Urban Pirates- an original screenplay by James K. Shaffer- Part Four

EXT. THE NEXT MORNING DOCKSIDE- THE DAWN

up gerritsen

It is calm and sunny. Mike lowers Scuba tanks and wetsuits to Ken. Mike fires up The Dawn. Anna has hooked up the coffee & bagels and they eat as they pull into the bay. She passes it around.

Mike
Thank you. Good job on breakfast, Rookie.

Anna
(Chewing her bagel. Smiling.)
Welcome. Ya’ can’t sail on an empty stomach, Captain. Bad luck.

Mike
(Pirate voice)
Well, ye may have some pirate in ye after all!

Anna
Arrgh!

Mike grins and walks to the console. Ken secures the extra life jackets and rest of the gear. The Dawn roars to life.

EXT. THE DAWN- EAST RIVER, MANHATTAN SKYLINE

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The Dawn rushes upriver on a favorable tide. A Circle Line boat passes, tourists wave and take photos.

Anna
That is some tidal rip, huh?

Mike
Yeah, we are riding the tide. It will be stiller where we dive.

Anna takes off her shirt. She sports a sexy, colorful bikini top. Mike tightens up and puts on his sunglasses.

Anna
Do you remember the spot?

Mike
(Cool)
Yep. Saved it on the GPS. About 15 minutes. Enjoy the ride.

Mike turns on the marine radio and pretends to listen to the routine chatter. Anna joins Ken at the back of the boat. Ken is checking air tanks.

Anna
(To Ken)
He’s a bit touchy, huh?

Ken
Mike? It’s all an act. He thinks he’s Steve McQueen.

Anna
Ha. I remember you guys from summer I spent with my Aunt and Uncle. I was 12.

Ken
Mike said the same thing.

Anna
Really? My uncle says that you two are like family?

Ken
Yeah, we are family. His Uncle Pat taught us to fish. We have been doing it ever since.

Anna
Still in Brooklyn?

Ken
Mike lives in Manhattan. My wife and I just had our first kid. We are in Bay Ridge. You?

Anna
I grew up in Brooklyn Heights. I’m still there.

Ken
Very posh. You rich?

Anna
A little. Inherited. My father died a couple of years back. My Mom died that summer. My Uncle and Aunt are all I have.

The shadow of the bridge passes over the boat. Anna looks up at Mike. Mike slows the engine. He takes off his sunglasses.

EXT. UNDER HELL’S GATE BRIDGE

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Mike circles the spot and signals to KEN. KEN sets anchor and drops a diving marker. It is slack tide. The water is about 50 feet deep on the depth finder. The water is fast and emotions are high. Mike and Ken pull on their wet suits. They carefully check each other’s equipment.

Mike
(To Anna)
This is just a quick dive. I want to see what we’re dealing with down there.

Ken & Mike synchronize watches.

Mike
We gotta’ stay close. These currents are tricky.

Ken
Check. Follow the anchor line down, right?

Mike
Yup.
First sign of trouble, we surface. Nice and slow. No stupid mistakes.

Ken
Check.

Mike
(To Anna)
This line is tied to my belt. Ken is tied to me.

Anna
Gotcha.

Mike
Give three sharp tugs if there is trouble topside.

Anna
I will. Be careful.

Mike smiles awkwardly. Anna smiles back. The two men dive backwards into the water. They swim to the anchor line and descend into the dark water.

EXT. UNDERWATER

The water is cloudy. Visibility is low.

Mike goes first and Ken follows, they pull themselves along the anchor line to the bottom.

EXT. BOTTOM OF HELL’S GATE CHANNEL

up underwater

This is not the sunny Caribbean. The water is not a bright blue, but a dirty green/gray.

The water is murky and the bottom covered in muck.
The men come upon the wreck of a rusty barge, clearly not the treasure.

An eel slither out of the wreck. As they probe the edges of the barge Mike finds an old-looking, muck-covered jug. It is too dirty to find any markings. Mike puts the jug in his bag and signals to Ken.

They poke around a bit more and find nothing else.

Time is up. They ascend.

EXT. ON A SMALL MOTORBOAT ACROSS THE WATER

Ramon & Flaco (Latino, early 20’s) are lazily fishing and smoking a joint.

They are watching the activity on the Dawn through binoculars. He is on his cell phone.

Ramon
Yo! You ain’t gonna’ believe what I’m seeing. Check this out.
Snaps a photo on his phone)

Flaco
(Reaching for the binoculars)
Holy Shit! Let’s roll up on them.

Ramon
The boss says to chill.

Ramon listens to instructions. Flaco stews.

Ramon
Ah-ight. I’ll follow. I’ll write it down. I got you.
(Hanging up the phone)
Pull it up, Flaco. We are going to see where they go with this. Stay low.

Flaco
I still say we jack ‘em now.

Ramon
We’ll get to that. Right now, Boss says to chill.

EXT. THE DAWN- AFTER THE DIVE

up jug

Mike breaks surface, Ken shortly after. Mike hands his bag to ANNA. The two men climb aboard.

Mike
(Dejected)
Go figure. A fuckin’ jug.

Anna
Let’s see. It could be the next clue.

Mike
There is an old garbage scow down there. It is not the Hussar.

Anna
If we can trace this old jug to the Hussar we have the second piece to the puzzle.

Mike
(Cracking a smile)
Really?

Ann
(Sly)
How bad do you want it?

Mike
Bad.

Anna
Good.

Mike
Now you’re starting to talk like a pirate.

Anna
I am what I am.
(Smiling)
I’ll take this to the lab.

Mike
Cool, Popeye.

Ken
Let’s go home now.

Mike hits the engine and they head back to the harbor. A crisp wind picks up.

EXT. ON A PIER, IN THE SHADOWS

up pier

The Keeper is watching them through his old telescope. He snaps it closed and harnesses it on his belt.
CLOSEUP- The Keeper’s skeletal face covered in mummified skin. His leathery lips move as he talks.

The Keeper
Insolent, greedy bastards! Stirring up the bottom, waking the dead. No, this won’t stand. FAUSTO!

Fausto is of this world. Barely. He is thin and creepy, quick and nimble.

The Keeper
Reserve my table at La Esquina. Reserve the whole place.

Fausto
Yes, Captain. Anything else?

The Keeper
Please lay out my dress uniform and broadsword.

Fausto
(Smiling to himself)
Oh, dear. Here we go.

The Keeper is licking his lips.

INT. ANNA’S LAB- LATER THAT EVENING

Anna puts on rubber gloves and removes the jug from a tub of acid. The jug is fizzing. She rinses it with a small hose. It is now nearly white.

INT. WINDOW

Flaco is watching her from a shrub near the window. Anna turns quickly, but she sees nothing. Flaco slinks away.

INT. LAB COUNTER

Anna’s gloved hands lift the jug from the dirty acid water.

CLOSEUP ON THE JUG- The imprint at the bottom of the jug is clear- “HMS HUSSAR Made in England”. ANNA peels off the gloves and reaches for her phone.

INT. MIKE’S APARTMENT

Mike is in the kitchen beginning to cook his dinner. He is chopping vegetables and singing along with the radio when the phone rings.

Mike
Hey, Anna. What’s up?

Anna
MIKE, we’ve got a match!

Mike
What do you mean?

Anna
There is a marking on the jug. It is from the Hussar!

Mike
That’s great. I’ll call Ken. Are you at your office?

Anna
I’m in the lab right now. I’ll call security to let you in.

Mike
Wow. See you in few.

Mike turns off the stove and wraps up his kitchen and calls Ken.

INT. ANNA’S OFFICE- BROOKLYN COLLEGE

Mike walks in alone. Anna sits with the cleaned jug on her desk. Mike picks up the jug.

Anna
Look at the bottom of the jug, pirate.

Mike turns it over to reveal the clear markings- “Made in Great Britain”.

Mike
Hot shit.

Anna
This is real evidence that there could be more down there.

Mike
How much more?

Anna
Hard to say.

Mike
Let me ask you a question, what do we know about the Hussar’s travels prior to coming to New York?

Anna
Not much. She came over sailed over with the Cork fleet, fought with and defeated pirates in the Atlantic. Why? What are you thinking?

Mike
I’m thinking about “double hulls”. Let’s find out where she was.

Anna
Wow. We’ve got some work to do. Want to order in some food?

Mike
Yeah. Sushi seems appropriate. Good by you?

Anna
Sure. That’s fine with me.

Anna smiles and hands Mike a stack of menus. Anna sits at the computer and starts to type. Mike picks up the phone to call for food.

EXT. A SMALL, DARK SPANISH RESTAURANT SUNSET PARK BROOKLYN, NIGHT

up resto

A modest, dimly lit storefront. Candles glow through the curtains. Silent.

CLOSE UP- A sign hanging from the door reads-

“Closed tonight for private party”.

EXT- A BLACK SUV PULLS UP IN FRONT AND STOPS

The driver’s door opens.

Fat Joe (Big, Latino, 30’s and blinged out to the hilt) climbs out. He is alone. He strolls slowly toward the door.

INT. THE KEEPER SITTING AT A LARGE BOOTH

Fausto appears out of the shadows to lead FJ to the table. FJ joins The Keeper seated at a large booth. Terrified wait staff and the owner of the restaurant stand silent in the shadows. The Keeper motions for FJ to sit. The Keeper is in full regalia, boots and medals shining. The Keeper rises and bows. FJ bows awkwardly. The table is set with vast portions of many covered dishes. FJ sits.

The Keeper
Thank you so much for joining me, Joseph.
FJ
No problemo. Glad to be of service.

The Keeper
Grand. I know how, socially uncomfortable it must be to dine with, hmmmm, the likes of me.

FJ
Yo, I’m from Brooklyn.
I’ve seen every freaky fuckin’ thing on this planet. You’re cool wit’ me, boss.

The Keeper leans into the light. We see his evil face in full. FJ meets his glare.

The Keeper
Good, because the horrors you’ve seen will pale in comparison should those fools get their hands on my gold. Are we clear?!
FJ
Yes we are. I hear you, Captain.

The Keeper
Good. These bastards are not worthy of this treasure.

Keeper’s gloved hand pushes a stack of gold coins across the table. Joe pulls the stack towards him with a smile.

FJ
There lives have just become more complicated. Consider it done.

The Keeper waves his hand. Dishes over-flowing with Spanish food are presented.

The Keeper
With that ugly bit of business out of the way, I will live vicariously and watch you enjoy your meal. Dig in, Joseph.

FJ
I will. I brought my Sunday appetite with me.
(Digging in)
Gracias, Captain.

The Keeper
De nada.papi.
I’ll enjoy a little vintage red wine. Lovely vintage. It goes right through me. Perhaps a taste?
FJ
Looks like blood to me. I’ll stick with Heineken.

blood glass

A waitress quickly brings Joe his beer and fills The Keeper’s glass with deep red liquid. She sneaks a look at the Keeper. He teasingly flicks his serpentine tongue. It glances off her cheek. She jumps back with a muffled scream, knocking dishes over. Others rush her away and clean up the mess. The Keeper cackles with glee. Joe watches feasting with relish, keeping one eye on his creepy benefactor.

EXT- STREET OUTSIDE THE RESTAURANT

Brennan’s brown Charger cruises by unnoticed. He looks over the top of his glasses. He notes the license plate number of the idling SUV.

JKS 12/13/17

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