Part 3: No Ordinary Love

A murder mystery screenplay

Mookie Spitz
27 min readFeb 23, 2024

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This is Part 3 of a three-part screenplay. If you haven’t read the first or second parts yet, click on them here. Otherwise, keep reading below…

INT — POLICE STATION, HOMICIDE DEPARTMENT

LIDDELLS sits, smoking, examining series of photographs.

OFFICER LANG pops her head through the door.

LANG
Someone to see ya, Larry.

LIDDELL gestures.

RICO RICOBENE enters, dressed somewhat less ostentatiously than previously, but still flashy enough to em cee Ringling Brothers.

LIDDELL
Wellwellwell — Hi, Mr. Pimp. Beat up any tranny hookers lately?

RICO gestures to open chair.

RICO
You mind?

LIDDELL nods.

RICO sits.

LIDDELL offers cigarette.

RICO turns it down.

LIDDELL
So, my good friend. How’s biz?

RICO
That is exactly what I wanted to talk to you about, in fact.

LIDDELL
We don’t deal in trade, Precious. They have to be dead first, then we get involved.

RICO
And that, officer, is the essence of my problem.

LIDDELL searches on desk, finds photo series of FANTASIA FLAIRE, tosses it to RICO.

LIDDELL
One of yours, I would guess?

RICO
(examing photos)
You might say that Fantasia was, if I can use the word, rather “profitable”.

LIDDELL
Not anymore, huh? Although I’m sure you can find folks who might still be interested, probably charge a little extra

RICO
I am deeply upset by such talk. Fantasia was also a good friend.

LIDDELL
Beat her up, too?

RICO
I have come in good faith.

Pause.

LIDDELL
You know what, Slick? Two-faced spic sleazebags like you really make me sick. I should run your ass in for prostitution if the assault charges can’t stick.

RICO
Such harsh words. As a law-abiding, concerned citizen, I have come here to assist you in your investigation.

LIDDELL
Yeah, right. And I’m Mr. Brady.

RICO
(leaning close)
I hate your guts, you hate mine. That much is clear. What remains unclear is who is killing these girls. I don’t make it a habit of talking to pigs, but my girls are scared, and scared girls don’t want to work.

LIDDELL
Saint Rico Ricobene, always caring for his flock. Let’s cut the bullshit. Why are you here?

RICO
I have some information you can use.

LIDDELL
Is there a fly in here? I here something buzzing

RICO
Take it or leave it, asshole.

LIDDELL
What do you know?

RICO
Not so fast.

LIDDELL
Always wheelin & dealin. I should toss your ass —

RICO
— I am a businessman. In this world, nothing is free, nor should it be. In exchange for my information, I want assurances.

LIDDELL
Go sell cars on Western Avenue, scumbag.

RICO
Leave me and my girls alone. That is all I ask. Have your men chase the real girl hooks in Uptown, downtown, I don’t give a shit. There is enough real crime in this city. Go arrest a bank robber, a murderer.

LIDDELL
First, I’m sittin here looking for a killer, remember? Second, what do you mean “my men.” I’m homicide, read the fuckin sign on the door. I don’t carry that much clout around here to also protect your pathetic ass.

RICO
Don’t bullshit me. Your boyfriend at City Hall is one of my best customers.

LIDDELL stands suddenly, infuriated.

LIDDELL
Get the fuck out my office!

RICO
(calmly)
“Take it or leave it.”

LIDDELL
Out! Get out!

RICO
(shuffling through photos)
Poor girls. So young… so beautiful

LIDDELL opens his office door.

LIDDELL
Out!

RICO
Before you toss me out from here like some faggot getting kicked out of a bar, think — I’m sure catching that Crazy Hombre would be a good thing for the so far bad career of Mr. “Detectiv Popular”…

LIDDELL slams the door shut, folds arms across his chest.

RICO
My girls and I — we have immunity?

LIDDELL
How do you know about me and… and…?

RICO
Everybody knows everything. You, of all people, should know that.

LIDDELL
What do you know?

RICO
No more harassment. No more vice raids. No more busts.

LIDDELL
I’ll do what I can.

RICO
You can do a lot.

LIDDELL
How do you know?

RICO
Everybody knows everything.

LIDDELL
I’ll think about it.

RICO
Better think fast, pendejo, because the clock is ticking on the girls.

LIDDELL walks back to his desk, sits down.

RICO takes a cigarette off the desk.

LIDDELL lights it for him.

Pause.

LIDDELL
Deal. Only one your girls gotta worry about for now is you.

RICO nods.

RICO removes a pink business CARD from his jacket.

CLOSE UP of CARD:

Fever Hair Salon
“Get a clipsey with Trixie”

LIDDELL
Thanks for the tipsey.

RICO
De nada.

RICO inhales, blows a thick plume of smoke.

CLOSE UP of RICO, smiling enormous pimp smile.

INT — POLICE STATION, RECORDS DEPARTMENT

SMALLS, still in drag although his wig is off, make-up in bad shape, sits in front of a computer terminal, frantically typing away.

LIDDELL enters.

LIDDELL
Come on, kid, Pack your shit. I found the killer!

SMALLS
(not looking up)
F-f-forget the transsexual, Larry. I think I got a hot lead.

LIDDELL
Forget that, kid. I know where our hot blonde bitch is hiding out. Let’s go bust our Tranzie Tranziekiller, and call it a day.

SMALLS
No, boss, 1-look —

LIDDELL grabs SMALLS, lifts him up and out of the chair, drags him to the door.

SMALLS
W-w-w-wait a second.

LIDDELL
Let’s go, Sunshine. Miss Sweetness and fucken light…

LIDDELL physically drags SMALLS out.

INT — POLICE STATION, HALLWAY

LIDDELL with SMALLS in tow stumble out of Records Department, running right into MANLIUS and STRONG.

STRONG
See! I told you they be fuckin.

MANLIUS
I always like to see two young people in love.

LIDDELL
Come on, all of you. Let’s go get our Transmurderess!

STEADICAM the four of them as they make an awkward parade down the hall and to the front doors, LIDDELL dragging SMALLS the whole way.

Various COPS and CLERKS watch the procession as it meanders along.

SMALLS
But b-b-b-boss, I think I found the common thread.

STRONG
(touching hem of SMALLS’ dress)
Where you get dem common threads, Boy? Bloomingdale’s?

MANLIUS
Yeah. My wife would just love a dress like that.

SMALLS
All the d-dead girls were w-worked on by the same doctor. The same doctor.

LIDDELL
So what? Lot of that work is illegal. They all go to the same crooked docs. Lot of them bitches pump each other up with hormones and silicone, too.

SMALLS
Yeah, but one in particular, boss. Dr. Aristotle Shelley, said to be the best plastic s-s-surgeon in the b-business.

MANLIUS
Oh, Doc Shelley.

SMALLS pulls himself away, procession stops.

SMALLS
You guys know of her?

STRONG
She sho was one fine lookin real bitch, too!

MANLIUS
Wonder why she even bothered with medical school?

STRONG
Coulda gotten any man she wanted to, face ’n’ body like she had. Never saw her with no man, though. Always with dem queens ’n’ fags.

MANLIUS
’Til her accident, of course. Something of a neighborhood celebrity. Alderman Roy — (grinning at LIDDELL) — even got his nose done by her.

STRONG
That right, Big Boy?

LIDDELL grabs SMALLS fiercely.

LIDDELL
Come on, we don’t have much time.

Odd procession continues up the hallway.

SMALLS
(resisting, no use)
Myztery’s boyfriend says that the doctor was j-j-jealous of her own work.

STRONG
And I be jealous way you look, Miss V-v-v-v-veronica.

MANLIUS
‘Specially when you struggle like that, oooooh, you make me wet.

Laughter.

LIDDELL, SMALLS, MANLIUS, and STRONG exit building.

EXT — PARKING LOT OF POLICE STATION, EVENING

Procession moves along parked police cars, finally makes it to their respectivd CARS.

LIDDELL lets SMALLS go.

LIDDELL
(calling out)
You know the procedure, gentlemen! That fucked up foofy hair salon on Halsted. Let’s do it!

LIDDELL and SMALLS get into UNMARKED CAR.

MANLIUS and STRONG get into POLICE CAR.

Both autos peel out of parking lot, into street.

INT — UNMARKED CAR, MOVING

SMALLS
We’re wasting our time.

LIDDELL
Never trust a queen, kid, and never trust a queenchaser, either. Scums of the Earth.

SMALLS
Aside from being the next target, I think the blonde transgendered woman’s got nothing to do with all this.

LIDDELL
Queens lie. That’s the essence of their shitty, fucked up nature. They’ll do
anything to get ahead, you got that? Myztery here won her pageant, and, who the fuck knows, maybe she didn’t want anyone to take it away from her. Jealousy, kid. Bitch queen jealousy, plain and simple.

SMALLS
That’s just what I’ve been talking about. The D-d-d-doc was jealous of —

LIDDELL
— You’re out of your fuckin league, kid, way out. You’re surrounded by faggots, and you don’t know what to do with yourself. You’re sitting there in a goddamned dress, for chrissakes! Pull yourself together, and let’s bring this Evil Queen in — right, partner?

SMALLS remains silent.

Slight pause.

LIDDELL
Right?

SMALLS
Right.

LIDDELL
Right?

SMALLS
Right, b-b-b-boss.

LIDDELL
Well all rightie then.

INT — “FEVER” HAIR SALON

The Salon is darkened, as if closed and vacant, except for a light in back that from the street would look like a night light, but from inside is enough to reveal:

TRIXIE and DIXIE flitting about MYZTERY, seated in a station, and being put back into her natural self.

As if to compensate for her recent trauma, TRIXIE and DIXIE are going all out on MYZTERY, who’s eating up all the attention, relaxing for the first time in a long time.

MYZTERY
(make-up being applied)
Oooooh… This feels soooo good!…

TRIXIE
We’re gonna make you look totally sickening again, girl.

DIXIE
Absolutely fucking fabulous.

TRIXIE
Susanne Sommers, eat me.

DIXIE
A she-devil.

TRIXIE
Good girls go to Heaven, bad girls go everywhere else.

DIXIE
Been there, done that.

TRIXIE
Home, sweet home.

DIXIE
Takes one to know one.

TRIXIE
Party hardy, never be tardy.

TRIXIE and DIXIE stop, examine their handiwork.

DIXIE
Girl, I thinks she’s aged!

TRIXIE and DIXIE “high-five” then hug MYZTERY.

Back door leading into alley bursts open.

Bright lights shine on the girls as MANLIUS, STRONG, LIDDELL and SMALLS come rushing in, guns drawn.

LIDDELL
Police! Hold it right there!

MYZTERY
Hold what?

TRIXIE
Fuck. I knew I should have declared all my tips.

DIXIE
Diver Down, girls!

TRIXIE, DIXIE push MYZTERY out of the chair, the three rushing off into the front part of the salon, DETECTIVES and POLICE in hot pursuit.

Following scene should be depicted “Keystone Kops” style, lots of cross-cuts, weird angles, goofy close-ups.

The danger is real, but, after all, these are flamboyant, deliberately provocative transgendered women:

MANLIUS chases after TRIXIE, who grabs a hairdryer and points it at him.

TRIXIE
Stop, or I’ll shoot!

MANLIUS lunges.

TRIXIE knocks MANLIUS in the head with it.

STRONG chases after DIXIE, who grabs a bottle of hair spray.

DIXIE
I will not give up Terra!

STRONG lunges.

DIXIE uses the hair spray like mace.

LIDDELL chases after MYZTERY, who grabs a bottle of peroxide.

MYZTERY
Stop right there, or I’ll turn you into a blonde!

LIDDELL lunges.

MYZTERY splashes the stuff into his face, temporarily blinding him.

SMALLS, still in a dress, approaches all three girls after other three COPS have been for the time being felled.

MYZTERY, TRIXIE, and DIXIE, still holding their weapons, stare at SMALLS.

SMALLS
Oh.

TRIXIE
Look! It’s Stanley’s date!

SMALLS waves.

SMALLS
Hi.

MYZTERY
Stanley had a date?

TRIXIE
That’s right, sister. The asshole tried to fuck around on ya.

MYZTERY
(to DIXIE)
Is this true?

DIXIE
‘Fraid so, ma’am.

SMALLS
I s-s-s-s-suppose you are all under ar-r-r-r-rest.

MYZTERY
(to SMALLS)
Why you bitch! Stealing my man!

SMALLS
(still holding gun, but defensive)
N-n-n-n-no, missus! You gals have it all wrong! I wasn’t t-t-t-t-trying to —

MYZTERY goes up to SMALLS, still holding the gun, and slaps him across the face.

MYZTERY
(to SMALLS)
Manstealer.
(to TRIXIE and DIXIE)
Let’s go, girls!

Blue flashing lights shine as several POLICE CARS screech to a halt in front of the salon. Sounds of MEN shouting, running feet.

MANLIUS lunges for and succeeds in grabbing TRIXIE.

STRONG lunges for and succeeds in grabbing DIXIE.

LIDDELL lunges for MYZTERY, but she’s fast, and she succeeds in running to the back, grabbing her trademark fake tigerskin coat, and bolting out the door leading into the alley.

SMALLS, still stunned from being slapped, stands there in the middle of all this.

Several uniformed OFFICERS smash through the front door, glass splintering as they pile into the salon.

LIDDELL
(pointing)
Killer’s out back! Get on it!

COPS rush past them, into the back.

Of those remaining, one gets on the radio, others assist MANLIUS and STRONG in holding down TRIXIE and DIXIE.

TRIXIE and DIXIE resist, but are restrained, and get dragged out the front.

TRIXIE
Lemme talk to my attorney.

MANLIUS
(holding her)
That’s all we fuckin need — a drag queen with a lawyer.

DIXIE
The South shall rise again!

STRONG
Oh, you did not just go there.

DIXIE
“There.”

STRONG
Son of a —

TRIXIE
You didn’t read us our Rights!

MANLIUS
You have the right to shut the fuck up.

TRIXIE
Oooooo… I get turned on when a man talks dirty to me…

EXT — ALLEY BEHIND “FEVER” SALON, STREETS BEYOND

MYZTERY bolts out the back door of the salon, and starts to run — as best she can in her pumps — toward Broadway.

MYZTERY passes cats sitting on fences, lovers kissing in parked autos, a kid on a bicycle, an old man walking a bulldog, all mildly amused by the sight of the fleeing buxom blonde transgendered person in a fake tigerskin coat and pumps hauling ass passed them.

MYZTERY makes it to Broadway, avoiding the swarming POLICE CARS and lights, and darts into a pizzeria.

INT — PIZZERIA ON BROADWAY

Usual layout, kind of dark, all-important pay phone next to the bathrooms.

As MYZTERY swishes to the phone as non-chalantly as possible, sound of whistling and several catcall “hoo-hoo-hoo”s come from the dining area and bus boy station.

MYZTERY
(dialing, waiting)
Please… Oh please be there… Hello?

INT — UNKNOWN LOCATION

CLOSE UP of scarred hands, holding telephone receiver.

VOICE is clearly female, but hoarse, as if the release of every word creates great pain throughout the originator’s body.

VOICE
(into phone)
Hello? Who is this?

INT — PIZZERIA, BY PHONES

CLOSE UP of MYZTERY’S beautiful, silicone enhanced lips:

MYZTERY
(into phone)
Oh, thank god you’re there!

INT — UNKNOWN LOCATION

CLOSE UP of lips, badly scarred:

VOICE
(into phone)
Myztery? Myztery Manzfield? Is that you, Dear?

CLOSE UP of MYZTERY’S ample cleavage, smooth skin:

MYZTERY
(into phone)
Oh, yes! Yes it’s me! It’s me, Aris, can you hear me, can you hear me, Doc?

INT — UNKNOWN LOCATION

CLOSE UP of side of head, ears scarred, hair in patches:

VOICE
(into phone)
I hear you just fine, honey. Are you in trouble? You sound like something’s wrong, dear. Are you all right?

INT — PIZZERIA, BY PHONES

CLOSE UP of MYZTERY’S near-perfect profile:

MYZTERY
(into phone)
Oh, Aris, I need your help! I’m sorry for not calling for such a long time, but now, now I really need you! I don’t know where else to turn!

INT — UNKNOWN LOCATION

DOLLY back slowly revealing profile of DOCTOR SHELLEY as she speaks:

VOICE
(into phone)
Don’t worry, sweet Myztery, you know I’ll be there for you, just as I always was, do you remember? I remember when you were just a boy, a thin, prissy little boy, who didn’t know how to put on make-up, who couldn’t walk, couldn’t talk properly. We sensed you had potential, and now look at you! I transformed you, I made you more of a woman than you ever were a man, I made you more a woman than most women, ha! — So tell me, Mz. Myztery Manzfield, tell me where I can find you. I’ll send my assistant, and we’ll protect you, Myztery, we’ll take good care of you…

DOLLY BACK reveals comfortable living room area, Victorian style furniture and decor, walls covered with fully stocked bookshelves.

Suburban, almost rustic, view out large bay windows.

Full view of DOCTOR SHELLEY is not pleasing: Once beautiful, she is now a twisted shell of a woman, scarred and broken. She sits slumped over, a cane at her side.

On the other side of her stands, at attention, is a slightly effeminate though very large body builder, apparently the ASSISTANT she has mentioned.

INT — POLICE STATION, INTERROGATION ROOM #1

Hard wooden chair, upon which sits TRIXIE. One bulb, lit. That’s it, aside from LIDDELL and STRONG, who stand next to her, applying some pressure.

LIDDELL
All right — Let’s take it from the top.

TRIXIE
I don’t know what you dumb Polacks are talking about.

LIDDELL
Listen, let’s get this straight — I’m English, and Strong here, well, what the
fuck are you, Strong?

STRONG
You see in technicolor, asshole? I is Black.

TRIXIE
No shit.

LIDDELL
Nobody asked your opinion.

TRIXIE
Really? That’s a newsflash. I thought this was an interrogation.

STRONG
Come on, tell us about da Queen now.

Silence.

LIDDELL
The man is talking to you!

STRONG
Who you callin “Da Man”?

LIDDELL
You. You’re “The Man,” okay’?

STRONG
Don’t you be callin me no boy now.

LIDDELL
Who the fuck is calling you a “boy”?

TRIXIE
I heard him.

LIDDELL
Shut up! Now tell us about Manzfield.

Silence.

STRONG
What’s the matter wid you, girl?

TRIXIE
I don’t know what you Polacks are talking about.

OFFICER LANG pops in.

LIDDELL
Can’t you see we’re busy?

LANG
Some press guys are flashing bulbs and talking trash outside. They wanna know how the investigation is going, and why the Chicago Police Department is now into wrecking hair salons.

LIDDELL
Goddammit!

LIDDELL storms out past LANG.

TRIXIE
(to STRONG)
Where were we?

STRONG
Don’t you be tellin me what to do!

TRIXIE
OK.

STRONG
How much is it, usually?

TRIXIE
Usually? “It”?

STRONG
Yeah. What’ll a fitty get somebody?

TRIXIE
Somebody”?

STRONG notices LANG standing there, watching with quizzical stare.

STRONG
I got this.

LANG shrugs.

LANG
Any time.

LANG exits.

Pause.

TRIXIE
Penny for your thoughts?

STRONG
Naw, fitty.

INT — POLICE STATION, INTERROGATION ROOM #2

Same set up, perhaps shot from a complementary angle, only here DIXIE is in the chair, MANLIUS and SMALLS stand above her.

SMALLS is finally out of drag, back in his detective clothes.

DIXIE
I want to hear my Rights.

MANLIUS
(to SMALLS)
I read him his rights five fuckin times alread —

DIXIE
— “Her”.

MANLIUS
Wha?

DIXIE
“Her”.

MANLIUS
(to SMALLS)
What’s up with him?

DIXIE
“Her” — You read her her rights five fuckin times.

MANLIUS
“Her”?

DIXIE
Yes, asshole. “Her” — as in, me.

MANLIUS
This is crazy.

DIXIE
This is illegal.

SMALLS
No, it’s dumb, Mz. Dixie. I know it, and you know it.

MANLIUS
(to SMALLS)
Woah, woah, woah — What are you saying, kid?

SMALLS
(to DIXIE)
Am I right? We both know Myztery’s got nothing to do with the killings.

MANLIUS
(to SMALLS)
How do you know that? Liddell’s been —

DIXIE
(to MANLIUS)
She’s right, officer. Myztery could never kill anybody, let alone in the way those poor girls died. I don’t know how you found her with us, but if you ask me, whoever gave you that information —

LIDDELL
(entered unnoticed)
— set the bitch up.

MANLIUS
Liddell!

LIDDELL
(to DIXIE)
Makes sense to me now. The other junior drag said exactly the same thing you did. I think we’ve got a new suspect —
(to SMALLS, staring)
— and he’s very much like the old suspect.

SMALLS
(hitting himself in the head “oh no!”)
Don’t tell me the pimp clued you in.

LIDDELL
Let’s roll again, boys! Sergeant, this time, we’re gonna need some serious backup.

LIDDELL exits.

MANLIUS
(pointing to DIXIE)
But what about — Her?

SMALLS, infuriated, also exits.

INT — POLICE STATION, HALLWAY

TRACK as SMALLS runs after LIDDELL:

SMALLS
What about my other lead?

LIDDELL
Fuck your other lead.

SMALLS
You aren’t —

OFFICER LANG rushes up:

LIDDELL
What??

LANG
We’ve got another one.

LIDDELL
Who? Where?

LANG
Another one of “those” girls. Dead as Marilyn. Transient hotel, of all places.

SMALLS
How was she killed?

LANG
Physical assault. He beat her up bad.

SMALLS
No mutilation?

LANG
None aside from being beaten to death.

LIDDELL
Any witnesses?

LANG
Same as before — Clerk saw your man leave, just the right time to place him at the scene of the crime.

LIDDELL
My man?

LANG
— Rico.

LIDDELL turns to SMALLS.

LIDDELL
That good enough for you, you little prick?

SMALLS
You might have a murderer, but not our serial killer.

LIDDELL
(grabbing SMALLS by his collar)
Take a fucking hike, you stupid red neck asshole punk.

SMALLS
I don’t understand.

LIDDELL
Go home. Take a fucking vacation.

SMALLS
I’m your partner.

LIDDELL
(releasing him)
Like Inspector Clousseau says: Not, anymore. Call downtown if you want to, fuck if I care. I had our man from the start, and you sent us after Mrs. Fucking Frankenstein.

SMALLS
I think you’re —

LIDDELL
— Shut the fuck up, and go join a bowling league. Go fuck your sister, idiot farmboy.

MANLIUS and STRONG rush over.

MANLIUS
We just heard he’s striked again.

LIDDELL
You betcha. We’re gonna hit him, hit him hard, right at his own front door. Get everyone boys, and I do mean everyone.

LIDDELL, MANLIUS and STRONG race off.

LANG stands there with SMALLS.

SMALLS
Thanks for the make-over.

LANG
Not a problem.

SMALLS
The boys said you did a great job.

SMALLS runs off in the other direction.

LANG
You’re welcome.

LANG watches him go.

LANG
Any time.

INT — DOCTOR SHELLEY’S HOUSE, LIVING ROOM, LATE EVENING

Same plush Victorian living room as before, now occupied by MYZTERY, too. She sits on a couch, her fake tigerskin coat placed next to her.

DOCTOR SHELLEY sits on a chair in front of her.

ASSISTANT brings tray of tea and cookies.

MYZTERY
I can’t thank you enough, Aris.

SHELLEY
What do they say? “Lovers come and go, but friends are forever”!

MYZTERY
Friends, always.

SHELLEY gestures to tray, MYZTERY takes cup.

SHELLEY takes cup, her hand shaking.

SHELLEY
To friendship!

MYZTERY
To friendship!

MYSTERY and SHELLEY toast.

SHELLEY does not drink.

MYZTERY sips tea through the following:

MYZTERY
I was so afraid. Between the police, and the killer, I didn’t know where to go, who to trust.

SHELLEY
I’m happy that you knew which way to turn, girlfriend.

MYZTERY
It’s been so long!

SHELLEY
Yes. Yes it has. And you are looking particularly good, I should say.

MYZTERY
Thank you. Thank you. And you, you…

MYZTERY drops her cup on the tray, rushes a hand to her mouth, and starts to sob.

MYZTERY extends both arms, hugs SHELLEY, but awkwardly, not wishing to make direct contact with the remains of what was once such a beautiful woman.

From her point of view, SHELLEY does not feel the same way: In fact, her scarred hands reach out to touch MYZTERY.

CLOSE UP of SHELLEY running her shattered fingers over the soft flesh, moving to MYZTERY’s breasts.

MYZTERY pulls away.

MYZTERY
No!

Pause.

SHELLEY
Insolent cunt! I created you! I gave you beauty, and since with these hands and this body I can no longer create it, perhaps it has become by duty to take it away…

MYZTERY stands, turns, and finds muscle-bound ASSISTANT blocking her way.

MYZTERY turns the other way, but too late —

MYZTERY collapses back onto the couch, and is instantly unconscious.

SHELLEY gestures, and the ASSISTANT takes the tray of tainted tea away.

SHELLEY leans close to MYZTERY, whispering into her ear:

SHELLEY
What can be given, can be taken away… You entered life as a boy, and you will enter death the same way…

INT — RECEPTION AREA OF BROTHEL

BUBBLEZ sits at desk, like before, but wearing a different dress, and speaking into the small intercom:

BUBBLEZ
(into intercom)
“Time for your close-up.”

BUBBLEZ buzzes in TRICK, older man in his forties, who looks just like MANLIUS out of uniform.

BUBBLEZ
Haven’t ever seen you before, Big Daddy.

TRICK (MANLIUS)
Must come when you’re not around, Toots.

BUBBLEZ
That’s a damn shame.

MANLIUS
We cool.

BUBBLEZ
(points to album)
Which girl would you like tonight?

MANLIUS
I think I’ll have —
(pulls out gun)
You. Make a move, open your mouth, you’re dead.

BUBBLEZ
Oooooo, Daddy!

MANLIUS
I said —

BUBBLEZ pantomimes mouth closed with lock and key.

MANLIUS keeps gun pointed at her.

CLOSE UP of BUBBLEZ hand, beneath desk, finger pressing a button.

EXT — PORCH OF DOCTOR SHELLEY’S HOUSE

CLOSE UP of hand, next to door, finger pressing a button.

SMALLS, dressed in a suit and tie, loud colors and a flamboyant style, stands there, ringing front bell.

Bugs buzz in eccentric orbits around porch light.

INT — SHELLEY’S HOUSE, UPSTAIRS ROOM

Eerie red overhead light illumates PHOTOS, some framed, some not, some large, some small, of numerous transgendered SHOWGIRLS, adorning walls, on the tables.

To one side is a big screen TV/VCR, on its screen is playing a showgirl pageant video — that of MYZTERY winning her tiara, in fact.

In center of room is a long table, covered with a white sheet, upon which lies the unconscious, naked BODY of MYZTERY.

To one side of the table is a rolling tray, replete with stainless steel blades, other surgical instruments.

SHELLEY, leaning over MYZTERY, who is still breathing, starts rubbing her with scarred hands, moving up her body to her neck, gripping it.

Front door bell starts ringing, and SHELLEY stops, sighs, and gestures to her ASSISTANT, lurking in a far corner.

SHELLEY
Go see who that is!

INT — SHELLEY’S HOUSE, PORCH

POV through peephole in door of SMALLS standing at the front door.

Doorbell rings again, still no answer, so SMALLS continues to wait.

SMALLS
(lisping ever so slightly above stutter)
Hello! H-h-h-hello in there! I’m not sure if the e-e-e-eminent Dr. Aristotle Shelley is there, but h-h-hello!

INT — SHELLEY’S HOUSE, FOYER AREA

ASSISTANT, peering through peep hole in door.

SHELLEY, with help of a cane, walks slowly behind him.

ASSISTANT moves, SHELLEY takes her turn:

POV of SMALLS as he waits a moment, rings again, waits.

SMALLS
I n-n-n-need your help, D-doctor! I h-have this speech imp-pediment, and they told me that you’re the very b-b-best!

SHELLEY turns to ASSISTANT, gestures and whispers.

SHELLEY
Stand aside a second, I’ll take care of this…

SHELLEY opens front door a sliver, enough to make mutual visional contact.

SHELLEY
I am Dr. Shelley.

SMALLS extends a hand.

SHELLEY does not open door any wider to take it.

SMALLS
A p-p-pleasure! I’m s-s-s-sorry to disturb you, especially at s-such an hour, but Dr. Drake downt-t-town recommended you, saying you were the very b-best in your field.

SHELLEY
My appearance does not disturb you?

SMALLS
Oh, no! Dr. Drake t-t-told me of your condition, and —

SHELLEY
Dr. Drake is a butcher, a veterinarian compared to me. Don’t even mention his —

SMALLS
That’s what I h-h-heard! That’s why I’m here.

SHELLEY
This is all very flattering, but I no longer perform any surgeries. Due to my… ailment. I have retired. I cannot assist you, so good evening.

SHELLEY starts to close the door.

SMALLS gently, but firmly, holds the door open.

SMALLS
Myztery M-m-manzfield told me you’re very good, too.

SHELLEY turns, gestures to ASSISTANT, then opens door enough for SMALLS to enter.

SHELLEY
Come right in, Mr. — ?

SMALLS
Fields, Stanley Fields, ma’am.

SHELLEY
Well, Mr. Fields, you should have told me you knew Mz. Manzfield right off the bat, right off the bat…

SHELLEY watches SMALLS enter, closing the front door behind him.

EXT — HALSTED STREET, IN FRONT OF BROTHEL AREA

CLOSE UP of police truncheon, tapping into palm of POLICE OFFICER.

POLICE CARS pulling up, lights off, no sirens — several POLICE OFFICERS, on foot, approach the building.

INT — BROTHEL RECEPTION AREA

MANLIUS leads a cuffed BUBBLEZ out of area.

Several SWAT OFFICERS rush in, gas masked.

SWAT OFFICER removes his mask: It’s LIDDELL, directing traffic.

LIDDELL
Gas the joint, boys.

SWAT OFFICER, carrying tear gas gun, moves his way to the beaded entrance, pushes gun through beads.

SWAT OFFICE fires tear gas gun.

Sound of cannister hitting far wall, then sound of gas escaping.

LIDDELL waves, SWAT OFFICERS rush through beads.

Sound of screams, much commotion beyond the beads.

INT — DOCTOR SHELLEY’S HOUSE, LIVING ROOM

SHELLEY leads SMALLS into living room.

SHELLEY
Have a seat, make yourself comfortable.

SMALLS sits on couch.

SMALLS notices MYZTERY’s fake tigerskin coat, still on couch.

SMALLS looks down at coat, looks up at SHELLEY.

SHELLEY signals, ASSISTANT approaches.

SMALLS stands up quickly.

INT — HALSTED STREET, IN FRONT OF BROTHEL

Smoke pours out of the door as coughing PROSTITUTES and their TRICKS, in various states of dress and undress, are dragged by SWAT OFFICERS from building.

As PROSTITUTES are pulled and pushed out into the street, POLICE OFFICERS rush at them, poking, striking, jeering.

Some PROSTITUTES resist, and are beaten with truncheons.

MANLIUS and STRONG are across the street, watching.

A large crowd of GAPERS have formed, pointing, also jeering, watching.

MANLIUS
“Victimless crime,” my ass.

STRONG
Damn shame, though. Damn shame.

GAPER points to the second floor.

GAPER
Look!

PAN UP to RICO, standing in an apartment window, one arm around neck of BONNIE, the other hand holding a pistol to her head.

RICO
(yelling down)
I’ll kill her! Fuckin pigs! I’ll kill her!

MANLIUS gestures to POLICE OFFICERS, signals, forces shifting and re mobilizing for this new situation.

RICO
(yelling down)
I want out! Get me a car! Get me a car, or I’ll kill the bitch!

EXT — ROOFTOP, BUILDING ACROSS THE STREET FROM BROTHEL

SNIPER approaches ledge, crouches down, sets up his rifle.

INT — ROOM ABOVE BROTHEL

POV from behind RICO and BONNIE.

EXT — ROOFTOP

RICO
(yelling down)
You have two minutes to get me a car, or I waste her!

POV through target sight of rifle, cross-hairs on RICO, standing next to BONNIE in window.

INT — SHELLEY’S HOUSE, LIVING ROOM

SMALLS
(raising hands slightly)
Hey, w-w-what is this?

ASSISTANT approaches him menacingly.

INT — ROOM ABOVE BROTHEL

LIDDELL, who has snuck into the room behind RICO and BONNIE, yells:

LIDDELL
(gun pointed)
QueenChaser!

RICO, still holding BONNIE tightly, spins around with her in tow.

RICO
Look what the cat dragged in…

EXT — ROOFTOP

POV through target sight of rifle, cross-hairs on RICO, cross-hairs shifting last instant as he and BONNIE suddenly jerk to one side.

INT — SHELLEY’S LIVING ROOM

ASSISTANT strikes SMALLS in the face with his fist.

SMALLS is knocked unconscious, falls.

INT — ROOM ABOVE BROTHEL

Sound of rifle shot.

Window shatters as blood spurts from BONNIE’s shoulder, splattering walls and RICO.

RICO dives to one side.

BONNIE collapses.

LIDDELL
(pointing gun at RICO)
Freeze!

RICO raises his own gun.

LIDDELL shoots, repeatedly.

RICO takes hits, is blown against far wall, starts to slide down it.

RICO
Fucking faggot.

LIDDELL shoots several more times.

RICO hits the floor into POOL of his blood.

BONNIE, bloodied but alive, lies on the ground, sobbing.

EXT — LAWN OF SHELLEY’S HOUSE, OUTSIDE BAY WINDOW

POV through bay window of SMALLS being carried out of living room by ASSISTANT.

SHELLEY is standing, with cane, to one side.

CUT to STANLEY FIELDS, huddled in some bushes, is peering over them and through window.

STANLEY, still ducking, moves to other side of the house, looks about, then starts to climb a gutter to a second floor window…

EXT — WINDOW OUTSIDE SECOND FLOOR ROOM OF SHELLEY’S HOUSE

STANLEY works handle, succeeds in prying open the window.

Carefully, quietly, he enters Shelley’s house.

INT — ASSISTANT’S WEIGHT ROOM, SHELLEY’S HOUSE

Well-equipped private weight room, free weights, machines, etc.

ASSISTANT drags SMALLS into weight room, drops him on a bench.

SHELLEY enters, hobbling with cane.

ASSISTANT takes jump rope, starts to tie SMALLS up.

SHELLEY stands to one side, rocking herself back and forth.

INT — HALLWAY OF SHELLEY’S HOUSE

STANLEY sneaky-petes about, searching for MYZTERY and SMALLS.

STANLEY furtively peers into this room and that, notices room with red lights.

STANLEY approaches.

INT — UPSTAIRS ROOM OF SHELLEY’S HOUSE

CLOSE UP of MYZTERY’S face, eyes closed. A man’s profile, lips coming into contact with hers.

CLOSE UP of STANLEY face, kissing MYZTERY.

MYZTERY’S eyes start to flutter as she slowly regains consciousness.

STANLEY
(whispering)
Wake up, Sleeping Beauty.

MYZTERY
Stanley?

STANLEY
Who the fuck else? I’m your knight in shining armor, Babe, and I have come for your emotional rescue.

MYZTERY
You’ve got enough trouble taking care of yourself, honey.

STANLEY
Hey!

MYZTERY
Heeeeeey.

MYZTERY and STANLEY hug.

STANLEY
Hoo-hoo-hoo! Better get some clothes on, girl, before you catch cold…

STANLEY reaches one hand for a breast, the other for genitals, his hand summarily slapped, other pushed away.

MYZTERY
Pig!

STANLEY
You know me, girl.

MYZTERY
Can you even believe this?

STANLEY
Believe me, I believe it. Let’s get out of here…

INT — WEIGHT ROOM

SMALLS lays on bench, tied up, his mouth stuffed with a bandana.

ASSISTANT
What should we do with him?

SHELLEY
We’ll worry about him later.

SHELLEY gestures, they exit.

INT — UPSTAIRS ROOM

STANLEY helps MYZTERY up and off the table.

MYZTERY grabs clothes off another table. Gestures for STANLEY to turn around while she gets dressed.

STANLEY turns around, but peeks, is slapped again, shrugs.

MYZTERY, finally dressed, taps STANLEY on the shoulder, and they both turn to exit.

MYZTERY notices an old photo of her, standing with a beautiful woman, who was once DOCTOR SHELLEY.

CLOSE UP of photo.

MYZTERY shakes her head.

MYZTERY turns and grabs a scalpel, touches blade.

STANLEY
Careful.

MYZTERY
Wish I was Puerto Rican.

STANLEY
That’s racist.

MYZTERY
Want me to cut you?

STANLEY
Wish you were Puerto Rican.

MYZTERY
What?

STANLEY
You wish you were Puerto Rican, not you wish you was Puerto Rican.

MYZTERY
What?

STANLEY
Subjunctive, Babe.

MYZTERY waves the scalpel at STANLEY, chasing him out of the room.

MYZTERY
You always were a smart ass.

STANLEY and MYZTERY exit.

INT — HALLWAY OF SHELLEY’S HOUSE

STANLEY and MYZTERY sneak around.

STANLEY gestures to MYZTERY.

STANLEY
I think the front door is that away.

MYZTERY
Aren’t you coming with me?

STANLEY
You get out of here, Babe, wait for me outside. I’m going back for Smalls.

MYZTERY
— Smalls?

STANLEY
Shoo, girl, go!

INT — WEIGHT ROOM

STANLEY enters carefully, sees SMALLS, starts to untie him, ungag him.

SMALLS
(rubbing hands and feet)
I was w-w-w-wondering whatever happened to you.

STANLEY
You know you can count on me.

SMALLS
I’ll never doubt you again.

STANLEY
When did you ever get the chance?

SMALLS
Good point.

SMALLS looks around.

SMALLS
— Myztery?

SMALLS gestures, they both exit, or try to, but when they turn around, ASSISTANT is standing in the door.

ASSISTANT
Going somewhere, Boys?

SMALLS rushes for him, is punched in the face and knocked out again.

STANLEY
(looking down at SMALLS)
Ouch. Guess you made a better drag queen than boxer.

ASSISTANT and STANLEY go at it, punching, dodging, pushing, kicking.

STANLEY manages to get the upper hand for just a second — perhaps he’s more nimble, the body builder strong but lumbering. STANLEY should take a couple solid blows for the sake of realism — until he grabs a dumbbell, striking ASSISTANT heavily on the head with it.

ASSISTANT is knocked unconscious, collapses to the ground, humorously into the arms of SMALLS already lying there.

STANLEY
(looking down)
I hate nellie body builders.

STANLEY shakes SMALLS back to consciousness.

SMALLS
What happened? Where am I? Who am I?

STANLEY
I’m not exactly sure about any of that — but you free this Saturday night?

INT — NEAR FRONT DOOR AREA OF SHELLEY’S HOUSE

MYZTERY, having made her way to the door, is about to leave the house, when she hears a loud “thud” from upstairs.

MYZTERY stops for a second, turns around, turns back again only to run right into DOCTOR SHELLEY, standing there with her cane.

MYZTERY takes out scalpel.

SHELLEY strikes MYZTERY’S hand with cane, scalpel falls and skids across the floor.

SHELLEY lifts then swings cane at MYZTERY, who ducks and then punches SHELLEY square in the jaw, knocking her down.

MYZTERY
Guess you brought out the boy in me, after all, Doctor.

STANLEY and SMALLS come rushing down, appraise and secure SHELLEY.

STANLEY takes first good look at DOCTOR SHELLEY.

STANLEY
Looks like she could use a little work

MYZTERY
(to STANLEY)
Figures! You always show up after I get everything done.

STANLEY
You’re welcome.

SMALLS
Hi again.

MYZTERY
(to SMALLS)
Thank you.

STANLEY
(shrug, sigh)
Women
.

INSERT: “THREE MONTHS LATER”

INT — INSIDE MOVING “L” TRAIN CAR, LATE AFTERNOON, FALL

TRIXIE and DIXIE sit in half-full car, popping gum, doing their nails, trash talking.

STANLEY stands next to them.

TRIXIE
I hate using public transportation.

DIXIE
Any civilized man would have gotten us a cab, a limo, even.

STANLEY
Listen, I bought the tickets, right? Stop whining.

TRIXIE
When you gonna start makin money, Honey?

STANLEY
When you gonna stop whining?

TRIXIE
Never.

DIXIE
Case closed. We’re all fucked.

STANLEY
Don’t you feel like heroes, though, after all that we’ve been through?

DIXIE
I’ll feel like a hero when I finally get my pussy.

TRIXIE
And I’ll feel like one when I get driven to see Tina Turner.

STANLEY scowls, turns away, only to notice LIDDELL a few feet away, done up in glaringly bad drag, sans goatee and side-burns, standing with a huge, half-open purse at the other end of the car.

STANLEY crooks his head a little more.

POV through back window and into car ahead of them, revealing MANLIUS and STRONG standing there, looking bored.

STANLEY, huge smile forming, gestures to OFFICERS.

STANLEY
Girls! Guess who’s been put on purse snatching detail?!

TRIXIE and DIXIE turn their heads, squint.

POV of LIDDELL, giving them all The Finger.

DIXIE
Oh, my, GOD.

TRIXIE
Look! Alice got promoted!

DIXIE
(to STANLEY)
Ask him if he and the boys can give us a ride to see Tina.

MANLIUS and STRONG, in the adjacent rail car, scowl.

TRIXIE and DIXIE “high five”.

DIXIE
Alice sure could use some work…

STANLEY
You need the right guy, for the right job.

TRIXIE
When you gonna follow your own advice?

STANLEY
I love you!

TRIXIE
Fuuuckkkkkouttttaheeere.

EXT — LINCOLN PARK, NEAR ROADWAY

SMALLS sits on a bench, holding a rose, waiting.

TAXI pulls up alongside him.

In the front seat is DRIVER and MYZTERY. DRIVER says a few unheard words, gives MYZTERY money.

MYZTERY opens the door, gets out, slams car door shut and, seeing SMALLS, approaches.

MYZTERY
(gesturing to bench)
May I?

SMALLS
Please.

MYZTERY sits.

SMALLS pecks her on cheek, MYZTERY pecks him back.

SMALLS
C-c-correct me if I’m wrong, ma’am. But where I come f-from, passengers usually sit in b-back, and they pay the d-d-driver, instead of the other w-w-w-way around.

MYZTERY
You’ll get used to our Big City ways soon enough, Chief Detective.

SMALLS
A beautiful woman l-l-like yourself doesn’t have to flatter me.

MYZTERY
Trust me, Baby. Whenever you’re offered something in this life, you should go right ahead and take it.

SMALLS
Well, thank you, then.

SMALLS offers rose.

MYZTERY accepts it with a sumptious silicone smile.

MYZTERY
Thank you. For everything.

MYZTERY and SMALLS hug.

SMALLS
I think there’s this old p-p-proverb, something to the ef-f-fect that “the right man comes at the right time”.

MYZTERY
I sure hope so! Thank God for that!

MYZTERY and SMALLS sit in silence, staring out at Lake Michigan. The beach area is full of bicycle riders, daring sun bathers, creating a lovely fall Chicago afternoon in the park.

SMALLS
I’m s-s-s-sorry things didn’t work out with Stanley.

MYZTERY
Yeah. He moved in, and then I threw the bum back out — but, hey, he’ll be back.

SMALLS
Some things never change, huh?

MYZTERY
Thank God for that, too!

— FIN —

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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.