>>/ Dogma

/ Dogma

: / Dogma.

/ Dogma

EXT ASBURY PARK BOARDWALK - DAY

Jersey spring day. Beyond the wooden planks that make up the aged fun pier, the ocean waves crash into the sandy shoreline.

An OLD MAN stares at the empty beach. Sun-worshipers hours away from besmirching the dunes. His features are simple. He wears an old overcoat. His face belies good years gone by - a face that has seen more sunrises than one would suspect. He inhales the crisp, salty air and lets a small, satisfied smile cross his face.

Behind him. a large arcade with steel shuttered doors sits on the boardwalk. Three young boys skate around by on roller blades, passing a street hockey ball between them proficiently. The Old Man views them briefly. checks his watch, and looks back toward the ocean.

The skates of the three hockey playing youths skid to a halt. We pan up to their faces - now cold and dispassionate. They look at one another and nod.

Their skates glide out of frame.

P.O.V. SKATERS - The Old Man leans on the railing that overlooks the beach. We get closer and closer to him until...

One of the skaters checks him hard into the railing. The Old Man exhales violently and falls to his knees. The two other skaters begin savagely beating on him with their hockey sticks, as he crumbles beneath them. Repeatedly their blades crash down hard on his head.

OC VOICE

I don't understand - how can you base your lack of belief in God on the writings Lewis Caroll?

The three skaters cease their beating and check the Old Man's pulse. Satisfied, they skate away, leaving his crumpled form on the boardwalk.

INT AIRPORT - DAY

LOKI walks beside a NUN in a semi-busy terminal. They pass through the metal detectors. The Nun carries a donation can.

LOKI

Leaving 'Alice in Wonderland' aside, look closely at 'Through the Looking Glass' - particularly 'The Walrus and the Carpenter' poem: what's the metaphorical meaning?

NUN

I wasn't aware there was one.

LOKI

Oh, but there is - it colorfully details the sham that is organized religion. The Walrus - with his girth and good-nature - obviously refers to either the Buddha, or - with his tusks - the lovable Hindu elephant god, Lord Ganesha. This takes care of the Eastern religions. The Carpenter is an obvious reference to Jesus Christ, who was purportedly raised the son of a carpenter. He represents the Western religions. And in the poem. what do they do? They dupe all the oysters into followmg them. Then. when the oysters collective guard is down. the Walrus and the Carpenter shuck and devour the helpless creatures, en masse. I don't know what that says to you, but to me it says that following faiths based on these mythological figures insures the destruction of one's inner-being.

BARTLEBY sits amongst a row of seats by one of the arrival gates. He eats popcorn and stares at...

A steady stream of TRAVELERS, exiting the gate, meeting lovedones, family.

OC LOKI

Organized religion destroys who we are or who we can be by inhibiting our actions and decisions out of fear of an intangible parent-figure who shakes a finger at us from thousands of years ago and says "No, no!"

Bartleby smiles at the meet-and-greets, warmed. Loki saddles up beside him, kneeling on one of the seats, facing the Nun.

LOKI

'Through the Looking Glass' - a children's tale? I think not.

NUN

(really dazed)

I've... I've never really thought about it like that...

(beat; shocked; off her cassock)

What have I been doing with my life...?'.

LOKI

Don't look back. Just get out there and taste life.

(off donation can)

Leave this for the unenlightened. Poverty is for the gullible - it's another way the church is trying to control you. You take that money you've been collecting for your parish reconstruction and go get yourself a nice piece of ass. You deserve it.

The Nun nods at him, and saunters off, obviously grappling with something. A passerby tries to stick money in her can, but she yanks it away. Loki faces the proper direction in his seat and plops down beside the still-transfixed Bartleby.

BARTLEBY

(looking OC)

Here's what I don't get about you: you know for a fact that there is a God. You've been in his presence, he's talked to you personally. And yet I just heard you claim to be an atheist.

LOKI

C'mon man - you know I don't believe any of that shit I was telling her. I just like to fuck with the clergy; keep 'em on their toes. When her head stops spinning, she'll be facing the way of the Just again. But oh. will she have a bunch to confess.

(looks around)

Now here's what I don't get about you: why do you feel the need to come here all the time?

BARTLEBY

(off travelers)

I like to watch. This is humanity at it's best. Look at them.

A reunited FAMILY share a group hug and move on, making way for two young LOVERS to embrace and kiss passionately.

OC BARTLEBY

All that tension, all that anger and mistrust, forgotten for one perfect moment when they come off that plane. See those two? The guy doesn't even know that the girl cheated on him while he was away.

OC LOKI

She did?

Bartleby and Loki continue to watch the arrivals.

BARTLEBY

Uh-huh. Twice. But it doesn't matter at this moment because they're both so relieved to be with one another. I like that. I just wish they could all feel that way more offen.

LOKI

Maybe if someone gave them free bags of peanuts more often they would. Now what was so friggin' important that I had to miss cartoons this morning? If it was to share in your half-assed obsessions with Hallmark moments, I'm going to slug you.

BARTLEBY

(still looking OC)

You're never going to believe this: we're going home.

LOKI

(off Bartleby's popcorn)

Let me have some?

BARTLEBY

(pulls out envelope)

Look what somebody sent us in the mail.

(hands him a newspaper article and corn)

LOKI

Did you say we're going home?

(reads)

"Cardinal Glick Cuts Ribbon on 'Catholicism - Wow!"

Campaign."

(to Bartleby)

And?

BARTLEBY

Keep reading.

LOKI

(reads)

"Updating the church... television spots... Papal consent... rededication...

(to Bartleby)

Again - and?

BARTLEBY

(snatches article) Give me this

(getting up; reading)

"The Re-dedication of Saint Michael's Church on it's hundredth anniversary is the kickoff of a new campaign that seeks to bring the Catholic Church back into the mainstream. With a papal sanction, the archway entrance to the centuryold, Jersey shore house of worship will serve as a passageway of pleanry indulgence, which - according to Catholic beliefs - offers all who pass through it's arches a morally clean slate."

(looks at Loki)

You still don't get it, do you?

LOKI

No, I don't get it. Are we leaving now?

They start walking.

BARTLEBY

If you walk through the church's front door on the day of the Re-dedication ceremony, your soul is wiped clean of any and all existing sin, moreso than the sacrament of penance could ever offer. It's a plenary indulgence, man! I don't know why I never thought of this before.

LOKI

(spits out chewed popcorn into trash can)

Sounds thin. Sounds like someone made it up.

BARTLEBY

It's rarely employed, but it's legitimate. It has a papal sanction for God's sake.

LOKI

So you're saying you and I can walk through this doorway and go back home?

BARTLEBY

No - by passing through the doors, our sins are

forgiven. Then all we have to do is die...

LOKI

Wait. wait, wait - Die? I don't want to die.

(chews popcorn)

BARTLEBY

(steps on conveyor belt)

You'd rather stay down here for a few more eons?

LOKI

No, but we don't even know if we can die. And what if we can, but this archway thing doesn't pan out? What then? Hell? Fuck that.

(spits out chewed popcorn into napkin)

BARTLEBY

Impossible. If we cut off our wings and transubstantiate to complete human form then we become mortal. And if we die with clean souls, there's no way to keep us out. They have to let us in.

LOKI

(beat)

Who sent this thing?

BARTLEBY

I don't know. Somebody who's looking out for us,

I guess. Does it matter? All that matters is that

after all these years, we've found a loophole. He

can't keep us out anymore. And once we're back

in, I'm sure He'll just forgive and forget.

They pass the Nun. who leans against a wall, still dazed.

LOKI

Yeah, but this plenary' indulgence thing is a church law, not Divine Mandate. Church laws are fallible because they're created by man.

BARTLEBY

One of the last sacred promises imparted to Peter the first Pope by the Son of God before He left was "Whatever you hold true on earth..."

LOKI

" ...I'll hold true in Heaven."

BARTLEBY

So if the Pope says it's so, God must adhere. It's dogmatic law.

LOKI

(beat; extends hand)

Let it never be said that your anal retentive attention to detail never yielded positive results.

BARTLEBY

(accepts hand)

You can't be anal retentive if you don't have an anus.

LOKI

There's just one thing I think I should do before we leave - something that'Il get us back on His good side.

BARTLEBY

What's that?

Loki smiles and starts rifling through his pockets. He extracts a magazine article.

LOKI

This is something I've been dreaming about for five years now. Read.

The crumpled article displays a Barney-like gold-hued cow, alongside various profit charts and text.

OC BARTLEBY

(reading)

"Mooby the Golden Calf- Creating an Empire Out of Simplicity."

Loki wipes his mouth and nods to the article.

LOKI

I want to hit them.

BARTLEBY

Are you nuts?!

(crumples article)

We're mere days away from getting back, and you want to jeopardize it because you have a soft spot for the good ol' days?!

LOKI

What better way to show I've repented than by resuming the position I denied... thanks to you.

BARTLEBY

A killing spree is not going to make things better for us.

LOKI

We're not talking about killing here. We're talking about Divine Justice. We're talking about punishing the wicked, raining down fire and brimstone. He's all about that. I just know he'd want this done.

BARTLEBY

There hasn't been an Angel of Death since you quit. Doesn't that mean anything to you? Besides, what if you're wrong?

LOKI

If I'm wrong, it won't matter. Like you said - we pass through the arch and we're forgiven anyway

They step up to an elevator and press the button.

BARTLEBY

(considering it)

Well... he does hate competition.

(reading article)

And this Mooby deninitely falls under that heading.

LOKI

The church we have to go to is where?

BARTLEBY

New ]ersey. The Rededication is in four days.

The doors open. They get on. Other people are inside as well.

LOKI

Our last four days on earth. If I had a dick, I'd go get laid. But we can do the next best thing.

BARTLEBY

What's that?

LOKI

Let's kill people.

A guy beside Loki reacts. Loki smiles at him as the elevator doors close.

OPENING CREDITS

Between black cards with white credits there are shots of the OLD MAN from the boardwalk being wheeled into a hospital on a gurney, being treated in the emergeny room, being hooked up to life support system, and finally resting in an intensive care wing.

EXT ST. STEPHEN'S PARISH - DAY

The church sits on a grassy knoll in Mc Henry - a suburb of Chicago. Some kids tear by on bikes and egg it.

OC PRIEST

The greater Illinois chapter of the Right to Life foundation will be holding it's bi-annual softball game against the Cook County Pro-Choice league next Sunday at two.

INT ST. STEPHEN'S PARISH - DAY

The PRIEST speaks from the lectern, addressing semi-filled rows of the faithful.

PRIEST

Those who find the weekly demonstration outside of

the Twelfth Street Planned Parenthood Clinic hard to make due to work schedules are urged to show their support in the fight against the thoughtless and wanton destruction of life by cheering on our boys on the field. Refreshments. as always, will be served.

Dollying down the rows while the Priest rattles on. we pass the parishoners. Some listen intently, others are nodding off. One surreptitiously listens to a Walk-man; a man and a woman quietly argue while their kid colors in a coloring book, going off the page and marking the pew; two kids play cards; one guy leafs through a copy of Hustler hidden by his hymnal book.

OC PRIEST

Today's second collection will be donated to the John Doe Jersey Life Fund. For those of you who haven't been following the news, an unidentified homeless man who was accosted and severely beaten at the New Jersey shore last Tuesday lies in critical but stable condition in one of that area's hospitals. He lacks identification and police have had no luck in tracking down any possible family. While he shows no signs of recovery, the Arch-Bishop of the Trenton Diocese has disputed the state's decision to remove the indigent man from life support systems, asking that Catholics all over the country join in this protest against Euthanasia. And finally - will whoever keeps parking in my spot, stop doing that. Thank you. Now, please rise for the recession of faith. We believe in one God, the father...

As the congregation flatly joins in the prayer, we stop on BETHANY - a beautiful twenty-something woman who struggles to stay awake. She checks her watch and exhales softly.

OC VOICE

I don't really want to be here.

ENT PLANNED PARENTHOOD CLINIC - DAY

A small gaggle of signcarrying RIght-to-Lifer's march in front of the sterile looking building.

OC VOICE

But then again, I guess nobody ever does... except maybe you.

INT BETHANY'S OFFICE - DAY

The source of the voice - a GIRL - sits beside Bethany's desk, stretching out her gum. Bethany offers her an understanding smile.

GIRL

You know, I've done this three times now; and each time the counselor tells me I should be more careful in the future, I should show' some responsibility. Gotta tell you, though - this is the first time the counselor wasn't some ugly as hell old bitch. It's kind of hard to take abortion advice from a woman who's too gross to get laid in the first place.

BETHANY

I'm not here to lecture you - I'm here to make sure you really want to go through with this.

GIRL

I'd rather go back to that night when my idiot bovfriend swore up and down he was sterile. Short of that, there aren't many choices left, now are there?

BETHANY

Ever think about having it?

GIRL

(beat)

What woman doesn't on some level.

BETHANY

I never did.

GIRL

(incredulous)

You had an abortion?

BETHANY

(lights a smoke)

My first year in college. All through high school, I'd dated the same guy - Walter Flanagan. We were really in love, right? So much so. that we decided to go Carnegie Mellon together... that's this college in Pittsburgh. So there we are -away at school, and there's suddenly no parents to worry about anymore, so we're screwing like rabbits - just constanly doing it. And I wound up getting pregnant. So he begs me to have it. He says we should quit school and get married, and I'm telling him that that'lI screw up our educations. We fought about it for a week - my arguement being there was no rush to have kids, you know? We could always have a baby in a couple of years - after school. So I got the abortion against his wishes... I mean, what the hell - it was my body, right? After graduation, we got married and immediately set about trying to have kids. We tried like hell for the first six months, and... nothing. So I went to a gynocologist to see if everything was okay on my end.

(beat)

It wasn't.

(takes a drink)

My uteran wall had this fissure. It seems that the doctor who performed the procedure on me years before had somehow botched it. I'd never be able to have a child.

The Girl's face says it all. Bethany takes a drag and continues.

BETHANY

So there I am - devastated. And now I have to go home to break the news to my husband who years before had begged me to have the baby - his baby. And after I explain it to him through my tears, he sits on the couch and rubs his eyes. And in the calmest, most rational voice I've ever heard anybody use in my life, he asks me for a divorce. And I fought him, you know? I tried to talk him out of it; told him there were alternatives - like we could adopt. And all he said was he wanted a wife who could have his children.

GIRL

(beat)

What happened?

BETHANY

He remarried. He had two kids in two years with his new wife. We never spoke again. And now I do this.

GIRL

That's like... such a sad story.

BETHANY

I dated this guy a year or two ago - he was really into comic books. He told me I had the stock superhero story -I wanted to prevent a wrong that had happened to me from ever happening to anyone else. Kind of like Batman, he said. The only difference is I don't put on tights to do it... unless all my other clothes are in the wash.

(smiles and puts out her smoke)

So... let's go over your paperwork.

EXT CLINIC - DAY

A well-dressed LIZ maneuvers through the small thrall of Right-to-lifer's. They shake their placards at her accusingly.

PROTESTOR 1

You should be ashamed of yourself!

PROTESTOR 2

Child killer!

LIZ

(looking over their shoulders)

HOLY SHIT!! IT'S THE POPE!!

As the thrall turns excitedly in an effort try to spy the imaginary pontiff, Liz ducks inside the clinic.

INT CLINIC COFFEE ROOM - DAY

A NEWSPAPER HEADLINE fills the frame - "CHURCH SAYS NO TO DEATH OF JOHN DOE". It's lowered to reveal Bethany, reading. Liz enters and hangs up her coat.

LIZ

Jesus! You're a Catholic, aren't you? Can't you talk

to them or something?

BETHANY

They hate me more than you, no doubt. At least you have an excuse - you're ]ewish,

you don't know any better.

LIZ

I don't think they'd accept that one - we already used it as our excuse for killing Christ. So where were you yesterday morning - a bunch of us went out for brunch?

BETHANY

I went to church.

LIZ

That kills me. You and church. We work in a field that specializes in pissing off the cloth and you add insult to injury by breaking bread with them every week.

BETHANY

I sit there every Sunday and I feel nothing. I can remember sitting in church when I was a kid and being moved - like everything meant something, like I was important. And the stories of all these holy people were so inspiring. Now I sit there and think about my checking, and what I'm going to wear to work the next day.

LIZ

So then why do you still go?

BETHANY

(beat)

You wouldn't believe me if I told you.

LIZ

You think I'm going to mock your religious beliefs? We're friends, Bethany - I may mock you for being a divorce' at twenty five who's never had an orgasm, but I'd never mock you for having faith.

BETHANY

That's just it - I don't. I don't think I have any faith left.

LIZ

(making coffee)

I had a girl in here once - 'bout fifteen. She told me that faith is like a glass of water. When you're young, the glass is full, and it's easy to fill up. But the older you get, the bigger the glass gets, and the same amount of water doesn't fill the glass anymore. Periodically, the glass has to be refilled.

BETHANY

A fifteen year old who came in here said that?

LIZ

She had gotten knocked up by her pastor.

BETHANY

Jesus! See? A minister knocks up a teenager -isn't anyone afraid of the Lord's wrath anymore?

LIZ

That would require faith, and that commodity lately seems reserved only for the psychotic zealots that hang around outside.

(collects her things to leave)

So what are you doing tonight?

BETHANY

Watching T.V.

LIZ

Girl, you need a man. If only for ten minutes.

BETHANY

It's been my experience that the average male is never a man - not even for ten minutes in his entire life span.

LIZ

Uh-oh - that sounds militant. You thinking of joining the other side?

BETHANY

Couldn't do it. Women are insane.

LIZ

Then girl, you better get back to church and ask God for a third option.

BETHANY

I think God is dead.

LIZ

The sign of a true Catholic.

Liz exits with her coffee. Bethany stares after her.

INT A QUAINT SUBURBAN HOME - DAY

The Stygian Triplets kneel on one knee before a high-backed leather chair, upon which Sits a shadowy figure who we see from behind. They appear to be in a den or library.

SHADOWY FIGURE

All proceeds according to plan. No doubt, the powers will attempt to contact the Last Scion. You know where she is. She must be elliminated befoie she enters the frav. When she is negated, there will be nothing to interfere with our plan. Shuffle her loose her mortal coil, that we may obtain our final glory.

(beat)

Go.

The Stygian Triplets rise and skate off.

INT BETHANY'S KITCHIEN - NIGHT

The fridge door opens and Bethany glances around inside. She pulls out a chocolate cake and closes the door.

INT BETHANY'S LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

Bethany sits on the couch, eating cake with a fork and watching the OC t.v. The theme song to Filmation's 'Batman and Robin' cartoon can be heard. She sips some milk from a glass and has some more cake.

INT BETHANY'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

Bethany's in bed, staring up at the ceiling. From the darkness, a creaking floor board is heard. Bethany reacts, grabbing a bat from under her pillow. She peers into the darkness, defensively wielding her bat.

Suddenly, the room explodes in flames. A huge fire that appears to be shooting out from the floor ignites mere feet from Bethany's bed. Bethany leaps back, taking a beat to stare, mesmerized. Looking closely, one can see an anthropomorphic form standing in the blaze.

VOICE

(powerful; booming)

BEHOLD THE METATRON - HERALD OF THE ALMIGHTY AND

VOICEOF THE ONE TRUE GOD!

The Voice repeats itself. Bethany darts out of bed and dashes out of the room, quickly returning with a fire extinguisher. While the voice is in mid-sentence, she blasts the thing with the contents of the canister, swirling the nozzle around to hit all the flames. The booming Voice sputters and starts coughing, losing it's impressive edge. Bethany stops squirting and turns on her bedside lamp.

A choking, drenched, and coughing androgynous figure in a suit waves her away. The figure coughs up some of the extinguisher's contents and drops to the floor, hacking. It is METATRON. Bethany stares, shocked.

METATRON

(between coughs)

Sweet. ..Jesus! Did you... have to empty...the whole can?!

Bethany grabs her bat again and holds it up, this time offensively.

BETHANY

WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU AND WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING IN MY ROOM?!

METATRON

(slowly rising to it's feet)

I'm the one... who's soaked and... she's the one who's pissed. That's rich!

BETHANY

(reaching for phone, still holding bat)

I'm calling the cops! Breaking and entering, attempted arson... they're going to lock you up for life...!

M ETATRON

(wiping off clothes)

No dial tone.

BETHANY

(ear to phone)

You cut the phone lines...

(even more offensive with bat)

Get the fuck out of here, now!

METATRON

Or you'll what - hit me with that fish?

The bat Bethany held is now a salmon. She drops it to the floor and freaks.

METATRON

Now just sit down on the bed and shut up!

BETHANY

Oh God - you're going to rape me...

METATRON

I'm not going to rape you.

(to itself; off clothes)

Look at my suit...!

BETHANY

Take whatever you want, just don't kill or rape me...

METATRON

Enough with the raping already! I couldn't rape you if I wanted to.

(unzips pants and pulls them off)

Angels are ill-equipped.

Bethany stares. There, before her, stands the exposed Metatron. There is nothing where some sexual genitalia should be - it's as smooth and anatomically impaired as a Ken doll.

METATRON

See? I'm as anatomically impaired as a Ken doll.

(rings out pants)

You meat-puppets and your arrogance - you think everyone's just waiting to rape you.

BETHANY

Wh..what are you?

METATRON

I'm pissed is what I am. You go around drenching everyone that comes into your room with flameretardent chemicals? No wonder you don't get laid.

(pulls pants back on)

Go get me a towel, will you?

Bethany blinks. She exits the room and comes back with a towel. She holds it out to Metatron who grabs it and starts toweling off.

METATRON

(taking off jacket)

Stand back.

Bethany steps back. Metatron flexes and huge fucking wings extend from it's back, dripping water. Bethany goes wide-eyed and cowers against the wall.

METATRON

(tosses towel away)

Like I was saying - I am the Metatron.

Bethany stares, saying nothing, pinned against the wall. Metatron looks insulted.

METATRON

Metatron. Don't tell me the name doesn't ring a bell?

Bethany remains silent and wideyed. Metatron gets testy.

METATRON

You people. If there isn't a movie about it, it's not worth knowing, right?

(beat)

I am a seraphim.

(beat)

The highest choir of angels?

(beat)

You do know what an angel is, don't you?

Bethany slowly nods.

METATRON

Metatron acts as the voice of God. Any documented occasion when some yahoo claims to have spoken with God, they're speaking to me. Or they're speaking to themselves.

BET HANY

(beat)

Why doesn't God speak for himself?

METATRON

Ah. So glad you decided to join the conversation. To answer that - human beings have neither the aural nor the psychological capacity to withstand the awesome

power of God's true voice. Were you to hear it, you're mind would cave in and your heart would explode within your chest. We went through five Adam's before we figured that out.

BETHANY

Are you going to kill me?

Ni ETATRON

I could for what you did to this suit. Unfortunately I can't. You're called.

BETH ANY

(beat)

Called how? How called?

METATRON

All that from two words. Color this angel impressed.

BETHANY

(beat)

How do I know you're an angel?

METATRON

Oh, you mean besides the fiery entrance and the expansive wingspan? You people kill me. Fine. You want more proof? How about a tequila?

(snaps fingers)

INT MEXICAN BAR - NIGHT

Bethany and Metatron sit at a table. Bethany immediately clutches at her pajamas. Metatron waves a WAITER over.

BETHANY

Where the hell are we?!

METATRON

The only place one can go for good tequila.

(to Waiter)

Dos tequilas, por favor. And an empty glass.

WAITER

Si.

The Waiter turns to leave. Metatron yanks a smoke from his pocket as he goes.

METATRON

Gracias, senor.

BETHANY

We're in Mexico?!

METATRON

Actually, we're in the Chilli's down the street from your house, but it was still an impressive trick

(lights smoke)

You don't mind that I lost the wings, do you? I'm trying to keep our profile low.

BETHANY

I suppose it would be too cliche to observe aloud that this is the weirdest dream I've ever had.

METATRON

Can you imagine how insulting it is to converse with a person and have them insist you're a dream? If I had an ego, it'd be bruised.

BETHANY

What do you want with me?

METATRON

I'm to charge you with a holy crusade.

(pause)

You do know what a crusade is, don't you?

BETHANY

(sarcastically)

Uh, yeah.

METATRON

Don't give me that. Last time I charged someone with a crusade they had to look the word up.

BETHANY

Why am I supposed to go on a crusade?

METATRON

Your's is a heritage divine. Also, you didn't seem to be doing much lately.

The Waiter arrives with their drinks.

METATRON

Oh - Gracias!

(he leaves; off the tequila)

One of the only things your people have mastered since you crawled from the primordial ooze.

(sips)

BETHANY

I work in an abortion clinic.

METATRON

(spits tequila into empty glass)

Moses was a drunk. Look what he accomplished. And no one's even asking you to part an ocean. All you have to do is go to New Jersey.

BETH ANY

New ]ersey.

METATRON

Sure. Go to New Jersey and visit and small church on a very important day. Agreed?

BETHANY

That doesn't sound like a crusade.

METATRON

Aside from the fine print, that's it.

BETHANY

What's the fine print?

METATRON

(mumbles into glass)

stopacoupleofangelsfromenteringandthusnegatingallexistence.

Damn, this is good tequila.

(sips)

BETHANY

Wait, wait, wait. Repeat that.

METATRON

Damn, this is good tequila?

BETHANY

The first part.

METATRON

(spits into empty glass)

Details. Stop a couple of angels from entering and thus negating all existence. God, I hate when people need it spelled out for them.

BETHANY

Clarify that.

METATRON

That's the problem with you people - you need every-thing clarified. No leaps of faith whatsoever. Alright -vou want the whole secret origin? Here goes: Back in the old days, God was vengeful and hot-tempered, and his wrath was bore by the Angel of Death - name of Loki. When Sodom and Gommorah were destroyed? That was Loki. When the waters wiped out everything with the exception of Noah and his menagerie? That was Loki. And he was good at what he did. But one day, he refused to bear God's wrath any longer.

BETHANY

Why?

METATRON

Because he listened to his friend - a Grigori by the name of Bartleby.

BETHANY

Grigori?

METATRON

One of the choirs of angels. They're called Watchers. Guess what they do?

BETHANY

So they're like Guardian angels?

METATRON

Exactly like that, but different. So one day, Loki's wiping out all the first born of Egypt...

BETHANY

The Tenth Plague.

METATRON

See? Tell a person you're the Metatron and they stare at you blankiy; mention something out of a Charlton Heston movie and they're suddenly theology scholars. May I continue uninterrupted?

(Bethany nods)

So once he's done with the first born, Loki takes his friend Bartleby out for a post-slaughter drink. And over many rounds, they get into this discussion about whether or not murder in the name of God is okay. Now, Bartleby can run circles around Loki intellectually, not to mention the fact that Loki's more than half in the bag, and in the end, Bartleby convinces Loki to quit his position and take a lesser one - one that doesn't involve slaughter. So - very inebriated - Loki tells God he quits: throws down his fiery sword, gives him the finger - which ruins it for the rest of us. because from that day forward, God decreed that angels could no longer imbibe alcohol. Hence all the spitting.

BETHANY

Sounds reasonable.

METATRON

Maybe to you, but I'm a lush by nature.

BETHANY

I mean about the angel of Death's resignation.

METATRON

For a liberal, yes, but this is the Angel of Death we're talking about. The Angel of Death can't be a conscientious objector. The Angel of Death is charged with meting out whatever justice God demands. So for their insolence, God decreed that neither Loki nor Bartleby would ever be allowed back into Paradise.

BETHANY

Were they sent to Hell?

METATRON

Worse. Wisconsin. For the entire span of human history. And when the world ends, they'll sit outside the gates for eternity.

BETHANY

And what's this have to do with me?

METATRON

Somebody's clued them in to a loophole in Catholic dogma that would allow them to reenter Heaven.

BETHANY

So what? They beat the system. Good for them.

METATRON

It's not that simple. If they get in, they will have reversed God's decree. Now listen up because this part is very important: existence in all it's form and splendor functions solely on one principle: God is infallible. To prove God wrong would undo reality and everything that is. Up would become down, black would become white, existence would become nothingness. In essence - if they are allowed to enter that church, they'll unmake the world.

BETHANY

Are these guys that bitter?

METATRON

No, that's the stupid part: they have no idea what their actions will result in. As far as they know, they're just going home. Isn't that sweet?

BETHANY

If this is so major, why are you talking to me? Why doesn't God do something?

METATRON

He could. He could blink them out of existence, destroy that church, turn them into plants. But He'd rather see you take care of this one personally.

BETHANY

Why me?

METATRON

Because of who you are.

BETHANY

And who am I?

METATRON

The girl in the p.j.'s. Don't ask so many questions just serve your purpose.

BETHANY

I'll pass.

METATRON

I beg your pardon?

BETHANY

When some asshole abortion doctor destroyed my uterus -where was God? When my

husband decided he couldn't be with a wife that couldn't bear his children - where was

God? Now all the sudden, after all these years of quiet noninvolvement in my life, He

sends one of His lackey's my way who tells me I should save the world, and as what -

some sort of test? To Hell with Him.

METATRON

Do yourself a favor Bethany - do the world a favor: let go of your petty crap. It's served you precious little in the past, and it serves you even less now when the fate of existence

hangs in the balance. Don't allow eons of history and life to get blinked out of being just because you have a grudge against your creator.

BETHANY

A grudge? Do you know why I work in that clinic? It's my own private way of saying

"fuck you" to God.

METATRON

And any other day I'd say that's your business and your life, and enjoy yourself and goodnight. But this isn't about you - this is about eve~body. So you lost the abiliry to make life. You're being offered the chance to play mother to the world by acting like one and protecting it - saving it.

(swigs her drink and spits it out)

But I can't make you. You'll do what you will. However, if you should decide to stop being selfish and accept your responsibility, you won't be alone. You'll have support.

BETHANY

What, more angels?

NIETATRON

Prophets - although they don't quite get it yet. You'll know them right away - one speaks, the other listens. The one who speaks - and he will at great lengths, whether you want him to or not - will make mention of himself as a prophet. The other one won't say anything, but he'll be helpful

just the same.

(looks at watch)

I have to go. You'll do what you will, but try to remember that we're working in a time frame here.

Metatron moves to exit.

BETHANY

(beat)

Hey.

(Metatron turns)

You work for God.

METATRON

They tell me it's God. If it's not, I'm going to be severely pissed - what with all these years of bossing people around on his behalf and expectorating perfectly good tequila.

BETHANY

What's he like? God?

METATRON

(thinks)

Lonely. But funny. He's got a great sense of humor.

BETHANY

I'll bet.

METATRON

Look at sex. Sex is funny. One time I asked him why you people had to look so stupid while procreating. He said if you didn't, you'd do it all the time, just for fun.

BETHANY

But we do.

METATRON

I know. And you all look so damn stupid doing it. It kills us upstairs.

BETHANY

Sex is a joke in Heaven?

METATRON

The way I understand it, it's mostly a joke down here too.

And with that, Nietatron is gone. Bethany looks at her drink. A three-man mariachi band surround her and begin playing Prince's 'Little Red Corvette'.

INT BETHANY'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

Bethany startles awake. The radio on her night-table plays 'Little Red Corvette'. She lays back down.

INT BETHANY'S OFFICE - DAY

Bethany sits at her desk, staring into space. A twenty-something girl speaks, butBethany's not really listening. She's extremely preoccupied.

INT CLINIC - NIGHT

Bethany shuts off the lights in the various rooms. She packs up her bag and turns on the alarm.

EXT CLINIC - NIGHT

Bethany exits and locks the door behind her. She starts walking.

As her feet tread lightly toward her car, three small shadows move toward her.

Bethany throws her bag on her car roof and rumages through her purse for her keys. She hears something and stops. Roller blades can be heard moving slowly across the asphalt of the parking lot. Bethany turns quickly.

Nobody's there. She looks around, a bit peturbed.

BETHANY

(calling into the darkness)

God, what time do you people quit and go home?! Let's just save it for tomorrow, alright?

There's no response. Then there's the noise of wood being tapped against the ground. Bethany peers into the darkness, looking for the source.

Suddenly, a skater whips past her, slamming his stick into the back of her knee. Bethany goes down. Another skater whips in and slashes at her, but she ducks. The stick hits the car door above her. She rifles through her purse madly until another skater whips by, dragging her purse away with his stick. Bethany looks up.

The Stygian Triplets are lined up menacingly, a few feet from her. They tap their hockey sticks in unison on the ground. Bethany jumps up and faces them defensively. The Triplets emit an unholy shriek and charge at her.

And from out of nowhere, a large figure swoops down from above, landing on the ground between Bethany and her menacers. The Triplets stop short and regard the figure curiously. The large figure whips into a defensive stance, Batman-style.

The Stygian Triplets look to one another. They shrug and charge anew.

From behind the rock-still large figure, a smaller figure leaps into the streetlight, shrieking, flying through the air, busting into a flying kick. He lands before the middle Triplet and open-palm punches him twice in the face, grabbing his stick from the falling child's hand and tossing it into the air behind him.

The stick sails through the night air and is snatched by the grip of the large figure, who twirls it under his arm, and then back Out like a sai. He swings it out before him, knocking the other two Triplets off balance. The smaller figure back flips into the larger figure's arms and kicks his feet into the faces of the two wobbling Triplets. They go down, and the smaller figure leaps forward with a shriek, landing between the fallen pair, elbows into their backs.

The flrst struck Triplet leaps out of the darkness at the large figure, screaming something unholy. The large figure catches the kid by the throat and quickly

head butts him, tossing him to the side. The large figure sways for a beat and then shakes it off.

The small figure collects the hockey sticks and throws them into the distance. He kicks at the falien Triplets as they scurry away.

SMALL FIGURE

(calling after them)

GO BACK TO YOUR PAPER ROUTES, YOU PUNK FUCKS!

(more to himself)

Snoogans.

The large figure saddles up beside the small figure. They look at one another and shake hands.

SMALL FIGURE

Dude, I know they were just kids, but we kicked their fucking asses!

Bethany stares, mystified. She grabs her purse from the ground.

BETHANY

Where... where did you learn to do... that stuff?!

SMALL FIGURE

From this comic book some guys made about us. Long story.

BETHANY

(beat)

I don't know what to say... or think.

The figures turn into the light, revealing the faces of the heroes for the first time - two very familiar faces.

SMALL FIGURE

Say you'll offer us sex as a reward.

BETHANY

Who are you?

The large figure lights up a smoke. The small one extends his hand.

SMALL FIGURE

Jay. And this is my business associate, Silent Bob.

BIETHANY

Well thank you for being out here so late... Come to think of it, what are you doing out here so late?

(freezes)

Wait a second are you protestors?

JAY

What's a protestor?

BETHANY

You're not with the Fight-to-Lifer's?

JAY

You mean those fucks with the signs and pictures of dead babies? Shit no. Me and Silent Bob are pro-choice:a woman 5 body is her own fucking business.

BETHANY

Then - I don't mean to sound ungrateful - but what are you doing hanging around?

JAY

We're here to pick up chicks.

BETHANY

(a bit stunned)

Excuse me?

JAY

We figure an abortion clinic is a good place to meet loose women. Why else would they be there unless they like to fuck.

BETHANY

(taken aback)

Oh. Right. Well, I should be going. Thanks for the rescue... I think.

JAY

(shocked)

Wait, wait, wait - we just saved your ass, and you're just going to take off? What the shit is that?

BETHANY

I had a weird night last night, and now tonight's not shaping up to be any better. I think I should go home, take some percosets, and lay down.

(opens her car door)

JAY

(to Silent Bob)

How about that shit? Fuck this town, man - I'm going back to Jersey and selling weed~

(they start walking)

At least there I can get turned down while trying to make myself a profit.

Bethany freezes. Metatron's words echo in her ear. She shakes her head.

BETHANY

(to herself)

You've gotta be kidding me.

(thinks for a beat; then) Hey! Wait!

She runs up to them. They whip around and raise their fists defensively.

BETHANY

Sorry.

(beat)

Would you... I can't believe I'm doing this...

(inhales deeply)

Would you... like to have a drink with me?

Jay's face lights up. He punches Silent Bob in the arm.

JAY

See?! I told you if we hung around outside that place we'd get laid! Thank you!

(looking skyward)

Thank you, God!

INT SEEDY GUN SHOP - NIGHT

Various guns are laid out atop a glass case.

OC SALESMAN

Now this piece is nice. It's not lightweight, but one look at it and nobody - I mean nobody - is going to fuck with you. Try it on.

Loki picks up the gun. Bartleby and the SALESMAN look at him.

LOKI

It's a lot more compact than the flaming sword, I'll say that much.

BARTLEBY

It's the weapon of choice these days.

LOKI

It seems unimpressive. At least the sword looked intimidating. How can I strike fear into the hearts of the wicked with this?

SALESMAN

Oh, I get it. You want to become a vigilante, right? Like Batman or something.

LOKI

Batman never uses guns.

(off gun)

I don't know. It feels impersonal.

BARTLEBY

Then don't use a gun. Just lay the place to waste like Sodom and Gommorah. Now that was something.

LOKI

Oh yeah, for you maybe. You got to stand there and read. I had to do all the work.

BARTLEBY

What work? You lit a few fires.

LOKI

I rained down sulfur, man. There's a subtle difference.

BARTLEBY

Sure.

LOKI

Are you kidding me? Any moron with a pack of matches can start a fire. Raining down sulfur takes a huge level of endurance. Mass genocide is the most exhausting activity one can engage in, next to soccer.

(to Salesman)

I'll take this one.

SALESMAN

Five seventy five to walk with it right now.

Loki starts sifting through his wallet.

BARTLEBY

Soccer?

INT DINER - NIGHT

An English muffin is covered with a knife-full of jam. Bethany raises the bread to her mouth and takes a bite. She glances at the OC pair and stops chewing.

Jay and Silent Bob study her intently. Jay smiles widely, anticipatory, and nods.

All three sit at a small table near a window. Bethany puts the English muffin down and brushes off her hands. Jay's feet are moving a mile a minute.

BETHANY

Are you both from around here?

JAY

I'm hard as hell.

BETHANY

Do you live in the city?

JAY

Do you have a friend for Silent Bob, or are you going to do us both? If so, I'm first. I hate sloppy seconds.

BETHANY

You're a man of principle. Where do you come from?

JAY

We used to live in a small town in Jersey. Real small town. We practically knew everybody.

BETHANY

What brought you to McHenry?

JAY

Hollywood.

BETHANY

(beat)

Hollywood?

JAY

Oh yeah. See, we used to sell smoke in front of this video store. And one day this fuck wants to rent a video. So we did, only we didn't have anyplace to watch it. So we went to the mall and popped it into a VCR at Macy's and sat on the floor and watched it. It was called 'Sixteen Candles'. Did you ever see it?

BETHANY

Yes.

JAY

So the next day we rented 'The Breakfast Club', and then 'Weird Science' where these two fucks have a chick that'll do anything for them and they don't do nothing because it's a PG movie. But then we got thrown out of Macy's when we watched 'Pretty in Pink', because of this bitch.

(points to Silent Bob)

BETHANY

(to Silent Bob)

What'd you do?

JAY

You know how at the end the red-headed bitch gets together with her dream guy at the prom?

(Bethany nods)

Well pussy here starts fuckin' sobbing all sorts of loud and shit. And the manager's like "Get the hell out of here!" And I'm like "Fuck you, you bald cocksucker! I'll kick your lard..

BETHANY

(speeding him along)

So what exactly brought you to Illinois?

JAY

Oh yeah. See, all these movies take place in a town called Shermer, in Illinois. And there's all this fine bush running around, and we could kick all the dude's asses because they're all whiney pussies. Except Judd Nelson - he was harsh. But best of all, there was no one selling weed. So I says to Silent Bob "Man, we could live phat if we were the blunt-connection in Shermer, Illinois!" So we collected some cash we were owed, and caught a bus. But when we got here,

you know what we found Out? There is no Shermer in Illinois. What kind of shit is that?! Fucking movies are bullshit!

BETHANY

And now you live here?

JAY

Fuck that. This berg sucks. Everyone talks with a stupid accent so you don't know what they're saying, and it's too fuckin' cold. We were talking about taking off. Until we met you, that is.

(kisses her hand)

BETHANY

(retracts her hand)

Right. So how much longer are you staying here?

JAY

Until you're ready to skip out and make with the sex.

BETHANY

No. How long are you staying in McHenry?

JAY

We're leaving tomorrow.

BETHANY

Where are you going next?

JAY

(to Silent Bob)

Jesus - this broad asks alot of questions.

(to Bethany)

Back to Jersey. We've been going straight for like five

years now. It's about time for us to retire or something. Enjoy our salad years. No more adventures.

BETHANY

I see.

(sips her coffee)

JAY

Yeah. So do you do anal? Is it true that chicks fart if you blast them in the ass?

BETHANY

I didn't ask you out for sex.

JAY

I'll take head.

BETHANY

I don't know why, but...

(composes herself)

...I want to go with you.

JAY

What, like steady? You wanna be my girlfriend?

(shrugs to Silent Bob)

Alright, but Silent Bob has to live with us and you pay the rent.

BETHANY

No, I want to go with you to New Jersey.

JAY

Really? You're the only chick I ever met that wanted to go to Jersey. Most chicks try to get out.

BETHANY

When can we leave?

JAY

Wait a second! What is this shit? Are we going fuck or not?

BETHANY

You're going to lead me somewhere.

JAY

Me lead you? Lady, I don't even know where I am half the time. If we're not going to fuck then what the hell did you ask me out for?

BETHANY

Someone told me I'd meet you, and you'd take me somewhere I was supposed to go. I didn't believe it until you said that thing in the parking lot.

JAY

What the hell are you babbling about? All I know is we saved your ass from some angry fucking dwarfs and you promised us se~..

(to Silent Bob)

Didn't this crazy bitch promise us sex?

(to Bethany)

...and now you're telling me that I'm supposed to take you somewhere, and you don't even know where it is?

BETHANY

(beat)

Do you believe in God?

JAY

(horrified)

Holy shit - you're a Jehovah's Witness! All the fine chicks that come out of that place, and we gotta get the one Jesus freak!

(to Silent Bob, getting up)

Let's go...

BETHANY

(grabbing his sleeve)

No. wait...

JAY

(pulling back)

I'll scream rape.

BETHANY

I can pay you.

JAY

(quickly sitting back down)

Pay?

BETHANY

For being my guide. You were going to leave anyway; all I'm asking is to tag along and see where it leads. I'll pay a hundred bucks and all expenses.

JAY

(thinks; to Silent Bob)

I feel like I'm Han Solo, and you're Chewie, and she's Ben Kenobi, and we're in that fucked up bar.

(to Bethany)

What about sex?

BETHANY

No sex.

JAY

Alright, but let's say we're caught in a situation where we've got like five minutes to live, like a bomb or something is gonna go off - would you fuck us then?

BETHANY

In that highly unlikely situation?

(beat)

Yeah, sure.

JAY

Yeah? You slut. Noonch.

(to Silent Bob)

What do you think?

Silent Bob shrugs. Jay stands up.

JAY

Alright. But I'll drive.

EXT MAIN HIGHWAY - NIGHT

Bethany's car roars overhead, speeding down the road, reving awfully loudly.

INT BETHANY'S CAR - NIGHT

The speedometer reads ninety five.

Jay drives, eyes glued to the road. happy as hell. Silent Bob smokes to his right. Bethany sits pinned against the back seat, wearing an uncomfortable and dubious look. She struggles to lean forward. The engine still races.

BETHANY

(yelling over engine noise)

What gear are you in?

JAY

(not looking back)

Gear?

EXT HIGHWAY - NIGHT

Jay, Silent Bob, and Bethany sit on and against the car. The hood is open and smoke billows out.

JAY

(defensively)

Well what do I know from shifting?! Like I ever drove before!

Silent Bob shrugs and smokes. Bethany walks away, shaking her head.

JAY

Chicks.

Silent Bob nods and extracts a tool from his jacket. He begins working on the engine as a cross~ountry bus races by.

INT BUS - NIGHT

Bartleby and Loki sit in the back. Bartleby reads a map and Loki stares at the gun in his lap. A COUPLE makes out in the seat in front of them.

BARTLEBY

We have to pass through three more states to get to New Jersey: Indianna, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

LOKI

With a very important stop in Cleveland.

BARTLEBY

Oh right. The Angel of Death Returns. Sounds like a bad movie.

LOKI

Movies are bullshit. And don't start with me, airight. The last time you bugged me about my job, you got us sentenced to life in Wisconsin.

(looks out window)

All this time we've been down here, why didn't we ever leave the Cheese?

BARTLEBY

He said to stay where he put us. We feared worse punishment if we disobeyed Him again.

LOKI

Where were we afraid He'd send us?

BARTLEBY

New Jersey.

LOKI

Now that, my friend. is irony.

BARTLEBY

(beat)

You know, maybe you're wrong about this slaughter. How can you even be sure of what incurs the Lord's wrath these days? Times change. Remember when eating meat on Friday was supposed to be a Hellworthy tresspass? Or when people weren't even supposed to shop on Sundays?

LOKI

That stuff was small potatoes. The major sins never change. And believe me - I can spot a commandment breaker a mile away.

BARTLEBY

Sure.

LOKI

You don't believe me?

(looks around; eyes fall on kissing couple)

There. There's one.

BARTLEBY

(off couple)

So what? They're kissing.

LOKI

Adultery.

BARTLEBY

That's a stretch. How do you know they're not dating?

LOKI

You'd know better than me - let's hear it.

BARTLEBY

Oh, I know the truth. But let's see how boned up on the job you really are.

LOKI

A test?

BARTLEBY

Of sorts. So what's your proof?

LOKI

He's wearing a wedding band.

BARTLEBY

So? Maybe that's his wife.

LOKI

No married man kisses his wife like that. You get married and the passion dies, man. Don't you ever watch talk shows?

BARTLEBY

What are you talking about?

LOKI

A guy makes his best plays when wooing. When the object of his desire is won, there's no need to expend the effort anymore. He relaxes, satisfied with the spoils of victory, which he then decides isn't so victorious because he's saddled with a life-mate.

BARTLEBY

Very romantic sentiment.

LOKI

That's the problem - romance. You think about it :back in the old days, nobody got married out of quote, unquote, love. People married for property', dowries, or to procreate - to immortalize oneself through offspring. When did all this love stuff start? What the hell happened to the status quo?

BARTLEBY

The Troubadors.

LOKI

Lionel Richie's old group?

BARTLEBY

No, that's the Commodores. The Troubadors were wandering minstrels and dramatists that sang melodramatic and sappy songs of undying love.

LOKI

Sounds like the Commodores.

BARTLEBY

The Troubadors made 'love' fashionable. And their influence altered the balance in a significant fashion. Until them, people got married because they had to. After them, people started 'falling in love'. Romantic courtships became the norm. What started out as simple entertainment made such a dramatic impact as to forever alter the way society operates.

LOKI

That's human beings for you - easily misled. From the Garden of Eden to the 'Thigh Master' - thev believe what they're told. I'm telling you - one day they're all going to watch one too many John Hughes flicks and start looking for Shermer, Illinois.

BARTLEBY

Be fair. Humans are dumb, but not that dumb.

(off couple)

So is it adultery or not?

LOKI

(thinks; to couple)

Excuse me.

The Couple stops kissing. The MAN looks at Loki.

LOKI

Are you married?

MAN

(puzzled)

Why?

LOKI

Just curious.

MAN

(holds up ring finger)

What do you think?

The Man shakes his head and goes back to kissing. Bartleby offers Loki a "Satisfled?' expression. Loki taps the Man on the shoulder.

MAN

(breaks kiss; pissed)

What?!

LOKI

To her?

MAN

What?

LOKI

Are you married to her?

MAN

Not that it's any of your fucking business, but no! Why?!

Loki looks at Bartleby. Bartleby rolls his eyes. Loki calmly shoots the man in the head. Screaming ensues.

EXT HIGHWAY - NIGHT

The bus skids to a halt. People flock off in a panic. scattering. After a beat, Bartleby and Loki deboard and stand there alone.

BARTLEBY

You're such an asshole.

LOKI

Don't blame me, man. Blame the Commodores.

BARTLEBY

Troubadors.

EXT ROADSIDE OF HIGHWAY - DAWN

Silent Bob still tools around under the hood, Jay hands him various wrenches. Bethany steams off to the side.

JAY

(to Silent Bob)

She's pissed, dude. She'll never fuck us now. Well,

maybe you, but definitely not me.

(beat)

Let me know how she is.

BETHANY

(turns on him)

Nobody is fucking me! You got that?!

JAY

At least not in this car.

BETHANY

(sighs)

I'm sorry I dragged you to that diner. I don't know what I was thinking. But being that I've decided to go home and not to New Jersey, this is where you two get off.

JAY

You're breaking up with us?

BETHANY

Good luck with finding Molly Ringwald, or whoever it is vou're looking for. Sorry for the inconvenience. Good bye.

Bethany starts walking away. Jay stares at her, shocked.

JAY

(to Bethany)

Who the hell do you think you are, lady? You can't go around breaking people's hearts like that! We fell in love with you! Guys like us don't just fall out of the sky, you know!

On cue, a naked black MAN falls from the sky. landing between the two parties. Bethany and Jay stare at him. The Man is face down, sooty, and ashen - as if he's just been in a fire. Bethany drops to her knees and rolls him over, feeling for a pulse. Jay looks down, then looks skyward as Silent Bob joins him.

JAY

(yelling up)

A beautiful, naked woman doesn't just fall from the sky, you know?!

(beat; to Silent Bob)

Was worth a try.

Silent Bob nods. Bethany presses her ear to the man's chest.

BETHANY

No heartbeat.

JAY

Do you think he fell from a plane? Like 'Alive'? Did you ever see that flick?

BETHANY

(starts CPR'ing him)

I think there would have been more of a mess if he fell from that high.

MAN

Not necessarily.

Bethany, Jay, and Silent Bob leap back. The man sits up and rubs his face.

JAY

KILL IT!! KILL IT!!

MAN

That sounds familiar.

BETHANY

Jesus, are you okay?

MAN

Rufus. And yes, I'm fine.

JAY

He's the fuckin' undead!! Cut his head off!!

RUFUS

(getting up with Bethany's help)

What happened to your car? You clock ninety in first gear or something?

JAY

Mind your own fucking business!

RUFUS

(to Jay)

Listen, goldie-locks, what I just did was not easy and it ga\e me a fucking migraine. Now if you don't pipe down, I'm going to rip your balls off.

JAY

(hiding behind Silent Bob)

I knew it! Mother fucker wants to eat my brain!

BETHANY

I think he was aiming a bit further south.

(to Rufus)

Speaking of which, you're awfully nude - Rufus, is it?

RUFUS

Rufus it is, Miss.

(to Silent Bob)

Hey, tubby... how's about lending a brother your coat 'till I can find my own threads?

Jay looks at Silent Bob.

JAY

Dude, he fell out of thin air!

Silent Bob shrugs and passes his coat to Rufus. Jay bugs.

JAY

Dude, his dick is gonna be rubbing all over the inside of your armor!

RUFUS

(to Silent Bob)

I'll do my best to tuck it back, brother.

Silent Bob nods. Something OC catches his eye. He stares OC and exits.

BETHANY

Where exactly did you fall from?

RUFUS

Some might say grace.

JAY

(to Silent Bob)

Dude, he's talking about your mom.

Jay turns to see that Silent Bob isn't there.

Silent Bob peers at a large bush at the road side. The bush rustles slightly.

OC BETHANY

You know, normally I'd have a hard time with this, but somehow you falling out of the sky seems to go hand in glove with some of the other stuff I've been deaiing with.

OC RUFUS

Believe me - you ain't seen nothing yet.

Silent Bob peers closer at the bush. Suddenly - a Stygian Triplet leaps out at him, pinning him to the ground with his hockey stick.

The other two Triplets leap on top of Jay and BETHANY

Rufus grabs the one off Bethany and hurls him to the side.

Jay manages to reach into his jacket and pull out a copy of Penthouse. He rolls it up and starts beating the kid in the head with it.

Silent Bob gets his hands under the stick that pins him and pushes it up hard, into the Triplet's forhead, knocking him off. He rushes to Jay's side and plies the other Triplet from his throat, hurling him OC.

The Triplet Silent Bob fought 'punctures' the air with his stick and rips downward, creating a 'hole'. He grabs his friend and leaps into it, disappearing.

Jay and Silent Bob look at eachother, blink, and embrace passionately.

The Triplet that Rufus threw rushes Rufus from behind - hockey stick in lancing position. Without looking back, Rufus reaches behind himself, grabbing the stick and swinging it (and the Triplet) over his head in an arch, letting go. The last Triplet goes sailing through the 'hole', and it seals shut.

Bethany, Jay and Silent Bob are in various wide-eyed states of shock.

JAY

Alright - what's with you, lady?! That's the second time you got attacked by the fucking Mighty Ducks!

RUFUS

(wiping off hands)

Man, they're onto you bad, already. I got here just in time.

BETHANY

How can you be so composed? We were almost killed.

RUFUS

Death is a worry of the living. The dead only worry about decay and necrophiliacs.

JAY

See! I told you he was the undead!

RU FUS

Not the undead, the dead. I died. Christ told me the secret to resurrection once when we were at a wedding in Canna, but I got drunk and forgot it.

BETHANY

(incredulous)

Wait. wait, wait - Christ? You knew Christ?

RUFUS

Knew him? I saw him naked.

BETHANY

Let me guess - you're another angel?

RUFUS

No, I'm a man - just like you and him.

(looks at Jay)

Well, maybe not like him. At least I was a man. Been dead for nearly two thousand years. Here.

(pulls rolled up paper from behind his ear)

JAY

No wonder he saw Jesus - homey's rockin' the ganj.

BETHANY

(unrollingit)

It's not a joint.

(looks at it)

I can't read this.

RUFUS

It's Sanskiit. It says "Rufus - see you in two years. Jesus." Freaked me out because he basically told me when my number was up. Took the flavor out of the remaining years. Look, we gotta keep moving. If we stay in one place long enough, those things are liable to come back. What say we continue this discussion over something to eat?

BETHANY

(snaps)

WAIT A SECOND!

(inhales deeply)

I'm a rational woman, okay. All I want to know is where you, and those... kids came from?!

RUFUS

They came from Hell. I came from Heaven.

(walking away)

Let's start walking.

JAY

Walk? Do you know how far we are from anywhere?

RUFUS

Back in the old days with J.C., we walked everywhere. Did you ever hear of a fat apostle?

(exits)

Bethany looks to Jay and Silent Bob for some guidance or stability.

JAY

What's an apostle?

Bethany shakes her head and exits. Jay and Silent Bob shrug at each other.

EXT MOOBY CORP. BUILDING - DAWN

A large office building in downtown Cleveland. The city. hasn't started up yet. A pickup truck pulls curbside in front of the structure. Bartleby and Loki jump out of the back and pat the side of the truck. offering waved thank-you's to the driver. As the truck pulls away, Loki pulls out the article and looks at it. He looks up at the building and nods to Bartleby, smiling. They head toward the front doors.

INT QUAlNT SUBURBAN HOUSE - DAWN

A ringing phone is answered by the unseen figure in the chair. We move from the seated Figure, passing by the dead bodies of the home's original owners, and come to a stop on the bruised and worn Stygian Triplets seated on a couch. They look scared.

FIGURE

Hello?... No, they're not in right now... I'm the phone guy... I'll leave them a message... Bye.

The Figure hangs up the phone and rises.

FIGURE

You say the girl has already met the prophets?

The Stygian Triplets nod.

FIGURE

She grows closer to learning her true identity. If that happens, our plan is jeopardized. I can't afford to go into the field - that might compromise us further. The best course of action is to insure that our parcel is not found. And being that I can't even trust you enough to kill a girl, I'm left with no choice but to seek outside assistance in guarding our package.

(sighs)

I'm going to have to summon the Golgothan.

The Figure exits. The Stygian Triplets register shock.

EXT FAST FOOD JOINT - DAWN

Rufus - now wearing some funky new clothes - carries a tray of fast food to an outdoor table. Sitting already are Bethany, Jay, and Silent Bob.

RUFUS

(off new clothes)

It's amazing the shit people throw out. Didn't I tell you I'd find some threads?

A car full of teens whip past them.

TEEN

(yelling from passing car)

GARBAGE PICKER!

RUFUS

(waves to them)

Thank you.

(to group)

What's that mean?

JAY

It means they saw you pull that shit out of that dumpster.

RUFUS

So it's a good thing, then.

(handing coat back to Silent Bob)

I appreciate the loan, brother. You can have this back.

JAY

(to Silent Bob)

Lucky you.

RUFUS

(off food)

Damn, I remember when all we used to have for breakfast was fish and goat's milk. What do you call this shit?

BETHANY

(to Rufus)

Egg McMuffin. Now how about you start explaining some things to me.

RUFUS

Like what?

BETHANY

Like - for starters - who the hell are those kids that keep attacking me?

RUFUS

Nasty little bastards called the Stygian Triplets. They're not really related. When they were alive they were a trio of kids that snatched a neighbor's toddler and smashed it's skull in - "just to see what it looked like" I believe was their defense. They were killed in a car wreck on the way to a detention center.

BETHANY

So they're dead too?

RUFUS

You'd be surprised how many dead people are just walking around - we're stubborn bastards. Thing is, those kids are supposed to be in Hell. Which means that someone wants you out of the picture so badly they're willing to summon demons.

BETHANY

Is it those two angels I'm supposed to stop?

RUFUS

Couldn't be. They're not evil - they're just stupid.

JAY

(to Bethany)

Wait a minute - are you going to listen to this shit? We don't even know who this guy is. For all you know, he's in with those fucks. They both showed up at the same time.

BETHANY

I hate to say it - but he does have a point. How did you know where to find us?

RUFUS

You know what the dead do with most of their time? They watch the living. Especially in the shower.

JAY

(to Silent Bob)

I can't wait to die.

BETHANY

And why are you watching me?

RUFUS

Because you're the one who's going to help me get some changes made in that book you all hold so much stock in.

JAY

Hustler?

RUFUS

The Bible.

BETHANY

What's your beef with the Bible?

RUFUS

I'm not in it.

JAY

Neither are any of us, but you don't hear us bitching.

RUFUS

But I'm supposed to be in it. I was the Thirteenth Apostle.

BETHANY

I've been going to church my entire life and I've never heard of a thirteenth apostle named Rufus.

RUFUS

See? You know all about the other twelve Apostles -white boys, I might add. But no mention of Rufus. And why? Cause I'm a black man. But that's just my pet peeve. I mainly want to correct a major error that you people are basing a faith on.

BETHANY

What's that?

RUFUS

Jesus wasn't white; He was black.

Rufus bites into his sandwhich. Bethany, Jay and Silent Bob look at him and then each other.

JAY

Bullshit. I've seen pictures of Jesus, and He has blonde hair and blue eyes.

RUFUS

(wiping hands)

That's what's particularly insulting. Between the time when He established the faith and the church started to officially organize, the powers-that-be decided that while the message of Christ was integral, the fact that He was black was a detriment. So all renderings were ordered to be Eurocentric, even though the brother was blacker than Jesse.

BETHANY

If that's true, then why'd He get written about while you were left out?

RUFUS

Well He is the Son of God, right? It's kind of hard to have the New Testament without him. So you fudge a few facts and put a spin on His ethnicity. Leaving me out's okay because there's still Twelve apostles to choose from.

JAY

I don't buy it.

RUFUS

That's what the good people of Antioch were saying when they stoned my ass.

BETHANY

You were martyred?

RUFUS

That's one way of putting it. Another way is to say I was bludgeoned to shit by big rocks. See - Christ told us Apostles to go out into the world and spread His word. Antioch was already garnering a big Christian following, so I got sent there. And was a big hit. They loved hearing about Jesus' message, and how He was the Redeemer. But when I mentioned He was black, the whole town turned on me - called me a liar and shit. I pressed the point, and before I know it, I'm wearing stones - although not to accessonze.

BETH ANY

Why didn't you just let the point go when you saw how they were reacting?

RUFUS

Because it's part of the facts. White folks only want to hear the good shit: life eternal, a place in God's kingdom. As soon as they hear they're getting all this from a black Jesus, they freak. And that - my friends - is called Hypocrisy. Folks just can't accept a black Savior.

(to Silent Bob)

You going to eat that hash brown?

BETHANY

So you went to Heaven?

RUFUS

Shit yeah; it was the least the brother could do. I gave up my sheep and followed His ass around Jerusalem for three years. And in all that time, did I ever get laid? Hell no! But I didn't bitch, because I was into His message. And while the message is what counts, folks should know that He was black. That's why I'm going to help you find stop those angels from getting to that church in exchange for you helping me with my campaign.

BETHANY

How do you know about that?

RUFUS

Heaven's a pretty boring place, and anything that breaks the tedium is news. The unmaking of existence is what you might consider a great tediumbreaker. Besides, there isn't much I don't know about you.

BETHANY

I find that hard to believe.

RUFUS

When you were five you let a kid from next door piss on your hand.

JAY

(shocked)

You did that?

BETHANY

Yeah... but I never told anyone about it.

RUFUS

Neither did he. He died of Leukemia two years later. His name was...

BETHANY

...BryanJohnson.

RUFUS

Your exploits - no matter how inane - are well-known in Heaven. Probably in Hell, too.

Bethany rubs her temples and exits OC. Rufus watches her go.

JAY

(intrigued)

Tell me something about me.

RUFUS

(preoccupied with the OC Bethany)

You masturbate more than anybody else on the planet.

JAY

Shit, everyone knows that. Tell me something nobody knows.

RUFUS

You think about guys when you do it.

Rufus gets up and exits. Silent Bob looks at Jay, shocked.

JAY

Not all the time!

Bethany sits on a swing in the kiddie-jungle gym, shaking her head. Rufus joins her.

RUFUS

I'm sorty if I spooked you.

BETHANY

I just feel... violated. Like my life isn't mine exclusively.

RUFUS

That's the way it goes with celebrities.

BETHANY

What are you talking about? I'm a nobody. I'm just a quiet girl from the suburbs who counsels pregnant teens.

RUFUS

You sound like Christ. He had the same reaction when He found out who He was, minus the quiet girl from the 'burbs angle. And like Him, I'm sure you'll come to terms and do what you're supposed to.

BETHANY

Why not get the pope or someone holy like that?

RUFUS

Just because a guy wears a funny hat, doesn't make him the right man for the job. Only certain hands can deliver the world from the brink of destruction. last time it was Jesus - this time it's you.

BETHANY

Why me?

RUFUS

Can't say yet. But the question is - are your hands capable enough to carry the burden. It all rides on you.

BFTRANY

(rubbing her temples)

Two thirds of me wants to forget about this and go home. You know, yesterday I wasn't sure God even existed. And now I'm upto my ass in Christian Mythology.

RUFUS

God hates it when it's referred to as Mythology.

BFTHANY

Well then let's ask the quote, unquote 'prophets' what we should call it instead.

(looking OC; concerned)

Now where did those two assholes go?

INT STRIP JOINT

It's your typical strip club. One woman on a stage and a crowd of men paying way-too-much attention. The place is dimly lit with red lights and chock full of smoke. Off to one side, a dee-jay spins records, blasting the music. The crowd is rather thin.

Jay and Silent Bob sit at the stage. their eyes glued on...

The DANCER - a gorgeous, shapely vixen with very little clothing on, and growing littler by the second.

Jay pokes Silent Bob, who produces a wad of bills. They skim off a nice pile and stow the rest. They spread their piles neatly on the bar. The Dancer smiles and starts dancing toward them. Jay holds up a five-spot and performs his own little seductive dance ~th it. He stands at the edge of the stage, ~'rating. The Dancer slinks over and Jay stuffs the five in her G-string. She rubs his head and slinks away. Jay humps Silent Bob's chair, excitedly. Bethany and Rufus come up from behind them. Bethany hits Jay.

BETHANY

(shouting above the music)

What are you doing?

JAY

Proving to this bastard that I ain't gay.

BETHANY

What?

RUFUS

Long story - forget it. But we should get moving. How can we get to New Jersey?

BETHANY

I had a car.

She slaps Jay upside the head, but - riveted by the Dancer - he doesn't feel it.

BETHANY

(to Rufus)

We could go by train.

RUFUS

(looking OC)

Sounds cool.

BETHANY

There's a phone out there. I'll call for reservations.

Rufus is now also riveted by a table dancer off to the side.

BETHANY

No, it's okay. I can handle it.

Rufus half-nods. Bethany shakes her head and exits.

The Dancer gyrates on the stage, revealing more and more of herself.

Jay pounds on the stage, hoots, and dances, flashing more bills.

ACROSS THE STAGE a small GANG of bandanna-wearing, angry-looking blacks watch the OC Jay with little amusement. The Dancer dances toward them.

JAY

(banging on stage)

Sweet thing!

(Hashes another five)

Look what I found! Snoog!

The Dancer smiles as she approaches Jay, but is interrupted by more banging.

The GANG LEADER has his foot on the stage. He produces a ten dollar bill from his jacket and casually holds it up. The other three members of his posse smile and slap hands.

The Dancer shrugs at the shocked Jay and changes direction, heading toward the Gang. Jay casts a horrified look at Silent Bob.

The Gang Leader leans forward, preparing to tip when we hear an obnoxiously loud throat~learing.

Jay holds aloft a twenty, smiling and nodding.

The Dancer shrugs at the Gang Leader and again switches direction. The Gang Leader looks at his posse, who shake their heads at him, disappointedly.

The Stage becomes a bidding table, as - on one side - the Gang Leader produces two twenties. On the other side, jay - staring at the Gang Leader - produces three twenties. The Gang Leader hits his posse up for more cash. Jay hits Silent Bob up for more cash. The Dancer stays in the middle, gyrating and sizing up the best offer.

Jay then produces the creme'de Ia creme': three hundred dollar bills. He sneers at the OC Gang Leader. The Dancer heads over to jay and wraps her legs around him from the stage, gyrating against his groin. Jay stares at the Gang Leader, a victorious smirk on his face.

The Gang Leader shakes his head angrily and jumps out of his seat, producing a gun from his jacket. He fires into the ceiling. The music scratches to a halt and the other viewers scatter toward the door. The Gang Leader points his piece at Jay, his posse backing him up.

GANG LEADER

You a smart ass, ain'tcha, white boy? Come in here and ruin my good time.

JAY

It's a free country. The bitch just came to the man with the most.

DANCER

Bitch?

JAY

No offense, baby.

GANG LEADER

The bitch is gonna be leaving with the man with the most - the man with the most led in his piece. While you and tubby are leaving with the most led in your dead fucking carcasses, know what I'm sayin?

JAY

(to Dancer)

Step to the side, baby. I've gotta slap this pussyass, Nino Brown wanna-be down.

DANCER

(to Gang Leader)

Come on, Kane. This isn't necessary.

GANG LEADER

Shut the fuck up and back away from the midget!

The Dancer moves to the side.

GANG LEADER

(to Jay)

Now I believe you were about to apologize. I believe you were about to intone some pleas for mercy. You were about to say "Please, Mister Kane, I didn't mean to disrespect you in your club. Please accept my most humble apology.

Bethany comes back and sees the mess. She moves to rush to Jay's side, but Rufus holds her back An OC Jay laughs.

Jay leans on Silent Bob, laughing. The Gang stares back, angrily.

JAY

You want an apology?

GANG LEADER

(cocks gun)

Give me at least one "I'm sorry," and ltll put a kill shot through that thick fucking skull of your's. Otherwise we go slow and long in the pain dispensation.

JAY

(beat; zips jacket closed)

Know what I'm doing?

GANG LEADER

No. What you doing?

JAY

I'm closing my jacket, so that when we start this up, I don't get your filthy fucking brain guts all over my shirt. You know why?

GANG LEADER

Why?

JAY

Because you can't get shit stains out of flannel. What I'm saying is that you got shit for brains.

The Gang Leader and his posse stare silently for a moment.

GANG LEADER

Well I appreciate you breaking that down for me, but I got it without the explanation.

JAY

No. No, I don't think you did get it. See, there's gonna he some nine's firing in here, and when the bullets stop flyin', your cunt-lip ass is gonna be all holes and smoke. You think you can draw on me and walk away? Fuck that. And fuck you - you punk-ass monkey bitch! Yeah, I called you a monkey! Maybe if you kiss my dick all nice before I cap you, I'll bring a coconut to your funeral and lay it on your grave; stick a straw through it and stick the other end in the ground. Your lips'll reach.

The Gang stares, mystified. Rufus and Bethany can't move they're so frightened.

JAY

You think every white boy cowers at your ass? Shit, if I don't fucking plant you - watermelon - my muscle here will.

(thumbs at Silent Bob)

What do you think he is? My boy friend? I love chicks. So he's gotta be with me for one reason: to watch my back. Silent Bob doesn't talk in words - he speaks in bullets. Re's all quiet cause he's thinking about how he's gonna take you and your bitches out quick enough to piss on the bullets in your bodies before they cool down. You know why? Because he likes to see the hot steam coming off them when he sprays them down. Come to think of it, I~m tired of talking to your dumb ass; you probably don't even understand big words like 'piss'. Tell you what - I'll let him explain it to you.

(to Silent Bob)

Silent Bob - shoot these punk-monkey bitches.

Silent Bob slowly raises his hands in a surrender fashion. Jay looks at him.

JAY

What are you waiting for?!

Silent Bob shrugs.

JAY

(flabbergasted)

YOU DON'T RAVE A GUN?!?

Silent Bob kind of nods

JAY

(shocked)

WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU MEAN? ALL THIS TIME WE'VE BEEN TOGETHER, AND YOU DON'T HAVE A GUN?!?

Silent Bob indicates the negative, sheepishly.

JAY

THAT'S JUST FUCKING GREAT! DO YOU THINK I

WOULD'VE SAID ALL THAT IF I'D KNOWN YOU

DIDN'T HAVE A GUN?!?

(beat)

HUNHH?!?

Silent Bob raises his eyebrows remorsefully. The Gang snickers and smiles.

GANG LEADER

What was that about a coconut?

Jay shakes his head and glowers at Silent Bob.

JAY

No gun! What the fuck kind of muscle are you?! All this time and you got no gun!

GANG LEADER

Oh boys! We have some unfinished business here.

JAY

(sheepishly)

Can we talk this over?

GANG LEADER

Tell you what - you got thirty seconds. Then I cap you. Talk all you like.

Bethany goes to make a move, but Rufus holds her back, shaking his head. He puts a finger to his lips to quiet her and points back toward the action, smiling.

Jay fumes.

JAY

(to Silent Bob)

I can't believe you.

(to Gang Leader)

Do me a favor.

(points to Silent Bob)

Shoot this piece of shit first.

(to Silent Bob; disgusted)

No gun!

Suddenly, they both snap into a momentary trance. Zombie-like, Jay and Silent Bob step to the turntables behind them. Jay puts on headphones and begins scratching a record. A familiar tune begins.

The Gang watches, perplexed.

Silent Bob whips around, microphone in his hand, and begins to sing.

SILENT BOB

HEY, HEY, HEY!!! IT'S FAT ALBERT!

AND I'M GONNA SING A SONG FOR YOU!!

AND BILL'S GONNA TELL YOU A THING OR TWO!!

WE'LL HAVE SOME FUN, NOW!

WITH BILL AND ALL THE GANG!

LEARNING FROM EACH OTHER -

WHILE WE DO OUR THANG!

The Gang slowly goes from perplexity to enjoyment. The Gang Leader softens and smiles, adding a slight nod of approval. Jay provides back-up.

JAY

NA , NA, NA! GON NA HAVE A GOOD TIME!

SILENT BOB

(as Fat Albert)

HEY! HEY! HEY!

JAY

NA. NA. NA! GONNA HAVE A GOOD TIME!

Bethany and Rufus look on. amazed.

RUFUS

I thought she looked familiar.

BETHANY

Who?

RUFUS

(he nods toward the stage)

Serendipity.

Bethany looks to the stage.

The Dancer is the SERENDIPITY in question. She wipes sweat from her brow.

>>>

/ Dogma.
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