Omniality: Screenplays

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Selection From The Screenplay
About This Film

EXT. WYNOKER'S STEAKHOUSE - NIGHT

A chummy, old school place, half-bar, half-steakhouse, in Pittsburgh, flying Steelers and Pirates flags in their windows.

INT. WYNOKER'S STEAKHOUSE - NIGHT

Elmer wanders in, beat, like he's been walking around for awhile. Approaches the BARTENDER.

ELMER

This is Wynoker's, right?

BARTENDER

Yessir.

Gavin sits in a booth in the background; he works on a steak. Sees Elmer, then returns to the steak.

ELMER

Wynoker's of Luluc Street.

BARTENDER

Yeah.

ELMER

And there's no other Wynoker's on Barnwell or Twenty-Eight or any of the other places I got sent to tonight.

BARTENDER

(glances at Gavin)

No.

Elmer notices the glance, and turns around. Spots Gavin. Turns back.

ELMER

Pittsburgh likes havin' fun with me.

BARTENDER

(grins)

What'll it be?

ELMER

Water. Ice. A pitcher of it.

Bartender heads off.

ELMER (Cont'd)

And some goddamn Red Bull or something. Spike that with coffee. Also something with alcohol. I played baseball for a living, too, goddamn it.

He slaps the bar; Bartender glances back.

ELMER (Cont'd)

(points to Gavin's booth)

Bring it to me over there. And I'll take a steak, too. Rare. Fries. Coleslaw.

Bartender glances at Gavin.

Gavin nods assent.

ELMER (Cont'd)

(as he walks over)

Goddamn Rust Belt Mafia.

Arrives at Gavin's table. Stands there.

ELMER (Cont'd)

(to Gavin)

I came to say I'm sorry.

Gavin chews what he's got in his mouth, slowly, and then wipes his mouth, also slowly, and puts his napkin down, slowly. Takes a slow sip of wine. Sets the glass down, slowly.

GAVIN

And you do it by embarrassing me during dinner?

Elmer slides into the booth.

ELMER

Look.

(beat)

I've had to work hard to get where I am. Bein' vigilant and lookin' out for myself, my family, to get ahead. That's hard. That's tirin' work.

GAVIN

You're a hustler.

ELMER

And you're an asshole—

Gavin snorts silently at that.

ELMER (Cont'd)

—But I don't say that shit like it's final.

(half-beat)

Dismiss me all you want for knowin' I wouldn't get playing time here or that the Mets were going NOWHERE in 2002. But as long as you don't talk down to me or treat me like I've never known what I'm doin', we'll get along fine.

GAVIN

(cuts into steak)

This is some apology.

ELMER

Yeah, keep eating while we have a conversation.

Gavin takes in a breath, and, reluctantly, sets his plate aside.

ELMER (Cont'd)

I came to apologize for ruinin' your thing with your daughter.

At which Gavin darkens.

ELMER (Cont'd)

Tradition, luck charm, whatever you wanna call it. No one was tryin' to screw with you or her and I was a little heated, and I went back to grade school for a second. And I'm sorry.

GAVIN

(beat, returns to his plate)

Well, that's your problem: everyone you come in contact with, you think they're trying to beat you out, so you beat them out.

ELMER

That's life, man. Kill or be killed.

Bartender arrives, and brusquely sets down a pitcher full of everything Elmer asked for, including a raw steak. Sticks a straw in it, and leaves a check.

Gavin raises an eyebrow at it.

Elmer sags. Drags the pitcher close to him. Takes a sip through the straw.

GAVIN

How is that?

In response, Elmer reaches over for the salt. Seasons the drink. His hands in his lap, he takes another sip. Looks over at Gavin.

GAVIN (Cont'd)

See, if everybody hustled—if everybody did what you did, we'd be a society of nomads, strolling and bartering, and cheating—

ELMER

—I'm no cheat. Don't use "nomad" as code for "gypsy."

GAVIN

You're not a role model.

ELMER

I don't want to be a role model. I don't need to be a role model. I'm gonna be the best at what I do, and THAT'LL speak for me.

GAVIN

Then you should've been an investment banker. Not a ball player.

ELMER

You think this game runs on some kinda gentleman's agreement?

Gavin shrugs, focused on his food.

ELMER (Cont'd)

Well, at this point in time, you're the role model and I'm the hustler. So let's stop kickin' each other in the nuts and trust that our boss knew what he was doin' when he hired me.

No response.

ELMER (Cont'd)

For two weeks.

No response.

ELMER (Cont'd)

(quieter)

Please.

(beat)

I need this.

And now Gavin relents. Sits back.

Elmer stays where he is. Looks a little green.

GAVIN

You all right?

ELMER

Sure.

(beat)

This the kinda steakhouse with the bags of sawdust lying around?

GAVIN

No.

ELMER

'K. I'm gonna go puke outside.

Elmer rises, glances at the bill. From his pocket he pulls a wad of bills.

Drops eighty dollars onto his check.

And then Elmer leaves the booth. As he heads for the door, he asks the Bartender:

ELMER (Cont'd)

Wrap that for me, please?

***