Devil in a Blue Dress (1995) Script

It was summer 1948.

And I needed money.

After going door-to-door all day, I was back again at Joppy's bar...

... trying to figure out where to look for work the next day.

The newspapers was going on and on about the city elections...

... Iike they was really gonna change somebody's life.

My life had already changed when I lost my job 3 weeks before.

For example, one of the white guys pulls a double shift.

If he says he's too tired to work overtime, you don't fire them.

That's all you have to say?

No, that's not all. I need....

I need to pay my mortgage and eat.

I need a house to live in and clothes on my back. I need the job.

I'm sorry, fella, I gotta get back to work.

My name's not "fella."

My name's not "fella." My name is Ezekiel Rawlins.

Catch you later, Joppy.

Watch the marble, damn it! What'd I tell you?

How much you think they're paying at Douglas Aircraft?

I don't know.


Come on over here.

There's somebody I want you to meet.

Come on, this is a friend of mine.

Easy, this is Mr. Albright.

-Call me DeWitt, Easy. -How you doing?

Take a seat.

Mr. Albright and me...

...go way back to before the war.

Back when I was still in the fight game.

Ever seen this guy fight?

Every time Joppy stepped in the ring, you knew you would see...

...some knockdown-dragout fisticuffs.

-Where you from? -Houston.

Joppy's hometown.

Need a job?

Yeah. Easy always trying to do better.

Easy's one of a few coloured men around here who owns his own house.

He paying the mortgage every month, just like y'all folks.

Property owner, huh?

These big companies don't give a damn.

I got out of that racket long ago.

If you need a job, drop by this address, 7:00.

Tonight.

What kind of work you do?

I do favours.

I do favours for friends.

Drop by.

Who was that?

Just somebody I know. Businessman.

-Businessman, huh? -Yeah, he is.

Ain't nothing to worry about.

When I'm told there's nothing to worry about...

...l look to see if my fly is open.

All the way home, all I thought about was a chance to make some money.

I first came out to Los Angeles when I got home from the war in Europe...

... with $300 in my pocket and the G.I. Bill.

A lot of coloured folk from Texas and Louisiana moved to California...

... to get them goodjobs in the shipyards and aircraft companies.

Now, me, myself, I was a machinist.

And the first thing I did when I saved enough money was to buy me a house.

Man, I loved coming home to my house.

I don't know.

I guess maybe I just loved owning something.

-I'll knock down the trees in the back. -Leave my trees alone.

Leave my trees! Get on!


I was feeling pretty desperate that evening.

In a week, I'd be 2 months behind on my mortgage.

And I wasn't about to lose my house.

But a chill running up the back of my neck was telling me...

...l was about to make a bad decision.

Yeah, Albright made me nervous.

He reminded me of a fella in Texas named Mouse.

-Let's dump this thing. -Isn't this your friend's car?

-What'd you do? -Just drive.

What did you do?


So, want the job?

It depends.

I don't wanna get mixed up in nothing.

Walk out the door in the morning...

...you're mixed up in something.

Only thing is, if you're mixed up to the top or not.

I'm just looking for somebody. For a friend.

Daphne Monet.

Fiancée of Todd Carter. She's been gone two weeks.

It upset the man so much, he stopped running for mayor.

-I've never seen her. -That's a shame.

Daphne has a predilection for the company of Negroes.

She likes jazz, pig's feet and dark meat.

" Predilection."

I'd go looking for her myself...

...but I'm not of the right persuasion.

What do you want from me?

What do you mean?

-What do I do? -Get her location.

Mr. Carter wants to make up with her.

$1 00.

I pay in advance.

$1 00.

To tell you where she's at?

-That's right. -And that's all?

That's all.

Joppy tells me you used to frequent an illegal club.

John's.

Somebody saw Daphne there a few nights ago.

Start tonight.

Whoa, that's enough. Thank you.

-I'm gonna see you later. -All right, yeah.


I told you it's a grocery store.

How you doing, baby?

Mister, I told you, you can't be in here harassing folks.

What's going on?

I paid these damn cops off, and they're rousting my customers.

That's what he get for messing with that white woman.

Don't pay him no attention.

I done rung for Junior to take care of that.

They got nobody but Deucy and them tonight.

I had Holiday on Thursday. Yeah, you missed it.

Wait for the cops to leave. Take Easy upstairs.

And if he's still down here, come on back and throw his ass out.

Get out of here. You better be gone.

I'll be here waiting.

You just wait, mister. Just keep waiting.

Mr. McGee, there is no upstairs.

-Got another cigarette? -Sure.

Zapattas. How you smoke these damn things?

You the only Negro smoke Mexican cigarettes.

Last time I heard these fellas was back in Houston.

The night Mouse pulled me off you.

-That's how you remember it? -That's the way it was.

Look here...

...admit that you helped Mouse kill Navrochet.

Get off that. You know I didn't have nothing to do with that.

Where the white women?

-I pay them no mind. -I bet.

Like you didn't help Mouse kill his stepfather.

Did you help him kill his stepbrother too?


Give me a setup and a Coke back.

Have you seen a girl named Dahlia, Delila, something like that?

White girl, supposed to be something to see.

If I do see her, I'll keep her to myself.


Keep the change.

Deacon Odell.

How you doing tonight?

It's going all right. It sure is going.

Easy Rawlins, is that you?

-Ain't jumped out of no windows yet? -Not yet, Dupree.

-You know Coretta, don't you? -Sure, how you doing?

I'm all right.

This is Odell.

Can we sit with y'all?

Sure.

We miss you down at the plant.

Benny would've gave you your job back, right?

All you had to do was go and say you was sorry.

I'm sorry, all right. Give me that bourbon.

Any man without his paycheck is sure enough sorry.

I got it. Your money ain't no good.

-This one's mine. -You sure?

-You the one ain't got no job. -You the one ain't got no money.

Y'all seen a white girl named Dahlia...

...or Delila? First name start with a " D."

Coretta got herself a job at the phone company.

Congratulations. They ain't hiring no mans down there?


You all right, Odell?

He used to play till the cock crowed.

That old cock don't crow nearly so much now.

I better get on home.

You'd be sorry if you go.

I'd be sorry if I stay too.

Good night.

Daphne asleep by now...

...so you can't get none of that tonight.

Go around here telling everybody " Dahlia."

Her name is Daphne.

Do you know her?

-Where you want me to put him? -This ain't my house!

This ain't my house.

Just throw him on the bed.

Shut up.

Be careful. The door.

Threw him out of his place because he couldn't pay rent.

I shouldn't let him sleep here.

-Damn, that Negro's heavy. -I know, I know.

I need a cigarette.

That all you need?

Sun catch me tiptoeing outside your door, what your neighbours say?

All right, Easy.

Dupree fell asleep on me...

...and you just gonna walk out on me like I was dog food, huh?

Girl, what you talking about?

Now, come on.

Coretta, your man is in the next room.

Tell me about your friend Daphne.

Why you keep asking about her?

Coloured women ain't good enough for you no more?

That ain't it.

Shoot.

What if he heard something?

He asleep.

Daddy, that's it!

That's it.

You're hitting my spot. You're hitting my spot.

Easy, Easy, Easy.

I can't give up that much loving, daddy.

-Not the way things is. -What things?

He's right in the next room.

Forget about Dupree. You got me going.

It ain't right, doing this right in the next room.

All you're doing is nosing after my friend Daphne.

No, baby.

-That's just a job. -What job?

-Some man want me to find her. -What man?

I don't know what man.

I don't want nobody but you.

Daphne's my friend. I can't do it.

Just a little bit, okay?

Just a little bit.

Just a little bit, baby.

Oh, you're hitting my spot.

You're hitting my spot.

And I went on hitting her spot until just before sunup.

I realized Coretta had found out as much about what I was up to...

...as I had found out about Daphne Monet.

As it turned out, Todd Carter wasn't the only man in Daphne's life.

She was shacking up with a smalltime coloured gangster named Frank Green.

Coretta had the nerve to charge me $10 for that information.

Everybody was in business in L.A.

That morning, I waited for Albright to call.

I tried to feel good about paying a few bills...

...and I mean just a few.

Shoot, a loaf of bread was damn near 15 cents.

It was easy money.

Too easy.

Bye, Easy!

-Where you going, Sophie? -Back to Texas.

Too fast for me out here.

Get on away from the house!

Get away from that tree!

Get on away from that tree!

Get away from that tree!


Easy, how you doing?

I hope you have good news for me.

-Mr. Albright, is that you? -Sure is. What's shaking?

-I got what you want. -Hold on to that.

I only do business in person. Tell you what.

You come out here to Malibu. Meet me at Fishermans Pier in an hour.

Malibu? Mr. Albright, I don't--


It's pretty out here.

It's all right.

I'm from Des Moines, lowa.

Where are you from?

Texas.

Do they have an ocean in Texas?

-A gulf in Texas. -Barbara! Where are you?

Your friends are looking for you.

Who cares?

My sister brought me here because my parents made her.

All she wants to do is make out with Herman and smoke cigarettes.

What you doing here?

-What's going on? -Leave us alone.

We're just talking.

-We don't need you talking to her. -Leave us alone.

We're just talking.

This nigger's trying to pick up on Barbara.

I don't need trouble. Just being polite.

No, you're not. You're talking about the ocean.

-What do you want? -What's going on?

What do you want?

What do I want?

I wanna see your brains.

Run!

Sorry.

-I'm sorry. I didn't mean it. -You're sorry?

-Sorry enough? -Yes, sir.

Yeah?

Then prove it.

Come on, prove it. Show him.

Get down on your knees.

Suck his peter, you son of a bitch!

I think he's got the point.

-Go on. -He's got the point!

Do it! I'll kill you. I'll blow your brains out.

Don't shoot me, please.

Go on.

Go on.

Son of a gun, you're gonna do it, aren't you?

Sick bastard.

Oh, no, my eye!

Get out!

-You call the cops, I'll kill you! -Hurry up, man. Come on!

I don't think they'd call the cops, but we better get out of here.

What do you got?

No harm will come to that girl because of me?

Carter says he wants to live happily ever after with her.

What you got?

-She was with a man named Frank Green. -Hang on. Where?

Skylar Apartments. Skylar and 83rd.

Frank Green. What do you know about this guy?

He's a gangster. Hijacks liquor and cigarettes. Good with a knife.

-Seen him in action? -No, I just heard about him.

Here's another 1 00.

I'll be calling you again.

Mr. Rawlins, I'm Detective Miller.

Mason. Hands on the car.

-Come with us. -Where?

-You'll see. -Why am I arrested?

-You'll see. -I got a right to know why.

You got a right to fall down, break your face and come with me.

-You got him? -Got him coming home.

Ezekiel Rawlins. You can take those cuffs off if you cooperate.

-Yes, sir, I'm cooperating. -Turn around.

Sit over there. Sit down.

Where were you this morning about 5 a.m.?

What?

He means this morning!

I was out drinking. I carried a friend into his house.

I don't know. I didn't look at a clock.

You were drinking at 89th and Central, illegal club called John's.

Answer. You got a lot bigger troubles than an illegal bar.

-What you talking about? -We're talking about...

...taking your black ass out and putting a bullet in your head.

Sit down.

When did you leave Coretta James' house?

Around 5:30, I guess.

-Did you go back later? -No, sir, I did not.

Did you and Dupree have words over Miss James?

-Words? -You heard him!

Did you two argue over Coretta?

-Did you? -No, we didn't argue about nothing!

-He was asleep! -She went to sleep too.

But she won't wake up.

-Where did you go when you left? -Wait.

She won't wake up?

-Where'd you go? -I don't know! I had a hangover!

-You had a hangover. -I went home!

That explains everything.

He had a hangover.

Back off!

Back off! Back off!

Get out of here!

Let's go! Get out of here!

Come on, you son of a bitch!

Calm down!

You son of a bitch.

They left me alone in that musty room for 3 hours...

... till some guy in a suit about two sizes too big said I could go.

The game of cops and niggers kept up outside, but I hardly noticed.

I had seen dead bodies before.

Cold, hard...

...still as concrete...

... eyes wide open, staring up at nothing.

But not Coretta.

I could still feel her heartbeat.

Hey, Ezekiel Rawlins.

Somebody in the back would like to talk to you.

I ain't got time.

Get in. We'll take you.

My boss wants to talk to you about Coretta James.

If he wanted to hurt you, it would've happened already.

Come on.

Get in.


Go up front and sit with Norman.

Give me a kiss.

That's my adopted son, Jesus.

I can see the police roughed you up a bit.

That's a practice of theirs that has to change.

That has to change.

She was beaten...

...and died of a heavy blow to the back of the head.

I suppose you know that.

No, I didn't, Mr. Terell.

-You know who I am? -I read the newspapers.

You're running for mayor against Carter.

I am the next mayor, Mr. Rawlins.

And, luckily for you, a friend of the Negro.

Coretta worked a while for me.

She answered phones at my campaign office on 1 03rd and Western.

So when I heard that the police had a suspect...

...l got out of bed immediately because of my concern.

Was there anyone with you, Mr. Rawlins?

Anyone besides Mr. Dupree Brouchard?

No, sir.

A young lady named Daphne Monet, perhaps?

Nobody.

Of course not. Why would....

Why would you tell someone whom you've only just met?

You can trust me.

There was nobody else there.

I believe you.

-Can we drop you off? -No.

I'll get out here.

-This must be quite out of your way. -No, it's okay.

May I offer you cab fare?

-No, thank you. -Are you sure?

It's okay.


You're hitting my spot, baby.

Daphne asleep by now, so....

Go around here telling everybody "Dahlia. "

Coloured women ain't good enough for you no more?

All you doing is nosing after my friend.

Coloured women ain't good enough for you no more?

Is this Mr. Rawlins?

Who's this?

This is Daphne Monet.

-You're looking for me. -Who told you that?

You know who told me.

Coretta.

She was found murdered this morning.

I don't know what I should do.

Do you care to talk to me alone, or should I call the police?

Ain't no reason to call the police.

Then come over and explain yourself to me.

I'm at the Ambassador Hotel.

This part of the hotel is white-only.

So go to the side entrance, and the bellboy will sneak you up.


Hello, Mr. Rawlins.

Hello, Miss Monet.

Should I think of you as a friend of Coretta's or a private dick?

Well, I ain't no detective.

I was just hired by a fella that works for Todd Carter.

I had to pay Coretta not to tell you where I was.

She got you too.

She definitely gave me the wrong address.

-Where'd she say I was? -Said you was in Watts.

At the Skylar Apartments with a fella named Frank Green.

What else did she tell you?

I don't know. What else is there?

Nothing.

I make no apology for my feelings for Frank. He's very dear to me.

Bourbon?

Please, straight up.

How well did you know Coretta?

She was a very close friend.

Maybe you know why she got killed?

Why would I know that?

She was your friend. She knew about you and Frank.

Maybe somebody wanted to keep that secret.

-Mr. Rawlins, if you think-- -Easy. You can call me Easy.

Easy, if you think Frank killed Coretta...

...you don't know very much about him.

Frank doesn't beat people up. He prefers to use a knife as his weapon.

What do you prefer as your weapon?

Why not search me and find out?


Mind if I have another drink?

Help yourself.

-Listen, Mr. Rawlins-- -Easy.

Easy...

...l called to ask you to drive me to Todd's house.

Pardon?

You found me. Now I want you to take me to Todd Carter's.

Call Todd Carter. Have him send for you.

I have to go someplace else on the way.

Someplace I don't want Todd to know about.

There's a man named Richard McGee.

He lives up in Laurel Canyon.

He delivered a letter of mine to the wrong place...

...and I must get it back.

At 4:00 in the morning?

Important letter.

Yes, it is.

But I need to go there before I go to Todd's.

I'll pay you.

When did you talk to Coretta?

I don't know, 7:30, 8:00, I guess.

Listen, Easy, I don't want...

...to talk about Coretta now.

Did you go to her house?

No.

She called me.

She was in a good mood.

She always....

I didn't mean to upset you, Daphne.

But you understand that...

...you was the last one to talk to her before she got killed.

I don't mean to upset you...

...but as far as I know, you were the last one to see her.

Now, where does that leave us?

All right, change out of that housecoat. I'll carry you.

Are you nervous?

Nervous? Here I was...

...at night, in a white neighbourhood with a white woman.

I wasn't nervous.

I was stupid.

Make a left up here.

Getting Daphne back to Todd Carter suddenly didn't seem so easy.

Who was this guy Richard McGee?

Just park behind that car.


Oh, my God!


-Who's that at the door? -It's him.

You fought in Europe?

What you doing in my house?

What happened to your head?

What you doing in my house? You got no right to break into my house!

Where have you been?

I went to see a girl. Why? You don't get none?

I didn't come here to play, nigger.

That's my money in your pocket.

We've been by the address you gave me on Frank.

But he moved from there.

A year ago.

What do you want me to do? I'll give you the money--

Do you believe in God?

I'm curious if pain's any different for a religious man.

-I'll show you what I do to liars. -I seen her.

Where?

Come on.

She called me. I carried her up to the Hollywood Hills.

-Where's she now? -She took off.

Bullshit. Where is she?

She took off.

While I was looking at the dead man, she took off.

Come on in.

Sit down.

What'd she do? Take his car?

McGee.

Write down where you picked her up.

Write it down!

This bologna is stuck in my molar.

I get that with popcorn.

Get me some whiskey.

It's in the cabinet. You get it your damn self.

He's got balls, you gotta give him that.

Shoot him.

I'm just kidding.

Easy, you're a brave man.

I need brave men working for me.

You do a nice job too.

Get me a whiskey.

Find Frank Green. He'll lead us to her.

No, thank you.

Too many people getting killed around me already.

You're connectible to two murders.

You're gonna do whatever I tell you to do.

You find him. I'll be checking in.

That's some cheap shit. Let's go.

Since Albright liked surprise parties...

...l had a friend of my own I wanted to invite.

I placed a call to Etta Mae Alexander in Houston.

I gave her a message for her husband...

...Mouse.


Cast your vote on June 1 1 for Matthew Terell.


That girl called me last night.

What girl?

The one your friend Albright is looking for.

-That's lucky. -It wasn't no luck. It was you.

Only you and Coretta had my number and knew I was looking for the girl.

Coretta was too busy scamming Daphne.

-It was you. -Maybe she looked in the phone book.

I ain't in the book. I thought you was my friend.

Why didn't you tell him where she was?

What the hell you mean, looking all ugly like you'll do something?

I think I'll do something.

Stop that shit!

That's my marble! My uncle left me that after he died!

Goddamn it, he's about to get it back.

-Let's talk. -Talk!

What you got me into?

I told her Albright was looking for her.

I figured I'd help you make a few dollars and throw Albright off!

She wanted to know about you. I gave her your number.

-Where's she at? -I don't know!

Don't lie to me!

I'm not lying to you!

-What's she running from, then? -She didn't tell me.

Easy, look at me. I am your friend!

I didn't mean to get you in no trouble.

Look, you seen her.

I mean, she is something else, man.

You know what I'm saying?

Oh, Joppy....

What?

Like Albright said, "When you're mixed up in something...

...you better be mixed up to the top. "

So that's where I was going.

All the way to the top.

Everybody was peeing on my head and telling me it was rain.

Guess they figured I was some new kind of fool, and maybe I was.

I was ready to start fighting back.

I believed somehow that I could live through this bad dream...

...about pretty girls and gangsters...

...and standing face-to-face with the richest man in town.

May I help you?

-I'm looking for Mr. Carter. -I'm sorry, he's a very busy man.

Too busy to hear about that chippy of his that dumped him?

Excuse me.

-Mr.--? -Rawlins.

Why don't you come with me, sir?

It's not smart talking about Carter's business to a secretary.

There's too much going on...

...for me to give a damn about what you think is smart.

Wait here, Mr. Rawlins.

Mr. Carter will see you.

Mr. Rawlins.

Mr. Carter.

You've heard from Daphne?

Yeah, last night.

She's still in town?

She was last night.

And what did she say?

What was she wearing?

Blue dress, high heels.

That's her.

Would you like to come in?

Please.

-Have a seat. -Thank you.

-I want some answers. -Would you like a brandy?

I wanna know what I got myself into.

Pardon?

I wanna know the real reason Mr. Albright hired me.

Mr. Albright?

Yeah, the man you hired to find Daphne.

I think there's been a mistake here.

Who are you talking about?

Wait a minute.

You didn't hire somebody to find your girl?

Of course not.

Until just now, I thought she was hundreds of miles away from here.

You say someone's looking for her?

Someone's looking for her.

Nothing personal, but what's going on between y'all?

Nothing.

We were going to get married.

We had a fight, and it is really none of your concern.

So someone's after her.

Mr. Albright.

-And he says I'm his employer. -Ever heard of Richard McGee?

Who?

Look, l....

-Why would somebody be after her? -Can you find her again?

It's important...

...for her sake.

I'm willing to pay you.

Why did she leave?

It's really none of your concern, but I'll pay you to find her.

$1 000.

$1 000?

I'll take $200 right now.

You're trying to take advantage of me.

Let me inform you of something.

The incumbent mayor, the chief of police, close friends of mine.

They eat at my house regularly.

That's good. Then they can help us find her.

No, they can't.

I'll have Baxter write you out a check.

Why you stop running for mayor?

-Baxter will write you a check. -Why's Terell looking for Daphne?

Baxter will write you a check.

I'll take cash.

Here, take it all. Just take it all.

I'll be in touch, Mr. Carter.

So Albright had lied to me.

Instead of working for Carter, he worked for Terell...

... the man running for mayor against Carter.

And they was all throwing money my way...

... to find the girl in the blue dress.

I knew her boyfriend Frank Green hijacked trucks hauling liquor...

...and sold it at half-price to places down on Central Avenue.

So I decided to kick up some dust right in Frank's back yard.

Mr. Rawlins, what were you saying?

Frank Green.

-Who? -I'm looking for him.

-I don't know. -Why you treat me like this?

-I don't know any Frank Green. -You don't know Frank?

You know me though, don't you?

My man Frank Green told me to talk to you.

-He said to talk to you. -Who is that?

What do you mean, "Who is that?" He told me to talk to you.

Come on. Give me something.

All right, give me a beer.

Can I get a beer? Can I get a beer?

Thank you.

Wait. Frank Green told me you'd have pints for me.

Who's Frank Green?

-You know who Frank Green is. -Al, talk to this man.

-You know Frank. -What are you talking about?

You don't know Frank?

-I don't. -Let's get him on the phone.

Don't need my trees trimmed.

There's a man!

Damn! Frank, wait a minute!

Hold it! Let's talk!

Let's talk.

Wait a minute! I got $500 for you, Frank.

Rich white man wants--

Goddamn it!

Want me to shoot him?

-Mouse! -Want me to shoot him?

It's all right.

What the hell is happening, man?

I'll blow your nose off.

Don't shoot him!

Where's Daphne Monet, Frank?

Maybe you don't know where she is...

...but we can help each other find her.

-You heard him. -Mouse, no!

-Rawlins residence. -Sit down.

He busy right now. You gonna have to call back.

A rich man is willing to pay $1 000 just to talk to this girl.

$1 000! That's a hell of a lot of money, man!

Wait, wait. Wait a minute.

Let me try.

Look here-- It's Frank, right?

Let go of me, man! Let go of me!

Damn it!

Don't you ever grab me when I got a gun in my hand!

Shit!

You got blood on my coat.

It's a damn expensive coat.

Where's your bathroom at, man?

We gotta find that girl and get that money.

No, we don't have to go find nobody!

I done changed my mind. I don't need your kind of help.

Man cut a damn smile in your neck, you tell me you don't need my help.

You pulled this shit 5 years ago when you killed Navrochet.

You ain't been here 5 minutes, you shot somebody already.

Come on, Easy.

-Cut me in on this thing, man. -No.

Easy, I'm trying to do right.

I mean, you know, now.

I could help you. You'll need somebody at your back.

-I'll let you run the show. -You'll let me run the show?

I won't do nothing you don't tell me to do.

You're gonna let me run the show?

You'll do what I say?

I'm gonna do everything you say.

That's the wrong hand, Mouse.

Boy, how you been?

-Who was that on the phone? -I don't know, man.

Sounded like some white girl.


Ezekiel. Came to ask you a few more questions.

-Why don't you invite us in? -I'll come out.

What happened?

I don't remember doing that to your neck.

What do you know about Richard McGee?

A dead white man in Laurel Canyon.

He has a note in his pocket with " Coretta James" written on it.

You feel more talkative?

I'll bet six bits to a bottle of piss we're looking at a double.

If we place you in the dead man's house.

I wasn't in no dead man's house.

We could go to the station, send a team over here.

They'll find something that will place you at that house.

Evidence has a funny way of showing up.

You ain't got nothing on me, because I ain't done nothing.

We know you know a lot more.

Tell us everything you know...

...or you're going down for both murders.

-I don't know nothing. -Sure you do.

-Let's go. -All right, look.

-Give me more time. -Forget it.

Give me till tomorrow morning. Maybe I can dig something up.

What do you think? We could do that.

Take the cuffs off.

You got till tomorrow morning.

Have a nice evening, Ezekiel.

I played along, just like the cops wanted me to.

It was a game to them.

But they'd play for keeps tomorrow because a white man was dead now.

Guilty or not, somebody was gonna have to pay for this one.

Is Dupree's sister's house off Compton Boulevard or Avenue?

-We're going somewhere else first. -Did that girl call?

We going to see her?

No.

-I see them people giving you trouble. -I ain't got time.

-Leave my trees alone! -You got too many.

-I'll knock down a couple for you. -Leave my trees alone!

Tell me what you think when you get back, all right?


-Who's there? -Easy.

-What you want? -Let me in.

I got no time to be fooling with you. I'm sleeping.

Open this door. Act like you got some sense.

Mouse.

Get out the way, fool. We ain't got all day.

Have a seat.

-Y'all want a beer? -Sure. Thank you.

What you smoking, Junior? Zapattas?

-This one's yours too. -I don't know.

You killed McGee.

What you talking about?

No time to play. I know you killed him.

-You crazy, man! -Sit down.

-Tell me. -What you talking about?

The police will, when they find your prints in his house.

Fingerprints?

Hattie had you pull that man out of John's that night.

He was laying dead in the same suit and a bullet in his head.

I ain't killed nobody!

Quit lying, you thick-headed, cornbread-eating--

Sit down, Junior.

Sit down, now.

Tell me, and maybe I'll forget what I know.

Or I'll tell Mouse to shoot you.

You killed that man and took his money.

-I don't know who you talking about! -You had to rob him!

I didn't touch nothing in that man's house!

Goddamn.

Sit down.

Hattie had me take him out to his car.

He was so drunk he gave me $1 0 just to drive him home.

-I know you took that. -Hell, yeah.

Then he asked about that white girl you asked about.

I told him I seen her with Coretta. What the hell I care?

You tell him, but not me?

I don't like your ass. And he give me $50.

Just to tell him you saw her with Coretta?

To deliver a letter.

I give it to Coretta to give to her the next morning.

You better be telling the truth.

Come on, let's go.

I'm telling the truth. I ain't killed nobody.

That man was alive when I left. I ain't killed nobody!

Daphne's letter had worked its way over to the other side of town...

... to Dupree's sister's house.

I hoped.

And Junior was innocent, like I knew all along.

But I couldn't see no harm in letting the sucker sweat a little bit.

-Tried to call you. -Cops just let me out today.

My sister's at work. I ain't feel much like talking.

-Raymond! -Yeah, big man.

Is them pig tails I smell up in there?

Lula Mae made some before work.

You'll have to excuse me.

Dupree.

I'm sorry.

Thank you, Easy.

Why somebody wanna kill her like that? It don't make sense to me.

Did Coretta say anything to you about a letter she was keeping?

A letter?

What kind of letter?

From that white girl.

No.

It's because of her that Coretta got killed.

Yeah.

Everything between Daphne and Coretta was always such a damn secret.

That old girl...

...didn't think nothing about two-timing old Frank.

-You want more tails? -Thanks, Dupree.

She messing around with that guy running for mayor.

-Todd Carter? -Yeah, that's his name.

She probably introduced Coretta to one of them guys.

He probably came to the house...

...saw that Coretta wasn't that type of woman.

Cop says she fought him.

Imagine that.

My baby fought them.

Because she wouldn't have nobody but me.

I can't sleep.

I keep seeing her face that morning before I went to work.

Junior had just came by the house...

...and she come running out carrying her Bible.

She say...

..." Keep this for me, baby."

The Bible?

The police won't even let me go near the house.

That's the only thing I got left that belonged to her.

The Bible.

I knew it was a sign because she's so religious.

Oh, God!

It's all right, big man.

-I'm sorry. -That's all right.

Get you a drink. Drink this.

-All right. Go on now. -That's enough.

Drink that.


I was scared now...

...and sick from what I saw.

Pictures of a much younger Matthew Terell and children.

Innocent...

...helpless...

...naked children.

I got it. Let's go.

Is you crazy or is you drunk?

Come on.

Am I drunk?

You saw me draw that gun. No man can out-draw me.

-Put the gun down. -No, I'm drunk.

I'm drunk. You right.

I'm gonna put that gun right there.

I'm gonna see who's drunk.

Now, watch it now. Watch it, goddamn it.

Right there, now.

This fool calling me out, he ain't even got no gun.

I'll kill that motherfucker.

Let him go.

Let him live.

And he'll be scared of you from now on.

He better be scared or I'll kill him.

He will.

You better tell him.

I will.

Trust me.

I'll tell him.

Shit.

Keep an eye on him.

Where you going?


The pictures was eating at my pocket like a cigarette burn.

Albright killed for those pictures to get them back for Terell.

He killed Richard McGee, who had sold the pictures to Daphne.

Time was running out.

But I had some unfinished business with the girl.

She had called earlier, and all I needed was for her to call again.


I'm sorry. I broke into your house.

Please don't be angry with me.

Now, why should I be angry at you?

May I have a cigarette?

Coretta's boyfriend, Dupree, got out of jail today.

And you need me to help you find him.

I already got the pictures.


I paid $7000 for those pictures. They belong to me.

Terell might have something to say about that.

I'll pay you $1 000 for them.

-You gave McGee seven. -Then I'll give you seven.

What does Terell have on you?

Nothing.

-You want the money or not? -No.

I got two murders hanging over me.

Unless I find a killer by morning, I'll go to jail.

-Who killed Coretta? -I don't know.

-She was killed for the pictures? -I don't know.

Frank Green killed her to bring you them pictures.

-No. -Tell it to the police...

...because I ain't taking the rap.

Put the phone down! Put it down!

Put the phone down!

It was Frank.

-He didn't do it! -Sure he did!

You got more than a backdoor romance.

He pimped you out to Carter. We're going to the police.

Why don't you scream, so I can tell the police about your boyfriend!

Frank is my brother!

Our mother is Creole. We have different fathers.

Mine is white.

That's what Terell has on me.

So far I've been able to keep Frank out of this.

Who killed Coretta?

It was an accident. She wanted to sell the pictures to Terell.

Who killed her, goddamn it?

I asked Joppy to scare her.

Joppy?

I didn't mean to hurt anybody.

I didn't mean to hurt anybody.

But Todd had to pull out of the election because of me.

His family really wanted us to get married, but--

I'll be a son of a bitch.

Get her.

Come on.

-Where are the pictures? -I don't know.

Get her in the car.

Come on!

Who we gonna give up to cover this shit?


I woke up Mouse and told him to drive Dupree's car to 34th and Central.

It had come to me in less time than it takes to think.:

They were taking her someplace more deserted than Albright's office...

... where there would be no witnesses.

And I was being left alive to take the fall.

Give me one of them guns you got.

Start up my car, keep it hot. I'm coming out fast.


Let's go.

Let's go. Let's go!

I'll blow your face off. Let's go!

Shut up!

-What the hell you doing? -Shut up!

What is this?

You drive, Mouse.

Albright's gonna kill the girl.

Now tell me where it is and get it right.

Get it right, Joppy. Get it right.

There's a cabin.

That's all I know. There's a cabin.

-Where? -It's in Malibu on Route 9.

Make a right turn at the alley.

This is where he'll be, right?

-I guess so. -Don't be guessing!

He done this kind of thing out there before, so I guess so.

I thought y'all were friends.

He killed Coretta.

You lying.

I ain't done nothing like that.

Hold on! We need him, Mouse!

The girl got $7000.

What?

The girl offered to pay me $7000 for them pictures.

Oh, my God!

Oh, my goodness!

Oh, my God!

How much further is it?

We coming up on it.


There's rope in the trunk. Tie him up.

Yeah, all right.

Man, come on.

The girl is lying if she told you I killed that woman.

Who says she told me?

I'm gonna shoot him now, okay?

No, don't.

Don't shoot.


Help me! Help me!

Shut up!

Now, you tell me where the pictures are.

I don't want to hurt you. Tell me.

Where are the pictures?

-Easy has them. -You said he had nothing to do with it.

I was lying.

Lying?

Yeah, you a liar?

I know you lie. You lie about being a nigger?

Tell me the truth.

What part of you is nigger? Your leg?

Your arm a nigger? Maybe your face?

What part of you is nigger?

You know what I'm gonna do?

Please, no!

I'm gonna burn it out of you.


Easy, is that you?


He gone, man.

Gone.

You all right?

Can you walk?

Come on, let's go.

Where's Joppy?

Where Joppy?

He right there.

What happened?

I ain't had no time to be tying him up.

What?

You said don't shoot him.

-That's right. -Well, I didn't.

I choked him.

What?

How am I gonna help you out if I'm here fooling around with him?

If you ain't want him killed, why'd you leave him with me?

Come on. We got to go, Easy.

Easy, come on. Let's go now.

Listen...

...what about that dude Frank?

-I can run by and kill him before I go. -No, Mouse.

You sure?

Look.

Here's your half.

I know you's too big a fool to take it from her yourself.

If you need somebody to run them streets with, give me a call.

You know how to put money in a nigger's pocket.


What upset them the most was that I didn't tell them.

Then Terell threatened to go public about my mother.

That just added insult to injury.

When Todd sees the pictures...

...there'll be nothing in the way of our marriage.

-Are you sure? -Terell doesn't want to go to jail.

I'm not talking about Terell.

Todd and I are very much in love, and in the end...

...his family just wants him to be happy.

Daphne had gotten the money out of a locker at the YWCA.

It was money she had gotten from Carter's family.

$30, 000...

... to leave town.

She was convinced her Negro blood didn't matter...

...now that Terell couldn't use it...

... to keep Carter out of the mayor's race.

She was in love and couldn't see for dreaming...

...any better than the rest of us, I guess.

Even though we had fought a war to keep the world free...

... the colour line in America work both ways.

Even a rich white man like Todd Carter...

... was afraid to cross it.

-Don't walk away. -Damn you!

Wait.

Wait.

Please!


Here's the $800 that I owe you.

And thank you for protecting her.

You have some pictures.

That puts you back in the race.

I'll need you to do something for me too.

I know.

You'll have no trouble with the police.

It's a promise.

Thank you.

Just so you know...

...l do love her.


You want me to walk you inside?


I dropped her off at her brother's...

...a four-plex on Dinker Street.

She told me her story on the way home...

... Iike a sinner who wanted to confess.

Her name was Ruby Hanks from Lake Charles, Louisiana.

I suppose all she really wanted was a place to fit in.

A few days later, my conscience got the best of me...

...and I went by her place to bring back her money.

I was kind of excited about seeing her again.

But when I got there...

...she and her brother had picked up and gone.


Find a job yet?

I ain't studying no job, Odell.

No job? How you gonna live?

I got a little money saved up. I'll invest in real estate.

-Maybe go into business for myself. -What kind of business?

Private investigating.

You get in trouble doing that.

Well, like a man told me once:

"Step out your door, you're already in trouble.

Only thing is, if you're mixed up at the top or not."

I guess you're right.

If you got a friend that you know does bad things, real bad things...

...and you still keep him as a friend, knowing what he's like...

...is that wrong?

All you got is your friends.

What are you doing? You get out of my yard!

Get away!

That fool knocked down two of my trees. Get away!

Get on!

You all right?


I thought about what he said about friends...

...and it made sense to me.

Odell goes to church every Sunday, so he would know.

Later, he challenged me to dominoes. Now, what he do that for?

We got to talking about Texas and fooled around...

...and drunk a quart of whiskey.

And I forgot all about Daphne Monet, DeWitt Albright, Carter and them.

And I sat with my friend...

... on my porch...

...at my house...

...and we laughed a long time.


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