George N. Rumanes, who now lives in Los Angeles with his family, is a writer who works in the film industry. His second novel, The Man With The Black Worrybeads, a worldwide best seller, will be filmed in Hollywood, Greece and North Africa.
During the past seven years, Mr. Rumanes wrote five original camera ready screenplays and he is now finishing, Between the Palm and the Cypress Trees, his next novel.
The Land of Gods and Lovers
Two Ladies and the Mob
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By George N. Rumanes
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2012 George N. Rumanes
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Chapter OneVECTOR ONE
George N. Rumanes
After three BANG, BANG, BANG recessions the country is broke. The good thing is that we are at peace.
EXT. SEA MIST—DAY
A helicopter camera glides through the mist to reveal the outline of a huge square BLOCK of something.
CLOSER TO THE BLOCK:
It is an EIGHT LEGGED LAUNCH PLATFORM holding above the sea. As the mist thins out, we see a forest of cranes, tubes, and multiple apartment-size structures taking half of the platform, and the other half is taken up by construction and freight mats.
A HELICOPTER lands on the "S" of the LOGISTICS sign that crosses the large helipad.
Even before the rotors stop, FOUR MEN jump out and run like hell toward a structure.
Space SHUTTLE "AURORA" with the UPS logo on its sheathe is primed up for liftoff.
INT. AURORA COCKPIT
The fidgety UPS-uniformed five-man CREW from Tennessee have been on hold for a long time.
PILOT (bored but pissed) Sagging peckers up here, brothers. Too long ...
No response. The pilot pounds the instrument panel with his fist.
PILOT Hello ... Brad.
NAVIGATOR Did they go home?
BRAD ON RADIO (O.S.) Hold on, Aurora.
NAVIGATOR Hold what, Brad? Are we coming down?
BRAD ON RADIO (O.S.) Our President.
CO-PILOT Wants to come along?
BRAD ON(O.S.) He died.
PILOT (casual) Terrible. (after a thought) Second year in his second term wasn't he?
CARGO CHIEF Something like that.
NAVIGATOR We are nailed to the ground here, Brad. Come on ... put a match to this bucket of screws, Brad.
BRAD ON RADIO (O.S.) There's a talk ... postpone to Monday. Respect. The boss said.
PILOT Bullshit! I have an AA meeting Wednesday.
NAVIGATOR We all have.
After a long hold.
BRAD ON RADIO (O.S.) (giving up) Launch is a go then. (a pause) Just one minute, gents.
INT. UPS PLATFORM CONTROL ROOM—DAY
Out of breath, the four men from the helicopter, with name-tags and headphones run in and stop before BRAD. They are Russian INSPECTORS.
RUSSIAN INSPECTOR (panting) We need another inspection.
BRAD We are seconds from burn.
RUSSIAN INSPECTOR The treaty. We have the right.
Brad produces a form and shows it.
BRAD (about to explode) The manifest with your signatures on it. You went over the cargo three times. You found foodstuff and replacement parts and shit. You approved every fucking item.
RUSSIAN INSPECTOR But ... we just got a directive from Moscow.
BRAD I have four signatures here. (into the mic) Brace up, gentlemen.
RUSSIAN INSPECTOR It is from Moscow!
BRAD This is a delivery service. We are truck drivers. Talk to DC. (into mic) Make sure you don't lose your passenger.
AMAN who looks like and talks like a middle age ANDY GRIFFITH steps close.
ANDY Hold on there, partner.
BRAD How can I help you?
Andy flashes his card.
ANDY Defense Intelligence Agency. DIA.
ANDY I want to have a word with the passenger you just mentioned.
BRAD Talk to him on the radio when in orbit.
ANDY In person. Now. Briefing.
After a long pause, and just before he explodes, Brad lowers his voice, and pointedly he:
BRAD Sir, what I just got through telling our friends here, it goes for you too, so ... over there please. (into his mic) Pucker up, guys.
Andy writes something on his pad and backs off.
Brad pokes a few buttons and after a glancing up at God he flips up the go switch. Nothing. Then the UPS control rocks and, after a moan, a deafening basso grind ...
EXT. LAUNCH PLATFORM—DAY
Aurora groans and then slings up and its roar takes us to:
INT. THE OVAL OFFICE—DAY
A WASP beanpole is being sworn in by a female Supreme Court JUDGE. The VICE PRESIDENT is Harvard. Family wealth. Smart but not street smart. Easy going and very polite. He is a former senator with not many connections.
CHIEF JUSTICE I do solemnly swear ...
VP I do solemnly swear.
CHIEF JUSTICE That I will faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States ...
Present are: cabinet members, GEORGE SENAMUR (Director of CIA), JERROL MERTZ (slithering White House Chief of Staff), MIGUEL ENSISO (National Security Advisor), a group of Senators and three Secret Service men with the names of ANDREW, EDDIE and TIMOTHY.
EDDIE (in whisper to Andrew) Some kind of infection
ANDREW None of us screwed up.
VP And will do the best of my ability to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.
CHIEF JUSTICE So help me God.
VP So help me god.
CHIEF JUSTICE Congratulations, President Julin.
PRESIDENT It was my pleasure, Justice Mubarak. My pleasure.
As the Justice wraps her arm around the president Jerrol Mertz interrupts:
MERTZ If you'll come with me, Mister President.
SENATOR #1 That's it?!
MERTZ (insolently) The man has a country to run. Give us some space here.
Mertz, the President, and Andrew head for the door.
SENATOR #1 Not even a goddamn croissant?
SENATOR #2 If there's anything you want at the hill, Mister President. (jabs his chest with index finger) Just give a nod.
PRESIDENT Why thank you, Harold.
The President, Mertz and Andrew exit.
The fidgety Mertz leads the President.
PRESIDENT (meaning Senator #2) That man hated me when I was just a VP. I heard that he used to call me ... Uh ...
MERTZ Numb nuts, sir.
ANDREW If he happens to even think about that again, sir, I'll be right here.
A SMALL MAN waiting by the door has a black briefcase under his arm tied with a chain to his waist. The Man follows them down the hall.
MERTZ I've arranged to have your personal belongings brought to the White House.
PRESIDENT I have a two year lease.
MERTZ No problem, sir.
PRESIDENT My landlord. (confidentially) He is ... Korean.
EXT. USS VECTOR ONE—DAY
A space station under construction. Tubes, girders, bus size modules and loose cables stand still and frozen.
CLOSE ON A TV SCREEN
The camera pulls back from the TV screen to reveal:
INT. VECTOR ONE—CONTROL ROOM—DAY
A small group of men watching the TV. ALFREDO and URIEL, two Mexican-American civilian electronic specialists on contract with the government, join the group.
On the TV screen we're looking at an AERIAL SHOT of SEA LAUNCH PLATFORM and the climbing shuttle.
ALFREDO Good launch. Tracking.
URIEL Nothing but routine, amigo. U.P.S.
ALFREDO Who's that VP. He's only been in office for three months?
URIEL Julin or something. Senator. Took over after the other VP got the boot. I think.
INT. THE SHUTTLE COCKPIT—DAY
The acceleration has forced the men against their seats.
Compartment covers pop open and spew maps and papers all over the crew. The Cargo Chief slams the covers shut as other compartment covers pop open and more stuff falls out.
CO-PILOT Goddamn Oldsmobile crap.
INT. WHITE HOUSE HALLWAY—DAY
The ever-efficient Mertz presents a clipboard with a card on it to the President and holds it in front of him.
MERTZ And I'll need to see your Social Security card along with another form of ID ... passport, driver's license.
PRESIDENT (aghast) You kidding me, mister Mertz?
MERTZ New job, sir. Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1996. Form I-9. No exceptions. The undocumented alien's workforce thing and ... transparency?
The President gives up, hands over his wallet, and Senamur commences to dig into it.
MERTZ Credit cards and valuables.
The President stops and stares at him in disbelief.
MERTZ You won't be needing them.
EXT. SPACE SHUTTLE AURORA—DAY
It is in orbit, and the engines have shut down. On the shuttle nose we see the U.P.S emblem.
INT. SHUTTLE COCKPIT—DAY
Six compartment covers have popped open: Manuals, papers, pencils, and maps float around, and as the men try to retrieve them, an ALARM blares and red lights flash.
As he starts to flip switches, the door behind them slides open and a terrified 22-year-old passenger, LIEUTENANT VINGA, appears holding a PIZZA box.
LT. VINGA It flew off the rack.
Relieved at the cause of the alarm, the crew settles back. The Cargo Chief barks.
CARGO CHIEF You were told to stay strapped down, Mister Academy Man! Had you pressed the other button ... (sudden attitude change) Let me have that. (takes pizza) Thanks. (another thought) And put on your space boots. You don't want to walk head down, do you?
He steps back into the cargo hold that has stacks of food on crates.
EXT. LONG SHOT OF USS VECTOR ONE—DAY
A huge erector set.
INT. LASER STATION—DAY
These are two round sections with TV monitors, one chair on each, two joysticks on each chair, two portholes and a lot of buttons. The WEAPON TURRETS.
ROMAN, a young Air Force man, sits on one chair sipping coffee. His partner, MARK, is catnapping on the other chair. Suddenly an ALARM sounds, and as the turrets spin, the cup of hot coffee splashes over Roman's legs.
ROMAN Goddamn you, Manuela! You burned the shit out of me!
MANUELA (O.S.) (Latin accent) I burned you and three space junk, stupido. You want those poquito space things up your culo?
MARK (pissed at Manuela) Switching off the bitch. Going on manual.
ROMAN (into his headphones) Bogey! Fifty thousand yards!
INT. CONTROL ROOM
It is a long room with workstations for six people.
Big screens line the wall, showing maps, trajectories, etc. One entire wall is the Earth below, outlining the borders of every country.
URIEL What's up?
ROMAN (O.S.) Russian busybody. Scout or attack vessel, maybe.
ALFREDO On my screen, too. Where'd they come from?
ROMAN (O.S.) Feel like zapping the motherfucker.
URIEL We are here to install this shit, cowboy, not fight a war!
INT. LASER STATIONS
Roman and Mark wiggle in their chairs in anticipation.
ROMAN If you don't rip off their kneecaps, senor, they'll be up your culo.
URIEL (O.S.) I'd rather have that than start a war with your BB guns, soldier.
Roman gets off his chair and looks at a CLOSED DOOR behind him. Mark pushes him back in the chair.
MARK (a command) Sit down!
ROMAN (under his breath, indicating the door behind) BB guns?
MARK Shut the fuck up!
Mark points at both his ears and circles the space around him. They can be heard.
MARK Dumb shit!
INT. CONTROL ROOM
A big friendly looking man enters and looks at the monitor screens. He is SERGEANT BRUCKNER, United States Air Force.
SERGEANT BRUCKNER What we've got?
URIEL UFO, and I ain't got time for this.
ROMAN (O.S.) (eager to zap) Holding just out of the kill zone, Sergeant.
SERGEANT BRUCKNER (to Uriel) Raise 'em.
ROMAN (O.S.) Vector One to UFO. Respond with your ID. Now!
They listen to the STATIC for a moment.
SERGEANT BRUCKNER Manuela pick it up?
ALFREDO No. There. All of a sudden.
MANUELA (O.S.) (offended) All of a sudden? ... My culito!
They disregard Manuela. Uriel punches on the keyboard.
SERGEANT BRUCKNER Must be a bug.
MANUELA (O.S.) (on same thought) ... Dickheads.
SERGEANT BRUCKNER Can someone make her stop?
URIEL Shut up, Manuela.
MANUELA (O.S.) You shut up.
Uriel shrugs his shoulders in defeat. He gave up a long time ago.
URIEL (to the UFO) You are encroaching on United States space claim. Get out of here, man!
ROMAN (O.S.) Lasers here. Please? A gentle kiss? A puny one. Just to sizzle their paint a bit.
They know that they are being heard by the bogey and they nod in agreement.
ALFREDO (nonchalant and slow) Okay, Roman. Let's roast them pendejos.
MARK (O.S.) Rim off a slice? Maybe two.
On the screen we see the blip moving off fast.
ROMAN (O.S.) (painfully) Shit! And I was just about to pluck his ass.
SERGEANT BRUCKNER (knowingly) Guess who's snooping around.
CLOSE ON A FIST:
As it pounds hard on a mahogany table.
A VOICE (O.S.) Russians!
INT. THE WHITE HOUSE—CABINET ROOM—5 HOURS LATER—DAY
Army General DORSEY is the person who owns the fist and he is mad.
Wall-to-Wall GENERALS, the President and some civilians. This is a sudden emergency meeting called by Mertz regarding the intruders in the sky.
GENERAL DORSEY Russian renegades, Mister President! Still a bunch of commies and I don't trust them, sir! Especially that mad dog from Kazakhstan ...
PRESIDENT Nazabra ... or something.
GENERAL DORSEY He must have a lot of multiple-head tubes buried in his territory. That Mongol is lurking.
PRESIDENT General Dorsey, we have a treaty with all the Republics. A treaty.
GENERAL DORSEY Yes. START treaty. We gave them the plans to the space stations and the shuttles. The latest technology. American technology, Mister President.
MERTZ They paid for it!
GENERAL DORSEY (pointing at Mertz then speaks to all)
And this information comes from the White House Chief of Staff. (raising his voice) They paid with rubles! With truckloads of rubles! What in hell can you buy in the U.S. ofA. with rubles? Fuel? Half tracks? Combat boots? The austerity program has driven the stake deep into the Army's heart and I am bleeding. The funding has been cut just this side of the bone marrow and ... our science for rubles?
SENAMUR This scientific exchange with the Russians, structured as, 'it protects them from us and it protects us from them.' Go figure.
GENERAL DORSEY Mister President. The U.S. of A. hired a bucket full of brigades, headed by private contractors overseas and they laugh at me. Seventy thousand men, forcing seventy thousand American kids not in the service but on the streets or in prison. And their troops? Only God knows where they found them but, look at their equipment! State-of-the-art assets ... stealth tanks, stealth trucks, helos and, their special forces morph from something to nothing and then back to something in full damned gear. And, Mister President. I am back to using donkeys and mules.
GENERAL BAKER You have horror stories? Mules and donkey stories?
General Baker dumps the contents of a shoebox, and rolling on the table we see plastic shuttles, little space stations, rockets and GI Joe dolls in spacesuits.
GENERAL BAKER This is a horror story, General Dorsey. This is how we propose to fund part of our space systems. Cash by any means because I gotta finish soon. (indicates the sky) and because my balls are in a vice, soldier.
PRESIDENT Hold it right there, General Baker. We have a treaty. That treaty, as much as I can recall, states that all space projects, theirs and ours, are to be completed and become operational at exactly the same year, month, date and time.
The President stares at Mertz for confirmation.
MERTZ It so states, sir.
PRESIDENT (to Baker) Well?
EVERYONE Yes, sir.
GENERAL DORSEY Yes! We are all aware of the treaty, sir. (rubbing it in) The Strategic Defense Command is down to sixty missiles.
ENSISO We operate its equivalency, General Dorsey. Their number has been reduced to eighty.
The President picks up a space doll and examines it.
PRESIDENT Remarkable craftsmanship.
ENSISO And the videogame's made in Cambodia.
GENERAL BAKER They're developing a whole Christmas line for us. Sad, but the Air Force must accept breadcrumbs to stay above ground. Your predecessor initiated this endeavor, Mister President.
GENRAL DORSEY (to himself) Just can't put my finger on it. That Russian. That Mongol ...
EXT. SPACE—SHUTTLE AURORA
The BROWN color and the UPS emblem shine as it travels at 1700 miles per hour.
EXT. RUSSIAN CRAFT
Dwarfed by the shuttle, the three-man Russian craft creeps from behind and drifts along and next to the shuttle's cockpit.
The crew is startled at the sound of a BUZZER and look outside.
CO-PILOT Bogey! Coming up ... Ooops. Alongside!
Through the window we see a small Russian Republic craft that pulls up and parallels Aurora. The Russian Republic's flag is painted over a red hammer and sickle graffiti. The three-man crew is looking at us, and one of them thumbs his nose.
CARGO CHIEF Ruskie! Cruising for trouble!
The co-pilot shoots the Russians the bird. One Russian drops his pants, moons Aurora, and the craft drifts out.
PILOT The son-of-a-gun!
CARGO CHIEF Creep over and bump the crap out of them motherfuckers.
NAVIGATOR Hold your course. They aren't armed. Snoopy craft. Maybe.
CO-PILOT No damn respect and they are supposed to be our friends. Punks. Fucking Russian punks!
NAVIGATOR And we are supposed to help them out by keeping an eye on the Chinese.
The Russian craft scoots ahead, swerves, fires its engines right in our face and disappears into the stars.
EXT. VECTOR ONE
A dried up octopus.
INT. CONTROL ROOM
Uriel walks around nervously.
URIEL I am spooked.
ALFREDO It's a free space, Uriel. Long as they don't fly up your nose.
URIEL If it wasn't for the money ...
AURORA ON RADIO (O.S.) UPS to the heavenly darlings. Permission to—
ALFREDO We know you're coming, knuckleheads. Hope our pizza is hot.
INT. SHUTTLE COCKPIT
The co-pilot flips through the pages of a TOP SECRET APPROACH CODES booklet. We see a page marked: USS VECTOR ALASKA, another marked: USS VECTOR ARIZONA.
He creases the page marked USS VECTOR ONE and pushes a string of numbers on a keyboard.
INT. VECTOR ONE CONTROL ROOM
Alfredo checks his list of APPROACH CODES. The numbers match.
ALFREDO Confirmed, dickheads.
URIEL I hope my pepperoni is still hot.
ALFREDO (to everyone) Roach coach here ... not your kind of food, Manuela. You and the Chief ... we know.
MANUELA (O.S.) Have some respect for me, gay caballero. Mucho, mucho gay!
ALFREDO Shut up.
MANUELA (O.S.) You shut up.
INT. LASER STATION
MARK Chuck wagon.
ROMAN Have 'em hold a steak out the window, control. I'll cook it done, medium ... Poke donut holes in it ...
INT. COMPUTER ROOM
It is the center of the space station. A STICK SKETCH of a senorita on a computer panel, introduces MANUELA, the TRACKING unit who speaks with the accent.
Excerpted from 5 screenplays by George N. Rumanes Copyright © 2012 by George N. Rumanes. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
ContentsVECTOR ONE by George N. Rumanes....................1
LAND OF GODS AND LOVERS by George N. Rumanes....................147
MYSTERY GEORGE by George N. Rumanes....................297
TWO LADIES AND THE MOB by George N. Rumanes....................455
MALVASIA by George N. Rumanes....................603