Troubles (Part Two), a screenplay by Ryan Gradoville
EXT. — EVENING
ALMIGHTY FORD sits on the balcony of his penthouse, looking up at the night sky. There’s hip hop music playing inside, but the screen door is shut so only the bass can really be heard. He’s a middle aged black man with a scar down his face and another across his eyebrow stretching down his left eye, wearing a purple tank top with silk white pajama pants. Close up of his face, his eyes appear empty, as he takes a drag from the joint in his hand. His head turns at the sound of the screen door opening. The Fugees “Fu-Gee-La” can be heard in the background now. Exhales as a young, light skinned woman, STACEY LETRELL, wearing a large white t-shirt walks out. She’s holding a cell phone, which she trades ALMIGHTY FORD for the joint. FORD looks at the name on the caller ID, sighs, and puts it to his ear.
ALMIGHTY FORD: You got me.
He listens to the voice on the other end, closing his eyes for a moment after hearing some bad news.
ALMIGHTY FORD: Be here in 10.
He ends the call abruptly, tossing the phone onto the tray next to him. STACEY sits down in his lap, taking a hit of the joint before handing it back, and kissing him, blowing the smoke into his mouth.
STACEY: Gotta roll?
He blows out the smoke, smirks, and grabs her hand.
ALMIGHTY FORD: Just some business.
STACEY: Thought you said it was just gonna be us tonight?
ALMIGHTY FORD: Won’t be long.
STACEY: Better not.
She smiles at him. He takes a hit off the joint and hands it back to her.
ALMIGHTY FORD: Kill it.
Smacks her on the ass. STACEY gets up off his lap and he gets up as well, kissing her again before heading back inside. She turns around and stares out into the night.
INT. PARKING GARAGE
Close up of an elevator door which opens, revealing ALMIGHTY FORD, now wearing an additional white jacket with hood up over his head but still has on the pajama pants and tank top from before, and a pair of white Jordans. He pulls out a pack of cigarettes, lighting one up and taking a deep track before some headlights reflect off his face. A car approaches, very nice black BMW. He hops in the backseat.
The driver of the vehicle, DEREK ‘DIZZIE’ FONTAINE, a younger light skinned man with a bald head, wearing all black, nervously looks back at ALMIGHTY FORD.
DIZZIE: Hey, I hope this is aight. I mean, I ain’t think we needed the Escalade for all this.
ALMIGHTY FORD: It’s fine Dizzie. Gimme the rundown.
DIZZIE: You want the long or short version?
ALMIGHTY FORD sighs.
DIZZIE: Aight, man! I mean this shit IS pretty simple. Basically — Carlos got jacked. The pawn shops like — destroyed. Must’ve thrown a grenade or some shit in there, cause it was like — BLAOW! — done.
ALMIGHTY FORD: Get a look inside?
DIZZIE: Nah. By the time we got there, fire trucks and shit was all over the place. Cops too. Guess one of Carlos’s goons got lit up!
ALMIGHTY FORD: How you know it wasn’t Carlos?
DIZZIE: I seen dude’s face. They had the sheet on him and shit, but then this nerdy lookin’ dude takes it off and starts taking pictures. Forensics or some CSI shit. That’s when I seen him.
ALMIGHTY FORD: So where’s Carlos?
DIZZIE: M-I-A, but that ain’t even the worst part.
ALMIGHTY FORD: (annoyed) So what is then?
DIZZIE: That goon — was Xavier Delaney.
ALMIGHTY FORD reaches up to the front seat and smacks the DIZZIE on the side of his head.
DIZZIE: Hey man, what the fuck!?
ALMIGHTY FORD: You didn’t think to start off with that? I gotta wait till you build suspense to find out a my business partner’s kid just got his fuckin’ brains blown out — guarding one of our people?!
DIZZIE: I mean when you say it like that, he DID die doing his job anyways.
ALMIGHTY FORD: That what they gonna say at your funeral? Man - shut up.
DIZZIE sighs. ALMIGHTY FORD takes a drag off his cigarette and throws it out the car window.
ALMIGHTY FORD: Alright, Dizzie. I need to make some calls. You drive, obviously.
DIZZIE: Where to?
ALMIGHTY FORD thinks to himself for a brief moment.
ALMIGHTY FORD: Well first, I’m gonna need to stop for a burger or something. After that, I need to call that fine piece of ass upstairs and tell her I’m a be late, on account of this bullshit. Then — go visit Rodney I guess.
DIZZIE: We might want some more muscle for that. I mean I got you, no doubt, I’m just sayin.
ALMIGHTY FORD: We good, Dizz. He knows who I am. And why would he think I had something to do with that anyways? Rip myself off? Get outta here with that shit.
DIZZIE stars driving.
DIZZIE: If you say so.
ALMIGHTY FORD: My apologies for striking you before. Gotta understand there’s a lot riding on this deal.
DIZZIE: You think someone intentionally killed ol’ boy to fuck shit up between you and Rodney?
ALMIGHTY FORD: What else could it be?
The BMW pull out of the parking garage onto the street.
Four men sit at a table, counting up a large amount of money. A few guards stand around holding machine guns. A door swings open, guards take notice. ALMIGHTY FORD walks in, DIZZIE behind him carrying the bag from the fast food restaurant and a drink in his hand.
ALMIGHTY FORD: Gentlemen.
One of the men at the table, LENNY REYNOLDS, a muscular white guy with blonde hair and shades on, speaks up.
LENNY: Is that Ford!? Where you been you ugly fuck? Nice pj’s.
ALMIGHTY FORD: That’s ALMIGHTY Ford now, don’t ya know? And thanks. Ya moms bought em for me.
DIZZIE: Aye, is there a trash can around here I can throw this in?
Holds up the bag. LENNY chuckles.
LENNY: This fucking guy. Over there.
LENNY points to a trash can in the corner. DIZZIE walks over and throws the bag away. ALMIGHTY FORD takes a seat at the table with the other men. DIZZIE walks over to join, but seeing there isn’t another open chair, decides to stand instead.
ALMIGHTY FORD: Where’s your boss, Lenny?
LENNY: Don’t YOU know, Ford? Rodney don’t go out much anymore. Kind of the secluded type; not so different from your shady ass.
ALMIGHTY FORD: The curse of the busy and successful. No time for nobodies like you.
LENNY suddenly throws the stack of cash he was counting down on the table and glares at ALMIGHTY FORD.
LENNY: And I suppose you’re here to explain what happened to Xavier?
ALMIGHTY FORD: So you know.
LENNY: Yeah we fucking know, Ford. So does Rodney. And so does Mrs. Delaney.
ALMIGHTY FORD: Well I just thought I’d -
LENNY: What? Come explain why Rodney Delaney’s kid was laid out in the fucking street like some asshole — filled with bullets? At one of your fucking stash spots!
ALMIGHTY FORD: Hey look, I ain’t even know he was working for Carlos man. Last I heard the boy was in college or some shit.
Another man at the table, MURPH, chimes in.
MURPH: Looks like schools out for him now.
LENNY: Shut the fuck up, Murph.
ALMIGHTY FORD: Me and your boss go way back. I’m talkin years. I’m talkin before I ever even heard of a fuckin’ Lenny Reynolds. And we had a good thing goin’ with this new deal. You think I’m messing that up, you smoking that shit.
MURPH: What he’s sayin’ is -
LENNY: Hey! Shut it.
LENNY pulls out a gun from under the table and tosses it down on the stack of money in front of him.
LENNY: See that?
ALMIGHTY FORD looks down at the gun, and back up at LENNY, unimpressed.
LENNY: That’s what killed Xavier. Our people found it shortly after — ditched in some alleyway.
ALMIGHTY FORD: How’d you get in there with the cops and shit? My people were down there -
LENNY: We have cops. Mr. Delaney has a lot of things. Just not a son anymore. Someone’s gonna pay for that.
MURPH: (mumbles): One of you if you’re not careful.
LENNY sighs, picks up the gun and pistol whips MURPH across the face, who falls off the chair to the ground with a thud. LENNY gets up and stands over him, kicking the man a few times in the stomach. Sits back down at his seat as MURPH cries in pain on the ground.
LENNY: He didn’t mean that, Ford. Murph doesn’t know when to shut up is all. Needs to be reminded from time to time.
DIZZIE: Can I take his seat now?
ALMIGHTY FORD: We’re leaving actually. I came here to talk to Rodney. Since there ain’t no Rodney, I’ll find another way of getting in touch.
LENNY: You should wait till he gets in touch with you. He’s — grieving.
ALMIGHTY FORD: Yeah, aren’t we all.
LENNY: Come again?
ALMIGHTY FORD: Look his kids gone. I get that. Meanwhile, I’m out a couple mil cause of this shit.
LENNY: How much exactly?
ALMIGHTY FORD: None of your fuckin’ business — lieutenant or whatever they got you doin‘.
LENNY: I’d like to think of myself as The Ear.
ALMIGHTY FORD: Could be a mothafuckin’ baby toe far as I’m concerned. You tell Rodney to holla at me.
He gets up and leaves, DIZZIE following him out. Once outside, they get back in the BMW.
DIZZIE sighs, turns on the car.
DIZZIE: Yo, dude got fucked up in there. I mean I didn’t wanna say nothing but damn.
ALMIGHTY FORD: That man — he thinks beatin’ his people down’s gonna’ teach ’em to stay in line. There’s more to it than that.
DIZZIE: Yeah, well I’m glad I work for you and not him.
ALMIGHTY FORD: I used to be you, Dizzie. Right where you at. What I look like pullin’ some superior shit with you?
DIZZIE: I feel that.
ALMIGHTY FORD: You catch that ear shit he was talkin’ though? What was that?
DIZZIE: Guess he a good listener or something. Where to next?
ALMIGHTY FORD: Back home. Tomorrow’s another day.
DIZZIE: No doubt.
The men grow silent. DIZZIE turns on the CD player. John Mayer “They Call Me The Breeze” plays. ALMIGHTY FORD gives DIZZIE a weird look.
DIZZIE: Aye. I know. My girl must have left it in the car or somethin’ earlier. He do get bitches though.
ALMIGHTY FORD changes to the radio. Some trap music. Sits back and vibes out.
INT. PARKING GARAGE
ALMIGHTY FORD exits the BMW, giving a nod to DIZZIE as he drives off. FORD walks slowly towards the elevator and hits the button. After a moment the door opens.
INT. APARTMENT LIVING ROOM
All the lights are out in the apartment. ALMIGHTY FORD walks in the door, closing and locking it behind him. Turns a lamp on the table on, revealing a very nice apartment (leather furniture, fancy artwork on the wall, big screen TV). He goes to the kitchen, opens the refrigerator, eyeing his options. Grabs a FIJI water bottle and takes a big drink. Camera follows FORD as he walks back to the bedroom. He opens the door and sees STACY LETRELL, sound asleep now.
ALMIGHTY FORD: (mumbling) Ain’t this a -
FORD closes the door, heads back into the living, room, plops down on the couch, and turns on the TV. Coverage of the presidential debate is on, but he quickly switches. Continues flipping through the channels awhile before landing on some weird documentary. The narrator of the documentary’s voice is heard.
SHOW NARRATOR: Am I my own worst enemy? Do I control my mind, or does my mind control me? When I think, where do those thoughts go?
ALMIGHTY FORD: Into this stupid shit I guess.
His phone rings. FORD reaches in his pocket, looks at the ID, blocked call. He answers.
ALMIGHTY FORD: Sup?
VOICE: What’s up is we got Carlos. You wanna see him, or any of that money again, meet us at the Eastside docks in an hour.
ALMIGHTY FORD: Mothafucka, I just got -
VOICE: And come alone!
The person on the other end hangs up. FORD slams his phone down on the couch.
ALMIGHTY FORD: (shouting) Oh, y’all giving ME orders now!? Alright!
STACEY yells from the other room.
STACEY: Babe, what’s wrong?
ALMIGHTY FORD: Oh nothing, baby. Some people tryna test the king all this is! Go back to sleep. I’ll be back.
STACEY: But you just got back.
ALMIGHTY FORD: Stacey! Just get back to sleep. I got this!
Hops up from the couch and storms back out of the apartment, slamming the door behind him, not bothering to turn off the TV.
STACEY: Love you!
The SHOW NARRATOR continues on as the camera stays on the door.
SHOW NARRATOR: And so you see, when I finally discovered my path — the right path — everything became clear. My dreams — my dreams are now my reality. Nothing can defeat me now. Nothing but myself that is.