MAE’S BUCKHORN BAR—FIGHT AND COP CHASE

EXT. CADILLAC - MOMENTS LATER

Ted drives on through the night. It's dark. He has a two-day beard, rough.

He cruises the roads outside town, as he did earlier when he couldn’t sleep nights. He sees a lonely bar on the side of the road, just outside town. The neon sign reads, "Mae's Buckhorn Bar and Motel." Ted enters the seedy bar.

INT. MAE’S BAR - NIGHT.

Two rough men are seated along the bar. The other tables are empty, except for CHARLEY, a hulking man, drinking alone at a table. The jukebox plays, "It's Been a Good Year For The Roses." George Jones sings. A lone couple ends their slow dance in the corner, and leaves as the song ends. A very heavy, muscular, mannish woman, 55, MAE, is the barkeep. She is tough, with a tattoo on each arm. She looks stronger than a lot of men. Ted enters, looks around, takes a seat at the bar, all during the last verse.

MAE

What'll it be?

TED

Tennessee Mash straight whiskey

MAE

We don't have that.

TED

Okay, any whiskey, in a glass, no ice.

MAE

You mean "neat."

TED

I don't care if you spill it; but then you'll have to get me another one.

MAE

You want no ice, just the whiskey, right?

TED

Right.

MAE

So what you say is "whiskey neat..."

TED

What I'm gonna say in a minute is goodbye.

She pours the drink and puts it on the bar.

MAE

Six fifty.

TED

Six fifty? For a small bar?

MAE

That's right.

Ted takes his wallet out. A lot of cash is showing. Mae sees. Ted pays.

MAE

You just drivin' through?

TED

Yeah. That why you stickin' me six-fifty for a three-dollar drink?

MAE (sees the big bills in his wallet)

You got money. Salesman?

TED

Yeah. Kinda.

MAE

And all alone. Say, I know some women around here who're all alone, too. For a price, you don't have to be alone—if you know what I mean.

TED

No, draw me a picture.

MAE

You get your choice of three, just one, or all three at one time.

TED

Not interested.

MAE

You bitch about the booze prices, you got plenty of money. What're you...too cheap to pay for a little?

TED

Listen, I didn't come in here to be hustled for small town whores.

She grabs his drink.

MAE

Gimme that. Too good for this place? Get out.

TED

I paid for that drink.

MAE

That's too bad. We don't serve bastards like you in here.

TED (eyes cold)

I'm waitin' for that drink, or my money back.

The other men are taking notice of Mae and Ted.

MAE (smiles, ugly teeth)

Go to hell.

TED (cold)

You gonna be home?

MAE

Charley!

CHARLEY, a burly redneck bouncer-type, gets up from his table, approaches.

CHARLEY

What's wrong here, Mae?

MAE

Troublemaker, Charley. He won't get out.

Charley pokes Ted's chest with his index finger, growls in a dumb, nasal, heavy voice.

CHARLEY

Mae don't want you, Charley don't want you.(He thumbs toward the door) Out!

TED (quietly)

You oughta quit readin' those Tarzan comics, Charley. They're affecting your grammar.

CHARLEY

Okay, friend, now you got big trouble, you got trouble with Charley. How 'bout you and me step outside and settle this?

TED

Tell you what, Charley, you step outside. If I'm not there in two minutes, start without me.

CHARLEY

Okay. (Looks for support quickly) We can settle it in...(swings)...here!

Ted ducks the punch, comes up with a hard right to Charley's gut. Charley grunts as the wind's knocked out of him. Ted catches him with a hard left hook to the jaw. Charley staggers backward into an empty table and chairs, out cold. But an unseen man bear-hugs Ted's arms from behind. Another man (seated before) has also moved over and hits Ted in the stomach and the face while Ted's arms are pinned. As the man starts to hit Ted again, Ted kicks him in the face. The man staggers backward and is out. Then Ted drops like a rock to a crouching position, slipping the bear hug.

As he rises, his right elbow hits up and behind him into the bear hugger's stomach, doubling him over. Ted whirls and k.o.'s him with a left hook to the jaw. Ted is still a foot from the bar; but Mae, behind the bar, swings a baseball bat at him horizontally, coming straight at his face. Her bloated face is contorted with anger and visible behind the bat. Ted ducks just in time. The bat swing passes over his head, leaving Mae open. He hits her square on the jaw with a full-power, roundhouse right. She staggers backward and falls with a tremendous crash into the rows of liquor bottles in the bar racks behind her.

Ted staggers to the door and lurches outside. His attackers are still groaning and struggling to get to their knees.

EXT. BAR - NIGHT.

Ted falls to one knee outside, gets up. Staggers to his car. He's bleeding at the mouth, and blood drips down onto his shirtfront. He leans against the driver door, clearing his head. Looks back. No pursuit. He goes to his trunk, takes out his Dad's hat and puts it on. He takes a pull from the square, long-necked bottle of Tennessee Mash. He winces as the whiskey burns his cut mouth, and spills down his shirt front. He doesn't notice his shirt stains. He stumbles to the driver front door, carrying the bottle. He gets in, roars out.

EXT. ROAD - NIGHT.

Same night, moments later. Instrumental, one chord is throbbing, waiting. Deserted country road. Ted, after bar fight, is driving along, clearing his head, cooling off. His speed has dropped to 50 from 80 (in time tothe beat of the instrumental). He's slowing down, getting hold of himself. The limit sign says "40 mph limit." He passes a cop car, with Lyle and Bob in it, at a dirt road intersection, at a right angle to him. He's rubbing his eyes and doesn't see them as he passes the unlit intersection. The roads are dark, deserted. Pale full moon, with dark clouds passing over it, causing complete darkness intermittently.

BOB

Hey, isn't that the guy we stopped drunk a couple months ago?

LYLE

I think so. I've seen him at night out here before, all alone, just drivin'.

BOB

How much over is he, you figure?

LYLE

Aw, ten maybe. But, Bob, it's deserted out here, and...

BOB

We warned him. And if he's drinking, he'll do jail time.

LYLE

Ten means nothing out here, Bob.

BOB

Look, Lyle, we let him off once. And ten's ten.

He turns on full lights and siren and pulls out in pursuit.