lot of happily married people, Sam? 'Cause I don't.

ACE Yeah, I know all that.

GINGER I care about you, a - But I just don't have those kind of feelings for you. I'm sorry. I'm not in love with you.

ACE (Brushing cigarette ash off his dressing gown) I - I - I...

GINGER Understand? (Pause) I'm sorry.

ACE No, I - I... mean... that can grow as I - as long as there's a mutual respect... that kind of thing can grow. I'm realistic. I can accept that. But, you know, what is... What is love anyway? It's a... it's a mutual respect. It's - it's a devotion. It's a... it's a caring from one person to another. And if we could set up some kind of foundation... based on that mutual respect... I feel that eventually you would care enough about me... that I could live with that.

GINGER If it doesn't work out. You know, if it doesn't play out, then what happens to me?

ACE You know I'm doin' well now. And I'm gonna do even better. And so, whatever happens, if it doesn't work out between us, I'm gonna make sure you're okay for the rest of your life. And if there are kids, especially, you know, I'll take care of you better than you'd ever imagine.

GINGER (Interrupts) What're you... what're you pitching me, here?

ACE Just what I said. You'll be set up for the rest of your life. That I can promise you. (Pause) Want to take a chance?

She looks at him. ACE is holding her hand tightly.

INT. RIVIERA BALLROOM MARRIAGE - NIGHT

ACE and GINGER are seated at a banquet table with various guests, drinking champagne. AMY, their six-month-old child is in a cradle. NICKY and JENNIFER are hovering around the baby with LITTLE NICKY and are blissfully happy. It is an elegant affair. City Officials, politicians and gaming officials are there, plus, SHERBERT and Ace's boss, PHILIP GREEN. A photographer takes pictures of the guests.

ACE (V.O.) When I married Ginger I knew all the stories, but I didn't give a fuck. 'I'm Sam Rothstein,' I said. 'I can change her.'

NICKY (V.O.) It was typical Ace. He invited the biggest people in town and he knew they'd show. Because he knew they all wanted somethin' from him. With Ace, nobody ever got a free ride. Even Ginger. With her -

We see AMY in the cradle.

NICKY (V.O.) - he still covered his bets. They had to have the baby first, before they got married. Even made Jennie and me watch Amy for a few days when they went on their honeymoon. But I didn't mind, we loved the kid.

IN SLOW MOTION CAMERA MOVES IN ON ACE AND GINGER, STANDING NEXT TO A LARGE WEDDING CAKE. THEY ARE KISSING. NICKY, SHERBERT AND OTHER GUESTS LOOK ON.

CAMERA MOVES IN CLOSER AS THEY KISS, THEN PAST THEM TO THE BRIDE AND GROOM FIGURINES ON THE CAKE.

LESTER's and GINGER's telephone conversation is heard in voice-over this scene.

LESTER (Over telephone) Can you feel my eyes on you? Can you feel me look into your heart? Can you feel me in the pit of your stomach? Can you feel me in you? In your heart?

We see a wide view of the elaborate wedding, guests mill about the banquet hall.

LESTER Don't make me come there. Answer me.

GINGER (Over telephone, sobbing) I love you.

INT. LESTER DIAMOND'S LOS ANGELES APARTMENT - NIGHT

LESTER DIAMOND is talking on the phone softly, cutting up cocaine on a piece of glass.

LESTER (Into telephone) Bub-ut, baby, do you know that I love you too?

GINGER (Over telephone) No, Lester.

LESTER (Into telephone) Do you know that?

GINGER (Over telephone) Yeah. This is the best thing I can do for my life right now.

LESTER (Into telephone) That's right.

INT. RIVIERA BALLROOM CORRIDOR - NIGHT

GINGER is sitting alone on the phone. She's crying.

LESTER (Over telephone) So, it's gonna be okay, isn't it?

GINGER (Sobbing, into telephone) Promise?

LESTER (Over telephone) God... I wish you...

INT. LESTER DIAMOND'S LOS ANGELES APARTMENT - NIGHT

There is a beautiful scantily dressed blonde girl in the apartment with him. She bends down to the table in front of him, snorts some cocaine, then walks away.

LESTER (Into telephone) ...all the luck in the world.

GINGER (Over telephone) You do?

LESTER (Into telephone) Yeah, I do. I mean, it's - it's the - it's the best thing you can do right now. I mean this. And you'll have real security. Sweetheart... you're gonna be situated just right in Vegas.

INT. RIVIERA BALLROOM CORRIDOR - NIGHT

ACE enters from the ballroom and sees GINGER on the phone. He walks towards her, listening to her conversation.

LESTER (Over telephone) Come on, this is great for us. You know I'm gonna be here for you. I ain't going no place. Huh? I'm lookin' at you right now. I'm seein' you for the very first time, right this minute. I'm seein' you, and I can feel my heart click. I see you fourteen years old. I see you the first second I ever saw you. I see you, long-legged little colt -

GINGER notices ACE behind her.

LESTER - with stupid braces on your teeth.

GINGER (Into telephone, sniffing, trying to cut him off) Okay, then.

LESTER (Over telephone) Every time I ever see you, that's what I see.

GINGER (Into telephone) Uh, talk to you later. Bye. (She hangs up the phone quickly.)

ACE You all right?

GINGER (Drinking some champagne, wiping away tears) Yeah.

ACE Why're you crying?

GINGER (Laughs) I'm not crying. (Sniffs.)

ACE walks up behind GINGER.

ACE Maybe you shouldn't drink so much.

GINGER I'm okay. I just - (Sniffs) You just have to understand. I've been with Lester since I was a kid. I just wanted to say goodbye. I - I just... I don't... I think I have a right to do that. Okay?

ACE It's all right. That part of your life is over with. Right?

GINGER Yeah.

ACE You're with me now.

GINGER Yeah.

ACE Right?

GINGER Uh-huh.

ACE You sure?

GINGER Yeah. Yeah.

They are reflected in a mirror behind the telephone.

ACE Want to go? Let's go back in.

GINGER (Sniffs) Okay.

ACE's hands pick up a white rose and GINGER's gloves from the desk.

EXT. ACE'S HOUSE - DAY

ACE and GINGER drive up to an expensive house which backs on to a country-club golf course.

INT. ACE'S HOUSE - DAY

ACE takes GINGER inside. It is fancy and lush.

GINGER Oh...

Through sliding glass doors, we see a patio and a pool area.

GINGER (Sighing) It's great.

The living-room has exposed white brick along the walls, bronze ostrich figurines, a white baby grand piano, and a zebra print rug surrounded by a few couches.

GINGER Oh, it's great.

INT. ACE'S BEDROOM CLOSET - DAY

ACE takes GINGER past the bedroom to their huge room-sized closet. There are racks and racks of clothes.

GINGER (Running into the closet) Oh! It's all my stuff. Oh, my God.

ACE presents her with a long chinchilla coat.

GINGER You brought all my stuff. I can -

She sees the coat.

ACE Try it on. It's yours.

He puts it on her.

GINGER (Whispering) You're kidding? My God. What is it?

ACE It's chinchilla.

GINGER (Looking at herself in the mirror) Oh, it's so soft.

ACE It's nice isn't it?

GINGER Oh...

ACE Kisses her.

GINGER No one's ever been so nice to me.

They kiss and embrace.

INT. ACE'S HOUSE/BEDROOM - DAY

ACE's hand opens a leather case full of gold Bvlgari jewelry.

GINGER (Gasps) Oh, my God.

INT. ACE'S HOUSE/BEDROOM - DAY

ACE and GINGER lie on the bed, surrounded by jewelry. GINGER is swathed in the chinchilla coat. Ace watches as a transfixed GINGER tries on gold necklaces, rings, bracelets and earrings.

GINGER So, do you think it's too much if I wear these in the same day?

ACE You do whatever you want. Do I keep my promises, or do I keep my promises?

ACE kisses GINGER.

GINGER You're so wonderful. The jewelry's not so bad, either.

ACE The only thing is... you shouldn't keep this in the house. We gotta put it in a bank.

GINGER (Putting on a gold bracelet) Come on. Can I keep this one in the house?

ACE Now look, (gently holding her face, gathering her total attention) pay attention to me. What I'm gonna tell you is very important.

GINGER Okay.

ACE All this stuff doesn't mean anything. Money, this, doesn't mean anything without trust. I have to be able to trust you with my life.

EXT. BURBANK PRIVATE AIRPORT - DAY

TITLE IN: 'LOS ANGELES'

ACE and GINGER get off the Tangiers jet carrying two suitcases. ACE gives a chauffeur the luggage and follows GINGER into a brown Rolls Royce.

ACE (V.O.) With over a million in cash and jewels tucked in a bank in Vegas only for Ginger, she was secure and happy.

INT. BEVERLEY HILLS BANK - DAY

ACE and GINGER walk into the bank lobby carrying the suitcases.

ACE (V.O.) She loved that shit. But a guy in my line of work has to have a lot of pay-off cash around.

INT. BEVERLEY HILLS BANK/VAULT - DAY

There are several safe deposit boxes filled with cash. ACE and GINGER are closing a large box so crammed with cash that ACE has to lean on it for the clasp to lock.

ACE (V.O.) Crooked cops and kidnappers, they don't take checks.

GINGER Need a little help with that, Mr Collins?

ACE (V.O.) So, I put two million in cash in a Los Angeles bank under the name of Mr and Mrs Tom Collins. This was strictly my shakedown and kidnapping money.

ACE and GINGER struggle to push the crammed box into a slot in the wall.

ACE (V.O.) And, since I'd either be in jail or locked in a closet when I needed the money the most...

The BANK PRESIDENT joins them, and he and ACE simultaneously double-lock the outer safe box door with two separate keys, after which, ACE gives GINGER his key.

ACE (V.O.) ...I gave Ginger the only key to the cash that could get me back alive.

INT. BANK PRESIDENT'S OFFICE - DAY

GINGER is on the other side of a glass wall, signing papers.

BANKER Now this is just a signature card.

ACE So, once she signs those papers, she'll be the only person to have total access to the box? No one else, including myself?

BANKER That's right.

We see GINGER looking at ACE.

BANKER That's the way you wanted it, right?

ACE nods

BANKER (Quietly.) Sam, let me ask you a question. You must really trust your wife.

ACE (Quietly) Yeah, sure I do. Why?

BANKER No, tha-that's good. It's just unusual. To tell you the truth, so many of my clients don't.

ACE Well...

ACE looks over to GINGER, smiles and winks. She looks back at him.

INT. TANGIERS LOUNGE - NIGHT

JERRY VALE sings to a seated audience. ACE sits alone at a table.

ACE (V.O.) With Ginger and the money in place, I felt covered, and to play it safe I switched job titles again and made myself, um, Food and Beverage Director. This way nobody would bother me about a license. I mean, Vegas was like a dream for me. Trouble was...

NICKY is seated at another table with MARINO, peeling off money and giving it to MIKE, a crooked dealer.

ACE (V.O.) ...Nicky was dreamin' his own kind of Vegas.

NICKY (V.O.) To begin, I put money out on the streets, chargin' three points a week. You know - juice to the fuckin' dealers.

MARINO (To MIKE) Don't make us come lookin' for you.

MIKE Oh, you won't have to look for me. I appreciate it. Thanks, Nicky.

NICKY All right, Mike.

MIKE gets up from the table.

NICKY (V.O.) They were degenerate gamblers, coke freaks. In no time, I had half the dealers in the Tangiers in my pocket. Then...

INT. TANGIERS POKER TABLE - NIGHT

NICKY is at a table with his gang of card sharks: SLIM, ROCKY, MOOSH and COWBOY, all secretly signaling each other, sandbagging a mark. MIKE, the crooked dealer from the previous scene, deals NICKY a winning hand.

NICKY (V.O.) ...the next thing I did, I started bustin' out high-stakes poker players.

ACE (V.O.) It was so obvious. I mean, all of Nicky's half-assed mechanics, they were real signal happy.

MOOSH (Scratching his arm) I'm gonna open for five hundred.

ROCKY Moosh, you open? (Taps his fingers on some chips before picking them up.)

ACE (V.O.) Signaling back and forth.

CARD SHARK I bet thirty-five hundred.

NICKY wiggles a toothpick back and forth in his mouth.

DOCTOR DAN I've been losing for three days straight, non-stop.

Another shark pulls on his ear.

ROCKY Oh, why're you crying, with three loaves of bread under your arm?

ACE watches their signals with concern.

ACE (V.O.) Nicky thought nobody was watching him. But he was wrong.

We see two undercover gaming agents, looking like tourists, sneaking looks at NICKY's table.

ACE (V.O.) And I didn't want any of those agents near my place.

NICKY Four aces, Doc.

His hands spread five cards on the table, showing four aces.

NICKY What do you got?

DOCTOR DAN (Getting up in disgust) Jesus Christ. I can't believe it.

COWBOY, the card shark with the cowboy hat, rakes in a large pot toward his side of the table.

DOCTOR DAN If I didn't have bad luck, I wouldn't have any luck. I'm out of here, you understand?

ACE (V.O.) I mean, I wished to God Nicky and his whole crew would just get lost.

He walks towards NICKY's table.

ACE (V.O.) What am I gonna do? Go back home and start a war?

ACE leans down to talk to NICKY.

ACE (V.O.) I mean, Nicky's a made guy and I'm not. I can't do that.

ACE (Whispering in NICKY's ear) Be careful. Gaming agents are all over the place.

NICKY So, I'm lucky. I'm not allowed to get lucky in this place?

ACE You been lucky all week. They're lookin' to nail ya.

ACE walks away. NICKY looks over at the gaming agents.

NICKY (V.O.) Ace was so fuckin' worried about his casino, he forgot what we were doin' out here in the first place.

INT. TANGIERS CASINO - NIGHT

Security people are pulling apart a husband and wife who are fighting. Camera picks up ACE as he passes by them.

NICKY (V.O.) A million times I wanted to yell in his fuckin' ear: 'This is Las Vegas! We're supposed to be out here robbin', you dumb fuckin' Heeb.'

INT. TANGIERS CASINO POKER TABLE - NIGHT

Closeup of the COWBOY's white-socked feet with no shoes on a poker table.

ACE (To SHERBERT, referring to COWBOY) I don't give a shit who he's connected to. Tell him to take his fuckin' feet off the table. What's he think this is, a goddamn sawdust joint?

SHERBERT approaches COWBOY.

SHERBERT Sir, would you mind taking your feet off the table and putting your shoes on, please?

COWBOY (Sighs) Yeah, I would mind. I'm havin' a bad night.

COWBOY remains the same with his feet on the table.

SHERBERT (Returning to ACE) Fuckin' asshole won't budge.

ACE Call security.

ACE approaches COWBOY.

ACE How are you?

COWBOY Good. How are you?

ACE Good. You want to do me a favor? You want to take your feet off the table and put your shoes back on?

COWBOY Fuck you.

ACE walks to nearby SECURITY GUARDS.

ACE (To GUARDS) I want you to exit this guy off the premises, and I want you to exit him off his feet and use his head to open the fuckin' door.

Three SECURITY GUARDS approach COWBOY.

SECURITY GUARD #1 Sir, you're gonna have to leave. You mind accompanying us outside?

COWBOY Bullshit, I ain't goin' anywhere with you!

SECURITY GUARD #1 Bullshit, you're out of here, cowboy!

SECURITY GUARD #1 knocks his feet off the table, as GUARDS #2 and #3 lift him off his seat.

COWBOY Fuck you! Fuck you!

SECURITY GUARD #1 Yeah?

COWBOY You know who you're fuckin' with?! Huh? Do you?!

SECURITY GUARD #1 Now move along.

COWBOY (Screaming at ACE who follows him) You fuckin' faggot! Do you know who you're fuckin' with?

The GUARDS carry him out and forcefully shove him towards a side exit.

COWBOY Leave me alone!

SECURITY GUARD #1 Here we go!

COWBOY (Grunting) You've gotta be kidding me! (Groans.)

The GUARDS lift him off his feet and, holding him like a battering ram, smash his head into the door.

ACE (V.O.) (As COWBOY is thrown out the door) Sure enough, an hour later, I get the call.

INT. VEGAS BAR - NIGHT

NICKY is on a public wall-phone talking to ACE. MARINO is staring at the disheveled COWBOY.

NICKY (Into telephone) Ace, what happened over there? I mean, did you know that guy you threw out was with me?

INT. TANGIERS CASINO - NIGHT

ACE is on a Tangiers house phone. SHERBERT looks on.

ACE (Into telephone) No, I didn't know that. But you know what he did?

NICKY (Over telephone) No.

INT. VEGAS BAR - NIGHT

NICKY gives COWBOY a look.

ACE (Over telephone) He insulted Billy. And then I walked over to him politely...

INT. TANGIERS CASINO - NIGHT

ACE (Into telephone) ...and he tells me to go fuck myself.

NICKY (Over telephone) What?

ACE (Into telephone) Then he called me a faggot.

INT. VEGAS BAR - NIGHT

ACE (Over telephone) So what do you think I do? I threw that cocksucker out.

NICKY (Into telephone) What? Ho- (He puts down the phone; to COWBOY:) Hey, come here.

COWBOY walks up to him.

NICKY You called my friend a faggot? You tell him to go fuck himself?

COWBOY Nicky, I did -

NICKY Is that what you did?

COWBOY I did - I didn't -

NICKY Tell him to go fuck himself? You fuckin' hick! Fuckin'...

NICKY hits him on the head with the phone. COWBOY falls back, groaning.

INT. TANGIERS CASINO - NIGHT

ACE listens to the noise of NICKY roughing up COWBOY.

NICKY (Over telephone) ...you big fuckin' hick, you. Come here. Come here. Get him up. Come here.

ACE LOOKS AT SHERBERT.

MARINO (Over telephone) Get up.

INT. VEGAS BAR - NIGHT

NICKY (To COWBOY) Come here, come here.

MARINO Get up.

NICKY You go over there right now and you apologize. You better hope he lets you back in.

INT. TANGIERS CASINO - NIGHT

NICKY (Over telephone) If you ever get out of line over there again, I'll smash your fuckin' head so hard...

INT. VEGAS BAR - NIGHT

NICKY (To COWBOY) ...you won't be able to get that cowboy hat on. You hear me? Fuckin' hick. (Into telephone) Sammy, listen...

INT. TANGIERS CASINO - NIGHT

NICKY (Over telephone) ...this guy obviously doesn't know who he was talkin' to, you understand? He doesn't...

INT. VEGAS BAR - NIGHT

NICKY (Into telephone) ...know that, uh, we're dear friends. I mean, he's already very sorry. But, uh, if you could do me a favor to let him back in, I swear to you he'll never get out of line again. I promise you that.

INT. TANGIERS CASINO - NIGHT

ACE (Into telephone) If he does it again, he's out for good. I don't care what it is, Nick, I'm gonna ha- I'll - I'll never let him in the place again.

NICKY (Over telephone) I'm sorry about this. Really.

INT. VEGAS BAR - NIGHT

NICKY (Into telephone) All right, Ace?

ACE (Over telephone) Okay.

NICKY (Into telephone) Thanks, pal.

NICKY hangs up the phone and turns to COWBOY.

NICKY You took your boots off? You put your feet on the table... you shit- kicking, stinky, horse-manure-smellin' motherfucker you! You fuck me up over there, I'll stick you in a hole in the fuckin' desert! You understand? (Slapping him.) Go over there and apologize. (Kicking the chastened COWBOY away.) Go! Get the fuck out of -

COWBOY Nicky, I'm sorry.

EXT. TANGIERS CASINO - DAY

A tiger leaps towards the camera, which pans over to two showgirls and then to ACE's hand holding the key to a Rolls Royce. He gives it to JONATHAN and DAVID as reporters rush in to photograph the moment.

NICKY (V.O.) You know, Ace could be a very touchy guy, especially when he got bigger and bigger in town. Like when he hired that Jonathon and David and their tigers away from the Palace by buildin' them a new stage and then givin' them a silver Rolls Royce.

INT. BACKSTAGE TANGIERS THEATER - DAY

ACE and SHERBERT watch as a STAGE MANAGER weighs in the 'Femme Fatale' Showgirls.

NICKY (V.O.) But I'll tell you, he knew how to bring in the crowds. He knew all the fuckin' angles. He brought over the whole 'Femme Fatale' show from Paris. But he forgot how lazy them European dancin' broads can get. I mean, he had to weigh 'em in once a week to make sure they didn't blow up like fuckin' balloons.

ACE (To SHOWGIRL) You're still eight pounds over. (To MANAGER.) What's the reason for this?

STAGE MANAGER Mr Rothstein, sir, let me put her on suspension.

ACE Never mind the 'sir'. Never mind the 'sir'.

STAGE MANAGER Well, sir, I was just...

ACE Why is she eight pounds over?

STAGE MANAGER ...trying to offer you the respect that your...

ACE I...

STAGE MANAGER ...position...

ACE 'Mr Rothstein' is good enough.

STAGE MANAGER Mr Rothstein... well, sometimes, when you reach that pressure point, when you put that pressure point on them, you know, it shows...

ACE She could at least lose half a pound or a quarter. Listen...

STAGE MANAGER ...and she doesn't always -

ACE ...all you do is give me answers. Just - just give me the right answer.

STAGE MANAGER But, sir. Well, I don't know why. I guess, maybe, because she's frightened that if she doesn't lose the weight she may even get fired.

ACE That's right. She will get fired. In fact, I want you to send her back to Paris.

STAGE MANAGER It's always been our policy -

ACE No. Just stop everything.

SHERBERT and ACE walk away across a huge stage.

SHERBERT (To ACE) This woman's an institution.

ACE I don't care what she is. She's an institution, that's the problem. She's lazy.

INT. TANGIERS CASINO SPORTSBOOK - NIGHT

ACE standing in a large space surrounded by giant TV screens showing sports events. Around him, long rows of bettors are seated at betting stations, lined up at windows, or wandering around at the bar. It's like a NASA control room on launch day.

NICKY (V.O.) Hey, I gotta give the guy credit. He does the most obvious thing. This is the only town in the country where a bookie joint is legit, so, why not take advantage, right? So... he took bookie joints off the street and then opened them up inside the casino. Well, within a few years, by doin' all of this, he had every casino on the Strip trying to copy off him.

ACE (V.O.) Between...

EXT. BACK ALLEY - NIGHT

NICKY, with MARINO, punching and kicking a man next to the open door of his luxury car.

ACE (V.O.) ...my innovations...

The man falls to the ground.

ACE (V.O.) ...and Nicky's dedication to his job...

NICKY starts kicking him.

ACE (V.O.) ...I soon had the best operation on the Strip.

NICKY lifts an empty trash can and shatters the car's windshield.

INT. TANGIERS CASINO FLOOR - NIGHT

ACE and NICKY are standing on the casino floor near the slot- machines. Gamblers are milling about behind them.

ACE You better watch yourself. There's a lot of heat on you already.

NICKY Why, somebody's complaining?

ACE I'm - I'm hearin' things from security. They're all ex-cops. The Sheriff's lookin' to bust your balls. They want to put you in the Black Book.

NICKY That Black Book is a bunch of bullshit. They got two names in there for the whole country and one of them is still Al Capone.

ACE Bullshit or no bullshit, they put you in that book, you're gonna be in a lot of trouble. You will not be able to walk into the casino. I'm tellin' you.

NICKY What am I doin' out here? I'm tryin' to make a livin', that's all.

ACE I'm just tellin' you. Don't say I didn't warn you.

NICKY All right.

INT. VEGAS VALLEY COUNTRY CLUB, 1974 - NIGHT

Tight on the filaments of a flash bulb as they ignite.

TV news crews and still photographers are taking pictures of ACE and GINGER surrounded by clusters of celebrities and the Vegas power elite, including SHERBERT and GREEN, at a black tie event.

PHOTOGRAPHER #1 Mrs Rothstein, look straight ahead. Very nice. Thank you.

PHOTOGRAPHER #2 Thank you.

PHOTOGRAPHER #1 Yes, nice smile.

PHOTOGRAPHER #3 Just look right at the camera. Hold that pose.

We hear GREEN making a speech over flashing cameras and freeze frames of himself, SHERBERT, ACE and GINGER.

GREEN (O.S.) Considering all of his hard work and dedication and the new lifeblood he has instilled in Las Vegas...

We now see GREEN at a mike speaking in front of the seated club members.

GREEN Sam has established himself as an indispensable member of the gaming community. As the head of the Tangiers Gaming Corporation, it's my pleasure to welcome Sam Rothstein to the Vegas Valley Country Club.

Members cheer and applaud as GREEN hands ACE a framed citation. It reads: 'This Certificate of Appreciation. Sam Rothstein. Charitable Foundations of Greater Las Vegas'. They shake hands for the photographers.

ACE (V.O.) Back home, they would have put me in jail for what I'm doing. But out here, they're givin' me awards.

ACE (Into the microphone) It's with great pleasure that I accept this certificate of appreciation from the...

CAMERA TILTS UP TO A MOUNTED PLAQUE ON THE WALL, READING: 'CHARITABLE FOUNDATIONS OF GREATER LAS VEGAS'.

INT. VEGAS VALLEY COUNTRY-CLUB BANQUET ROOM - NIGHT

A dazzling GINGER moves charmingly about the room chatting up top executives, lawyers, judges, bankers and their wives. ACE, standing with GREEN and an elderly man, watches her work the room.

COUNTRY-CLUB WOMAN #1 Congratulations, sweetheart.

GINGER Thank you.

COUNTRY-CLUB WOMAN #2 Sam raised more than we've ever raised before.

GINGER He worked so hard.

ACE (V.O.) But my greatest pleasure was watchin' my wife, Ginger, work the room.

COUNTRY-CLUB MAN #1 Thank you for everything.

ACE (V.O.) They all loved her. How could you not live her?

GINGER (To COUNTRY-CLUB WOMAN #3) Hi. Nice to see you.

ACE (V.O.) She could be the most charming woman you ever saw. People loved to be around her.

COUNTRY-CLUB WOMAN #3 Listen, you've got to bring Amy to Sasha's birthday party because he'd love to have her there.

GINGER Thanks.

COUNTRY-CLUB WOMAN #3 We'll see you three o'clock Saturday.

GINGER Thanks. Yes, all right.

COUNTRY-CLUB WOMAN #3 Great.

ACE (V.O.) She made everybody feel good.

GINGER joins ACE. He smiles proudly.

INT. VEGAS VALLEY COUNTRY-CLUB BANQUET ROOM - NIGHT

GINGER and ACE are off alone by a dining-room table, talking intently. A young casino EXECUTIVE interrupts them.

EXECUTIVE Congratulations, Sam.

ACE (Shaking his hand) Oh, thanks.

The flirting EXECUTIVE looks at GINGER.

EXECUTIVE Hello, Mrs Rothstein.

GINGER Hi.

EXECUTIVE How are you?

GINGER Oh.

GINGER gives the flirting EXECUTIVE her hand, he kisses it.

EXECUTIVE You're one of the most gorgeous women I've ever seen. You're a lucky man Mr Rothstein.

ACE watches as GINGER flashes one of her dazzling smiles, but he's not sure whether she's flirting. He looks at the young man and back at his wife.

ACE Thank you. Thanks for that compliment.

ACE (V.O.) He was a young kid from the casino... nice kid... bright boy. What balls on this fuckin' kid! The next day I fired him.

Freeze frame on ACE smiling at GINGER.

INT. VEGAS BANK VIEWING ROOM - DAY

GINGER, with two-year-old AMY in a stroller, is seated on a bench going through large bank vault boxes containing her jewels.

GINGER (To AMY) Hey, do you want to see this one? Daddy gave me all this jewelry because he loves me so much. (She places a gold bracelet on AMY's hand.) Put your arm in there.

ACE (V.O.) But as much as they loved her...

GINGER (To AMY, wearing the bracelet) Oh, fabulous.

ACE (V.O.) ...they didn't know what really moved her.

She holds up a necklace to the light.

GINGER Look at this. Look at this.

CAMERA PULLS AWAY FROM THE DOOR LEADING TO THE VIEWING ROOM REVEALING A BANK MANAGER SEATED AT A DESK. WE HEAR GINGER AND AMY BEHIND THE DOOR.

GINGER (O.S.) (From the viewing room) Daddy gave me this pin when we were dating.

ACE (V.O.) And with Ginger happy, I was able to concentrate on what I knew best.

INT. TANGIERS CASINO, SLOT-MACHINES - NIGHT

ACE is talking to DON WARD.

WARD Loose machines are right back over there.

ACE What are they doin' way back there? Bring 'em up here where they belong. You can't even see 'em over there.

WARD Okay, I'll -

ACE What about the progressives with the high jackpots? Where are they? These machines are hidden.

WARD Well...

ACE These are our best machines. They bring all the action. No wonder the drop is off.

WARD Yeah, okay.

ACE The action is in the front, not in the back. Bring 'em up front.

WARD All right, I will, I will.

ACE Listen to me very carefully. There are three ways of doing things around here. The right way, the wrong way, and the way I do it. You understand?

WARD I do understand that. I'll get right on it. And thank you.

ACE Don't thank me, just do it. You're the Slots Manager. I shouldn't have to tell you this.

WARD Dang, you are right, Mr Rothstein, I am so sorry.

INT. CLASSY RESTAURANT - NIGHT

GINGER follows a snooty MAITRE D' to JENNIFER, already seated at a table.

ACE (V.O.) So, I ended up workin' what? Eighteen- hour days? Ginger was the one who wound up enjoying the best of Vegas.

MAITRE D' (To JENNIFER) Come with me, please. I have a better table for you. Sorry.

He shows the two of them to the best table in the place.

JENNIFER (Sitting down next to GINGER) So, what'd you say to that fuckin' jerk anyway?

GINGER (Smiling) I told him I was Mrs Sam Rothstein.

JENNIFER (Chuckles) Well, you might as well get somethin' out of it.

GINGER lights a cigarette.

EXT. IDLE SPURS DESERT DINER - DAY

Wide overhead of roadhouse cafe isolated in the middle of the desert with a sign out front that reads '60 miles to Vegas'.

ACE (V.O.) Well, it wasn't long before what I was afraid was gonna happen, happened. Nicky managed to get himself banned from every casino in Las Vegas, and from then on, I couldn't be seen talkin' to him anywhere in Vegas, or even near it.

NICKY (From inside the diner) What the fuck is that supposed to mean?

INT. IDLE SPURS DESERT DINER - DAY

ACE and NICKY are seated at a table in the empty diner.

NICKY (Reading from a document) ' ...detrimental to gaming. And he will be ejected from any casino in Las Vegas... and the casinos can be fined as much as a hundred thousand every time he shows up.' (He waves the document.) Do you believe this shit?

ACE (Smoking a cigarette) Yeah, I believe it. You got banned.

NICKY hisses.

NICKY (Reading) 'Who is of notorious and unsavory reputation...'

He angrily wads the document and tosses it across the table.

NICKY Motherfucker. Unsavory fuckin'... Is there any way around this?

ACE Nope, there's no way.

NICKY Let's say... for instance... I want to go in the restaurant which happens to be in the casino... to get one of those sandwiches I like?

ACE Forget it. You can't even set foot in the parking lot. That's how serious it is.

NICKY In other words, I'm fucked.

ACE In so many words, yes.

ACE (V.O.) It just didn't sink into his head about the Black Book and what it meant. Not being able to go into a casino is just one thing, but being in this book etched your name into the brains of every cop and FBI agent in the state. I mean, you're listed in there with Al Capone. But Nicky didn't care.

NICKY I gotta do somethin'. I gotta do somethin'. They ain't gettin' rid of me. They're not gettin' rid of me. I'm staying here. Fuck 'em. Fuck 'em.

EXT. GOLD RUSH JEWELER'S - DAY

WE MOVE PAST THE SKULL OF A STEER MOUNTED ON AN EXTERIOR WALL AND A WOODEN CIGAR STORE INDIAN STATUE, TO REVEAL DOMINICK SANTORO (WHO LOOKS A LITTLE LIKE HIS BROTHER NICKY) AND MARINO WHO ARE WAITING INSIDE THE GOLD RUSH. CAMERA COMES TO REST ON EXTREME CLOSE-UP OF NICKY'S EYES AS HE STANDS ON THE OUTSIDE PORCH.

NICKY (V.O.) So, once they pulled that shit, I started doin' my own things in Vegas nobody ever thought of doin'. To keep an eye on things, I brought in my kid brother Dominick... and some desperadoes from back home and started knockin' over high rollers, casino bosses, bookmakers, anybody, right here in town. I had a good fuckin' crew goin' for me, I'll tell you that.

SAL FUSCO, JACK HARDY and BERNIE BLUE are getting out of a car and walking into the jewelry store which is designed to replicate an old-fashioned Western town with peaked roofs, wooden planked sidewalks and hitching posts. The camera tracks by each man as they're introduced.

NICKY (V.O.) I had Sal Fusco, a great second-story guy. Jack Hardy, he worked for a safe company after he did a six-year bit. And then there was Bernie Blue. This guy could bypass any alarm for me. And I opened up my own jewelry store, too: 'The Gold Rush'.

INT. BEDROOM OF LUXURY HOME - NIGHT

NICKY places some jewelry from a vanity table into a sack and turns over some family photos. MARINO and HARDY are struggling with a safe.

NICKY (V.O.) Sometimes I used to go along on a heist just for the fun of it. But I didn't like the people I was rippin' off lookin' at me, so I used to turn their fuckin' pictures around.

NICKY (To MARINO and HARDY) What's takin' so long over there?

MARINO This peter's a motherfucker.

HARDY (Grunting) It's workin'. Just keep workin' it. It's comin'.

NICKY Gotta learn how to open these fuckin' things so you won't have to take 'em.

INT. GOLD RUSH BACK ROOM - DAY

NICKY is looking at diamonds with MARINO, HARDY and BLUE.

NICKY Frankie, some of these stones got a lot of niggers in 'em.

ZOOM IN TIGHT ON A DIAMOND.

NICKY Tell that fuckin' Pepe if he's switching stones on us, he'd better take a fuckin' camel -

Phone rings.

NICKY - back to (picking up phone) Nigeria. (Into telephone) Yeah.

HOTEL RECEPTIONIST (Over telephone) Listen...

INT. TANGIERS RECEPTIONIST'S DESK - DAY

HOTEL RECEPTIONIST (Talking quietly into telephone) ...they're in Penthouse K.

INT. GOLD RUSH BACK ROOM - DAY

NICKY (Into telephone) They check in alone?

INT. TANGIERS RECEPTIONIST'S DESK - DAY

HOTEL RECEPTIONIST (Into telephone) They checked in alone.

INT. GOLD RUSH BACK ROOM - DAY

NICKY (Into telephone) Are they out now?

INT. TANGIERS RECEPTIONIST'S DESK - DAY

HOTEL RECEPTIONIST (Into telephone) Yes, don't worry.

NICKY (Over telephone) All right.

INT. GOLD RUSH BACK ROOM - DAY

NICKY (Into telephone) Thanks.

He hangs up.

ACE (V.O.) He had tipsters...

INT. CASINO HOTEL BELL STATION - DAY

We see some luggage on the floor. A BELLMAN is on the phone with MARINO.

ACE (V.O.) ...all over town. Bellmen.

BELLMAN (Into telephone) This one looks good. But you got to hurry.

MARINO (Over telephone) Yeah...

INT. GOLD RUSH - DAY

MARINO (Into telephone) ...yeah, okay.

He hangs up.

EXT. CASINO - DAY

A VALET PARKER standing outside a casino.

ACE (V.O.) Valet parkers.

VALET PARKER (Into telephone) They're just checking in now.

INT. GOLD RUSH BACK ROOM - DAY

FUSCO (Into telephone, seated on a couch) Okay, I'll tell him.

INT. CASINO FLOOR - DAY

A PIT BOSS is on the phone.

ACE (V.O.) Pit bosses.

PIT BOSS (Into telephone) Yeah, room twelve-thirty, at the Sirocco.

INT. GOLD RUSH BACK ROOM - DAY

MARINO (Into telephone) Twelve-thirty, right.

INT. OFFICE - DAY

A SECRETARY seated at a desk.

ACE (V.O.) Secretaries.

SECRETARY (Into telephone) It's all in mint condition coins.

INT. GOLD RUSH BACK ROOM - DAY

HARDY (Into telephone) Mint condition. All right.

ACE (V.O.) And they all...

EXT. WAREHOUSE/JEWELRY STORE - NIGHT

HARDY and a hood are in a van parked in front of a warehouse next door to a jewelry store.

ACE (V.O.) ...got a piece of the score.

HARDY (From inside the van, into a walkie-talkie) Car's comin'.

We move past the van to a larger truck parked in an alley. Unseen, the truck has an open side door abutting the jewelry store's wall. SAL FUSCO and BERNIE BLUE are inside the truck drilling into the wall using a heavy-duty battery-powered drill. The drill is muffled with sheets of insulation material.

ACE (V.O.) They were always very careful. And they always bypassed the alarms, or else... if not, they'd drill enough holes to knock through the walls with a sledgehammer...

BLUE widens the hole with a hammer muffled with insulation.

EXT. JEWELRY STORE WALL - DAY

A flashbulb explodes.

Cops and detectives are photographing and inspecting holes drilled in the wall of the shop, through which the thieves have come and gone. The camera moves in through the hole.

ACE (V.O.) Nobody out there was expecting a guy like him.

INT. JEWELRY STORE - DAY

The stunned STORE OWNER looks at the rubble and the empty jewelry boxes.

Detectives collect evidence.

ACE (V.O.) For Nicky, Las Vegas was the fuckin' Wild West.

STORE OWNER (Leading a detective to his showroom) I just got a shipment of diamonds from Israel...

NICKY (V.O.) But what the fuck they expect from me? I had to earn, didn't I?

INT. PALM SPRINGS JEWELRY STORE - DAY

MARINO stands above two IRANIANS who are looking at the stolen gems.

IRANIAN #1 You know, this diamond has flaws in it.

MARINO No, no, there's no flaws in it.

IRANIAN #2 Don't tell me. I'm doing this for twenty-five years.

MARINO You better clean your fuckin' loupe. 'Cause there's no flaws in these diamonds.

The two IRANIANS speak to each other in Farsi.

NICKY (V.O.) Whenever we got local merch, we'd usually send it to Palm Spring or Arizona... LA. I had a couple of sand niggers out there. You know, Arabs.

MARINO What, are you gonna have a fuckin' meeting here, or are you gonna buy some diamonds?

IRANIAN #2 (Chuckling) No, no. I know his language. I'm talking with him.

MARINO Forty thousand dollars, you can buy the whole package.

IRANIAN #1 Twenty thousand, and that's my final offer and...

MARINO (To IRANIAN #2) All of a sudden he talks English, now. (To IRANIAN #1.) Let's talk turkey here, how 'bout twenty-five thousand?

IRANIAN #1 laughs.

INT. NICKY'S HOUSE - NIGHT

NICKY and MARINO sneak into the house past JENNIFER who is asleep on the sofa in front of a TV set. NICKY takes out a key and opens the metal door into his bedroom.

NICKY (V.O.) I actually turned my bedroom into a bank vault where I kept the choice stuff.

MARINO (Referring to JENNIFER as they pass the kitchen) She asleep?

NICKY Every night, on the couch.

NICKY (V.O.) I couldn't leave it at the Gold Rush in case we got raided by the cops... or if my crew got cute.

Opening the metal door to his bedroom.

NICKY (V.O.) I had the only key.

INT. NICKY'S BEDROOM/CLOSET - NIGHT

Camera pans across bedroom to closet door.

NICKY (V.O.) Jennifer didn't give a fuck. She used to fall asleep on the couch watchin' television every night. This stuff was all mine. I didn't send any of this back home.

NICKY opens the closet door. He and MARINO walk in and bend down to lift up a small square of carpet to reveal a floor safe.

NICKY (V.O.) Actually, I couldn't because I wasn't even supposed to be doin' it. The bosses were makin' so much fuckin' money with the casinos (unlocking the safe) that they didn't want anybody makin' any waves for them.

In the floor safe, there are several handguns and silencers.

FRANK hands NICKY a roll of money.

NICKY Give all the guys in your crew a piece of that?

MARINO I took care of everybody.

NICKY Yeah?

He searches MARINO's jacket.

NICKY (V.O.) That's why there was no real organized street stuff in Vegas before I came here.

NICKY throws the cash in the safe and closes the lid.

INT. NICKY'S HOUSE - DAY

NICKY is being shown papers by CHARLIE CLARK, a heavy-set banker with a moustache. They're both seated at a table in the living-room.

CHARLIE CLARK Yeah, that works out.

NICKY (V.O.) But how much cash could I bury in my closet, right?

CHARLIE CLARK You need to understand, and I - I'm sure you do... that in a venture of this kind, you have to be prepared to take some kind of loss.

NICKY Oh, listen, I understand that there's always a risk... you know, I might have to take a loss somewhere.

NICKY (V.O.) So I put some of the money into legitimate deals with Charlie Clark. He was Ace's banker.

NICKY I mean, you will try to push it through, won't you, Mr Clark?

CHARLIE CLARK Yes.

NICKY Well, you gotta understand, I'm giving you fifty thousand cash.

CHARLIE CLARK chuckles

NICKY (V.O.) Then I put some more of the money...

INT. LEANING TOWER RESTAURANT, KITCHEN - NIGHT

A prosciutto sandwich is being prepared on a kitchen counter.

NICKY (V.O.) ...in some legitimate places, like my restaurant.

DOMINICK (To COOK preparing sandwich) Is that the last one?

COOK Yeah.

He hands the sandwich to DOMINICK who spits in it.

NICKY (V.O.) I had my kid brother, Dominick, run it for me.

DOMINICK (Spits) Fuckers!

DOMINICK wraps it in plastic and puts it into a brown paper bag.

INT. LEANING TOWER RESTAURANT - NIGHT

DOMINICK sets the bag with the wrapped sandwich in it on top of pizza boxes being held by two uniformed Vegas COPS.

DOMINICK Here you go, guys.

COP #1 All right. Thanks, a lot.

DOMINICK Yeah... yeah, enjoy.

COP #2 Yeah.

He shakes COP #2's hand before heading back into the restaurant.

DOMINICK Have a good time. (Muttering to himself.) Choke on it, ya motherfucker!

MAN #1 (Passing DOMINICK on his way out) Hey, Dom.

DOMINICK Hey, how you doin'?

DOMINICK walks over to some patrons in the bar area. NICKY enters, kissing his brother.

ACE (V.O.) Yeah, Nicky loved restaurants. He was a real restaurant buff. And over the years, he always made money with them.

NICKY (Looking at one of the patrons) Hey, Rich.

THE CAMERA FOLLOWS NICKY AROUND THE RESTAURANT PAST LAS VEGAS TYPES - DEALERS, LOUNGE ACTS, SHOWGIRLS, TV AND MOVIE CELEBRITIES, WAITRESSES AND BARMEN - WHO USE THE JAMMED PLACE AS THEIR HANGOUT.

ACE (V.O.) In Vegas, he had The Leaning Tower. It was a very popular spot. He had politicians, showgirls and movies stars hangin' out all over the place.

NICKY walks up to STEVE ALLEN and JAYNE MEADOWS seated at a table, he whistles their theme tune as he approaches from behind.

NICKY Listen, that show over at the Flamingo gets better and better.

STEVE ALLEN By the way, Sammy said whenever you have a minute, give him a call.

NICKY Made a messenger out of you too, huh?

STEVE ALLEN (Laughs) I'll do anything for a buck.

NICKY He does it. He does it to everybody. Enjoy your dinner.

JAYNE MEADOWS (Chuckles) Thanks.

STEVE ALLEN Okay, thanks.

ACE (V.O.) But I gotta tell you, the thing Nicky liked the most was the showgirls, naturally. I mean, to them, Nicky was the movie star.

NICKY walks across the room to MARINO and two showgirls, SHELLY and STACY.

NICKY (To MARINO) You walk past me?

MARINO Hey. This is Shelly.

NICKY Hey, Shelly. (Kisses her hand.)

SHELLY Hi.

NICKY How are you? Nice to meet you.

MARINO (Pointing to STACY) And this is Stacy.

NICKY Stacy. (Kisses her hand.)

MARINO (To the SHOWGIRLS) This is Nick.

NICKY Pleasure.

STACY Hi, Nick.

MARINO We're gonna have dinner. Come on.

NICKY All right, uh, (To SHELLY) Let's just check the kitchen first. Excuse us one second. Come on, I'll show you.

He takes SHELLY's hand and leads her out.

NICKY (V.O.) (From following scene) 'Cause I fly stuff in fresh every day.

INT. LEANING TOWER RESTAURANT, PARKING LOT - NIGHT

NICKY and SHELLY walk across the parking lot and get into his two-tone, red and white car.

NICKY I get bread from back home. I get fish from California. And you can always tell a great kitchen like ours because of the milk-fed veal. That's the secret.

Opening the car door from the passenger's side, she gets in.

NICKY See, milk-fed veal is pure white. Out here, they got that pink veal. Slide over, honey.

She slides over, he gets into the passenger's seat and closes the door.

NICKY Now, pink veal, you can pound that shit for two days and it'll never get tender, you know what I mean?

SHELLY's head disappears into NICKY's lap.

INT. LEANING TOWER RESTAURANT - NIGHT

FRANK and DOMINICK are at the bar watching as NICKY chastises AL, a gambler. The restaurant is empty except for a waiter milling around in the background, setting a few tables.

AL When I left here with the money...

NICKY Mm.

AL ...I got muscled on the street.

NICKY Mm.

AL A couple of guys, I owe them. So, that's what I did. I gave 'em the money. That's what I did.

NICKY Yeah?

AL Yeah.

NICKY You call yourself a man? You know you're a lyin', low-life, motherfuckin' gambling degenerate prick? You know that's what you are? Two small kids at home. I gave you money to pay the fuckin' rent and buy groceries, put the heat on. You know your wife called Frankie and told him the fuckin' heat's off?

AL glances over to MARINO.

NICKY Huh? And you didn't gamble that fuckin' money? You're gonna stand here and tell me that?

He shakes his head 'no'.

NICKY No, no? You didn't?

AL I didn't give 'em the m-

NICKY Don't fuck with me, Al! Don't make a fuck out of me! You want to embarrass me and make a fool out of me?! You didn't gamble?! Tell me you gambled the fuckin' money, I'll give you the fuckin' money to put the fuckin' heat on! Did you gamble?! Huh?!

The chastised gambler nods 'yes', bowing his head in shame.

NICKY Fuckin' degenerate, you.

NICKY takes some money from his coat pocket and starts counting out some bills.

NICKY Fuckin' kids at home! Here. (Giving him the money.) Get the fuck out of here.

AL Thanks, Nick.

NICKY Yeah, thanks.

AL walks out.

NICKY Let me find out you fucked up, I'll leave you wherever I find you.

INT. NICKY'S HOUSE, KITCHEN - DAY

NICKY, worn out from the night before, is making pancakes for LITTLE NICKY.

NICKY (To LITTLE NICKY) How many of these you gonna eat, huh?

LITTLE NICKY Two.

NICKY Two?

ACE (V.O.) But around six-thirty in the morning when he finished his day -

NICKY hugs and kisses his son.

ACE (V.O.) - no matter where he was or what he was doing, he always went home to make breakfast for his son, Nicky- Boy.

NICKY (Pouring some syrup on his son's pancakes) Here, let's put a little of this on for you. I know you like this. A little butter, right, not a lot?

LITTLE NICKY Mm-hm.

NICKY You know why, right?

LITTLE NICKY Yeah.

NICKY Why?

LITTLE NICKY 'Cause it clogs up your heart.

NICKY What a smart kid you are! (Kisses him.) Okay, eat.

INT. ALL-AMERICAN GAS STATION, BACK HOME - DAY

MARINO walks through an office past a few hoods.

NICKY (V.O.) Every couple of weeks I used to send Marino back to the bosses with a piece of what I made.

TITLE IN: 'BACK HOME'

MARINO walks out of the office and through the garage.

NICKY (V.O.) Not a big piece, but fuck them, what did they know? They were fifteen hundred miles away...

EXT. ALL-AMERICAN GAS STATION, BACK HOME - DAY

Wide shot of gas station. There is snow on the ground. The cloudy, Midwestern skyline of warehouses and skyscrapers can be seen behind the gas station sign: 'All-American Gas'.

NICKY (V.O.) ...and I don't know anybody who can see that far. Their drop was a truck stop/garage where...

INT. ALL-AMERICAN GAS STATION, GAGGI'S BACK OFFICE - DAY

REMO GAGGI is seated in a chair as MARINO walks in. CURLY, one of Gaggi's men, and two of the bosses are there.

NICKY (V.O.) ...Remo and the guys used to hang out and count their millions.

MARINO Remo.

He bends down and kisses him.

GAGGI Hey, Frankie.

MARINO How are you?

GAGGI Fine, fine.

NICKY (V.O.) I mean, the cops knew, but they didn't give a fuck. I mean, you know, they all worked it out together.

MARINO Nicky sends his warmest regards.

MARINO unzips a small sack and hands GAGGI a thick stack of cash. GAGGI inspects it before handing it over to one of his men.

GAGGI Uh-huh. Good.

NICKY (V.O.) But I knew how to keep the bosses happy. Whenever they gave me little jobs to do, you know, to send a message, I would carry things out...

GAGGI And how are things going down there?

MARINO Fine. Everything's goin' good.

NICKY (V.O.) ...to a tee. Like the time Tony Dogs...

INT. OUTSKIRTS OF VEGAS BAR - NIGHT

Flash cut of TONY DOGS and two men shooting up a bar with automatics hitting the owner, bartenders and a waitress.

NICKY (V.O.) ...who was supposed to be the new maniac tough guy in town, shot up one of Remo's bars. Here's a fuckin' guy, kills two of Remo's guys and a poor fuckin' waitress, who was just workin' on her night off, of all things.

SLOW MOTION ON TONY DOGS.

NICKY (V.O.) I mean, this guy's just beggin' to be made an example of.

The men and the waitress lie dead on the floor. The bar is left in shambles.

GAGGI (V.O.) (From his office) Frankie...

INT. ALL-AMERICAN GAS STATION, GAGGI'S BACK OFFICE - NIGHT

An enraged GAGGI gives MARINO orders.

GAGGI ...I want all the names of all the other people he had with him. And I don't care what you have to do to him to get 'em. You understand?

MARINO I'll take care of it, Remo.

GAGGI E mo va! [Italian-American slang for 'Now, go!']

INT. SLOT-MACHINE SHOP, LAS VEGAS - NIGHT

MARINO and BLUE are dragging TONY DOGS, who is beaten to a pulp, across the floor towards a workshop table. NICKY follows them.

NICKY (V.O.) To be truthful with you, I had to admire this fuckin' guy. He was one of the toughest Irishmen I ever met.

NICKY This fuckin' guy, he got some stamina, don't he?

NICKY (V.O.) This son-of-a-bitch was tough.

NICKY Personally, I don't give a fuck who was with him anyway. As long as he gives me a name I could give to them.

NICKY (V.O.) For two days and two fuckin' nights, we beat the shit out of this guy. I mean, we even stuck ice-picks in his balls.

NICKY You better hope he gives me a fuckin' name soon, or I'm gonna give him yours, Frank.

MARINO and BLUE lay DOGS on the table and put his head in a vise. They're exhausted from beating him.

MARINO (To NICKY) Yeah, thanks a lot.

NICKY (V.O.) But he never talked.

NICKY (To MARINO) I know you would have ratted by now.

NICKY (V.O.) In the end, I had to put his fuckin' head in a vise.

NICKY Dogs. Dogs, can your hear me, Dogs?

DOGS gasps and mumbles.

NICKY Listen to me, Anthony. I got your head in a fuckin' vise. I'm gonna squash your fuckin' head like a grapefruit if you don't give me a name. Don't make me have to do this, please. Come on. Don't make me be a bad guy. Come on.

TONY DOGS (With what strength he as left) Fuck you!

NICKY (To MARINO and BLUE) This motherfucker, do you believe this? Two fuckin' days and nights! (To DOGS.) Fuck me?

NICKY begins to tighten the vise.

NICKY Fuck me, you motherfucker? (Turning the vise.) Fuck my mother? That's what you fuckin' tell me?

NICKY angrily keeps spinning the vise handle until suddenly one of DOGS's eyes bulges out of the socket.

NICKY Huh? You motherfucker, you, huh?

MARINO and BLUE are horrified by the sight. Everybody freezes.

NICKY Oh, God! Give me the fuckin' name!

TONY DOGS Ch-Charlie M!

NICKY Charlie M?

TONY DOGS (Blood streaming out of his mouth) Charlie M.

NICKY (Screaming) Charlie M? You make me pop your fuckin' eye out of your head to protect that piece of shit? Charlie M? You dumb motherfucker!

TONY DOGS (Pleading) Kill me, you fuck, kill me.

NICKY Kill you, (unwinds the crank) You motherfucker you! (To MARINO.) Frankie, do him a fuckin' favor.

ACE (V.O.) The word got around that finally...

MARINO places a knife against DOGS's neck.

ACE (V.O.) ...there was a real gangster in town. Nicky was the new boss of Las Vegas.

We hear DOGS gasp as the knife slices his throat.

NICKY Charlie M!

INT. TANGIERS CASINO - DAY

Extreme close-up of a slot-machine. Four reels with sevens across. Suddenly, the power goes out. Lights die down.. Machine 'waaaooows' down to a dead stop.

Security guards, on their hands and knees, are pulling the plugs on the three giant $15,000 progressive machines, as ACE talks to DON WARD.

ACE Four reels, sevens across, three fifteen-thousand-dollar jackpots? Do you have any idea what the odds are?

WARD Shoot, it's gotta be in the millions, maybe more.

ACE Three fuckin' jackpots in twenty minutes? Why didn't you pull the machines? Why didn't you call me?

WARD Well, it happened so quick. Three guys won. I didn't have a chance to call you.

ACE You didn't see the scam? You didn't see what was goin' on?

WARD Well, there's no way to determine that, Sam.

ACE Yes, there is. An infallible way! They won!

WARD Well, it's a casino. People gotta win sometimes.

ACE Hey... Ward, you're pissin' me off. Now, you're insulting my intelligence. What do you think, I'm a fuckin' idiot? You know goddamn well somebody had to get into those machines and set those fuckin' reels.

SHERBERT enters, stands next to ACE.

ACE The probability on one-four-reel machine is a million and a half to one. On three machines in a row, it's in the billions. It cannot happen... would not happen, you fuckin' momo! What's the matter with you! Didn't you see you were bein' set up on the second win?

WARD I really think you're -

ACE (Interrupts) You - Wait! You didn't see that you were being set up on the second win?

WARD I really think you're overreacting in this whole -

ACE (Interrupts) Listen, you fuckin' yokel, I've had it with you. I've been carryin' your ass in this place ever since I got here. Get your ass and get your things and get out of here.

WARD You're firin' me?

ACE I'm firin' you? No, I'm not firin' (mocking WARD) I'm firin' you, you -

Gives SHERBERT a look.

WARD You might regret this, Mr Rothstein.

ACE I'll regret it even more if I keep you on.

WARD This is not the way to treat people.

ACE Listen, if you didn't know you're bein' scammed, you're too fuckin' dumb to keep this job. If you did know, you were in on it. Either way, you're out! Get out! Go on. (To SHERBERT.) Let's go.

ACE and SHERBERT walk off, WARD turns to leave.

INT. TANGIERS CASINO, AKU-AKU LOUNGE - DAY, AN HOUR LATER

ACE and GREEN are seated having coffee and muffins in the Hawaiian lounge by the casino floor.

ACE I mean, the guy is history as far as I'm concerned. History.

GREEN But you can't just fire him. Webb's his brother-in-law. He's County Commissioner.

ACE So what? Everybody out here with cowboy boots is a fuckin' county commissioner or related to a county commissioner. I'm fuckin' sick of it.

GREEN This is his state. His uncle's Chief Judge. His brother-in-law runs the County Commission. I don't know how many other relatives he's got in town. There's gotta be a way to work him back in.

ACE Phil, I can understand. You're in the finances, you're upstairs, but you are not on the floor. I got thousands of players. I got five hundred dealers. They're all lookin' to rob me blind, twenty-four hours a day. I have to let them know I'm watching all the details, all the time; that there is not one single thing I will not catch as I am over here.

Breaks open his blueberry muffin, puts it down and points to Green's.

ACE Look at yours.

GREEN What?

ACE Look at that. Look at this. There's nothin'... look how many blueberries your muffin has and how many mine has. Yours is falling apart. I have nothing.

GREEN What are you talking about?

ACE It's like everything else in this place. You don't do it yourself, it never gets done.

GREEN follows ACE to the kitchen.

GREEN Where you goin'?

INT. TANGIERS KITCHEN - DAY

ACE, GREEN and the BAKER are gathered around the BAKER's counter surrounded by muffin tins and batter.

ACE (Handing the BAKER the two muffins) From now on I want you to put an equal amount of blueberries in each muffin. An equal amount of blueberries in each muffin.

BAKER You know how long that's going to take?

ACE I don't care how long it takes. Put an equal amount in each muffin.

ACE leaves, GREEN looks on in amazement as the BAKER holds the muffins. GREEN follows ACE out.

INT. ACE'S HOUSE, KITCHEN - DAY

ACE, seated at the kitchen table, is feeding AMY in a high chair. The nanny is in the background.

ACE Come on, honey, just a little. That a girl, that a girl. Oh, boy, look.

GINGER enters and goes to the sink.

ACE (To AMY, who is sobbing and mumbling) Okay, want to go with Mommy?

ACE What do you need?

GINGER (Giving AMY to the NANNY) You get her? Okay. (To ACE.) Well, I need a lot. I need more than usual.

ACE Well, why don't you take it out of your account? There's a lot there.

GINGER Well, I would, you know, Sam. It's just that... well, I need more than that. I need twenty-five thousand.

She sits down at the table next to him.

ACE Twenty-five thousand? For yourself?

GINGER (Picking up an empty carton of milk) Yeah.

ACE Why do you need that much?

GINGER Well, what's the difference? I just need it.

ACE Well, I mean... you know, I gotta ask you. That's a lot of money. You're not asking for a box of popcorn, you know. I mean...

GINGER I'm aware of that. We don't have to turn this into a big deal. (Getting up to the refrigerator.) Okay? We don't have to have a fight. It was important to me. But forget it. Just something I wanted to do for myself.

ACE Who's fighting? I mean, I'm, you know, tell me what it's for.

GINGER, annoyed, closes the refrigerator door.

ACE Why can't you tell me what it's for?

She stirs her coffee.

ACE Huh? (Pause) Well, you know what? Now, I want you to tell me. I mean, my wife comes to me and asks me for twenty-five thousand. I mean, what do you want? Do you want a coat?

GINGER No.

ACE Well, if you want a coat, you got it. You know that. It's not the money, it's just why do you want it? That's all I'm askin'. Am I not entitled to that?

GINGER Look - Sam, I've been independent my whole life. I never had to ask anybody for anything. Now you're making me beg you for this.

ACE What are you talkin' a- ?

GINGER (Interrupting) Okay? And you're embarrassing me. Why do want to make me feel so bad?

ACE You're askin' me for twenty-five thousand. I'm not out to make you feel bad. I want to just be able to trust you. You now, it's about trust. I have to be able to trust you with my life. Do you understand? Can I trust you? (She doesn't answer.) Can I trust you?... Can I trust you?... Answer me. Can I trust you?

GINGER (Quietly) You can trust me.

ACE Good, so then you could tell me what the money is for.

GINGER gives him a look and leaves.

INT. VEGAS BANK VAULT - DAY

GINGER takes about two inches of $100 bills out of a safe deposit box and slips it in an envelope.

EXT. VEGAS/BANK/PUBLIC PHONE - DAY

NICKY is on a phone watching GINGER leave the bank.

NICKY (Into telephone) Yeah, she's leavin' the bank now. All right, I'm gonna follow her. (He hangs up.)

INT. SALVADORAN DINER BOOTH - DAY

GINGER is in a booth with LESTER DIAMOND, handing him the envelope filled with money.

LESTER What does that mean? No, I know that look. What does that mean?

GINGER It means I got the money.

LESTER You got money. That's a - That's a good look.

SWISH PAN TO ACE ENTERING, FOLLOWED BY A HOOD. HE SITS DOWN AT THE BOOTH WITH LESTER AND GINGER.

ACE How you doin', Les? It's Lester, right? Sam.

Extends his hand to LESTER, who shakes it.

ACE From my recollection, aren't you the card shark... the golf hustler... the pimp from Beverly Hills?

LESTER gives GINGER a 'how did you fuck this up?' Look.

ACE If I'm wrong, please correct me, 'cause I never knew you to be a heist man. (LESTER sighs.) But if you are, you know what... here, take mine too.

ACE takes some money out of his coat and puts the thick wad of bills on the table.

ACE Go ahead, take it. 'Cause you already have hers.

LESTER turns and sees two HOODS standing by the front and back doors of the diner.

ACE She's my wife. (To LESTER.) Look at me. You did know that, didn't you? You knew that she's my wife? Huh? Hey, look at me.

LESTER Yeah, yeah. I know that.

ACE You do? Yeah? Well, if you ever come back again... ever... to take her money... next time bring a pistol. That way you got a chance. Be a man, don't be a fuckin' pimp. Now, you want to do me a favor? Get out of here. I want to be alone with my wife. Get the fuck up and get out of here.

After stammering for a moment, LESTER gets up and begins to move towards the back door.

LESTER (Quietly) Okay.

ACE You fuckin' piece of shit.

LESTER Hey, that's just fuckin' - That's bullshit. You know, you know, what the fuck?

The thugs follow him out of the back door. GINGER freezes.

ACE You remember when you called him that night? When you said goodbye to him? He didn't say, 'Don't get married, I'll be right down, we'll get married.' He didn't say that to you, did he?

GINGER (Whispering) No, he didn't.

ACE (Picks up the money) Didn't. No, instead, what did he say? 'Fuck him. Take him for everything he's got.'

ACE takes GINGER by the arm to the rear of the diner where they can see the parking area through a glass door.

ACE Come here, I want to show you somethin'.

EXT. REAR OF SALVADORAN DINER, PARKING LOT - DAY

Three HOODS rush LESTER who is running towards his car. GINGER bursts through the doors, trying to get to LESTER. ACE holds her back. They struggle. LESTER groans and gasps as the HOODS start to beat him up.

HOOD #1 You fuckin' shit.

GINGER No! No! No! Don't!

ACE restrains her.

The HOODS punch LESTER in the face and stomach.

GINGER Make them stop it! (Sobbing.) No! No! No! It's not his fault! It's my fault!

NICKY watches from a car in a parking lot across the street, out of GINGER's sight.

ACE forces GINGER into the car as the HOODS finish the beating.

GINGER (Sobbing) No! No!

The HOODS toss LESTER into his car.

LESTER (Falling into the front seat on his back.) Fuck!

NICKY watches as the HOODS walk away from LESTER's car.

LESTER Fuck you!

HOOD #2 You piece of shit.

ACE pulls out of the parking lot with a wailing GINGER.

LESTER groans, trying to sit up.

LESTER (As ACE and GINGER drive off down the street) Couldn't do it yourself, you chickenshit cocksucker!

INT. GOLD RUSH BACK ROOM - DAY

GINGER and NICKY are in the back room. NICKY is sitting on a couch while GINGER stands by a mirror with a curling iron.

GINGER (Throwing the iron on the counter) He's such a prick. He had some guy from the hotel beat him up. He didn't want to do it himself. Oh, no, he didn't want to get his own hands dirty.

She takes a pill with a drink.

GINGER So, why'd he have to do that, huh?

She walks towards NICKY, who is sitting on a couch across the room.

GINGER Tell me.

NICKY I know it wasn't a nice thing to do but -

GINGER (Interrupts) Yeah, no shit.

She sits down next to NICKY.

NICKY Well, you gotta understand it. He doesn't know if this guy is shaking you down or taking advantage of you.

GINGER No! No! I told him all about the guy before we ever got married. This is no fuckin' surprise.

NICKY Oh, you did? I didn't know that.

GINGER Yeah. He's just a friend of mine I was trying to help, so... so what?

NICKY You know... the first time I ever saw your guys together... I never saw him so happy. I mean, I know he's a crazy Jew fuck and everything, but...

She smiles.

NICKY I never see - You know, I never seen him act like that with anybody else. I think he's crazy about you. I mean, he really loves you. He does.

GINGER Oh, come on. I went into this with my eyes open, you know. I knew the bottom could drop out at any time. I'm a working girl, right? You don't think I'm gonna go into a situation like this if I don't think I'm gonna get covered on the back end.

NICKY Sure.

GINGER Am I right?

NICKY I can see that. Sure.

GINGER So, he put aside some jewelry for me. A lot of jewelry.

NICKY You mean, like a lot of expensive jewelry? About how much?

GINGER Mm, you want to steal it? (Cracking a smile.)

NICKY No. I - I'm just curious, you know. I was wonderin' how much he would put into a thing like that. That's all.

GINGER I'm told it's worth about a million dollars, maybe more. (Sniffs.)

NICKY Well, there you go. But what does that tell ya? A million dollars in jewelry. Does that tell you the guy is crazy about you, or what?

GINGER I should have never married him. He's a Gemini. A triple Gemini... duality. (Breaking down.) Gemini's the snake. You know you can't trust the snake. (Sniffs.) I mean it.

NICKY I know what you mean.

He moves closer to her.

NICKY Listen, Ginger... you know, this is probably not... I don't have the answers anyway... and this is probably not what you want to hear right now, because you're a little upset with Ace.

GINGER I do.

NICKY I understand that. But, you know, I think you should try to make the best of it now. Go slow, you know. See what happens.

GINGER He could have killed him! Okay? He could have killed him.

She gets up and walks to the counter by the mirror.

GINGER He didn't have to hit him. It's not exactly like I'm sleepin' with the guy! And he makes me sneak around to see my own friends! What the fuck is that all about?

NICKY Well, I guess it's 'cause he loves you so much. He's jealous and worried.

GINGER (Sighs, her voice starts to crack) He gives a fuck what I do?

NICKY (Getting up) Look, I'll try to find out what the hell's goin' on. When I see him I'll talk to him.

GINGER Okay.

NICKY All right?

GINGER Yeah. (Walking over to him, smiling.) Thanks.

Towering over NICKY, holding a drink in one hand and his shoulder in the other, she leans down and kisses him.

GINGER Thanks for puttin' up with me.

NICKY takes the drink out of her hand.

NICKY And take it easy with this shit, will you? I mean, this can only make matters worse.

GINGER Oh, come on.

NICKY You're a beautiful girl. You don't want to ruin your looks. I've seen a lot of girls get shot to hell from this stuff.

GINGER (Fidgeting with his jacket, then holding his face in her hands, smiling.) You're so nice. (She begins to cry.)

NICKY Come on, now, I don't want to see you unhappy.

She kisses him.

GINGER (Tenderly strokes his head) Thanks.

NICKY Yeah.

She embraces NICKY, wrapping her arms around him.

GINGER (Through tears) Thank you.

NICKY (Feeling a little awkward with the hug) It's all right.

She kisses him again. NICKY doesn't move, holding back.

INT. ACE'S OFFICE - DAY

Pull back from a sign, with a tiny 'yes' on top of a gigantic 'no', leaning on a window overlooking the sportsbook. We see ACE, behind his desk, taking a swig of Mylanta. His SECRETARY telephones.

INT. ACE'S OUTER OFFICE, SECRETARY'S DESK - DAY

We see past PAT WEBB's cowboy hat down onto Ace's SECRETARY on the phone.

SECRETARY (Into telephone) Mr Rothstein? County Commissioner Pat Webb is here to see you.

ACE (Over telephone) Okay...

INT. ACE'S OFFICE - DAY

ACE (Into telephone) ...give me a minute.

SECRETARY (Over telephone) Okay.

ACE hangs up the phone.

INT. ACE'S OUTER OFFICE, SECRETARY'S DESK - DAY

SECRETARY (To WEBB) It'll just be a minute.

INT. ACE'S OFFICE - DAY

ACE gets up from his desk and we see he is in his boxer shorts. He opens the closet and carefully puts on the trousers hanging inside.

INT. ACE'S OUTER OFFICE - DAY

A very patient WEBB is leaning against some double doors across from Ace's SECRETARY.

SECRETARY Mr Webb... Can I get you anything?

WEBB Oh, no. (Cordially tipping his hat.) No, thank you, little lady.

INT. ACE'S OFFICE - DAY

ACE (Into telephone) Okay, send him in and call me four minutes after.

WEBB walks in. He is big, tough and western, wearing a Stetson, tooled boots, jeans, an elbow-patched jacket and a turquoise bear claw string-tie. His headband contains a rattlesnake head. Ace's SECRETARY shuts the door on her way out.

WEBB Mr Rothstein... (With hand outstretched to ACE.) I'm Pat Webb.

ACE How do you do?

They shake hands.

WEBB Hey, it is my pleasure.

ACE Yeah, I heard a lot about you.

WEBB Oh, thank you, sir.

Looking out Ace's office picture window overlooking the sportsbook.

WEBB Hey, house is doin' well. (Chuckling.) Hey, all that money is rollin' in. I appreciate you takin' the time to see a poor ol' civil servant.

ACE No, that's quite all right.

TILT UP FROM WEBB'S SNAKESKIN COWBOY BOOTS AND ACE'S BLUE SHOES AS THEY CONTINUE TALKING.

ACE Why don't you have a seat?

WEBB Hm? Oh. Thank you, sir.

WEBB sits down in a chair in front of ACE's desk.

WEBB Uh, I come here personally to kind of smooth over a fracas about a certain matter. See, uh, maybe you didn't know it, but, uh, Don Ward is a very well-liked man in this town. He's got lots of friends here. Now, his family and their money go back many, many years. Now, friends vote... family and money votes. That's important to me... and you. And if you'll think about our little problem along them lines... and you forgive me for sayin' it, maybe he did not deserve to be fired.

ACE I'm sorry, but he knew about our gettin' hit on three big machines in a row and he did nothing about it. That means either he was in on it or, forgive me for saying this, he was too dumb to see what was going on. Either way, I cannot have a man like that workin' here.

WEBB Before we point the dirty end of the stick at 'ol Don, uh, we better be sure we can prove them charges.

ACE Believe me, if I could prove it, he would be under arrest.

WEBB Are, uh - (Clears throat.) - are we certain that you want the Gamin' Control Board eyeballin' your record and your gangster pals like Nicky Santoro?

ACE I think you're way out of line talkin' to me like that. What you're sayin' is libelous, and you're in no position to challenge my expertise. I went way out of my way to be very helpful and courteous to that kid. He's weak, he's incompetent. He jeopardizes the whole place. There's not much more I can do for him.

WEBB (Chuckling) You have got me there. Old Don is as useless as tits on a boar. (Chuckles.) But, he is my brother-in-law, and I would look on it as a personal favor if you'd think some more on hirin' him back.

ACE I can't do that. And I appreciate the fact that he's your brother-in- law, and I do want to help you and I like to do favors, and I know who you are, but I cannot do that.

WEBB Well, could there be any position... further down the trough?

ACE (Pause) I'm sorry, I can't do anything. He's too incompetent. And the bottom line is, he cannot be trusted.

The telephone rings. ACE picks it up.

ACE (Into telephone) Okay, thanks. (To WEBB.) Um... you know, that's it. I'm sorry.

WEBB Mr Rothstein. Your people never will understand the way it works out here. You're all just our guests. But you act like you're at home. Let me tell you somethin', partner... you ain't home. But that's where we're gonna send you if it harelips the Governor. (Pause.) Thank you for your time.

ACE No problem. (Getting up and shaking hands.) Sorry.

WEBB (Smiles slightly) You bet.

>>>

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