Troubles (Part One), a screenplay by Ryan Gradoville


Two men, JERRY REDFIELD and SAMSON WRIGHT, sit at a bar watching a presidential debate on the TV. Rain can be heard outside, as some old blues music plays faintly in the background. JERRY is a younger man with a tan and medium build, while SAMSON is pale and a bit skinnier. The bartender, MICKEY WISE, an older black man, wipes down some glasses while a drunk woman nods off in the corner. The lights are dim. We catch JERRY and SAMSON mid conversation.

JERRY: But I’m saying, do you think any of ’em really give a shit about us? The common man?

SAMSON: Fuck makes you so common? Stuck here with me aren’t you?

JERRY: They just seem oblivious is all. Like there’s real problems out here and they’re arguing over this he said, she said bullshit. No real solutions, or even ideas.

MICKEY: Progress though. Back in my younger years, a he said, she said argument usually resulted in the she in the equation getting her lights knocked out.

JERRY: What the hell, Mickey?

SAMSON laughs. The woman in the corner picks her head up and looks at the men.

WOMAN: (slurring) That what you wanna do to me?


WOMAN: (slurring) Knock my lights out and - kick me to the curb. Paying customer gets treated like shit!?

MICKEY: Lady you’re in here, ain‘t you? (looks around) Nobody’s kicking you out. Fuck you talkin’ about?

WOMAN: I gotta pee…assholes.

She picks herself off and stumbles towards the bathroom, slamming the door behind her.

SAMSON: Sheesh! Alright maybe I’d knock that one out.

JERRY: Dude! Not cool.

SAMSON: You hear the way she talked to Mickey? Mick’s a good guy, he didn’t deserve that shit.

JERRY: I don’t care. You don’t hit a lady.

SAMSON: I was only making a joke.

JERRY: You don’t joke about it either. 2016 for fucks sake.

MICKEY: Like I said, it was just different in my day. Didn’t say I approved or anything. I love my wife. (looks at Samson) And don’t talk like you know me mothafucka. Jerry knows me, you just his little friend.

SAMSON looks offended. JERRY senses it, and keeps the conversation going.

JERRY: How is Sandra by the way?

MICKEY: Oh you know. She don’t get around as well anymore after the knee surgery, but she’s good. I’ll tell her you guys said hello.

JERRY: You do that.

MICKEY: Anyways to answer your question, these fools (points at the TV) don’t give a rats ass about you or me. Just wanna get in office and scratch they ass for a few years.

JERRY: So why do people bother voting for them?

MICKEY: Cause people are fucking stupid. Gullible too, hopeful yes, but ultimately stupid.


The conversation pauses, as the men go back to watching the debate on TV. MICKEY glances towards the bathroom.

MICKEY: I better call a cab for that one. She’s through.

One of the candidates on the TV catches JERRY’S attention.

CANDIDATE: ‘I didn’t say that.’

JERRY: …says the guy who said that.

SAMSON laughs, pulls out a pack of cigarettes and lights one up. MICKEY loses it.

MICKEY: The fuck you doin’?! They don’t allow that shit indoors anymore.

SAMSON: It’s a bar ain’t it? Fuck what a law says, a man needs a smoke with his drink.

JERRY: Just take it outside, Samson. Don’t disrespect the mans place.

MICKEY: It isn’t disrespectful, it’s illegal. Fucking cop decides he wants a drink and comes in to the place smelling like an ashtray, he MIGHT start some shit!

SAMSON takes another drag, then puts the cigarette out in his near empty glass.

JERRY: Since when you start letting cops in?

MICKEY: Free fuckin’ country. They do as they please, don’t ya know?

SAMSON: Long as they aren’t around when we are.

JERRY: Or what, smart ass? Gonna risk it all over some drinks?

SAMSON: They pick a fight with me I just might.

JERRY: And why would they just pick a fight with you, Samson? They’re cops not animals.

MICKEY: Plus you white. Just keep your mouth shut, you’ll be fine.

The sound of a door swinging open interrupts them. The three men look back at the bathroom as the drunk woman stumbles back out, smoke billowing out the door with her as she holds a cigarette in her mouth, puffing on it. MICKEY sighs.

MICKEY: (looking at his phone) Hey sweetheart, I got you a cab ordered through one of those app things. Gonna beep my phone when they’re out front for ya.

WOMAN: I’m not your sweetheart, fucking pervert!

MICKEY: Bitch, I‘m married!. Happily ever after and all that shit. You wanna be impolite about it you can take ya ass outside.

WOMAN: Maybe I will!

SAMSON: How come she gets to smoke and I can’t?

MICKEY: She’s clearly drunk.


MICKEY: So it ain’t worth arguing with her about it. See that’s the thing about these debate things. This country’s petty as shit. We get the chance to see two people argue and bicker over which one of ’em should be our leader for the next few years, and pay no mind to the fact they really just talkin out they ass. Think I’m gonna argue with this one here?

WOMAN: (making her way towards the door to leave) And just to let you all know, I’m gonna talk to my friends - and let them know, this is the worst bar I’ve been in ever! I mean where’s the fucking music anyways?

SAMSON: You’re drowning it out, sweetheart.

WOMAN: Fuck you. I will wait outside and I’m telling all my friends how shitty this place is to people.

The woman storms out of the door.

MICKEY: I pray for people like that.

MICKEY goes back to wiping down glasses.

SAMSON: You know, I don’t get that shit. I don’t get how someone gets that fucked up without realizing how shitty they’re gonna look to everyone else around them.

JERRY: Well she’s obviously got a problem.

SAMSON: Yeah, a fucking screws loose.

Suddenly a woman’s voice interrupts.

VOICE: You don’t even know her.

The three men look over to the other end of the bar, where CLARICE WISE, MICKEY’S DAUGHTER, sits writing in a notebook.

MICKEY: I know she ain’t shit!

CLARICE: Stop that!

The men laugh.

JERRY: Forgot you were even over there, Clarice.

CLARICE: Isn’t that funny? I forgot all about you assholes too until I looked up and — there they are — couple of bloated assholes.

SAMSON: The mouth on this one, after being a mute practically since we got here. We ain’t bloated.

MICKEY: She talks shit like her daddy.

JERRY: I know all too well.

JERRY flashes a smile at CLARICE.

SAMSON: (to Clarice) So what do you think about these clowns on the TV?

CLARICE: I don’t.

SAMSON: Well elaborate.

CLARICE: I’m not interested in politics. If low and behold a candidate were to come around that actually moved me, actually caught my attention, sure I’d vote. But this whole ‘you gotta pick one!’ shit is whack.

JERRY: Whack indeed.

SAMSON lets it be for the moment, looking down at his glass in between drinks, then continues on.

SAMSON: I guess I agree. But even if you did find one to really move you or whatever, it‘d just be bullshit. That‘s all it is with them. So your question was fucking stupid, Jerry. You’re my friend, but it was stupid.

SAMSON smacks JERRY on the back, who almost coughs up the beer he just drank.

CLARICE: I mean, I’m optimistic but I’m also realistic.

SAMSON: (mumbling) In my opinion you can’t be both.

CLARICE: Well I try to be then. Better than blindly following everything you’re told to do, or rejecting everything and just existing or whatever.

SAMSON: Bout that time, Jerry.

JERRY: Yeah I know what time it is. Well — it’s been fun guys but me and Samson here should take off.

MICKEY: You ain’t been here but a hour? What’s the rush tonight.

JERRY: Just some stops to make.

SAMSON: (singing) ‘Taaaaakin care of business!

CLARICE: Weirdos.

JERRY: But Clarice, we should continue this chat.

CLARICE: (put off) Really?

JERRY: Or a different one.

CLARICE grins.

CLARICE: Sure, Jerry. I’d like that.

MICKEY: Y’all just stay safe. You know Ford be out there this time of night.

SAMSON: Ford? As in ‘Almighty Ford‘? Baddest mothafucka to run West 37th? Sounds like an asshole to me.

MICKEY: Especially when you on West 37th like you are now.

SAMSON: (with an attitude) Oh, is that where we are!?

MICKEY: Just letting you know.

JERRY: We got it handled, Mickey. You two take care.

JERRY and SAMSON head for the door.

JERRY: Bad enough he knows we’re a couple of scumbags who owe money to that prick. You gotta run your mouth too?

SAMSON: Ford doesn’t scare me.

JERRY: Yeah well he should.

SAMSON: Well he don’t. So fuck him.

JERRY: Let’s just get outta here.

The two men exit the bar. MICKEY stops wiping down glasses, and looks over at CLARICE.

MICKEY: You know that boy after you.

CLARICE: You’re crazy.

MICKEY: He on Almighty Ford’s bad side though. Him and his little crack head friend with him.

CLARICE: They’re not crack heads. Just idiots.

MICKEY: Just steer clear of ’em, you here? Other than when they in here. Then you just smile, and play nice.

CLARICE: (sarcastically) Mmhmm. Whatever you say, dad.

She finishes her drink.

CLARICE: I should get going too.

MICKEY: You too, huh?

CLARICE: I need to study. Test tomorrow.

MICKEY: Your old man never went to college. Look at me. A bad mothafucka!

MICKEY smiles, struts around the bar, turning up the music a bit on the radio behind him.

CLARICE: Goodnight, dad. I’ll call you tomorrow.

MICKEY: Alright then, honey. Love you.

CLARICE: Love you too.

CLARICE gives MICKEY a hug and leaves as some more customers come in.


JERRY and SAMSON stand outside the bar, SAMSON lighting up a cigarette and taking a long drag. Pretty late into the evening, so not a lot of other people out and about. The occasional car passes by.

JERRY: Alright then. Off to Carlos.

SAMSON: Peter to pay Paul type shit.

The men begin walking down the street.

JERRY: You remember the plan, right?

SAMSON: (sarcastically) The plan? Oh yes, the plan. It’s a great plan, Jerry. They’ll never see it comin’!

JERRY: Hey asshole! Be serious, or get lost, and I’ll do it myself.

SAMSON: That’d be a pretty sight.

JERRY: Just remember to do your fuckin part, got it? Do that, we may just get away with our lives.

SAMSON: You worry too much, man.

A car passes by slowly. JERRY nudges SAMSON, alerting him, as the car speeds up and keeps going. SAMSON exhales.

SAMSON: So on another note — about your man Mickey -

JERRY: What about him? That old man’s cool as shit.

A tall building across the street from them is lit up on the side, changing colors. SAMSON and JERRY stop to observe.

JERRY: (gazing at the building) That’s pretty cool.

SAMSON: Yeah but — his name?

JERRY: What?

SAMSON: Mickey.

JERRY: What about it?

SAMSON: It’s fucking Irish or some shit, I don’t know. Point being that black mothafucka don’t look like a Mickey to me.

JERRY: Coming from the guy who don’t even know what kinda name it is.

SAMSON: Ain’t a black name. Far as I know.

JERRY: And what’s a black name?

The two men turn into a dark alleyway.

SAMSON: I don’t know. Darius or Montell or some shit.

JERRY: You’re an idiot, but next time I see Mickey I’ll be sure to ask.

SAMSON: You should man! I’m legitimately interested in how that came to be.

JERRY: Just keep an eye out, will ya?

JERRY retrieves something from behind a dumpster, while SAMSON plays lookout, fumbling for another cigarette out of his pack.

SAMSON: This shit with Ford is petty to be honest.

JERRY: That’s one way to look at it.

SAMSON: And the other!?

JERRY ignores him, stuffing a brown bag filled with something into his jacket.

JERRY: You ready or what?

SAMSON: (confidently) Like you gotta ask.

SAMSON pulls a pistol from his waistband, then loads.

JERRY: Only shoot if you have to.

SAMSON: Yeah, yeah.

The two men start walking, and exit the other side of the alleyway.

JERRY: 3 minutes.

JERRY runs across the street, and around the back of DILZ PAWN SHOP. SAMSON looks around, retrieving a pack of already opened Starburst from his pocket. He looks inside, tossing a yellow one to the ground and picking out a red one to eat. He then starts humming to himself.


And you don‘t know what I‘ve been sold,

I’ve seen diamonds, I seen gold,

But nothings gonna take my sins away,

And if you knew what I‘ve been told,

You would tremble, you would fold,

Nothings gonna take my sins away…

Suddenly an explosion comes from the pawn shop. A car parked out front of the shop’s alarm goes off. SAMSON looks up and down the street. A heavyset man (the store’s owner) runs out coughing, two other men in trench coats quickly behind him. SAMSON steps into the street towards them.

SAMSON: Alright now! Don’t get any -

One of the men in the trench coats pulls a shotgun from under his coat.


SAMSON quickly shoots him in the chest and head, the man‘s body dropping with a thud to the ground. Aims the gun towards the other two, who are stunned. Samson sighs.

SAMSON: …ideas.


To be continued…

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