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HOPE TO HAVE THEM RESOLVED SOON. *For Introduction with submission guidelines go to Oct 13. Use Contact Us, above, for submissions. *Heywood Gould is the author of 9 screenplays including "Rolling Thunder,"Fort Apache, The Bronx, "Boys From Brazil"and "Cocktail."
EMPIRES OF CRIME /Part 7 By Heywood Gould ACT FOUR/Part 1 EXT. DELANCEY STREET. DAY A balmy spring day. The streets teem with IMMIGRANT HUMANITY.Tom Dewey, sweating in a black suit, is speaking earnestly to a group of PEDDLERS, who keep shouting him down. TOM Look, give me a chance. I’ve come all the way downtown to convince you people that Republican is not a dirty word. Moans and groans. OLD PEDDLER Take off your coat, have a cold drink. It’s a long subway back ride up town. TOM Honest government will put money in your pockets. It will provide for your families. Insure a better future for your children. You don’t have to accept intimidation or threats. You don’t have to pay off every cop or thug. This is a free country... PUSHCART PEDDLER For the rich. TOM For you, too. You can change things. Your vote counts. OLD PEDDLER I know, I voted four times last week. Fifty cents a vote. TOM I understand your cynicism. But we have laws that protect your right to do business without bribery or corruption... PUSHCART PEDDLER There’s our protection... ACROSS THE STREET Charley and his boys, Davey, Vito and Albert, are back slapping, shaking hands, flipping coins to the kids. TOM Who can Luciano protect you from? PUSHCART PEDDLER From Luciano, who else? Everyone laughs. OLD PEDDLER When we need money, your upstanding Republicans at the bank won’t lend it to us. So we borrow from Charley Luciano... TOM And he makes you pay it back twenty cents on the dollar. PUSHCART PEDDLER Maybe, but he comes through with the cash, no questions asked. FISHMONGER Business is done in a different way down here, Mr. Dewey. You won’t change that. INT. ARNOLD ROTHSTEIN'S BILLIARD ROOM. NIGHT. Leather and dark wood. The valet serves drinks on a silver tray. Meyer watches, cue in hand as AR is circles the table. ROTHSTEIN Two to one I make the nine ball in the corner, off two cushions into the side, Meyer. MEYER I wouldn't give you odds if you said the balls were gonna roll in by themselves, AR. Rothstein laughs and turns to Charley, who is sitting on the couch with Rabinowitz, the union organizer. ROTHSTEIN And if I laid a hundred to one that I could get Weinberg and the Dairy Owners Association to offer the truck drivers a raise to a dollar an a half an hour..? CHARLEY I’d never bet against you, AR. ROTHSTEIN Smart boy, I already fixed it. Just waiting for you to sign on the dotted line, Mr. Rabinowitz. RABINOWITZ What do I do to get this raise? ROTHSTEIN Lepke and Gurrah Shapiro have been very helpful in these negotiations. RABINOWITZ They’re the bosses’ goons. MEYER So make ‘em vice presidents. Then they’ll be the union’s goons. CHARLEY All you gotta do is raise the dues a dollar a month and kick it back to Lepke. RABINOWITZ I’m gonna be the front man while the gangsters control the union. MEYER You wanna get more money for your members, don’t you? (offers a wad of bills) Don’t worry, the front man don’t get left out in the cold. CHARLEY Gotta take bribes, kid. People get nervous dealin’ with an honest man. Gotta be a crook if you want’em to trust you. Rabinowitz senses the subtle threat. He takes the money. INT. WAREHOUSE. NIGHT. A CRAP GAME. HIGH ROLLERS shoving, shouting, throwing money down. Meyer, watches the stickman handle thousands of dollars. Charley, in a dark suit with a yellow and black handkerchief peeking out of the breast pocket, plays the host, smiling and backslapping, but always with a cold eye on the action. Benny, groomed and dapper, flirts with the DEBS at the door. Meyer takes a stack of bills off the craps table. The other two gravitate toward him and they walk toward the office. MEYER We’re up over fourteen G’s. BENNY AR’s gotta be happy with that. MEYER That don’t even cover expenses. You know how much he gives out? CHARLEY He don’t tell nobody. MEYER He don’t have to. Do the numbers. He controls four hundred pool rooms in New York, takin’ bets, sellin’ lotteries. Each one pays three hundred a month to the local cops. Five hundred crap games, each payin’ a hundred and fifty, two hundred card joints, hundred fifty a month. Twenty fancy casinos for the carriage trade. Five hundred a month to stay in business. CHARLEY My head’s achin’ from all this arithmetic. MEYER Two hundred and thirty five G’s a year to the cops just to stay in business. And whaddya think he gives the District Leader and Assemblyman? CHARLEY Marrone, AR’s got the whole city fixed. INT. OFFICE. NIGHT. The three enter a cramped, windowless room. At a desk, a BOOKKEEPER in a green eyeshade is counting money. In the corner RED LEVINE, a hulking, red headed hood is playing solitaire. Lansky picks up a stack of bills, tied with a rubber band. MEYER What’s the count? BOOKKEEPER Thirty nine hundred in twenties...Without removing the rubber band, Lansky riffles the bills. MEYER Thirty-eight sixty.... BOOKKEEPER I counted those bills three times... Benny cuffs him in the back of the head. BENNY Whaddya arguin’... Meyer throws the stack back at him. MEYER I told ya: put the twenties in four hundred dollar piles, twenty bills to a stack. Fives, fifty, singles a hundred. Charley yanks Levine’s tie loose and begins to retie it. CHARLEY You know what a gavone is? You walk around like a slob you don’t represent me. MEYER (to the Bookkeeper) Get the numbers right to the penny. Treat my money with the respect it deserves... BOOKKEEPER Your money. I thought it was Rothstein’s. MEYER Some of it. But none of it’s yours, remember that. Benny cuffs him again. BENNY Yeah. You got a future... The boys walk out, laughing. INT. ROTHSTEIN’S CASINO. NIGHT. A festive, glittering cross section of New York night life. SOCIALITES in evening clothes, GAMBLERS, POLITICIANS, SHOWGIRLS. Rothstein circulates, gladhanding, signing chits. CHARLEY, MEYER AND BENNY enter and walk cockily to the back, stopping to laugh and back slap at a few tables before reaching Rothstein. ROTHSTEIN Hey boys, did we break even? Meyer whispers a figure. ROTHSTEIN (CONT'D) Any winners? Always gotta send one sucker home happy. Stick around I got a big surprise. At his signal a JAZZ BAND strikes up and marches out, followed by WAITERS carrying buckets of champagne, Rothstein mounts a roulette table and announces: ROTHSTEIN (CONT'D) Bar’s open, kids. Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we’ll be dry. BENNY Somebody’s birthday? ROTHSTEIN Yeah, ours. He holds up the front page of the New York Times. VOLSTEAD ACT PASSES. ALCOHOL DECLARED ILLEGAL. The Daily News: THE PARTY’S OVER... ALCOHOL DECLARED ILLEGAL.. ROTHSTEIN The geniuses in Washington just passed the Volstead Act. As of midnight tonight alcohol consumption is illegal in the US of A. Know what that means? MEYER A lotta sober people in the morning. ROTHSTEIN (pouring champagne) Not for long. Look at these people. You think they’re gonna stop drinkin’ because Congress says so? They’re gonna drink even more. And we’re gonna give ‘em all they want. (toasting) Here’s to our leaders in Washington. They just handed the whole country over to us. INT. REPUBLICAN CLUB. NIGHT. A celebration. Champagne corks are popping. The normally dour Republicans are toasting each other. Tom is standing off to the side watching with disapproval. A YOUNG REPUBLICAN offers him a glass. YOUNG REPUBLICAN C’mon Tom, have your last legal cocktail. TOM I’m not much of a drinker. Guess I won’t miss it. YOUNG REPUBLICAN You won’t have to. I’ve got three cases of scotch in the basement. And I’ve got a guy who’ll get us all we want... TOM Who’s this guy? YOUNG REPUBLICAN (with a wink) You know. A friend of Arnold Rothstein’s. PORTLY REPUBLICAN C’mon boy crack open another case of that French seltzer water... Tom sees the irony. TOM So we’re all going to end up making the gangsters rich. YOUNG REPUBLICAN Richer my boy... A lot richer. END Part 1/Act Four Next: Part 2/Act Four: An Empire is Born In a new department the Daily Event will reoffer some of these scripts. Read them and decide: would you like to have seen this movie? Our first script is EMPIRES OF CRIME. Seven years in development it is a six part mini-series commissioned by a broadcast network and later reacquired by a cable station. The story is about the founders of Organized Crime, Meyer Lansky, and "Lucky" Luciano, their fifty year partnership and the empire they created. Their friendships and families, lives and loves. It is also about their implacable enemy Thomas Dewey, a young Republican attorney who built a political career prosecuting the Mob that propelled him to the NY Governor's Mansion and almost to the White House. *For Introduction with submission guidelines go to Oct 13 Use Contact Us, above, for submissions.