Part 1: No Ordinary Love

A murder mystery screenplay

Mookie Spitz
21 min readFeb 22, 2024

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Background

America in the mid-1990s was at the cusp between the “color blindness” goal of Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s civil rights movement, and the mainstreamization of critical race theory, identity politics, and social justice. Over the past three decades incredible progress has been made, especially with LGBTQ+ rights, yet racism, bigotry, and misogyny persist.

Given the complex historical evolution of civil rights, and our ever-changing perceptions, attitudes, and interpretations of the quest for universal human equality and fairness, misunderstandings abound. Much of the confusion has to do with the uncertainty of intent, caused by lack of sufficient context — Who is on the “right side of history,” and who is not?

To be as clear as possible, I am a humanist who advocates a more humane, just, and compassionate society. I believe reason, experience, and knowledge should enhance the well-being of all. As such, I believe in racial, gender, and sexual equality, full stop. How we bring that about within an imperfect world is up for robust debate, but my values aren’t.

The background for this screenplay is part preface, part disclaimer. Written when gay marriage was illegal, post-Rodney King and pre-George Floyd, civil rights were at a crossroads, and so were our societal norms. Now a period piece, No Ordinary Love features characters who frequently speak and act in offensive and brutal ways that were emblematic of the time.

I’ve recently dusted this script off, digitized and posted it here as a time capsule of sorts. Although entirely fictional, the situations and dialogue were extrapolated from many of my own personal experiences living on Chicago’s north side, circa 1995. Aside from several typos and a few otherwise incomprehensible anachronisms, I left the content verbatim.

Part of my goal in sharing this script is to bring it, like several other of my pre-Internet works, to light. What a joy to share otherwise hidden content with the world! The other part is specific to this script, in that I believe it accurately reflects societal attitudes and minority struggles that viscerally reveal how far we’ve since come — and how much further we need to go.

Debate continues to rage regarding gender and sexual identity, and once marginalized, abused, and forgotten transgendered people are now powerful voices. Transgender rights and activism have evolved from nearly nonexistent, to front-and-center of our politics and social discourse. The mid-90s were a different Universe, and my script offers a journey back.

Implicit bias is, by definition, difficult and sometimes impossible to spot. Although the journeys of the characters in this story often enter harsh terrain, their fates and the essential themes of the screenplay hopefully resonate with the humanist predisposition of its author. If you nonetheless find the content in any way offensive, by all means leave a comment.

If the Clinton Years in the mid-1990s can be described as the height of the American Empire, then as we enter the mid-2020s we can arguably see ourselves inhabiting the beginning of its demise. One step forward, two steps backward makes No Ordinary Love more topical now than when I wrote it. Hindsight is indeed 20/20, useful as we move forward half-blind.

Here goes…

No Ordinary Love

A murder mystery screenplay

It is terrible to destroy a person’s picture of himself in the interests of
truth or some other abstraction.
— Doris Lessing

“Stupid as a man” say the women: “cowardly as a woman” say the men. Stupidity is in woman the unwomanly.
— Friedrich Nietzsche


Synopsis

One Sentence “Hollywood Pitch”
No Ordinary Love is To Wong Foo meets Silence of the Lambs.

Two Sentence “TV Guide” Synopsis
A serial killer murdering transgendered people is loose in the City of Chicago. Two homicide detectives, aided by the police, are in a race against time to find the killer before striking again.

More Detailed Overview
Detective Lawrence LIDDELL, combating anti-gay prejudice within the force and his difficult personality as it relates to his own community, is trying to save his career and fix his image by finding the killer.

Detective Eugene SMALLS, recently arrived from Oklahoma, is new to both Big City Ways and his career. A double-outsider, he must contend with a new job, difficult partner, and the dynamics of a community he does not understand.

Police Officers MANLIUS and STRONG, local cops who find themselves forced to deal not only with a constituency they despise, but a superior they openly scorn.

MYZTERY Manzfield, a highly successful “female impersonator” realizes she is next on the killer’s list, and must run from both the police and the psychotic in pursuit.

RICO Ricobene, an opportunistic pimp, tries to capitalize on the killings to cover for his own abusive habits, and as a way of getting the police off his back.

STANLEY Fields, Myztery’s boyfriend, must question both his feelings for Myztery, and his fear of love and commitment.

TRIXIE and DIXIE, two transgendered hairdressers, add comic relief as they try to help the running performer.

Doctor Aristotle SHELLEY, once lovely and talented, ended her career as a top plastic surgeon when she suffered major burns in a car wreck. Jealous of her transgendered creations, that jealousy has lately turned into a psychosis.

EARLY SUMMER, EARLY 1990s

INT — INSIDE A STRAIGHT BAR, LATE EVENING

Smartly dressed WOMAN, a brunette with a light complexion, is seated at the bar alone.

Well dressed MAN, later revealed as RICO, approaches, appraises, gestures to the stool next to her.

WOMAN nods. MAN sits. WOMAN removes cigarettes from purse.

MAN
(Suave Latino, perhaps Cuban, accent)
Allow me

MAN lights cigarette for her. WOMAN nods.

MAN removes his own pack from suit pocket.

WOMAN removes lighter from purse, lights his cigarette for him.

MAN
“Age of Equality.”

WOMAN
— We’ve come a long way, Baby.

EXT — STREET IN FRONT OF GAY BAR, EVENING

Two queens, TRIXIE and DIXIE, have their hands against the wall they are facing, feet spread apart.

Plainclothes Detective LIDDELL moves down the line, frisking them.

His partner Detective SMALLS stands to the side, disoriented.

A small crowd has gathered, taking in the free show.

DETECTIVE LAWRENCE LIDDELL
Well-built, military hair cut, goatee and long side-burns, tapered to a point, similar in look to Chris O’Donnell’s Robin. He is gay, but very “butch,” and conducts himself in such a manner, to the point of macho exaggeration. Everyone hates him almost as much as he hates himself.

DETECTIVE EUGENE SMALLS
Thin lad, short black hair, though fair-skinned. A bit of a wimp in appearance, he is heterosexual. Speaks with a distinct “Okie” accent, is well-educated, polite in speech and manner. He is hard working, dedicated, concerned, an obviouis “do gooder”. Cursed with a stutter, it’s much worse when he’s unsure of himself.

LIDDELL
(frisking DIXIE)
What’ve I found here, Babe?

LIDDELL reaches under DIXIE’s dress.

TRIXIE
(still facing wall)
Anyone would know that’s you, Alice.

LIDDELL stops, goes over to TRIXIE, grabs bra straps, pulls bra up, starts to choke her with it.

LIDDELL
Want a date, Sweetheart?

TRIXIE
(gasping)
I never have to pay for it.

LIDDELL
That what you tell your tricks?

TRIXIE
(gasping louder)
I’m a good girl, dontcha know?

LIDDELL releases her.

TRIXIE collapses.

LIDDELL grabs TRIXIE’s hair, lifts her to her feet, throws her against DIXIE.

They wind up against the wall again, this time facing DETECTIVES.

LIDDELL
All you know is monkey-see, monkey-do. Seen this guy around, sweethearts?

LIDDELL gestures to police sketch being held in front of TRIXIE and DIXIE by SMALLS.

CLOSE UP of sketch: the suspect is identical to MAN from previous scene.

Slight pause.

TRIXIE
Fuck you.

LIDDELL reaches up to slap her —

Flashing blue lights, a siren. A police car screeches to the curb near them.

Officers MANLIUS and STRONG get out of their squad car, and approach the scene.

POLICE OFFICERS MANLIUS AND STRONG
Manlius is old and white, Strong is young and black. Manlius hates Black people and Strong hates white people, but they both hate gay people even more, and for the life of them can’t figure out transgendered people. No one knows how they wound up working the 44th Ward, least of whom them, but they take the all-too-typical Chicago cop attitude not caring, while having as good a time as possible at everyone else’s expense.

MANLIUS
Back in the ‘hood, Larry Liddell?

LIDDELL
Feelin’ a little horny tonight fellahs.

STRONG
Thought you liked boys, motherfucker.

LIDDELL
Lookin’ for a reliable witness.

STRONG
We already know you be a cocksucker. Ask us.

MANLIUS
(pointing to SMALLS)
Yeah. Who’s your new boyfriend?

LIDDELL
Detective Eugene Smalls, Sergeant Mickey Manlius. Manlius, Smalls, Smalls, Officer Tyrone Strong.

MANLIUS walks over to LIDDELL, puts an arm around his shoulders, takes him to the side.

MANLIUS
Sorry about your partner Stone, that was a real shame. But we’re getting complaints ‘bout you in the ward here of late, Larry. Nothing personal, ‘course. Times have changed since you left — Maybe you have, too…

STRONG sucks on a toothpick, shaking his head.

DIXIE
(Southern accent)
Well I never

TRIXIE
(gesturing to LIDDELL)
Only a faggot could be that rude.

INT — HALLWAY OF MOTEL, LATER THAT EVENING

WOMAN and MAN from prior BAR scene stagger down hallway, touching, kissing.

MAN unlocks door, both of them enter, close door behind them.

INT — MOTEL ROOM

Standard cheap motel: bed, shaded lamp, TV, dresser.

WOMAN collapses onto bed, MAN follows.

Hugging, more kissing. MAN touches WOMAN’s breasts, squeezing.

More kissing, hands move down, discovery made.

MAN leaps up.

MAN
What the fuck are you?

WOMAN
A little dry for you, Buddy?

MAN lunges at WOMAN, begins to beat her.

WOMAN screams, struggle ensues.

INT — INSIDE UNMARKED CAR, RACING TO THE SCENE

SMALLS
So, uh, you m-m-mind me asking what happened to your p-p-partner?

LIDDELL
(while driving)
Why? You wanna die young, too?

SMALLS
Naw, naw, I mean, come on, you know what I m-m-m-mean?

LIDDELL
Do I? I don’t know. You tell me. What do you mean?

SMALLS
I mean, uh, I heard, I h-heard that, well, he, he k-k-kind of…

LIDDELL
Where the hell are you from, anyway?

SMALLS
Excuse me? I’m sorry, w-w-what?

LIDDELL
Now I know why you can’t talk, ’cause you can’t even fucken hear. I was worried ‘bout ya, kid, but it’s all clear to me now.

SMALLS
I just think it’s the accent, you know, people in Chicago t-t-talk so differently from what I’m used t-to.

LIDDELL
How do Okies talk then? Like you, I guess.

SMALLS
And it’s what you f-folks talk about, too!

LIDDELL
Chicago that different from Oklahoma City?

SMALLS
I’d sure say so!

LIDDELL
Then go right ahead.

SMALLS
(confused)
I’m sorry…

LIDDELL
Don’t be sorry, kid. Never say you’re sorry.

SMALLS
I’m sorry — I mean, awwww, I d-d-don’t understand!

LIDDELL
See, it’s like this, Boy — White supremacist militia types don’t blow shit up around here, for the simple reason that they’re too scared to come into a city that’s already chock full of darkies ’n’ homos. Nazis kill Jews, of course, even though they’re white, and gypsies— and let’s not forget they kill fags, too, so go figure — Anyway, we got different kinds of problems in The Big City than the ones you’re probably used to, so you get it now? I sure as fuck hope so.

SMALLS
I-I-I-I’m n-not sure.

LIDDELL
Great havin’ ya on board, kid!

SMALLS
Well all right then, Alice.

LIDDELL slams on the breaks, car screeches to a halt at a curb.

LIDDELL pulls his gun out, aims it at SMALLS’ head.

POV of LIDDELL’S face behind the end of his gun.

LIDDELL
What did you call me?

SMALLS puts his hands in the air.

SMALLS
Huh? Aw, I’m sorry! — I’m sorry! I’m so sorry!

LIDDELL holsters pistol, reaches over and grabs SMALLS by the collar.

LIDDELL
I told you never to say you’re sorry, right?

SMALLS
R-r-r-right!

LIDDELL tosses SMALLS back, SMALLS visibly shaken.

LIDDELL
Well, all right then.

LIDDELL pulls car back out and onto the street, speeds up.

LIDDELL
And don’t you ever fucken call me “Alice”.

CREDITS ROLL: “NO ORDINARY LOVE”

Cross-cuts between transgender showgirls performing on stage, cutting to drag prostitutes cruising on Clark Street, talking to potential clients, then cutting to female prostitutes in Wicker Park, then back to showgirls.

Song suggestion is where script title is derived from, Sade’s “No Ordinary Love” from Love Deluxe (1992) recording — a showgirl lipsynching this number throughout the opening sequence could be cool.

INT — MOTEL ROOM

Room is ransacked, now full of uniformed POLICE and PARAMEDICS, who lift WOMAN onto stretcher.

LIDDELL enters room, flashes badge.

LIDDELL
(to paramedics)
Hold on for a second.

He approaches WOMAN, badly bruised, lying on a stretcher.

LIDDELL
Why’d he beat you up? Come on now. Did he clock you? Did he figure you out the hard way, honey?

WOMAN
(from her delirium)
You know, they’re never satisfied. Give ’em that lit-tle extra, and look what
happens…

PARAMEDICS remove WOMAN.

SMALLS enters, notebook in hand, still jotting.

SMALLS
Clerk downstairs gave us a good description, saw the guy 1-leave, too.

LIDDELL
Our guy?

SMALLS nods.

LIDDELL
Who called the cops?

SMALLS
Guest next door. Said it broke his heart to hear a l-l-lady scream like that.

LIDDELL
Yeah, well this wasn’t no lady.

SMALLS
And I think we m-m-might be chasing the wrong fellah.

LIDDELL
You just told me the M.O. checks out.

SMALLS
Sure does — That’s why I think we’re getting c-c-cold. Look. Set-ups all wrong. The other girls didn’t d-d-die like this, they didn’t even have a chance to scream.

LIDDELL
Maybe our guy fucked up this time.

SMALLS
Oh I sure hope so!

LIDDELL
Well yippie-dippie-dippie-do.

SMALLS
Lawrence? What would m-m-make a person do the kinds of things we’ve seen?

LIDDELL
Who the hell knows, kid. City’s full of freaks.

SMALLS
I don’t understand this, these “girls”.

LIDDELL
You looking for a date, or what? We don’t understand ’em, kid. We just find the bad guys and call it a day.

SMALLS
Maybe it’s just another guy who hates guys in dresses?

LIDDELL
They got drag queens in Oklahoma City?

SMALLS
Probably. Most of ’em s-stay at home, though.

LIDDELL stares at SMALLS.

SMALLS
I think.

LIDDELL
“Thank you for your service!”

SMALLS
I d-d-don’t understand.

LIDDELL
Come on, kid. Let’s go get some donuts…

INT — DRESSING ROOM OF FEMALE IMPERSONATION CLUB, LATE SHOW

Transgender SHOWGIRLS are preparing themselves for a performance. Some sit at tables, applying makeup, others stand and adjust bras, dresses, masking tape, etc.

CLOSE UP of various SHOWGIRLS applying make-up, putting on outfits. Emphasis on their distinctive physical form, hybrid nature of their bodies.

INT — HOSPITAL HALLWAY

LIDDELL and SMALLS walk up to the reception area at the base of a hallway.

NURSE at reception points further down hallway, lips moving to form room number.

STEADICAM of LIDDELL and SMALLS walking up hallway: orderlies, patients being wheeled back and forth, doctors and nurses pass them and are passed by them.

LIDDELL
(singing to “If You’re Happy And Ya Know It”)
If you’ve got tits and a dick, clap yer hands.
Clap, clap.
If you’ve got tits and a dick, clap yer hands.
Clap, clap.
If you’re a boy but don’t want to show it
Become a transie! And before ya know it…
You’ve got tits and a dick, so clap yer hands.
Clap, clap.

SMALLS
I d-d-don’t understand.

LIDDELL
This would be Jeopardy, you’d be out the first round.

SMALLS
I’ve heard about t-t-tranvestites before.

LIDDELL
“I’ll take Very Clever Farm Boys for fifty, please.”

SMALLS
And I know that, that these “queens,” they like m-men so they dress up like w-w-women.

LIDDELL turns, stops.

LIDDELL
No. Time-out. Time-out. Queens don’t dress like women because they like men. They might dig guys, and might try to attract straight guys that way, but they wear dresses, make-up and shit like that for their own fucked up reasons. Hetero guys do drag, too. The result’s the same, either way far as I’m concerned — it’s all trash.

SMALLS
Then why do these people dress and act like that?

LIDDELL
Because they’re fuckin perverts, is why. That shit isn’t normal.

LIDDELL turns, starts to walk.

SMALLS follows.

SMALLS
Okay. Now that that’s clear, uh, can I ask you s-something else?

LIDDELL thumbs cigarette.

LIDDELL
Can’t believe they don’t let ya smoke in here…

SMALLS
Smoking is bad for you, anyway.

LIDDELL
Wanna buy a vowel?

SMALLS
These “queens” we’ve seen, men w-w-with breasts, and soft s-s-skin, and hair like a g-g-girl’s

LIDDELL stops at specified door, stares at SMALLS.

LIDDELL
You turned on, Bucko? Pop a jimmie?

SMALLS
No! No, n-not at all! I just, I, I just, don’t, understand.

LIDDELL
Here we go again. What can’t you figure out?

SMALLS
How do they, how can they —

LIDDELL
(putting unlit cigarette into his mouth)
Look — You know those prettypretty girls in Playboy? Penthouse? Hustler magazines? With huge titties, perfect fucken faces? ‘Course it’s not all airbrushed, they get worked on, right? Nose and cheek jobs galor, they’re titties pumped with silicone, sometimes their asses, their hips ’n’ lips? Well, transsexuals do the same goddamned thing, only they start as boys. More silly putty and surgery required, but the same batshit crazy idea.

SMALLS
But some of them, they 1–1-look, they look so real!

LIDDELL
Hormones, kid. They pop and shoot female hormones. Gross, huh.

SMALLS
Who would want to do that?

LIDDELL
Freaks, kid. Nothin but a bunch of fucken freaks.

LIDDELL opens the door, enters.

SMALLS follows.

INT — DRESSING ROOM OF FEMALE IMPERSONATION CLUB

SHOWGIRLS are in a more advanced state of preparedness for their upcoming show. They flit about, gossipping, carrying on.

INT — HOSPITAL ROOM

Standard spread, bed, monitors, flowers in a vase.

WOMAN from MOTEL attack lies in bed with a hand-held mirror, quickly covering her bruised face and black eye with make-up. She is already dressed, and looks ready to leave.

LIDDELL and SMALLS enter.

LIDDELL
Hi, Vampira.

WOMAN
(not looking up)
Name’s Bonnie, Bonnie Black, Mister.

LIDDELL
Well, all right then, “Bonnie.” We’re Detectives Liddell and Smalls.

BONNIE
That sounds exciting.

SMALLS
We’re here to ask you a c-c-couple questions, ma’am.

BONNIE
I’m fine. Doc says I can leave any time I want to.

LIDDELL
You seemed in pretty bad shape less’n hour ago.

BONNIE
(looking up)
Yeah, well they don’t like “our kind” hanging around here too long.

LIDDELL
No health insurance, huh sister?

BONNIE
None of your goddamned business.

LIDDELL
Whaddaya do for a day job, missy?

BONNIE
None of your goddamned business.

LIDDELL
(to SMALLS)
You guys should get along. She stutters too.

BONNIE
(to SMALLS)
I’m a waitress.

LIDDELL
Do you dip for a tip? Do you swish while you dish, smelling of fish?

SMALLS
Which restaurant w-w-would that be, ma’am?

BONNIE
A club. I’m a cocktail waitress.

LIDDELL
Ideal employee, she gives cock and tail.

SMALLS
Which club would that be, ma’am.

BONNIE
None of your —

LIDDELL
— What is our business is your charming date for the evening.

BONNIE
What about him?

LIDDELL
Where is he?

BONNIE
How would I know?

LIDDELL
Don’t know him? Where did you pick him up?

BONNIE
Read the police report.

SMALLS
Someone is stalking y-y-your, uh, someone is a-a-after people like —

LIDDELL
— What Clutch Cargo here is trying to say, Misses Man, is that your date seems to have pulled this same kind of shit before.

BONNIE
I’ve never seen him before in my whole life.

LIDDELL
You’re sure.

BONNIE finishes touch-ups, stands unsteadily, braces herself against a table, then adjusts herself.

BONNIE
Never seen him before in my whole life.

LIDDELL
Okay, Sugar.

BONNIE grabs her purse, half-stumbles toward the door.

LIDDELL
“Be, All That You Can Be, Baby.”

BONNIE scowls, and exits.

LIDDELL goes over to BONNIE’s chart, on a clipboard by her bed. Scans it, turning a page or two, takes notice of an entry.

CLOSE UP of clipboard: “PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT: (handwritten) Pandemonium Drag Club.”

LIDDELL
Feel like goin’ to a Late Show, Holmes?

SMALLS
I think she’s lying.

LIDDELL
Ya think?

SMALLS
I do.

LIDDELL
Pope must be Polish then.

SMALLS
I d-d-don’t —

LIDDELL grabs SMALLS, pushes him out of the room.

INT — DRESSING ROOM, LATE EVENING

SHOWGIRLS shuffle out, ready to perform.

INT — BAR/SEATING AREA OF CLUB, NEAR STAGE

Dozen or so PATRONS mill about, sit at tables and bar.

Second set of show is in progress. MZ. MYZTERY MANZFIELD, a stunning blonde female impersonator, is dancing and lipsynching to a popular female vocal number.

LIDDELL and SMALLS enter.

LIDDELL sits at bar, SMALLS stands near him, visibly mesmerized by the ambience.

BARTENDER
What can I get for ya?

LIDDELL tosses police sketch onto bar.

LIDDELL
Ever see a trick, kind of looks like this?

BARTENDER studies sketch.

BARTENDER
Yep.

BARTENDER points to MAN from MOTEL attack seated at a table near them.

BARTENDER
He’s sitting right over there, as a matter-of-fact.

LIDDELL turns, stands, pulls out gun. SMALLS follows suit.

LIDDELL
Hey! Freeze! Police business!

Music and performance continues uninterrupted throughout this scene, a sign how much the community cares for and respects LIDDELL:

MAN
(to WAITER)
Stevie, see that stupid asshole faggot cop standing there with his gun pointed at my head? — Yeah, that’s him — Can you please buy him and his loverboy a drink for me? Anything he wants.

LIDDELL
Hands in the air!

SUSPECT
(open arms)
Welcome. Name’s Rico, Rico Ricobene. Pleasure to meet you.

SMALLS
Hands in the air!

RICO
(eyeing SMALLS)
Peter Pan found his shadow. How nice. Be patient boys, waiter will take your order in one moment.

LIDDELL rushes to table, gun in RICO’S face.

LIDDELL
I said: “Put yer hands in the air!”

RICO
Charges? My rights?

LIDDELL
Assault, maybe even attempted murder. Maybe even a string of successful murders.

WAITER
(to LIDDELL)
What would you like, sir?

LIDDELL
(to WAITER)
Nothing right now, thank you very much.

RICO
Thought I was just sitting here, minding my business, having a drink, enjoying the show…

LIDDELL
Let me refresh yer memory, Spic ’n’ Span — Couple hours ago, at the Motown Motel

RICO
— She’s already dropped the charges, you idiot. Really. Don’t believe me, ask your boyfriend to check it out for you.

LIDDELL gestures to SMALLS, SMALLS shrugs.

LIDDELL
I saw the bitch myself, you fucked her up pretty good.

RICO
Did I? How do you know what really happened? How do you know how bad I did her?

LIDDELL
We got witnesses, others seen you hangin’ ‘round some of the other transie hooks. And the lucky ones wind up looking even worse than that quee —

BONNIE enters, hurting, but seemingly no worse for wear.

She smiles at the DETECTIVES, gives RICO a peck on his cheek, and sits down right next to RICO at his table.

LIDDELL
(gun still pointed)
What’s going on?

RICO
Slight, “domestic unrest,” shall we say? Even better, how about “lovers’ fantasy”? Look around, Big Boy.

LIDDELL
(holsters weapon)
What are you talking about?

RICO
Look around, maricon. Things aren’t always as they seem. If I would have assaulted her for giving me dick when I wanted pussy, what would I be doing here? Refresher course? Classes in Tranny Sex 101?

LIDDELL frowns.

SMALLS is dumbfounded by the entire situation, mesmerized by the surroundings, and entranced by the SHOWGIRL performing on stage.

RICO
See? Such a misunderstanding! And who knew, from a butch faggot cop, too! I can see your straight buddies in blue fucking up this bad, but a homo detective? Oh, please. (Claps.) Stevie! I think Officer Sister here needs to sit back and chillax, so get her a—

LIDDELL grabs RICO by the neck, shakes him.

SCREAM is heard from behind the stage area.

LIDDELL pulls away from RICO.

LIDDELL and SMALLS rush backstage.

INT — DRESSING ROOM

LIDDELL and SMALLS rush in to find SHOWGIRLS huddled on far side of dressing room. Many are crying, pointing.

Large, open chest off to one side is the focus of attention.

DETECTIVES approach chest, guns drawn.

CLOSE UP of inside chest: Tossed into it amid lingerie, is a BODY — naked, with gaping, bloody wounds at chest and groin areas. Hair is badly cut off.

INT — LOBBY OF CLUB, ABOUT TWENTY MINUTES LATER

BODY, covered in white sheet, on stretcher being wheeled ou by PARAMEDICS through front doors.

PAN up to series of photos above the frong door: CLOSE UP of portraits of award winning SHOWGIRLS.

ZOOM to one of them, her face resembling that of BODY on stretcher. Name beneath the photo: “VIVA VITALIS”.

INT — POLICE STATION, HOMICIDE DEPARTMENT. EARLY MORNING

Old wooden desks, chairs, filing cabinets, bad neon lighting,and those standard-issue big black police phones.

LIDDELL and SMALLS sit around looking at photographs, papers, and a beauty pagean album on the desk in front of them.

CLOSE UP of photographs: Groups in sets of three —

First photo of a MAN or BOY
Second photo is the same as those of SHOWGIRL above the Club doors
Third photo is of a mutilated BODY, eerily similar to first in series

OFFICERS MANLIUS and STRONG enter.

MANLIUS
Seems like you boys are real pros at finding stiffs. Why need us cops when the two from homocide got it all covered?

SMALLS
I’m sorry.

LIDDELL looks up from photos, stares at SMALLS.

STRONG
Sorry about what, Opey?

SMALLS
I’m sorry, but I don’t p-particularly appreciate being t-t-t-treated like this.

MANLIUS
People get killed all the time in The Big City, sometimes chopped up like these shehes of yours, Buddy. It’s nothing personal.

SMALLS
No. I mean: h-h-here. You. You two officers.

STRONG
They kill cops too, Boy. Although we ain’t seen them too often sportin’ titties ’n’ wearin dresses.

MANLIUS and STRONG laugh.

SMALLS
(angry, stuttering less)
No — Listen — I’m not g-gay. Do you guys get it? And not that it would even m-matter. I don’t have an opinion one way or another, but I’m not a homosexual person. I don’t care what you think about them, either, but I just want you to know where I’m at, ok-kay? And I don’t appreciate this kind of treatment from c-colleagues.

MANLIUS
(mimicking SMALLS’ accent)
He claims to be p-p-pure.

STRONG
His virgin asshole preserved.

MANLIUS
Never sucked a dick in his life, he says.

STRONG
(lisping)
A real trooper…

LIDDELL
Fuck you, you guys, all right? Leave the little hick alone already, will ya?

MANLIUS
So you can have him?

STRONG
Corrupter of dem youth!

MANLIUS
(hand covering mouth but loud enough to hear)
Young buck might wind up like his old partner

LIDDELL
Know Alderman Roy?

STRONG
“Roy, has lots a toys, but they be all boys.”

MANLIUS
(lisping)
Our thtate reprethentatiff in tha dithtrict!

LIDDELL stares at them.

MANLIUS stares back, but his expression changes suddenly, understanding what LIDDELL meant.

MANLIUS then points to LIDDELL, then out a window, then to LIDDELL again, implying “you, and him… ?”

STRONG, trying to confirm, does a hand-stroking-penis-in-mouth gesture.

LIDDELL nods with a sly smile, “yes”.

Pause.

MANLIUS
(leaning, whispering to STRONG)
Now we know how the cocksucker got promoted.
(to LIDDELL, out loud)
Wellwellwell. Whaddaya ho — detectives need from us boys in blue?

LIDDELL
(nodding to SMALLS)
— Kid?

SMALLS
Uh, hum — So far, five male-to-female transgendered have been murdered, all by strangulation. Presence of a strong sedative in their bodies suggests they were first drugged. Subsequently, their bodies were mutilated: breasts efficiently removed, but genitalia mangled beyond recognition. As these photos illustrate, it would seem that —

MANLIUS and STRONG peer at groups of photos.

STRONG
— Well, I’ll be damned.

MANLIUS
The crazy son of a bitch is turning them back into boys.

LIDDELL
That’s what we figure.

STRONG
What a sick fuck.

MANLIUS
No sicker than the fucks he’s fucking up.

LIDDELL
I brought you two here since the last two killings have been in your precinct.

SMALLS
And we speculate that the n-n-next two will be, as well.

MANLIUS
How’s that?

SMALLS removes a large photo album from another desk.

LIDDELL
We bought this in the Gift Shop at the Drag Club tonight. He’s killing tip top tranny showgirls, boys, not just yer run-of-the-mill faggot who wants to be queen-for-a-day, let alone some straight buy who loves wearing his mom’s underwear.

SMALL
A-a-and not random transgendered persons, either. So far, the related killings have occurred in Atlanta, Key West, LA. At first we couldn’t figure it out, until we noticed —

CLOSE UP of the beauty pageant album, pages slowly turned:

“MZ. USA PAGEANT,” photos are identical to the middle ones on the table, and above the Club doors, this time with their winning years inscribed beneath.

SMALLS
— -That they’re all f-f-former winners of this pageant.

LIDDELL
And the killings go in chronological order, too. Mr. Psycho wasted Mz. USA 1989 first, and has been methodically working through the list, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993…

STRONG
No, shit.

MANLIUS
You know where these last two, uh, “girls” live?

SMALLS
We’re looking into it. The community is not being particularly c-c cooperative with us.

SMALLS looks at LIDDELL.

SMALLS
I can’t imagine why.

MANLIUS
(visibly amused, Sgt. Friday tone)
Lawrence Liddell, the faggot fagbasher, bashin’ fags for favors.

LIDDELL smirks.

MANLIUS
(mimicking LIDDELL’s tone and manner)
“You can shake my hand, suck my dick, or give me a lead, Baby.”

LIDDELL crosses arms over his chest, indefatigable.

Pause.

STRONG
So you be needin’ our help?

SMALLS
We need your help. We’re n-not sure what we’re up against here.

MANLIUS
Oh, kay — Any solid leads on the whacko doing this?

LIDDELL
We’re working on it. We’ve got one queenbasher sleazo under surveillance, but we can’t pin him to these murders. Even after interrogating the piss out the douche we got nothin, and none of the several busted up queens, not even that silicone-pumped Cruella De Vil bitch, will testify against him.

SMALLS shrugs.

STRONG
Maybe dey likes it.

MANLIUS
Come on, Partner. If we’re lucky, maybe we can get a little noogie out of
this mission, whaddaya say?

STRONG
We be lookin for Water, but we just might be findin us some Land…

MANLIUS and STRONG laugh as they exit.

SMALLS stares at LIDDELL.

LIDDELL
Stop looking at me like that.

SMALLS
I’m s-s-sorry.

LIDDELL
And for fuck’s sake, stop saying you’re sorry.

Continued in Part 2…

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Mookie Spitz

Author and communications strategist. His latest book SUPER SANTA is available on Amazon, with a sci fi adventure set for Valentine's Day 2024.